Unique Vision for Residential Remodeling Since 1978
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Interior Portfolio from Orfield Design and Construction

Interior Gallery: Set 73


Photography by Joy Watson of Modern Joy Photography

HOME LOCATION:  St. Louis Park, MN

After Orfield Design

This 1960’s single-level mid-century modern rambler had plenty of square footage to form another living space using their walkout basement but it was only partially “finished”.

We use the term “finished” loosely due to the lath & plaster masonry-parged walls & dark original paneling, dropped acoustic-tile ceiling grids, lack of proper lighting, heating & air-conditioning, a dated wall of brick at the wood-burning fireplace, unfinished storage & multi-purpose cavity. The owners had installed a nice ¾ bath in the basement some years prior but it really wasn’t getting much use due to the afore-mentioned reasons.

With 2 teenagers this family needed more designated living areas. With one opening at the bottom of the stairwell forcing traffic into the family room, we proposed that there be another opening across from it, allowing direct access to the laundry or guest room. This was carefully done, by adding a step at the landing & preserving the original wood paneling on the stairwell.

At one corner of the basement, a new door opening goes into the laundry/mechanical. Because the former mechanicals were at odd angles, there was a lot of wasted space, so we lined it all up by rerouting some items, & this created walls for a lot of organized storage.

Across from the laundry, we made an entrance into the dedicated guest bedroom. A full-view obscure decorative-glass door opens to this, a closet & new Marvin Integrity casement window with cultured marble sill in front of the StoneWall steel window well not only provides code required egress, but also an appealing touch & natural light. By splitting the former “open” area on this side down the middle, we could also make a multi-functional “office/music/crafts” nook, separate from the family piece.

On the original family side of the stairwell, the massive brick wall & wood-burning fireplace converted to a gas-insert with a cultured-stone surround, ledgestone hearth & maple box mantle mounting the flat-screen TV above.

Former swinging French doors off this family portion went into a large unfinished storage. In here, we fitted a new glass block window in place of the old wood awning & produced a devoted exercise containing another finished storage within. A pair of full-view obscure decorative-glass pocket doors were placed between the family & this new exercise, allowing for view of the TV, or privacy as desired, but making both feel even bigger than they already are. Additional finished storage can be found under the stairwell.

At the top of the stairwell on the main floor one can walk in the front door & see right down the stairs to the basement exterior backyard door at the bottom. This old walkout entry was transformed with a new Masonite full-view Mondrian glass door, capturing the mid-century modern architecture of the home, bringing additional natural light into the stairwell & inviting one down to discover the changes! 

One unique & important item was a Designer/Client custom-made wrought iron railing & gate in the Mondrian style positioned at the top of the stairs on the main level. This not only met code, confined their 2 adorable dogs, but also preserved safety for unfamiliar guests entering at the front door from falling down the stairs.

A new basement layout, insulation, running ducts & putting this level on its own controlled zone system, gas fireplace, recessed lighting, & neutral colors with bright accents give this family more opportunity to party!

Update: Several years AFTER the completed remodel the clients wrote just to compliment us! “I cannot tell you how often we think of you and are so very grateful for you and your design and implementation!  (:  Sometimes ‘J’ will just say, "wow" and I'll say "what wow?"…..to which he replies….."I just love it down here". We had a house full at Christmas and it was cozy and quiet and manageable.  So, a million times….thanks to you and all of yours!” from Pam O. “Thanks again for your vision on the basement remodel. Amazing space that you created” from Jon O.