Prior to building their Clarence Creek home in 2013, Vickie Brunet and Casey van den Hanenberg made sure to purchase a lot suited to the construction of a walkout basement. They spent several years carefully planning a DIY renovation of their unfinished space, before bringing on designer Chantal Charron of CDesign4U to help shape and define their desire for a rustic and industrial looking pub-style escape.
Inspired by the visual appeal of unfinished wood, harvested from discarded pallets and used by Casey to frame in the furnace room, Chantal suggested using the same wood to wrap support beams and pipes throughout the space. They used a similar wood to build an impressive bar and sliding barn doors to the guestroom. It pairs beautifully with panels of corrugated roofing tin and an earthy hand-built red brick wall. Iron plumbing pipes, purchased from the aisles of Home Depot, take top marks for both creativity and style as brackets for open shelving.
When complimented for the incredible job they have done, Casey reveals that rough materials are a great choice for those wanting to renovate their basement themselves. “A rustic and industrial style works really well because nothing is required to match, and the overall look is intended to be imperfect.”
The couple, who now refer to YouTube and Google as their new best friends, stayed on trend while saving thousands of dollars by leaving the cement basement floor untouched, and spray painting the open basement ceiling and all of its components black.
To distill natural light coming through two huge bay windows and a sliding glass door, dark grey was chosen for the walls with tones of brown swirled in for additional warmth. Drawing on their professional expertise in lighting, Vickie and Casey opted for industrial interior fixtures, outfitted with glowing Edison bulbs, to create specific moods in each of three seating vignettes.
The project was finished in January 2019, just in time for Vickie’s surprise 30th birthday party. Now, the proud couple are happy to invite friends and family over for casual dinners, sports events, and even host boisterous gatherings of Casey’s 90 relatives.
CALLING IN THE PROS
For homeowners seeking to outsource their basement renovation, companies such as Ottawa’s Just Basements are there to help from start to finish. After being in business for 20 years, President Norm Lecuyer takes pride in his company’s expertise and says that planning and due diligence are key to a successful basement renovation.
“When purchasing a property, always check the basement for headroom and signs of leakage. Look to the future during the design stage of your renovation, contemplating the number and ages of family members in the household and how many years you plan to live there.”
Norm also believes that good lighting design is an excellent investment, along with ensuring that floors, ceilings and walls are properly insulated, to meet the demands of winter or a booming home theatre.
Typically, the creation of a family room and additional bathrooms top the list of the company’s basement renovation requests, yet they also have an impressive number of custom projects. These have included designing lower-level guestrooms, wet bars, adult craft and game areas, audio rooms, pet-washing stations, and even an indoor skateboard park.
“We try to create rooms that can evolve over time to meet the changing needs of the owners,” notes Norm. “A large, open-concept basement can add value by being useful for multiple purposes at the same time. Architecture, furniture and lighting can be used strategically in these areas to make them feel either airy or cozy.