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Redoing Your Kitchen the Right Way

A stunning transformation of a cramped, dated kitchen.

Sandra Sanders likes her corner pantry with automatic light in her remodeled kitchen. (SHNS photo by Owen Brewer / The Sacramento Bee)

By Bob Masullo
Sacramento Bee

The Rio Linda, Calif. home that Sandra and Archie Sanders designed, built and have lived in since 1974 is less than a half-hour drive from California's bustling capital, Sacramento, but it's rural enough for them to keep three horses on the 2 1/2-acre property.

The couple loves the country lifestyle it allows while keeping the city accessible.

But until a few years ago, they didn't like one part of their lifestyle -- the cramped, dated, kitchen in their home.

"We'd toured a lot of model homes and saw their roomier, up-to-date kitchens," says Sandra Sanders, a hairdresser.

"We really wanted one. When we noticed how low interest rates were (in 2001), we decided it was time to get ours."

Their old kitchen measured 11 by 18 feet. It had dark wood cabinets with Formica tops, no work island and a carpeted floor.

"There wasn't enough room to store everything," she says. "We were constantly having to stack things. And there wasn't enough room for people, either."

Now the Sanders' kitchen is 18 by 22 feet, has golden-stained custom-built birch cabinets with Corian tops and tile backsplashes; a large, granite-topped work island; an appliance garage; a corner pantry and a ceramic tile floor.

"You can now fit 40 people in our kitchen," Sanders says. "And it has more storage space than we need; some drawers are still empty three years after we finished work."

The couple gained space for the new kitchen from an adjoining garage.

That made what was left unsuitable for cars, so they converted it into a 17 by 24-foot den and a 6 by12-foot laundry room.

The den, now used as an exercise room, is connected to the kitchen by French doors. A new garage was built on the west side of the house.

The remodel included updating the dining room with new lighting, a chair rail and crown molding that matches the coloring of the kitchen. New windows replaced the energy-inefficient windows throughout the house.

The Sanderses did not use an architect. Instead, Archie Sanders drew up rough plans and worked out details with the general contractor they chose after interviewing and getting bids from four contractors. Work was done between May and September of 2001.

Total cost: "About $130,000," says Sanders, an elementary school teacher. "And it was well worth it. The additional space is just wonderful."

"Especially for entertaining," adds his wife.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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