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Spicin' up surfaces

by: Submitted and Vern Uyetake,

Jeff and Jan Poeschl have had an exciting 2008. They got married in April and saved thousands of dollars on their kitchen remodel the same month. Both events they talk about with a smile.

The couple - who live next to the Westlake neighborhood of Lake Oswego - enlisted the help of Lake Oswego designer Deb Seeley to transform their white tiled kitchen into something with character and plenty of room to cook and entertain guests.

A good sized room, before the remodel the kitchen's layout consisted of upper and lower cabinetry, an island and plenty of open space.

'I'd never seen such a void in the kitchen,' Seeley said. 'There was so much room and this tiny island squished by the fridge.'

Without removing any cabinets in the perimeter of the room, Seeley opted to focus on creating a new, larger island to utilize the space better and upgrade all appliances and surfaces.

The result?

A sophisticated and functional place for the couple to entertain, cook - which they love to do - and be proud of. And by not replacing their original cabinetry the couple saved $30,000, they said.

Here's where they decided to focus their finances:

n Upgrade appliances and the island: Before, their range and counter space was cramped. The 24-inch oven was too small for practical tasks.

'A cookie sheet wouldn't even fit in it,' Jeff said.

The couple started the project by choosing new stainless steel appliances - like the 36-inch Dacor Dual range - so Seeley knew how much space to allow for the island.

The new island is about three times the size of their original one and features two heights - one for preparing food - and another raised part with tall bar stools for drinks.

Jeff wanted a beverage and wine refrigerator, which fit nicely into the oversized island.

Len Panas and his crew with L.S. Panas and Associates of Lake Oswego helped implement the design. They laid down blue tape with Seeley on the floor in the kitchen for an 'island practice run.'

'We practiced walking around it,' Jeff said of the imaginary island, 'because it was going to be so much bigger than our original one. We had to see how it felt.'

n New colors and decorative molding: 'Jan told me from the beginning, 'it's just too white - too bright,'' Seeley said of the monochromatic kitchen.

White tile, white cabinets and white appliances made the kitchen feel like more of a stark chemistry lab than a space to cozy up to the counter with friends and family.

The cabinets were repainted to look like mahogany using a burgundy-colored paint to 'warm them up' and gained detail from a black glaze and clear coat.

'That's where you get the shine from,' Jeff said.

'The two-toned cabinets above the refrigerator look like leather,' Panas said.

When white, the cabinets had a small, two-inch crown molding - a decorative molding - at the top but it didn't provide a finished look. The cabinets looked like they were floating on the wall.

Seeley wanted to replace this so she designed a cornice treatment using Enkeboll trim with square detailing and a larger scale crown moulding.

'It's more of a custom look,' Seeley said of the item placed above the hanging cabinets. 'And it balanced them with this new, large island.'

n Enhance with knobs, backsplash, paint and granite: To give the kitchen added pizzazz, Seeley and the Poeschls chose a small, metallic square design - similar to that on the crown molding - that was repeated within the tile backsplash on the wall under the cabinets and on the legs of the island. The surface complimented the long metal handles chosen for the cabinets, which replaced small circular hardware.

'You can embellish with moldings without it being too much. You can think outside the box,' Seeley said. 'I think the jewelry is the hardware and there are so many new pulls and knobs out there that really change the look of the cabinets.'

The tile was replaced with granite.

n Make lighting and drawers functional: Only six ceiling lights illuminated the kitchen before the remodel. Now 16 recessed can lights brighten the space.

'We also added under cabinet lighting,' Panas said of Seeleys design to incorporate more lights.

Seeley designed the kitchen drawers with self-closing guides and deep drawers, which created ample storage within the island. One drawer - for pans - has vertical dividers so pans can be 'filed' like in a filing cabinet.

'Before all the pots and pans were stacked under the cook top. Now it's so much nicer to be able to open a drawer and pull something out without having to also take out all the other frying pans and pots,' Jan said.

And the couple has been cooking up some great food and great parties since the kitchen's completion.

'I'm impressed with how much bang they got for their buck with these cabinets. This would have been a $120,000 kitchen if it was done from scratch,' Panas said. 'It's an extremely rich look.'

For more information about Deb Seeley Designs, LLC visit www.debseeleydesigns.com.

For more information about L.S. Panas and Associates, visit www.lspanasandassociates.com.