Taking an 80s Contemporary to New Urban Modern

By Carolin Santangelo

Facing stunning sunset views of the back bay, and with canal access, Cindy and Dave almost had it all in the house on the far west end they purchased five years ago. The three bedroom, two bath house had enough sleeping accommodations although it didn’t have enough living space. In a somewhat constant state of improvement, its great features have been enhanced over the last few years.
An attractive built-in pool was added first; its amenities include in-water bar stools that overlook the bay.  The original 80s contemporary style (or ‘contemptible’ style, if you will, due its poor use of space) had high clerestory ceilings, which contained huge and impressive, though generally useless, volumes. After a couple of  years dealing with the constraints of cramped living and dining areas, Cindy and Dave decided to enlarge the space by enclosing an underused deck. It was a great solution; it utilized the existing structure and did not require additional pilings.
 Their initial interest was just to increase the kitchen size and push the dining out onto the enlarged new space.  After talking to a builder, it became apparent that it wouldn’t cost much more to expand their project and include more space in the master bedroom above and add a half bath, by taking in its open deck.
The decks never served the homeowners well as they did not provide adequate shade from the west sun. Nor were the decks weather resistant; open slat deck boards permitted rain to fall onto the deck and ground level patio below. While it would ordinarily seem counter productive to eliminate deck in our environment, where outdoor entertaining is so important, there would be no shortage of decking; the house now boasts a small covered porch over an existing open deck with room for seating, and which protects the front door, as well as original extensive decking from house out to another large deck above the boat slip.
The newly expanded dining room enjoys windows on three sides, extending views not just toward the bay, but up and down the canal in both directions.The addition of a standing seam metal roof shade cover over the large west facing windows also provides protection for the exterior deck stairs below which access the front door.
Interior PhotoMost recently completed was a lowered ceiling above the volume living room. The new ceiling creates the floor for a new loft above, at the same time bringing the ceiling down to a height that has better scale which is more conducive to relaxed entertaining. Their recovered storyboards — collected in overseas travels, which floated away from the ground level storage area during Ike — now grace the living room walls.  Here, IKEA storage components are an ideal, clean looking display for other artwork.
For the kitchen, Cindy shopped the sales and contacted a commercial flooring contractor for a warm brown stain, accented with stainless steel hardware and glass door inserts. Maple butcher-block slab countertop along one wall contains the workspaces, stainless steel appliances and under mount sink, which Cindy and Dave installed.  White subway tile makes a clean looking backsplash. A 10 1/2 foot solid bamboo parquet slab makes an enormous island that is central to the remodeled kitchen, dining and living areas. Its shape promotes flow around the kitchen and its size provides a great buffet surface. Bar stools encourage guests to enjoy their refreshments out of the way of the workspace.
Aside from the initial structural addition, Cindy coordinated contractors for interior finishes which she and Dave could not do themselves.  The work was not complete when Ike visited the island in late ’08.  Furnishings, unfortunately, were stored on the ground level and most everything was a loss.  While interior damage to the house was limited, enough moisture came in under the front door to make the yet unfinished end-cut wood floor cup and buckle, requiring sourcing of hard-to-find matching pieces from Lumber Liquidators.  The boat dock was seriously damaged during Ike, and Dave personally rebuilt it when contractors were in heavy demand.
All in all, this was a most resourceful makeover;  making the best use of features and spaces already contained by the original house, adding only a few hundred feet to its original 1,500 square feet, and yet expanding its functionality in so many ways.

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. E-mail her at SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409.632.0381. The home featured in this article is a popular weekly rental while the homeowners travel during the summer. For information about renting it, go to www.vrbo.com\232406.

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