Basement of the Week: An Indoor Drive-In Theater
Basement at a Glance
What happens here: A couple and their four girls enjoy movie watching, snacking, entertaining, pizza eating and slumber parties.
Location: Outside of Charlotte, North Carolina
Size: 600 square feet (58 square meters)
Designers: Homeowner Tracie Stier-Johnson and Travis Hite of Weber Design Group
“I wanted the space to feel like it was in a barn, but also like we were outside at a drive-in,” Stier-Johnson says. So she had the walls covered in reclaimed wood and had an artist create an outdoor scene in a mural. “The mural looks like the view you’d see from a barn and keeps the room from feeling like a closed-in theater,” she says. Her daughters are avid riders, so the painter incorporated two beloved horses of theirs, Rocco and Joe.
The shaggy green carpet has a grassy outdoor look, while the reclaimed wood walls make the space feel like the inside of a barn.
“I love turquoise, and I used it all over the rest of the house, so the color choice was a no-brainer,” she says.
The taillights are incorporated into the audiovisual system and can be kept on when wanted. Behind the back windshield is a faux dashboard and steering wheel painted on the wall. One more detail worth noting: the North Carolina replica license plate that says “VIA WI.” This represents the family’s move from Wisconsin to North Carolina.
Moviegoers can flip down the tailgate, lie down in the back of the truck and stare up at the starry outdoor patio lights overhead.
To the right of the truck, there’s a “pizza bar” for laying out casual meals. The light overhead is a repurposed old truck radiator. Next to that, Stier-Johnson designed a faux horse stall, complete with a real horse stall door. She sourced it from a barn builder who makes them.
Patio lights: Restoration Hardware
To give the theater even more of a drive-in feel, she designed a concession stand for snacks.
A cabinetmaker created the candy display cabinet, which Stier-Johnson had outfitted with glass. Behind the counter there is a mini kitchen. She found the Chevrolet sign at a local antique mall, along with the horseshoe welcome sign and the other taillight sign just outside of the concession stand area. The red refrigerator plays off the colors of the Coca-Cola machine and the Chevrolet sign.
“Movie nights with our girls are our favorite thing,” the mother of four says. They often order pizzas or Chinese food to have down here on movie night. They also love to have friends over, and when the girls have slumber parties, they sleep in the theater. “It’s one of the most-used rooms in the house,” she says.