I have been very happy with our decision to have an unfinished basement, since it has been used more often than either of the previous basement spaces we have owned. Part of the reason for this, is that we opted to have in-floor heating.
When we were looking at potential existing homes, we toured a home that had, as my kids fondly referred to it, hot floors. As we went through the home, Isaac very inappropriately started rolling around on one such hot floor, as it was the neatest thing he had ever felt. We had never really considered having in-floor heating until that point, and when it came time to make decisions about our home building, it was at the top of our list.
It gets cold in Wisconsin. And this winter has been particularly brutal. But with these warmed floors, the basement temperature is similar to that of the rest of the house, and you don't have to wear 5 pairs of wool socks to insulate your feet from cold concrete. We have the added benefit of rising warm air, which, in turn, heats the house instead of, or in conjunction with, the furnace.
Now I cannot share with you the mechanisms, gauges, and who-dee-whats that make this system work. Trust me, Rich has given me numerous tutorials on how this works, but each time I feel like Charlie Brown listening to any adult in a Peanuts flick. After that admission, I see another in-floor heating tutorial in my near future....
There are definitive spaces in this unfinished basement of ours, at least a few.
There is my craft room. I love that there are three windows in this space, and that the light just floods in on sunny days because it is situated in the southeast corner of the house. Sunshine is very important to me. It is a nice, enclosed space, that contains all the lovely crafty things I have accumulated over the years. And just like the pantry, having everything in one space helps me to take stock of all that I have, so it is not forgotten.
I have also created a kid's crafting area, because my girls love to be in the room with me whenever I'm working in there.
There is our play area, that is tucked back in the northwest corner of the basement. Right now, these boxes of toys, some unpacked, some half-unpacked, and some still packed, litter the entire area and then some. Certainly these toys get taken out of this space...I find play food and dishes all over this house. But for the most part, we try to keep the toys in this area. There are a few specific toys that we have in bedrooms, but, by and large, this is where most can be found.
There is our sports area, adjacent to the toy area. In this space, serious basketball games of horse are played. Rich works with the kids on tennis, as well. More recently, an interest in skateboarding has developed. It's a nice, wide open space that accommodates lots of movement. With the aforementioned brutal wintry conditions, this space has seen a ton of activity. I am forever grateful for that.
There is also an exercise/guest room. It houses some exercise equipment and a futon, just in case an extra bed is needed in a pinch.
Behind the exercise space are two more "rooms." One will most likely be a bathroom and the other a room-that-cannot-be-considered-a-bedroom-but-could-look-an-awful-lot-like-one. Rich also is piecing together an area for a small workshop outside these spaces. Right now, they are filled with bikes, extra building supplies, empty boxes, and unpacked boxes.
All in all, our basement holds promise. We have time to play with the space, in the space, to see what works for us. A theatre? A bar area? A canning kitchen? Another dining space? We'll see what the future holds. For right now, we'll continue to enjoy the space just as it sits.