Merit Award: Take Away

A striking overhaul of a dark and dreary basement into a light-filled space to be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

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Location: Ardsley, N.Y.

Contractor: Michael Amnon, ID Renovation Solution, New York

Designer: Joe Eisner, Eisner Design, New York

Designer Joe Eisner transformed a drab, dreary basement into a light-filled hub in this suburban Manhattan remodel.

The most important architectural decisions, says Eisner, were subtractive — removing rather than adding elements. For example, the design included the removal of a portion of the first floor to create a double-height atrium, complete with a double-sided/double-height bamboo-paneled wall that acts as a vertical focal point in what was an otherwise generic house layout. These elements allow the basement level to be a viable living space connected to the main floor.

The rest of the basement level includes a den, a home office, a guest room, a bar, and a workout room with windows overlooking an inviting, colorful children’s play area. To take advantage of the walk-out potential, the design includes a new glazed wall with sliding glass doors that open out to a bluestone patio and backyard.

The judges loved the light in the space and found the design “animated, inviting, and playful.”

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.