Homeowners, Melissa and Kendra, to share lessons gleaned from remodeling their historic Portland kitchen. Photography and article by Cheryl McIntosh of Cheryl McIntosh Photography.
Melissa and Kendra's home has been in their family for nearly 70 years. Kendra's great uncle bought it for her great grandmother to live after he returned from WWII.
Cheryl: Thanks for taking the time to talk through your kitchen remodel journey for our readers. How did the process kick off?
Melissa/Kendra: Initially we talked with bigger outfits, but we liked that Andrew's had a small company and that we would be working directly with him. We also had a tight budget and he was committed to staying within it. He was able to conceptualize what to do with this chopped up space we have with a budget we could afford. We were really limited on what we had to work with in terms of space within the kitchen.
Cheryl: Taking time to consider the logistics and flow of a space is critical to a successful remodel. How did you anticipate your future needs and preferences?
Melissa/Kendra: We spent some time thoughtfully reflecting how we used the kitchen–down to which direction we unload the dishwasher from. Does it matter if we have to cross the sink to put dishes away?
It's also a good practice to measure all the major cookware items you intend to keep in your new kitchen to plan ahead for storage in the new space. Where will the Vitamix live if not on the counter?
How social is your kitchen? In other words, when you entertain and people gravitate toward the kitchen, how do you keep your cooking and prep space workable with extra bodies in the general area?
We really thought about how we used our kitchen before we put items in the design and it helps the flow of the kitchen now–especially when several people are cooking.
“Does it matter, for instance, that you might have to cross the sink to put dishes away?”
Cheryl: Tension can be common in this industry between the design and build team when the architect's plans are beautiful but impractical (or impossible) for the builder to execute. What was your experience?
Every detail was thought through. We didn’t have any snafus of design versus reality in the kitchen. There was a seamless integration between the design and its execution. I don’t even know that our contractor needed to communicate with Andrew that much. The builder just took the plans and ran with them.
Cheryl: How did you choose a contractor and what questions did you ask?
Check with the contractor to see what other projects they have going on at the same time. Having several projects going at once can significantly impact your contractor’s availability and responsiveness as well as the timing of the subcontractors’ availability. You’ll pay extra for a contractor that has a project manager on board, but it might save you headaches in the future.
And finally, check with your contractor how they plan to mitigate messes and how much clean-up they will do when they are finished. Know that dust from sheetrock gets EVERYWHERE. Will they clean it out of the crevices in the new kitchen before they go? Will they clean up the tiny paint spots that sneak past the cover on your new floor? You’ll need to super-clean your house once the remodel is finished–even the areas that aren’t near the kitchen.
We're still thrilled 4 years later. I love it just as much today as I did the day it was complete. Our friends say, "You guys can’t move because you’ll never have a kitchen this nice in another house."