And the Winners Are…
Grand Prize Winners
Who knew mosquitoes could ever be a good thing? But to the Halperins, those gnarly gnats are the real reason for their redone digs. Really, we were just tired of being attacked by bugs and originally thought about screening in our outside patio, Arthur Halperin says. Little did we know this projected line of defense would evolve into a light-filled 650 square foot kitchen and dining area with a vaulted ceiling and a two-sided fireplace!
Thanks to the architectural expertise offered by Todd Guenzi of Guenzi-Vargas Studios, the houses existing u-shaped floor plan became a blank canvas for artistic potential. John Cimino of TMC Contractors teamed with the Halperins and Guenzi to make the plan come alive. It didnt take long to realize that screening the patio would solve one problem but exacerbate another since our already impossibly cramped and outdated kitchen would remain just-so, Halperin says. We soon discovered it would be far better to expand the kitchen into the patio, making it part of the enclosed structure.
Not only did the Halperins get a better kitchen in the deal, they saw the old space morph into a powder room, hallway and walk-in pantry. The elevated patio was torn up and enclosed to create the spacious kitchen and a new deckcomplete with a custom, sunken grilling areawas added.
In the Halperin household, the hallway isnt a typically narrow space connecting rooms. Far from it, the vestibule has a unique pyramid ceiling and built-ins at the intersection of two hallways. An added treasure was the excavation of hardwood flooring from underneath carpeting and parquet flooring that had lain hidden for years.
The Halperins Tuscan-style kitchen now boasts a vaulted ceiling rising 17 feet above a honed and filled travertine floor. Featuring exposed beams and an exterior wall of glass, the room offers deck access through three sets of French doors. Custom cherry cabinets, granite countertops, an island, built-in appliances and a stucco, two-sided, walk-around fireplace connecting the den and kitchen complete the picture. Den-side, stacked stone and a mantle crafted from an old barns rough-hewn beam create an enviable ambiance. And the enlarged dining room now features a built-in, granite-topped serving counter.
Halperin and his wife know the results would not have been what they are without the expert execution of Cobb County-based TMC Contractors. Originally selected for his honesty, integrity and workmanship, Cimino says, This business is all about honesty, listening to customers, following up on projects and making sure theyre complete. I dont leave a job until its 100 percent.
These always-important qualities were even more critical than ever on this job since, strangely, the demolition of the Halperins original house began on the very day that the World Trade Centers collapsed. Our own brick exterior was being torn down as we watched the World Trade Centers fall…and certainly we questioned whether or not we were making the right decision. Now on the other side, we are truly glad we persevered, Halperin says.
Cimino and TMC Contractors permit their clients to provide their own materials and hire their own subcontractors. And thats just what the Halperins did, reinvesting the savings into the project so that cabinets, custom finishes and appliances could be upgraded. Service with a smile is a true definition of what you can expect from TMC, Halperin says. Truly, an inspired design met a superior execution in our case, and were living the result. Even a year and a half later, we still sometimes have to pinch ourselves.
One a builder’s afterthought, the kitchen is now a beautifaul as well as functional.
Runners-Up – Alexandra & Michael Fenech
Atlanta Design & Build, Contractor
Advanced Cabinet Systems, Design
Ask the Fenechs whats cooking and the answer may surprise you. The bubble, bubble, toil and trouble of renovating their kitchen has redefined a room large in size that was poorly planned. A lack of counter space and appliances thrown in haphazardly as an afterthought by the builder made them know when they purchased the house that renovation was definitely in their future.
But its not all been about making this most important room pretty (though that is an appropriate adjective now). At first glance it may look like your typical Dunwoody kitchen with cherry cabinets and tile, but it has a lot of hidden gems, Michael Fenech says. The new kitchen is also quite functional, featuring a large island, a 48-inch range and lots of cabinets, as well as ample counter space. Since both homeowners enjoy cooking, some of the built-in features, like the islands warming drawer, are special touches.
Pam Ponder of Advanced Cabinet Systems was the initial contact for the Fenechs, responsible for getting the project off the ground and helping to design it. She eventually referred them to Atlanta Design & Builda Marietta company experienced in kitchen and bath renovations, basement completions, and construction of sun rooms and custom decks.
We basically gave them the keys to our house and wed come hometheyd be goneand progress would be made, says Alex Fenech. They were awesome, and the foreman was so understanding and easy to work with.
Bob & Rhonda Sullivan
Whitmore Construction, Contractor
Calling the addition to their home a wonder room, the Sullivans explain the reason for such an accolade is that they wonder how they lived without it before. The removal of a single-pane bay window and exterior French door combo (both responsible for large utility bills), as well as the demolition of a wooden deck, paved the way for what was to come in this northwest Atlanta suburban home.
A growing family made the decision to proceed with a renovation easy. A talented professional, Brian Whitmore of Whitmore Construction, made the inevitable chaos calmer. When it was all said and done, the back of the Sullivans house looked quite different. Gone were the bay window, deck and French doors; in their place was a large room with eight floor-to-ceiling windows and a set of French doors. The renovation added about 500 square feet of comfortable living space finished into a family room, den and dining area. A new deck steps down to a large patio, and there was even room for a third garage.
Inside, careful attention to detail included such amenities as hardwood flooring, smooth ceilings, can lighting and intricate millwork. All in all, the Sullivans are ecstatic about their expanded space.
This project was a success in large part because of Brian Whitmore, a dedicated professional, Bob Sullivan says. He has extensive experience and had a thick portfolio of similar renovations. His trustworthiness and commitment to timeliness and staying on budget were invaluable.
It’s possible to make a dramatic change to your house while maintaining a particular style, as this renovation proves.
Elizabeth McQuerry and John Morris
Renovation Express, Contractor
Landing well is how John Morris describes his and Elizabeth McQuerrys move from a Buckhead apartment to a charming, if somewhat dilapidated, Cape Cod-style cottage in Decatur. The neighborhood was perfect, and the house was nearly so, except it quickly became apparent that size was an issue. Its 1,100 square feet simply werent sufficient for this couple.
Early ideas about renovation included adding an entertainment room onto the back, but a year of living in the house showed that they needed even more space. How could they add more square footage and maintain the streetscape of their corner lot cottage? Could the Cape Cod look be retained midst the addition of modern conveniences? Was an integrated design possible?
Enter Charles and Sandra Price of Renovation Express who said yes to all of the above. Indeed, they said, modern functionality and faded charm could be married. And whats more, the only major surgery would be removing the roof back and extending the front half back and up several feet. In this way, additional floor space above the existing living quarters in the old house was recovered and a new second-story space was constructed.
In spite of inevitable older house challenges and seemingly endless decisions about design issues, several months later, McQuerry and Morris took ownership of a unique, semi-custom built home that mixes the best of traditional, in-town cottage design with the conveniences of modern living. Going into the project, we didnt know enough to be completely frightened away, Morris says. Now we know all you need are a solid existing structure and good design, as well as a knowledgeable and reliable contractor to make your home a dream.