INTERVIEW WITH EILEEN DESCHAPELLES
Let’s set the scene—tell me about this space. This family home is a traditional Colonial built in 2005 and decorated in a transitional style. The basement was unfinished, and the homeowners’ two young boys used to ride their scooters around in it. There were two swings hanging from the rafters, a trampoline and a ball pit. It was the perfect space for the boys and their friends to play on rainy and snowy days.
What did you envision for its transformation? I wanted a cozy space for the family that would also function well for entertaining. The boys were growing up, and the basement needed to be reinterpreted to meet the family’s changing needs. They wanted a spot to watch movies, a small kitchen area, a bar, pool table, craft room, exercise room and an additional bath.
What materials and colors did you select? We used an amazing vinyl Linkfloor product from Porcelanosa in a gray wash on the floor. Antique reclaimed wood added warmth in a custom built-in, kitchen shelves, bar, table and benches. The space is painted Farrow & Ball’s Dimpse, and the ceiling, doors and custom cabinetry are painted Down Pipe.
Did you mix in any existing pieces? Apart from the vintage worktable that serves as the craft room island, we started from scratch. That table holds special memories for the wife because it had been her father’s workbench.
Any unique touches you included? Both the husband and wife were born in July and are Cancers, and the crab motif can be found throughout the house. Greenwich Tile & Marble custom-made a lovely mother-of-pearl crab tile that’s incorporated into the kitchen backsplash. It’s a small detail, but it tells their story.
What decision made the biggest impact? Before, this basement had three tiny windows near the ceiling that let in very little natural light. The decision to excavate and put in a bank of three large well windows was a total game changer in the space.
Did the clients have a special request you were able to fulfill? The homeowner insisted on including a reading nook under the stairs. The contractor and I weren’t sure if there would be enough room for it, but now it’s the older son’s favorite spot to read.
Did you encounter any challenges during the design process? Making the space warm and inviting. It’s a large space with high ceilings. By incorporating rich colors, reclaimed wood, a velvet sectional, brass hardware, texture, interesting textiles and unique lighting, we achieved the look and feel we were going for.
What is your favorite element in here? I really love the barn doors with glass. They make the space feel open yet allow the craft room and exercise room to be closed off so many activities can be taking place in the space at the same time.
Interior designer: Eileen Deschapelles Interior Design; 203-561-9314; edinteriordesign.com
Contractor: Nelson Segovia, Nelson S. Construction; 917-559-7615