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Houzz Tour: City Couple Take Their Urban Style to the Country

“After” photos by Tony Soluri

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Jill and Michael Maremont and their dog, Oscar
Location: Michiana Shores, Indiana
Size: 3,300 square feet (307 square meters); four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms
Designer: Scott Dresner ofDresner Design

This exterior shot makes it easy to see why the Maremonts were drawn to the home. Large windows provide expansive views to a beautifully landscaped lot full of trees, while a deck and patio provide lots of outdoor living space. And the house is only a 20-minute walk from the shores of Lake Michigan.

Before: The first floor has an open plan that combines the kitchen, dining area and great room. The Maremonts love to entertain and were excited about the potential of the large, open space. But they weren’t fans of the yellow tones in the trim and flooring.

Jill Maremont worked closely with Dresner, whom she’d worked with before. “Scott is the master planner of all planners. He helped us carve out spaces for living and for specific tasks in the kitchen, which was not a very large space,” she says.

After: White paint highlights the leafy views and creates a bright and clean modern look. “When I first come to a new space, I look around and listen to my clients about what they need. And I also think about what I would like if this were my home,” Dresner says. “Then I can envision the solutions.”

One solution was avoiding the expense of replacing the existing yellow floors. Dresner hired H&M Flooring Design to refinish them with a warm gray stain. “The floor refinisher was a true artisan. He mixed a lot of samples for us throughout the process to make sure it was just right,” Maremont says. “They look incredible now.”

“The fireplace wall was the most crooked wall in Indiana,” Dresner says. He had the existing fireplace surround demolished, then added drywall and an asymmetrical concrete hearth. The white surround draws the eye to the firebox and makes a great backdrop for some of the couple’s art pieces. Sculptures like the Nigerian crowns on the hearth, vintage pieces and sculptural furnishings stand out in the white space. The dining room light fixture, sculptures and curvy chairs are highlights too.

Before: More yellowish wood, along with black countertops and backsplash, darkened the kitchen corner. Ocher paint on the staircase wall made everything look extra yellow. The island was L-shaped, and the countertop had some angles.

Luckily, the existing Pella windows and doors were high-quality and in great shape. This was a big budget saver and allowed the couple to put their money into new finishes.

After: Dresner made the dining room part of the kitchen. He continued the same finishes across the entire wall to tie the two spaces together. He also built a long shelf that continues over the screened-in porch’s doors to connect the cabinets in both spaces.

“We cook a lot and entertain a lot, so a kitchen island was a must,” Maremont says. “I usually cook and prep, and my husband is the grill master and the dishwasher. The island is large enough to have people sit on one side while we both cook, prep and wash dishes on the other.”

Dresner streamlined the island’s shape and gave it an elegant waterfall counter in white Silestone quartz. “I love the Silestone because it doesn’t stain and I can put hot pans right on it,” Maremont says. “And if someone spills red wine on it, it’s no big deal.” The deep, rich wenge wood adds dark contrast, while the iconic white Bertoia counter stools nod to midcentury modern style. A pop-up outlet is concealed in the countertop.

The designer packed lots of storage and function into the island. It includes one of Maremont’s biggest must-haves: a drawer with room for more than 70 spices, a beverage fridge, slats for baking pans and a microwave drawer.

“Before, the corner between the porch door and these windows was dead,” Maremont says. Dresner livened it up with a built-in coffee bar. The shallow cabinetry houses all of the coffee and tea accoutrements as well as mugs and glassware. It transforms into a wine-and-cocktail bar during parties. The cabinet, countertop and backsplash finishes match those in the kitchen, creating a cohesive look.
This is the couple’s Doberman, Oscar, who is very happy with the move to the country.

Dresner used flat-panel cabinetry with a white lacquer finish to keep things light, bright and modern. Italian company Stosa Cucine fabricated the cabinetry using a material made with recycled plastic bottles. To make the most of the 6-foot-long range wall, Dresner had Avenue Metal Manufacturing fabricate a custom matte aluminum vent hood and open shelves as one piece. “They are unbelievably talented — this is like a piece of art. And the proportions are just right,” Maremont says.

“The artwork on the left is a door from an event I conceived and put together for one of my clients called Another Door Opens. We asked designers and artists to reconcept what a door is and what it could become,” Maremont says. “All the doors were then auctioned off at a big cocktail party for a charity.” Artist Cleveland Dean used a Japanese burning technique called shou-sugi-ban on the door seen here.

Dresner had Italian Statuario Venato marble tiles left over from another job, and the Maremonts purchased them from the homeowners. This saved money over using the same Statuario Venato marble slabs used for the countertops. Dresner painstakingly designed the backsplash to minimize the number of tiles needed, and filled in spaces the tiles didn’t cover with tiles cut from a matching slab.

As for the lighting, “With 30-foot high ceilings, it was tough to get overhead light,” he says. So he installed a custom LED undercabinet lighting system from Hafele, with channels that keep the look clean and even.

“I just love everything about this kitchen,” Maremont says. “I love how beautiful, open, light and bright it is. I love the way it functions for the two of us, I love the way it functions when we entertain, and I love how easy it is to keep clean.”

Before: The laundry room was roomy but had ho-hum finishes.

The console provides a landing strip in the entry, brings in a rich wood color that plays off the kitchen island, and provides a spot for displaying art and other favorite objects. Both the teapot and the art over the landing are heirlooms from Michael’s grandmother.

Dresner preserved the existing staircase railing, which suited the couple’s modern tastes. But he had the stairs and the handrail stained to match the floors.

Before: The couple’s bathroom was the last space they renovated. Waiting allowed them to save up for every luxury on their wish list, including heated floors, a Victoria + Albert bathtub, a Toto toilet, motorized window treatments and a rain shower head with an integrated speaker and LED lighting that they can change to any color of the rainbow.

After: Dresner closed off the existing alcove, disguising it as recessed cabinetry. The closed doors hide the shelves, creating an uncluttered look. He also replaced a large glass block window over the bathtub with clear glass.

A minimalist freestanding bathtub replaces the old tub and its platform and surround. Dresner also expanded the shower stall, getting rid of the odd angle in the enclosure.

The new bathroom vanity wall is a stunner. Dresner designed and built the walnut floating vanity and mirrored medicine cabinets. The vanity has deep vanity drawers with push hardware, as well as lighting beneath it that helps anyone visiting the bathroom in the middle of the night. The long row of mirrored medicine cabinets provides a lot of storage and reflects the light from the windows.

The extra-thick countertop profile shows off the stunning natural stone’s prominent veining. Wall-mounted faucets keep the countertops clear and minimalist.

Jill and Michael Maremont made a big life change when they moved from Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood to a rural setting in Michiana Shores, Indiana. They purchased a contemporary home with an open plan and fabulous windows, knowing it would be great for entertaining and communing with nature. Architectural designer Scott Dresner helped them transform the home’s dated look, making it fresh, bright and clean-lined. The couple took on the project room by room over a four-year period and just recently finished the last phase, their bathroom.

This content was originally published here.

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