We have a finished basement in my house that was recently re-finished thanks to Hurricane Irene.  In it, we have a guest room, a play room, a kitchenette, a bathroom, a weight room and a movie-theather room. It’s a pretty big space with lots of fun possibilities. Right now, my kids really enjoy going down there and “working out” or playing on the Wii.  My neighbors just finished their basement complete with a hidden pass-through with painted “whiteboard paint” so that the kids can write messages to each other on it.  Like bedrooms and backyards, basements can become the secret hideouts for kids.

Growing up, we had a ping-pong table and pool table in our basement.  The basement wasn’t particularly “finished” or “glamorous” but no matter what, it was our space to play our music, pretend to be who we wanted to be and hang-out with our friends.  We held many pool and ping-pong tournaments there.  New Year’s Eve parties were always at my house – where else would they be (our friends counted on it).  Looking back, I’m impressed that they were alcohol free, even into our teenage years.  But it was a safe place and a fun place to play.  My brother and I were given ownership of it by helping to repaint it one year – we chose the colors and were asked to dive in and paint it.  We gladly did.  I can’t remember hanging out in the basements of too many of my friends.  I guess they weren’t as enticing for some reason.

My parents have recently re-finished their basement (also thanks to Hurricane Irene) and now it’s nicer than ever.  Now when we go over to visit, the kids are playing with the same pool table that I played on down there.  A new ping-pong table is on its way.  Funny how those things still bring great hours of entertainment.

I love the idea of the basement being everyone’s space with ownership and space for everyone.  My husband took ownership of the movie set-up, decorating it with movie posters and a popcorn machine.  My kids artwork is framed and decorates the play area.  The workout space has equipment that we all can use.  As the kids grow older, I envision a ping-pong table, pool table or air hockey table coming in.  But it’s not so much the stuff that’s in there, but the way that you use and own the space that makes it safe and makes it yours.  Here’s to secret spaces that allow us to take risks, have fun and come together.


1 Comment

  1. Stacey said,

    March 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Our basement is not finished. It has lots of boxes in it… boxes from the stroller, car seat, and toys. And boxes from my old classroom. While I wouldn’t want to have to go through a hurricane to make it complete, I hope to one day have a finished basement like you do. Enjoy it with your family.

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