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Season 2 Episode 6: This One’s a Home Run
Michelle and Phil
Michelle and Phil are one of the few Hidden Potential families who called us needing help with DOWNSIZING. They recently moved houses to be closer to their children and grandchildren and, while they want their home to be a gathering place for all, it is also a smaller house than they had before and they need help maximizing the space in order to accommodate their two passions: cooking Italian food (for friends and family) and watching sports (with friends and family).
We wanted this home to represent Michelle and Phil’s unadulterated enthusiasm for friends, food, and sports. To accomplish that, we needed to rework the front yard into an inviting neighborhood sports zone, redo the kitchen to represent the homeowners’ tastes and lifestyle, and pull the whole house together into one, cohesive, family fun zone complete with a custom scoreboard and surround sound.
So: Michelle can’t stand brick. She feels about brick the way that Lakers fans feel about the Celtics. Needless to say, the exterior brick accents HAD to go. So did the overgrown, prickly landscaping, in order to make way for a sports-centric front yard. It was time to turn this nondescript property into the new neighborhood sports hub.
Here are some really fun Before and Afters of this house. The Befores aren’t anything to run away from screaming, but the Afters just speak to the homeowners’ tastes and passions in a way that gives me all the happy house feels.
S2 E6 Exterior BA
The Home Run House is a good example of how to work your passions into your home design without crossing over the line into cheesy, weird, or residential-theme-park territory. This house suits the homeowners’ needs by thoughtfully incorporating classic materials and design schemes that support, instead of inhibiting, their lifestyle goals. And, it’s just so much fun! I wonder if they’d be up for adopting a 35 year-old home builder into their family? I want to play, too! Put me in, coach!
S2 E6 Exterior
Special Project | Custom Scoreboard: This was such a fun project that anyone can do, and it’s just one more added incentive (not that they need one) to round up the neighbors and grandkids to PLAY BALL!
Special Project | Sporty Storage Bench: This sports bench was a custom design, and was built by local carpenter Dan Cook of Cook Finish Carpentry. It acts as both a set of bleachers to cheer from, and a place to safely store away, and easily access, balls and sports equipment. Batter up!
S2 E6 Kitchen BA
As you can see from the Before and After photos, this kitchen was extremely taste-specific when the homeowners purchased the home; the problem being, it was not at all specific to THEIR tastes, but to that of the previous homeowners. The “merlot spill” countertops, and dark, dated cabinetry did nothing to invite lively, daytime family gatherings, and the layout of the kitchen did not maximize seating options or counter space. For a food, family, and Sunday sports-oriented family, this simply would not do.
Here is a list of things that needed to be removed:
- Dated skylight
- Yellowed light fixtures
- Wall between the kitchen and the living room
- Crown molding
- Dated cabinets
- Wine-stain countertops
Here is a list of things to be added:
- Huge kitchen island with lots of storage and prep space
- Double oven (for double the lasagne)
- Updated cabinetry
- Brighter, lighter, kid-friendly decor
- Line of sight to giant television in the living room
We installed engineered hardwood flooring throughout the home, with 7.5″ wide wire brushed birch planks. It is durable, beautiful, and timeless.
Cabinets & Hardware
Even though the homeowners were downsizing, having a kitchen large enough to accommodate large family gatherings was extremely important to them. By reconfiguring the layout of the downstairs, and removing a wall and a major support post, we were able to add an entire wall of cabinets, plus a giant kitchen island to this most important of rooms.
Plumbing & Appliances
Timeless and functional. We kept these two words in mind when selecting the plumbing fixtures and appliances for this home. Of course, with Italian food fanatics like our homeowners, a pot filler was an absolute MUST. Also imperative: a double oven for all those baked ziti and calzone-type of nights. Oh, and a Smart Fridge, because you need to know if you’re running low on salsa or onion dip when there’s a big game coming up.
Countertops & Backsplash
Calcatta Carrara-Look quartz and bright white, glossy, ceramic subway tile helped to brighten up what was previously a dark and solemn room.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
We wanted to keep this kitchen feeling spacious, and welcoming, while also making sure to keep the majority of work surfaces clear and functional. Pendant lights were hung at a certain height so as to not obstruct sight lines during game time. Can, pendant, and sconce lighting were all used to keep the space as bright and well-lit as possible. I mean, you can’t be making Grandma’s homemade bolognese sauce in the dark!
S2 E6 Kitchen
Special Project | Hidden Storage Solutions: When a family loves to cook this much, there needs to be a place for everything, and everything in its place. That’s why we had Micah Girelli of Girelli Woodworking build these custom storage solutions for all the spices, sauce pans, and satay knives you could ever need.
- Handy Hidden Cutting Boards: A busy chef always needs several cutting boards within reach when prepping food. Then, these can be easily tucked away when not needed.
- Hidden Knife Storage: This busy Grandma can have peace of mind that all the knives are stored safely out of her grandchildren’s reach!
- Under Counter Pull Out Spice Rack: In the words of Vanilla Extract, “Spice, spice, baby.”
The Living Room
S2 E6 Living Room BA
This living room Before looked like a dated stone aerobics studio, with its cold, echoey floors and mirrored walls. On top of that, we all know how Michelle feels about brick, which means fireplaces are a NO-GO! We don’t often get asked to remove fireplaces from living rooms, but when your client hates them, you find a way to make it happen. It just happens to be an added bonus that, by removing the fireplace, we were able to make way for a huge, flat screen television, which for this family was non-negotiable.
S2 E6 Living Room
Special Project | Converted Coffee Table: I wanted to incorporate some sports-related items into the decor, but didn’t want the home feeling like a gymnasium, or sports hall-of-fame. I found these super unique vintage lockers at one of my favorite picking spots, Through the Porthole, and a lightbulb went off in my head. Bing! Coffee table! Yup: I wanted to convert the vintage lockers into a brand new coffee table for Michelle and Phil, complete with caster wheels for portability, and a wooden top to warm up and domesticate the piece.
Converted Coffee Table
The Dining Room
Where there once was an aerobics studio, there is now a peaceful respite from the busy kitchen and crowds of cheering fans in the living room. Pull up a seat, and get yourself a drink from the bar. “What bar?” you might ask. Well, my friends, do you really think I would just go ahead and put a bar right out in the open when I could hide it behind a wall and then create a custom wall treatment to help disguise the doors? I mean, come on! This show is called Hidden Potential, people!
S2 E6 Dining Room
Special Project | Secret Wet Bar: Where there used to be a mirrored wall, there is now a beautiful accent wall, custom-built in a chevron pattern by Candi Giardi of Urban Wall Designs. And if a chevron batten wall doesn’t speak your language maybe this will: secret bar. I’m whispering here because it is a secret. But I’m telling you about it because it’s so much fun! Don’t tell anyone I told you. Pinky swear? Okay, good.
S2 E6 Secret Wet Bar
Shop the Look
This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
Chevron Wall Treatment (Dining Room): Urban Wall Design | Hidden Kitchen Storage Solutions: Girelli Designs