My clients own a historical home built in 1913 in Shaker Heights. A center hallway runs the length of the house, originally with a long living room on one side and a dining room and small kitchen on the other. My clients wanted us to create a new floor plan to accommodate the activities of their growing family. They wanted an updated kitchen that would enable them to interact with their five-year-old twins during meal preparation; a mudroom that was child-friendly; a half-bath near the back entrance that the children could access readily, and a built-in desk near the mudroom and children’s play areas.

The solution was to flip the living room and kitchen spaces, creating a large kitchen/family room in the space previously occupied by the living room, with granite countertops and built-in seating in front of the fireplace. We turned the old kitchen into a cozy living room with an entertainment center. We removed the old half-bath to make way for the writing desk and installed a new half-bath adjacent to the back entrance. We created a passageway connecting the mudroom off the back entrance to the center hallway. The windows and wood siding surrounding the back entrance were chanced to match the existing house.

More About The Project

After

The north wall of the new kitchen features base cabinets with drawers to hold baking and cooking pans and upper cabinet storage for dishware and glasses. The countertops are made from 3-cm Juparana Bordeaux granite with eased edges. The Kohler sink features a Whitehaus faucet. The cook top is Jenn Air.

Before

This is the north wall of the old living room. The adjacent room was a poorly heated den accessible only from the living room and a malfunctioning back entrance door.

After

The built-in seating in front of the fireplace enables guests to chat with my clients during meal preparation. On the east wall is a Jenn Air oven with a pantry and a closet housing a TV set. Beyond the oven wall is the new mudroom.

Before

The old south wall of the living room featured a wood-burning fireplace flanked by casement windows. The fireplace is the focal point of the new kitchen.

After

The children can play in the west end of the kitchen while meals are being prepared. We installed task lighting under the upper cabinets to illuminate the countertops regardless of the available natural light. The pendant lights and fireplace sconces by Rejuvenation are nickel-plated to complement the hardware original to the house. The original white oak floors were refinished and custom-stained.

Before

This view of the old south and west walls shows the original two-piece crown molding and wraparound windows that provide natural light.

After

We replaced the back door with an Andersen simulated divided light French wood door. We installed a half-bath next to the back door so children could run inside from playing and not go through the house with muddy feet.

Before

The old den was poorly heated and had a malfunctioning door that was difficult for the children to open and close. A previous homeowner installed the awning windows and interior and exterior casings that did not match the architecture of the house.

After

The new mudroom features built-in closets for coats and the children’s toys and games, a bench where the children can sit while putting on and removing shoes and boots, storage bins under the bench and a passageway connecting the mudroom to the center hallway.

Before

My clients wanted the awning windows on the south wall replaced with new windows trimmed to match the home`s original windows.

During

New south wall windows being trimmed to match existing.

After

Above the desk are built-in cabinets and shelves. Notice we repeated the two-piece crown molding that my client treasured so much in the original living room.

During

This photo shows the old window in the old half-bath. We removed the window in preparation for the new writing desk area.

After

We removed the carpeting from the stairs, removed the tile from the center hall, old kitchen, and back hall. The original white oak floor was repaired and refinished.

Before

Previous homeowners had covered the original white oak floors in the center hall and old kitchen with white ceramic tile.

After

The old kitchen was made into the new living room. We moved and widened the doorway between the rooms, added crown molding to match the molding in the dining room and replaced the tiled floor with white oak flooring.

Before

The old kitchen had a narrow doorway to the dining room.

After

The new back entrance shows the drip edge, casement window, and the new back step that we installed. Stucco was used to match the rest of the house. The results are quite pleasing.

Before

The exterior view of the old den shows the mixture of awning windows and vertical wooden siding that did not match the stucco and windows elsewhere on the house.

Last year we had the pleasure of working with Robert Schwarz, CR, of R. B. Schwarz, Inc for the remodeling project of the entire first floor of our home which included:

1. Moving our kitchen from one side of the house to the other in order to maximize space.

2. Converting an old sun porch to a family friendly mud room with lots of closets for storage.

3. Moving a half-bath into the mud room, not an east task due to the fact that this is on a concrete slab foundation.

4. Creating a cozy living room from an old, small kitchen.

5. Moving and enlarging the opening between the new living room and the dining room.

6. Refinishing and installing new wood floors so the entire space would have a cohesive appearance.

The project went very smoothly due to the contractors detailed planning, high quality craftsmanship, and strong work ethic. Robert has a great working relationship with all of his subcontractors and has worked with them for many years. This helped to get the project moving along in a timely manner. We could always get a handle of our project progress since Robert was in constant contact with us either in person, on the phone, or via e-mail. Robert`s project management skills made what could have been a very stressful time into an easy transition due to his pleasant, approachable manner.

We would be happy to use R. B. Schwarz, Inc in the future for any construction project and be a reference for others.

Owner