Many houses built prior to the 2000s do not have the open concept design that we crave these days. Such was the case for our long-time client. I have worked with them over 10 years on upgrading their Carmel, IN home to suit their needs, each project getting more and more complex. The Steve Gray Renovation Team’s latest work involved a whole first floor remodel, which required removing a fireplace in the middle of the space to provide the open look my clients desired.
The original floor plan made the first floor feel cramped and choppy. A two-sided fireplace sat between the kitchen and family room, making both spaces too small for our clients’ needs. Opening up the space would require remodeling the whole first floor to ensure the home looked cohesive. Another goal of the project was to increase the functionality of the space, adding storage and living spaces that suited how our clients wanted to use their home.
Kathy Hoskins of Hoskins Interior Design served as the interior designer for the remodeling team. We recommend our clients have an interior designer for large projects; we are very good at what we do, which is building and problem-solving. Interior designers are good at what they do – finding and selecting the special details that elevate a design. I work with a selection of Indianapolis designers and try to match them with the personalities and working styles of my clients. You can learn more about Kathy’s design process for this project by clicking here.
This first-floor remodeling project hinged on removing the central fireplace and building a new one in the living room. Since the original fireplace was located on a load-bearing wall, we had to install a beam to the newly open space to keep the structural integrity of the home. Now there was room to expand the kitchen footprint to support the frequent entertaining my clients do with their large families. Moving the kitchen dining space to the adjacent sunroom allowed us to install a large island with spots for storage, prep and seating.
Our clients wanted a light and bright kitchen, with white cabinetry, tile backsplash and paint. However, the style was not their only priority – storage and functionality were just as important. We installed many custom-crafted cabinet storage solutions, from specialized small appliance spaces and a TV, to spices and food storage. Being able to close the doors on cabinet contents was important to the homeowners, even for their entertaining spaces. We custom-built a beverage center at the end of one periphery cabinet wall designed exactly for what they wanted to store. There was room for the bottles, tools and glasses as well as prep space. We then custom-built pocket doors that could be folded away during use, and pulled shut for a clean look. We especially like the added detail of being able to see the granite countertop when the doors are closed, hinting that there is something special behind there.
Adding style and storage was also applied to the main hallway from the garage to the kitchen and living space. We repurposed a closet located in the space and built a deep custom pantry. That way, our clients could unload their groceries right from the garage and redesign the existing kitchen pantry into specialized storage. The addition of a decorative glass door and an interior light created a bright and open feel in what was once a dark hallway. Kathy helped our clients further elevate the style of the hallway by choosing a light paint color and impactful lantern lighting.
In the living room, we built a brand new fireplace on the far wall, including framing the new wall for the box and adding all of the interior and exterior components. The goal was to make it look like it had always been there. Hidden wiring for the audio/visual components was included in the design, as well as an outlet blended into the top of the mantle for decorative items. The fireplace was finished with a stone surround and hearth. The tall, closed storage also left open space to place artwork or collections – brilliant!
One challenge in the living room was an odd bulkhead on one side of the room. Once the space was opened up, the imbalance created by this architectural element could not be ignored. We crafted a corresponding bulkhead on the opposite side and then added beams in between to make the room look cohesive. This detail truly elevates the look of the entire first floor.
A half bath remodel, new flooring, opening up the staircase to the lower level, painting interior doors, and new molding, window casements and trim completed this first floor remodel. The result is a gorgeous open-concept space designed specifically for our clients’ lifestyle.