I started Steve Gray Renovations because I love the challenge that remodeling offers. When we purchased our eclectic Indianapolis mid-century modern home 18 years ago, I knew it was special and would just need time for the vision to come together.
Our home got its start as the 1959 Indianapolis Home Show home. The Architectural Association of Indiana collaborated to create it with the latest designs and technology. The concept behind the style of our home was new at the time. It is a mixture of mid-century modern and custom twists meant to support entertaining. In the early years of the Indianapolis Home Show it was common for the homes to be taken apart and reassembled. But for our home, it was prearranged to have the framing begin while the Home Show home was being built and displayed. Then, all remaining materials were brought to our home when the Show ended. We still have several of the home show elements: the music room cabinets, which were featured in the Indianapolis Star in 1959, the tile walls, the vintage light fixtures, and a large limestone fireplace and mahogany wood cabinet which are the focal point of the main living area.
When a colleague first showed me the house, I was immediately drawn to its potential. My wife, Deanna, was leery, until I began to explain the possibilities (the pool in the backyard helped too). The home had great bones. The original owners had not kept up with the maintenance for the last few years, so there was a lot to be done. But, the unique style and acreage convinced us in the end.
We remodeled our home in phases. At first, we tackled the basics; paint, carpet, electrical updates bought us time to find how we functioned in the space. As time went on, we found a way to embrace the style and preserve the original elements, but open it up.
The goal right from the start was to tackle the kitchen, but it ended up being the last thing we did! For the interior, we created a master plan that would allow us to remodel the smaller areas around the kitchen while keeping the end-goal in mind. We updated the kids’ bathroom, keeping as much of the original elements as we could while improving the function. Then we moved to the master bedroom, den and replaced the wall of windows in the sunroom.
The kitchen remodel was a major undertaking. The original floor plan was a bunch of doors – small rooms everywhere – with five kinds of flooring. We wanted to open up the first floor and connect it, which means we had to rip out all those different floors and put in just one. Moving walls and committing to a huge amount of flooring square footage meant we took our time tackling this project. Once we truly knew what we wanted, we moved forward.
While we always say the kitchen is the center of the home, it literally is in our house. The original space was a small galley style, and we wanted to open it up into the rest of the living area. We also wanted to modernize it to today’s technology while honoring the style of the home. Through our years of remodeling for our clients, we had seen a lot of great designs and had kept a file of what we liked. We had a feel for what we wanted, but we called in our designer, Tonya Ballew, to help give us direction. Maintaining the cozy feel of the original design while opening up the space was an important goal of ours. We wanted our kids to still feel like it was the place they grew up in. I drew up the final floor plan and our team executed it.
Our most recent project was renovating the entire lower level. The space served our family well for years, but as the kids left for college, we decided to reclaim the larger room of the basement for our office.
Our approach to renovating our eclectic Indianapolis mid-century modern home was to take our time, making sure we could do it right. We also did not worry about the property values in the area – we wanted to create a space we would love to live in for a long time. Our house makes us happy – we are homebodies and have a home office so we spend a lot of time in it. We made choices based on the happiness it would bring us on a daily basis.