Before and After: A Natick Basement Makeover
Location: South Natick
Designer: Laurie Gorelick of Laurie Gorelick Interiors
Contractor: Malcolm Construction
Area: 940-square-foot basement
Year built: 1994
Renovation completed: 2015
To downsize or to renovate?
It’s a common question for soon-to-be empty nesters, although downsizing has become increasingly more expensive these days. That’s why a couple in South Natick chose the latter option.
“I think with a lot of couples who are empty nesters—the challenge now with real estate prices so high is that if they do downsize and sell their home, what they might want could actually cost more than what their mortgage is in their present location,” explains Laurie Gorelick, principal designer at Laurie Gorelick Interiors. “And that’s what this family opted to do—they’d rather hold onto (their home) than move to something smaller.”
The family of five had sent two sons off to college, and had a daughter readying for dorm life as a senior in high school. The problem was that their home’s basement served as an abandoned playroom—and that is where Gorelick stepped in.
“The basement was still outfitted with a pool table and a huge wall-to-wall closet with shelves for storing toys,” says Gorelick. “That was no longer needed.”
Gorelick sought to transform the underutilized basement into an alternate recreational space that could serve a variety of needs, including a place where all of the family members could entertain.
First, the wall-to-wall toy closet was torn out to expand the lounge area for TV-watching and video game-playing. Next, the pool table was switched out for a ping pong table, and a wet bar with a blue and grey glass-tiled backsplash was added.
Then, a built-in banquette was installed for dining and board game-playing. The homeowners pinpointed one problem when it came to the banquette—while seated, visitors would have a direct sightline to both a bathroom and a storage area.
“One of the things I did was kind of create a vestibule that closed that off visually,” says Gorelick.
She explains she created several zones within the room, brightening up the space in the process. Before the renovation, “it was pretty bland,” explains Gorelick. The ceiling-level windows couldn’t offer much light, so Gorelick established a bright color palette: light beige with red and blue, as well as pops of yellow, black, and white to keep the colors seeming vibrant.
The finished basement is indeed bright, airy, and playful. Architectural millwork was applied to the walls, adding a finishing touch to the space.
Gorelick explains she’s completed more playroom renovations in recent years, transforming them to everything from tween hangouts to adult lounge areas.
“Their needs have changed,” Gorelick says of empty nesters. “The kids don’t need a playroom anymore so the question is ‘What are they going to do with that space?’”
Before photos courtesy of Laurie Gorelick Interiors, After photos by Michael J. Lee