Style Watch

A beautified basement

As designer Liz Caan proves, lower-level living space needn’t be sub par.

Newton interior designer Liz Caan's finished basement in her 1920s Georgian-style home in Chestnut Hill.
Eric Roth
Newton interior designer Liz Caan's finished basement in her 1920s Georgian-style home in Chestnut Hill.

WHEN LIZ CAAN DECIDED it was time to expand the living area of her 1920s Georgian-style home in Chestnut Hill, she went underground. “Before we considered adding on to the house, we felt we should maximize the footprint,” says Caan, a Newton interior designer who shares the home with her husband, their two teenagers, and their 5-year-old son. “Finishing the basement was an easy way to gain 1,000 square feet of living space.” With bright colors and fun accent pieces, Caan transformed the room, previously used only for storage and laundry, into a haven with ample area to entertain and unwind.

1 > AN ULTRASUEDE SOFA in a neutral hue, from Williams-Sonoma Home, is both attractive and durable. “All types of stains come out with soap and water,” Caan says.

2 > A PEACOCK-THEMED LAMP in turquoise with an orange shade — from Hudson in the South End — has whimsical flair.


3 > FLOORS ARE SHEATHED with porcelain tile that has the look of sisal carpet, says Caan.

Eric Roth
A vintage chair helped transform the room.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

4 > THE TELEVISION STAND is a modern version of an Asian cabinet, acquired at

5 > NAVY BLUE OTTOMANS on casters serve as both footrests and tray tables. Custom-made of faux pony-hair fabric, they look glamorous but are indestructible, says Caan.

6 > A WOVEN-WOOL AREA RUG made by Boston manufacturer Merida adds warmth and texture.

7 > A VINTAGE CHAIR was a $20 find. “I loved the shape,” says Caan, who had it reupholstered in a turquoise and white fabric.


8 > AN EAMES SERIGRAPH from adds a touch of mid-century-modern style to the space. “I loved the graphic simplicity of it,” Caan says.

9 > THE LAUNDRY ROOM features white cabinetry by German line Alno, enlivened by wallpaper in a zebra motif by Rose Cumming.