Tag Archives: bathroom

Radiant Replacements

October 2, 2017 by
Photography by Tom Grady

The goal of this remodeling project was to transform a dark and narrow basement with separate rooms into an open and bright space with multiple functions. The improved lower level is now inviting and provides a theater area, bar, conversation/sleeping area, and a sound-proof space for the clients’ teenage son’s drumming practice. 

Exterior alterations by Stan Construction included changing the small sliding door to a larger door and adding a sidelight for increased natural light. Elite Landscaping created the stone wall, steps, and gate for an easy, private approach for guests.

Inside, the previous solid stair wall was changed and improved with an open railing to allow for additional light and better connection to the main level. Two existing bedrooms were reconfigured to become the theater area and drum room. The theater space was kept open, allowing the homeowners to use a large projection screen for crowds while visually widening the space. Ambience and comfort in the theater space was achieved through the leather reclining theater seats and surround sound, along with picture and baseboard pin dot lighting. The lights, sound system, and blackout shades are all controlled though use of mobile phones or iPads. A communications system with the front door allows the family to easily answer the door to guests while enjoying the basement.

Insulation made of sound board with acoustical covering provides essential sound-proofing in the basement’s drum room. Quality sound levels in the space allow an optimum recording environment for the aspiring musician.   

In the bathroom, a small acrylic shower was replaced—the shower now takes the whole width of the bathroom. Frameless glass doors visually enlarge the space, displaying the limestone-look tile with pebble accents. The open vanity adds to the visually spacious feel. 

The bar area contains the game and shuffleboard tables. The bar is set off with an arched soffit and accented with a large granite top and ledger stone side wall displaying floating wine bottles. The amenities include a large granite sink, a pop-up outlet to allow for serving hot dishes, a dishwasher, and an ice maker. The back bar includes a Wolf microwave, double sets of sub-zero refrigerator drawers and a sub-zero glass-front wine refrigerator. Cabinet storage and floating shelves with backlit LED lighting adorn a plate glass mirror. 

Finishes reflect the feeling of Montana, the family’s second home. The wood-look tile is durable and easy to care for at the patio entrance, around the bar, and in the bath. 

Warm granite colors were used as well as a dark stain on the cabinets. Furnishings were selected for their timeless appeal. The larger pieces are mostly in neutrals, with pops of turquoise and orange in the accessories and artwork. Furniture selected for the conversation area can be transformed into sleepers since the sectioned-off bedrooms were eliminated. The sofa becomes a queen-sized bed, and the oversized chair turns into a twin-sized bed.

The lower level is used by the whole family. The teenage son loves to entertain here while the parents enjoy having their friends over for a glass of wine, a movie, or a friendly game of shuffleboard. The couple’s adult sons and their families, who live out of state, feel comfortable inviting old friends over for fun-filled parties. It’s inviting, functional, and captures the needs of every age group that uses the space.

Visit idgomaha.com/designers to learn more about Wiechman’s work.

This article appears in the September/October 2017 edition of Omaha Home.

Sleek Home Spa

March 30, 2017 by
Photography by Tom Grady

Liz spends five days a week working with fellow designers, consulting on schemes, meeting with clients, and creating unique finish combinations. Proficiency in AutoCAD, Revit, Photoshop, and Illustrator enable her to generate creative solutions no matter the project size.

CAPTION (cabinets): A custom vanity (above) warms the bathroom with wood cabinets and pendant lighting. To create a modern spa shower (right), pebble floor and wall details contrast with the smooth walls and ceiling.

CAPTION (bathroom):
Photos show how the bathroom looked before the transformation.

Like all great home renovations, the project began with an idea. An Omaha couple contacted me at The Interior Design Firm; they wanted to mimic the relaxing modern aesthetic of a high-end spa in their home.

After attaining a list of design requirements for their master bathroom, I began conceptualizing how to realize my clients’ initial idea. The look that the couple desired would require a spacious layout, sleek finishes, and lustrous natural and artificial lighting. That’s when my work really began.

The project started in earnest as I analyzed the current space to figure out how much larger the bathroom needed to be to accommodate every element requested by the clients. The greatest challenge was that the original square footage of the space was not large enough to bring this desired bathroom into reality.

In the end, some features of the space stayed in the same location (such as the stool and vanity). To create the spacious layout the client wanted, the tub needed to move back a few feet to allow for proper circulation in the bathroom. The existing shower was wedged in a corner, and was one of the main reasons for the renovation.

With the help of a contractor, Sudbeck Homes, the exterior wall behind the existing tub was extended 10 feet to make way for the new walk-in shower. The new shower is an extraordinary 8.5 feet by 8.5 feet, outfitted with two fixed shower heads, one hand-held, body sprayers, and a rain-head.

The couple was cognizant of their long-term needs in the home, so a bench was added next to the handheld shower head. Keeping with the modern minimalist style, two recessed niches were created so the personal hygiene items could be tucked away (to avoid creating clutter).

Moving the wall made a world of difference for the space. The tub location moved back several feet and anchored the room. The organic free-standing tub is a focal point as you enter from the doorway. It is the perfect setting to find peace and relaxation. The additional square footage in the space makes the room feel quite grandiose.

After deciding where each element needed to go in the space, I diverted my focus to the finishes. To create this tranquil retreat, we started looking at color palettes that would be cohesive with the existing finishes in the home.

With French doors going into the bathroom, the finishes needed to vibe with the colors in the rest of their master bedroom. The home has light oak woodwork and warm tones. To achieve this harmony, I wanted to get rid of the existing curves and add modern, clean lines.

Gray was the color direction that the clients and I agreed on, but making it blend with the rest of the home meant that the gray tones had to be warm. Gray porcelain tile in the proper color family was applied to the floor, shower walls, shower ceiling, base, and the feature wall behind the tub.

The feature wall adds interest with the installed rectilinear porcelain tile. In keeping with the monochromatic color scheme, stone pebble tile was selected for the shower floor and the detail stripe in the shower.

When selecting the hard surfaces, the clients’ goal was minimal upkeep for the future. A Cambria quartz countertop was the perfect choice for their spa bath. This quartz was not only used for the counter, but also for the bench and niche shelves in the shower.

Making this space feel modern meant sticking to a few selections and color tones. To contrast the gray features, a solid wood vanity was added for warmth. All of the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom are smooth and contemporary, creating a waterfall effect when the water is turned on.

The lighting in the space greatly improved: cans were added in strategic locations, and pendants were placed above the sinks to supplement the can lighting. The simplicity of the pendants allows the chandelier to be the prime focus. The chandelier is a shining feature that captivates anyone walking into the bathroom.

Natural lighting was important in the bathroom, so windows were added in the shower on two walls. To keep with the minimal aesthetic, a frosted pattern glass was chosen for the windows so that window treatments were not necessary.

With the help of the contractor, this sophisticated bathroom was made possible. We turned this Omaha couple’s small idea into their ideal at-home spa.

Visit idfomaha.com/liz-lempka for more information.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Home.

Mike and Lynne Purdy’s Electrochromic Dream Home

February 20, 2017 by
Photography by Colin Conces

It’s immediately clear that Lynne and Mike Purdy’s beautiful northwest Omaha home is something special. However, the longer you stay, the more you zero in on the many small-yet-mighty details that make it so.

“It’s those little details that make it just right,” Lynne says. “There’s a reason for everything we did design-wise, and there isn’t one thing we’d change.”

That includes everything from smart windows and touch faucets to 18-foot ceilings, a shades-of-grey palette, pocket doors, waterfall counters, hidden kitchen outlets, a programmable doorbell, a fireplace in the wall that serves two rooms, and bathroom drawers customized to the sizes of Lynne’s hair products, among other distinct aesthetic and utilitarian touches.

The Purdys, who met on a fortuitous blind date in 1977, are self-described “empty nesters” and transitioned to their home in Deer Creek Highlands in March 2016, after breaking ground one year prior. Mike, an architect and president of Purdy & Slack Architects, designed the home based upon he and Lynne’s extensive, collaborative exploration of what they wanted in their next home.

First, the couple knew they wanted to live on a golf course, so when they found a Deer Creek Highlands lot they were smitten with, they persevered in attaining it. The community is home to the third nine of the Arnold Palmer-designed Players Club at Deer Creek golf course.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better neighborhood or better neighbors,” says Lynne.

Mike’s design was informed by the logistics of the site.

“Lynne wanted an open plan with our master suite adjacent, so we had the floor plan in mind,” he says. “I wanted to keep the views of the golf course, plus the sun in the wintertime comes up on the axis of the large window and the great room.”

Mike refined his design until it was everything the Purdys wanted and he received approval from the neighborhood’s architectural review committee.

“The challenge was creating something unique and contemporary, but not so radical it wouldn’t blend with the neighborhood, and also something that facilitated the way we want to live,” Mike says.

Mike also designed the Purdys’ previous home, where they raised sons Bryan and Keith and lived for 28 years, but the couple says it was a family house, not an empty-nester house.

“It was a beautiful home, but our family grew, then left. Our current home is an adult house, but still with room for the kids to come visit,” Lynne says.

Indeed, the downstairs bedrooms, family room, and walk-out patio are designed to welcome Bryan, Keith, and their own expanding families, including Keith’s 4-year-old identical twin daughters, whom Lynne says “love coming to Gaga and Papa’s house.”

Mike embraced his creative side while designing the home.

“With architecture, you try to get a reaction from people,” he says. “It’s like a piece of art—meant to draw out emotion and create conversation. That’s what I tried to do with the house.”

“One of the design elements I wanted to do was to hide the front door so there’s a little bit of mystery as you approach the house the first time,” Mike says of the slightly obscured front door that bucks street-facing tradition. “It creates a different experience, and then you make the turn into this big space, so it’s kind of a surprise.”

The first thing visitors will notice upon entering—after the Purdys’ adorably petite white pup Holly—is the 16-foot-wide, 18-foot-high, attention-commanding window that overlooks the golf course from the rear of the house. What you wouldn’t immediately notice or know is that the window panes are SageGlass, an electrochromic glass that can be set to various levels of tint via an app. The window can be dimmed by row or pane, or even programmed to react to the level of sun or clouds.

“It’s a commercial-grade glass we’re putting in some of our office buildings. They don’t require blinds and save energy from heat gain,” Mike says. “In wintertime we keep ours mostly clear to maximize the heat gain. In summertime we keep it pretty dim so it doesn’t heat up the home as much.”

Mike estimates that within 20 years most new windows in homes will be this type of dynamic glass.

“It’s newer technology, but I expect it’ll become standard and you’ll find it in the houses of the future,” he says.

Whether through the giant window or from the glass-railed cantilever deck outside, the Purdy home’s crown jewel is the incredible, ever-changing view that’s shown Lynne and Mike sublime sunrises; pop-up “lakes” born of hard rains and golf course curves; wildlife like ducks, hawks, and frogs; and confused golfers seeking errant balls.

“We’ve enjoyed every season here,” says Lynne. “In the morning I have my coffee and look out the windows … it’s just beautiful all the time, whether it’s a layer of snow or a sunny summer day. And relaxing on the deck after a stressful day is the best. In the summer we’re out there every night.”

Speaking of nighttime, Lynne says the home is prettiest after sunset when the flameless candles and decorative lit-glass spheres she’s placed throughout the house turn on. Just like everything else, that’s by design.

“You come home at night, and you want a relaxing space space. The soft light gives you that,” she says. “That’s also typically when you entertain, and I want everyone to feel relaxed and at home when they visit.”

Visit purdyandslack.com for more information about the homeowner’s architectural firm.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Home.

Demolishing the Cost of Custom

March 27, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Demolition. Three layers of wall paper, the kind where salmon isn’t only the color, but the pattern. Dust. Hang new mold-resistant drywall. Mud. Sand. Three more layers of mudding and sanding. More dust.

We wanted to simplify, expand, and upgrade every inch of our dated single bathroom on the main floor of our MidCentury ranch home. And how could I get what I wanted on an artist’s budget? The answer; do it myself.

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The thing about being the creative director here at Omaha Magazine is that I’m always focused on the big picture and all the little things that make the bigger picture better. The simplistic design of my custom vanity was all in the details. After the dust settled, the real work began. In the initial sketches—next to dreamy drawings of furniture designs—I started the perspective drawings of a less-imposing vanity.

The first design priority was to give the impression that the cabinets float in the space. Noted: raise the bottom. Second, we needed more walking space between the bathtub and the cabinet. Noted: make it thinner. Now we have the feeling of a wider bathroom. But what about the storage? Where are Trisha and I going to put all the towels and rubber duckys for baby Michael? Take the mass we trimmed off the bottom and front and transfer it to the top. Problem solved.

What appears to be simple on the outside—clean lines, continuous wood-grain from drawer-to-drawer, and less-than-ornate draw pulls—is less than simple on the inside. No wall is straight. When the renderings for the floating vanity attach everything directly to the walls as a foundation—there are several 4-inch long screws throughout—I’ll simply quote my uncle Vaughn. “A good carpenter isn’t one who makes no mistakes—its one who knows how to cover them up.”

Modern drawers in nearly all new-construction homes have beautiful, sophisticated, quiet, no slam, automatic closing drawer slides. That doesn’t work to well when your walls aren’t square. So neither do the hidden supports between drawers that hold the weight of a granite countertop. So we reverted back to the ‘50s. The drawers simply sit on custom pine rails instead of those fancy slides. And every drawer is usable, with the ones under the sink built in a ‘U’ shape around the plumbing.

And about those drawer pulls. We ordered them online through a big, blue-box-Swedish home store. You know the one. We measured twice, drilled once. And drilled again. And again. The template for the width of the holes in the face of the solid-oak, single-piece, wood-faced drawers didn’t match that of the pull itself. Here we are with four holes where only two should be—in a piece of wood that was a quarter of the total budget of the vanity. So what did we do? We got creative. We covered up our mistake with a common 5-cent washer, the kind you’d use with nuts and bolts.

You might call us crazy for setting out on this project without any idea how to build cabinets, and we probably were. But with a little (make that a lot) of thought, pencil and paper—and even more elbow grease—Trisha and I more than love our custom vanity, the one we built without the
cost of custom.

Adding Spice to a Saltbox

Photography by Tom Kessler

This beautiful home on a tree-lined street was the perfect saltbox-style house for my transplanted client from the Northeast (where this colonial-era style is common). They loved many features of the house, but there were a few missing elements that needed work before this could become their perfect home.

For one: They longed for a powder room off the backyard swimming pool. We remodeled the existing laundry to become a new creative pool bath. The new laundry was relocated to the master suite. The tight space required careful consideration to give the illusion of openness and yet include a new shower. A glass “window” in the shower wall allows the viewer’s eye to flow through the space. A beautiful remnant of caramel-colored onyx created the perfect touch for a countertop. We extended the top to the left of the cabinet in another space expanding feature. Finally, a touch of whimsy was added in the cobalt blue drawer pulls.

The project then moved into the kitchen. We analyzed the kitchen and its obvious problems and challenges. The new floor plan is focused on efficiency and space to give the owners, who love to cook, the best possible layout to work their magic. When they lived in France, they learned to love French cooking and incorporate fresh garden herbs from right outside their door in their cuisine.

We found a unique granite surface in subtle silver gray on a white crystalline surface. The wood tones of the cherry cabinets repeat in the touches of wine in the granite. The fluid-style granite top continues at the edge of the peninsula into a rounded work area.

Additional special features include Peruvian tiger wood floors, LED lighting throughout, mosaic accented backsplashes, and highly efficient cabinet storage. Note the hand-shaped marble tiles surrounding the sink window that complete the clean-lines of this beautiful kitchen.

Casual entertaining involving the pool and their wonderful kitchen has transformed their residence into a more updated and welcoming home.

Credits:
Designer: Marilyn S. Hansen FASID, The Designers
Eurowood Cabinets
Hansen Tile
Bosco Home Improvement
Baxter Kenworthy Electric
Malloy Plumbing
Tom Manley Floors
Martin’s Countertops
Kessler Photography

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A Little Privacy, Please?

May 11, 2014 by

Happy Mother’s Day to all the momma’s out there! I hope you get everything you wish for, or at least a slight moment of guilt-free peace, a handmade card, and breakfast in bed. I have my own Mother’s Day dream— uninterrupted bathroom time.

I cannot sit on the throne of grand flushes without being needed. The next time I feel I’m not needed, I’m simply going to go to the bathroom.

I’m hoping I’m not alone in this desperation to have reasonable alone time.
There are only two things that my husband, Chris, does that bug me. He never answers the phone if it’s not for him (Caller ID really isn’t helping). And number two (no pun intended) he gets to use the facilities uninterrupted and for a long as he wants.

I’m jealous. I admit it.

Case in point. We’re all getting ready for school one morning when I realize I need to make a pit stop. I resolve that I should wait until the kids have left for school. My body suggests otherwise. I oblige said body’s request and go up to my own bathroom and shut my own door.

As soon as I sit, the phone rings. And it rings. We all know it’s the neighbor kid calling to see if Max and Lucy are walking to school. Lucy is in her room drying her hair. I have no clue where Max is. I yell to Chris because I know he’s assessed the caller ID.

“Answer the phone, please!” I call out.

It continues to ring.

“I. Am. In. The. Bathroom! Please answer the phone!”

He shouts back up at me, “I couldn’t get to a phone in time, the one in front of me. It’s battery was dead.”

Meanwhile, Lucy has shut off her hair dryer, so it’s time to do a little delegating. “Lucy, call Jennifer. She just called. You need to call her back and tell her you’re walking to school.”

But now she can’t find a phone that is charged. Mind you, the child has bounded down the stairs right past her father, grabbed the uncharged phone, and then once she has realized the phone doesn’t work, what does she do? She bounds right back up the stairs to me in the bathroom to solve this mystery.

By then I was done with my business, but felt the need to just take a moment and reclaim my interrupted bathroom time.

“I. Am. In. The. Bathroom!”

“But the phone doesn’t work.”

“Do you think Daddy could help you with that!?”

“Oh. I guess so.”

And so be it.

It starts when they’re young when you don’t want to take your eyes off them for a single second. When you’re brave enough to shut the door, their little fingers wiggle under it. “Mommy, are you in there?” Clearly, it’s my own fault. I’ve set this precedence and
trained them well.

It’s good to be needed. It’s a Mother’s Day dream.

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Restoring Your 
Faith in Spring

January 25, 2014 by

48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo

CenturyLink Center

February 6-9

The weather outside may be frightful, but the climate inside the CenturyLink Center will be delightful for the 48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo. Now united with the Omaha Lawn, Flower & Patio Show, this extravaganza will showcase the most comprehensive collection of creative home ideas to refresh and restore your faith in spring, that season when all things are new again.

This year’s show will combine all the latest ideas for today’s home consumers. From kitchens, bathrooms, and home-improvement products and services to a bouquet of sensory springtime scents that will get you thinking about greener times on your deck or in your yard, this is the must-see home and garden event of the year.

Stroll the area’s largest and most colorful exhibits of beautifully landscaped gardens with ponds, waterfalls, and blooming flowers at the biggest event of its kind for miles around.

This four-day celebration of the home will have attractions for adults and children alike. Nationally known experts and personalities will be on hand to share all of their professional secrets while the Fountain Café & Food Court will help fuel your explorations through more than 200,000 square feet of displays. The entertainment lineup, including exotic animals and special activities for the kids, makes this a great family outing.

The 48th Annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo and Annual Omaha Lawn, Flower & Patio Show runs Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $8. Children ages 5 -12 are $4 and kids under 5 are free.

Cozily Chic

August 28, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

From the corner of her sunroom in the historic Mercer Hotel on 11th and Howard streets, Bonnie Leonhardt can see another of the six places she’s lived in downtown since 1985. “Houses scare me,” she says by way of explaining her affinity for condo living. “I like having all the people around me. You don’t even have to know them; just having them around is nice.”

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The sunroom is part of a patio she had covered about five years ago. “Now it’s where we spend all our time,” she says, referring to husband Gail and her menagerie consisting of Henri the poodle, and cats Sophie and Xena. “It’s wonderful for fireworks, and my grandkids love it when it rains.”

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The Mercer Hotel condo is one of three downtown places Bonnie and Gail have renovated over the years. They moved in 10 years ago after someone asked if they’d sell their half-block-long condo in the old Howard Street Tavern. “We loved that place; I had no intention of ever selling,” Gail says. “But my wife blurted out this huge figure, and he said okay. I about fell out of my chair.”

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Never fear, the Leonhardts have effortlessly instilled their joie de vivre into their current home. Every square inch of the renovated condo is charmingly utilized. Orchids, amaryllis, and paperwhites color the sunroom, cozy conversation areas pepper the common room, and the white walls and open layout keep the overall feel airy. No decorator is called in, “it’s just me,” Bonnie says, though she confesses that if she brings one more thing into the place, “I’ll be a star on Hoarders.” Chairs in particular are her weakness, as proven by the Louis Ghost chairs around a small dining table by the open kitchen. Gail approves of her selections. In general. “She has good taste in everything but wine,” he says.

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The couple took out the too-tight lighthouse staircase up to the second floor in favor of one with a looser spiral and wider steps. An office, bathroom, and bedroom are sectioned off with their own doors, adding a new level of privacy the previously wide-open loft lacked.

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The main changes to the downstairs are hardwood floors in place of carpeting and losing the galley layout of the kitchen. “I didn’t want to be in the kitchen by myself anymore,” Bonnie says. Now guests can chat with the chef over a simple island—a slab of marble atop a small Bombay chest. The marble is Carrara, she thinks. “I have chemo brain, and it’s just not coming to me.” Bonnie was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in April of 2012, prompting her to retire as a realtor from Pitney Bowes.

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She and Gail, CEO of North Central Rehabilitation, do still entertain a lot, though the gatherings these days are mostly small groups of very close friends. “People come in and say the place looks so European,” Bonnie notes. “French, they say, but I don’t know. Let’s call it Early Junque.”

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The description works only because an air of casual welcome pervades the look of downtown chic. It’s the type of place where you might arrive in Louboutin stilettos only to kick them off in a few minutes because you know it’s all right.

Nature Chic

April 25, 2013 by
Photography by Thomas Grady Photography

With great bones and a sprawling backyard perfect for kids to play in, all this house was in need of was a little love and renovation to make it function as a home for the young homeowners and their growing family. With only two bedrooms on the main level, the first and biggest challenge was to reconfigure the floor plan to accommodate three bedrooms. With some creativity and a little out-of-the-box thinking, three bedrooms were fitted into the footprint of the main floor. This house has been remodeled and updated to fit the new homeowners’ lifestyle, creating a bright and lively environment which they can enjoy daily with their family.

The homeowners have young children and wanted to open up the existing, divided spaces to better function for them and their family. The kitchen and dining room are connected, creating a large, inviting space for daily living as well as entertaining large groups of friends.

The dining area, open to the kitchen, also connects to the exterior covered patio. The custom cabinetry and appliance panel fronts disguise an ice maker and pair of beverage drawers. The seamless cabinetry allows the design, as well as the homeowners’ beautiful china and glassware, to shine while providing full function. The square kitchen island stands out with the unique Currey & Company Balthazar chandelier glimmering above a distressed piece of walnut.JPeterson4_Web

Just off the kitchen is a multi-use space designed for kids and adults alike. The custom cabinetry houses toys and games within an arm’s reach. The two pairs of cabinet doors function without a toe kick, and the walnut wood floors continue through, allowing toys to be pushed in and out easily. There is also a custom desk for work and study.JPeterson8_Web

The entry has been transformed, creating a stunning and inviting entrance. The bold door color adds drama, while the detailed pattern in the marble flooring creates visual interest.JPeterson3_Web

A once useless space has been transformed into the ultimate utility room. The large windows provide great natural light, while the rest of the wall has been fully utilized to maximize storage.  The extensive marble bench provides space for sorting laundry or putting on shoes before venturing out for the day.JPeterson5_Web

This bathroom has been designed with the children in mind. There is a custom pull-out step, allowing for easy hand washing and independence by the little ones. The unique countertops are a custom creation from Milestone Inspired Composites—a beautiful and durable composite product made from recycled and reclaimed post-consumer aggregate bound with a zero-VOC epoxy resin.JPeterson2_Web