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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pennington Kitchen Remodel
Opening up a small, crowded kitchen in NJ

       A short while ago we completed our latest kitchen remodel, just in time for the holidays! Our client had recently moved into this home and was dissatisfied with the way the kitchen functioned. As it was before, the kitchen was closed off from the rest of the home with the single entrance being on the far end of the main first-floor hallway, next to the door to the garage.  There was only a very small peninsula to the side of the room for an eating space, which often doubled as a work space for our client when she worked from home.  Our client hoped to develop a design for her kitchen that would both create a better flow between the kitchen and the rest of the house, and also offer a better option for eating/work space.


After

After

Before

       The finalized design that we used involved opening up the wall between the existing kitchen and dining room in order to connect the two spaces.  This allows the dining room which was previously underutilized, to function daily as the primary dining space of the home-- immediately accessible from the kitchen-- and also as a large work space when needed.  However because the room is only partially separated from the kitchen, it still functions as a more formal dining room whenever the client is entertaining.  The regal blue color of the dining room's walls helps to maintain this sense of spatial division, and is complimented by the lighter blue in the kitchen.

Layout Before Construction

Proposed Layout


After                                                                      After


After

       In addition to opening up the dining room wall, this kitchen renovation also involved many other improvements including removal of the existing soffits to allow for larger cabinets and crown molding.  A crackle-glaze subway tile was selected to add some texture to the walls, with under cabinet lighting to highlight the tile's subtle irregularities.  Oil rubbed cabinets give the space a slightly vintage feel and, in conjunction with a centerpiece industrial-style light fixture hung over the sink, bring together the kitchen in a rustic-contemporary aesthetic.  This timeless look will keep the kitchen appearing fresh and attractive for years to come.

After

After

After

Crackle Backsplash

Oil-rubbed Cabinetry









Thursday, December 18, 2014

Family Basement Remodel
High-end remodel of an unfinished basement in Princeton

We are pleased to announce the completion of a recent basement remodel in Princeton.  Thiscomprehensive 2,200 sf basement remodel involved extensive design andconstruction processes that ultimately resulted in the spaces depicted in theseimages.  It’s hard to believe that thisbright and cheerful space is really underground.  The clients came to us wanting a space thatdefied the stereotype of a dark, dank basement. With plenty of light, vibrant and tactile materials, and ample space for entertaining, this basement will serve as theperfect place for parties, movie nights, and even casual family dinners foryears to come.

Client’s Needs andDesires
       The clients for this project wanted to convert their unfinishedbasement into a series of attractive and functional finished living spaces foruse by their family and friends.  Their wants included the following:

o  Wanted a full kitchen in the basement
o  Wished to relocate the laundry room from theupstairs to a new laundry room downstairs
o  Wanted plenty of sitting areas for entertaining
o  Desired a cinema-style theater room
 o  Needed living quarters for the au pair thatwatches over their children, including a full bedroom and bathroom access

Basement after construction completed

Basement after construction completed

Before

Before

       We worked with the clients to develop a floor plan and design that fit their needs and aesthetic tastes.  The primary goal was to create a space that felt bright and welcoming, atypical of most basements.

Proposed Floorplan

       We had several goals when developing the floorplan for this project.  One objective was to minimize costs by keeping the structural system of the basement the same.  To do this, we had to develop a floorplan that best minimized the imposition of the existing columns on the overall space.  We also wanted to create a plan that maximized the exposure of the room to natural light, so we kept areas with windows and doors as open as possible.


Rendering of Proposed Design

 Rendering of Proposed Design

 Rendering of Proposed Design

Rendering of Proposed Design

FunctionalImprovements


       We made a number of improvements to the basement in order to increase its functionality.   First of all, we relocated the laundry room to the basement, which allows the au pair to have easier access to the laundry.  We also installed multiple countertops to provide plenty of folding space, ensuring that the space functions well for the family.  Other improvements made include the design and installation of a full kitchen to allow for easy entertaining in the new space.  A cinema-style theaterroom was also included, which acts as a unique entertainment space for the clients and their friends. This involved constructing a tiered flooring layout to provide optimal viewing and a real cinema feel.  We also provided the clients with a new sitting area with custom built-in shelving for the clients to display their extensive  library of books.  This area acts as a cozy niche for reading or sitting.
      We included living quarters for the family's au pair in the new basement, which allows her to enter and leave the home through the basement's back door rather than disturbing the rest of the home upstairs.  To complete the living quarters, we designed and installed a luxurious new bathroom, including a double vanity and custom steam shower with transom glass for steam regulation, a built-in shower bench, and striking waterfall tile.  Finally, we implemented a built-in dehumidifier in order to promote superior air quality and fight the high moisture levels associated with basements.

Laundry Room Complete

Laundry Room Complete

Laundry Room Complete


Bar Area Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Bathroom Complete

Living Room Complete

Living Room Complete

Living Room Complete

Theater Complete

Theater Complete

Theater Complete


Aesthetic Improvements


       We made a number of aesthetic improvements to the basement.  First of all, we demolished the existing staircase and constructed a new one that included a landing, a custom railing, and custom staining.  We replaced the existing door at the top of the stairs with a glass French door, allowing natural light to continue from the upper levels of the home into the basement.  All of this was done to create an inviting entryway from the main house to the newly finished basement area.
       Handsome finishes were selected that give the basement a high-end aesthetic.  Many of the materials chosen incorporate coordinating blues and golds, for instance in the granite counters and backsplashes.  The vibrant and striking blue backsplash in thekitchen acts as a centerpiece for the entire floor, and colored blue outletscamouflage in the tile so as not to detract from the aesthetic.  Furthermore, high quality cork floating floor that gives thespace a sophisticated and warm aesthetic.
       Other aesthetic improvements that we made include replacing the aging existing doors and windowswith new upgraded versions.  In the bedroom area, the existing window was replaced with an egress window, allowing ample natural light to permeate the space. Providing enough light throughout the basement was essential to preventing a dark or gloomy feel that many basements possess.  In addition to using windows to achieve lightness throughout the basement, we also used a comprehensive system of recessed lighting, contemporary accent chandeliers in the kitchen area to add visual interest, under cabinet lighting in the cooking area to showcase the remarkable backsplash and provide extra light during food preparation, and also custom "star" lighting in the theater to enhance the cinematic aesthetic.

Kitchen Lighting


Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Kitchen Complete

Superior Craftsmanship


       Superior craftsmanship was shown throughout the project on a number of levels.  In terms of woodworking, we designed and fabricated a staircase with custom hand rail that leads from the upper levels of the home to the new finished basement area.  We used an intensive three-step staining process on this wood to achieve the warm depth seen in the photographs.  We also designed and constructed a large bookcase in order to store and display the clients' book collection.  Other instances of superior craftsmanship include the custom detailing on the columns throughout the basement.

Custom Staircase

Sitting Area Complete

Sitting Area Complete

Staircase Complete

Bookcase Complete

Backsplash Complete
Overcoming Obstacles
         
        We faced several challenges during the design and construction of this basement project.  One of the major problems associated with basements is moisture, and we took several measures to ensure that moisture isn't an issue in the newly finished basement.  Before construction even began, we first regraded the ground outside of the home to force water flow away from the house rather than toward the newly finished area.  Next, a sealed French drain system was installed to aid in moisture and radon control.  Finally, a dehumidifier was installed to aid in moisture regulation of the air in the new basement.
       Another obstacle of the project was the client's desire for a bedroom in the basement.  Codes require that a separate means of exit must be available for emergency situations, and so we had to construct an egress window in the bedroom.  This necessitated excavation of the earth in that area as well as cutting of the existing foundation in order to allow for the new window.
       Lastly came the challenges associated with the mechanical work of the project.  In order to provide sufficient head clearance throughout the basement area, we had to relocate the existing radon line and duct work.  Another obstacle was that in order to install the full kitchen and laundry room in the basement, we had to saw cut the existing foundation slab in order to implement the necessary mechanical work, requiring days of labor.  However, despite any obstacles the project is now complete and ready to be enjoyed!

Egress Window Complete

Bedroom Complete

Bedroom Complete

Bedroom Complete

Saw Cut Slab

Saw Cut Slab