Re-Constructing Home-Part 8: Crafting the Perfect Space

When Derek and Bethany purchased their 1915 Craftsman home, they knew they’d have to do a massive overhaul of the interior to make it the open, warm, and functional space they desired. The choppy rooms, odd (and non-functional) kitchen, and funky blue carpet upstairs needed to be scrapped. But, out of the myriad of design possibilities, how to redesign the space to create the perfect home for their family became the question.

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The Upstairs Pre-Reno (Look at that blue carpet!)

For Bethany, a focal point of the design needed to be a space to entertain. With that in mind, the designer tackled reworking the kitchen to create a new space that would encompass the kitchen and the family room/mudroom. In order to achieve this new design, they’d need to remove the back of the house (!) to add an additional 18 feet in depth. However, once this space was complete, they’d have a large, open kitchen adjacent to the family room, featuring a wood burning fireplace–the ideal family & friend hangout space. And the design wouldn’t sacrifice the luxury of dinner parties in the formal living room, located on the opposite side of the kitchen. Finally, a kitchen that isn’t designed like an obstacle course and plenty of room to entertain that isn’t adjacent to Derek & Bethany’s (doorless) bedroom!

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The (Non-Functional) Kitchen Pre-Reno
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The Living Room Pre-Reno. This was the only space available to entertain–located right outside Bethany & Derek’s doorless bedroom.

Surprisingly, the biggest point of contention in the remodel ended up being the master bathroom and closets. It turns out that Derek is meticulous about being tidy. And Bethany loves the process of getting ready, which can admittedly get a little messy at times. They each needed their own vanity and separate closets to preserve marital harmony. Before all was said and done, they revamped the design three times before finding a way to achieve their own well-designed space without making the area feel choppy or unnatural.

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One of the Bathrooms Pre-Reno. Cozy, right?

But even something as small (and seemingly trivial) as bathroom design comes down to Derek & Bethany’s primary focus: family. Bethany loves the process of getting ready, because it reminds her of her own childhood. Some of her favorite memories revolve around watching her mom get ready in the mornings and piling in with her sisters to do their hair and make-up for special events—all 4 girls in one bathroom! She wanted to make sure that the bathroom in their dream home was a space where she and Evelyn could create the same kind of memories together.

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Camping out in their home for 8 months pre-renovation had its trials and tribulations. But Derek & Bethany say that living in the house before finalizing the design plans helped them parse out what they really wanted and how to best achieve the functionality they desired. While finalizing the plans took longer than they had originally anticipated, they ended up with a stronger design because they had time to mull it over and envision how the design would play out while they were camping in their pre-reno home.

There’s a natural tendency to want to push through the design process quickly, so that renovations can begin. But, unless the homeowner is intimately familiar with the process of moving walls and placing windows in just the perfect spot, Bethany recommends taking time between drafts of plans—up to a week or more–to let the proposal sink in and develop a good understanding of what may need to change and why. After all, it is much cheaper (and way less headache) to make changes in the design phase than it is to make changes once the long awaited construction begins.

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The Long-Awaited Plans!
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