Mill Creek kitchen remodel makes function beautiful

  • Wed Jun 13th, 2012 10:52am
  • Life

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

It started with a window.

Joan and Lon Carlson’s kitchen window badly needed repair.

It ended with an extensive kitchen makeover, replacing cabinets, extending hardwood flooring and creating a multi-use room that’s now the centerpiece of the family’s home.

“We’re just tickled with how it turned out,” Lon Carlson said.

The couple and two teenage daughters moved into the nearly 5,000-square-foot Mill Creek home five years ago.

White cabinets filled the original kitchen.

“It was perfectly wonderful 24 years ago,” Lon Carlson, a Bothell businessman, said.

Tastes changed and the family really wanted a more functional space to host their frequent parties and get-togethers.

Then, about a year ago, a window leak forced the family into remodeling.

Many of the home’s original windows had failed and needed replacement, including the three panels above the kitchen sink.

The window frame came in cherry, forcing the homeowners to make a decision: Stain the cherry white to the match the cabinets, a color they didn’t like, or keep the cherry and change the kitchen.

They decided the time had come to invest in a design that truly reflected their needs.

Enter Gary P. Hartz, the owner of Kitchens for Cooks, a remodeling firm in Bothell, and Dana Rowley, of Dana Rowley Design in Mill Creek. The two designers spent time getting to know the family, their interests for how the kitchen should work and what kind of design matched their taste.

“We went for function, and then tried to make it look great,” Rowley said.

Certain elements tend to anchor a design. For the Carlsons, the kitchen evolved around the Wolf cooktop that is beautifully framed by a tile design, deep cherry cabinets and clean lines.

Fitting in all the components meant maximizing every space.

Plus, Joan Carlson wanted to limit clutter on the countertops.

“Less things on the counter is better,” she said.

There’s a breakfast service area neatly kept from view in a cabinet. Open the door and a coffee maker and toaster oven stand waiting for use. Cereal, bread and coffee are stored in the same area.

Around the corner is the beverage center, next to a sliding glass door that leads to a deck.

Two refrigerators — one for beer and soda, the other for wine — fit snugly under the counter. A stunning brass architectual sink sits on the granite countertop, bringing good looks while maximizing space.

“It’s kind of an artsy little statement piece,” Joan Carlson said. Her husband finished the thought, “That’s turned out to be remarkably functional.”

The center island was transformed from a nearly rectangular piece to a curvacious, piano-shaped space that holds four stools. A microwave, vegetable sink and other features are included, many smartly hidden from view.

Fine attention to detail supports the design. A drawer in the office nook has a built-in power strip for an out-of-the-way place to recharge mobile phones. Instead of a soffit above the cabinets, small glass doors on functional cabinets illuminate the intricate crown moldings. The ceiling above the eating area is defined by a frame of molding and metallic, stippled paint. Carpeting that used to separate the den from the kitchen was pulled up and hardwood floors extended throughout, opening the flow. A floor rug helps define the sitting area in an integrated media room.

It took about three months to complete the remodel. The changes required some structural engineering.

The investment — the family says north of $150,000 — is worth it, they said. The busy family has no plans to move, and they enjoy the view of the golf course and the convenience to work and the community.

“We like where we live,” Joan Carlson said.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447;


Kitchens For Cooks: or 425-293-4442.

Dana Rowley Design: 425-772-2788.