new house tour | the basement family room

by | Jan 15, 2018 | Family Room, My House | 50 comments

I showed pictures of our empty basement last week when I shared plans for the boys’ playroom.  I finally got down there with my camera and took some pictures of how the spaces look now.

We’ll start in the main room of the basement – the family room.  (Not to be confused with the living room upstairs.  We decided to keep that room, the one off the kitchen, TV-free and just for human interaction!)

The basement family room/TV room is for hanging out, TV watching, games, playing, etc.  At first, it felt odd not having a TV in the room right off the kitchen.  I think we’ve always had that scenario in our homes & apartments.  But, I love it this way.  It’s more peaceful upstairs.  The noise of the TV can be contained and conversations can take place in one area while movies can be playing in the other.

So, obviously, there is a staircase going down to the basement .  There is a wet bar straight at the bottom, and a bathroom, utility room, and linen closet in the small hallway to the right.

The fridge that was in the wet bar was broken when we moved in, so we replaced it.  Other than that, we haven’t done anything.  You can see that the cabinets are pretty bare.  I’ll deal with it at some point, but right now we have the Keurig set up there for guests and a fridge with some waters, juice, and sodas.  None of us are big soda drinkers, but it’s nice to have them for special occasions, when we have guests, etc.

I don’t really know what I want to do with this, yet.  It’s perfectly nice as is, but it’s definitely not my style.  This space just might not be, though.  It might be a departure from my signature style, because it’s more about making a great family-friendly hangout than making it look like “me”.  I do think I can successfully find some common ground, though.

To the left of the steps, the room opens up to an amazing family space.  Even though it’s in a basement, it’s filled with light from large south-facing windows and a glass door.  There are beautiful built-ins and a corner fireplace.

We selected the sectional specifically for this room, but everything else is random stuff from our last house.   The sectional is the Collins from La-Z-Boy. If you remember, I did the La-Z-Boy Design Dash in the spring.  In fact, I clicked over there to link to the sectional and my room was featured at the top of their page…

I did not win the contest, but each blogger was given a piece of furniture for participating.  That’s one heck of a consolation prize!  I let them know I might be moving and requested waiting to order my piece until I moved.  It worked out perfectly, because I needed a comfy sectional for this basement!

The fabric we picked is a large-scale corduroy in Steel (SKU C990656).  My oldest son actually helped me pick it out.  I wanted something that would be forgiving with spills and sticky fingers and black dog hair and Marshall wanted something that was soft and comfy.  I originally wanted the navy velvet fabric I selected for my sofa in the Design Dash, but Marshall talked me into this one and he was right.  This fabric is very soft and checked the boxes on my wish list.

As a warning, like all velvety fabrics with a nap, it does have a “right way” and a “wrong way” and you can see when the nap is going against the grain.  That might drive some people nuts, but it doesn’t bother me and it’s a quality that’s exaggerated in photos.

It is so, so comfortable, though, and I love that we can all lounge on it together.

Jeff isn’t usually vocal about what I paint or how I arrange the furniture or what I hang on the walls, but he has requested that these built-ins remain unpainted.  Now, if it were all up to me, I would probably paint them, but this is his house, too, and it will remain unpainted as long as he’s insistent about it.

And alive.  

(I hope you get my brand of humor by now…)

So, I’m going to work with the great things we have going on in here and make this a more masculine space.  Right now the rug, pillows, and cow painting (all holdovers from my last house) aren’t putting off that vibe, so they will be relocated as I find things to replace them.  I’m imagining this space looking like a lounge with a vintage vibe.  Dark brown, navy, gray, plaids, trophies, black & white photos, books, etc.  Maybe even antlers.  I’m not sure how it’s all going to come together, but for now, I’m just keeping my eyes open and I think the perfect things will find me.

I do have a large antique school map of PA (rolled up in the corner) that will be hung and will work with that theme.  The wall color is actually very nice, although I’ll be repainting to freshen it up and I don’t have touch-up paint (or know the color to match it.)

And there is the eggplant wall that I can’t believe is still in my house!  We all thought that would be the first thing painted, but it didn’t seem as urgent once we moved in.  It’s about time I picked a color, though, and at least get that one wall repainted.


I’d eventually like to get plantation shutters for the windows and replace the vertical blinds with black-out drapes, but those are very low on the priority list.

The guest room is through the door on the eggplant wall and I’ll share that in another post, since this one is getting long.

To the left of the built-ins is the playroom.  And those doors are closed for a reason.  I love that I can close those doors.

See what I mean?

The boys cleaned up the room today and Jeff and I are going to rearrange the furniture and set up some new shelves tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to getting this room organized and more functional, so it’s a special place for the boys.  Right now, they really like it, but it’s hard to find things, it’s disorganized, and not very conducive to creative play.  It’s just a room with bins of toys in it.

Before moving in, we were looking forward to this basement and we knew we’d enjoy it, but we didn’t know exactly how much.  We love having this space, a family space…for puzzles and games, for playing Rock Band together on the X-Box, for watching movies and football, for sleepovers and cushion forts, for Lego-building, epic “battle set-ups”, wrestling, and snuggling.


  1. L. Thompson

    This is a lovely home. It appears so liveable as is. I know you are enjoying all of the open space. However, it does not take long to fill it up. Nice of you to share. You made a good choice when choosing this home.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I’m trying to be careful to pic pieces strategically and have a lot of stuff just for the sake of it!

  2. Sofia

    I was about to say the same thing: this particular house was a great choice!!!

  3. Amy

    I love seeing a ‘real’ room – that is, one that isn’t quite to taste, per se, but a room that reflects daily family life. In our new home, one of my priorities was having the TV separated from the main living space. I love to cook with either classical music or jazz, and when the TV is on, I have to compete with that. Plus, I just don’t love hearing the evening news screeching at me about the state of the world. 🙂 I also feel more intentional about the television watching when the TV is in a room somewhat removed from daily life. We have it upstairs now, in our ‘bonus’ room. It’s great. I’m excited to see where this room goes and how you create a space that suites your family. Also, though I don’t own any LazyBoy furniture, the people I know who have sofas adore them and they hold up quite well.

  4. Kim

    I think that you can make this all into a really cool “man cave,” a room with a very masculine vibe, vintage-style of course. The sofa and the cabinets are ready to roll! It will be fun to branch out into the masculine version of your style and play!

  5. Heather Gaume

    Just subscribed, mainly because of your studio posts as I am a painter also and loved looking at how you work. My closets are neat and tidy, my house is usually curated, but my studio is always chaos! Maybe I will pick up some hints from you! I agree that is hard to reconcile a husband’s tastes with your own. Those built-ins look so “new” and “shiny”. Maybe just a light sanding here and there?

    • Marian Parsons

      I think that’s why I would want to paint them! I love wood, but I love old wood with patina and sole. But, I suppose all old wood was once new. 🙂

  6. Glo.

    Is it weird that my favorite room is your Boys’ playroom…? as is!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! Well, it’s a real play room. It is disorganized, though, so we’re going to take care of that. I find that they play a lot more when their toys are easy to find and access. The like an organized space more than they know!

  7. Amanda

    What a great space to have! I bet you’ll do great things with this space – I feel like sometimes the rooms that feel the least “me” to start with are the ones I get the most creative with and love the most in the end!

  8. Meredith MacRitchie

    What a GREAT space for your family!

    Also so glad you shared your new sofa… We are in the market for a large sectional and yours looks like it might just tick all the boxes!

  9. liz

    Unpainted? but I’m guessing you will change out the hardware?

  10. Carol

    Since this is the lounge area, why not make the wet bar a snack station. Popcorn, nuts, crackers etc for a quick snack while watching a movie. Kid friendly sizes for sleepovers. With some vintage pieces for displaying it. Just a thought.

  11. Barbara

    It will be a great adventure for you to expand your style. Unpainted cabinets, really? A deep navy or black would still keep the room masculine. You’ll surely find a way to keep everyone happy. Looking forward to seeing the result!

    • Monica

      Yeah, I was wondering this too. Would Jeff agree to a masculine color of paint (love the deep navy or black idea), or even a different tone of wood? Could you sand it down and stain it differently? I’m sure you’re going to make this room look great either way. It’s a wonderful space! Glad it’s working out so well for your family.

  12. mary m

    Marion you have a home that dreams are made from…………Something for everyone even the
    dog. Had to give up our sectional couch (like yours) and I still miss it. I can visit it at my daughter’s…………….Nothing
    says manish than a tartan plaid. Any Scottish clan in our DNA? Mary

  13. Robinleach

    You should paint something for over the fireplace! And then it will be fit for a king!

  14. Melody

    And alive! Hahaha. I laughed out loud reading that. You are so funny. What a fantastic space for TV movies, kids and entertaining!

  15. Victoria

    Before I read the bit about Jeff liking the cabinets I was thinking they should be painted, but a navy or charcoal. And that fireplace is calling out to be painted and for something other than cow painting above it, so I’m with you there. Have you considered a plaid wall feature, maybe for that eggplant wall?
    If you have or find old or missing bit board games they can make a cute wall feature instead of art, especially for the playroom.
    For a normal basement I’d consider going all in and painting walls dark for a cosy vibe, but with so much light coming in I’d worry a bit about all dark walls looking at little like ‘daytime nightclub’ (you know where everything looks wrong in normal lighting? 😀)
    Great space though

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! Yeah, I’ve been thinking about going dark on the walls, but had that same thought! I didn’t think it as funny as you wrote it, though. I am painting the playroom walls a charcoal gray and it’s looking really cool so far!

      • Kim

        Yes, charcoal gray in a dark, small room, with white trim, looks FANTASTIC. Been there, done that and it’s a winner.

  16. Marlene Stephenson

    It looks like a great area for the whole family, i had boys, now men, and they do like to play and get rowdy and that looks like a perfect place .You can relax and be close by. Eggplant for a throw pillow maybe, but not a whole wall.

  17. Karen K from Buffalo

    I love EVERYTHING about your family room!! You even have me looking at Lazy Boy for your couch/sectional!! And, I’m with your husband, enjoy the richness of the wood in the entertainment center & fireplace!!

  18. Barbara

    Isn’t a basement wonderful?! When our children were home and in the growing up years (mine are 30 and 32 now) we had a “family room” in the basement. That is where the tv was. I loved having our upstairs living room quiet, and for reading, and “visiting”, and getting to know one another. I didn’t want our tv to be the focal point of our lives. Now that we have an “empty nest” we have a flat screen over the fireplace. Thank you for sharing your home with us. It truly is a beautiful “house” that you are making into a beautiful “home.”

  19. Helene Reid

    What a large and versatile space. Guest room, playroom along with the main room. I agree with Jeff, the builtins are beautiful. I was with him until Victoria mentioned painting them navy. Wow, that would look great. Looking forward to watching the transformation as you add personal touches.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, if I painted them, they would be a dark color. Not white like the upstairs. But, it’s one of his few requests, so I’m going to work around them as they are.

  20. Nancy Penfold

    This design aesthetic in this room is going to be so diferrent from your normal (blue/white/farmhouse). I am excited to see how it turns out. Everything you create is beautiful!!

  21. Kat

    Dear Jeff –

    Please let your lovely wife paint the wood. As the ladies suggested above, navy or dark grey or something equally manny. Marian will know what to do! How can you deny us the opportunity to see what Marian would do? 🙂
    And by the way – thats the most awesome sectional I have ever seen. Excellent job, Marshall!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I will make sure he reads this! Marshall did do a good job. 🙂

  22. Mary

    WOW! What a great space. I see the eggplant wall painted a mid shade of gray. And a nice round table and chairs. What a fantastic space. Could be so easilly adapted for meeting space also should Jeff need it for his job. And guests can stay there too – it’s perfect!!!!

  23. Elizabeth

    You were spot-on in your choice of couch. The style, scale and color are perfect for the space. It was an excellent co-effort… I love that Marshall is developing his own sense of style and defending his choices. You’ve created a monster, though in a good way.

  24. Deborah

    Marian, the house is so lovely, and the playroom just brought a smile to my face! Good times!

  25. Valeri

    Deep charcoal paint on just the small fireplace wall would make that wood beautiful and tie in the sofa and rug. I agree eggplant has no place in your house.

  26. Kathy

    Revere pewter would be a perfect color to replace egg plant. Love the sectional!

  27. Krissy Butorac

    It’s a great bright space but I don’t understand the dark wood, light wood, and the the white trim. I look forward to seeing what you do with it. Your magic will make it wonderful.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, the light wood railings match the upstairs railings, so I think that was the thought. There is also painted trim in the rest of the house. It does need to be all tied together, though!

  28. Norma Rolader

    Great space excited to see what it looks like when finishte

  29. Kim

    I live in France and follow your blog religiously. You’ve so inspired my brocante outings! We also have a lake house in Michigan and I just had some painting done with Benjamin Moore advance paint because I love the result on your family room bookcases. I love some of the custom wallpapers available these days and just wonder how a vintage world map in grey tones might look on the eggplant wall. I’m with you and another one of your readers . . . I envision the bookcases in a charcoal or midnight blue. Can’t wait to see what you select!

  30. Jeffrey Favreau

    All I can say Marian paint those units beg Jeff and find a color that will work for him, when I see them they look so plastic eww … Maybe a color on the trim and one of your nice warm greys on the wall… Of course you will do a wonderful job as usual please keep us updated on your progress…

    Thanks for your photos Jeffrey At La Maison Verte Couette et Cafe

  31. Deb SQ

    What happened to the leather Pottery Barn sofa? Do you still use it?

    • Marian Parsons

      Yep, Jeff claimed it for his office at the church, so he uses it there. It might end up back at our house at some point.

  32. Nancy

    What a wonderful space! We don’t have basements in Florida but when our children were small we lived in Kentucky and had one. It was wonderful in the winter when they couldn’t play outside. It gives you so much more square footage of living space. In Florida you would have to buy a mighty big (and expensive) house to get that.
    I’m looking forward to all you will do in your new house.

  33. Vanessa

    Marian – Love watching as you transform your new home. Everything is beautiful. I so wish we had a basement and could have play space for the grands and the tv. I turned the unused formal dining room into a playroom for our grands and the formal LR into our dining room as we need much more space for dining.
    Question – where did you find the rug in your family room. It’s beautiful!

  34. TERI

    I think Jeff is being kind to you when he wants the built ins to stay unpainted! You have a million things to do already without adding to your work and the upheaval. He’ll change his mind when it all goes quiet (if it ever does…!) I love your house, it seems enormous and light and I’d move in today given the chance.

  35. Charlotte

    That sectional just looks like a place that everyone would want to lounge on! Our couch is the exact same Lazy-boy, sofa only, and we just love it too, it’s a really nice sandstone colour and we love the length and if you take the back cushions off it’s great for a soft cozy nap. Lazy-boy did a great design with that one for sure! Way to go Marshall – you are a great PA 🙂

  36. Kristine

    I salute your willingness to honor Jeff’s request to NOT paint the cabinetry/fireplace. I know without a dou with the right assemblage of color/texture/pattern, that dark wood may actually turnout to be a diamond in the rough! Personally, I do not think I would ever tire of sitting in that room with the fireplace going and a layer of snow outside! Can’t wait to watch it come together!

  37. katybee

    What fantastic basement space and so light! I’m looking forward to seeing how this space develops – how you incorporate your design ideas and “look” in rooms where function and every day family are the priority.
    And why are men so in love with wood? Like you I love a piece with a rich patina but so not in love with modern finishes.

  38. Janice

    Marian – of all the things in this interesting room, I’m drawn to the wing chair. I’m guessing you made the slipcover? Can you tell me what the fabric is? I’m from Glenmoore, PA and desperately looking for someone to make slipcovers for me!. I so wish you were back in PA!

  39. Colleen

    What about taking the glass doors off the cupboard in the drink area and put a microwave there for popcorn and treats? Also, is that a full bath that your guests can use? Such a great space for your family and visitors! 🙂

  40. Gina Schmidt

    I love the bluish tan rug in front of the couch and must have! Please do tell where you got it from! I need one!!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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