Words by Christy Remmick Photography by Emily Remmick If you watched the MTV Video Movie Awards last year, shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, or have attended a Pride of…
Words by Christy Remmick
Photography by Emily Remmick
If you watched the MTV Video Movie Awards last year, shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, or have attended a Pride of Dakota or other craft shows in North Dakota, you may have seen my work. My name is Christy Remmick and I design and manufacture custom bags with my company Rilos & MiMi. Taking a break from designing bags and working with fabrics, I decided to accept a new challenge and design and manage a complete first- floor remodel of my home. Having moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake, N.D. amidst a slow real estate market, our new home had plenty of potential projects. We started in January this year and gave ourselves only three months to complete the remodel, just in time for Easter dinner.
Background of the House
Our family moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake in 2011 and at the time there was a huge housing shortage due to several long-term construction products going on. We had three months to sell our house in Grand Forks and find a new place in Devils Lake. We knew our biggest challenge was going to be having enough space for our family, which included three kids under the age of five along with my husband and myself.
The house we purchased was built in the 70s and is a split level that had been remodeled several times in several different areas. It had the space we needed but was dark, dated, boxed up, and full of shag carpet- even in the dining room.
The original kitchen of the house was tiny, only 77 square feet (7’ by 11’) and closed off with cabinets. It had porcelain, tile counter tops and porcelain, tile floors that were chipping away with a 1970s oven that was roughly the size of a camper oven. There was a huge, stone fireplace dividing the kitchen and the living room. The tones of the room were dark green, brown, maroon, and mustard with minimal lighting.
Because we moved into the house so quickly there was no time to do any work on it before we moved in. The house needed so much work, so we had to do it in phases, carefully planning the order we completed projects. Unfortunately, the way we had to complete the house made the main floor with kitchen, living room, and master suite last on our list. The house only has a very small, single stall garage so we added a garage to one side and converted the only garage into the entryway with a wet bar which would be used as our kitchen during our main floor remodel. Next, we had to remodel our basement to include three bedrooms that we all stayed in during the main floor remodel. After six years I was finally ready to remodel the top floor. Having to wait to remodel the kitchen gave me plenty of time to think about what I really wanted in terms of layout and function.
I drew up the layout of the first floor on a piece of notebook paper and gave it to architect, Scott Meland of Meland Architects to make into building drawings.
The details of the plans were brought to Wood Specialists in Fargo, N.D. and certified kitchen designer, Beth Kemmer helped bring them to life. I loved working with Beth, she had the most amazing ideas to make my ideas even better. I went in there thinking I knew exactly what I wanted and she proved me wrong. She got everything I wanted to fit in my kitchen including a 48” range. She had ideas for adding more details like putting shiplap on the back of the island. We also used the same rustic Maple with Cumin stain for the floating shelves in the kitchen and breakfast bar, and then carried them over to the living room mantel and bathroom vanity, makeup counter and linen built-in.
The goal was to make the first floor bright and welcoming. I wanted it to be livable and practical. I spend a lot of time with my kids because I have such a flexible work schedule owning my own business. We are often cooking, baking, doing crafts or playing games together. I wanted it to be a neutral pallet to be able to change out décor colors easily, allowing it to grow with our family.
I knew I wanted a completely open floor plan so for easy flow, we used the same flooring throughout the whole first floor. The old living room was so long and narrow that the built-ins along the back wall became perfect for bringing the space together.
The long island provides a great division to the two rooms and gives us a lot of space for homework and also hosting holiday dinners.
The breakfast/coffee bar was a must for me. With family members living out of town, we have lots of company on the weekends and I wanted a place for everyone to get coffee and breakfast without coming into the kitchen.
The command center area was Beth at Wood Specialists’ idea and is a great addition for our family calendar, papers, and charging station.
We moved the master bedroom to the back of our house and left a small office/bedroom where our old bedroom was. We didn’t want to move plumbing too much or replace or add any new windows which made for some strategic planning to get everything we wanted to fit.
Kitchen Design – Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists
Countertops – LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists
Cabinetry – Perimeter: Alabaster, Island: Gravel Grey, stain: Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists
Meet the Kitchen Designer
Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC
” I discovered Rilos & Mimi at an area craft show last fall and I purchased some bags as Christmas gifts for my teen daughter. When Christy was referred to me to help her design her cabinetry for her remodel, I didn’t put two and two together until we met in person to work on her project. What a small world – Rilos & Mimi bags are so fun, creative and functional!”
“For the start of her project, Christy came in with an initial kitchen layout. After visiting with her and going over a wish list, I suggested rotating the island so that it could be longer. By making the island longer, we could have the sink and dishwasher on the island, along with a seating area for three at the end by the coffee bar. We were then able to fit in the 48” range which was at the top of Christy’s wish list. They cook for large groups and the added oven and burner space would definitely be put to good use. The coffee bar area was originally planned to be very shallow to allow for a dining table. We relocated the dining table to sit up against the back of the island to create sort of a “bridge” between the kitchen and living spaces.”
“By moving the dining table we were also able to design the coffee bar to be standard depth and be much wider to accommodate large gatherings. We added some “bells & whistles” to really make this kitchen functional, such as a Magic Corner in the blind corner base cabinetry, a dish drawer organizer and two pull out base pantry organizers on either side of the range for spices and cooking oils. I knew the addition of the command center cabinet next to the refrigerator would come in handy for a busy family and would help to keep papers and other daily items tucked away. The open shelving in the corner and above the coffee bar added some interest and areas where Christy could display some items. She has such a fun sense of design and was so organized which made her project move quickly.”
Mastering the Details
The new master suite is now L-shaped with our new master closet in the back half of our old bedroom with a window in it. We walk past the custom built vanity with sink on one side and carefully planned makeup station on the side. For our vanity, It’s all about the details with outlets to plug in toothbrushes in the cabinets and a drawer with outlets for hair dryers and curling irons.
Turning right at the vanity takes you to the water closet on the right side and built-in linens cabinet on the left side. I love the look of open shelving with bath decor but I also knew there are some things I don’t want everyone to see, and this cabinet is a perfect combination. Going past the linen closet and water closet is a fully tiled, walk-in shower and bathtub room that is like a dream.
I still have a hard time believing this space is mine. Since the completion of the remodel, I have been able to do things that I was not able to do in our old first floor, such as watch my children play in the living room as I am cleaning up from supper, and bake pies with all three kids in the kitchen at the same time. I feel so lucky to be able to create my dream home in Devils Lake, N.D.
Bathroom design – Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists
Vanity countertop – LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists
Cabinetry – Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists
About Rilos + Mimi
The name Rilos + MiMi comes from nicknames for my identical twin daughters Riley and Emersyn. These names were given to them by their big brother Hunter. The company has been around since 2012, designing and manufacturing travel bags and other accessories that are sold online on Etsy and Amazon and are also available in over 45 retail shops throughout the country. Beyond designing bags for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards, I have also designed custom diaper clutches for the past three years for Intermountain Health Care in Utah, given as gifts to new parents. My company is currently working on 600 bags for the National Jewish Health Annual Gala in December and 450 custom designed, resort bags for the Elegant Hotel Group based in Florida.
Beth A Kemmer CKD, CLC
3221 4th Ave S, Fargo, N.D.
Becker + Deckert Construction
Rilos & MiMi