Upping the Fun Downstairs
When weather outside is frightful, New Albany family heads to a delightful lower level
“We want our place to be the ‘go to destination’ for our kids and their friends—that’s the main reason we decided to make this investment in our home,” says a New Albany mother of three in explaining why she and her husband undertook an extensive, thoughtful completion of the lower level of their home.
With two preteens and a younger child, the couple wanted to create a relaxing, comfortable space that could accommodate large gatherings of friends who share their family-centric lifestyle.
The couple turned to the design/build/remodeling firm, Dave Fox Design/Build/Remodeling, for an innovative and functional design that resulted in an additional 1,500 square foot living space that is the perfect place for expansive entertaining.
Certified remodeler and vice president of Dave Fox, Bryce Jacob, explains that finishing lower levels can be challenging, due to limitations determined by locations of the home’s furnace, ductwork, sump pump, water main and other necessities. On the other hand, he says that the process is also exhilarating, in that he and the homeowner start their discussion with a blank slate.
“The wish list was extensive, yet practical, including a full kitchen, multiple media-viewing areas, extensive storage and a full bathroom adjoining an additional bedroom,” says Jacob. He notes that when sleeping spaces are created below grade, code dictates the addition of an egress window.
“Because the home had two pre-existing window wells in the front, the symmetry was perfect for creating two egresses—one for the bedroom—while the other brings in maximum natural light for the kitchen,” he explains.
The final design places the main gathering area in the center of the space, which is open to the kitchen area and, thanks to unique and functional barn doors, also open to adjacent media-viewing areas. All but one of six support posts were incorporated into walls, some of which are several feet from the exterior walls, affording behind-the-scenes access to a built-in media center.
Dave Fox interior designer, Tonya Lawrence, worked closely with the New Albany mother to select finishes that would meet the homeowner’s request for a space that would be comfortable and comforting.
“She wanted fabric, flooring and wall covering that would not only be warm and inviting, but also durable enough to stand up to teenage guests, whom she wants to make feel welcome,” Lawrence explains.
“My husband was an active participant throughout the planning process, particularly in selecting the hand-scraped, engineered hardwood floors that I would describe as a soft chocolate shade,” says the homeowner.
“We love every aspect of our new entertaining area—so far we’ve hosted everything from afterschool snacks to a Buckeye game party for our friends and their kids. That’s why my refrigerator is stocked with everything from juice boxes to white wine,” she chuckles.
“We were able to have all the adults in the central gathering spot watching the game, the preteens sprawled out in the carpeted teen room watching a movie, and the younger kids in the bedroom—which we can see into with the barn door opened—enjoying cartoons,” she enthuses.
“This space provided a wonderful retreat from the extreme heat and humidity last summer,” the homeowner says, “and my husband and I are really looking forward to having a warm place to enjoy when the snows come to central Ohio.”
Designer: Bryce Jacob CR, UDCP, and Tonya Lawrence; Contractor: Dave Fox Design Build Remodeler; Flooring: Shaw engineered, hand scraped; Kitchen cabinetry: Omega Dynasty; Kitchen granite: Marble and Granite Works; Kitchen backsplash: MLW Glass; Kitchen sink: Artisan; Kitchen faucet: Moen; Dishwasher: Asko; Cooktop: Wolf; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero; Oven: GE; Fireplace: EcoSmart; Wallpaper: Manhattan Square by Bersa; Bathroom cabinetry: Kitchen Craft; Bathroom countertops: Silestone; Bathroom sink: Kohler; Bathroom faucets: Moen Kingsley; Lighting: Northern Lighting