Sophisticated Upgrades Transform Suburban Home
Remodel provides more comfort, beauty and function
Michael and Karla Beehler built their existing home in 2007 to better accommodate their lives and work after their children graduated from high school. They began by researching builders and became fond of the Darling Homes being built in The Lakes of Cypress Forest. The couple also liked the neighborhood with its lakes and waterfalls, walking trails and large trees. The home design they selected was particularly well-suited for empty nesters, with all primary living space on the main floor and a media room with bathroom upstairs.
The lot, however, was the real selling point. After they had moved into their previous home, a large house was built next door, creating a rather unpleasant view from their backyard. Their current lot backs up to a small lake with a fountain and walking trails. The two enjoy sitting out in the evenings to catch up on the day’s events. “Our dogs are also are much more fond of this yard because they can socialize with neighbors who walk by,” Karla said.
When they originally built their current home, the design trends were neutral browns mixed with an abundance of wood and stone, which, Karla admitted, she may have bought into a bit too much. As her mother told her, “I didn’t know there could be so many shades of brown in a house.” The only upgrade they included when the house was built was granite countertops in the bath, but they never cared for the bathroom’s look overall.
The couple grew dissatisfied with their original design choices and longed for more contrast and interest. After watching numerous programs on HGTV, Karla was convinced that her home could be transformed into an amazing space with a bit of remodeling. “Though I think of myself as someone who can spot good taste and a well-done design, I knew I would struggle to accomplish this on my own,” Karla said. “I am particularly challenged when it comes to having the confidence of mixing elements. I found Carla Aston on HOUZZ.com and studied her website. She had some photos and supporting reviews of projects that appealed to us, so we decided she was the designer for us.”
The couple’s initial vision was a master bath that was inviting and modern with fewer brown elements. They also desired more storage and built-ins for the laundry room with an upgraded sink/counter area. For the rest of the house, the Beehlers admitted that they needed to rely on their designer to provide most of the vision.
The goal of the remodel was to create a modern, transitional look, with some custom upgrades and an overall cleaner style. They began with a partial remodel of the master bath. The Beehlers thought they might keep the cabinets but would replace the tile, the shower, the tub and the plumbing fixtures. They also decided to remodel the kitchen cabinets and counters, the floor in the laundry room and redecorate some of the main living areas and master bedroom.
Aston said, “We actually started smaller on this job, with directives to do a partial master bath remodel with some accessorizing and some furniture purchases to update the home. After getting started, the project grew when we talked possibilities and began showing them other ideas outside the original scope.”
Karla believes much of the project’s growth came during her first meeting with the designer. “I sat on the sofa in my family room with her and said, ‘I want to sit here and have everything I see flow seamlessly, be well-done and look finished,’ ” she said.
The design team prepared story boards and drawings to help bring Karla’s ideas and concepts to life. As she saw the possibilities, the project scope expanded. The color palette of the home was the starting point.
Aston felt it didn’t make sense to replace the reddish-brown wood floors that run throughout the home. Because the stain on the kitchen cabinets clashed with the floors, they considered painting the cabinets a gray or even lighter. “That just didn’t provide the drama we needed. Going espresso on the cabinets made them sleeker and more stylish, made the dark finish purposeful and created a nice backdrop for the accent color of the teal island and brass lighting. We used the teal/peacock and citrine colors throughout the home, providing unity and tying the spaces together,” Aston said.
Aston also introduced brass fixtures and hardware throughout the home, providing a unique element to the décor. The choice adds warmth to the transitional space and color in places where needed and looks fresh and long-lasting.
The home’s natural materials complement the color palette. The slate used on the fireplace and sitting room floor, the cypress wood coffee table, and the Macabus White quartzite kitchen countertops with the subtly colorful veins all add to the quality of this interior.
The Beehlers love the fireplace wall and kitchen counter/cabinet upgrades. The fireplace wall update completely changes the room and gives a focal point, and the contrast of the dark cabinets and light countertops in the kitchen with the brass accents are so much more visually appealing.
Michael and Karla also finally have a master bath suite that they can enjoy. The arched openings at the vanity and tub were removed to open up the space to the ceiling; the walls were smoothed to rid the space of the dated and heavily textured look; a new, sleek vanity style was installed, including three tall mirrors and stunning pendant lighting; clean-lined materials with some glass tile insets now provide color and interest; and niches were added to provide a storage for plush towels. Additionally, a new glass shower opens up the space even more. The master bath was transformed from stuffy, dated and confined to spacious, spa-like and restful.
The Beehlers also love the new lighting and the visual interest it adds. Karla said, “I get more comments on the new lighting in the house than on anything.”
The extra scope of the project prevented the couple from hiring a general contractor, so Karla took on that challenge. Because she also works outside the home, lots of planned communication, organization and attention to detail was required.
Karla, however, gives most of the credit to Aston and her team. “Carla was a perfect choice for us. She is strong enough to push me when I needed a nudge but also willing to consider my input and adjust the design accordingly where it made sense. And we couldn’t have done anything without her expert CAD drawings and detailed instructions.”
The couple also praised the job’s primary contractor, Felipe Perez. “Without the combination, this remodel would never have been successful. When Felipe had questions Carla was quick to respond with guidance. Felipe would also work late most days so he and I could review things in the evenings together,” said Karla.
While living in the midst of a remodel is not always pleasant, the couple persevered. Karla was quick to give Michael credit for never complaining, especially since he worked from home during the entire process.
Everyone agrees that the finished product matches the style and look the couple desired from the beginning. Even though the project grew, the overall design direction never wavered. The team simply moved from room to room with a similar aesthetic and style in mind, and they ended up with much more than they originally envisioned: a home that is more comfortable, more beautiful and more functional.
Text by Cheryl Alexander | Photography by Tori Aston | Interiors by Carla Aston
Construction by Darling Homes | Remodel by Felipe Perez, primary contractor
TOP IMAGE: The wall color is really the star here, serving as a beautiful backdrop for the homeowner’s art and the new boxy gilded lantern from Troy.
Sophisticated Upgrades Transform Suburban Home