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.

Designer Joe Eisner and remodeler Michael Amnon transformed a dreary basement into a light-filled family hub, adding a home office, gym, bar and lounge, guest bedroom, bathroom, storage, and large play area to this Westchester County, N.Y., home.

The bar and lounge area. All specified products, construction materials, and finishes are low or zero voc with typically high recycled content.

The most important architectural decisions were subtractive, the designer says. Here, Eisner removed a portion of the first floor to create a double-height atrium space. The new stairwell connects the main living floor with the basement level, which now receives ample natural light.

The double-sided/double-height bamboo paneled wall acts as a new vertical focal point to what was a generic house layout.

This before and after shot shows how the designer opened the foundation wall to take advantage of the rear elevation's walk out potential. A bluestone patio lies beyond the sliding glass doors.

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