Like many homes built in the late 1980s, Keith and Dottie’s home in Yorktown featured a kitchen with upper cabinets above the peninsula. While this added storage and helped define the area, it closed the kitchen off from the adjacent dining area and den. The cabinets were dark, stained wood, with laminate countertops, and the flooring was a standard sheet vinyl. We were asked to update the kitchen and remove the upper cabinets to give the area a more open feel.
The clients wanted lighter colors throughout the new kitchen, so they started with custom cabinets painted in a creamy white. Because there is a functional cabinet door on the back of the peninsula, the entire back was finished to look like cabinet doors. This detail was also repeated on the end of the peninsula and on one upper cabinet end. Glass doors on two of the upper cabinets add interest to the wall above the stove, and LED strips add task lighting.
New granite countertops in White Savannah continued the lighter color scheme. New backsplash tile by Marazzi in “Urban District Downtown” extends from the bottom of the cabinets to the top of the granite surface.
New engineered hardwood floors by Impressions in “Terracotta” were installed in the kitchen, dining area, and foyer. In the back hallway, laundry room, and downstairs bath, we installed “Lucinda” Coretec stone flooring.
Finishing touches were new stainless-steel appliances, industrial-style pendant lights above the sink and peninsula, and a few well-placed can lights.
The end result is a new, lighter and brighter kitchen which will serve the homeowners for many years to come!
A few months ago, we talked a little about buying a “used house.” This was the case for a couple in Norfolk recently. The previous owner had been a do-it-yourselfer, and his skills left a bit to be desired. His addition off the master bedroom at the back of the house had some serious issues, the worst being a persistent roof leak. The ceiling was also lower here than in the other rooms, which made it cramped and dark.
Our first goal was to address the leak. Because the addition had a flat roof that had been tied in improperly, and because the tiled roof was showing its age, we knew a total replacement was in order. By dealing with the roof first, we were able to reframe the roof of the addition and create a cathedral ceiling in what would become the new master bathroom.
We installed CertainTeed Landmark Architectural shingles in Moire Black. These shingles carry a limited lifetime warranty, and are rated for wind speeds up to 110 mph. The gable ends of the new roof were finished with tan siding and trim that complemented the brick.
After a few conversations about what the homeowners envisioned for the interior, we got to work inside, creating a new master suite.
The bedroom received fresh paint and new Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring. Between the bedroom and the new master bath, we installed a barn door with obscured glass. This door style is great for rooms where there isn’t enough space for a traditional door to swing open. The obscured glass still allowed the light to shine through, while giving privacy to the adjoining bathroom.
The bathroom is a true showplace that represents the homeowner’s style. Starting at the top, the new cathedral ceiling makes the room feel much larger. Windows, along with specialty and accent lighting reflected in the double mirrors, keep the space bright. The homeowner found a vanity and two vessel sinks she loved. We added a Fantasy Brown granite countertop, and the same material was used for the bench and threshold in the shower.
We love the new shower! Several sizes and styles of tile were used to create a unique look. A niche was built for shampoo and soaps, and the space was finished with a custom glass enclosure.
A lighter shade of LVP was installed on the bathroom floor, in the new water closet, and in the walk-in clothes closet. Pale blue walls and bright white trim completed the makeover.
Our clients said, “The master suite is still as gorgeous as the day it was finished. It has become the topic of conversation with all visitors.”
We hope this space will continue to be a relaxing retreat for many years!
We love repeat clients! In the Spring of 2018, we were asked to update the exterior of this home in Hampton. A former rental property, the siding and trim were showing their age. The homeowner asked us to replace these, and to remove a failing back porch. The new exterior looks great, and it will give the homeowner a carefree exterior for years to come.
We were delighted to hear from Janet and her sister Francine when it came time to remodel the kitchen and family room. While the basic layout of the kitchen worked, the cabinets and countertops were dated and there simply wasn’t enough storage space. The kitchen also felt a bit closed off from the family room, separated by a peninsula and an upper cabinet.
First up – demo! In the kitchen, all the cabinets and fixtures were removed. The upper cabinet between the kitchen and family room was eliminated, creating a more open look between the two rooms. In the family room, the wood paneling and carpet were removed.
With the help of our kitchen designer, the sisters selected beautiful new birch cabinets in “Rouge”, brushed nickel knobs and handles, laminate countertops in “Kalahari Topaz”, and a stunning glass and shell mosaic tile for the new backsplash. Luxury vinyl tile replaced the original wood floor. Previously, the cabinetry had been limited to the area between the kitchen and family room, and along one wall. The new layout kept the peninsula between the two rooms, but deleted the upper cabinet. New cabinets were added along the back wall. The one next to the fridge even has a pull-out pantry for lots of food storage! New stainless steel appliances and range hood, and recessed lighting complete the look.
In the family room, the old fireplace had been removed during our earlier project, and a pellet stove was installed. For this phase, we removed the wood paneling, repaired or replaced the sheetrock as needed, and painted. The carpet was also removed, and a new laminate floor was installed. The new ceiling fan helps to keep the room comfortable year-round.
Janet and Francine have become favorites of our entire team, and we hope to work with them again soon!
Andy and Jackie had a great sunroom at their home in Newport News. The problem was, it was too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. Multiple sliding glass doors lining the walls leading out to the deck gave an unobstructed view, but they were very drafty.
In the kitchen, the homeowners wanted to update the countertops and sink, eliminate the raised breakfast bar, and add a new slide-in electric range.
New energy efficient windows and door were a must in the sunroom. We installed 10 new Low E/Argon filled double hung windows and one new sliding door. Above that door we also replaced the 3 picture windows and the arched window, keeping the same size and style of the originals. The entire room was painted, in the same cheerful yellow and white the homeowners loved.
The layout of the kitchen still worked for the homeowners, and the cabinets were in great shape, so they were left as-is. The laminate countertops and raised breakfast bar no longer worked, so they were replaced. The homeowners selected a beautiful Quartz countertop, with a new undermount sink and faucet, accented with a new tile backsplash. The single-level countertop allowed room for a new slide-in electric stove, while still providing a comfortable place for meals.
This sunroom update gave the homeowners a space that is now comfortable year-round, and the new energy efficient windows and door will save them money on their heating and cooling costs. The new Quartz countertop in the kitchen looks great and is much more functional.
Andy and Jackie tell us, “We were more than pleased with the sunroom and kitchen work. You have a good team that was a pleasure to work with and we will consider you for future projects.”
Thanks for your kind words! We enjoyed bringing these beautiful updates to your home!
Mark Lownik grew up in the the Running Man Neighborhood of York County. After College, his career took him to Connecticut where he met Jennifer and they started a family. In 2015, with his parents desiring to downsize, Mark found himself contemplating moving his family from New England back to the very neighborhood and to the very home that he had grown up in. We were referred to them in a quite round about fashion by a friend of a former client that had since moved to Florida. The circuitous route by which they found us proved to be a perfect introduction to a great family who proved fun to work with when we helped to bring their vision of their new home to life!
Mark & Jen Lownik had a unique opportunity to move back in to the house that Mark had grown up in but remodel it pursuant to a whole new vision. Jen envisioned removing a wall in between the kitchen and the den, remodeling the kitchen, installing new hardwood floors, removing and replacing the textured ceilings with smooth ceilings, re-designing the guest bathroom, laundry room and storage room and removing and replacing the stained trim in the house with new white trim.
Always Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing:
The key element to the entire project was the kitchen.
The cased opening between the existing kitchen and the dining room was so close to the corner of the kitchen that it did not allow for enough cabinet space. The doorway to the laundry room at the right end of the cabinets also limited how much cabinetry could be on the adjacent wall.
The existing kitchen in the house had a wall that separated it from the den (click on thumbnails for full size) :
Remove the wall to create an open floor plan, move both the opening to the dining room and the door to the new pantry area to maximize the amount of wall space that was available for cabinetry.
Where the wall had once existed, the view was now opened to the entire den:
Moving the openings allowed for much more base and wall cabinets:
(click on thumbnails for full size)
Rethinking the Garage Entry:
Another area that the Lownik’s wanted to reconfigure was the entry from the garage to the main house. The current entry was into the laundry room that also had a spare bathroom and a storage room off of it. (click on thumbnails for full size)
The existing floor layout looked like this:
We redesigned it to look like this:
Here are some of the pictures from during construction of the new pantry cabinets looking into the new bathroom area (click on thumbnails for full size) :
The Vision Realized
The final result was nothing short of a stunning transformation resulting in a completely different house at the same address.
Contrary to what Thomas Wolfe once wrote, Mark & Jen proved that you could go home again.
This is a kitchen we just finished in the Hidenwood neighborhood of Newport News, near Christopher Newport University and James River Country Club. We absolutely loved this project and our clients! If you’re interested in the complete list of everything we did on this project it is at the end of this article.
In the meantime you can watch the video slideshow or scroll down for the larger versions of some of the pictures so that you can really see the detail in each image!
Our Scope of Work for this Kitchen Remodel Project:
Demolish remove and dispose of:
Existing kitchen cabinets
Wet bar and wall cabinet
Existing sink and plumbing fixtures in both kitchen and wet bar
Existing trim on paneled walls
Existing cooktops and down drafts in both island and wetbar
Move HVAC register under toe-kick in base cabinet near dishwasher
Run new gas line to new cooktop location
Adjust plumbing supply and drain lines as necessary for kitchen sink and hook up new sink drain, attach disposal, hook up faucet, and attach dish washer drain line
Furnish and install new customer selected kitchen sink and faucet
KITCHEN FAUCET – quoted from Ferguson $209.62
LF 1HDL PO KITC FCT ARST 1.5 GPM
Furnish and install new customer selected wet bar sink and faucet
BAR FAUCETS -quoted from Ferguson $311.50
LF ALLEGRO BAR FCT 1.5 GPM
Hook up dishwasher supply line
Re-route ice maker supply line to new refrigerator location and hook up.
Our clients came to us with a dream for a sunroom addition where they could be comfortable and look out upon their gardens in which they enjoyed investing many hours and much care.
But how did it all come together? How did our clients progresss from concept to finished product? When we first met our clients they had clipped pictures from different magazines for inspiration. Each picture had a detail or an element they wanted included in their project. The pictures were very helpful in understanding the vision our clients had.
These are pictures I took of the magazine clips.
The rear of the house when we first saw it looked like this:
We commissioned Dave Dispirito from Homesite, Inc. for the design. Dave did a fantastic job of putting to paper the images our clients had in their heads. After several revisions to get it just right, work began on the room addition. (If you liked this room addition, you might also like this one: Family Room in Seaford)
First the footers were dug and poured:
The windows were custom made from Custom Vinyl Products with Low E/Argon energy efficient glass. The room was conditioned with a new mini-split air conditioner. The floor was tile. Interior lighting included sconces and ceiling fans with light kits.
We have a lot of fun on our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page ! Our fans never hold back with their opinions on what they like, what they would do differently or which kitchen or bath they prefer. We love hearing about it!
This picture was the most popular we posted in the month of February.
After a fair amount of research, we believe it was done by Greenview Homes in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Can you guess why it was the favorite? We think it’s because of the amazing unique perspective it was shot at! It showcases this newly remodeled kitchen so well! You can clearly see the hardwood floors, the backsplash, the range and oven, the different colors of the base and wall cabinets (some with glass cabinet doors) as contrasted with the island, not to mention the different color granite countertops of the perimeter counters and the island.
Here’s another perspective of the same kitchen:
Many kitchens these days are installing skylights to bring natural light into the most popular room in the house, whereas this kitchen enjoys a skylight type tunnel extending down from a dormer window. To supplement the natural light provided by the dormer window, the glass patio door and the window over the sink, the kitchen also has can lighting and a centerpiece light fixture.
If you like pictures of kitchen and other great remodels, we’ve got more than you’ve ever seen on our Facebook page! You can visit by CLICKING HERE!
This picture is of a kitchen that was certainly done well, but this time it’s not our work. We would love to know whose work it is to give full credit where it is due!
We asked the question “If you could have one thing from this picture in your kitchen what would you choose?” The answers from our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page Fans ranged from: the granite counter top, the huge stained wood window over the kitchen sink, the stainless kitchen sink, the natural light in the kitchen, the open shelving next to the kitchen cabinets, and the tile backsplash.
Open shelving is becoming increasing popular in today’s kitchen cabinets designs. Laura Gaskill advises the following on open shelving in kitchens:
Do: Think about what you use daily. As for the lower shelves, be practical about what you choose to place there. This is a good spot for favorite coffee mugs, everyday plates and bowls, and basic water glasses and wineglasses. If you find that not all of your everyday stuff fits on your shelves, put some away. Do you really use 30 mugs or wineglasses daily?Don’t: Put extremely heavy items on top shelves. Even if you rarely use that big, heavy pot or casserole dish, think twice before hoisting it onto the highest shelf. Lifting and lowering heavy items from high places can be unsafe, and even if your shelving is strong, open shelves in general are not meant to hold as much weight as regular cabinetry. Be on the safe side and stow your biggest pots down low.
Granite Countertops remain the popular choice for today’s kitchens. While they are still quite a bit more pricey than laminate countertops they are less expensive than Quartz. When shopping for a granite countertop, the #1 piece of advice we give our clients is to NEVER pick out your granite from a “swatch” of granite sample like you might for a paint color or carpet. Because granite is a natural product there is a lot of inconsistency from one piece to the next – also called “movement”. This is what make granite so stunning and each piece unique! You cannot begin to see what a given slab of granite will look like as your kitchen countertop unless you go down to the supplier and see the entire slab of granite. Reportedly, this is why the Big Box stores that sell kitchens and only have granite samples on hand, have as high as a 50% return rate by dissatisfied customers who picked their granite color from a small sample. Granite is beautiful, but as a best practice never pick your granite color from a sample, go select the full slab.
The tile backsplash in this picture is also unique and brings to mind the debate that we also hear from homeowners about tile backsplashes: should the tile come all the way down to the countertop or should there be a 4″ border of the same granite material? This is a very stongly opinionated subject among kitchen designers. Usually when you have strong opinions, they form from personal taste. What are we talking about exactly? Here are two pictures that illustrate the difference in how to install a tile backsplash and a granite countertop: with and without the 4″ granite border.
You’ll notice in the picture above, the electrical plates have not been installed yet. This picture was taken of a kitchen in the progress of installation, but we think it illustrates the detail of the backsplash well.
What about the window? Do you prefer a stained wood or a painted wood? Do you like grids in your windows or no grids? How about the size of the window? Can you have too much light in a kitchen? Would a different style window be better? Some of our clients don’t want to reach over the sink to lift the sash of a double hung window and enjoy a crank handle of a casement window.
There are so many details when designing your home improvements. We like to say “the hard work is done before the first nail is driven” because it’s all about the design. But the design can be a fun adventure and what make your remodel unique and special to you and your personal taste!
If you enjoy pictures and discussions like these, please give our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page a “Like” and join in the conversation! One fun thing about our Facebook Page, our Fans aren’t shy about voicing their opinions and there certainly are a range of preferences!
This picture was the most popular picture on our Facebook Page this month!
This picture is of a window seat that was certainly done well, but this time it’s not our work. We would love to know whose work it is to give full credit where it is due!
We have a lot of fun on our Facebook Page. Our fans are not shy about expressing their opinions both positive and negative on the various pictures and design ideas that we share of our work and other’s work. To see what the Buzz is about, Like us here: https://www.facebook.com/JimHicksHomePro.
What is it about built in cabinetry that makes it so popular? Is it the growing popularity of the kitchen becoming the social hub of the home? Is it because it’s a great place to sit and watch the weather outside or perhaps just read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee to start your day or glass of wine to end it? Is it the fact that built-ins such as these in the picture above make an efficient use of space with drawers under the seat that add to the storage space of the kitchen cabinets?
Built-in cabinetry can be done by a trim carpenter onsite or if matching the kitchen cabinets is desired, the cabinets can be built offsite at the same cabinet shop with the cabinets themselves and then installed at the same time as the cabinets. This allows for the use of the same species of wood as the cabinets as well as the same applied finish.
But built-in cabinetry isn’t just for the kitchen! All areas of the house can enjoy it’s craftsmanship and charm! Bathrooms, bedrooms, dens, hallways and even landings on stairways have benefited from the design of built-in cabinetry and seats. Design is key as the built-ins can be seamlessly integrated with the architecture and style of the home. We recently posted a picture of a well done window seat surrounded by book shelves that was very popular on the page as well. See it here: Window Seat with Built In Bookcase