Before & After: An Art Gallery's Picture-Perfect Basement Renovation

Just off of Washington Square Park in Philadelphia, there's a small art gallery called the Bridgette Mayer Gallery. A champion of innovative contemporary art, owner Bridgette Mayer exhibits international artists from around the world. She also just finished an amazing year-long renovation of her gallery. With it, the exhibit space has more than doubled in size. However, it's the basement (or Level A, as Bridgette calls it) remodel that really struck me. It's hard to believe that a space that was so musty to start with, could ever be referred to as anything other than a basement... As Bridgette tells us: Prior to the renovations, Level A was for the most part just a dark and dirty basement. In the dry and clean areas we stacked artworks in the Gallery's inventory, but otherwise the space was generally unusable for anything other than storage. With the renovations, I wanted to make sure we used the 1500 square feet in a smart and creative way. Now, I am able to utilize the front part of Level A an office for myself and meeting/conference room where I can privately show artworks to clients. Throughout Level A, everything was gutted, new electrical wiring was run throughout the space, all of the discrete rooms were separately built-out. Antique wood matching the upstairs Gallery floors was chosen to line specific accent walls in the office and conference room. All throughout, clean and modern materials like marble, steel and glass were used to give the space a clean and sophisticated appearance. Sliding glass doors to the office and conference room create a particularly sleek look. We retained the original brick vaulted hallway between the front and back portions of Level A in order to create a unique wine storage space. Bottles line the walls on specially-designed racks. We also expanded the storage capacity to keep our artworks in a more presentable manner with museum-quality art racks. I don't know about you, but I'd give Level A, an "A" on its renovations. (And that marble-topped desk?? A definite A+, in my book!) Thanks for sharing, Bridgette!

RESOURCES OF NOTE:
• Artwork - Eileen Neff
• Furniture design, architecture - Michael Ryan
• Construction - Hanson General Contracting

(Image: Bridgette Mayer Gallery)

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