That feeling when you have a good home in a great neighborhood, but the function just isn’t there...
This cute 2500 SF Richardson, Texas home was flipped about 6 years before our client purchased it, and while the aesthetics weren’t bad, there were functional issues. For example, the kitchen, with pretty views of the backyard, had awkward backyard access, and the laundry room was strangely located between the living and dining room. The major hurdle, though, is the need for a second master suite on the ground floor.
Our client’s mom had recently moved in and while she is agile and able to utilize an upstairs bedroom now, they wanted to be sure that she could age in place at home for years to come. That meant reworking the downstairs layout to create a Junior Master/Mother-In-Law suite downstairs. The trick – how to make a home where someone can age in place without it looking like you were designing it that way. Nobody wants to feel old.
We updated this home from top to bottom, aesthetically and functionally, to create a beautifully classic home that is also very sneakily set up for any future aging in place needs. The house now has a far better setup for daily living and entertaining, plus has some seriously fun surprises.
Aesthetically, the before wasn’t tragic. A bit more buttercream with a tan than our client was after, but not as classic, bold, or elevated as she was hoping for. Style can be easier to fix. It’s function that’s tricky.
The layout was, to put it mildly, a bit odd. When you walked in the front door, you’re immediately greeted by the dining room and a random column. And while it “defined the space” as they would have said in 1968 when this house was built, it interrupted the flow and visually was not ideal. It created a circulation hallway (aka wasted space) that could have been better used in other ways.
The galley kitchen was workable, but blocked views from the dining room to the beautiful backyard. And, slight problem, there was no direct access from the kitchen to the backyard or garage. The bay window in the breakfast area was also an underutilized space (there’s a theme here). The powder bath was just off the kitchen which, again, not super ideal.
Beyond the dining room, headed towards the living room, is exactly what you’d want there…a laundry room? We’re just scratching the surface of the floor plan issues here.
THE RENOVATION PLAN
We had quite a bit of work to do, here. After exploring a few different options, we came up with a plan that maximized the downstairs in the best ways. The Kitchen, Dining, Living, and Master all actually stayed in (generally) the same locations, but with impactful changes.
The wall between the kitchen and dining, along with the one-off column, came down. Now from the front door you can see through to the backyard. We removed the bay window, which wasn’t really helping things, to create more cabinetry space to grow the kitchen without having to move the kitchen!
We flipped the oversized Laundry room with the undersized Powder Bath and got those in locations that made more sense (the house is pier and beam, which made this plumbing switcharoo MUCH simpler than if it were a slab, by the way).
The new laundry room doubles as a pantry. By absorbing the weird hallway we were able to give direct access from the garage to the pantry (great for unloading groceries) and access from the Kitchen to the backyard. The kitchen now has room for a large island and a far more logical, workable layout.
Now there’s a Powder Bath between the Dining and Living, which his much better for guests than winding around the kitchen. We stole some space from the former-laundry-now-powder bath to create built ins for the Dining Room.
The Living Room actually didn’t move at all. While it would have been awesome to get it closer to the Kitchen and Dining, it just wasn’t feasible without adding onto the house, which we didn’t want to do for a variety of reasons (curb appeal, pool disruption, budget). So instead we left it where it was and made is super special. More on that in a moment.
On the private wing of the house, a boatload of changes went down. We took out a small closet in the Master Bedroom, absorbed some hallway space (again, hallways almost always = underutilized space), and gained the square footage to grow the Master Bath. The Master Closet grew by a couple of feet into the Bedroom which had square footage to spare.
Now for the big move – creating a Junior Master suite downstairs. There was no bathroom here before, just a Den and Office. The Den became the new Junior Master Bedroom and the Office (relocated upstairs) transformed into the Junior Master Bath. We made some clever design decisions here to allow for aging in place to happen.
Aesthetics would be a cake walk after of that work! The goal was to create a classic space with big personality. A mixture of airy, light spaces and moody, cozy ones. A foundation of finishes that would stand the test of time, with sprinkles of bold color and personality that could be more easily updated over time (our client loves to decorate seasonally and change things up).
The view from the front door is just a little bit different.
Rogue column and view-blocking wall gone, the kitchen is now open to the dining room, increasing the utilization of the Dining Room by 1000% (it’s science).
New built ins in the Dining Room, carved from the former Laundry Room, add much needed storage and beautiful display space for or client’s collection of cut glass and crystal.
This new connected Kitchen and Dining room is light and bright, but we wanted to bring in a bit of drama and personality. Deep blue cabinetry and coordinating drapery did just the trick. Also, the cat loves it.
The stair railing was updated for an updated classic look. An art light was added at the end of the (now shorter) hallway to give a focal point to what would otherwise be a ho hum hallway. Can you spot the cat door into the litter box closet?! Out of sight (and smell), out of mind.
Let’s get back into that pretty kitchen, shall we?
Or client’s mom is quite the cook and baker, and as avid home chefs ourselves, we wanted to set this kitchen up to not only be beautiful, but incredibly functional. A long uninterrupted wood island is perfect for cooking and baking, and for happy hour with friends.
Two oversized classic lanterns were a chosen to create impact without visually overwhelming the space (like a solid or shaded fixture would have).
White cabinets run the perimeter of the 3 walls of the kitchen, each cabinet optimized for storage and functionality.
The back wall has upper cabinets for storage, and the long wall is left open for 4 new windows to create views to the backyard and flood the room with daylight.
On the back wall, a new 48” range becomes the cooking hub.
The panel-ready fridge and freezer was located on this wall to create a beverage station without blocking any daylight.
If we spin around, we’ll find the most unexpectedly dramatic Pantry/Laundry Room that just might make you want to do laundry.
Before we walk in, let’s talk about the windows doors. Black doors in a white space can be a SHOW-STOPPER. The new windows that we added, also in black, bring architectural interest to the space. We kept the design simple and let the color be the star.
Our contractor thought we were insane to paint this window-less room black. When a contractor disagrees with us, it either means: 1) we are about to make a huge mistake, or 2) we are really onto something. We were certain it was No. 2.
We assured him that it was going to work, and boy howdy, did it.
Lighting was critical to making this room sing. LED lighting was added to each shelf, creating a gorgeous display area for glassware and pretty pantry staples. Drawers below house the food, with perforated metal drawers for veggies and other items.
Wall paneling and a peg rail (you know we love a peg rail in a laundry room) create a textural backdrop full of function.
Opposite the pantry wall is the Laundry area, with overhead storage, a second fridge (panel ready – it’s sneaky!) and a full height utility storage cabinet.
If you can, peel yourself away from the jewel box Laundry room and head towards the Living Room.
But wait! There’s a Powder Room here now! Much more convenient for guests, made even more beautiful now that it has a window (and pretty vanity, and wallpaper, and literally every tiny touch we added).
Picking up on the blue from the dining room, we added a leggy blue vanity and gorgeous blue patterned wallpaper. Wainscotting keeps the wallpaper from overpowering the room and gives it a classic touch (plus that detail connects back to the Laundry Room).
Most of the metal finishes in the home are black and polished nickel, but we went with brass to make this room extra special. Wondering how can you successfully mix metal finishes in a house? Check out our blog post on how to do it the right way.
Ready to cozy up with a drink and a good book? Welcome to the Living Room.
The obvious change here is the wall color. This room is HUGE. The ceilings are 8’, but felt even lower due to the faux beams that were there. Also, the length of the room makes it feel smaller as well, as your brain expects a room this long and wide to also be tall.
Raising the ceiling wasn’t an option here, so we used other tricks to help the room not feel so squatty. We removed the beams, and added picture frame molding to the walls to create more verticality.
Plus, floor to ceiling window treatments to elongate the height. Witchcraft.
We added sconces in the paneling as well for extra wow and cozy factor.
This game table is possibly the cutest thing that has ever happened.
A room like this requires a bar cart. It’s non-negotiable.
While there were built ins on this wall before, they weren’t quite “beefy” enough for this large space. We thickened them up, added open drawers at the base for blankets, and created thicker shelves.
The trick for styling dark bookshelves – fewer items, in larger scale, and lots of white (plus metal).
This fireplace is a behemoth. You could definitely cook from a cauldron in here. While we aren’t Hansel and Grettling here, a big fire is definitely going to happen in the colder months. A white fireplace surround brightens things up and lets the fireplace be the focal point of this otherwise dark room.
It’s tricky to tell from the photos, but the ceiling is actually a soft shade of blue. It’s like sitting inside of a hug.
Let’s head to the private side of the downstairs.
In the Junior Master Suite, the finishes are timeless and classic. You’d never know this was designed as an aging-in-place bathroom. Behind the shower walls and toilet lies wood blocking located for future grab bars, should they ever be needed. There is a zero-edge shower entry with a wider door, so that someone could wheel in with a wheelchair or walker.
The tub is built in, rather than freestanding, making for easier entry.
Opposite the shower, a large linen cabinet for extra storage.
Inside the Master Suite, you enter the bedroom through this expanded closet.
A combination of shelves, hanging rods, and shelves provides storage for days, with room for a central ottoman.
Inside the master bath, a wood double vanity that feels natural and calming. The finishes in this room are (again) completely classic and timeless – warm wood, marble, black, and polished nickel. With one notable exception:
This wallpaper! We are huge advocates on taking risks and having fun in small spaces, like a water closet. A fun little surprise.
Opposite the vanity is the new freestanding tub, which we now have the space for since expanding this room. Situated under a window, as a tub should be whenever possible! The marble wraps from the floors to the wall, with wood above echoing the vanity finish, and sconces to polish off the look.
The large shower is also clad in marble, with a bench, for a shower you’d never want to leave.
We need to look at that tub one more time before we go.
If this sparked some ideas for you, we have a couple of resources that might help.
If you need help honing in on your Signature Style, check out our free mini-course. Learn your style and how to use it to curate your home (and wardrobe!) in under an hour.
For a more nuts-and-bolts look at what you should think through before you start a renovation or construction project, grab our Project Planning Guide. It will help with understanding timelines, budgets, building your dream team, identifying your pain points, and much more.
And, of course, if you’re ready to get your project off the ground, we’d love for you to reach out so we can see if we might be the right partner to bring it to life.
Thanks for coming along on the tour!