Sunday, September 20, 2020


Before and After



Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors

After Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors )



Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors

Before Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors )



Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors

After Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors )



Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors

Before Photograph courtesy of Design House Interiors )

When a recent client first came to Design House Interiors' downtown Wallingford showroom, she was looking for a completely updated lower level of her traditional Colonial home. She told owners Judi Granucci, Ramona Eldridge, and Jennifer Napolitano that she thought she'd need an addition to achieve everything on her wishlist.

"Knowing their budget, we knew that wasn't something they could achieve, but we knew we were going to be able to give them what they wanted by looking at what was there with a little creative thinking," Napolitano says. "A lot of homes have the space to make changes, but it's a matter of having a professional come and give you the proper guidance."

The team from Design House Interiors visited the home, measured, and then virtually redesigned the space – everything from moving walls to furnishings and design. The 3D rendering was then presented to the client and after approval, Design House Interiors began working with contractors to complete the project. While contractors worked, the team was busy ordering everything from cabinets to fixtures and furnishings to finishing touches. With construction complete, they sent the family out for the day so they could furnish and finish the new space.

"We just love the big reveal after," says Napolitano. "The owner cried when she saw the new space; the whole family did. They've been really pleased, and we know they had a lot of friends and family over since then and they've really enjoyed the space."

The new space was a complete makeover with walls moved, windows added, and updates made. Here's a room by room breakdown of the transformation.

Kitchen/Dining Room

The client enjoys baking, especially during the holidays, and she'd been using a downstairs kitchen because she didn't have enough counter space, which was at the top of her redesign wishlist. When the team looked at the house, they knew they also needed to add more light, update the appliances, and relocate the washer and dryer from the kitchen. In the next room, the client had an office, but the design team relocated it, took down the wall, and transformed it back to its original use – a dining room – but now with an open floor plan to the kitchen.

"When we first walked in, the kitchen was dark and tiny with no storage," says Napolitano. "We took out the wall to make a bigger dining space and added a window and sliders creating a tremendous amount of light."

Because of the added light from the dining room, they were able to close off the kitchen window, allowing for more cabinets and a reconfiguration of where the updated appliances could be located. Napolitano notes that bringing the cabinets all the way to the 96-inch ceilings and hanging the window treatments close to the ceiling also helped make the space feel bigger.

"We added a tremendous long island with a microwave drawer and wine racks, along with a floor to ceiling pantry," Napolitano says. "Next to that we left an open area where we were able to hang a shelf and pretty artwork to create a message center for the family where they can leave messages and throw their keys.

"We put in all new appliances, including a double oven, and all new lighting Every space benefits from different types of lighting," adds Napolitano. "The fixture over the dining table is very modern, but the thing that ties it together is that the glass shades are a cut glass look that is popular in antique pieces that speak to our farmhouse table."

Family Room

The family room is one step down from the kitchen and each wall had a feature to work around – a half-wall to the kitchen, sliders, fireplace, a door to the garage, and a window. To update the look, they scraped and refinished the popcorn ceilings, painted, and replaced the carpeting with hardwood, which was matched to the rest of the house using a custom stain. The fireplace facade was updated with slatted wood and an adjustable TV mount.

"We all feel proud that the furniture we put in there worked so well because it was such a difficult space to design," says Napolitano. "We used a sectional but took out the corner and put in a coffee table to fill that space to create a great spot to put things down. There was room for a chaise on each side. They have movie nights with family and friends, so we created space for everyone to be super comfortable and open to the new kitchen with island and bar seating."


"Without doing an addition, we took a little space from the garage to create a fun mudroom area," Napolitano explains. "It's perfect featuring a built-in bench with cubbies above, hooks for coats, and a board and batten look for that farmhouse feel."

Office/ Guest Room

In a traditional Colonial, what would've been the formal living room was being used as a bedroom. The family had closed off the space and added closets and a door to the first-floor bathroom.

"It was pitch black in that room, but the amount of light in there now is astounding. We took out the closets and created a French door entrance into the new dining room where the light from the new slider and window flows in," says Napolitano. "We also added a window. We closed off the entry to the powder room and, because the water lines were there, we created a closet for the washer and dryer.

"The client still needed it to function as a bedroom sometimes, so we used a beautiful daybed that pulls out and pops up to create a queen bed," adds Napolitano.

Main Entry

When redesigning the office/guest room, the closest to the main entry of the house was removed. This allowed the team to take some of that space to add to the main entryway.

"It was an opportunity to push the whole space back to create a closet for main entry and make the new entry bigger," explains Napolitano. "The front door would get bottle necked, but now there's room to move more freely and a space to hang coats."


"We used lots of mirrors to give that extra sense of space and light. The custom window treatments with some shades are beautiful. We also used some of the homeowner's artwork. It's important to us to find out what's important to the homeowner as far as what they already own that they want to reuse, and we make room for that."


"It's a full bath with a shower. We spruced it up to match the rest of the changes. We added new flooring, and a new vanity, lighting, and mirror."

Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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