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Lessons Learned
By Tracy Dickinson | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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This West Des Moines renovation benefitted from years of experience.

With numerous home renovations over the past few years, Ryan Wiederstein knows a thing or two about a successful project. So when it came time to renovate his own home, he put all those lessons to use—like choosing the right design partner, using the right materials, and, perhaps most important, having the right attitude.

Though the house was built in the late ’90s, the Wiedersteins found the kitchen small and poorly laid out, especially considering the size of the home.

“Everything else about the floor plan was pretty open, but the kitchen was closed off and cramped,” he says. “We knew when we bought it we’d have to redo the kitchen.”

So after their offer on the home was accepted, Ryan and his wife, Reyna, started putting his renovation expertise to work. In fact, they had the Dumpster in the driveway the day they closed the sale and ready to go.

The right design partner

Having worked with the company before, Ryan knew he wanted Beisser Lumber’s kitchen design team to help them create the perfect space.

“We’ve done projects for Ryan many times,” says Barb Hyde, a designer at Beisser. “He’s very good at communicating what he’s looking for, which makes it easy for us to create the right design and recommend materials and finishes.”

One feature in particular proved to be a unique challenge.

“The original island was very small because the kitchen was so small,” Reyna says. “We wanted the new one to be bigger with plenty of room to work and space for dining, too.”

To create the additional space, Ryan decided to rework some of the other spaces on the main level. The original half bath and a pantry were removed so the kitchen could be extended another four feet. And the first-floor laundry became a spacious new bathroom for the owners.

“That extra four feet made a huge difference,” Ryan says. “We may have lost a little bit of storage by eliminating the pantry, but we gained work space. And the island gives us a ton of storage, too.”

The right materials

The Wiedersteins knew they wanted white cabinets. They wanted the island to provide some contrast, so they planned to use a black finish there. But Hyde suggested going a touch lighter, and that set the tone for the rest of the room.

“Barb recommended this charcoal finish instead of black,” Reyna says.

“With the marshmallow-white backdrop from the rest of the cabinets, it just works beautifully. And grays are very popular,” Barb adds.

Reyna wanted the kitchen to have a clean, almost Shaker-style look but with a more feminine style. The simple cabinet trim adds that touch of detailing, as do the Moroccan-inspired white tile with gray grout and the custom mosaic above the stove.

Other design elements, such as the undercounter microwave and warming drawer as well as a prep sink in the island, a pot faucet above the stove, and espresso-stained oak floors with a matte finish, not only add to the beauty of the new kitchen but offer convenience and easy maintenance.

The right attitude

Most homeowners don’t make a career out of renovating their homes. Through his company WB Listings, Ryan renovates and sells properties for a living. So he and Reyna started their own remodel with the right attitude, and it made the project much easier to deal with.

“We started right away and even ordered the cabinets before we closed. But you have to make decisions as they come and be flexible, and then it all comes together,” he says.

Their gorgeous kitchen island is proof of that.

Hyde had designed the island large enough to meet the Wiedersteins’ work and dining needs. Cutouts at two corners make traffic flow easier. This design turned out to be the key to finding the right countertop material.

“We chose quartz countertops for the kitchen because we wanted the low maintenance and the beauty,” Reyna explains. “But when we went to get countertops for the island, we found out you couldn’t get quartz in pieces that large.”

Asked why they ended up choosing marble, Reyna laughs, “Because it fit.”

Ryan adds, “We were out trying to figure out what to do instead of the quartz, and we found this huge piece of marble with one corner broken off. It was perfect.”

The Wiedersteins bought their home in January and began renovating the day they closed the sale. In addition to the kitchen renovation, they replaced the floors on the main level and updated all the bathrooms in the home. They also moved the laundry room to the lower level to accommodate the larger kitchen layout.

“We’re still finishing up some of the rooms,” Ryan says. “But we moved in in April, after the major work was done. The finishing touches are still coming together.”

That’s one of the lessons he learned with all those previous renovation projects: The right attitude makes any project easier. And with the right design partner and materials, you end up with a home that’s even better than you imagined.


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