Aptitude Customers Make the Most of Their Bonus Spaces

Though spacious basements are a large selling point for many homes, the large undefined area can be difficult to optimize effectively. But with families spending a greater share of their time at home, it’s crucial that every square foot is pulling its weight—whether as a workspace, a storage space, or an entertainment zone where families can make the most of their shared time spent inside.

Matt Mierek, founder of Aptitude Design & Build, has noticed an uptick in inquiries about basement and bonus-room renovations this spring. “With people being home more, they realize that they could be spending more time in their basement hanging out,” he says. “They're sitting there thinking, ‘Hey, if we knocked this wall out and expanded this sitting space, it'd be a lot nicer, 'or, ‘Hey, we want to add a bar down here.’ People have the tendency to start thinking about those kinds of things when they’re home a lot.”

Whether the homeowners are starting from a finished basement or an unfinished space that needs to be brought up to date before new zones can be defined, Aptitude is well-equipped to transform these large spaces into more purposeful, functional areas that will enhance any family’s experience of the space.

Mierek is also mindful of the areas that became more in demand when both work and social lives moved into the home during quarantine. “[Families] are feeling constrained being together in the same space all the time. Some may want to create an office or a new bathroom in the basement, and some just want to have some extra space to get away,” he observes.

Over the past few months, he’s found that many homeowners know exactly what they need from a renovated basement or bonus space—be it a guest room, an entertainment area, a bar, a workspace, or even a secondary kitchen. But for those who are more uncertain, Mierek is known for his way of gently guiding clients to exactly what they need. “For unfinished basements, [clients] might not have a good idea of the best placement or flow, which is where we come in.”

Mierek gathers as much information as possible about the desired outcome of the space from the onset, utilizing client-created inspiration boards on Houzz or Pinterest to help inform both the initial budgetary quote and the scope of the renovation. And while Aptitude has recently introduced a contactless virtual quote service for smaller projects, Mierek explains that for large spaces like a basement, it’s best to take an in-person tour—a process which has changed a bit over the past few months. “I do all the quotes myself—I think people feel a little bit more comfortable with me. I just make sure to wear a mask and stay six feet away as we’re walking through,” he says. As for how his walkthrough mindset has been affected, he says the process has become second nature. “I'm not touching a bunch of stuff,” he says with a laugh. “I’m a lot more mindful of what I'm doing and what I’m touching when I'm walking in somebody's home.”