Posted August 13, 2018 by Giuliano Franchi

Before and After: A Kitchen and Living Room Makeover

Debby Newman’s kitchen and living room were stripped bare during a mold remediation. But with the help of a visionary contracting company, she got more than just a remodel: She got her dream space.

Few things make Debby happier than serving up freshly prepared meals to friends and family. But after a leak left her kitchen and living room ravaged by mold, entertaining — and even cooking for her own family — was out of the question. Not knowing what to do, Debby turned to Treeium to help revive her home. (And revive it they did.)

Big Problems

The mold began with a refrigerator leak. “I guess the water tube burst and it leaked behind the fridge, went right through the drywall, into the cabinets and into the living room — pretty much everywhere,” Debby said. Repairing the damage wasn’t an option, so Debby hired a remediation company to remove the affected portions of her home. While the mold was now gone, she was left with a partially demoed kitchen and living room. “It was manageable,” Debby said. “We made coffee in my office and ate out most of the time, but it certainly wasn’t livable for a long period of time. We needed help.”

Help Arrives

Debby was anything but passive during her search for a contractor. She consulted with friends, researched pros online and did a little digging into companies’ legal history. Her search turned up Treeium, a California-based remodeling company. “When Guy Borenstein from Treeium came in – and I think he had an assistant — I just had a good gut feeling,” Debby said. “He didn’t push me; I told him exactly what I wanted and what I needed because I was working with an insurance company. He was extremely patient and he listened.”

Getting the Look

When it came to designing her new kitchen and living room, Debby wasn’t sure what she wanted. But she knew what she didn’t want: The beige paint, dark cabinets and closed-in layout of the old kitchen created a gloomy, cramped space that wasn’t ideal for cooking or entertaining. Thankfully, Treeium was there to help. “Guy, my project manager was always there to talk about different ideas and how they would affect my space,” Debby said. “And when I had an idea about what I thought would work, I was able to go to the showroom and look at different options in person.”

Debby’s final design was centered around light, space and contrast. She chose white paint and porcelain flooring to open up the room and gray cabinets to provide a subtle-yet-stunning accent to the space. Additionally, Debby went with black quartz countertops to act as a contrasting anchor and give the new kitchen a pop of modernism. As a final detail, Debby opted for a new backsplash made from black and iridescent tiles.

But Debby’s vision wasn’t limited to her kitchen. Due to the mold remediation, the wall separating her living room and kitchen was taken down to the studs. “That was the wall that was rotten and moldy,” Debby said. “I decided to put cabinets up on the other wall and knock out the damaged area to have that open look. I wanted to extend the white paint and porcelain flooring into the living room as well.”

Comfort During Construction

Like many homeowners, Debby was nervous when it came to the actual demo and construction of her new kitchen and living room. “I had heard horror stories from friends,” Debby said. “But Treeium was different. They were here every day — they never missed a day. And they were so respectful. There wasn’t one time I had to call Guy to complain.”

The Treeium team was also helpful in cutting project costs. To save money, Debby purchased some of her materials. Fortunately, the Treeium team was available to help guide her decisions. “Before, I didn’t have an under-mount sink. My old sink sat on that tile and the lip would trap all kinds of dirt underneath it,” Debby said. “Guy and his team helped me choose the right size of the one I needed to fit my countertops. And they also helped me pick the garbage disposal. Guy said to get at least one horsepower, that way I can grind up even chicken bones.”

The Island

Debby’s kitchen is the gathering point of her home. So an updated island was one of the major must-haves of her renovation. “You know, you manage with what you have, but my old island was a serious pain,” Debby said. “There was nowhere to sit and the storage wasn’t what I needed.” For her new island, Debby chose an overhang that provided ample seating and a design that provided additional storage. “It’s so much easier to entertain in here now,” Debby said. “I have tons of seating and the storage allows me to keep stuff I don’t use very often, like baking decorations, out of the cabinets where I house my important items — it saves so much space.”

The pros at Treeium also helped Debby add some modern convenience to her kitchen island: “My old island didn’t have any outlets or anything,” she said. “So when I was designing the new island that was definitely something I wanted.” But Debby’s pros went one step further. Instead of installing normal outlets, they suggested adding USB chargers as well. “I never thought about it, but having those chargers built into the outlet was so convenient,” Debby said.

The Final Result

Debby loves her new space not just because it works for her, but because it works for friends and family too. “I’ve had holiday parties, birthday parties — I’ve had at least ten parties — and we did Thanksgiving here this year as well,” Debby said. “I just love it, and so do my guests. Everyone is so comfortable and the open floor plan makes it so easy to be together!”

But Treeium’s commitment to their customer wasn’t over once the work was. “The owner came out to see the project and even brought an arrangement of chocolates and wine,” Debby said. “They’re just nice. In addition to being incredibly efficient, they’re just great people too.”

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