Tim and Brooke Graham moved into their three-story Piedmont home in 2007. The three-bedroom house built in 1909 has a huge basement that they started using as a play room about a year and a half ago. When the toys started taking over upstairs, Brooke realized Mabel, now 7, and Martin, now 4 ½, needed a place to get their ample energy out. “When the rain comes, we come down here,” says Brooke.


“I wanted to feel like they were in nature down here,” says Brooke.

Tim and Brooke taped out and painted the mountain logo on the wood paneling to bring more of the outdoors in.

A nature photo panel conceals the entrance to the practice room for Tim’s band, The Meltones.


“We’re crazy, write that down!” says 7-year-old Mabel.


Musical instruments are the top toy picks for Mabel and Martin. And the basement will  soon see a new installment — a stage.

Lots of storage bins make it easy to clean up toys in a flash.

 April Sandoval and Raddy Lurie moved into their Northeast Sabin home three and half years ago, when their sons were 3 and just born. As their boys got older, they started making their basement into a play room extraordinaire. “My whole idea was to create a space where they could run and jump and climb,” says Sandoval. Today, the basement is well used by the very social family. Sandoval hosts many a playdate with school and neighborhood friends there, and Cruz and Makena can make a ruckus to their hearts’ content. “We don’t hear them, it’s amazing,” says Sandoval.


“With the rain, it’s so nice to have this space,” says Sandoval.

Cruz, 6 and Makena, 3, loved the walls at local climbing gyms, so April and Raddy hired someone to affix a board to the wall to secure climbing hand and foot holds that Raddy found on Amazon.

“I had this space as a reading corner and it just wasn’t being used, I saw a picture of a firehouse in a similar space and I loved that idea but I wanted to incorporate a slide,” says Sandoval.

The four-bedroom Rose City home of Mark and Michelle Subotnick features two play rooms for 6-year-old Devin and 4-year-old Jackson. Off the kitchen, one play room holds games, art supplies and Lego Duplos. But their large full basement with a TV room sees the most play time as a multi-use space that hosts play dates, birthday parties, overnight guests, movie nights — even animation workshops taught by Michelle.

Steal this idea! Michelle installed IKEA hanging utensil racks and loaded them with rolls of coloring paper. Under the paper, another rack holds caddies for markers and paints. The wall is coated in chalkboard paint for even more drawing fun.

Plenty of lighting and a warm rug makes this basement play room a snug place to read and play. A dress-up rack of costumes includes everything from superheroes to sparkly My Little Pony numbers.

Michelle fixed up this table she got on nextdoor for $20 and plans to hot glue green Lego base plates to the top when the boys the make the move to from Duplos to Legos.

Upstairs, this amazingly organized closet helps keep mess at bay “This makes it easy for the boys to pull out bins and they can somewhat put it back,” says Michelle.  The rolling cart is from The Container Store.

Employees at The Container Store chuckled at Michelle’s request for a “light saber holder,” but found her a suitable caddy.


Denise Castañon
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