With its tall ceilings, white-washed floors, and black marble bar, this upscale rec room takes home lounging to new heights — even though it’s below ground. “One of the best compliments I got about the space came from someone who walked in and said this feels like a hotel lobby, not a basement. We wanted it to be open, airy, and inviting,” says Tara Kantor, who’s both the designer and homeowner. Kantor achieved the look through clever design elements and smart construction behind the scenes.
When the shingle-style house was being built in Scarsdale, contractor Murphy Brothers added extra structural support with a single beam to enable the open layout. The contractor also dug deeper to allow for 9-foot ceilings in the basement. Windows make the space appear brighter, and the light-colored floors are a practical vinyl, which Kantor says is easy to maintain and softer underfoot than porcelain tiles.
“The goal was to create the feeling of a sports lounge — one large, open space where we could all be together, watching a game or just hanging out.” The Kantors and their two boys can host a whole crew of friends and family comfortably. A custom ModShop sectional sofa holds up to 20 people; the 13-foot bar has seven stools. If the group can’t agree on which game to watch, the five flat-screen TVs hanging on the wall opposite the sofa keep everyone happy.
The inspiration for the mega TV wall and the overall sports theme came when the family was on vacation with extended family. “We were at a lounge with a bunch of football games on, all on separate televisions. Everyone was sitting on cozy sofas, popping up and down to play foosball and pingpong. The kids and their dads were in heaven.” To re-create that experience, the basement space includes a pingpong table and a golf simulator. Here the guys will never grow bored.
And the adults will never go thirsty. A wine cellar room with a wall of book-matched Arabescato marble provides a beautiful setting for storing bottles. “We’re more wine drinkers than collectors,” Kantor says, but she notes that she and her husband have been given some special bottles and their appreciation for wine dates back to an anniversary trip to Napa. They serve wine to friends at the striking Kenya black marble-topped bar. She chose black marble because it’s more forgiving than white in a space where people are often eating and drinking. Jem Woodworking made the custom bar, and Kantor worked closely with its team to come up with the perfect charcoal gray stain — not too gray, not too brown — for the wire-brushed oak.
Everything in the space is kid friendly, from the high-performance fabric on the sofa to the custom coffee tables of faux leather. When the boys decide to put their feet up, stains will wipe right off, so the lounge will hold up to fun times with the family for years to come.
Shop this list to get a similar look in your own basement.
Bar Counter Surface
Kenya Black Marble
Guetta Building Company
Wine Cellar Lighting
Faux Leather Coffee Tables with Oak Tray Inserts
Wine Cellar Marble Wall
Guetta Building Company
Custom Bar Stools
Ivory Coast Oak Floors
Delano Modular Sectional in High-Performance Fabric from Pollack, Custom