Projects & News

Award Winning Interior

We are so very proud to announce that we have won both the local NARI Contractor of the Year Award (COTY), as well as the Regional COTY Award for Region 3 North Central for our work on this old beautiful home in Madison.

This project was especially a challenge due to the age of the home. We had a kitchen that was sloping 3 inches in both the floor and the ceiling. This made the casing as well as the cabinetry a challenge. We had to make it all as straight as possible, while structurally improving the house as a whole.

Many replaced headers, beams, posts, and floor joists later, we had ourselves a structurally stable house to work with. The challenges never ended, however. We had trim challenges, hood venting challenges, lighting challenges, and so much more.

With the help of our team – Rick with R&D Drywall, Ryan of Hellenbrand Electric, Renee of Rockweiler Insulation, and Dean of Brunsell Lumber & Millwork, we were able to create this beautiful home that our clients absolutely adore.

First Floor Project 1After: Family Room After Plan Before Plan Trim ChallengePorchKitchen Before and After Structural challenge Front Family Room Testimonial

Tour Home 2014

After having to cancel our tour last year due to the large tree that had fallen on it, we were ecstatic to be showing the project this year at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (Madison Chapter) Tour of Remodeled Homes!

The tour home featured a two story addition and was a whole house remodel. The addition houses a master suite on the second floor, a bright and open family room with adjacent mud room and powder bath on the first floor, and a full height music room on the basement level.

The homeowners wanted a design that offered high contrast, modern elements, and a restored historical interior. The house previously had ranch trim and slab doors, which were not original to the house. We revamped all of the trims to be a higher profile, simple design that would both compliment the historical style while working with the client’s modern tastes. Two doors were refurbished from the garage, and then all new doors were ordered to match the style of these original two panel doors. Archways in the open concept dining/living/kitchen space give added character and architectural details.

The exterior features a MoistureShield deck which is not only sustainable but very low maintenance, only requiring the homeowners to pressure wash once per year.

Thanks to all who visited! We had the most visited tour site of 2014!

MoistureShield Sustainable Decking

With our latest deck project under construction, we would like to put some information on our blog regarding our favorite decking system.

Over the past 3 years, we have built three decks out of MoistureShield Decking. Two of the three decks have been a two-tone design, with the border and skirt board in a contrasting color. Our clients have been ecstatic with the finished look – from the color to the perfectly mitered corners. The concealed clips allow for a seamless finish, with no screw holes on the finished surface.

Aside from the high performance and aesthetics, MoistureShield is also in line with the pricing of Trex deck systems. Our carpenters prefer the install on MoistureShield over Trex due to MoistureShield looking and feeling like wood (not plastic like feel/aesthetic like Trex), as well as the marine rating, which lends itself to a longer lifetime.

MoistureShield is also a very environmentally conscious company, with a highly sustainable manufacturing process. Their parent company, Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. is a leading plastics recycler and manufacturer of green composite building products. MoistureShield has a total of 95% total recycled content  (38% post consumer, 57% pre-consumer). No new trees are cut down to make MoistureShield Decking.

All things accounted for, we feel confident that we have been supplying and installing the best of the best to our clients. See the photos of past projects below.

Contact us today to get a free estimate!


Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of this colonial home has improved greatly. Aside from removing the 22 ton maple tree, we also added an overhang/entrance to the front door. The exterior took a different color scheme- greys, white, and a punch of red in the front door.

When the tree fell on the house in late May, just as we were about to finish up the exterior work, we had to stop everything, repair the roof, repair the siding (which included removing a few branches), and repair the interior where the tree had compromised the window and plaster work.

The back deck was unharmed by the events of the fallen tree. We used moistureshield decking – the most low maintenance deck material on the market. It’s also a very sustainable material. It’s rated for boat docks so they won’t have to deal with water damage to the deck.

A rain garden sits just beyond the deck to help control water run-off. Next year it should be in full bloom.

Before: Front of house

Tour home



2013 Spring Tour Home

After constructing a 2-story addition and remodeling virtually an entire house out in Shorewood Hills, we were all on schedule to set up for the Tour of Remodeled Homes. Much to our dismay, a few weeks ago a tree fell on the house.

This little 22,000 pound hiccup caused project delays on finishing up the exterior, which remains to be finished as we need to install a new roof, new chimney, window, and siding repairs before we continue where we left off.

Due to this unforeseen incident, we will not be hosting in the NARI Remodeled Tour of Homes tour in 2013. We’ll be continuing to improve the home during the month of June.

Sorry for any inconveniences caused to someone stopping out at the tour. NARI’s tour flyers were printed out before the tree had fallen.

Entertaining Spaces

These young and outgoing clients wanted a space that suited their needs in regards to entertaining friends and coworkers. It was always the couple’s dream to have a built in seating booth in their basement, where they do a large amount of their entertaining – watching movies, playing board games, and relaxing with good company.

A back bar, complete with bar sink and mini fridge, is a great space for the couple to mix drinks for company. Their souvenire mugs and steins are beautifully displayed on the custom glass shelves and mirrors in the center of the back bar, creating a focal point.

On either side of the booth seat, there are cabinets for all of the couple’s games and drink coasters. The custom cherry table finishes the space off. Its pedestal was designed to allow for easy movement into the built in seating area without hitting feet against the pedestal.

The kitchen, which we had designed years ago, was in need of a wine bar. The blank wall that wasn’t being used was filled with cherry cabinetry to match, and complete with glass doors and wine racks.



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&#169 2013 Not Just Kitchens, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Opening up a Small Kitchen

This home came equipped with a very small U-shaped kitchen. The walls went all the way around the kitchen, dividing the spaces between the living and dining areas and kitchen work space. This created inconvenience for the homeowners as they had to walk all the way around their kitchen in order to set food on their dining table.

It was the home owners’ dreams to see the room opened up. They decided on a plan for a kitchen with a peninsula at the end, next to their dining table that would allow for very easy access into the kitchen from the front of the house as well as from the dining room and living room in the back of the house. We started demolition and “SURPRISE!” the wall we were knocking out was supposed to be a supporting wall, but it had been torn out by previous home owners or was never equipped with the proper support. With some very creative engineering, the owner of Not Just Kitchens came up with a plan that would support the house without even touching our plans for the kitchen remodel. There wouldn’t even be a beam showing in the kitchen!

We removed their side door and stoop from their kitchen space to gain more space for their refrigerator. The space by the existing windows was used as a small breakfast area that could also double as a place to work on bills and mail that get set on the cabinet at the front door.

The owners decided on a natural stained cherry cabinetry, which just doesn’t ever seem to go out of style. The counter tops they chose were a dark solid surface with copper flecks, which has a matte finish and is easier on the eyes. The hood we had to vent to the exterior through the floor joists, and also through their cabinet, so we built a back onto the cabinet so that the owner could see everything in the cabinet just by standing in front of it, and it works as an excellent pantry and cupboard for measuring cups and spoons. They also had a “built in” microwave in the cabinet in the peninsula so that it was easily accessible but out of sight. The cabinets around the sink area were fitted with reeded glass, which was a glass type used at the time of the home’s construction. The simple shaker cabinet doors compliment their style and provide a timeless look. They lightened up the kitchen with a light back splash – cream subway tiles and milk glass mosaic.



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&#169 2013 Not Just Kitchens, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Swapping Spaces

This old colonial home lacked kitchen storage, efficiency, and yes, even a dishwasher!

With the basement door entering into the kitchen space, there wasn’t much room for improvement. The adjacent dining room’s entry into the living room broke the living room up as well as made it more difficult to carry groceries into the kitchen. After providing several options, the homeowners selected the option to completely swap their dining room space with their kitchen space and to move the opening to the living room down.

By moving the opening, the living room was able to go from awkward and broken up to being unified and comfortable. The entry from the front door into the kitchen became a direct route, which helped greatly with groceries.

We reused the large window from the dining room in the new dining room space, and moved the patio door down into the dining room so that the spacing around the dining table could be used as walkway, and feel open and spacious, while the kitchen was transformed into a U-shape with a peninsula and pantry.

One obstacle we had to overcome was the soffit that had to stay in the ceiling where the plumbing above ran across the ceiling. Instead of just covering the soffit with drywall and calling it a day, we thought it would be much more visually interesting to put in cove lighting. By simply putting in a nearly rectangular soffit around the dining area, and putting up a piece of wood trim to hide the lighting, we transformed something awkward into something very attractive – now adding some drama to their beautiful old house.

The kitchen provides all the appliances the home owners wanted – yes, they finally have that dishwasher! Instead of angled corner cabinets, the couple chose some 90 degree corner cabinets with piano hinges that allow them to easily access all if its contents.

Large drawers store their pots and pans, and they enjoy several other storage features – tilt out trays, wine rack, pull out spice rack, and wire tray dividers. We encourage all our customers to put wire tray dividers into their refrigerator cabinets as even vertically challenged people, such as this home owner, are able to reach into their refrigerator cabinet to get their cooking sheets, muffin tins, cooling racks, and light weight cutting boards without difficulty!



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Gorgeous Granite

Project Goals:

1) Replace the existing island with something sturdier

2) Replace existing counter tops with granite counter tops

3) Provide casual seating around island for breakfast, game playing, and tv watching.

4) Add some pizzazz to the space that will attract future home buyers

5) Add beverage center

6) Make space look more “finished”


We replaced the small island with a large island of contrasting color, complete with bar height breakfast bar, cabinets with drawers and roll out trays from Shiloh Cabinetry, and a statement peninsula of Titanium Granite for seating. The pedestal support for the peninsula mimics the fireplace in the adjacent living room. The contrasting wood helps lighten the space up and makes the large island feel less bulky and more of a focal point.

A transom stained glass panel was added in the opening facing the breakfast room which helped bring some color into the room that becomes a focal point. A shelf was added below it for placing art pieces and decor.

A beverage center replaced the old desk area, and cabinetry was custom built to match the existing cherry kitchen cabinetry.

The floors were finished with UV finish – a finish that does not fade over time or become darker – instead the sun’s rays make it more durable, which was excellent for this family with a Wheaten Terrier.

We added back splash – travertine and a glass mosaic blend, which gave the space a more finished look.



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&#169 2013 Not Just Kitchens, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Basement Laundry and Bath

Our clients had a cramped and dark laundry room/bathroom in their basement. Their goals were to make the room feel more spacious and comfortable for doing laundry tasks while improving the showering area and providing more bathroom storage for their lower level guest suite.

We rearranged the washer and dryer, opened up the space by ridding of walls and closet doors that separated the spaces and closed the owner into a small dark hallway. Now the bathroom is far more functional, with a brand new Kohler shower module and custom glass shower door as well as a convenient laundry area with great storage above and a large vanity with utility cabinet for other cleaning supplies. It becomes very surprising that this brightened space is in the basement of the tri level home.


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&#169 2013 Not Just Kitchens, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Victorian Charm

Upon entering this gorgeous Victorian home, you are welcomed with gorgeous woodwork – wainscoting, two fireplaces, paneled doors, built in wooden seating, and many decorative carvings.

Upon entering the kitchen, however, we were shocked to see wood paneling, wallpapered soffits over their 1970’s cabinetry, and no beautiful Victorian woodwork. Everything stopped at the entrance to the kitchen. The homeowners, who love their hobby of a house, wanted to make the kitchen feel like it was original and beautiful like the rest of their home.

They had just replaced some windows, so those needed to stay, and they wanted an overall more functional space than what they had. We gutted out the entire kitchen and laid out the space to work with the windows and door openings where they were. They went with white casing and dover white cabinetry, which was a common choice for older kitchens.

We relocated a pipe which had been concealed with the soffits so that the ceiling could again be a tall height like in their dining room and entry way.  With the new high ceilings, we had enough space to do stacked wall cabinets all the way to the ceiling. We found inspiration for all of the woodwork in the other rooms: Egg and dart molding which we found on their fireplace, crown molding to match their door molding, and an applique for their hood as well as corbels on their island that mimic the curvature in some carvings in the entry way. The new exterior door with an oval of glass  mimics the style of the front entry doors.

The couple wanted an island that looked like a table so that their original wood floors would be more visible. They wanted it to be a contrasting wood, so we chose the birch wood and stain color found in an adjacent living room. Our woodworkers put together some window casing to match the other side of the dining room entry so that the spaces flowed together.



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Contractor Of The Year Award Winner #2!

We are very excited to announce that we have won the 2011 NARI Contractor of the Year Award for a bathroom under $30,000.

In this project, we transformed a small space that was once very cramped – the traffic flow had a bottleneck effect. Using the couple’s inspiration from French luxury hotels they have stayed at as well as matching their kitchen cabinetry style reminiscent of their Haywood-Wakefield furniture collection, we created a very unique little powder bathroom for their guests within a budget of $15,000.


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Contractor Of The Year Award Winner!

We are excited to announce we have won the 2011 Contractor of the Year Award for a bathroom over $60,000—-The Castle Bathroom!

Congratulations to  our client on your award-winner medieval bathroom! We truly enjoyed working on this project and its  many obstacles.





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A Medieval Master Bath!


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Our latest project was a master suite. Our client, Doc, has a bone disease that causes muscle pain. He wanted to reconfigure his master suite to allow for two therapeutic, spa-type fixtures from Kohler to help him relax his muscles.

The Kohler shower came in a curved fixture that required more space. The whirlpool would be fitted in a similar position that the previous whirlpool was located, with a few adjustments to the plumbing.

When you walk into Doc’s house, you see knights in shining armour, books on castles and fantasy tales of times of castles, knights, kings, and queens. He has an entire collection of his family’s crests on the walls. He even has a book case with a rolling ladder! Seeing all of these unique possessions, we couldn’t help but consider making his new bathroom into a Medieval castle!

Now, you may be picturing something very gaudy, but we don’t do gaudy. With our top notch craftsmanship and a many creative solutions, we managed to create a bathroom suite that eludes a feeling of luxury and mystery… the way that castles should!

As a single man in his recently purchased home, Doc realized that the bathroom didn’t suit his needs fixturewise on several counts – he needed those spa fixtures for muscle relaxation, and he also didn’t need a double sink or oversized walk-in-closet that was meant for a couple. The ability to take over the closet allowed us to reconfigure the entire floor plan into three separate rooms.

The first room is a powder room that can be closed off when guests need to use it. As a man who values his privacy, being able to close off his personal vanity and bath was a great improvement for his first floor bathroom suite.

You enter the master suite through a large exterior door with a speakeasy… preparing visitors for what is to come. When you enter the powder bath, the first thing you see is the gargoyle fountain. Doc found an eaves spout tray in the shape of a gargoyle and we did some creative plumbing work to make it into a fountain with controlled water pressure to prevent splashes out of the gargoyle’s mouth.

The sink is a stone sink that Doc just fell in love with. The problem was, what do you put an odd-shaped, rustic stone sink on? Everything would look too clean cut and it wouldn’t match with his castle decor. We purchased some salvaged barn beams from the 1800s and stained them, cut them, and fitted them around the plumbing, giving the illusion that it supports that heavy stone sink.

The second room you enter is a vanity room complete with a trap door (access panel into ceiling), dungeon door (to linen closet), wood beams, marble-looking Corian, and stone floors with candle light sconces and candle glow yellow walls.

The archway to the right of the vanity introduces you to rom #3, which was themed as the exterior of the castle. The plastered walls are painted a sky blue and the walls of this conceptual castle are covered in rock –a nice mix of manufactured and natural stone to give it texture. The rock forms crenelations around the turret that was formed around the curved bath fixture.

To the right of the shower is another door. We call this the dugeon window, which was the heat vent as well as an access panel to the shower fixture. The flooring is transitioned into a conceptual drawbridge with chains dangling out of gargoyles at the top of the archway. The drawbridge is made of a wood-looking tile that matches the other wood tile found in the other rooms. The water around the bridge was brought through the use of muddy water colored rock tile. Who wouldn’t want to watch the game in there?!

The room is equipped with several other luxuries as well–heated floor tile, heated towel rack, and a few remote blowers for better ventilation.

As for the closet, we put a new walk-in closet that was suited for Doc’s needs. The linen closet (dungeon door) includes hangers for Doc’s work clothes so he can get ready in the morning more efficiently.

This job proved to be complex on many levels, require much innovation to overcome technical challenges, creativity to resolve aesthetic and design criterion, and a bit of “what the heck, let’s try it!” This project shows that we can take even the most conceptual design ideas and turn them into a luxurious reality. It’s a rare project that we feel privileged to have had the honor of working on.

Thanks for the honor, Doc!


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A New Bathroom In A Very Old Home

Recently, we finished a bathroom in an old Victorian home. The owner was tired of the look of the tub/shower module and wanted a tiled shower.


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To our surprise during demolition, we found that years ago, a previous owner had sawn through all of the floor joists and many studs in the bathroom walls in order to get plumbing and HVAC through to the current locations. Definitely a case of “Do Not Try This At Home.” 🙂 We relocated the plumbing pipes and HVAC to restore structural stability.

Once the structural issues were covered, it was on to creating a gorgeous main bath for the owner to enjoy. To go with her original woodwork found throughout the home, the owner chose natural cherry cabinetry that would get richer with time, just as her house’s woodwork has. We also managed to strip her door on the bathroom side (previously painted white) and stain it to match the existing woodwork found throughout the house. The trim in the bathroom didn’t match the rest of the house, so we duplicated the trim that was on the other side of the door.


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The colors of the cabinetry are found in the floor and shower tile, pulling everything together. We even found a paint color to match one of the colors in the glass mosaic.

To maintain the openness of the bathroom, the vanity wall was used as an accent wall, keeping the dark color on only one wall, and creating a focal point at the sink. Also, we replaced the window that was in the shower with a waterproof window so that the owner can enjoy a nice, cool breeze.


Small Bathroom Turned Spacious

Along with their Craftsman kitchen remodel, their bathroom was in need of a serious renovation. The space was too small and there was much to improve in the layout. The craftsman style home was built in the early 1900s and the bathroom had its original mudset tile. The owners decided that they would like a walk-in shower rather than the cast iron tub that had existed. Countertop space was very limited to their tiny vanity and the radiator cabinet.


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Now the bathroom feels open and airy with a layout that recesses the vanity, toilet, and shower along one wall of the bathroom. The “banjo” style vanity top triples their countertop space and creates a continuity along the vanity wall.


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The slate flooring pulls in colors from the walls and cherry vanity cabinet, creating a sense of flow throughout the room.

The radiator and its cabinet cover were removed and replaced with a small wall radiator that is more energy efficient and space-saving. The homeowners found that they actually had extra space near the shower to place a small console table to house extra bathroom accessories as well as display more of their artwork, including the shadow box we created as a Thank You present.



The woodwork that we carried into their Craftsman Kitchen was also carried into their bathroom. The new window has obscure glass to match the original door and new shower door. Before the remodel, the interior side of the bathroom door had mismatched hardware and a board covering the recessed panel detailing found throughout the door. On top of that panel were several layers of white paint.

We managed to get the door stripped and restained to match the existing woodwork, bringing the old house character to a side of the door the homeowners had no idea had a hidden recessed panel.






Craftsman Kitchen

Inspired by their early 1900’s Craftsman home, this kitchen carries the character and detailing over from the rest of the home.

We managed to change the functionality of the space–storage, flow, and workspace–without adding an addition.

Craftsman KitchenCraftsmanship Shown in Craftsman Trim

This home had unique trim designs that we had never seen before. In order to continue the beautiful woodwork through the newly updated kitchen, we had to order new millwork and match the stain to the existing trim in adjacent rooms. With hours of working on it, we managed to duplicate the trim.

Our highly-skilled woodworker paid close attention to detail as he finished off the beautiful base boards and window trim. The homeowners now enjoy their window sills as a place to display some of their momentos.

Space Saving, Energy Saving

A great amount of storage space was added by replacing an unused countertop area and wall cabinets with full height pantries. The pantries are located along the main pathway to the back door. Due to their twelve inch depth, the pantries create a better traffic flow.

Another space-saving product used was a wall mounted radiator that doubles as a coat rack! Who wouldn’t enjoy warm coats in these Wisconsin winters? Now the radiator is away from the window where it was previously interrupting countertop space.

With all of the energy-saving products the home owners had installed, they earned a rebate through Energy Star for $750.


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Progress of our ‘Castle Bath’

A medieval master suite and spa? Yeah that’s the concept.  Our client, Doc, after making a few trips to the Kohler design center, had decided he was looking for a massage experience whirlpool and a ‘footbath’ with jet tower worked into his new master suite. One conversation lead to another idea, and soon we were working out a design to put these fixtures into a medieval castle setting. Castle? Well conceptually anyway. We have a moat and drawbridge, door to the dungeon, turret with crenelation, and even a fountain.

2010 Contractor of the Year -Winner!


2010 Contractor of the Year – Winner

Nov 5th. 2010 – Not Just Kitchens was awarded a Win for our entry of a basement remodel in the category of Interior Remodel under $100,000.  This competition is run by NARI (The National Association of the Remodeling Industry).  Remodeling companies enter projects for judging in 15 catagories representing baths, kitchens, basements, exteriors, etc..  We placed 1st in our category for a basement remodel featuring use of many salvaged architectural items.

Contemporary Madison Basement Remodel

When we first looked at this basement it was clumsy cluster of partially finished rooms, hideous blue paint, dropped light ceiling and a cold bathroom. The homeowners were looking for 1) a warmer, larger ¾ bath, 2) improved laundry facility, 3) 2 offices, 4) and brighter living space with the budget being apportioned similarly.

The project features a ¾ bath with heated floor tile, a 5’x3’ shower with two glass ‘walls’ and a generous vanity with 2 linen cabinets. The homeowners host a couple events for which friends come from around the states.  After the remodel, this is the only shower they want to use, even if they have to take a number.

We left the laundry ceiling unfinished to hold down cost and a preparation for a future first floor remodel. By spraying the structure black, we got wires, joists, and pipes to disappear from the view and the room creates a feeling of having no ceiling.  We divided an old bedroom in two to create the requested office spaces.

In the main living space we removed that awful dropped light ceiling, a feature of an 80’s remodel, and replaced it with a dozen can lights. But the big change came with the egress window.  We cut out the old small basement window to put in a 2’x4.5’ casement and – wow – it brings in so much sunlight it’s easy to forget we’re below ground. All the trim, doors, and stair rail were redone in natural birch, a light but warm wood.

1950′s Inspired Kitchen

Attention to Detail – an old adage but oh so true for this project. The all-white 1980s kitchen was an eye sore to the homeowners who have an impeccable taste and love to cook and entertain. Besides being an 1980’s disaster of a design, the space was barely functional.
A new kitchen draws the inspiration from 1950’s, with its’ unique arrow inlays in the tile, drop-shaped light fixtures, and soft curvy lines.

Contemporary Madison Kitchen

Client wishes:

The homeowners were wishing for a open kitchen with the all the rooms integrated harmoniously with the rest of their house.  To start with, the home had a cramped kitchen, a formal dining room which was being used as quasi office, and a sunroom completely cutoff from the remainder of their house.  There was only one solution to creating more space and flow – we had to knock out walls.

The project features:

Once the space was opened up, the room began to feel better right away.  The kitchen features mostly base cabinets under quartz countertops. Portions of the counter form breakfast bar, facing the backyard, a bar sink and seating, and the main cooking space. The center wall cabinets are hung in suspension away from the ceiling to maintain the open spacious feeling, by use of hidden brackets and rods.  We used cherry for wood of the base cabinets and maple for the walls, which gives a sense of dimension and complements the stone fireplace wall in the adjoining living room.

Artistic Bath

Work of Art in Small Spaces – the homeowner wanted a contemporary take on an old concept, the bathroom, however small that bathroom might have been. By creating a juxtaposition between a curvy vanity top and edgy, “broken” tile, we were able to add modern flare to an otherwise traditional space.