Something had to give - Airoom Architects & Builders transform a lakeside home

Airoom Architects & Builders transform a lakeside home
View of dining area in 1950's remodelled lakefront ceiling, dining room, estate, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, table, window, gray
View of dining area in 1950's remodelled lakefront home by Airoom Architects & Builders inspired by Nantucket beach houses.

Design inspiration can come from many sources, but it's often location that provides the strongest influence.

When the design team from Airoom Architects & Builders project development manager Greg Sutton and kitchen and bath architect Jane Kelly were approached to remodel this 1950s home in Evanston, on the shores of Lake Michigan, the beachfront setting was key.

"The house has a magical setting with its own private beach," says Kelly. "We immediately said to the owners, Leon and Donna Floerchinger, that the house had to look like the one in the movie Something's Gotta Give it needed that Nantucket beach house aesthetic. The couple watched the movie that same night and right away were in complete agreement."

Transforming the house was not straightforward, however. Sutton says the original house lacked character and was a mass of small rooms.

"The existing house had a dated '60s country feel, and the interior was not well suited to the owners' lifestyle. They love entertaining and needed a spacious, open-plan interior and well-equipped kitchen.

To provide the required space, Airoom removed walls, widened openings and added on a television-games room.

"Effectively, the interior on the first floor was completely gutted," says Kelly. "By replacing the flooring with hand-scraped, dark walnut, we were able to seamlessly join the old with the new."

Kelly says the alterations were made more difficult by the existing concrete slab floor, which incorporated an old water-heating system.

View of kitchen in 1950's remodelled lakefront home cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, home, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, kitchen appliance, room, gray
View of kitchen in 1950's remodelled lakefront home by Airoom Architects & Builders inspired by Nantucket beach houses.Features white-painted crystal cabinets with inset panel doors teamead wuth Calacatta Gold Marble and Maroon Cohiba antiqued granite countertops. Appliances are integrated into the cabinetry.

"Remodeling projects often bring hidden challenges. Airoom has the experience to ensure such work flows smoothly, however."

The kitchen also underwent a major transformation, which was in keeping with the beach house aesthetic. The design team specified two islands one for the main seating area and the second island forming an entertaining base. This island is opposite a drinks area and near a door where guests enter from the beach.

"Guests and family come in from the beach and wash sand off their feet in the utility room and come into the kitchen for snacks and drinks without getting in the way of the cook," says Kelly.

The attention to detail that characterizes the remodeling is seen in the kitchen; original mouldings were duplicated where required, and embossed tin ceilings were added.

"Visually, the ceilings help to anchor the islands," says Kelly. "Vintage light pendants sourced by the owner were accommodated within the embossed design on the tin."

Although the kitchen is not overly large, it is highly functional. The owners wanted a full complement of high-performance appliances. This was achieved using Sub-Zero and Wolf.

"Using Sub-Zero and Wolf also allowed us to seamlessly integrate appliances into the cabinetry," says Kelly.

To provide a traditional symmetry, the design team balanced the display cabinets on either side of the kitchen, so the cooking center cabinetry is complemented by the cabinets in the drinks area.

View of living area in 1950's remodelled lakefront ceiling, floor, flooring, home, interior design, living room, room, gray
View of living area in 1950's remodelled lakefront home by Airoom Architects & Builders inspired by Nantucket beach houses.

"The homeowners are professionals in the design industry Leon is an engineer and Donna a partner in a commercial design firm," says Kelly. "Being familiar with the design-and-build industry, the couple took a suitably professional approach to their project, commissioning a professional company to undertake the work.

Airoom CEO Michael Klein says Airoom's design-build philosophy takes in every aspect of a renovation project. "We combine the disciplines of architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, purchasing and financing into a coherent whole. Because we design what we build and build what we design, we can deliver good value and control the entire operation."

Klein says this approach minimizes hassles, especially in terms of dealing with trades and zoning issues.

"In more than 50 years, we have faced just about every possible home renovation challenge," he says. "This experience means we can provide clients with a seamless integration in terms of both planning and execution."

All projects come with a 10-year installation and 15-year construction warranty.

For more details, contact Airoom Architects & Builders, 6825N Lincoln Ave, Lincoln-wood IL 60712, phone to (847) 268 4677, fax (847) 763 1102. Website:

Oct 25, 2011
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