Tricia Foley's Basement Renovation

The basement in my house isn't terrible, as far as basements go. It's dry, fairly bright and roomy, but could use some TLC. I'm not sure how much time I'd spend down there even after sprucing it up. The furnace and water heater are  noisy and I have an irrational fear of creepy-crawlies. It's also very dusty, which is a mystery to me.  The previous owners finished a section for their children's play area, complete with heat.  It's currently storing 24 cans of old paint.  I've been thinking that it would nice to have an attractive area for doing laundry and a large table for sewing projects (not that I sew very often) or even a home office.

New York designer Tricia Foley renovated the basement in her Long Island country house with fabulous results.  She even has a fireplace and uses the room for work as well as entertaining.  Her project inspired me to start cleaning-up my basement and see what I can make of it. Tthe painted picnic table and benches are simple and elegant.

There will be no fireplace or entertaining in my basement (here's a before shot of Tricia Foley's basement), but it may be comfortable enough for ironing clothes and a few DIY projects.

Tricia Foley in her renovated basement.

Plenty of storage...

Laundry would become a pleasure here rather than a chore.

How about a place for potting plants and flowers?

And this is the ultimate -- a simple home theater for watching movies. It's a projector and a blank wall.  So smart.

The full story is on the Martha Stewart website (from the November 2010 magazine).  You can also visit Tricia Foley's website, which will link you to her four (yes, four!) delightful blogs and she's also on Pinterest.

Have you renovated the basement in your home?  I'd appreciate any tips and suggestions.

~ D ~


  1. haha, her basement is nicer than my house! i could live in that basement. who couldn't?
    hi deborah!

  2. Beautiful! We finihsed out basement a few years ago and have enjoyed the space very much.

  3. Hi there Deb.....gorgeous basement but sorry I don't have anything like that and don't go into the basement except for wine. Our basement has natural stone walls and while gorgeous things come from in-between the boulders so I don't go there...ugh!

    Enjoy your Sunday!

  4. Seriously? People with bright, airy basements irritate me. They are too cool for school. Truly, I admire anyone who cares enough to do up their basement like that. I have neither the talent, budget, nor inclination. But what lovely spaces. Sadly, I still wouldn't go down there except to put stuff...

    xo Terri

  5. Gorgeous renovation to her basement!!

  6. Currently finishing our basement as a studio for me! Your blog is just lovely; I'm a new follower! ♥

  7. I love the picnic table shot with the gorgeous fireplace!!

  8. Love it! Ihad planned something like this for our basement, but it is only partially done, and the room has since been stuffed with it will be awhile before it gets done!

  9. Her basement is amazing! And I'm sure your basement will be great as well when you're finished with the makeover :)

  10. Hi Deborah - I LOVE Tricia Foley. She has such style! Her interiors are so clean, oragnic and pure....all so beautiful. Cool basement!! BTW, I just started a blog....check it out: Loi
    PS - Am enjoying your pins on pinterest!!

  11. I so do not go down to our basement. I cannot imagine what I could do to make me hang out there. I'll have to follow your lead. Certainly I could do something exciting with that space. Hmm...maybe a yoga studio. Thanks for getting the juices flowing.

  12. We don't really do basements Down Under, although a few of the old Victorian houses have stone cellars. We had one in our previous house, but the only work that was ever done down there was MOTH secretly stashing all his home brew out of my line of sight!
    Millie xx

  13. What a fabulous renovation!! Wouldn't work for ours but just love what she did. And by the way, there is special paint you can use to make any wall work for projected images

  14. Amazing basement remodeling technique you have used for your basement. i loved the projector you have placed in basement that recall our old memories.


  15. Deborah right now I am in a condominium, so no basement. Love to see what others do with theirs though!!

    I am having a $100 Gift Card Giveaway from Soft Surroundings If you would like to enter.

    Art by Karen

  16. Absolutely stunning! By coincidence, I am currently thinking of how to modernise my basement, so these images are an inspiration!

  17. Charlotte Des FleursMay 4, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    We renovated the basement in a townhouse some years ago. It went from a semi-insulated dungeon to a cozy, pleasant space where we spent the majority of our at home time. The builder of our townhouse complex even copied our design to help him sell the rest of the townhomes!

    First, a basement must be water-tight. (You already have that covered.) Second you must have window wells that permit escape in case of emergency. Third, it must be insulated, properly heated and cooled. Forth, it must have good light. Fifth, the hardest to accomplish, it must have good head room.

    These items are not typically thought of as "design" elements. However, they must be addressed before you decorate or you will never really enjoy the space. Consequently, you will rarely use it and it will revert back to that awful creepy-crawly, dust-collecting place. What a waste of your decorating dollars!

    I LOVE the idea of a fireplace in the basement! Since a basement is, by nature, somewhat cave-like, a fireplace seems like a natural to me. You need not have an expensive masonary fireplace installed. There are many attractive metal inserts with realistic firebacks and power venting to the outside. (Just like your kitchen hood but with more uumph.) Check the Majestic and Napolean Fireplace websites. Except for Rumford Fireplaces (another discussion all together), all fireboxes are shorter than they are wide. However, for a few hundred dollars more, you can get fireboxes where the difference between the height and the width are not so extreme. These are so much more attractive.

    If you have the space, have an 18" high hearth. This offers additional seating and raises the firebox to a nicer viewing level. If not 18" then have your hearth level with the other flooring to prevent a trip-hazard.

    Please avoid the typical light-in-the-middle-of-the-room and supposedly eco-friendly flourescent light in a basement. Can lights around the perimeter walls on dimmers wash the walls in light and make the space look larger. Humans need full spectrum light which normally comes from the sun. Incandescant light bulbs, candellight and firelight are the other sources. Flourescent light has a rapid flicker which makes people nervous and edgy. Not something you want in a nicely decorated space!

    With good bones in place, now Happy decorating!

  18. With the pictures shown above, I must say a basement like that is a perfect place to spend time together with family and friends! :-)

  19. Another way to maximize one's space is by renovating the basement. This space can serve as extra guest room. The given photos above are very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I love des fleurs' suggestions! You should start a blog too!!

  21. Beautiful! I can live in that basement forever. :’> It is really home-like! Tricia is such an inspiration to those who are planning to renovate their basement including me. :D She really did a great job of transforming her basement into an integral part of the house. Kudos to her!

  22. I love the idea of the home theater! Well, I love the whole basement itself! I'm sure Tricia's client got mesmerized after seeing the result of the renovation. I think this basement is pretty spacious since she came up with lots of ideas for the room. Anyway, thanks for sharing this! These photos are few of the best inspirations! :)

    Abel Holmes @ DemandRestoration


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your comments are part of what makes blogging worthwhile! In an effort to control spam, comments are moderated and word verification has been enabled. Apologies for any inconvenience.