Minneapolis Basement Renovation “Doesn’t Feel Like a Basement”

How do you remodel a basement so that it doesn’t feel like a basement? Let’s take a look at this innovative Minneapolis basement renovation project and find out. 

We first worked with the Ibele-McNaughton family when we remodeled their home in 2003, so we were familiar with the structure and style of their beautiful 1931 home. At that time, we expanded the basement beneath the new addition, insulated it, and added drywall. The rest could be finished “some day”.

Some day arrived years later with a torrential summer storm that unleashed several inches of rain. It flooded the basement and soaked the carpet—as it turns out, for the last time. 

The family was ready to renovate the basement and create a space where they could hang out, watch TV, and play pool. Also on the list was a new workshop and a place for the dad to play his bass guitar. Plus, they wanted to update their laundry room and expand the adjacent bathroom. 

The design of the basement renovation needed to tie in with their main floor. As interior designer Laurie Plattes explained, “I wanted to make it feel newer. I also wanted to still reflect the feeling of what the rest of the house is.” 

Cozy, yet contemporary family area

We created a cozy area where the family could watch TV and movies, and play games. Custom cabinets below the TV store electronics, and the floating shelves add visual variety.  “I was trying to get something to add interest, so it didn’t look sterile down there,” said McNaughton.

minneapolis basement with blue couch and fireplace

Cozy seating area for conversation and movies.

We replaced the wood-burning fireplace with a gas fireplace faced with porcelain tiles. 


gas fireplace with contemporary tile surround

Contemporary gas fireplace with porcelain tiles.

To complement the family’s blue sectional sofa, we applied a soft gray paint with taupe tones to warm up the room. 

minneapolis basement renovation

Soft gray paint with taupe tones warms up the room.

Ambient and overhead lighting options

Rather than use standard recessed lights throughout, we installed semi-flush low profile LED lighting fixtures in the rec room to preserve the ceiling and prevent noise in the basement from drifting upward. 

semi-flush low profile lighting fixtures in basement

Lighting options include overhead lights, wall sconces, and recessed lights.

Bronze wall sconces make the space cozy and provide an alternative to overhead lighting. 

white cabinetry in minneapolis basement renovation

Bronze wall sconces provide ambient light above storage cabinets.

We installed a three-light brass ceiling fixture over the pool table, keeping the style compatible with the era of the house.


minneapolis basement pool table with brass ceiling fixture

Brass lighting fixture evokes 1930s style in the game room.

Not your typical basement storage 

Next to the pool table, we added a pair of closets separated by built-in cabinets, and left space between the upper and lower cabinets so the pool players would have room for their cues. 

The beverage cooler beneath the Iroko (African teak) countertop is always stocked with pop! 

african teak counter and beverage cooler

A fully-stocked beverage cooler in the rec room.


Sliding glass doors separate the TV room from the game room in this Minneapolis basement renovation. 

frosted glass sliding doors hide storage space

Frosted glass doors separate the game room from the rec room.

Bright laundry room with loads of storage

The definition of a “basement laundry room” gets rewritten with in this bright cheery room, warmed with buttery yellow paint.  

bright minneapolis laundry room

Warm yellow walls and overhead lights brighten the laundry room.


Upper and lower cabinets provide loads of storage in the laundry room. Doing laundry here doesn’t seem like a chore!

butter yellow laundry with blue floor

Bright white cabinets in the basement laundry room.

Expanded lower-level bathroom

Continuing the colorful theme, we used a bright celery green in the half bath. What a change from the tiny room that previously had space only for a toilet! 

bright green walls blue floor powder room

Celery green walls brighten the expanded basement bathroom.

Waterproof vinyl flooring throughout the basement 

Throughout, we used a waterproof floating vinyl floor with an attached cork bottom that resists mold and mildew. It’s thinner and absorbs more sound than wood.  

basement french doors wood look flooring

Waterproof floating vinyl floors resist mold and mildew.

Overall, this Minneapolis basement renovation displays contemporary clean lines, and harmonizes with the overall style and era of the 1931 house.  Read the full story in this article from the SW Journal

Give John a call at 612-861-0188 or fill out our Getting Started Form if you’d like to explore possibilities for your own basement renovation!

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