This post could also be titled “How Brian Came to Finally Realize That My Habit of Hoarding Beautiful Things Actually Comes in Handy After 20 Years of Being in a Relationship”. I don’t think I bought like anything for this room (maybe 2 things) decor-wise, and simply pulled it all from my admittedly robust prop “inventory” (the garage). Finally, the basement suite reveal is here, after four quick years. It’s like finding the wedding dress the day you get home from your honeymoon. I’m bummed that we didn’t prioritize this room, but proud that we invested enough to make it awesome without putting too much into it, unable to recoup cost in resale (I was going to do Scottish inspired plaid wallpaper – for my “eccentric Scottish grandpa” theme for one Brian Henderson – which might have been a harder sell). So here we are. I don’t think I have before photos because I’m new at blogging and don’t know how to document projects properly. When we bought the house it was not dissimilar to this state, except cement floor and probably a less good gray paint color but the potential was great. Same windows. Same built-ins. Two less support beams.
Here’s how it all went down. After we finished the mountain house I was like this is crazy, it’s time to actually work on this room and use it. Julie came up with a plan for the bathroom but once we got a quote for it we realized it would be like $15k – $20k. I really just wanted it to be “cute” and even “habitable” but this wasn’t where we should invest real money. A couple of months after the pandemic hit I realized that this was a good time to do it (on even more of a budget – life felt precarious). We needed to put down waterproof flooring, paint, and make the bathroom “cute”. So three weeks ago it was ready for me to style and shoot, which I tried to do without buying anything or where I did buy it was affordable (the bed).
The biggest and best change we did was put down this vinyl “wood” flooring that was super affordable, looks GREAT and is totally waterproof which is great for a basement that has an exterior door up two steps. It’s from Cali Bamboo, and is the Seaboard Oak color. Velinda used it in her basement kitchen and loved it, so I copied her:) It absolutely warmed up the space and has fooled many people who didn’t know (if you look closely you can tell it’s not real wood, but if you are just checking out the space it looks GREAT). I’m VERY happy with it and HIGHLY recommend.
As you can see in the “before” photo above, there is this cabinet on the wall that would have been super off-center to the bed. I wanted to get rid of it completely and drywall over, but Brian was like “you want to get rid of storage in a basement office?” which was a good point/question. Thank god I had been hoarding this amazing vintage Japanese indigo tapestry that I bought on Etsy last year. We hung it up, it fit perfectly both over the cabinet and behind the bed and created a focal point for the room. YES. Permission to keep hoarding awesome stuff, accepted.
I bought the rug years ago from Rejuvenation’s vintage site, the bench is Katy Skelton (from my Glendale days at the foot of my bed, and was at our piano but now lives here), the bed is Target (coming soon!), the black standing lamp is Target (no longer available), and the bedding is almost all what I’ve already had except the teal blanket by Justina Blakeney that is new (and awesome – so heavyweight and such a pretty thick weave). Lumbar pillow by Block Shop, leather pillow from Target (old), patterned blanket from Schoolhouse Electric (one of my all-time favs).
I have to pat myself on the back for making color and pattern totally wake this room up without making it feel small and busy or cluttered. It’s actually a really great space. Light, but cozy and I’m not just saying that because we are selling it. It has enough light to not feel like you are in a basement (windows on two sides) but where it’s located on the house just feels like a cozy studio, a little escape. Brian worked here for a couple of years and loved it. Also, the paint color is one of my absolute favorites (we have it in our bedroom, too) and pretty much captures “light yet cozy” well. It’s Ammonite by Farrow & Ball. Also, if you want more gray paint colors we love head here.
The built-ins were already there, but we took out the third shelf which allowed for us to lean larger pieces of art. All of those pieces are things that I love and will likely always hoard. I was so happy to give them a place in our house, even for just a few months. I think the only things still available is the teal sculpture from artist B. Zippy and the quiet painting by Addie Juell (that I purchased from the Portland project). I styled the bench out with a couple of pillows (Target) and throw (West Elm and similar). We always had plans of making a big custom cushion, but, well… we never did. The vintage “sconce” (which can also be a table lamp) I bought from Amsterdam Modern years ago.
On the other side of the room, we have the “office”.
Admittedly I’m VERY impressed with how this turned out from what we had on hand. I’ve been hoarding that desk for 3 years (remember the Parisian bedroom reveal??) and it’s a big desk to hoard (from Ava home). But it was too pretty to get rid of and I knew it would come in handy, three years later. Indeed it did.
The wingback is from Target (still so good and still available) and is such a good scale for the desk and adds so much warmth here. The lamp was a score from the flea market ($15) but I had to get it repaired ($15) and then my guy at Practical Props in the valley (Ian) threw in the shade because it was “damaged” and I was like, “aren’t we all, Ian? Aren’t we all?“. It’s probably from the ’90s and yes has some scratches and maybe a dent but for free that shape in black is so awesome on that lamp and you honestly don’t notice. (This is why I can’t have real paying residential clients … I’m a perfectionist in a billion ways – I tweaked that vignette to camera for 45 minutes – but will absolutely let things like that slide).
I had that leftover wall hook from the mountain house (kinda wish I had hung it up here, actually … maybe I will after we sell) – from Lawson Fenning. I threw a Parker Clay bag, some yardage of vintage plaid (I had to bring the “Scottish” in somehow) and then I had bought this beautiful necklace from 54kibo.
Here you can see the full space on the other side of the room leading into the bathroom which I’ll show you very soon. The corner where the desk is was always awkward so I’m just so happy that the desk really engages that space and you don’t really notice the columns that float in the room. The foundation ran along the side of the wall (I think the previous owners dug down to make it tall enough to create a room) and I was like, “what the heck do I do with this ledge?”. I joked about lining it with candles. I even tried leaning art. I put a tray with “keys” and no matter what I did it looked junky, cluttered, and drew attention to the oddness. I ended up putting a plant, and stack of books on the window and called it a day.
All in all I’m honestly so happy with it. It came alive, while maintaining its bare-bones function (bed for guests, desk for office), feels warm, and exciting without feeling cluttered at all. And it goes to show that with a neutral foundation (walls, floor) you can add a lot of eclectic styles within a color palette (blues and wood). It’s an EHD formula that works for those of you who are into it. Although to be fair it did take years of collecting all of those things… I’d WFH here in a heartbeat… YOU?
In case you missed any of the other reveals so far check them out: The Living Room | The Kid’s Shared Bedroom | Basement Bathroom | Elliot’s Room | Kitchen and Dining Room | The Entry | The Front Yard
** Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp