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Rustic Renovation Landmark Photography & Design Half-painted walls help soften the heaviness of the stone veneer, and slate and travertine flooring. An unfinished lower level is transformed into an inviting living space By Kacey Larsen T he clients came to know Ispiri Design-Build in Woodbury, Minn., before undertaking their own remodel by visiting the company's model homes for several years. After coming to know the company's style, the clients finally hired Ispiri to design their space. The client's home in Dellwood, Minn., had a lower-level entrance into an unfinished basement, while the primary living space was on the second floor, which also underwent a kitchen remodel. Lisa Keller, interior designer at Ispiri, had never worked with a lower level entrance before. "It was a unique layout with not having the entrance open to the primary living space," she says. "One of the big goals of the project was making a nice entrance so guests felt they were coming into a nice foyer area that was welcoming while retaining a lower-level feel." The 22 August 2013 QR ForResidentialPros.com result was adding a family room, entertainment area, billiards room, three-quarter bathroom, laundry room, office, wet bar with kitchenette and a foyer. Keller says the company met all of the family's needs by the end of the approximately threemonth remodel. The home originally was built in the 1940s, and retained its own character, Keller says. Included with that character, unfortunately, was outdated wiring and mechanics, floors that were not level and walls that were not square. "Some of it you have to leave and some of it you can fix," she explains. "What you can control is leveling the floor when you do the tile work and building your new walls square, but the existing electrical panel [in the office], even with wiring updates, was not going to move so [we] made a custom cabinet to make it blend in." Before Before: The lower level of the 1940s home, where the entrance is located, was a completely unfinished space. Keller's other challenge was incorporating the type of elements the clients wanted to use in the space. The clients liked rustic, earthy materials so "they wanted stone, slate and a lot of materials I felt were very hard," Keller says. "It became about using stone appropriately by bringing the stone height on some walls down to half-height and letting painted walls soften the space." The result was to use interior stone veneer walls and custom dark-stained knotty alder cabinetry throughout the entire space with carpeted areas in the family room and office. A fireplace unit with a custom mantel completed the rustic yet comfortable effect the clients were seeking. Even in the foyer area, Keller says they aimed for an