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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help updating, any idea's would be great....thanks

timandkathdJanuary 18, 2013
We just purchased this home, built in the 70's. This is our first area we are going to tackle, this is in the basement and is a family room. Right now I would like some idea's on how to update and lighten this area/fireplace.....any suggestions/idea's would be great. Thanks! :-)
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I'm not a big fan of painting fireplaces, but many people are painting them white currently. I love the earthiness of brick. If it were my house I'd keep the brick and paint the mantle lighter, paint the beams light and put in a lighter tone of tile for the floor. I would change the light fixtures to something lighter as well. A lighter coloured screen in front of the fireplace opening would also lighten up the area if you, like me, want to avoid painting the brick.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 3:56AM
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I think the ceiling is too low for such heavy dark beam. I would paint it to match the ceiling or do a cream, as well as the trim that is dark. Replace the red carpet to something lighter as well. Then I would see how the fireplace looks.
5 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:11AM
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Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
That's a really great architectural feature in your basement! I also like the look of red brick. However, the proportion of the mantel to the brick is not very pleasing. I'd add a wooden overmantel extending to the ceiling. If you really want it to look lighter, then painting the entire structure a lighter color would be a very effective solution. Painting the ceiling beams a lighter color will freshen up the room as well.

Replacing the red carpet with another flooring surface is another suggestion--what's under the carpet? If it's wood or another surface you like, then expose it and add an area rug. If you don't like it, then a porcelain tile that looks like wood is a good choice for a basement. They come in lots of sizes, colors and textures to simulate many different wood species, and they look very authentic. Easy to care for, water repellant, and thin grout lines make porcelain tile a good choice.
4 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:12AM
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Congratulations on your new home! I think your fireplace could be a real gem. I especially like the brick arch detail. I have a few suggestions to lighten up the space, but could probably offer better solutions if I knew:

1) Will this still be used as a family room? Media, games/play or both?
2) What's under that red carpet?
3) Will you be doing the work yourselves; and if so, what is your skill level?
4) Do you have an overall style goal for your home?
5) Is your budget tight, moderate or open?
6) Will this remain a wood burning fireplace?
7) Do you have children? If so, will this be a "kid" space?
8) Indoor pets?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:34AM
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I would lose the red floor and dont paint the fire place maybe go a little rustic in tht room Lose the two laterns or paint them maybe if u wanna keep them You need too sand all the wood down as its too dark nd this will lighten up the room.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:42AM
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Love all the input!!
Answer to questions...
1. Yes, we still want to use this as a family room.
2. Concrete floor under the carpet.
3. My husband and I will be doing all the work, he's a jack of all trades, we have built additions, gutted rooms, ran electric, gas, plumbing, paint, drywall.....about the only thing we are not good at would be concrete footings or fondations.
4. Style....none really, we like warm, light, natural feeling area's with a good flow that would sooth and feel "Homey".
5. Budget is tight since we just bought the home and we have a lot of updating to do througout the home, but we are always very cost concious.
6. Yes we would like to keep this a wood burning fireplace and also we want to retain the natural color of the brick.
7. We have children from the age of 12 to 23, so this would be an area for all ages.
8. We have 1 yellow lab, she's 4 years old.
No, we do not like the current carpet but we would like something that would be warm to our feet because the floor does get cold. It is a very dry basement that walks out to a 18 x 30 inground pool.
I will try to post some more pictures of the whole area later this afternoon to give everyone a better idea of the whole downtstairs.
Thanks, Kathy
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:23AM
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Dar Eckert
Marrakesh by Design Morrocan Homes Maryam Montague · More Info

Ellen Grasso Inc · More Info

Stamford Entry Foyer · More Info

Stanley Outdoor · More Info

Lullwater · More Info

With the dark wood and red carpet the room has kind of a Morrocan or Moorish feel to it. If you like that style it would be easy to make that transition. If you are unable to change the carpet, get a lighter color rug with graphic moorish pattern for the floor shuch as the Lullwater photo. and change out the lights for something more in that style. White walls and light furniture with colorful pillows and poufs in reds and turquoise. Add some Moorish tiles maybe on the hearth and above the mantel. Group three hanging Morrocan lights in the corner.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:58AM
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Norma Sassone
You could brighten up the room by painting the ceiling and beams white, putting a nice white wood mantel over the middle of the brick with a cheerful landscape over it re-carpet with a light tweedy berber, and a yellow leather comfy sofa that matches the color of your yellow lab :-P
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Norma Sassone
PS: I have NO IDEA why that fireplace came up! think white painted wood instead!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:06AM
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Hi, I think your fireplace is too big for the wall its on. I think I would make it much smaller but up to the ceiling to make the room look higher. How are you at bricklaying?You need more vertical lines, this way your ceiling will not look zo low. I would also paint the beams and trim white this will also make the room look higher. You might want to get a new carpet in the color of your dogs hair of course, this will make everything lighter too.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:18AM
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we are not really into the Morrocan or Moorish style, when this basement was done they did it in a 1976 Bi-centenial theme.....Red, white and blue.....that is where the red carpet came in, they also went a little crazy with the beams making everything look so much darker. Also the ceiling is low so we deffinentally want to make it at least look bigger.....I will post more pics in about an hour. By the way, the only alteration we would be willing to do to the fireplace would be the mantle. This fireplace goes from the basement all the way up thru the first floor to the second, very large and solid. My family room on the first floor along with the kitchen will be our second phase of updating. :-)
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:30AM
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I did over a basement area with concrete floors. Your project in my opinion has to address the floors first. There is always a certain amount of moisture and a possibility that the floors are not flat. This carpet looks thick and I wonder if that is because the floors are uneven and the thicker carpet hides it.
Ways to handle the floor: First: Carpet, heavier carpet and pad or with a pattern can hide the unevenness. Maybe berber in a light color. Second, Ceramic Tile. If you do it yourself, you can use a very small tile because it will conform to the unevenness but it doesn't look great. A larger tile will need perfect floors. You can use floor leveler. But the way leveler works is to flow to lower areas which means if besides unevenness, you also have a sloping floor, you will use a lot of leveler and it's very expensive.
What I did was have professional tilers do it. They constantly added extra mastic under each tile and used a board to be sure as they worked that everything was flat. I guess your husband could do this if he has built additions.
I researched using vinyl planks which is basically linoleum that looks like wood but decided it wouldn't work. Also you can't use real wood or pergo because of moisture.
I have seen painted floors using garage floor paint because it handles moisture.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:53AM
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What about doing a rustic look.....whitewashing the brick on the fireplace, stripping the wood on the mantel and just using a tung oil or something on it? Stripping the wood on the beams would probably be too much of a job, but if not, do the same to those. If too much, paint them in the same family color of the stripped mantel color. A lighter tan color or something. Paint the ceiling white, paint your walls a light neutral color (gray-beige)....put big light colored tiles on the floor since it's by pool area and then use a huge area rug. Change your light fixtures into something more contemporary/rustic in style if you think you like them there...if not, run the electrical up to the ceiling and put some recessed or eyeball lights above the mantel. I would either do a built in cabinet/shelving on the right side of the fireplace, or put a big pretty plant in that spot if you have other storage options for games, etc.
p.s. you could also stain the concrete floors and just use area rugs as well!
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
Did you consider putting radiant heat under a new tile floor? That would solve 2 of your problems at once.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Norma Sassone
Hope some of the yellow leather sofas come up this time.
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:38AM
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I'm struggling with whether to paint my brick, but do hate white, so I'm with you. I did a recent renovation, and got rid of pepto bismol pink carpet.

So rip out the red carpet. That's gotta go. So do those light fixtures. Something smaller may be nice that's "transitional."

I'd pant the walks a warm color, perhaps in the gold range. I'll attach a pic of my natural brick with new changes. I put in laminate so it would hold up to dogs and used area rugs. I also put in a gas insert. Both give me a warm and cozy room, which it sounds like you're trying to achieve. Carpet in a nice neutral can work too. I still plan to stain my mantel black, or put up a new one.

Is this a little closer to what you want?
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Norma Sassone
And pick up some of the reds and greens in the landscape painting for sofa pillows.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:53AM
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Norma Sassone
HAHA what the heck is that eye doing there? i give up!
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Norma, I love that eye! pretty cool! ;)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Norma, it's looking for the reds and greens! *L*
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Norma, love the eye...LOL I do like the pillow colors. Leslieburr57 I really like what you did with your room! I love how warm it looks and yes that is what i'd like to achieve. I attached more photo's but I'm not sure how to get them on this thread....any suggestions? Can any of you see them? They will give you a much better idea of whole area, thanks again....loving everyone's input. Also, to sealedesign, the floors are all level and this basement is as dry as can be. My husband has thought about the heated tile in the kitchen/dining area but really leaning towards the suggestions of the berber in place of the red carpet. (deff. a cream color to match our lab)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:35PM
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More photo's....
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:49PM
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A few more, thanks!
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:51PM
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You are so lucky to have a nice flat floor to work with. I was told by a heating professional and then saw my dad, a builder, struggle with in floor heat below tiles because much of the heat goes into the ground. In NH my dad was embarrassed at how much it cost to heat. You can put down a vapor barrier (plastic) then the carpet pad and the berber for extra safety but I did live with rubber carpet pad directly on cement for a long time with mostly no problems.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:55PM
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You can tell how dry it is, they installed that carpet in 1976.....it's in great shape, I couldn't belive it. I would actually keep it if it was a different light color but with our lab the red is already showing white hair and we don't even use this space yet. My husband really wants warm floors....I'm hoping that it will not be an expensive item. We will need to put some kind of flooring in the entrance area/kitchen/dinning area for summer when people are coming in from the pool. Not too sure what would be best, it will be a heavy traffic area....
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I have no idea how much it costs, but there's always the option of radiant heat flooring. Then you could use stained concrete, tile, tile that looks like hardwood, and it would all be very forgiving of pool traffic.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:11PM
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I think what is really throwing everything off is the stark white of the walls. I think these colors would work:
Northern Cliffs 1536 Paint · More Info
- on three of the walls and
Sparrow AF-720 by Benjamin Moore · More Info
- on the firplace wall and the nearby wall that runs parallel to it.

Go for a lighter more neutral color color in the carpeting with a small pattern it it. Colorwise, this is such a great carpet:
Aldo Espresso 12" sq. Rug Swatch · More Info
-. Maybe Flor brand carpeting would work for you. Attached are a few I thought were interesting.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Jennifer Taggart
If it were me, I would leave brick natural, but add some vertical detail to the fireplace. I'd warm up the walls as suggested, replace the lighting fixtures which weigh the wall down and also do a more contemporary fireplace tool sets. For the flooring, have you considered no glue cork? We have used cork in our family room with kids and dogs, and it is both warm in tone and warm in feeling, but seems cleaner than the carpet option. I'd also paint the beams.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Classic Designs by Brook
Rip out that brick and panel the walls floor to ceiling and paint white. The fireplace is to short and bulky for that space. add a flat 12" marble/slate/granite etc. surround with no mantle and no hearth Center your sconces on the new paneling
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Corinne Carrigan
We painted the fireplace in our home and it immediately opened up the room. If you do not want to paint the brick I would be sure to lighten up the room every way you can, and certainly paint the beams and white and the walls a light color.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:09PM
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We want to remove all the beams even the half wall beams......not sure what to put in its place, we want to trim everything in white. I really like the color schemes that everyone has offered examples of, very nice and along the lines of what we like. Need some lighting ideas that would look more natural and would be good for a low ceiling. :-)
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Up lights work for a low ceiling.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Are the beams weight bearing? I agree that removing all that aren't would be a good idea. That blue wall needs to go. Take down all the shelving above too. It's breaking up visual space and you want to open it up. Do I see a piano too? It's nice to have a kitchen, but it looks outdated. I hear you when you say you're on a limited budget. I just purchased my home 6 months ago and had money at the beginning, but now have to budget only $250 a month for decor at best. That means paint and lighting from Lowes or HD, and saving for a few months for larger projects.

If you want to keep the fireplace, consider building a bookshelf on the side. Someone provided a nice pic above of a one-sided shelf. Also, what are the furniture pieces you'll be adding? Sofas, chairs, tables, entertainment, etc ....?

I think paint is going to have to be your best friend, and a nice wall to wall carpet. An island between the main room and kitchen may be better than the dining table right there. The grey rug is too small, but something isn't working in that layout either, but I can't put my finger on it. Some more pics of where the door is from the pool and also looking into the kitchen from the outside of blue wall will help.

I respect that you're do it your selfers on a limited budget, and that some ideas are far above your budget. Let's see if we can figure out what you can do, to make the room work for your needs.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Thank you leslieburr57..... No the beams are not weight bearing, all decorative. We have no furniture for the room yet but would like to have at least a couch and love seat maybe another chair of some sort. It will be used as a family room. On the wall with partial blue wallpaper and the tv on the floor ....that is the wall I want to mount the tv on and I was thinking about building some shelving/cabinets around for storage and decorations. The piano will be moved out and all furniture that is in the kitchen was original when we bought it. We want to update kitchen putting cabinets and a island, right now there is a built in sink, stove, frig and freezer. It's funny, all the blue on the walls is wallpaper on drywall LOL. I agree about the shelves up high, they will be coming out. Thank you for the DIY encouragement, with the way the economy is and building costs it is hard to hire outside help.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Here is the pool access door.
    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Hi Tim & Kathy! I read your answers to earlier questions and saw the additional photos and comments you posted (It looks like a certain golden lab has already laid claim to the space (-:)

Here are a few ideas for lightening up the room and giving it a larger feel:

1) Flooring - Laminate flooring has come a LONG way in recent years. A lighter colored, plank style laminate like "Dunes Bay Driftwood" from Lumber Liquidators is an excellent, budget and family friendly choice. Installation is super easy. Driftwood Pine or Whitewashed Beech from Lowe's are also two of my favorites. I've used each in 2 of my personal homes in the last few years and recommend it to everyone with a concrete sub-floor where budget is a consideration. The LL laminate is currently $1.89 per sq ft. Lowes' pricing is $2.59 - $4.00. These floors look expensive. They clean up easily and don't show dirt. They are floating installation and don't require glue or additional padding/sub-flooring (comes with attached foam backing). This saves additional expense and a great deal of time in labor. You can do the entire space (kitchen and family room) in the same flooring style to make the room appear larger. The lighter color will make the space seem larger too. Monochromatic area rugs in jute, or any other natural fiber will stand up to family life, pets and water from the pool.

***I've done painted concrete for both my own home and commercially. To be honest, I found it surprisingly difficult to keep clean. In any case, I wouldn't consider it cozy at all.

***Wall to wall carpet can get very expensive. Having 4 children myself, I prefer to spend money on a floor that will clean up easily and still look great a year down the road.

***We had a home with radiant heat in the bathrooms and sunroom. We lived there 3 years and never once turned it on. If it's cold, you generally don't run around barefoot. You have area rugs or bath mats down anyway. We apparently never mastered the art of turning on the floor heat in anticipation of walking around barefoot, and it was just a waste to set the floor on a thermostat. Others may disagree; This was just my personal experience with radiant heat flooring.

2) Ceiling - I agreed with a previous suggestion to strip/pickle or paint the ceiling beams. One trick to make the ceiling seem taller is to use tongue and groove boards, laying them perpendicular between the beams. Use a high gloss white (several coats so no visible shading from knots shows through). The high gloss will reflect light, tricking the eye to see it taller. Uplights anywhere in the room will enhance the effect. Uplights placed below potted plants or trees will add create light and shadows, adding another dimension to your room's design. Lowe's and Home Depot carry ceiling grade tongue and groove planks (don't use the paneled sheets - they look cheap). This prices out to just under a dollar per sq ft, but expect 10-15% waste based on this being paint grade lumber. First, you lay furring strips in the opposite direction the ceiling boards will run, then attach boards to strips. Save time by priming and painting before installation. Finally, apply last paint coat after nailing. Another plus - no need to repair existing ceiling damage, just cover over it. You will lose a 1/2 inch in ceiling height, but the result is more than worth it.

3) Walls - Another trick that's a lot of bang for the buck - Use floor to ceiling plank paneling on the walls WIDER than the ceiling boards. Use the same white paint as on the ceiling, but with a matte finish. This will add to the illusion of higher ceilings, plus give the space a little more texture/interest while keeping it light. If you don't want all white, light gray or french blue go well with the beadboard look. Both of these colors are a nice backdrop to show off whatever colorful pillows, curtains, artwork, upholstered furniture you want to showcase. If you keep the ceiling beams intact, paint them the high gloss white as well.

4) Fireplace - It seems like there are so many great suggestions here. I guess it just depends on the amount of time and money you're willing to put in. I understand you don't want to paint the brick. A friend with a similar dilemma ended up adding white mortar to her exisiting brick fireplace. It really turned out great - brightened up the space, added visual interest and she didn't need to paint the brick to achieve it.
Just as many others suggested here, I'd go with a white mantel too. The current fireplace proportions may not be ideal, but I think you can work with it. Several years ago, I drywalled around a brick fireplace, added a black marble surround and painted the hearth. I liked it for approximately 6 months and then regretted the decision immensely. It was impossible to undo. For yours, I would add a white built in on the wall beside the fireplace. Cabinets on the bottom, then shelves for books, etc. or cubby to store firewood. Acid washed mirrors on back of bookcase or wall on top of mantel will also make the room look bigger. The aging technique keeps the mirror effect from being too "flashy." My fireplace mantel right now is similar in proportion to yours with a huge brick face. I layered a collection of antique mirrors and mercury glass in various shapes above the mantel. Vertical white painted paneling atop the mantel might be another option for you.

***Whenever it's possible, for EVERY fireplace update I do now, I run electric behind the mantel and install a plug (flush mounted) on the top. Christmas lights can be plugged in later, or even a small lamp if desired. No more dangling extension cords!

5) Divider half wall - Maybe paint the beams white, trim out with molding detail. Lose the little diagonal supports at the top corners and add curved decorative brackets/corbels to create an inexpensive "frame" effect within each opening. You could also consider turning the space into bar seating on the family room side facing the kitchen by adding a countertop. Looks like you have room for cabinets on the kitchen side just as you walk in the door. This would be great for pool items that wouldn't be kept outside - electronics, towels, sunscreen, bug spray, serving dishes, outdoor entertaining items, etc...

6) Misc.- I love the red sink in the kitchen. I hope it's in good enough shape to keep. If replacing the appliances is not in your current budget, here;s a suggestion ... I just painted our garage fridge and chest freezer with chalkboard paint top to bottom. I trimmed out the front panels of each with a heavy baroque style molding/frame in a high gloss Tiffany blue paint. It was an inexpensive, quick fix for a couple of eye sores. The kids have fun leaving us messages and doodling too.

Best of Luck to you and I hope something here is helpful.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:19PM
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The most important question is: what's your budget for the project?

1) good news the beams are not weight bearing. So they're going bye bye.

2) Flooring: I have Evoke Laminate which is an up an coming brand. It's very well priced and it already has an underpayment pad and just snaps together. Great for do it yourselfers. It's not as cozy as carpet and I have rugs everywhere. It will take radiant heat, but I don't know the cost. Think I'd still recommend carpet that kinda matched dog. I am sweeping and vacuuming daily.

3) Walls: I'd stick to paint in warm tones you like. I love my light gold. With the fireplace and other wood, my room is very warm and cozy. White isn't warm, and I don't know why so many people like it, unless they're in a warm climate. I love the idea of adding your own built in entertainment area where you plan to put your TV. Find a wood color for shelves that's warm. You may want to stick with mantle color, but will be safe with oak, honey tones, or even espresso. As long as the majority are warm colors, you can even do white. I'm debating as to what to paint my beat up window trims, and it looks like it's going to be white. White makes other colors "pop" as long as your main color is dark enough and not pastel. There are too many people afraid to add wall color, and only use whites and lights, but that's changing. White trim will look great as long as your wall color is dark enough.

I'm staying away from the more expensive ideas, because you know what you have the skills to do, like adding lighting. I don't know how to run wiring through walls or take down or build walls, so I look at these as being pricier things to do. I change out fixtures and paint since spending the big bucks on the renovation - I also buy lots of little decor things. I can only comment on how I got a cozy room working with a red brick fireplace. :)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:14PM
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For the ceiling, I would put recessed lighting and change whatever material it is covered in to sheetrock. Or painted it so it isn't shiney.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Wow all excellent idea's, please keep them coming. All the flooring idea's are awesome so now we will be looking all this information up and getting a better idea of cost and durability for high traffic. Loved the idea for wood storage cabinet built in next to the fireplace, I hadn't even considered it and my husband deffinentially wants to keep it wood burning although there is also a gas line there too if in the future we decide to convert it over. I love this site you are all great, it's amazing to hear do many different idea's. Thank you! Oh and yes our yellow lab Gracie loves our new home and is claiming all area's.....LOL
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:46AM
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First thing I thought of when I saw your basement is Candice Olsen on HGTV. She has conquered MANY basements with the exact same problems that you face including kitchens. She does great work with updating fireplace surrounds, flooring etc.
First question I have is what is in the soffit that appears to run the entire length of the space?
The kitchen isn't up to code (no stove exhaust) right now. If the soffit is open space & you intend to keep a stove then I'd run the exhaust vent through it & out the side of the house. If that soffit has ductwork then you will have to rethink a fully functioning kitchen. I would be willing to bet the electrical panel isn't wired for a full second kitchen either. Hopefully your home inspection may help shed some light on these issues.
I would think carefully about a full kitchen in my basement. Having lived in a neighborhood full of second kitchens in their basements I witnessed the cleanliness issues. Sinks were full of dirty dishes, dishwashers not run regularly & had smelly dirty dishes for weeks, old food in refrigerator & bugs, bugs bugs!!! Every mother complained of having to clean 2 kitchens.
With the faux beams removed, hopefully some soffit removal/reconfiguration & smart paint choices I think you can make that low ceiling seem livable.
I agree the half wall needs to go.
If the natural brick goes with the overall style of your home then keep it. If your husband is a good trim carpenter you can work wonders with MDF. The fireplace is "heavy" b/c of the amount of brick. I would turn that fireplace into my focal point and place my plasma above the fireplace. It will allow you more furniture placement & seating options.
Keep your primary flooring consistent throughout the space (visually unify). Use area rugs to define spaces.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
OK, flooring that needs to be warm (physically) and "warm" (as in inviting) on concrete slab, that must withstand dog, entrance traffic and pool access....

Cork - rip out the carpet; basic patch to keep floors level, lay vapour barrier (6mil poly sheeting), cork underlayment, and then cork floating floor. Seal with two coats water based polyurethane (saves flooring from dog, and pool moisture/entrance traffic).

This can be done (no install costs because you are the installer) for less than $5/sf!

Icork floor or Cancork floor: Cork floating = $2.50-$4.09/sf + 3mm underlay ($0.33/sf) + 6mil poly ($0.12/sf) + water based polyurethane ($0.42/sf...that's with 2 coats). With several of our "warm and inviting" coloured floors for sale at $3.29/sf, the cost would be $4.16/sf for everything I mentioned. Add a little bit for shipping and you have a floor (labour is "free") for less than the cost of engineered hardwood without the underlay or vapour barrier!

These photos are just 4 of my cork floors that are at or below $3.29/sf!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:42AM
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The Cork flooring looks great, can you install it over existing floors? Is it durable against water? Thanks..... :-)
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Also checked out the sofit, it is the main for the furnace. We do want a full kitchen minus a dishwasher, we have College children that will be home for the summer and Holidays so having a second kitchen is a blessing. We have a total of 6 children then add their friends, pool parties and just hanging out....it will be nice to finslly have a separate living area for them to entertain. We are also building a bedroom down there too but that is after this main area is complete. :-)
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 1:45PM
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Sounds like a great place for the kids.................they may never leave home ;) You have the makings for a separate apartment rental which would be great for resale value in the future. Check into your local codes before you start any major work. There are things that experienced homeowners can tackle that, if done properly now, will pay off later (eletrical outlet GFI placements, smoke detectors etc).

I would plan an L shaped kitchen w/ eating height island and utilize that exterior wall for my stove venting.
Double check (match up your main level floor registers) that the main duct work line actually runs the ENTIRE length of that soffit. You should have a floor register on that exterior wall in the room above. If NOT then you can put the stove where the current refrigerator is & you only have approx 36" vent run in that soffit. I love the idea of a corner stove (drop-in electric) placement with direct outside vent & put the fridge on the other side of the sink or the window. You have a very long rectangle shaped room so make sure you add lots of soft corner items (round). That's why I like the corner stove, it softens the edges of the room. I personally would like open shelving under that soffit, putting short cabinets under it will only accent the short ceilings. Hopefully that red sink is in good shape b/c I love it. Would be nice to have your local autobody shop paint your refrigerator a similiar red. There are also do-it yourself spraycan options. You can add LED puck or strip lights (shallowest option on the market) on the bottom side of that soffit for extra lighting. Put tall cabinets on the window wall or no upper cabinets at all (love it & cost effective!!) For extra storage use that wall space for a wall hung potrack. Look at Ikea, they have nice CHEAP wall mount options to hold cutlery, knives, pots etc.

I would REALLY like to see the tv above the fireplace so when you are hanging out in the kitchen you can still watch television.

Love the cork floor idea. Look into elastomeric (flexible waterproof paint on membrane) paint if you need/want to waterproof, seal odors or warm that floor up before you put anything down.

The area that scares me the most is the wallpaper ceiling. I have tackled this and have serious residual mental trauma :0. My neck was not the same for weeks and it took me weeks to get it done. They didn't use the "primer -sizer" so it was attached to the drywall & I gauged the hell out of the drywall which took me forever to repair. In the latest house I took off wallpaper that had been painted over about 8 times. That wasn't any more fun. I am praying for you!!!
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Love the idea of the L-shaped kitchen with the stove on the outside wall to be able to vent directly. The red sink is in excellent condition and my husband loves it, not sure about doing any other appliances the same color, pretty much sticking with all white appliances that we currently have.

You and my husband had the same idea of building shelves under the sofit and not hanging any wall cabinets, I like your idea of the lighting though, that is one very hard area to light. Deffinentally going to have an eating island and we did decide we are going with a Cork flooring in the kitchen/dining/hallway and possibly laundry room area. The Cork seems to fill all our needs in flooring but we will be going with a light natural color Berber in the family room area.

The wallpaper ceiling is going, we have a kitchen right above that area that we will be also updating so,we are going to be taking down the drywall in that area and putting up a drop ceiling that is able to be attached close to the rafters so we do not loose any ceiling height but will still have access to all plumbing etc. for the upstairs. The ceiling in the family room will stay, thank goodness it's not wallpapered but we are removing all the beams. We will also wire that area for multiple recessed lighting fixtures to help with the ceiling height issue, and to lighten the area as a whole.

The TV above the fireplace is just not working for either of us, we just do not care for it to be that high on the wall plus we both work for a telecommunications company and are able to wire TV's just about anywhere we want them so we will more than likely have a smaller TV put in closer to the kitchen area to be able to watch if we choose.

Thankfully one of our close friends is an electrician so he is nice enough to let us know the current codes. We also have a area off the hallway that we will be putting in a full bath. Still that will not be done till after the living/kitchen/dining and bedroom are done. Boy do I wish we had a lot more money than we do so that is why our budget is very small and why we are doing it ourselves. We also considered leaving the ceiling open in the kitchen and just spray painting everything under it one color to give it more height......not to sure how that would look though.

Love the picture of the kitchen you attached, and excepting any and all prayers!!!! Still struggling with colors, my husband likes the gray colors while I'm more into the warm earth tones.....not sure there is a happy medium......thanks for any and all input!!
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Cancork Floor Inc.

Planked or floating cork flooring can be installed over ANY hard surface that is smooth, flat, permanently dry. You could remove the carpet, use 6mm underly (cork of course) in that area leave the vinyl/lino (the kitchen stuff) and use a 3mm underlay there (to see if you can get the heights to match).

So "Yes" it can go over other flooring!

visit: www.icorkfloor.com (USA website) or www.corkfloorsales.com if you are in Canada! We carry close to 40 different cork floors. Only 1 floor is more than $4/sf, the rest are under $4/sf! Have fun and remember to ask for your samples! We also carry floating STONE-CORK flooring. Same as the cork but the top layer is slate or mica!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I noticed some posts about laminate flooring but you said the room goes out to an indoor pool. Laminate flooring can't get wet. It's like pouring water on cardboard. It expands and buckles.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 2:52PM
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No laminate flooring here......lol
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 4:32PM
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We Had a similar problem, except our dark brick was the whole wall. We just had our brick painted and it's gorgeous!! She painted each brick and left the mortar as is. Lightened the room tremendously. We were going to stone it but painting costs about 5x less and looks great, and we could always stone later if we wanted. I have pics but nothing loaded to iPad yet. Will try to get some for you. Have a wonderful faux painter if your interested
1 Like    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:00AM
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It would be great to see your photos. Do you have before and after? Our main floor fireplace is a full wall also I'm attaching the picture, that will be our next project after our basement is finished. Decorating that fireplace has been a challenge still working on...LOL
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:58PM
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