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Rowe | Kitchen Remodel

If you’ve ever had a bad experience building or remodeling you know how hard it can be to initiate another major home project. This was the case with the owners of this 30-year-old house—they wanted to update their kitchen, but challenges with their original builder decades ago had left them wary. When they first approached me for help, they had two primary directives for their kitchen remodel: no drama, and no excessive budget upcharges. My response? No problem.

Finding Three Feet of Extra Pantry Space

To begin with, I asked my clients how they used their kitchen. What worked well for them? What didn’t?

Insufficient storage was a major concern, as was the usefulness of what storage did exist. So I figured out a way to add 36” of floor-to-ceiling cabinet space simply by relocating the fridge (which was awkwardly placed next to the laundry room door anyway) and reconfiguring their one unwieldy pantry cabinet into two pantry cabinets. The new and improved pantry storage added upper cabinets and lower drawers, allowing for better organization.

Across the kitchen I also retrofitted the cabinets to include deep lower drawers — providing a much improved storage solution for large pots, pans, and mixing bowls. And then I added a combination trash and recycling pull-out to the existing island to eliminate the need for an exposed trash can in the middle of the kitchen.

Conquering Counter Clutter

Another thing my clients asked for was to free up counter space by eliminating clutter.  I suggested hiding the appliances while still keeping them accessible. For their heavy kitchen mixer, an electric appliance lift was installed in the island, so that it could emerge easily when needed. Their countertop microwave remained at counter height to maintain easy access, but was slyly hidden in a pantry cabinet with retractable doors.

In addition to these improvements, I made a number of other changes that would improve their overall experience while baking. These included installing a corner LeMans pull-out system and tray divider in the lower cabinetry, adding island seating, and wiring double electrical outlets. These modifications increased the versatility of the kitchen overall, and consolidated baking items while keeping them out-of-sight except when needed.

Colors and Textures For a Beautiful Finish

Even as all the functional elements were being designed I was simultaneously working on a color plan for the space and sourcing everything from countertops to appliances. The island cabinets were painted a custom color, while the built-ins along the kitchen perimeter were fabricated in Alder and finished with a lovely natural stain. The countertop was replaced with a miter-edged polished porcelain slab. The backsplash tile featured a quilt-like pattern, a nod to my client’s love for quilting, and behind the new range and hood vent, I had a wave crest detail installed under the cabinets. All appliances, the sink, the faucet, and window treatments were updated. I made sure to specify high-efficiency solar shades to reduce the West facing solar gain.

As the kitchen was part of an open floor plan design, it made sense to carry some of the changes in the kitchen through to the living room space. Because the poured concrete flooring throughout the kitchen had been cracked since the home was built, we updated the flooring throughout all the main rooms with a glazed ceramic tile that resembled Saltillo (but is much more durable). All the main rooms were painted a color that coordinated well with the kitchen, and new lighting and ceiling fans were installed in the kitchen, living room, and hallway.

My goal was to improve the clients' lifestyle through ease and accessibility while creating a space they could be happy with for years to come. We completed the project within the established budget and timeline, giving my clients the smooth remodel experience they were seeking. Upon completion, the client shared, "I never anticipated I would ever have a kitchen as beautiful as what I now have!”

Before Remodel
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