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Mohsin and Maha Sheikh wouldn’t call themselves flippers. The designers, who started their business, MM Design Co, in February 2020 have restored and modernized four homes to-date. Their latest, a 1955 property in Falls Church, Virginia, 10 minutes from Washington D.C., is an example of midcentury remodeled right

The duo find properties to purchase, and then renovate to re-sell in the northern Virginia market. “My wife is more on the design side,” Mohsin says. “We had both been into home remodeling, and had done our own projects but didn’t work with a firm before this. We spun it up based on our own creativity, aeshetic, and what we’d want in a home.”

Inspired by midcentury modern style, as well as other designers, they work to enhance homes’ natural charm. “A lot of people are doing new construction, but we take older houses and leverage unique products,” Moshin says. 

 

Timing Is Everything

Beginning a business one month before a global pandemic wasn’t in the game plan, but they’ve made it work. 

“It’s been very difficult sourcing materials, and that’s how we ran into Semihandmade and BOXI,” Mosha says. From the frustration of sourcing raw materials, inflated costs, long lead times, and stifled contractor availability, they were thrilled to find a kitchen cabinet source with both reasonable cost and shipping timelines, plus design help that went above and beyond. 

“We don’t want to do cookie-cutter flips, but instead iterate on designs, and use more than a basic white Shaker-style door,” he says. “Semihandmade has a lot of different options, and we were excited when BOXI came out, especially as we are working on several kitchens a year.” BOXI design consultant Joanna Serrano worked with the couple to find their ideal kitchen layout

 

East Coast West Coast

The home is located in one of the couple’s favorite neighborhoods, Lake Bancroft, which happened to be planned by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. “He created this tucked away little neighborhood with midcentury homes,” Maha says. “It’s walking distance from a lake with a beachfront.”

This is their second project in the neighborhood, and upon doing the walkthrough, they knew they could massively improve its claustrophobic feel. There were 7-foot ceilings and the kitchen was tucked away behind the stairs. By pitching the roof, adding a vaulted ceiling, and moving the stairwell to the side, they were able to create a modern, open-concept kitchen. “It turned out spectacular,” Maha adds. 

Eight-foot sliding doors from the kitchen to the outdoor patio give it an updated look, and “bring the California feel to Virginia,” she says. 

Two-Tone Cool

Design by MM Design Co; Photography by Alyssa Schukar

BOXI’s Mushroom Slab and Rye Slab cabinets are a sophisticated pick for this two-tone kitchen. “When you walk in, you see the pitched ceiling, 10-foot long island, and Joanna was able to design cabinets on the back of the island, so we have dual storage,” Maha says. “There are also upper cabinets behind the island.  

And when it came to the countertops, they chose Soapstone Metropolis Quartz by MSI Surfaces, a decision their realtor first thought would be too bold. “We were lucky to get one full slab,” she remarks. The waterfall island complements the rest of the kitchen’s cozy hues, while the stone is also featured in the basement wet bar. 

Don’t Skimp on Design

“We are doing renovations but it had to be on a budget, and we didnt want to skimp on design,” Maha says. The kitchen and wet bar have a high-end look for a reasonable price tag, and includes a geometric tile, a dupe on the more expensive Fireclay version, from Affinity Tile, as well as Lamps.com pendants, and Amazon hardware

 

Renovate With Ease

When it comes to completing a renovation with mininal stress, the couple always reccomend starting the process as soon as possible. “As soon as you enter the space, start mapping, measuring, designing, and order,” Moshin says. “Delays, especially for larger items like windows, can take up to four months.”

Through working with Joanna at BOXI, they were able to achiece their vision, and found it a “tremendous value add,” he says. BOXI helped alleviate time on the design end, and instead of taking weeks, they were able to measure, design, and order within a few days. 

So what’s next for the renovating pros? They are currently working on a 1930s Tudor-style home in Arlington, Virginia, using BOXI’s Peppercorn Edge cabinets

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Island Hopping

A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.