A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

Let’s be social! Follow DBK on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a thing!

Project Update: 1893

Summer is my busiest season with my workload and the whole work-life balance. Things have been moving right along and I have a few projects underway right now, a few of them that should be wrapping up soon(ish). And I wanted to give you guys an updated look at the progress on the 1893 House!

The tile work is done in the bathrooms, the new wood floors have gone in where needed, all the windows are in and we are only waiting on the custom french doors leading out from the kitchen. The cabinetry started to go in over the last week or so and the counters have all been templated. We have selected paint colors and had the guys swatch them on the walls for us and we will be meeting at the house on Monday to review and finalize so they can paint. All in all, good progress has been made and I am starting to really see the light at the end of this one! And if you ask me, it is looking pretty bright!

How has your summer been so far? I hope it’s going well, filled with a lot of competed projects and fun adventures on your end too! More updates to come… Happy Friday!

Let’s be social! Follow DBK on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a thing!

The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

Let’s be social! Follow DBK on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a thing!

Updating to a Classic Look | Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation In Process

TGIF y’all!! I wanted to celebrate that we made it through the week by sharing a bit about one of my current projects!

I started working with this client on their space several months ago (back when there was still snow on the ground). We sorted through all of the details of their space, worked out a plan, and started selecting our materials.

Farmhouse Bath Floor Plans

Orders were placed around March or April and then we waited. This is not that uncommon in the world of renovations. You have to wait for your contractor to fit you into their schedule, the town to approve your permits, and the materials to all arrive. All that said, we were ready to go in June, but couldn’t start until a few weeks ago due to many variables.

You can take a look at the planning process in this post (the first image shows me working through this space planning). And the plan above is the one that we ultimately went with. The idea was to bring in some more classic farmhouse elements to be true to the home’s character while not creating something that would easily feel dated.

We decided to choose materials that represented that classic farmhouse feeling with the wood look tile on the main floor, white subway on the walls (in an updated scale and finish), and accents of Carrera marble in the counters, shower floor and saddle pieces.

We went with a claw-foot tub centered in the bathroom space with a beautiful and classic tub filler to finish it off. This detail was the one sticking point for this client, we had to find a way to make a claw-foot fit in the space in addition to the shower, and ideally make it stand out as a centerpiece.

Farmhouse Bathroom Storage Cabinet Linen Tower Custom Amish Dining Room Hutch

For the cabinetry, we went with a simple style and a classic valance base that nods towards an Amish farm style cabinetry detail. The plan is to carry this theme through with custom corner cabinets to flank the tub and add storage in the space (we had to knock out the linen closet in the hallway to make everything fit in the space that we wanted). The corner cabinets would be a painted white finish with a valance base that would match that of the vanity cabinet, but for now they won’t be added due to budgeting restrictions (also very common in renovations), however they are all planned and ready to go whenever we are ready to add them. The vanity cabinet itself is a really pretty chestnut brown finish, which is a nice rich tone without the reddish undertones.

I can’t wait to see how this whole space comes together! Hopefully I can share more soon! Are you working on any projects at home? What renovations are on your list currently and what types of renovations do you want to see me share more of here?

Let’s be social! Follow DBK on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a thing!

100 Year Old Basement Renovation In Process

This project started out a lot like many others. When I first met with the homeowners, the wife was timid and anxious about even letting me see the basement, but upon seeing it and discussing the space with her, she became very excited to be moving forward with renovating this space.

When I presented the plans to the husband and wife they both became very excited about the space and anxious to keep things moving. This basement needs to consist of more organized storage for household items, their extra refrigerator, an appliance pantry for larger counter-top appliances that get used only a handful of times throughout the year, a laundry room, and gym. In addition to these shared spaces, we needed to create a space where family can crash when needed, so there is also a shared mud room with exterior entry and a full private suite with a kitchenette, living room, bathroom and bedroom, and knowing how amazing this space is going to be when it is finished, any member of the family who gets to crash in this basement is going to feel like they landed at a 5 star hotel.

Through shopping trips, research, planning and revising plans, I have become pretty close with the family and they have had some unfortunate news come to light. That said, we are doing everything we can to finish this project as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

The space has been fully gutted and the french drains are going in. The space feels so much larger than it felt before and they are starting to be able to envision the plan within the shell of their basement now. We are at a pretty fun stage of the game with everything so raw right now. (All of the images above are pre-demo; below is where we are now.)

I wanted to share this seemingly nothing of an improvement so that you can see how these projects start. We have to knock things down in order to pick them back up again, and in this business it isn’t all pretty. Sometimes you might be ashamed of how your space looks now, but it will get there, even if it takes forever.

This basement is 100 years old, it has a lot of character, and we are intending to keep a good chunk of the character in tact. Can’t wait to show you more along the way as we progress.

Tour Of A Sweet Master Suite

This project all started out with a little leak. The homeowner was experiencing a drip in their shower, which developed into mold, which spread through to their closet, and before you know it, their insurance was coming out to take a look at the problem.
Master Suite-Bathroom Overview1

This project started as something done out of necessity, but soon became something that both husband and wife wanted to never have to worry about changing as long as they were in the home. So we worked through a more functional design for the space, shifting the walls slightly to accommodate a wider closet, swapping the tub location to accommodate the make-up area and more cabinetry. We shifted windows, added a laundry room, etc., When it was all said and done, it was so worth it.

The only thing we did outside of the on-suite portion of their master was pick out new paint colors to help the spaces flow together better — hence the random photo of the fireplace. This is their sitting room that leads directly into the bathroom from their master bedroom.

I could live in this master suite. All that is missing is a beverage center for coffee in the morning and wine at night, and a mini fridge and microwave for snacks. Maybe we can tack that on to their next home improvement project.

SNP Kitchen Progress

One of the projects I am currently working on is a small galley-style kitchen. The client’s previous kitchen didn’t have a very good working triangle, nor did it have good organization for food and other kitchen essentials. The plan in the new kitchen should take care of all of that.

The first step in any project is to get a plan. Once you have the plan, you select and order the materials. After the materials are scheduled for delivery, you can use that timing to figure out the start date for your contractors to begin demolition.

For this project, demo began about a month ago in the beginning of May. Once the demo was done, we started removing the old windows and framing out for the new ones. The rough plumbing and electrical was done and we awaited the inspections.

In New Jersey, the inspection process can be cruel. Each town has adapted it’s own version of the code and each inspector has a different list of things that they are particular about. The codes are there for a reason and they are so important, which is why it is always important to file for permits and go through the process. It is also very important to work with certified plumbers and electricians so that you can ensure a minimal amount of time wasted on delays due to inspections. For this job, we were delayed 10 days after needing to make minor revisions and have re-inspections.

Everything has now passed and the sheet rock is up! The client is getting antsy, and wouldn’t you without a kitchen for over a month!! But this is the way that renovations work. They take time and believe me, you don’t want anyone rushing your job through because that is when mistakes happen.

This project is coming along beautifully and I can’t wait to share more progress, and hopefully soon a finished reveal of the space. You aren’t going to believe the transformation once it is complete!

A Master Bath That Masters Aging in Place

You might be asking yourself right now, “what is aging in place?” It is a big topic right now that is especially hitting home with many baby boomers, but is also relevant with anyone doing a renovation and considering how long the plan to be in any given place.

Master Bath AIP 1

As we get older, our bodies unfortunately begin to deteriorate. We find that it may not be as easy to get around and do the day to daily tasks we are accustomed to doing on our own. That is why this is such an important topic, because it isn’t something that only affects a select few individuals, it is something that will affect us all.

The things you need can range from a bench in your shower because it’s easier to shave your legs, you’ve had a recent surgery and need to be careful about where the water is going, and how much standing you are doing, or that you are older and may need help bathing at some point — to adding grab bars.

Although many of us don’t like to think about these things — because they are scary and we just aren’t there yet in our lives —  they are a reality. People are living longer, and with that longer life come challenges. Instead of letting these things creep up and surprise us, why not plan for them in your renovation process?

In a bathroom renovation, especially a first-floor master bath as is the case in this project, it’s a nice idea to offer some elements that will help give the space longevity and work with us as we age. These details can still be appealing and never have to look clinical with all of the pieces available in the world today. If you think you are going to be spending 20 years in your home, it is definitely worth weighing the options.

Some elements to consider are converting from a tub/shower combo to a shower only so you aren’t stepping over a large barrier while you are climbing in and out. If you are getting rid of that tub to make room for a larger shower, why not add a bench, you may be surprised at how much you like to have it, even before you need to use it!

Master Bath AIP 3

Grab bars are another thing that people don’t like to think about. When you see grab bars, they just feel old and clinical, but I’m telling you there are so many more attractive options out there these days that finding something that both looks nice, and serves a great purpose as well, is relatively easy. Consider getting a small (12″) grab bar and positioning it vertically inside the shower door to hold onto as you climb in and out (this works well if you keep the tub too); and a medium grab bar (18″+/-) placed horizontally along the back wall to stabilize yourself as you are showering, or to hold onto as you maneuver yourself to the bench.

Consider adding a handheld-shower to your shower. If you have a bench, consider placing the handheld-shower near the bench, you can use it while you are young to shave your legs, and when you get older it will be positioned right were you need it. Hand showers also come in handy for cleaning the shower so that you don’t have to bucket the walls. (I could actually do a whole blog post on the conveniences of adding a handheld shower.) This particular unit is made by Hansgrohe called the “Select,” and it offers a button to help change the settings without having to rotate the whole face of the unit, making it much more user friendly for all ages.

Finally, when you are selecting the controls in your shower, remember to touch and feel different styles. See what is easy to hold and turn now, and consider if something is more difficult now, how it may be come even more challenging as you age. Everyone is a little bit different in what they prefer, but typically speaking, lever handles are easier to adjust quickly without having to really grip, where as a knob can become slippery and a cross handle can become challenging to really grab hold of.

Master Bath AIP 8Master Bath AIP 2Master Bath AIP 7Master Bath AIP 10

Some things to consider outside the shower are the vanity area and the toilet. Most toilets these days are “comfort height,” but it’s a good thing to double check when you are ordering, it will make a big difference as you are using the facilities.

For your vanity, consider going with the newer kitchen height cabinets (which finish at 36″ with the top). This height makes it easier on our backs as we lean over the sink to brush our teeth, wash our faces, for men shaving, etc., of course if you are short or tall, these can typically be customized at a small increase that will probably be worth it in the long run. For the faucets, think about the way you turn on the faucet and what type of handle is easy for you to grip and use on a regular basis.

Lastly, consider adding a make-up counter to give yourself a place to sit down as you fix your hair and make-up. This space can feel very glamorous to the younger crowd, but can become very practical as you age.

Master Bath AIP 5Master Bath AIP 4Master Bath AIP 6

Don’t forget about good lighting, which will make all the difference in the world as you use the space daily at any age!

The pictures in this post are for a couple that were renovating their bathroom. They are not old, but they are an older couple and we spent time discussing these things, because as she puts it, she plans to die in this house. We planned a space that takes many of these ideas and makes them a reality. The only thing you don’t see here are grab bars, which we have planned for, purchased and even stabilized the wall in preparation for them, but they don’t need them yet so she wants to wait to install them until the time comes.

Their bathroom came together beautifully. The client had been using the bathroom for about 6 months when I came to take these photos and they couldn’t stop raving about how much they really loved it!

Have you considered how you will age in your home and what things you could do to make your day to day life a bit easier?

In The Works {A Classic White Kitchen}

This project is almost wrapped up, so before I get to share the final look, let me show you what we started with.

Probably the best view of the kitchen as a whole, looking from the dining room in.

For the client, the biggest hindrance in the space was that it was closed off. When you walk into their front door, you come right into the living room and are facing a wall that separates the living room from the kitchen. Secondly was the dark and outdated style of the kitchen and for the hubby especially, the soffits around the perimeter were a big problem.

From a design perspective the kitchen was in great need of lightening up–not just in the finishes, but in adding actual light. In your kitchen where you are dealing prepping food, cleaning etc., almost everything you are doing requires really good light.

Here is a view of the dividing wall in the kitchen.

We made a list of what the client wanted to see in the space visually as well as what they needed in the space functionally and started to make a plan.

Here is a look at the plan for the space as drawn by Beauty Craft Kitchens here in NJ:

And here is a look at the room starting to open up:

Looking from the front door towards the kitchen and dining rooms.

Reveal coming soon! What do you think?

One Bathroom Becomes Two

The B family recently purchased a new house, and they have two small children. The new house has three bedrooms and one main bath upstairs, and a master bath with full on-suite bathroom downstairs. Because their kiddos are so young, they want to be on the same level as them, but they also wanted to keep their own bathroom if possible.

Since they also live in an area where adding a secondary on-suite bath is a huge re-sell point, and it will benefit them tremendously while they are in the home, they decided to explore the options of dividing the large hall bath into two bathrooms.

The space was easy enough to divide, and we would easily be able to add an entry to the bath from the bedroom adjacent to access the new bathroom. So we drew up the plans and got started picking out materials.

The house is set back on the property and is surrounded by the natural elements, so we brought some of that in our inspiration for the spaces.  Here’s a look at some material selections for the spaces:

Here is a look at the tile work coming together in both of the spaces:

These bathrooms have come a long way from where they started. Not only have they fully taken shape in becoming two spaces, but they are really coming together. Hopefully I can show you the full reveal soon!

Have you ever considered the benefit of dividing a single space in your home to make two spaces that function better for your needs? Or what about taking two spaces and opening them up into one space? I think that the latter is more common these days with the growing love of great rooms that give you one big space to contain your kitchen, dining and living rooms without division.