Transforming a Family Home into an Empty Nester

AFTER: Living room looking into the kitchen area.
Photograph by S.Photography/Shanna Wolf

Originally built 20 years ago, the home had been sufficient for a young couple with five children. Like most young parents, they built the home for volume and necessity. But now that the children were in high school, college, and beyond, the clients’ wish was to transform the home into a finely detailed retreat where they could not only relax in warm cozy spaces, but also entertain an expanded family or group of friends.

It made more sense for the clients to add the higher-end details, finishes, and amenities that were not in the original build budget rather than uprooting and moving to obtain them. It would be a renovation that would turn a maximized-for-space structure into an elegant home that would also serve as a comfortable retreat.

The design team consisted of John Kohl of John Kohl Builder, LLC; Laurie Lodholz, ASID, and Tricia Raab of Laurie Driscoll Interiors, Inc.; and Rick Hoekstra of Kitchen Ideas Center. The design team transformed a large portion of the main level to make it flow and fit the clients’ needs and desires. The spaces included the foyer, powder bath, living room, kitchen/pantry, butler’s pantry, and dining room. On the second floor, changes were made to the master suite to make the space a special retreat from the rest of the house.

Every remodel should enhance the lives of the users by increasing the functionality of the home. To meet the objectives for this project, the design team:

• Created a better traffic flow in the kitchen with one large simplified island and sensible separation of some functions, like the coffee and beverage area, which is now in the butler pantry.

• The master bath was transformed into a calming retreat. A large clunky tub was replaced with a spa-style soaking tub.

• A custom-sized recessed niche and shelves were included in the master shower.

• Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring replaced old tile and wood flooring. LVP is easier to keep clean than wood, which was a preference of the clients. All flooring was provided by Sergenian’s.

• The new kitchen lighting design allows the space to be alive and bright or gentle and refined, whichever is required at any given time. Recessed task lighting combined with larger decorative fixtures at the island and breakfast area help define those spaces, creating pleasant and functional zones and making them cozier in the large kitchen area. The lighting designer was Mitch Conklin of Luce Lighting and Design, LLC.

• Built-in storage for china, crystal, and wine was added to the dining room. Being able to store these items in the room they’re most frequently used was a request by the clients.

Form follows function, and a successful remodel also enhances the beauty of the home. The design team incorporated the following for this project:

• At the foyer, the huge space had to be more inviting without compromising the grandeur of the high ceiling. This was accomplished by adding truss beams.

• The clients wanted to be able to comfortably seat large groups of people. This meant being innovative with furniture design, including adding a new built-in banquette at the kitchen area.

• A fresh, updated palette was needed. Grey is still a very popular color, but the current trend is for warmer neutrals. Warm greys and beiges were used with powerful accent colors to create a fresh, elegant setting.

These homeowners came into the start of their empty nester phase with a vision, and it paid off. They now have a beautiful home with the potential to be as lively as when their kids had friends over. Because they hired experts who put their needs and wants front and center, the homeowners live in a retreat that’s the place everyone will look forward to visiting for years to come.

Laurie Lodholz is the owner of Laurie Driscoll Interiors, LLC.

Photographs by S.Photography/Shanna Wolf.

John Kohl Builder, LLC

Kitchen Ideas Center

Laurie Driscoll Interiors, Inc.

Luce Lighting and Design, LLC