Nick is about as close as it gets to being the perfect teenager. The 13-year-old is a great student, a baby sitter and role model for his twin 8-year-old brothers — and quite the entrepreneur.
His parents, Guy and Natalie, told Nick that if he wanted something, he should work for it. So he took the message to heart and has become the go-to guy in his neighborhood for all kinds of odd jobs, including shoveling snow, raking leaves and cutting grass.
Because his parents are so proud of Nick, they agreed to give him a grown-up bedroom that will provide some independence — and a little bit of distance from his younger brothers. His grandmother's old room in the basement was the perfect space for Nick, but the room's antiques and dusty-rose decor did not say "teenage boy." So Guy and Natalie called me in and charged me with the task of turning their frilly old basement into a cool-teen lounge.
Nick loves gadgets, so I decided to make his space a fun and funky gadget room, full of electronics and music. I emptied the room, insulated the walls for heat and sound, painted the walls a cool blue and then laid down planks of recycled black-leather flooring.
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I wanted to make the basement into three spaces that flowed together — a place for lounging, a nook for sleeping and a station for schoolwork.
In the lounge, the first area you see when you walk in the room, I created a feature wall of cold, rolled-steel, handmade wallpaper. The colors of the paper — aluminum, gold, silver and charcoal — give the wall a distressed-metal look. This wall became the jumping-off point for other colors and textures in the room, from the bedding to the paint to the furniture.
Against this feature wall, I put in a sleeper sofa in a masculine blue, two funky white-leather-and-chrome chairs and a wood-and-chrome coffee table.
Adjacent to the lounge, I put in a workstation that features a curved, mottled-gray quartz desk. I then flanked the desk with warm wooden cabinetry and added hip, leather-wrapped hardware.
On the other side of the room, I set up Nick's bedroom. I painted his old headboard a steely gray-blue, brought in a new duvet with pale blue, tan and brown, and added a heap of throw pillows in metallic colors. I then flanked the bed with cabinetry that has open, mirror-backed shelving above and closed storage below.
For a personalized touch, I added customized artwork to the bedroom — photos of grass, snow and leaves — to remind Nick of his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Lastly, I focused on the fun stuff — gadgets for Nick. I put in a new computer and mixing station in the work area, a wall-mounted flat-screen television in the lounge and a cool light fixture in the bedroom. The fixture is composed of 16 light bulbs on long wires that hang from a box above his bed.
After some final accents and accessories — an area rug, books, a bubblegum machine and a few other widgets and thingamabobs — Nick's space was complete.
By using accents, funky furnishings and a handful of customized gadgets, I turned a granny space into a basement retreat that is as unique as the teen who's moving in. Now that's divine!