Wendell Lovett overhaul
A distinctive metal hood and raised concrete, terrazzo and brick hearth draw your eye to the fireplace wall; the angled back of the bar cabinetry is visible on the left.

After purchasing a Wendell Lovett MCM, Seattle couple Courtney and Patrick Stanton discovered they couldn’t contend with the cramped kitchen (part 1), but with the help of architects and designers (part 2), they were well on their way to achieving their vision of a kitchen overhaul. An additional team was brought in when Patrick and his father razed the kitchen floor.

The kitchen remodel was both simple and detailed, requiring a project manager who sweats the small stuff. That would be Gary Timpe, co-owner of BrightWork Builders.

BrightWork—a name that refers to clear-finished wood that precludes using filler to hide any sloppy cuts—specializes in residential projects, with about half of their work in a contemporary style. “I was immediately interested; it’s such a beautiful home and it matters to us what we’re building,” says Timpe, who oversaw and coordinated the subcontractors. As part of this overhaul, electrical, plumbing, gas lines, flooring, glass, countertop fabrication and even roofing were required, with most activity occurring during a three-week window.

In addition to the systems upgrades, a fixed window with a vent hole was replaced, a reeded-glass backsplash installed, terrazzo countertops cast and new appliances, fixtures and lighting installed. An exhaust fan over the gas cooktop necessitated piercing the membrane roof, and significant time was spent weighing options before selecting Expanko rubberized cork flooring for its visual simplicity and durability in a household with an 8-year-old and three large dogs. An example of the project’s attention to detail is seen in the flooring install. Twenty-four-inch tiles were chosen because sheet goods would have had a seam at an unfortunate area. BrightWork demoed down to the floor joists, installed a subfloor, then the Expanko installer put in an additional, very smooth 3/8″ subfloor and floated out the seams so they had a perfectly flat surface. Today, the kitchen floor is slightly lower than the surrounding original floors, but that’s because the hardwood is due to be sanded and refinished shortly.

“It was mostly a logistical challenge—scheduling all of the subs and keeping things moving so we could return the kitchen to the homeowners as quickly as possible,” says Timpe. “It was well thought out from the beginning, and the cabinetmakers did an excellent job. There were none of those fire-drill moments where you scramble and freak out because something didn’t work.”

Future plans include remodeling the upstairs bath, opening up the small rooms downstairs that were constructed in the ’70s, and adding an outbuilding for an office/exercise room. Bringing in the pros was the right approach, the Stantons feel.

“The neighborhood that it is, and the house that it is, really deserved a kitchen designed specifically for the home; we didn’t have that expertise personally,” Courtney says. “We feel we made very deliberate choices that both fit this house and our needs.”

Others apparently love it, too: “When an inspector came to look at the house when we were buying, he was like a kid in a candy store and offered to buy if we wanted to sell in five years,” Patrick recounts. “It’s such a simple design: There’s not anything complex about the structure, and the original owners did a good job keeping everything up.”