Transforming a century-old home into a modern haven with Aptitude Design and Build

In the summer of 2023, Micaela and her family decided it was time to transform their nearly 100-year-old home in Brentwood. The house, charming yet outdated, lacked the open floor plan and functional kitchen space that they desired. 

Their goal was to merge an overly large dining room with a cramped kitchen to create a more spacious, livable area. The project came with all of the challenges of renovating a century-old home. With the help of Aptitude Design & Build, however, the family now enjoys an innovative, custom-installed, expanded kitchen space.

Matt Mierek, president of Aptitude Design and Build, and his team specialize in the intersection of unique design and functionality, which was exactly what Micaela’s family needed.

“With the home being almost 100 years old, it doesn’t exactly have the open floor layout that we wanted,” Micaela says. “We wanted to remove the wall between the dining room and kitchen to make it a more livable space, but the wall was load-bearing, which is why the previous owners hadn’t taken on the project.”

This required significant structural work, including moving a beam and reinforcing the basement to support the new open-concept layout. The Aptitude team was able to remove the load-bearing wall while still hiding the beam in the ceiling to make the transition seamless.

When issues such as asbestos, HVAC complications, and electrical challenges arose, Aptitude had already prepared them for these possibilities, ensuring there were no surprises. “When issues did inevitably come up—because that’s how these things go—we already had them on our radar as possibilities because it was already on their radar,” Micaela says. “We went into construction knowing what the cost increases might be, so we had a really good picture of the original quote, along with any issues they could foresee. They were very transparent on pricing.”

The Aptitude team even helped the family with an issue in their home that was unrelated to the project. “While they were here, we had our pipes freeze, which didn’t at all crossover with the work they were doing,” Micaela says. “This happened in a different bathroom, but because they were already in the home, they reassured us that they’d shut off the water if the pipes burst when we were gone. It was almost like we had someone at the house to monitor it when we couldn’t be there—they really went above and beyond.”

Meeting the project timeline was just as crucial, as Micaela was expecting a baby in early January. Despite the setbacks, the project was completed on time, allowing the family to welcome their new baby into a finished, beautiful home.

Collaborating with Henry Kitchen and Bath, the homeowners meticulously selected design details, including cabinets, fixtures, backsplash, and appliances. Aptitude took these plans and executed them flawlessly, managing every aspect of the construction. Some of the most eye-catching features on the project include a cherry butcher block top and a new built-in eating space.

The transformation of the house exceeded the homeowners’ expectations. The new layout made the space more livable and spacious, perfect for hosting birthday parties, family events, and casual get-togethers. The kitchen became the heart of the home, with ample seating and functional design elements.

In particular, Micaela appreciates the additional outlets and the thoughtful lighting plan suggested by Aptitude. Initially hesitant about pendant lights over the island due to low ceilings, Micaela was thrilled with Aptitude’s suggestion to reposition them, enhancing the kitchen’s aesthetic and functionality.

In addition to kitchen and bathroom remodeling, Aptitude Design and Build specializes in basement finishes and entire home renovations.

This post was created by SLM Partner Studio on behalf of Aptitude Design & Build. To learn more and to see additional projects from Aptitude’s portfolio, visit

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