Design Trends

Creative Design Build in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area

When a space has a poor layout with little functionality and no style it’s just a wasted space.

  • Do you feel like there is nothing inspiring about an existing space in your home?
  • Are you using all of the space in your home to its full potential?
  • Do you have a space with limited functionality?

Judith’s new home was no exception and her problem was the basement.  For many of us who grew up in the Bethesda area, basements are a dark, unlived in space. However, Judith loved the raw feeling of her basement and that was all it took to get this creative design started. She envisioned a large space open for entertaining but still functional for storage and laundry. The pièce de résistance of her vision was an outhouse. You read that right, an outhouse!

Before she even finished unpacking, Judith contacted our team at Merrick Design and Build. She had heard things from her daughter who had trusted us with her own home repeatedly in the past. Judith had a vision and a gut feeling that Merrick would be the perfect design build firm to execute it.

Designer, Peggy Card, was equally excited about Judith’s plan. “Opportunities to design outside the box are always exciting in this industry,” said Peggy.  The outhouse quickly became the focal point of the rustic entertainment design theme. The vintage element would tie into the existing work benches, that were hand crafted by the previous owner, and the open joist ceiling that Judith already loved about the space.

Once the design was mapped out, our carpenter, Joe Dougher, was brought into man the project. The new basement would have an open floor plan that would be broken out into four main areas; a media space, bar, laundry area and storage.

Reclaimed barn wood was sourced to really bring the vision to life. One of Judith’s beloved work benches was blocking the electrical panel and unfortunately had to be removed. Joe, however, took this as an opportunity. He now had even more reclaimed lumber to work with! He built a new folding table, floating shelf and wash basin for the laundry area. This saved on material costs and enhanced the rustic feel even further. He even used scrap pieces to make a custom tissue holder for the outhouse.

Additional rustic elements were incorporated to really bring the theme together. A porcelain laundry sink from Kohler was added in the new, more compact, laundry area. Industrial pendant lights were hung throughout the space to tie all the different areas in the basement together. Color, however, was the true unifying force. Since the primary focus of the space would be entertaining and media, the color selection necessitated a bold night club feel.

The stairs were painted a high gloss black to set the mood as you descend into the basement. The original cinder block walls were left exposed and the mint green paint was buffed smooth. This process created an aged look that further enhanced the rustic feel. The paneled walls defining the media area were painted a bold red to bring in a “movie theater” element. The ceiling needed to complement both spaces and was sprayed a gunmetal gray to blend all the mechanics together. The floor is the real pop. Painted a bright red-orange, it livens up the spaces bringing in that warm happy feeling that Judith radiates naturally.

Judith was so pleased with the process of working with Merrick Design and Build that she has already contracted us for a kitchen addition on her new home that is scheduled to start late this February. “Designing and creating my remodeled space with Merrick Design and Build was fun and rewarding from start to finish and I so enjoy the outstanding results,” said Judith. Just as pleased with the final outcome as Judith, Peggy entered the project into the annual Contractor of the Year, CotY, awards for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, NARI, Metro D.C. Chapter.

The annual gala was held this past weekend, Saturday January 17th, at the Hilton in Alexandria, VA. The gala is always packed with the area’s best remodeling experts all waiting to find out if their projects will be acknowledged. This year Judith’s was applauded! Winning a Grand Award for Creative Solutions. We are looking forward to bringing home another CotY in 2016, this time for Judith’s Kitchen!

To see the full project please visit Judith’s page on our website. To make the most of your unused spaces, contact Merrick today, 301-946-2356, for a free in home consultation.

by, Addie Merrick-Phang
Director of Administration
Merrick Design and Build Inc. 



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