Building a Creative Space for Children to Learn and Play

Lower Level Transformation


This Lower Level Transformation was inspired by clients who sought a creative space for their family to learn and play – a dedicated retreat inside their 13,000-square-foot home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

It was Tap Architecture’s mission to transform a nearly unusable basement into an inviting lower level. To accomplish this, we reengineered the floor system by removing columns and beams. We also partnered with contractors to dig out the concrete floor, digging down another 4 feet to increase the ceiling height from 7 feet to 12 feet.

Once the open floorplan was finalized, Tap Architecture created unique, inventive spaces – paying special attention to structural and textural details. We designed a velvet-fringed performance stage where the children can play classical guitar, piano and percussion, and equipped it with high-end acoustics and professional lighting. Under the stairs, we developed an immersive room for the children to practice Mandarin with their private tutor and decorated it with Chinese lanterns and jade carpet.

To complement the spaces dedicated to the pursuit of learning, we added elements of play throughout this project and incorporated a preexisting slide into the design. We added an area for the children to play Skee-Ball and classic games, and we built a full kitchen for pizza parties, crafting and socializing. We also invented a sleepover room with privacy curtains, custom-built beds and Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

To ensure this lower level felt nothing like a basement, we added visual elements of height throughout, including sweeping staircases and arched openings. We focused on strategic lighting placement and a juxtaposition of textural details such as white paneling, exposed rustic brick, a tin ceiling and other elegant touches.

To discuss this design, or to transform your basement into an attractive lower level, please get in touch with Tap Architecture here.


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