Basement Design

The Challenge – Using Repurposed Timber Framed Barns


Ever have a challenge you can’t refuse? Our client wanted to develop a family retreat and as we began the design process, he came to us with an unusual challenge: to find a way to use two repurposed timber framed barns in the designs. Of course, we were excited about this request!

The smaller of the two timber frames is the cabin, which actually offered more challenges. The horizontal beams fell into some of the head room of the spaces, so we removed some and worked around the others that we were able to keep. 

The larger structure will be the main shared living space. It is built around a very unique gambrel roofed timber frame, which you don’t often see in Ohio. The frame becomes the core of the building and then “tractor shed” additions are added to the sides. One side becomes a bedroom suite, and the opposite is a screened porch, large enough to accommodate all the family at the same time.

The photos of the barn as it was being dismantled show the age and complexity we were working with.

Both timber frames were located and will be erected by Doug Morgan of Mount Vernon Barn Company, whose vision is to save and repurpose one hundred year old barns. I think they are well on their way!

Rendering credit goes to Derrick Davis of Davis Rogers Interiors.


Updating the Lower Level

19RDS_blog_-Griffey-contemporary-basement copy.jpeg

Our clients came to us with a problem many home owners face – how to make a lower level space updated and contemporary. They had several issues we had to address and we were able to create effective, yet contemporary changes to make this an incredible space.


  • Turn the stairs into a straight run
  • Add a wine cellar as a visual part of the room
  • Add a large bar and entertainment area that flows to the outdoor living area
  • Create a full theatre room 
  • Embrace a contemporary aesthetic

Highlights of Our Design:

  • Relocated several plumbing lines and a water heater
  • Reframed the stairs and new trim, flooring, and finishes
  • Installed a replacement door system for better operation and weather sealing
  • Removed the existing stair landing and replaces with a straight run built with glass treads illuminated from beneath
  • Wine cellar is a series of commercial glass doors allowing a view of the entire collection 
  • Large island was wrapped in a waterfall of marble in a bold green and black 

The builder for this contemporary space was Charlie Griffey of Griffey Remodeling.

Our designers at RDS can work with you to renovate or remodel any room in your home to make it whatever you dream it should be. Let’s get the conversation started and the project underway!

Design Don’ts…Could These Hurt Your Home’s Value?


You’re excited, ready and anxious to start on your design of your new dream home or the renovation of the home you already love. At RDS, we understand as our residential designers work with clients every day to help develop their dreams to reality.

Many of the families we work with have built several homes and understand the process thoroughly but we are all inundated with so many media options from Houzz to HGTV that often the inspiration sources provided can have divergent ideas. It is our responsibility to ask you detailed questions about your ideas and work with you in making decisions that will serve you and your family best for the long term.

What you love now, or what you’ve seen on HGTV, might not work for a future buyer, and while we don’t want to think about selling, it all too often can become a reality.

What to Consider:

Investment Level: the homes in your neighborhood have a range of pricing and if you’re not careful you can spend more than you can recover if you would have to relocate unxpectedly. This shouldn’t be the only criteria to make a decision but it is an important one.

Does the design fit the home? How does the design of the home, impact the neighborhood? Creating an ultra-modern look in a traditional neighborhood might not be the best fit, especially in a historic district.

If you need to include Universal design in your existing home due to accessibility issues, then by all means, do it. But if you’re thinking of widening doors and hallways in your renovation plans to add resale value, think again. The costs may far exceed the perceived value.

Depending on where you live, don’t upgrade a kitchen beyond what is typical for the neighborhood. You can easily price yourself right out of the market and never recoup your investment. Work with our design team to find the best options to fit your home and neighborhood, while still achieving the look you want.

Not every kitchen renovation can accommodate an island without adding or repurposing space. Many times the budget limits the extent of the work and a careful redesign of the existing kitchen will provide solutions to address the functional improvements within the space.

Swimming pools…you may dream of having one, but if they’re not common in your neighborhood it may be hard to recover your investment. If you have to sell, a pool could be a deterrent to buyers that might see it as an added cost, more maintenance, or a liability.

Live in a historic charmer that you want to remodel? If you have areas that are beyond repair or can be changed without losing value, then go for it. Be careful about getting rid of all of the original features and historic charm of your home though…it’s historic for a reason!

Your home is listed by the number of bedrooms, so the loss of a bedroom to enlarge an owner's suite or create a new bathroom could backfire on you. Adding bathrooms or expanding a bedroom is a smart choice, but not at the expense of reducing the bedroom count, as it will change your home’s comparables in the neighborhood.

Set on having granite? It’s still a popular choice, but do your research and see what else might be an option. Marble and quartz continue to be strong contenders. Not everyone is excited about granite anymore.

Your home needs a tub, especially with children, but be wary of jetted or spa tubs. These are not what buyers are looking for. Walk in showers and freestanding tubs are design dos!

Love the aquariums you’ve seen on HGTV, and wish you had one? Think twice, built-in aquariums will only appeal to certain people.

All white rooms are out. Texture and color are in. All white cabinets and walls in a kitchen is not trending anymore, but if white is what you want, add pops of color in the backsplash and other areas such as countertops.

As much as you might love barn doors and shiplap, they will, like many hot design trends, date your home eventually and might make it difficult to resell. But if you want it, be creative and original with it.

Wallpaper is making a comeback, but only as an accent. Too much wallpaper might be too much of a good thing. If you do use it, be sure it can be easily removed for potential future buyers.

Hardwood and tile are still the flooring options of choice, with carpeting used in certain spaces. Look at what’s out there, to make an informed choice about flooring.

If doing a remodel, converting a garage to a gym or another type of room is not a smart move. Buyers want garages. A smart remodel would be to redefine the space and add storage. If you really want to convert the garage, do it in such a way that it can be converted back to a garage - don’t remove the garage doors.

Ultimately, it’s your home, and you should include design ideas that you love. Just remember that future buyers might be scared off by your choices that are too personalized. Are there ways to be able to appeal to future buyers even with your design choices and still recoup your investment? Our designers listen to you, help guide you, and present you with the best options available for your home. Get started on your home design ideas with us!