The living room was previously dominated by a stone-clad fireplace, which was high on the priority list of things the owners wanted to change. The first step was to strip the fireplace back to its concrete block structure. Drawing on ideas we first explored at the Cable Hill House, we then built a sheet steel fire surround and hearth extension around it, with a walnut entertainment center above it. This contains the audio/visual control boxes, and a sliding panel allows the tv to be hidden when not in use. By removing the dropped ceiling, we were able to gain another 15" of ceiling height. The carpet was replaced by new hickory floors, which run throughout the first floor of the house.
KitchenThe kitchen remains in the same location in the house, but with a much more efficient layout and contemporary style. The cabinets were custom made by Crownwood Construction, with exposed birch plywood frames and walnut panels. The island and main kitchen counter have a carrara marble countertop, which is nicely complemented by matte-white subway tiles at the backsplash.
We added a new bar where a redundant second fire place previously existed. The bar employs the same language of walnut and plywood cabinets, with some tougher materials for durability. The countertops are a grey quartz from Cosmos, and the backsplashes and bar-front are made of the same sheet steel we used at the fireplace in the living room. We made a break from the hickory floors used throughout the rest of the first floor, and changed to tile, to make an appropriate transition to the pool immediately outside.
Hall & stair
The hall was previously an unpleasant space, which felt dark and narrow. Without changing the width of the hall, we able to create a much more inviting atmosphere. New openings along the wall dividing the hall from the public rooms increased the amount of natural lighting getting into the hall, which is supplemented by new can lighting. In the stair, we expanded on the approach we first employed at the Walsh residence by building a fir screen to filter the light coming into the space. We demolished the partial height wall which was acting as a guardrail, and replaced it with a steel stair rail, which creates a stronger visual relationship between the two levels. The previously utilitarian stairwell is now one of our favorite moments in the house.
To avoid making major changes to plumbing and electrical system, we kept the existing layouts of the guest bathroom bathrooms, while making major changes to the finishes. We continued the use of the walnut and plywood cabinets, but drew a visual distinction from the kitchen and bar areas by having the vanities float 12" off the floor, with tile running underneath them all the way to the wall.
The layout of the bedrooms on the second floor generally worked well, so we only made minor alterations, primarily to create more closet space for the master suite. We installed new fir trim around the windows and ceiling beams, smoothed out and painted the walls, and installed new carpet throughout the second floor.