The Wow Factor: A Classic Bungalow’s Modern Makeover
Inside this 1927 Del Ray Bungalow, Karen and Kirk (along with their two cats and dog) have transformed an unassuming bungalow into a chic and sophisticated space with a nod to famous designers and some international flair. Just wait until you get inside…
Karen bought the house in 1992. After meeting then marrying Kirk a couple of years ago, the couple decided it was time to reinvent the house in a style they love.
They spent an entire year planning, gutting, and rebuilding the house, finishing the job this past spring. It was a long and stressful year: They survived a difficult contractor change, bug and water issues, and even a close call with an accidental gas leak that brought fire engines to their house.
Their plan was to turn a 3-bedroom, 2-bath bungalow with small closets, a bad roof line and a wet stinky basement into a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath bungalow with amazing closets, a spectacular roof line, and a dry, sunny, liveable, walk-out basement.
The entire first floor was completely gutted and reconfigured.
In this before shot, you will see how the front porch was extended to expand across the entire front of the building. Karen and Kirk love the new, larger outdoor space with room for casual seating and outdoor dining.
By adding on to the side of the house, they were able to expand the den and add a first-floor powder room.
The den, which is Karen’s favorite room in the house, is bright, comfortable and has lots of character. It features a Polder sofa, Indian Charpoy coffee table (made with woven silver ropes that sparkle in the sunlight), and Nias Tribal Stools. I love how the simple light gray walls are counterbalanced through the use of texture (nubby rug, woven table, and baskets) and pattern (ottoman, pillows).
Here is the view to the powder room. The door on the right leads to the front porch.
Karen added a pop of color in the bathroom with this amazing orange tile. The small square pendant lamp works hard but is not afraid to let the tile steal the show.
The most dramatic change inside came with this incredible glass-enclosed stairway. The idea came from their architect Ben Ames. Here is the before shot of the stairs:
Now the architect’s drawing:
The final product has wow factor written all over it. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the house, an unexpected modern visual that sets the tone for the rest of the open space.
This sun room used to be on the other side of the stairs:
Now, the walls are gone down and it’s one big fat gourmet kitchen, dining, and entertaining area. Karen and Kirk love to host parties so having a large open concept space was a must.
The former sun room now has bench seating along the corner walls. The benches open with plenty of room to tuck away linens and large serving platters.
The dining table is from Bungalow Homewares in Del Ray. It’s been known to seat as many as 15 people for a dinner party.
The kitchen is a chef’s dream — it boasts a professional grade stove, Subzero refrigerator, two sinks (a small prep sink nestled into the corner to the right of the stove and a large sink in the middle of the island for washing pots and pans), two dishwashers, a wine fridge, ample storage in the IKEA cabinets, and miles and miles of caesarstone counter space. Guests can take part in the culinary action on one of three Cherner bar stools.
The stove backsplash is made with the same tile featured in HGTV’s 2010 Dream Home. Shortly after purchasing the tile, the company went out of business. Karen and Kirk are now the only people on the East coast with this tile.
On the adjoining wall, they used frosted glass from Del Ray Glass as the backsplash — who knew a sheet of glass could look so fancy!
Boomer, the dog, loves the travertine floors. Karen loves them too — not only do they bring the colors of the room together, they easily hide dirt and pet hair.
The wine cabinet was a happy accident. Due to a mismeasurement, they ended up with extra space at the end of the wall. One option was to add a broom closet. They decided on a wine cabinet — it looks like it was meant to be.
One thing that’s hard not to notice is the fact that there are so many windows — some new, some original to the house (like these flanking the fireplace).
With a multitude of windows, there is not much wall space for art. Karen and Kirk added color and personality through vivid accent pillows and eclectic furniture and accessories. The metallic pouf is simply fabulous!
The living room and the previously mentioned den play well together with their similar color palettes, rugs, and furniture scale.
There’s one more room on the main floor — the master suite. This is another place where they added extra square footage — about 8 feet to the right side of the house. As a result, they had plenty of space for a custom-built king-size bed and storage cabinet, walk-in closet, and a true master bathroom.
Karen noted that although the bed and cabinets were custom-built, they cost less than buying from a store. There are drawers underneath the bed for extra storage.
The bathroom gives new meaning to the term spa-like. It’s modeled after a hotel bathroom Karen and Kirk discovered while on their honeymoon in South Africa. The walk-in shower with rain shower head, teak bench and river rock floor is one of Kirk’s favorite areas of the house.
The tub is actually the original tub from the house, accented and modernized with new fixtures. Another bonus for cold winter mornings: the floors are heated.
Upstairs, this ingenious bookcase replaces the former railing. I’ve been wanting to replicate this in my own house ever since seeing it in a house on the 2010 Del Ray Home and Garden Tour. What a great use of space.
The footprint of the upstairs did not change during the remodel. Aside from adding the bookcases, they applied a fresh coat of paint to the hall and two bedrooms and added new fixtures to the bathroom.
The white paint reflects the bright sun radiating from the skylights. Having sloped ceilings, skylights make a huge difference, adding a sense of height and openness. The skylights were already installed when Karen purchased the home in 1992.
The basement is still a work in progress, but it’s one of the nicest basements I’ve seen in Del Ray. The great room is more than great, it’s amazing — with high ceilings and large windows, you hardly feel like you’re partially underground.
Here’s a shot during construction — note the large hole for the windows. This side of the building is new.
Today, Kirk uses one side for watching television and Karen uses the other side as her home office. A full bath is tucked under the stairs, and around the corner, you’ll find the laundry/storage room which incorporates the old kitchen cabinets.
It took a year and many frustrations, but Karen and Kirk finally got the home of their dreams. Karen’s advice for someone undertaking a major renovation like this: Go with your gut. They had to switch contractors months into the project; this was time lost and money wasted. Karen says make sure you are comfortable with whomever you choose to help with a project. If something doesn’t feel right, make a change.
Architect: Ben Ames
Builder: Genesis Construction
Interior Designer: Marnie Kenney
Bed and cabinet: Mike Burge, Burger’s Cabinet Shop
Paint: Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray