In 2020, our friend and associate, designer Hannah Dee, called us in to renovate a 1960s split-level ranch in Northeast Philadelphia. This is a great, fun, easy-to-live-in house that is near and dear to Hannah’s heart, as it belongs to one of her close family members.
Generally speaking, the house was in pretty good shape, having been maintained and improved over the years, but it needed some 21st century updates and a great whole house design to pull it all together. With whole house design, we listen to how the homeowner wants to use each space, we observe how the spaces flow together, and we make adjustments to improve them both functionally and aesthetically. Having lived in the house for decades, this family had built many memories and collected pieces of cherished mid-century furniture and artwork. While some items were donated to museums and charities, others were scheduled to return to the house when it was done, so a big part of our task was to create spaces for these beloved items to be used and enjoyed.
- In the laundry room, we knew the client wanted a colorful and cheerful space to fold laundry and store supplies for her four large dogs. Tamara designed a high folding table with storage below for the pet items to replace the full height storage closet, letting the light in and helping the laundry room feel bigger. In this same space, Hannah selected bright colors, patterned fabric, and a painted floor inspired by the works of Matisse.
- We added site-built cabinets at the stairs to the laundry to display other special items.
- In the colorful kitchen, we opened the wall to the dining room and corrected some structural issues that had caused the ceiling to drop, working hard to design solutions that hid all the structural supports. With the wall open to the dining room, the room is light and airy — a bonus for the display shelves we built to showcase our client’s collectibles.
- We removed the multiple heating systems and added one new heat and air conditioning system. Removing all the baseboard radiators that were popular when these houses were originally built freed up wall space. We re-wired the house and added new lighting and modern outlets.
- We remodeled the two baths and powder rooms, making sure each felt open and light with all new fixtures, fittings, and finishes.
- We updated the master closet with custom storage designed for the client.
- We removed the hollow doors typically used in these mid-century houses with upgraded shaker-style panel doors that are finished with the black-and-white color theme of the house.
- Updating all the rooms in the house allowed for custom touches for the client while we brought in all of the behind-the-walls upgrades.
This project, like most, was shut down when COVID hit. As we were allowed to return, we managed the many new working rules, supply chain issues, and other delays, and love seeing the bright and cheerful completed project. We are so happy to finally be able to share finished project photos with you. Tamara and Hannah love collaborating on projects like this for clients. It was nice to work together for family on this one — especially during such trying times!