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Feb 26

A Beginner’s Guide to Basement Wet Bars


When it comes to home entertainment, a wet bar stands as the centerpiece, elevating gatherings with a touch of luxury. Available in an array of designs, made with diverse materials and encompassing numerous features, their cost can significantly vary. Let’s dive deeper.

First, what is a wet bar?

Transforming the often-underutilized basement into an entertainment hub, wet bars can include anything from simple countertops and cabinets to luxurious designs with numerous appliances.  They often feature wine racks, cabinets, and even a small refrigerator. A wet bar’s design can be as unique as its owner, with types to suit any style or space.

basement wet bar kitchenette backsplash countertops

Cost of Wet Bars
When it comes to installing a wet bar, cost varies broadly depending on factors like size, materials used, and complexity of the design. The type of sink, plumbing requirements, electrical work, and the choice of appliances can also affect the final budget.

Materials for Wet Bars
Choosing the right materials for your wet bar is crucial in ensuring it perfectly complements your home décor while offering long-lasting durability. The main areas to consider are countertops, backsplash, cabinetry, flooring, and fixtures.

The most sought-after materials for wet bar countertops include granite, marble, and quartz. Each offers a unique aesthetic and durability aspect, but they vary considerably in price and maintenance needs. Staining and durability are considerations as well. Marble or soapstone are softer and more porous. Quartz is diamond-hard and is close to the same antibacterial levels as stainless steel.

Just like countertops, backsplash includes options for just about any budget and style preference. Stone or tile, dark or light, patterned or solid, it can add a lot of personality to your wet bar. Subway tile offers a clean, classic look, but stone or brighter colors can really stand out.

Here, wood remains the classical choice, offering an array of styles and finishes. They can be stained or painted, and can include a wide variety of fixtures. Painted cabinets, especially bold colors, is popular among clients. Our cabinets are made custom for each client. The choice you make goes a long way towards setting the style for your wet bar.

Kansas City basement wet bar kitchenette backsplash countertops

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is most common, but there are other options. Carpet (great for kids) and tile are also popular. Due to a basement’s moist environment, wood is not generally used without extreme moisture proofing and moisture barriers. LVT can replicate the look of many surfaces, is easy to clean, and more affordable compared to real wood. Depending on your space, we can lay flooring around your wet bar that’s different from the rest of the basement.

Fixtures and Finishes
A high-quality sink is an absolute must, with options ranging from stainless steel to copper, and styles varying from under-mount to top-mount. Storage is another essential feature, focusing not just on functionality but also on style. Glass door cabinets, floating shelving, islands, and pull-out drawers are among the options for storing and showcasing glassware and utensils while keeping things orderly.

Our clients also often request a mini fridge for drinks and food LED lighting to showcase liquor or collectables. Hidden lights, pendant lights, or under-cabinet lights can highlight your decoration while also playing a practical role. Love sports? We can create a sports bar feel by installing a TV above the bar. We also offer wine storage, from small racks and cabinets to entire rooms.

Kansas City basement remodel wet bar

Though not necessary for every basement, a wet bar adds a touch of sophistication to your entertainment space. While the type, cost, materials, and features involved in creating a wet bar vary greatly, all contribute to the same goal – elevating your home entertainment experience. Explore the options, and don’t be afraid to blend styles to create a space that’s uniquely yours. Whether you’re throwing a large party or enjoying the game with a few friends, a well-designed wet bar brings people together for a good time.


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May 31

Paint Finish Basics


kansas city basement remodel wet bar with floating shelves

When it comes to remodeling, we tend to think of paint as a fairly standardized finishing touch. We plan the wet bar, the floors, and amenities like linear fireplaces. When we’re finally ready to talk about paint, it’s usually about the color, not about the finish.

But the finish is important. The overall look of the paint is just the beginning. The finish also helps determine the durability, cost, and retouching strategy down the line. Is the room open and bright with a ton of windows? A flat or matte finish might be a good choice to minimize reflection. 

Looks are important, of course, but cost is usually king. In general, the glossier the finish, the more expensive. However, factors like size of the room, trim, molding, and shape of corners all help determine the final cost.

Let’s talk about what you can expect from each finish, and what they’re used for.

High gloss
Exactly what it sounds like. This paint finish is glossy and slick. This is used almost exclusively for trim and isn’t found in every paint store. It’s durable, which is good for trim. It’s popular for children’s rooms and high traffic basements because it can stand up to handprints and cleaning, including daily scrubbings. Touch-ups are easy to blend, but prep work is key. If you don’t do this step correctly, mistakes can become visible down the line.

This is also the most expensive option. In addition to costing more per gallon, it often requires multiple coats. If you’re paying someone to do the job, this can mean high labor costs.

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Semi-gloss paint is sometimes used on cabinets.

This is a safe and versatile option. The semi gloss paint finish isn’t as reflective as high gloss, but it’s still bright and pleasing. Like high gloss, its usefulness is limited. Most of the time, it’s used on trim, doors, and cabinets. Those areas can take a lot of wear and tear, so its durability is useful. Plus, it’s resistant to mildew. Because of this, it’s a popular option for kitchens and other rooms prone to moisture or humidity. 

This paint finish is for cabinets and occasionally trim, but not walls. Satin is a popular finish for most rooms because of its visual appeal and durability. The soft, velvety appearance can fit with both fun and formal atmospheres. Although not the easiest paint finish to clean, it’s much easier to clean than flat paint finishes. In other words, it’s a great medium between high and low gloss. The only trick with this one is the quality of brush strokes. These can be visible if not done by an experienced painter.

Egg Shell
Egg shell looks great but comes at a cost. Painters always charge extra for this. However, the results are worth the extra cost. It’s easy to clean, and touch ups aren’t much of a problem. For these reasons, it’s popular with families. The soft luster is nice enough for a formal dining room, but the finish is durable enough for a kids room.

This is your standard wall paint finish, by far the most common for walls and ceiling. It’s inexpensive and looks great in any room. When you picture wall paint, this is probably what you’re thinking of. The low cost comes in part because of the high concentration of pigment.

Because of it’s high-end look and higher cost, matte paint is often used in formal sitting rooms.

This is the high-end paint finish of the moment. A room with a matte paint finish feels trendy and luxurious. Because smudges and and marks are more visible, this finish is recommended for formal sitting rooms, home offices, and other rooms that get a low amount of traffic. It doesn’t reflect light, so it can make a room that doesn’t get much natural light feel darker.

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Apr 14

A Quick Guide to Shower Niches


If you have read some of our other blog posts, you will know that we strive to recommend simple ways to add style and value to your home.

Bathrooms are a popular topic of discussion for many people. Some view it as a place of refuge and a peaceful spa retreat. Others choose to upgrade because it’s a less expensive room to remodel than a kitchen. Shower niches, in either case, are a simple way to create a luxurious feel while also adding additional space for movement. They appear straightforward, but there are several alternatives and approaches to consider.

Shape and Structure

For an easier discussion, let’s start with the basic general shape of shower niches. Below are some ideas to explore.

Horizontal – This is exactly what it sounds like. The niche is longer than it is tall, making it more suitable for families who buy multiple sizes of shampoo and body wash.

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Vertical shower niche

Vertical – The opposite of horizontal, vertical shower niches often include shelves to create a tidy way to organize bottles and jars in the shower.

Oversize – Usually square-ish in shape, oversized shower niches can add a spa-like flourish, even if the size doesn’t have a reason to be that way.

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Multiple shower niches

Multiple – Multiple shower niches can be helpful when multiple people use the shower or if you have several products to organize. Then expand the number of niches. However, less is more. This also applies to shower niches. It’s only pleasing when it doesn’t overpower the rest of the shower.

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multi-height shower niche

Multi-height – This option multiple heights within the same niche. Think of this game as kind of like a Tetris piece. It includes a shorter section as well as taller sections that are linked to one another. There’s no real reason to have it, but it looks pretty, and in a larger shower, it’s even more dramatic.

Which brings us to…


In addition to these different structural configurations, there are a variety of design choices.

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Finished stainless steel shower niche

Finished vs. Custom – You can simply fill a shower nook with a prefabricated stainless steel or copper fitting or other materials. It is entirely up to you if you prefer to go with a pre-made niche for your shower or have your contractor make you a custom tile niche; however, custom-made is more costly.

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Oversized blend-in vertical shower niche

Blend in – This design works well because it incorporates the decorative details used in the rest of the shower, so the shape, not the design, stands out.

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Decorative shower niche

Decorative – A decorative niche uses a tile or material different from the rest of the shower and is made of tile or decorative material. Sometimes those who choose this option go with an oversized shape. This can be a design risk, so make sure you talk to your designer for their opinion too. If done right, this can be striking.

Framed – Regardless of the shape or design of your shower niche, a frame can add a bold touch. This option is mostly used for contrast.

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Horizontal shower niche with hidden LED lighting

Hidden Lighting – Out of all the shower niche options, this is the most surefire way to add a romantic spa ambiance to your shower. The lights must be waterproof, of course, but it’s surprisingly affordable.

Regardless of what style or shape you prefer, a shower niche is an excellent idea for your master, spare, or basement bath. Forget about over-the-shower-head caddies. Shower niches give you the space you need and the design that will impress guests.

Apr 02

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Home Office


Though small in size, a home office can be one of the more important areas of your house. It can provide a peaceful retreat from others, and it can create a boundary between your personal and professional lives. For those who work from home full time, it’s everything.

Here are a few design mistakes to avoid when planning for your home office, from construction to design.

Office isn’t soundproof or too close to a busy area
Let’s start with location. Maybe your home office is so important and so permanent that you can soundproof the walls and door. That can get expensive, and sometimes it’s just not possible. So when you’re planning the layout of your basement, think about the best place to put your home office.

Many times, the home office is an area, not a separate room. Either way, don’t put the home office right next to the game area. Also, consider privacy and any wayward toys that may fly towards your work area.

A simple and clean workspace helps reduce stress in a home office

Cramming too much stuff into the space
As you move in, it’s easy to stuff everything to do with your business, regardless of size, inside the room just because you can. But soon, you’ll feel cramped, and the sanctuary you hoped for is stressing you out.

First, get a small desk that fits your needs but doesn’t take up any unnecessary space. Keep your desk area minimal. This helps you stay organized and keep your stress level low. If you need more space, consider a long narrow table against one wall just for staging. Better yet, let the contractor (like us) make you a custom built-in desk or work area.

And that giant high-back chair looks great, but wouldn’t a smaller, more ergonomic chair be better?

Sconces are great for atmosphere but not ideal for basement offices

Poor Lighting
When it comes to lighting a home office, people often treat it as a spare bedroom–put a simple fixture in the middle of the room with a standard switch. But it’s not an extra bedroom. It’s a home office. It’s a space for good energy and getting work done.

One strategy that’s practical and can add a sleek modern touch is LED strip lighting. This is common in tray ceilings, but it’s also great for small rooms like a home office. Place these around the perimeter of your ceiling for an energizing glow. It will give the room an “office” feel without the obnoxious brightness of fluorescents.

As for floor lamps, place two at opposite ends of the room. This gives you plenty of light to work with without consuming too much floor space. And of course, a small but bright desk lamp is a must.

Too much or not enough decoration
Of course, we don’t advocate for clutter, but you can’t leave your office empty, either. And try not to stack storage boxes or file cabinets taller than your sight line while sitting down. This will prevent making the room feel smaller than it is.

Decorating a home office can be tricky. It’s a professional area, but it’s a professional area that’s all for you. This is the part of the process where you should include things that “bring you joy.” At the same time, it can become a space you show off to guests. So pick a large piece or two and build around that. Everything should go in a frame, but don’t overdo it. It’s your home office, not a Pinterest board.

At the same time, you want to give it personality. White walls make a space feel sterile, which in turn could affect your work performance.

Storage scattered in too many places
You’ll start out super tidy and organized, but soon you’ll be searching for things. Many people think about their fancy desk and the painting they want to hang, but then cram everything in as an afterthought. Don’t let this be you.

The trick to avoiding wasting time looking around is to keep your storage all in one area. Whether you use file cabinets, shelves, or drawers for supplies, push everything against one wall so everything’s easy to find. 

If you have an area, such as a built-in desk in the corner of your basement, try installing floating shelves above to make everything you need easily accessible.

A few pens and supplies are great for desk drawers, just don’t make a habit of stuffing things wherever there’s space. This starts with the initial design.

Feb 23

Six Mistakes to Avoid While Remodeling Your Bathroom


So you want to remodel your bathroom. That’s great. Now’s your chance to create your dream design. But before you fantasize about bathtubs and tile patterns, take time to think about the details. Sure, you want to make your bathroom beautiful, but you also want to make it practical.

Here are six mistakes to avoid when remodeling your bathroom.

Poorly Laid Out Shower
Traditionally, shower handles are located directly below the shower head. Why? To turn on the shower, you have to choose between getting wet or contorting in an awkward position. It may seem unorthodox, but consider installing the shower handle on a wall opposite the shower head. If you choose this design option, consider a handle with a striking design.

For the water itself, a hand shower head is a great idea. Not only is it convenient for showering; it helps a lot with cleaning. Imagine how much easier that will be when you have something to spray the walls.

Not Enough Storage
While a minimalist layout may be aesthetically appealing, a bathroom without drawers or shelving isn’t practical. If you don’t want towels and washcloths exposed, a small closet is a must.

But the biggest issue in a bathroom is storage for toothbrushes, grooming products, and other toiletries. Though it may seem like something from Grandma’s house, think about going old school with a medicine cabinet. The retro charm is fun, and it’s a simple way to hide toiletries and prescriptions.

Instead of nixing bathroom drawers altogether, choose a stylish bathroom vanity. There are plenty of options at every price level that don’t involve big clunky drawers.

The bottom line here: Don’t skimp on storage because of design. Make it work.

Poor Lighting Design
There aren’t too many ways to improve on bathroom overhead lighting, but there’s a lot you can do with the lighting around your vanity. Mirrors framed with a dimmable LED light not only looks stylish and futuristic, but they’re super practical as well. Once a luxury feature, they’re now surprisingly affordable.

And if you insist on an overhead light above the vanity, include side lighting or sconces to minimize shadows.

Over the years, wallpaper has waxed and waned in popularity. These days, it’s popular as a feature wall accent in living rooms and basements. So should you use wallpaper in a bathroom? Yes, and no.

If you’re designing a half bathroom or powder room, wallpaper, especially a retro-inspired pattern, is an entertaining option. But for a full bathroom with a shower that gets used regularly, wallpaper isn’t great. It can peel and wrinkle over time and is more likely to become outdated.

Not caring about towel racks or hooks
We’ve all been in these types of bathrooms — the shower is nice, the sink is nice, and the towel hooks and racks are cheap and/or poorly placed. We often think of the big pieces in a room without considering the small things that actually make the space functional.

When designing your bathroom, take time to plan hooks and towel racks. Think about where a person getting out of the shower or drying their hands might find them convenient. With planning, you can make them look great, too.

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Not enough counter space
This last one seems obvious, but this mistake happens all the time. Here’s why:

A person doesn’t have much room for a vanity, but they want an upgraded sink, sacrificing counter space. The design overtakes practicality, which is fine until there’s no place to set shaving cream or mouthwash after the bathroom is done. Couples also do this by squeezing a double sink vanity into a space that fits one.

So, pick a sink or sinks that give you at least a little counter space even if it’s a guest bathroom. 

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Jan 21

Six Basement Lighting Options for Your Basement


When it comes to basement lighting, there are more options now than ever. It wasn’t long ago that recessed can lighting was your only option. Now regardless of space and budget, you can install lighting that fits your aesthetic. And with low energy LEDs readily available, you don’t have to let the type of light you need determine the style of fixture.

Recessed Can Lights
Let’s start with the classic. Although they’re not too exciting, there are a few good reasons to use recessed can lights. First, if you have low ceilings, you don’t want to use headspace on hanging lights. They’re also a good option if the basement is a high activity. If your basement is a workout area or kids playroom, recessed can lights could be the perfect option. 

The third reason is cost. Compared to most fixtures, they’re inexpensive. This is great for someone using the basement strictly for storage. Installed in rows to provide overlapping pools of light, recessed canned lights are perfect when being practical, not stylish, is what you’re going for.

Track lighting
Track lighting is another classic basement option. Relatively inexpensive, track lighting can create bright (some might say harsh) lighting. However, with modern LED bulbs and dimmers, it’s easy to control the brightness.

You can also often turn each individual light to illuminate different parts of the basement. Many people use them to emphasize diplomas, collectables, and art. More modern track lighting can have a rustic feel or be optimized for Edison light bulbs.

Besides the versatility, a good reason to get track lighting is cost. Six light tracks can cost as little as $100 in materials.

Track lighting is one type of task lighting. Another kind is ….

Hanging fixtures
If you’re looking to create a warm entertainment space, tasking lighting will help create that mood. Task lighting is popular among clients with bar-style seating and game areas. Although they can supply a nice touch of style, they obviously hang down. So, these types of lights are great for entertaining and hovering over bar seating or pool tables.

The main appeal of hanging fixtures is style. Pendant lights (which can be inexpensive) can give your basement the look of an upscale bar or restaurant. And while pendant lights are common, there are other options that will give off completely different vibes. Clusters of bare Edison bulbs, suspended tube lights, and globe fixtures have all become more popular in recent years.

This is also a category that can go high-end. Some chandeliers and customized hanging fixtures can cost well into the thousands of dollars. It’s not something we often do, but the option, if it fits the space, is possible.

Sconce and Wall Lighting
The big advantage to this type of lighting is that it doesn’t take up floor or headspace. The drawback is that you need a lot of it to light up an entertainment area. Because of this and the fact that many wall fixtures are decorative, this type of lighting is perhaps best used as a supplement.

That being said, wall sconces have advanced far beyond the gloomy movie theater and stuffy restaurant styles you’re probably picturing. These days, sconces can include contemporary finishes like brushed nickel. Like in other styles of lighting, Edison bulb-based sconces are popular. So are lamp-style matte black fixtures and geometric art deco style sconces.

This option is fairly inexpensive, but can run up into the hundreds depending on materials.

Color Changing LED strips
This type of lighting has become popular as mood lighting, and yes it does make for good selfies and gaming environments. However, there are more mature applications for LED strips. They’ve been used as accents under cabinets for years. Now there’s just more options.

If you’re lucky enough to have a tray ceiling in your basement, lining the opening with LEDs is a must. It gives an already impressive basement an epic feel. If you have lower ceilings, you can run an LED strip along where the ceiling and wall meet. Place them on the underside of your bar for a fun glow. And of course, kids love them.

Yes, Amazon is full of cheap LED strips, but there are higher-quality options that will match the feel of a nicer basement.

Floor Lamps
Floor Lamps are last because they’re not super practical. If the basement is a playroom, they can get knocked over. If the basement is for entertaining, they can get in the way of guests. And they don’t provide adequate lighting for a home office.

However, there is one great reason to use floor lamps in your basement. If you want to replicate the full family living area experience downstairs, then floor lamps are perfect. They add a coziness to any space, and are available in many styles at many prices.

If you have the space (and not the rambunctious kids), then go ahead and add that cozy touch.

Of course, most basements have a combination of two or more of these options. That’s where we come in. We can help you plan your dream basement with the dream lighting you’re thinking of.

Dec 18

Must Have features for a Family-Friendly Basement


While we do remodels for all types of people, many of our clients have been families. A custom basement remodel can create a whole new space for your family to hang out, eat, work out, and play games in. Beyond the practical use, a finished family-friendly basement can add significant value to your home.

Where should you start? Each remodel is customized to fit each client’s needs, but here are some basic features we recommend.

If you have kids, we recommend carpet in at least part of the basement. You may be picturing the cheap, thin, scratchy basement carpet from your childhood, but there are plenty of carpets now that are both strong and soft to the touch. Many of our clients choose to install carpet in the largest section of the basement and tile in the area occupied by the wet bar.

When families imagine their finished basement, they often think of the TV area. It’s literally like getting a brand new second living room. Besides being a fun place to gather and visit, it can create an entertainment alternative for visitors or children. Video game setups are also a fun way to use this space. And let’s not forget decoration. A den area is a perfect place to display sports trophies or other items you don’t want to show off in your main living room. 

Wet Bar
While a simple dry bar or counter might work for some families, we recommend a full wet bar with storage. This will make the space ideal for movie nights, get-togethers, and watching sports. For the adults, we can add wine storage or a space to install a mini fridge. Floating shelves can be installed above for small appliances and food storage.

Kitchen Island
If you expect more than a few people in your basement, a kitchen island is a must. Though sometimes we make these smaller than the versions that go in regular kitchens, the idea is the same. We can use a variety of materials like marble, granite, and quartz, and it can be sized to fit the space. Beyond the obvious use of prepping and displaying food, an island can be used for other activities like board games.

Feature Wall
Feature walls can be fun for the whole family. If you have small children, you can consider a marker board wall or a chalkboard. There’s paint for both of these options, and adults can enjoy them too. You can also use this wall for a cartoon mural or tribute to your favorite sports team. This is an inexpensive way to add some life to a room.

Recreation/workout area
If your kids are older, or if you don’t have them, the largest part of the basement can be used as a recreation or workout section. Home gyms, treadmills, or yoga spaces are a few options. On the recreation side, this is your opportunity to set up a pool or air hockey table. If this is how you choose to use the large section of your basement, consider a more solid surface like luxury vinyl tile (LVT).

However you choose to use your basement, it’s a good idea to make a plan ahead of time. Some decisions can be made down the line, but having a complete plan makes things easier on your contractor and your family.

Dec 03

A Quick Guide to Basement Amenities


Our most popular package is the basement remodel with amenities. But what do we mean by amenities? Essentially, these are features we add to basements to fit the lifestyle of each client. Wet bars, wine storage, built-in shelving, kitchen islands, and linear fireplaces are among our most popular amenities.

Each of these have different options at different price points. Before you dive headfirst into a remodel, know what’s most important to you, the general purpose of the room, and of course, your budget.

Let’s take a look at a few of these amenities and how they may fit into your remodeling plans. Keep in mind that prices are approximate and don’t include labor.

Wet bars ($2,000+)
Wet bars are by far the most popular amenity we install. They’re often the centerpiece of a basement remodel as they give the space both style and usefulness. Designs and features can be customized to fit your needs and budget. Go for a luxury look with marble countertops, or create a simple space to prepare food with standard countertops. We customize every wet bar to include space for mini fridges, food storage, and more.

Kitchen Islands ($3,000-$10,000+)
Not every client who requests a wet bar also requests an island, but many of them do. Like wet bars, there are many different sizes, styles, and materials. They require a large amount of space, but they help expansive basements feel more homey. If you plan to entertain in your basement, an island is a must.

Floating Shelves ($60+ each)
Floating shelves are a practical, stylish, and affordable addition to any basement. We often install these above wet bars, but they can go in other parts of the room. Clients use these to display awards or collectables. They can really add style to a basement, and come in a variety of colors and finishes.

Built-in Bookcases and Shelves ($1,000-$10,000+)
This is also a popular amenity among our clients. They’re a great way to show off books and collectables and save valuable floor space. We make each built-in bookcase custom on site to ensure quality. There are several installation options including under the stairs, against the wall, and with a space left open for a TV.

Linear Fireplaces ($700-$5,000+)
Although not a necessity, linear fireplaces are a simple and surprisingly affordable way to elevate the look of your basement. The best part is that it doesn’t require a chimney. With a variety of designs and accessories such as colored stones, linear fireplaces can fit in with any design scheme.

Feature Walls
This amenity is a lot of fun and can add character to your basement. Decorative wallpaper, murals, and special materials like shiplap are all common approaches to feature walls. The best part about this feature is that it can be just about anything you want at just about any price point. Picture a feature wall dedicated to your favorite sports team!

Wine storage ($500+ for custom racks / $1,000-$10,000 plus for temperature controlled)
This is last on the list because it’s expensive and takes up a lot of space. We offer two types of wine storage. Wine racks are more affordable and come in a variety of decorative styles. We’ve installed sizes ranging from a small area under the counter to entire rooms. Temperature controlled storage is more expensive, but is a must for a lot of wine lovers.

Jul 22

The “Loft Look” Basement (and Why You Should Avoid It)


With modern and urban interiors becoming more popular, some homeowners are going after the “loft look” to finish their basements. Exposed rafters and polished concrete floors look cool and the style appears to be less expensive than more traditional finishes. However, looks can be deceiving. The result can often be more expensive than expected, and the aesthetics can leave the homeowner disappointed. In other words, it’s better to leave the loft look to lofts. Here’s why.

Leaving exposed rafters is more expensive than it looks because of the specialty paint job it requires. Professional painters need to prep the rafters and use multiple types of paint to finish the job. In addition to all the little nooks and crannies, you’ve got different surfaces to paint including wiring and metal. Labor is always more expensive than the cost of materials. In this case, it far exceeds the cost of paint. The exposed rafter look will end up costing you about 40 percent more than a traditional drywall ceiling.

When it comes to concrete floors, there are multiple ways to finish exposed concrete. And yes, finishing is necessary. It’s your basement, not your garage. This can be achieved with epoxy, polish or a stain. So it really doesn’t save money compared to common basement floor types like luxury vinyl planks or carpet.

Let’s say you don’t mind the cost. You also have to think about the look and feel of the basement. When you enter a basement, yours or someone else’s, the ceiling is probably the first thing you notice. A typical drywall ceiling indicates that the basement is finished. When you see rafters and beams, you think the basement is unfinished. So in other words, you could spend a bunch of time and money on the loft look, and your guests will still walk in and ask when you plan on finishing the basement. After all that effort and labor, it feels like your contractor stopped short of completing the project.

Polished concrete floors aren’t as jarring, but the payoff is underwhelming considering the cost and time required to do the job right. Instead of floors that look like garage floors, you’ll get something that looks like fancy garage floors. In an actual loft apartment, this style looks modern and edgy. In a basement, it just looks unfinished.

The bottom line
The only context where the loft look works in a basement is if the space is being used specifically as a workout room or home gym. Install a couple ceiling fans and some overhead lighting, and you’re good to go.

But if you want to use your basement for entertaining or a family hangout spot, the loft look isn’t the best idea. Luxury vinyl planks or carpeting is more inviting, and a drywall ceiling makes the room look more expansive and open. In the end, the loft look is more expensive, more labor-instensive, and it doesn’t even look that great.

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Jun 10

A Guide to Basement Doors


When it comes to your basement remodel, doors can seem like one of the least important things to worry about. Floors, wet bars, walls, and ceiling beams often take precedent during the design process.

But doors can add a lot to the overall feel and function of a basement. Is this a place to throw parties in or a kids’ playroom? A man cave or home office? Your doors can create a fun, professional, or cozy atmosphere to your basement.

Barn doors can make a grand, rustic-chic statement while pocket doors can make a room feel sleek and sophisticated. Sometimes the doors you want don’t fit the space (or your budget). Luckily, there are plenty of options out there. Sometimes you have to take privacy into account. It’s an important decision, and there are three main things to consider: style, space, and materials.

Keep It Simple
The most common type of door is a simple traditional hollow core door, sometimes called a slab door. This is the same kind of door found throughout most houses on bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. The style, whether flat or tray or grooved, doesn’t affect the price much. Even on high-end basement remodels, clients choose these types of doors so they can spend money on things like a linear fireplace, a wet bar, or home theater. Solid wooden doors sound nice in theory, but the visual payoff usually isn’t worth the extra money.

This doesn’t mean that standard doors have to be plain. You still have the opportunity to add whatever paint or finish you like.

Step Up to a Barn Door
Regular doors aren’t as fun as barn doors. And they don’t make much of a statement. Running along a metal track, wooden barn doors are large, heavy, and come in a wide variety of patterns and finishes, as well as sizes (see above photo). They can be stained or painted based on the level of rustic you’re looking for. In terms of size, we often install standard 36-inch doors, but we also do double barn doors. Woods like knotty alder contain the types of blemishes that give off a cabin feel.

At Empire Remodeling, we make our barn doors custom on site. You may see barn doors at Home Depot or Lowe’s at a fairly low price, but discount doors like these tend to warp. The custom build costs more, but the door will last a lot longer.

Besides the cost, the main drawback of barn doors is that they don’t seal. Because of this, we recommend them for entryways into areas like lounges or playrooms. They don’t provide the kind of privacy most people prefer with a bedroom. On the upside, their sliding design takes up less space because they don’t have to swing out.

The Versatile and Space Saving Pocket Door
Pocket doors are another space-saving option that usually cost less than half of what a barn door costs. These can be either stained or painted. Typically, they’re made from the same material as a standard hollow core door, but you can use high-end materials like framed glass or aluminum. People often use these to lead to a main living or spare bedroom. However, the design of these don’t allow for maximum privacy. Still, you’re going to get more soundproofing with this option than with a barn door.

Your Little Secret
One style that’s becoming more common is hidden bookcase doors. These typically go in the middle of the wall, and just like in an episode of Scooby Doo, you can’t tell there’s even a doorway there. These are usually painted and swing out on a hinge. Because of the highly-customized construction of these types of doors, the cost is fairly high. But it’s a hidden door, and how cool is that? These are great for special areas like game rooms or home theaters. Keep in mind this door moves, so you probably don’t want to put fragile items on the shelves.

If more than one of these options sounds appealing, you can mix it up. Use a standard door for a spare bedroom and a barn door for the game room. You get the idea.

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