The remodeling industry has a growing problem on its hands that must be addressed immediately.
The owners of this eight-year-old colonial-style home in Hopkinton, Mass. called upon its original builder to update its traditional floor plan to suit their family’s changing needs. One key area to address was expanding the kitchen to make it more functional for everyday use as well as entertaining.
The owners of this custom-built home in Hopkinton, Mass., recognized that their lifestyle requirements had changed dramatically as their family grew from two to four children in the eight years since moving to their home. The couple's goal was to reconfigure several areas of its traditional floor plan as well as to add much needed living space. One of the key areas was their kitchen, which they felt no longer functioned efficiently for a family of six nor met their entertaining needs.
|Support for the home's second floor included a column that was originally hidden in a cupboard. In the new kitchen, the team deferred structural support to two lally columns incorporated into the center island and hidden in decorative panels.
After photos by Ron Bouley Photography
The couple turned to local builder and remodeler Scott Miller of Newbridge Construction, which originally built the home, to help them improve its livability. Miller and his top-notch design and construction team was able to give his clients a much larger and completely reconfigured social center that is now family-friendly, functional and upscale. The new kitchen features more than 700 square feet of living space.
"Their original kitchen was a 'stock' plan," says Miller, "that was pretty much run-of-the-mill. It did have a center island and a breakfast nook but was very cramped as a gathering area. This was a problem because my clients not only have a big family of their own but also a large extended one in the area. And they love to entertain."
Miller maintained the 25-foot width of the kitchen but increased its depth nearly 15 feet by removing an existing outdoor deck and moving the rear wall backward to accommodate a spacious informal dining area. The sink wall was also extended by more than 10 feet, creating an L-shaped footprint. The rear wall, now virtually all windows, floods the kitchen with natural light and views, despite its northern orientation.
The kitchen's existing cabinets were replaced with high-quality, custom-built cherry ones designed specifically for the family's needs. "Our clients really wanted to boost the available work space in their new kitchen," says kitchen and bath designer Deborah Kollmeyer of Distinct Designs. "They were looking for lots of functional areas so that more than one person could be working in there at the same time and not be on top of each other."
They also wanted their cabinets to have the look and feel of fine furniture, she adds. "We broke up the solid appearance of the cabinet doors with multiple open shelves and glass panels. This really jazzed up the space and gave the entire room much more character."
Another priority for the homeowners was to upgrade their appliances, says Miller. "The original kitchen had so-so ones but, they really went all out for their new space." This included adding two full-size refrigerators; two refrigerated drawers; a new range and oven; a warming drawer; two dishwashers; and two trash compactors.
The refrigerated drawers, located in a dry bar along a perimeter wall, are actually an energy-saving feature, says Kollmeyer. "They are a great place to store beverages such as juice and water for the kids so they are not constantly opening the doors of the big refrigerators just to get a drink."
|Top: The remodeled kitchen gets its upscale look from furniture-grade cabinetry, granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances.
Bottom: The built-in desk was a "concession to the kids" but ultimately serves as a great addition to the kitchen.
But, it is the multi-level island that serves as the focal point for the new kitchen. Not only does it provide storage space and snack bar seating, but it also includes a second sink, a built-in microwave at a child-friendly height and its own trash compactor and dishwasher.
The columns and arch, which frame the island, give it a distinctive style and also conceal important structural elements, says Miller. The rear wall of the original kitchen included a 25-foot beam that was supported by a lally column buried in an existing wall. When the rear wall was moved back, the column was moved to the center of the room where the island would go. The remodeler replaced the single column with two new ones on either side of the island and supporting an engineered lumber beam that runs perpendicular to the home's existing LVL beam. New footings in the basement provide support for the columns.
"Our cabinetry guy really did a terrific job of disguising the columns and beam while still keeping the island very functional," says Miller, referring to local craftsman Andy Kramer of Kramer's Custom Kitchens & Woodworking.
Concealing the new structural elements was not the most complicated element of the project, Kramer says. "The most challenging part of my job these days is dealing with the wide range of custom panels required for all of the different appliances. They are constantly changing."
For this project, Kramer fabricated panels for both refrigerators, the refrigerated drawers, dishwashers, warming drawer and trash compactors to match the cabinets.
"The family was extremely pleased with the final results," says Miller.