Negative Space – The Process to Getting to Your Desired Results

by | May 19, 2016 | Basement Remodel

Negative space is described as the space around and between the subject(s) of an image.* In a home, negative space could be considered blank spots where there’s no design. For the Howells their basement was a plethora of negative space. The previous owners’ additions to the basement felt of no use to them, so the space was left desolate and dysfunctional.

It’s always important for the chosen design-build company to learn first and foremost what the desired use of the space is. For the Howells, it’s entertaining and spending time with each other. They wanted a basement that was versatile enough for large groups, yet intimate enough for one-on-one time. They had no idea how to make this transformation cohesive with their desired outcomes.

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Through the discovery process we learned a few specific things they wanted too: space for their pool table, a bar area, a TV lounge, and to incorporate a waterfall feature they had acquired. They wanted it to be inviting and modern. Walking through the Leesburg basement we became familiar with an unused bar area in the center of the space, next to a small raised performance stage. In the adjacent room, the back wall had been transformed into cubbies for storing dogs in their crates. We assume the previous owners were breeders of some type. Another space had built-in shelving along the full length of a 24’ wall and an untouched fireplace. The space felt stagnant, yet full of possibility.

Designing within budget is a value any design-build company must hold with high regard. Keeping the existing bar in place, while updating its look was a must to reach greater visions with the remaining existing space.


A few design options were provided. Some with the bar and pool table as the focal point of the space and others with the bar and TV lounge as the central hub of the space, both with options for the rooms off to the side. The Howell’s settled on an open floor plan that involved removal of a column support under a steel beam, and installing two engineered steel plates to the existing steel beam to open up the wall. The kennel room was transformed into the pool table space, a space which they were thrilled was able to be created in what seemed like such a small area to work with. The small raised stage was removed and is now an inviting movie lounge area, centrally located within the bar space. The wall-length shelves were reconfigured into a smaller set of niches for displaying their most treasured items. Their beautiful slate waterfall feature hangs above the fireplace as a center piece for their small intimate gatherings. Accents and upgrades to the bar were added to embellish this classic design, all-the-while providing aid to cost-savings. Furniture was also used as a way of sectioning off small welcoming areas further while still inviting large groups to enjoy the space. Colors in the furniture, wall paper, paint selections, rugs, pillows and other décor were tied in to create a unified space – using negative space as its intent, to put emphasis on the beauty.

Upon a visit after the home was completed, Mrs. Howell went to light their fireplace and commented, “this is the first time I’ve lit this fireplace since moving in here! That says a lot about how little we used this space before the remodel.” They exuded a great pride and joy in showing their final completed space. Mission accomplished.

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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

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10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

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Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

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We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

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Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

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