A Timeless Design Plan for a Hundred Year Old Ann Arbor Colonial

I've got a new project update for you today! This one comes to you from the lovely city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The project? A hundred year old colonial for a family of four (plus pup!).


This house is our clients forever (or at least long time!) home, so they want to make it really special. The footprint of the main floor isn't huge, but there's loads of charm, and with some creative space planning, it'll be exactly what they need.



We'll be tackling the entirety of the main floor and adding on a small mudroom off the kitchen in partnership with local builder JDS Renovations. The kitchen will be a total gut, and everything else will be largely cosmetic----paint, flooring, wallpaper, some cool built-ins, and of course, furniture!


Let's dive in...



The Existing Space


Below I've compiled photos of the existing space. The breakdown of the main floor includes what will be a library off of the living room, the living room, a few details in the entry, a powder bath refresh, the dining room, kitchen, and a new mudroom addition.


You can see below that the space already has loads of charm, AND that my clients already have great style, which is always exciting to work with!!




Style Inspiration



These clients' style is super fun and whimsical. We're talking quaint patterned wallpaper, colorful muted cabinets, layers of all kinds of styles, and anything "knobby" with an old feel to it. I noted lots of warm wood tones, vertical paneling, a glorious mix of metals, and gorgeous textiles throughout their inspiration images.



They loved the look of built-in cabinetry and anything "old world", and shared that the project in our portfolio they most resonated with was our Fitzgerald Condo Remodel, which totally made sense to me based on their inspiration images.





The Kitchen


The existing kitchen isn't particularly tiny, but it's laid out in a very odd way. The range is inside a peninsula that shoots out from the wall, and is right next to a door that currently leads to their basement. Strange? Yes. Dangerous? yes.


The plan is to turn this into a galley kitchen. We're moving the fridge and the range to the wall where the basement door currently lives, and we'll remove the door to the basement entirely (don't worry, there's a new way to get to the basemen!). We'll center up the sink beneath the window, and add a beautiful tower cabinet on one side to replace some storage we'll be losing in uppers elsewhere.



The new layout of the kitchen is going to feel so much larger and so much more logical. We're actually going to open up the doorway from the dining room to the kitchen to be just three feet of wall on either side, which will make both of these spaces feel larger and more cohesive.


There will be new wood floors throughout the entire main floor, which will help with flow, and the new colors will highlight this space in such a great way.


Below you can see the new layout of the kitchen. We're adding a gorgeous custom range hood, and we'll do both a paneled fridge and dishwasher so that the kitchen feels more custom and cohesive.

Here's a rough mockup of the range wall, which includes the paneled fridge all the way to the right. We'll do a marble-look quartz as the counter and backsplash with a custom quarts shelf to house things like spices, olive oil, etc., and the custom range hood will be flanked by two gorgeous sconces.



On the sink wall, we have a glorious tower cabinet on the righthand side balanced out by an adorable pendant light on the left. I'm planning for a quirky piece of old art on the wall to the left of the window (I LOVE playing with asymmetrical balance like this...if you did happen to pop over to the Fitzgerald Condo project, you'll see that we played with a lot of asymmetry in this project too).


As for selections, our cabinet colors will be SW Portsmouth (it's wayyyy less dark and way less blue that what is shown in the model), and walls, paneling, and trim will be SW Alabaster. Our range lights are a quirky play on vintage style sconce, and the pendant light by the sink has a glass cone-style shade with brass tones.


You'll notice in the photos of the existing kitchen that there is a cute little window seat within the bay window. We'll maintain the existing cafe table and chairs here, and add a sweet pendant light above with a scalloped fabric shade.


For our sink, we're doing an apron front (I'm telling you, some people say this style is "out" but I honestly think it can work anywhere/anytime in the right application), a polished nickel vintage style faucet, and classic cafe curtains on the sink window.


Our countertop will be Ironsbridge by Cambria, which has a great balance of warm and cool tones, and really beautiful veining, and our floors are Planer by Duchateau, which mimic the style of the narrower original wood floors of the house. These floors will run throughout the main floor, other than the mudroom and front entry.



The Dining Room


There's one room in every project that takes longer to come together than the rest, and for this project, it was the dining room. I'm not sure I could tell you why, but it was! That said, it ended up being probably my favorite plan out of all the rooms in this project.


We originally threw around the idea of doing some kind of built-in around one of the windows, but once I took measurements, we found that neither of the windows were centered on their walls, which would have made for a wonky looking design.


Instead, we decided to do all stand-alone pieces. Now, the footprint in this room is VERY tight, so the pieces had to be very specific dimensions. I wanted a new, smaller scale side board, and a taller storage piece that would go in the back corner of the space (which is not pictured).


The dining table will be staying and is an antique piece that has been handed down by my client's family.