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Project Spotlight: Completed Whole-Home Remodel in McLean, Virginia

This large developer home was constructed in 1998 on a quiet cul-de-sac in McLean, Virginia. It was spacious, with ample space for their family of four, but over time, the homeowners realized their house was not built with the highest quality materials. Some portions of the house had poorly planned space, and they wanted to fix the deficiencies. As the third owners of the house since 1998, they realized they needed to close the gaps so they could to stay in the home long-term.

Kitchen

Among their remodeling goals, the kitchen was at the top of their list. They were unhappy with the 20-year-old kitchen in terms of quality and layout. The homeowners cited many issues with the kitchen. The cooktop was in a small split-level central island with its range hood dominating the kitchen. The bar space could only accommodate two bar stools and they needed four for their family. There was no pull-out trash or recycling. The odd walk-in pantry with its triangular floor plan was barely functional. The built-in desk was not utilized and was a dumping group for junk, and they felt the desk space could be better used with kitchen cabinetry. They requested improved pantry space, a larger gas cooktop placed against a wall with a better range hood to extract cooking odors, and a larger breakfast bar area for informal meals with bar stools for all four of them.

The new kitchen design eliminates the small center island and utilizes a large “U” layout for the working area of the kitchen, with a peninsula serving as the breakfast bar for four. The “U” work area has cabinetry specified in a white paint color to unify it. The interior wall of the kitchen was fitted with an abundance of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry for pantry storage, a coffee station, a built-in refrigerator, and a beverage station by Avallon. The single wall of cabinetry is unified with a light gray paint color. New maple wood floors were installed to harmonize with the home’s existing wood floors. Our design team also reoriented the path from the foyer into the kitchen and created a new portal entry through a wall of cabinetry to arrive at a more cogent circulation path.

Breakfast Space

The breakfast space was too narrow for their table and too remote from the center island with breakfast bar. The client hoped there would be a way to get more table space for the breakfast table and place it adjacent to a new breakfast bar. They also hated the columns that separated the breakfast space from the family room.

We agreed that the breakfast table space should remain in its convenient location between the kitchen and family room. The existing single-hinged French door was replaced with double doors leading to the deck and outdoor kitchen. The breakfast space was made wider by removing the low wall with columns and making the floor levels contiguous, which provided more flexibility for furniture placement.

Mudroom & Laundry Space

The small mudroom/laundry was a transition zone from the garage to the kitchen, and the client had too many requirements for such a small space. The homeowners felt a new laundry room on the second floor would better serve their needs and make the existing mudroom less cluttered. They asked for built-in storage for each family member and for a new upstairs laundry room.

Removing the laundry from the first floor allowed the design/build team to create a proper mudroom with storage. We added custom built-in units with open cubbies, closed cabinets, and a bench for seating. Each member of the family now has a tall open cubby and there is even a place to store shoes and hang keys. A slate tile floor accommodates wet feet and both people and pets.

The new laundry room on the second floor is generously sized. A full-size washer and dryer were installed with a drip pan to protect the floor from leaks. In addition, 8’-7” lineal feet of new cabinets provide ample storage, as well as counter space for folding and sorting laundry. A hanging rod above the washer and dryer provides a drip-dry space. Porcelain tile floor keeps the room easy to clean and suits the utilitarian space. The homeowners love how convenient this new laundry room is to their bedrooms!

Great Room-Style Family Room

The existing family room was spacious, but the owners felt with some redesign, it could work better. The one step down was a tripping hazard from the breakfast area and restricted the furniture layout in both spaces. A bit more space in the breakfast room and a bit less space in the family room was the solution. The strange half-wall with columns separating the family room from the breakfast area was unattractive and needed to go. A back stairway leading to the second floor made the family room an important circulation path, but the triangular space below the stairway was poorly designed and unattractive.

We raised the floor to be flush with the kitchen, thus eliminating a dangerous tripping hazard, making furniture easier to arrange, and providing additional space to the breakfast area by eliminating the step-down. The triangular open space below the back stair was repurposed for new storage, a smart TV, and wall paneling. The under-stair space was redesigned as a focal point and visually tied to the stair railing with the paint colors. A gridded panel motif integrates the mounting area for the TV with the drawers below. The new built-in provides storage, architectural detail, and a focal point for the family room.

Master Suite

The master suite was enormous with lots of wasted space taken up by a superfluous sitting room. The large sitting room was not utilized and had simply become a storage space through which they entered their master bedroom —they did not want it. Our design team felt that the space should be reconfigured to accommodate a laundry room and walk-in closet.

The existing master bedroom was appropriately sized, but the homeowners did not like the bathroom opening directly onto their bedroom with double doors. They hoped to separate the closet/bathroom area from the sleeping area so that one spouse could sleep while the other got ready for work. We also agreed there needed to be some aesthetic enhancement at the bed to give the room a focus.

To maximize the existing space with the reconfigured floor plan, we created a new entry for the master suite. The new laundry room eliminated the awkward double doors. At the top of the back stair, the new suite entry door opens into a vestibule that acts as a circulation node for the suite, which features a built-in dresser. We enhanced the wall behind the bed with an architectural built-in with shelving that frames the bed and nightstands. The reconfigured space flows and the rooms are now more appropriately sized for their use.

The existing closets were undersized and made poor use of space. The large closet (hers) was only 5’ wide x 15’ long and could not accommodate hanging down both sides of the closet. The small closet (his) was located near the bathroom and did not hold all his clothes. In all, they felt the closet situation needed to be improved.

Master Bathroom

The existing bathroom was oversized didn’t suit the couple’s needs. The large platform tub was large and seldom used; the physical space it occupied belied its unimportance. Their corner vanities were too diminutive for the space and did not provide any visual impact. Additionally, the shower stall, used more frequently than the tub, was too small. The existing storage was insufficient and lacked any linen storage, considering it was a master bathroom. The owners also wanted better lighting.

The new master bathroom is slightly larger and is more efficient and attractive. The angled bathroom wall with double doors was removed and the space reconfigured to provide privacy to the bedroom with its door opening onto the vestibule instead of the bedroom. A free-standing 60” Bain Ultra soaking tub was placed in a niche at a new triple set of windows. Painted wall paneling defines the tub area and the tub niche is flanked by wall sconces. A stained wood furniture-like vanity with storage features two sinks and a manmade stone countertop by Silestone. Recessed medicine cabinets provide unobtrusive storage at the vanity. Both the floor and wall tile sport a white marble mosaic in a herringbone pattern for accented areas.

“ Dear Wentworth folks,
Thank you for my extraordinarily beautiful kitchen. ”

Nina, Southwest Washington, DC