Designed for Gathering

We knew we didn’t like the layout, size, and functionality of the kitchen but we didn’t know much more than that. Which is why we needed somebody like David to help us: someone you can bounce ideas off of and who will be realistic.

Our house was built in 1954 and the kitchen certainly reflected that. It was very small—very boxed in, with little counter space. When we had people over before, they tended to congregate in the kitchen but we we were shoulder to shoulder with just a handful of us. In the past six years, we’ve done a project every year and this was the largest one to date.


We’ve gone through a number of those projects with different contractors each time. None of them were bad by any means, but what we were lacking was someone who could walk us through from a design standpoint. I knew David prior to this project and we trust him because we’ve had a relationship with him for years now. So I texted him that we were thinking of doing another renovation and it went from there. It started with the kitchen, but really ended up being the top right half of our house. A couple of walls came down and the kitchen was totally gutted. A deck was put out back and a portico was put out front, among several other upgrades. We also sacrificed the dining room. But we have a sunroom that’s big enough for a dining room table and now, a big, beautiful kitchen.


Working with David was definitely a collaborative process. We knew we didn’t like the layout, size, and functionality of the kitchen but we didn’t know much more than that. Which is why we needed somebody to help us, someone we could bounce ideas off and who would keep us realistic. We knew of some of the work David had done for other people, and I’d seen examples on his website, so we expected that the outcome would be amazing and were open to how we could get there.

People get this idea in their mind that they want things a certain way, but sometimes it can’t work depending on what limitations you have, like where the plumbing might have to go. It was a collaboration between us, David, his  foreman, and us & we were really open to the ideas that they had. If something didn’t work a particular way, we were always offered options. We asked, “What makes the most sense? What would you recommend?” And they were really good about that.


David’s team created a showpiece with the fireplace as we didn’t know what to do. It already existed on this wall that used to go straight to the front door. Now, it opens on both sides and leads into the kitchen. It had wood paneling around it from 1954 so we ripped that out and put in this old Chicago brick. It’s pretty cool, the different textures of this with the wood floors and stainless steel! We added the portico, which was a relatively big addition. We also added a retaining wall and got iron railings for the steps out front, and they were able to incorporate all of that within the original time frame.


The challenge with other contractors we have used was that the communication hasn’t been great. Certainly not consistent and in some cases non existent. I get frustrated when I have to keep chasing after the contractor. I never once had to do that with this team. This was our biggest project. The other renovations [we’ve done] were smaller, and still more difficult to get through, simply because of that communication factor.

With David, we were clued in every step of the way. He was very good at communicating; we would get progress reports and pictures so we had a good idea of what was coming and what the plan for the week ahead would be. That’s just a stress level that evaporates. I didn’t have to worry about trying to figure out what the problems were as everything was up front. It’s been a really transformative experience for us and we love it!


– Hillary & James

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