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Penguin Basements

Dig deep – There’s gold in them thar basements

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Dig deep – There’s gold in them thar basements

Most Canadians have a goldmine right under their feet – and it’s in their own home. If you thought that it would be nice to own income property, you already do. Your basement can easily be turned into a valuable, legal and sought-after living quarters. A well-planned basement design has untold potential.

What your parents got wrong

Conventional wisdom, as your parents always reminded you, was to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. Today, that’s hardly the wisest thing to do. Instead, turn your basement into a rental unit. By doing so, it becomes a hedge against a potential retirement savings shortfall. A basement unit can generate income and allow you to stay in your home for years to come – on your terms and with peace of mind. In this case, don’t listen to your parents’ advice – listen to reason.

We are living longer and longer. The cost of moving into a retirement residence, when the time comes, can quickly burn through the proceeds of the sale of your house. This scenario plays out all too often. It doesn’t have to come to this. Padding your savings with rental income from your home can greatly ease financial pressure and put you in control of your future.

Rethink your strategy

You may wonder how you can afford to do this. I can tell you that you can’t afford not to. A modest investment today, with the help of a line of credit or another type of loan, will reap untold financial rewards and freedom. Moreover, this investment will increase the value of your house by making it more attractive to those who are stretching themselves to get into a costly housing market.

Let’s look at a simple example. If you borrow $50,000 to $75,000 to build a basement rental unit, the rent that you collect can pay back borrowed money in a mere five years. At an average rental income of $1,200 to $1,800 per month, any excess is gravy. Your untapped basement is an engine for wealth generation that’s just sitting there, and you can’t afford to ignore it. This is hardly a bold move or speculative thinking – it’s a common sense approach that’s supported by math.

So, stop wondering about whether or not you’ll outlive your money. You have the power to control that outcome. Don’t fear longevity – embrace and monetize it.

No offence mom and dad, but when you have a basement, you have options.

GUY SOLOMON is the founder and CEO of Penguin Basements, and the creator of The Second Suite Solution.


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Creating a modern basement

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Creating a modern basement

In our new home, we had a lot to do to create a modern playroom and functional home office. The result is amazing – and I hope it can inspire you too!

I love colour, but I wanted to try something different and edgy in my basement. Creating this space has shown me the power of a minimal palette of black and white. The way to keep things interesting is to vary your patterns but all within the black and white palette. Think stripes, geometric prints, painterly lines and high contrast cabinetry.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry is my secret weapon in playrooms. Putting in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry allows you to hide all the visual clutter and chaos that comes with toys, books, cards and all that fun stuff behind beautiful, closed storage. You literally get to close the door on visual clutter and it is a big reason why I love spending time in this room.

I worked with Tailored Living on this space. They make it so convenient for you to achieve organization and order by bringing all the samples to you during an in-home consultation, taking all the required measurements, working with you on a 3D design, installing the cabinets quickly and simply and really just getting you where you need to go in regards to your organizational goals. With franchises across the US and Canada, there’s a solution waiting for you.

I wanted high contrast in the cabinetry so I chose white modern shaker cabinets on the perimeter of the room, and dark drawer fronts on this generous island that allows my kids ample room to spread out and get messy. The combination of drawers and tall cabinets is an important strategy — the tall upper cabinets are great for books and board games, the deeper lower cabinets are fabulous for large bins for toys and and shallow drawers are great for art supplies, paper, Shopkins and Lego. We used laminate for its durability as well as its accessible price point. To add a bit of sparkle to the space, I added pulls by Shayne Fox Hardware. I love the handmade, rustic element these bring to this cabinetry.

I chose to put a sink in this space as it’s so practical with my seven little kids. In keeping with my monochromatic palette, I chose Delta’s new black matte Esque faucet with its sleek pull-down design and modern innovations like the ShieldSpray technology that dispenses water in an unique pattern to clean up dirty dishes while containing mess and splatter.

And I kept the matte black going with the wall paint colour which makes me so happy. I don’t think I would have been as bold to do this if I did not have so much natural light in this space, but I’m so happy with how this Wrought Iron colour by Benjamin Moore turned out. And whenever I use dark shades, I like using it in a matte finish. It’s rich and lush and I love its modern look.

The large-scale artwork might be my favourite element in my playroom. We had individual portraits of our children blown up to fit these inexpensive frames. We hung them around our TV about three inches apart and it creates a graphic element that makes me smile every time I enter the room. Keeping things black and white helps the TV to not feel like a major focal point of the room, and instead sort of blend in to the composition.

Sometimes mom and dad need a moment, but still need to keep an eye on the little ones, so we created a home office space. We actually put a wall up ourselves, including these beautiful doors from Metrie, which I painted blue. I love how the clear glass gives us the option to still peek in and see what is going on with our children.

We put the electric fireplace/media unit by Dimplex and I just love how it creates instant cozy with the press of a button. You can put an electric fireplace virtually anywhere you can run the correct power, and the results are fast, stylish, cozy and so comfortable. There is something about a fireplace that promotes instant comfort and relaxation at home, don’t you think? And that’s what a modern basement should be about.

By Lisa Canning
Blueprints for a Beautiful Life

Lisa Canning is a parenting, interior design and lifestyle expert in Toronto where she lives with her husband and seven children, ages nine and under.

https://lisacanning.ca/

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Basement backlash

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Basement backlash

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We get a lot of press releases in the Renovation Contractor inbox, many of them completely irrelevant to us – like the no-expenses paid invitation to attend the grand opening of a beauty salon in London, England. But another one sent from the English capital did catch our attention. It’s from a law firm about a presentation they’re giving called, “Defend yourself from digging neighbours.” The session is in response to the proliferation of so-called “mega basements” in the high-priced city. These are multi-storey below ground excavations to house movie theatres, pools, gyms, and even panic rooms. The firm tallied 112 mega basement projects in London in the past decade, and a further 785 “large basements.” Sounds like a strong underground economy.

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