Before + After: Matthews newlyweds transform galley kitchen into group gathering space



Newly married and looking for their first home to purchase, Katie Sargent and her husband Dan found a home in Matthews' Coachman Ridge. Set upon a steep slope that Katie says was "deemed unusable," the home was sold to the couple in April 2017. The property was awarded zero value, but Katie, an interior designer, and Dan, a landscape architect, knew this home was "the one" as soon as they saw it.

Seeing the potential in what they now call "The Treehouse," the two set out to work on transforming the entire house into what they had envisioned. Once they had cleared away some greenery and created livable outdoor space, the home's interior living area made it clear why such a nickname was chosen. Perched upon a hill, the home is high among the trees, with gorgeous green views from every first-floor window. However, the inside still needed work.

Katie, owner of boutique design studio Hunt Design Co., knew that she wanted the home to be a gathering place for friends and family. But that would be tough with the original floor plan.

"The house originally had a very small galley kitchen," Katie says. "It divided the kitchen and dining room with a single wall, and the dining room was double the size of the kitchen. With the open-floor concept booming right now, we know that wall had to come down."

The wall happened to be load-bearing, but that didn't stop the Sargents. The two did "99 percent of the work" themselves according to Katie, which included lifting a 1,200-pound steel beam into the ceiling on a Monday morning to alleviate the weight the wall once bore.

With the wall gone, the kitchen was able to take square footage from the overscaled dining room, opening up the space. From there, the details started coming together and the couple navigated their personal style. "This is the first home we’ve purchased, the first space we've both—as designers—had to explore what we really like and hone in on what our style really is. The way I describe it, [our style is] more of an eclectic, modern, classic kind of look, but I still love incorporating vintage pieces and using formal historic references in my spaces as well."

In addition to removing the wall, the other big change the Sargents made to the space was the implementation of a pantry. 

The house had no pantry because it was built in the '80s. The project was "literally left to the very end," Katie says, because they thought it'd be the hardest. "The demographic we’re building this house for, we’re picturing a family with kids. So, it made sense to incorporate that feature. We modified the cabinets to give it more of a built-in look... It completed the entire kitchen."

The renovation was done just in time, too—the Saturday just before the Sargents' holiday guests arrived—almost an exact year from the time the renovation was started.

"This was our first Christmas hosting both of our parents and our siblings and their wives—the first time having a large group in our house," Katie says. "To see it all come full-circle and have them in the space and enjoy it was really special."

See the before-and-after images below:










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Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Charlotte at Home explores the foundations, designs, and details of spaces in and around the Queen City. Style and furniture, porches and plants, urban chic and country casual — you’ll find it here, just swing on by.

About Alyssa Ruane 
Alyssa Ruane is a freelance lifestyle and fashion writer based in Charlotte, NC, though she'll always be a Florida girl at heart. She loves playing soccer and volleyball, and she’s a stickler for clean kitchens. When not writing, she can be found at a brewery, on Twitter (@alyssaruane), or on Twitter at a brewery.




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