The living room features a see-through fireplace
Sometimes, all it takes are some well-thought-out additions—like custom millwork and built-ins—to increase a home’s wow factor. Such was the case for a Villanova couple looking to upgrade its uninspired 1970s residence with a more modern, transitional aesthetic.
The renovation’s first phase included the kitchen, family room and lower level. With their kids away at college, the owners wanted to put the emphasis on entertaining. A carpenter by trade, Ed Rudloff was the perfect guy for the job. “The owner would see something in a magazine that matched her style, and I was able to build it for her,” he says. “We worked very well together.”
The more traditional dining room
Rudloff layered the home’s rooms with crown molding and multiple bands of trim on the walls. “When you walk in the house, you see the custom millwork,” says Rudloff. “Usually, in a modern home, you don’t see millwork like this.”
In the mostly white kitchen, cabinet pulls and lighting fixtures made of chrome lend a sleek aesthetic, while a more traditional shiplap ceiling softens the modern edge. Lined up next to the marble-topped island is a row of contemporary stools with clear Lucite legs and powder-blue leather seats. Red oak floors warm up the space.
A corner of the kitchen houses an impressive banquette that Rudloff built on-site. Roll-out drawers on the bottom add extra storage, and a chandelier with four tiers of circular glass bulbs makes a real impact from above.
A shiplap ceiling balances out the kitchen’s more modern touches, like Lucite stools.
Rudloff also constructed a floor-to-ceiling cabinet in the dining room to store china, glasses and serving ware. “It has nine rows of shelving and some roll-outs,” he says. “It really provides a lot of storage.”
Opposite the built-in is a low hutch cabinet, the only piece of furniture in the room aside from the dining table and chairs. In keeping with their preference for neutral décor and accents, eight cream-colored chairs surround the mahogany table, and a faded cream-and-blue Oriental rug covers the floor.
At one time, a single long and awkward room divided by a see-through fireplace was the home’s main living space. Now, a coffered ceiling makes it feel more formal. Soft powder-blue highlights within the coffers draw attention to the white millwork.
A round table in front of the fireplace with a gold-accented rectangular chandelier above it nicely separates a formal living area from the relaxed family room. “They’re now two distinct spaces,” says Rudloff.
From Left: A chandelier hangs over the soaking tub in the elegant master bathroom; the entry staircase
The same attention to high-end finishes went into the luxurious master bathroom. In keeping with the light-and-airy feel of the rest of the house, the colors remain a consistent white and cream. The double vanity is topped with a quartzite material without much veining—just the look the owners were hoping to achieve.
Over the vanity, behind two mirrors, is a shimmering wall of groutless, polished Carrara-marble tile. The same thing is repeated on the wall above the freestanding soaking tub. A crystal chandelier further accentuates the bathroom’s deluxe trappings.
“Granted, we didn’t build this house, but we are responsible for updating it for the way the current owners want to live,” says Rudloff. “What’s most unique about this property is that it’s more traditional, with a heavy flair for the modern.”
Next up: updates to the home’s exterior.