Move over, sports pubs – here’s one basement that puts their décor and their TVs to shame.
Mick and Joyce Rings moved into their Blacklick home three years ago. When they were designing the house, one of the top priorities was the basement: a high-ceilinged room with a bar, multiple screens for game-viewing, table and stool seating, and walls lined with football, basketball, baseball, soccer and golf memorabilia.
“I joke around that I designed the house around the basement,” says Mick.
Mick is a real estate appraiser, and Joyce is a school counselor.
The 10-foot walls are higher than normal for a basement, Mick says, but they contribute well to the atmosphere. The design – done primarily by Jeff Yates of Powell-based Manor Homes and by Mick – improves on the similar, but less substantial, basement setup the couple had in their previous home.
Friends call the place “Rings Arena,” Mick says, though he’s trying to come up with a name that gives off more of a sports pub vibe.
There is a method to the multitude of memorabilia on the walls, which Mick has been collecting over the course of about 15 years.
Immediately at the bottom of the stairs, on the north wall, are the New York Yankees – with several pieces celebrating Mickey Mantle, a favorite of Mick’s. On the part of the north wall covering the stairs are the Boston Celtics, of whom Mick has been a fan since the 1960s; Larry Bird, Mick’s all-time favorite basketball player, is a major fixture.
The south wall prominently features the Cincinnati Reds, including uniforms signed by the four biggest names from the 1975-76 Big Red Machine: Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Pete Rose. The Buckeyes cover the west wall, and they pop up in a few other places as well, including on the entertainment center, which contains a basketball signed by the Buckeyes’ 1960 championship starting five.
Other sports highlights include a jersey signed by U.S. women’s soccer player Mia Hamm – the Rings’ children, Chad and Darcy, both played soccer – and soccer balls signed by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and the inaugural Columbus Crew team. Photos commemorating the hole-in-one Mick hit at the Dublin Golf Club in June 2011 are on the east wall beside the entertainment center.
Mick owns most of the items that line the walls, but some of them are contributed by friends and family members who think their decorations might look better in the Rings basement than in their own homes.
“I don’t buy for value … I just buy what I like, people I’ve admired,” Mick says.
Almost the entire east wall is taken up by a massive entertainment center, with numerous shelves holding additional memorabilia. In the center of it is a 120-inch screen – perfect for watching Buckeye games, as well as any other sporting event or movie that might appeal to the Rings or their guests. It’s also hooked up to a Nintendo Wii, Blu-Ray player, record turntable and karaoke machine.
Two flat-screen TVs – one on the north wall above a narrow bar with more stool seating, the other behind the main bar – make it possible to watch multiple games, or just one on three screens.
A leather couch, loveseat and recliner face the TV, and five stool-equipped tables set between the couches and the back wall accommodate even more guests.
“We get 40 to 50 people in here for games,” says Mick.
The family typically hosts four or five football game parties per year, as well as basketball game parties and the occasional neighborhood party or movie night.
“It’s not always sports-related,” says Joyce.
“But nine times out of 10,” Mick adds.
The basement has even been used for a wedding – during last year’s Ohio State-Illinois game, Mick’s brother Skip surprised the rest of the family by announcing he would marry his then-girlfriend, Tammy, that day. They held the ceremony in the great room upstairs during half time, and the second half was the reception.
“It was the best halftime entertainment we’ve ever had,” Joyce says.
The bar is situated in the southwest corner. Stool seating at the poplar bar top allows for easy viewing of all three screens. A long row of mirrors covers the entire wall behind the bar, cabinets line the walls and the floor is covered with stainless tiles.
Other bar highlights include a stainless steel refrigerator and dishwasher, a collection of OSU beer steins and bobblehead figures, an Olympic flag donated by a friend who was a torchbearer for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and a huge novelty bottle of Stone Brewing Co.’s Double Bastard Ale.
The piece de resistance, though, is the ceiling. The center of the ceiling is painted with a block “O” that fits perfectly in the space allotted for it – the work of Melissa Martz of Northwest Columbus-based Artistic Interiors.
Other special touches throughout the basement include a foosball table near the bottom of the stairs and an OSU-Michigan checkerboard on a coffee table between the couch and the entertainment center.
Behind the wall with the entertainment center is the rest of the basement – a bathroom, a bedroom and a fitness room. The bathroom, whose color scheme is scarlet and gray, sports a small flat-screen TV so guests who need to make a pit stop mid-game need not miss any of the action.
Garth Bishop is editor of CityScene Magazine. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.