May 15, 2023
This article was originally published on May 15, 2023; it was updated on May 23, 2023.
Designer Paige Maurer, CKBD, of Traverse City, Mich.-based Paige Lee Interiors, had been hired to remodel the bathrooms of a couple’s vacation home on Lake Michigan. Once she got started, the clients added more rooms until the project became a whole-house renovation.
“With its late-1980s remodel, the home was dated,” said Maurer. “It was dark and dysfunctional, especially the kitchen. The clients enjoy cooking and entertaining, and the house was not set up for either.”
The clients’ goal was for the renovation to be finished in time for the summer holidays. Despite a clear vision, Maurer encountered a few complications, including one that left the vacation home incomplete when the homeowners arrived.
Vacation Home Kitchen & Bath Redo
Challenge #1 – Fulfilling Requests with Limited Square Footage
After laying out the kitchen, Maurer learned that the husband wanted a breakfast nook, which was not included in her design. The room had limited square footage, and she had already worked in the requested bar area for coffee and wine service.
“It took a lot of reworking to figure out where the breakfast area should be and make it all fit,” said the designer. “We had to work around existing windows and slider doors.”
She utilized a corner area, which had been originally planned to hold cabinetry, and put banquette seating along each wall of the corner then added a small, round table. With this secondary dining area tucked away, she was still able to include the three specific work zones she wanted – prep, cooking and entertaining. The island and sink offer ample space for prepping and cleaning, while the range and ovens are on the same wall. The bar sits next to the banquette and is conveniently adjacent to the dining and living rooms.
Challenge #2 – Angling for Space in the Bathroom
Spatial challenges were an issue in the main bathroom too, where Maurer was asked to include a separate shower and a tub large enough for her tall clients. The original cave-like shower was backed by an angled wall, while the drop-in tub with a deck sat in a closed-off alcove.
Luckily, on the other side of the shower wall sat a closet, so Maurer squared off the shower’s interior wall and left the angled wall in the closet. Placing a 72-in. freestanding tub under the window and replacing the full wall between the tub and shower with a pony wall topped by a clear glass shower enclosure created a more spacious feeling.
The vanity area was tight and also featured an awkward angled wall. The Paige Lee Interiors team considered squaring it off and borrowing space from another closet behind it to create better elbow room, but her clients told her there was no need. One is left-handed and the other is right-handed, so they knew they could successfully use the sinks without bumping into each other.
Nevertheless, the area did not offer significant space for storage. As a solution, Maurer recessed the medicine cabinets that look like frameless mirrors to gain storage without jutting over the countertop.
Challenge #3 – Lead Time Woes
Reworking layouts and getting creative with wall angles were obstacles Maurer could fix, but the most difficult challenge of this vacation home renovation came from the pandemic. The clients had wanted the house completed by July when they planned to arrive for their summer stay. But the designer said lead times were at their peak of being out of control, and the project went two months later than expected.
The appliances arrived in time because Maurer had ordered those early in the project, although “on time” meant a wait of eight or nine months. But when the countertops hadn’t arrived by July, the contractor made temporary plywood tops for the kitchen island and bathrooms, so the clients were able to stay at the house during their planned vacation.
“Part of the reason the countertops were not there was because the other elements that needed to be done before we could order them were not done on time,” said the designer.
The chain reaction started when the floor refinishing was delayed by a labor issue, which meant the cabinets were not installed on time. That set back creating the template to order the countertops. The marble fireplace surround was also delayed until a few months after the project was complete. To mitigate the distress for her clients, Maurer kept them informed. After two years of pandemic-related issues, she knows communication is key, and deadlines might be impossible.
“The clients knew a month or two in advance that we weren’t looking good,” she said. “We came up with some solutions to make it livable for them for a couple weeks, but it’s probably not the best idea to plan an event based on a timeline close to finishing project in our world today.”
—By Carrie Whitney, KBB Newsletter Editor
Designer: Paige Maurer, CKBD, Paige Lee Interiors
Photographer: Kristen Turick
Backsplash: Ann Sacks
Banquette Seating: Custom by Paige Lee Interiors
Banquette Table: Knoll
Bar Stools: Calligaris
Beverage Cooler, Dishwasher, Microwave, Ovens & Refrigerator: KitchenAid
Cabinets: Plato Woodwork
Hardware: Top Knobs
Island Cabinet Paint: Sherwin-Williams
Lighting: Tech Lighting
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Faucets & Shower Fixtures: Kallista
Flooring & Shower Tile: Florim Milestone
Lighting: Moooi & Besa Lighting
Medicine Cabinets, Sinks & Toilet: Kohler
Shower Enclosure: C.R. Lawrence
Towel Warmer: Warmly Yours
Tub: MTI Baths
Vanities: Plato Woodwork
Window Treatment: Hunter Douglas