Before + After: Bright and Flowing Spaces for Comfortable Living

This project came to us as a 2-family home with a garden apartment that the family wanted to combine with the residence upstairs. The garden level was very compartmentalized as a 2-bedroom apartment, making the floor feel cramped and lightless. An L-shaped kitchen towards the rear restricted flow and access to the rear yard and two front bedrooms meant the living space in between was left with little natural light and a weak connection to the layout – a “leftover” space.

The parlor floor also seemed to miss some opportunities – brightness and open flow with a closed stair hallway and a kitchen layout that was actually too open it became dysfunctional.

The program for the parlor renovation was to create larger openings between the front living/dining room and the kitchen that were more proportional to the scale of the floor’s high ceilings. We were able to get a “through-view” from the parlor entry door by rotating a powder room behind the stair to allow a glazed door to the deck outside – what a difference! The parlor kitchen was remodeled with all new, brightened materials and a center island to visually ground the room and add counter and seating space.

The garden floor renovation needed to replace the separate apartment with a recreational floor that felt integrated to the parlor floor above. It needed to feel fully open and bright, but the front room needed to occasionally be closed off as a quiet space for work or guest overflow. Four pocket doors sit discreetly between the two living rooms and allow a large opening to bring light into the middle of the house. The new stair up to the parlor utilizes a glass wall to create a visually open connection between the floors. The openings at the back of the garden floor were replaced with a large, double sliding door. The size of these doors was coordinated with the large openings between each room to maintain scale and alignment. With the rear yard more visible, the underside of the areaway was sheathed with warm cedar and feels almost like an interior space. See the complete project page for a more interactive before and after experience.

Finish Photography: Dylan Chandler

In Collaboration With: M Monroe Design