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Recipe for Success: Kitchen Remodel Done Right

Jane and Mike Reed know home renovations. The couple owns Brush Strokes Inc. Unique Remodeling and Design (, where Mike is the general contractor and Jane helps with design. Recently, the two put their skills and knowledge to the test as they remodeled their own kitchen in Folsom.

Before the remodel


Remodel by Brush Strokes Inc. Unique Remodeling and Design


The couple can’t exactly pinpoint a budget for the project, as they did the work themselves. “We saved where we could with appliances to keep costs down,” Jane says. “We both enjoy cooking and [making] everything from scratch, so we built [it] specifically for how we work and our needs.” While other rooms of their house are still works in progress, the Reeds walked us through their recent remodel.

“We made a pantry from the walkthrough to the dining area and created a door using a cabinet panel, so it’s hidden,” she says. “The pantry has plenty of electrical outlets and granite shelves, so we have an air fryer, microwave, coffee machine, toaster, and mixer all set up and ready to go.”
With the hidden appliances, as well as a beverage fridge out of sight in the pantry, they can keep their counters clear.

They also moved the sink, which was originally in the corner, and installed a 45-inch workstation sink. “We use this for prepping all fruit and vegetables, and it’s great for clean-up,” she says. “The main faucet has a pull-down spray, and the small faucet is an instant hot water dispenser.”

The couple opted for frameless cabinets with slab fronts making it easy to clean. They also used drawers wherever possible. “The big drawers are great for larger items or stacks of plates,” she says. “Some of them have inner half-height drawers for smaller items. It’s so easy to see everything that’s in the drawer rather than having to bend down to get to the back of a cupboard.”

The large floor-to-ceiling bank of cabinets and drawers houses so much that some of the cupboards are still empty, awaiting fun new kitchen gadgets. “The upper cupboards house holiday dishes or items I rarely use but don’t want to part with,” she says.



Remodel by Brush Strokes Inc. Unique Remodeling and Design


Not interested in a chimney vent as the main focal point of the kitchen, the Reeds used a telescoping downdraft behind the cooktop. The countertop is 2cm quartz without a laminated edge but with a waterfall end. “I like the simplicity of this look and it’s becoming increasingly popular,” she says.

The couple extensively debated adding an island. “Whether to put in an island or keep our old kitchen table created big discussions!” she says. Ultimately, the table won. “We bought it nearly 40 years ago, and I love it. Since I’m short, I like the lower height for baking, kneading, etc. and [also] like to have friends and family sit there when I cook. It’s a country-style table in a contemporary kitchen, so I added more rustic elements to the open shelves, too. It [may seem] eclectic, but it’s my kitchen, and I love to break the rules!”

Turning from consultant to client wasn’t too challenging for the Reeds. They’ve seen it all in their work. When asked to share their top remodeling advice, they suggest making sure the contractor you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured. “Meet the people [physically] doing the work, not just the salespeople, and ensure you get [along] with them since they’ll be in your house for several weeks,” she shares. Finally, don’t underestimate the amount of dust that can be created—even with plastic walls!”

by Kourtney Jason  |  after photos by Taylor Gillespie