Home Improvement : Remodel : Expanding the Comforts of Home : A growing family redesigns kitchen, builds new bathroom, adds a closet, spa tub


Richard and Ann Simpson are both optometrists, the working parents of Holly, 10, and Kevin, 5.

Holly is at the age when she wanted a private bathroom; her parents wanted a master bathroom with a walk-in closet and a separate shower and spa tub.

Although it had nearly 2,200 square feet of living area, their four-bedroom house in the San Bernardino County community of Upland, north of Ontario, was getting a little cramped. The kitchen was too small, with a poor traffic pattern, and it lacked a breakfast nook.

The dining room was small and it was part of the living room. Storage was inadequate and there was no handy access to the attic area, an untapped source of storage space.


In an effort to improve the layout of the house, the Simpsons contacted James A. Dieckmeyer of Dieckmeyer Enterprises Inc., Upland. Dieckmeyer is not only a remodeler, he’s also a student of family behavior. He has to be, since he deals so closely with the families whose homes he alters. He also understands that needs change as children arrive and grow older.

“All newlyweds need are a sleeping bag and a frying pan,” Dieckmeyer explained on a tour of the Simpson’s remodeled house. “When the children start coming, the house layout is altered, even if it isn’t changed physically. The need for privacy changes the traffic patterns of the bathroom, for instance.”

The Simpsons and Dieckmeyer decided that extensions of the house were needed on both the east side, for the living room, dining room and kitchen, and on the west side, for a new master bath/closet combination. In all, 549 square feet were added to the home.

A 10-by-36-foot extension on the east side of the house provides space for an enlarged kitchen featuring a sink on the new east wall--with a greenhouse window affording views of the San Gabriel Mountains just behind the house--a breakfast area, and a revamped dining room/living room.


The cathedral ceiling that extended from the living room through the dining room was eliminated in favor of a coffered ceiling. The dining room is now big enough to accommodate Holly’s piano.

The entry hall was reorganized, with a new wall providing separation from the dining room, living room and kitchen.

Kitchen Redesign

The range in the kitchen was replaced with a West German Andi gas/electric cook top with a grill unit and a down-draft ventilator. The cook top is on the counter facing north, with a view of the family room, breakfast nook and Mt. Baldy through the patio doors.

The refrigerator faces south, opposite the cooking area, providing an ideally triangulated kitchen big enough for three people to work in, Dieckmeyer said.

Next to the refrigerator is a pocket door leading to the dining room. The kitchen ceiling was pierced for a large frosted skylight, with the skylight well framed in wood that matches the custom-made kitchen cabinets. Flanking the well are matching fluorescent lighting fixtures framed with the same wood framing as the skylight well.

In the bedroom wing hall, the remodelers installed a fold-down stairway in the attic access opening. Dieckmeyer said he believes such access ladders should be standard equipment.

“I install them as a matter of course in all my projects. The attic is a great place to store Christmas decorations and other seasonal items. A fold-down stairway eliminates the dangerous practice of using tippy stepladders to reach the attic.”


The 189-square-foot west-wall addition provided for a large aromatic cedar-lined walk-in closet in the master bedroom suite. The closet contains an Ironaway wall-mounted ironing board for convenient pressing of clothes stored in the closet.

The closet/bath addition includes a two-person shower, with individual controls and shower heads, and a spa tub large enough for two. Sliding glass doors in the master suite lead to the spa.

The opening to the former master bath from the master bedroom was closed and, with a new doorway in Holly’s bedroom, resulted in a private bath for her bedroom.

“When she’s old enough to move out, the room will make an ideal guest bedroom,” Dieckmeyer said.

The roof lines of both additions were carefully integrated into the original design and the roof tiles and trim boards were matched carefully.


Year Built: 1980.

Location: Upland.


Approx. size: 2,170 sq. ft., four bedrooms, before remodel; 2,699 square feet after remodel.

Lot Size: 20,000 sq. ft.

Remodeling Design & Construction: Dieckmeyer Enterprises Inc., Upland.

Remodeling Budget: about $85,000.