Admire the Bright Ideas Behind this Colonial Remodel

Admire the Bright Ideas Behind this Colonial Remodel

Photography by Aaron Usher

Kitchens and bathrooms are the two largest selling points for a home. Red House Design Build tackled both to add value to this East Greenwich property. When Heather and Jay Duke moved back to Rhode Island in 2012, they had grand ideas to remodel their five-bedroom Colonial. Specifically, they wanted to target the two high-ticket areas.

Although the house was a newer build from 1997, the kitchen’s outdated traditional-style maple cabinets and moody accents needed a facelift. Both bathrooms’ spaces weren’t utilized to their full potential to create a relaxing haven after a long day.

The couple heard of Red House from Houzz. They reached out with several different projects in mind. 

The grandeur of the exterior hid cost-saving measures like builder-grade finishes and big-box store components, says marketing director Bridget Bacon, and the Red House Design team was ready to customize the house and make it feel more like a home that better suited the family.

Before breaking out the paintbrushes and drills to switch up the interior decor, the kitchen’s floor plan needed some fine tuning. 


A fresh coat of paint, white shaker-style cabinets and an island extension turned the moody, closed-off kitchen into a fresh, airy gathering space. Photography by Aaron Usher.

“The kitchen was under-designed for the size of it and didn’t reflect their style,” Bacon says.

The kitchen’s original G-shaped layout was completely flipped to increase traffic flow and open up into the dining space. The eat-in nook and cooktop were demolished and the perimeter counters were extended to accommodate a full range and hood. The small, central island was extended to the length of the kitchen and offers room for four to dine with chairs neatly tucked below for a streamlined, space-saving effect. This new layout elongates the space and allows for a more welcoming environment for entertaining and everyday use without knocking down walls.


Photography by Aaron Usher

After living in their home for five years, the Dukes decided they wanted to spruce up their interior. They were interested in higher-end fixtures with custom finishes. Small cosmetic changes made a huge difference. Changing the maple cabinets to linen-white shaker-style doors and adding Venetian bronze hardware by Baldwin creates light and contrast. Granite countertops in River White replaced the darker counters, creating a more light and airy feel. Three clear pendant lights by Kichler strung along the length of the new island replaced the outdated single chandelier to accentuate the cathedral ceilings. The matte black hardware draws the eye up and stands out against the bright white paint.

The bar area, which offered a seated working space, lacked style, according to Red House. While the design in mind was to lighten the space, the contrasting cool-toned cherry cabinets against Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray makes the bar a focal point rather than pushing the space off to the side. Custom cabinets with glass paneling reflect natural light. Drawers below the counter allow for useful storage alongside a sleek wine cooler.


Photography by Aaron Usher

Next order of business: the Jack and Jill bathroom.The double-entry full bathroom boasts two vanity areas before merging into the shared shower area. Both received upgraded white custom vanities and Calacatta Classique quartz countertops.

In the shared bathing area, a double window topped with a semicircle lets in loads of natural light. Before, a stand-alone basic tub far too small for the space sat below the windows and an adjoining shower stall with a single glass door occupied the far corner. Shared by two middle- and high-schoolers, this dark and cramped space wasn’t ideal. To brighten the space, the Red House design team gutted the wall separating the two and merged the bathing area into a glass shower with white Carrara marble tile and a pebble mosaic floor. New hues of gray natural slate floors contrast well against the walls repainted Benjamin Moore Oyster Shell.


A glass stall shower with white Carrara marble title and a pebble mosaic floor replaced the drab tub and shadowy corner shower to better suit the growing adolescent kids in the shared Jack and Jill bathroom. Photography by Aaron Usher

After the kitchen and shared bathroom received a complete one-eighty, the owners called back Red House for a new project: the primary bathroom.

Similar to the kids’ bathroom, the primary suite held a lot of potential, but the natural light and tall ceilings weren’t utilized to their maximum. While there was plenty of headroom, there wasn’t nearly enough floor space to accommodate the homeowners’ needs. The previous layout felt cramped and the couple didn’t have nearly as much closet space as desired. The standing shower was narrow while the soaking tub below the sink took up too much real estate.


The primary bathroom suite received an upgrade in both size and style, extending a walk-in closet into unused garage space. Photography by Aaron Usher

The homeowners wanted a traditional style with some slightly transitional details, says Red House. For an indoor soak, a smaller, sleek freestanding tub replaced the built-in under the windows to create a more airy and spa-like feel. It has the feel of a clawfoot tub infused with an updated design. The tub’s modern features hides plumbing on the inside and mounts the faucet on the edge, allowing it to be completely freestanding. A rectangular walk-in shower with half-glass, half-wainscotting walls breaks up the room while offering some privacy. A bench opposite the shower head makes for a comfortable spot for relaxation. The pebble tiled floor and antique brass hardware complements the walnut vanity. The built-in towel rack utilizes the half wall without taking up extra space. Natural light bounces off the large vanity mirror above the double vanity on the opposite wall. Heated twelve-by-twenty-four stone-beige porcelain tiles line the floor. Every detail was considered when rebuilding the bathroom, including creating a small space within the shower wall to hide toiletries.


 Photography by Aaron Usher

“We are used to working on historic homes with a lot of custom details but also many hidden challenges. Upgrading a home to a true custom design and build is always an exciting opportunity. We get to make the home over with the personal details of our clients in mind and make it a special place for them to return to each day.” — Justin Zeller, Red House Founder and Project Developer

To stay within budget and not add a new addition to the home, the design team carved out a portion of the oversized garage. The new layout allowed for a larger shower, larger double vanity, more floor space and an extension of the bathroom: an outdoor shower space.


Photography by Aaron Usher

Perfect for rinsing off after a beach day before entering the house, a shaded walk-out door next to the luxurious bathtub leads to the outdoor shower and dressing area made of cedar. The wood is low maintenance, and over time it will weather to a beachy gray without needing to be continuously refinished. This was a hit with Jay, a surfing enthusiast, as well as the kids to use after swimming in the pool.

Originally, the primary suite only offered one closet for the Dukes to share, which was not sufficient for their needs. With the expansion, a new, walk-in closet with built-in storage was constructed using extra space from the adjacent garage.


Photography by Aaron Usher

Heather complimented Red House on “its attention to detail and customer satisfaction like no contractor I have used before.” She gave kudos to general manager Justin Zeller and his team for their hard work and looks forward to working with them again in the future.

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