Rural Kitchen Remodel—Catching up to life in 2024

What do you do when you realize the honeymoon with your home is over? You could walk away and find a new love, or you could get honest with what is no longer working and fix it. That's what this couple did in this main floor remodel.

Lead Carpenter Shawn Ilstrup

Carpenter Allen Carpentier, Jon Enfield

Painter Dave Christenson

Project Summary 

The funny thing about designing and then building your own house, as this couple did, is the assumption that it will outlive you.  And it will, to a degree.  But a home is more than its structural bones.  You love it on day one because it’s fresh and new.  It serves all your purposes. But how will you like it in 7,304 days, or 20 years, when it no longer works?  

So what do you do when the honeymoon is over?  Move? Or stay and improve?  More and more people are making their home into their last home.

Let's face it. Design is only as timeless as the people who live in it.  When our families grow or shrink, or our knees give out, the design of our home needs to catch up to us—to accommodate the current us, as well as the future us.  

In the case of these homeowners, it became clear that nothing really worked anymore or looked aesthetically pleasing.  Their lives at home had changed in many ways and their home needed to catch up.

So, we redesigned the entire layout with longevity in mind. We upgraded all the surfaces, solved the unsightly aspects, and gave them functionality balanced properly with a modern, uplifting aesthetic.

More and more homeowners are considering the possibility of a “forever home” instead of the move-up approach, which usually includes elements of universal design and/or aging-in-place remodeling.

It is estimated that by 2025 one-third of all home improvements will be made by homeowners age 65 and older. According to ProRemodeler, “Homeowners are choosing to renovate their homes to fit their needs rather than move to an expensive assisted living facility or be subjected to soaring interest rates that come with purchasing a new home.”

Murphy Bros. Fall 2023 Showcase kitchen with farm sink and Tempest Quartzite island countertop
COMPARISON: Before & After—from left, new front door, flooring, ceiling, stair railings, wall paint, lighting, kitchen configuration, and color scheme.


Before the remodel, the functionality layout of the kitchen presented issues. For example, the maple cabinets, once striking in contrasting hues, had grown dull with a natural patina from exposure to sunlight. And the drawers were too shallow and short to hold all cookery and grant full access.  Other spaces in the kitchen, intended for future development, had remained unused with minimal utility while other areas were designed with too much utility.  The sink, microwave, garbage disposal, dishwasher, and a tiny bar countertop all in a 12-foot square area only looked efficient—and mostly on paper. 


View from living room back towards addition. Yes, a dining room table will go underneath the three Marvin transom windows, if it ever comes!
AFTER:  They had always planned to put a sink under the window.  Now they have it, along with an 8-foot island devoted just to meals and cooking.  The 2-toned look is very popular these days as is the dedicated space set aside for beverages.  The dishwasher and refrigerator now share the same plane of use as the sink.  All the trim has been uniformly finished in the same paint color.  Note the Thermador Star Sapphire 7-program dishwasher, which was once crammed into the center island.
AFTER: Appliances include Thermador 36" built-in 2-door bottom freezer, Thermador 36" gas range top, Thermador 30" double built-in oven, vent-a-hood wall mounted liner.  Cabinet doors SR-106, frame: F-405, edge: square, Silvit glass, floating shelves in maple.
AFTER: Thermador 24" microdrawer; Bar: Ruvati Nesta 16" undermount single basin, backsplash tile: Aphrodite II Dolomite Mother of Pearl Waterjet Marble Mosaic, CoreTec flooring, Miles Oak 7" plank.
AFTER:  Island and perimeter Cambria Southport 3cm, Ruvati Roma 36" undermount double basin with basin rack, basket strainer, colander, and cutting board, tile: CTW Artisan Bianco Glossy Crackle.
AFTER: Flooring by CoreTec Color: Miles Oak 7" plank, Moen Align Pull Down kitchen faucet with Motion Sense Wave technology; range hood finish: SW-6258 Tricorn Black, cabinets: SW-7005 Pure White.
AFTER:  Santiago 12-light chandelier in Matte Black with warm brass accents.
AFTER: Walls finish SW-7043 Worldly Gray.
AFTER: Mantel—Hirshfield's stock cappuccino stain, water popped on maple; fireplace field tile Claros Silver Architectural Travertine wall tile 6x24.
AFTER: Fireplace unit—Heat & Glo Mezzo 48.
AFTER: Front door: African Mahogany from Great Northern; stairs: FHBSP1201 hollow black satin plain 1/2" square balusters FHBSA1204 hollow black satin one, circle modern 1/2" sq baluster, railing: flat bottom 9200 oak point in maple, tread caps: 807116" RH maple return tread cap with 8076 riser cap, Hirshfield's stock cappuccino stain, water popped maple.

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