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After years in their home, a couple turns their basement into a sports bar

They pulled together a team that turned the half-finished space in their Boxborough home into a lounge where everyone loves to gather.

The swivel chair is upholstered in mod velvet fabric by local artist Liz Roache for Pierre Frey. The black, white, and hot pink hair-on-hide rug satisfies homeowner Sharon Burke’s desire for color in the seating area.joyelle west
Before the renovation the basement had a dropped ceiling that hid the ductwork.sabrina martell at dream kitchens

WHEN SHARON AND GARRETT BURKE built their Boxborough home, they specified 10-foot-tall ceilings in the basement, knowing they would someday finish the lower level. Fifteen years and three twentysomething sons later, the couple pulled together a team to transform the half-finished space into a sleek lounge.

“As our sons got bigger and brought home friends, the upstairs family room became too small for all of us,” Sharon Burke explains. Plus, the couple was looking for a space for the inevitable cluster of guests to gather besides the kitchen. A bar would provide a place for people to sidle up to, they reasoned.


Sabrina Martell from Dream Kitchens designed a walnut bar with all the accoutrements for entertaining, including a wine fridge, an ice maker, dishwasher drawers, and a convection oven for pizzas. There are even two beer taps, which Garrett Burke reports are a crowd-pleaser. Antique mirrored tiles lend bar-like ambiance with an element of mystery. “The tiles reflect the shapes and colors of the glasses and bottles, but not the details of peoples’ faces,” Martell says.

Interior designer Vivian Robins worked with the couple on furnishings. A game table with a reversible top is great for puzzles or poker. A tricolor hair-on-hide rug defines the seating area, where an oversize sectional and a swivel chair in a mid-century modern-patterned velvet offer spots for all. The televisions are usually tuned to sporting events, be it the Patriots or a hockey game (one son plays ice hockey professionally; another son plays for a university).

The finishing touch is the chevron ceiling. Responding to the couple’s request to balance black-painted ductwork with wood, contractor Jamie Warter developed the slatted design. To keep costs down, Warter used prefinished plywood with a maple veneer, back-cutting each slat on a 15-degree angle so that the sides aren’t visible. “The angles hide the fact that the slats aren’t solid wood and give the feeling of depth,” he says, noting that the plywood is recognizable from its layered side profile.


The couple named the bar the Rabbit Hole, which alludes to having a few too many drinks and getting lost in the lower level. “Unless we’re outside in the summer, we entertain down there,” Sharon says. As intended, it keeps people out of the kitchen. “Everyone congregates around the bar,” Garrett says.


Bar Designer: Dream Kitchens,

Contractor: Stonecastle Design & Build, 781-648-5070

Interior Designer: Vivian Robins Design,


Woven leather strap stools in the bar area, from Crate & Barrel, are sturdy and stylish.joyelle west
The round top of the Blatt Billiards table flips over to reveal a surface for playing poker.Joyelle West

Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to