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Design in the Core


When purchasing real estate, homebuyers often need to have “vision” when looking at resale properties. Sometimes construction adjustments are required to make a house workable, especially when the location and price are desirable. Such was the case for this ranch-style home on Miller Drive in the central area of Davis. The homeowners, The Donelan-Mahers, loved the neighborhood but needed to modify the home’s footprint to accomodate their entertaining lifestyle. Morse Remodeling Inc. and Custom Homes  was enlisted for this project. The final reveal of the home’s transformation was showcased at this year’s 10th Annual Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Yolo County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

A secondary sink on the island is a plus in this entertaining kitchen

First on the homeowners’ wish list was to expand the kitchen and dining areas. Michael and Kathleen Donelan-Maher wanted enough elbow-room for their guests to linger in the kitchen, help with meal preparation and dine comfortably indoors or out. A large island with Black Galaxy granite slab was constructed in the middle of the kitchen. A secondary prep and bar sink on the island allows for easy entertaining in this hub of the home. 

Expansive custom cabinetry maximize storage and creates a streamlined design

Striking red front-loading washer and dryers fit perfectly in the new laundry niche

The perimeter of the kitchen is decked out in Cherry cabinets with a clear coat finish and easy-care melamine interior. A communication desk center is incorporated into the cabinetry design as is a pantry with full-extension, soft close pull-out drawers. Under-cabinet lighting and new can lights create ample task lighting, however the new solar tube daylighting fixtures by Sunoptics create soft, natural light in the kitchen. A new window was strategically placed above the primary sink with a view of the newly expanded entertaining patio area. A buffet counter and prep sink are located on the other side of this window wall. One can just pass platters of food and trays of drinks from the kitchen through the window onto the outdoor countertop for easy outdoor dining.  Inside, new stainless appliances and a flat screen television add a sophisticated ambiance to the traditional look of the custom cabinetry, and along with the large casual dining area included in the layout – this space has it all.

Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring

A more formal dining room and expanded living room have architectural details that separate the space from the rest of the house. Raised ceilings with exposed beams add dimension to the rooms. Jatoba (also called Brazilian Cherry) hardwood floors were installed throughout the public rooms, including the kitchen, and unify all the rooms. New energy-efficient gas insert fireplaces from Custom Fireside  of Sacramento were added in the family and living rooms. Not only are the mantels and inserts elegant but an efficient source of heat when necessary. The blower option on gas inserts can eliminate the need to use a traditional HVAC system in some cases. French doors off the dining area lead to an outside dining area. Creating a private and quiet streetside retreat was one of the objectives with this home’s re-design. An attractive wall made of cinder block and a water feature cancels most of the street noise. Newly planted vines will mature and add additional charm to this outdoor niche.

Raised ceiling and moulding details

Another noticeable upgrade to this original Davis homesite is the garage area and driveway. The carriage house style doors with rustic hinge hardware add personality to the home’s exterior, and the stamped concrete driveway defines its place along the streetscape. All of these enhancements and upgrades have created a more than comforable living environment for the homeowners. Tours like the Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour offer guests the opportunity to take a close-up look at the workmanship of local builders like Morse and their construction partners. Often during a home tour representatives from design firms, appliance resources, flooring installers and/or  landscape designers are on-site to answer questions from visitors.

Lucio Perez Family Wineries of Napa Valley offered tastings

Local restaurants and wineries are also a favorite on The Heart of the Home Tour. At this Miller address Lucio Perez Family Wines were featured. The Perez family has been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since 1935, and in 1985 they started producing their own wines.  Tastings were poured of their Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet wines. While enjoying the pours, guests were able to sit and enjoy the details of the landscape design. Stone pathways bridge a garden of raised beds surrounding different sitting and eating areas. A gas grille and small prep sink provide a working area for weekend barbeques. Inside and out, this home has been deconstructed and expanded to accomodate the needs of its owners – easy entertaining areas for large groups of family and friends. The Donelan-Mahers saw the potential this home had, and with the expertise of their remodeling team at Morse, they now have the home they’ve dreamed of living in.

Carriage-house garage doors and a new driveway create curb appeal

On Saturday, May 22nd Morse Remodeling Inc. and Custom Homes is hosting an Open House from 10am to 3pm at 2860 W. Covell Blvd., Suite #3 (near Lake Blvd. in West Davis). Members of the Morse Team will be available to answer your questions about remodeling, home design, and new cutting edge home design products.

Read more about Diana’s interior design work and current projects at http://www.thedesignpartner.com and follow her on Twitter.

If you are interested in advertising your business on the Welcome Home blog, please contact, diana@thedesignpartner.com

Thanks to our Welcome Home Sponsor

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