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:

House Hunting

If only searching for houses was as easy as watching House Hunters, where there are only three houses that somewhat meet your criteria to choose from, but reality is much more difficult. We chose quite possibly the worst time of year to buy a house, Fall/Winter. Not only was the supply of homes in the area we wanted slim picking, but the house prices were inflated to the point where we had doubts that the home would appraise for what the homeowners were asking.

After much searching through online portals, we narrowed to a house we thought would be great for our family. The first house we went through we saw some pretty glaring issues, but considering what was out there, we decided to place an offer. After a bit of negotiating, the contract was signed and now we had to wait to see if this house was going to pass inspection.

The inspection came back with quite a few issues that we decided could cause some long-term problems, so we opted to decline the contract and go back to looking for other houses.


While we were having a blast (mild sarcasm) with house hunting, there was still remodeling to be done! Phase 2 of the large project we were working on was the laundry/mudroom upgrade. We had custom cabinets built along the laundry wall and stacked the washer and dryer to allow for more space. The area on the interior wall side was built so that it could be expanded once we started on Phase 3.

Absolute Black Granite, Custom Cabinets, Chevron marble tile


Near the entry door we added locker storage which created a bench area as well. The cabinet color is High-Reflective White with Chrome handles.


The floor is a 12 x 24 natural marble with Silverado grout.


The granite countertop and bench in lockers are absolute black and the backsplash is a marble herringbone. To add to the functionality of the laundry room, an undermount stainless steel sink and high arch faucet from Moen were included.


The wall color is Benjamin Moore Seapearl with Sherwin Williams High Reflective White moulding. We incorporated dimmable undercabinet lighting and added dimmable can LED lights to the ceiling.

The Laundry/Mudroom Upgrade that was completed turned out perfect and the finishes selected by the designer were amazing.

An update on the house hunting:

After raising our budget a bit, we ended up going through over 20 houses on our search. Geez, there were some doozies, and soooo many cat houses out there. If I learned anything from house searching, it’s that you should never have a cat in your home. Sorry cat lovers, but nothing ruins a home sale more than the nasty smell of cats. There were some houses that were in bad shape, asking more than any other house on the street. It begs the question, what are these people thinking? And why aren’t their realtors talking sense into them? There were at least 5 houses we never even walked past the front door, just bad!

We finally narrowed to a few options, option 1 go back to the original house we put an offer in on with a much lower offer, option 2 build a brand new townhouse with HOA fees that were way too high, or option 3 make an offer on a gorgeous like new house with no driveway or yard.