We are well underway with the transformation of our unused ‘shell’ of a home theater room into a studio for dance, Kung fu, and other forms of exercise requiring a lot of floor space. And that’s a good thing, because it’s Week 2 of the One Room Challenge; time is short and the to-do list is long!

If you missed last week’s post, chock full of ‘before’ goodness and project background info, click here to get up to speed!

This week I planned to show demo progress and my design plans – and I will, but we hit a major speed bump that has got me pretty down…and it’s related to the aforementioned ‘lot of floor space.’

My plan and assumption was that we could simply blow out the raised, carpeted platform you can see above to create one large, continuous floor area. The contractor pulled back the carpet in a couple of places and wa wa waaaa…there is a big old solid concrete slab underneath.

When I got the quote back for removing it I nearly spit out my (decaf) coffee. And then they told me how much all of the lighting and millwork changes I’d planned would cost. And THEN they broke the bad news that the window I was hoping to expose was directly between and a little above one of the pilasters on the wall. BOO!!

Long story short, we unfortunately had to scale back the scope of the project. For a couple of days we even thought we might call it off altogether. But we are moving forward, making do with the split-level floor (adding hardwood on top of the platform), and nearly all of the existing millwork on the walls and ceiling. Upgrading/brightening the cove lighting and wall sconces, and adding some softer color to the room – including on the millwork now – will be absolutely critical to moving away from the early 2000s man-cave look toward a studio that is inspiring and welcoming for my entire family.

And lest we forget…I am also addressing the basement hallway immediately outside the studio, as well as the small kitchenette / snack bar. This is what it looks like right now. I replaced the carpet but everything else is as we moved into it seven years ago…blah blah and double blah.

No heavy construction is planned out here – just some minor cosmetic changes and zhushing that will make a world of difference! (Not to mention, finally getting rid of the donations that have been accumulating here…).

Meanwhile, demo of the theater is underway and we are now ready for electrical work to begin, before we can blueboard and plaster the new walls. Check out the funky acoustical foam insulation that was behind the now-removed upholstered wall panels! That can all stay. The midnight blue felt fabric has been removed from the ceiling, as well.

So here’s the plan!

Let’s talk color first, for the studio. I have to strike a very tricky balance. Not only does this space have to look gender- and activity-neutral, it needs to be well-lit and bright without a single window. I am going with a tone-on-tone paint look with a light green/blue/gray color on the millwork (Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp) and a mid-tone of the same on the walls (Benjamin Moore Sea Glass). I debated whether to go darker on the trim and lighter on the walls – and I may still change my mind! But this is what I’ve decided at this point.

The ceiling cove wallpaper is ah-may-zing! My niece actually found it in my materials library back in August. Pictures will never do it justice, but the pretty little eight-pointed stars are holographic and will make the ceiling sparkle (with the brighter cove lighting illuminating it).

I am completely stuck on the sconces and I have to order them ASAP. The pilasters have recessed panel in the middle that is only 4.25″ wide. So that is my maximum backplate width. You have no idea how difficult it is to find a sconce that meets that spec, as well as the style and finish I want! OH, and it can’t be too tall either, because the boxes were installed pretty high, due to the elevated platform. Tell me – which is your favorite? I think I am vaguely leaning toward 2…

The floor is maple, currently stained dark, but I will lighten it and may even do a natural finish with no stain at all. Something like this…

Out in the hallway, I still want the walls to be neutral, and I am not touching the trim…too big of a project, and I am fine with it being off-white, and matching what is throughout most of my house upstairs. The current color is too light for a dark basement, in my opinion. So I am dialing up the value a bit and going with a beige that is not too warm, not too cool, but just right – Benjamin Moore Make Believe.

I think it will work perfectly with the multi-hued natural slate floor, which I’m also not touching, in the kitchenette. The dark wood cabinets will get a coat of a deep mossy, moody green – Benjamin Moore Rainy Afternoon. Paired with some new transitional brass pulls, and some art on the walls, it’s going to look like brand new!

This morning I am meeting with our contractor and the audio visual company we will be working with. I am hoping they can get to work quickly so we can get the walls closed up and start working on the pretty things.

Until next week! And please don’t forget to check out the One Room Challenge featured designers, who are tackling fantastical virtual projects this season, as well as many fellow guest designers who are also working on their real-life pandemic projects at home :).

Side note: I’ve been experiencing major technical issues with WordPress over the past 12 hours as I’ve tried to write this post, so I apologize if it is not up to the standard of what I typically publish! I’m having so much difficulty formatting and adding ‘widgets’ as I normally do. I’m hoping I can come back in and edit later when the web-based app has calmed down a little.

Posted by:Kelly Rogers

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