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Reclaiming the Basement

A Speakeasy Design Workspace

When One Room Challenge™ approached the Brownstone Boys about entering the event, which invites design influencers to renovate one room in 6 weeks, they knew immediately what they would do. Jordan and Barry, AKA the Brownstone Boys—restorers of older homes in NYC—have been sharing the design and restoration of their 130-year old brownstone in Brooklyn, New York on their blog.

Their unfinished basement was a “storage disaster” according to Barry and Jordan. It was little more than a washer and dryer and an assortment of old furniture and material samples. Meanwhile, they were meeting clients in their home more often and the upstairs dining room table became a catchall for samples. They needed to create a space that could double as a workspace and a place to receive clients. The small basement was perfect for the challenge.

NYC Vintage

True to their vintage New York City style, Jordan and Barry went with a speakeasy vibe that was warm and comfortable. They also love to bring together the old and new creating one-of-a-kind spaces. One important element of the design was tin ceiling tile.

Barry and Jordan selected Pattern #2 in Bright White Satin because it looked so similar to many of the vintage tin ceilings that they see in their restoration projects around New York. The tin tile’s historic relevance to the speakeasy era would set the tone for the entire space.

Pattern #2


Reclaiming the Basement

Basement renovations come with unique challenges. There are certain things the Brownstone Boys couldn’t ignore or get rid of, like mechanicals, gas meters, and structural columns. They incorporated these necessaries into the design. For instance, Jordan and Barry placed a curved slat wood wall around mechanical items that hid them and became a visual feature of the space.

Another eye-catching element of the space is the support columns turned architectural feature. They took rough, boxy support columns and transformed them into softly curving arches that bring the space together and add elegance to the design.

“We feel like we have gained an entire floor of living space! That’s a pretty major amount of square footage. We can’t think of a better way to have a big impact on your home and its value.”

-Brownstone Boys

Multi-Tasking Ceiling

A major feature of the space is the ceiling. The white tin tile is used throughout creating a cohesive feeling even though there are several different spaces in the basement. The color and slight sheen on the ceiling tile helps bounce light around the room making them feel higher than they are (a common problem in basements).

The ceiling was drywalled so they installed easy-to-use Snap Lock tin ceiling tiles. “The tongue and groove design makes it easy to install. We did it in a few hours,” the Brownstone Boys reported.

The Brownstone Boys have done it again! Their basement renovation to a speakeasy workspace/client reception space allowed them to organize their materials, showcase their quintessential style, and maintain functionality all at once.

See more spaces designed in speakeasy design.

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Posted in: Inspiration