A Beautiful Kitchen Transformation

What happens when you don't do anything with your kitchen for 20+ years? When I was first approached about this kitchen, it was very dated. Harvest Gold laminate countertops, Harvest Gold and white checked wallpaper, Ash cabinets that were not holding up very well, and the original "red brick" pattern vinyl on the floor. The clients wanted a "warm and homey" feel, and wanted to start from scratch. We were limited to the original 7' ceiling without serious structural changes. Why did the builder choose to locate the furnace above the kitchen when he had the entire attic, and why did he lower the ceiling to 7' are questions that will never be answered. The homeowners chose to keep the 7' ceiling and do all we could do for a first-class kitchen with that one limitation. So, we formulated a plan. We opted to scrape the acoustical "cottage cheese" from the ceiling and finish the ceiling with a smooth finish, which we painted with a semi-gloss white paint.

The gold and white checked wallpaper was stripped from the walls, and the sheet rock was refloated and painted a nice off-white. After talking at length with the homeowners and showing them samples of numerous types of wood with numerous different finishes, they chose this old-growth sinker cypress. This lumber is all at least a century old, and is reclaimed from the bottom of a river or bayou where it has been preserved by the water. The warmth and beauty of this fine wood simply cannot be duplicated or surpassed by any other wood that I've ever used. A special multi-step finishing process that I've utilized further enhances the beauty of this fine wood. Many of the boards I used in this kitchen were 20-24" wide.

The back of this built-in china hutch features beaded panelling a full 3/4" thick. The glass shelves are adjustable.

The homeowners had grown fond of the look of the "red brick" vinyl that had been on the floor, so we laid brick pavers on the floor when it came time for the new floor. In addition, I replaced all of the doors and cased openings around the kitchen with cypress, finished to match the cabinetry. The addition of cypress crown moulding and new cypress baseboards completed the look. All of the woodwork and cabinets are finished with 3 coats of precatalyzed lacquer for a beautiful warm finish. After much discussion regarding countertops, they chose to go with a off-white plastic laminate with a cypress wood edge band. We considered a solid-surface material such as Corian, but they decided they really preferred the laminate with wood band.

The secret to satisfied clients is finding a way to make the "impossible" possible. All of the instructions for the space-saver microwaves say that they cannot be mounted in a peninsula cabinet. But, if that is where you want it, we'll find a way to put it there! This left end of the peninsula is supported with 3/8" allthread up into the structural framing of the home. In addition, the upper peninsula cabinet was "beefed up" more than sufficiently to support the weight of this microwave. The back of this unit with the raised panels is the homeowner's favorite part of this kitchen project. The large drawers under the cooktop are all on full-extension slides, and are built to accommodate pots and pans.

As you can see in this picture, the arched raised panels across the back of this cabinet are a nice look from the table as you sit for breakfast. Notice the recessed light fixture in the kitchen, which is also finished with cypress to match the entire kitchen. The two panels on the left end of this peninsula are actually doors which provide access to otherwise wasted space.

The secret to a successful kitchen facelift is to think ahead, and explore your options BEFORE you start tearing anything out or building anything new. The functionality of this kitchen was greatly enhanced with the addition of under-cabinet lighting. Because we talked about it before we actually began the project, I was able to coordinate with the electrician to make sure we had taken the necessary steps to accommodate this lighting. As you can see from this picture, it adds a nice task light, and just makes for a good-looking kitchen. Without the overhead lights on, the under-cabinet lights create a really warm and inviting look. They also make it much easier to use otherwise wasted space in those previously "dark corners". The addition of hidden "touch pads" under every upper cabinet allow dimming with the touch of a finger. The quartz halogen light is a bright light from a miniature 20 watt bulb. As you can see in this picture, the homeowners opted to run the plastic laminate up the wall as a backsplash. We discussed using ceramic tile on the wall, but she liked the seamless look of the laminate. I do all I can to assure that my clients are happy during the renovation and after the renovation. I am honest with my clients. If they suggest something that I don't think will look good, I tell them so. If they want to proceed with their idea, that's fine! Once I've told you what I think, it is history. My job is to make you happy, and assure that your home is one about which you feel great when I'm through. A dissatisfied customer is advertising I don't want, so I'll do whatever it takes to make my customers happy.

At the close of the day when you walk into the kitchen for that last glass of water before you go to bed, I want you to pause and look around with pride and think how glad you are that you called me to do your kitchen. I will coordinate with the plumbers, electricians, painters, floor covering people, and any other professionals to assure that your project is handled as expeditiously as possible, and that your inconvenience is minimized. If I design, build, and finish your cabinets, you can rest assured that the work will be done to the highest possible standards. This kitchen features birch plywood for anything visible inside the cabinets. Other shops in town use luan plywood because it is cheaper. It is cheaper, but the birch finishes so much nicer, and you the customer will be much happier!

If you're considering a change in your kitchen or bath, please give me the opportunity to sit down and talk with you about your ideas. Give me the opportunity to make your dreams a reality. You'll be glad you did! I'll look forward to hearing from you.

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