While some remodeling projects wholly reimagine a space (think “gut rehab”), most people are looking for incremental changes that simply refresh the space, making it feel new, and with a different vibe and attitude. The change in vibe comes from combinations of changes in structure, color and organization. Let’s examine one of ecobeco’s recent Westgate (Bethesda) remodels.
Many of our customers are people moving into a newly purchased home who are trying to put their own mark (and remove the previous homeowner’s mark) from the home. After our customer purchased this house, the selling agent recommended ecobeco to the buyers in order to remedy a few changes that the buyers had identified as problems during the selling process. We took the time to understand how the style of this homebuyer leaned more toward warm and vibrant colors rather than the standard whites and cool greys that were found in the home originally.
- The kitchen mosaic tile was busy, chopping up the kitchen space and looking visually noisy. Metallic colors overwhelmed the space.
- The kitchen cabinets were not finished up to the ceiling, leaving a visual space plus a literal physical gap to collect dust. There was an unusual floating molding valance bridging the upper kitchen sink cabinet area.
With just three minor alterations, the entire look and feel of the kitchen was transformed from choppy to chic:
- Elevating the cabinets up to meet the ceiling and making all the crown molding trim perfectly continuous and consistent gave this kitchen its full height and the breath of fresh air it needed to open the space.
- Removing all of the fussy multicolored mosaic patterned tile in favor of the light golden crackle finish tile with almond (previously stark white) grout warmed up the feel of this kitchen to glowing — a desired result for our homeowner.
- Removing the steel range backsplash panel completely and replacing it with a continuous wall of honey-colored ceramic field tile gave this kitchen another level of design consistency and flow.
Nothing you’re seeing was bank-breaking to accomplish, but completing and finishing just these three minor kitchen glitches plus adding wall paint looks like a full midrange kitchen remodel compared to the “Before”, doesn’t it?
Kitchen (detail) BEFORE:
Kitchen (detail) AFTER:
Family Room Problems:
- Boring and messy. From the wall color to the furniture to the power and cable cords strewn about, the family room was begging for a fresh attitude.
- The larger fix here was the custom built-in shelf unit, which extends just 10” into the room and only 14” from the wall at the deepest center cabinet point. We hid all the network and cable components in a different cabinet unit on the opposite side of the wall in the adjacent home office, hid some speakers behind perforated mini-doors in the wall unit, and even integrated the HVAC supply register into the design, too. Streamlined design with high functionality.
- Simple elegant furniture selections with stain-resistant fabrics and sweeping curved silhouettes helped break up the blocky feel of the many squared-off elements in the room, while also tricking the eye into the illusion of additional space. Colorful accent notes incorporated from the framed artwork in several rooms lends the space some fun while not overdoing the color factor.
Here is another view from the sliding doors looking back towards the kitchen. The indoor-to-outdoor traffic pattern to the deck is now a no-brainer with an extra-wide walking aisle remaining between the kitchen island and the gently curved back of the new sofa.
The buttery paint color ties this open plan family-friendly space perfectly to the kitchen and surrounding formal dining areas. Warmth and elegance have 100% successfully replaced the former choppy and cool mood. House is now Home.
Finding Problems During The Walkthrough, and Fixing Them
While this customer called us out to their home to address interior design needs, our walkthrough of the home discovered several issues that were either hard to see or not called out during the inspection. Their experience is instructive. The time between buying and moving into your new home is a great time to compare your home’s structure and systems to those required by newer building codes and industry best practices. Do your upgrades before you move in, when it is most convenient.
In the Westgate home, we found and remedied:
- Dimmer switches were absent everywhere
- Cable TV outlet shortage
- Main floor functional closet/organization not there — we created one!
- Laundry pan for washer overflow with a drain to the outside was missing — a standard current building code
- A/C unit was never leveled – we evened out the dirt under the unit and leveled it by almost 4”– also required by code and during its lifetime might have damaged the unit
- Copper condensate line from the furnace was routed to the outside and it froze, shutting off the furnace. Yikes! Our fix: Condensate line was more logically rerun to a new drain line indoors rather than outdoors
It’s a Wrap: Yes, You Can!
ecobeco understands the importance of this key relationship — the home you select has to align as much as possible with your lifestyle:
- You can and should choose the right house in the best possible location and neighborhood for you and for your family, first and foremost.
- Know up front that it might not be 100% perfect. It’s completely OK. In fact, it’s normal. And adding your personal touch is something to look forward to when you become a homeowner.
- As soon as you’re able, start making a list of the things you wish you had in your home whether for personal style or overall function, and jot them down. Similarly, write down those items that you wish would disappear. Pro tip: it’s best to prioritize these lists.
- Don’t settle, and don’t “get used to it” – start at the top of the list! Go ahead and give yourself permission to bring in a qualified professional remodeler to fix those niggling not-right things and make them completely right, as well as getting a pro on site to proactively spot any other potential problems before they turn into larger ones.
You live here now, and there’s no reason on earth to not have a beautiful and functional home that fits your personal style and your family’s priorities.
Great design and a modest but intelligent remodel really can transform your new house into the wonderful home you’ve always wanted.