Remodel the DMV – Season 1, Episode 1

Have you ever wondered what the entire remodeling process looks like?  Not the made-for-tv remodeling that we all binge watch.  I mean, what it really looks like; what it actually takes to go from a beautiful drawing to a beautiful space?  I figured you had.

I’m excited to introduce you to our new video series, Remodel the DMV (and for those of you scratching your head, we’re talking about DC, Maryland, and Virginia – not the place I got my wildly disappointing drivers license photo).  Each season we will walk you through the entire construction process.  We’ll start the day before demolition to show you the existing space, pop in for milestones throughout the progress, and ultimately give you a tour of the finished space.

This series will focus on Phase 3 of our process (construction); to learn how we get to Phase 3, check out my posts on Phase 1 (preliminary design) and Phase 2 (detailed design/contract documents).

I’m also trying something new here.  Not only are we creating a video series, but each episode will also be launched in conjunction with a blog post.  Each post will give a brief overview of the episode, followed by the video, and then, for those interested, a deeper dive into the details of the project.  I’m calling it a DocuBlog.

This project has been a large undertaking.  I plan on doing more of these, but I would like to make the best possible product.  So if you have thoughts or comments, please share them.  I would love to hear your feedback.

Without further ado, here is Remodel the DMV – Season 1, Episode 1.

Check back on Friday, February 19th for the S1E2 DocuBlog.  And continue reading below if you’re interested in more details.  Thanks!!

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The deep dive

What do you do when your kitchen is too small and too private for the way you want to live today?  What do you do when your first floor doesn’t have a powder room or mudroom – two must haves by today’s market standards?

One option would be to do without the mud/powder rooms and just remodel the kitchen in the existing space.  That would certainly be fine, but it doesn’t change the way you live in the house.  And, for some people, their shiny new kitchen would eventually start annoying them just like the old one did.

You could remodel the kitchen and open it up to an adjacent space.  That would certainly change the way you live and would probably foster long term happiness.  Although, you still don’t have mud/powder rooms.

The last option, and the one that made the most sense for this project, is to move the kitchen.  In this house, there was a large underutilized living room, which also happened to have an adjacent sun room.

Topelius existing

What we decided to do was to move the kitchen from the back corner of the house, to right smack in the middle of everything.  So the living room moved to the sun room, the kitchen moved to the living room, and the old kitchen became powder room, mudroom, and butler’s pantry (bonus!).  This plan removed the wasted space in the house, added valuable function to the first floor, made the kitchen much larger, and increased the efficiency of the space plan.  That’s a win, win, win, win.

Topelius proposed

In addition to the first floor work, there are also two bathrooms upstairs that needed some TLC (actually, the bathrooms needed some TLC back when TLC was singing about waterfalls.  The bathrooms didn’t hold up as well as CrazySexyCool).

Topelius TLC bathrooms

We rearranged the layout of the hall bathroom to make the space flow better and changed the focal point.  The master bathroom was a pull and replace, although we did create a curbless shower.

That’s the rundown for now.  Stop by future DocuBlogs to check out progress pics and videos.


Bye for now,


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