When this Portola Valley, CA home had a basement flood, the homeowners decided to turn lemons into lemonade. “A family of four live in this home with their two young daughters,” designer Erica Johnston tells us. “They are busy executives looking to unwind at home and entertain friends and family. They often have their parents stay for an extended period of time. And prior to the gut remodel, this basement was hardly used.”

The area features a lot of contemporary Ranch-style homes built in the 1980s, and the basement looked the part. “It lacked any interesting architectural designs,” Erica recalls. “The goal was to minimize any costly structural changes by re-thinking the utilization of space, and create a warm and inviting environment that the family would want to spend time in.” 

The renovation was soon underway. They devoted most of the budget to key features that would enhance the interior architecture and provide functional benefits such as storage and saved by utilizing furnishings from big box stores, and added a final layer of vintage decorative pieces that made the space feel unique. 

Erica divided the living area into three zones: a den for watching television, a banquette seating area for game night, and a wine storage area. The bathroom kept the same layout, but with modern finishes that elevate the aesthetic to a spa-worthy retreat. In the bedroom, she added architectural interest with the addition of a faux beam. And for the office, a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit and hidden wall bed made the most of the small footprint. 

Permit submission to completion took roughly a year and a half. “The clients now utilize the completed basement every day, and I have heard that the wine closet has become a place to congregate and enjoy the spoils,” the designer smiles. “I was also approached by one of the homeowner’s mothers and was told that she now loves staying in the guest bedroom—it feels like a resort!” 

Take a tour in the slideshow.