It’s out with the old to display the new

  • By M.L. Dehm SCBJ Freelance Writer
  • Wednesday, October 27, 2010 4:09pm

LYNNWOOD — It has been a busy year for Creative Kitchen and Bath in Lynnwood. The full-service remodel firm is still getting settled in to their new location on the south end of Mukilteo Speedway after a move last December.

Rather than leasing a standard commercial office space, business owners Tom Owen and his wife Erika French opted to do something they’re expert at — remodel.

They purchased a former residence that was built in 1954 and expanded in the 1970s and are transforming it into a showroom.

“It was something we had seen in a trade magazine some time ago,” Owen said. “A remodeler had basically bought an old house and set up a showroom there. We thought that could be fun.”

There were other considerations, too. For a start, the company needed more space and the old house on Mukilteo Speedway had it.

“We used be down off 196th (Street SW) in a much smaller location,” Owen said. “We didn’t have enough space for our people to operate effectively and we didn’t have enough space for product displays.”

The new location has plenty of room and was essentially move-in ready. It is on an oversized lot with plenty of parking in back and room to house the company’s trucks and dumpster.

A massive, detached three-car garage was easily transformed into a mini warehouse with room to stage materials prior to installation.

Owen especially loves the fact that the company now has control over their own landscaping and that when he writes a check, the money is building equity for their business and not lining a landlord’s pocket.

But what is unique about the new showroom is that customers can relate to it. It is, after all, a typical house. Clients can walk in and instantly see the space in a way they might not be able to in a commercial setting.

“When they see how we’ve remodeled, they can say, ‘Yes, I can see how this might work in my home,’ ” Owen said. “Sometimes in showrooms, they’re very attractive but they might be unrealistic with 14-foot ceilings.”

This house, due to its age and additions, is typical of what a homeowner might already own and want remodeled. The plan is to remodel each room of the house to showcase what could be done.

For example, one of the three bathrooms will be remodeled to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The shower will have no threshold to allow easy access for someone in a wheelchair or who can’t step up.

“We’ve done that before in real projects but we’ve never been able to show one in a showroom,” Owen said.

The front living room of the home is destined to become a new display kitchen while the existing kitchen (which currently boasts those harvest gold appliances so popular in the 1970s) will give way to a fully functional kitchen where the company can later host events.

The one drawback that Owen has noticed with the new office is that, in spite of the large sign out front, some customers have said they thought the building was a private residence.

Creative Kitchen and Bath does not just remodel kitchen and baths. The company also designs and builds media rooms, extensions and second stories. They have also built a conservatory onto a home in the Rucker Hill historic district.

The company is a design-build remodeling firm — essentially one-stop shopping for clients who don’t want to be their own general contractors.

“We have certified designers on staff who can go out to the home, measure and design a space for them,” Owen said. “Then we are also a licensed, bonded and insured general contractor. So we can build the project once it is designed as well.”

Owen said his team prides itself on good customer service, craftsmanship and quality materials.

Although the new Creative Kitchen and Bath showroom spaces are a work in progress, it is already a functioning office and open to the public. Owen welcomes visitors.

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Find Creative Kitchen and Bath at 13008 Mukilteo Speedway, Lynnwood, or online at

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