Page 1


Spring 2016






A mid-century kitchen goes modern

Blind spots needing your attention

Have a new home without moving


CHOICE CONTENT 6 GET AWAY FROM IT ALL Backyard pavilion is home away from home 8 ROOM TO MOVE A sophisticated and accessible master bath

10 LIKE NEW How to have a new home without moving

4 BACK TO THE FUTURE A mid-century kitchen goes modern

12 DECKS The top 10 mistakes of deck building

13 BEFORE & AFTER Photos of room addition transformations 14 DESIGNER TALK Sharing storage and organizing tips 16 SPRING CLEANING Blind spots that need your attention

Let’s Talk. Share your thoughts on Choice, home design and remodeling by following us:

You Can Ask Us Anything. Do you have a question for us to answer in a future issue? Let our team of Consultants, Designers, Architects and Carpenters give you the answer. Submit questions to:

17 Q & A What to do about cracked concrete

18 HAMMER TIME Project Managers talk about the neighbors


CHOICE No. 5 · Spring 2016 EDITOR IN CHIEF Toby Weiss GRAPHIC DESIGN Rebecca Lay, Eye On Design PHOTOGRAPHY & COPY Toby Weiss ALL CONTENTS Designed and built by Mosby Building Arts



SPRING... The Sweet Season


elcome to the time of year every species comes back to life (including us!). One of the greatest feelings is the yearly energy and promise of spring. Such an overabundance of fresh beauty, and the smells! Scents so enchanting that for centuries they inspire perfumes. For instance, the charming and delicate Lily of the Valley is the basis of the classic perfume Muguet des Bois by Coty which debuted in 1941. Flowers are timeless inspiration. Now that we’re inspired (or is that compelled?) to rush happily outdoors, this issue puts the focus on exterior remodeling projects. Spending more time outdoors with a renewed energy

creates all kinds of ideas for improving our surroundings. From clients who felt inspired last spring, we share with you the home-away-from home backyard pavilion on the cover (and page 6) and a “new home without moving” extreme exterior makeover (page 10). And if you’ve already fired up the grill on your deck, be sure to read page 12 for a checklist of how safe your deck may be. Because this is the season of renewal, our designers share their favorite storage and organizing tips (page 14) and we cover spring cleaning tips for inside and out the home on page 16. We hope you are experiencing an invigorating Spring, and encouraging revived beauty all around you!


A miniature forest of Lily of the Valley is blooming in my backyard. To have that scent with you always, read this list of the best lily of the valley perfumes.

It was a sweet surprise to learn that the readers of Ladue News voted us one of the Best Kitchen Design Firms for the 2016 Platinum List. What makes this such a humbling honor is that St. Louisans vote for their favorites – there’s no campaigning! Their votes mean a lot to us because it’s an honest and enthusiastic response to the work and premium service we provide. It’s also an honor to be among so many impressive businesses in the Home/Design category. Our deepest thanks to Ladue News readers!




A Mid-Century Kitchen Goes Modern



handsome 1953 mid-century modern ranch home in University City, MO retains much of its original design, but the kitchen had a decidedly 1980s vibe. After living with it for 8 years, the owners were ready for a remodel.

Their goals for the kitchen remodel were new flooring, cabinets and appliances. They wanted to trade in a dining table and chairs for a kitchen island that would also increase the amount of storage. And they longed for more light, both for tasks and to brighten the space. Mosby designer Jake Spurgeon is a fan and student of midcentury modern architecture and design, and was impressed with how much of the vintage quality remained in the house. So Jake designed a sleek, modern kitchen that better matches the home’s aesthetic without mimicking the era. Flat-front maple cabinets with minimalist brushed nickel pulls create clean lines. Finishing the wall cabinets in satin white and leaving the base cabinets with a natural finish gives the kitchen movement and personality. White quartz countertops look sophisticated against a limestone backsplash and stainless steel appliances. Along with LED lighting under the wall cabinets and can lighting in the ceiling, the installation of two skylights dramatically changes the feel of the room. Even on gray days, the kitchen is bright and seems more expansive, which is the power of natural light. Bamboo flooring with a light, warm finish grounds the kitchen in a graceful way. Overall, the mid-century modern aesthetic of less is more is achieved in a thoroughly modern kitchen with timeless appeal. And let’s note a very special detail of the remodeled kitchen – the pendant light above the undermount sink. While doing

measurements and photos at the start of the design phase, Jake found a particularly striking pendant light in the couple’s basement. Instead of buying a new light for the kitchen, he brought it upstairs and repurposed the vintage lamp, bringing a touch of 1953 whimsy to the new kitchen.

See more photos of this project.

Resources Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Dovetail Flooring: Teregren bamboo with Carmelized finish Cabinets: Wellborn Premier in Milan style, maple wood with white satin finish Knobs: Atlas Skinny Linea Pull Countertops: Yukon Blanco quartz by Silestone Backsplash: Global grey honed limestone fieldstone tiles, 4x12” Appliances: KitchenAid double wall oven, gas cooktop with griddle dishwasher & French door refrigerator Ceiling: Two Velux skylights



GET AWAY FROM IT ALL A BACKYARD PAVILION IS A HOME AWAY FROM HOME Sometimes, you just need to get away, beat a retreat from daily life by spending time with nature. For a Clayton, MO family, they now simply step out the back door and follow a curving stone path to their screened pavilion. This 22’x20’ pavilion is, essentially, a screen porch turned into an elegant structure sited deep into a verdant backyard. Pavilions are classically an open-air structure, but in this case screens in the expansive openings and door bring in the breeze while keeping pests at bay. It is also the perfect place to spend a rainy spring day!


The pavilion is composed of a 4” thick concrete slab with a flooring of natural stone veneer. Four tumbled stone piers with limestone bases are in each corner, connected by carpentry framing and topped with a vaulted truss ceiling and 40-year roofing shingles. A gutter and downspout system assures the building – and occupants – stay dry. Inside, there is full electric and a plumbing hookup, which makes this a flexible space. The family takes full advantage of it as a quiet retreat, their home away from home. But many times throughout the year, it easily transforms into a party room, with guests inside and spread out upon the lawn and at various seating areas along the winding path that leads from the home to the pavilion.


A soft-close screen door and banks of fine mesh screening provide clear views from inside the pavilion.

A charming stone paver path curves its way from the home to their backyard get-away.



ROOM TO MOVE Improving Accessibility With A Sophisticated Master Bathroom


hat do you do when a bathroom becomes an obstacle course and you have a limited budget to make it accessible? That was the question for a Kirkwood, MO couple needing a new bathroom for the husband in his power chair. They also wanted it to be attractive as well as functional. It seemed like a lot to ask. The original bathroom had a shower too small for a power chair, and the low threshold was a barrier. The tub was becoming increasingly cumbersome to use. Across from this was a standard vanity with no leg room for a chair. The most logical design option to create more space and efficiency in their bathroom was to relocate all of the plumbing to one wall, as shown above. The room was dismantled down to the stud walls and concrete floors so the plumbing could be



The wall-mounted sink has room below for a power chair. The backsplash matches the shower floor.


Illustration of how the power chair works with the full-body dryer in the corner. Also works for those who stand up.

moved. That plumbing relocation comprised roughly 30% of the project budget. A new wall-mounted sink leaves open space below for a chair to tuck underneath and conveniently access the sink. The large mirror is a tilt model so whether standing or sitting, the reflection is at the perfect angle. Take note of the bathroom flooring. The main flooring is a matte white hexagon mosaic tile with a subtle retro feel. The shower floor is a cobalt blue mini tile, which also repeats on the sink’s backsplash. The flooring, in conjunction with the glossy grey onyx shower surround, gray wall paint and white fixtures is what gives the room a stylish and sophisticated air.

panel which incorporates a hand held shower, a rainfall head and 8 adjustable nozzles in one convenient, temperaturecontrolled package. The second shower feature is a full body dryer in the opposite corner. This ingenious dryer gently and thoroughly dries a body in 2-3 minutes even while seated in a chair. Learn more about the product here. What kept this project well under the client’s budget limit is the use of items “off the shelf” from places like Home Depot, Amazon and Standard items in the hands of a good designer with a deep understanding of accessibility needs can create magic!

The barrier-free, walk-in shower has two impressive accessibility features. The first feature is the shower faucet






How To Have A New Home Without Moving



fter remodeling most of the interior of their home, a Ballwin, MO couple turned their attention to the exterior. Contemplating maintenance updates highlighted how dated the look of their 1978 home had become. This became the ideal time to explore an exterior makeover. The entire exterior has new roofing, siding and windows. With the Craftsman style as an inspirational starting point, Mosby designed a new front façade that instantly transforms the house into a “new home.” The new look comes from changing the second story roofline from flat to gabled and installing CertainTeed Landmark 30-year architectural roof shingles. The old vinyl siding is replaced with a combination of CertainTeed insulated cedar board siding, cedar shake shingles in the second story and garage gables, and vertical board and batten inside the front porch. An existing steel front door is painted to match the color and texture of the new overhead garage door. All the original brick on the front façade was removed and replaced with cultured ledgestone. And the original front porch was demolished for a new concrete pour.

That porch is where the Craftsman feel shines brightest. New concrete is extended 12 inches to create a more welcoming feel, and Mosby built new tapered columns made of Fypon (which is a PVC material) with cultured stone bases with limestone caps. Walk the stone paver path to the backyard and see the same Arts & Crafts-inspired columns creating a new covered patio by the pool. After repairing some existing concrete and pouring new slabs, all was covered with a 2-step epoxy and paint finish that matches one of the rock colors in the cultured stone column bases. This kind of attention to aesthetic details - along with using quality exterior products installed properly - is what makes the project a success. Even better, the homeowners are absolutely delighted with the results, saying “we feel like we have a new home without having to move.”


The existing door remains, but is painted to match the new overhead garage door.


A new stone path on the garage side leads to the backyard. The covered patio overlooking the pool is all new, and carries on the Arts & Crafts theme.



THE TOP 10 MISTAKES OF DECK BUILDING Spring is the time to get serious about deck safety. Most deck collapses or failures occur on decks that are more than 20 years old. Here are the 10 most common deck building mistakes:

1. NOT OBTAINING A PERMIT TO BUILD A DECK Obtaining a permit is the most overlooked step in deck building. Safety is the main focus of following the permitting process of your town

2. IMPROPER OR MISSING FLASHING Every deck must address water management. Water can soak into your home at the point where the deck connects to the house.

3. IMPROPER ATTACHMENT TO STRUCTURE OF HOUSE (INCORRECT FASTENERS) How your deck attaches to your home determines its safety and durability. This is an area that you may want to overbuild beyond the minimum standards or requirements.

4. UNDERSIZED FOOTINGS Footings create a solid base for the posts of your deck. Undersized footings can lead to sagging, warping or collapse.

5. IMPROPER DECK MATERIALS Weather resistant materials are necessary on exterior structures to prevent rot or deterioration. Select fasteners and materials that are expressly made to withstand all weather conditions.


6. MISSING OR IMPROPER JOIST HANGERS Nails alone are not enough to counteract the shear forces on a structural member. Joist hangers are an essential element in creating reinforced connections and supported decking.

7. UNDERSIZED STRUCTURAL MEMBERS An undersized structural member increases the risk of deck collapse and can create sagging and improper weight distribution. Avoid deck warping and collapsing by properly sizing all components of your deck.

8. IMPROPER RAILING HEIGHT AND BALUSTER SPACING Building codes have very specific measurements for railings and balusters to avoid accidents and injuries.

9. STAIRS WITH OPEN RISERS OR MISSING RAILINGS Open space between steps invites accidents. Avoid injuries and create a tailored look by covering the risers. Hand railings are fundamental to the safety of a stairwell.

10. UNSEALED WOOD Unsealed wood ages and deteriorates faster than sealed wood. Proper sealing prolongs the appearance and life of a deck well beyond unsealed decks.


AFTER A white brick family room addition includes a multitier terrace, stairs and built-in seating and grill.



This ranch had no room in back to add a library.

A sloping backyard was ripe for grander use.

BEFORE AND AFTER One benefit of a room addition is how it fills a previously empty space. Let’s review some welcome additions.

AFTER Adding the library to the front also beautifully updates the look of their home.

BEFORE A University City foursquare backyard before the addition.

AFTER A sitting room bump-out creates opportunity for an enlarged patio.





Assistant Designer


I am all about storage that my guests will most likely never see. In the basement or garage, I add tiers of shelving that I load up with labeled storage containers for seasonal items, extra pantry items, keepsakes and such.

To create more storage in our closets I install an additional shelf above the clothing rack and turn a single bar hanging into a stacked double bar. The lower bar is perfect for folded pants or skirts.

Doing this type of organizing now keeps me sane when I’m looking for something in particular in the future. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment and more time to spend in other areas of the home.


Jake recommends adding a lower bar in closets, perfect for hanging pants and skirts.

To make it super-easy when searching for that little bottle of something, I buy inexpensive baskets and sort items by categories - first aid items in one basket, bug sprays and anti-itch lotions in another basket, medications in their own basket, etc.



We asked the Mosby design team this question, and here are their answers.



Project Architect

Colorful, collapsible storage sacks like these from Varpunen (shown left) are a great way to quickly cleanup before guests arrive.

I recommend the Docking Drawer (check it out here). By adding outlets inside existing drawers, you get chargers off of counters and desks which creates a “clean” look while also protecting your electronic devices from spills or other accidents.



BECKY TRENT Designer My favorite storage tip for spring cleaning is really quite simple. I love to get those big plastic bins or tubs from the big box stores to organize all the items that go away when spring comes - such as winter decor or clothing, boots, and coats. When storing them in the basement, they help keep bugs and water away, and when neatly stacked and labeled, they keep everything organized and easily accessible!



Brian recommends the Docking Drawer to maintain a clean look while recharging devices.

Planner & Designer Add a storage shelf to the roof of your garage for additional space that’s perfect for the coolers, tents, and other stuff not used in the off season. Hang your bikes from the roof of the garage as well – it frees up the floor space. I keep my closet organized in colors of the rainbow within long sleeves, short sleeves, dresses, pants, skirts, etc. I do this for my husband and children too. It makes it easy to pick out outfits. I know it’s OCD!

KAREN BRUNS Designer Separating cooking and cleanup in a kitchen can help tremendously when two or more people are working in the same space. Since most people hate cleanup I try to make that area as organized as possible. I group a pullout waste basket, sink, dishwasher and clean dish storage all together. Included in that space, next to the sink, I like to place a tall, narrow openfront cabinet for dish towels. The cabinet is split into an upper portion with a pullout towel rack and a lower portion for clean dishtowel storage. Everything is close at hand.


This is a shot from Karen’s very own kitchen, where she installed a dish towel rack in the island.






A University of Colorado study revealed that 30% of shower heads had high levels of bacteria that can cause lung infections. This video shows an easy way to clean shower heads.

Refrigerator coils help the refrigerator cool its contents. A build-up of dust makes it work harder, and possibly shorten its lifespan. This video shows how to clean refrigerator coils.

Winter dirt on windows blocks your view of spring. But how do you safely reach windows on the upper stories without using a ladder? Watch this outside window cleaning technique.

Your hardworking microwave could use a good cleaning. Easily make it spotless and give the kitchen a nice lemony scent with this microwave cleaning tutorial.

Vinyl siding needs a yearly cleaning. Leave power washing to the professionals to avoid damage. But even then, there’s some gunk that powerwashing can’t remove. A better DIY way to go is Scrubbing Bubbles and a garden hose. This is how to do it.

It’s easy to overlook the exhaust fan, but imagine all the dust it gathers! See a video demonstration of how to clean an exhaust fan. Over time, faucet aerators can become calcified because of materials in tap water and reduce water flow. This YouTube clip shows how to clean a faucet aerator.


Vinegar is a good way to remove dirt, grime, grease and food smells from wood kitchen cabinets. This video shows how easy it is.

From gates to stair railings to patio furniture, wrought iron looks sharper when clean. Here’s how to care for wrought iron.

& QA


RICH ORIS Home Consultant and host of “Right At Home With Rich” on 97.1 FM

The corners of the concrete slabs of my driveway are crumbling and deteriorating, probably from years of using rock salt. Can those be repaired or resurfaced? What are my options?

I won’t sugarcoat this: The best option is to demolish and replace that driveway. Because it is already crumbling, anything you put over the top of it is simply not going to last. Take a look at this concrete stoop repair appointment I went to recently. The original slab was leaning to one side, so someone poured a new layer of concrete over it, making it thicker on the other side to try and level the surface. You can see where the thinner corner of the top layer has broken off. And the real irony is that the stoop sank again because of the additional weight of the new layer of concrete. This is a (pun intended) concrete example of why stacking concrete is not the best idea.

expense and effort to lay down a new coat of concrete on your driveway, but it just won’t hold up for long. It’s better to save yourself time and money by pouring a brand new driveway. And use only calcium chloride or magnesium chloride as ice melt to avoid doing the same to your new concrete.

Everything is only as good as its base. For instance, if you install a new roof over an old roof, you reduce the new roof’s life expectancy by half. It’s the same for concrete, and concrete coatings to disguise a failing surface. You could go through the

Tree roots under a 16x22 foot concrete slab caused it to split down the middle and pop up a bit. The tree is now a stub and I will remove it, but how can I repair and level that crack?

Without seeing it in person, I will say your options are either removing the existing concrete (and those tree roots) and laying a fresh pad or possibly mudjacking. A mudjacking company will drill holes into the pad and fill the voids underneath with a slurry mix they pump under the slab. But in this case, mudjacking is truly a temporary fix. The slab

You Can Ask Us Anything.

will drop as the tree roots underneath rot away, so you may have to mudjack a couple of times. All of these temporary fixes will add up, so in the end it’s more cost effective to start fresh. Thank you to these callers for their good questions, and kindly accepting the right way to solve their problems. Learn more about the radio show, and feel free to hit me up on Saturdays with your questions.

Do you have a question for us to answer in a future issue? Let our team of Consultants, Designers and Carpenters give you the answer. Submit questions to:




Mosby Project Managers handle all of the construction details of a remodeling project. Since they and their team spend a lot of time in your home, let’s get to know them. We asked the Mosby PMs this question, and here are their answers.


Project Manager

The thing that works best is good old fashioned communication. My crew and I go out of our way to try and let neighbors know as soon as possible if there is going to be any disturbance to their property. Sometimes it just can’t be avoided, but talking it over and sharing solutions to make it easier really helps. Every neighbor has their own personality, and working with their personality type helps smooth over any potential problems.




Design-Build Production Manager

Exteriors & Solution Sales Production Manager

I make friends with the neighbors. From the first day at the pre-construction walk-thru to actually starting the job, I keep an eye out for any of the neighbors out in their yards or walking about and I go right up to them and introduce myself. I hand them my card, tell them the names of my crew and a little about the project. It’s a way to start a conversation, and let them know we’re here if they have any questions, comments or concerns. Plus, I meet a lot of nice people that way.

A construction crew generates a lot of extra vehicles on their streets, which can be stressful. We do not park in front of neighbors’ mailboxes or directly across from their driveways so they never have to worry about our vehicles when backing out of their own driveway.





Project Manager

Project Manager

The easiest trick is to stay away from neighboring property as much as possible. We do our best to not park in front of neighbor’s homes. I continually remind my team to not lay their tools near property lines, and no loud music or loud talking while working outside. You have no idea where sound carries to, so be as quiet as possible.

For projects that will potentially affect neighbors, our marketing team sends a letter to surrounding houses so they have a heads up and a person to contact with any questions or concerns, so that really helps. I also discuss the neighbors with my client to learn if there is a “problem one;” they will know best. I ask our team and our trade partners to park on the same side of the street when possible. We try to pay attention to mail boxes, trash days, lawn maintenance companies and other weekly events that happen in our work neighborhoods. If we will need to use a joint access area between houses we will talk with the neighbor to gain permission. I try to not have our project “grow” into a neighbor’s yard. After all those precautions, we then deal with any neighbor problems as quickly as they may arise.


Sign up for the next issue at:

GOING POOLSIDE Get a taste of outdoor kitchens in the Summer issue.

Choice Magazine, Spring 2016  

CHOICE features residential remodeling stories, before and after project photos and insights from the designers, architects and project mana...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you