Gary Singh imagines…

A basement extraordinaire

For entertaining, getting fit, or just relaxing


Gary Singh, President of the Ottawa renovations company, Singhko Inc., enjoys talking about his dream basement renovation. He sees it as a basement perfect for entertaining, with movies, workout sessions, games nights, food and drinks, or just as a place to stay and relax. It’s a multi-use space with several open areas branching from a common lounge.

There are custom finishes in this basement: glass, stone, stainless steel and wood. They go well with the lush leather seating.

Each area has its own lighting, controlled by one remote control, smart phone or iPad while you’re on another floor or away from home.

You enter the space from a beautiful open-concept spiral staircase with a glass railing complete with metal accents. When you’re upstairs, you can see down into the basement.

There are panels of floor-to-ceiling windows to let in lots of natural light and to make the space similar to the main floor.

There’s a good sub-floor with an insulated moisture barrier, and radiant heating; and engineered hardwood for flooring, because it’s strong and structurally sound. Gary adds: “with climate changes in the basement, engineered hardwood stays true.”

The lounge area features a central four-way fireplace, custom stone mantel and stained woodwork for contrast.

Gary’s soundproof movie theatre is a dark room designed with rows of stadium-style seating, surround-sound speakers and built-in audio/visual equipment. Individual reclining seats have armrests and cup holders. There’s a concession stand: a bar fridge, a place to keep snacks and goodies, and a popcorn machine.

A martini bar has a mirror background with spot lights that showcase the choice of bottles on glass shelving. The bar top is a shiny high-gloss red. Guests can sit on tall metal swivel-barstools with red leather cushions. The bar has a sink, fridge/freezer and lots of hidden storage for pop and chips.

The basement has a games area with pool table, pinball machine, arcade-style video games, shuffleboard, air hockey and darts. There is dim lighting contrasted by spot lights on the games for that “arcade” feeling.

A large 5-piece restroom has a free-standing tub. The room is tiled and has in-floor radiant heating. There’s custom cabinetry and a contemporary stone shower, encased in seamless glass, with body and rain-head sprays. It also has two grey-stone sinks, a large mirror, and leather seating with big cushions.

There’s a full kitchen designed for entertaining, and a casual dining area in the style of a 19th century French bistro or deli. It has vintage-style seating, metal pendant lighting, marble accents, and checkered flooring against an old brick wall.

An elevator is close by to make it easier to bring food or drinks from the kitchen. The elevator also provides barrier-free accessibility. (Some of Gary’s clients are beginning to think about future accessibility and staying in their house for a long time.)

On a sunny day you can have lunch on the patio outside the large double doors next to the bistro. On the other side of the garden, a set of doors leads to the mudroom for anyone coming in from a rainy day. Gary says it’s perfect for spare towels, laundry and a standup shower.

The mudroom area leads to a large gym with a steam room, dry sauna and shower. The fitness area includes all the equipment of a well-appointed gym – bicycles, elliptical machines, free weights, treadmills, a rowing machine and punching bag. It has surround-sound and a juice bar. Beside it is a quiet room with a waterfall and stone elements for yoga and meditation after a stressful day.

There is a separate entrance for a nanny suite, and guest rooms with plenty of storage space. Guests have a few bedrooms from which to choose. It’s their own area with a private washroom.

With such a basement, you wonder if anyone would ever want to go upstairs again.