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With three boys, we have gotten to the point where we own so many toys and have so much sports equipment that it is difficult to find presents for the boys. While the boys still get some packages, we have moved to gifting experiences or useful “big ticket” items, as well.

Until recently, our finished basement was a dark toy wasteland. The boys spanned in age from 3 through 8, and we had baby toys, older kid toys, and everything in between. However, when the baby turned 4 last month, we were able to resell and donate many of the HUGE plastic toys that were taking over our life. Now, all three boys have moved into the stage of play that is dominated by LEGOs, puzzles, sports, and video gaming.

In addition, as my oldest starts to gain more independence, I wanted to create a space comfortable for gathering. I like the idea of the kids choosing to spend time here hanging out with their friends. This way I at least have some control over what my kids are (or aren’t!) doing with their friends.

We revealed the final room to them on Christmas Eve, and their reaction was perfect. They exclaimed, “This is the best present ever!”


My boys are lovely and fun, but sometimes I need them to spend some time in a place that is not in arm’s reach of me. However, in order to get them into the basement, I needed to make the space comfortable for them and an attractive place where they would want to spend time.

Last summer I shared my love for the DuoBed storage seating, so of course this versatile piece of furniture was an important part of this room design. I think it is a huge bonus to be able to store all of our Hot Wheels tracks and Nerf guns in plain sight with this seating.

The seating is in front of the new media center, and the boys now have ample places to sit and play video games, listen to music, or stream Netflix. Recently my oldest son had a friend over, and the two of them turned on some Top 40 music and kicked around a ball in the basement for an hour. I am excited to see the boys using and enjoying their new space.


My favorite part of the room is the herringbone feature wall. The wall that you see when you turn from the bottom of the stairs is massive. I had painted the entire room using “Shiplap”, a beautiful white paint from Magnolia Home’s new interior paint line. However, I wanted to break up the white of the wall with something visually interesting.

Using painter’s tape, I made vertical lines one foot apart along the entire wall. I then “eyeballed” diagonal lines of different widths to make the herringbone pattern. I used leftover Benjamin Moore “Grey Owl” Paint as the griege base, and then used “Magnolia Green”, “Weekend”, and “Together” paint samples from the Magnolia Home line to add the hints of color.


The most modern update in the room was the refinishing of this old “bar” in our basement. The cabinets had good bones, but the color was more peach than brown! I had been researching refinishing options for some time, but I was nervous. How difficult would it be to paint? Would it be strong enough to withstand my kids’ tough love?

All of the reviews I had read online pointed me to the Giani Countertop Paint Kit and the Giani Nuvo Cabinet Paint Kit. So, when Giani offered to help us with this transformation I was more than ecstatic to give it a try.

From the start, the Giani products put me at ease. In addition to providing all of the tools I would need to complete the project, Giani offered online videos where I could watch application techniques. Since I was a little nervous to get started, I watched several of their videos before painting.

I decided to start with the cabinets, because I was worried I would drip paint on the new countertops if I started with the countertops first. After lightly sanding the varnish off the cabinets, I painted one set of drawers

THIS PAINT WAS A DREAM!!!!!!! Application was so smooth and it left no streaks or brush marks.

I started with the cabinet doors and sides first, and finished with the trim and the edges of the doors and drawers. I left the different doors open to let the paint dry. It dried really quickly and I was able to complete two coats in one day.

So much better, right? I loved this Earl Grey color I chose, as it looks modern and is a good fit for the boys’ new tween space. However, Giani has many other beautiful cabinet colors to choose from. In fact, after seeing my cabinet makeover, my mom went and bought their Black Deco cabinet paint to refinish her end tables and coffee table this week!

Once the paint dried, I was ready to tackle the countertop.

In order to transform my boring laminate countertop into something that resembled granite, I followed the three step Giani countertop transformation plan. The Giani countertop kit came with all of the tools I needed, a black primer coat, three paints to mimic the look of granite, and a top coat.

I first applied the primer. Giani suggested applying the primer from back to front in 18 inch sections.

After allowing the topcoat to dry overnight, I used the Pearl Mica, Black Onyx, and Copper accent paints to make the markings of the granite. Videos available online gave ideas for how to apply the paint in a natural way. Giani even provided a practice sheet so I could practice the application before applying the paint to my countertops.

The final step was to apply a topcoat. I used three layers of topcoat on the counter because I wanted to ensure it was tough enough to handle my three boys. After 2 weeks, the counters were completely cured, and I was able to add the heavier gaming systems and appliances to the top!


My oldest spends 80% of his free time kicking a soccer ball. In the winter, it is often too cold (or wet) to play outside. Thus, he ends up in the basement kicking a ball against the wall. We decided to paint a goal with corner targets for him to practice his shots. He designed the goal he wanted, and while it is near regulation size in height, it is a bit short in width. Regardless, the goal matches the color scheme of the room and is functional in design.

A framed poster of Messi hangs on the wall. Messi and Pogba are his heroes. Likewise, a signed poster from our hometown MLS team hangs on the wall, a souvenir from an event with his soccer team.


Above the couch we framed a free Pokémon promotional poster. On another wall we have a large barn star that was salvaged from a neighbor’s garage.

We also created a basketball hoop (I used macramé to make the net – I couldn’t find one for a reasonable price – so I made a freebie!).

Another awesome neighbor also gave us a hand-me-down foosball table, which has resulted in some epic battles. IKEA Kallax storage filled with bins makes it easy for the boys to access toys and video game accessories.

The basement is now a bright, updated space for the boys. They are spending a lot of time in the basement kicking a soccer ball, playing vide games, and playing with their toys. It has freed up a lot of space upstairs!

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