In ta previous, we explored reasons why this was a 1970s successful ranch remodeling project. Now, I’d like to share the six steps required for me to help the Homeowners achieve the best results.
1970s Successful Ranch Remodeling Beginning to Completion
Step One: Ask Preliminary Questions
- Does the neighborhood have a particular or predominant style?
- What needs to be improved — how can it be improved?
- What do the Homeowners want to achieve?
- What is the Homeowners’ target budget and target completion date?
The ranch-style home, when viewed from the street, was overwhelmed by the roofline. The garden was well-manicured, except for a large area on the left-hand corner of the property, which looked like an attempt to create a vegetable garden.
During the first meeting, the Homeowners shared their love of entertaining and their idea of enlarging the kitchen to cover most of the wasted property on the left-hand corner. We also viewed the awkward chopped-off second floor above the garage, where their master suite was located. We were on our way to a successful ranch remodeling!
Step Two: Develop A Preliminary Plan And Get Feedback
A typical addition to the end of a house would have extended the roofline. That’s “ordinary”. My idea was to create a large dormer over the kitchen, to visually break up the roofline, and to allow a higher ceiling inside the dormer. I called the project manager to verify the feasibility of and investment for the large dormer. His feedback was favorable, so I proceeded with three alternative plans, elevations, and perspectives to review with the homeowners at the next scheduled meeting.
We went outside briefly, to look at the existing house and compare it to exterior elevations which showed the addition with and without the dormer. When they saw the interior perspective I’d prepared, which showed the raised ceiling inside the dormer, and heard what the project manager said about the dormer alternative, they chose to include the dormer with the raised ceiling.
Step Three: Revise The Preliminary Plan, Based On Feedback
Several days later, the wife called with questions about two additional alternatives, and one concern: A barrel-vault ceiling inside the dormer, adding another (smaller) dormer to enlarge the front entry, and how to deal with the area that had been the vegetable garden. I promised answers by the end of the week.
Before calling the project manager, I sketched some ideas to verify that a small dormer would complement the large dormer, and that a barrel-vault ceiling would fit into the space. By this time in the process, I had opted to include rounded features (“horseshoe” ceiling opening, round-top clerestory window, and elliptical island), so it seemed natural to add a private patio on the northeast corner, enclosed by an elliptical stone wall. None of these features were included in the original project estimate. Mark and Anne needed to know what their additional investment would be, so they could make informed decisions. The project manager called them directly with estimates, and they called me with their decision to include the entry dormer and the elliptical stone wall only, because both features would positively impact the appearance and function of their home. A successful ranch remodeling project had to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood of other ranch-style homes. The round wall was different, but blended beautifully. Mark and Anne made a wise decision to scrap the idea of the barrel-vault ceiling, because it was beyond their financial pain threshold.
Step Four: Help Homeowners Select Products
The following weeks were spent meeting and shopping with the homeowners, and communicating with the project manager and suppliers, so the project manager could “value engineer” the investment to help the homeowners stay on track financially. Here is what the Homeowners selected for their ultimately successful ranch remodeling:
Windows and patio doors: Millgard.
Appliances and plumbing fixtures: Dacor, Sub-Zero, and Bosch appliances; Franke, Delta, Toto, and Kohler plumbing.
Custom cabinets with special storage details: the wife wanted the cabinets to blend with the reddish-brown color of all existing trim. I did a colored rendering for her, and suggested that some of the cabinets remain “natural,” for contrast.
Kitchen and bathroom tiles: United Tile, Florida Tile. Decorative inserts were shown in detail on the elevations, so the electrician knew where outlets and switches would be located, and the tile setter knew where the Homeowners wanted the decorative inserts.
Kitchen flooring: Amtico LVT. At the time, they had a large dog. Experience with previous clients was my reason for recommending a commercial-grade vinyl instead of a wood floor; the project manager confirmed that there was no difference in investment, and the vinyl floor would look great for a longer time, with less maintenance.
Light fixtures, switches, and outlets: Belfer, Tech, Juno, Lutron. High priority was given to energy-efficient lighting, which included continuous dimmable fluorescent fixtures inside the “horseshoe,” fluorescent task lighting for the work areas, with dimmable recessed fixtures used as passage and fill lighting. Anne and Mark also selected new fixtures for the entry and the stone wall. NOTE: This project happened immediately before I began recommending LED fixtures.
Stone for the elliptical wall and new patio: Cultured Stone.
Wall and ceiling colors: Benjamin Moore.
Step Five: Finalize all project and product decisions with the Homeowners. Prepare final plans for permits and construction.
All project scope and product selections were included, to minimize the possibility of problems and delays. Because there were two additions involved in the project, a structural engineer prepared framing plans and calculations. We were getting very close to launching construction!
Step Six: Coordinate the project with Homeowners, Contractor, Sub-contractors, and Suppliers.
Working on this project was a wonderful experience, because we all worked together, fulfilling our respective roles, to make it successful, and enjoyable. Respect, great communication, and reality-based creativity helped us achieve the best results possible.
See Portfolio Pictures and descriptions: Kitchen – Master Suite
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