Remain Unfazed in a Multi-Phase Project | Ambler Series #2

BEFORE & AFTER: Kitchen and Dining Room

March 10, 2021

Incase you missed it, we are discussing a single-family home renovation that we had the pleasure of working on in phases from 2018-2020. We are heading out of the family room and into the kitchen, so jump in on this Before & After journey…

Since the family room opened to the kitchen, we needed to connect the two spaces.  The original eating nook had a pass-through window in the wall, which did not serve  any purpose for the family, so we eliminated it. Our clients were big coffee drinkers  and desired an area to house a coffee bar, so we worked with our cabinet maker to custom build a coffee bar that would also serve as a bar when entertaining guests.  We placed the coffee bar on the wall that formerly housed the pass-through.




We  proposed that one wall in the eating nook be wallpapered in order to draw your eye  to that area and pulled a color from the wallpaper to paint the coffee bar. We chose  the countertop, sink and faucet (angled at the corner of the sink to create more  room) for the coffee bar, as well as the artwork for the wall behind the kitchen table.  Even the lighting fixture was hand-picked! As in nature, every detail of our design  piggy-backed on another element in the design. It is the building of these elements,  and connecting all of the details, that ultimately produces a cohesive, well-balanced  result.

A Music Room that sings!

The room directly off the kitchen is the music room. In this space, we combined  new and existing furniture. Our clients had a teal painted chest that we repositioned  with two new club chairs, a textured area rug, two coffee table cubes, and three new  lights. Their piano and an antique bench fit beautifully in the new design, as well as  their existing artwork. We did, however, suggest that they reframe the art over the  teal chest, which resulted in a beautiful vignette.



The dining room was directly across from the music room, but the wall of the  original staircase blocked much of the view, so we proposed opening the staircase on  the first floor to give the feeling of a more open space. We worked with our client’s  architect again, and in doing so, were able to create more flow. We suggested an arts and crafts style newel with black metal balusters. The staircase was also widened to  create more openness, which made a big difference, especially with regards to the  dining room and entry.

Noting Areas of Importance

The design of the dining room was especially important. Not only did it need to  serve as a formal dining area, but it was also the first room people saw upon entering  the home. In other words, it was the first impression. The design process began with the fireplace wall. The former fireplace was stone and dated, with a built-in  bookcase to the left side. This built-in made the room look lopsided and small. It  did not make sense to us or our clients, so we decided to eliminate it. Our clients  and we agreed that a more sophisticated fireplace with elegant touches throughout  the room was preferred. They also wanted to continue the theme of opening the  home and creating more flow. The old fieldstone was removed, and a more  contemporary, lighter linear stone was installed, floor to ceiling, in its place. On  either side of the fireplace, we hung a large vertical mirror. This unexpected, beautiful accent gave the illusion of more space because of what was being reflected.


We created an additional doorway on the left side of the room to create symmetry  with the entry on the right side of the room. This created more balance and opened  the flow to the kitchen, mudroom and office. We used the client’s existing dining  room table and chairs, recovered the seat cushions to soften the traditional style, and  added two host chairs at the ends of the table to create a more transitional look. We  added a contemporary sideboard in a finish that coordinated with the existing wood  furniture. A new area rug, a pair of buffet lamps, bar cart, and chandelier just about  completed the design. Because the sideboard was the focal point in this room, we  knew that the artwork was of utmost importance, so we wanted a statement piece  that would pull the entire design together – and we found it! The spectacular floral  oil painting coordinated beautifully with the colors of the new seat cushions and host  chairs. The scale of this piece truly made the room pop! We placed a neutral sisal rug underfoot to quiet the formality, add a little texture, and keep the focus of the room on the striking colors.

Tie it together from front to back

The back of the house included a mudroom, office and powder room. The entire area is tied together by reclaimed wood, metal, and whimsy! The client’s personal artwork and accessories to completes the office, and personalized storage made the kids feel at home too.



Our clients were thrilled with the design outcome of the first floor – and so were we!  They now had a home that flowed from room to room and was filled with the comfort, beauty and functionality they had longed for.

<< Circle back with our first post from this Ambler, PA home to see here it all began in 2018.

Or travel to the upstairs master bedroom to see photos and read the final post in this series. >>

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