The Perfect Pandemic Remodel Project

Our Blaine Basement Entertainment Remodel

Project Summary 

As sports fans and parents of young teenagers, it was painfully obvious to this Blaine couple they had inadequate entertainment space in their home. When you’re in lock-down mode, entertainment is pretty important, to say the least. The only question was how to do it safely, within budget, and still get both the functionality and aesthetics they wanted.

Before Remodeling



The lead designer on the project, seasoned design/build consultant David Long, tackled the challenge head-on with some plain talk about baseline budgets and Covid-19 safety.

“I informed them on day one, at our initial visit in the home, which was before the pandemic hit, that they needed to be realistic about their investment in their home. It was going to be $80k-120k if the work was confined to remodeling the lower level rather than adding on to the structure,” recalls Long.

The initial design called for the following:


Most people who have never really done a large remodel before don’t understand how much their decision-making about the qualities of materials, surfaces and scope of the project actually drives the budget.

“Initially we were over budget in the design phase, based on what they wanted, which is not unusual for most people. No one picks out the cheapest engagement ring to start with, that’s just human nature,” explains Long.

“But as we refined the design to match the budget constrains, we found that some things were more important than others. It's a process. That’s how it works. Eventually we went with a less expensive surround in the bathroom and a tier 1 quartz instead of tier 5 for the countertops which saved a lot,” recalls Long.

Tier 1 quartz counter top
Wet bar, luxury vinyl flooring, pocket door to game closet and a little football rivalry.
Island cabinets facing perimeter cabinets.
Perimeter custom cabinets.
Barn wood Doors hide mechanicals while providing rustic aesthetic, which also matches new flooring.
Although large and heavy, these surface mounted track doors glide easily for instant access.
The remarkable character of barn wood never disappoints.
All open before, now there are separate walls and entrances to storage, bathroom and mechanical. Wall color — SW 7016 Mindful Gray Door color — SW 7004 Snowbound
Craftsmanship shows everywhere.

Although we went with a different square mission trim style in the basement, we did match the maple finish to keep the consistency. “And that’s paramount because you want your home to look as if every room is original to the day it was built. And I think we did just that.” says Long.

Bathroom shower and vanity designed to save costs and stay within budget.
Now a usable space with dual entertainment areas, this is a complete lower level transformation.
Work station in nook area next to existing patio door make use of wasted space and accommodates the new work at home lifestyle.

What these homeowners choose to keep was a rustic look with history. We found a local company that offered 100-year-old Amish barn wood, which we used for the fireplace surround and for the matching track doors to the utility room.

​For the fireplace mantel we used reclaimed lumber from the Globe Grainery in Superior Wisconsin.

“It turns out they have some family history in Superior Wisconsin, so that was a really cool connection for them that they were really excited about,” explains Long. Our Paint and Fine Finishes manager Dan Flaherty handcrafted and finished their mantel with a natural alder stain to compliment the Amish barn wood.

As with all projects, which Murphy Bros. initiated during the pandemic outbreak in the spring of 2020, careful considerations were made in consultations with homeowners to protect everyone during each phase of the remodel.

“We sealed off the upstairs with a poly wall from the downstairs and put a special lock on the walkout patio door so we had a separate entrance to the project,” explains Long. “I think the hardest thing for COVID protocol was keeping the homeowners from coming downstairs to peak in on the progress,” says Long, “But even with that, the safety was maintained at a high level and the work was done with minimal disruptions.”

Featured Materials


  • Vanity faucet Pfister Aliante
  • Shower Faucet Kohler Forte® Shower Trim Traditional in Vibrant Brushed Nickel
  • Sterling Ensemble Vikrell Tile Alcove Shower in White
  • Countertop Tier V Diamaote by Vicostone w/Eased Edge
  • Semi-frameless glass shower door


  • Hickory flat panel, mission style doors, solid drawer fronts, flush sides, Maple melamine interiors, full extension slides, soft close hinges


  • Base- Heritage - MB 17 -3/8" x 3 ¼"
  • Casing- Heritage - H 156 - 7 /16" x 2 ¼"
  • Stair skirt boards - Match existing maple skirt boards
  • Stair safety handrail - Oval maple at both lower stair runs
  • Barnwood at fireplace


  • Bar, island and vanity: Quartz, tier V at island & tier Ill at bar and vanit


  • Adura floating floor (Pattern - Dockside – Driftwood)
  • LVP flooring in Great room, hallway, bathroom and walk-in closet


  • Game Area: Savoy House Octave 3 Light 13" Wide Semi-Flush Ceiling Fixture Model: 6-4035-3-BK
  • Bathroom Vanity Light: Shades of Light — 24"wide soft seeded vanity light - SKU BS18127

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