When Liesel Kuhr and Kevin Eakin decided to remodel their 1950s Falls Church home, it started with the idea of adding a dishwasher to the kitchen and ended with the addition of an entire second floor.
“It was a long and eventful process, but we are so glad that we did it when we did,” says Kuhr.
When they first kicked around the idea of a remodel, the homeowners had a vision of how they wanted to live in the house, but not necessarily what that would look like.
So the duo teamed up with Arlington-based design-build firm TriVistaUSA to bring their vision to life.
“TriVista did a great job sticking with us as we explored the possibilities,” Kuhr says. “Making those visions come to life was, of course, hard work and full of old-house surprises, but we were lucky to have great partners in our builder.”
Starting with the Kitchen
The remodel began with the removal of some dividing walls on the first floor. Next, there was an outward expansion where a screened-in porch used to be. In fact, the updated kitchen now sits in that very spot, a space that now opens into a breakfast nook and living and dining room areas.
By opening the kitchen area, the family created a space ideal for entertaining guests and spending quality family time — both of which were very important to the homeowners.
And although the remodel removed the screened-in porch, the room’s original patio fireplace (including its unique brickwork) was kept intact and now serves as an indoor-outdoor fixture.
“This fireplace was special, as it was built using a kind of brick that is shorter and wider,” says TriVista partner Michael Sauri. “We really wanted to save that.”
Updated kitchen cabinetry by Wynnbrooke Cabinetry, meanwhile, adds more of a softness to the room than its original 1950s design.
Gold accent pendant lights add yet another touch of charm to the kitchen, and it’s hard to look at the space without taking note of its stunning color — a deep, warm shade of teal called Newburg Green.
“I love walking into my kitchen and the fact that it now has a dishwasher,” says Kuhr. “And our cabinet color brings me peace and joy.”
“It’s a complete place to come home and relax,” adds Sauri. “It just turned out incredible.”
While the kitchen was the obvious star of the remodel show, the project was always much bigger than one room, Sauri notes.
TriVistaUSA worked with the couple to create a new second-floor layout for the home, a space that now houses two additional bedrooms for their kids, a laundry room, a study nook, and a primary suite complete with his-and-hers walk-in closets.
These changes came in handy when the pandemic arrived, soon after the remodel was complete.
“Having three bedrooms upstairs let us turn two of the downstairs bedrooms into offices when we went remote during the pandemic,” says Kuhr.
The second-floor addition also allowed the homeowners to turn the old first-floor primary wing, which sits adjacent to the living area, into a dedicated activity area for the kids.
“Having an open first floor has been amazing for our 1- and 5-year-old,” says Kuhr. “We’re using the new and old spaces in our home differently than we originally planned, but it’s been a lifesaver to have those options.”
In the end, the architectural design process, Kuhr adds, was a journey of discovery and possibility — and a lot of fun.
This story originally ran in our December issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.