Finishing up at The Kitchen Swap! Keep your eyes peeled for final photography in the coming weeks, but in the meantime take a sneak peek:


The tile backsplash is a traditional 3x6" subway tile. We're using Ann Sacks' Capriccio Tile in Cashmere Grey Gloss. Over the stove, we are using a 2x4" product set in a traditional herringbone pattern, off set by a pencil liner trim.  Bright white grout will blend into the tile patterns, creating a subtle texture against the countertop. 



Our cabinet hardware in this stylish kitchen features a multi-faceted chrome finish. This harkens back to the traditional era of hardware design. We love these polished nickel knobs and pulls by Emtek (Urban Modern) - and the carpenters had a lot of fun installing them...


This Walnut exhaust hood is a unique feature that we wanted to build in-house. Watch our Production Manager Tim Whitford finish this masterpiece below! The hood features details that coordinate well with the kitchen island.  It is finished with a low-sheen stain and we also had glaze applied to emphasize the groove details.


The cabinets are a new product line we are carrying, Das Holz Haus. This is a fully custom, handcrafted line from Illinois.  What's unique about our cabinet design here is a combination of painted and natural walnut surfaces. The island features are unique Walnut stacking plank detail with corner post legs.

From Das Holz Haus website: "Mere appearance isn’t enough for Das Holz Haus. Style matters, but we go far beyond style to build integrity and character into each treasure we create. From the first plans to the final finishes, Das Holz Haus does the details right so your dream looks right, functions right, and is right."


Somehow, we absolutely missed taking photos of the exciting drywall hanging and mudding process.  Our other behind-the-scenes blogs should give you an idea what this looks like... moving on!


This should be a warm and cozy space! We packed the existing walls with a closed-cell foam insulation to achieve the highest R-value possible within the wall cavity. We also utilized this material in the floor cavity over the existing slab. Later, we applied an energy caulk to all of the joints from wood studs, plates and headers.


Whenever we open up walls, the challenge is to relocate the mechanicals in an efficient way - and one that works with the design.  Ideally, it blends into existing available cavities. In this scenario we created a trench through the existing floor system over the concrete floor. This one's on the perimeter and underneath the new cabinets.  You may notice green index cards indicating electrical types. We use this method in our pre-mechanical meetings with clients to clarify exact locations before our subcontractors come into play.


This house was just re-sided a few years ago, so our goal is to blend in the new window locations with the existing siding rather than waste it and start over.  It's a delicate approach!


The steel beam is a critical element for the success of this project; we're removing a load-bearing wall that separates the kitchen and dining room. Curious how a steel beam goes up?  There are three major steps:

  1. Position the steel beam on the floor
  2. Build temporary support walls
  3. Remove the existing wall and slowly lift the steel beam into place. Easy peasy!

 As you can see, our builders are also handling a change in direction of floor joists. We knew there would be some level of difficulty before we began construction, but couldn't predict the exact condition of the joists. Several were repaired during this phase of the remodel.


The framing of the first floor space is pretty straightforward - we're removing windows, in-filling, and adding new windows and headers in more appropriate places for the new design. We did go to some lengths to level the ceilings and the existing floor and - if you remember - the dining room was over concrete (!!) so we also reinforced the floor there.

If you're looking for framing drama (aren't we all), take a look at what we've done with the second floor dormer.  As you can see below, we are working diligently to sculpt out an addition that feels natural to the home, like its always been there. This space will function as a much-needed additional bedroom.


Ryan isn't just modeling the respirator... they're literal lifesavers on tough, dusty demo jobs like this plaster removal. 

Though our clients have moved out of the house during the remodel, it's safer for everyone involved to take precautions with dust.  For this project, we used a dust wall perimeter and 'dust eaters.'

As happens with older homes, we had a few surprises during demo. For example, we found an electrical junction box buried in the floor, as well as a loose wire with just a wire nut on it. Never a good thing.  All of these problems have been corrected safely and at a minimal cost to the homeowners.  We were also able to confirm our suspicion that the existing dining room was built over a concrete slab! We're guessing that this was originally a garage or a sunroom.  

Because of the thickness of the plaster in this existing home, we had to double-check all of our cabinet measurements after demolition. We also needed to create troughs in the floor for our new mechanical runs.


FDB designers Ann-Marie and Caitlin have created an innovative design solution to meet the clients' remodeling goals.  Now it's time for the selections process, where the designers and homeowners collaborate to choose the finishes for each design element; below are the beautiful finishes that inspired the Newport kitchen.


The existing plan of this home featured compartmentalized rooms and a crowded kitchen; our clients’ first goal was to create an open and comfortable kitchen. They also desired dining and living rooms that flowed more naturally. Our clients’ second goal was to create an additional bedroom on the second floor.

plans - first floor

Plans - second floor

Client Remodeling Goals

The existing plan of this home featured compartmentalized rooms and a crowded kitchen; our clients’ first goal was to create an open and comfortable kitchen. They also desired dining and living rooms that flowed more naturally. Our clients’ second goal was to create an additional bedroom on the second floor.



Our Design Solutions

Our design solution simply flips the kitchen and dining rooms, allowing us to redefine the circulation of the first floor and create a dedicated work triangle within the kitchen space. With a subtle tweak to the windows, we maximize Eastern light and kitchen functionality.  Removing the load-bearing wall creates a combined kitchen and dining room, while a drop beam wrapped in stained wood elevates the interior and helps maintain a sense of separation between the rooms.

The existing second floor layout was originally designed as an oversized master suite with quite a bit of wasted space.  The new second floor design features a new roof line and gable dormer, allowing for an additional new bedroom space.  Our new layout creates a more efficient second floor and adds room for the family to grow.

after - rendering

After - Rendering