Elevated Dutch Colonial

Published: July 9, 2024

Before even purchasing their 1930s Dutch colonial home, a couple visited the Tampa, Fla., showroom of S&W Kitchens Inc. to discuss renovating the kitchen as soon as the house was theirs. When designer and district manager Larissa Hicks did not hear back from the couple, she assumed the purchase had fallen though. The truth was even more disappointing.

The couple did get the house, but they soon learned they would need to replace all the plumbing and electrical. The new homeowners, who were living in the home with their three young children, tried to tackle the project. They quickly grasped it was too much to take on and returned to S&W Kitchens for help.

“The homeowner realized he did not enjoy being his own GC, coordinating plumbers and inspections,” said Hicks. “That’s when we came on board.”

While replacing the corroded cast-iron pipes and electrical work, it made sense to renovate the entire home at the same time rather than connect new utilities to old fixtures.

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Challenge #1 – Permit Switch

When the clients had set out to update the plumbing and electrical on their own, they obtained the necessary permits. For the S&W Kitchens team to take over the project, those permits had to be closed and new permits obtained under the company’s name. It was a lengthy process.

“It took about 11 weeks to get the city to allow them to close their permitting because they hadn’t completed the project,” said Hicks. “It was an odd situation you wouldn’t usually run into.”

She convinced the city to close the existing permit without doing a final inspection and let the company open a new permit under their contracting license.

Challenge #2 – Uneven Surfaces

Unlike the old pipes, the homeowners wanted to keep the original wood flooring, which the design team refinished. But its unevenness caused difficulty in the kitchen where Hicks had decided to use inset cabinetry to complement the historic period of the home.

In the modest-sized, enclosed kitchen of this Dutch colonial, Hicks got creative with the size and scale of the island to leave a natural walking path. Instead of a large island, she chose a smaller footprint with a 3-in. quartz top to provide a chunky, upscale feel without taking up too much space. Although some ceiling crossbeams were removed to allow for a large range hood, the remaining rustic beams and floating shelves bring additional warmth to this light, bright kitchen.

“With inset cabinets, there is little tolerance for irregularity,” said the designer. “To get the cabinets perfectly level without hiding the difference behind trim work took about three weeks longer than planned.”

The installers adjusted the height of the cabinetry 2 inches from one side of the kitchen to the other. They also brought the toe kicks forward and adjusted every cabinet to make the countertop level.

The home’s walls boasted a combination of drywall and plaster, and as the team opened them to accommodate the plumbing and electrical work, they had to make decisions about whether they could tie in the new surface with the plaster. Sometimes, they chose to go down to the stud because they could not marry the existing plaster with new drywall. Other areas got drywall patches or cladding with drywall over the top.

This became an issue on the ceiling too when the team needed to remove some beams to incorporate the new hood. Rather than repairing the ceiling, they cladded it and added drywall on top.

Challenge #3 – Hidden Talents

The second-floor primary bedroom lacked the en suite the clients wanted. To create one, Hicks took over a bonus room and a closet. A new bathroom meant new waste lines, and the team had to find a way to run them downstairs and out to the main line.

Adding a bathroom to the second floor brought plenty of challenges, but the large space accommodates the clients’ request for both a double shower and a cast-iron tub. Opposite, two individual vanities are separated by a window. When the floor tile Hicks had chosen was discontinued before the order shipped, she found this 8-in. hexagonal option. Its pattern adds interest in the large room, while keeping everything light and neutral.

“We had to open the entire subfloor and pipe over to the sidewall by the shower then run new waste lines through the downstairs home office,” said the designer.

In the office, a column was framed out to hide the new system, and Hicks added a second column for symmetry.

Back in the bathroom, she discovered there were roofline rafters that had been hidden behind the old closet walls, and they could not be removed. Instead, Hicks pulled the toilet a bit forward and framed an area behind it, creating a faux shelf that hides the rafters and provides storage.

“It ended up being a great feature at the end of what could have been a nightmare,” she said.

On the shower floor, a penny tile adds texture, while the shower walls have a classic subway tile with a slightly detailed edge for an undulating look. Despite having a lot of space to work with, it was not enough to enclose the toilet in a water closet, so the pony wall of the shower offers some privacy. Behind the toilet, rafters from the roofline are hidden by what simply appears to be a handy shelf.

A similar issue occurred the kitchen where the must-have 48-inch range required significant ventilation. Because there was no possible way to duct sideways due to window locations, the 10-inch opening for the ductwork needed to pass through the second-floor joists, a child’s bedroom closet, the attic and out the roof. Again, they framed out a box in the closet to capture the ductwork that made the 4-foot range possible.

The numerous challenges on this project reminded Hicks of the level of critical thinking and problem solving a professional designer brings to a project.

“Drawing a beautiful picture is one thing, but the ability to be creative on the spot is our real value,” she said. “We can plan and draw, but you have to be adjustable when certain issues arise during construction. Even as a designer, you need to be open to change.”



BACKSPLASH: Bedrosians; COUNTERTOP: Quantum Quartz; BAR STOOLS: clients; CABINET HARDWARE: Top Knobs; CABINETS & HOOD: Greenfield; DISHWASHER: Cove; FAUCET & POT FILLER: Delta; FLOORING: Original; LIGHTING: Generation Lighting; MICROWAVE, OVEN & RANGE: Wolf; PAINT: Sherwin-Williams; REFRIGERATOR: Sub-Zero; SINK: Kohler; VENTILATION: Best Range Hoods


ACCESSORIES, FAUCETS & SHOWERHEAD: Delta; CABINET HARDWARE: Top Knobs; COUNTERTOP: Quantum Quartz; LIGHTING: Generation Lighting; MIRRORS: Elegant Furniture & Lighting; SHOWER ENCLOSURE: My Shower Door; SINK, TILE & TOILET: Kohler; TUB: Signature Hardware; VANITIES: Homecrest Cabinets


Posted in: Projects

Tagged with: S&W Kitchens

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