Utah Style and Design

Cara Loren’s Spaces: Way Beyond the Basic Basement

March 28, 2019

Designer Andrea West teams with influencer Cara Loren to transform the style-setter’s Kaysville basement from unfinished to fabulous.

Call it fate.

Just when lifestyle influencer Cara Loren was on the hunt for a designer to help transform her young family’s unfinished basement into something unique and stylish, designer Andrea West approached Loren with the idea of collaborating on a project for her portfolio. Loren—whose many followers look to her for advice and inspiration on everything from fashion to decorating, and travel to fitness—reviewed West’s work and instantly knew she was the pro to help turn Loren’s dream for lux and livable lower-level spaces into reality.

Collaborating throughout the project, the duo dived right in as West revised the raw space, then comprised of concrete floors and rooms defined by bare two-by-fours. She reconfigured the floor plan to include an open family room and kitchen, as well as an adjacent bathroom, that the pair would design and decorate from the floor up. Today, Loren’s young family, good friends and avid fans relish the results.

“Having someone who knows how to take my style and taste, mix it in with the dimensions we had to work with, and make the end result something both beautiful and what I had in mind in the first place is magic,” says Loren. “This is exactly what Andrea did for me.”  

THE KITCHEN

“I always begin with the kitchen; it sets the tone for the rest of the home,” West says. Loren rejected the idea of a typical kitchen from the get-go. “I wanted to take risks and do something that was different from what you might normally see,” she explains. The duo pulled inspiration from Loren’s travels and personal style as West cleverly integrated elements that visually enlarged the small space, created contrast and mixed materials to form an engaging design. 

• The island’s bold waterfall design accentuates the rich veining of its broad Nouveau Calacatta Quartz countertop.

• Dark navy, handmade subway tiles clad the backsplash, adding contrast and providing a soft, matte finish. A quartz slab extends to the ceiling, boldly breaking the span of dark tiles. 

• “Gold-and-glass open shelves are cutting edge yet timeless,” explains West. The shelves provide storage and display space without adding the bulk of upper cabinets. 

• Patterned tile faces the island’s back, delivering a head-turning detail inspired by a similar bar Loren admired while traveling. 

• Antique brass pendants by Thomas O’Brien illuminate the island. “I used their large scale to balance similarly scaled items in the neighboring family room,” West says.

• A light gray stain warms the lower cabinets and allows the wood grain to show through. 

• A herringbone-patterned floor of wide, wood-look tile adds texture and visual movement, as well as easy maintenance. 

• Mixed metals, from chic gold-and-leather barstools to stainless appliances and brass pendants make the room feel collected and personal. “It reflects Cara’s fashion style,” West says. 

THE FAMILY ROOM

“We wanted this space to be welcoming, comfy, kid-friendly and styled in a way that is true to us,” Loren says. What she didn’t want was anything resembling typical basement hangouts—overly loungey or theater-like. That meant a more tailored, personalized design rich with unexpected elements. “We had so much fun mixing the materials and textures in this room, from the leather and velvet sofas to the faux fur and gold accent chairs,” Loren says. The duo picked the wall’s blush tone first then worked from the ground up, starting with the rug, then adding other elements to create the room’s eclectic desert vibe.

• “I have a thing for stand-out rugs,” Loren says. West pulled orange and red tones from the rug, as well as black to “add drama and calm the space.” 

• Forget a predictable sectional. Instead, two sofas—one velvet and the other leather—pair with two faux-fur director’s chairs to provide ample seating and surprising style. 

•Loren wanted a gallery wall from the start. “Andrea helped me navigate the right sizes, dimensions, and types of art that would fit my style,” she says. 

• West chose a smoked-glass-topped cocktail table to add large scale and chic style to the space without obstructing views of the rug below. 

•A wall-mounted TV displayed above an open-shelf console welcomes movie watching without dominating the design with typical theater style. 

• Leggy pieces, a floor-propped mirror and glass-topped cocktail table foster the room’s open, airy ambiance.

THE BATHROOM

“We wanted a more neutral palette in the bathroom, with a clean, fresh and relaxed look for Cara’s online make-up videos and tutorials,” West explains. But don’t mistake neutral for ho-hum. The duo filled the space with splashy features and head-turning fixtures that make it overflow with character. “This was the room I was most excited about,” Loren says. “I have always envisioned this beautiful, glam, classy-yet-edgy bathroom that I could spend days on end in.”

• Cement floor tiles ground the space with large-scale pattern.

• The freestanding tub’s sculptural shape softens the room’s harder lines and surfaces. 

• An Arteriors chandelier adds a shot of glam above the tub and draws the eye upward. 

• A mix of black and white tiles work together to animate the room without overwhelming it. 

• The grid-and-glass shower enclosure adds big style without consuming visual space. 

• Custom stain allows the white-oak vanity’s texture to show through.  

• A ladder cleverly serves as a unique rack for easy-to-grab towels. 

 

Brad Mee
Editor-In-Chief

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