A Historic Home Gets a Family Fun, Industrial-Style Makeover

About the author:  Karen Edgy-Thompson is a writer for Houzz.com. Brunswick has teamed up with Houzz to provide tips on how to make your home a more active place.

This Canadian home has seen its share of change in the last 112 years. Originally a large single-family home built in 1903, it was at one point converted into a boarding house; then, in the ’90s, the basement level was chopped up to create two rental apartments.

The homeowners spent years renovating the upper levels to return the building to a single-family home. Recently, they set their sights on the basement, where they envisioned a family hangout space with table games, a lounge area and a decor scheme that exuded vintage fun while honoring the heritage of the building.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz

Basement at a Glance
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Who lives here: A couple and their two children
Size: 1,740 square feet (162 square meters)
Year built: 1903

For a family that loves to entertain, the large, renovated basement offers a lot of amenities, including a game area, TV area, bar, exercise area, mudroom, powder room, utility room and a guest bedroom and bathroom.

Juxtaposing the formal aesthetic of the upper levels, the basement has a relaxed 1903-era industrial warehouse vibe. “Same year, different neighborhood,” says designer Jodi Foster.

The homeowners, who used to live in Britain, use the space daily after work for a few games of pool or shuffleboard, a drink at the bar or to enjoy an evening movie.

Near the shuffleboard and dartboard, the homeowners applied “wine” text on the wall made from vintage, individually stamped metal letters.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz
Light fixtures: Rejuvenation and Restoration Hardware; bar stools: Home Decorators Collection; subway tile: Decora Tile; stainless steel cabinets: Silver Fern Stainless Ltd.

The bar features a small sink, floating wood shelves and an under counter refrigerator and wine cooler. Subway tile and stainless steel cabinets nod to the era of the home while fitting in nicely with the industrial theme.

A wraparound chalkboard-paint area faces the bar and dart board side of the wall. Created for both fun and function, it’s handy for keeping score or jotting down beverage requests.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz
Chair: Union Jack, Timothy Oulton; leather sectional: ScanDesigns; coffee table: The Old Cannery

The durable furnishings include a leather sectional and an industrial-style coffee table — and they’re regularly put to the test. The couple’s 16-year-old daughter has friends over to watch movies and TV on the weekends, and their son recently hosted a couple of college parties, complete with dance floor.

Reclaimed barn wood visually carries the wood beam back to the brick wall behind the leather sectional.

One of the challenges Foster faced was finding the right balance for the five species of wood and four types of metal in the space, integrating them with the old brick, light and plumbing fixtures and new tile in an open-concept plan. “My task was to decide which materials ‘shine’ and which played supporting roles,” she says. She accomplished this by purposely subduing some of the finishes, such as the metal and boxwood bench created around the brick fireplace foundation and the cap on the reclaimed-wood walls.

Besides the open plan, one of the driving design elements for builder Max Huxley of Maximilian Huxley Construction was integrating all the reclaimed wood. He used reclaimed hickory for the flooring, barn siding for the walls and old train boxcar flooring for the stair treads and countertops.

Chalk it up to serendipity, but during the demolition phase, the team discovered they were reinstating the new staircase in its original location before the apartments were constructed.

Huxley says another construction hurdle was replacing the original wood beams with steel versions and making them look like they’d always been there. Gray paint helped subtly blend the beams in with the other metal finishes.

Reclaimed barn wood wraps the lower portion of the wall in the game and media areas. A small top shelf can be used for setting down drinks and displaying books and accessories. Vinyl upholstery covers the built-in banquette seating.

A custom wood-topped stainless steel bench envelops the front and side of the brick fireplace foundation to create a seating perch near the pool table. Huxley preserved the original fireplace and its ash cleanout.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz
Metal cabinets: Silver Fern Stainless Ltd.

Free-standing custom stainless steel lockers with a playful painted bullseye and black shelving organize a bevy of board games.

Behind the shuffleboard table is a small workout area divided by a partial-height divider, allowing sunlight to penetrate the basement interior. The door next to the brick wall, another fireplace foundation, leads to the guest bedroom.

Shiny hubcaps on the brick wall are more than a fun bit of decor. Underneath one is a chimney duct that once fed a wood stove. Instead of covering the duct with one lonely object, Foster suggested a collection of vintage hubcaps.

Adjacent to the home gym is a small mudroom area and door to the outside. The handmade barn door on the left opens to a powder room.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz
Mirror: Illuminations; barn door: BillyGoatGear; subway tile: Decora Tile

Black subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern adds visual interest to the powder room and, Foster says, feels more like a wallpaper treatment.

The decorative P on the wall reflects Foster’s subtle yet cheeky bathroom humor.

Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz

The basement also includes a spacious bedroom with a bathroom. Foster and the homeowners chose a mix of antiques and vintage finds from stores, travels, estate sales and garage sales.

Huxley says they splurged on the flooring, siding and countertops in the guest bathroom. However, they made up some of that with the plumbing vents and drains. “We decided to leave them exposed and paint them rather than try to hide them, which added to the look of the space,” he says.

Bathroom fixtures: Restoration Hardware and Kitchen and Bath Classics


Tony Colangelo Photography, original photo on Houzz

Here’s a look at the previous floor plan (with the two rental units) on the left, and the new plan on the right.

“This is a place you want to kick off your shoes and just hang out,” Foster says. “Everything is beautiful and yet nothing feels too precious to be enjoyed.”

Related links from Houzz:

Browse Over 70K Basement Inspiration Photos

Store Wine in a Brand New Bar Cabinet

Get the Look With a Rustic Coffee Table Set

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s