From Timeworn to Trendy

A kitchen sink that works.

Seems like a mundane request, but when it comes to kitchens, running water is a big deal. Ann and John Premo of Webster learned firsthand how difficult it can be to live without a sink, and how a new kitchen can open up a home like few other renovations.

The Premo kitchen dated to the 1970s and was one of the last major upgrades made to the house. Like many homes of that era, the first floor was divided into small rooms that proved impractical for large gatherings and modern, kitchen-centered entertaining.

“We ate in the kitchen, rarely used the dining room, and hardly ever spent time in the front half of the house,” says Ann Premo. “Redesigning the kitchen allowed us to have much better traffic flow. Plus, we got rid of the dark, ornate style that plagued the old kitchen. In essence, we gutted the entire area and put in all new appliances.”

The Premos had a good idea of what they wanted and hired Gerber Homes, a firm they had used for renovations in the past. They learned early on that renovating means making lots of decisions. From types of cabinetry and finish – oak, maple, cherry, painted – to countertop material – laminate, Corian, granite, quartz – the choices can seem endless.

“We had no idea there were so many styles of cabinetry hardware,” notes John Premo. “Plus we had to decide where electrical outlets would go, which style of lights to use, and which hinges should be self-closing.”

The project was designed and major kitchen elements installed by Arrow Kitchens after the Premos reviewed designs from a few other firms. The work began in April of 2010 and lasted about five weeks. John Graziose of Gerber Homes explains that a typical kitchen redo plays out like this.

• Week 1: Demolish old space
• Week 2: Install new framing, electric, heat, and plumbing
• Week 3: Put up drywall and paint
• Week 4: Install cabinets and trim
• Week 5: Measure countertops and install flooring
• Week 6: Install countertops and add finishing touches

“We were fortunate to be without our kitchen sink for just two days. We spent a few days at my parents’ home and managed pretty well with just a coffeemaker, a toaster oven and a fridge in the garage,” claims Ann. “At least that got us through breakfast.”

The crew put up plastic tarps to help contain the drywall dust and all in all, the project came off with hardly a hitch. “I can’t emphasize enough how important good communication is to the whole process. It helped to have a single point of contact with the contractor, and it helped Gerber to know that Ann was acting as the project manager on the homeowner side,” notes John.

The Premos are particularly pleased with the unique design elements provided by Arrow. They especially like the chimney-style vent hood, granite countertops, and under-cabinet lighting. Incorp­orating the kitchen, dinette, and family area gave the home a larger look and feel.

Was it worth it? Most definitely.

“Our new, open floor plan was a direct result of the renovated kitchen,” claims Ann. “With a large extended family, we can now accommodate up to 40 people. Just recently we had my daughter’s entire field hockey team here for Bunco and a spaghetti dinner. Nothing beats having people come to visit!”


by Joy Underhill

Joy Underhill is a Farmington-based freelance writer.