The New York Times ran an op-ed recently called In Praise of Unfinished Basements. The author Brady Brickner-Wood talks about how he loved the unfinished basement of his childhood home. It was a place to play and imagine and pretend.
There was something about its unfinished status that gave it a certain allure. He says the unfinished basement was a place where life was more than what it seemed.
That got me thinking about the role unfinished basements have played in my life. Houses were smaller when I was a child and until I was twelve I always lived in a home with an unfinished basement. My grandparents had homes with unfinished basements too.
Because in the past rooms in houses were much smaller than they are now, and usually closed off from one another with doors, it was in unfinished basements that families often gathered for special celebrations because it provided a large, open space for everyone to be together.
I remember Christmas celebrations in the basement of my maternal grandparents’ little house.
Basements weren’t just for holiday celebrations. In the photo below my mother has decorated the unfinished basement of our house for my birthday party the year I turned nine.
My parents’ wedding reception was held in the unfinished basement of a church.
Unfinished basements were often places to work as well. That’s where you did laundry, woodworking and home repairs and as illustrated in the photo below taken in my parents-in-law’s basement it was a place to do canning.
Unfinished basements are becoming rarer as people update and renovate them. Do you have memories of an unfinished basement?