“The remodel project started with the client contacting us because they wanted to redo their primary bedroom closet,” says Linda Eberle, certified kitchen and bathroom designer at DreamHouse DreamKitchens. “The closet was too small to fit their clothes, and when we got there, the only way to give them a bigger closet was to actually move it to a different location, which then snowballed into redoing their bathroom. The original closet bumped into that space, which made the bathroom layout kind of funky in order to accommodate everything one would want in a primary bathroom.”

These snowballing remodels are actually more common than you would think, though this one was a little more extreme. With a new bathroom layout, inspiration struck for an update, and then the outdated look of each adjoining room became that much more apparent. Part of the reason why the bathroom remodel proved so influential is because of just how masterfully DreamHouse DreamKitchens tied a rustic look into a contemporary feel.

Walking into the bathroom, the first things you will notice are the floor and accent wall. Linda describes the aesthetic as Colorado-casual style. The rich dark tiles on the floor are latticed with longer tiles mimicking a knotty wood, which stretches toward the earthen brick mosaic of the porcelain accent wall. This all serves as the backdrop for the white soaking tub, fitted with modern matte black faucets.

“Typically, when you see a freestanding tub, it has its own freestanding faucet that is mounted on the floor. In this design, we took a deck-mounted tub faucet and mounted it on a tile block to bring it up to the height needed to fill the tub. It is easier to clean and allows for the hand shower hose to not hang in the tub.”

Also noteworthy is how the accent wall is used to make the room feel bigger, allowing it to breathe. “It was kind of nice to have something that’s water resistant all the way from the tub into the shower. It is a nice way to marry the two together. In this scenario, because the tub is next to the shower, if we did two different tiles there or just painted behind the tub and tiled the shower, it would make the shower feel smaller. The way we did it, the shower feels a little bit bigger and more a part of the room. It becomes the focal point along with the tub.”

In the zero-clearance shower, complete with rainfall shower head and built-in shelves, there is ample room to one day put in safety features as the homeowners age in place. The DreamHouse DreamKitchens team even had the foresight to put in the blocking needed for grab bars so, when the time comes, it is a quick update.

Throughout the first floor, windows were updated in “that black sleek style, versus the oak that was there. We did all the trim in the house to that knotty alder look. We also refinished the original oak floors and stained with a brown-grey color tone, which is really more popular now than the golden oak that they had before. There was really no reason to get rid of the oak floor other than the fact that they just did not like the color.”

Much like the bathroom, the kitchen also had much more than its floors and windows refinished. For a family who likes to cook, built-in appliances from Wolf and Sub-Zero provide professional-level performance. Since the homeowners are not operating a restaurant and their kids have moved out, they also opted for a speed oven, which doubles as a microwave, in addition to a conventional oven.

Above the stovetop is a custom riveted hood with an aged-steel look. The effect comes off as an emphasized feature to the theme of Colorado casual—a pronounced rustic or natural piece in a modern and sleek environment.

Bookending the steel in the kitchen is the live-edge walnut slab serving as a snack/breakfast bar. “We just wanted to bring a natural focal point into that space,” says Linda. “We made a visit to The Wood Cycle, out of Oregon, and handpicked the piece. They did a really good job talking through how this piece was going to look. It is kind of fun because they are all tagged with the street name from which they were taken down. Then they work in conjunction with our countertop fabricator to make sure the two can incorporate together. The wood countertop is going to expand and contract a little bit. Just to have the installation done right so that that top doesn’t crack over time was key. They did a great job.”

The countertop and island are equally eye catching, and surprisingly low maintenance. To even a trained eye, they might look like soapstone, but they are actually made of quartz. With soapstone, you have to oil the material somewhat regularly while worrying about scratches over time. With quartz, just wash it down with dish soap and warm water using nonabrasive cloth, and you are good to go.

A practical feature in the countertop is an undermount stainless steel Kohler Prolific sink. “It comes with two dish drains, a cutting board, a strainer, and a dish bowl where you would wash dishes. Each one of those accessories can fit on those grooves, so it can be multifunctional.”

Linda and her team also gave the front door a facelift. The original front door was a single door with two sidelights and a transom window below the header. Taking advantage of the height, they were able to put in an oversized alder double door that ties in with the other updates. The mudroom was also redesigned with a new look and increased efficiency.

It is not always possible to remodel several rooms at once, but when it works out, the result can offer a flow and theme that feels more cohesive than when everything is piecemealed. Linda and her team have given her clients a home as functional and beautiful today as it will be practical for the future.

Kyle Jacobson is a writer living in Sun Prairie.

Photographs provided by DreamHouse DreamKitchens.

DreamHouse DreamKitchens

5117 Verona Road
Madison, WI 53711