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Style Magazine

Heart of the Home: Kitchen Renovation

Moving into their home in 2021, Elaine and Bill Scanlon intended to renovate the kitchen. But, considering the previous homeowners had given the kitchen a recent facelift, it was a project amongst others on a list for the near future. Then, a water leak struck a few months into their move, damaging the kitchen’s flooring and range, resulting in mold growth, and requiring extensive work to repair. That's when the Scanlons decided that if flooring was being ripped up and walls were to be opened, they might as well tackle the full remodel they envisioned when purchasing the home.

Elaine says of the existing kitchen, “Although it was nice, it just wasn’t our taste.” They loved the kitchen’s size with its 12-foot ceilings, but the space’s configuration didn’t work for them. “The layout really cut off the flow from the dining area, as well as the family room,” says Elaine, “We really wanted a big island with a waterfall edge [to] open up the space.”

Before; photo by Denise Shaw.


Armed with a vision and knowledge of the remodeling process from past experiences, they were ready to transform their kitchen with the right partner. Enter Designing Dreams Flooring & Remodeling (, a Folsom-based general contractor offering “high-touch” service in which they work closely with homeowners from conceptualization to completion and deploy in-house craftsmen for almost every trade.

“We were fortunate to be referred by Elaine’s real estate agent,” says Melinda Araj, sales representative and designer at Designing Dreams. A second stroke of luck was that Melinda was already familiar with the home. “It turns out that Designing Dreams had replaced all the hardwood and carpet in the house working with the previous owners,” says Elaine, "which would make it easy for them to match the flooring in our remodel." That sealed the deal for the duo.

Photo by Denise Shaw.


The Scanlons discussed their vision with Melinda and fellow Designing Dreams sales representative Randy Mintz, who went to the drawing board and returned with a gorgeous kitchen design. “The goal of the project was to open up and reconfigure the kitchen for a better flow and more space,” says Araj. “Our client’s style was all about clean and modern.” The Scanlons gave their eager approval, and the work began.

The remodel took four months, during which Designing Dreams completely flipped the kitchen’s configuration. “The kitchen was already large but closed off by columns and walls, so removing those extended not only the kitchen but the living space as well. We removed walls and extended the cabinets to the ceiling, creating more space and completely changing the flow,” explains Araj.

Photo by Denise Shaw.


They also worked closely with Elaine to select the perfect materials and finishes to achieve her vision. “The focal point in this design is a set of beautiful quartzite book-matched slabs that anchor the cooking area and create a dramatic backdrop to the rest of the design,” says Araj. Just as the Scanlons envisioned, an oversized island with a waterfall edge—in the same statement quartzite found in the cooking area—was installed for optimal entertaining and food preparation.
To ground the dramatic quartzite, neutral wall-to-wall cabinets were installed, along with a concealed refrigerator and freezer, and an appliance garage with rollback doors (a countertop cabinet to enclose small appliances and hide them from view) so that the kitchen would maintain a streamlined, clean appearance. Custom floating shelves with built-in lighting were constructed next to the stove. Finally, the kitchen was pulled together with herringbone white subway tile in accent areas, brass hardware throughout, and pops of black accents.

Photo by Denise Shaw.


“One of our favorite transformations is the lighting,” says Elaine. Swapping out harsh, bright lights for soft lighting on dimmers and installing toe kick lighting beneath the cabinets give their space “such a beautiful ambiance,” gushes Elaine. As for the designers, the book-matched slabs behind the cooktop are the best surprise of the project; upon installation, the veining within the opposing slabs lined up such that a heart was formed.

Photo by Denise Shaw.


The surprise heart is the perfect metaphor to describe the project for both Designing Dreams and the Scanlons. For Araj, there was an ease of working with the Scanlons. “They were so great to work with from start to finish. It was so fun to explore ideas and design elements with Elaine, as her style is elegant yet comfortable!” As for the homeowners, they couldn’t be happier with their new kitchen and the experience of working with Designing Dreams. Every contractor and tradesman they interacted with was a joy to work with. "Designing Dreams was there every step of the way to answer any of our questions and concerns. They were even there to help [us] when [we couldn’t] make up our minds at the slab yard picking out the countertops!”

by Nelly Kislyanka