Articles, Case Studies, and the Latest in Home Design


Lake Ellyn Home Realizes It’s 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. 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.


Ready to tell us about your remodeling project?

When you’re ready, we would love to sit down to discuss your project. We offer a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced designers. Call us at 630-858-4848 or complete the form below to set up your initial design consultation.

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