Basement Remodel: An Interior Designer Remodels Her Basement

An unfinished basement is a great way to let your design ideas flow and go wild because you’re working with a blank slate. You will get the joy forming a brand new space to perfectly fit your lifestyle and design aesthetic.

A question often pops up in home design conversations, “What if I want to remodel part of my new house?” Funny to think about, remodeling something that’s brand new. But yes, you can and should get your space just the way you want them. In fact, did you know many new home builds have unfinished basements, just waiting to be shown some love? In this post, we’ll discuss all things about the basement remodel.

An unfinished basement is a great way to let your design ideas flow and go wild because you’re working with a blank slate. You will get the joy forming a brand new space to perfectly fit your lifestyle and design aesthetic. 

Let’s take a trip to the Campbell house Bloomington, MN and learn about their journey from building a home and later renovating the unfinished basement.

Investing in a New Build

The story began ten years ago with Kari and Scott Campbell, a married couple with three kids.  Kari knew that building a new house was an adventure she wanted to take on as a family. In 2009, the couple paired up with Ador Homes to build a house that would grow with their family. When the planning process began, the Campbell’s opted for an unfinished basement so the kids would have space to run around during the long, cold months in the Midwest.

Unfinished basements are quite common in the Midwest. A big open space is great for families with small kids to remain active and have full reign when the weather outside keeps you inside. It was the Campbell’s plan to eventually finish the basement, but the timing was important. 

Some people leave their basements unfinished because they don’t think they will use it and plan to sell the home someday, allowing for the next owner to make it their own. And, leaving the basement unfinished helps to keep construction costs down while you save up to make a quality investment by remodeling later on.

Making the Decision

While saving money over the years for the remodel, Kari also launched her interior design business. She also began to really think about how her family would use the basement. She sketched ideas and wrote down her thoughts. As time passed and her kids got older, she was finally ready to put her plan to turn their wide-open basement into a family and entertainment space, into action. 

With their oldest child turning 15, they broke ground and began the construction process. The key components they wanted included a great window and sitting space for lake views, a bar, a wine closet, a movie area, and a workout space. There were also other details to work through, such as live plants, artwork from Juniper Print Shop and durable quartz countertops.

A little red box to act as a capsule left in the wall studs for the next homeowner to find in this basement remodel.
The family also created a small time capsule with a couple photos and things that are important to their family. If this home is ever renovated or torn down decades from now, the new owners will learn a bit about the family who built the home.

Basement Remodel: The Finished Look

After about 16 weeks of construction, the vision Kari had created for their basement came to life. Because she had been planning for so long, she knew exactly what materials to bring together. The result is a modern, fresh and practical space. From the furniture selections to cabinetry craftsmanship, no detail was overlooked. 

The basement’s 1,700 square feet now has a wow factor when you enter down the stairs through a modern sliding barn door. When this house was on a local showhouse tour, many buyers envisioned their own projects reflecting Kari’s design.

 Let’s review each room below and highlight the features throughout the space.

The final kitchen with grey countertops and shiplap backsplash in this basement remodel.
Final Kitchen filled with vertical shiplap, marble white oak cabinets, open shelving and quartz countertops fill the space.

Basement Remodel: Kitchenette

The basement kitchenette and bar is the hub and gathering place for the family’s evening activities. Quartz countertops make pizza parties easy to clean up, and a full-size refrigerator allows for endless snacks. A dishwasher ensures that cleanup is contained in the area without hauling glasses up and downstairs. The space has vertical shiplap and open shelving showcasing glassware and bowls that are accessible for entertaining. 

A basement remodel featuring stunning living room with large big screen tv, built in cabinetry and swivel chair.
A custom swivel chair adds to the comfort in this modern movie area, along with a navy linen fabric sofa and large built-ins to hide clutter.
Large linen couch facing the tv in this basement remodel living area.
Large windows create a natural light flow and lake views across the family living area.

Basement Remodel: Living Room

If the Campbell family isn’t hanging out in the basement kitchen, their nearby living room is the next most used area. The family enjoys movie nights, watches TV, and reads there. The weather and seasons impact how the room is used throughout the year. During the summer, natural light pours in and it’s a lively environment with sliding door access directly to a lake. Kids and friends come and go all day. In the winter, they continue to enjoy beautiful lake views, while staying warm inside. 

When chatting with Kari about the design of the living area, she explained how storage along the walls help clear the clutter, while also providing structure and a focal point to the room. Grab a book and some popcorn and settle in, because once you sit down – you won’t be making it up for a few more hours.

A black matte bench and stool sits below large artwork.
A wonderful black matte bench and stool sits below Juniper curated artwork.

Just off the living room there’s a lovely small moment to savor. A bench creates additional seating and a painting above it creates a beautiful, sweet vignette.

Portrait of interior designer in basement remodel
Kari Campbell, interior designer and homeowner, poses in her remodeled basement.

After Kari finally executed the 10-year vision she had for their family basement, the result is an oasis her entire family will enjoy for years to come. Kari is currently designing other projects and you can read more on her work on her website