Amanda + Jake
Meet the adventure van explorers who demolished their terribly ugly and inefficient kitchen and rebuilt the heart of their home.
Amanda and Jake — Alameda, Portland OR
My husband and I spend a lot of time out and about exploring. We have a van that was converted into an adventure van and has been the inspiration for us to travel regularly. We have two kiddo's — eight and five — and a dog who rules the house...he’s trained us well.
We purchased this home four years ago when I moved to Portland. Right before we sold my previous home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and moved here, Jake and I did a full kitchen remodel in 10 days, on our own.
So when we bought this home, we came into this house really confident.
On Day 1 there was a peninsula that divided the dining room from the kitchen and over that was low cabinets. And so Day 2 in the house we tore out those cabinets and the drop ceiling. We learned very quickly that a 1920's home is a much different home than our previous 1940's home.
We lived with holes in our ceiling and eighteen exposed fluorescent lights for over three years. Our kitchen is really the heart of the home and we hated the space.
It was really just terrible in terms of flow, it aesthetically was ugly. We just were so unhappy, and then what we did to it on top of that, tearing it apart...we wouldn't spend time in it and we didn't like having people over.
We had to do something and it was just overwhelming.
Cost was the number one hesitation going into it, and we needed to understand what kind of budget we had. And then, because it is so intrusive, finding someone that we're comfortable with bringing into our home.
You know, I don't think until we met Joel we were really excited about it at all.
We had to do something
We discovered him through colleague and friend of mine who had used Joel for their kitchen remodel. They had nothing but good things to say, their style was similar to ours, and they were just so encouraging for us to meet with Joel.
We never even considered anyone else because when we met with him there was just something about him in terms of his personality — he really matched with ours. He's got such an ease to him.
The questions that he asked really sought to understand what it was that we were trying to accomplish.
His approach was, “Okay you have a budget and so we will work within that to get you what you need.” He was, from the first meeting, always very conscious of protecting that.
In fact, after we met with Joel a few times — with ideas and samples — we handed full control to him.
We trusted him so much that we handed over the reins.
He understood our style, was able to build that into the design, and he made it so easy for us to work with him...so easy.
I should say his whole team really went above and beyond. They helped facilitate a lot in terms of getting the design that we wanted executed.
He was kind of like a therapist though parts of the construction where you know, you run into some decisions that have to be made — he was always there as a voice or as a sounding board if we needed it.
For example, we come home from day one of demo and it’s down to bare studs, and that's really startling. Joel shows up that night with a bag filled with wine and cheese and sausage and sets it out for us on the front porch. He was there, he knew how startling it was gonna be. And so they're just a tremendous team to work with and I can not give them enough praise.
Our new kitchen is glorious. It's fantastic. It has completely transformed our home and how we socialize.
I truly don't think that we considered the impact that kitchen was having on us before. I think we created the adventure van because it was our escape pod, so that we could get away from the house. And now we actually are kind of in a predicament at times because we've become home bodies.
It wasn't really until after the project was done where we realized how we weren’t inviting people over before.
The outcome is far more than just a new kitchen — your home is so much more than that.
I found a team of people with experience and expertise, and who really demonstrated that they had our best interest at the heart of everything that they were doing.
Everyone is professional and dedicated to the work that they do. They're fun to work with and they're incredibly thoughtful. I really cannot give the Fraley + Company team enough praise.
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