When a basement serves mainly as 900 square feet of storage space, it can be difficult to see past the clutter and imagine what it might become.
In the case of a Maplewood family, blue tape would help.
The couple, who preferred not to be identified, wanted to finish the basement of the 1928 Colonial that has been their home for 11 years. The project would create a family gathering space as well as a quiet office area for the husband and father in their four-level home, which now has 3,500 square feet of living space, including a third-floor guest loft.
On the second floor, the daughter’s bedroom suite was newly furnished and decorated, with custom cabinetry added to address a dearth of closet space. The suite comprises two bedrooms separated by a Jack-and-Jill-style bathroom. The bedroom that had previously served as a play area is now an office outfitted with clear acrylic furnishings and designer-themed artwork that lends a grown-up air to a room now used for homework. The bathroom, which was painted and updated with backsplash and floor tiles in a herringbone pattern, is one of three and a half bathrooms in the five-bedroom house.
In the basement, the first step in repurposing the space was to clear it. “That really forced them to edit and get rid of things,” says Pam Cooper, whose Watchung company Cooper Interiors was hired to design the home renovation.
With the basement emptied, Cooper could begin to show the family how it could support every activity and function they told her they wanted there.
“Literally, this was one big open room,” she said. “I designed where all the walls and cabinets would go.” For the family’s benefit, she taped shapes on the concrete floor. The lines, squares and rectangles showed them where new walls, furnishings and appliances would be placed, creating a real-world grid for the basement floor plan Cooper had drawn on paper.
The floor would ultimately be covered with ceramic tile that resembles worn wood. “It gives them…