Eight years ago, Rachel Patocka and her husband, Tom, bought their family home from his parents. The ranch-style bungalow sits on a City acreage in a beautiful stretch of ravine wilderness. It was built in 1976, and though Rachel’s in-laws had made some changes to the home, the family decided it was time to update it and make spaces more functional for their family of four.
The first things on the chopping block were an obtrusive beam that was cramping everyone’s style, a relic of an accordion closet door, and wood ceiling panels, Dukes of Hazard style!
DC/RR: Why was it a good time to renovate?
RP: I’m an army brat, we moved every three years when I was growing up. We wanted somewhere stable to call ours, to call home. We went to look at different places in our area, but only found more houses that needed updating and with no yard, so we decided to stay put.
We knew what we wanted and actually had begun consultation with a different contractor the year before. However, the timing was bad and we felt rushed, we decided to delay and revisit in a year. When we met with Kendall and Sheldon, we just had a good feeling from the beginning.
PHOTO: Front entrance
DC/RR: Did you have a vision in mind of what you wanted?
RP: We wanted to tie the rooms together; they were opposing forces. I couldn’t wait to get rid of the brown wooden slats on the ceiling—it was like the Dukes of Hazard playhouse in here!
The kitchen used to be a one-person workspace and I wanted more room to work. I come from a large family and when we all get together for the holidays, it has to be buffet style. I needed a big workspace and somewhere we can lay out dinner and move around with ease.
I also really wanted a mudroom where we could store the kids’ winter clothes and sports equipment.
PHOTO: Laundry closet
PHOTO: Living/TV room
DC/RR: Did you run into any surprises during the renovation?
RP: The basement and living room was always leaking because of the angle of the roof and vaulted ceiling above the dining area. That had to be fixed before they could continue with the renovation. I was worried it was going to put us really behind, but Sheldon and his team had the new roofline fixed and framed in 10 days and we were able to move on with the rest of the project.
The first question Tom calls with when he is working out of town and there has been a heavy rain storm (and there were many this past summer!) is “Is the basement dry?”
It has been bone dry all year!
PHOTO: Living/TV room (construction)
DC/RR: What were some of the most challenging decisions you had to make?
RP: Countertops. It’s hard to know what it will look like when it is all laid out. Especially when the samples are small 5x5 square and the end result will be a 9’ island and counters. Some marbling and flecks were nice but what would it look like with a whole slab?
I also wanted frosted glass in the kitchen. There was a lot to choose from, but Kendall and I were able to whittle down the choices together.
PHOTO: kitchen (construction)
DC/RR: What were some of the best decisions you made?
RP: Increasing R-value with spray-foam. It was money well-spent—it’s cool in our house in the summer and warm in the winter. Also, the reclaimed wood features tie the rooms together. And, of course, the kitchen is the best part! Everything has a home in this kitchen. My daughter also loves baking muffins and cakes, so now there is enough room for us to do that together.
DC/RR: How long did the renovation take?
RP: We began the renovation on April 7th, 2015, and they handed over the keys on July 28th. They were finished ahead of schedule. We were settled into the house in time for the kids to get into routine for a new school year. It was wonderful!
PHOTO: kitchen (new)
DC/RR: Do you feel like you live differently in your home after the renovation?
RP: I love to read. I now have a quiet corner where I can sit and read by myself or with the kids and have lots of light. The library now fits a comfy couch instead of two stiff chairs. Also, having room for a desk means I have somewhere to work and can keep the kids in my sights when they are doing their homework.
We were also able to keep the things that I always loved about the home, such as the exposed brick and the wood-burning fireplace. Every Christmas, the family goes tobogganing and comes back here for a big roaring fire. That was one thing I didn’t want to give up.
PHOTO: Living room (new)
DC/RR: Any learnings along the way you want to share?
RP: Take everything in stride. I understand better the time frame for things, now, and that the work will get done.
Also, working with a contractor who will do the planning and work up front is key to being done on time. We had all the tile and floor and materials lined up for an April start date. That took the pressure off the timeline. The renovation was finished early. And that never happens!
I found having a designer on board during renovation immensely useful with it being our first one. Kendall’s keen eye, construction knowledge, and organization helped keep me sane. It also helped that she seemed to be able to visualize what I would like for our home. Kendall was a great liaison to have, and also extremely helpful with keeping us within our budget but still including things that we may not have thought of. She also ensured that communication was streamlined so that everyone was on the same page.
I feel like Diamond and Revolving Rooms has a vision for the rest of the home when we renovate it. It’s great to know we will be in good hands when the time comes.
PHOTO: Front entrance (new)
First meeting: October 2014
Pre-planning began: January 2015
Renovation start: April 7, 2015
Renovation completion: July 28, 2015