A Renovation Well Worth the Wait
by Ryan Lawler
As is often the case with building and remodeling projects, what was introduced as a sizable renovation of this Shelburne home seemed straightforward at first; you know how it goes, it ended up... anything but. The couple spent years gathering ideas and opinions for a mudroom/laundry room renovation, an update to the existing living room and dining room, and new kitchen cabinets in a slightly different configuration. Working with Ryan Lawler and Tom Moore at Tom Moore Builder, Inc. the owners were able to get all their ideas down on paper and after years of dreaming, finally got the project underway.
Starting construction in the middle of winter was challenging to say the least. The owner's had busy professional lives, two teenage sons plus an exchange student from Australia (all of whom were heavily involved in sports and academics), so trying to maintain a livable environment during construction was a key consideration. With that in mind, construction on the mudroom/laundry area was the starting point, turning an existing unheated garage storage room into a sizable finished mudroom. From the day the project began, it became apparent that the scope of work was going to increase to a level neither Tom Moore nor the owners saw coming.
After many meetings between project manager Ryan Lawler, the homeowners, and their close friend and designer, Carolyn Bevers, a major change to the floor plan came to be. To make the first floor more functional a rearrangement of the powder room was required to make better use of the space. During the renovation process some walls had been opened up and it became apparent that a completely new wiring and lighting plan was necessary to update this house and highlight the new design and work. At this point, the builders had to break the big news to the family: 75 percent of the ceilings and 50 percent of the walls had to be stripped of sheetrock to gain access to the existing wiring.
In order to minimize the length of the project Lawler opted to get all areas of construction to the same point before finishing any one area. Because drywall installation was more than 50 percent of the first floor, this required moving walls, wires, plumbing, and heating to new locations: all in the dead of winter. After many take-out meals and some basement living, the project reached a turning point when the builders started to reassemble everything they had taken apart. Once the sheetrock was installed, the space started to feel transformed and everyone could easily see the light at the end of the tunnel and where the new design was going. With each passing day, the house started to come back together: new hardwood flooring stained chocolate brown, new cabinets in the kitchen and family room, which also included a separate pantry cabinet space, plus a wall-to-wall living room bookcase and fireplace unit.
The owner's love for all things antique and rustic came to a pinnacle moment with the purchase of three antique doors, neither square nor sized for the opening, which the builders were given the task of "tweaking" to fit into the openings and operate correctly. These doors are what help make this renovation stand out from other similar projects. Carolyn Bever was also instrumental in the color selections for the project. Soft earth tones throughout the open space create a calm and inviting environment. After six months, the project finally reached its successful conclusion. During the renovation they went through at least three dumpsters, survived numerous cars sliding off the driveway, days of 10º below zero weather, and two high school students, now graduates, living in the deconstruction/construction zone.
After years of dreaming, the project resulted in a complete transformation. Not only was the home updated with beautiful finishes throughout, the space now functions more efficiently and comfortably for this family's busy life. Happy ending.