Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When the Walls Came Down

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When the Walls Came Down

Article excerpt

A orecisely targeted renovation transforms a home

A family of five had lived in Sarasota's Oyster Bay neighborhood for seven years when a bigger house one street over became available. "We moved because we needed more space," said the wife. "It was a two-story modified Colonial Revival built in 1971, in wonderful condition. It was perfect for us at the time. We had breathing room and were able to stay in the neighborhood that we love."

That was nine years ago, and in the intervening time, the small kitchen with limited counter space, the unused formal dining room, the awkwardly configured master bathroom, and the fact that their son had no place for his drum kit and that dad wanted a designated place for exercise equipment started adding up to a house that was getting less and less perfect. Rather than move again, the family decided on a targeted remodel that would open up the downstairs and rework neglected areas into something functional.

They found interior designers to guide their vision when they went to a party next door. "I admit I experienced house envy," said the wife. "Their renovation was amazing and I asked who did it. That's when I called Mark Dalton and Jill Brunson. And for the next year we met twice a month to define right down to the smallest detail what we needed to make this house function for us. We didn't start tearing down walls until we all agreed on the concept, the style, the flow, materials, just everything."

When the plan was ready to be executed, the family moved to a condominium on Siesta Key and Dalton and Brunson got busy bringing the vision to life.

"Originally, it was the kitchen area," said Mark Dalton. "But, when you work on older homes, there are always surprises that can increase a budget and alter a plan. It happened when we were ripping out walls and we realized there were pinhole leaks in the copper plumbing. The homeowners decided to install new pipes. So, while plumbers were replacing all of them, the homeowners opted to update their master bathroom since it was going to be torn up anyway. We didn't increase the space in that room, but reconfigured everything to give our clients efficient space, including a pull-out vanity for the wife. It's concealed within a built-in armoire. A tiny tub was replaced with a free-standing claw foot one and the whole room is sheathed in luxurious white Carrara marble."

In the kitchen area, the construction team removed five walls, added a structural beam, eliminated a hallway, got rid of the formal dining room, separate breakfast room and reworked the laundry room. The designers stole space from the extra-large garage to make a mud room where every member of the family has a hook, cubbyhole and deep drawer beneath a long bench.

Dalton calls the room the drop spot. "You come in from the garage and just drop everything from school or shopping," he said. …

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