A Beaverdale kitchen remodel brings together past and future.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Ryan Damman Photography, courtesy Cate Holec
Featured in Autumn 2023
After 30 years in their charming Beaverdale home, Tim and Sandy Stacy decided they wanted a little more from their little kitchen. So once again, they turned to an old friend for advice.
“When we started looking for a house 30 years ago, my best friend Dave told us about this one before it was even on the market,” says Tim. “He and his family lived two doors away, and they knew the owner was getting ready to sell.”
Naturally, the couple included Dave and his wife in their remodel conversations. And again, Dave gave them the perfect answer: his daughter Cate Holec.
“She was our daughter’s first and favorite babysitter,” says Sandy. “So she knew the house; she knew us. And she knows what she’s doing when it comes to design.”
“I’ve known them my whole life, so this was really fun for me. And they gave me a lot of freedom to create a plan. They wanted a better layout that would be more open. But other than that, they didn’t have specific ideas,” says Holec.
One of her first decisions was to call on Moehl Millwork’s Keelie Lawson for the cabinet design.“We’ve worked together on several projects,” Lawson says, “and she’s such a good designer, and her projects are scheduled so well. Everything just seems to run like clockwork.”
Relocating the refrigerator was a key element in the final plan. But once that new location was set, Holec was able to create a layout that not only worked aesthetically but gave Lawson a framework for her cabinet design.
“We added a tall pantry beside the fridge and cabinets under the windows and bench seating under one as well,” says Lawson.
Working around the existing windows was one of the homeowners’ requirements.“We didn’t want to give up the windows, and we’d had them replaced just a few years before,” says Sandy. “I’m also not big on curtains, so I love the way they designed the cabinetry around them.”
Lawson says designing and installing around the windows was an intricate task. “Those measurements had to be precise to the fraction of an inch. The cabinet installers were so meticulous in order to get everything to fit perfectly.”
Decorative elements such as corbels under upper cabinets, trim details over the windows, and the wainscoting backsplash add historic styling that reflects the home’s original 1930s architecture while increasing storage space.
In addition to finding clever places to incorporate storage such as on the back of the peninsula, under the windows, and in additional cabinets in the former breakfast area, Lawson’s cabinet design allowed Holec to incorporate additional little conveniences that delighted the Stacys.
“Cate suggested outlets in the pantry cupboard on the sides of the cabinets below the counter,” says Tim, “places we never would have thought of, but they’re wonderful.”
The cabinet color, chai latte, was always part of the design to complement dark countertops and flooring. But an impulsive decision at the flooring store led to a delightful change of plans. “Originally I had recommended darker flooring and black countertops,” Holec says. “But we happened upon this tile while we were shopping, and it suited Sandy’s playful personality.”
“I fell in love with it, and when Cate told me the tile pattern was Laura Ashley, I knew it was the right one. My wedding dress was Laura Ashley,” says Sandy with a smile.
The whole project was peppered with little details like that, connections and coincidences that made what could have been a stressful process more like an adventure.
“We had a few requests. We were tired of entertaining in our tiny kitchen, so we wanted the wall removed between the kitchen and dining room,” Sandy says.
“I told Cate I wanted to be able to belly up to the bar in my own kitchen. And now I can,” Tim jokes.
“We actually use the dining room more than ever now that the space is so open,” says Sandy.
That newly opened layout also played a part in the hardware and lighting selection. The dining room fixture, original to the home, became the inspiration for the brushed champagne gold cabinet hardware and feature lighting.
“Cate has a passion for lighting,” Tim says. “We had several discussions about it. We thought she was recommending more lighting than we needed. But it makes such a difference. She really knows what she is doing.”
In addition to lighted display cabinets, Holec recommended undercabinet lighting and several recessed can lights in place of the ceiling fan.
“A kitchen that’s this nice calls for good lighting,” she says.
She also found an art light for the nook in the dining room, which led to another happy connection. “I’ve had this painting hanging in one of the bedrooms for years,” Sandy says. “It belonged to my grandmother and was painted and given to her by a former student. It’s perfect there.”
She’s right. The painting is the ideal finishing touch—a gift from an old friend, just like their lovely, new kitchen. •
- Cabinetry Moehl Millwork
- Designer Cate Holec (Instagram: @cate.Marlowe)