Lake Ellyn Home Realizes Its Potential


Working with this client was so much fun the first time around, we were thrilled when they called to say they were considering moving across town and might need some help with a bit of design work at the new house.

“We wanted to work with a full-service designer who would also function as GC and handle all logistics from start to finish. And we wanted a kitchen “expert,” who had lots of experience. From the beginning, we absolutely loved working with Susan and her team! Even in the very first conversation, we felt like they really listened and tried to understand our vision and priorities. They got to know our personal style and design preferences and then elevated our ideas to an even better finished space than we could have imagined! Susan was very direct and clear with what we could expect of the project from start to finish. There were no changes in cost or design that we did not feel we understood and had the right to approve or not. Everyone warned us that working with contractors on a project like this would be really difficult, and that we should plan on it taking twice as long and costing twice as much as we had planned. That could not have been more opposite of our experience! We absolutely love our new spaces and enjoy our updates every single day.”

— Cayt O.

Here is the first kitchen we did for them several years’ ago in their classic Colonial home.

The kitchen in the new house had been recently renovated, but it was not exactly what they wanted, and since the homeowner was not completely sold on leaving her brand new dream kitchen, we got to work seeing what could be done. What started out as a few tweaks led to a pretty big overhaul of kitchen, mudroom and laundry room. Luckily, we were able to use repurpose the old cabinetry and custom island in the remodeling of the new laundry room — win-win!

Here are couple of photos of the kitchen before. I thought we could get more drama with a stronger focal point. In addition, I thought there was a lot of potential to reconfigure the window arrangement so that it felt more congruous to the room.



We started out by re-working all the various windows into one large window, including removing the bay window which jutted out awkwardly over the deck. We worked through a couple minor structural surprises but in the end we got it to work.



For the focal point, we decided on a simple angled custom stainless steel hood which sits in front of a full height Cardiff marble backsplash. Our clients really liked the appliances they had selected from their previous remodel, so we made room for the same ones in this kitchen. We added a long island with a Claro Walnut butcherblock top which was built by a local craftsman. Claro walnut is indigenous to Northern California and can be identified by its engaging swirls and deep color. The homeowners got to hand select the boards for the piece, so it is truly custom. Here’s a shot of the team putting up the heavy marble backsplash. And a close-up of the walnut top.


The closed island adds additional storage, and a Galley Workstation – a large sink that also acts as prep space – helped to overhaul the functionality of the space.





The same Claro walnut was also used on a custom built-in in the living room.


As part of the remodel, we also overhauled the basement mudroom and laundry room, the only two rooms in the house not finished. Coming from similar circumstances at the old house, the homeowners wanted to have these spaces move-in ready and not worry about remodeling them down the road. As parents of two young girls, it was important for them to have a spot to store equipment, coats and all the “behind the scenes” necessities away from the main part of the house which is a large open floor plan. The existing spaces had great bones and both rooms were very large. Here is a shot of the mudroom before, all cement walls, exposed electric and paneling.





To make the space more livable and comfortable, we laid slate tile on the floor and added a built-in desk area, coat/boot area and some additional tall storage. We also reworked the staircase, added a new stair runner, gave a facelift to the walk-in closet at the foot of the stairs, and built a coat closet. The end result is a multi-functional, large comfortable room to come home to!


Just beyond the mudroom is the new laundry room where we re-used the cabinets and island from the original kitchen.

Here are a couple of before photos for that space:



The new laundry room also features a small powder room that used to be just a toilet in the middle of the room. What is up with those lone toilets? Have you seen them? We see them quite a bit in our remodeling adventures and are still not quite sure what they were originally intended for.

Here you can see the island from the old kitchen that has been repurposed for a laundry folding table. The other countertops are maple butcherblock, and the gold accents from the other rooms are carried through into this room. We were also excited to unearth an existing window and bring some light into the room.




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4501 Tamiami Trail N, Ste 424
Naples, FL 34103
(239) 378-6599
522 Crescent Blvd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 858-4848
Chicago, IL
1040 Roscoe St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(630) 488-7481