Annarya Design was approached by a pair of empty nesters, ready for a major remodel on their ranch-style home in Geneva, IL—just west of Chicago. On the docket was upgrading the kitchen, dining room, office, mudroom, powder room, family room, and the laundry/pantry. With a little clever space planning (like borrowing square footage from the sunroom at the back of the house to make the kitchen larger) and focusing on their request for a bright, California vibe—we’d say it was a success. Now, it’s classic, yet updated, and feels like home for the couple and their loved ones. 

Over email, owner Jen Cherian and Senior Designer Anna Morello tell us more. 

Tell us about this home. Where is it located, and did the setting influence your design plan?
The home is a 1980s ranch located in Geneva, IL, a suburb west of Chicago. The home and neighborhood are surrounded by trees and lush greenery with a lovely view out to the backyard. We incorporated large windows into the remodel to maximize the light coming in and keep the views unobstructed at the back of the house because the front is right off a busy road. 

We’d love to know a bit about the clients. Who lives here, and what were their renovation goals?
Our clients are a husband and wife who are empty nesters. They are fixtures in the local community and are very involved in the goings-on of the town. The wife has a very chic sense of personal style and while growing up and mainly living in the Midwest, she gravitates towards a lighter, brighter more California design style. Her husband takes an interest in history and politics and has a fondness for old things. He has a collection of vintage and antique furniture pieces that he has saved off the side of the road through various points in his life and she has some family heirloom pieces that we did our best to incorporate. 

The clients saved up for this remodel for several years so this was extra special for them to be able renovate to create a space where they could entertain locals from the community as well as children, grandchildren and family. 

A narrow alcove in the kitchen became a tall pantry pull-out, the walk-in pantry now houses a stacked washer and  dryer which is enclosed in a cabinet to hide away when not in use, and a narrow hallway became the perfect space for a desk and landing zone area. Another important element for the clients was the wall of built-in shelves in the family room which was given to them by her parents. She wanted to keep the shelves since they had such sentimental value, so we gave them a fresh coat of paint (Farrow & Ball Railings) to tie them in with the new design. We created a two-way plaster fireplace between the dining and family rooms to help keep the main spaces of the home connected without separating them with walls. 

Did this project have any challenges?
This project did have its own set of challenges as any project does. In the intial design we planned to raise the ceilings in the kitchen and dining room space from 8’ to 10’ and keep them all flat. We found out after demo and some further inspection that it wasn’t going to be possible to raise the ceiling over the kitchen space, and we worried the space would start to feel too closed in with the low ceiling height. After many on site discussions with our contractor and architect, we figured out a way to pitch the ceiling over the dining room to give us extra height there. We decided to add wood to that ceiling and the reclaimed beam to really warm up that space and the rest is history! That ceiling might be one of our favorite details on the project, and it wasn’t even originally planned.

How long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space?
The project started March of 2022 and wrapped up in December of 2022. Our clients were very involved with every detail of the design process and were grateful to finally have a space that met all their needs.