Once upon a time, guests were greeted at the door of this spacious Scotts Valley home and directed to the end of the foyer for a libation of their choice. Some guests perched on bar stools, others chatted near the wood-burning fireplace, and the rest danced and mingled outside on the deck. It was a floor plan designed to facilitate some serious entertaining.
But the space, separated from the adjacent staircase and hallway by only half walls, was an unlikely focal point for the current owners, a family of five. “It was a completely open room,” recalls the homeowner. “Every bit of noise, even from upstairs, traveled straight in. We really needed a quiet space to watch television and just to be together.”
They lived with the space for several years, until their three daughters entered their teens and were interested in doing more entertaining of their own. The time was finally right to transform the space into something more family-friendly. And there was no question about who to call on to create the new room. These homeowners found Talmadge Construction several years ago during a master bedroom suite remodel, and they were so pleased with the results that it was natural to turn to Talmadge again.
From wet bar to reading nook
“We tore out more than we put back in, without changing the footprint of the room,” explains the homeowner. Structurally, that was a big job – and first thing to go was that wet bar. “I think we only used it, maybe twice, in thirteen years!” she says. “It took up about a third of the room, and had a drop ceiling with big oak beams.”
The newly level ceiling features recessed lighting, perfectly illuminating Mom’s favorite chair, where she loves to sit and read. Books now take the place of bottles in the built-in, richly grained hardwood bookcase, which also holds photos and other family mementos.
Warmth and comfort
A built-in media cabinet, twin to the bookshelves, now holds a place of honor in the wall formerly occupied by the brick fireplace. A large, overstuffed sofa and matching chair in the center of the room face the enormous flat panel television and stereo components it holds – a perfect movie viewing area.
And a new gas fireplace was created in the original wood storage area. “They had a hard time tearing out the brick fireplace. Then it was tricky maneuvering the new fireplace into the corner, to make it all work. But Dave [Stein, project manager] was great about working through issues and bringing it all together.”
“My favorite part of the new room is the fireplace,” the homeowner observes. “Especially visually, I just love the way it looks. Plus there’s the functional aspect; this room was so cold before!”
New floor-to-ceiling walls serve to make the space cozier – as well as quieter. Two sets of double glass doors give the small space an airy feel and provide access to the room from the entry as well as the outside deck. And carpeting made way for cork flooring. “Since this is our media room, we knew we didn’t want hardwood,” the homeowner explained. “Cork was the perfect alternative. It feels warm, like carpet, plus it has good sound absorption.”
“This room is now a the perfect gathering spot; it’s where our family spends time together most often. My husband really enjoys watching TV – and the acoustics in this room are great for that. Plus it’s great for our daughters. With two in high school and one in college, they are all pretty busy, but this is the now the place where they all get together with their friends.”