Tolhouse Design

recent projects

Here are the pretty pictures. But, it’s important for you to understand my design thinking, and how each remodeling project is truly reflective of the clients’ vision and my design interpretation with consideration for functionality and esthetics.

Wall Removal

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Do you have a home that was built before open concept spaces were today’s most sought after design element?

By removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, L & R got a beautiful new space that included a new island where the grandchildren can all sit to snack. The built-in banquette accommodates meals for the whole family, while providing lots of additional storage including deep drawers underneath the bench seating.

A bonus with this solution is the amount of beautiful daylight that fills the entire area, thanks to the two existing windows; neither of which were noticed before the renovation. Just look at how they highlight the beautiful granite countertops and sparkling subway tiles.

Contemporary Concept

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V & T are fabulous do-it-yourselfers, with excellent taste and a European sense of style. Having redone every other room in the house, the kitchen was the only one left to tackle. I was happy to help them with a conceptual plan that I knew would result in an amazing new space. Again, this was an older home with a small kitchen and small adjacent dining room. Since they had already remodeled their family room, the original living room could be used for large family meals, and the kitchen and dining rooms could be combined into one large space.

Based on one of my conceptual designs, they created this gorgeous, contemporary space, selecting all of the materials and finishes and doing the remodeling work themselves, including relocation of windows and installing new hardwood floors. Wow!

Design Orientation Change for Two Cooks

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I joined this kitchen remodeling project half way through a whole house renovation. The new owners both love to cook and were dismayed to find the original plan squeezing the entire eating, prep and cleanup area into a third of the room, with the rest of the space planned for a counter with stools, a table with chairs and the dining room around the corner. Way too much space for eating and not nearly enough for these two cooks to happily function!

My new design reoriented and enlarged the island, creating plenty of space for prep, clean up as well as seating for two or three for casual diners. Unique to this space is the absence of upper cabinets, not needed thanks to an adjacent pantry, original to the home. Wide aisles accommodate two cooks and visually open the space. The base cabinets store items within easy access for food preparation: condiments and spices, cooks tools, cutting boards and cookie sheets, and pull outs for the trash and easy access to pots and pans. A free-standing armoire is used for storage of all dry foods, incorporating the feel of a furnished room. I was able to include all of their desired appliances (including a steam oven) and wine storage over an extra deep counter area. Did you notice where the two ovens are tucked into a space what was once a teeny, tiny powder room?

Murano Glass

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While not the most obvious part of this remodel, the beautiful Murano glass pendants over the island are certainly the most special and personal part of the room. They are actually candy dishes, discovered at the glass factory during a trip to Italy, that were custom made for exactly this use.

More obvious is the amount of space L & G now have to cook and entertain with the removal of a wall and the relocation of some windows. At first glance you see only the beautiful cabinetry with its fine detailing. Upon closer examination, you will find all of the luxury amenities that make this a highly functional kitchen such as double ovens, dishwasher drawers, a six-burner gas cooktop and custom hood surround. Other hidden gems include an out of sight microwave tucked inside a cabinet with a door, a heavy stand mixer on a lift, and a pull out pantry.

A New White Kitchen

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Created with a gentle nod toward English country traditional design, this kitchen remodel included enlarging the eat-in seating area and adding a much-needed mudroom to corral the dog as she came in from the back yard during rain and snow. The cabinets are simple shaker in style in a soft shade of white. The wall cabinets are purposely not designed to go to the ceiling to relate the idea of an unfitted kitchen, and the simple cooktop hood was custom crafted. The island, which houses cookbooks at one end, is a contrasting color to look like a different piece of furniture. The countertops, however, are the same dark blue granite to tie the room together. A freestanding bookcase is used as storage for dry pantry goods. The new sitting room has large windows that capture lots of natural light and the wooded backyard.

Powder Room

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This square box of a room was originally planned to be a non-descript place to house the washer and dryer with room for miscellaneous storage. The original half bath on the main living level was tucked behind a kitchen wall with a footprint of about 36 inches wide and not much longer!

It is now transformed into a bright, inviting powder room with bold wallpaper, refinished hardwood floors, new millwork with a new sink, faucet and toilet that all reflect the style of the home. Hidden discreetly behind the door are a stacked, high efficiency washer and dryer that are unseen unless in use.

Upstairs Guest Bathroom

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A petite space that needs to have the functionality of a full bath with a tub, the vanity is trimmed to a depth of 18”, and the single lever faucet is placed to the right of the under mount sink saving additional space. The glass shower surround opens site lines through the room. Classic white subway tile further brightens the room, while the slate-like porcelain tile is set on a diagonal to draw the eye in. A decorative mirror and colorful artwork add to the appeal.

Master Suite Bathroom

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Another tiny half bath was enlarged to a full bath with shower by building out approximately 48” into the sitting room of the master bedroom suite. If you look closely at the ceiling height change, you will see where the original bathroom ended. A window was added, and the original door and millwork were reused.

The new shower includes a handheld shower with slide bar, separate temperature and water flow adjustments and two body sprays. A tiled nook is a seat, a place to rest legs while shaving and/or easy access to bath and body products.