It takes courage and a bit of luck to pack up and move from a beautiful home in Cheval and start fresh in a new abode. But after enjoying a wonderful life there for 11 years, that is exactly what Lisa and John Atkinson decided to do three years ago, when the last of their three sons graduated from high school and moved away to college.
John, vice president of finance at a flight simulator company, and Lisa, a bookkeeper, wanted to remain in the North Tampa area. But they were looking for a place with a water view.
Embracing the views
They found the perfect house in a brick one-story tucked inside a gated community in Lutz. The home featured a dramatic entry door with cut-glass inserts and sidelights and large yards with great potential for landscaping. But most important was the close-up view of Strawberry Lake, which is connected to Crystal Lake, allowing for a wide variety of water sports and fun.
The couple bought the house in February 2015. Shortly after moving in, they decided to embark on a kitchen remodel. Following a friend’s recommendation, Lisa contacted Dean Dupre, owner of Champion Residential Builders, to start the process. Dupre brought in Jeff Wallace, co-owner of Park Avenue Designs, to assist with the renovation, and the team put their creative brains together to design Lisa and John’s “forever house.”
The original kitchen was definitely outdated, with low soffits, simple white cabinetry and black countertops. Several walls also blocked it from being connected to other rooms. The renovation began by tearing down three walls that formerly enclosed the kitchen and family room. This allowed more sunshine to lighten up the area and improved the placement of appliances and furniture for a more spacious feel.
The team decided to eliminate the late 80’s design and go with a more transitional look for the new open floor plan. First Dupre took out the existing tile floor and installed hand scraped, bronze-stained American Hickory hardwood throughout the main living area. To coordinate with the floors, the large island was topped with a gorgeous piece of black walnut with an oil finish, created by The Craft-Art Company.
A stainless steel apron sink adorned with a single-handle pull down faucet adds a modern touch to the space. A Sharp microwave drawer and a Bosch dishwasher are hidden amid the spacious drawers in the island. Other appliances include a GE Café double wall oven and a refrigerator with a hot water option in the door. A sleek stainless Zephyr vent hood is positioned over the cooktop to complete the modern aesthetic. For juxtaposition, Lisa selected a variety of pendant lights for each space, such as the simple glass pendant lights above the island that feature vintage-inspired Edison bulbs.
Cohesive design details
Wallace designed ceiling beams to be installed throughout the adjoining spaces in order to match the flooring and emphasize continuity. Dupre then positioned the beams to lead the eye from the front door through the kitchen, dining room and family room to the fabulous view of Strawberry Lake beyond. When guests open the door they are almost magnetically drawn into the newly designed space to view the lake.
Wallace suggested clean white transitional cabinetry with accent molding for the kitchen. Vertical spice pullout dividers were inserted to the left and right of the cooktop and island drawers are deep to handle a variety of pots and pans. The bar niche in the sitting area, which is located in the original formal dining room, features dark stained cabinetry with the same transitional doors used in the kitchen. John’s collection of Kentucky Derby glasses are positioned inside the glass-front upper cabinets in the niche area, adding small splashes of color to the space.
Varietal beige/brown brick, laid in a running bond pattern, was used to create the backsplash behind the range hood, drawing eyes up to the raised ceiling and new wood beams. The brick was also carried over to the new formal dining area across the room, creating a unique focal wall—a feature both Lisa and John love. To complete the design, Lisa found woven stools for the bar, which work well with the woven chairs in the dining room. A high-top table, purchased to go with the tall chairs the couple already owned, now sits in the original breakfast nook area and serves as the perfect spot to enjoy lunch and gaze at the beauty of the lake.
The Atkinsons, Dupre and Wallace all agree that the collaboration led to a beautiful living space. Lisa recalls the first time she opened the front door and saw that the temporary walls, which were installed to contain dust, had been removed. “I was overwhelmed,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it! I finally had the home I wanted. And now that the project is finished, we couldn’t be happier.”
Resources: Contractor: Dean Dupre, Champion Residential Builders, Inc.; Kitchen designer: Jeffrey Wallace, Park Avenue Designs, Inc.; Cabinetry: Décor Cabinets, Ltd.; Sink: Stainless steel apron, Pro Home Supply; Faucet: Delta; Perimeter countertops: Wilsonart Empire State quartz, Granite World, Inc.; Island countertop: Black walnut, The Craft-Art Company; Appliances: Famous Tate; Bar countertop: Pompeii White Lightning quartz, Granite World, Inc.; Bar backsplash: Casale Design Source, Inc.