Category Archives: Blog

1980s Colonial Renovation Blends Modern Amenities with Personal Style

The story of this whole-house renovation in West Windsor, New Jersey, is as much about the way we live our lives—with the kitchen as the center of activity—as it is about the infusion of a homeowner’s personal style. West Windsor, NJ Kitchen Renovation ContractorLike other Colonial homes built in the 1980s, the house lacked many of the modern amenities families desire today. Rooms were closed in and sectioned off, the kitchen was tight on space, and both the bathrooms and kitchen had original fixtures.

When the homeowners, two busy professionals with three active boys, bought the house in 2011, it was in immaculate condition. Nothing was in need of repair, but the house felt cramped and dated.

“After we lived here for seven years, things needed to be replaced,” says homeowner Jackie. “We were ready to knock down some walls and renovate the entire house.”

Jackie wanted to be sure to incorporate personal touches throughout the renovation—bursts of color, rich textures, intricate tilework, unique flooring and cabinet options. This project needed to reflect her creativity, as well as achieve the practical goal of improving the overall flow of movement in the house. She selected Dickson Development based on positive reviews, but also because she sensed right away that their team understood her vision for the project.

“The homeowners were very involved with every aspect of the design,” says Bonnie Foster, project manager at Dickson Development. “They wanted the kitchen to be distinctive and searched high and low for just the right piece of granite for the island. It became the focal point of the room.”

The kitchen was expanded 2 1/2 feet in the back, which left more room for cabinetry as well as the substantial granite island. “Aesthetically, the island is what I like the most about the kitchen,” notes Jackie. “Not only can we all eat here, but it serves as a huge workspace as well. The original kitchen had a counter with a peninsula shape that was very hard to get around and closed off the room. The island lets you move around in either direction.”

The kitchen also features beautiful prefinished hickory handcrafted wood floors in random widths, stunning hardware, stainless-steel appliances and an abundance of cabinets. “We added quite a few additional design details, including beautiful accent tile behind a stainless-steel range,” says Bonnie.

West Windsor, NJ Bathroom Renovation ContractorJackie loves the look of bold colors and rich textures, found throughout the house. The family room also features a rugged stone fireplace set against a deep orange accent wall. The cubbies in the mudroom are a stunning shade of blue. Where there was once a cramped space, there is now a well-organized mudroom and laundry room. “The built-in cubbies in the mudroom really make a statement. The color just pops,” she adds.

Jackie was also delighted to have more room in the master bedroom suite. “We bumped out the wall to create more space for a master bedroom and bathroom suite,” explains Bonnie. “The new bathroom features a 4′ x 4′ shower, a freestanding tub, a dual-sink vanity and beautiful tile work, giving the room a cool, crisp feel.”

Every step of the way, Jackie worked closely with Bonnie, down to the last detail. “I am not a designer, but I had a vision. Bonnie brought it to life,” she says. “We’re so very pleased with the end result, and family and friends have had nothing but compliments. We can’t wait to be able to have our first big family celebration here.”

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To schedule a consultation, please call 609.799.0220 or click on the link below.

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The Master Bathroom Enters the 21st Century

Princeton Master Bath

modern master bathroom Hopwell NJSince it first debuted in the 1926 Sears catalog as part of the then top-of-the-line Dutch colonial, the master bathroom has reflected the times. Pink and teal blue tile defined the mid-century master bath. Jacuzzi tubs marked the 80s. And the 90s brought master bathroom vanities complete with a double sink.

“Today in 2020, people want a spa-like sanctuary where they can relax and unwind,” says Bonnie Foster, project manager at Dickson Development. If you’re planning on a master bathroom remodel, Foster and the rest of the team at Dickson can offer up-to-date master bathroom layouts and designs to help you create your dream space.

Here are some of the most popular trends in master bathroom designs:

Out with the old, in with the new. The 2020 master bathroom is modern and minimalist, Foster says. This means neutral tones, geometric shapes, and clean lines. White or wood vanities and countertops with splashes of greenery set the stage for serenity.

Fashionable floors.  Master bathroom flooring has gone from purely functional to a key part of the room’s ambiance. People want stylish, high-quality flooring that holds up to normal bathroom wear and tear. The same goes for the floor in the master bathroom shower space. Popular materials include porcelain tile, luxury vinyl, and engineered wood.

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New Classics

Specialty lighting. Current trends in master bathroom design incorporate lighting into the actual architecture, Foster says. Recessed lights, strip lighting in shampoo niches and under cabinet toe-kicks, wall-mounted fixtures, and decorative chandeliers and pendants are just a few examples of master bathroom lighting ideas. Energy-saving LED lighting is also hot, as are separate controls for lighting that allow users to set the perfect mood for how they intend to use their bathroom space.

Space for stuff. As we spend more time in our master bathrooms, we want additional storage for fluffy towels and toiletries. In response, current bathroom trends include upgraded vanities and cabinets with plenty of drawers and shelves.

Tubs that stand free. Not only do they provide a place to relax and rejuvenate at the end of a long day, soaking tubs add an artistic element to any master bathroom plans. In terms of style, modern has replaced traditional when it comes to free-standing tubs. Gone are claw feet, and in are curvy, spacious tubs that sit flat on the floor.

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Personal Touches

Creative use of tile. Want to add some color and personality to your master bath? Do so with master bathroom tile. “Whether it’s splashes here and there or on an entire accent wall, unique shapes and patterns, bold shades, and irregular cuts in tile can all add texture and flare to your master bathroom design,” Foster says.

Techy toilets. It’s not your grandmother’s carpet-covered toilet anymore. Master bathroom toilets in the twenty-first century are sleek and modern with optional bells and whistles, like self-cleaning, heated seats, bidets, overflow protection, and built-in night lights. Tankless toilets—which conserve water and take up less space—are also popular.

Mod mirrors. Today’s master bathroom mirrors offer both form and function. Says Foster, “a bold, asymmetrical framed mirror can instantly add a chic element to your master bathroom décor.”

Elegant Finishes

Brass fixtures. After decades of brushed chrome and stainless steel, brass master bathroom fixtures are back in style. “Brass finishes give an air of sophistication that makes the master bathroom feel even more special,” Foster says.

Marble in the master bath. Whether it’s on wallpaper or the real thing, marble is a timeless way to add a touch of luxury to any master bath. And marble is totally versatile—you can use it anywhere from the top of your master bathroom vanity to the floor to shower walls.

Working with a Professional

As you embark on a master bathroom remodel, of course you want to stay current, both in layout and design. From the first sketches to finishing touches that make your master bathroom distinctly your own, let the experts at Dickson Development be your guide.

To schedule a consultation, email info@dicksondevelopment.com or call Richard Dickson at 609-799-0220 or cick on the link below.

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Making Mid-Century Modern Again

mid-century-modern-designMad for mid-century modern?

You aren’t alone. Mid-century modern design continues to enjoy tremendous popularity, as its functional elements, minimalist sensibilities and seamless integration with nature appeal just as much to eco-conscious millennials as they do to nostalgic boomers.

“People who grew up in the mid-1950s and 1960s, not to mention fans of the TV show Mad Men, which took place during the same time period, quickly visualize mid-century modern architecture and interior design as minimalist and simplistic—and maybe a little fun,” says Bonnie Foster, project manager at Dickson Development. “It’s become a modern classic.”

Characteristics of mid-century modern design include:

  • A contemporary, minimalist look with flat planes and clean lines
  • A focus on function over form
  • Large windows and open floor plans, which connect the home to nature and draw the outside in
  • Use of geometric and abstract forms
  • Blend of industrial and natural materials, such as steel and wood
  • Pops of bold, saturated color integrated with contrasting black, white and gray themes

“Mid-century modern is a flexible, clean style of design that can blend well with others, from traditional to contemporary,” explains Richard Dickson, who has been building and renovating homes since 1972. “Here in New Jersey, we don’t typically design homes with a classic, mid-century modern flat roof, due to the climate. But we do incorporate many other elements of mid-century modern style, such as mixing industrial metals with natural wood or blending indoor with outdoor living spaces. These trends have been popular for years and remain so today.”

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The mid-century modern design movement originated in the 1930s but rose to prominence during the 1950s and 1960s. Germany’s Bauhaus movement of the early 20th century was a primary influence with its stripped-down aesthetic and bold colors.

The style became popular in the United States in the mid-1950s, which was a time when there was a great deal of optimism about the future and Americans were captivated by scientific discovery and space travel, science fiction movies and TV shows like The Jetsons. Mid-century modern design reflected the mood of a nation that equated futuristic design with social change and industrial advancement.

Today it simply works with the way we live. It’s attractive and versatile, and it complements both expansive open floor plans and small urban spaces. Mid-century modern–inspired furniture, lighting and home décor accent pieces are easy to find and available in a wide range of prices. “Like post-century contemporary, with a similar uncluttered look, mid-century modern also serves as a great backdrop to today’s modern homes with smart gadgets and technology,” adds Bonnie.

Mid-Century Moderation

Bonnie cautions against going too mad for the mid-century modern look. “We like to work with select elements so the style doesn’t overwhelm the space or become quickly outdated,” she says. “It’s a really easy style to use, but also to abuse if you aren’t careful. Mix things up for a more balanced look.”

Incorporating mid-century modern into your home:

  • Learn to identify vintage pieces or credible replicas. Sellers tend to overuse the term “mid-century modern,” so the buyer must beware! Vintage pieces originate from Denmark, Yugoslavia, Japan, Italy and the United States.
  • Use restraint when shopping. Focus on stylish touches versus a complete overhaul.
  • Shoot for clean and uncluttered. If you decorate a room in 100 percent mid-century modern style, you may tire of it quickly.
  • Start with one piece that fits with your existing décor. Then build around that piece with complementary colors and textures, including new cabinetry, fixtures and lighting.
  • Take it easy when using bright, saturated colors. They can quickly go out of style, unlike today’s neutrals.
  • Consult with a design or building professional for guidance and planning.

Here to stay?

“I think it’s safe to say that mid-century design will remain popular for the foreseeable future because of its versatility and appeal to a wide range of people,” says Richard. “Finding your own personal style is about how you live as well as what you like.”

To schedule a consultation, email info@dicksondevelopment.com or call Richard Dickson at 609-799-0220.
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Dickson Development Puts the Finishing Touches on a Country Estate

When you pull up to the 10,000-square-foot country estate in Hopewell, New Jersey, you immediately get a sense of calm and wonder. The grounds are spectacular and meticulously maintained, with a serene reflecting pool in front of the home’s commanding façade. When the new owners of this dignified, quiet retreat engaged Dickson Development to renovate its interior, they were prepared to strip and restore a multitude of unique finishes throughout the house. Despite the grand scale of this whole-home renovation, its beauty lies in the details.

The owners hired an architect and then brought in Dickson Development to orchestrate an extensive renovation that involved opening up the space in the kitchen and family room area and reconfiguring other rooms to give the home a better, more contemporary flow. “We approached this project by starting with the interior and stripping it of almost all of the finishes,” adds Richard Dickson. “From there, we opened up spaces and remodeled rooms with one overarching goal in mind: to make every detail count, every finish stand out, and every room evoke a positive emotion.”

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Dickson Development removed the wall between the family room and breakfast room and raised the beam separating the kitchen from the breakfast room, creating a wider opening. This and other work throughout the house required that new steel beams be installed. Many of the rooms needed to be reframed as well, most notably the front foyer.

“We completely remodeled the front foyer to create space for a large ceiling dome and highly intricate wrought-iron railing,” adds Dickson.

A Grand Entrance Sets the Stage

The attention to detail found in the front foyer creates an ambience that conveys the feeling of quality and elegance. The room is lit in natural light as well as by a unique 9-foot ceiling dome that is illuminated from behind. The room was completely reframed to make space for a new staircase and front door, as well as hidden closets and arch openings. “The foyer was completely remodeled. We removed the original stairs and moved the new stairs back to create a grand space,” says Dickson.

An Extraordinary Attention to Detail

In addition, new detailed crown moldings, base moldings and casing moldings were installed throughout the house to provide definition for each space—and to create a unifying look and finish. Dickson Development also collaborated with partner Woodhaven Lumber to install new teak floors and teak-stained treads.

“All the floors in the house are darkly stained wide-board teak. They coordinate beautifully with every surface, from the massive stone wall in the family room to the white cabinets in the kitchen to the neutral gray colors used throughout,” notes Dickson.

A Well-Lit Kitchen That Inspires

The kitchen renovation includes extensive new cabinetry for maximum storage and convenience. If you look carefully, the cabinets are lit from top to bottom, to create drama as well as functionality. The room is also lit with a large skylight, cut into a high ceiling, and unique pendant fixtures over the island.

“The lighting in the kitchen as well as throughout the house was completely redone with low-voltage controls,” says Dickson. “We always layer lighting to create a mood and to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency. In this home, we also had an abundance of natural light and an owner with a strong appreciation for the importance of optimal lighting.”

A well-lit kitchen not only improves the cooking experience, but it also creates an inviting atmosphere to gather and eat and socialize. It brings attention to the room’s focal point, which is a large island with a cascading top that extends to the floor.

A Masterful Master Bathroom Renovation

Dickson Development completely renovated two master bedroom suites, both with large spa-like bathrooms. An ultra-luxe second-floor master bedroom has a new deeply coffered ceiling and sweeping views of the pond in front of the house.

The first-floor master bathroom includes both a sauna and a walk-in shower. You will notice that the two spaces appear to blend seamlessly into each other behind the vanity. This is because a glass wall was installed between the two spaces to create a tight barrier that seals in moisture and separates the spaces. Both bathrooms are awash in natural light and include stunning glass partitions that further enhance a feeling of openness.

A Room with a View

This home is full of inspiring views, of both the inside and the outside. A freestanding soaking bathtub in the first-floor master bath sits in front of a floor-to-ceiling window that offers inspiring views of nature. The second-floor foyer overlooks both the entranceway and family room.

As you walk from room to room, you will experience the interior of the house in many ways. At the same time, you will never forget that you are on an absolutely breathtaking property.

“This project tells the story of scale—from the smallest of finishing touches to the grand proportions of its rooms,” says Dickson.  “It all works together to create an environment that is both comfortable and inspiring.”

To schedule a consultation, please call 609.799.0220 or click on the link below.

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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.

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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.

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