n open-concept, two-tone kitchen remodel in Rockville creates more space for family participation
“After” photos by Nova Soul Imagery for Sweeten
Homeowners: Brandi and Chris posted a kitchen remodel in Rockville on SweetenWhere: Rockville, MarylandPrimary renovation: Replacing DIY storage with a unified kitchen design plan and removing a wall Sweeten general contractorSweeten’s role:Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.Written in partnership with Sweeten homeowner Brandi
Renovating the Rockville-area family home
Brandi and her husband, Chris, inherited her mother-in-law’s 1950s house. Though bittersweet, they were happy to keep it in the family. Chris grew up in the Rockville, Maryland house, so it held special meaning for him. Plus, the family was about to expand. Brandi was pregnant with her first, Zora, and her mom, Bernice, planned on moving in.
As a first-time homeowner, Brandi wanted to renovate the 1,643-square-foot house right away to make it fit their lifestyle. However, Chris had a special attachment to it and wasn’t in a rush to remodel. The conversation was tabled for about seven years. Then, the couple started talking about having a second baby and the idea to renovate returned. This time, the focus was mainly on the kitchen. It was old and outdated. There was little storage space. They had improvised and put in temporary storage containers but they weren’t ideal.
Brandi had also toyed with doing a few DIY projects as a facelift. Mainly, a temporary backsplash and a fresh coat of paint. But, as Brandi put it, “If I’m having a baby, I’m having a new kitchen.” That’s when they turned to Sweeten.
Seeking support for a kitchen remodel in Rockville
Brandi was newly pregnant when she found Sweeten. She needed a service like Sweeten to take some of the stress off of the contractor search process. And it was important as a couple of color to hire a Black general contractor. Brandi met with two contractors outside of the Sweeten network but their estimates were too high. And there wasn’t much room for negotiation. She would have to compromise on the design, which she didn’t want to do. Her Sweeten contractor, however, gave her many options in order to fit her budget and style. “He was very thorough,” said Brandi.
“When the wall came down, I was like, ‘Wow’,” said Brandi. “It definitely opened up the space so much more.”
“Must-haves” and compromise
Before the pandemic hit, Brandi and Chris visited California and attended a design expo. That’s where she fell in love with the idea of two-toned cabinetry. Blue on the bottom, white cabinets above. That was Brandi’s “must-have.” Chris wanted to knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room as well as center the sink. Brandi thought these weren’t essentials but for Chris, these were his non-negotiables. They were added to the design plan. “When the wall came down, I was like, ‘Wow’,” said Brandi. “It definitely opened up the space so much more.” The construction was slated to begin but Brandi came down with COVID-19. Her Sweeten contractor rolled with the slight delay and after a week or so, work began.
Laying out the kitchen design details
Once the functional and structural details were settled, the kitchen’s design plan came next. Storage would be the main focus for the two-toned cabinets. Brandi wasn’t a fan of clutter and storage would hide the daily essentials. Chris had considered display cabinets but the couple decided against them. The kitchen wasn’t very large so they needed to use the space as efficiently as possible.
In addition to the cabinets, the backsplash was one design detail that Brandi felt strongly about. She wanted a contemporary look and chose a chevron pattern. It was clean and modern in a white and gray color scheme. For the countertops, butcher block was considered becausre of its affordable price point. However, their Sweeten contractor was able to source a quartz countertop for around the same cost. The couple decided it would be an upgrade and went for it.
refreshed Rockville kitchen brings renewed joy
Brandi and Chris are thrilled with their renovated kitchen. The open concept allowed the main floor to feel more comfortable for the expanding family. Brandi’s mother and daughter can join in as meals are being prepared. And with baby number two due very soon, the new space will be even more appreciated. For Brandi, it’s the little details, down to the new blinds over the centered sink. Brandi said she goes in every morning and opens the blinds to let in the light and finds joy. “It’s like, ‘Ahhh’,” said Brandi. “It’s like the house breathes.”
Thank you, Brandi and Chris, for sharing your kitchen remodel with us!
KITCHEN RESOURCES: Cabinets: KraftMaid. Appliances: Frigidaire. Flooring in Marigold Oak:Pergo. Paint in Alpaca: Sherwin-Williams. Halifax hardware: Halifax
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten
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