The Ken Den

Remember last year when our basement plans were but a dream? When movie night meant huddling up in bed with the iPad or piled on blankets amidst drywall rubble? No more, friends. No. More. Take a look:

First things first: I’m always hesitant to share a home project without including an ever-so-tiny disclaimer that we don’t remodel just to remodel. We’re not into building palaces around here. (You can’t take it with you, that whole thing.)

And yet, I’m a firm believer that designing a space to facilitate conversations and create memories and establish havens is a worthy cause – especially when you’re married to a film editor who happens to find few activities more satisfying than renovating said space. Seriously, Ken is the ultimate renaissance man. It’s just uncanny, he’ll come upstairs all sweaty from moving support beams and will immediately start color-correcting photos and making homemade pasta dishes and darning sweaters (you think I’m joking) all while cuffing his jeans just-so. He’s a great many things, this man.

When we first set out to renovate this home with, the basement was covered – covered – in mold. But Ken – in his usual Ken manner – saw only the potential: a dream home theater. So he rolled up his sleeves, started researching remediation techniques and boom, three years later, here we are. Nary a spore in sight. A fully furnished, crazy pretty bonus living space.

I didn’t expect to love it so much. Ever the cliche, the basement was Ken’s territory. I made the design calls upstairs; he had free reign downstairs.

Sidenote: I will not entertain the phrase “Man Cave,” because good gracious, I cannot explain why that description grates me as much as it does, but it does, so just now I started calling it “The Ken Den” in my head, but I might hate that worse. I don’t know. Jury’s out.

Anyway. As soon as we started sourcing products and tackling art projects, the underground level that shall go unnamed just transformed into this cozy, comfortable space that I never imagined wanting to spend time in. (Ken says this is because I don’t have The Basement Factor – a slew of childhood memories produced in a basement where card games were shared and sleepovers were scheduled and dance parties were thrown, and tell me – is this a real thing? Do you not understand basement appeal unless you experience it as a child? Is it like beef stew? Or crop tops?)

Still. Here it is, and I couldn’t love it more.

The sectional is ridiculous, like over-the-top comfy. I know this because I have a rare ability to fall asleep during any movie, so out of the nine movies we’ve watched down here, I’ve already enjoyed eight super comfy sectional naps. (I did manage to stay awake during a riveting Lifetime movie, which basically sums up my entire personality in roughly eleven words.)

We cozied the space with zillions of throw pillows, an ornate rug, a chunky knit throw and handmade graphic art panels. Fun fact: Ken designed and built each canvas to hide his crazy intricate sound panels, which apparently are key pillars in any legit home theater. (I don’t know either. I’m lost at subwoofer.)

Then, I channeled my nonexistent inner abstract artist and went all Pollock (not at all) to customize them for the room. My attempts are laughable, I know, but man is it good to just swing a paintbrush around or what? Must do more of this.

The nesting tables are perfect for multi-purpose use, from keeping drinks off the ground to providing a really great hiding spot for your dog. Also, the coffee table very apparently doubles as a top secret toddler fort. Function! Form! Unity!

The curtains provide more sound deadening efforts, and I love how the two-tone design laughs in the face of low basement ceilings. Seriously, they added what, three feet in my brain? At least.

Subject change: if ever you are in need of a brick wallpaper that actually looks like it could be real!live!brick, stop the search. It’s here. It’s incredible – a little tedious to apply – but totally, over the top real deal pretty. It added more warmth to the space than all of the other elements combined, and now I’m on an eternal search for more walls to wallpaper.

Can I come over? Will help wallpaper for merlot. (Sidenote: my friend’s mother owns a shirt that says “How Merlot Can You Go?” and I still laugh at that every single time it pops in my head, which is an oddly often amount, really.)

See something you love? I’ve sourced most of our products here with shoppable links below, and more pictures can be seen right here. Merry movie-watching, friends. I foresee many a sectional nap in your future…



This project is brought to you by our friends at, where you can, indeed, find everything home! Shop the post below:

Industrial Coffee Table ($599)
White Brick Wallpaper ($30)
Sectional Sofa ($1260)
Couristan Rug ($99)
Curtains ($89)
Petal Chair ($243)
Industrial Table Nesting Set ($140)
Newton Pillow ($75)
Striped Cabana Pillow ($79)
Decorative Pillow ($30)
Cube Planter ($99)

p.s. Stay tuned in January to see the kids’ playroom and a full video tour of the entire space!

  • Love those big canvasses – I think a series of GIANT sized paintings instantly looks expensive, but your artwork is really good too! Also cracked up about your aversion to man cave – I was working on a wedding fair that will go unnamed here in Ireland and they were boasting having a “man creche” and I can’t think of anything more cringe-inducing!

  • Crop tops! Oh, to be 20 again… But yeah, I think Basements are a thing for kids who grew up with a basement rec room (not me) – lucky Bee! The space looks so appealing – great job you two!

  • How rewarding to see your vision come to fruition! It does not look like a basement at all….but a cozy extension of your upstairs living space. Can’t wait to spend time with you all there!

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