Mid-Century Modern Basement Remodel

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mid-century modern basement

If you have been following our blog, then you know how much Deanna and I enjoy our mid-century modern home. Click here to read all about the history of the house and our slow remodeling process which honors its roots. After our kids went off to college a couple of years ago, we decided it was time to tackle a mid-century modern basement remodel. The space suited our family when the kids were younger, but once we became empty-nesters, we wanted it to work for just the two of us.

mid-century modern basement before

The existing layout consisted of a vintage bar area, a full bath, a large seating space for TV viewing and hanging out, and our home office. The back wall is lined with glass with a view of the pool area. We enjoy having our office in the basement so that was staying, but we no longer needed the large seating area. We also wanted to keep the bar and bath, but with some modifications. We ended up reconfiguring the floor plan to better suit our needs while honoring the architecture of the home.

Bar Area

Deanna loved the original bar shown above, with the vinyl-wrapped gold countertop. But she was outvoted! We did agree that we wanted to keep this gathering spot though.

You enter the space by coming down the stairs, turning at the circle wall, an original feature that sets the tone for the rest of the design.

We removed the bar and added a free-standing table to open up the space. The back wall was filled with cabinetry, a sink and glass-front beverage refrigerator. We also added a large mirror that was painted with a patina to enhance the vintage look. Deanna agrees that this new design supports how we live in our home. The more open look feels welcoming and relaxed.


Off the bar area was a full bath with a shower that we never used. That space needed something, so we decided to add a sauna instead. The etched door on the sauna, along with the free-standing drop sink with brushed brass fixtures offer a vintage look.

mid-century modern basement

We hid a bulkhead above the sink with a wood beam and added one of my hand-crafted pocket doors. However, the true highlight of the bathroom is the custom wallpaper from Walter Knabe. We have admired his work in our clients’ homes and knew we wanted his artistic touch in our mid-century modern basement remodel.  We ran across the design as a fabric in his studio and he made it into a wallpaper for us. He even signed it once it was installed.

Home Office

Once you pass through the bar area you enter the main living space which looks out over the pool and is divided by a fireplace. The larger of the two spaces used to the sitting area, but we decided we wanted it to house our office instead. We added new hardwood flooring to the whole lower level, and then installed two floating desks with an island in the middle. A single shelf of natural cedar lines the top of a cork wall and Deanna got a bookshelf since she is not completely ready to give up paper. The redesign of our office does reflect how technology has changed though. We used to have a wall of cabinetry, but now with most information being stored electronically, we really did not need it anymore. The central island works well if we need another desk area too. The desktop is made out of slab porcelain treated to look like rustic metal. It is a fairy new material that we wanted to try out before we suggest it to clients. We like the look of the patina and the slab – fewer joints!

Home Gym

The previous office space was turn into a home gym. We wanted to highlight the original circle wall in a fun way so we asked Blice Edwards, Inc. to come up with a design. The captured perfectly the whimsical yet Zen vibe we were going for.

Deanna describes the thought process behind our design for the basement remodel this way: “Once your kids leave, your creativity can go crazy! For us, we were moving down the path of the old harvest gold and avocado green appliance from 70s to keep the vintage vibe, which evolved into bold color choices. The green cabinets in the bar area, the wild wallpaper in the bathroom, the blue cabinets in the office and the mural wall in the gym all came from Steve and I letting go. We purposely picked different elements to mix up the look of our space to ensure it does not look like the rest of the house. We love it.”

Questions about this mid-century modern basement remodel or any of our other projects? Send me an email or give me a call at 317.596.0928.

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