Meet the Kramps

Meet the Kramps

This article appears in the March/April 2008 issue of West Chester & Liberty Township OurTown

By Jeanette McClellan

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While Ken and Kathy Kramp appreciate long-standing ties to their Rolling Knolls Estate neighborhood (Ken’s father was the area’s original developer), they also understand the value of contemporary style and most modern amenities.

How to balance the two?  Invite the help of a trusted remodeling firm to turn the five-bedroom, three bath home into a family respite for everyone, including the Kramps’ four children and three dogs.

They’ve succeeded in creating a functional space that’s visually appealing with a contemporary feel.  Warmth is provided by the generous use of fall colors, hardwood floors, and a stone fireplace that goes up an entire wall.  Durable furnishings that look great are a must for any home with kids and pets, and that’s no exception here.  The Kramps’ furnishings are a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces, including a dining room set from Kathy’s mother.

“You have to look at your family lifestyle and know how you live and what you want to accomplish out of your home,” says Kathy, who with Ken has delighted in making plans for and remodeling their home.  “Once you know that, it’s much easier to come up with a plan that will work for you.”

For the Kramps, that involved a significant overhaul and renovation.  “We were looking to upgrade our home size more than anything else,” says Kathy, “but we live on a cul-de-sac, have a beautiful lot and love the elementary school our kids are in.  So we could make our home work, or move.”

At the end of the day, the Kramps decided to make their home better suited to their needs.  This included, among other things, changing the layout of the kitchen, the entrance to the laundry room, opening up a small window to become a large picture window overlooking the backyard, and adding new flooring and appliances.

“We completely changed the entire layout of the kitchen,” says Kathy.  “We have a ranch, so we also took out the laundry room wall and had it open into the hallway instead of the stairs, widened the hallway and put hard wood through the first floor.  We added all new appliances, a beautiful island and a new cooktop.”

To keep all this well-organized and on-task, the Kramps worked with Neal’s Design Remodel to plan and orchestrate the changes.  “Neal’s was fabulous because with four kids and having that construction in the center of your home, it can be hectic,” Kathy adds.  “They got it done and got it done quickly, and were actually ahead of schedule.  Any issues we had we could call anytime and they were available.”

The Kramps say that after their experience remodeling, they would recommend others keep in mind the process and set a realistic timeline.  “Keep in mind dust and other things that go along with remodeling and you’ll realize how important it is to find a good contractor who can be in and out quickly,” says Kathy.  “You don’t want to do dishes in your bathtub for six months while you’re waiting.”

The results the Kramps made were well-worth the effort.  “The kitchen is really the heart of our home,” says Kathy.  “The kids spend a lot of time there, doing homework or hanging out and we wanted it to be a place where people could spend time.  We have definitely achieved that.”

While the kids- Emily, 15; Kelsey, 12; Drew, 11; and Kirsten, 8- are getting lots of use out of the room, many others benefit as well.  “We love to entertain,” says Kathy, “and just had a houseful of kids this weekend.  It’s a great place for entertaining and hosting friends and family.”

That’s a good thing, because the family hosted more than 40 guests at Thanksgiving.  When it’s just the family at home, a lot of time is spent not only in the kitchen, but also in the great room and the yard, complete with firepit.

Kathy often captures the memories the family makes through photography, a hobby she uses to help make the house a home.  “Photographs are on display everywhere,” she remarks.  “We have so many we love.”

Hopefully, her photos will show how just as the family and its members have grown and had great times, the house has too.  It has had plenty of it own growth spurts- the most recent renovations aren’t the only ones the family has completed.  Over time, they have made changes to most of the house including turning a back porch into an office with windows to the backyard, and remodeling the entire basement.

Are they completely satisfied with the results? Yes.  But it’s also a work in progress.

“I’m currently in remodel shock,” jokes Kathy.  “But we are planning phase two.  We’re not quite there yet, but we’re planning on doing the master bedroom, including the master bath.  We’d like to make a larger garden bath and extend the bedroom out several feet.  It’s a great option to remodel- it can change to face of a home.”

But for the Kramps, there is one thing that will always be true.  “For us,” says Kathy, “home is family.”