A Client Remodel: Kitchen After

Raise your hand if you remember our client’s pine-clad space.  If you don’t, stop reading now and check out all of the before photos.



After demolishing nearly the entire main level, the remodel is drawing to a close and looking and functioning as a completely new space.  Hold on to your hats, because this is a striking difference:


Is that insane, or what?!  Okay, how about another, because I find before and after makeovers to be the best.  Before:


And after:


I know, pick your jaw up off of your device.  That door that previously led to the garage was moved to the entry, allowing for a better kitchen flow and more cabinetry.  Removing the wall allows for easy flow between the living spaces, making entertaining a breeze.

A walnut clad vent hood adds much-needed warmth to the white cabinet perimeter, with brushed brass accents for a bit of bling.


A 36 inch Bertazzoni range looks like a functional masterpiece.


It’s hard to tell in the before shots, but the island was only 30 inches away from the perimeter, making opening the dishwasher barely possible.  Now, there’s enough room to have both the range and dishwasher open.


The dishwasher is tucked into the island, next to the beautiful enamel coated cast iron sink apron front sink.


With all of the precise, hard lines, we chose a slightly varied subway tile to create a handmade look.


The back splash is grey with a crackle finish, wavy in texture, and full of charm.  Truly, the icing on the cake.


That’s all for now, stay tuned for more before and after goodness of the living and dining spaces.  Until then, what’s your favorite part of the remodel?  I love the open, functional layout, the walnut hood, and the tile back splash.


The Cost of an Indoor Pool

Now that the pool house is complete, the pool with water, we’re getting a lot of questions.  How much does it cost to fill and/or heat?  How do we keep the humidity in check?

We got the water bill for filling it using hoses and city water.  The bill for September, the month we filled it was $120, which is about $60 higher than average.  So that was far cheaper than getting a water pump truck to fill it, which runs around 500 dollars.  However, it took several days to fill with the hose, so there’s a give and take.


The pump room is the brain of the pool, housing the furnace, pump, cartridge filter, bromine applicator, and on demand water heater for the pool water.

In addition to the water bill, we have received the electric bill.  Again, our average bill runs around $60 per month, but was up to $120.  The electricity is mainly used for the pump and the hot tub.  Pool-House-Pump-Room

As for the cost to heat the water, the on demand heater is an unconventional choice.  Ben researched affordable, efficient water heating methods but hadn’t seen anything about a conventional on demand heater for a pool.  Over the course of the last year, he asked everyone he came in touch with that dealt with water or heaters for their opinion.  No one had a reason it wouldn’t work, so that’s what he installed.


We don’t constantly have the water heating, but try to keep it between 82 and 86 degrees.  At that temperature, the water helps keep the room heat up, so we haven’t been running the furnace much.  Our gas bill should come soon, so we’ll see how different the average versus pool heating is.

Despite being indoors, we have a clear bubble cover on the pool when not in use.  Not only does this help keep the water heat in, it also minimizes the air humidity.  It’s cut for a close fit, with slits to wrap around the ladder.


Though the cover helps tremendously, we did get a stand alone dehumidifier.  It comes in handy during and after swimming, when the cover is off for extended lengths of time.  When swimming, the humidity can get up to 90%, but the unit will bring it back down to 35% within a few hours.


It has a pump, so there’s no emptying the tank, it simply pumps right back into the pool.  Though I don’t love the look of having the dehumidifier on the floor, it does work wonders.  Perhaps down the road we’ll get one that hooks up to the furnace, but we’d like to see how it goes through the summer months as well.


Fall Mantel Styling

A friend recently challenged another friend and I to style a fall mantel without spending a dime.  We styled at her house, and it was a nice change to work with items she had already.  To get started, we cleared everything off and wiped it down.


Next, we shopped her house, digging items out of her stash and pulling pictures off the walls.  For the first round, we set out a trio of framed items, an old window, a mirror and a black and white cow print.


With our center focal point created, we added a rustic galvanized bucket of sticks for height.  On the other size, for a bit of color, a vase of red poppies.


Lastly, we filled in the empty spaces with candle sticks, a potted succulent, and a metal E.


For kicks, we played around with other arrangements.  Whether you like a more full look:


Or a bit more sparse, there’s no right or wrong so long as you like it.


Ultimately, we landed on this arrangement.  It has it all, height, softness, wood, touches of black and greenery.  A few personalized items round out the arrangement, creating a neutral fall arrangement.


If you’re feeling stagnant with the items in your home, ask a group of friends to corral items they’re tiring of and do a swap.  It’s a fun and free way to shake things up.

Details Make the Difference

Over the course of the last couple of months, Ben has been hard at work on a main floor remodel for some fun clients.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with the stylish duo to select finishes to fit his more modern aesthetic and her traditional/farmhouse leaning style.


For the entry, we painted the door Black Magic from Benjamin Moore, to add drama and contrast against all of the white and pale gray.  A modern version of a lantern marries both styles, while giving a warm welcome.


Down the hall, I found a pair of smaller single bulb fixtures to add a bit of interest.  New five panel molded doors have cleaner lines than their original arched doors.  Simple white trim is kind of the eyeliner for the hall full of doors.


Choosing the hardwood floors was quick and painless, as we all loved this slightly gray washed wide white oak plank.  To keep the main area light and bright, we had the walls painted Crushed Ice from Sherwin Williams.  In the master bedroom, we injected a bit more personality with a wooden beaded chandelier and a dark accent wall (Peppercorn from Sherwin Williams).


Ben really loved assembling the fixture.


The new doors have matte black Latitude handles and hinges from Schlage.  In a space with so many light elements, the dark hardware is a great accent.


Looking down the hall, the stairs have a new steel horizontal railing, which is the icing on the cake.


Right upon entering the house, the fireplace and built in cabinets are a focal point from several vantage points throughout the main spaces.


We’re all in love with the deep walnut against the white of the fireplace and cabinets.


In the kitchen, brass pendants are already looking great against the in progress custom walnut vent hood cover.


Final details are all coming into place now, so I hope to have after photos sooner rather than later.

A Client Remodel: Before

Back in August, Ben and I started working on a main level remodel for a sweet, stylish couple.  Despite the house being built within the last 20 years, the before felt very dated, despite having painted every wall to update it.  The entry boasts a beautiful door, which opens toward the living room.


From the front door, there’s a beautiful view through a big back window, with a rock fireplace to one side and the dining/kitchen to the left.


Even with the two arched openings, the kitchen felt very closed off, which was tricky when they hosted large groups.



Big east and south-facing windows flood the rooms with natural light, but the yellow trim didn’t do any favors for the space.


Before, cabinets lined all walls, creating a tight walkway all around.  With only 29 inches between the island and side cabinets, there was just barely enough room to open the dishwasher.  The entrance from the garage also cramped the space.


A large sliding door off the dining room opens to the back yard.


Looking from the kitchen toward the living room, the arched walls blocked flow and the view of the fireplace.


While nice to have a fireplace, the too small mantle throws off the proportions.  Having two small children, our clients wanted more storage space for electronics and toys.


Crown molding with rope lighting tucked behind floated a few inches below the ceiling.  About half of the lights still worked, but those that did gave off a sickly orange glow.


Down the hall are three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a laundry room in need of updates.  The arched knotty alder doors and hand scraped light floors felt too rustic and traditional, all at once.


Bedrooms only needed trim, carpet, and paint touch ups, but the bathroom could benefit from new floors, cabinet, counters, sink, and faucet.


With a small laundry room, the dark appliances and cracking floors didn’t help the room.


Major pieces have started coming together in the last couple of weeks, so stay tuned for progress updates.