It’s in the Process: Collaboration Takes a Vision Further

Posted on: September 23, 2020

Entering a New Stage in Life

Rex and Patti had been living in their Fairfax County home for the past sixteen years before it became time to acknowledge the lifestyle changes that their family was both experiencing and predicting.  Both are working professionals with three children, some of whom were off to college, while one was married.  They were looking forward to the prospect of a growing family and anticipating the blessing of grandchildren down the road.  These exciting new realities are what finally provoked them to ask more from the home that they loved but would not be able to live up to their vision.  They desired their home to be a place where family could all gather together without feeling cramped or inconvenient.

Gain Understanding

The Lead Designer on Rex and Patti’s project was Ericka Williams, confirming that, “Patti and Rex wanted to bring the family together by opening their space to allow for more gathering opportunities.” 

There were multiple factors to consider in order to achieve this goal.  The main one being that Patti and Rex no longer liked the way the house functioned.  For example, both the laundry room and family room were narrow and dark.  This made doing housework more tedious and limited their family connectivity.  Further, though the kitchen did serve its purpose, it did nothing to cultivate the environment that Patti and Rex desired.  They wanted it to be the “heart of the home” and needed these central spaces to be connected.

Another issue that Patti and Rex needed to address was their stressful morning routine, particularly their master closet.  There was an idea to use one of the vacant bedrooms for a closet, but this ultimately didn’t make sense for property value. So, alternatively their existing closets were reconfigured to fit their individual needs and provide organized storage space to allow their morning routine to be enjoyable.

Developing the Plan

One particularly tricky area of the remodel centered around a beam that ran across the center of the home.  Ericka wanted to create a flushed ceiling, and install floor to ceiling cabinets, to create alternative storage spaces.  This part was a challenge because of the effect on the pipes, but ultimately the piping and structure was reworked to allow for the flush beam.

When asked how we were able to design spaces that addressed each of these issues, Lead Designer, Ericka Williams said, “In the kitchen we created an unorthodox pantry, that was open and used cabinets. It gave Rex his coffee bar and incorporated a built-in blender for the ultimate morning beverage center!”  Further, when discussing the changes to the kitchen and laundry areas she commented, “In order to reinvent the kitchen to cultivate the environment, the small office space had to be designated elsewhere – aka the laundry room. We also made sure to provide plenty of natural light for the new laundry room, thereby, making tasks more enjoyable.”


Bob Gallagher, Sun Design President & Co-Owner and consultant on this project said that, “They (Patti and Rex) had particular things, inefficiencies in their house, that we took from okay to awesome. We hit each pain point, family room, kitchen, laundry room, closet, bar, and Rex’s office by designing one room at a time. Everything we designed, Patti and Rex collaborated with, and together we took each idea further.”

Ericka and Bob were able to work with Rex and Patti to pull a string through their vision, our designs, and the true goal of the remodel.  At Sun Design, we are able to provide these life-changing designs because of our unique process.  Our process is broken down into phases, and each phase centers around really getting to know our client. So, that after the completion of each phase, and finding out what the client’s true needs and desires are, we have a full and holistic understanding of what is ultimately driving each project.  Bob continued to say, “I think they really wanted someone they could trust and would take care of their home and their family. They wanted a high-level design that was done responsibly, to transform their home to enhance family connectivity. We made changes that were of value to them – and I believe that this is key to what we supply for anyone. 

The result was a more connected home that Patti and Rex are able to thrive in as they enter a new and exciting chapter of their lives!

About the Author:

Helen began working at Sun Design in January of 2019, as our Sales and Marketing Assistant.  She assists both the Sales and Marketing departments in everyday tasks and strives to support both teams to be successful.  She coordinates our events and executes them to meet Sun’s standards and vision, creates marketing materials, and generates content through blogs and articles in collaboration with the Marketing team.  Helen also assists our Director of First Impressions in her work, by keeping in touch with interested clients and helping our Design Consultants prepare for their meetings, as well as speaking with clients in order to understand how we can best help them achieve their remodeling goals.

Helen previously worked as a teaching assistant at a Montessori school, assisting with school events and administration. As well, she was a tutor at Virginia International Academy, and taught English to boarding school students.  Helen’s experience teaching has prepared her to work well with other’s and helped to develop communication skills that she utilizes everyday with our clients.

Helen said, “I truly value honesty, thoughtfulness, and charity – without these I don’t know how any group or company can thrive, and fortunately these are the values that Sun Design shares!”  In her spare time, Helen enjoys going to breweries with her friends and family, meeting new people, and writing.

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