The Solution: Breathe New Life into a Tired Lake House Design
Opening the heart of the home with kitchen and hearth room updates
First, we tackled the kitchen to make it more useful and inviting. We removed a low bank of windows over one of the counters and replaced the cabinets with a full range and hood, which allowed us to reserve the central island for food prep and a built-in microwave. Our partners at Tremain Tile Marble and Granite installed marble countertops over the new cabinets, extending the bar-top to invite guests to sit and keep our clients company as they cook.
We replaced the existing pantry with a series of cabinets that more flexibly and efficiently use the space. We also removed one wall of the cubby that nearly swallowed a small bar area, opening it up and making it more easily accessible from the dining area and hearth room. Glass-fronted doors for storing barware add a touch of contrast to the bar, while the marble countertop and cabinetry style tie it into the rest of the kitchen. Crown molding and oak flooring carried throughout the first floor create unity among the spaces.
We then refreshed the sweet hearth room off the kitchen’s dining area to create a more welcoming gathering space. In its previous design, the uniqueness of the angled, two-sided fireplace was dampened with an uninspiring drywall surround and crown molding mantel. We wanted to add a warm ambience with natural materials and — after months of searching — finally found the right stone for the new surround. We encased the oddly-shaped chimney wall in stone from floor to ceiling and gave the fireplace a casual floating mantel. Not only does the new stone add color and texture, but its increased solidity subtly defines the hearth room without creating a barrier between it and the kitchen area. Oak flooring further warms the room, making the overall effect one of a cozy place to chat by the fire.
Re-visioning a great room worthy of the view
Although the original great room had good bones, it felt cut off from the kitchen and hearth room. We decided to open up its small entryway, which created fluidity among the spaces and made the adjoining views along the back wall feel more continuous. We then set about refreshing the room’s details, replacing the existing built-in shelving’s doors trim, adding crown moldings to make them feel more finished. We used the same oak flooring from the kitchen and hearth room to unify the three rooms as well as warm them.
We also rebuilt the great room’s fireplace using the same stone we used in the hearth room. Our partners at RST Custom Woodworking crafted a clean, white, crown molding mantel for a touch of formality. Finally we painted the walls and woodwork in muted tones of taupe and gray to create a relaxing atmosphere and focus the eye on the lake view just outside the soaring, floor-to-ceiling windows.