Lighten Up

August 11, 2020


The words renovate and remodel are not synonymous. In contractor language, reno means to restore one or more rooms using the original footprint of the house. A new kitchen, for example, stays in the same place as the original structure. That saves money by not requiring massive changes to plumbing, wiring and other fundamental structural issues. Renos change visual appearance, not function.


Remodeling is the process of changing the function and look or design of a structure. A major remodel might include a reno too. One example of the duo is the house on Tulip Tree Lane. In that case, the kitchen grew into a new room with the addition of three walls of glass and sliders. The comfy furniture and concert piano complete the new look. Now, the kitchen grew into the new entertainment area where friends and family gather.

After 20 plus years of family, friends, pets and kids, the house on Tulip Tree Lane was looking and feeling a little tired. The owners were moving south looking for warmer weather and a smaller home. MKMH took a look and saw it needed a renovation worthy of its history and ready for a 21st century lifestyle.

Starting outside, the reno included a complete makeover from the roof to the new stucco and siding. Landscaping, stone retaining walls, walkways and an irrigation system were next.  “Most important,” says Kris McVicker, “was the abundance of natural light front to back (west to east). Watching how that light played from dawn to dusk helped us make decisions on lighting outside and in.” Use of strategic oversized windows, sliders, 2-sided fireplace and pocket doors became main floor must haves. The objective was wide open spaces with the flexibility of closing off some areas for privacy. The backyard includes wooded views and backs up to a golf course. The problem was you could not see it well from inside.

A 400 square foot addition was built that married the kitchen to the backyard. Three-sided glass walls and sliders now provide a visual buffet, comfy seating, a fireplace, music and an outside patio. Lighting, outside and in, helps our attitude and feelings for the day. Research shows natural light is strongly linked to good mood, sleep and overall quality of life. In contrast, lack of natural light can contribute to insomnia, irritability, distraction and depression. Think about your home. Is it time to lighten up?

written by:

Kris McVicker

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