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Cozy, Industrial Underground Basement Pub & Hobby Room (Reno Inspiration)

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by Robin

Get ready for another project filled room in our Basement Makeover series! We’ve already shared:

The basement room we’re working on next we’re calling our Cozy, Industrial, Underground Basement Pub and Hobby Room. 

It’s going to be multi-function – and we’re planning to do dozens of DIY projects to make it awesome.  That’s what this post is all about!  Walking you through our master plan of ideas and projects that will make this basement bar and craft space work hard for us – and look gorgeous while it does so much.

Can you believe I’ve never made a mood board before?! For normal people, that’s appropriate and underwhelming. But for bloggers that talk about all things home, it’s pretty weird.  I *should* have done about 25 by now. I pretty much carry a mood board around in my mind all the time – but that does you (and Ed) very little good. So welcome inside my head!

I cobbled together a few images that I thought were pretty representative of the space we’re creating.  I originally started making it just for our newsletter subscribers (BTW are you subscribing yet? You can do that here!). As I started writing it for the newsletter I quickly realized it was WAY TOO LONG and involved for our usual quick tip newsletter format.

First, What’s A Cozy, Industrial, Underground Basement Pub and Hobby Room? Is that just a fancy way to say Basement Bar?

Sort of, yes.  But the term “basement bar” makes me have 80’s child flashbacks of orange shag and brown vinyl upholstered bars with those mirror tiled walls with the marbley brown web pattern painted on them.

This room will NOT be that.

I want it to have the feel of one of those underground pubs you discover off the downtown streets in big cities. I want it to be warm, welcoming and have an old-world, industrial feel.

With our sad starting point – that kinda cool title is like lipstick on a pig.  See for yourself:

basement bar before
I didn’t even bother to label this BEFORE. ha!

In our defense – we had just gotten back from a camping trip when I took this shot. But, that only explains about 25% of the mess. The rest is pretty much my craft stuff, Ed’s wine-making and brewing stuff and pet food.

I think this room’s transformation is going to be dramatic.

The before looks awful and functions terribly – it used to be our laundry room before we added a second storey and moved the laundry upstairs.  We’ve never intentionally given it a purpose or decorated it.

It’s like our secret hoarder Monica closet – only you need to walk through it to get to our much cooler basement spaces. Not so secret.

The after is going to be an improvement to the power of pi. (Can you tell we’re doing a lot of high school math with our daughter lately?)  I’m so excited about this room transformation! So here’s the project overview – as we know it now.  

DIY basement pub

1. Basement Stair Makeover: Copper Risers and Wood Treads

copper stair risers
source: unknown!
I can only find a pin for this gorgeous staircase. If you know the original source – please let me know so I can credit their amazing work properly.

UPDATE: Here’s the completed project: Our DIY Copper Stair Risers!

I think this inspiration staircase is glorious. It’s fascinating to look at – I love the metal risers! As I write this I’m doing some test pieces of different ways to turn copper green. Kitchen chemistry is so much fun! (UPDATE: You can see the results of my copper patina recipe experiments here!)

We are going to cover the treads with wood and stain them. Plus we’ll paint the stringers and build a baluster. (UPDATE: You can see what we did to update our plywood stairs with wood treads here!)

We’ve figured out how to do all this on a pretty small budget and can’t wait to show you! This is the makeover you will see first.

2. Basement Ceiling Makeover: Industrial Painted Exposed Beams

UPDATE: Here’s the completed project: Our DIY Black Painted Basement Ceiling!

You know we’re the self-proclaimed king and queen of basement ceilings, right? We’ve done:

What we haven’t yet done is a painted, exposed ceiling.  This approach will be perfect with the underground, industrial vibe we’re going for in this room.

Also, this room is right below our kitchen and has so many pipes, ducting, wiring and central vac tubes – we don’t want to cover those up. If anything needed to be repaired or moved in the future we’d be up Schitt’s creek.

We’re going to go dark on the ceiling.  Just like wearing black can be slimming – painting something all dark can visually hide lumps and bumps you’d rather people not notice.  Our ceiling won’t be black – it’s going to lean more toward brown or green in tone, but it’s going to be dark.

3. Basement Pub: Exposed Brick, Roomy Sink & Natural Countertop

This photo encompasses the feel we want for the room:

  • Natural elements like wood and brick.
  • A big sink with a cool faucet for all of Ed’s brewing and winemaking.
  • Some open shelving for display. Some closed cupboards for ugly stuff.

4. Basement Pub: Colorful Cupboards and Upright Freezer Makeover

UPDATE: Here’s the completed project: Our DIY Black Smeg Fridge Knock-off! AND Our DIY Custom Wet Bar from a Repurposed Buffet

Upstairs we have a small kitchen. We make the best of it by storing a lot of our pantry and freezer items in the basement. (Stocking up is a great way to save so much money on food.)

We have an upright freezer in the space that is too useful to get rid of.  It’s a basic unit that’s bright white and bland.  I plan to do something to it to make it look cool – it won’t be the exact method you see in the photo above – but it’s the right feel.

We also plan to salvage a buffet or sideboard and make it into the lower unit of the bar. I want to paint it a fabulous colour – maybe like the green above – or maybe something more surprising. I’ll be using this paint for sure – the quality is spot on – just not certain of which colour yet. (Update: It’s all done and we chose a different colour! Check out the project here.)

5. Basement Storage: Wall to wall Built-in Storage and Craft “room”

UPDATE: Here’s our DIY Built in Cabinet – How We Out Basement Storage in a Beautiful Custom Way

The wall opposite the bar will be hardworking.  It’s going to be built-in cupboards with so much storage inside.  The storage will be devoted to our pantry overflow items, my sewing machine and craft supplies and whatever brewing stuff of Ed’s can’t fit on the bar side.

So that’s about 75% of our plans for the space. We’re also planning:

If you want to keep reading about our Basement Makeover projects so far – I’m completely immodest, there are some really good ones – you can find them all here.

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Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Those stairs are sooooo gorgeous! I did mine with rusted up roof flashing I DIY’er. But that cooper is yummy! Can’t wait to watch your progress.


Wednesday 20th of November 2019

That sounds AMAZING, Hope! Can you share a photo of it with me?! I'd love to see what you did! :)

Lynn at Nourish and Nestle

Monday 18th of November 2019

wow! can't wait to follow along with your progress!


Monday 18th of November 2019

I KNOW, Lynn!! I'm so excited too!!! Happy you're coming along for the ride. :)