A family’s COVID basement remodel includes a playhouse, exercise studio, and home theater
Last spring, it took Linh Hoang just one sentence to convince his wife, Kira Sevene, that it was time to finish her basement: We don’t know how long the school will be closed due to COVID. The couple, who have three children ages 3, 6, and 8, had discussed creating family-friendly entertainment spaces on the lower level of their Lexington home. If the COVID situation persists, Hoang reflected, the children would have more space to run around. And they could remove the toys from the upstairs playroom and turn it into a classroom.
Hoang and Sevene put together inspirational pictures, worked out a possible layout and hired Nick Vercollone from Highline Construction to bring their ideas to life. “Nick spent hours brainstorming and refining our vision,” says Sevene. “We moved here from California so we’ve never had a basement.”
Vercollone added the family’s extensive wish list and more. The most imaginative feature is the cedar clapboard playhouse with a Dutch door and working lights anchoring the play area. Thanks to the sloping roof of the playhouse – it is hidden under the stairs – the interior is particularly cozy. “I can imagine the children camping there with sleeping bags,” says Sevene.
A wall paper made from birch forest sets the backdrop for the gym, which includes a section with a special vinyl dance floor. “Giving karate and dance classes on Zoom was difficult, so we made a space for that,” says Sevene. Hoang notes that they also upgraded the Wi-Fi to make sure they don’t lose connectivity during virtual tournaments.
In addition to the playhouse, there is plenty of space for a pulling table and toys, as well as table football and a table tennis table. The family even has monogrammed paddles that were a gift from a friend. “We wanted the kids to have fun and physical activities during COVID and later so that they could do them with friends,” says Sevene. “So far, the 8-year-old likes it very much; the little ones don’t quite have the coordination yet. “
A glass wall separates the studio from the kitchen unit and the dining / handicraft table. A custom-made, sliding barn door, which hides a sunken toy storage when open, leads to a home cinema with a 3 m high, integrated cinema screen. “We invested in the screen because I learned that you ‘marry the screen and date the projector,'” says Hoang, explaining that rapidly changing technologies can lead to frequent projector upgrades.
Patterned vinyl ceiling tiles help with the acoustics, a red carpet is reminiscent of the cinema decor, and a lounge-y section encourages cuddling. The family rarely watched TV prior to COVID. Now Friday and Sunday are family movie nights. “We all snuggle up under blankets,” says Sevene. “We really enjoy the place together.”
Client: Highline Construction, highlineconstruction.net
Glass wall: Banner Glass Shelmar, bannerglassshelmar.com
Dance floor installation: Wooden Kiwi Productions, woodkiwi.com
Kitchen furniture: Friend Lumber, friendlumber.com
Joel BenjaminJoel BenjaminJoel Benjamin
Marni Elyse Katz writes regularly for Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]