This 1960’s 2 story rambler was a good size in an upscale neighborhood, but the floor plan did not fit our clients’ lifestyle. We designed and reconfigured this to address how the family actually lived and entertained in the main level. They wanted a room, or rather an entire main level that honestly linked to the others in the home, as well as directly to the outdoors. They needed it to be functional, warm and inviting, classy enough to show off, yet casual enough for everyday play and picked us because “We trust you guys to do the right thing”.
The cased doorways between the dining, the kitchen and the front foyer were enlarged. The old powder room and backyard “mudroom” created a dark tunnel between the kitchen/breakfast and large informal family room. These walls were completely removed. The powder room was relocated to the front foyer area, and the door to the backyard was moved to create an open and direct traffic flow. All the windows on both the main and upper level at the rear of the home were replaced with new Marvin Ultrex® casements. The main level involved structural changes to widen, lengthen and add new window openings (8), while the upper level was just complete replacements to provide proper insulated, working windows (3). All new James Hardi® siding on the entire rear of the home, a new Azek® Brownstone landing outside the rear entrance door, and new brushed nickel and chrome lighting inside and out completed the exterior.
The most dramatic visual change is to the family room. Before it was cold and dark which cut off the view and relationship to the rest of the home. The owners felt like you were “in a fishbowl” from neighbors’ eyes in that room, and they wanted to alter this with a lot of natural light and window views with a clear connection to keep an eye on their children in their own backyard. So we removed the dark paneling, the wall of brick surrounding the wood burning fireplace and the partition walls. We installed insulation and a traditional VALENCIA Signature cast Sandstone mantel, surround & hearth flanked by handmade maple cabinets, two new awning windows and one very large bow window with seat, allowing them to say “this is a nice blend” when all their wants and needs were met.
To integrate the homeowner’s favorite color “red and sparkly” and desired contemporary design fashion with the other traditional styles existing throughout in the homes prior architecture, consideration was given to trying to blend the old and the new, although different in many respects. New hardwood flooring was installed to match existing, and the front foyer tile was changed to Porcelain Fina Travertine, which carries its brick pattern into the powder room under the contemporary wall-hung soft Teak vanity able to withstand “heavy kid mud and art project traffic”.
Existing walnut stained trim was retained at the owners’ request, and their new maple cabinets have flat panel full overlay cabinetry doors to imitate the existing kitchens cherry cabinet doors. Splashes of brick red provide for “fun conversation pieces” added via the pendant lights over the bookcases, glass cabinet knobs, and in the brilliant mix of Element Surfaces hand crafted recycled glass aggregate Kandiyohi countertops (also chosen to avoid conflict with the kitchen granite).
The wood burning fireplace is set up to hold a future gas insert, and the family room maple bookcases provide a psychological separation to create niches for a future desk/key drop area on the interior wall, and to hold a future seated storage bench, chair, dining table configuration immediately across on the exterior wall. All these factors show that the present layout provides flexibility in design, decoration, storage and function.