[design]: Basement Layout Dilemmas


As briefly discussed in Basement Planning post we were not 100% of all the design elements or at least, it is safe to say that we have changed our mind once we saw the space.  While I am really good at envisioning the space through all the clutter, walls, etc, it definitely helps to FEEL the space when everything is gutted and opened up. So in that earlier post we were looking at several options. I just realized that one more option was missing which is to place the TV on the outer wall (front of the house).  

When we saw the gutted space we immediately agreed that we did not want to extend the post in any direction.

Our next dilemma was which wall to choose for TV and Fireplace. Going with option 1 in the image below would give us a wider wall which we could also use to do some built in shelving because it is under a bulkhead. It would also give us immediate focal point and wider space to spread the furniture. However, it would also be smaller in height which I did not like as we wanted to stack fireplace and large TV one on top of the other. There was an option to spread TV and fireplace (i.e. not to stack them) especially as there is about 17 ft of space and one could make it into a nice feature (something like image below), but decided to keep budget in mind. 

While option 2 gave us less width of the room (some 10-11 ft) it gave us more space between TV and sofa allowing for play area in between which is something I wanted to have. It also had more height and even though we did not have fireplace as immediate focal point (unless you are entering from the side door), it is a nice surprise as you enter the room and turn the corner.

Future TV/Fireplace space minus the garbage bags!
We decided on option 2 as it just FELT right when standing in the space and imagining furniture, paint, TV, fireplace, etc.

To really seal the deal, we sketched the options as well:

option 1

option 2
We went with option 2 and never looked back.

Our other basement dilemma had to do with lighting. This one might be harder to explain. We knew that we wanted some pot lights, in the small hallway, in bathroom, in both sides of the big room. In addition to pot lights, I wanted to add pendant lighting which would go over a really large table/desk that we purchased (107+ inches) which would mainly be against the wall but could be pulled out when needed. This pendant lighting would have to position in such a way that it makes sense in both arrangements. 

When I discussed this with the contractor he advised against it all as ceilings are not all that high (7 ft) already and pendants would impede with sight lines. There was something to this that made sense and I agreed to have sconces on the wall between two windows instead imagining buying sconces that were way out of our budget. Contractor completed the work really fast that by the time our designer came out with idea below, things were already closed up:

I loved it especially when I found images where something like that was done so well:

Incidentally, these images reaffirmed everything I wanted to do with our space including dark walls.

This design would have given us a bit more head space (if at least visually), architectural detail and lighting solution, but would also create additional unplanned work. 

As I was searching for sconces high and low, I regretted not tearing it all down and going with this idea. Then I thought to still use pendant lights but hook them to sconce outlets - something like images below (if you can put your imagination glasses on and envision the below on 90 degree angle):

For a period of time I was looking and comparing pendants wanting to choose the one with chain and trying to decide between clear glass, exotic looking, schoolhouse, farmhouse, etc. Then I found my sconces and dilemma was settled.

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