Massive Marble Island - Tacoma, WA
This is a kitchen that had a very special story behind it. I was introduced to Chris & Jennifer by Rory Knight, the owner of Window Depot, with whom I have collaborated with on several New Leaf projects over the years. Chris & Jennifer had hired an interior designer and were in love with the design concept for their dream kitchen that she had created, but after receiving some price quotes from several general contractors and custom cabinet makers, the Mitchell’s were afraid that they may not be able to afford their dream kitchen after all.
During the course of the initial design consultation, it quickly became apparent to Robert that the project truly was a dream kitchen that Chris and Jennifer had put years of thought and savings into. Jennifer revealed that shortly after purchasing their home, Chris had been deployed overseas where he was based out of for approximately 12 years as a Special Forces soldier and also as a contractor. She briefly shared how tough not only those 12 years were, but also how difficult the two years that he had been back with PTSD had been on their family and, how holding onto the dream of remodeling their kitchen was what helped them get through the tough times. Robert could see the turmoil in Jennifer's eyes that would switch from excitement and hope of having her dream kitchen, to fear and trepidation that the dream that she had been holding onto for so many years, and the hope that it would someday actually happen which had helped the Mitchell’s get through so many difficult times over the last 12 years, might not come true.
Because of the scar that the September 11th attacks left on this nation, Robert didn’t have to do much math or look at a calendar to determine that 9/11 probably played a huge roll in Chris’s enlistment. It wasn’t until much later in the project that Robert would learn the details of Chris’s re-enlistment in the Army as a Special Forces Green Beret after 9/11, (he’d formerly been in the Navy as a Search and Rescue Swimmer). Robert’s initial hunch was confirmed and he was correct. It was clear that the Mitchell family, like countless other military families throughout the Puget Sound and the country, had sacrificed greatly in service for our country and Robert decided very quickly after meeting them that he needed to do whatever he could to make their dream come true. He knew that helping their dream come true would pale in comparison to what their family went through to protect and serve our country.
After meeting with the Mitchell’s in their home and reviewing the kitchen design, Robert was finally able to see why they were having issues getting quotes that fell within their budget. The kitchen design was huge. With over 80 cabinets and 4 slabs worth of marble and granite countertops, this remodel was a monumental task. The design called for framing in larger windows all along the back of the house to maximize the Mitchell’s beautiful views of the Narrows Bridge, Gig Harbor, and the western skyline, eliminating a wall between the old formal dining room that would end up becoming part of the new kitchen, resizing a smaller wall with a newly placed pocket door, relocating heat ducts, plumbing and overhauling the electrical. Robert knew that in order to get anywhere close to their budget he was going to have to work extremely hard to make sure the planning and accuracy was perfect to help decrease the risk of additional charges.
High Quality Cabinets, Low Prices
Fortunately, as a factory semi-custom cabinet dealer, New Leaf was generously able to provide a significant military discount on the Mitchell’s cabinets at half the cost of all other quotes they had received from custom cabinet makers and big box stores. In addition to the military discount on the cabinets, Robert decided to offer large amounts of the cabinet installation labor at cost to help make this project possible. The project had a few minor hiccups. Jennifer was amazed that in spite of the hiccups, everything went as scheduled. She was extremely impressed by how professional the New Leaf team was. In the end, the kitchen came out even more beautiful than imagined and, because of Roberts expert planning, sharp eye, and attention to detail, there were no significant issues that arose and the project was completed with minimal changes for the price that was quoted to the Mitchell’s who were very pleased.
The kitchen includes several custom cabinet storage solutions such as a corner drawer cabinet, pull-out trash cans, a tray divider cabinet for baking sheets and cutting boards, and roll-out shelves. Jennifer's favorite feature, by far, was the built-in mixer cabinet that allows the mixer to be used and put away without actually having to move the mixer. Jennifer enjoys baking and had spent years battling the mixer in and out of her cabinets. She was ecstatic with the ability to easily go from using the mixer to storing the mixer neatly in a perfectly sized cabinets. Chris's favorite feature was the large cooktop and additional prep space that was a last minute change to the original design when, with Robert’s expert advice, he suggested relocating the fridge and freezer. Another heartwarming feature was the chalkboard that Jennifer found at Earthwise Architectural Salvage that was actually from her own middle school! Chris cut the chalkboard to size and Robert used some molding to create a frame and mounted it on the custom built fridge enclosure.
Watching the tears of joy stream down Jennifer's face at the project’s completion was one of the most rewarding experiences that Robert has been a part of since New Leaf was started. New Leaf was honored to be a part of this project and the Mitchell’s are over the moon with their new dream kitchen.