Our clients, a young and growing family of four, reached out to us when they purchased a dated 1982 built sprawling ranch in the south Denver burbs. Their idea was to renovate the house to be the home where they raised their children. In looking beyond the necessary cosmetic updates, the clients found a home with stunning architectural features, including cathedral ceilings in the living room, cedar-clad vaulted ceilings, and clearstory windows. It also had some real pain points like the awkward fall-hazard location of the basement staircase, a sunken formal living room, and a small kitchen cut off from the rest of the living space. We embraced the good and found design solutions to address the issues and transform the house into the perfect home for their family. The biggest and most impactful update was a trifecta transformation to the staircase, garage entry, and kitchen. We relocated the stairs and turned its original location into an owner’s entry with mudroom alcove, broom closet, and laundry right off the garage door. The new staircase found its home opposite the original placement with a safer u-shaped configuration. No falling fourteen steps in this home! The new staircase location significantly altered the size of the family room, which presented us the opportunity to reconsider how the two living rooms functioned for our clients. Through our design dialog, we decided that the family room would now be a quiet TV-free sitting room. The existing fireplace and built-in bookcase supported this decision and helped make for a cozy spot to kickback. It’s more likely to experience a walkthrough tour starting in the main entry, but I’d like to give you a client-center approach to this written tour and continue on from our start at the garage entry. We’ve passed through the new mudroom into the sitting room and observed the new staircase. Let’s turn around and head into the kitchen! For starters, there’s not much remaining from the original kitchen, but we did retain the sink placement in front of the large alcove window that looks out onto the entry courtyard. Opposite the sink is the massive island where a pantry and double oven used to divide the kitchen from the dining room. Our clients preferred an island with seating over an eat-in-kitchen table configuration, so half we used some of the original eat-in square footage on the mudroom side and the rest in the kitchen expansion. The additional square footage allowed us to design cooking and cleaning zones so that two people can comfortably work in the kitchen at the same time. We also designed a dry bar at the edge of the kitchen closest to the sitting room, the perfect spot for cocktail hour at home. The bar is equipped with under counter beverage center and open shelving for glassware. The butcher block shelving is repeated in the kitchen to tie the spaces together and add a touch of warmth to the white on white scheme. Brass semi-flush mount ceiling fixtures provide task lighting to the kitchen sink area. A navy blue island breaks up the white and draw attention to the hub/heart of the home. To maintain sightlines and the open layout, we opted for small recessed lights over the counter-height bar instead of pendants. As we move on from the kitchen, we enter the great room, the living room, the room with wow. The existing cathedral ceilings are complemented by a brand new bi-parting slider with custom architectural windows above. The new slider provides better access to the back yard and showers the living room in afternoon sunlight. The biggest, yet not very sexy, design updates in this room was raising the sunken floor so that the living room was level with the rest of the living spaces. Such a seemingly unexciting change made a massive impact in connecting spaces and optimizing the flow through the home. One of the biggest concerns our clients wanted to address was storage. We’re jumping ahead a bit, but the primary pain point was the lack of closet space in the master bedroom, so we opted to add a second coat closet in the hallway adjacent to the entry. This hallway leads to the bedrooms making the closets convenient overflow storage. The existing architecture of the master bedroom, with lofted ceiling, clerestory windows, and picture windows to the backyard, were worth preserving, so we retained the layout and made the best of the storage by adding custom closet built-ins. The real gem in the master suite is the master bath and the dramatic before and after transformation. Just imagine the best of the eighties- sunken tub with mirror surround and a teeny postage stamp shower. This space is a real testament to in-place updates and how much they can transform a room. We swapped the existing one-sink vanity for two, traded the sunken tub for a sleek freestanding soaker, and expanded the shower with built-in bench and niche. The most significant change to the master bath was adding a commode room created by borrowing space from the hallway bathroom. The existing lofted wood-clad ceiling and skylight make this smaller master bathroom feel quite grand and very inviting. To complement the existing elements, we went with clean white wall tiles for the wet zones, white marble for the vanity wall, and a soft blue marble-look porcelain for the floor tile. The marriage between the old and new is just supreme, in our not-so-humble opinion. Last but not least, we arrive in the hall bath. This space, like the master, was mostly an in-place update. We have another sunken tub replaced, this time with an alcove soaker and a vanity upgrade from one sink to a double basin for their two little ones. The window in this bathroom is south facing, but the neighboring house shades the window, so we opted for a white on white color scheme to keep things light and airy. One unique feature is the choice to go with robe hooks instead of towel bars to make things easier on the kiddos. No folding required. Not all climates can do this, but our air is dry enough in Colorado that towels dry fast, even when hung on a robe hook! General home updates of note include hardwood flooring throughout, new base and case trim, and new windows. We also finished what has been a completely unfinished basement and added a guest room, guest bath, bonus bedroom play area, storage room, and home theatre. The house specs jumped from 3 bed – 2.5 bath to a 5 bed – 3.5 bath and increased the finished square footage by fifty percent. The biggest perk for this growing family was a full-on kids zone for toys.
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