10 Nov Early collaboration = a super-smooth process. Like that jazz station they play at the dentist.
PRAIRIE AVENUE NEW CONSTRUCTION. THE POSTER CHILD FOR PLAN-AHEADERS.
There are early birds who bring us in at “new construction dawn” we’ll call it, while things are just ramping up, which is fantastic. Then there are those rare birds who lock us in so early, it’s still dark out (figuratively speaking) – which is even fantastic-er. And that’s what these Wheaton homeowners did. So we were talking millwork and surfaces, floor plan and flow – before architectural drawings and permits, before that giant hole in the ground – before they’d officially even signed with a builder. Dannnng, that’s smart. Here’s why.
It makes for way more accurate budgeting on allowances (read: fewer hyperventilate-and-breathe-in-paper-bag moments) when we can talk through traffic flow and finishes first, and make sure those numbers are reflected in the total budget. There’s also less midstream rethinking and fewer change orders – hopefully eliminating the dreaded do-over.
Ok, enough with the PSA. Let’s talk house!
This couple scored a sweet corner lot on Wheaton’s Prairie Avenue, land of towering trees and residential grandeur. And so the dream-stage began, where we sit down with the homeowners, and sort through piles of inspiration to start refining the overall vision for the house. It’s the fun, fairyland part, where you can momentarily suspend the realities of budget and lot size, and just talk look and feel. We got there pretty quickly (bam – one meeting!), then they worked through architecturals with the builder, Lionel Martinez, and were finally ready to get started for real-real.
The kitchen is a killer combo of white cabinets and grayish-beige stained wood, which we kept to a minimum, using it as more of an accent element around the range hood and sides of the island. We added stained shiplap to the front of the island to bring additional color in, and give the space a light coastal touch. For the counters, we went with high-end Zodiaq quartz in a creamy, Carrara marble-esque called London Sky for the Island and a warm, grey, concrete looking quartz for the perimeter. And they decided to spring for white oak flooring, which we were secretly high-fiving about, since it’s easier to get the exact stain color you want. (Red oak costs less, but you have to figure out how to counteract those pinkish hues, so it’s trickier and takes more mixes.) Above the sink, there’s a bay window placed juuust high enough to build in a ledge for plants, with small, easy-access drawers underneath for, hmmm. We actually have no idea what they keep in there, but storage is storage. And any extra storage is a plus.
We went for more drama in the dining room, with an elegant light fixture and sophisticated, deep navy blue grasscloth walls that say, “In here, we use cloth napkins and our best manners.” Like the kitchen, this room has a squared bump-out bay window as well, so we added a built-in buffet across that recess, giving them extra serving space for entertaining.
The floor plan didn’t accommodate a front closet, so instead, we added a built-in flanking both sides of a window, with a bench for storage underneath. The left side is a tall cabinet that functions as a closet, with a rack for hanging coats. And the right side is stacked open shelving for shoes. There’s a study right off the front entry that they use as a cozy, bookshelf-lined music room. French doors close it off, so the entire family doesn’t have to be subjected to the 137th attempt to nail Für Elise. (Kidding. It sounds lovely. Really.)
The family room is off the kitchen and juts out a bit overlooking the patio and pool(!). (Backyards are overrated. Pools are where it’s at.) There’s a breakfast room there too, with windows on two sides and painted shiplap walls to keep it light and bright. If you stand in the front entry, it’s a straight-shot view, all the way back.
For the family room fireplace surround, we added a fun patterned encaustic tile, which is big now. HUGE-big. We love it too, but feel we should add some commentary here. (Another PSA!) Cement tile is extremely porous and stains easily, so definitely not the smartest move for high-traffic flooring in houses people actually live in unless you are OK with it showing wear. It’s stunning the day it gets installed, but will never look like that again, even with a zillion coats of sealer. We’re down with the post lived in look, but you should make sure you are too, prior to purchasing. A fireplace surround is a good option because ……no one walks on it!
Above the fireplace, is it art? Is it a TV? YES. Those geniuses at Samsung introduced The Frame a TV with a wood frame, pre-loaded with imagery, so when the TV’s not on, it looks like artwork. (Shoutout to Em Henderson for cluing us in to this. For all of us who dread hanging big black electronics over the fireplace, it’s a game changer.)
We made the back of the house close-off-able (not a word, but just go with it). They have a big dog, with a big crate, and we designed the mud room around that, with a dark tile floor and thin grout lines that will keep the paw prints to a minimum. There’s a powder bath and home office back there too – plus a wall of bulletin boards to keep track of schedules. It functions as the family’s command central, but guests don’t need to see that. So they can slide the barn door shut, and it’s all hidden-ish.
This home went so smoothly we almost feel like we should take a cue from reality TV and create some fake drama – make up a panicky moment or something. But that would be a fib. And fibbers we are not. We fully credit the homeowners for their foresight in pre-planning, and for staying the course, never wavering on light fixtures or which of the mixed metals goes where. Kudos to you, Mr. & Mrs. Clients-Now-Friends. PS: your kids said we could stop over for a swim sometime. Hope that’s ok.
– SHOP THE LOOK –
1. Round Natural Seagrass Baskets | 2. Valence Hurrican Vase | 3. Vendome Wall Sconce (Bronze)
4. Natural Seagrass Rug | 5. Henley Onyx Sideboard | 6. Marble Cake Plate
7. Pelham Wall Sconce (Bronze) | 8. Samsung Frame | 9. Geometric Slate+Natural Pillow
10. Lambock Antique Mercury Glass Vase | 11. Silver Convertible Seagrass Basket | 12. Hunter Boots
SIDE NOTE FOR THE LADIES…
Know what you need? A night out. As luck would have it, there’s one next week.
Thursday, Nov. 13th is Ladies Night in downtown Glen Ellyn. We’ll have all our Storm Inspired holiday lovelies out, plus drawings for big-time prizes. Gather the GFs. You’ll definitely want in on that action – 15% OFF everything! (Sorry non-locals, in-store only this time.)
And a side note to the side note…
Storm Inspired will be open for holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday (the one right after Thanksgiving). Hit us up. And bring new people you think might like us. We like new people who like us.
Until next time… thanks for reading!
All photos by Picture Perfect House (Thanks Marina!)
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