Designer Profile: Two Hands Interiors Favors Patina Over Perfection in Classy Basement Entertainment Room

Basement Entertainment Room Remodel, Two Hands Interiors

Chicago-area interior designer Two Hands Interiors turned an unfinished family basement into a classy entertainment room with clever ceiling treatments, and warm materials like wood and leather.

Transforming a Basement

When repeat clients asked for help transforming their unfinished basement into a cozy and highly functional hangout for kids and adults alike, principal Rachel Alcorn was excited to help transform this blank canvas.

Basement remodels can be challenging because of the often-awkward ceiling arrangements, with HVAC guts and herky-jerky ceiling soffits, but the team turned a challenge into an asset. They cleverly transformed a challenging ceiling profile into space-defining features, demarcating the television viewing area and enhancing it with a custom-stained ceiling treatment with wood beams.

The inspiration for the design was a “California Library” aesthetic – clean, warm, a touch modern but grounded in the traditional architecture of the home with warm wood paneling and leather accents. Leather details along with brass touches and fun textiles add texture. Vintage black and white photos and custom posters added a nod to the clients’ alma matters.

California Library Design Inspiration Board, Two Hands Interiors
Design theme inspiration board

Elegant Details

One of the elegant details in this design is the dual-purpose space underneath the (really) big television. A space that can often be a no-man’s land was transformed into inviting conversational seating when the television is turned off.

Principal Rachel Alcorn says, “the bench seat with custom cushions came about because we had a long run of built-in bench storage that needed some visual interest. The wall hung cushions allow the bench to be used for seating as needed, but without cumbersome seat cushions or pillows – a more modern and clean look. The leather straps with brass are a sophisticated and special detail – our clients say they are the element most commented on by guests.”

Two Hands Interiors reached out to Walnut Studiolo to create the leather cushion straps, which were an “Extra Large” derivative of the Hawthorne Wide leather handle, and matched the look and scale of the Hawthorne Small hands installed on the bench storage below. Timeless hand-dyed leather complimented the “California Library” theme.

On working with the Walnut on custom leather work, Rachel says “The Walnut team was seamless with our custom request – they sent samples quickly and really got the vision, and then executed the order perfectly and on time.”

All the details came together to create a sophisticated and comfortable space that serves the entire family and flows with the rest of the house, while providing an experience all on its own. The family’s basement remodel was finished just in time to host holiday parties, bringing to life their vision of a clean, sophisticated and warm entertaining area for years to come.

About Two Hands Interiors

Based in Wheaton, Illinois in the western suburbs of Chicago, Two Hands Interiors was named for its “hands on” approach to design and from the founder’s work as a fine arts sculptor. In their design philosophy:

We favor story and patina over perfection. We believe the best interiors are livable and yet inspiring, telling a story – reflecting the personalities and passions of their inhabitants. Our aim is listen to our clients, ask the right questions, and then co-create an interior that balances beauty with livability.

Read their project journal for more details on this remodel.

Learn more about Two Hands Interiors on their website, or follow them on Houzz, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


About Walnut Studiolo

Walnut Studiolo crafts original modern designs by hand in our Oregon workshop using only natural materials. We are a family-run company located on the North Oregon Coast. Learn more about us on our website:

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