Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Before and After: Kitchen Renovation

About a year ago, friends who live in New York asked if I could offer some advice on a kitchen renovation they were planning. The existing space was an oddly shaped galley that notched around the master bath at one end.

The original kitchen was oddly configured and cut off from the rest of the house.
My friends also planned to renovate the master bath at the same time, and hoped to enlarge it into the "notch" of the kitchen.

The existing master bath was cramped.
Fortunately, the answer to the space planning dilemma was fairly obvious: a hallway that led to the master suite could be absorbed into the kitchen, and a new entrance to the master bedroom could be created off of the great room.

This before photo shows the hall we added to the kitchen.
The "after" floor plan. The kitchen absorbed the hall, and the master bath grew into the old "notch" at the end of the  original galley kitchen.  The result is a much more function and space for two of the most used rooms in the house.
The kitchen after the renovation. Bright white cabinetry, carried up to the ceiling and capped with a beautiful, tall crown moulding make this a dramatic transformation.
Another view of the kitchen after the renovation. 
The master bath after renovation. The owners swapped out the double sink I'd originally proposed for a single long vanity and linen cabinet. Tall wainscoting adds detail, and classic hex tile gives the space a timeless appeal.
For more transformations, visit us on Facebook!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ideas From Hilton Head

It was my privilege, for the second year in a row, to be one of the judges of the Hilton Head Homebuilder's Association Lighthouse Awards. There were over 90 entries this year, and four panels of judges tackled them over two days.

My group of judges visited all of the renovation projects, and new construction homes priced from $700,000 to over $3 million.

We were impressed by the amount of construction and design talent on the island...it was difficult in some categories to decide which house should win.

Naturally, I took a ton of photos. (So many that I filled the memory of my iPhone, and had to spend an hour clearing it out once I got home!)

Attached are some shots of my favorites...fair warning that there are tons, but they are worth waiting for!

This fitted closet was beautifully lit with concealed tape light inside each glass fronted cabinet. The marble topped island concealed an ironing board, and an automated TV screen dropped down within one of the niches.
These cobalt blue lanterns provided a perfect pop of color in this otherwise sedate kitchen. The finish on the cabinets was stunning...a soft blue gray that changed color depending on the light.
To make the most of a small master bath, this house had a "wet room" that served both showering and bathing. A mix of carrara marble and less expensive porcelain were skillfully combined.
The beds in this kids room appeared to be suspended from the ceiling with rope. There were concealed pedestals in the center to stabilize them, but the floating appearance was a jaw-dropper.
By far my favorite feature was this industrial wall of glass that separated a masculine study from the adjacent gallery.
A pair of vintage doors were used as "backplates" for the sconces in this guest room.
This octagonal master bedroom was punctuated with light from dormers above and highlighted by a sculptural chandelier.
This polished and stained concrete floor provided an easily maintained and striking backdrop in a room awash in neutrals.
This bright modern kitchen was highlighted by a slab of stone and a rusticated mahogany eating counter.
Several of the larger houses had these scullery kitchens...pantries on steroids that served to clear the main kitchens of clutter and provide secondary food prep places.
This house had almost no sheetrock surfaces. Shiplap paneling had been laid over every surface. In some rooms, it ran vertical, and in all cases was grounded by generously sized baseboards and casings.
Many thanks to the Hilton Head Homebuilder's Association for putting on such a wonderful event...to the builders and homeowners who opened their doors...and to all the talented folks who made these gorgeous spaces a reality.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On the Market: A 1980's Time Capsule

I've confessed before that one of my favorite ways to waste time is to browse real estate listings. Every morning I see what new listings have come online in my area, and from time to time will also see what's available in the areas I grew up in and neighborhoods around the country that I know have fantastic houses!

My curiosity was piqued when I saw this listing in my hometown. The listing price of almost $800,000 is virtually unheard of in small town Beckley, WV (even for a large house in a desirable neighborhood.) The first pictures in the listing drew me in:

A pleasant looking French style house, typical of what was being built in the 70s and 80s, right?

What a gorgeous back yard. Obviously a lot of care and updating has been put in there recently.

After browsing a few shots of the backyard, with it's beautiful pool, outdoor kitchen, and lush landscaping, I was really looking forward to seeing the interior. Surely it had been updated with the same attention to detail, right?

I should warn my readers with a delicate decorative sensibility to turn away now. The following pictures may induce seizures, nausea, or an uncontrollable urge to put on shoulder pads and a pair of stirrup pants. If Crockett and Tubbs had a house in West Virginia, this would have been it. I'm just going to let these pictures speak for themselves:
Pink cabinets and black light wallpaper

So many patterns...

Pink and teal and black.

The tamest room in the house.

That bed. It almost distracts from whatever arrangement of funeral flowers occupies the other side of the room.

Interestingly scalloped stairs.

Glass block, black wallpaper, and a strange metal tree highlight the foyer.

more black in the kitchen.

black, purple, red, and mirrors. Reminds me of a 1980s mall store.

Charcoal dining room with a view to the living room beyond.

Pink and purple sun room with 1980s airport art.

A sea of teal.

No 1980s home would be complete without a pink Jacuzzi.

Lower level  rec room or 1980s nightclub?
So, could you embrace the retro style of this house, or would it be a gut job? Can the 80s be cool again?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pre-Designed Plan, The Kingsbridge

The first house built from our "Kingsbridge" plans has hit the market, and that gives us a chance to take a peek inside.

The house has an open living area and a sumptuous master suite on the main floor, and three bedrooms and an activity room on the second, all combined in just under 4,000 square feet.

The front of the house showcases arched windows and a mix of painted brick and stone.
The two story foyer has an elegantly curved stair.
A view of the open great room and dining area.
The spacious kitchen with gourmet island.
The octagonal vestibule leads into the master suite and directs traffic to dual walk in closets, the master bath, and the master bedroom.
Another view of the master vestibule.

The Master bath is spacious and bright.
For more information on the Kingsbridge, email us at southgateresidential@gmail.com
And visit us on Facebook for more project photos!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Life For a Century Old Farmhouse

The Perfect Southern Farmhouse
I recently wrapped up plans to ready a picturesque farmhouse, built in 1912, for it's next 100 years. Built by the owner's great grandparents and lived in by the family since, the large (over 3000 square foot) house originally had no indoor plumbing or electricity. While loaded with charm, the heirloom house was short on modern conveniences. A small basic bathroom was added in the 1960's, but it was located on the first floor, which meant none of the upstairs bedrooms had convenient access. The kitchen, though large, was not functional and very dated. The house, true to it's age, had almost no closet space, no insulation, and no central heat or air. While the current owners wanted to keep the house in the family, it was hardly a place to raise a young child and the baby on the way. They had contemplated tackling the project a bit at a time, but soon realized that it made more sense to just do the work all at once. The house needed a proper kitchen, a master suite, second floor bathrooms, and general updating of the mechanicals, as well as tackling some deferred maintenance.
So let's take a look at the "befores!"

The only bathroom was small, dated, and frankly, a bit scary. 

Though twenty feet in length, the kitchen had only a few cabinets confined to one corner. The tattered vinyl floor, ancient appliances, and damaged walls hardly made it a place for family meals.
Horrible as the bath and kitchen were, the rest of the house was brimming with charm. The foyer and stair hall are to die for. The original plank walls throughout the house add such warmth and character.
One of the house's SIX original fireplaces. 
The original floor plan showing the single first floor bathroom and general lack of closets.
The existing rear of the house. By raising the original one-story areas at the rear up to two story height, we were able to capture the space necessary to ready the house for it's next 100 years.
The renovated main level plan.

The owners wanted to make certain that the house did not change at all from the front. Fortunately, the existing first floor was large enough that no expansion (aside from a small covered rear porch) on that level was necessary. We widened the openings to the kitchen, removed some of the original doors (saving them, of course, to be reused in our second floor addition), reworked the kitchen/mudroom/and bath area to include a gourmet kitchen with farm table style island, a six foot bank of refrigerator and freezer towers, and plenty of cabinet space. Built ins at the back door (where the family will enter most often) catch clutter before it makes its way into the house, a small closet is outfitted with a stack washer and dryer, and the existing bath is gutted, renovated, and it's access is moved to the mudroom to hide the view of it from the front door.

The biggest changes happen upstairs. By adding a second floor over the original kitchen, study, and mudroom, we were able to give the family two new bathrooms--a large compartmented bath for the secondary bedrooms to share, and an enormous spa-like master bath with freestanding tub, walk-in shower, and double vanities. The new master suite is rounded out with a room-sized walk-in closet that offers convenient access to the new second floor laundry room. While we were able to give one of the secondary bedrooms a new walk-in closet, we opted to leave the other two in their original state, and take care of clothes storage in those spaces "the old fashioned way" with armoires and dressers. 
Construction on the project just started this month! Follow us on Facebook to see the progress!