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Before and After: These Delaware Homes Gain a Modern New Look

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Photo courtesy of Yorklyn Home

After a complete gut renovation, Yorklyn Home gives a Delaware kitchen and bathroom a modern look with increased flow and functionality.

Like the Chip and Joanna Gaines of Delaware, husband-and-wife team Heather and JJ Wicks of Yorklyn Home love breathing new life into home projects. The custom builders offer everything from one-of-a-kind carpentry to full scale renovations and builds. Recently, the couple flipped two homes—one in Wilmington, the other in Lewes—giving them renewed life and beauty.

An Earthy and Modern Master Bathroom

Not touched in years, the master bathroom of this North Wilmington Colonial was cramped and “in disarray,” recalls Heather. Slowly leaking plumbing had left the floor rotted and it was clear the space needed to be gutted. Ripping up and replacing the subfloor was the first step. Next was finding a way to make the small space functional and beautiful. “We had a vision for this to be more modern and up to date, but unique,” explains Heather.

They replaced the old flooring with hexagon porcelain tiles from the Tile Shop in Wilmington. A custom-built floating vanity is pleasing to the eye and appears to enlarge the room, while adding storage. Made from reclaimed cypress and wormy chestnut woods, it’s topped with soapstone. “As much as we can, we like to reclaim and reuse things that we find or salvage,” says Heather, noting the soapstone was from a previous project.

Topped with a raised sink trimmed in black—reminiscent of enamel kitchenware—and a black faucet, the colors blend with the black-finished light fixture above. A gold-trimmed mirror replaced an old school medicine cabinet, its edges complementing the gold Anthropologie hardware on the vanity.

The vanity’s beauty belies its affordable aspects. Both the sink and faucet came from Amazon, and the mirror was found at HomeGoods. “Not everyone can afford all the high-end finishes, but they still want a beautiful product,” says Heather. “You can find things like that as long as you’re willing to search.”

The shower also got an upgrade, including an additional foot of space. White tiles were replaced with large glass subway ones in dark green. Accented by a hexagon penny tile, it repeats the geometric shape from the floor. “It just gave a very earthy natural feel,” says Heather.

To jazz up the walls and hide imperfections, the couple opted for floor-to-ceiling white board and batten around the vanity. The remaining walls were painted gray, pulling the entire room together. “It’s amazing what paint and a little wall treatment will do,” says Heather—and some creative thinking.

Photo courtesy of Yorklyn Home

A Light and Bright Kitchen

With little natural light, a narrow design and dark cabinetry, this Lewes kitchen was not only in disrepair, but felt extremely dated. Wanting to make it a gathering space, enlarging the kitchen without compromising its historic charm—the home was built in 1915—was top of Heather and JJ’s list.

Before, a poorly placed refrigerator stuck out. Partially walled off, the couple opened the space up so it flowed better with the dining and living rooms. A wall of hutch-like cabinets was an imposing feature previously. Taking them down helped open the space. Because they were in good shape, “JJ worked his magic” on them, says Heather, repurposing base cabinets to create a long custom island. The refrigerator was moved into the space formerly occupied by the hutch and recessed—thanks to borrowed space from a closet—so that it was flush with the design.

Several glass-fronted hutch cabinets were also repurposed above the sink. Because everything matched, it “would seem like it was always meant to be, like that island was always there,” says JJ, noting they added furniture legs and trim for an updated look. For a touch of warmth, the island was topped with walnut, which was mirrored in the custom vent hood.

The cabinetry was finished in a soft blue “to keep that light, seaside feeling,” says Heather. A white quartz countertop from Ancient Art Stone in Milford and a tile backsplash from Avalon Flooring in Wilmington completed the look. “It was extremely vintage looking,” says Heather of the tiles. “It was distressed on the edges of every square so it just looked like it maybe could have been there years ago.”

Something that was there years ago was the oak wood floor, buried under tile and two layers of linoleum. Still in great condition, they restored and stained it with a natural finish.

Topping the island is two mercury glass pendant lights from HomeGoods. “[They] add ambiance lighting and I consider them to be jewelry in the house,” says Heather. Stainless steel appliances and an apron sink give the kitchen a bit of a modern edge and plenty of functionality, so that it truly is suitable for a family and life at the beach.