Talmadge Construction’s Design-Build remodeling process was the perfect solution for these homeowners looking for input and guidance on creating an updated kitchen and bathroom to suit their lifestyle.
This hilltop cottage was built in the 1920’s, with redwood framing and knob and tube wiring. The homeowners lovingly maintained it over the years with some updates, so when the time came for a major kitchen and second bathroom remodel they wanted to take their time and choose the right contractor. They attended one of Jeff Talmadge’s seminars “Your Remodel: How to Make it a Success!” and were impressed. “We’d had good experiences with other contractors, but this time we wanted something much more coordinated. Talmadge Construction’s design-build process really appealed to us.”
A Kitchen Design to Match a Lifestyle
“We spent a lot of time with Danielle [Grenier, architect] during the design phase, and she genuinely took our lifestyle into account. [For example] we’re really into recycling, so she gave us a deep cabinet where we can sort and store recyclables.” Trash goes into another smaller cabinet next to the sink. “The use of space is so super efficient; we even have a two-level utensil drawer – it keeps everything so organized!” Every inch of cabinet space was discussed and maximized: the knife block has a dedicated drawer, a narrow vertical space holds sheet pans, and what would otherwise have been an awkward dead corner becomes quite functional space with a pull out lazy Susan.
Danielle made a few changes to the general kitchen arrangement for greater functionality. The placement of the electric range and the refrigerator were switched, making more sense for the kitchen workflow as well as allowing more light into the room. The original island was replaced with a larger, more useful one, featuring a wine rack along with an American black walnut butcher block top.
Kitchen lighting was changed to add both function and style. Not only were LED recessed lights built in the kitchen and dining area ceilings, but under cabinet lighting adds atmosphere. “At night, the lights from the cabinets are bright enough that’s really all we need. Danielle really did a lighting plan that’s to die for.”
Stylistic details add up for a modern vintage vibe that pays homage to the era in which the home was built. The glossy new backsplash tiles were installed “subway-style” to have an old-style, handmade ceramic brick look. The floors are an engineered hardwood – wide planks that are hand scraped and distressed to look like old flooring. The team selected Crystal Cabinets “French Country Square,” a traditional cottage style that pulls the look together, mixing warmth with elegance. The painted finish on the cabinets is beautiful and guaranteed for life.
Crown molding caps off the look of their new kitchen. “It’s made of maple and was difficult to do. The ceiling is not level or square; it’s just amazing how good they got it.”
New Bathroom Designed for Aging in Place
The second bathroom was not designed for limited mobility, so with an eye to preparing for whatever the future brings, they asked Danielle for a bathroom makeover that incorporates “Aging in Place” principles.
Danielle switched the toilet with the shower space and figured out how to expand the room enough for a big walk-in shower. “It’s sloped so efficiently! There’s no way for water to get out and damage the hall flooring. They made all the space functional with new built-in cabinets next to the toilet. It works perfectly for bathroom storage.” The Aging in Place design features include a curb-free shower and beautiful, functional grab bars.
The homeowners are pleased to talk about all the work that went into what you can’t see: the infrastructure. The knob and tube wiring was converted to Romex, the electrical panel was changed from 100 to 125 amps, and the old galvanized plumbing was replaced. The house got additional insulation; in a unique environmentally friendly touch, the insulation is made from recycled blue jeans. “There’s no outgassing and no formaldehyde. We wanted to keep the air as healthy as possible.”
They also updated the laundry room, opting for a stacking washer and dryer that created space for a new Talmadge-designed cleaning supplies area. “And now it’s a wet room with a drain in the floor, so there’s no worry about leaks or water ruining our new flooring.”
They are also happy with the subcontractor who rerouted the dryer vent and retooled the furnace room to carve out space for the new bathroom. They state simply, “The mechanical contractor was fantastic.”
The homeowners donated as much of the construction debris as possible to Habitat for Humanity, where old fixtures like toilets and sinks were put into second-life use in other homes.
Excellent Communication Means a Successful Remodel
“We’re really pleased with the design and planning! There was a lot of good communication; when they started the work, everyone was on the same page, and it went without a hitch. Even though we expanded the scope of the wiring and flooring, they still met their schedule.” The homeowners share the story of how amazed the appliance installers were that their new range and refrigerator fit so perfectly in the allotted spaces. “They said that never happens; there’s always some adjustment to make, but Talmadge had the measurements down perfectly.”
“Our friends thought we’d be happy to have contractors out from under our feet, but the opposite is true . . . we miss them now that they’re gone! Great design, great execution – it’s really top-drawer quality all around.”