Featured Project- Mahtomedi Kitchen Remodel

From the day she moved in, Paige hated her kitchen. And, yes, that’s the word she used. Paige loves to cook and entertain, but the design of her existing kitchen left everyone huddled around a tiny cooking area. Paige also had a seldom used dining room and an almost never used front sitting area. On top of that, the current layout had little in the way of kitchen storage space.

After nearly six months and dozens of revisions, plus numerous visits to existing home kitchens, a plan was laid out. It was decided to move the dining room to the front sitting area and double the size of the kitchen.

There were a few obstacles that the new design had created. One of the walls that was scheduled to be removed housed the intercom system, a heat run, and the plumbing vents and wastes from the upper level. The new walls to rerun all these items into, were two- 20” walls. That left almost no space for light switches or structural backing to hang the new cabinets. In addition, the basement was finished, so all the electrical, plumbing, and heating had to be run from the main floor by pulling up the existing sub floor.

The end result is spectacular.

  • Guests can easily place their shared dishes on the expansive island while engaging in casual conversation without crowding the host’s working area.
  • Custom cherry cabinets, Cambria countertops, and the tile backsplash are all contrasting in color, yet are uniquely harmonized with each other.
  • The island – while sizable – symmetrically balances the main wall of cabinets to create a wonderfully spacious work area.
  • An elevated seven foot breakfast bar allows guests to sit and watch the master chef piece together the ingredients for a gourmet meal.
  • Two – three foot lower sections on either side of the elevated bar allow Paige’s two boys to stand and help her make cookies.
  • An ample pantry with pullout shelves houses all the canned goods, breakfast cereals, and baking supplies.
  • A hidden pullout puts the needed spices quickly into chef’s hands to complete the meal.
  • The buffet area, complete with a Wolf warming drawer, is flanked by the existing windows where natural light compliments the new bench seats and open book shelves which give ample room to house cooks books and kitchen knickknacks.
  • The bar area creates a subtle break between the kitchen and the living room, allowing guests to mingle effortlessly from one room to the other.

Paige loves her new kitchen!

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Homes


Featured Project- St Paul Bathroom Addition

This month’s featured project is a St Paul bathroom addition. This bathroom won the COTY Award 2011 for Residential Bathroom under $30,000 Honorable Mention.

Since the house only had one bathroom, Johnell thought it was time another one. She met with me to discuss the plan: Add a spa-quality bathroom in the storage space. The challenge was to maximize the space which included the shower, toilet, and vanity while also leaving room for plenty of storage.

Behind the scenes many things needed to happen:

  • Remove the existing wall separating the storage room and bedroom to add two feet to the new bathroom area.
  • Frame a new wall. Add a glass block window.
  • Modify the current plumbing dividing the room and add a toilet, a sink, and a full shower.
  • Install a heat run from the basement through a main floor linen closet and into the bathroom, while still keeping the linen closet functional.
  • Spray foam the angled ceiling to maximize R-value without sacrificing head room.

Then we got to the stuff that the transforms a cramped storage space into a luxurious bathroom:

  • Install custom storage cabinets at two different angles for a seamless appearance.
  • Install vanity and granite countertop.
  • Tile the shower, floor, and the remaining wall space.

The result for Johnell is a spa quality bathroom where the cabinets blend into the angles of the ceiling and transform this uneven, dark and slanted space into a functional, spacious, and royal setting.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Homes

Featured Project- Bloomington Condo Kitchen Remodel

This month’s featured project is Bloomington condo kitchen remodel. This kitchen won the COTY Award 2011 for Residential Kitchen $75,000-90,000 Honorable Mention.

Fred and Nancy bought their Bloomington condominium with the intention of remodeling the kitchen. I met with them at a folding card table in an empty room. They charged me with creating a design that eliminated the choppy floor plan to make the kitchen feel bigger, but not intrude on the living room or dining room. Fred also wanted a place to grill steaks. Nancy wanted a pantry for storage and added lighting to brighten up an otherwise dark and dated kitchen.

But that is only the beginning of the challenge: Fred and Nancy wanted the main bearing wall gone. The problem – Fred and Nancy live on the first floor of three-story condominium. In addition to supporting the weight of the upper levels, the plumbing for the two floors above them runs directly through the middle of the wall Fred insisted on being removed. On top of that, the condo association had minimal knowledge of how the building was constructed and only scattered, random blueprints from 30 years ago.

In the mean time, Fred researched every aspect of construction and wanted to be involved at every step of the transformation. He didn’t want seams anywhere on the countertops, which was a lofty request that was initially met with resistance. Our design called for a 125” wide arched, elevated countertop. The maximum width of most granite slabs is 126” or less, which left little room for cutting. In addition, the cabinet wood species changed from maple, to hickory, to cherry, back to maple, and finally settled on lyptus, a special order wood that would take three weeks to get in.

The Plan-

  • Remove the entire kitchen and set up a temporary workstation using the cabinets and countertops we removed and reconnect the microwave and refrigerator in a new location for the duration of the remodeling.
  • Support the 2nd & 3rd floor units with a temporary beam and remove the bearing wall.
  • Temporarily shut off the plumbing to the entire wing of the building and reroute the plumbing.
  • Install a new beam to support the upper floors. Install arches in the new opening and on the ceiling.
  • Maintain the fire protection and sound deadening qualities of the original construction.

The final result gives Fred and Nancy the openness they desired. The custom lyptus cabinets add an aesthetically pleasing contrast to the black walnut floors. The new island with the arch and pillars picture frame the main wall of cabinets, which is centered with a new range and a custom wood hood that draws your eye to the beautifully designed slate backsplash. The new Wolf grill allows Fred to stay indoors to grill his steaks. The corner pantry with a frosted glass door provides Nancy with abundant storage for canned goods, oversize pots and pans, as well as miscellaneous appliances. The granite countertops on the island are perfectly seamless and provide a spacious area for their guests to gather. Recessed lighting in the main kitchen and in the ceiling arch brighten up the work space, yet are dimmable for more intimate entertaining.

In the end, the kitchen portrays the flare and style that complimented Fred and Nancy’s taste!

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Homes