Every detail was meticulously planned: from the countertop overhangs, to cabinet reveals and setbacks, to hidden wiring channels, to moulding intersections. The result is pure artistry.

The Great Opening Up

I love when people feature my designs on their websites! This wonderful open, bright space was originally a series of smaller dark rooms. The clients wanted a light, classic, functional great room in which to live and entertain. This was accomplished by:

  • Eliminating a small butler’s pantry and opening the kitchen up to the formal dining room so that it would feel like a part of the living space
  • Removing the wall with the cased opening that separated the breakfast nook from small bar area
  • Moving the kitchen to the center of the new open space and putting in a large island with plenty of seating
  • Integrating a bar area into the kitchen
  • Moving inconvenient pantry storage from another room into accessible cabinets in the kitchen
  • Introducing the clients to porcelain slab counters since they love marble but didn’t want the maintenance
  • Laying out the rooms based on function as well as aesthetics and adding convenient storage organization in the cabinets

What you don’t see here is the creation of a laundry room in the old pantry location and an beautiful enlarged owner’s closet that is fully decked out with amazing cabinets. The closet took over the previous laundry location which was noisily located right off the family room.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I’ve been preparing to send out a newsletter and been thinking fondly about all the people I know and have known. Thinking about past clients inspired me to look through my old portfolio where I came across a stack of letters from clients. Yes, I received letters before everything went online!

Coming across those letters made me feel wonderful. It helps me to know that my choice of career, my passion, does make a difference in this world. It’s hugely important to me that I make a positive difference in people’s lives.

I thought you might enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with me so I’ve shared some of those letters and notes. Some of them go back a few years…

“Dear Leslie, Thank you for the coffee mugs, napkins, and coffees. The color is a perfect match for our cupboard doors. Thank you, too, for all the thought, time and effort you have put into our project. Every day as I enjoy using my kitchen. I realize that your ideas made it possible. All the best wishes to you for 1998. Betty”

“Dear Leslie, We can’t thank you enough for all your preparation for our upcoming project. When we met you last week, we weren’t sure what we needed or what we wanted. We came away so happy and excited. If it hadn’t been for all your research, we may have been confused and uncertain. Toby said that you create just what people want – even if they don’t know it. I love the way that you always listen and incorporate our ideas as we go. Thanks so much! Jan & Tom”

“Leslie, Every day, a million times a day as we spend time in our new kitchen, we think of you and the way you transformed our kitchen into a truly wonderful place! We thank you so much for everything you’ve done! Happy Holidays, Have a terrific New Year Katie, Shira, & Ric”

“Dear Leslie, Just a short note to say thanks for all of your efforts on our behalf, both yesterday and the many other times. We think you’ve done a terrific design for us and we look forward to the completed kitchen. Keep up your good work and Thanks again. Best wishes, GayAnn”

“Fabulous – the master bedroom ceiling is incredible. The master bath functions much better and is as beautiful as any SPA! My closet is fantastic – beautiful and functional. My laundry room is the nicest I’ve seen. Sammye”

“Leslie’s creativity and level of detail in the design process is the best. Period. Her enthusiasm and commitment to quality make an enjoyable experience and a picture perfect result. Every time.” S. Coss, General Contractor

Home Design for Family and Friends

Yesterday was a perfect example of community. Wait a minute – I thought we were talking about home design! We are…-“ish”.

Yesterday evening we hosted a guitar meetup at our house. A guitar meetup is a group of people getting together to play guitar. In this case there were nine of us. We lost a few of our farther flung friends due to gas shortage concerns.

Having friends over intensified my desire to eliminate the back stairs in my house. Why? Because I have a wonderful open kitchen/family space that is great for entertaining. However, the second set of stairs (which we don’t need) makes for too small of a family room. I want to be able to host a larger circle of guitar players. I would like to sit farther back from my TV. I’d like to increase the views to my backyard by eliminating a side wall. More light, more people, more socialization = more enjoyment.

Why did I recently remodel my powder room? It was perfectly functional. However, I did not like it. By changing materials, colors, shapes, and textures, I changed the mood of the room. The powder room serves the exact same purpose but now it makes me happy every time I walk in 🙂 See photo above!

Sometimes we remodel because items are worn out. Sometimes we want to change function or flow. Sometimes we just want our homes to represent who we are at this point in our lives. Most often, we change design because we want to make our homes more functional, comfortable, and inviting for ourselves, our families, and our friends.

Let’s jump back to community. While playing guitar, my next door neighbors needed some help. After sending their upcoming travel itinerary to several of us neighbors, they realized that they didn’t have enough gas to get to their destination. Since there is a gas shortage due to the Eastern pipeline closure, a few of us pitched in and gave them our lawnmower cans full of gas.

Friends, neighbors, community, home.

Call me if you’d like a designer to help you achieve your dreams. Leslie

The Order of Things

A phone call with a prospective client reminded me of how many people need help determining the sequencing of their remodel project. With each client, there is an order that makes the most sense for what they want to do.

For example, does it make sense to refinish the wood floors throughout your entire house (including your kitchen) if you plan to remodel your kitchen within a year. What if you end up with a kitchen plan that moves cabinets? Now you have more floor to refinish. Do you really want people tromping around on your new floors for several months even with protection over the floors? Now if the house is empty and you really need to move in, that will factor in your decision. Maybe you refinish everything except the kitchen and create a logical transition point where you can refinish the kitchen floor later on.

Another example… at the moment your budget only covers one of the projects you want to do but you’ll be able to afford all of the projects within one year. Do you come up with a master plan now or just jump in and get work done on one area? If the one area could potentially affect what you can do with the others, you may want to come up with a master plan so your options aren’t limited when you get to the later projects.

As a full service design firm, planning proper sequencing is just one of the areas where we help clients. We want to make sure that you progress in the best manner possible for your needs. That means planning your projects to minimize your inconvenience, make the least mess, eliminate rework, and make the most of your budget.

I’m Back!

I am happy to announce the re-opening Leslie Cohen Design. After 20+ years of running my own firm, I took a little “sabbatical” and tried something a bit different.

I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 years building a design team for a design-build remodeler. What a wonderful experience that was. Mentoring the design team and teaching them not only the mechanics of design but how to build great relationships with clients… Assisting with marketing, building new vendor relationships, creating business processes… It was rewarding to be able to use my skills to help another firm to grow.

Now it is time for me to be back in charge of my own business although I do miss the team tremendously. I’ll just have to build a team of my own:-)

Your outpouring of support for this decision has been tremendous. Thank you so much!!! This is an exciting time for me and I look forward to working with all of you. Look for another blog post soon.