When they began their home renovation in 2007, Sarah and Bob wanted a green renovation and they wanted to maintain the essential footprint and shape of their beloved 1925 Arts and Crafts style home in Del Ray. They wanted their home to fit in with the flavor of the neighborhood instead of swallowing up their one-eighth-of-an-acre lot.
As you’ll see in this home tour, they chose a design that is at once spacious and tasteful and boasts some of the most clever and aesthetically beautiful storage solutions we’ve seen yet. Many of the ideas can work in a smaller home, which makes them all the more enticing.
Sarah and Bob worked with Hope and Tom Canning at SethAnne Studios, who also happen to be their friends and neighbors, to expand the 1,518 square-foot home by 370 square feet in some exceptionally creative ways. Sarah recalls her relationship with Hope as a “couple dancing the minuet,” as they reviewed plan after plan.
The way they expanded the layout of the home was to pop out the floor plan in the front to accommodate the laundry space on the second floor, and on the side and back to give them a new great room and larger master bedroom upstairs. They also raised the first floor ceiling.
The real stroke of genius came when they decided to remove the attic. Who in their right minds would get rid of any existing storage space, you’re no doubt wondering? Sarah and Bob say that they didn’t use the attic because anything they stored up there got moldy or brittle. The result is that the first and second floor ceilings are higher and they have interesting angles in the second floor which together make the home seems bigger.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Let’s tour the made-to-order storage solutions one by one:
Built-in coat racks and closets in the entryway. Shoes go in the drawers and sports equipment and odds and ends go neatly inside the cabinets.
A mini office. On one end of the kitchen, Sarah asked to have the slots for incoming and outgoing mail, as well as the bulletin boards on the outside of the cabinet doors. Here’s where they keep the kids’ medicine as well. What a great idea to have it in one place and in the kitchen. They also made sure to have a designated junk drawer. But of course!
Shelf for cookbooks. They keep cookbooks on a built-in shelf below the “office.” Around the side go the kids’ art supplies.
Custom-built entertainment center. The designers built a gorgeous entertainment center from bird’s eye maple that divides the dining room with the great room.
Bookshelves galore. The shelves go floor to ceiling in the great room and line the steps going upstairs. These bookshelves are a feature that could work in many small homes even to replace the railing at the top of the stairs like Karen did in her bungalow.
The shelves lining the stairway start on the bottom set and then, as you turn the corner, they wrap around to the upper set of stairs.
Bathroom magazine racks. Every bathroom has a recessed shelf for essential reading material.
Built-in bench. Great spot for linens and blankets, and wouldn’t you know it, a wrapping paper station. Who wouldn’t want that!
Washer and dryer closet. It has a swing door to save on space in the hallway.
Kids’ bathroom. Bob and Sarah wanted it to work well for kids, but not look too childish. They picked a tile from Daltile with color and pop, but a look that any future owner might appreciate. They absolutely love the size and shape of the tub. They chose granite for the countertop because it’s the easiest to maintain.
Deep hallway closets. The closets extend all the way back to the farthest walls.
Master walk-in closet. One is all Bob and Sarah need for their clothes. They have two dressers in their room that are “merely decorative” now. They love the Container Store drawers because they’re deep and easy to slide in and out.
Convenient outside storage room. The home doesn’t have a basement and so they built a room under the new stair pop-up that they can access from the side yard to store the hot water heater. That’s where you can also see the pipes for the radiant heating.
Private cat bathroom. No really. Their cat Max (since passed away) had his own private bathroom, made by simply cutting an arch into the side of the bathroom vanity and then putting the cat box inside the vanity. Ingenious because the kitty litter smell stays inside the bathroom and behind closed doors. It’s currently a play space for stuffed kitties.
What Makes The Renovation Green
- All of the flooring comes from reclaimed wood.
- The plumbing is Aquatherm Greenpipe.
- The kitchen cabinets are made with PureBond formaldehyde-free plywood.
- The floors on the first floor have radiant heat and the insulation is a soy-based spray, that, although partially made from plastics, results in a home is like “an insulated cooler,” says Sarah.
- They used low VOC paint and finishes.
- They hired Deconstruction Services to demo the home. The company came with about five dumpsters so they could separate the different materials; for example, the shingles went together and became road patch, the aluminum siding went into metal recycling. They discovered that about 60% of the flooring could be reused. They resold the original solid-wood kitchen cabinetry, as well as the toilets and tubs. Using Deconstruction Services enables a tax deduction for making a charitable contribution for items donated to Community Forklift or the Habitat for Humanity Restore.
- The house has fluorescent lighting throughout.
- The toilets are dual-flush so they use less water.
- All of the wood for the doors and front and back porches is Forest Service Council certified.
- Four skylights provide natural lighting which lowers their electrical usage.
- The siding is HardiePlank, a fiber-cement (partial wood, partial cement) lap siding that is constructed specifically to suit to the climate where the home is situated.
The Finer Touches
You can see the SethAnne signature look in the flooring in how they cover the wood screws.
In the master bathroom, Hope created a beautiful design with the tilework. There are actual fossils in the countertops and shower tiles.
Sarah also hired a decorative finisher, Del Ray artist Denise Maleug, to hand paint the kitchen and gather room walls, and to create hand-painted beadboard inside the front cabinets.
Words to the Wise
Sarah was forthcoming in describing some of her regrets and also some of details she couldn’t live without.
First impressions. When thinking of the front entry way, imagine what you and guests will see when they first walk in. What is their first impression? Sarah wishes she didn’t encounter the closets in the entry way. She’d recommend designing a more open entryway. Her favorite vantage point is the exact center of the first floor with a 360 view of the kitchen, dining area, and stairwell. That’s the wow factor, in her mind.
Closet lighting. In each of the closets, SethAnne installed a switch for an internal light that goes on and off when the door opens and closes – the way a refrigerator light works. Sarah and Bob love this feature. It works in the front hallway closets and in the kitchen pantry.
Dining Room. They don’t use the dining room table at all. It usually serves as a place for paper to pile up. Sarah and Bob designed the space with a dining area though for the resale aspect. Future buyers are liable to want a dining room. But is it really necessary?
Double sink. The double sink in the kitchen. An absolute must. When one is full of dishes, the other one is free to use.
Appliance sizing. When designing space for appliances, a problem may arise in the future if the size and dimensions of appliances change drastically. For example, Sarah and Bob’s current washer and dryer is not as tall as the ones coming out now. They may find that their closet is too short for their top-bottom setup.
Dual-flush toilets. The dual-flush toilets are great, but perhaps it goes without saying that you have to clean them more often.
Open shower design. Although gorgeous with its open design, the master shower lets so much cold air in that Sarah and Bob often use one of the other bathrooms.
Overall, Sarah and Bob love living in their renovated house. “Everything was built with a purpose,” they say. Their frustration with the lack of storage space is long gone. With higher ceilings upstairs and down, and bump outs, the house feels more spacious.
“We love the colors, angles, and beautiful wordwork throughout,” says Sarah. “Before our house was all white walls and low-ceilinged rooms,” she adds, “and now it feels open and peaceful and beautiful. And being in a beautiful space makes you feel better and happier. We love it.”
- Countertops – R. Bratti
- Design and construction – SethAnne Studios
- Title – Daltile
- Demo – Deconstruction Services
- Decorative paint finishing – Denise Maleug, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Leslie