With equal parts ingenuity, creative expression and personal innovation, this basement remodel is a true conversation starter.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photography by Jake Slobodnik, KC.Photography
Attention to detail appears to be the major theme in this innovative basement remodel. Granted, its overall design scheme leans heavily towards a rich, industrial vibe, some of the most exciting elements are found less in its strategic layout and more in the captivating accent pieces peppered throughout that give it a distinct and well-defined personality.
When owners Jake and Candi Slobodnik prepared to roll up their sleeves and dive into their basement remodel project, they took this previously blank slate and created an incredibly artistic statement that fluently speaks the language of their lifestyle. When Jake, an accomplished designer and professional photographer, and his wife Candi, a Kansas City attorney and fellow photographer, moved into this home in 2018, the unfinished basement offered the perfect canvas from which to indulge his innovative eye for design and her creative instincts.
“We wanted to create a space that was inviting to friends and showcased who we are and what we love: games, movies, and, of course, good beers and cocktails!” exclaimed Jake.
When designing the basement, Jake and Candi wanted the bar area to be the focal point of the basement.
“We wanted the bar to be the hub for all the activity around it,” Jake stated.
For that, they reached out to their various friends and resources. The concrete counter with dual waterfall edges and the troweled concrete backsplash were executed by their photography client and friend, whose father’s countertop company also created the marble countertop, and the final touch was the floating walnut shelves built by their good friend.
“Proper execution is all about knowing the right people to hire for the job,” Jake said.
This also included hiring a contractor, who Jake said he knew was the right team for the job. “The minute I met Allen, I knew he was the right contractor for the job. He asked the right questions to make sure he understood our vision and his team executed it flawlessly.”
Even the bar ceiling came with some unique circumstances. The expanded metal ceiling above the bar area was sourced from remnants acquired from a Kauffman Stadium renovation through a local ceiling material supplier.
“We hit a home run with that find,” laughed Jake. “We wanted a ceiling in that location but needed to be able to access the plumbing lines above for the master bathroom and didn’t want the space to feel too short. The expanded metal ceiling panels allowed us to install the finished ceiling, but their inherent see-through nature makes it feel taller than it is.”
As frequent visitors to the West Bottoms in downtown Kansas City, known for its antique and vintage goods suppliers, the Slobodniks have incorporated an abundance of relics, treasures and period pieces, coupled with complementary layers of style, into the landscape of this approximately 1,100 square foot setting.
“Our style leans heavily towards industrial, and we are passionate about repurposing old or vintage items,” noted Jake, who studied architecture at the University of Nebraska. “Our house is full of repurposed items given new life. ”
“The movie room is accessed through a sliding door, which is an old door we acquired from my grandmother’s house,” noted Candi.
The aluminum-clad fire door, once covered in six layers of paint, came from a factory in downtown Kansas City. It slides open to a storage space and stands more as a fun conversation piece and strong nod to the overall theme.
The dart board area is unique in and of itself, as, much like hitting the bullseye may result in a precise streak of luck, this area presented some inherent challenges that required its own precision.
“The existing structures posed some challenges, but to save money we wanted to work around the existing columns, beams and ductwork locations rather than relocating them,” explained Jake. “There were two steel beams in particular at the bottom of the stairs that we decided to accent rather than hide, so we left them exposed to look like they are supporting the 1×2 pine, slat ceiling that turns down to become the backdrop to the dart board ready to catch any errant throws.”
Candi also had her input into the design scheme, most specifically in the bathroom.
“Jake definitely has a better design eye than I do, but my biggest request was an antique mirror in the bathroom,” she stated. “I loved a mirror wall we saw in a client’s home. I went on vacation one weekend and came home to not one, but many antique mirrors Jake found online. One mirror is from Spain and one is from France. All of them are vintage.”
Another fun focal point is the wall near the pool table that stands as a reminder of several breweries Jake and Candi have visited, including one from a trip to Iceland. The long shelf of bottles in the bar area offers yet another reminder of the good times they have shared with friends.
“We don’t drink all of it,” laughed Jake. “When friends come, they often leave behind what they brought with them. We even have a bottle of rum up there from our honeymoon in the Virgin Islands.”
Next to a vintage file cabinet in the game room, you’ll find a couple rows of Polaroids hanging on the wall.
“Anyone who comes to visit us has their picture taken with our Polaroid camera,” expressed Candi, who then hangs that photo from the line as a memory to that particular visit.
With a basement as inviting as this one, the Slobodniks are going to have to make room for lots of Polaroid prints!
- General Contractor: Allen Building Specialties, Inc.
- Concrete Island and Backsplash: Geo Sculpting
- Electrician: Electrical Investments
- Plumbing: Heartland Plumbing
- Marble Countertop: Blue Valley Granite
- Specialty Light Fixtures: DecorPrice.com
- Specialty Light Fixtures: Acclaim Lighting
- Ping Pong Table: JOOLA USA
- Pool Table: Brunswick Billiards
- TVs and Bar Appliances: Samsung
- Sound System: Sonos
- Carpet: Mohawk Group
- Luxury Vinyl Tile: Konecto by Metroflor
- Beer Coolers: EdgeStar
- Bar Sink: Ruvati
- Bar Faucet: VIGO
- Bathroom Vanity: Wayfair
- Bathroom Mirrors: Etsy
- Lighting Dimmer/Smart Switches: Leviton Decora