Story by Sarah Jackson Herald Writer
Sometimes little things inspire big remodeling projects.
In the case of Bill and Judy Burdin of Lynn- wood, it was a 20-year-old refrigerator with stubborn crisper drawers they practically had to kick to close.
When they started thinking about replacing the fridge, they realized that most modern sizes had grown too big for the slot in their kitchen.
They knew many other things about their early 1980s home, which they had shared for most of their 28 years of marriage, were tired, too, despite minor updates along the way.
“I would have easily sold it and moved to a modern house,” said Judy Burdin. “Bill said, ‘No. I’m never leaving. I’m dying in this house.’ We agreed to remodel. We compromised.”
Today, the Burdins’ new space doesn’t feel at all like a compromise.
Almost immediately, they upgraded to a new LG stainless steel fridge with French doors on top and a freezer drawer on the bottom.
They followed with a major renovation of the main floor, knocking down walls to make the small kitchen, living and dining rooms into one large, open space.
After hiring Classic Construction of Everett, the Burdins saw the elements of their old home fall dramatically away.
In the kitchen, contractors took out the dropped ceilings, fluorescent lighting, old appliances, oak cabinets and goldenrod countertops.
They installed thick solid-surface counters by Formica, stainless steel appliances and KraftMaid cabinets from Lowe’s in cherry veneer with a high-gloss, modern finish.
Glass doors with a wavy pattern added reflective, metallic-looking accents to the cabinets, otherwise adorned with wavy-shaped door pulls.
With numerous walls out of the way, they stole space from their former living and dining spaces to put in a large island, set at an angle — just the thing to add to the kitchen’s modern appeal.
Such openness has since made mixing with guests much easier for the Burdins.
“She can be out here fixing hors d’oeuvres and still be part of the conversation,” Bill Burdin said as his wife added: “We entertain a lot more than we did before.”
Their ceilings, which now come to a single high point in the middle of the room, lost their popcorn texture. Their floors, once finished in a mix of materials in the various rooms, are now covered exclusively in elegant blond bamboo.
The Burdins also used the opportunity to create a new, separate entry with a coat closet, a niche with a window for plants and a tiled area for shoes.
In the living room, the Burdins kept their fireplace but removed the old liver-colored brick and had it refaced with a shiny blue-black slate tiles, echoing the modern motif of the kitchen.
Judy Burdin chose cherry red as their primary accent color.
Modern bar-style chairs in bright red leather and chrome circle the bar area of the island. Two red fabric chairs, paired with a double-drop-leaf dining table from Dania, repeat the color in an informal eating area.
“That’s what Judy does,” Bill Burdin said of his wife’s knack for finding useful, fun and sometimes-expensive items. “It makes her happy.”
In the living room, Judy Burdin paired a deep red sofa with a cream-colored ottoman.
Fuzzy red pillows, which Judy Burdin made from fabric remnants on a whim, add cush to the living room too.
“I wanted the modern look. I wanted the sleek look. But I wanted it to be warm,” Burdin said of her red accents. “I love it.”
The Burdins, as part of their remodeling project, also went on a massive decluttering mission, which turned into a major undertaking.
They took at least 10 loads of unnecessary items to Goodwill. They threw away “pounds of magnets” that had accumulated on their old fridge over the years with help from their kids and two granddaughters.
“We really cleaned out a bunch of stuff,” Judy Burdin said. “I found ashtrays. Neither of us smoke.”
Even now, well after the completion of their project, which started in February 2007 and ended in April, they make sure their great room stays tidy, and not just for guests.
Remodeling and decluttering also gave the Burdins a shiny, new forum in which to display their beloved art collection.
Black, glossy frames and track lighting abound in their living and dining room with ample space between prints and originals, including watercolors by Judy Burdin’s mother, a signed John Ebner original and many colorful prints with red accents to complement the decor.
If Judy Burdin has one regret about the project, which cost about $70,000, it’s that they didn’t do it sooner so she and her husband, ages 56 and 64 respectively, could enjoy it longer.
“I think we like everything about it,” she said. “I always wanted to open it up.”
Reporter Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037; e-mail email@example.com.