Case study: Laurel Avenue Residence
Site Survey & Program
Our first step when starting any renovation is the research, or programming phase. We measure and photograph the existing space and get to know our clients: their needs, desires, inherent aesthetic, etc. For this client, the needs were many: a more open space, a mudroom, a centralized kitchen “hub,” a renovated and redecorated dining room, an inviting foyer and as much storage as physically possible. From this early programming and surveying meeting, we are able to transport the existing space back to our office in the form of existing floor plans and photographs. As we design the new space, we use all the information we have gathered as reference material as we dig into the creative process.
The existing floor plan was pretty typical for a 1920s colonial: lots of small rooms, a butler’s pantry separating the kitchen from the dining room, and a powder room off the hallway on the first floor. To achieve the open floor plan desired, we quickly realized that even though moving the powder room wasn’t part of the original plan, it was necessary in order to square off the kitchen properly and open up the dining room to the rest of the floo. This is where understanding the goals helps drive the design work, as the client didn’t ask to move the powder room, but once they understood the impact on the design, they agreed the move was critical.
Once the floor plan is set, we begin fleshing out all of the components of the design, from cabinetry details to actual selections of lighting, colors, fixtures and furniture. With loads of visual communication, we ensure our client understands our design concepts as well as what the finished product will look like, using tools like photoshop to illustrate design options and why we may be recommending a certain approach.
Providing a road map for the builder is essential and the more detailed it is, the easier the construction is on everyone, the faster the project goes, the less questions. As we build these documents, we stumble on questions ourselves that we can answer before the construction begins. Drawing helps us work out small details, refine the design, understand what may come up later—it is our way of communicating with ourselves, with our clients and with our builders.
As with all of our projects, we work closely with the builder to ensure that every phase of the build is managed. Field decisions are required on every project and we make ourselves available to regularly visit the site and answer any questions that arise.
Nothing is more exciting to us than transforming lives. As Kate, the homeowner, told East Side Monthly magazine, the kitchen is one of her favorite spots: “It acts as the hub of the home. Our friends and family mean the world to us and we entertain often. We can dress the kitchen up or down and just as easily accommodate milk and mac-and-cheese at the island for a playdate for three-year-olds, or a charcuterie spread for grown-ups.” At KTID, we aim for impact, and our success is measured most by the positive impact our work has on the lives of our clients.