Harford County Kitchen Remodel Boasts Water Damage Restoration and a Better Fit to the Family Style

June 12th, 2017 by T.W. Ellis

Our clients, the Pilars, recently purchased a unique residence built in the style of an Old European castle in Harford County. The grand exterior of the home displayed a lot of promise, but the inside was in much need of repair and remodeling. The home had been foreclosed for about a year, during which time it had been uninhabited and not maintained. “We went searching for remodeling firms who could work with us on this house. The project was too overwhelming for most contractors due to all the water damage. Not every company could handle that,” explained the Pilars. “But fortunately, T.W. Ellis came in with a reasonable quote and an understanding of what would need to be done.”

Before the remodel: from elegant to water damaged

The style of the original kitchen was traditional Country, echoing the charm of the home’s architecture. The walls were painted yellow, while the usual chickens and roosters served as suitable decor. Ornate cream-colored cabinet doors were finished with a dark brown glaze, and heavily carved details were found throughout the space—such as the lavish corbels supporting the island countertop. Unfortunately, the once elegant kitchen had been destroyed by water damage from broken water pipes in the ceiling. The wooden floor boards were warped, the countertops were stained, and paint was peeling.
The house had been expanded over time with additions, but the kitchen remained small and impractical. The bulky decorative cabinets took up a lot of space, yet their boxy interiors offered little storage, and there was no separate kitchen pantry. The Pilars did not care for the off-white cabinet paint color because it would require more upkeep. With two young children, they were looking for something durable. Also, they realized the showy details were outdated and definitely not their style. They desired a simple, classic design that would not soon go out of fashion. See photos of this beautiful project on Houzz.
The Pilars spent many months looking for ideas for their kitchen on Pinterest and forming their vision of how they wanted it to be transformed. They desired a layout similar to the original, since they didn’t want major construction. But they did decide on darker cabinets and improved organizational systems within the cabinets to increase storage. Also, they wanted to redesign the entrance from the sun room into the kitchen, because the French doors would always bang against the storage cabinets positioned at the entry.

T.W. Ellis begins the transformation and restoration

Once their project began, T.W. Ellis arranged for the Pilars to work with one of our highly recommended kitchen designers, Elaine Calderon of Bespoke Cabinetry Design. “It really helped us to see the samples of materials at her shop,” declared the Pilars. “It gives you the look and feel, which you don’t really get through Pinterest.” The Pilars appreciated the way Elaine walked them through the thought process—asking questions like, “Do you want seating at the island?”—which helped them consider the various options and make selections.
Clean and classic cherry wood cabinets in a dark nutmeg finish were installed. These cabinets include full extension soft close undermount drawer glides that provide easy access. One of the several doors leading into the kitchen was removed, and the refrigerator was moved to the left, which together provided space for a large corner pantry. Compare the before and after photos on Houzz. To make it easier for their children to operate the microwave, it was installed in the base cabinets. The original two-level island was replaced by a large single-level island that provides plenty of workspace for baking, cooking and food prep, as well as seating space for four. The Pilars chose quartz for their countertops since the surface offers both beauty and low-maintenance. They’ve already happily discovered that the variegated pattern of the quartz hides the occasional crumbs. New red oak hardwood flooring provides the finishing touch.
This home needed repairs in several different areas of the structure before it was livable, including some mold remediation, drywalling, painting, new carpeting, and hardwood flooring replacement. T.W. Ellis removed some interior walls, which really opened up the house in the dining and living area. Fortunately, the family was able to stay in their previous home during the remodeling process. Most of the work was complete on their new home before they moved in. The Pilars have a few DIY projects yet to complete in their kitchen, such as coming to a decision regarding which tile they’d like for their kitchen backsplash and then installing it. After they make that choice, they will be able to install their wall-mounted pot-filler faucet over the new professional-style gas range. They also plan to add lighting to the interior of the glass-door wall cabinets to illuminate some of their favorite dishes and other items.
The Pilars really appreciate the amazing transformation that T.W. Ellis completed on their home and the fact that our company arranged for a cleaning service to tidy up the house before they moved in. “We enjoyed working with our Project Manager, Christian Walsh,” the Pilars affirmed. “In fact, all of the people at T. W. Ellis were pleasant and very good to work with.”

Do you think your kitchen is beyond hope? Don’t give up! Contact T.W. Ellis and we’ll be happy to show you how your kitchen can be transformed into the kitchen of your dreams.

Farmhouse Remodel and Second Story Addition for a Family Home in Baltimore

May 9th, 2017 by T.W. Ellis

Wayne and Jennifer’s foursquare-style farmhouse was built in the early 1920s on property that has been in Jen’s family for six generations. The homeowners really appreciated the beautiful features of the original home that included natural woodwork throughout, tall baseboards and wide window casings. They loved the fact that there were plenty of windows providing spectacular views of the home’s bucolic setting on 5-plus acres. And they cherished the trove of generations of family memories their home brought to mind.
Our clients were not interested in moving to a different location, rather they had a vision for how they would like to transform their existing home. They wanted to preserve the beauty and characteristics, while giving it a more spacious feel inside without expanding the overall footprint. They sensed that their home needed to breathe.
The homeowners knew ahead of time what they wanted in terms of space, flow and look, and they worked diligently to achieve that specific vision. Jen does a lot of cooking, canning, and baking and therefore desired an open, professional-style kitchen with enough storage to accommodate her needs. Wayne travels frequently on business and wanted a relaxing, spacious, spa-like master suite to come home to. And since this home is the “family home”, they also like to host their large extended family and wanted to have space to do so comfortably.  Finally, they both desired a deck that extended the living space into the natural beauty of their outdoor environment. On a more basic level, they also needed a roof that didn’t leak!
Unfortunately, the first contractor Wayne and Jen hired fell through and they were in the difficult situation of needing to move forward with the remodel and no longer having a contractor to execute the work. T.W. Ellis was suggested by the bank with whom they have their home loan. After interviewing several other suggested contractors, our clients decided to hire T.W. Ellis because we would be able to implement their vision for the price they could afford.
T.W. Ellis creatively redesigned and remodeled the entire first floor, which included relocating the first floor powder room to a more convenient location. On the second floor we built an addition in order to create a spacious new master suite. The design of the first and second floor had its challenges due to the different elevations of the existing kitchen, but we were able to meet the homeowner’s wishes while keeping to the original footprint of their home. See the floorplans and project photos on Houzz.

“Project harmony brought our vision into reality”

“We really appreciated the craftsmanship and professionalism of the finish carpenter, Jamie, and his assistant, Eric. The work they did was phenomenal and truly made our house beautiful,” explained Jen. “Jamie was willing to share his ideas and expertise with us, and understood our vision. Because he listened and asked questions, he was able to synchronize and harmonize the project in a way that brought our vision into reality. We were especially pleased that he understood how meaningful the preservation of the home’s character was as well as our environmental values. He reused as much of the removed woodwork in new areas as possible. To see those pieces in new areas brings a smile to our faces, as well as to my family members, whose home this has been for nearly a century.”
Wayne and Jen enjoy coming home now to their new space. They agree that the kitchen is beautiful and makes food preparation and dining very special. Retiring to the “spa” after a long day is a treat. But their favorite thing is to enjoy a cool beverage on the deck in the evening.
Does your home also need to breathe? We would love to help you transform your home into a wide, open living space that fits your lifestyle perfectly. Contact T.W. Ellis at twellis.com or 410.420.0740. 

Space Updates and Addition Gives New Life to Home Near DC Metro

April 4th, 2017 by T.W. Ellis

Catherine and Duncan love their neighborhood that has great proximity to the DC Metro area.

They also love their home and the sense of history embedded in its frame. It is over 100 years old and originally was a one room school house. Interior walls and ceilings were added to the building in the 1920s so it could become a two bedroom, one bath residence.
But Catherine and Duncan now have two young children and they decided it was time to expand their small home with an addition. They googled “design/build contractors in DC” and T.W. Ellis’ name appeared, along with many positive reviews. So they reached out to us and made an appointment with Tim Ellis. “T.W.Ellis was more responsive and competent than the other contractors we spoke with,” says Catherine. “They inspired in us a lot of confidence.”
The challenge, from Catherine and Duncan’s point of view, was to figure out how best to attach an addition without the family members having to walk through someone’s bedroom to get to the addition. There wasn’t an obvious way to transition from the existing house into the new space. “T.W. Ellis was essential in coming up with the design,” explains Catherine. “Novie changed the purpose of our existing master bedroom, so it has now become a fun playroom/family room—a space we’ve really needed. And this room also leads to the addition.” Refer to the before and after floor plans for a visual of this amazing transformation.
Read the rest of this entry »

T. W. Ellis Receives Community Builder Award

March 3rd, 2017 by T.W. Ellis

T.W. Ellis was honored to receive the Community Builder Award from the Home Builders Care Foundation (HBCF) on February 9th, 2017. HBCF is the non-profit charity of the Maryland Building Industry Association. This award is presented in recognition of a builder member who helps raise awareness of the industry’s spirit of giving.
T.W. Ellis served as the builder captain for The Arc Baltimore and HBCF’s collaborative kitchen renovation project in 2016. The project was the launch of a new partnership between HBCF and The Arc Baltimore to renovate a handful of group homes owned by The Arc. By taking on the two-room kitchen renovation, HBCF and T.W. Ellis saved The Arc Baltimore $40,000 in construction costs off the top, with long term savings on the home’s operating costs expected down the road.
But most importantly, the work done by T.W. Ellis will have a profound impact on the disabled residents of the home, particularly one resident who uses a wheelchair and is now able to cook a meal, get a glass of water, and even do her laundry with the accessibility aspects of the kitchen complete. In a video interview, this same resident thanks all members of the T.W. Ellis team who made this renovation possible.
HBCF Community Service Awards are presented annually to individuals or organizations affiliated with the local home building industry in recognition of significant contributions to the community through unselfish efforts and dedication in support of projects that help the poor and disadvantaged in our communities.


L-R: Patricia Kane, HBCF Director, with Tim Ellis, T.W. Ellis President, and members of the T.W. Ellis team: Novie Siegars, Sam Ellis, and David Chick.