Classy Condo Conversion - BeforeClassy Condo Conversion - After

Our clients wanted a fresh, inviting home with a touch of sophistication. Their 3-story condo’s choppy floorplan required reconfiguration, including relocating the staircase that dominated the center of the space. So we took the condo back to its studs. Because sometimes the only place to start is over.

The Challenge: Outdated Condo Design with Poor Use of Living Space

Located in the Watermark district of downtown Indianapolis, this free-standing condominium is just steps from the Canal Walk. But its premiere location couldn’t make up for its outdated floorplan and interior design. Our clients wanted to maximize the available space and take their home from “nice” to classy and sophisticated, with architectural and design elements that reflected not only their needs but also their personalities.

Although we had limited space to work with — there would be no expanding beyond this free-standing condominium’s footprint — we were given free rein to reconfigure the home’s interior, so we took it back to the studs and started this whole-house renovation with a blank canvas. Here are a few or our favorite highlights of the project.

Our remodeling goals:

  • Open up the entire home’s floorplan to make better use of the space
  • Create a stylish and welcoming first floor atmosphere more in alignment with its upscale downtown location
  • Modernize the condo and add amenities that better suit its owners’ lifestyle

The Solution: Hit the Do-over Button and Strip the Condo Back to Its Studs

Reducing the staircase’s prominence to create a spacious first floor

In the condo’s original floorplan its first-floor staircase was not only prominent, it dominated the space. Located immediately inside the front door, the staircase divided the living room from the kitchen and prevented our clients from creating the welcoming entryway they wanted for their home. The only way to open up the space would be to relocate the stairs, so we pulled the kitchen’s back wall forward and tucked the staircase behind it, where it spills down in an elegant, almost waterfall-like flow of custom woodwork.

In order to make up for the lost space in the kitchen, we converted the lower-level covered porch to a light-filled indoor dining area with a foldable table and banquette seating on the one side. Bringing the porch space indoors also afforded us the room to expand the kitchen’s central island for quick snacks or more informal meals. The island’s countertop, crafted from a single, seamless slab of gold-veined marble, required a crew of seven burly men to slide it into place over the custom cabinetry supporting it.

Customizing the living room fireplace for striking visual impact

With the staircase out of the way, the first floor opened up into a welcoming space — with a rather uninteresting fireplace as its focal point. First we removed the flat marble surround, replacing it with limestone tiles in varying sizes and orientations to give the surround depth and texture. Then we added a massive, 800-pound limestone slab as the mantlepiece, spanning the fireplace itself and tying it to its neighboring cabinetry. The weighty masonry required adding structural reinforcement to the floor to support it, but the stunning effect was worth the effort and extra care.

Configuring useful spaces for upscale downtown living

Although the main living space on the first floor is the focus of this renovation story, we also completely remodeled both the condo’s ground floor and its upper story, transforming each room from ordinary boxes into highly-functional living environments.

For instance, the original unfinished basement became a home gym, complete with wall-to-ceiling mirrors. And we added office space with clean, sophisticated design elements off the kitchen, opposite from the living room.

Both of the home’s bathrooms were reshaped to incorporate custom cabinetry and built-in shower shelving, as well as eliminate unused elements, like the huge garden tub that was a popular feature in the 1990s but simply took up space where a larger shower made more sense. And the coolest feature of the master bath? A hidden TV that’s visible through the vanity mirror only when it’s turned on.

Even the hallway leading from the garage to the main living space got a makeover. Wasted wall space became an opportunity to install custom cabinetry and shelving to provide ample storage for clutter that usually hangs on hooks or spills out of cubbies and detracts from an otherwise orderly home.

Every detail was designed to offer our clients easeful, sophisticated living in their upscale neighborhood — a place they would be excited to share with friends and family, as well as a relaxing retreat for quiet nights spent at home in their fresh, classy condo.