Demolition in progress by Strite Design in Boise, Idaho

It’s tempting to believe that award winning design is all about epic transformation.  The true “design aficionado,” however, appreciates that great remodel design is first and foremost about solving problems in an esthetically satisfying way.  Think of it as the perfect union of right and left brain — and then read about this North End kitchen remodel that resulted in a first place award.


The kitchen of this North End home had not been updated for decades, and its current owners wanted not only to give it a more contemporary look, but solve some issues that impeded its functionality — while staying within a tight budget.


There were a number of problems with this kitchen that had less to do with its size and layout than with its basic design.  To begin with, it was impossible to get to the sink when the dishwasher was open.  In addition, the relative isolation of the range, which we quite often see in North End kitchens, did nothing to make it “cook friendly.”  Finally, some of the kitchen cabinets were awkwardly placed, and the kitchen itself was especially chilly on cold days (you’ll soon discover why).  Due to size constraints and bearing wall placement, we needed to contain our remodel within the existing footprint of the former kitchen — which meant that relocating appliances and moving the sink location was simply not an option.


Despite the above constraints, we were able to slide the dishwasher two feet to create more space at the sink — which meant that the owners could now actually stand at the sink and load dishes into the dishwasher…at the same time!  We installed a new range and positioned it so that it was centered between two new counter tops and cabinets, which made for a much improved cooking experience.  On the esthetic front, we refinished the existing fir flooring (a typical floor for homes of this era) and updated everything else in the space, which included new (and in some cases, better designed) cabinets.


This was a simple upgrade with a couple of modifications that made for a more functional AND attractive kitchen.  While removing the old cabinetry, we did come across a surprise (not that uncommon in older homes): there was no insulation behind the lathe and plaster of the exterior walls.  Needless to say, we added it — making the overall effect a heart warming one for our clients in more than just a figurative sense.

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