Newly remodeled studio apartment

A client who we’ve recently finished a whole house remodel asked us to also add a studio apartment over their garage. The existing space had TEAL walls and PURPLE trim!!! No really…it looked like an Easter egg which is fitting because when we first looked at the space it had some adorable bunnies in there.

The first thing we needed to do was design the space to incorporate a bath/laundry room and a full kitchen.

Space planning is so important, it can make or break a remodel. You can put in the prettiest fixtures but if the space is difficult to move around or it’s uncomfortable to use it’s a waste.

When you work with 1 Great Space Construction we spend a great deal of time talking about location of appliances, countertop space and walkways. We use blue tape on the floors and walls to provide space orientation and we work together to finalize the perfect layout.

This remodel also included a little treasure hunting!! We hadn’t found the right cabinets for the project yet and we happened to have another client that were getting rid of their older cabinets. So, after discussing it with both homeowners I set up for the older cabinets to be used in this apartment and they worked out perfectly.

Here are the before pictures of the cabinets at their old home.

Now that we had cabinets to fit the space we were able to start building out the framework for the apartment. (See that pink casing around the windows!!!)

The first thing we needed to do was add the bathroom/laundry room and a closet for the bedroom area. In order to be the most comfortable studio apartment, we wanted to ensure that guests had all the amenities they would need.

Drywall always makes everything look better!! Next we painted the walls using Sherwin Williams Pearl Gray and Benjamin Moore Chantily Lace for the trim and doors. It is now so bright and airy in the apartment, such a difference from what it used to look like.

We worked in the color of natural wood for the laminate floor. We also were able to get an amazing deal from a local wholesaler, so the floors were a no brainer. One side note to mention, we used these laminate floors in the bathroom, which we don’t recommend, but the deal we got on them made it worth it and the homeowner went into this with eyes wide open on all the risks involved.

The reused cabinets were finally placed in their final spots and just needed to be updated with a little paint.

The cabinets were originally stained and were then painted and then glazed. So we had our work cut out for us on repainting them, we first went over them with a liquid sandpaper a few times to remove any residue that had built up on them over the years. Then, we filled any damaged spots with a wood filler and sanded them as necessary. The final process in prepping these cabinets for paint is the most horrible step, I have to apply the bonding primer. I personally prefer to use the Cover Stain by Zinsser, but really you can use any bonding primer. Be aware, it smells terrible, will cause a headache within minutes and it will stink up any house for hours. Make sure you open a bunch of windows, turn on fans and wear a proper mask, the little white masks do not work!! Also, it is a pain to clean the brush because it’s oil based so plan on ditching your brush after your done using it.

Once you have the primer painted on, it needs to cure out for at least 24 hours before starting to paint over it. Then you can use a good cabinet grade paint and paint 2-3 coats over the cabinets. I prefer to use Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. Just be sure to lightly sand between paint coats. Some people skip this step, but it really helps the paint adhere to itself and remove any brush imperfections.

What a difference a little paint makes with old cabinets…they look totally different in this space now. And now they look like they have always been here.

For the island we used a natural butcher block to create a place to prep and eat. We got a pre made Baltic butcher block from Lowe’s, cut it down, routered the sides and sanded it. A simple mineral oil is all that will be used to finish out this countertop.

And for the countertops in the rest of the kitchen we used a VT Dimensions postformed laminate countertop that we got from Lowe’s!! We chose the Ouro Romano color and edge profile. It’s funny actually because I spent many years working on the marketing for VT Industries and was part of launching the VT Dimensions product so to finally be able to use it on a project was very exciting.

Since we used refurbished cabinets we didn’t have the ability to get the exact sizes we needed to integrate upper cabinets, so instead we utilized three of the Kennard 3 tier wall shelf from Wayfair as upper shelves. The finished kitchen is absolutely adorable.

The bathroom incorporates a freestanding tub and filler with overhead rail and includes a washer and dryer with a privacy toilet area. The tub is from Amazon and is the Woodbridge 67″ tub, the tub filler is from Wayfair and the overhead rail is from Signature Hardware.

The bedroom has enough space to include two queen sized beds and has a large closet with extra storage space for guests.

The living room is a cozy place to relax and enjoy the end of your day. The furniture is from Ashley Furniture and is so unbelievably comfortable.

We are so happy to have helped our client create a space that can be used for many years to come. It is so comfortable with all the special touches that make it the perfect place to stay when you visit Hamburg, NY. You can see more details and even rent it out at this website:

Childhood home (part 2)

You may remember a post from earlier this year where we started remodeling my parents home. Well, it’s finally completed and it looks beautiful. You can see the before pictures here.

We updated their kitchen floors to a new laminate and used the Pergo Gold underlayment.

We also took time to freshen up the trim to a Dark Walnut minwax stain.

We updated the linoleum in the entry and hallway to a new 13×13 tile.

We updated the bathroom tile to a new 2×2 square mesh and replaced the vinyl baseboard with a dark walnut stained moulding to match the rest of the house.

The dining room light was updated to a more traditional fixture. And we replaced the interior doors to a 6-panel dark walnut stained door.

Cabinet doors and drawers were updated to the American Woodmark Portola with new pulls. Countertops are Corian Venus and has a light sparkle and shimmer in them.

We added a door to the back of the peninsula to create a way to access the space in the blind cabinet.

All the walls were painted to match the kitchen design.

We replaced the window with a new silver line casement window and added new trim and a window ledge.

The backsplash is a glass mosaic and natural stone design.

The dishwasher was updated to a newer model and the kitchen was finished off with beautiful decorative panels and mouldings.

It’s nice to see the house I grew up in updated and looking brand new again.

Restoration fixer upper

Finishing a renovation is a lot like planning a wedding!! You plan for the day, you organize every little detail and put the perfect design together and then the day happens and it’s a blur, you can’t remember if you ate, danced or said hello to everyone!! 😂😂 Then at the end of the evening you are still on that high of having to get everything pulled together. That is what it’s like completing a home renovation, and that is how I feel tonight. In a home renovation the big day is completion day…and today was just that!! It was all hands on deck, do what you need to get done…

Just 4 months ago we went to a job site that had pipes freeze and burst and the aftermath looked like this…

I often say that water is the death of houses, and it really is!! Sometimes you do an estimate and it’s pretty straight forward…but this house was a combination of two houses joined together from different eras with nooks and crannies everywhere.

In order to turn this house back into a home we had to do some major planning. So I tackled the kitchen design first.

Home remodeling design plans

Designing a kitchen isn’t easy, you have to ensure there is plenty of space for walk-throughs, lighting locations that are functional and aligned and appliance locations easily accessible when being used and most of all…it all needs to be gorgeous!!!

Kitchen design and remodeling

My favorite part of this, and really any project, is product and material selection. Below are a few items we used in this project. I will note those in detail later.

Kitchen decor ideas for Frank Lloyd Wright style kitchen

Once you have a design plan and materials selected…it’s time to get to work!!

We had to build out an extension wall to create wall space for the appliances and incorporate additional storage. Chris tackled that addition by closing in the oversized walkway to the living room…this is going to be the new home to a pizza oven!!! 🍕

Kitchen remodeling

When we first saw this kitchen we nicknamed it the Starship Enterprise!!! It had A LOT of can lights!!! 😳

Can light removal and switch to LED

We removed them!!! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Why were there so many lights in this kitchen???? 😂

With framing, rough electrical, and rough plumbing well underway, it was time to start putting this house back together…on to the glitter of home improvement!!! Drywall…

There were so many different ceiling elevations in the kitchen so we consolidated them and created more of a unified style.

Projects always start to look a little better after the primer goes on. Just seems cleaner and more like a home when you don’t see pipes, insulation and wiring!

Next up is installing the cabinets…the cabinets are Kraftmaid Hayward Cherry Chocolate. Kraftmaid makes it so easy to install by providing an installation kit with all the screws and clips you would need to install everything. Sadly…this time there were so many boxes (86) we didn’t find the installation kit until all the cabinets were set!!! Haha. At least we have some for next time!!

And now…this is what we have been working on around the clock for the last month.

The wall color is SW Morris Room Gray and the trim is BM Chantily Lace. The floors are Pergo Engineered Wood in Griffin Oak. As you will see we built up the staircase to be finished in wood by creating risers, treads and stairnosing. On the stairs these are not used as a floating floor, just as a nailed down wood product for stability.

The carpet is Lifeproof in Rodeo and is so soft and comfortable. When they were putting in the carpet pad it looked like a blue ocean in the middle of the living room.

We painted the existing gold fireplace matte black and added river rock to surround the fireplace. Chris tirelessly held these rocks in place as he set them and I had a little help adding the filler.

We switched out all the can lights to LEDs and changed the core room lights to 6″ Halo dimmable lights.

The ceiling fan is absolutely beautiful. It is the 52″ Loken Craftsman Stained Glass fan and it matches the Frank Lloyd Wright decor that the homeowner loves.

And then there is this GE Monogram Hearth Oven!! The homeowner decided to splurge on this really cool kitchen feature and it does not disappoint. We were lucky enough for her to prepare us a fresh made pizza on the last day and it was amazing.

The GE Monogram appliance suite is pretty cool. The hood has integrated food warming lights and the stove has a griddle for making pancakes!! The cabinets include deep drawers, side spice drawers and bottle storage. And the South Beach wall mounted pot filler makes this area complete.

The microwave and oven combination work perfectly in this space with a pull out cabinet, oversized drawers and large countertop to create a spacious cooking area. (Don’t mind the missing handles…we are waiting for those to arrive any day!! Needed a few more. 😉)

Food storage definitely won’t be an issue in this kitchen with a 39″ floor to ceiling pantry with giant pull-out shelves and countertop cabinets for storage.

The GE Monogram 48″ flush inset mounted refrigerator, this looks really pretty but it’s not without a whole lot of trouble. In order to have this flush inset mounted Chris had to build a special cove out of filler strips to allow the doors to swing. This is the only way to make the doors work and not outlined well in the specifications.

Lucky for this fridge Chris isn’t a handyman…he is a craftsman!!! This is unbelievable work thanks to my wonderful guy. This area also includes a bar sink for a coffee station.

The countertops are Quartz Nimbus and are a subtle gray color with flecks of white and darker gray. We incorporated a trash pullout into this island and used a Blanco composite black undermount sink with a Concord spray faucet.

We added legs to the island to create a larger seating area and to support the 22″ bar top this will serve as the main eating area in the kitchen.

Pendant lights over the island add a beautiful accent and match the Frank Lloyd Wright style of the decor.

This project was so much fun to work on. Everyone who worked tirelessly on this project did an amazing job. True team effort to pull it together…thank you Tom, Brad, Jocelyn, Kyle, Nick, Sam, Josh, Brad, Brian, Jeff, Don and Chris for knocking this one out of the park.

I also want to thank the homeowner for allowing us to work on this project. For allowing some crazy late hours, fun chats and adventures in bunnies and Homer!!! I will miss chasing those sneaky bunnies around and throwing the ball to Homer. There are also two little people who will miss playing with ‘Air Bud’!!!

Childhood home (part 1)

I have looked at this house for 40 years!! It was the home I lived in growing up and that my parents still live in. It has seen its fair share of food fights, Sunday spaghetti dinners, bacon that caught fire in the frying pan and explosive candy thermometers!!

It had a very unique green color palette and even as a child I wanted to update it. Well…that time is now and I am sooooo excited. Last fall we started planning this project with my parents…plotting what we would do, colors, types of materials, and this week we have kicked off the project.

Here are some of the before pictures of the dark cabinets with green tile backsplash and white laminate countertop.

And… I know you won’t miss the green linoleum flooring.

For this project we are updating the cabinets, putting in new tile backsplash, fresh wall paint, new laminate floors, white electrical outlets and countertops. We are also updating the entry, hallway and half bath with tile flooring. (Just wait till you see the existing bathroom floor tile!!)

I will share the actual product selections, design and color choices in a later post.

Planning out a kitchen where you are only replacing the cabinet doors and refinishing the boxes is much more difficult than just replacing the complete cabinet boxes. Every measurement, down to the 1/16th of an inch needs to be perfect. Once you place the order you can’t send it back…so it is very nerve racking. Luckily, I have an amazing cabinet designer I work with at Home Depot, Jocelyn, who takes time to go through everything with me line by line in full detail.

For this kitchen we are going with American Woodmark Portola style doors in Truffle. The new cabinet doors are maple instead of red oak and they are lighter than the existing so we are doing a little different technique than usual to match the new doors. We are painting them! This is highly unusual, however for this application it is the best option.

The first thing that we did for demo was focus on getting the cabinet doors off so we can start prepping the cabinet boxes. This includes sanding, hole filling, and touching up rough areas. Then we used a deglosser over all the cabinets to help with adhesion of the paint.

Next step was a bit more demo and prep work! We pulled out the backsplash and replaced the drywall areas to prepare for the new backsplash.

Then we primed the cabinet boxes to prep for paint! This was hilarious because I was able to play a little prank on the homeowners (aka my parents!!!) and told them we painted their cabinets white instead of dark clove!!! LOL…if only I had caught that on video!!

Follow our remodel progress over the next few weeks to see this project once it’s done.

Whiskey Black and Toasted Almond

I absolutely love what we do. From small necessary fixes to huge complete remodels, we make homes more comfortable, but what we really do is build relationships. I can not express enough how much we love, truly love our customers. They become family to us. This next project is no exception. This one started from a referral from a project we completed for their brother last year, you probably saw the shed addition.

Well…these homeowners wanted to remove their popcorn ceilings, update their kitchen, dining room and hallway, and update their flooring.

The major obstacle with the kitchen was they had already updated their countertops to a beautiful granite and added a new backsplash. So, we had to work around those existing items.

First step was planning out the kitchen, so we worked with our friends at The Home Depot to create the perfect Thomasville Cabinetry kitchen design. We chose the Plaza Maple door and wanted a two toned style for the cabinetry to match another furniture piece that would be remaining in the kitchen. The colors we found that were closest were the Whiskey Black for the base cabinets and Toasted Almond for the uppers.

Kitchen layout .png

The upper cabinets were a complete replacement. We wanted to add more cabinet height so we removed the soffit. We also wanted a more built-in look for the fridge so we added a decorative panel. Originally, when the home was built the can lighting were put in the wrong locations, we used this time to update the cans and place in the proper orientation for the best workspace lighting.




The lower cabinets were a little more complicated.  We were switching the cabinets from a partial overlay door to a full overlay door which meant we needed to ensure the door and drawer sizes were a perfect fit. This is where having a trustworthy and patient partner to work with is imperative. We went through every door size and specification for the doors in great detail.


Since we were keeping the base cabinet oak wood boxes we had to sand and refinish them to match the Whiskey Black Thomasville Maple manufactured color. We ordered their stain and glaze, however duplicating a manufactured color on a different type of wood is really really challenging. The first time we put the stain and glaze on, we followed the manufacturers instructions perfectly, however it ended up being too dark. The graining on oak wood is much more prominent and tighter than maple and the glaze really soaked into the grain. So we had to start again! So I decided to test a few of my own methods for staining and after multiple tests, I was able to recreate the same color of the new doors.


What I did to achieve the Whiskey Black stain was using a clean rag I coated the wood with the pre-conditioner then the first stain/toner, and let that sit for 15 minutes. Then I gently wiped any excess. I let this dry overnight. Then working 1 cabinet box at a time, I wiped on the glaze, let sit for 30 seconds, wipe off, wipe on again let sit for 1 minute and wipe off. There were some cabinet boxes that required me to duplicate this step. Just keep in mind that the glaze can darken a little as it dries. The finishing step was applying the polycrylic satin finish. I applied 3 coats to the cabinet boxes and let dry overnight.


We installed the new doors and drawers with soft close hinges, added a new functional cabinet door to the blind cabinet box to create greater access and incorporated decorator doors and corbels for a finishing touch.


We also updated the flooring to a Pergo Engineered Hardwood throughout the entire area. This floor installed perfectly and the color was absolutely gorgeous.

This was such a fun project to work on and we made some great friends in the process.  We also made a few furry friends on this one!! Thanks so much to our new friends for allowing us to help them make their home an oasis! We can’t wait to hang out.


Also, here are a few of our furry friends we got to hang out with along the way!





New Sliding Door

Natural light in a home is very important. If you can do something as simple as replacing a door to add more light, it’s a no brainer. This homeowner wanted to remove a single patio door and replace it with a larger sliding patio door to provide more light in their kitchen.


The major part of this project was increasing the structural strength of the exterior load-bearing wall to have a span wide enough to accept the new 6′ door.



We also had to salvage the exterior siding to make it look like the door was always on the home.


IMG_6766.jpgThe homeowner chose the Jeld-wen sliding door with the prairie grid pattern which is the perfect accent to this patio.

New Sliding Window

So…the house we bought had an original 50s picture window in the kitchen. One word…freezing. It was such a drafty window and was not energy efficient at all. Since we knew we would be replacing it as part of the kitchen remodel Chris wanted to tackle that first. Conveniently on the very coldest day of the year was the day he chose! Seriously!!!

He removed the large picture window and then had to reframe the new window area because we replaced it with a smaller over the sink window.

It was so so cold in the kitchen so we hung drop clothes in the walkway from the living room to the kitchen and managed to keep the rest of the house warm. Miracle!!

The new window is perfect for when we relocate the new sink. We chose a Silver Line by Andersen vinyl sliding window so it would be easier to open and close. We wanted to create a large picture frame around the new window which will match the new exterior plans we have for the home. We utilized Azek traditional trim boards to achieve this look.

I totally love this window! And then…real life happened…and a BB bullet went through the exterior pane of glass this summer. Lucky for me I know a guy who can replace the window! 😉

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We are not paid or compensated by manufacturers to promote their products. These are real life accounts of our personal and professional usage of their products.

Complete Home Transformation

Looking for houses can be very frustrating when you are looking in a market with very little houses for sale. So we were finally down to three options…the older cape, the brand new townhouse or the house with no driveway.  It was time to make a decision, but we still had remodeling work to finish up for our clients in Missouri.

Phase 3 of the remodel began with an extensive amount of demo on the first floor. We removed all of the flooring, an entire wall that was previously separating the kitchen from the living room, removed the kitchen cabinets, appliances and carpets on stairs. So you could get a snapshot of what a job site looks like during demo I took a little video.

Once everything was removed, it was time to start rebuilding. The biggest modification was the new beam which was necessary to hold up the house. We hired an engineer to evaluate the home and provide recommendations that needed to be completed to ensure the home was safe. Two 26′, 18″ beams, a steel plate, concrete pad, blocks and a lot of muscle later…and the house was ready.

The kitchen was getting a completely new set up so we had to run new electrical and plumbing, move the HVAC and remediate some water damage that was found during demo. Once this was complete we could start working on ceiling and drywall repair.


Nearly every inch of the house was being repainted so this process took some time.  The main walls were Benjamin Moore Seapearl, and the stairs, trim and doors were Sherwin Williams High Reflective White  the dining room was Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, and the Master Bedroom was Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray.

We also updated all the windows and doors to the Marvin Direct Glaze, Contemporary Casements and doors. The interior and exterior of the windows were black and we used two horizontal grills to split the windows in thirds. The  main entry into the house was a french door that opened from both sides and had a large window above it.


Cabinets were custom through Cabinet Concepts by Design and were absolutely gorgeous. The mix of white and wood veneer finish gave this open air kitchen a traditional yet modern feel.


We continued the use of the Absolute Black granite countertops from the previously updated laundry/mudroom however, instead of the polished finish, we switched it up and did a honed finish.



The backsplash color used was the same color as was used in the previously updated half bathroom and was Grecian White Marble subway tile with Silverado grout.

In the hearth room, dining room and master bedroom, we incorporated a custom made wainscott. We also replaced all baseboard in the house with new, painted the staircase white, and changed out the stair spindles to new square black spindles.


We also added a beam veneer where the old wall used to be to add a bit of separation to the open concept.

Additional items updated include all new electrical switches and outlets, all new lighting fixtures and ceiling fans.

This house was a complete transformation and the end product was so bright and airy. The designer (Erica Praschan), homeowners and complete crew did an amazing job and the final product is a beautiful open air dream space.


Now that this project is finally complete, it is time to get back to the big move! After much deliberation on which house to purchase, we placed another offer on the initial house we saw, the older cape that needed a bunch of work, and the homeowners accepted. We couldn’t be more excited to start picking out materials for our home and giving it a totally new look! Meanwhile, this is the new view we drive past everyday.



Snails can be pets

We don’t always work close to home, sometimes we can work up to 2 hours away. This next project we completed in Eagle Rock, Missouri right on Table Rock Lake. The location was absolutely beautiful and created some interesting adventures along the way. Due to the long drive we often found ourselves working until the very late hours of the evening.


Every night we saw some kind of animal on the drive home.  Sometimes we saw deer, fox, BEAR and one evening we saw a buck and his doe on the side of the road and just as we were passing by he decided to jump out into the road taking out the entire passenger side of our truck. Casualty of construction and dark winding roads near the lake! Thankfully we found a great body shop and they were able to make our truck look brand new!


This home was a vacation home for a large family and after having it or many years they finally decided to give it some upgrades. We gutted the main living area and kitchen to put in all new floors and updated the kitchen with new cabinets, appliances and finishes.


The homeowners selected the Cali Bamboo Mocha Eucalyptus for the floors because of the beautiful color and long-lasting durability. These floors, and more specifically the baseboard, was so hard that we had to switch to a tougher nail gun. A tip with using the Cali Bamboo is to be sure and order the “fix kit”. Though they are super tough, the coating on the top layer turns white when it scratches, but the fix fit they have makes them look brand new again and it’s as easy as wiping with the special solution and cloth.


The cabinets were a beautiful knotty wood in ginger snap with under cabinet and in cabinet lighting, and the quartz countertops and backsplash were the perfect way to finish out the space.


They added great accessories for organization including retractable shelving, silverware holders and baking sheet racks.


We updated the spiral staircase with a new durable carpet to make it easier to move up and down the steps.


In the basement we moved over the large entry door and expanded the glass to create more lake view. We used the Marvin Integrity stainable interior door and windows.

16113910_1297275280338111_8496308555252173233_n On our last day here the kids came out and enjoyed playing in the grass near the lake.  As they went on their treasure hunt they found a snail that earned it’s way back home with us. The kids named the snail Tattoo and he lived with us for about a month before we set him free. He ate kale, tomatoes, apples and had quite a life while he was our pet.


It’s all about family

The reason we started this business was so we could spend more time together as a family. Many years ago Chris was working for a top construction chemicals company and traveling 90% of the time. At the time both kids were still babies and it was pretty stressful for me because I also had a full time job, which required travel, and the kids spent majority of their time at daycare. I can’t believe how far we’ve come in just a few short years. Now travel is only done when we are all together and we see our kids a whole bunch!


One of the things we learned along the way is that while we initially went into the business of helping to build peoples dream homes what we didn’t realize was that what we were actually building were friendships. Due to some projects taking an extended period of time we really get to know our customers and they often become lifelong friends. This project is one that we will remember forever because of the great friendships we created while making this house beautiful.


This dream kitchen project that we started in August 2016 took 5 months to complete. It was pretty extensive with the replacement of all the flooring on the first level of the home, a brand new kitchen and laundry room, new lighting, painting and other miscellaneous items.

16998004_1333680366697602_7531549228383544936_nThe cabinets used are Shenandoah Cabinetry and include soft close drawers and doors, specialty drawer organizers to make kitchen use easy.  Also, due to the size of the space, there is plenty of storage.


We incorporated under-cabinet and in-cabinet tape lights to create work space and aesthetic lighting and updated the chandeliers and pendants to match the new kitchen style.

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The backsplash is a tumbled stone and it runs all the way up the window wall to make that area a focal point for the kitchen.


The laundry room was also completed to match and is the perfect utility room.


This is one of our favorite projects we have worked on and we will always be grateful for the friendships we made while creating this remarkable space.