Nancy Curry knew from her first look that walls would be coming down in their large townhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows. She and her husband, Paul, didn’t wait long after moving into their newly purchased home last April to start opening up the floor plan.
“I think we were in here four days, and Nancy put the (first) hammer into the wall,” Paul says. By the time their do-it-yourself wrecking crew finished demolition a few months later, four interior walls were demolished, and other outdated features from the late 1980s had disappeared.
NO WALLS NOW
In April 2016, the Currys moved into the 3,300-square-foot townhome in the Oak Cliff complex from a townhouse less than half the size. They had been shopping for space. “We couldn’t fit the entire family in our old house,” Nancy says.
Today, the Currys’ main living area is a single, open space with an eye-catching view of woods and northeast Rochester. “That was what attracted us—the view and the space,” Nancy says. “I wanted a panoramic view.”
They hired Jessica of Interiors by J. Curry LLC of Rochester, to design a new kitchen, fireplace, lounging area and dining area—each open to the rest of the great room and to the view through its tall windows. In the early stages of their purchase, Jessica helped determine that the kitchen wall on the main floor was not load-bearing and could safely be demolished. Once a final design was settled on, Jessica went to work helping with everything from selection of materials and their installation to the overall project management of subcontractors.
AN OPEN AND SOCIAL KITCHEN
The centerpiece of the Currys’ renovation is an expansive kitchen. Dominated by its large, L-shaped island, the kitchen is designed not only for making meals, but also for gathering guests. The island—which stretches 9 feet long and is 7 feet at its widest spot—was built to accommodate a half-dozen chairs along its outer edge.
Early in the project, the demolition removed a peninsula counter with overhead cabinets, freeing up space for the island. It also repositioned the sink in the island for easier food preparation. The area is part of what Certified Kitchen Designer Jessica describes as a work triangle. For example, the refrigerator, sink and range cook top are close to each other for efficiency. Improvements also included a double oven built into a wall,
granite counters, appliance garages, a wine rack in the island and multiple cabinets.
Their kitchen occupies a central spot in the Curry home because it’s more than a place for mealtime. “I spend a lot of the day in my kitchen,” Nancy says. Now retired, she enjoys cooking as a hobby. Her favorite appliance is the natural gas cooktop, which is topped by a gleaming metal exhaust hood.
While designing the kitchen, Jessica took a creative opportunity. Instead of using a single pattern, “We use two different countertop colors and two different cabinet colors,” she says. Both countertop designs contain gray tones, while the dark and light grays were reversed on the island. They compliment each other but are not the same.
GRAY—ANYTHING BUT DRAB IN THIS HOUSE
Color plays a large part in the townhouse’s indoor-outdoor feeling. A hickory wood floor with a grayish-taupe color (marketed as “ember”) spreads throughout their great room. It ties together the four contributing spaces. The gray floor complements the traditional dining area with elegant wooden chairs and table, along with a credenza for storage.
From the exterior wall, a single line of flames jumps up from a bed of round stones, bursting from the natural gas fireplace. The fireplace is surrounded by hand-set stone, which “pulls in all those colors of the kitchen,” Jessica explains.
A few steps away, attention turns outdoors. They can relax and enjoy the view from a curved, white sofa that faces toward the tall, exterior windows.
The revamp of the main living floor likely won’t be the Curry home’s last project. There also are two separate bedroom suites on the same floor, and the lower level contains other finished spaces. They’ll eventually get their turn. “This (main floor) is just phase one,” Nancy says. Phase two will bring a laundry room upstairs for convenience and perhaps an auxiliary living suite downstairs.
Bob Freund is a freelance writer based in Rochester.