Makeover Takeover: construction Posted on September 11, 2015 By hello kitchen

(this post is a continuation from Country Living’s Makeover Takeover: Part 2)

It’s September 11th, five and a half months since I first met the Bishops, and the kitchen is being finished and photographed today! I’m so impressed, since the average timeframe for this entire process is typically closer to 8-9 months. It must help to have Country Living involved and moving things along – just a guess.

Back to our process: with the votes in and our plans in place, the next important step for the Bishops and Country Living was to find a contractor to lead the construction phase. Our Recipe for Renovation provides the design direction for the space, but the final specifications are coordinated with the contractor based on available materials, the client’s budget, and the exact parameters of the house.

Since my contractor pool is in Texas, the Bishops reached out to Heritage Home in Cleveland to help them narrow down to a short list of contractors. Our three parameters were to find a contractor who showed several successful historic renovations, offered a design / build service, and could work within a tight timeframe for publication. Our clear winner was Franklin & Associates, who, once selected, got right to work planning and strategizing for construction.

Here were a few things that were resolved by the team moving forward:

Cabinet manufacturer and details: We selected Schuler Cabinetry to outfit the entire kitchen, including the sink and range corner, island, banquette, laundry and bath. We were connected with David Preston, a Schuler designer who used our plan to develop the cabinet elevations and 3d renderings. This was an exciting step for the Bishops, since they got to visualize their kitchen in three dimensions.

The shop drawing stage is the time to fine-tune details such as the crown molding (which we wanted square, instead of shaped as above) and the width of the Shaker cabinet door frames.


rendering by David Preston, Schuler Cabinetry

Island Design: our Recipe for Renovation showed an idea for reclaimed wood and brackets at the legroom area. To clarify how these parts would be assembled, I provided a sketch, shown below. David showed the correct dimensions and details for the base, framed edges, and reclaimed wood boards at the inset panel, which would be added on site by Franklin & Associates. It was important at this stage that everyone knew not to throw away any old wood… this was valuable design material!

island design sketchVent hood design: a major focal piece in the design is the custom wood vent surround, also mining those wood boards from the walls being demolished.  I provided a design direction with the sketch, combining the wood boards, a Fry reglet, and recirculating vent hood insert. The Bishops and Franklin & Associates tweaked the details for a more traditional styling, but the fundamental idea is still the same.

vent hood design sketchFinal details: Although all materials were ordered before construction began, there were still a few questions related to pendant heights, hardware locations, and the countertop profile. I think these details are best worked out by the people on site, so being in Texas, I mostly deferred those decisions to the Bishops and Franklin.

Overall this was a great test of our design process, since it simply wasn’t possible for me to continue with in-person meetings and site visits. Our method here was to assemble a trustworthy team, designate responsibility efficiently, and appreciate what each person or crew was able to achieve. Everyone on the project seems truly grateful for each other’s involvement, and I think this helped produce a kitchen that functions well, has thoughtful details, and respects the historic language of the house.