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Reader Renovation

A Leawood basement is transformed into a stylish, durable space for a family of five

Before Chad and Melissa Bowles and their three children moved into their Leawood home, the basement had a history. Its second owner, Mrs. Dolliver, housed a collection of antiques in the lower level where neighbors would stop by and shop.

The house is still known around the neighborhood as Mrs. Dolliver’s house, even though the Bowles have since stripped the basement down to its bones and renovated it.

The renovation, which took almost three months, created a multi-functional space that’s great for hosting guests or all-day play sessions with the family’s kids.

The basement before The basement before The basement before
The basement before

“We wanted to do a play on traditional style, but we thought the basement was a good place to bring in some brass elements and play with color a little bit more,” Melissa Bowles says.


The white, shiplap-planked walls were perfect for the family’s kids, who are all under the age of five. “We wanted it to be comfortable and livable but still have the feeling of the rest of the home. We put the shiplap here because we have destructive children,” Bowles says with a laugh.

Wood tile and industrial-grade carpet added durability to the room, which also houses the playroom, a guest room and a separate nook for the family’s two large dogs.


The updated bar, topped with quartzite and brass fixtures, is the ideal space for entertaining guests. It’s also equipped with wine lockers, which were inspired by Capitol Grille on the Country Club Plaza.


“We’re going to have a locker for each of the kids, so when they have a graduation from college or get married, we’re going to take out a bottle and put in a bottle,” Bowles says.

Barn doors add a touch of modern farmhouse to the room, but also were a stylish solution to a design dilemma.


As with many homes, the basement ceilings are low.  “We were going to be forced into doing shorter doors, so we wanted to make them look like part of the design and this was a good alternative,” Bowles says.

At night and on the weekends, the family lounges on an oversized sectional, perfect for movie marathons and cozying up by the fireplace.


“I couldn’t be happier,” Bowles says of the final result. “It feels like a true extension of our home. We really wanted to keep it functional and beautiful.”

Have a room you’ve recently renovated? We’d love to see it! Email your before and after pictures to mgraham@kcstar.com for a chance to be featured online and in our weekly newsletter.



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