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before & after…

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

 

 

 

before & after:

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

Even masterfully architected homes need a facelift eventually.  Last year, we helped our clients see the potential in their circa 1980 Jim Estes designed home and transformed their spaces for more comfortable gathering and weekend entertaining.

The galley Kitchen, Powder Room and Pantry were reappointed while honoring the original architecture and strong lines of the space.  And, we reworked the lower level space plan to increase the baths from one to three — so no more sharing bathrooms with weekend guests.  (And if you’ve ever reworked a lower level space plan, you know its a challenge to work around structural and mechanical requirements to reimagine a space.)

While challenges were plentiful, the plan worked and the waiting list for summer weekend visits is already growing.  An Estes home, proudly enhanced by taste.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

A coffee and beverage bar welcomes guests into the Kitchen, day or night.

 

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Terracotta tile was replaced with the warmth and character of hickory floors – set at a diagonal to complement the architectural character of the home – offering visual contrast to the honed Calacatta marble countertops and white cabinetry.

 

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A lighter and brighter Kitchen.

 

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The teeniest of Powder Rooms gains visual space with a cantilevered sink base in walnut.

 

 

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The hosts are equally as comfortable as their guests in their Master Bath, complete with large shower and private water closet.

 

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The once laundry was moved to create a guest bath, and an efficient laundry space created from an unused walk-in closet.

 

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After Photography: Kyle Caldwell

 

in review (times three)

in good taste throwback

 

Our blog posts have touched on many aspects of design—before & afters, inspirations, the driving forces (our designers), top-notch collaboration efforts and our gallery of talented artists. In reviewing this past year’s blog posts, we noticed a trend…your favorite posts were some of our favorite posts!

Your top three favorites were all “before & after” treatments to three very different residences—a turn of the century residence near Brown University, a nearly one hundred and twenty year old Jamestown home and a Little Compton summerhouse a stone’s throw from the water. All assembled here for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy the posts, all over again.

Only the best,

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before & after: a chic treatment for a providence classic

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before & after – a welcome home, at last

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before & after: modern beach cottage

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how design works: post-project stories

A post project check-in

 

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting alongside Jeff Soderbergh, Creator of Custom, Sustainable Furnishings, at the Newport Art Museum during Design Week.

DESIGNxRI’s Design Week is an eleven-day event that celebrates innovative design and architecture throughout Rhode Island. The fantastic team at DESIGNxRI offers talks, tours, luncheons and events such as the Drinks With Designers, where I discussed How Design Works and shared projects with unique challenges/solutions.

To prepare for the talk, I found before photos of three client projects that have been completed for a year or more now, then shared the before photos with my clients to jog their memory of the spaces pre-renovation.  Then, I asked them for insight on how the spaces were working for them now, compared to before, and posed these questions:

— How have the rooms changed your views/relationship to adjacent interior rooms? And to the exterior?
— How has the lighting/layout/finishing changed the way you use the space?
— What happens in these spaces now, when family and friends gather, that didn’t happen before?
— What work gets done in these spaces now, that didn’t flow as well before? Why?
— Any unexpected life moments with your children that have resulted from these improved spaces? With friends?
— Any aspect of the design that you were unsure of that you’re glad you incorporate?

The stories I received in response were generous, heartwarming and incredibly fulfilling as a designer.  Here’s one of those projects – a master suite in a whole house renovation that is living up to the promise of sanctuary for my clients.  And, creating sweet memories.

These client stories are a reminder that thoughtful design can transform our lives.  Sometimes the change is sweeping, sometimes it happens in small, incremental ways that add up to easier, meaningful living. Either way, design remains a powerful tool for better living.  How can it be harnessed in your home?

Only the best,

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before & after – a welcome home, at last

a historic gem regains its strength and stands ready for another generation

What does it take to purchase then restore a nearly one hundred and twenty year old home and make it conducive to modern life?    P  a  t  i  e  n  c  e.    There’s no other word for it.

Yes, it takes funds and a team of design/build professionals and a cadre of craftspeople and the support of a community (e.g. forgiving neighbors).  All of those components are mission critical, without a doubt.

But for a moment, I’d like to salute the people at the very center of it all.  The people who endured, the people who made endless decisions, the people who trusted and the people who devoted several months (ok, nearly two years) of their life to the project.  The people who invested in a historic home and in doing so, have ensured this part of our town’s history stands strong for another one hundred years.

The people who took several, continuous leaps of faith along the design/construction path: m y   c l i e n t s.

They deserve recognition and a sincere thank you from our community for their investment in one of our historic properties.  It takes an enormous commitment to take on and see through a project like the one you’ll see below.  I know, because I’d like to believe I’m there to help them along the way when faith is tested, tempers are short and renovation surprises seem to be around every corner.  It’s exhausting for them, and sincerely my pleasure to be involved in every aspect of the project.

After a rest from the decision-making, we’ll resume later this fall to furnish and decorate their historic house by the sea, now ready for the next hundred years.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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An addition to the back of the home created a family room and 2nd floor bedrooms, completed with fireplaces.

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Karl Sauerbrey, architect, envisioned a solarium on the west side of the home while extending the front porch to the back yard.  The enhancement enables our clients to nearly walk around the entire perimeter of the house on the porch.

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The north side of the porch now extends to the side door into the Kitchen, ensuring an easy flow from inside to out.

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A new dutch door at the front provides the same sea breeze into the Living Room the original door did for a hundred years.

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The once remodeled Kitchen was reimagined with custom cabinetry, soapstone countertops and beadboard ceilings.

 

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The beadboard ceiling extends into the Mudroom and a brick floor was chosen to resemble that of an original porch floor, now incorporated into the interior.

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Historic elements like the newel posts, balusters and rails were restored to nearly their original beauty, save a few nicks here and there.

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The bathrooms express my client’s whimsy and love for pattern.

 

Many thanks, as always, to the team of pros made this possible.  With too many to mention, I’ll include just a few.  To all others who contributed, we send our sincere thanks.

Karl Sauerbrey, Architect

taste team members Kevin Baker, Julia Reinalda and Michaela Doehler

Yankee Housewrights, General Contractor

Jutras Woodworking, Kitchen and Mudroom Cabinetry

Zuerner Design, Fireplaces, Master Bedroom and Bathroom Cabinetry

Michael Boulay Woodworking, Library and Music Room Cabinetry

Valen Coble, Front and Side Dutch Doors

Atlantic Landscaping, Land and Hardscaping

Aaron Usher, Kevin Baker and Reagan Baker, Photography

before & after: how to celebrate your (home’s) age, gracefully

a skillful renovation that was just enough to embrace, not undo, the past

When my clients walked into our gallery last Fall to share they had purchased a home in our island town and wanted me to work with them to help update the interior, I could barely contain my excitement. (Anyone remember that scene in Love Actually when Laura Linney’s character had to hide behind the stairs to jump up and down with excitement before returning to her boyfriend to continue their romantic evening?  It was JUST like that.)  This is a couple who have impeccable taste, have renovated/decorated six homes in the past twenty-three years together and are hands down just fantastic people. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Then I saw the house…

And the excitement rose. In addition to being exceptional people, they can spot an exceptional home, even in the rough. This was one of those. On the coast, but nestled into a woodland setting, it has all the advantages of a water view, but the privacy and protection of a country home — complete with mature gardens and a stone outbuilding perfect for the gardening shed. The interior needed more natural light, expanded views to the water, a new kitchen and bathrooms and careful editing. What it didn’t need was a total gut and rebuild project, and my clients knew this and held the line throughout the design and construction process to ensure we kept every bit of character intact while improving the home.

Foster Associates architects reworked the floor plan to fix flow problems, enhance views and add functionality. We finished what Foster started, selecting the right combination of finishes and materials to embrace the original details of the house (be sure to get a good look at the ceilings) and our clients extensive collection of antiques, from near and far.  Chuck Millard’s team of master builders and carpenters executed the renovation to a tee, resisting the urge to fix the eccentricities in the house and embrace the age, just as my clients’ mandated from day one.

And I’m so thankful they did. Take a peek at the before, during and after photos below.  Now, nine months later, I still need to contain my girlish excitement with the project.

Only the best,

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The breakfast room benefited from built-in cabinetry and chic chinoiserie furnishings.

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Simplified details and natural materials returned this cottage Kitchen to a space that emphasizes casual gatherings.

 

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The ornate was edited out of the original kitchen and replaced with generous proportions and classical finishes.

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The original balustrade and ceilings were lightly restored to retain all of the character, including cracks in the newel post caps that conjure a story about the house and its inhabitants over the past one hundred years.

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The fact that my clients’ furnishings and collections fit so perfectly into the new/old house is a testament to their unwavering curation and commitment to good taste.

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The Powder Room refresh includes a bamboo chest repurposed as a sink vanity and a light-hearted lattice wallpaper.

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The second floor hall boasts a fantastic view to the water, thanks to new windows supported by a built-in for treasures.

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The master bedroom is a serene getaway thanks to trim upholstered furnishings and a peaceful dollop of blue.

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The master bathroom is neat and efficient and a perfect complement to the master bedroom palette.

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Many thanks, as always, to the team assembled to help bring sophistication and style to our clients’ home.

Foster Associates, Architect

taste team members Michaela Doehler and Ashley DelVecchio

Charles Millard Inc., General Contractor

Apex Kitchens, Kitchen Cabinetry

Rustigian Rugs, Area Rugs

Reagan Baker, Photography

 

before & after: a chic treatment for a providence classic

A redressed interior as stylish as our clients.

 

 

There’s never been a better example of taking a cue from your clients’ wardrobe when designing their interior than this project for longstanding Providence East Side clients. Simply stated, he’s dapper and she’s chic. And the interiors of their turn of the century house near Brown University needed to capture their style, intellect and appreciation of art. We started by replacing traditionally patterned wall coverings and area rugs with modernized floral motifs in bold color combinations.  Faded wall colors were swapped out for richly saturated hues that beautifully present the art. And dated fixtures made way for refreshing variations on crystal and brass. The result is a composition as rich as our clients are interesting. And one that resembles the collection of hues, textures and patterns hanging in their own closets – for a perfect fit.

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The metallic accents on the Asian-inspired wall covering in the vestibule beautifully coordinate with the gilded sconces, finished with a black shade.

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A custom runner by Rosemary Hallgarten welcomes guests in the Foyer and sets the pace for the artful interior.

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An updated variation on crystal takes the place of the traditional chandelier in the Foyer.

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The acanthus striped grasscloth continues up to the second floor.  A wool & sisal blend runner updates the stairs while bringing comfort underfoot.

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A classic floral drape in modernized shades of black and gray speaks to the acanthus leaf on the grasscloth.

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A Wendyll Brown painting takes center stage over the fireplace while a Gretchen Dow Simpson piece to the right is accented by the velvet jewel tones in the Living Room.

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A custom designed fluted lacquer vanity, finished with lucite legs, brings sophistication and storage to the Powder Room.

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Wall to wall carpeting in the Library was removed to reveal original hardwood floors. The new area rug and wall color sets the perfect backdrop for a Michael Rich painting opposite the front windows.

 

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A Peter Diepenbrock sculpture stands proud in the bay window of the updated Dining Room.

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Our clients’ Dining Room table – where traditional and modern elements come together to reflect their stylish aesthetic.

Many thanks, as always, to the team we assembled to help bring sophistication and style to our clients’ home.

taste team members Kevin Baker and Meryl Chaum

Stephen Demetrick, General Contractor

Jutras Woodworking, Cabinetry and Millwork

Rustigan Rugs, Rosemary Hallgarten and Landry & Arcari, Area Rugs

Candita Clayton, Artwork

Kyle Caldwell, Photography

Robyn Ivy, Photography

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before & after: the studio and the gallery at taste

Images by Kyle Caldwell

We’re nicely settling into our new space since opening the doors to our upgraded studio and gallery in August.  One of my most favorite moments the past few months has been watching the incredulous expressions when people familiar with 17 Narragansett Ave. BEFORE the renovation walk into our new space AFTER.  Many are speechless.  When they find their words they share that the gallery and studio are welcoming, warm and inspirational.  I couldn’t be happier.  If you aren’t a local Rhode Islander, here’s a look at the before and after photos.  If you are a local, please stop by, say hello and see the AFTER results in person.

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Our new front door, decked out in taste red.

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The gallery at taste during and after the renovation.

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The gallery at taste and our studio during the dust and after the dust settled.

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The walls came down then went up to create new areas for art, furnishing vignettes and a bright library.

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Our conference room was designed to make meetings feel like a conversation at the Kitchen table, complete with comfy chairs for long design work sessions.

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The first floor studio space provides flexible work areas and an easy-access materials library, where we host clients and invite them to participate in the creative process.

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Layers of artwork, samples and materials provide endless inspiration.

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Our second floor studio space provides a sunny, quiet work environment for our designers.  And, a deck for a little fresh air and the occasional Friday evening cocktail.

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before & after: modern beach cottage

A winning renovation design, complete with then and now photos.

Our young clients from Boston wanted a getaway from their fast paced, high-pressure lives. A place where they could unwind and unplug. A place their daughters could experience simple summer play and exploration. And a place so peaceful it may just bring them back throughout the year.

They found it in Little Compton, Rhode Island. With its unique combination of rural and coastal, Little Compton provided everything they were hoping for, and more. The tiny summerhouse they found last fall provides a sense of community just a stone’s throw from the water.

While the house offered easy-living just in from the beach, it lacked the functionality our clients needed to host extended family and friends. Moreover, the house’s maple floors and golden color palette didn’t provide a sense of place and the coastal home aesthetic they imagined.

Last fall they called upon taste after our work together on their Boston home. Our renovation design enabled a January 2015 construction start and completion by June, in time for summer living and a July 4th gathering.

Here’s a look at this now idyllic cottage, before and after.

 

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A wall between the Kitchen and Living areas was removed to make room for an island, open up the space and take in the water views.  And the door to the master bedroom was removed to provide greater privacy and improve furniture placement in the room.

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Reclaimed white oak floors reminiscent of driftwood were installed through out the first floor and stairwell.  Tired built-ins in the Living Room were removed to visually enlarge the space.  Now, a navy blue console packed with storage space and our client’s sail boat model take center stage and provide a strong focal point across from the front door.

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Our client’s antique bench, made by her grandfather, paired with coastal-inspired furnishings creates a cheery welcome just in from the beach.

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The once small kitchenette was replaced with a bright and open Kitchen.  Windows on either side of the range offer a view of the children’s play space in the backyard.  Stain resistant solid surface countertops that resemble sand, and the distressed floors provide forgiving finishes that keep everyone relaxed at the beach.

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The once dark stairwell was visually enlarged with a stainless steel balustrade and walnut handrail and newel post.  Uninspired sheetrock was replaced with shiplap on the half wall and a white oak cap wraps the space in cool gray texture.

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Our client’s beloved area rug from Turkey and a family arm chair was combined with bright bed linens to bring the comfort of old and the serenity of new to the getaway bedroom.

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Low, matching chaises designed by taste were custom made for the living area to maximize seating and provide his and her lounging spots to take in the water view.  A soapstone wood stove rotates to be enjoyed from any area of the open living space and invites year-round visits to the ‘summer house’.

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Open shelves encourage guests to ‘help themselves’ and simplify setting the table and clean-up.  Walnut counter stools by Rhode Island’s own Asher Dunn punctuate the cool gray palette.  Painted cabinetry designed by taste and fabricated by Stephen Plaud keep the details simple and straightforward.

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Before, the girls’ bunk room lacked warmth and charm.  Today, vintage touches and some of our clients own pieces are collaged together to bring a kids room meant to inspire and transcend the usual catalog-sourced scheme.

Many thanks, as always, to the team we assembled to help transform the house and super-please our special clients.

taste team member Wendi Dicely Scalora, Interior Designer

Cy Gibson of Gibson Building Company, General Contractor

Stephen Plaud, Kitchen Cabinetry

Allied Floor Covering, Countertops

Kyle Caldwell, Photography

 

Visit our full gallery of photos for this space at tastedesigninc.com

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

 

 

 

before and after: an airy kitchen and dining room

the transformation story, complete with then and now photos

After designing and detailing a client’s home for months or years, we often forget what the space looked like ‘before’. We’ve imagined and hovered over every detail. We’ve troubleshooted the inevitable construction challenges. We’ve encouraged clients as the space slowly transforms. Through it all, we’ve stayed true to the original vision for the space created with our clients, advocating for their wishes and helping to be sure the original intent isn’t lost as a small army works to fulfill the design.

Staying true to the finished image in our minds also means we tend to forget what the space looked like before. The project is completed (yes, they do end for those of you in the thick of it now), clients move back in, friends and family gather, new memories are created and voila — it’s as if the home was always as it is now.

Such is the case for this airy Kitchen and Dining Room renovation completed last Fall for special, longstanding clients. Before the renovation, the rooms carried the remnants of the once ranch house: small rooms, limited windows, inadequate lighting and dated finishes. The design transformed the rooms and elevated the standard to that of the rest of the home. Today, the Kitchen and Dining Rooms are equal to the other areas of the property our clients diligently and lovingly invest in and maintain. So much so, we’ve all forgotten what we started with. Here’s a glimpse at the before and after.

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Windows were added on either side of the new cooktop. Now, daylight streams in and our client gets a view of her garden and arriving guests.

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Before, a peninsula offered limited seating and circulation.  Now, the center island doubles as a buffet and provides enough work surface for two cooks in the kitchen.

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An uninspired pantry was replaced with easy access, open shelving and an indulgence of color and pattern.

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A garden inspired Dining Room feels lighter after columns were removed.  Shades of blue and green complement the gardens just outside.

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A desktop with the always critical junk drawer and plenty of easy access storage replaced a not-so-often used bench seat.

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By removing the half wall and columns, the Kitchen and Dining Room were visually expanded.  Now, friends gather in both rooms – not just the Kitchen.

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Before, the window over the kitchen sink was small and a remnant of the once ranch home.  Now, the glider windows let in light and fresh air.

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Our super smart client knew that creating a beverage station near the freezer and ice maker would help  maintain a interruption-free cooking zone for her.  Now, drinks are prepared without disturbing the cook.  Kissing the cook, however, is always encouraged.

Many thanks, as always, to the small army we assembled who helped make the vision a reality.

taste Team Member Kevin Baker, Millwork, Cabinetry and Lighting Design

Steve Demetrick, General Contractor

Peter Zuerner, Cabinetry and Wood Countertops

Quality Tile, Stone Countertops and Backsplash

Kyle Caldwell, Photography

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