The 2,000 square feet of space in this 1967 ranch house had small rooms and an awkward flow. After living with the unsuitable space for 20 years, Mike and Helen Moskal began looking for a new house, but they ultimately decided to stay and remodel.
A few years before tackling this project, the couple built a new vacation house on a lake. It had an open floor plan and a 25-foot vaulted ceiling in the main living area. “You could view the lake while standing at the kitchen island,” Mike Moskal says. The couple wanted to re-create that same feeling of openness and capture the views of the back yard in their existing house.
The original dining room was open to the living room, but it was cramped and separated by a half-wall. Mike Moskal especially wanted a family room on the main floor.
The couple hired architect Bill Wedeking of Mosaic Design Group to incorporate their wish list into the floor plan. Wedeking added 1,000 square feet to the existing house by designing a 4-foot-wide addition that runs the length of the back of the house. He grouped together windows in the living room to capture the view and raised the ceiling height. The architect also added two bedrooms and a bathroom, updated the basement and master suite, and enlarged the kitchen.
Moskal acted as a general contractor on the lake house and did not want to repeat the ordeal. He hired Kinter Construction for this major remodel partly because of Mike Kinter's attitude. “He had ideas right from the get-go. I would show the design to other contractors and they argued and pointed out things that would not work. Mike never said it would not work, he would say, ‘This is nice, but maybe we could improve it by doing this,'” Mike Moskal recalls. Wedeking encourages his clients to choose a contractor based on comfort rather than competitive bids because when questions arise, as they did in this project, they trust the contractor to do what is best for them.
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Production manager Jeff Kinter, son of company owner Mike Kinter, led the on-site crew. He attended the preconstruction meeting and went over the project with the Moskals. “I like to be able to go in and look at the site, talk to the customer, and get a feel for what they are expecting for the finished project. The homeowner, architect, salesman, and production manager are a grapevine —you can lose a lot in translation,” Jeff says. After that meeting, Kinter likes to take a few days to come up with a game plan. “I take a few days to sit down and dissect it — to figure out my best plan of action,” he says.
It was during this time Jeff noted a few areas of the plans he wanted to examine more closely. “I pinpointed a few trouble spots. Once you get into the construction, you get a better feel for how things come apart and fit back together. I would look at those a few weeks in advance trying to come up with a better solution,” he says.
Wedeking says homeowners find it hard to visualize 3-D spaces from a drawing. He tries to get them to understand the space by using boxes or furniture to lay out the borders of the rooms, but on a large project like this, it's difficult for them to picture the completed redesign. “When you see a feature on the site, it looks different from the blueprint,” Moskal agrees.
Jeff says when homeowners receive the final plans from an architect, they often believe the project must follow the drawing. But on this job, he proposed several changes to the Moskal plan that were adopted into the design ( see Floor Plans).