Country Estate Project- Kitchen/Family Room and Video Tour

Country Estate Project - Kitchen/Family Room and Video Tour

A few weeks ago, I showed you the transformation of the master suite. This week, I am excited to share a video tour of my finished country estate project. I would like to tell you about the transformation we did in this lovely home’s kitchen/family room area. 

Recently the home’s new owners contacted me to design an extensive transformation of the space. Dated cabinetry and materials, old appliances, and an inferior layout frustrated the new homeowners, who were very excited to see what I had planned for the space. 


This stately home is an older 1700s era colonial. In the 1980s, a large contemporary addition had been added to the back of this home, keeping the large old original fireplace but adding a multitude of contemporary features that were not fitting to the home.

The awkward kitchen layout did not allow for any flow into the kitchen but created a strange barrier you continuously had to walk around to get in and out of the confined small feeling kitchen. The two stairways added in the previous addition, a pink and brass spiral stairway, and a strange drop-down set of stairs into the family room created more strange barriers in this home.

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One of the things that I wanted to improve in this kitchen space is the flow from one room to the other it’s a vast space that’s open to a living area. I wanted to open things up to give them more seating, more entertaining area, and I wanted to open up the kitchen floor so that you didn’t have to walk around the peninsula to get into the kitchen space like the former kitchen.

I came up with a design that incorporated two large custom islands. Designing beautiful custom cabinetry allowed us to develop exactly the right sized islands with the room’s proper configuration. Creating needed storage, more entertainment areas, and countertop space drastically improved the space’s design proportionally and visually.

The stairways were both changed. The homeowners immediately removed the spiral stairs before the design. We updated the look of that oak stairway with gleaming white paint to tie in the architecture to the rest of the design project. The awkward set of stairs and existing cabinetry in the living space were all removed, re-configured, and re-built. Now you can walk right out of the kitchen area into the family room. All new custom cabinetry in the living area allowed us to create a larger walkway around the stairway, which was necessary for this family. It also allowed us it clearly define the family room area and display their beautiful collections.

This kitchen and family room did come with the most beautiful view of the surrounding fields and woodland areas, so I developed a color scheme that took advantage of nature’s artwork. My homeowner’s love of traditional design elements inspired me to create this space, which ties in perfectly to the original older, more traditional style architecture.

However, we also added state of the art Decor appliances, complete with interactive cooking technology, quartz countertops, gleaming hardware, classic fixtures, and custom furnishings. I hope you will take a few minutes to tour the space with me in the video.

Until next time,
Gia

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Country Estate -Master Suite-Part 1 -Master Bath Project

Country Estate Master Suite - Bath Renovation

I am so excited to share the transformation of one of our completed master bath projects this week. A complete design and renovation project and was part of a more extensive home renovation that we did for these lovely clients. I’ll be sharing more of this beautiful home with you soon.

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The master bath renovation was an absolute priority for this client.  Its dated fixtures, strangely angled walls, and tiny shower called out for a complete transformation.

Although this was a reasonably large room, this older home, formerly renovated by a previous homeowner in the late 1980’s, contained numerous angled walls creating strange angles, dead spaces, and lots of wasted space. Visually the room’s odd proportions were confusing and not pleasing to the eye. Changing the configuration was something I knew would make a dramatic difference in the space.

The small closet off the bathroom was in dire need of enlargement as it served as the master closet in this home and was very small and angled.

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After viewing this property and discussing the needs of the homeowner, I got right to work designing this bathroom.

My first step was to reconfigure the space changing the shape of the room. I eliminated the false angled walls, squared off the room, eliminated the dead spaces, re-located doorways, and enlarged the window, which opened up space and allowed me to design a beautiful enlarged bathroom. Complete with a freestanding soaking tub, two vanities, and a large custom, tiled steam shower complete with chroma-color, aromatherapy, rain head, and it’s own sound system—a far cry from the small shower stall in the original bathroom. Now my homeowner can enjoy their luxurious steam shower equivalent to the finest spa, right in the comfort of their home. The new toilet area no longer houses a bidet but added custom cabinets for additional storage. We eliminated a small hallway to nowhere behind the existing small closet and the space added to a new large custom master closet.

The design details, material selections, color scheme, and classic architectural details were selected to create a quiet, soothing environment, complement the architecture of this historical 1700 era home, and not overpower the beautiful ever-changing lush views from every direction from this New England country estate. All of the modern conveniences of an updated renovated space with classic details that my clients love.

I can’t wait to show you more of this project, including the master bedroom coming up next week.

 

Until next time,
Gia

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Working From Home During Your Renovation

Working From Home During Your Renovation

You might have been planning your home renovation project for some time. If you have hired a design and build company like mine, you have a designer/project manager overseeing your project from start to completion.

You knew this was the right choice since you need to keep focused on work and certainly don’t have the time or desire to be learning how to be a designer and a renovation manager at the same time. You also know that you want professional-level results, and you value the skills and experience of professionals. Now you can concentrate on your job and career knowing the project is in good hands.

There is one thing you might not have anticipated…that you might be working from home during the renovation process. 

broken floor tile

Working from home is now the new normal, and homeowners everywhere are settling into their new working environment. Most people are enjoying the new freedom of working in their home environments. No long commute, all the comforts of home, and increased productivity. (see my previous blog article, pro tips for working from home)

Now that your project start date is approaching, and with the recent construction and renovation boom, you are delighted that you have booked this project in advance and with a firm that has you on their schedule.  So, of course, you are ready to start and see the results of your thoroughly planned project. But now, how are you going to handle having a house filled with construction while you are working from home and having daily zoom calls?

Here are some tips for working from home during your renovation:

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ONE

Discuss any additional projects as soon as possible with your designer/project manager. For example, you may have decided that you want to set up a work area in a bedroom away from the renovation activity. You may need a desk, additional electrical outlets, a comfortable desk chair, or further assistance moving furnishings into a place where you can work comfortably. We would be glad to assist our clients with these things, and often we do. The sooner we know this, the better we can help you with getting settled. Your designer can source out the additional furniture items that you might need and will be familiar with the new projected lead time of different vendors and companies.

TWO 

Discuss the renovation process as far as what areas of the house will need to be cleared out or inaccessible during construction. Sometimes homeowners are unaware of how much space will be affected during renovation or construction. We try to prepare our clients for this. For instance, if we are working on a bedroom renovation, we will need to clear out everything in the bedroom until the project is complete to have access to walls, ceiling, flooring, and to have space to bring in the necessary tools to work on the project. This could affect the question of where is the best place to set up that temporary working space.

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THREE

Contact your project manager with your questions as they have all of the information on your renovation project. When working with a design and build firm, all contractors and artisans have been well informed by the project manager as to what they are making and all of the details involved. Although now that you are home watching the process, it is hard not to get distracted with questions about the process. Questions are always welcomed and answered quickly and thoroughly by my firm and most reputable professionals. The on-site plumber or electrician might not know all the details of things that don’t pertain to his part of the project. Your project manager will answer your questions quickly so you can have the answers you are looking for, so you can then be able to concentrate on your work.

 

FOUR

Even in the most well planned and prepared renovation, there will be construction noise. Not fun when you are trying to work or make that zoom call to a colleague. When you need some quiet, plan an alternative working space to give yourself a little break. Even as someone who is no stranger to daily construction noise, numerous renovations for clients, as well as my own home, I found myself in this position a few years ago when I had my crew re-finish all of the floors in my home. Although my office was isolated, I got to a point where I couldn’t take another 8 hours of floor sanding noise. I made my escape and spent a few working offsite in a quiet coffee shop. The peace and quiet, and maybe the extra caffeine, allowed me to be more productive in those very focused hours than if I had stuck it out at home. Removing myself allowed my crew to work more efficiently without worrying about clearing a path for me whenever I needed to walk through to the less than accessible bathroom. Just know that we feel your pain. No one enjoys living on a renovation site, much less working on one. Just know that we are doing whatever we can to lessen the impact yet still complete your project with high-quality work, efficiently, and with as little disruption to your work as possible

 

FIVE

Know that the renovation process is only temporary. Once your renovation is complete, and you can enjoy your new space, you will be so glad that you invested the time, money, and a little inconvenience to reap the benefits of your newly designed and renovated space. We also know that working from home can be a bit isolating. Some clients miss all the activity and progress in their home once the renovation is complete, and quickly start planning the next project. We love nothing more than continuing to plan with you for your next project.

 

Until next time,
Gia

 

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Tips For Designing And Renovating Your Condo

Tips For Designing And Renovating Your Condo

Condos provide a great lifestyle, especially for homeowners that don’t want to worry about exterior maintenance, landscaping, and the many chores of homeownership.

The advantage is that you do own the space, and in most cases, you can treat the inside of your condo however you’d like. However, every condo is different. The beautiful waterfront condo that we renovated in Charlestown Massachusetts had a whole different set of guidelines for interior renovations, then the condos we renovated in Foxborough, or Arlington, Massachusetts.

broken floor tile

 

When renovating, most condos have condo associations or a homeowners group that sets the rules, guidelines, and requirements needed. Every association or group regulates things differently, and so the preparation for a design and renovation project is essential.

Here are some tips and things to consider when thinking about the design and renovation of your condo.

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ONE

Contact the homeowners association or the condo board several months before you’re considering renovating. Sometimes there is a long process to go through to get permission and approvals that might be needed by the association for your renovation. If your particular condo association does require any approvals for interior work, you would much rather know this before starting the design and improvement of the space. Involve your designer/contracting team early on. Doing so will help prepare the proper drawings to present to your association if needed or required.

TWO

When designing an interior space of a condo, think about ways that you can utilize your space wisely when it comes to the storage and flow of your floor plan. Some condos have a very conventional floor plan; others have a unique floor plan. It’s essential to think about how you want to use the space and reconfigure the floor plan so that it works for you. Sometimes the series of small rooms can be opened up to create ample fully functional space, which can be more user-friendly than a lot of small rooms. Sit down with your designer early on to discuss all of the options before you dive into a project. Keep in mind; you might love what your neighbors have done with their similar unit; however, don’t limit yourself to what they have done, explore the possibilities of making your condo a unique design that works for you and your lifestyle.

THREE

Consider the natural light in the space and devise ways to utilize it or enhance it if needed. Some condos come with the benefit of large amounts of natural light; this can be wonderful. Still, it also can be a challenge in the area of privacy or controlling that natural light when needed as no one wants to be fully exposed with a wall full of windows at night, especially if you are in the city. Middle condos may lack in the area of natural light. Light may only be coming in from the front in the back of your condo. Adding additional natural light in your renovation project, opening up space from front to back will not only improve the floor plan and the flow, but it also increases the natural light as it now pours in through the entire space. Because of the lighting in your condo, a particular amount of consideration needs to be placed on color selection, as this can help to enhance and balance whatever lighting issues you are dealing with in your condo.

FOUR

When renovating your condo, depending on how your building is built, contractors, plumbers, and electricians might need access to adjacent units to renovate your space. Renovations should be discussed early on with your team of contractors and, if required, with your neighbors. Has access to wiring, plumbing, etc. might slow down your renovation if you do not have access to adjacent neighbors if needed. Any potential impact to adjacent units if this applies should be discussed in the design phase of the project. Doing so will save you a lot of hassle later on during the time of construction.

FIVE

Find out if there are any working restrictions in your building or complex. Again all condos in associations are different. Some buildings have various requirements for contractors coming in and out and working in the building. For instance, hours that contractors are allowed to work in the building, reserving an elevator for transportation of construction items. Parking, or other construction issues that could be required while working in the building to the building in general. Always try to find out what requirements the building has before your project begins. This will allow you and your contractors to plan accordingly. For instance, in a building in which you must reserve an elevator up to a week’s notice is sometimes required so that the building’s elevator can be covered and padded to avoid damage. This is not something that you want to find out the day that your contractor shows up with your kitchen cabinets, but he is ready to install. Taking the time to find out the rules in your building not only prepares you in the way for the timing of the project tasks, but it also helps you to define the additional costs for your project.

SIX

Enjoy the process of planning your condo and personalize it, add architectural details, and customized finishes or furnishings. Creating a beautiful condo can be a challenge, but with some preparation, with the proper process, you will be sure to have the best design for your home!

 

Until next time,

Gia

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A Peek Behind The Scenes

A Peek Behind The Scenes

Today I thought I would take you behind the scenes of one of our current projects. Although this project has just completed, I am giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes before furniture comes into the space and before our final photo session.
Most of our renovation projects involve a complete re-configuring of the space, removing walls, and incorporating much needed square footage to the areas of the home that we are renovating. However, sometimes a room can be totally re-designed and renovated within the current room’s configuration.
Add rich color.
This specific project is a complete kitchen renovation replacing all flooring, finishes, kitchen cabinetry, and all of the fixtures and details that put together a kitchen space.My client’s desire was to completely renovate their dated kitchen, however adjacent to the kitchen space was an open concept living room that really needed to feel connected to the adjoining kitchen. We planned on doing this with color and with extending new wood flooring through the living room.

These lovely homeowners were also particularly anxious to hear my design ideas for their living room fireplace.This existing brick fireplace really was not scaled properly for the space which really called for a larger, symmetrically centered fireplace. Here I designed something much more angular and modern to fit the room. The material choice was key as it needed to tie the fireplace into this traditionally styled home and reflect the homeowner’s love of old European stonework. All of these elements would work together to complete the look.

I recommended the selection of this beautiful oversized porcelain tile. Its’s matte finish and slightly textured appearance gave the homeowner’s the aged look that they loved. Its blue-gray coloration allowed me to tie it in perfectly with the kitchen design featuring some rich blue cabinetry. The tiles layout also was planned to visually enhance the size of the fireplace. Now the fireplace really anchors the entire space and has become a strong focal point that the space needed.

I can’t wait to show you more of this beautiful space!

Until next time,

Gia

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Why most of your design projects don’t produce the desired results

Why Most of Your Design Projects Don't Produce the Desired Results

Why can’t you get the desired results when finishing your own design project?  This is a complaint that I hear over and over from clients. It is especially frustrating for clients that know what they like and have a good artistic eye or “good taste”.

While I am a firm believer in buying items that you love and working them into your home, this does not guarantee a beautifully designed space in the end.

This can be very frustrating for someone that has meticulously selected beautiful items that they love for their home.

Recently, I met with a lovely client of mine, she has the most impeccable taste she’s very knowledgeable about the world of design. This client has the most amazing items in her home, she has a great eye for beautiful pieces and we always enjoy discussing some of the design world news. I have recently been working with this client on completing all of the rooms in her home and preparing the home for sale to a very exclusive market, but also appealing to the client as she is currently living in the space.

Why did this client hire a designer?

Because purchasing beautiful items does not equal a cohesive design in the end. Yet at a recent meeting that I had with her, she made the most profound statement. She said that she realizes that all of these years she has been shopping for each item for its artistic features, having no idea how she’s going to use it in her home, if it’s going to go with everything else she has in her home or how to pull all of these items together.

So, my first task for this unique project was to prepare the entire house for it’s impending photo session using items in this very large home and eliminating or supplementing where needed. This client gave me free rein to reconfigure the entire home and placement of everything. This allowed me to use my skills to transform her home in a way that she could not visualize. Of course, I did this with her lifestyle and taste in mind, and after discussing the overall goal of the transformation.

The Collection.

With so many amazing and unique items in this home, I knew the first step was to reconfigure the home. With my crew’s assistance, we worked tirelessly for several days moving furniture from one end of the house to another, moving and relocating just about every item.

The homeowner’s extensive art collection allowed me to pick and choose the best pieces for each space, finally displaying the homeowner’s favorite pieces, and allowing me to create a cohesive color scheme throughout the house. With 12 rooms to work with, I continue accessorizing and adding window treatments and bedding where needed. As we moved through the process items that instinctively belonged together found their home. In the end, we created a huge transformation in the home. Each room now looked balance with color, proportion, and style. Each room now functioned for the purpose to which it was designed. This homeowner was so pleased with the results and we are currently continuing to work on additional projects for her home.

3 helpful tips:

1: A well-designed room requires professional skills like a thorough knowledge of space planning, proportion, color balance, and lighting. It also requires a thorough knowledge of products and when or what to use where and why.

2: You might have numerous items in your home that you love just waiting to be part of a new design.

3: A great design requires much more thought and planning than it does shopping. Never start with shopping. Especially if you have a goal to complete a space an entire room or home and you have a budget. Plan first, shop last.

Until Next Time,

Gia

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