Category Archives: Bathrooms

Princeton Kitchen Renovation: A Real Knockout

princeton kitchen - Dickson Development

When Frederik and Pallavi bought their 1960s-built Princeton home, they knew a renovation was in their future. The house was very well built, yet it had some quirky angles, a choppy flow and dated features. Like many homes of its era, the upstairs bathrooms were small, and the kitchen was as well.

The couple wanted more space, particularly in and around the kitchen, the center of family activity, and an overall better flow and modern feel. “It was important to us that any kind of addition worked well with the rest of the house,” said Frederik. “My wife had an idea to take part of the porch and make it part of the kitchen, so we knew the addition would be within zoning regulations.”

Since the porch was not being used, and its outside wall had fake stone, the wall came down. “As a professor of geoscience, I could not abide the fake stone anyway,” he mused. An addition was built on the front of the house to extend the kitchen. The front porch roof cover was rebuilt and expanded.

They also widened the opening to the kitchen from the family room, which had been only a pass-through, drastically improving the flow of the house, notes Frederick.. “The first floor feels more spacious yet still comfortable,” he says. “It does not feel cavernous, just homey and warm.”

A bright and welcoming space

Princeton Kitchen Expansion“Where we once had five feet of a porch that had no purpose, we now have a bright, modern and welcoming space. Ironically, we got the idea to improve the flow of the house because everyone was crowding in the kitchen, but now that the space is so open, it’s not only where everyone wants to be, it’s where everyone is most comfortable,” says Frederik.

This includes the couple’s three children, ages 14, 12 and 7, who spend a great deal of time at the large kitchen island—doing homework, eating meals and just hanging out together. One place they don’t have to crowd is in the bathroom. Each kid gets their own sink, a unique concept focused on function.

“The kids’ bathroom has one long, marble vanity; it was something we really wanted to do,” he explains. They worked with architects Sara Segal and John DaCruz to turn their ideas into a plan and partnered with the team at Dickson to transform that plan into reality. Together they reconfigured the entire master bedroom/bathroom suite to significantly increase the bathroom.

Whatever the problem, always a solution

Princeton Kitchen Expansion

“We decided on Dickson Development pretty quickly after our initial meeting. We knew of their reputation to get things done, and we felt complete trust in every member of the Dickson team,” Frederik continued. “I can’t say enough about Thom Stout, the foreman, who was very professional but also made the process personal. He could just figure things out; any little problem that would come along, he could solve. This was especially true with some of the odd angles we encountered when we were adding more steps to the stairs leading from the new kitchen opening into the existing family room.”

The installation of the new railing, as well as the custom cabinetry, a cathedral ceiling and other details, was a coordinated effort with few if any setbacks. “The coordination was all essentially seamless, and the whole project was a success,” says Frederik. “Our kitchen was small and crowded, and now we have a bright and open room where the kids can read and do their homework and we can cook and entertain.”

Here’s a look at the front exterior of the home, before and after the kitchen was expanded:

To schedule a consultation, please call 609.799.0220.

Princeton Porch and Carport Addition

Princeton porch and carport addition

princeton kitchen - Dickson Development

A Sleek, Stylish and Functional Renovation

When Chiara bought her Princeton home in the late 1980s, she didn’t give much thought to its modest façade. But after 30 years, and a complete kitchen and family room renovation, it was time to enhance her home’s street appeal as well. Her plan was to remove an old trellis and build out the front porch without compromising the flow of natural light into the house. She was also considering a carport addition to improve the overall functionality of her home.

Princeton addition and carportShe approached the team at Dickson Development with five distinct goals:

1. Replace an old trellis with an expanded front porch

2. Add a carport to make room for a third car

3. Allow direct access to the mudroom through the porch

4. Reduce the need to use stairs in the multilevel house

5. Create an independent apartment on the garage level of the home

“All that required some serious thinking,” she says. “I was concerned that without the trellis, the house would look long and flat. I wanted the porch addition to create more depth to the house and pull it all together, without taking light away from the windows.”

Chiara had already worked with Dickson Development on a major kitchen remodel  (Click for details) and was comfortable bringing her ideas to their receptive team. “It’s always exciting to help a client bring their ideas to fruition,” says Richard Dickson.

Princeton Kitchen Expansion

Thanks to their collaboration, what was once a bare trellis among an unremarkable façade with a small, porticoed entryway is now an elegant and expansive porch that is as lovely as it is functional. It connects the front entrance to the house with a contemporary carport that provides direct access to a mudroom and separate apartment. It was important to Chiara that the porch not be covered where there were windows.

“It was also important to me that the porch would provide direct access to the mudroom. With the addition of a carport, we could also make room for a third car,” she explains. “These changes were all very useful in eliminating the need to use stairs in our multilevel. There is now a separate in-law or home office suite on the garage level of the home. This is ideal for guests as well.”

With a separate entrance and no stairs to climb from the garage, guests of all ages can feel welcome and comfortable in her home. “The neighbors also keep telling me how much they love the change,” she exclaims.

Here’s a look at the front exterior of the home, before and after the porch was expanded and a carport was added:

To schedule a consultation, please call 609.799.0220.

West Windsor Kitchen and Bath Makeover

princeton kitchen - Dickson Development

Move or remodel? That was the question Dale and Rich had been asking themselves for years. The West Windsor couple wanted a more functional kitchen, a more contemporary master bath and an overall fresher look.

Their 1990s Toll Brothers-built home was a little bigger than they needed at their stage of life, yet it still had a nice flow and a comfortable feel. They began to wonder, could their vision for a new home be re-created in their current home? And could it be done without a lot of disruption? Their search for a builder began.

Dale and Richard interviewed many builders before partnering with Dickson Development. They had very specific design goals in mind—and even a photo of a kitchen they wanted to emulate—after years of contemplation. They were also looking for a builder who would offer sound advice and creative collaboration as well as keep the project on time and on budget. “From the start, we were comfortable with Richard Dickson and Bonnie Foster, who helped design the new kitchen and bath. They were professional and patient, and they paid extraordinary attention to their proposal,” says Dale. “That told us a lot about what it could be like to work with them. They listened carefully to our ideas and transformed them into a plan.”

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A Vision Comes to Life

The photo that inspired their new kitchen had a distinctly charming and bright, contemporary bistro look. Dickson Development took it to the next level with custom white cabinetry, soft brushed gold hardware and elegant yet industrial lighting fixtures. The size of the pendants hanging over the island was scaled back slightly so they would not overwhelm the space or distract from its statement piece, a unique, oversized range hood. “We wanted the room to have a focal point, and fell in love with this mixed metal range hood,” Dale explains. “It separates our kitchen from others with its striking brass strips. It is truly a work of art.”

The kitchen’s soft gray and white aesthetic is enhanced with beautiful crown moldings, gray prefinished wood flooring, a large refrigerator built into the cabinetry, quartz countertops and a tile backsplash that extends beyond the sink to the ceiling. “There is no interruption in the line,” notes Richard Dickson. “We also extended the sink by four inches. We popped it out, breaking the line of the counter, to create more interest as well as more room for a larger sink,” he adds. “It was a very cost-effective change.” The kitchen was made more functional by removing the cooktop from the island, adding a microwave to the island and adding task lighting beneath the cabinets.

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All in the Details

The same careful attention to detail and balanced use of mixed metals can be found in the renovation of the master bathroom. “I love the look of brushed gold when paired with silver or antique bronze,” says Dale. The bathroom renovation went beyond these new aesthetic features. “We made the room larger by removing a separate dressing area and sink area just outside the bathroom. By opening up and enlarging the space and removing an oversized jacuzzi tub, they were able to add a freestanding bathtub and new shower,” says Bonnie. While the new tub serves as a centerpiece for the bathroom, it is the new double-sink vanity that showcases the homeowners’ personal taste.

Richard Dickson attributes the finished product to teamwork. “Dale and Richard knew what they wanted and brought that vision to the project. We were able to exceed their expectations, a direct result of the flexibility, input and guidance they offered every step of the way.”

Throughout the process, Dale and Rich kept the future in mind. Should they decide to sell their home in years to come, they wanted to be sure it included many of the features the coveted millennial buyer desires. “We incorporated current trends into the design of the new kitchen and bathroom in a way that is timeless,” notes Richard.

Find out how you can create the perfect kitchen and bath to fit your lifestyle.

To schedule a consultation, please call 609.799.0220.

Custom Renovation Showcases Homeowner’s Creative Side

Spacious Open Kitchen Design and Remodel

Creative Home Renovations

Erica spent a full year thinking through every possible design element before renovating her home in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. Erica’s attention to detail, discerning eye and personal style are apparent in every aspect of this stunning renovation project.

The project included the remodeling of several rooms in the house, including the kitchen, family room, mudroom, front foyer, second-floor hallway and master bedroom suite. Dickson Development was able to complete the project in less than four months, minimizing the disruption to the family of five.

“Erica knew what she wanted,” says project manager Bonnie Foster of Dickson Development. “We guided her through the process, and together we turned her vision into reality.”

Brand New, Updated Foyer

Foyer Remodel Princeton Home Builder

The Foyer Before Remodel

The four-bedroom home, built in the 1980s, now features a unique blend of contemporary and traditional details, including two custom-built, sliding doors with a rustic barn-door look. “I brought my idea to the team at Dickson Development, and they made it happen,” she says.

“Their crew got right to work, and they were all really nice and very professional. Even though we were basically living in the (finished) basement for a short while, they finished the project on time and made us comfortable throughout.”

The careful planning and attention to detail paid off in countless ways. “It was great to have the client so involved,” says Bonnie. “Erica had a strong vision.”

The success of this renovation was largely due to the partnership established between the client and builder. “Together we were able to create a highly personal, functional and truly one-of-a-kind living experience for the family,” adds Richard Dickson.

Spacious Open Kitchen Design and Remodel

Updated, Spacious Kitchen

Before Photo of Kitchen Remodel in Princeton

Outdated Kitchen Before

A spacious, open-concept kitchen adjoins a comfortable family room with a custom bar. “We didn’t add the bar, but we installed all new cabinetry, as well as a beer tap and new granite countertop,” says Bonnie.

The focal point of the first-floor living space is a 10-foot quartzite kitchen island. “It’s as long as it can be without having a break,” says Bonnie. The family typically gathers around the island to eat and work and socialize. “We used to have a cooktop stove in the island, but it took up too much space. This is the center of our family life. We wanted to open it up.”

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The island also includes a built-in microwave oven and oversized drawers to fit dishes and to hide garbage. “There is a smart use of space throughout the house,” adds Bonnie.

Erica describes herself as the “minimalist in the family,” and the sleek kitchen design reflects her aesthetic. “My goal with this renovation was aesthetic,” she says. Yet, there is no denying the functional elements in the kitchen design.

The large, professional stove includes a pot-filler faucet and is flanked by two slender drawers that serve as spice racks. The backsplash is made of stunning yet understated glass mosaic tile. Built-in ceiling speakers complete the custom touches.

“The kitchen is loaded with conveniences, and there is so much room. We spend a lot of time here,” says Erica. “But the biggest ‘wow’ for me is the master bathroom.”

Remodeled Spacious Bathroom

Before photo of bathroom renovation

Bathroom Before Renovations Began

The master bathroom is part of a comfortable second-floor suite that includes a sitting/gym area, spacious bedroom and dressing room with built-in shelving and vanity, and a modern, sky-lit bathroom. The suite features another barn-door sliding door to unite the first and second floor aesthetic. It also features a shower without a door. “We weren’t so sure about that at first,” says Erica. “But we love this shower. Dickson Development came up with the idea of having the shower controls on the opposite wall from the actual shower heads. It was brilliant.”

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The bathroom also has a heated floor, heated towel rack, stand-alone bathtub and double sinks on an expansive and beautifully appointed vanity. Prior to the renovations, the suite had his and her walk-in closets. The wall in between the two closets was removed, creating one large dressing room. “The bathroom and dressing room come together beautifully,” says Erica.

Looking for ideas for your next improvement project? View our portfolio for more photos or call us at 609.799.2020. We would love to hear from you.

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Zoning Prohibits Adding Space? Go Up!

Creative Home Renovations

When zoning prohibits your expansion plans, there’s no place to go but up.

A Princeton family needed to increase the size of their home as it was no longer big enough for their growing family. Yet adding on to the existing first or second floor was prohibited by Princeton’s zoning regulations.

 After working with an architect to solve the design problem, they approached Dickson Development to do the construction. “We added a new 1,000-square-foot master suite over part of the existing house,” explains Richard Dickson.

Freestanding Bathtub in large bedroom suite additionThe renovation and expansion of this 1960s home has brought the family’s lifestyle to a new level of comfort. The master bedroom suite includes a large, well-lit dressing room and a contemporary bathroom featuring a separate freestanding bathtub, an elegant tile shower with a sleek, frameless shower door and a custom, double-sink vanity with furniture-like cabinets. The third floor also includes a lovely study.

Dickson and his team extended the original stairway using the same oak lumber on the stairs and railing, creating a cohesive transition to the third floor.

We always work with our clients to find creative solutions to make the best use of available space, integrating design, function and lifestyle,” says Richard.

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Watch This Master Bedroom Suite
Go Up in Princeton