Introducing Maggie & Ed's Renovation

Introducing Maggie & Ed's Renovation

Tess Wilson
Apr 6, 2015
The view looking into the dining room towards the back of the house and kitchen. The far wall with the Jazzfest posters and doorway is coming out in the reno.

Name: Ed and Maggie Williams (of MVW Architect)
Type of Project: Kitchen/Dining/Music Room Renovation
Location: Freret, New Orleans, Louisiana
What type of home do you live in?: 100-year-old, Craftsman-style, shotgun double
Square Footage: Our side is 1,100 square feet (2 bedrooms/1 bathroom); we rent the other side (925 square feet)
Years Lived in: 3 years

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

Maggie and Ed's 100-year-old home has both the beautiful (incredible fireplace) and the...not-so-beautiful (Brady Bunch kitchen) aspects known well to all residents of vintage homes. They also have space issues familiar to anyone who's ever lived with a musician. Join them as they reconfigure their rooms to create the optimal spaces for cooking, dining, and working.

This room has four functions awkwardly jammed in: dining, music room, laundry room & storage. The day I took this photo is probably the neatest it's ever been, usually wet clothes are hanging dry on all the chairs and the table is covered in craft projects and guitar strings.

From Maggie:

We want to give our home a more functional layout with a more inviting kitchen that’s open to the dining room, as well as gain a laundry area and a music room/office for my husband Ed, who is a musician. He plays pedal steel guitar in New Orleans-based band, The Revivalists, and could really use a space to be creative at home. I'm also excited to have all of his instruments, pedals, and cords corralled in one spot! We bought the house three years ago and have been using the rooms as-is (the neon orange countertops in the kitchen are just like the ones in the Brady Bunch kitchen!) with the idea of a future renovation in mind. In a shotgun-style house you have to walk through all of the rooms to get to the back of the house, so we really wanted to find a way for the office/music room/future nursery to be an independent room. We explored dozens of possible layouts and have finally settled on our plan. With a lot of the original Craftsman details of the house still intact, we want to incorporate modern elements into our home's traditional aesthetic, hopefully resulting in a unique blend of old and new - perfectly befitting of a New Orleans home!
The view looking back towards the front of the house. The door on the left leads to the super steep side stairs to the narrow side alley, so we always leave it closed and it functions more like a window.
The original Craftsman-style mantle and tiled fireplace in our dining room, one of 6 in the house. We love it and want to preserve it in the new kitchen. The new Ikea cabinets will be directly above the mantle, making for an interesting juxtaposition.
We plan to completely gut our over-sized dining room and kitchen to the studs, including taking out the wall between. The new layout combines the kitchen and dining, shifting them towards the front of the house by about 9 feet. In the resulting space beyond the kitchen will be the new music room and a laundry alcove in the hall. The remodel will include new kitchen appliances, cabinets, and lighting. We are going to do a combination of refinished flooring (kitchen) and new cork flooring (office), as well as raising the ceiling in what was the kitchen back to the original height. After falling in love with Ikea's modern yet warm Sofielund finish, we ordered our cabinets and plan to assemble them ourselves while hiring a contractor for the rest of the renovation work. Phase 1 of the whole project starts with moving our tenant's kitchen pantry wall so that it is flush with our existing dining room wall once the two rooms are opened up. We are going to have that wall built quickly in between tenants, and then start on our construction project a few weeks later.
The view looking into the kitchen from the dining room doorway, with our bedroom and door to backyard beyond. We have a small eat-in area by the kitchen window, for quick bites or when the dining table is covered in a project.
Between the neon orange laminate backsplash and counter, the dark wood cabinets, the gold and pink squiggle wall paneling and the dropped ceiling, the 1970s pretty much exploded all over this kitchen. This was rather alarming when we first looked at the house, but has grown on us over the years and we even ended up bringing in other orange accents to the room. As fun as the retro vibe is, the crumbling particle board counters and inefficient layout and use of space made renovating a must.
We realized that the finishes are actually the same as the kitchen in the Brady household!
I laid out our new kitchen in a 3d modeling program to help us understand what the new space would look like. As an architect, I'm really used to reading plans, but these views were especially helpful for Ed to see how the new space would feel.
We also wanted to make sure the fridge and full height pantry cabinet adjacent didn't feel too tall and imposing in the room, and that the aisles around the island wouldn't seem cramped.

Want to hear more about Maggie and Ed's renovation? Join us on Wednesday as Maggie and Ed share their inspiration for their new room.

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