Project Spotlight: The Uhlenbrock Home

The original kitchen.

The 1920s Arts & Crafts style home of Justine and Nathan Uhlenbrock has charm to spare. The previous owners had lovingly cared for it for 60 years, but the house needed some updates.

When the Uhlenbrocks bought it in November 2016, they wanted to modernize the kitchen and make other improvements before moving in with their two children. Their realtor recommended they speak with Custom.

“Custom was the first place we called,” Justine says. “[General manager] Scott Blain had such a great vision of what could be achieved and really listened to what we wanted. We knew right away we wanted to work with them.”

Focusing on the Kitchen and Dining Room

Following a walkthrough of the home and a conversation with the Uhlenbrocks, Scott recommended that the couple focus their budget on improving the kitchen and dining room.

The scope of work eventually included:

  • Fully renovating and reconfiguring the entire kitchen space
  • Removing the front-foyer closet opening into the kitchen
  • Removing the undersized half bath
  • Removing a china cabinet and wall partition to open up the kitchen into the dining room
  • Making renovations to the dining room, including installing new recessed lighting and a new plaster ceiling

“A lot of the work had to do with improving functionality and safety while also honoring the historic appeal,” Justine says.

The dining room was originally separate from the kitchen.

The work in the kitchen was extensive. Out came cabinets, flooring and a window. In went new cabinets and appliances, an island and a pantry. A new structural beam was put in, and a pipe was moved to the edge of the room to free up space for more cabinets.

The new open floor plan.

Custom kitchen and bath designer Nicki DeFelice was a big help throughout, working with the Uhlenbrocks on the kitchen layout and providing fresh ideas for placement of cabinets and drawers.

The Uhlenbrocks also appreciated the efforts of lead carpenter Terry Tighe, especially his carpentry and cabinet installation. “He did such a nice job,” Justine says. “We get compliments on his work all the time.”

Worth the Wait

The couple was impressed with project manager Craig Lielasus’ patience, willingness to answer their many questions and ability to stay on schedule despite a few unavoidable setbacks. After about four months of construction, the Uhlenbrock family moved in to their new home in May 2017. Waiting for the project to be completed was well worth the inconvenience.

“We spend so much time in the kitchen, between Nathan and me cooking and the kids doing their homework,” Justine says. “It feels so relaxed in there now. It’s such a usable space. The pantry, too — it’s a great place where I can put everything from the kids’ homework and cat food to my printer and computer.

“Overall, it feels much more natural to move from one place to the next. The details are so well thought through. It’s a space that I can show off, and I’m really proud of it.”

The new pantry has shelving on both sides for storage.