In “Ali Wong’s Renovation Surprise,” Wong says she wants to give her longtime friend Citadelle a basement and backyard renovation at her Windsor Hills, CA, home.
Citadelle’s large basement has worked overtime as a living area, office, and guest room, but Wong knows her friend deserves a more stylish, functional space—as well as a nicer outdoor area where she can relax. Here are the upgrades that the property brothers deem essential to make that happen, which might inspire some changes around your own abode, too.
Dark basements look better with light flooring
Basements can look dark and gloomy, so the brothers want to make sure to use lots of light materials to brighten up this space. One way they do this is by updating the tired flooring with new white oak.
“I love the fact that we’re putting the white oak down here ’cause not only does it stain a lot cleaner but it’s going to really brighten things up,” Jonathan says. “I’m already picturing the natural light pouring in here through the new doors, the beautiful natural color on the wood.”
The new flooring makes a big impression in this space. Not only is it durable (perfect for welcoming friends and family over), but it also gives the whole basement suite a fresh feel and a cohesive look. It helps to make this dingy basement feel like the main living area.
An accent wall can be subtle
This basement needs a whole new look, so the brothers refresh the furniture and paint the walls. However, near the end of the renovation, Drew tells Wong the space could use an accent wall. He shows her two different wallpapers: a fun yellow and a more muted white and gray pattern.
“I like both,” Wong says. “But I think because the whole intention is to really lighten up the space and have it feel bright and airy, I definitely want to go with the second option.”
The light wallpaper is a subtle addition to the space, but it gives the room some texture while still keeping the space bright.
It’s a great choice and shows that while many would think an accent wall should be a bold color, a simpler choice can still make a big impression.
A Murphy bed helps free up space
This basement has a bedroom, which Citadelle likes to use as a guest room. But with a bed taking up most of the space, the room feels underused. The brothers know they can fit Citadelle’s desk into this space if they use a Murphy bed instead of a traditional bed.
“You will never enjoy your home if you don’t utilize every square inch of the space,” Drew says.
However, Drew knows that there are many options when it comes to picking out a Murphy bed and that different designs will work better for different types of rooms.
“When the bed’s not in use, do you want a sofa or shelving or a table?” Drew asks.
Drew settles on a Murphy bed that folds up to create a shelving unit. The piece allows the room to function as an office and guest room (when needed), and it provides some smart, stylish storage.
Give your outdoor space some shade
Wong and the Scott brothers do a great job in the basement, but they also want to make Citadelle’s backyard feel like a true living space. They add an outdoor kitchen, a dining area, plus a covered seating area. They also splurge on an awning for cover, making the backyard a great space to entertain year-round.
“With a standard pergola, yeah, you’re getting some shade, but if it rains you’re not protected,” Jonathan says. “By giving this structure a proper roof, we’re providing a comfortable space for Citadelle and her family in any weather.”
The brothers even add recessed lighting to the new covering, making sure gatherings can last well into the evening. It’s a clever update that proves a traditional pergola isn’t the only way to go.
An outdoor fireplace adds a cozy vibe
This elegant backyard lounge needs a focal point, so the brothers add a chic fireplace. It’s a lovely feature, and Jonathan makes a point to say this isn’t “just some dinky little candleholder.”
“This beauty is a little over 10 feet high, which will draw the eye up,” Drew says. “And then we’re going to clad it with a neutral tile to add texture.”
The tall fireplace serves as an excellent inspiration for homeowners who want to bring a cozy, homey vibe outside.