Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Matt & Kim's Place

This summer our next-door neighbors and good friends, Matt and Kim, traded their 20’s era Milwaukee Bungalow for a spacious new home in Franklin. Besides leaving behind their fabulous neighbors across the fence, they also left the charm and character that can only be found in an old, Craftsman built home.

Their new place in Franklin came with a spectacular view, lots of space, and a big backyard. But it lacked some of the features they loved so much about their old home – built-in bookcases, leaded glass, a cozy fireplace (…there was a fireplace, but we’ll get to that later).

So Matt and Kim hired me to create a design plan for their new home that would draw upon the spirit of their old place. 

Window Seats

Kim always dreamed of having a built-in window seat somewhere in her home (here's an image she's held onto for many years...).

Because of the generous size of her family room, we had plenty of space to work with. But most window seats are tucked into little cozy nooks between walls, or at the end of the hallway. We had to find a way to create a space that was conducive to a window seat, so it felt like it was meant to be there. A few inspiring examples:

The solution was to construct bookcases between the two large family room windows. Besides creating a home for two window seats, they would provide great storage and display space for the Stickel’s pictures, books and collectibles. 

And perhaps one of the best features provided by the window seats was storage space for stashing the kid's toys - perfect for a quick 5-minute clean up before guests stop by.

The Fireplace

The focal point of the room was the fireplace, but it wasn’t living up to its potential. It felt more like an afterthought tacked onto the wall.

So we set out to create a surround that did the fireplace justice....

First, the unit itself had to be pulled into the room 15”, with a false chimney chase constructed up to the ceiling. This would position the fireplace in front of the bookcases, giving it the prominence it deserved.

The venting was rerouted and reconnected. Then our talented finish carpenter & cabinetmaker, Mark Marescalco, constructed the beautiful new wood mantel and surround.

After two coats of off-white paint and some new slate tile, the fireplace had an indisputable wow factor!

Q&A with the Homeowner

You came from an old bungalow – how did that factor into your goals for the space? 
We missed the charm and the ‘coziness’ of our bungalow – the first floor was filled with beautiful oak wood that had so much character, and we had converted the unfinished attic into a breezy, airy and lighter space. We wanted to combine aspects of both spaces into one room in our new house.  
And we missed bookshelves. We are big readers and to move into a house without them…well, we knew we needed a change. Our goals were to blend the things we loved about our old house and enhance the qualities we loved about the new house.

How did the design process work for you? 
Amy asked a lot of questions about what we wanted the room to feel like, what inspired us, what colors and styles were we drawn to. She was able to render, on first try, EXACTLY what we were envisioning, and managed to take it even further with simple details that added so much. 
The professionals she recommended to do the work have been great to work with and overall this collaborative process has been very satisfying. We love this space!

The Finished Room - Before & After

Q&A Continued...

Do you think the finished product reflects your personal style?
Absolutely! It is exactly what we wanted. We love anything having to do with nature, the Craftsman look of our beloved Bungalow, clean lines and cozy shelves. 
We were striving for a ‘library’ room for our family to settle into at the end of the night together. No TV, just a fire blazing, plenty of books to read and seats to enjoy the sunset out our windows. 

How do the kids like it?
We have ended every night here since it was finished. They LOVE the fireplace and the window seats! 
We chose a very soft carpet for this room for lots of floor play and our 5 year old already chose ‘his’ shelf for his special books and treasures. It is a beautiful and peaceful way to end our day with them.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cottage Sunset

Even though the house has been completely transformed, the view hasn't changed - it's as beautiful as ever!

Cottage Renovation: New Entry & Laundry Room

As a part of the addition to the house a front foyer was added, which includes a generously sized coat closet, a nook for a desk, and a large utility closet that houses a washer and dryer. No more venturing down to the basement to do the laundry. One of the best features of this area is the multi-colored slate flooring and bright, sunny windows.

Cottage Renovation: Before & After

New Pier

One of the most crucial elements of the house is finally back in place. Now there is plenty of parking available in the garage and on the water.

Exterior Color Palette

There has been a lot of positive feedback on the exterior color palette, especially the red window cladding. The moss green siding allows the house to blend into its wooded setting, while the red windows provide some pop. The new Craftsman style brackets also provide visual interest and character.

Cottage Renovation: New Kitchen

The new kitchen is bright and open, with new stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and cabinets that run to the ceiling. The Cherry hardwood flooring is a nice upgrade from the crusty old linoleum floor.

Bedroom Before & After

New Wrap Around Deck

The new deck was just installed and it looks great!

Contruction Pics

Cottage Renovation: Original Interior

These are a few photos of the original interior. Although the kitchen layout was functional, a bank of cabinets completely obstructed the view of the water.

The bedrooms had limited storage, and the lake-side bedroom had just one small window facing the the water.

Here is a view of the old dinette area with the family room behind it (that's me, taking notes). These photos give you an idea of how much natural light floods in when the sun sets.

Cottage Renovation: Sunset

This picture of the sunset was taken before the project began. Notice the lack of a pier...the boat is tied to what is left of the old pier supports, not very practical.

Cottage Renovation: Original Bathroom

Technically, the old cottage had a second bathroom for guests! The old outhouse was buried behind some vines behind the old garage.

Cottage Renovation: Original Exterior

I have been working on an ambitious addition and renovation project for the past few months. I am converting an old waterfront home along the Fox River & Tichigan Lake waterway in Waterford into a more spacious and modern Cottage Hideaway. Here are some "before" photos of the front and back of the house:

The original home was built in 1940 without much regard for it's amazing setting. The house enjoys one of the best spots on the water - a spectacular west-facing view of the Fox River. The sunsets are gorgeous, and the waterway stretches on for miles. Unlike many waterfront homes, it doesn't look out at any other homes across the water - just trees, water and sky.

But in spite of the great location, the windows in the original home were small and awkward. The cabinetry obstructed the view of the water from the kitchen, and there wasn't a patio, deck or even a pier to enjoy outside. The property included a small one-car garage, but it was in such disrepair that the garage door could no longer be opened.

So the goal for this renovation is to open up the house to take full advantage of the beautiful view. We will also add a second bathroom, more closet space, and bring the laundry out of the basement to the first floor. Lastly, a new two car garage with storage space, will be built in place of the old, falling-down one car garage.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Airstream Project: A Few Before & After Pics

We kept the original stove and the Dometic refrigerator, but refinished them to match the new cabinets. The old cabinets had limited storage behind flimsy plastic tambor doors, most of which had deteriorated substantially and were being held together strips of duct tape.

Aaron built all of the new cabinetry from Paulownia, a plantation grown wood that is incredibly lightweight and moisture resistant. Light materials were becoming important as we started to adding more cabinetry, solid surface and thick bamboo countertops to the camper.