Flair to Spare Extensive remodel makes big kitchen extraordinary | TheUnion.com
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Flair to Spare Extensive remodel makes big kitchen extraordinary

When Chris and Jan Mulder bought their home in Forest Knolls Estates off Banner Ridge Lava Cap Road, remodeling the outdated kitchen was a project high on their to-do list.

Unfortunately, the previous owners had painted the kitchen’s stained oak cabinets stark white in a misguided attempt to lighten up the space. With the original white tile counters, the old kitchen was void of any color or personality.

Even worse were basic layout mistakes: Appliances were crowded too close together, the peninsula bar jutted far out into the dining nook, cramping the space there, and the fluorescent lighting tucked up into the ceiling was inadequate and ugly.



What was good about the space, however, was its generous size. There was more than 200 square feet to work with, and the present kitchen was well placed in a centralized location. A deep dropped ceiling offered the potential to do something exciting with the space above.

The new floor plan added a window, improving the view to the backyard and pool and contributing much-needed natural light. A variety of scattered flush can lights (some dimmable) and a dramatic pendant fixture centrally hung provided all the lighting that was required.




With the sink pulled out from the corner and repositioned under the new window, there was room to place the cooktop in a more convenient location along the wall to the right of the sink. There was lots of room for an oversized cooktop featuring an eye-catching tile mural behind it.

The tall cabinets flanking each side of the cooktop area provide interest and nearby storage for spices. These two cabinets also repeat design elements found in the “phone station” cabinet by the bar area.

The new 48-inch-wide refrigerator is only steps away and easily accessible to the cooktop, island and formal dining room. A small under-counter refrigerator was placed next to the bar sink, forming an additional work area for a second cook.

A redesigned walk-in pantry, lots of roll-out shelves, two corner lazy susans and an appliance garage by the ovens help store and access items for easy retrieval. Paneled cabinet backs and ends, open shelving and generous crown molding add polish and distinction.

After the floor plan and interior storage details were in place, Mark Frey and Alan Dunn, owners of local custom cabinet shop Woodgrain Woodworks, designed and detailed the central island.

Furniture-like, with stylized cabriole legs and a rim of hidden “apron” drawers, the diminutive wood-topped island carries the eye upward to the stunning light fixture and elaborately crowned ceiling.

New appliances, black granite counters and wood cabinetry in a traditional style – finished in a rich, cream-colored painted glaze – all beautifully blend together. The original oak hardwood floor was brought back to life and ties the kitchen to the dining nook and family room.

General contractor Paul Casterson was instrumental in the design and execution of the unique domed ceiling.

This project was truly an exercise in teamwork, both in the creativity and design skills shared, and in the final results.

Karen Austin, certified kitchen designer and home economist, has designed area kitchens since 1983, and is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Her work has been published regionally and in two recent Sunset Magazine publications. You can reach her at Creative Kitchens and Baths, 272-4963.


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