Remodeling an Era

If you are like me, you’ve driven around an older neighborhood at some point in your life, admiring homes with a certain style – long, low profiles with minimal exterior decor. You were probably touring an established neighborhood where ramblers were the predominate style. Their simplicity is captivating and infused with potential. Therefore I am thrilled when given the opportunity to remodel one of these beauties alongside my clients. So, in honor of our rambler’s popularity of the late 60’s and with a playful nod to one of my favorite artists, Ramble On.

Styling for this project was inspired by the era. The goal was to maintain a hip, modern vibe, while incorporating the vintage and eclectic tastes of the client. This rambler is the perfect backdrop for such a décor style. To set the stage, we elected to incorporate a lot of wood. Wood provides heaps of warmth and depth to a space, plus a comforting northwest appeal. By combining several species and tones, the space was perfectly unified with purposeful symmetry and a refreshing edge.

A rambler is casual, relaxed, and welcoming by nature and in its most basic single-story form, uncomplicated. With four walls and a roof, I like to do the unexpected inside. With this particular project, we encouraged intrigue and provided functionality. Adding uniquely shaped furniture, funky art, bold and vibrant colors and a clever custom piece for just a touch of quirkiness.

The clients set a budget that fit their lifestyle, developed a design that exceeded their wishes, and took it down to the studs. The goal of this project is to renovate a long-time family home, preserving its character and shared memories while making it into a more modern and practical residence our clients can enjoy for years to come. The space was completely gutted including removal of sheetrock and flooring. All appliances, cabinets, counters, backsplashes—and even the kitchen sink—are gone. Our clients cleared everything out, leaving us with a clean canvas, as well as a very long, open narrow space.

The clients installed gorgeous ash gray hardwood floors, which set the tone for the muted gray and soft green walls. For contrast, espressostained cabinetry complemented pure white quartz and sea glass subway tiles. The metals on the furnishings combined effortlessly with the stainless steel appliances.

Some of the original problems of the house were that the house was dark, the kitchen was cramped and too separate from the living room and the house didn’t have enough flow. The clients wanted a happier place to cook and enjoy family time. The solution was to open the floor plan, which included removing several walls and doors. A wall that separated the kitchen from the living room and dining room was removed, and the existing windows were replaced with larger ones, adding the light we desired. The design plan defined an open dining room concept that incorporated cooking on one side and living on the other, while staying intimate. The clients desired a multi-purpose space, built to combine form with function, with enough space to simultaneously accommodate homework, food preparation and whole family gatherings. Our space plan provides a seamless flow from one end of the room to the other, not to mention the mobility in the middle.

Every room in the house has a central element that defines it. For the kitchen, that element is almost every time the kitchen island—it’s the piece that brings everything and everyone together. In the case of this remodel, it doubles as a dining table. With this combination, we have a very clever mix that beautifully complements the entire space. And just like in the case of any other custom piece of furniture, this kitchen island and table combo was designed specifically for the client. This is the ultimate workhorse—with casters that lock, this counter-height rolling table provides everything the home-owners wanted, plus a chic conversation piece. When working in the kitchen our island serves as the perfect prep station and then doubles as the dining table once the meal is prepared. It can also host board games, cocktail parties and then neatly tuck away over its rustic bench seat at night. The colors in the bench blend with the island, unifying the room. The trio of bright backless bar stools can easily be slipped under the counter to save space while still adding visible color to the room.

The result: a well-designed space with minimal clutter and maximum efficiency.

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"The clients set a budget that fit their lifestyle, developed a design that exceeded their wishes, and took it down to the studs."