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 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.
Megan Hulse Bartholomew is the web editor for Utah Bride & Groom and Utah Style & Design magazines. She recently graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in English and Journalism, and is currently trying to catch up on 5+ years of pleasure reading.