Taylor and Will Uttley were thrilled to buy their 1931 Colonial two years ago. The Arlington Heights home sat on a large lot and had plenty of charm, including much of its original natural woodwork and details. But the new owners knew it would need a lot of work.
Soon after moving in, the Uttleys began speaking with general contractors in the area. Custom stood out from the rest. As Taylor explains, our can-do attitude played a major role in their decision.
“When we shared our vision, a lot of the contractors said, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,'” she notes. “Custom showed that they wanted to work with us and help us get what we were looking for.”
Improving the Flow
The Uttleys vividly recall the many shortcomings they wanted the renovation to address. Poor flow throughout the first floor. A living room that was too narrow and was cut off from the kitchen. A severely outdated kitchen with minimal cabinet space and a door in the middle that opened into the backyard. A half bathroom located at the end of a short, dark hallway.
One of our top priorities was to improve overall flow, which was achieved largely by taking down a long wall to open up the living room, kitchen and entry foyer. We also removed the half bathroom (adding a new one in the first-floor office) and created a new back entryway through the mudroom to replace the old one off the kitchen.
“The whole flow of the house works a lot better,” Will says. “Now you walk from the foyer into the living room and then see the living room opening into the kitchen, with a peninsula separating the two with seating.”
“Everything just makes more sense,” Taylor adds.
Keeping the Charm Intact
As a couple that loves cooking and entertaining, the Uttleys have really enjoyed their newly remodeled home. But it’s not just the modern floorplan that excites them; it’s also what Custom did to preserve the home’s character.
“When we bought it, the house had some gorgeous woodwork that had never been painted,” Taylor says. “We wanted to keep as much of that as possible, and Custom did an amazing job of making that happen. Despite all of these changes — removing a large wall, completely updating the kitchen, redoing much of the plumbing and electrical on the first floor — they managed to keep the charm of the house intact.”
For his part, Will was particularly impressed with our ability to develop and stick to a comprehensive project timeline.
“The timeline they handed us before the project began was very impressive,” he offers. “It specified, from start to finish, how long each step would take and exactly when things like flooring, electrical and plumbing would come in. And Custom hit on just about all of those dates over a four-month span.
“To have that level of detail and be so spot-on was very impressive. That in itself is why we chose Custom again.”
To his latter point, we did some substantial work on the house’s exterior last summer. As for their future remodeling needs, the Uttleys know exactly where they’ll be turning.
“We feel like we have a partner in Custom, that they have our best interests at heart,” Taylor says. “They’re really vested in making sure we can do what we want to do with our home, and they care about the quality of the work.”