After downsizing from the family farmstead into a smaller house, Natalie Meester was intent on transforming the traditional-style home into a bright, airy bungalow. That meant flipping the first floor of the house on its ear to maximize every square scintilla of space.
Multiple walls and doors were removed. A front bedroom became space for the new living room and fireplace, and the old living room was reworked into the new kitchen, while the old galley kitchen was just enough room for the new laundry center.
All of these changes improved the overall flow and function, while widening the front door entry added presence. Sliding doors, a new composite deck, new garage, siding, gutters and exterior lighting brought the exterior into focus.
Fitting it all into a small footprint was a puzzle Meester was determined to solve. There were plenty of challenges, but she succeeded in creating a home that is welcoming, charming and comfortable.
“I was a girl on a mission,” Meester said, laughing. “I like coming home to a beautiful home that’s clean and bright and doesn’t require too much of my attention at the end of a busy, tiring day.” She owns Little Prairie Girl in Grundy Center.
Interior designer Katie Lewis worked with Meester on the kitchen design and choice of cabinetry and countertops. “There are lots of choices to make. It takes a lot of work and effort to achieve the look you want. Your home affects your mood, so you want to get it right,” said Lewis, owner of 319 Design + Décor in Grundy Center.
Showplace cabinetry in pure white complements durable white Cambria quartz “Britannica” with its marble-like veining. Upper cabinets have lighted glass fronts. Black oxidized hardware and farmhouse-style black metal dome lighting pendants add contrast.
Meester choose an extra-wide peninsula with an overhang for barstools rather than an island, giving her plenty of workspace. Windows flanking the range and hood flood the kitchen with light. White oak luxury vinyl tile plank flooring looks like wood without the upkeep.
“The biggest challenge in the kitchen was getting everything I wanted into the space. I needed a full-sized fridge and dishwasher and a 40-inch range,” Meester said.
The new living room is cozy with matching medium-gray sofas against the backdrop of a salvaged pocket door. A leather Laz-y-Boy lounge chair grounds one corner of the living room, while the mix of primitives and Showplace cabinetry draws attention to the brick fireplace.
Before making the move, Meester edited her collection of antiques and decorative objects. “I wanted more simplicity, not clutter. I kept the pieces I care deeply about and were meaningful to me.”
Her curated collection creates charming vignettes in each room.
The main level bath was reconfigured to fit a Jacuzzi tub and white quartz-topped vanity. A set of salvaged shutters conceals a narrow cubby for additional storage.