Renovations in Hartland home focused on kitchen, bath with family in focus

Carl and MacKenzie Walter of Lexington had just begun enjoying their most recent home improvement project — renovation of their owners’ suite bathroom — when a house they’d been eyeing for years popped up in the new listings.

“When this opportunity presented itself, we knew it was the right move for our family,” MacKenzie recalls.

“We jumped on it,” Carl added; he and MacKenzie signed the purchase contract three weeks later.

Suddenly, life got crazier for MacKenzie, a claims attorney for a medical malpractice insurance company, and Carl, an attorney in private practice. Getting a 4,798-square-foot house ready to show with three preschoolers under foot presented a challenge.

Motivated by the prospect of living within 5-10 minutes of family, Carl’s law office and the children’s preschool, the couple attacked the task of getting their home at 2213 Bonhaven Road in Hartland on the market by the following week.

Both inside and outside, the Walters’ attention to detail with two major home improvement projects is evident. From the new landscaping that Carl put in shortly after the family moved and hardwood floors throughout most of the house to the updated kitchen and redesigned bathroom in the owners’ suite, the 4,798-square-foot house is a tasteful blend of classic and modern.

Carl praises his wife and her mother, Realtor Jan Mayes, for the results. “We agreed that we needed to focus on the main floor first. We wanted to integrate the kitchen with the dining area and family room, because this is where we spend most of our time as a family. But I give all the credit to MacKenzie and her mother. They did a great job,” he said.

The kitchen makeover began with white paint, and sleek brushed nickel hardware on the cabinetry. For the backsplash, MacKenzie, who was pregnant with the couple’s 2 ½ year old daughter at the time, chose glass subway tile in a bluish gray hue that softens hard lines and surfaces. White granite countertops with black, gray, and brown veining add to the light, airy feel. They also provide an easy-to-maintain surface for the new peninsula the couple created by removing most of a wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area and family room.

“This is where the kids eat their snacks and play and color while I’m cooking,” she said, pointing to three bar stools parked beneath the countertop’s overhang. “It’s so convenient.”

Another simple yet effective decision was to remove French doors between the dining area and family room, then widen the doorway. Even MacKenzie and Carl couldn’t have anticipated the dramatic results. “Now you can stand in the kitchen and see around the corner into the family room,” Carl said. “It really opened up this entire area.”

Vaulted ceilings balance the family room’s majestic two-story stone fireplace, while four sets of three windows provide a panoramic view of the backyard. “It’s so pretty back here,” Mackenzie said, referring to mature trees at the property line. “It’s what attracted us to the house in the first place.”

Small balconies on either side of the fireplace open the main floor to the second-floor hallway without compromising the quiet and privacy of the home’s four bedrooms. A playroom on the main floor keeps the children close. Generously sized windows, nine-foot ceilings and soothing pale neutral walls throughout mean nothing feels cramped or rushed.

MacKenzie also acted as general contractor for the recently completed renovation of the owners’ suite bathroom where again, a simple change radically improved its function.

“We had never used the (whirlpool) tub a single time in the three years we lived here,” she explained. “We didn’t need it. It was just collecting dust. So we took it out and put in a big shower.”

Painted wood trim flanks three tall, frameless mirrors above the double-bowl vanity and dressing table. Chrome lights and fixtures, white Carrera marble countertops and porcelain tile floors keep the room light and bright.

The spa-like ambiance spills into the adjoining bedroom, where a soothing shade of gray on the walls and beige carpeting create a quietly elegant ambiance. MacKenzie converted the adjoining sitting room with balcony to an office that overlooks the family room below.

Four-and-a-half year-old twins Max and Henry share a bedroom down the hall. Carefully chosen accessories — a rope-and-fabric rescue buoy, wooden boat oars and colorful sailing pennants draped above the boys’ twin beds — play off pale gray walls.

Pink walls, floral motif bed linens and white drapes and furnishings are the epitome of femininity in two-and-a-half-year-old Anne Blair’s room next door. Pale green walls and crisp white decorative accents make the guest room across the hall fresh and inviting.

With a play room, a recreation room, a family room, a bedroom and a half-bath, the Walters’ walkout basement offers more space for the family to relax and play.

Throw in the things money can’t buy — friendships, play dates, memories made at the pool and playground — and MacKenzie gets choked up as she thinks about leaving.

“We’ve loved every minute of our time here,” she said. “We have made a lot of amazing friends. Hartland will always have a special place in our hearts.”

This week’s feature home is listed with Realtor Jan Mayes of United Real Estate Lexington.