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Lines on Design | Erin Owen

Basement rebounds with rubber flooring

Dave Owen

Rubber flooring has replaced the carpet. “It was something I could tackle by myself,” Dave Owen said. The former workout area has become a guest bedroom. The cat’s litter box now sits

behind a curtain.
Dave Owen Rubber flooring has replaced the carpet. “It was something I could tackle by myself,” Dave Owen said. The former workout area has become a guest bedroom. The cat’s litter box now sits behind a curtain.
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We have hit the 10-year mark in our home. What seemed like an abstract, distant date has come, and we already decided we’re staying. The stuff, the packing, the hassle are not more attractive than a younger home with an open floor plan. Barring the unforeseen, we’ll stay and continue to make changes and improvements.

The latest of those improvements is the basement flooring. Our stairs and the finished basement floor were covered in rose-colored carpet. There are no glasses that can make a person see the upside in that. The rose remains on the stairs, but black rubber flooring with specs of gray covers the floor now.

Early on, looking at the finished space that spans the width of the house, we thought it would be cool to have a bowling lane. The length may have been a little shy of regulation, but it was fun to dream. Plans for a bar and a secondary living room didn’t materialize. So the basement remained untouched with piles growing and poster frames collecting dust.

It was a place we dashed in and out of and grudgingly went to when the siren blared. We acknowledged our basement had gone woefully underused - at least for anything fun or aesthetic. Its primary purpose had been a home for gym equipment and workout space. Oh, and a storage dumping ground.

Ultimately we accepted those were the functions of the basement. “There’s what you imagine using your space for when you first move in, and then there’s what you actually end up using it for,” Dave said. “Becoming a more mature homeowner means embracing the space for what it actually does.”

Thanks to my husband’s efforts to finish the project in as few weekends as possible, it’s done.

Along with the flooring, we wanted to organize the storage, move the office desk downstairs and set up a space for guests. Three shelving units now hold storage totes, which identify the contents by label or transparent view. Because using a tablet has made a dedicated office obsolete, the L-shaped desk is better suited for the basement where it is not taking up prime floor space.

Short of building a Murphy bed, the basement was the next best choice for the guest bedroom. I painted a stencil pattern on the wall jog eight years ago. I had envisioned a guest bed sitting in front of that wall like a headboard. Ultimately, we decided the bed cut too much into the floor space.

The basement layout divides the space into three areas. The first area at the bottom of the stairs is the guest bedroom. The second area - defined by the wall jog - is a workout space. The last, largest area is multifunctional - with a table available for games, a desk for working and shelving units for storage.

The flooring has made a huge improvement. The project finally allowed him to install baseboard.

After painting the wood paneling to about an inch above the carpet, we held off on installing the baseboard because we knew the carpet wasn’t staying. In a nice surprise for us the rubber baseboard is a near match to the paint.

The rubber flooring - 11 rolls - was delivered on two pallets. Dave felt comfortable with the flooring installation. Cleaning and preparing the concrete floor below were the most labor intensive parts. After it was dry, the rubber roll was unfurled and cut. Double sided stickers can be used, but we’ve found the flooring stays in place.

Cutting the rubber flooring around wall jogs and door frames required extra attention and replacing utility knife blades. My T-square from school proved useful for cutting.

The rubber is cool underfoot, which is refreshing on the warm days we’ve had. The roll size means there are fewer seams, which are most noticeable when sunshine hits them. The benefits of rubber flooring include its durability, recycled material content and its slip-resistant surface. Cleaning involves vacuuming and damp mopping with soap and water.

As eager as Dave was to do this project, I am excited about reclaiming the office space. It is going to be a garden relaxation room. One of only two rooms that has southern exposure, I have been planting outside the window and bringing more plants indoors.

I’m looking forward to sitting in a room free from television and social media. Adding the green of the outdoors and the air conditioning of indoors - well, I can see why we decided to stay.

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• Erin Owen graduated from the interior design program at Kirkwood Community College. She has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer. Comments: erin.n.owen@gmail.com.

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