Helping George to the Rescue Convert a Dangerous Basement into Safe Family Space

Home renovations are always challenging. Sometimes they are so challenging that they never get done! Joe and Jessica Rende were in that spot with a dangerous basement, until George to the Rescue and his team of contractors and designers, including Tailored Living®, came to their rescue.

Every week, Emmy® award-winning host George Oliphant and team rescue a family or community in need of home improvements. Although he confesses to being nervous when it’s time to knock on the door and greet the family being rescued, George always comes through! For the Rendes, Tailored Living joined with George to the Rescue to help make the dream of a special room for Joey a reality.  Franchise owners Charles Dennis and Jay Feingold of Tailored Living of Northern New Jersey generously contributed their creativity, time and expertise on this challenging project.

A recovery space for Joey

Now 15 months old, Joey had suffered a stroke at birth that left him with limited use of his right side. Jessica quit her job as a preschool teacher to stay at home with then four-year-old Gianna, and to see to Joey’s specialized therapy. Right now a big need for the family is a renovated basement that provides a recovery space for Joey as well as additional “family fun” space and a play area that Joey and Gianna can enjoy together.

Joey immediately stole the hearts of everyone involved. His mom says, “He’s a tough little boy; nothing stops him. He’s come a long way.” Architect Gordon Kahn described Joey as “charming, kind, adorable and happy.” He expressed a pretty general opinion when he said, “This project is SO worth doing for me!”

Joey’s mom had shared that his crowded bedroom was not conducive to allowing him to concentrate on his therapy sessions, so George bought in an educational director to ensure that design and function were maximized so that Joey gets everything he needs in the space, even to the selection of toys.

Creativity grows where challenges abound

As is often the case, this was not a straight-forward project. There were extensive structural and framing issues to be dealt with throughout the basement to get it all up to code, and the small size of the basement created uncomfortable close encounters for the dozens of workers each trying to do their own part.  As surprises continually popped up and the days slipped by, George declared, “From the first time I walked into the basement I knew it was not going to be an easy rescue, but I didn’t think it would be this difficult.” The final indignity was melting snow that seeped into the basement, soaking the new carpeting and pushing out the final finish date to two full weeks.

But…the end result was beautiful!

  • Painting the space white makes the basement look and feel bigger than it actually is.
  • A colorful rug unifies the space and makes the entire floor safe for play.
  • Placing matching baskets on low shelves gives easy access to all the toys.
  • A child-size table and chairs set is perfect for Joey and Gianna.
  • For a touch of whimsy, a tree trunk was “planted,” reaching floor to ceiling, with the ceiling treated to a mural of branches, leaves and flowers overshadowing Joey’s special space.
  • There was even room for a family area with comfy chairs, couches and a wall-mounted big screen TV.

Custom cabinets utilize valuable vertical space

Tailored Living designers solved the overall small space problem with floor-to-ceiling custom cabinets with adjustable shelves, converting all available wall space into storage space, including the new TV and remodeled laundry areas.

Storage cabinets surround the TV area, eliminating clutter and providing space for movies, books, games and puzzles for when the family gathers. It‘s also a great place for the kids to hang out while mom does the laundry just a few steps away.

A deep custom cabinet conceals the washer and dryer behind closed doors, making the laundry area “disappear” when not in use, so it never intrudes upon their fun space. Additional upper and lower cabinets for storage and a work countertop will make laundry day so much easier for Jessica!

Reveal day was very exciting for everyone. All the participants were proud of the job done and the obstacles overcome to make this family’s dream a reality.  And how did the family feel about it?

  • “Is this really our space? No way!”
  • “It looks so much bigger with all this stuff in here.”
  • “It will be perfect for our family.”
  • “I couldn’t image that we walked into the same basement that we left two weeks ago. It’s unbelievable what they did.”
  • “It is truly a blessing and I cannot thank them enough for all they’ve done for us.”

To meet Joey, Gianna, Joe and Jessica and to view the full episode, click here.

If you have some challenging space that needs to be engaged as usable living space, Tailored Living is your “go to” for any home storage and organization needs. We’re the experts at whole home organization and storage solutions, including custom closet design, garage cabinets and flooring, pantry design, home offices and more. Call 866-712-3404 today to schedule a free, in-home consultation. And be sure to ask about our Spring Forward and Save promotion going on now.

Check your local listings for George to the Rescue in your area. You won’t want to miss the heartwarming stories and fabulous design and renovation ideas that fill each and every show.