Designing a Home to Grow with Your Family

by | Aug 19, 2021 | Holistic Design (Universal Design)

Jessica and Todd envisioned their dream home to be a place where their three children would grow up safely and family could all come together comfortably, and in style. They had filled up their idea boards with dozens of their favorite styles and designs, all with the goal that they could host large family gatherings with ease. As the children grew, their home felt like it had shrunk, and the reality set in: they needed more space.

Jessica’s parents often visit their family during the summer months and enjoy staying with them for extended periods of time.  However, with three growing kids, three bedrooms, and only two bathrooms, it was becoming more difficult to maintain.  The main level no longer offered sufficient space for family dinners and the connection that they desired, so the 2nd story addition became necessary. The only dining area was in the eat-in kitchen, which made entertaining for dinner parties impossible.  The size of the kitchen, however, was not the clients’ main issue on the 1st floor; it was the lack of connectivity to the living room and view of the backyard. This is what lead to the reconfiguration of the main level.

Part of the strategy was not to expand the main level, which would have been more costly, but to re-work it within the existing footprint.  We were able to provide the family with an added dining room and open concept by eliminating the small, main level bedroom at the front entry.  Not only are the living spaces and kitchen now connected, but it allows much more natural light to shine from the front to the back of the home.

When asked how he would describe the reconfigured main level, Todd said, “now it’s this really big, and bright and light living space that is very welcoming when you enter the house.”

Further, by transforming the kitchen from an L-shaped to galley style, we were able to add a wide window above the sink that provided a perfect view of the backyard.  Now, Jessica and Todd can comfortably entertain their whole family for dinner with a full view of their children playing in the backyard. 

The style of their reconfigured space was very important to them, but while they had so many ideas bouncing around in their heads it was difficult to visualize what it would all look like.  Jessica shared that once they began working with our designers, Christine and Julia, they were able to start seeing their vision come to life, “Sun Design took the things we liked, which had a couple different elements…and translated all of it into this beautiful design that really suited what we were actually looking for, but before didn’t know how to communicate.  We felt like Christine and Julia really understood us.”

While reconfiguring the layout of the main level solved some of Jessica and Todd’s problems, there was still the issue of too many people and not enough bedrooms.  The overarching goal was to increase the number of bedrooms.  

Again, by looking at the possibilities of working within the existing footprint of the home, we were able to design additional living space without extending the foundation.  The solution was to add a second level to the home that included an additional master suite, two more bedrooms for their daughters with a hall bath to share, a laundry closet, and a loft space.  The size of their above grade living space was nearly doubled without increasing the footprint of the house on their lot. 

Throughout the design process there was one thing that Jessica and Todd expressed that they wanted to do for themselves throughout all the reconfigurations and addition created for the family, it was creating their own dream master bathroom.  Jessica wanted a master bath with a relaxing, high end hotel feel where she could retreat to. To achieve this a free-standing soaking tub and open-ended shower, curb-less on both sides, with a unique linear design was created. It really is a special design and made imaginable with the collaboration between Jessica, Todd, and their design team.  Jessica expressed how she felt about the newly remodeled spaces saying, “I’m still surprised that this is our house, that we get to call this place home…but then immediately I see my children running around the house and recognize that this is our home, this is what we built.”

The collaboration with Todd and Jessica to create their dream home was wonderful and we are thrilled to have formed another enduring relationship built on trust.  Jessica commented on the experience, saying, “We really felt like we had become invested in one another; it was more than a business and contractual agreement, it was a partnership.”


About the Author:

Helen began working at Sun Design in January of 2019, as our Sales and Marketing Assistant, and has since moved onto the role of Senior Marketing Coordinator.  As such, Helen creates and manages our social media content, and maintains the website.  At the same time, she coordinates all events for Sun Design (both internal and external) and executes them to meet our standards and vision.  Helen also assists the sales department by preparing custom presentations for all prospective client consultations.  This preliminary work gives our design consultants a better understanding of your needs and desires upfront, which enables them to be fully prepared to have in-depth conversations about your remodeling goals.

Helen previously worked as a teaching assistant at a Montessori school, assisting with school events and administration. As well, she was a tutor at Virginia International Academy, and taught English to boarding school students. Helen’s experience in teaching facilitated her strong communication skills, that now enable her to express and uphold Sun Design’s brand personality of truth, fun, charity, exceptional experience, and personal growth.”

Helen said, “I truly value honesty, thoughtfulness, and charity – without these I don’t know how any group or company can thrive, and fortunately these are the values that Sun Design shares!”  In her spare time, Helen enjoys going to breweries with her friends and family, meeting new people, and writing.

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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

Brendan Mahon



10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

Ashley Norman



I am a HUGE fan of Sun Design! The first time that we worked with them was over 15 years ago. We were ready to have a deck built, but not just any deck, and of course, Jeremy was the designer at that time and I remember how he went about designing it so that it looked like "part of the house" - It is beautiful. We recently refurbished it, and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

Patti Ahlstrom



SunDesign came up with a creative design for our screened-in porch that beautifully fits into our existing landscape. Project was executed on budget and their craftsmanship is superb. Their responsiveness to a warranty issue we had with the door was immediately addressed. We highly recommend SunDesign — their teams are awesome to work with.

Gisela Ulmschneider



We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

Jen Navarro



Maryam and Jeff from Sun Design home care department are great to work with. Maryam is very responsive and attentive to all my inquiries. Jeff is my to go guy whenever I need work or maintenance in my property, very professional and thorough with his work. I have been a satisfied customer for 2 years now.

Brigitte Siegall



Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

Susan Louis



I have been working with Sun Design for over 15 years. They are a great company to work with, very friendly and professional staff. They are very clean, responsive, respectful of your property and I have nothing but the great things to say about Sun Design.

Goran Zukic



This review is to introduce you to Sun Design services and to recommend them for your next project. We used Sun Design for a deck – sunroom redesign, and the end result exceeded our expectations. Sun Design is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates ideas to enhance projects, and thus Sun Design has my highest endorsement. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every aspect of the projects they do. They arrive on time and leave the place spotless when the work has been completed.

H. Milton Richardson

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Designing a Home to Grow with Your Family Jessica and Todd envisioned their dream home to be a place where their three children would grow up safely and family could all come together comfortably, and in style.