Houzz Pro Spotlight

How to Update Your Home for Today’s Lifestyles

  • WHO: Edward Kaplan of The Buckingham Group
  • WHERE: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • IN HIS OWN WORDS: “I enjoy taking someone’s verbal expressions of what they want and converting them into something tangible that they can enjoy.”

Lifestyles have changed over the last few decades, but homes haven’t always followed suit. If you’re a cook, you probably yearn to be part of the party action. After a long day, you might want to relax with a long shower or bath. And everyone simply has more stuff to store.

So, how to redo your home to fit modern preferences?

“It’s about taking what was fashionable 20 or 30 years ago and updating it,” says Edward Kaplan, owner of design-build firm The Buckingham Group in Tulsa. “Improving workflow, bringing contemporary products and style in, adding storage.”

Cooking Connoisseur

Though Kaplan works on entire homes, kitchen projects hold a special place in his heart. “Cooking is a long-term hobby for me,” he says. He’s even created a company cookbook filled with over 600 recipes that he and his wife have made and enjoyed. “So I know that the kitchen must look good but also function well,” he says.

Grounded in experience.

Growing up on a family farm, “if you wanted to get anything done, it was DIY,” Kaplan says. “So at a very early age, I was an auto mechanic, plumber, electrician, woodworker.” Even though he started his career in plastics engineering, “construction was always my fascination,” he says. Kaplan founded his design-build company in 1981 to merge his hands-on knowledge with state-of-the-art tools.

Ready to have your home suit how you really live? Kaplan shares his tips below.

1. Think About Spaces for Entertaining

Gathering with family and friends is central to modern lifestyles, so design with this in mind, Kaplan says, especially in the kitchen. Cooks want to be central to the action.

In this South Tulsa home, the owners wanted a place where they could bring together their adult children and grandchildren. Kaplan’s team moved the kitchen from the front of the house to the side to create an entirely new space.

Up to 20 people can now comfortably move around the kitchen, popping things into wall ovens and stirring pots on the range, while half a dozen can sit and prep around the large island. Plenty of storage keeps countertops clean and allows the room to feel even larger.

2. Create Serene Sanctuaries

With today’s hectic schedules, it’s ever more important to include spaces where people can relax and rejuvenate.

One owner of this Sand Springs home wanted a place where she could soak in a bath. The other asked for a great shower. Kaplan centered a freestanding tub under the window — plantation shutters slant to let light pour in but maintain privacy. A glassed-in shower keeps the look airy, and its bench provides a place to sit while using the handheld spray. Muted, neutral colors and stone countertops maintain the spa-like feel.

3. Spring for Plenty of Storage

Having designated places to put items away and store treasures reduces clutter and will make you feel calmer overall, Kaplan says.

The original primary suite in this Southern Hills home had closets that Kaplan describes as “very, very small.” His team doubled the size of the bathroom and created a walk-in closet with an addition. Then it built cabinetry that matches the specifications of the owners’ clothing, such as bars that accommodate the wife’s dresses and cubbies for shoes. His-and-her armoires flank the entry to the bath, which has additional storage for toiletries and towels.

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