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A Basement That Works 

2 min read Find the perfect WFH spot in the space you already have.

Here’s what we were dealing with: This 1952 basic ranch had a basement with plenty of space but not much style. With the right updates it could be the perfect spot for a cool home office, plus guest area. The bathroom needed a serious upgrade to be guest-worthy and the balance of the basement needed the right divisions for everything to work. 

Our goal was to build a snazzy right-sized office with sound privacy, while reserving space for guest stays. Bonus points were awarded for including a potter’s corner. 

Our WFH Basement Solutions

We provided both an option that claims lots of currently finished and unfinished, along with a version concentrated in the existing finished footprint. Both options improved the bathroom in place for ease and savings on plumbing costs.   

SCHEME 1 – Bigger and Better for Both Uses

SCHEME 2 – Efficient Use of Finished Space

Want a WFH setup that works for you?

Add a high-end owners’ suite in situ

3 min read You can create a high-end owners’ suite without moving walls. Floating storage and built-ins, along with just the right nudges elevate without adding space.

Here’s what we were dealing with: a bland owners’ suite lacking mid-century charm and functional storage.

This charming 1956 ranch already had a functional floor plan. The clients wanted an mcm feel for the bathroom upgrade and better storage, without too much disruption. Luckily for these clients hoping to concentrate their budget in other areas, busting down walls is not the only way to add a high-end owners’ suite.

Our goal was to liven up the existing owners’ bathroom with minimal changes to the plumbing and consider the overall bed/bath situation in the private areas. We focused on creating a more charming en suite with updated finishes and reclaiming the second bath from some unfortunate renovation decisions by a former owner.

Our Owners’ Suite Solutions

Our three schemes provide options at every level of renovation. A slight tweak can yield significant changes. Cleverly placed floating storage and full-height built-ins can transform a space without tanking the budget. Plus, they allow for generous high-end storage within a smaller footprint than a walk-in closet. Snagging a few inches from a closet discreetly broadens a bathroom for a more comfortable experience.

SCHEME 1 – A Small Tweak for a Transformation

SCHEME 2 – Extend, Nudge and Scooch 

SCHEME 3 – A Storage Filled Sanctuary

Hoping for an (almost) demo-free owners’ suite upgrade?

Steal the space you need for an owners’ suite

3 min read Stealing (space) pays off big when it allows you to create a fabulous high end owner’s suite.

Here’s what we were dealing with: a neglected home, but with many quintessential MCM details intact. The existing bedrooms were functional, but the bathroom and powder room arrangement was very snug.

This 1955 home was a fantastic one-of-a-kind mid-century design! The existing layout could still be very functional for modern living with few changes. Some beautiful and interesting elements remained intact – including paneling, original windows, and slate flooring in the entry. There is a significant possibility that two or more generations will live in the house together at various times and that the oldest generation will age in place.  

Our goal was to combine space from nearby rooms to create an true owners’ suite with accessibility features for aging in place. We also wanted to carve out a true second bathroom on the main level. 

Our Stolen Owner’s Suite Solutions

Our three schemes allow the owners options at every level of renovation. We proposed several ways to combine space from nearby rooms to create a true owners’ suite and a true second bathroom. Built-ins allow for generous high end storage within a smaller footprint than a walk in closet.  

SCHEME 1 – Modernize with Small Moves

SCHEME 2 – Beg, Steal and Borrow

SCHEME 3 – High End (Space) Heist

Want to learn how to create an owners’ suite to crime for?

A mid mod vibe for a modest outside

Here’s what we were dealing with: a very basic ranch that had been through an unfortunate 1990’s remodel.

Built in 1956, this was a modest house from the get go. But one that reflects the focus on maximized efficiency as a defining feature of the era. The homeowners described their home as a “pretty boring, standard builder grade ranch”. They wanted to add some style to the exterior and connect to the outdoor space for daily living. The house had one of the trickiest kitchen layouts we’ve ever encountered in a mid-century home!

Our goal was to add some interest to the exterior aesthetics and make the most the outdoor space by improving the connection to the living spaces with an adjustment (or transformation) of the kitchen.

Our Solutions

We focused on solutions that could be implemented in phases – adding surrounding elements, anchoring the porch, and even replacing the siding eventually. The house’s pleasant form and classic ranch elements would allow for a dramatic shift with small one-off projects or with simple updates. The potential for a kitchen addition in remodel budget allowed us to explore a deck as an option to improve flow out to the backyard.  

SCHEME 1 – Done in a Weekend

SCHEME 2 – Turn Up the Charm

SCHEME 3 –   So Much Style (and Seating)

Want to add MCM flair to your modest ranch?

Taking baths from squished to spacious

Here’s what we were dealing with: a mid-mod cutie that was doing double (and at times triple!) duty for a busy family. Adjusting the layout to function for family time, school and work – all happening at home – was the top priority.

This 1960 house came with a some awkward space allocations, but enough square footage to meet all the needs of a young family. The house had great curb appeal and outdoor areas. Inside, homeschool space, work space, and hang out space were must haves. Plus they really needed a better bedroom and bathroom configuration to take the pressure off during high demand times of day.

Our goal was to provide options to rework the bathrooms for better busy times like teeth brushing and bath time. The existing bedrooms were functional, but lacking in storage. We proposed several ways to borrow space from nearby rooms to improve bathroom function and provide options for expanded spaces, as well as add ample and accessible storage in multiple areas.

Our Spacious (Feeling) Solutions

Our three schemes allow the family more and less private options. plus space trade-offs. We proposed several ways to reconfigure storage and the hallway to make a both better owners’ bath and super second bathroom. Built-ins allow for additional storage within a smaller space saving footprint.  

SCHEME 1 – Better, if not Bigger

SCHEME 2 – Separation by Claiming Space

SCHEME 3 – Trading Privacy for Space 

Want more creative ideas for spacious feeling bathrooms?

Filling in a funky kitchen

3 min read We filled in this kitchen for maximum cooking area, super storage, GREAT flow between spaces and room for multiple cooks.  

Here’s what we were dealing with: a funky 1990’s kitchen remodel that didn’t function well or feel right for the home. 

This 1955 home situated in a historic area is just one of many beautiful examples of mid century design on the block. The owners were hoping to turn back time a bit while adding features to make modern living easier. They hoped to transform the kitchen into an organized space where everything has a distinct place, while adding warmth and personal touches. 

Our goal was to highlight the original design features of the home – beautiful beams and a great layout – while re-allocating the main space to create a functional entry and cohesive, welcoming living spaces. We wanted to design a multi-cook and kid kitchen connected to the social spaces.

Our Funky Kitchen Solutions

This kitchen needs to do a lot.  It’s a cooking space (for multiple cooks), a social hub and an “everything” family  space. Our schemes tweak or modify an existing plan and improve the layout to give it a shine in both practicality and style! We focused on allowing for maximum cooking area, more storage, GREAT flow between spaces and a better way for two or more to gather around the island.  

SCHEME 1 – Fuller Within the Footprint

SCHEME 2 – A Bridge to Nearby Spaces

SCHEME 3 – Filled with Function

Can’t get enough of kitchens?

Thinking inside a box(ed in kitchen)

2 min read A clever layout shift may be all you need to take a shoebox kitchen from cramped to comfy.

Here’s what we were dealing with: A tight kitchen with very little space for expansion, a desperate lack of storage and out-of-date appliances.

This splendid architect designed 1964 home was nestled in a neighborhood of similar unique builds. The original single-cook kitchen tucked into a corner between stairs and exterior walls. Beautiful original paneling created warm social spaces in the adjacent dining and living area which opened onto a lovely in-ground pool.

Our goal was to pack in as much functional storage as possible while opening up the space to accommodate two cooks a little more comfortably. With little space for expansion, we worked within the existing footprint and discreetly snagged some space from the adjoining utility closet.

Our Solutions

Our three schemes show creative options that stay (mostly) inside the box. Condensed full-height built-ins give huge flexibility for storing kitchen wares or hiding appliances. Cleverly designed built-in furniture in front of a window can be a way to increase storage while maintaining natural light. A mini-island adds bonus storage plus a shareable work surface.

SCHEME 1 – Mini-Island/Maximum Storage

SCHEME 2 – Generous Galley

SCHEME 3 – User-Friendly U-Shape

Looking to break out of your kitchen planning box?

The swankiest sunken living room

3 min read We upped the drama and function in this living room by adding an eye-catching hearth and introducing a sunken seating area.

Here’s what we were dealing with: a very underwhelming entry and living room that had been thoroughly HGTV-ed with white paint EVERYWHERE…even on the fireplace brick…and an adjacent shaker kitchen.

This 1955 split level was built in a development of about 60 houses, each a minor variation on the same basic design. It was originally dripping with cool, before the unfortunate redo. The owner’s love to host (especially game nights) and are looking to create a space that’s “one part atomic era design catalogue, one part ’60s Vegas speakeasy, and one part Bond villain lair.”

Our goal was to up the drama and function of the entry and living room by adding an eye-catching hearth and, possibly, introducing a sunken seating area. We also planned a transformation in the adjacent kitchen to make it a social hub and remove it’s unfortunate farmhouse flavor. 

Our Swanky Living Room Solutions

We designed three schemes to add atomic era cool by improving the eye catching factor of the hearth and, possibly, introducing a sunken seating area. We preserved the circulation pattern of entering straight from the front door or stepping off to the side to rest in the sitting area. The crawl space below would make it possible to “sink” the living area by as little as one step or as deeply as three.

SCHEME 1 – Swank Without the Sink

SCHEME 2 – High Drama, Low Seating

SCHEME 3 – Super Villain Inspired Sunken Seating

Looking for more living room inspiration?

A kitchen to connect everyone – inside and out

3 min read We designed kitchen options to connect everyone in the main social spaces of this 1954 stunner, plus to the outdoor entertaining area and lake views.

Here’s what we were dealing with: the classic closed off mid-century kitchen … but also it was re-finished in 90’s beige. Yikes!

The rest of the house was pretty stunning. Built in 1954, this architect-designed home already had both a unique beauty and an amazing location, nestled next to Lake Michigan. The owners have plans to make the most of the yard by adding a pool and asked us to design main floor options to optimize indoor and outdoor flow. 

Our goal was to make the most of the layout to create a flowing, open living and social space. Improve the flow between outside and inside space to connect out to the yard and (future) pool beyond. Create a flowing, open living and social space to contrast with a pleasantly separated office / studio wing.

Our Connected Kitchen Solutions

Each scheme improves flow between outside and inside spaces to transform and expand social spaces and to connect out to the yard and (future) pool beyond. We also provided options for grab and go storage at entry points to make coming and going a breeze.

SCHEME 1 – A LIGHT TOUCH

SCHEME 2 – SHELTER PLUS CONNECTION

SCHEME 3 –  A TURN TOWARD THE PORCH

Can’t get enough of kitchens?

Putting sweet storage into an owners’ suite

3 min read Whether you choose open clothes storage, walk in closets or built-in wardrobes, storage solutions can transform your owners’ suite into a relaxing retreat.

Here’s what we were dealing with: A storage SOS from a less than stellar owner’s suite.

This a 1960 split level had a defining window arrangement that was worth saving. But the storage in the primary bedroom was less than functional and the bathroom was in dire need of an update. For this couple storage was key. They wanted a space that was easy to wake up in, smoothed their path into the day and helped them avoid chaos and clutter. 

Our goal was to reimagine the layout of the space to make it more comfortable and fill it with practical storage. Designing with those tasty windows in mind, we worked out a range of possibilities from simple finish updates to a more lavish bed and bath improvement.

Our Sweet Solutions

With each of the following layouts, we designed ways to add practical storage, a feeling of spaciousness and visual connection to the great wall of windows. We also provided furniture layout options for more privacy.

Scheme 1 – Welcoming Walk-through Closet

Scheme 2 – Low and Loving It

Scheme 3 – Closed Up Clothing Storage

Want a sweet owners’ suite of your own?

  • Learn the secrets to maximizing your square footage in this blog post.
  • Got all the space you need, but none of the MCM style you love? Discover your mid-century style and era!
  • Want someone to do the design for you? Check out my mini-masterclass for mid-mod lovers seeking a Master Plan right here!