Featured Remodel Project: Matika
This Wallingford, PA, home was purchased by Michelle, who had been recently widowed. She wanted to start life over, just her and her son, in a smaller house with a beautiful lakeside view. It was a difficult time for them, and we wanted to do our best to make sure their needs were met with as little stress as possible.
Though the location was great, the house itself needed a lot of work. There had been a flood in the kitchen. The finish work was inexpensively done. There was a truly awful fireplace, false beams, Greek columns … the list goes on.
The ultimate goal was to have a new kitchen that was better integrated into the rest of the house. We needed to get rid of the boxy walls, the fake columns, and also expand a powder room so her son could have his own bathroom and also redo the master bathroom.
The fireplace was the first thing. It had these big walls around it that really broke up the space, so we got rid of those and made it a two-sided fireplace, with one side facing the living room and one side facing the kitchen. We then wrapped it in brick from floor to ceiling.
The whole kitchen had to be gutted. It had flooded and it actually had a very bad smell. We treated the floor with an odor sealant and then installed new flooring. The floor that was in the living room was a straight-board oak floor, so we extended that throughout and then refinished the entire first floor.
The kitchen had a bump-out in it that made the design a bit tricky. It broke up sections of cabinetry and made the room look disjointed. We ended up doing a brickwork backsplash that extends up the wall, giving it a more seamless and natural look that complimented the fireplace design. In spite of the bump-out, we ended up getting everything into a kitchen triangle, along with an eating area by the fireplace. It came out beautifully.
The master bath was not in bad shape. All we did there was remove the bathtub and turn it into a shower. We added a little linen closet and a vanity but left the toilet was where it was. We did have some problems with the joists in the house, as they were undersized for the span, so the floor had to be reinforced to carry the weight of the tile we were putting in. Otherwise, it was a pretty simple, straightforward bathroom renovation.
The hall bath was a little more tricky because it was initially a powder room. It was very small, so we expanded it into a bedroom closet so that we could get a tub into it, along with a single sink and the toilet. Then, we closed off the hall closet, and opened it up on the other side for the bedroom access. We basically stole the closet from the bedroom but took the closet from the hall and put it in the bedroom.
Even though the house had some definite issues, such as the kitchen damage, poorly-built features, and a challenging design, it was a pretty smooth running job. The house itself just needed some TLC and some thought put into the design to make it more livable and cohesive, design-wise.
We completed this job with the knowledge of our client going through one of the most challenging times of their lives, so it was absolutely paramount to be as sensitive as possible to the situation. We wanted to deliver on their vision while thinking ahead about things that they may not have considered so that they could move forward in their new home with hope for the future.
A remodel is an exciting undertaking, but can be stressful in ways some people can’t imagine. Being able to mitigate the stress of the work going on around them while helping Michelle and her son ease into their new life with the greatest joy possible was our ultimate goal and I do think we achieved that.