Inspiring, Thoughtful, Livable!

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This successful home remodeling project integrated an engaging symphony of details to establish the overall design.

Story by Ann Butenas    ~    Photography by Matt Kocourek

After moving into this nearly 100-year-old home just south of the Plaza in the Romanelli Gardens neighborhood, the homeowners decided to do a bit more upgrading to its interior style. When they initially moved into the home in 2000, their first order of business was to add a master suite over the existing family room, as they wanted a bigger walk-in closet and en suite. During that time, they also remodeled the other upstairs bathroom. Not unaccustomed to upgrades, however, this home had seen its share of changes over the years when resided in by others, and it was finally time for the current owners to give it a bit more of their own personality.

“The prior owners had made the family room a three-seasons room,” noted the homeowner, referring to the many transitions through which this home has undergone. “Then someone put duct work on the bottom of it to close it in for a family room. We ended up gutting it when we re-did our upper bedroom all those years ago, and that was money well spent.”

Fast forward to this past year, and the homeowners decided to re-do their kitchen and other main level living areas to give the overall space yet another updated appeal.

“It appears the prior owners of this home had made some changes over the years,” noted the owner. “When we moved into the home, we knew we wanted to make even more changes to fit the way we wanted to live in it.”

Working in partnership with Brenda Freebern of Picture Perfect Interiors, the owners began the enterprising process of updating the new interior design elements of their home. They also contracted with Terry Skilling of Rhino Builders for the major structural components of the project. 

“The house feels more sound and tighter to us now,” said the owner, who truly appreciates the new layout. “I can sit in the family room and look directly into the kitchen. It is not completely open, but it is open enough so that you can see the other areas no matter where you sit.”

Throughout the redesign, careful attention was made to not disturb some of the homes’ original character. The existing arched doorways, windows and door frames remained intact. The rounded barrel ceiling in the living room is also an original element.

“We did update the sofa and draperies afterwards,” indicated the owner. “We simply pulled everything together and spruced up what was already in place.”

The owners also changed the color palette to a lighter tone, working with Freebern to achieve that end.

“We then purchased all new furniture for the family room, but we did have some of our older chairs reupholstered,” noted the owner.

What’s cooking in this kitchen… and beyond

When it came to updating the kitchen, the owners had it completely gutted and took down the existing walls, extending it into the family room space and opening the dining room area in the process. 

“What began as a kitchen remodel expanded, as we opened up the kitchen and the room that led to the family room, relocated the laundry to the first floor from the basement, and added a powder bath,” explained Freebern. “We also added a butler’s pantry and entertainment center. This whole project was like a fun episode on HGTV.”

Freebern and her crew rearranged the kitchen’s layout for maximum performance. The redesign was a monumental task but well worth the effort. The owners opted for all new appliances, lighting fixtures and windows.

“We opened up the back wall and widened the area in the dining room, too,” expressed Freebern. “By opening up the walls and enlarging the door openings, that allowed more light to bounce all the way through the house from front to back.”

Freebern was very intentional in the design of the kitchen, thinking thoroughly through every detail.

“The owners love to cook and entertain, so we wanted to not only make it attractive but also functional,” said Freebern.

Ample storage is another grand highlight of the kitchen, which includes a built-in new china buffet with a glass front. A collector of pottery, the owner delights in showcasing her treasured pieces in this way.

“I like color, and with a kitchen that is now white, the colors of these accessories gives it a bit of pop,” expressed the owner.

One of the interesting discoveries of the project was the surprise of three-and-a-half inches of floors that were scraped off, as flooring from previous remodeling efforts were simply laid one upon the other over the years. In doing so, it gave new and unexpected dimension to the space.

“I had to let the owner know that we did not raise the ceiling; we simply eliminated several layers of flooring,” smiled Freebern.

“We really like this new layout,” smiled the owner. “If we decide to stay here longer, it allows us to have access to everything on one floor. We could essentially just live on the main floor, although the bedrooms are upstairs.”

The owner appreciates the brighter ambiance of the space, as well.

“Before, the kitchen tiles were cobalt blue, orange and gold. I painted the walls to match that and lived with it for 20 years. I actually did a lot 20 years ago and worked with what was there. With this project, there was no way I could have done all of this myself,” she marveled.

The kitchen has always been a focal point in this home, but now it is even more of a gathering spot.

“We spend a lot of time in both the family room and the kitchen,” she said. “It is now very comfortable, bright and open. I also appreciate we no longer have a bottleneck issue in the kitchen. The house just flows easier.”

The owners are delighted with the new look and wouldn’t change a thing.

“We are very happy with how everything turned out,” emphasized the homeowner. “There were  no big surprises throughout the project and both Terry and Brenda knew exactly what needed to be done throughout the entire process.”


  • Designer:  Picture Perfect Interiors
  • Contractor:  Rhino Builders 

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