The Good Swap

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Homeowners at this Philomath, Ore., remodel knew they wanted to integrate the kitchen into the family room and came to Powell Construction with a clear vision, designer Deborah Flaming says. Students at the nearby university had studied the house for a project and offered the homeowners ideas to fix the spatial relationships of their home and create more natural, obvious transiti...

December 01, 2006

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The island serves as a buffer between the kitchen and family room and provides more serving and prep space. The island also contains a built-in bookshelf and cantilevered breakfast bar.
After photos by Marcus Berg, Unique Angles Photography

Homeowners at this Philomath, Ore., remodel knew they wanted to integrate the kitchen into the family room and came to Powell Construction with a clear vision, designer Deborah Flaming says. Students at the nearby university had studied the house for a project and offered the homeowners ideas to fix the spatial relationships of their home and create more natural, obvious transitions. "The customers had been through a lot of options and ruled out things through that process — not every client has that luxury, but there were still a lot of questions, especially around access and structure."

To accomplish the homeowners' goal, the firm decided to swap the laundry room and kitchen even though it meant all electrical wiring had to be rerouted to the back of the home. The homeowners also wanted to offset the 500-square-foot kitchen from the surrounding space, which Flaming did by using a tray ceiling and soffit, adding a unique element to the kitchen.

Before

Powell's design/build approach to the project, Flaming says, shows high-end and mid-range elements can be successfully mixed. The kitchen's one-of-a-kind aspects, such as the custom knife block and open shelving to display the homeowner's vintage cookware collection, highlight the space's personality and quirkiness. Mounting necessities such as electrical plug strips behind the light bar on the upper cabinets (and ensuring the angle of the mirrored backsplash didn't reveal the placement) and choosing appliances with hidden controls ensure these design elements pop out visually and keep the small space clear in the midst of its surroundings.

"It wasn't particularly about using the not-so-big house concept, but we kept the scope of the project very focused," Flaming says, noting that the three-month, $47,700 project represents a truly noteworthy value proposition when the range of work — structural alterations and renovation — and affordability of the neighborhood are considered. "There is very little creepage into accompanying rooms, and by using laminate cabinets and countertops we made the kitchen unique though it's not fancy.

"I think this project shows that customers are often better off putting their money into two or three nice things that are going to be the 'wow' factor, and then everything else can go middle of the road. At the end, it all blends."

 

Remodeler: Powell Construction
Project location: Philomath, Ore.
Age of Home: 30 years
Scope of work: Move a kitchen from the back of a ranch-style home to better integrate an existing family room

What's in the Definition

The breakfast bar's design and new tray ceiling required removing the walls and headers of the family room and cutting ceiling rafters. Flaming couldn't simply add posts to replace the supports because they would have disturbed the aesthetics of the floating breakfast bar. Instead, Powell added footers to the supporting beams at either end of the space and hoisted a Glulam beam above the attic rafters for support. Because the Glulam beam was too heavy to lift to the attic, the team used three 2-inch beams.

The tray shape was then surrounded by posts hidden in the walls — a move that required complex framing — and a ceiling lip was formed to hide the flush box lighting that runs around the ceiling's perimeter. "The precision necessary to craft the tray ceiling was tricky — everything from the thickness of the drywall, diameter of the rope light and color of paint had to be considered. But we were very happy with how it turned out. The proportions go with the room and the box isn't too narrow," Flaming says.

Products List

Cabinets: Nevamar. Countertops: Wilsonart. Faucets: Delta, Kohler. Lighting Fixtures: Kichler. Appliances: Amana, Bosch, Frigidaire, ISE. Paints & Stains: Sherwin-Williams

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