I first met the Williams family while working on a fun styling project together, and one of the first impressions I had when walking through their home was how intentionally it was designed for a modern family while honoring the home’s original character. In other words, it didn’t look like a 1900s home that was ripped apart and filled with builder-grade/home-flipper gray (I’d like to see a paint color swatch named that one day). The Williams family home was warm and inviting and felt truly lived in, as it should be.
The homeowners, Mark (a custom home builder and owner of Mark D. Williams Custom Homes), along with his wife Melissa (an internal medicine doctor) share their beautiful home with their 3 kiddos ages 6, 4, and 2. The ages I’d like to think are some of the best! Mark and Melissa had recently remodeled their previous home and weren’t in the market to move but as the story goes, they were out for a neighborhood stroll one sunny Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Lakes area, and decided to tour a new-to-market open house. Keep in mind this was pre-pandemic when you actually had time to tour a home before it sold. Once they walked in, they just knew. You know how that goes, if you know, you know. Am I right? One of the reasons they won with their bid was by waiving inspections (again, this was pre-pandemic and not a typical approach of that time) but as Mark knew they would be remodeling most of it, he was prepared to take care of what may need fixing.
At the time of the remodel (the year was 2020), Melissa was 8 months pregnant and they were living in the house (something Mark tells all of his clients NEVER to do) but on the 9th month, they moved out into a tiny rental while they had the baby who was born halfway through the 1st COVID wave–hitting the all-time triple jackpot. Remodel + new baby + global pandemic.
Choosing to remodel the house was easy, especially the kitchen because it was not original to the home. The kitchen had gone through at least one previous remodel in the 1980s.
The kitchen felt dated to these homeowners and a little too small for a growing family. Mark and Melissa wanted more of a clean-lined, modern Scandinavian-Craftsman style aesthetic. And that’s exactly what they achieved.
One thing I noticed when touring their beautifully remodeled home was the attention to detail and how they incorporated charm and old home character (such as keeping the original millwork and built-ins in their dining room) but kept it feeling youthful for generations to come. One way they did this was by forgoing any trends in permanently installed fixtures, and honing in on more updated traditional elements while peppering in some personality into the places that can be easily changed later.
They added in-floor heating, which admittedly feels a little luxurious but VERY practical especially when you live in Minnesota where temps reach what feels like living in the Arctic Tundra. They also went with natural stone countertops (they choose Carrara marble), inset cabinets, a pantry/coffee storage station, and higher countertops. The standard countertop height is 36” but going with 38” is a small detail that just looks a bit more striking. They also added lots of drawers in lieu of cabinets for better storage solutions.
I asked Mark, coming from a builder’s standpoint, what is one tip you’d give for someone remodeling their kitchen and he said “Hide outlets!! Put them on the bottom of the upper cabinets along with LED lights so there are no outlets in the backsplash and a clean tile look. Also, paint your cabinets ON-SITE so all the crown matches perfectly and there are no nail holes that look badly patched.”
Side note: I remember the first time I met the Williams family and set up this pancake shoot and Mark walked in and said “oh yeah, this looks like how we do breakfast,” halfway joking as this was for a styled shoot. I knew what he meant and coming from a stylist, while I look for the “styled shot,” it’s equally important that it speaks to and tells the story of the family that lives there. And when you get smiles like this, you don’t even feel like you’re working.
I’ll never forget their sweet daughter asking me if they get to keep the flowers. I mean…So sweet.
Back to the design. The addition of these gorgeous Pella Architect series windows that are north-facing and wrap to the west, let in so much gorgeous natural light that can bounce around their beautiful kitchen.
Another one of Mark’s design tips is less is more. This is why they chose to bring the countertop up as a backsplash for a more seamless and modern look.
I love the hidden LED lighting under these floating shelves and again, look at all the natural light that just filters through so beautifully.
The family’s choice to go with Carrara marble is a true classic that not only looks good, but gets even better with age.
I also love how these cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, and as you can see, here’s that seamless backsplash Mark loves so much.
Here’s a closer look at how they hid their electrical outlets and the under-cabinet LED lighting so they aren’t a distraction on their beautiful backsplash.
I love the vertical planks on the kitchen island. Another detail that speaks softly and doesn’t leave the sides of the island with a blank surface.
The beverage station with built-in cabinet doors that slide back to reveal the Miele coffee station was another of Mark’s must-haves during the remodel.
The abundance of drawers in their kitchen is truly an organizer’s dream and one that also functions well for the kids to reach their snacks and dishes to help themselves.
Upon entering their home, the kitchen feels so inviting, all the way to the hidden sound system which was playing one of Mark’s playlists and their daughter sparking up “oooo I love Megan thee Stallion!”
Peering into the dining room from the kitchen, the pop from the wallpaper adds a nice touch of their personality and keeps with the modern Scandinavian aesthetic. Once speaking with Melissa, I learned she loved the green in the wallpaper because when it’s winter and all white outside, it is nice to see that extra greenery.
Here’s a sneak peek of the dining room. Look at that gorgeous original millwork!
When I asked Mark what some of the key things to consider when executing a full remodel were, his #1 tip was to LEAVE during construction if you can! Everything will take 10x as long and seem dirty and more expensive if you live in it regardless of the true cost. Mark emphasized also making sure to order everything prior to starting the remodel to ensure there are no delays during construction.
Lastly, I asked the family now that they’ve lived here for a couple of years what would they change. “My wife and I would disagree on this,” Mark replies. Melissa wants to paint the lower cabinets a different color now (which we can do…) Otherwise, it fits perfectly for the space and us. I would probably take the slide-back doors OFF the coffee center, the warm douglas fir wood inside is so beautiful to me and really warms up the space around all the white woodwork.”
Whichever they decide to do it will no doubt be intentional with family in mind.
*Design by Mark D. Williams Custom Homes
**Styled by Lea Johnson of Creekwoodhill
***Photographer Chelsie Lopez Productions
Love their remodel. Came by to say – the pandemic isn’t over. The 7 day death average in the US is currently 467. Covid is not over.
Jeannette, I don’t see anything anywhere that states “the pandemic is over.”
The opening line, ” I first met the Williams family right after the pandemic” strongly implies that it’s over. It started the article off on a negative note for me, since I agree with Jeannette.
But as photos of the endearing kids and Lea’s descriptions of thoughtful remodeling choices unrolled, my attitude gradually adjusted, and I ended up loving it.
“I first met the Williams family right after the pandemic”
I agree there is no such definitive statement but the piece opens with Lea saying she “first met the family after the pandemic while working on a fun styling project,” which does seem to frame it as a past event so I can understand why Jeanette read it that way. As someone with family members at high risk, I’m also sensitive to that nuance. It’s clearly not a popular feeling here, so go ahead and down vote this but I felt the same way when I read it.
My husband (63] has Covid right now. He tested positive right before he was to have much needed back surgery. Surgery has been rescheduled for 12/27. We sure hope he can get in before the calendar year is over. Otherwise, it’ll be thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs.
We’re lucky that he’s been vaccinated-though not with the most recent booster. He was very sick, with headache, fever, chills, and body aches, but didn’t have serious respiratory symptoms. He’s had to miss work, and we both isolated really, because I sure didn’t want to be possibly coming down with it, and pass it to anyone else.
At the same time, our 6 month old Granddaughter, and my daughter both had RSV, along with secondary infections.
it’s a wild year friends! Please take care of yourselves, and others. Get all the vaccinations, stay home if you’re not well. Wear a mask at the supermarket.
And educate yourselves. Wearing a mask only protects others from you. The only way to protect yourself from others is distance and lack of contact. Vaccination is proven to decrease severity and death, but is not without risks.
Thankfully, this is not true. Wearing a well fitting medical grade mask such as an N95 or K95 protects you and others. And thank goodness this is true or the death rate of medical professionals would be terrifyingly high. Make sure when you wear the medical grade mask that it fits closely around the nose, under the chin, and their are no gaps by the ears. It will be uncomfortable after a few hours but all nurses, doctors, techs have worn them for years with no ill affects. We can do it too!
You clearly haven’t read any of the released docs from a certain medical company . Luckily us humans have survived 100s of 1000s of years and will continue well after this point in history
You are misinformed or simply uniformed on the facts. If any medical professional tells you an N95 mask or equivalent has the ability to stop a virus from escaping or entering the surface area of the mask you’re not speaking to a well educated professional. We are taught this basic fact in the beginning of medical school, nursing school, and healthcare education in general. You need to do some research immune to a biased search result. lastly, to anyone still ignorantly recommending the MRNA shots (they are not vaccines for the love of god!) I highly encourage you to stop. I don’t know where you hide from the facts, but people are dying from the injections all over the world. Several countries have banned the shots completely. The FDA and CDC have actually finally admitted the truth – PUBLICLY. Pfizer’s 50,000 document release on the development, the trials they conducted, which you are part of if you are one of the unfortunate recipients of Pfizer’s shots. The documents were released by force through the courts and contain all the facts you have tragically avoided and seemingly continue to refuse to believe. Pfizer and the FDA tried to keep the clinical… Read more »
OMG can this insane comment please be removed before more conspiracy theory bull is spread all over the internet? This is an interior design blog for Christ’s sake. Keep the whack job verbal diarrhea to Fox News and Truth social or wherever that weird shit is allowed.
It is in the context clues. ‘after the pandemic’ implies it was either after it happened or after it ended. Either way, it triggers people who are still suffering from the effects, or treating patients who are.
Distinctly obvious that some people believe the pandemic is over and are naiively voting down factual comments saying truthfully, that we are still in a pandemic.
The W.H.O. has not declared the pandemic to now be the lesser endemic; so therefore, we are still IN the pandemic.
Why do you believe the WHO ? Are you not concerned that a Nobel peace prize nominee has accused the director-general of the World Health Organisation of allegedly aiding g***cide in Ethiopia .
I’m just impressed by the black/white tenor of the reaction to a statement that clearly had a different meaning. This is not WHO technical guidance, it is not a medical or health blog, and it does not discuss the current state of Covid in the U.S. The sentence clearly refers to Covid as relating to the opportunity to meet clients, an opportunity that was clearly restricted during lockdowns, and is not restricted at the moment. Yes, it is available with protective measures, but adding this nuance seems unnecessary for the opening sentence of a design blog. I respect the anxiety of someone in high-risk groups, but overlooking the apparent intentions of the drafter and sticking to technical interpretations is better kept for legal texts or holy scriptures.
The response of readers presents the context and interpretation, whether this is a “medical or health blog”, or a design and lifestyle blog. Readership is the driver.
The only people in the world who are commenting on this crowd into Em’s blogs, triggered by nostalgia for 2020.
Beautiful! Can you tell me where the runner next to the kitchen sink is from? Love the dark floral pattern!
Me too! Would love to know. It’s gorgeous.
It looks vintage.
Love love love! Thank you for the non-Christmas post.
Can the family share the sources for the kitchen faucet, drawer pulls and knobs, and pendant lights? I’m in the midst of my own renovation and I’d love to use them!
Yes, Thank you for the break from Christmas!
The faucet looks like the Kohler Purist, the pulls and knobs look like the Massey from Rejuvenation and the lights are possibly VL45 from Vilhelm Lauritzen? https://vilhelmlauritzen.com/collection-of-work/vl45-radio-house-pendant/
KJ – Jeez you are good!
Yes now add up total costs at $13 each!
I love a good Lea post! Thanks for bringing us this reveal. Timeless and elegant.
Is the range on a platform because of the elevated counter height? I’m curious if it would be possible to do a panel in front of the legs instead.
I think I can answer this! We also have high 38″ counters and have the range on a little piece of wood (matches the cabinets) to get it flush with the counters. You can add a panel but we did not, since when you’re standing you don’t actually see the feet because the oven door overhangs a bit. You have to be lying on the floor to notice it. (We did end up doing the panel option under the dishwasher though, because that one is more flush and the bottom was noticeable.)
I always wish the dishwasher was higher, like a wall oven. Sure would make more sense. and better for back…
I have dishdrawers, and they are great for that reason — you don’t have to bend over so far.
Love the idea of putting outlets under cabinets, but does that mean that there’s a box inside the cabinet that takes up room? Or do they use the equivalent of a power strip?
I would love to see a more detailed post on this topic. I am very intrigued and had all of these same questions! How do they hide the cables – in the one pic it looks like maybe there is a false cabinet bottom put over that to hide? This looks really fabulous but I can only imagine the frustration of the contractor when you ask them to do this! Is the functionality frustrating for access? And does it create other/new visual issues – like now you see the cord going from the toaster up to the cabinet?
Really looks gorgeous, probably well worth it.
I love it too, and it was bugging me so I took a better look at all the images in the post. The area where there are no outlets on backsplash is the stove wall only and the other walls, sink and the area left and counter wrapping around to the left all have outlets in the backsplash. So yes, I think the elimination of them behind the largest area of backsplash is a beautiful touch, but the other backsplash deal with the reality of appliances needed on the counter. whew!
I also liked the idea of the outlets underneath at first, but when I thought about it, I realized that it meant that the electric cord would be dangling from the bottom of the cabinet which I think could look odd and intrusive.
Such a pretty kitchen!
In the olden days, I remember ( 1980’s) seeing “outlet molding” which you could put under neath your upper cabs— I always wanted to give that a try, but don’t know if they make it anymore. In Australia and European countries, the populations are trained to ALWAYS unplug their appliances when not actually in use. ( Rusty maybe comment on this?) . Probably bc of DC current, bit also it would cut down on your phantom power use, too. So, if you can make switch to plug and unplug appliances after daily use, under cab outlets may be just fine 👍.
Yep, we’re encouraged to, but only to reduce power use, no risk re: things sitting on standby.
They suggest unplugging microwaves (obvs not built-ins), TVs, etc. Anything that isn’t being used just draining power while on standby.
My kitchen has a marble slab backsplash, and I opted to install our outlets underneath the uppper cabinets. They are outlet strips, and they sit at the back-side (near the backsplash area) of the upper cabinets. They are hidden from sight, unless you bend down and look up. Then, inside the upper cabinets along the wall, there are a few outlets (that are not used), but that’s where the black/red “reset” buttons sit. My only complaint about the outlet strips is you have to be careful when you insert and pull out the plugs. You can’t pull them out “toward you” (which is the natural motion), you have to pull them out by using a “downward motion”. On the strip I use the most, I’ve bent many of the plug from pulling out and not down. It’s on my “contractor come back” list to replace that strip, LOL. We remodeled in 2017, so I’ve had plenty of time to live with this design choice – and I would say, I made the right choice by hiding the outlets. The outlet-free marble slab backsplash (with minimal grout lines too) is just gorgeous.
Really beautiful kitchen. I love the inset cabinets, drawer pulls, and wood floors. I will never understand why/how people have marble countertops in a workspace, however. I guess they are fine if you don’t cook.
The millwork in the dining room is beautiful. I’m glad they kept it. I think I would have wallpapered the top part of the wall and painted the bottom insets instead. The wallpaper on the bottom looks choppy.
I cook everyday and am a frequent baker and have marble countertops. I love the look (especially for my traditional Craftsman home) and it’s perfect for rolling out dough/kneading bread. I just wipe up spills and seal them on a regular basis, and if there’s some etching or staining, I think it just adds character. Not sure why there’s an implication of marble countertops must mean people don’t cook in their kitchen.
I also have honed Carrara marble countertops in my kitchen and I am an enthusiastic, multiple-times-a-day cook (I work from home) and have a messy husband and kids. Marble takes longer to etch/stain than people think it does. You have to leave food spills for hours. As long as I clean up after we eat – which everyone should do anyway – it doesn’t stain or etch. If I were to leave a big splotch of tomato sauce or red wine overnight or something then it would, but who would leave food spills and messes in their kitchen overnight? Also having a honed finish disguises etching and scratches. They show up much more on polished marble.
I have a Cambria countertop, and it’s perfect for cooking because it’s NSF approved and doesn’t require sealing.
Wow this is beautiful! I always love seeing an old house’s life and usefulness extended in such a considered way.
I am so impressed they survived the triple punch of baby/pandemic/remodel. I can’t even imagine!
“and their daughter sparking up ‘oooo I love Megan thee Stallion!'”
It makes me sad that a 6-year-old girl can identify the artist whose music features some of the raunchiest lyrics in today’s music.
thank god she’s not your kid then!
Unfortunately she may be around someone else’s kid. Chill…
I guess I’m uptight for thinking a 6-year-old shouldn’t be listening to an artist whose lyrics include “got up on the dick and ride the shit like a Camaro” and “real ass nigga, give a fuck about a bitch”.
Our society is rotting. Rapidly.
Stella, I’m right there with you. I’m a teacher, the wife of a musician, a parent of three black children, and it bums me out. That music is just not for kids, no matter how one attempts to cloak it in female empowerment.
“…right after the pandemic”???🤔
We’re still IN the pandemic.
I hear lots of people referring to the pandemic in the past tense in personal conversation, but in every case, they’ve understood that we are still in a pandemic. I think for many it’s just shorthand to mean the beginning of the pandemic, when things were first on lockdown, before vaccines, & everything was new.
You need help, seriously.
“Globally, the number of new weekly cases remained stable (+2%) during the week of 5 to 11 December 2022 as compared to the previous week, with over 3.3 million new cases reported . The number of new weekly deaths increased by over 10% as compared to the previous week, with over 9700 new fatalities reported. As of 11 December 2022, over 645 million confirmed cases and over 6.6 million deaths have been reported globally.”
World Health Organization
How can an intelligent person vore down a factual statistic?
Perhaps because they are into conspiracy theory?
🤣🤣🤣 Akin to voting down a statement like “The world is not flat.”
This is an interior design blog . Contrast your figures for averages over 20 years or compare it to people perishing through other means . Or make your own blog where you can hark back to the good ol days of 2020 where people cared about this. It is inappropriate information and completely irrelevant.
You simply demonstrated your naiivety and lack of cognisence regarding the topic.
Gorgeous! Some really nice ideas in here, but I can’t help thinking how my contractor would cringe if I asked him to do some of these things- I guess only a contractor can do this for himself, or someone who has lots of $$$$$ to spend! Some of these shots are going to my Pinterest board!
Hi Roberta, what stuck out to you as difficult, we are maybe a year or so from a major reno, so gathering all the info i can now!
To anyone doing a renovation I just want to say, as the homeowner/GC here did – mark the spots of your outlets and lightswitches individually and in EVERY room. NEVER assume that the electrician / his employees / your GC will know what is wanted/needed and NEVER think something is common sense. Have a nice wall where you are thinking you will hang art? The electrician will put the light switch right in the middle. Have a wall where you are thinking you’ll want to plug a lamp in the middle? Outlets only at the very ends. Have gorgeous veined quartz going up the kitchen backsplashes with no seams? They’ll put holes right in the middle for outlets. Even right along the bottom (as I can see they did for the outlets by the windows) are much less intrusive and you won’t have to be angry with yourself for not saying anything and end up strategically placing antique cutting boards over the outlets. I’m still mad – we had a very angry electrician who seemed to go out of his way to leave his poor choices all over the house. I asked that the bedroom sconces be wide enough that… Read more »
Ugh so frustrating! So hard when it is something like that which is hard to change or switch, and knowing you had the opportunity for it to be right. I once showed an electrician where I wanted my outdoor porch light, and he fought me on it saying that was a “stupid” location, and insisted on putting it up higher. It’s my house and my light, and I was too young at the time to stand up to him. (one benefit to aging – at least for me – confidence to stand up to people!) Every time I see it I get angry at that guy thinking he knew better than I when it was my own home. 🙁
If noone is managing the project they follow code first, then design.
They also choose places that are the easiest for them to do; less effort required.
I have built two houses and renovated one and you should always, always, always do an electrical walk-through during the wiring phase of construction. It would also be beneficial to have an interior designer review your plans prior to this phase to check for any red flags. Never, ever rely on your electrician to read your mind.
Always love reading your voice on the blog, Lea, and gosh I love this tour! Fingers firmly crossed we’ll see more of the Williams house here soon! Can we ID the “equal but different” kitchen print, please? I’ve seen similar posters—and tried a google search myself—but they’re not quite the same, style- and font-wise. Thank you!
It is from Studio Patro circa 2012: https://eatingchalk.com/2012/01/18/window-shopping-wednesdays-13/. They still sell a similar towel: https://studiopatro.com/collections/teatowels/products/equal-noir-on-oatmeal
It’s beautiful, but so similar to before I had to keep flipping around. Yes the doorway, the high end appliances and windows, island and replaced the cabinets and marble, but it looks so much the same that I just feel sick at the waste. I wonder if they recycled anything.
I love this remodel & how what they did takes the home back to its Craftsman roots & looks more cohesive than the before. I also love how this remodel isn’t a complete gut, but rather more in line to what many of us would try on our own homes if we could.
I love seeing a midwestern home! Also: this is beautiful & inspiring! I really appreciate the tips, too!
Love the style – both inside and out. The landscaping was well done!
That dining room is GORGEOUS! Love how the wood contrasts with all the white and marble in the kitchen.
A lovely renovation with many good design ideas. And wow what beautiful cabinetry! I also thought that the wallpaper placed on the lower section of the wall in the dining room was unique and that it highlighted the original millwork.
What a lovely home tour! So many nice details in their new kitchen and I loved the family pics! The kids are totally adorable and I would forget to look at the design. 🙂 Also Lea, I loved your styling! SO good!
It’s all beautiful of course (that’s what money allows!) I had friends put in higher counters but that was because they were both tall. The wife about 5 foot 11. This mom looks shorter, so not sure if they benefit her. Dad looks tallish. Is that a factor?
Just hoping that all the pandemic discussion doesn’t take away from how wonderful it is to get a post from Lea Johnson, to see an inspirational remodel with helpful tips, & to see a home from the Midwest. I love this post & I hope that Lea, Mark, & Melissa feel the love, appreciation, & admiration! Lea–we’re looking forward to your next post! Mark–I checked your website & love your work!