Work in Progress | Phase One: Structural, Architectural, & Room Layout Challenges

I’m delighted to launch a three-part series called “Work in Progress” that provides a sneak peek at a project mid-renovation.  We design enthusiasts are often only privy to the end product of a renovation, but we all love seeing what things looked like not only before a project started, but also mid-way through.  I wanted to share some candid images of a recent home renovation – from floor plans to construction and selection of furniture and furnishings.

Our client, a young family, bought their first home on Philadelphia’s tony “Main Line.”  The house is a classic, mid-century, center-hall-colonial, with great bones and oodles of potential. It was previously owned by empty-nesters who had raised a family there.  Our charge:  update and ready it for 21st century living.  We designed and implemented a top to bottom renovation of the house, including a complete gutting of the kitchen, the addition of a small but essential mudroom, and a large bank of built-ins in the family room.

We’ll start in the entry, which had an outdated door and minimal artificial (i.e. not “natural”/outdoor) lighting.  We wanted to create a more dramatic and cheerful entrance.

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We added faux wainscoting (which is much simpler and less costly than full wood paneling), painted the walls in super high gloss navy blue, and added more lighting to make this otherwise dark space feel bright, welcoming, and chic.

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Foyer-2We also added a pop of red on the brand new front door, as well as beautiful new brass hardware

Front Door-inside

The kitchen posed a significant challenge.  Of course, kitchens are always complex because they have to both look amazing and function optimally – particularly due to how most people live today.  Function and form don’t always peacefully coexist, so I’m always working to ensure that both are considered carefully before we settle on a decision.  I think we handled this delicate balance very well in this space and made the most of every opportunity we could find.  Not a square inch was wasted, yet the kitchen doesn’t feel crowded or overworked.

Here are a couple of shots of the existing space –  dated and dark with traditional wood cabinetry.

Old Kitchen

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We decided to start anew with a gut renovation to open and brighten the space up and make it feel more connected to the other living spaces in the house.  We knocked down a wall that separated the kitchen from what had been a library/den space.  That really got the ball rolling and immediately changed the entire character of the kitchen.

Here’s a view of the main kitchen area during renovation.  The cabinets are custom (handmade right here in PA), the countertops are honed marble carrara (note the amazing slab of honed marble on the large island), and the appliances are  top of the line – Miele, Sub-Zero, and Wolf.

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Kitchen-island

Wherever possible, we took cabinetry to the ceiling and added a simple crown moulding to help elevate the room and make it feel even more spacious.  We also added recessed lighting which always makes a huge difference in how a room feels and in a kitchen is essential for functionality.

Kitchen-range

To keep things classic and simple, we used 3×6 white subway tile for the backsplash.  It’s a classic look, available at almost every price point.

Kitchen-storage

While the size of the kitchen did not allow for a traditional walk-in pantry, we added a large custom pantry cabinet with plenty of room to store all of our client’s dry goods and other cooking essentials.

In the main living areas of the house, our primary challenge was the space between the family and living rooms.  The family room had to function as the family’s main hang-out space and their daughter’s playroom.  I wanted the living room to feel a bit more separate and formal and for the adjacent family room to feel cozy with it’s own character.  The previous homeowners installed heavy drapes between these two rooms, but the rooms were still very open to one another.

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We decided to make the opening between the two rooms smaller and add pocket doors so the owner’s could close off the spaces entirely for entertaining or containment of curious “wee” ones.  We also created a deep, paneled “mini-hallway” between the two rooms to give the transition a sense of grandeur and architectural interest and integrity. I think the new doorway looks as if it’s always been there – it’s still much larger than the average doorway, but not so much so that the two rooms bleed entirely into one another.

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In the family room we added custom wall to wall custom built-ins which allow for maximum storage and functionality. They also are versatile enough to carry the family through many years.  While the cabinets currently house baby toys, they will easily transition to a space for board games and school books.  It’s important to design-forward and think about what the next 5,10,15 years plus of a family’s life will be like in a space.  Ideally, the rooms I design will hold up so  only tweaks are required rather than complete overhauls as children grow and lives change.

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Stay tuned for our next post!  We’ll share details on the process behind selecting the furniture and furnishings.

categories: News

Top Decor Trends in 2015

As we head  into the new year, Mona recently shared her predictions for the most popular decor trends  with Matouk’s “The Thread” blog.

Mona’s 2015 decor predictions include an increased interest in the “woodland creature” look, a return to black and white, and a more nuanced look that reflects our increased access sources around the globe.

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Check out the complete post here.

 

categories: News

House of Turquoise Feature!

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Thank you Erin for featuring Mona’s colorful dining room with its pops of turquoise on House of Turquoise!

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“Really it can’t get any happier than the Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper…love all the colors! The host chairs covered in the turquoise China Seas fabric are gorgeous too, as is the collection of plates and glassware!”

 

categories: News

Mona Ross Berman on Adorno

 

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Check out Mona’s feature on Adorno.  Formed in 2012 with its eye on interior design, Adorno Magazine offers original, engaging articles and stunning photography from world-class designers, artists, stylists and chefs.  Adorno features the latest in home design, exclusive shopping, culinary talent and inspired art from around the globe.

Adorno interviewed Mona for its Five on Fridays column.  Mona talks about what drives her as she creates uniquely classic, yet contemporary designs laced with layered textiles and the perfect punch of color.

 

categories: Press

Interview with Pennsylvania Homes

Check out Mona’s interview, Understanding the Interior Design Process on Pennsylvania Homes, one of the top sites for Pennsylvania homes for sale, including Downingtown, PA real estate. Pennsylvania Homes also services Connecticut homes for sale and North Carolina homes for sale.

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Work-out Your Home

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We’re very excited to partner with Lauren Boggi and the team at Lithe to share tips on how to “work-out” your home.   Check outMona’s advice on Lithe’s FitHipHealthy blog on how to upgrade your home without breaking the bank.

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Mona Ross Berman in Best of Philly!

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Philadelphia Magazine selected Mona Ross Berman as “Best Office Designer” in its annual “Best of Philly” list.

Says Philadelphia Magazine, Mona “deftly combines happy colors with efficient, ergonomic setups…she’ll rework a company’s HQ and streamline your kitchen desk nook.”

Page 2 Phila Mag

 

categories: News

CBS Philly Features Mona Ross Berman

Mona recently chatted with CBS Philly to share her top five tips for shopping for home decor on a budget.

Check out Mona’s advice here!

 

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The Rebirth of Floral!

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After the long, dreary winter many of us have endured, there seems to be a collective gravitational pull in the direction of all things bright, sunny, and cheery. Our homes are no exception. What better way to do that than with flowers?

See more of Mona’s comments on the rebirth of floral in our homes at Matouk’s blog, “The Thread.”

categories: Press

Matouk - Orange Crush

Matouk Orange Crush

 

Mona comments on “orange crush” for Matouk.

 

categories: Press