Guys, I’ve seen a lot of heinous architectural atrocities in my days, but few of them grind my gears like the proliferation of the 45˚ angled walls of the 1990s.
Don’t get me wrong: there are a few (albeit rare) occasions that an angled wall makes perfect sense. But I’ll assure you, they are few and far between. For some reason in the 90’s, angled walls had a complete chokehold on builders.
Need a hallway? Let’s put it at an angle!
Kitchen peninsula? How about an angle!
Literally anything? I know! Angle angle ANGLE!
Now I’ve typed the word “angle” too many times and the word feels wrong. Maybe because it IS WRONG.
Needless to say, I have a bit of a (complete) distaste for angled walls in a floor plan. Sometimes it can be the key to making something fit where it otherwise wouldn’t, but mostly I think it’s just 1) lazy, and 2) creates insanely awkward spaces.
Case in point – our High Canyon remodel.
This homeowner was actually one of our very first clients at TLD, and this home is part of what catapulted our business after it was featured in a Holiday Tour of Homes, and then The Dallas Morning News. We began back in 2016 with furnishing the Master Bedroom, kids’ bedrooms, and styling in the Living Rooms. Then in 2017 we remodeled the Master Bathroom. We then took a few years off until it was time to tackle The Big Project – all of the main living areas of the home – in 2020.
Yes, you’re reading that right. It is currently 2023 and we’ve just wrapped up the project that began in 2020. Thanks, Pandemic! But more on that in a minute.
The main living areas of the home had quite a few functional and aesthetic issues. We had 2 living rooms right next to each other, and because of that, one was rarely used (except by the dog, Maple, to perch and guard the front of the house - you can see her in the before photo). The kitchen was a mess of (say it with me) 45˚ angles which created a disastrous workflow. The Corian countertops had seen better days, and the all white kitchen was definitely not the beautiful, layered space our homeowners were after.
Then the real irritating parts – columns where you don’t want columns, double circulation with an extra wasted hallway, limited pantry space, two eating areas right next to each other, and – the kicker – approximately 183 doors to the backyard.
THE RENOVATION PLAN
The #1 goal was to improve the flow and layout. Get rid of all the redundant angles and hallways, and organize the space better.
We looked at several different layouts - some lower impact and others higher impact – and landed here. The high points of what we changed:
Widened the living room
Moved the kitchen (!!!) to the back corner of the house and made it much larger
Added a beverage center
Removed the kitchen, office, and closets to open up the middle of the house
Relocated the dining to the underutilized front living room
Created a new Office and Butler’s Pantry
Carved out a much larger (and fancier) Pantry
Made a swanky built in breakfast area
Reduced the number of doors to the backyard from 3 to 1.
And a partridge in a pear tree. Or a lemon tree, more accurately.
The reality of that – since it was a 2 story house, alllllllllllll of the joists that held up the 2nd floor had to be reworked since they were resting on that living room wall. It was a serious masterclass in structural engineering.
Design-wise, things were less stressful! Our clients had a vision for a layered, dramatic, transitional-modern design full of texture. They are very non-cookie-cutter people, which made this incredibly fun to pull together.
THE FINAL PRODUCT
Let’s start at the front doors. We replaced all of the doors and windows to these gorgeous black framed beauties. The modern grille pattern became a design element that we repeated through the house.
One tell-tale sign of an older home, and something most people overlook in a remodel – the staircase. We took out the turned-wood spindles and replaced them with a metal and wood modern handrail, and added a white oak stair tread to match the new floors we installed throughout.
Just off the entry you’ll spy another set of metal doors leading into the new Dining Room, which is one of my favorite rooms of all time.
Both of the doors are fully functional. They can be left open day to day for flow from the Living to the Dining and rooms beyond. For a more intimate gathering, the doors can be closed to create a restaurant-like private dining experience.
And I do mean experience, because this room is nothing short of that. The walls are wrapped in a textured deep blue/green/gray hue. We wrapped that color onto the ceiling and trim and kept the lighting low and moody. The end result is a room that you basically never want to leave.
Get a look at that wallpaper texture!
Just beyond the dining room is the newly created Butler’s Pantry.
We pulled the deep blue tone onto the cabinets along with a chevron butcher block and shelves to display barware. Two beverage fridges keep plenty of wine at the ready.
Opposite the Butler’s Pantry is the newly created home office.
We repeated the same chevron butcher block for the counter here, and switched up the paint color to a neutral green.
This space is small, but every inch thought out to be at peak functionality.
Let’s spin around and head back towards the Living Room.
If the Dining Room was a mellow-whiskey-and-cigars vibe, this is it’s light-bright-airy alter ego.
Before the room included a pair of sofas. We opted for a large sectional with a pair of chairs for extra seating and comfort. The wood base on the light sectional ties into the floor and is one of our favorite furniture details.
This angled wall remained (couldn’t get ‘em all) and holds a TV disguised as an art piece. The nice thing about this setup is that the furniture is “addressing” the fireplace instead of the TV, but thanks to the sectional you still have a great view of your favorite show.
The extra few feet we added to the living room allowed us to add a piece of furniture at the back of the space for extra storage (there was none in the room before) and allows for more walking space through the room.
We removed the over-abundance of double doors at the back of the room and opted for one set of doors in the most logical location (i.e. NOT the back of the sofa!) to create a single exit from the Living and Kitchen to the backyard.
Let’s make our way to the biggest change in this renovation – the Kitchen.
There’s so much to unpack here! First up, the new Breakfast area. Carved out of the former office, pantry, and kitchen wall, this custom leather banquette is a stunner.
The oval table maximizes the seating space. We went through some very scientific measuring exercises (I wish I had this on video, because it was hilarious) to determine the ideal back height that would create the perfect lumbar support and elbow rest without making this look like, how do I say it, a Pizza Parlor.
A chandelier grounds this space and adds a touch of sparkle. On the wall above, the Vestaboard is a really unique addition – like a combination of a TV, letterboard, and vintage alarm clock! Like Groundhog day, but chic.
Beyond the Breakfast area, you’ll spy the Butler’s Pantry and Dining beyond.
Opposite the breakfast area is the new beverage center, and the aforementioned refrigerator and freezer that we waited a whopping two years for.
The Pandemic created quite a few issues, and the ones that hit home renovations hardest were windows, plumbing, and appliances (specifically high-end refrigerators). Construction on this baby took much longer than typical as waiting on these items drove the schedule.
But darn it, these doors were worth the wait.
Next to the fridge and freezer are storage cabinets, a nugget icemaker concealed as a cabinet (so tricky) and a beverage fridge. This one is for non-alcoholic libations.
Glasses and mugs, tea and sugar, are all stored in this area, making it a one stop shop for hydration as you make your way to the living room or backyard.
Let’s spin into the kitchen, shall we?
The main part of the kitchen houses some seriously special details.
We added a pair of new windows along the back wall and located the range between them.
That wall deserved a statement moment, and we gave it three: the brick wall, quartzite backsplash, and custom plaster vent hood.
In lieu of double ovens, we went with an oven and a half. One side is full sized and the other is sized for standard cookie sheets and baking trays. The gold hardware is a *chef’s kiss* nice touch.
In the island, we located the sink, dishwasher, trash, and oodles of other storage. The island is accented with a blue gray tone, connecting it to the colors in the Butler’s Pantry and Dining.
On the non-working side of the island, seating and extra storage.
The brick extends to the angled wall (couldn’t change that one, either. Exterior walls are trickier to move!) made more useful with additional base cabinets and more beautiful with new windows.
Give us all the natural light, especially for these plants.
The trick with having 2 eating areas near each other is to make them each unique. Before, there were just two dining tables, at the same height, providing the same experience. Now, the counter stools are set up for a quick perch, but the dining banquette invites you to cozy up and stay awhile.
Now, we need to talk about the pantry.
Let’s make this a thing – utilitarian rooms can be sexy. We added a matching black and glass sliding door to coordinate with our other new doors and make this something special. Also, you can have a glass door when your pantry looks this good. Add a lemon tree and this wall is perfection.
Don’t get us wrong, we adore all of our clients, but the ones who are as obsessed with pretty organization as we are have a special place in our hearts. Decant and label all of your dry goods, people! It’s useful and gorgeous.
Open shelves store all of the daily foodstuffs, with bulk items and backstock stored in the drawers below. The handles are actually carved out to allow veggies stored inside to breathe.
And we’ll end our tour back at the Dining Room, for the simple reason that we love it so.
We hope you enjoyed this extreme makeover, 90’s home edition! There were so many contributing factors to this project’s success: a rock star structural engineer that made our dreams come true, an awesome contractor who executed it so well, and a client with a unique sense of style that we got to play with. It was truly a dream team.
If you have a renovation project that you’re dreaming about and want to know more about how to make your project a success, including realistic budgets, timelines, and tips on building your Dream Team, grab our free Project Planning guide to get your project off on the right foot.