Carolyn Michel and her husband, Howard Millman, love their St. Armands home, which has a large kitchen (304 square feet) with wonderful light. But it was original to the 1970s house and had not been updated. The room was functional and familiar but tired — and they were tired of it. So, Michel put together a team for a major remodel.
She knew she wanted contractor Gregg Kaplan, of LBK Contractors and Design, who had redone the home’s bathrooms. She considered many options and portfolios before choosing David Asher, of Eurotech Cabinetry, and Ginny Galer, of Tradewinds Interiors. She also knew what she wanted and told her team:
“More contemporary, but not ultra, and we need to find a home for everything.” She wanted to be sure that the kitchen remained warm and inviting and a reflection of her.
The process took two years, though the actual build (from bare studs) was accomplished in only seven weeks. Two decisions were difficult. Relocating the refrigerator took a lot of persuasion. And the choice between a stainless steel or black composite sink was only made when both were viewed on-site.
The Michel-Millman kitchen not only meets but exceeds the couple’s expectations. There is more efficient use of space and more storage.
“Before, a lot of stuff was outside because there was no room for it in the kitchen,” Millman said. “Now, it is all in — and we have empty drawers.”
He is the one who argued for the bold and stunning “Blue Bahia” granite.
The beauty of this makeover is that when it was done, there was not one thing that Michel and Millman wished they had done differently — remarkable in any remodel and especially so with a kitchen. And it is testimony not just to the creativity and skill of both the clients and resources but to their patience, communications and collaboration, as well.
Most tellingly, Michel says, “I wanted it to be, ‘Wow! I love my kitchen.’ And I got, ‘Wow, I love my kitchen.’”
Here’s what Carolyn Michel’s team would recommend to those considering a kitchen makeover.
“The client should be heavily involved in planning the kitchen. The homeowner is always the best designer.”
“The client should really know their living and cooking habits and keep the ‘walking triangle’ (stove to refrigerator to sink) to no more than 17 feet total. It is practical to have deep drawers for pots and pans and as many roll-outs behind doors as possible so one doesn’t have to stand on one’s head to get things.”
“The quality of the end result will parallel the quality of communications between client and team members; the better the communications, the better the outcome.”
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