Posts tagged Cincinnati home renovations
A Custom Kitchen With A Place for Everything

There are lots of options to think about when preparing for a kitchen remodel: appliances, countertops, lighting and flooring. These are the big picture items that make up the total aesthetic of your remodeled space. 

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But another aspect to consider when preparing to renovate your kitchen: functionality and organization. 

And while we love Marie Kondo and the idea that every object has its place, we take it a bit further when helping our clients plan a kitchen renovation by considering mis-en-place.

Mis-en-place is a French culinary term. It literally means “put in place” and is a term that chefs use to have everything at hand to prepare a meal before the cooking begins. In a commercial kitchen, where hundreds of meals must be prepared quickly with streamlined efficiency, without sacrificing flavor or appearance, mis-en-place ensures that the chef has everything prepared and within easy reach.

The basic concept of mis-en-place is that planning, preparation and organization ahead of time results in a better finished product. To make that concept a reality at the dinner table, The English Contractor worked with these homeowners to create a kitchen that is a model of efficiency and functionality.  Kitchens are in our wheelhouse for sure—but not just designing cabinetry on the outside, but also what they will look like as well as what they will hold on the inside. We go beyond the hailed work triangle to really think about every inch of functionality within the kitchen.

On the surface, you can see that these homeowners wanted a kitchen that was an elegant extension of the house and a model of efficiency. Designed to allow easy access to the primary dining area and the family room, this kitchen allows multiple people to work while still having access to the action in the rest of the house, ideal for family dinner and entertaining larger parties. 

That’s not where it stops. This room has been transformed into a chef’s kitchen with tools and ingredients close at hand, without sacrificing design or style.

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Between two SubZero refrigerators, both beautifully concealed with antique white wood panels, lives a custom-made appliance garage, with the drawer microwave located conveniently below.

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No more searching in a deep, dark pantry for ingredients. This narrow cabinet was created to keep everything in view, making the most of this corner of the kitchen.

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But not everything in this kitchen was designed to be immediately visible. Electrical outlets were placed underneath the upper cabinetry, out of view so as to not disrupt the tile backsplash.

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The dishwasher was given a custom-made wooden panel to look like drawers to balance with the drawers at the other end of the cabinet run. Now you see it, now you don’t. The only downside of this symmetrical design is that the children in the household have a valid excuse for not loading the dishwasher if they can’t find it. 

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In addition to offering abundant storage and counter space, the center island also houses a Wolf warming drawer, to make every day cooking and more formal entertaining a breeze. 

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From continues to follow function in this remodeled kitchen. The Wolf range is surrounded by all the necessary cooking and meal preparation supplies, neatly organized so beautifully in drawers that each one is a work of art in itself. From spices to cooking tools, each drawer is customized to both organize and display its contents. 

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Peg organizers in deep drawers give the homeowners a way to store dishes that keeps them well organized and close at hand. In every inch of this space, these clients have maximized storage space. Upper cabinetry allows some storage, but also glass doored shelves allow for display of decorative items.

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Stylish organized continues in the adjacent dining area with coordinating custom cabinetry. 

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This panoramic view of the kitchen highlights the gorgeous cabinetry in antique white and stained cherry finishes. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?  The kitchen is the heart of the home. But now you know hidden behind those beautiful cabinets are the organizational bells and whistles that make this space a workhorse, too. 

Are you ready to add custom organization to your kitchen?

Give us a call.

Bringing the Best of the Inside to the Great Outdoors

You may have fallen in love with the whimsical bathroom that we just shared, a beautiful melding of modern aesthetic with the historic bones of an older home. We loved working on this project, in part, because it was such a fun challenge. But we have a special place in our heart for these homeowners, who called us back into work on this space a year after we completed another project for them: an outdoor room.

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This project began as a concrete slab. And while that makes a fine place for holding a barbeque grill and maybe a table and some chairs, at the end of the day, it’s just a concrete slab. These homeowners wanted to extend their living space and transform it into an outdoor room, complete with all of the comforts of the indoors. 

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A roof both adds protection from the elements, but also makes this space look like a natural extension of the house. To us, that’s a barometer of a project well done—one that, once it is complete, you can’t imagine what the house looked like without it. 

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 But it wasn’t enough to add just a roof and screens. The tile flooring is both durable and stylish. A gas fireplace with wall mounted television above it gives another taste of the indoors. 

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The grill still has a place in this space, with an inviting table nearby. Add some good friends and you have an instant party, all in one space.

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See more of this beautiful space and hear more about the specifics of this project from The English Contractor himself, Craig Russell. 

Do you have an outdoor space that could use some attention? Are you imagining an outdoor room all your own? Give us a call today.

Spring Showers Bring More Than May Flowers
You may think that spring showers bring May flowers. But in this case, spring showers brought us very happy homeowners.

Don’t you love those beautiful spring mornings? The ones where you wake up to beautiful sunshine. Flowers are in bloom. The birds are singing. The kind of morning where you just can’t wait to leap out of bed and greet the day? 

 For some lucky homeowners, with a creative vision all their own, that’s every morning, every season of the year.

 The English Contractor was contacted by these Milford homeowners to remodel their bathroom, after we’d successfully worked with them to create an outdoor room, that you can see here. Of course, one of our most frequent requests is to help refresh and renew a bathroom. But this one was special and our task was specific: remodel this bathroom to make it modern and new while paying homage to the legacy of their historic home. 

 If you’ve ever lived in a historic home, you know you are much more than a homeowner. You are a steward of a domicile that was home to many families before you. And, thanks to your caretaking, will likely hold many other families under its roof for decades to come. A house like this has a personality, even a spirit, all its own. Your job is to keep this home a representation of the time period in which it was built, while gently and carefully welcoming the modern era in. 

 We wax poetic, but it’s true. 

 Take a look at these photos and see for yourself. This free-standing soaker tub with elegant claw feet is reminiscent of another era. The original home likely had a bathtub just like this. It makes a statement. It screams personality, acting as a piece of furniture in this perfect nook. The deck mounted faucet with cross hatch handles screams vintage, while at the same time gleaming shiny and new. Both the bathtub and the faucet are from our friends at Signature Hardware.

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 We’re so in love with the tile floor from Ann Sacks, a chevron pattern given a new look with an elegant curve from the Benton Mosaic collection. The shades of gray add some interest to the area and are a beautiful, modern juxtaposition against the stately, vintage-look bathtub.   

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 But let’s talk about that shower. The subway tile here, with grey grout, adds a nice, neutral backdrop for the rest of the space. Three recessed shelves add plenty of storage. It’s the brass shower fixtures that really makes this space sing. We love it when the most functional item is also beautifully decorative.

And when we say sing, we mean sing like the birds on that cheerful wallpaper. Talk about bringing the outside in. So many of our homeowners have embraced the “everything old is new again” wallpaper trend. We particularly like this one, selected by these clients. It’s so cheerful and happy, a modernized toile that once again takes a vintage space and makes it more current, with a slight nod to the home’s heritage. The stained-glass window is the icing on the cake, letting in plenty of natural light while beautifully reflecting the design of this space, both inside and out.

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This sweet pedestal sink is just so perfect for this space, with the brass faucet with cross hatch handles reflecting this mix of new and old, both from Kohler. The white chair rail and detailed paneling lend a crisp and clean feel to the space. And isn’t that just how a new bathroom should feel.

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Is your bathroom ready for a transformation? We’d love to tell you more about this project, as well as some of our other recent bathroom remodels that you can preview here and here. Give us a call. We’d love to show off our latest work—and talk about how we can help you.

The English Contractor's Favorite Bathroom Remodel Trends

In home building and interior design, bathrooms used to be after thoughts. Necessary, but not showcased. Minimally functional, but not beautiful. But times have changed. Bathrooms have style! Here’s a place to let your design style shine. Essential considerations like layout, lighting, functionality and other aesthetic elements can result in a beautiful space that is both attractive and useful. This year, we’ve been lucky enough to take on several different bathroom remodels, which means we’ve seen a lot of the latest trends that homeowners are embracing in a bathroom remodel. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel this year, you’ll want to read on to see some of these details.

Neutrality

Lots of homeowners are drawn to a neutral palette because of its staying power. The look of a neutral bathroom can totally change with paint, towels or artwork, accessories and décor elements that can easily be swapped to give the space a seasonal or refreshed look.

Catch the subway.

The subway tile trend is here to stay. We love it for its affordability and the stylish impact it can make. The change of grout color totally changes the look. These four bathrooms recently renovated by The English Contractor couldn’t be any more different, yet each makes use of subway tile in a way that makes a big impact in each space.

Natural wood.

We love the look of natural wood in a bathroom. It takes some colder materials, like tile, ceramic, and metal, and makes them seem warmer, sometimes even spa-like. Wood doesn’t have to be rustic. It can still be used in a modern and elegant space. Natural wood also becomes like a pop of color in an all white bathroom, adding texture and visual interest. In each of these bathrooms, the wood became a real focal point, a beautiful and natural element that made each of these spaces come to life.

In the tub.

According to a 2018 Houzz survey, 80% of homeowners planning a bathroom remodel planned to upgrade their tub, with nearly 70% planning a soaking tub. We’ve seen this trend too. A stand-alone tub can make quite a statement. Our clients are loving them for their function and their aesthetic. There are a range of styles and colors for freestanding tubs that are a design element as much as they are a special touch of luxury for a newly renovated bathroom.

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Pop of color.

As much as we love the trend of neutral bathrooms, we also enjoy a pop of color. We think you can expect to see more color coming into the bathroom space, with blues and greens staying really popular. This cheerful powder room, featured in the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018, gave new meaning to the term pop of color with yellow painted woodwork and statement wallpaper, yet another trend that homeowners are really loving right now.

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Technology for the Throne.

Are you a technology junkie? Bathrooms aren’t technology-free zones any more. Heated floors and heated towel racks are popular options. And technology-enabled shower, like the one pictured here from the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018, have control panels to easily adjust water flow, multiple jets, and temperature for a spa-like experience in your own home.. The possibilities are endless. 

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Going Green.

You can follow a trend and save money. Water saving showers are an easy addition to any bathroom remodel and can save you money on your water bill in the long run. Dual-flush toilets are another option. The water flow can be adjusted for each flush to save money and benefit the environment. This hall bathroom features a touchless toilet that flushes with the wave of a hand. A subtle glow lights the way for middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

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Tile Trends.

Of course, there’s more to tile than the subway tile workhorse. We’re seeing lots of shapes, textures, colors that add tons of design appeal to a bathroom. It’s not just color and shape—placement says everything. We love a tile accent and tiled bathroom walls. In this HGTV Urban Oasis 2018 hall bathroom, the tile around the vanity and walls has looks like wallpaper, but it’s really a durable and beautiful tile.

Let’s Get Started.

Do these images have you dreaming of renovating your bathroom? Visit our Pinterest page to explore more of our favorite bathroom renovation projects. Or drop us a line and let’s get started!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Tackling a major remodel requires a fair amount of juggling, especially one like we managed for the HGTV Urban Oasis in Cincinnati, Ohio.. There’s a linear nature to a project like this, one foot in front of the other. There’s an order in which projects have to be completed. It can be a challenge, even for the best of us. And that’s the beauty of being a custom builder. We understand the order, how to manage it, and, more importantly, how to juggle it when things don’t go quite as planned. But add a television camera and a celebrity’s schedule to the mix and you have one heck of a project. It was a balancing act, to say the least, but we couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.

 

We’re proud to say that we completed the remodel, including the two-story addition, in 6 months and three days. For a house that was stripped down to the studs, this is quite an accomplishment. But for a house that was stripped down to the studs, rebuilt, and given a two store addition, along with a complicated TV production schedule. . . our timeframe is nothing short of a miracle. 

 
 

For as many exciting parts of a total home renovation that you may witness on your favorite HGTV or DIY Network show—like demo days and big reveals—there are a lot of little details that aren’t so exciting. Like watching paint dry. It’s all part of the process, it has to be accounted for in the timeline, but drying paint does not make for good television. It was sometimes a bit of a balancing act in getting work completed and making sure we hit certain milestones at specific times in order to align with camera crews and celebrity schedules. 

 

A construction zone is a noisy place. And the noise is often, ahem, colorful. But when filming a family show, we had to hammer quietly. And speak politely. 


 

Since our goal was to remodel a home AND have it done as part of an hour-long television show, we had to do our job perfectly and in a way that was entertaining. Usually, on the job site, The English Contractor founder and namesake, Craig Russell is our fearless leader. However, for the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018 home in Cincinnati, the producer was in charge. That meant redoing a project or two, once or twice (or maybe it was 10 times! We’ll never tell!) just to make sure that the camera got the best shot possible. And we still got it all done in 6 months and 3 days!

All in all, we’re thrilled with the final HGTV Urban Oasis project—the house itself and the episode. We loved working hand in hand with our HGTV friends Egypt Sherrod, Brian Patrick Flynn and Dan Faires, watching them do what they do best while we did what we do best. We couldn’t imagine a better partnership. We’d watch paint dry with that crew any day!