Innovative Design Solutions

Custom walnut-top kitchen island.
Photograph by Shanna Wolf

We recently worked with a wonderful couple who wanted to remodel parts of their home in the Country Grove Estate neighborhood. Their primary goals were improving the layout and look of the home. Though having over a combined 2,000 square feet of finished space, the rooms seemed small and dark. The homeowners had three improvements in mind.

• Eliminate the fireplace
• Enlarge the island
• Replace the flooring on the entire first floor

When the homeowners purchased the house, they acquired a four-sided fireplace that occupied a 10 by 10-foot area separating the kitchen from the family room, and a 24 by 36-inch island in the kitchen that was too small and inefficient. They explained that they never used the fireplace, and it took up space they felt could be better used to extend the island. They wanted an open, comfortable space for entertaining, and to update the overall look of the house.

At our first meeting, we discussed the basics to get an idea of our client’s wants and needs, their likes and dislikes, and ultimately the desired impact on their day-to-day living. We also got a more complete understanding of the homeowners’ fun-loving personality, style, and how they would be using their home.

After discussing options, we explained the order of each step in the remodeling process and the importance of a complete plan before starting renovations. It boils down to saving money and time by avoiding mistakes that are often made without a plan. After some discussion, they realized that the areas that bothered them were too important for a quick band-aid solution. So the design plan began, and we presented them with three floor plans to see which approach would be best for them.

This was a difficult floor plan to work with. Every time we took a step forward in the process, we ran into a roadblock—until we considered a scullery (a small kitchen or room at the back of a house used for washing dishes and other dirty household work).

“We had three or four other designers come in over the years to give us ideas for remodeling our first floor. We didn’t find any of them could solve our problem areas, and they were always variations of the same thing. Deb proposed options that took us out of our comfort zone to find the right solution. We had seen other projects completed by Deb and her staff at DC Interiors & Renovations and talked with homeowners that had worked with her, so we had confidence in their ability to make our home as beautiful as their other projects.”

As we started going over drawings, we struck out on the first two, as expected. They weren’t exactly alike, but similar to what other designers had presented. We moved on to the third plan—we were very excited to share this one. It was a unique plan that incorporated a scullery and the perfect solution to their problem areas. As we presented the plan, their eyes lit up in excitement and they said, “This is perfect.”

“However, we did second-guess our decision to go with the final plan right up until we started to see progress in the space and could actually visualize it. Deb’s confidence in the scullery idea really sold us on that design.”

We celebrated the close of the design process and discussed a timeline for construction. The homeowners were anxious to bring the design to life, so we quickly started the construction process. Two months later, we were considered family by their dog, Yadi, and we completed the remodel. Yadi was patiently waiting for us to place the new furniture so he could resume lying in his special spot on the back of the sofa.

“After we had our first party, I must say the remodel exceeded our expectations for a comfortable, efficient, and beautiful space. Everyone was completely surprised with the scullery and everyone was blown away with the concept. The comments were ‘Thanks…now we’ve got to redo our kitchen to add a scullery.’ Thank you so much for the ideas and the new friendship.”

Deb Corning is a designer and general contractor at DC Interiors & Renovations.

DC Interiors & Renovations
3000 Cahill Main, Suite 215
Fitchburg, WI 53711