Ahhhhh new furniture. The bane of every dogs' existence. Funny the furniture only stays new and wonderful for a few months and yet the dog will be an important part of the family for years.
Is there not a door on the basement? If not would it not be easy to put a door on it? At least then the dog would have the basement to wander in during the day and the long unused crate would not be necessary. Give him a kong filled with peanut butter and treats while you are away and he will stay busy for hours.