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New Exterior Brings Princeton Home Back to Life

Renovation of a 1958 Colonial Creates More Outdoor Living Space and Major Curb Appeal

Like the rest of us, Judy has been spending a lot more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, the exterior upgrades she began earlier in the year are now finished – and the envy of her neighborhood!

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After 18 years, the timing seemed right for an exterior renovation to her 60-year-old house, including a screened-in porch, new garage doors, new siding and a charming front portico with a metal roof. A new chimney with a natural gas fireplace, something she had wanted for years, became the bonus.

“Updating the chimney was a natural extension of the exterior work, since we were replacing the siding anyway. It was the right time,” says Judy.

Timing was everything with this project. When Judy first met with the team at Dickson Development, in July 2019, she never could have imagined how life was about to change as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. Because the work was well underway and almost entirely on the exterior, the Dickson team was able to finish in time for Judy and her family of five to enjoy while staying in place.

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“Since this (the shutdown) started, we’ve spent most of our time in front of the new fireplace or getting fresh air on the screened-in porch,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many people have walked by the past few weeks and said, ‘Your house looks spectacular.’ It’s an older house, and we brought it back to life with this project.”

Scope of Exterior Renovation

  • All the siding on the house was replaced with Hardie plank siding
  • New garage doors were installed
  • A covered front porch was added
  • New roofing was installed over an existing rear deck to create a screened-in porch

A Few Design Details

The homeowners wanted their new garage doors to have a contemporary look that was not out of sync with the rest of the façade. “They are perfect,” says Judy. They also wanted to add a personal touch to the front portico. Instead of plain shingles, they installed a metal roof, providing an interesting accent to the front of the house.

Perhaps the most appreciated upgrade was the addition of an 8’ x 12’ screened-in porch. By utilizing the existing deck structure, they were able to add desirable living space without adding extraneous expense.

Just Like Old Times

It’s been 12 years, and a handful of projects, since Judy first worked with the team at Dickson Development. “It was like talking to old friends,” she says of those initial planning meetings with Richard Dickson and project manager Bonnie Foster. “They guide the process with helpful suggestions, but allow the homeowner to achieve their own vision, all the while staying on budget,” she explains.

“Richard likes to say, ‘Once you are a client, you are a client for life,’ and that is absolutely true for us,” says Judy.

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

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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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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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Princeton Porch and Carport Addition

Princeton porch and carport addition

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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.”
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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 or click on the link below.

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