Remodeling a kitchen is not fun for everyone. But, it appears to have been just that for Lenny and Susan Landau, of Queens Harbor on Longboat Key.
Lenny’s 40-plus years with General Electric in a variety of management roles was a big help on that score. A mechanical engineer by training, he is an expert on purchasing, cost-cutting and project management. There was a color-coded pert chart for the remodel, with the order, delivery and install dates for each item carefully calculated. And it worked — once the project started, it followed that timeline to a tee.
But deciding to do it was not quite so planned. The Landaus and David Asher, of Eurotech Cabinetry, their kitchen designer, use the same massage therapist, and that’s how Asher learned that a remodel might be on the horizon. So, he reached out to Lenny and followed up with him every couple of months.
“It was probably two years before Lenny said they were ready to go,” says Asher, who was certainly a logical choice for the undertaking. He’s done kitchens for about 85 of the 102 homes in Queens Harbor when they were built.
The Landaus acquired their home in 2002 from a couple who came, coincidentally, from the same town they did — Cincinnati. But the interior was not their style.
“It was every shade of blue everywhere,” Susan says. They got rid of the blue but decided not to tackle the kitchen then.
“I wasn’t certain that I would be doing much cooking,” Susan says. “We go out so much.”
But, it turned out that she still enjoys cooking and entertaining, and the family still visits for holidays. The kitchen discussions started in earnest about three years ago, and the job was completed in October 2010.
Susan knew what she wanted in her kitchen, and Lenny knew how and where to get it — typically at the best price, because part of his GE career was cost control.
“I never had a client who studied each and every item so carefully in such detail,” Asher says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent eight hours on each piece.”
The new kitchen gets its good looks from sleek lines, an abundance of brushed stainless steel and a predominantly gray/black/white color scheme. The backsplash is river rocks in a cement-like grout, and the Landaus rave about its installation. The countertops are silver pearl granite. The flooring is wide planks of white oak with a light oil finish; the Landaus installed it throughout the whole house, save the bedrooms.
The old kitchen lacked counter space and storage; the new one has plenty of both. Susan is crazy about the depth and height of the Artcraft kitchen drawers. The Landau “appliance garage” is sized for a tall tractor-trailer; Susan gets teased that she could hide in it. Clever storage touches include a wine rack built around the perimeter and over the top of the refrigerator.
The kitchen is full of bright ideas like that and practical-as-well-as-handsome details. Susan stands on a heavy-duty floor mat from Frontgate. The air switch for the disposal is not the usual recessed type, which would be difficult for Susan, who has arthritic hands. Lenny searched until he found an above-counter-level one that she could operate with the heel of her hand. The sink, situated in the center island, is large and deep, but this Franke model has ledges that support grids for the cook to work on without bending over. The warming oven is situated beneath the eye-level microwave — it gets lots of use. Contrast this with the usual location near floor level, where it is rarely used.
Most of the new kitchen’s appliances are from the GE monogram series. The ovens are Thermador, and the couple’s favorite new appliance is a Miele dishwasher.
There is only one problem with it, Lenny says: “It is so quiet that I sometimes open it because I don’t realize it’s running.”
Susan says the new heart of her home was tested on its first Thanksgiving when there were four different teams working in four different areas.
“Nobody was getting in anybody’s way,” she says.
Kitchen design: David Asher, Eurotech Cabinetry
General Contractor: C & S Building Contractors Inc.
Flooring: International Wood Floors Inc.
Countertop: Granite & Marble Experts
Backsplash: Tile Market/Designing Tile Inc. Karen Parenti
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