Whole-House Remodel in McLean, VA: Part 2
This remodel in McLean, Virginia included the whole house. In our last blog post, we discussed the master bedroom and bathroom. Part 2 focuses on the first story—the kitchen, dining room, family room, and living room.
A 1996 kitchen remodel by the previous homeowners had been insufficiently planned, lacked storage, and was no longer up-to-date. Functional aspects and storage concerns were important to our clients. To prepare for the new kitchen design, we inventoried their cookware and all of its contents. Every item was reviewed and assigned a storage space. When possible, items were purged. The homeowners viewed the kitchen as a “laboratory” where meals were prepared. Further, it was important that the new design include the whole family in the process to facilitate their participation in meal preparation. Our design team considered all of these aspects as well as making it a beautiful space.
We were attentive to the way the open plan kitchen integrated with the flow of adjacent spaces as well as within the kitchen. How families cook and prepare meals can vary significantly. Is there one cook or two? What is the preferred style in the kitchen? What are the most-often used appliances and accessories? Our design conversations considered many options for a new kitchen layout. The preferred solution provided three distinct work areas in the kitchen:
- Ten-foot island with sink, dishwasher, pull-out trash, and storage
- Working wall with wall oven, microwave drawer, and refrigerator
- Third wall with a Dacor induction range (in “Evening Blue” color) and prep area. The fourth cabinet area, installed just outside the working area, maximizes a wall of storage, in cherry wood, along a circulation path embellished with unique storage opportunity and a backsplash of laminated glass with linen fabric insert.
The island provides bar stool seating for two with a split-level counter—one counter at a standard 36-inch height and a higher counter at 42 inches, which hides dirty dishes at the sink area. Simple glass light fixtures shaped like Erlenmeyer science flasks were felt to be appropriate for a kitchen with chemistry.
The family dog was the impetus for one of the many custom kitchen storage cabinets; dog food is kept in a sizeable tin canister on a roll-out shelf, and treats and other items are stored on shelving within the same cabinet.
A recycling station with pull-out drawer for paper products and other recyclables was created for the storage wall. Above the recycling cabinets is a drawer fitted-out as a charging station for electronics. USB plugs make it convenient and easy to use.
A custom message board for notes and shopping lists was created with the help of the homeowner. The homeowners purchased a magnetic glass marker board, and Wentworth carpenters created a cherry wood frame with a routed-out tray to hold markers.
All details were discussed and considered throughout the kitchen, down to the every detail, including where to place a kitchen “junk drawer.”
Used for both family and social gatherings, the family room needed a remodel. Instead of building an addition, the space was reconfigured to be more functional and efficient with better placement of the informal dining table and upholstered lounge seating. The auxiliary TV viewing was moved to the living room (the main TV viewing occurs in a lower-level recreation room). A 1996 remodel by the previous homeowner had included a simple flat tray ceiling but had not included new windows. The 1959 windows were replaced with new energy-efficient models that allow for garden views and morning daylight.
A new vaulted ceiling design that follows the lines of the hip roof was developed to enhance height and sense of space. Decorative applied molding at the ceiling conveys a beam-like appearance highlighted with contrasting paint colors. New recessed lighting illuminates the space and a hanging fixture marks the location of an informal dining table. Here, the carpeting was replaced to provide a quiet walking surface.
The Wentworth design team maximized the useable space and enhanced the dining room aesthetically. An exterior old side door was deemed useless and inefficient, so it was closed up to make way for a new triple set of windows. The narrower end wall (10 feet) received a new double window. Flanking the new window are built-in cabinets for china, glassware, silverware, and candle sticks. A bench seat with cushion provides a cozy nook for reading or, when needed, additional seating for guests. Dimmable recessed lighting helps to set the mood for dinner parties.
To conceal an unattractive, poorly located attic door (part of the original house), we designed a new secret door, with Soss hinges, that remains unobtrusive within its full-height wainscot.
The homeowners felt that the living room (used primarily for adult gatherings and occasional TV watching) was in need of cosmetic improvements, including a new fireplace surround, hearth extension, mantel, and over-mantel. New built-in cabinets flank the fireplace—one a bookcase and the other a built-in with flipper doors designed to conceal a TV.
Additionally, the wall opening between the living room and dining room was widened to improve sight lines and was aesthetically enhanced with a pair of tapered columns, entablature, and knee walls. New art glass windows flank the mantel above the built-in units and continue the Arts & Crafts motif.
Transitions & Sight Lines
One of the goals for the design was to give the house better flow and open up spaces while maintaining architectural definition. Transitions between rooms had to be graceful and yet inform a person as to the space they occupied. Upon entering the front door, the design intent was to offer glimpses into the back of the house and draw visitors in that direction for a great garden view. To improve upon the home’s interior circulation, two closets were removed to widen the opening into the kitchen from the front entry (an existing foyer coat closet was retained). Spanning the depth of the kitchen is a wall of full-height storage cherry wood cabinetry, which starts with a shallow curve to a depth of 15 inches. The curved volumes lead people through the kitchen to the family room with its vaulted ceiling and garden view.
The homeowners sought to introduce the occasional curved into the designs, which are indicative of the Arts & Crafts style. The curved lines provide a softening of the home’s rectilinear residential architecture. Curves are found at a decorative beam in the front façades gable, inset floor tile, and fireplace elements. Upon entering the kitchen, the curve of the island softens the transition into the next space. Soft curves repeat in the border of the floor tile at the front and rear entry floor tile as well as other simple decorative elements of the house. To further enhance the sense of space, the wall opening between the living room and dining room was increased to allow glimpses of the dining room beyond.
Home Remodeling in McLean & Surrounding Areas in Northern VA
If you’re interested in remodeling your home in Northern Virginia, the award-winning design-build team at Wentworth can help. We have experience remodeling homes of all styles, sizes, and ages. View our portfolio and contact us to learn more about our remodeling services!