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A Custom Project, Customized

2016 Design Award Winner: Finished basement

September 01, 2016
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Photos: courtesy Jim Gray

Werschay Homes, Saint Cloud, Minn.

In a nutshell: The goal was to create a basement that looks 100 years old but features the latest modern technology. The homeowners wanted to avoid using drywall, so a custom stone mix was mined specifically for the project. Everything from old farm equipment to reclaimed barn wood was incorporated into the rustic-themed remodel. Beams were shipped from Pennsylvania and hand hewn to meet the custom specs. Brick was salvaged from an old pizzeria in Chicago. The flooring is from the Lake Superior Grain Mill. “Basically, if it could be found in a showroom, the clients didn’t want it,” says Werschay Homes’ co-founder David Werschay. 

The project includes a lounge area, a golf simulator/home theater, a wine cellar, and an exercise room.

Tips & tricks: The addition containing the golf simulator/theater room presented several challenges. Most notably, the floor level was to be 4 feet below the original basement and footings of the cinder block foundation, and because the site’s soil is very sandy, crews had to be careful to prevent it from shifting and potentially compromising the existing foundation and driveway. To ensure the main structure’s integrity, the team dug next to the foundation and immediately constructed a deep wood form to keep the sand under the footing. This served as a sort of temporary retaining wall during the initial stages of construction. 

“We excavated very slowly,” Werschay says. “We did preliminary engineering and could see what was there. The first footing we poured was right next to the existing house.” Luckily, Werschay built the client’s home in 2007, so the company knew what to expect.

See the full list of winning entries here.

About the Author

About the Author

Erika Taylor is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at or 972.803.4014.

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