We just wrapped up a fantastic project for wonderful clients. The whole process was extremely rewarding, and I enjoyed working with them.
Sheryl & Tom have lived in their home for over 20 years and were ready for an update. Their kids are all in college leaving just the two of them in the house. They had been toying with the idea of moving, but still loved the house they raised their kids in.
This house is your typical split level with a lot of potential, but they hated their kitchen and hall bath. It just didn’t fit their lifestyle or needs anymore. Their kitchen was hardly used, being too small and cut off from the rest of the living space. The hall bathroom functioned fine and was mostly just outdated. It also had a weird split storage closet (the bottom ¾ was accessed on the kitchen side!) that didn’t function as it was too high up and items were frequently lost.
We were brought into this project by one of our favorite contractors, Better Builders, to help solve this kitchen and bath problem. We started by sitting down with Sheryl & Tom and discussing their wants and needs for the two spaces.
For the kitchen/dining/living:
- Open up the space by tearing down the wall separating the three spaces
- Add an island with seating
- Tom has back problems, so access to cabinets is an important factor
- More storage
- Warmer/natural tones but keep it modern, not too beige
- Built in doggy door so they can reclaim the use of their sliding glass door
- Remove carpeting from living room & continue the hardwoods throughout
- Better lighting
- Update the fireplace & add TV above
For the Bathroom:
- Soaking tub to fit in existing alcove
- Single sink (it’s a hall bath, didn’t need multiple)
- Keep the layout, but update fixtures
- Fix the weird split closet that was shared with the kitchen
All in all, they weren’t asking for much, and thankfully they had the space to pull it off. Once we established their needs, we moved into space planning.
For the kitchen, we played with the layout, looking at doing a large u-shaped kitchen(top), but ultimately— to increase flow and ease of use of the space— we ended up with an L shaped kitchen with an Island in the middle(bottom). This allowed us to create an open concept space that allowed for easy access from the entry of the house and a more functional space for entertaining.
For the bathroom, we kept the same basic layout, with one major change: the entire odd split closet would be utilized by the bathroom. In this case we went with the first option, a closet(left) instead of cabinetry(right).
To address Tom’s back problems, we made sure to utilize lots of drawers, pull-outs and a full height pantry. He wouldn’t have to bend down and reach back for anything. A few more tweaks and we had our final layout!
Once we established our final layout, we started on fixture & finish selections. Sheryl had started the process a few years back and had some samples already in mind. The problem being that most of her choices had been discontinued so we just used those as a starting point and came up with current options for final fixtures & finishes.
We focused on warm tones and natural products. Tom really liked the idea of being able to see grains in the stones we picked, so we focused on that for both the kitchen(top) and the bathroom(bottom).
There were a few hiccups along the way, like finding out the beautiful backsplash was discontinued, and if we wanted the first-choice countertop, the kitchen would be delayed by a few months. Unfortunately, things like this happen. Depending on how long between selection and build, any number of products could be discontinued, but that’s why having a designer and a solid construction team come in handy. We were able to find replacement tile/counters quickly so that Tom & Sheryl didn’t have to deal with the anxiety of the unknown for long. Luckily the replacement tile for the backsplash and the countertop, in my (and thankfully Tom & Sheryl’s) opinion, turned out even better than the original.
Now that we were getting close to construction completion, the furniture conversation started. They knew they wanted to start over as much as possible, really giving their space new life. In addition to the kitchen and bath design, we helped Tom and Sheryl make furniture selections. We started off by showing them the biggest sectional they could have, while still maintaining other seating options.
Sheryl and I ended up texting pictures back and forth on options that could work. This was a bit more informal of a furniture & décor project, but it was the method of communication that worked for the client, so I adapted to it and end results were terrific. We were truly able to get a feel for our clients’ desired outcome by doing the initial design and really understood their goal to create an amazing entertainment space.
Once we had all the new furniture, Lori, our lead stylist and photographer, and I went in and finessed the space. We played with the layout and accessories, and finally…we got the picture-perfect space!
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about Leo….