A renovation transforms an outdated rambler into an open space full of light
|BY SCOTT SOWERS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY RANDY HILL|
Spotting an ugly duckling in a desirable neighborhood isn’t difficult—but precious few can envision the swan that will emerge after an extensive renovation. The bird in question is in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and its original configuration was an architectural puzzle—a conglomeration of styles that included the characteristics of a rambler combined with classical elements like dentils under the eaves. “We wanted a modern house,” says the homeowner. “Our previous house in Bethesda was a center-hall Colonial and very traditional.”
The owner, an attorney, and his wife hired Fernando Zúñiga-Pflücker of Baltimore-based plan Z architects to design a renovation that would update the circa-1960s house, transforming its traditional interiors and giving it greater openness and visual consistency within the original footprint. They tapped Finecraft Contractors; both firms had worked on previous remodeling projects with the owner. “They told us they wanted to give the house an exterior facelift and create a modern look,” says Finecraft principal George Papaheraklis. They also wished to convert the attic into a real second floor for the master bedroom suite.
The house is built on a downward slope, so the ground-floor rooms are elevated at the back. “The house had good bones but a very peculiar layout. It didn’t really fit into any design scheme,” Zúñiga-Pflücker recalls. To open up the floor plan, he removed most of the interior walls. On the main floor, the front entry provides a direct line to the living room past a staircase to the second floor. The living room adjoins a light-filled, open-plan kitchen/dining area/family room where a vaulted ceiling—borrowed from the attic—is clad in tongue-in-groove wood panels. New windows are carved into what used to be attic walls.
In the living room, Papaheraklis was tasked with replacing the traditional fireplace surround with a clean-lined, modern version made from a single slab of marble. “We wanted it to look monolithic, with no visible seams,” he says. Once the slab was selected, the builder cut a three-sided section out of the middle and adhered it to the wall as one piece.
The formal dining room became a cozy library where wainscoting and floral wallpaper have been replaced with built-in cabinetry. The closed-in staircase now boasts wider treads and a steel-cable bannister that kept the contractors on their toes. “All those parts had to be ordered separately and you have to be very exact to make it fit,” explains Papaheraklis.
The kitchen was expanded to occupy an elevated porch that once overlooked the backyard. Rockville-based Elite Kitchens helped design the layout, in which white, Shaker-style cabinetry combines with gray granite counters and KitchenAid appliances. Although Zúñiga-Pflücker usually dislikes kitchen islands, he likes the way this one works. “Many times the island turns into something you have to walk around,” he observes. “This island is minimal but effective.”
In order to create a full-height second floor, Papaheraklis and his team raised portions of the roof significantly and gutted the space to accommodate a spare bedroom as well as the master suite, complete with a covered balcony at the front of the house. The upstairs hallway overlooks the kitchen/family room; two ground-floor bedrooms have been converted to home offices.
The owners can also enjoy the views from an elevated outdoor deck that wraps around the chimney at the back of the house; it’s accessible from the living room through French doors. “That was my wife’s idea,” says the homeowner. “It gave us an easier transition to the outdoors.”
Although the home looks compact from the street, it stretches to more than 4,000 square feet and has grown from four bedrooms to five. At the front, overhangs above the entry and balcony are accented with pine boards stained a warm honey color. Brick exterior walls have been painted a rich cream color. The owners extended the modern aesthetic with clean-lined, contemporary pieces sourced by Janice Kanter of Theodores in Upper Georgetown. Red oak floors throughout are stained a dark, mahogany hue.
After a year of construction, the renovation was completed in May 2013. Everybody on the design team is happy with results that transformed a series of poorly laid-out rooms into a design that defines good flow. “I love the openness, “says Zúñiga-Pflücker. “The spaces just open up to you.”
Writer Scott Sowers is based in Washington, DC. Randy Hill is a Washington, DC, photographer.
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Range Hoods Inc sat down with Finecraft Contractors, Inc. to discuss trends in home remodeling. Finecraft Contractors is a general, independent contracting company. It has been in business for the past thirty years and renovates and builds homes in the Washington, D.C. area. Their projects have been featured in a variety of publications. Finecraft Contractors has proven their quality and service over and over in their award-winning projects.
Range Hoods Inc: What makes Finecraft stand out while being compared to other contracting companies?
Niko: “Because details matter most,” is the motto of our company and we take it very seriously. As customers become accustomed to their new homes and/or remodel, the small details become more and more noticeable.
When people sit down in their living rooms, or family rooms, and start looking closely at the space their contractor put together, if the care and dedication isn’t put into the details, then they will notice that, and they won’t feel happy with their home.
At Finecraft, we understand this; thus, we put care and attention to detail in every step of the process to ensure our customers can enjoy their new home to the fullest. We want them to think of their home as a comfortable and quality space. We don’t produce cookie cutter work; we care about the details that make people feel at home and happy with the remodel.
Range Hoods Inc: Please explain the steps of the remodeling process you use with clients?
Niko: This video explains the process: www.finecraftcontractors.com/about/home-remodel-estimates/.
The steps include an initial meeting with plans and an estimate, a pre-construction meeting and a schedule. We want the client to be in control and to feel free to make changes (when time allows). We want the client to be happy with the end product and to have creative control. Even beyond the project, we don’t completely disappear. We want them to know we’re here for them.
Range Hoods Inc: What does your company do to make families more comfortable during their remodel?
Niko: We put forth our best effort to keep the home livable. We don’t want to force families to leave during a remodel because we know it can be expensive to temporarily move out of the home. Other times, people don’t want to overstay their welcome if they’re staying with family. It can also be difficult to relocate with children.
During a kitchen remodel, we will often set up a temporary kitchen for the family on the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.
We also try to make the family comfortable by closing up the doorways to the kitchen. This keeps the dust from going into the rest of the house and makes it seem like we’re not there. We like them to continue living in their space without having their lives interrupted.
Range Hoods Inc: What is the kitchen trend that people ask you for the most?
Niko: It really differs from project to project, and it depends on the style of the kitchen we’re working on. However, open kitchen is a big trend we’re seeing right now. In an open kitchen, the kitchen is integrated into the rest of the house instead of being closed off. This encourages people to spend time together while preparing meals and eating.
Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 1:15 pm. Filed under Uncategorized
Spotlight on Finecraft Contractors
The writing team at Steam Showers Inc sat down with Niko, the Business Manager of Finecraft Building Contractors, Inc., to talk about general contracting and trends in home remodeling. Finecraft Contractors is a general contracting company serving Maryland and offering home additions, renovations, remodels and new home construction.
You can read our interview with Niko below:
Steam Showers Inc: What is the bathroom trend that people ask you for the most?
Niko: Heated floors. [People want] more comfort in bathroom. There are bathrooms [in which] we incorporate a steam shower. And more and more people want to have the luxury of large spaces, tiled floors and just the experience of being pampered as if they’re in a hotel.
Steam Showers Inc: How many of your clients would you say ask for steam showers?
Niko: Well, at this point right now, I’d roughly say 20 percent.
Steam Showers Inc: What do you think specifically sets Finecraft apart from other companies?
Niko: Our slogan is “Because details matter most,” and we don’t take that lightly. We have a very keen eye on detailed work, and I think when everything’s said and done, that’s really what matters. When you’re sitting there, in your family room with your family, and you’re looking at the crown molding, and you’re perusing the new space that was created by your contractor. After you’re enjoying the general space, you start looking at the details; if those details are not nice, and they’re not put together correctly, you’ll start seeing them; and that comfort will sort of die away. We don’t like it if that happens and work to prevent that. We want the person to sit there, and look at the details, and think, “This area was really done with care, and we can really see it [by putting a] magnifying glass to it, and see that it was done really well from the get go.” Sitting there in the family room they can see that they’re very comfortable, and they can see that they’re sitting in a quality space, not just one that was put together, “Copy, paste, and here’s your room.” No, we want to create a home for people and make them feel comfortable, and it’s really those details that make them feel comfortable. That’s what we believe.Uncategorized
Finecraft Contractors, Inc. of Metro DC Receives
Best Of Houzz Award 2014 – PRESS RELEASE
Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users
Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals
Metro DC, February 4, 2014 – Finecraft Contractors, Inc. of Metro DC Area has been awarded
“Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The Best of
Houzz 2014 for Design & Customer Satisfaction was chosen by the more than 16 million
monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.
The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design.
Customer Satisfaction honorsare determined by a variety of factors, including the number
and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work
was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as
“Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and
Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz
community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify
popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
“Our focus is always on the details.” - Finecraft President
“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building,
remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right
professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of
community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Finecraft Contractors, Inc. among
our “Best Of” professionals for both customer satisfaction and design as judged by our
community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and
decorating their homes.” With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-
rated professionals like Finecraft Contractors, Inc., but also those whose work matches
their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by
contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work
and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.
Follow Finecraft Contractors, Inc. on Houzz:
About Finecraft Contractors, Inc.
For more than 25 years, Finecraft Contractors, Inc., has specialized in new home
construction, home additions, home remodeling and home renovations throughout
Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia. We’ve completed well over 600 projects,
and have demonstrated award-winning professionalism, high quality and reliability.
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people
with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or
from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz
connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home
improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest
residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social
tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice,
product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality.
Voted best of Houzz 2014 in Customer Satisfaction & Design: This year Finecraft Contractors, Inc. was fortunate to be voted best in Customer Satisfaction & Design for 2014. We pride ourselves in creating solid relationships with every client we work with. Often times our clients end up coming back for more because they know they’re getting more than they bargain for. Our clients become life-long friends not just clients. It’s our pleasure to continue to grow in this industry and help homeowners build what they’ve been dreaming of. To another great year!
Visit our Houzz page here.
Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 12:57 pm. Filed under Latest Updates