|My client wanted media and exercise rooms in the basement of her 1920′s Washington DC home. The media room is the place where she and her boyfriend spend evenings with their large black lab. She wanted it to be comfortable for the two of them on a daily basis and also for the occasional party — such as their recent Super Bowl Party — for 4-8 adults. The media room needed to house a kitchenette with a sink and wine cooler and plenty of storage. The entertainment wall needed to accommodate a 67″ screen plus all the components for watching cable, movies and gaming. We used a panel sound system that fits under the TV with a sub-woofer in one of the cabinets. The exercise room needed to fit a treadmill, weights, and maybe one other piece of equipment but only one of them would use it at a time. The basement also serves as the passageway from the garage so it gets a lot of daily foot traffic.|
|We chose a palette of dark charcoal paint, slate, deep mocha cabinetry and chocolate colored upholstery. The palette of the rest of the house is light and airy in tones of warm beige, honey and travertine. They were looking for a more masculine feel in the media room where they could hibernate away from the noise and hustle of the world. The room is small — about 14 ft square with the 7 ft ceilings typical in a basement. While my client was just a bit worried that the basement would feel cave-like — the palette works beautifully! The deep tones are relieved and accented with a highly reflective ubatuba granite countertop, a slightly less reflective but light-toned slate backsplash, satin-nickel hardware, and white switch plates. The ceiling is a lighter gray. The stairway is a light, warm yellow that pulls the basement together with the kitchen, above. It also provides a very nice contrast to the deep charcoal of the walls (see image, below).
The floor is a slate-look porcelain with radiant heat to keep away the chill from the concrete slab. The tile works equally well to manage the wear of daily traffic to and from the garage and the young dog’s antics. The homeowners are debating whether to put an area rug in the seating area so it’s soft as well as warm when they play on the floor with the dog.
|We used a local cabinetmaker so that the entertainment center and cabinets above the sink area would fit within the limitations of overhead beams, walls that curve toward the top to accommodate the stone porch, and component sizes. We specified hinges that allow the upper cabinets to open upwards and stay open and the center entertainment cabinet doors to open a full 180 degrees. The remotes required line of sight to operate the components and our client didn’t want to use glass doors. With the 180 degree hinges, the doors can be open and out of the traffic flow. We used slightly larger bumpers and opened the cabinets to the wall cavity and to the area under the stairs to allow sufficient airflow so that the components don’t heat up with the cabinet doors closed. A register on the back wall hides the opening. There are outlets at the back of each of the 3 entertainment cabinets — this allows adequate outlets for all
current and future components. Another special touch are the wood door panels that hide the main electrical panel and a sub-panel (see image below). The doors were constructed so that if the client wanted she could replace the recessed wood panels with artwork.
|The palette of materials and colors continues into the exercise room. A custom painted wardrobe cabinet was made to hide an awkward recess and to allow exercise gear and clothes to be hidden when company comes. Just like the lighter accents in the media room, the white painted built-in wardrobe lightens up the exercise room and keeps it from feeling too dark. Another small TV was mounted over the treadmill.|
|My clients are delighted with the media room; they find it very relaxing after a hard day and equally successful for entertaining. It’s easy to keep neat and, as I could tell last I time I visited, the exercise room is also being used daily.|
|All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build|