Before and After: This Dark Basement’s Budget Reno Is Incredibly Inspiring

Name: Nikki Norberg and Bryan Frank
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

I work at Blu Dot doing a mixture of photo and design, and Bryan is a web developer. Ceramics is something we both find passion in because it is a way to escape the computer screen and create with our hands. Here was our very sad, dingy, asbestos-tile filled basement just a few months ago. We wanted to convert the basement into a usable studio where we felt relaxed and inspired.

Bryan and I share our South Minneapolis home that was built in the 1940s. I moved in a year ago and since then we have been chipping away at rooms that need fixing or updating. (Just about all of them do!) We both like to hold onto things: childhood photos, miscellaneous ephemera, and objects that have meaning to us. You could call us pack rats, or you could call us collectors. We tend to say the latter. I attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Bryan attended the Art Institute. We both have an eye for design and decorating, though totally different tastes at times. It’s always a treat when our two styles come together to make something we’re both proud of.

We are so pleased with our new little studio that cost us under $1K to create! We spent approximately $850 on the entire basement: $250 for some cheap vinyl flooring that mimics concrete, $150 on paint, $150 on wood for the ceiling, and $300 on the workbenches.

The ceiling had to be torn down for some plumbing work a few months back, and the asbestos tile was always covered with carpet, or avoided.

We repaired the ceiling and ended up pulling up the broken asbestos tiles (keeping everything wet and using respirators) while covering the rest with the vinyl flooring.

Our decorations consist of a mixture between antique store finds, friend’s art, our own art, and miscellaneous ephemera from our childhood.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic, contemporary, thrifty.

Thank you Nikki and Bryan!

*This submissions responses have been edited for clarity and length.



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