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Winter 2016





An eat-in kitchen remodel

Designers share their predictions

Pricing a whole house remodel



Designers share their predictions


9 ideas for a tiny space

4 A FRESH START Condominium renovation


An eat-in kitchen remodel 14 WHERE TO PUT THE LAUNDRY

Relocation ideas

15 BEFORE & AFTER Photos of “wow” transformations 16 BE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR Do you have what it takes?

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

17 Q & A What is the cost of a whole

house remodel?

18 HAMMER TIME Project Managers talk about pets

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:


CHOICE No. 4 · Winter 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



WINTER... The Dreaming Season


uch of the animal kingdom instinctively hibernates or slows down for winter because Mother Nature removes so much from their daily lives. Humans are the only mammal that tries to live at normal speed during shortened days of cold weather - though cold and flu do tend to take us down this time of year (maybe for our own good?). Our outside activity is reduced as we stay inside where it’s cozy and warm, and slowing down gives the mind time to wander, to dream. And since we’re sitting inside, the interior gets more attention which inspires fantasies of what could be. This is the time of year with the most kitchen and bathroom and basement remodeling inquiries at the Mosby office, and that totally

makes sense. Think about it - a basement remodel stays on schedule even as it sleets outside. So this issue of Choice concentrates on interior remodeling projects, from a gift wrapping room to a condo renovation and beyond (let’s turn an eye to where you do laundry, shall we?).

If you really need an outdoor winter project, how about this? Read about this backyard igloo project.

We also find the Mosby design team gazing into their crystal ball and sharing what kitchen and bathroom trends they see gaining popularity in St. Louis in 2016 (page 8). Also, our Project Managers have your pets on their minds – and sometimes on their finger (see page 18)! Stay warm and healthy, be safe on snowy days and remember that the first day of spring is March 20th.

We kicked off 2016 with good news from Houzz. We’ve earned our 4th Service Award and a 2nd Design award. Service awards are earned from having 5 or more 5-star reviews during the year, so thank you to our wonderful clients for the kind words. Design awards are based on the popularity of projects by Houzz readers, so it’s nice to know they like us! Visit our Houzz page, and follow along!





Bringing light and vitality to a condo renovation



he new owner of a Kirkwood, Mo condominium, built in 2002, needed to make some changes that would make the place really feel like home and better reflect her vibrant personality. The public area of the condo is, essentially, one open space. But the space felt awkward because of 4 non-structural columns bordering the dining area. The office off of the living room felt isolated, and the place felt dark. Designer Jill Worobec began by removing the visual barriers around the dining area, enlarging and angling the office entrance and improving both the electric and natural light. A new engineered hardwood floor unifies the public areas. “The space looks and feels more open and modern,” said Jill. “Now when you enter, your eyes take in all the details of a lively space, compelling you to come in.” The original kitchen had a bar-height island that felt like a barrier. The sleek new kitchen has an island with a more comfortable dining-height bar. The modern, flat front cabinets provide a calm backdrop for stainless steel appliances and hardware. See more kitchen photos.

A unique feature of the kitchen backsplash is frosted glass subway tiles laid vertically from the counter to the underside of the wall cabinets. Less grout lines impart a calmer feel. The multishades of green glass mosaic tile behind the sink evoke a gentle rain fall.

BELOW Relocating the doors and adding a transom window moves light throughout the condo and makes for a nice view.

One of the reasons the living area felt dark was because the natural light coming into the office stayed there. Mosby enlarged the opening, placed it on an angle and topped it with a transom window. Now natural light from the office spills into the living room, and as the owners sits at her desk, she has an expansive view of the rest of the home which creates a sense of ease. This condo update project also includes new Beechworth replacement windows in every room of the house, updated paint colors and flooring, and a complete remodel of the master bathroom. See more photos of the rest of the home. So from the front door to the back bedroom, it looks and feels like a brand new home that’s just as outgoing and gracious as the woman who lives there.

ABOVE Thoughtful lighting design and unexpected pops of bright colors in the décor bring energy to the condo even on gray days.

Resources Wall Colors: Benjamin Moore’s Antiguan Sky & Balanced Beige Flooring: Engineered hardwood in Natural Maple Cabinets: Brookhaven Cabinetry by Wood-Mode of MDF with Latte finish Countertops: Cambria quartz in Torquay Backsplash: Monroe 4x16 glass tiles in Monte Blanco installed vertically above the sink, Alyse Edwards Serenity glass tiles in California Dreaming Cooktop: Bosch electric range with Viking retractable downdraft fan Ceiling Fan: Minka-Aire F524-ABD in brushed aluminum



THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS AN ORGANIZED PLACE FOR CREATIVITY A couple wished to turn the unfinished portion of their Creve Coeur, MO basement into a gift wrapping room. As they shared their desires for the space with Mosby’s designer Michelle Bridgewater and architect Brian Yount, it became clear this room would be a creative retreat. Upon seeing this craft room for the first time, most remark, “You sure must wrap a lot of gifts!” And the lady of the house does, indeed. But the room is designed to accommodate flower arranging, scrapbooking, poster-making and all the new crafts she will try now that she has an organized place to play.


The flow of inspiration includes a work space for a computer and printer, and because of the comfy surroundings, the man of the house also uses this desk set-up for non-work pursuits like gaming and creative writing. Custom Wellborn open-face cabinets become a work table with the addition of a walnut wood top, and this is carried throughout the workspaces. An impressive floor-to-ceiling hutch cabinet holds gift wrapping supplies and is customdesigned and built by Mosby to fit exact crafting needs. Because the space is designed to free imagination, the couple (and their dog) is pleasantly surprised to realize they spend far more time in this relaxing space than anticipated.


Wellborn cabinetry was altered to hold and organize all manner of gift wrapping supplies, including removable extension rods to change out the spools of ribbon.

Wrought iron pendants make for beautiful task lighting. The French doors are only closed when grandchildren are running about because it’s hard to resist the colorful goodies in this craft room.





Assistant Designer


KITCHEN: I’m picking up on a bigger focus on lighting in the kitchen, particularly over-sized lighting over the island. In addition to having more light to work in, it creates a focal point for the kitchen.

KITCHEN: I see more requests for technology and environment control. Placing flat-panel TV screens, Wi-Fi routers and charging stations in the kitchen is increasingly top-of-mind. And controls for lighting and sound throughout the entire home are being placed in the kitchen, making it command central.

BATHROOM: I have been designing more bathrooms with freestanding tubs. They can be a space saver in smaller bathrooms, and because of the wide variety of styles – from traditional claw foots to modern vessels – you can create a unique look to match every taste.


Placing the TV above the refrigerator is one way to artfully meld media into a kitchen. This one retracts behind closed cabinet doors when not in use.

BATHROOM: I’m seeing more high contrast bathrooms - white walls and floors with dark cabinets. I also predict all white bathrooms with sparkle from chrome or nickel fixtures.

“WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR ST. LOUIS KITCHEN AND BATHROOM TRENDS IN 2016?” We asked the Mosby designbuild team this question, and here are their answers.



Example of a textured backsplash.




Project Architect

KITCHEN: I see Pantone’s two colors for 2016 - Rose Quartz (a delicate pink) and Serenity (a soft blue) being used as accent colors. They’re very airy and happy colors. There’s also a trend toward textured backsplashes. Shiny ceramic and glass tiles now have texture, which adds a new layer of personality to the kitchen.

KITCHEN: Universal design is becoming a desirable feature throughout a house, and will gain popularity in the kitchen. Lots of task lighting, multiple heights for countertops and pull-out shelving are a must for every kitchen.

BATHROOM: Many people are drawn to wood, but wood and water don’t play nicely together. The solution is porcelain tile that looks like wood. There’s also textured versions that can be used as wall tile. So I see a lot of “wood” bathrooms happening in St. Louis this year.

BATHROOM: Bathrooms are taking on a decidedly contemporary theme. It’s a clean look, with simple geometric lines and minimal details. This modern aesthetic ages very well, and makes the bathroom a calm retreat for de-cluttering the mind. It’s also easy to “hide” accessible features in a contemporary bathroom, and I like that kind of multi-tasking design.


BECKY TRENT Designer KITCHEN: We’re moving away from the trend of hiding appliances behind integrated cabinet panels. Clients are choosing appliances that look really good and want to show them off.

JILL WOROBEC Planner & Designer KITCHEN: We have recently designed kitchens that have every appliance except a microwave. Some homeowners find that steam or high-speed ovens are preferable to a microwave. And an East and West Coast trend we may start seeing in St. Louis is constructing two kitchens side by side. One is for heavy-duty use, the other is for show. They have traditionally been known as Summer Kitchens or Spice Kitchens. BATHROOM: I continue to see the removal of unused bathtubs to create a larger shower. The added benefit of a walk-in shower is that it remains accessible at every age.

BATHROOM: Bathrooms with a color scheme of white and grey remain popular in St. Louis, and that’s a good design move to make because it’s a timeless look. Even 10-15 years down the road it will still look fresh. Clients are also planning ahead for accessibility in the bathrooms by integrating grab bars into the initial design no matter their age. They’re especially taken with towel bars that double duty as grab bars.


A dressing room as the entrance to the master bath is an emerging St. Louis bathroom trend.

KAREN BRUNS Designer KITCHEN: St. Louis homeowners want more seating flexibility in their kitchens. Along with classic dining table height, they want bar-height seating, which is easy to incorporate into an island. Or they long for a more intimate situation like banquet seating, where they can comfortably linger for long periods of time. BATHROOM: Master bathrooms are morphing into dressing rooms with the trend of adding a closet. It can be an open storage area that serves as a “foyer” to the bathroom, or an adjacent room with drawers and countertops along with clothes storage.


This powder room appears to have a wood plank floor, but it’s actually porcelain tile, which is ideal for rooms that get wet.




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A ROUND VANITY A curved vanity is typically smaller than a traditional square or rectangle version, which leaves more air space to move around in. Plus, a round vanity means no corners to bump into!


A CORNER VANITY If there’s really no room in the main traffic area for any shape of vanity, consider installing one in a corner of the bathroom. This configuration works best with the sink in a far corner, across from the toilet so the main walk path is reserved for getting in and out of the shower.

SKIP THE VANITY ALTOGETHER A wall-mounted trough sink is long and narrow so won’t crowd the walkway, and the open area underneath expands storage options. Install the faucet at one end for added efficiency.


A WALL-MOUNTED FAUCET Instead of the traditional sinkmounted faucet, consider installing the faucet in the wall. This frees up anywhere from 4 – 8” inches of usable surface on the sink top (and in a small bathroom, that’s a significant measurement), and makes a spacesaving, narrow sink or vanity look all the more sophisticated.

A WALL-MOUNTED TOILET A wall-mounted toilet is a spacesaver in two ways. Because all the plumbing parts are behind the wall, the toilet does not extend as far out into the space. And because it floats above the floor, there is more foot space to maneuver in. Added benefits: makes keeping the bathroom clean much easier and you can determine the perfect seating height.





VERTICAL WALL SHELVING Use up the wall space with a tower cabinet that rests on the vanity and climbs the wall to the ceiling. Or add a series of free-floating shelves of various widths. There is also the option of cabinets above the toilet. Just be aware of head space and swinging doors so neither of those things are bumping into the shelving!

EXTEND A SHELF FROM SINK TO TOILET Where to put the items used daily is a major bathroom design challenge, so look to the walls for extra storage. Install a shelf in that area above the sink and below the medicine cabinet, and have it extend over the toilet. This idea also works as a countertop with sink, and have it narrow as it runs over the toilet, which is also known as banjo-style.

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A MIRROR WALL Never underestimate the visual component of making a small space seem bigger. Mirrors optically double the size of the bathroom, and if that large expanse of mirror is also wallmounted medicine cabinets, storage has been physically doubled.

NO SWINGING DOORS Be it a glass shower door or the door to the bathroom, a swinging door requires at least 2.5 feet of clearance to operate safely. For the shower, conserve space with a shower curtain, a stationary glass panel or a sliding glass door. For the bathroom door itself, sliding pocket doors are great if there’s adequate room in the walls. If not, a sliding door mounted barnstyle outside the bathroom is a clever solution.



PARALLEL LINES AN EAT-IN KITCHEN WITH 3 BANKS OF WORK SPACE The eat-in kitchen of an early 1980s ranch home in St. Peters, MO needed an update, and to better meet the needs of a woman who is constantly cooking for family and church functions. Mosby’s design removes the loadbearing wall between the kitchen and living room to make room for 3 parallel banks of countertops, cabinets and appliances. What shows as a bar-height table when in the living room reveals two electric ovens when in the kitchen, proper. The dark blue island holds an undermount prep sink and induction cooktop with retractable downdraft and a variety of specialty storage below. The bank of Wellborn cabinets on the exterior wall host a stainless steel apron front sink with matching refrigerator and dishwasher, and an impressive 7x12” stone tile backsplash that runs from the quartz countertop to the ceiling. There’s


A kitchen with parallel lines of work zones. The dark blue island adds design drama.


even room for a built-in wine cabinet and pantry and bar-height dining table at either end of the spacious kitchen. The favorite part of this project for designer Jillian Brinkman is the reaction of her client: “She absolutely loves the feel and function of this kitchen, and that it was completed in time to prepare 14 turkeys for Thanksgiving!”


The family room and kitchen becomes an open floor plan divided only by a dining bar.

Resources CABINETS: Wellborn Cabinets in Madison style with Sable finish – the island is finish in Bleu PULLS & KNOBS: Top Knobs Chareau in brushed satin nickel COUNTERTOPS: Caesarstone quartz in London Grey BACKSPLASHES: Petra Slate Ledger Hones ceramic tile in Silver Split Face, 7x12” interlocking KITCHEN SINK: Moen Apron Front in stainless steel ISLAND PREP SINK: Moen Platinum in stainless steel FAUCETS: Moen Brantford in spot-resistant stainless steel LIGHTS: Bellacor Tanglewood chandelier and pendant lights in brushed nickel FLOORING: White oak hardwood



The laundry is a constant chore, and even though it’s a daily part of our lives, where to put the laundry room is too often treated as an afterthought. The basement is the traditional place for laundry, but aging and distance from where the clothes are stored makes it an increasingly illogical choice. Here are some new options:

LAUNDRY NEAR BEDROOMS This location cuts down on transporting laundry, and keeps the chore out of sight in the more private part of the home. There are noise issues to consider – would someone be able to sleep while running a load?

LAUNDRY IN A HALLWAY Placing the washer and dryer in a hallway is a great space saver, and since bedrooms and bathrooms are often off a hallway, it’s a convenient location. Place them in a closet to keep them out of sight when not in use, or cut down on noise while running.

LAUNDRY IN THE KITCHEN The kitchen is where we spend the bulk of our time and it is, essentially, a work room on the main level of the home, so placing the laundry here makes sense. There are already water lines available, and the units can be hidden behind cabinets with space for storage and a countertop for sorting and folding.

LAUNDRY OFF THE KITCHEN Placing the laundry room next to the kitchen gives you all the advantages of in a kitchen while keeping it out of sight in a dedicated space. Kitchen-adjacent areas include a mudroom, butler’s pantry or the garage, and all these options are multi-purpose spaces used mainly by the family, so it helps with the privacy and noise concerns.



AFTER They traded a table and chairs for a bar-height island, and a clean modern look that compliments the architecture.



A recreational basement had a dated look and a disorganized feel.

A 1980s kitchen didn’t compliment a classic mid-century modern home.



A satisfying aspect of remodeling is comparing where you were to where you are now. Let’s look at some interior remodeling projects with a big “wow” factor.

AFTER The basement is divided into zones for different activities (with appropriate task lighting) with a sleek and lively look that appeals to all ages.

BEFORE The hall bathroom had a very dated look that no longer matched the rest of their home.

AFTER The bathroom becomes sophisticated with white cabinets and black marble counters, flooring and shower surround. Increased storage is always a luxury.



DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE YOUR OWN REMODELING CONTRACTOR? When it comes to a large home remodeling project it can be tempting to save some money by acting as your own general contractor. But the larger the project the larger the responsibilities you have to keep track of, and inexperience with the process could cost you more than what can be saved on paper. Before acting as your own remodeling contractor, ask yourself these questions:

DO YOU HAVE THE TIME? Managing a remodeling project becomes a full-time job with a high probability of off-hour surprises. There’s constant communication, schedules to organize, materials to order and quality of work to oversee. Managing time is a large portion of a general contractor’s duties.

DO YOU HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE? A remodeling contractor knows building codes, when to file for permits and schedule inspections, and who is the most reliable and reputable sub-contractors. Experience teaches them the best temperatures for painting or pouring concrete, and how to best communicate with every person involved. This is knowledge that encompasses both little and big picture thinking.


DO YOU HAVE THE PERSONALITY? A remodeling project manager is an organized, flexible, multitasking, problem-solver who remains patient and professional under pressure while acting as the mediator for everyone involved with the project. If that sounds like a very specific type of person, it’s because it is. The personality traits of a remodeling contractor evolve over time and experience, molded by the circumstances of successfully completed jobs.

DO YOU HAVE THE CONNECTIONS? A remodeling contractor oversees the connections between a long chain of clients, architects and designers, sub-contractors and vendors. And it’s not always about hiring the cheapest bidder; a good contractor knows who delivers the best quality and least trouble for your money. This comes from building relationships over time. A contractor puts together the best team for your project.

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BUDGETING, FINANCES AND INSURANCE? Minimizing costs and staying within a budget is the general contractor’s puzzle. From negotiating prices on services and materials to the constant paperwork of payroll and tax documents, a GC is a bookkeeper and accountant. And then there’s the general liability, builders’ risk and fire insurance that you must have to secure a bank loan for a construction project in your home. A remodeling contractor takes care of all these details so you don’t have to. If answering these questions did not cause anxiety or concern, then you’ve probably been your own GC before, or are a good candidate to give it a go. But if you’d prefer someone to handle all the details, problems and responsibilities that come with a large remodeling project, then do yourself a favor (and save some money!) by hiring a good general contractor.


& I am considering buying a house similar to the “Updated Ranch Home” shown on your website. I am curious to know the ballpark figure for the total cost of that project. Would you be able to share that info to help us figure out if we should buy?

The project you describe is a South St. Louis County home inherited by a son who wanted to update it to have more of a loft-like feel and update all systems. See photos of the project here. We removed walls, raised the ceiling and installed new flooring to create a large public space off the living room. The kitchen was completely remodeled. Two small bedrooms were combined to create a master suite with an updated bathroom. We re-designed the front of the home to have two picture windows, a new front porch and steel front door. Along with new doors and windows throughout the entire house, the HVAC system was updated, a new rear entry with wood deck added, and parts of the basement were updated (including new basement stairs). The budget for the work done several years ago was approximately $300,000. That includes all the design and construction work on the ranch home originally built in 1961. The owner plans for this to be his “forever home,” so he was happy to make the investment and delighted with the outcome, which surpassed his expectations and improved his lifestyle.

We can help you during the house selection process with a pre-purchase consulting visit. We discuss what your goals are for the house; explore options of what the house can do, and which features could be amended to improve live-ability. We can offer a general budget that describes the range of costs for the changes we discuss. We do this as a verbal exchange because so many options are discussed in a fast-moving, creative conversation usually lasting about two hours. We can include our registered architect in the discussion. There is a $325 consulting fee for this service, which is a small price to learn if this house is the right investment for you to make. The intent of this visit is to help you best match your goals and expectations with a house that meets your needs. We will also identify any potential “money pit” problems by helping you avoid or identify substantial repair or correction items in the house that can distract improvement funds. In short, we want to see the house before you buy it and help you assess what it is – and what it isn’t – and what it can become. Thank you for your question, Scott Mosby

You Can Ask Us Anything.

Scott Mosby CEO of Mosby Building Arts

A maze of small rooms becomes an open floor plan for a 1960s ranch house.

A new back door leading onto a new deck is part of the whole house remodel.

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 production 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

I’ve worked with so many clients who have dogs that I miss terribly when I’ve finished the job. During the pre-construction walk through at the client’s home, I ask if they have any pets (if I haven’t met them already) and if so, how they would like to us to handle the situation Along with their special requests, we try to seal off our work areas as much as possible to keep pets out of harm’s way. My most memorable pet experience was when a cat went into a hole in in the floor of a huge house. We could hear it, but not see it or get it to come out. Short of cutting up multiple floors, we had to use bribery and time for the cat to make an appearance. Then we sealed up that hole!


Painting Supervisor In Ukraine, where I’m from, we call pets “Our Little Brothers.” We definitely care about our pets, they are part of our family, we love them and want them to be safe. Usually, our clients understand how important it is to keep their pets away from construction zones to keep their “Little Brothers” safe. If not, I will politely and firmly ask clients to keep their pets away, and what can I do to help with that. We need somebody to stop us from sharing endless memorable stories! Take for instance this: one time, as soon as we finished painting hand rails and spindles with oil based paint, a client’s cat immediately squeezed between the wet spindles and got stuck. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t move and started meowing angrily. We rescued him, and cleaned him off with paint thinner. And as he got a nice foam bath we had to quickly repaint those spindles.



Exteriors & Solution Sales Production Manager During my first meeting with the homeowners, I ask what they prefer. We are absolutely glad to watch the pets or let them in and out if it’s needed. Or we can leave them alone in another part of the house. Whatever makes everyone happy and calm is what we want. When we started a condo remodel, we assumed the two cats (Bailey and Saffron) should stay upstairs while we worked downstairs. We put up a plastic sheet barrier which they tore through in less than an hour. We tried a cardboard version and they went through that, too. Turns out it was better to let them do as they wished, and what they wished was to supervise. And once they checked everything out, they would curl up and sleep in whichever box was closest to the action. And any time I sat down for a minute, Bailey was in my lap. Bailey approves of the new dining room chairs



Project Manager I always ask a client what they prefer with pet care. We want to know the details of what we can and cannot do with and for them. Oh, and can we feed them sandwiches we don’t like? You’d be surprised at the answers. My most memorable experience was while talking with a homeowner her dog dashed for the open door. I instinctively reached down to stop him, and he latched onto my thumb and was hanging from my hand. I got him off and then he attached to my leg! I was laughing because it didn’t hurt at all – he was a little tea cup of a dog.


Project Manager I always try to be observant as to where the project is and how it affects any pets they might have in their home. I try to prepare the client as to how the project will affect the pet loud noises and dust, items piled up, will they be able to get to their food and water or litterbox? I ask about any special considerations to enact for the project, like door policies, where will the pet stay, or any potential problems that might arise and how we should handle them. My most memorable experience is all the special construction we did for a family’s Bassett hounds. They have short legs, so we built a dog ramp so they could more easily get from the backyard to the deck. We designed a dog gate that blended perfectly with the ornate stairs of the home so they could keep the hounds upstairs as needed. We even re-did their garage so it was dog-friendly; fully heated and cooled so they could still play during harsh weather, washable walls and epoxy floors for easy cleaning, even a dog wash area. Jake heading up his custom-made ramp.

John Yocco and his Bernese Mountain, Abby


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SOON IT SHALL BE HERE Spring means we move outdoors. See inspiring exterior projects in the Spring issue.

Choice Magazine, Winter 2016  

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

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