Finished Basement

1st Place Winner
PK Construction, Kirkwood, Mo.

Second Place:
USA Living Environments, Northfield, Ill.

Third Place:
Magnotta Builders & Remodelers LLC, Lansing, Mich.

Unfinished basements offer a blank slate for homeowners to create a completely new environment. With that blank slate they frequently seek designs that uniquely represent their personal tastes and interests. To stand out in this increasingly competitive design category, remodelers must offer solutions that are equal parts practical and imaginative. The winning finished basement this year hits that mark exactly.

“The owners of this home have an exceptional interest in painted art, wine and family fun,” says Paul G. Kanyuck Jr. of PK Construction in Kirkwood, Mo., “They wanted a casual atmosphere, so we decided to make it like an outdoor ‘Loggia’ with high ceilings and a blend of defined and open spaces.”

Kanyuck’s resulting finished basement includes a wine cellar, a wine tasting area, a game room, an arts and crafts room, an exercise room/guest bedroom, and a gathering area with a full kitchen/bar of custom cabinets.

“The design objectives were to transform this unfinished level into a series of interconnected spaces to reflect the family’s leisure activities, and to create a connection between the formal residence above and the lower-level exterior pool,” notes Kanyuck.

One of the main challenges was to take a large space with columns and support structures set at irregular intervals and smooth it into a series of intimate and large spaces, the entry binder explains. Their “loggia” solution offers a new more purposeful “rhythm with coffering, columns and arches.”

The arresting visual heart of the new space is an octagon-shaped wine pergola. It includes hand-hewn wood beams and a “sky” mural ceiling. The octagon, surrounded by intricate wrought-iron gates and fences. The judges agreed with the assertion that this design combination transports the home’s residents to an airy outdoor space. In particular, the murals give visual relief to indoor spaces and aid the transition to a walk-out patio and pool area.

Says Kanyuck, “For pool parties or wine tasting parties, there is something for everyone in this finished lower level.”