Open Passageways... A Complete House Transformation in the Arboretum Area of Austin, TX

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Some clients in the Arboretum area of Austin hired Allison Jaffe Interior Design to tackle a number of limitations in their recently purchased home. In the kitchen, several areas needed to be tackled: the tile flooring was outdated, the ceilings were dropped, the amount of storage left something to be desired; and, most notably, the entire space felt closed off due to a staircase that was surrounded completely by drywall. This staircase limited sight lines and gave a closed off feeling from the minute you entered the front door. Once the design plans were final, they were passed off to Skelly Home to begin the execution of construction.

Our personal favorite part of this project is the transformation of the stairs. Allison Jaffe worked with the existing stair location while creating an open concept with glass and posts, therefore being able to see directly into the kitchen, while also reflecting the natural light with the glass. The bold staircase is wrapped with stained white oak and has glass inserts and steel brackets. It is a perfect design combination of wood, metal and glass. Construction wise these stairs were a large portion of the project as each post is structural and essential to the framework of the house.

Opening the sheet rocked stairway up greatly increased the visibility from the kitchen all the way to the front door while adding light to the space and a much cleaner aesthetic to the design.

Opening the sheet rocked stairway up greatly increased the visibility from the kitchen all the way to the front door while adding light to the space and a much cleaner aesthetic to the design.

The kitchen storage deficiency was perfectly designed by Allison Jaffe and team. The plan included removing the sliding glass doors and inserting a window instead to obtain more countertop space. This enabled a seating space for two people as well as a pass-through window for the exterior eating space. The kitchen cabinets are flat-panel, full overlay with a combination of paint grade and stain grade white oak.

The kitchen was fully gutted, re-configured and rebuilt. The sliding glass doors in the kitchen were removed and the countertop was extended so there was seating space for 2-3. This renovation allowed for a pass through window in the kitchen and a countertop on the exterior for eating space when it’s nice outside.

The kitchen was fully gutted, re-configured and rebuilt. The sliding glass doors in the kitchen were removed and the countertop was extended so there was seating space for 2-3. This renovation allowed for a pass through window in the kitchen and a countertop on the exterior for eating space when it’s nice outside.

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The guest bathroom space is now much more spacious and inviting in this home as well. The toilet is concealed by a pony wall that allows for privacy between the shower and the toilet, and the floor to ceiling storage was demoed to make the bathroom feel larger and extend out the vanity space. We did a tub to shower conversion, transforming the tub area into a beautiful black and white shower. The vanity is white oak with an open shelving system at the bottom. All of these details work together to make the guest bathroom space much more spacious and inviting.

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The end result is a bright, open, welcoming space that feels modern and new. What design or construction challenge would you like to solve in your home? Do you already have a design plan but still feel unsure about the construction or how the end product will turn out? Contact Skelly Home today to begin the conversation!

Design: Allison Jaffe Interior Design Construction: Skelly Home Renovations

Our Favorite Countertop Options (for any budget!)

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But I love them all…

When you start dreaming about renovating your kitchen or bathroom, countertops are usually the very first thing you envision ripping out and replacing! Like many other areas of renovation, once you begin shopping around for a new countertop, the options are endless and the nicest options begin to stick out as the ones you don’t want, but you need.

Today, we’re going to share with you our favorite countertop options. There’s a great countertop out there for every budget, it’s just a matter of envisioning which is best for your space and your household’s needs.

QUARTZ

For those that love the look of marble but want the ease of a low-maintenance countertop, quartz is the perfect choice! Quartz countertops are durable, easy to clean, easy to maintain, and look great in every space.

Seen above, quartz countertops are man-made, so there is little variation in the batches. The sample you pick will likely resemble the final product.


QUARTZITE

Similar to quartz is quartzite. Unlike quartz, quartzite is a natural stone, and therefore will have more variation among veining and coloration from batch to batch. Quartzite is durable and is actually a bit more heat and scratch resistant than quartz.

Above you can see some images of our favorite quartzite, Taj Mahal Quartzite.


GRANITE

Granite is quite literally rock-hard, and the great thing about granite is that even if it does chip, repairing granite can be done easily and can usually be a small DIY project. More variation of color and veining can be found in granite than in quartz, so there’s lots to choose from.

We don’t install granite often, but above you can see some of our favorite granite slabs.


MARBLE

Marble is naturally heat resistant, and it’s a wonderful choice for a countertop surface. Every slab of marble is different, so the look of marble in your home is truly unique. Marble is also usually stained and/or sealed for extra protection.

We typically don’t suggest installing marble in kitchens because it is so porous.


TRAVERTINE

The Colosseum was created form Travertine, so if durability is a question, you’ve got your answer right there. Travertine countertops are available in cross-cut or vein-cut slabs, and both look great. Travertine tops can also be used in outdoor areas, like around a fire-pit or as a countertop adjacent to your BBQ.

Travertine is a bit more pricey, but it’s long-lasting and will add value to your home.


LIVE EDGE WOOD SLAB

This is a personal favorite here at Skelly Home. Sean and I actually used live-edge maple in our first condo after we got married. A live edge countertop creates a focal point for your space. Live edge slabs allow you to see the natural knots, curls, and marbling of the wood grain as well.

There is a bit more maintenance required for this look, but we personally think it’s worth it.


Do you have any questions about which countertop will work best in your home? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, even if it’s only to ask one small question!