Before & After: A dated basement

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 8:56 AM

A '60s rambler with a dated basement gets a cozy, Arts & Crafts-inspired makeover.

The challenge: Turn an underutilized lower level into a warm, inviting space for relaxing and entertaining.

The designer: Randy Buffie, Randall M. Buffie Architect Inc., Eagan, 651-681-8441, randy@buffiearchitect.com.

Time for a change: A pair of empty nesters, faced with replacing windows in the rec room of their Edina rambler, decided instead to make the space more enjoyable for the next chapter of their lives. The lower level still sported many of its original 1960s features, including dated paneling and lighting, low ceilings and a pink-tiled bathroom.

Reworking the space: In addition to more visual appeal, the clients also wanted more functional space, including an updated bedroom and bathroom for out-of-town guests and a full kitchen for entertaining. "They didn't want to be running up and down stairs," Buffie said. They also wanted better access to their back yard, which includes a pool and hot tub. To do all that, Buffie completely reconfigured the lower level. "We took it down to the masonry walls and opened up the space, so it flows better," he said.

Craftsman-inspired: "From the beginning, they [the homeowners] were loving the bungalow style," Buffie said. "They like that warmth and character." The new lower level includes abundant cherry cabinetry, wood built-ins and other architectural elements, with great attention to detail. The wood for the wainscoting, for example, was produced from the same tree, rather than bought at the lumber yard, to ensure consistent grain character.

Light and color: Accent windows of stained glass add to the warm, vintage feel. Some of the stained-glass windows are hinged on top so they can be tipped out, Buffie said. "You can let air through but you don't lose the character of the stained glass."

Places to perch: The remodeled space includes built-in benches along one wall. "She [the homeowner] wanted to be able to sit by the window and read a book," Buffie said. Softened with cushions, the benches provide a cozy spot for curling up, and seats that open for storage, as well as seating near the new pool table. "It's a perfect place to perch while waiting to take a shot."

Repurposed treasure: The owners had an etched-glass window, a family heirloom, that wasn't being shown to its best advantage upstairs. Buffie suggested bringing it downstairs and found a niche for it near the base of the staircase. "We put a glow behind it, to pop out the etching," he said.

Teamwork: The couple's new lower level was a team effort. In addition to Buffie and the homeowners, other collaborators included general contractor Streeter & Associates and designer Brandi Hagen of Eminent Interior Design. "The team worked well together to create a feeling, evoke an emotional response," Buffie said.

The final word: "I'm proudest of all the details," Buffie said. It's very soft and cozy -- like being wrapped in a warm blanket."

KIM PALMER • 612-673-4784

After raising their family, an empty-nest couple decided it was time to make the space their own.

First priority: Updating the lower level of their 1960s-era Edina rambler. Instead of a dated rec room, they wanted a warm, inviting space for relaxation and casual family entertaining.

To create the warm feeling they wanted, the couple and their architect, Randy Buffie of Randall M. Buffie Architect Inc., took design cues from an earlier era: the Arts & Crafts period.

Warm wood, built-ins and stained-glass windows combine to create a cozy-yet-modern downstairs getaway, complete with an updated bathroom and full kitchen for easy hosting.

To read more and see additional photos, turn to Nesting on page H3.

KIM PALMER

After raising their family, an empty-nest couple decided it was time to make the space their own. First priority: Updating the lower level of their 1960s-built Edina rambler. Instead of a dated rec room, they wanted a warm, inviting space for relaxation and casual family entertaining. To create the warm feeling they wanted, the couple and their architect, Randy Buffie of Randall M. Buffie Architect Inc., took design cues from an earlier era: the Arts & Crafts period. Warm wood, built-ins and stained-glass windows combine to create a cozy-yet-modern downstairs getaway, complete with an updated bathroom and full kitchen for easy hosting. To read more and see additional photos, turn to Nesting on page XX. KIM PALMER
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