By Anna Patterson

The Bauers’ basement is a comfortable space where they can entertain guests or relax with the family.
Photos by Anna Patterson

The front door opens. Suddenly I am enveloped in warmth and a sweet aroma from inside – a stark contrast to the bitter outdoor cold. I shake the snow off my boots, careful not to sprinkle the freshly swept floor. The house is large with a spacious open floor plan, yet it has a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

I take a seat at the kitchen island. Almost immediately, a piping hot mug of peppermint coffee is placed in my hand. I feel like a friend who’s just over for a morning chat.

And off we go — the next step was to head downstairs.

Cathy Bauer and her husband, Mike, have lived in the home they built for more than 23 years. They love renovating and adding on to their already gorgeous house and are in constant search of their next project.

Their most recent renovation was the bar area downstairs. Although the basement had been “finished” for several years, Cathy could never find the wall decor that would complete the project. For years the walls remained a bright teal color consistent with the rest of the basement. Then, while searching for materials for another project, Cathy stumbled upon a line of beautiful rustic tile. She instantly knew this was the wall decor she had been searching for.

Cathy says it took 10 years for she and Mike to achieve the type of look they wanted for their basement. 

Mike installed the tile behind the bar, but the couple didn’t stop there. They updated the lighting, built a set of floating shelves, and put in a concrete countertop. Although Cathy loves the countertop, she says she would hesitate to do it again indoors. “It’s cost effective, but very messy,” she says. “You have to sand and buff it and cover everything in plastic — including yourself.”

Cathy is a big fan of color and tries to add it whenever possible — the flowers are one way she does it. 

The floating shelves are a favorite of Cathy’s and are another one of Mike’s personal creations. “We needed something to display the bottles,” Cathy says. “We didn’t want anything to look purchased. We wanted it to be different, and Mike knew he could make it work. They have an older look to them, which sets the mood.”

The bar makes for a perfect hosting area. Cathy loves having her children and grandchildren over. They all go downstairs, she makes the kids ice cream floats, and everyone can play games, start up a round of pool, or just relax and watch TV.

When choosing lighting for the bar, they considered the color, size of the lights and the amount of light generated. “We didn’t want lighting that would be distracting to the people who are sitting there (at the bar),” Cathy says.

Outside of working on their home, Mike is joint owner of Stuart Bauer Pools and Spas, Inc., along with his brother, Don. Cathy and her sister-in-law are also a part of the Stuart Bauer team. Cathy works as service manager, scheduling repairs and replacements of equipment and vinyl liners.

Stuart Bauer has been in business for 51 years. Although the company mainly builds for residential areas, it has designed pools for Hampton Inn, German Mill Lofts, and other apartment complexes. “It’s a true family business,” Cathy says. “It took all of us to make it the success it has become. I am just one part of the crazy team.”

Seasonal Suggestions: March is the sign of spring. The thing I like best is the rain — the smell of rain. You see peeks of color and rain, and you know April is around the corner. So open the windows and bring out pops of color that are peeking out.