A skillful floor plan reconfiguration that increases the size of a 20-year-old kitchen by over 30 percent, while staying inside the envelope of the existing home, has won a regional Chrysalis Award for Michael Nash Design Build and Homes.
The makeover to a Fairfax Station residence was named “Best Kitchen for over $150,000” in an 11-state region stretching from Maryland to Florida. Among other strategies, the remodeler eliminated an obstructive interior bearing wall, converted a garage bay into additional living space, gained wall surface by deleting a stair rail, and relocated several small first level rooms.
The 700-square-foot kitchen now accommodates a professional caliber cooktop range, two food prep islands, ceiling-flush glass-facing cabinetry and other amenities within an eclectic interior scheme that combines traditional finish work detailing with elements of industrial design.
Founded in 1993, the Chrysalis is generally considered the most prestigious of the remodeling industry's peer awards. Qualified Remodeler Magazine and Kitchen and Bath News are among the competition's national media sponsors.
Taken as a whole, the comprehensive remodeling plan transforms a builder-grade kitchen into a generous suite of rooms that includes a larger laundry room, a mudroom with customized storage spaces and a private computer workstation.
The prize is one of four Chrysalis honors the Merrifield-based remodeler has received this year. In August, the firm became the first-ever recipient of the “Decade of Excellence” award, a special honor acknowledging its consistently high standards over a ten year period.
In accepting the “Best Kitchen” kudos, Michael Nash founder and president Sonny Nazemian praised his company's design team and their practiced, cost-sensitive approach to helping homeowners make effective home improvement decisions.
“Since most of our projects are executed by Michael Nash employees, we're able to offer fixed-price contracts,” Nazemian discloses. “Customers can select finish work materials from our showroom at-cost. These are among the components of our business model, which allow us to routinely outperform our client's budget.”
In the case of the recent “Best Kitchen” winner, grappling with a floor plan that is ill-suited to the homeowner's emerging needs was the principal challenge.
“The owners were looking ahead,” the remodeler recalls. “With three kids under age ten, an au pair and a number of pets, the kitchen was often too cramped to comfortably satisfy everyday food preparation and dining requirements.”
The owners had considered borrowing square footage from a garage on the western side of the house, but a bearing wall that held essential plumbing, electric and HVAC systems were situated between the kitchen and a mudroom abutting the three-car garage.
Also, given the growing list of improvements being sought, the new plan would necessitate relocating of several adjacent rooms-- and a dramatic interior design upgrade.
What to do?
"Since the home's second floor rested on a mid-house bearing wall," Nazemian explains, "we proposed an alternative structural support system that would allow us to access more square footage inside the envelope of the existing home."
In a nutshell, the Michael Nash engineers re-routed the HVAC, plumbing and electrical conduits, and installed vertical supports attached to 24-inch horizontal I-beams, all the way to the basement then shifted second-floor loads to the new infrastructure and removed the offending wall.
The plan gains 250 feet of kitchen floor space, generating the elbow room needed for substantially larger appliances (a 72-inch refrigerator/freezer, a 60-inch commercial grade cooktop, a coffee station, a wine chiller) as a well as an additional 5-by-12-foot food prep island that doubles as a dining counter.
What results is an “open” plan with clearly defined activity zones within a visual continuum. The spacious new interior (which includes a large breakfast nook) allows everyone to enjoy private pursuits while maintaining eye-contact with other parts of the suite.
The new butler's pantry, meanwhile, helps preserve the integrity of the formal dining room. The powder room finished in stacked marble and patterned wallpaper is also notably elegant. More importantly for busy parents: the plan boasts a mudroom with direct outside access, plus closets and cubbies custom-designed for every member of the household.
A computer workstation nearby provides internet access and a WIFI charging station, but also a convenient "way station" between the kitchen, garage and outdoor play areas where Mom can chat with kids while keeping an eye on a multitude of day-to-day tasks.
“A family kitchen is always a fulfilling assignment,” Nazemian says. “It really keeps us in touch with how families interact-- it's an arena where our skills are especially well-applied.”
For information: 703-641-9800 or MichaelNashKitchens.com
John Byrd has been writing about home improvement for 30 years. He can be reached @ 703-715-8006, www.HomeFrontsNews.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Send photos of interesting remodeling projects to: email@example.com