When designing spaces for our remodels, form weighs equally with function. From a Design-Remodeler perspective, we think about the functionality of the space and if the movement of a wall is possible or within a client’s budget. However, we also consider how that space will look and feel. While many of our remodels add needed space to a family’s home, even those additions of space and function are most successful when they are aesthetically pleasing. Whether working on our own or collaborating with an architect or interior designer, function, engineering, and design are always on our mind.
In this blog, we will walk through two design focal points we have created for our clients and the thought process around each of those focal points and how, as a result, the design transformed the space.
The Fireplace and Built-in as a Focal Point:
For this home, the original design of the living room, off the kitchen, was a sunken space with a fireplace and built-ins. While fully functional, the space felt dated. The sunken floor of the living room separated it from the kitchen, a design style counter to today’s more open space feel. The sunken floor also hid the fireplace and the dark built-ins did not pull the eye in. Instead, light streaming from the skylights drew the eye upward making the ceiling fan an unintended place for the eye to land. Look at the before picture below to see how your eye focuses on the light areas above the fireplace and built-ins.
In collaboration with the client’s interior designer, we designed the 3D rendering below which changes the focus to the fireplace and its surround. In the new design, the floor was elevated eight inches to create one continuous floor. In addition, by making the living room floor match the existing hardwood floors in the kitchen, it created an uninterrupted flow between the two spaces.
Raising the fireplace also helped ensure it would catch the eye by bringing it into the eye-line of any visitor. The natural stacked stone reinforced the prominence of the fireplace updating it and helping anchor the eye to the center of the room.
The built-ins are a slightly darker stain than the previous set, but are balanced and made lighter by floating shelves and lighting in the soffit. Additionally, beams stained to match now cross the ceiling creating a visual balance.
Another word about the soffit lighting. Notice how, by bringing lighting into the room, it balances the light from the skylights so that space does not feel darker than the ceiling. Therefore, your eye is not drawn up and away from the space itself.
In the after picture below, you can see how the design was achieved through the remodel itself.
Bringing the Outdoors In:
A number of our clients want to take advantage of the wonderful breezes and warm temperatures we enjoy in North Carolina -- but without the mosquitoes. This client wanted a screened-in porch to make their current deck space more functional. Heaters, fans, and tons of lighting would ensure their new space was ready for use day and night. Our 3D rendering of the porch below shows how that vision was made tangible for our clients through thoughtful design and careful engineering.
These clients, wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors, without having to step on the patio. In the before picture below you can see the view of their great room with the kitchen on the right, dining room on the far back right, and living room directly in front.
When guest enter the home, this is the first main space off the entry hall. Despite having many windows, it felt dark. The focus became either the TV, ceiling fan, or kitchen, depending on which direction you faced. The incredible new screened-in porch would be hidden from view. In fact, most of the view of the backyard itself was obscured.
Functionally, the flow was also not ideal. The door to the existing deck was off the dining room and is out of view in this photo. A guest would need to know to enter the dining area in order to access the deck.
Our design took into consideration the clients’ love of being outside and their desire to be pulled outside to their new screened in porch and backyard. In our 3D rendering below, you can see how we addressed their concerns and goals. An 8-foot-tall and 12-foot-wide sliding French door completely transforms this space.
In the after photos below, you can see that the room is bright and your eye immediately draws to the outdoors. The windows in the living room were re-purposed in the dining room to replace the door creating a sun room/dining room area, which the client has filled with plants in keeping with the theme of bringing the outdoors in. With both French sliding doors open, no space is lost in either the porch or living room. A large entertaining space beckons guest and makes the entire space part of the outdoors. At night, the lighting design we created transforms the space once again.
These after pictures taken both during the day and at night show the full impact of when design is integrated into functionality and brings focus to a remodel.
Please take a look at this project's before and after pictures: