Kitchen Projects
French Country Kitchen Remodel in Southwest Washington

Vancouver Kitchen Remodel

This dated but well-cared for builder-grade kitchen is given a cosmetic update featuring French Country styling and more.

The owners of this lovely Southwest Washington home approached Neil Kelly to transform their 1990 stock builder kitchen into a custom chef’s kitchen with French Country styling. Design Consultant Erika Altenhofen considered removing walls to expand the footprint and gain more counter space, more cabinetry, and space for an island. But she ultimately worked within the existing layout to help the homeowners save on cost.

Design Challenges
Altenhofen weighed the options of a pull-and-replace versus a cosmetic remodel. The existing cabinets were tired and dated so an aesthetic update was needed. On the other hand, the cabinet boxes were a rare gem: solid plywood, well cared for, and ready to accept new doors and drawer fronts.

Altenhofen knew that pulling and replacing all the cabinets would not improve the layout, so her team gave the cabinets a facelift by painting the boxes and installing new solid wood doors and drawer fronts, with new hardware and hinges.

“This is a great example of what a cosmetic upgrade can accomplish. The whole project is very satisfying.” — Erika Altenhofen

Design Solutions
Design solutions focused on cosmetic updates, with a few new cabinets added.

The refrigerator received a new, deeper cabinet above to allow its contents to be accessible, plus 2 panels sandwiching the refrigerator for a built-in look

Before the remodel, the space above the cabinets was a dust and grease collector. There wasn’t enough space to warrant adding more cabinetry up there, so the team closed it off with paneling and crown molding.

At the top of the client’s wish list was an island for seating and food prep/baking space. Altenhofen’s team managed to fit an island into the existing dining nook space, essentially extending the kitchen further toward the adjacent family room and converting empty table space into versatile counter and seating space. Custom turned legs and open storage created an inviting gathering space for a glass of wine or cookie factory (or both!).

Special Features
Notable features in this kitchen included:

New porcelain tile flooring meant to mimic brick. “It’s really just stunning, well-made tile that looks like the real thing, yet much easier to maintain,” Altenhofen says.

A perfectly-sized island with seating for 3, turned legs, and open storage.

New appliances appropriate for clients who love to cook: The refrigerator has a separate drawer used just for produce, keeping items fresher longer. The concealed range hood is powerful enough to exhaust all the heat and smoke produced on the capable dual-fuel range, and the dishwasher is powerful and quiet.

“This is a great example of what a cosmetic upgrade can accomplish,” Altenhofen says. “Total transformation without replacing cabinet boxes; high quality craftsmanship evident in cabinetry both new and old. The whole project is very satisfying.”

Thinking about renovating your space or want kitchen ideas for your next project? Get in touch with the remodeling experts at Neil Kelly today.

erika altenhofen, Portland Design Consultant, AKBD

For Erika Altenhofen, great design means using creative solutions to make homes more beautiful, comfortable and practical. She enjoys working on timeless designs that combine modern, sustainable materials with classic elements that can be enjoyed for decades. She also recognizes the importance of balancing visual design with functionality, producing spaces that are suited to each client’s unique lifestyle.

“I love creating spaces that make my clients excited to be in every day,” she says.

Erika graduated from Oregon State University’s Interior Design program in 2012 and has been with Neil Kelly ever since.

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