When Mike and Kae Holmen of Upsala decided to start remodeling last year, neither could anticipate what their home would look like. Working with the contractor, cabinet maker, plumber, electrician and others, the home they are living in today is more than they originally envisioned, Kae said.
Loving every part of the remodel from the bathroom and laundry room to the kitchen and dining room overlooking Cedar Lake to the bead board cabinets and shiplap ceilings, they are extremely satisfied with the work.
“I love how it all just fits the house. They did an amazing job,” she said.
When the couple purchased the home in 1976 from Mike’s grandparents, their living space was 12 feet by 29 feet with a porch facing the lake. The windows pulled up and latched onto the rafters and the ceiling consisted of soft fiber squares.
Kae said over the years, they remodeled part of the house, including building three bedrooms and a bathrooms upstairs and insulating the porch so it could be used throughout all four seasons. Only sleeping upstairs, the porch was where they stayed during the day while their home was being remodeled.
One of the greatest goals during the remodel was to increase the family’s storage space, especially in the kitchen. The original kitchen was more of a galley with a narrow path.
By removing a large portion of one of the original kitchen walls and by adding some more space, the Holmens were able to really open up their kitchen area. A large granite island was installed. What drew Kae to that specific pattern besides the black, grey and white color scheme was that a portion of the pattern reminded her of the Egyptian princess, Nefertiti.
“I saw it and it was just gorgeous. It was also not the most expensive since it’s a tier one,” she said.
Part of the same type of granite was also added as a window sill by the window by the accent wall above the counter top. While the kitchen, dining room and the living room were primarily sheet rocked and painted in greige, a combination of beige and grey, the accent wall features a star fire red beadboard back splash.
“They did such an amazing job. I am so pleased with everything,” Kae said.
Several windows were installed in the kitchen and along the lakeside that look like the original windows — double hung with three glass panels on top.
When the Holmens first envisioned their kitchen, they had not considered adding a large granite island. The man who installed it commented that he never installed that big of a granite piece before, Kae said.
However, the large island added a lot of character to the kitchen. Opting for a deep dark sink with a swinging aged bronze colored faucet, Kae said she really likes it.
“I can swing it any way I want. If I want to fill up a pot of water, I can do that right here on the counter. You just have to watch it so it doesn’t run over,” she said.
New charcoal colored appliances, such as a new stove, refrigerator and more were installed. Kae said one thing she knew from the start was that she wanted a refrigerator that was smudge resistant. As it is a dual convection door stove, she is able to either use a partial or full oven.
“I knew I wanted to do those. Smudge resistant appliances are usually more expensive, but you never do it but once,” she said.
All of the cabinets in the kitchen are custom made. Taking advantage of different spaces to accommodate the couple’s need for more storage space, a built-in bread box cabinet was built. An electric outlet was added to the bread box, which also made it an ideal location to house the toaster — conveniently, but out of sight, she said.
One of the things Kae believes most people can relate to is the annoyance of having to dig through spices and other essential cooking ingredients in a bottom cupboard or spinning holder. As a result, the contractor installed a couple of pull-out pantries which has made accessing various ingredients very easy, Kae said.
More storage space was added underneath the island, as well.
When the Holmens went through one of their remodels about 30 years ago, the original electric outlet covers were removed. Still to this day, Kae doesn’t really know why she saved them; they were just pretty, she said.
Since they were able to reuse the old outlet covers in their latest remodel, Kae said it adds to the character of the home. After all, the covers are about 70 years old.
The living room, dining room and kitchen area still has their original fir flooring.
“We kept the flooring the same in the whole main level and had it redone. They sanded it and vanished it. It’s a natural fir so it gets redder as it ages,” Kae said.
What was once the original 9-by-10-foot bedroom, the Holmens turned into a laundry room. Custom made bead board cabinets were installed and painted in the same star fire red color as the back splash in the kitchen with a black glaze over it.
Kae said initially they had not planned on adding a laundry room. She figured that going up and down the stairs to the basement where laundry was done before would help keep her active. However, looking to the future and to the fact that both she and Mike are getting older, they figured it was a good addition. Now she loves it.
“It’s very convenient. I love the way it looks,” she said.
The bathroom on the main floor level was remodeled, as well. The old bathtub that had been there since they first bought the home was removed and a walk in shower was added. An additional three feet was also added from the original bedroom.
The shower walls and the sink are made of a cultured marble that reminds Kae of the material speed boats are made of. At first, they had considered tiling the shower, but since both materials cost about the same, the Holmens opted for the cultured marble. It’s also very easy to maintain, she said.
The flooring that was installed in the bathroom is charcoal grey colored bamboo.
Star fire red bead board cabinets were built in the bathroom wall. Decorated with an old mirror her grandma had in her living room when Kae was a little girl, Kae said she enjoys incorporating their family history into their home.
The large and open space the remodeling has brought has also made visiting with friends and family easier. It isn’t as crowded, she said.