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Render to Reality | West Ellis Street Kitchen Remodel

“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.”

– Albert Einstein


With a generation that has lived in the homes they built 20 to 30 years ago, they are reaching a point where they have two decisions to make: ‘do we move?’ or ‘do we stay and update?’.


When you’ve lived in a place for a substantial amount of time, while some things aren’t ideal for how you use your home now, a new home is exciting. In the years you spend raising your family, things became habit. And things became comfortable. Things also become dated and well-loved. And then there are the things that have bothered you from day one.


We say it all the time, but we live in our homes very differently than we used to 20 to 30 years ago. The family dynamics have changed. The way we entertain has changed. The materials and color schemes have changed and changed and changed. And we have platforms that help us dream of the next phase in our lives and homes.


As these clients became empty nesters, they started planning to take on projects that would update their home. To get their feet wet, they started in the living room with a facelift. That project started as a mood board and it went so well, they started to discuss what they wanted for their home since the spaces were all open to each other. Well…kind of.


As you see in the existing floor plan, there is loads of space next to the kitchen. What you don’t see here is that there is a large living room, double this size, on the other side of the house that is the main hangout area, leaving this living space under used and them pondering what to do with it.

The kitchen is your typical 1980’s honey oak with cathedral arched raised panel doors with bulkheads. The brown tones of travertine and floor tile were no longer the scheme the homeowner was drawn to and the kitchen felt cramped when the family came over, especially around the island.


The grandkids play in the basement but the door to that often was in the way with the narrow hallway and the finishes were calling for easier to care for materials.


The laundry room doubled as the half bath but for a decent amount of space, it was too tight to share amenities. There was no landing zone for mail or keys. And a coffee bar was nowhere to be found, but now a necessary space to incorporate.


The house didn’t’ lack in natural light but certainly did with adjustable fixtures. Even with higher output bulbs, the space always felt dark.

Since space wasn’t much of an issue, we weren’t fighting for inches in this case. We were putting a puzzle together to make the spaces feel special, appropriately scaled and updated with the current needs of the homeowners. And for anyone who has experienced one of our design reveals, knows that we too get giddy to reveal a fully rendered design of their space.

As they soaked in the two designs that were presented, we quickly got to work combining the designs to create their ultimate plan, fully detailed out down to the tiniest of things. As we work through a kitchen, its important that we stop to take inventory of the items that are going into the space. Even asking if there is items not in the kitchen that would be ideal to have a space for in the new kitchen. The amount of time we take on the front end in the concept design phase sets everyone up for success in the production phase of a project. Having the plan allowed them to leave for Florida while the entire project was under construction.


The home was designed with large areas that were quite open, but inches can sometimes make all the difference. By opening a few walls (to the wall to the small hallway that led to the basement as well as the garage entry into the kitchen area), along with relocating the door to the laundry room, they gained a better functioning laundry room and garage entry. Now they can see from one end of the house to the other end.

Before they jetted off to warmer weather during the winter months, the next step was to pick final finishes. To maximize everyone’s time, these trusting clients requested that we present option A, B, C and in one short meeting, they were able to pick out all the finishes for all the spaces. The hexagon patterned tile was eye candy from the moment she saw it in the design and a MUST have that we based the bathroom and laundry room on. Ironically, the name of the tile made it even better. It’s called the Karra tile so clearly, we liked it too!

In the production phase, there were a few minor unforeseen hiccups that quickly had solutions - a bonus to being the original owners who built the house is knowing what is behind the majority of walls. The office, half bath and coffee station now occupy that space that was once a second living room and underused space. The kitchen now is large enough to host family gatherings or friends very comfortably. In fact, the island was reduced in size by approximately 8 inches! Every cabinet was detailed out for the best function and even the island outlets were color matched to blend. We can confidently say that every want and need was accommodated in this dreamy space.


A big shout out to the carpenter, Dale Ouendag, for keeping everything running smoothly so they could come home to a (pretty much) new house again. Dale is a good ol fashioned, honest and kind man who sees everything as solvable. He is a joy to work with and did excellent work! A true testament of his work is having him back for the next project this fall. We can hardly wait!

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