See How a Basement Game Room Blends into an Atlanta Backyard

About the author: Becky Harris is a writer for Brunswick has teamed up with Houzz to provide tips on how to make your home a more active place.

After three years of living in their new house, this Georgia family needed an update: The toddlers had grown into playful kiddos, and they all wished for more room for family fun and entertaining.

They contacted builder John Willis Homes to renovate the home, and he brought in Jeff Thomas to plan the space and design the interior. The natural beauty of this home’s yard immediately inspired Thomas to create a design that connected with the outdoors, literally and stylistically.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with a 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son
Location: Atlanta
Size: About 2,000 square feet

John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz


The heart of the new dream basement is a comfortable living room and fully equipped bar; the room now opens out to the yard. New steel beams added structural support, making the wide-open space possible.

“The first time I saw this house, I was struck by how beautiful their backyard was,” Thomas says. “It actually inspired me to present them with a resort-style design for the space that brought the outside in and blended the spaces.”

John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz


A new patio extends the basement living room outdoors. Thomas thought carefully about how to connect the two spaces with materials as well. He used the same stone that is on the exterior of the house throughout the basement, on the bar, around a fireplace and in a wall of built-ins.

John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz


Pool table: Treviso in Espresso, Brunswick Billiards

John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz
The room is full of fun activities for adults and children; Thomas planned space for a shuffleboard game and a pool table.


Backyard 5: John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz
A large wine cellar was a big-ticket item on the couple’s wish list. The room holds 1,000 bottles in a variety of racks that break up the space with vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.

Glass doors offer a view of the wine cellar from the main living area. Thomas chose black walnut wood accents and stone to harmonize with the landscape and complement the materials in the rest of the basement. “The patio floor was used in the wine cellar to set the continuity of the interior and exterior finishes,” Thomas says.

John Willis Homes, original photo on Houzz

We added an additional natural finish of reclaimed wood on the walls,” he says. “We then used crisp, clean paint finishes and furnishings for contrast.”

The media room is a cozy, enclosed space, enhanced by ceiling runner beams. The family enjoys many movie nights in front of the projection screen.

Georgia’s mild climate allows the family to enjoy the new outdoor space almost year-round. So far they’ve used their new basement and patio to host birthday and game-day parties, al fresco dinners, garden cocktail parties and wine tastings — not to mention enjoying it for everyday movie watching and relaxing in the backyard.


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