New look, old charm

  • By Sarah Jackson Herald Writer
  • Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:01am
  • LifeEverett

Phil and Barb Smith were curious about kitchen remodeling when they took Historic Everett’s tour of kitchen remodeling projects two years ago.

Both avid cooks, they were tired of their dated kitchen, but they wondered how they could remodel it without departing too dramatically from the 1949

ranch style of their north Everett home.

Today, thanks to their burning curiosity and the tour, the Smiths have their own newly remodeled kitchen, and it will be one of three featured on the tour that inspired them, Historic Everett’s Old House Kitche

n Tour, set for May 21.

Unlike Historic Everett’s fall tour of historic homes, which is self-guided, this tour requires reservations and is limited to about 15 people per group.

Tour participants must sign up in advance to reserve a space.

It was a lack of functionality that finally moved the Smiths to remake the space they had used since they bought their 5,000-square-foot home in the mid-1990s.

“I used to have to get down on my hands and knees to get out pots and pans,” Barb Smith said, citing the awkwardness of storing everything in large, deep storage spaces that were often out of convenient reach.

The Smiths’ new kitchen, achieved without moving any walls, is a model of style and function, with every element tailored to match their needs and tastes.

Instead of cabinet doors, all the cabinets below the brick red granite counters are now easy-gliding drawers. The Smiths’ old stove is gone, replaced with an ultramodern induction cooktop.

They now have a built-in convection microwave and a convection wall oven, an ideal setup next to their baking center, which has its own undermount prep sink.

“I love it,” Barb Smith said. “I can hardly remember the old kitchen. It’s very fun.”

The Smiths’ place is the starting point for the Historic Everett tour.

Local interior designer Chandra Sadro, who helped the Smiths design their new kitchen, will lead guests through all the tour homes.

Kitchens are one of the biggest challenges for owners of historic homes, but they also can be one of the most transformative elements in an old home when they’re remodeled, Sadro said.

“With a lot of these old homes, the kitchens have been butchered along the way,” said Sadro, who was happy she was able to find three dramatically different kitchens for the tour.

“People will really get to see a nice variety,” she said.

In the case of the Smiths, that meant focusing on the couple’s Arts-and-Crafts aesthetic with handmade art tiles by Ravenstone Tiles of Port Townsend.

Each tile scene depicts a Northwest vista, including one piece featuring an Everett icon, snowcapped Mount Pilchuck.

It’s a good fit for the Smiths, both hikers, who like to display photographs of Northwest mountain and forest scenes throughout their home.

The kitchen’s Shaker style cabinets, fashioned out of big leaf maple, are a nod to Barb Smith’s love of native plants.

Rarely used in homes, the native wood is rustic but enchanting with flourishes of gray, copper and blond.

Contemporary touches in the kitchen include art glass in the cabinet doors over the baking center, brushed nickel drawer pulls, and stainless steel hands-free faucets that turn on with just a bump from an arm or the back of a hand.

The second home on the tour will offer a look at a complete restoration of a small 1930s kitchen.

The homeowners there refurbished the original tile counters and cabinets, but also added a few modern conveniences, including a dishwasher, a flip-down TV and an old-fashioned, freestanding cupboard for extra storage.

At the final tour home, built in the 1910, visitors will see a historically sensitive remodeling project that included a 180-square-foot addition to accommodate a new kitchen with old-fashioned features, including a farmhouse sink, wood counters, white painted cabinets and a large, fully restored vintage Wedgewood range.

Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037, sjackson@heraldnet.com.

Old House Kitchen Tour

What: Take a private, guided tour of three remodeled kitchens in historic north Everett homes. Learn how homeowners have integrated the demands of modern living with their older house styles.

Residents will be on hand to share their remodeling experiences and a professional interior designer will point out important features.

When: 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. May 21.

How: Call David Chrisman at 425-530-2722 to reserve a spot. Space is limited to about 15 people per group.

Information: See www.historiceverett.org.

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