Home Office Addition

When you think of an office addition over a garage, you would most likely think of a fairly mundane space, with an accent on utility rather than style.  Which is precisely why we present this case study.  We love to confound expectations…as well as exceed them.

Vision

When our clients wanted to add a professional looking office to their home, we decided to take advantage of what might not have seemed like an obvious asset: a deep garage.  The depth of the garage bays, however, allowed for an ideal traffic pattern, the space needed to install stairs directly off the main level kitchen.

Challenge

Since we weren’t starting out with a second story in this addition remodel, new stairs were required.  Fortunately, the garage bays were deeper than typical, which allowed space to place a stairwell without major interior remodeling.  That sure helps the budget.

Accomplishment

Our client wanted to surround the office space with natural light, but also provide a sound barrier from the stairwell which is open to the kitchen below. The solution was a sheet of tempered glass, which blocked sound without obstructing the light and views of the mountains through two corner windows.  The completed office, while convenient to the rest of the home, was spacious enough to provide for an additional bathroom as well.

Highlights

In going vertical with an addition, we are always conscious of how our design effects an existing roofline.  In the case of this project, our approach was to keep the gable over the garage to break up the two story plane — an architectural element that actually enhanced the roof line of the home thanks to our addition, this design ended up looking perfect.  Our clients were so delighted that they asked us to handle another remodel project for them.  We also received a very nice letter.  In our business, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels — but you can feature them.

Click on photos to enlarge. 

 

Living room remodeled by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

Living Room Remodel

Some before and after photos leave you wondering if you’re really looking at the same space, or a parallel universe version.  One of the most gratifying aspects about what we do is making that effect much easier than it seems.  

Vision

This family room makeover was part of a larger remodel that included a new kitchen.  It’s funny how one renovation can lead to another…and another…

Challenge

Our client’s family room was what you might call “plain vanilla” — in more ways than just the color scheme.  As part of a more comprehensive remodel project, our goal was to achieve maximum bang for the buck in terms of dramatic effect.  We targeted the fireplace as our design focal point and took it from there.

Accomplishment

A new fireplace facade, replacing the carpet with hardwood flooring, new windows, designer lighting, and bold color took this room from drab to dramatic in short order.

Highlights

The before photos reveal that for whatever reason, the original fireplace was not centered in the wall where it was located.  Physically moving the fireplace wasn’t an option, short of demolition, so we merely played a visual trick with the mantle piece.  Nothing up our sleeves…presto!

 Click on photos to enlarge. 

 

Living after remodel by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

Whole House Remodel

Our clients came to their home for the view, and stayed for the architecture. But before they reached that point, there was a lot to get done — as you’ll learn in this whole-house remodel case study that was featured in this year’s NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Remodeled Homes Tour.

Vision

Our clients loved the Boise foothills for their beauty and recreational opportunities, and when a chance run high above their North End home led past a certain “for sale” sign, they knew a change of address was the way to take greater advantage of this jewel in Boise’s crown. Although they saw a lot to work with in the bones of their ‘70s era home, they knew with equal certainty that it would take a lot of design talent, engineering insight, and project management — not to mention plenty of good old-fashioned demolition — to pay off their home’s architectural potential.

Challenge

The architecture of our clients’ home certainly made it unique, and its view of the Boise Valley from amid a cluster of trees was gorgeous — but the home’s floor plan not only failed to take full advantage of its design and site, it also robbed its inhabitants of the daily inspiration they should otherwise have enjoyed. To open up new lines of sight, add more points of light, and take full advantage of the views from around the second floor living space, a lot of walls and other “obstructions” would have to be removed, as would an aging and dysfunctional deck system. In the process, our clients also wanted the aesthetic improvements of an updated look and amenities in their kitchen and master bathroom.

Accomplishment

STRITE’s initial focus in realizing out our clients’ vision was to remove anything on the second floor, including the existing kitchen and fireplace, that would obstruct or diminish the views from the south side of their home, and in so doing make possible the corresponding light those views could bring to a more open floor plan.  Accomplishing this goal involved not only the demolition of walls, but also the replacement of an existing wall bearing point with a less intrusive steel beam that, when polished, picked up the metal highlights of the new kitchen fixtures.  By reclaiming an area of wasted space adjoining the kitchen, STRITE was able to convert it into a large, walk-in pantry with enough storage to eliminate the need for kitchen cupboards — thus adding to the clean lines and open feeling that our clients valued, in contrast to the cramped feeling of the original kitchen layout.

To further improve the views from the reconfigured living room, dining room, and kitchen, we added and enhanced window spaces. Although our clients’ original intention, thanks to input from the interior designer who STRITE brought on to the project team, was to relocate the existing fireplace, the fact that they seldom used it made its complete removal a more logical design decision.  By reclaiming the wasted space represented by the fire pit, as well as removing an alcove on one side of the fireplace, we were able to add another 200 square feet to the living room, as well as effectively making a previously “hidden” door to an outside walkway work as another view window.  To carry over the emerging look in other areas of the home, we replaced original carpet with lightly stained wood floors, and updated both the master bedroom (adding another point of light as one approached it from the hall) and the master bath (creating its own space distinct from the bedroom floorplan). On the outside of the house, our clients wanted to replace an aging and unsightly deck with a more aesthetically pleasing and functional option, as well as create a family-friendly patio in a backyard that they had described as “an un-level patch of cheatgrass.” To accomplish these latter renovations, we shared concepts and schedules with chosen local professionals whose expertise in their trades exceeded and complimented our own.

Highlights

Our clients had lived in their home for 11 years before executing their ambitious remodel plan — but they had been working on that plan for most of this time, and they had a very clear idea of what they wanted as an end result. They hired STRITE to help them get there, and we in turn enlisted the services of an accomplished interior designer to coordinate architecture and decor. Along the way we replaced dated wooden bannisters with custom-designed metal railings, reconfigured the entryway to open up a better line of site, updated the children’s bedrooms, and added unique touches like a single, wall-sized tempered glass backsplash (our clients’ inspiration) that reflected the trees through the windows in the main living area. It was a complicated project that lasted five months (the latter part during which our clients lived in the ground floor of their home), and at times taxed our scheduling abilities — but the end result was what our clients’ have described as a home that “looks and functions even better than we thought it would.” Those 10 words are what we are in business to hear.

Hit on any of the following images to see larger versions in a gallery.

Click here to learn more about this project.

Bathroom Remodel

Not every remodel project has to be a full-scale makeover.  Sometimes the goal is simply to change the esthetics of a space to reflect a different set of circumstances in one’s life — like the departure of children for college and the big world beyond.

Vision

When our client’s children were still living at home, they shared a hall bathroom.  Needless to say, with two growing kids, the emphasis was on functionality.  When the children went away to college, however, the role of the bathroom shifted to accommodating guests — and our client wanted the esthetics of that room to reflect a more contemporary and welcoming design.

Challenge

Because our client’s home was slab on grade, we faced some constraints in the placement of fixtures if we wanted to make this remodel as economical as possible — and since our client’s goal was to “freshen” the look of the room rather than a perform a complete makeover, we stayed within those constraints and focused on the greatest impact for the lowest cost.

Accomplishment

While keeping the plumbing in the same location, the team that provide residential plumbing services santa rosa ca made the floating toilet less obtrusive in a small bathroom by installing the tank in a wall cavity.  We put in a new shower, replaced the old vanity with a larger and more contemporary one, and added new tile and fixtures.  To compliment these upgrades, we went with a new color scheme that better suited a more “mature” audience than a couple of growing kids!

Highlights

Anyone who has ever watched their children grow up and leave the nest knows what a bittersweet experience that can be…but one upside can be refashioning your living space to reflect a newly rediscovered sense of freedom.  Because we were able to accomplish this for our client so economically, we have since been asked to convert the children’s bedrooms into a single living space — proving once again that the highest compliment one can earn in our business is a repeat customer.

As footnote, we should add that this particular remodel project earned our firm a first place award in NARI’s photo competition.  We’re very proud of that!

Click on photos to enlarge. 

Bright new kitchen after remodel by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

Kitchen Remodel

No other room in our homes combines functionality and esthetics in quite the same way as the kitchen. When both these elements need improving, it’s high time for a remodel. No one wants to fix pipes once a new kitchen is installed.

Vision

Our clients loved the setting and overall layout of their recently purchased home in south Boise, but their passion waned a bit when it came to the kitchen. Not only did it feel isolated from the rest of the home, but that sense of constraint carried over into the available storage space. STRITE solved both issues with a new design, while also updating the kitchen’s overall look.

Challenge

While our clients’ kitchen was workable, they were used to having more available storage in their former home. Not only was the storage in their new kitchen limited, but part of that space was composed of over-the-counter cabinetry that created a visual barrier to the adjacent dining nook, and made the kitchen feel cut off from the rest of the home.

Accomplishment

We replaced the kitchen counter with an island that combined both seating and prep space, while allowing for traffic flow on either side of the kitchen to the dining nook and family room. Removing the overhead cabinetry further opened a line of sight between the kitchen and dining nook, while creating an opening over the cooking station further extended the line of sight all the way into the formal dining room and living room. We added matching granite counters to the left of the sink all the way along the wall, and installed cabinetry above and below for the added storage our clients were looking for. New cabinets, appliances, and laminate flooring combined with the new granite counters and matching backsplash to update the look of the kitchen as well as improve its functionality.

Highlights

One of the keys to STRITE’s success as a remodeler is the quality of the trades people we work with on our projects. In the case of this remodel, one of those skilled trades folk turned out to be our client. Recently retired as a carpenter, he elected to install the laminate flooring himself. Our cabinet maker crafted the matching baseboard, and the results were not only beautiful, but also saved our clients some money on their project. Part of a good do-it-yourself effort is knowing the limits of your skills and making sure that they compliment the competencies of your remodel partner. In this case, the fit was as perfect as the finished product — as the “after” picture below will attest.

Hit here to go to another article about this home. 

Click on photos to enlarge. 

A master bathroom remodel by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

Bathroom Remodel

This master bathroom suffered from some bad feng shui.  Fortunately, we’ve learned from years of experience that small changes can yield big results…if you know how to make them count. It’s a zen thing.

Vision

It was bad enough that this bathroom was cramped and dark.  To make matters worse, it had doors that did more to obstruct than reveal.  Our client wanted us to find a way to change all that, without demolishing the room and starting over.

Challenge

The “flow” of this room was badly hampered by a mirrored closet bifold door that consumed floor space — resulting in a very cramped vanity area.  Adding to this obstruction was the swing door into the toilet/shower room that swung the wrong way, forcing one to walk around the door to reach the toilet area.

Accomplishment

To open things up and improve the flow of activity in this room, we removed the wall separating the toilet/shower area.  In its place we added a half wall that separated the toilet from the vanity.  In the space opened up by this modification, we added a window above the toilet, which provided natural light to the formerly dark bathroom.  We removed the closet door and replaced it with a pocket door, which is often the best solution for a cramped space.

Highlights

To enhance the esthetics of the functional changes we made, we replaced the cultured marble vanity with a granite top, added a tile backsplash, and updated the fixtures.  In lieu of the expense of new cabinetry, we sanded and refinished the existing front cabinets and added hardware.  We also fully tiled and reframed the shower and refinished the hardwood floor.  Looking at the before and after pictures, it’s hard to believe that this is the same room — which just goes to show that little feng shui goes a long way.

Click on photos to enlarge

A bathroom remodel by Strite Design + Remodel in Boise, Idaho

Bathroom Remodel

At Strite Design & Remodel, we believe that a hallmark of good design is finding simple solutions that yield big enhancements — both in the functionality of a living space as well as its esthetics.  This bathroom remodel is a prime example of that philosophy.

Vision

With this bathroom remodel, our client was looking for greater ease of access to their toilet.  The original design was more than just awkward — it involved having to go through a doorway that led from their shower.  Finding a solution to this little design flaw also provided the perfect opportunity to give the master bathroom an updated look.

Challenge

While the goal of this remodel seems straightforward, making everything come together was a complex design challenge.  We needed to create a new doorway to the toilet so that it would be accessible from the main bathroom area, rather than from the shower.  In blocking off the old shower-to-toilet entrance, we were able to address another design flaw: the necessity of stepping up onto a platform to get into the shower itself.  This created an added inconvenience of having to walk through a puddle to get to the toilet if the shower had just been used.

Accomplishment

By creating a doorway to the toilet, we not only made it more accessible, but gave it a new sightline that looked into the larger room rather than directly into a shower wall.  Although we kept the original glass block wall for the shower, we reduced the number of angles in the room by making the wall a curved surface.  Rather than having to step up into the shower, now that access to the toilet was not an issue, we sloped the entry into it — which had the added benefit of creating a drying off area that wouldn’t leave a puddle on the bathroom floor.

Highlights

Along with solving the practical issues that the original bathroom design presented, we updated the tile, color scheme, and fixtures to give the room a more contemporary look.  Borrowing a sightline from an adjacent space — a technique we use in a lot of design situations — created a visual appeal that went beyond the surface alterations.  If form follows function, both should serve to enhance the experience of a place.

Click on photos to enlarge. 

Kitchen Demolition before renovation by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

Remodeling Experience

In thinking about the process of a home remodel, I’m reminded of an old blues song: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”  The inescapable fact of any significant home makeover is that in between the “before” and “after” is the rather messy “during.”

Walls come down, soffits are demolished, plumbing and wiring are relocated, trades cadres come and go as their craft requires…it’s like living in a construction zone.  Which is, of course, exactly what it is.  And while it’s not as though a new build doesn’t have its share of dust and drama, the difference is that folks don’t generally try to live in a home while it’s being constructed.  By the time they turn the key in the front door and walk inside, it’s all bright and shiny, with everything in its place.  At least, that’s the expectation.

If a remodel project is extensive enough, our clients will, on rare occasion, choose to relocate to a hotel or rental until their remodel is accomplished.  More often, however, we simply devise temporary solutions that minimize the impact of the project on their daily lives.  Take this current kitchen remodel in south Boise for example.  The following pictures illustrate the ways that STRITE helps our clients “manage the chaos” that ensues in the necessary transition between “before” and “after.”

The demolition phase of any remodel project is probably the most traumatic, but we’ve learned a lot of ways over the years to minimize its impact on our clients’ lives.

The demolition starts now!

The demolition starts now!

The door between calm and chaos (or an orderly sort). We've constructed a temporary wall between the kitchen and dining room with a door for access between the space under construction and the rest of the home.

The door between calm and chaos (of an orderly sort). We’ve constructed a temporary wall between the kitchen and dining room with a door for access between the space under construction and the rest of the home.

During a kitchen remodel, we will usually set up a temporary food preparation area in either the garage or in another room, based on whichever option is most convenient for our clients.

During a kitchen remodel, we usually set up a temporary food preparation area in either the garage or in another room, based on whatever option is most convenient for our clients.

All the comforts of home.

All the comforts of home.

Separating the family room from the kitchen/dining nook during the demolition and construction phases.

Separating the family room from the kitchen/dining nook during the demolition and construction phases.

Protecting the furniture in the living room, which also serves as a holding area for furnishings we removed from an impacted dining nook.

Protecting the furniture in the living room, which also serves as a holding area for furnishings we removed from an impacted dining nook.

Why do these people look so happy about their kitchen being demolished? Perhaps its because they know what awaits them when their remodel is finish.

Why do these people look so happy about their kitchen being demolished? Perhaps it’s because they know what awaits them when their remodel is finished and assuring its prosperity, One of the easiest ways to keep tiles longer new for longer is by applying a grout sealer. By protecting the grout lines, dirt and water is repelled and doesn’t stain it.

Trends

For those of you who were unable to attend this year’s Remodeled Homes Tour, we wanted to share the story behind the two projects we featured.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we thought we’d save a whole lot of pages by simply putting together this five minute slideshow presentation.

You’ll not only see the obligatory “befores” and “afters,” but the “whys and wherefores” as well!

A kitchen remodel by Strite Design + Remodel in Southeast Boise, Idaho

We traditionally think of kitchens in very functional terms.  After all, this is the space from which we feed our families.  But it is also a space in which we interact with them, as well as with guests.  It’s not surprising, therefore, that when our clients ask us to remodel their kitchens, they often not only want to update their look, but open them up to the rest of the home in the process.

In cases where opening up a room requires the removal of a load bearing wall, we need to do more than a facelift; we have to engage in reconstructive surgery.  This often involves installing a steel beam for structural support — which further involves getting an 800 to 900 pound piece of steel into the house. Needless to say, you just don’t walk one of these bad boys in through the front door.

The point to this post is simply to demonstrate that whatever the construction challenge, we find there is always more than one way to skin the proverbial cat.  We just want to make sure the cat can still take Best in Show by the time we’ve finished with it.

Click on photos to enlarge: