Posts Tagged ‘Design’

You know I love architecture.  I live for it.  I suppose that most people get that about me.  (Hopefully, not to the point of bordering on excessive / just to be seen as a genuine passion).  That’s certainly why I do what I do.  Whether restoring an older home back to it’s original beauty or bringing a new one up out of the ground to stand on its own, I love witnessing the nature of the home as it is revealed.  To me, exceptional architecture and design transcends the visual.  It reaches deep down into one’s soul and attaches to the very essence of our being.  It is something that we can connect to and relate to.  It calms us and generates a true heartfelt joy.  When done well, it is something that you feel at the very core of who you are.

That is why when I saw these photos of a project by Castro Design Studio float across Facebook, I knew that I would have to share them.  This Home simply exudes perfection which translates into pure comfort.  I hope you enjoy. (more…)


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I’ve been wanting to write a post about covered back porches for some time now.  Ever since the weather has turned, I enjoy every moment that I get out on ours.  We are very fortunate in that, even though we live in a subdivision, we have a very secluded lot.  Our home is flanked on the left by a fairway with a beautiful stretch of (more…)

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I think you will most definitely enjoy this one. It was not only fun to build out, but, it also had an incredible, earth-shattering impact on the character of the Home. Located in the Brookfield Country Club right on the golf course, this home was the collection of multiple renovations performed by the previous owner. Not only did the craftsmanship leave a lot to be desired, the interior lacked continuity and flow. Our clients purchased the property out of foreclosure with the hopes of transforming it into something special. The only problem was…they had a hard time figuring out what that “something special” was supposed to look like.

Here we have the kitchen:

This is where we started

A Tight Galley Layout

Completely Sealed Off

As you can see, the kitchen was separated from the massive family room and confined to a relatively small space. maneuvering around with multiple cooks (or just kids for that matter) was extremely difficult. It was dark, dated and not a lot of fun to hang out in. Counter top space; while lacking from the get go, would end up being consumed by school work, dishes/glasses or whatever else the general chaos of the day would throw at it. Organizational and storage considerations were a most in the new design. The other major challenge was connecting the kitchen and breakfast room with the adjoining family room and sunroom.
So we sat down and let the design process begin. As personal style and taste attributes began to surface, it became clear that we were heading in the direction of a very Transitional feel. The homeowners also gravitated to the use of strong contrasting materials. Michael Bell and Michelle Taylor with Bell Custom Cabinetry got the ball rolling by pulling together the character of the kitchen. Aren’t those islands amazing!

Moments of Reflection

The perimeter cabinets were finished in a deep, rich “Teaberry” color while the islands were a custom hand-selected paint color that complimented the other adjoining rooms. We then reversed the counter top colors to offset the cabinetry. We have a polished Maroon Cohiba on the islands and a solid Organic White from Ceasarstone on the outlining wall cabinets. A Sub Zero refrigerator and 6 burner Wolf Range provide the muscle to space. Glass shelf niches inside the cooking alcove enhance the professional appearance while the beveled subway tile backsplash instill the quiet elegance that brings everything together.
One of my favorite additions to the new space was replacing that huge bowed bay window. The subdivision was originally developed and largely built out by Chatham Custom Homes. They had included these large, locally built units on a great number of the homes as kind of their signature look. Our clients loved the connection that these units had with the community, but, knew that they had outlived their prime. So, we brought in Pella Windows and Doors to help us re-create some new windows that would retain the original integrity. Drew Hall, our Pella Rep., executed the specifications of these custom units meticulously. I wish we had a better photo that captured the view of the pool and the fairway, but, trust me when I say that it is inspiring to say the least.

What a Focal Point

Another key player on the team was Theresa Minkoff with Moda Floors and Interiors. She worked hand in hand with our clients throughout the entire project guiding the design decisions and ensuring that a cohesive look was achieved in the end. My hat is certainly tipped to her for the talent that she brings to the table by being able to listen to the client and interpret their desires and wishes. It is a unique skill that few people have, but, I can tell you that she is one of the best there is.
Taking It All In.
Some of the components that I Love in this kitchen are the custom milled trim details surrounding the cooking alcove, the strong support columns on the main island, the authentic end panels, the furniture base and scrolled toe kick and the tall pantry cabinets flanking the formal entrance to the Dining Room.
I believe that what we ended up with is a unified, sleek, elegant space that is also very comfortable to a growing family.
Next Comes The Fireplaces:



The fireplace separating the family room from the sunroom can only be described as a monstrosity. It was dark, heavy and looming. Blocking all of the natural light from entering the family room. And, upon further inspection, was completely unsafe for operation. Some of the things that we tackled here were: re-building the firebox and flue liners; removing the cased openings on either side; re-working the lighting scheme; running wide plank hardwood flooring throughout; installing a floating mantle; employing sharp, white, quartzite stone on the surround and a Honed Maroon Cohiba slab on the raised hearth.
This is my Favorite part!


Now, what we are looking at is light, warm, inviting and completely in style.

So Cool!

Touch of Class.

Some of the other areas of the Home that we worked on were: re-configuring the laundry room with some new, custom, “drop zone” cabinetry; re-doing the powder room with a new sink cabinet, new plumbing, electrical and accessories and repainting the entire first floor. There is nothing more gratifying for me than witnessing a well designed, highly collaborative project come together. Many thanks to our industry partners for helping us transform this house into a Home that our clients can delight in.
To see more of what we’re up to, please click here to visit the Distinctive Remodeling Website.
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And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please drop me a comment below.

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Sometimes we will rule out employing quality design elements or solid architectural detailing right from the get go because we think that it may be too cost prohibitive or that our project is not up to that level of distinction.  In reality though, there are so many ways to enhance the aesthetics of a home with some very simple techniques.


From the Portfolio of Spitzmiller and Norris

Notice how this simple (yet very elegant) box bay appears to be supported by four cantilevered beams.  This is such a nice touch that costs virtually pennies to execute in the whole scheme of things.  But, what it does do is create a sense of substance with the structure.  I picture this bay to be located on the side of the home where most of the visitors will pass.  Think of the impression that this will etch on the minds of your guests.  Very Well Done.
To see more of their projects, click here: Spitzmiller and Norris, Inc.
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And as always, please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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     As I set out on a run the other evening, several thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind.  I began thinking about bills that needed to be dealt with, the economy, financial markets and the direction of this great country, when a stream came through my mind.  I am not saying in the least that this was some sort of vision, it was just a string of thoughts that seemed to flow together.  You see, I had the picture of a lady standing on an edge.  An edge where there was a flurry of activity swirling all around her. She was standing witness to the most spectacular view that her mind could ever conceive.  There, before her, a Home was being built.  But this was no ordinary project. 

     This Home was being constructed in a manner and fashion that was completely foreign to her.  Everything about herself was completely known by the participants.  Not in the way like you would find when a profile is printed out and read to the group as a part of the pre-construction meeting.  No, here a group of Hosts had presented a narrative of her life.  All of her passions, interests, desires – pet peeves, irritants and distaste were well presented to the members.  And thus, everyone knew exactly what they had to do.

     The land was prepared creating an oasis of personal harmony in the setting.  Landscape architects painted the surroundings with magnificent vistas, shaping and sculpting the terrain to soothe the soul.  Gardeners were everywhere building streams,  tending to the beds and manicuring the foliage; all contributing to the final sanctuary.  Architects were following this lead in designing and detailing the structure so that it conformed precisely with the natural elements of the setting.  Connections were being made throughout the Home.  Builders were busy mapping out every detail that needed to be executed.  There was not a concern in the world over budgets, you see, all of the materials that had been planned for with this home were lined up and on site.  Everything had been specified.  The only concern of the builder was to employ the best building techniques that had ever been crafted.  Building Science Gurus were analyzing the systems so that the structure operated at peak performance.  Craftsmen of every trade were working around the clock with the sole desire to pull out the true beauty from their pieces of Art.  They were not thinking about quitting time, being back to the shop by 4;00 or what they had planned for on the weekend.  Movers were bringing in the furnishings.  Yet, instead of just rolling in the refrigerator, they were actually loading it down with all of her favorite things.  Interior Designers and Artists were scurrying around, hanging artwork, setting out sentimental pieces and pulling together the personal ambiance for the owner.  And in the background, a chef was busy creating his magic,  filling the space with wonderful aromas.  This was not a meal that was being prepared for the group per say, but rather, a dining experience that was created just for her.  You see, everyone was working; giving their best, for the pleasure of the recipient.  And the recipient had not even requested the work.  There was a Master Choreographer overseeing the project, but, he was not barking out orders.  He would merely offer up direction from time to time and provide subtle suggestions along the way.  But most of the time, He would allow the strengths and talents of the participants to shine through as they strived to create this most precious gift for the Lady.

     Just then, she spun around to find that all of her friends were watching.  Her parents and grand parents were looking on as well.  Everyone was so proud because she truly deserved all of it.  The next thing she knew, she was waking up in this Beautiful Home.  The place was spotless, everything in its place.  The most pristine vista could be taken in from her bedroom window.  The Home was perfectly comfortable.  And, as she was finishing up her morning breakfast, she was ready to take on the day where she could go and share her talents and skills with a new recipient who she would have the privilege of contributing to.

     I know some of you will be thinking this is over the top.  Some sort of Utopian, Fantasy Land.  And that we live in This  world.  One where Budgets are important, Revenue does matter and Margins definitely make a difference.  And, I agree with all of that.  I just couldn’t help but think…What if we took  on a little different perspective.  A shift in how we view the Project.  A shift in how we view the Client.  What could we be building right Here.

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