Fixed Transition

AFTER: Sitting room
Photograph provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens

With each passing design trend, countless homes plunge further into the void of black-and-white checkered tile, lattice batten molding, and 70s high-school-textbook wallpaper. Though these elements work for some individuals and homes, they certainly aren’t for everyone, and that’s especially true when done in excess. Recently, Dream House Dream Kitchens took on updating an older Maple Bluff home, creating something contemporary while finding a balance with choice retro integrations.

“The house as originally built was pretty traditional,” says Jerry Schmidt, sales director for Dream House Dream Kitchens. “And a big goal of ours was to make the house more of what we like to call transitional. It has some of the traditional design touches and features, but it’s more new-age clean.” In terms of trends, it’s the look most people are into these days. “It sets you up for different furniture and artwork, and the soft goods you put in the room are going to really push what the feel is versus making all the built-ins in this house strictly traditional. It gives the home some flexibility.”

Along with implementing the complementing features that make up transitional design, the house had a flow problem to address. Immediately upon entering the home, a sitting room off to the right was often glossed over by visitors. Now, thanks to bright flooring and white ceiling beams, there’s continuity to the space being part of the house. The dark color of the coffer ceiling and walls provide warmth to a room meant for relaxation.

Behind the entrance staircase is a spacious kitchen. “The original kitchen was pretty small,” says Jerry. “We took the kitchen and the fireplace sitting room and combined the two of them to allow us to put in the larger kitchen space.” It would prove a labor-intensive decision to embrace the open-floor concept—they had to work with an engineer when it came to moving the wall and ceiling beams—but the result is something that pulls guests into the house, emphasized by an extended countertop on the kitchen island with comfortable bar seating.

The kitchen leads to a dining room with a 12-pane, floor-to-ceiling window. Here, a tray ceiling, board-and-batten molding, and contrasting color scheme are highlighted by blended natural and artificial lighting. There’s also a built-in hutch for dishware.

Following the house’s flow to the sunroom, “We retiled the floor, added that beadboard to the ceiling, and then replaced all the windows with larger window units to create an atrium feel back there.” It’s a great place to have after-dinner or afternoon cocktails with friends and family. The room now serves as a structural element for the addition on the upstairs master suite.

Bedrooms, a guest room, and the master suite take up nearly all the space on the second floor along with four bathrooms and a laundry nook. Each room takes on a practical identity. For example, the guest bathroom has a stylish simplicity with exposed plumbing fixtures and no cabinetry. Guests stay for a night or a weekend, so why take up space with unnecessary built-in storage?

The master suite certainly saw the largest transformation, considering almost half of the space didn’t exist previously. Large enough to function as a second living and sitting area, the master bedroom feels like a resort room with a view and direct access to the second-story deck.

Transitional design is showcased without reservation in the master bathroom, complete with steam shower and stunning double vanity. “Design-wise, I wouldn’t say people are doing more modern, but just kind of simplified, clean lines; nice updated fixtures; but nothing too over the top. Nothing too gaudy. The freestanding tub achieves that because it takes up less space and looks cleaner. We were able to put tile across the back wall too, which turned out pretty badass. Definitely dials up the room a little bit as far as the style.”

Each room uses past design elements as a backdrop to highlight the geometric blank-canvas quality of modern design, resulting in something that can reflect and evolve with the homeowner. Some rooms take liberty with wallpaper choices and light fixtures, but nothing foundational is holding back any room’s potential. Oftentimes, larger homes can feel like multifamily homes, having distinct separations between shared spaces. Thanks to the experience and vision of Dream House Dream Kitchens, everything connects. Everything feels lived in. No dead space, no museum offshoots, just functional space.

Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor and writer for Home Elements & Concepts.

Photographs provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens.

Dream House Dream Kitchens
5117 Verona Road
Madison, WI 53711