What began as a small upgrade ended with an extensive kitchen makeover
It was supposed to be a simple upgrade in the kitchen: paint, new counters and that’s it. Instead, Frances and Garry Mack found themselves buried in Sheetrock powder and sawdust for seven months as their Seabrook home took on a new look and they replaced everything inside it.
For Frances Mack, a retired Realtor, it was a struggle every day to get the remodel right. After a career of seeing homes that were decorated or remodeled in a variety of styles, she knew what would work best in her space. But she also knew it came with a price.
“We’ve been here 17 years and we don’t plan to leave,” she said. “People sometimes let their houses get old around them. We didn’t want that, so we decided to do it once and do it right.”
The focus of the remodeling was in the kitchen — a large, uncluttered space that opens onto an eat-in kitchen and large living room. The view from all three areas through floor-to-ceiling windows is of Lake Mija, an 80-acre private lake where there are no motorized boats and lots of ducks and pelicans.
The Macks hired Matt Hegemier of Midtown Cabinetry, who guided them through the remodeling. The first thing they did was rip out all the existing cabinets and the massive octagon island. They pulled up all the tiled floors in the kitchen and then decided to refloor the entire house — upstairs and down and redo the two staircases.
“We had three different kinds of floors and it made everything feel chopped up,” she said. “Now, with the wood floors, it flows from room to room.”
The list of changes was long. The immense, three-sided fireplace in the kitchen needed a facelift and they never really liked the front entry and door. The banister was bland, and Frances Mack wanted more closets and storage. Oh boy — this was no longer just a kitchen redo.
But back to the kitchen. Now, with a clean slate, they were ready to go. First, they removed two large pantries that were difficult to use and included that newly exposed square footage in the improved kitchen layout. They replaced the maple-colored dated cabinets with a more modern, white Shaker style and started searching for the countertops that would add pizazz to the space. In most kitchens, it’s the countertops that set the tone and mood of the room.
“I was looking for something that was going to be fun,” she said. “The house is minimalistic and sedate, so I wanted something different here.” Most of the house is painted in a monotone Amazing Gray by Sherwin-Williams.
The three slabs of granite she selected from Omni Surfaces in Houston have wild streaks of quartz running through them with lots of blacks, grays, whites and speckles creating interesting patterns.
“I found what I was looking for — as it was coming off the truck from the quarry,” she said.
A new, much smaller and practical island was built in the center of the room, and every square inch of space in the kitchen was repurposed.
Now, the Macks had room for an oversized built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Wolf double oven and a massive five-burner gas stove top. A small “beverage center” was placed where one of the pantries had been, alongside a new adult beverage stash.
The design incorporated a small library area at the back of the island to store a small part of Frances’ cookbook collection.
“Now that I am home more, I want to experiment more with cooking,” she said, adding she relies on the recipes she finds rather than test her own cooking skills.
She made use of some out-of-reach spaces by incorporating five lighted, glass-fronted cabinets for art objects and attractive bowls to add a punch of color.
In keeping with the sleek modern look, all the electrical sockets are gray pop-out plugs (tap it and it pops out of the wall; push it back in when not in use) and simple silver pulls on the doors and drawers. The faucet is one of those touch-and-flow types, freeing up busy hands to get the water running. And to keep things organized, special dividers were installed in all of the drawers to keep utensils neat and easy to find.
“I don’t have to hunt for anything now,” she said. “It is all here where I can see it.”
A kitchen bar counter was created with seating for three and a new kitchen table and chairs nearby completed the job.
“Renovations are never what you think they will be,” she said. “So many of our conversations began with ‘oh, by the way’ as our projects grew. But my husband agreed that since we are not going to move anywhere soon, we should do the remodeling right. Now we get to enjoy it.”