Our client’s home was surrounded by a hard to replace collection of mature trees. It was located in a quiet neighborhood that was known for its interesting collection of architectural styles. It had a back yard pool that was perfect for the empty nesters to have family gatherings.
They had owned the house for a number of years, and had rented it out during the time frame that the husband worked as a consultant abroad. Upon returning to the United States they wanted to have a home that incorporated many of the features that they learned to enjoy during their life in Europe. Initially they looked at newly constructed homes which inevitably had smaller lots, few trees and were not as conveniently located to shopping and family. After several frustrating months of searching our clients elected to stay in their location and to transform it into the home that they were looking for. They interviewed several design build firms, but remained apprehensive about undertaking a total first level remodel until they saw a remodel that we had completed in their neighborhood. Speaking with the Owners they became excited about taking on the challenge and subsequently contracted with us for a total first level design build project.
The Problems and Challenges
The dated existing kitchen was designed in a standard L shaped configuration with a bay window that accommodated the kitchen table. The dropped ceiling disguised the fact the true frame height of the kitchen ceiling was ten feet. It consisted of an eight-foot tall wooden frame that was lighted by fluorescent bulbs concealed behind egg crate style plastic lenses. The twenty-five year-old appliances were at the end of their life. Adding to the dated appearance were laminate counter tops, poorly designed storage and seven-foot tall cabinets that had yellowed with age. The limited floor space of the kitchen placed a damper on the gourmet cooking skills of the wife. The kitchen was also isolated from the adjoining family room by a cased opening restricting social interchange between these areas during family gatherings.
It's true that contemporary homes are shrinking. But that doesn't mean a bathroom must be cramped, institutional or unwelcoming. Rather than zoning the bath space into separate areas for bathing and grooming, open it up with clear glass, single-level design and abundant light. It's a principle that European designers have mastered beautifully. It's also a way to ensure that small bathrooms feel as spacious as possible.
The first level flooring was made up of a combination of small format ceramic tile, carpeting and hardwood that separated and in a sense defined areas of the house, thereby minimizing the feeling of continuity that we look for in today’s homes. The powder room had limited cabinet space, a cultured marble top with integrally molded bowl, swag lighting and a toilet whose color had been carefully coordinated with the simulated veining in the artificial marble counter top.
The master bathroom was divided into small cubicles with an irregularly configured high vaulted ceiling that only served to accentuate the uncomfortable feeling of the bathroom. A large inoperative cultured marble whirlpool dominated the space overshadowing the three by three shower which was complete with polished brass plumbing fixtures. Two poorly designed closets and a small L shaped double vanity, with inadequate counter space, completed the bathroom challenge.
This vastly improved super kitchen is now also chocked full of amenities. A sophisticated LED lighting system incorporating task, general and accent lighting was designed and installed. Complementing the convenient built in storage, are Alaska White granite countertops, a dual fuel commercial range complete with steam oven, a stainless steel exhaust hood with remote blower, a drawer microwave, six-foot Galley Sink with twin faucets, a pot filler over the range and both wine and column refrigerators. The cabinets, which are outfitted with transitional style doors, are organized for specific placement of kitchen items, such as spices, small appliances, cooking utensils and dividers for cookie sheets and serving trays. Two different cabinet finishes were used to complement the new hardwood floors. A new wall of thermally efficient exterior-doors provides a view of the back yard while allowing direct access to the pool. Constructed as a visible bridge between the indoors and outdoors they allow these spaces to be integrated with each other, thereby creating the desired central hub for family activities.
All existing flooring was removed and 2-1/4” oak floors installed to unitize the first level. A new front entry was added with custom glass doors and sidelights. Powder room cabinets with a faux finish including a display cabinet that accommodated a collection of the Owner’s Memorabilia were added in the powder room. A granite countertop, custom light fixtures, an unusual vessels sink and custom wallpaper complete the powder room’s transformation.
Like the kitchen, the homeowners described their needs for a dream master bathroom. Since the exterior walls could not be moved we had to design the new bathroom within the existing footprint of the master suite. To incorporate all of the desired features in the bathroom which included a large master shower, free standing air tub, his and her vanities as well as his and her master closets, we had to gain space.
Since we could not expand the bathroom outside of the exterior walls we gained the needed space by moving the wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom two feet into unused space in the bedroom. We then relocated all of the plumbing fixtures and reframed the bathroom floor space for much needed functionality.
Custom cabinets with transitional doors were fabricated from bookend matched Brazilian Mahogany. Electrical floor heating provides warmth to the bathroom and shower floors as well as the shower seat. Heated towels are wrapped around the Owner’s when they climb out of the free standing air tub that is outfitted with Vibra Acoustics and Chroma-therapy Lighting.
Carrara Marble was installed on the bathroom and the shower floors, walls and ceiling. Beautiful crystal glass wall sconces, custom etched glass mirrors, Absolute Black Marble counter tops and vessels sinks completed the transformation.
"As the job progressed there were no real surprises due to Ed's meticulous planning, precise measurements, and ability to foresee problems. His problem solving skills are excellent."
Ed Kaplan will bring a wealth of remodeling knowledge and experience to your home. You will find his design and engineering insights invaluable over the term of your remodeling project.
Remodeling Articles : remodeling ideas and information
Our remodeling resource library contains selections from publications that cover the broad spectrum of work and services that we provide. They represent a combination of articles authored by our Design Principal Edward B. Kaplan as well as related materials contributed by recognized authorities in their fields. The library has been created to provide our clients, business associates and friends with a ready resource of categorized information that will both broaden their knowledge and enhance their remodeling experience.