Even with the firm’s expertise, the project was not without its challenges, the builders report. During demolition, an HVAC return was discovered in an area that the client thought was empty space. The new (and already ordered) cabinetry from Mid Continent Cabinetry, had been configured to utilize this space. To solve this problem, the cabinet placement was modified to include making small custom drawer fronts to match new cabinets, which saved money for the clients in that they did not have to reorder cabinets.
Another surprise was found during demolition, when the steps leading up to the tub/shower area were removed. Instead of finding concrete beneath the tile, there was only dirt below. Concrete had to be poured through the window and then bolted to the existing slab.
Plumbing had to be rerouted for the new tub, while wiring had to be pulled for added accent lighting behind the arch over the tub area.
Indirect lighting was strategically placed behind the tub to create a mellow, relaxed feeling. The glaring lights around the vanity were replaced with tasteful sconce lights with framed mirrors to match the vanity cabinets.
To add functionality without interrupting the clean lines of the bath, electrical outlets were hidden inside cabinets, giving the vanity area a more polished look.
The closet dressing area wasted much of the bathroom’s space, according to the builders. Sliding mirrored doors on three sides revealed only 70 sq. ft. of space. For simplicity and cost effectiveness, the mirrored doors from all three sides were removed to open up the existing space for easy access. Entrance to the closet is now to the right of the tub. Utilizing the newly constructed 11' wall behind the tub, the client was able to build in floor-to-ceiling shelves with cubbies for shoes and space for long-hanging garments. The new closet measures 170 sq. ft. – over twice what the previous closet had provided.
Part of achieving a Master Design Award is measuring the financial success of the project. By beating the homeowners’ budget by $2,000 to create this streamlined, elegant, visually interesting space, TriLite Builders took the Gold.
Kitchen Over $100k – Gold winner
Chevy Chase, MD-based Wentworth, Inc. had plenty of challenges when it was charged with the remodel of a poorly designed 1970s kitchen with dated cabinetry, yellowing grout between backsplash tiles, old linoleum floors and uneven construction.
According to Wentworth, the homeowners’ ultimate goal was to gut the old kitchen, maximize the available space and open the room up to the adjacent dining room and rear garden to suit the clients’ “informal lifestyle.”
The result is a kitchen with a light, airy, almost European feel. The designers took their inspiration from the space’s proximity to the home’s back garden. Replacing the sliding glass doors with French doors that opened straight onto the patio was the first step.
To address the uneven and aging structure, the firm newly framed the space to make walls and floor plumb and square. The narrow space, just 11'4"x14', required a careful design to accommodate a new island. The south wall was fitted with 12"-deep, full-height cabinets in a warm off-white tone.
Between the main cabinetry and the ceiling are glass-front boxes for display. Pantry cabinets flank a countertop used for laptops, mail cubbies and cell phone charging.
A north wall accommodates all of the appliances, the sink and a new casement window. The tight space required that the rear door be repositioned, which also accentuates the view of the garden.
Efficiency was the goal for the new center island, which the builders describe as “a comfortable space for breakfast, coffee and reading the morning news.” Its cherry top adds a warm tone that sets off the colors in the wood flooring and complements the natural stone perimeter countertops. Eclectic pendant lights hang above and help to lead the eye toward the garden. The symmetry this style provides is further reinforced with a custom coffered-beam ceiling that accentuates the height and gives a fair amount of high style to an otherwise informal and minimalistic space.
The results, coming in at a budget of $160,000, matched the clients’ goals. The living spaces now flow seamlessly through one another, front-to-back, with the kitchen acting as the conduit to the beautiful rear garden.
Although the space is modestly scaled, the strategic use of natural light combined with appropriately sized elements gives it a very upgraded, spacious feel, the builders note.