People tell me that their absolute favorite blogs and articles are before-and-after photos. They offer a variety of reasons usually centering upon their ability to encourage them see potential as well as possibilities. I myself enjoy seeing the before pictures.

So here is a project that shows potential and possibilities. This late 1990’s home enjoys an incredible location in Alpine. It fronts on a friendly low-traffic street and backs up to acres of open space with native trees and a seasonal creek as well as unobstructed views to the Wasatch. The family buying the home enjoys a rich home life of cooking, entertaining and relaxing after long days in their challenging lives. They contracted with Design Plus, Inc. of Salt Lake City (Kaye Christiansen-Englert, FASID, NCISQ, CAPS) to design a transformation that better meets their style and lives.


Let’s start by becoming acquainted with the kitchen. Here is the narrow, arched doorway from the formal dining room near the entry.

before-and-after photos

In the next photo, you can see the island, pantry entrance through the white door, granite countertops, and alder cabinets.

Taken from the doorway of a now wider door than the one in the before shot, the storage and workspace are greatly enhanced. The cabinetry and the pantry extend to the ceiling and the new door to the pantry is to the right, by the work area and away from the island. The painted cabinets have a hint of green that is introduced to match small areas of this hue in the majority black and white stone. The hardware on the cabinets makes a strong, linear contemporary statement.

before-and-after photos
before-and-after photos

The pantry wall is extended and meets the ceiling, and with the door now located around the corner, the kitchen now has room for an art wall and a much larger island with more seating because there isn’t a requirement for a door swing, as there was earlier. Despite all the cabinets and storage, the simplified cabinet design and modern hardware makes for a very uncluttered look. Also, the pendants drop lighting toward where it is needed. The corner kitchen sink has expanded windows to appreciate the incredible views to the back of the home.

Family Dining

The long open living space to the rear of the home has a space for a family dining area between the kitchen and carpeted family room.

before-and-after photos

Design Plus had this exquisite dining table made custom by a San Francisco wood craftsman. It expands to comfortably sit up to four more. The geometric chandelier helps define the dining space in the open plan.

Living Area

In the earlier design the living area had a family room feeling with the leather sofas set by the fireplace. Windows flank the fireplace with limited views to the back with its incredible overlook to the open space and mountains, and there is no direct access to the outdoor patio.

The redesign removes the arches, simplifies the ceiling lines, and provides space for three sofas in a sophisticated entertainment area with space for the grand piano and gallery walls for the family’s art collection. The almost floral appearing glass chandelier draws the attention away from the ceiling and highlights the center of the arrangement.

The redesign removes the fireplace and creates a window wall with disappearing doors to unite the interior and exterior entertainment areas and to take advantage of the lot and views that make this such an exceptional home. Care in the selections of outdoor furnishings help to meld the spaces into one.

Master Bath

An advantage of the original layout is the space dedicated to the master bath that allows for a step-up soaking tub and glass shower.  A double vanity was crowded into the corner and the area was almost too small for two people brushing their teeth.

before-and-after photos

The L-shaped space allows for two new very separate sinks and vanities plus a make-up table. The second vanity is on the opposite side of the walnut panel. The very updated materials, marble and walnut, make it both contemporary and classic. The soaking tub is refreshed with an opaque glass paned window, and the shower is modernized.

before-and-after photos
before-and-after photos

Seeing what is possible in a redesign/remodel is always an eye-opener. I can say that when I return to my own home, it doesn’t look as good as I thought it did when I left in the morning after seeing a project like this. I suppose it’s a peril of the job.

The challenge of working with the subtle colors like those used in this project by Design Plus is the color shift with light sources. The pros out there will know what I am talking about: sunshine makes it blue, artificial light can make it warm, pink or green, and the intensity of the sun changes as the day progresses. Consistency is the challenge under variables that can’t always be controlled.

Here is one last photo, just a photo moment I couldn’t resist. The fabric on the bench is designed by a woman architect in the early Bauhaus movement. As Kaye explained, the women were assigned to design fabrics and not allowed to design buildings. Time is moving forward, but not fast enough for a guy with daughters and granddaughters who wants the world to embrace all their unique gifts.

All photos by Scot Zimmerman

If you’re craving more before-and-after photos, we’ve got you covered.

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