How to get from Colonial to Contemporary

How do you modernize a traditional home? Here’s a case study.

Before: A traditional interior.

Before: Cramped Kitchen with doorway into the dining room.
Before: Cramped Kitchen with doorway into the dining room.

After: A contemporary open space.

after
After: Dining area now opened to the kitchen and its expanded island.

The situation:

You bought into a great neighborhood! You finally found and moved into a new home in the form of an old colonial. Your kids are looking forward to being close to your friends’ children.

You have been looking for a new home to raise your growing family for quite a long time. Friends had suggested you check their established neighborhood. You loved the area, its parks and the school district.

The home is an older style colonial with small cramped rooms, despite your original desire for an open contemporary. Importantly, the dining room may not accommodate the extended family for Thanksgiving and other holidays. Nevertheless, time was of the essence and you decided to go ahead with the neighborhood.

Before: Home upon purchase
Before: Home upon purchase

The vision:

Imagine the same home with open spaces flowing from entry to living room, from kitchen to dining area, and to the family room. You want the open flow that would make for the perfect entertaining venue and the ideal place to host a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

Who says a colonial can’t be opened up into a modified contemporary home? Walls can be removed, doorways enlarged, and the kitchen rearranged to allow a family to enjoy an open and inviting space. This is quite an endeavor; costly and a serious upheaval of your everyday lifestyle, but absolutely possible with the proper guidance!

Extended casual dining bar visually extends to family room beyond. A sliding door replaces the windows to allow access to the outdoors.
Extended casual dining bar visually extends to family room beyond. A sliding door replaces the windows to allow access to the outdoors.

The process:

The parameters will be set by the town’s local zoning codes and experienced professionals such as myself of PVZ Design can guide you along the way. Ideally, a team consisting of an architect familiar with your town and an interior designer sensitive to your needs and aesthetics can make your dream home a reality.

The following photos show how I designed the modernization of a typical colonial for a young family of 5.

We opened up walls which separated the dining room from the entry and from the kitchen. Archways were made wider and higher by moving the beams into the ceiling, giving the appearance of a more spacious interior.

New island accommodates casual dining, homework and entertaining.
New island accommodates casual dining, homework and entertaining.

The kitchen, which we had initially renovated upon the purchase of the property not so long ago, was mostly left intact. The refrigerator and some of the taller cabinets were moved to another wall so that the dining room wall could be removed. Some additional cabinets were needed to complete the cabinet run. The island top was enlarged without disturbing the supporting cabinetry or its appliances to accommodate additional seating for everyday meals. This larger counter also serves as the buffet table for entertaining wonderful cocktail parties and holiday dinners.

The elimination of this wall also allowed the dining room table to extend so more people may sit and enjoy a meal.

The contemporary touches extended to the lighting aesthetics: a new custom “woven” ceiling light greets guests in the foyer and the wood spindle railings were replaced with wire and wood railings providing a more spacious feel.

Woven ceiling fixture greets you as you enter, stairs opened with new railing and dining area open to all.
Woven ceiling fixture greets you as you enter, stairs opened with new railing and dining area open to all.

As you can see, older homes can be modernized with the attentive assistance of experienced professionals. I would love to design your home’s interior makeover! If you are looking to update an older home’s interior and enjoy the open and contemporary feel, call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail me at pat@pvzdesign.com.


One Comments

  • louius levene

    February 28, 2015

    very nicely done. i wish that i needed work done; i would select you. i like the website also. lazar

    Reply

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