Roxanne Simpson, and her husband, Greg, designed and built their kitchen from floor to ceiling in a space where a kitchen never existed before.
“We live in a large, old farmhouse that was part of Greg’s family,” said Roxanne Simpson, who lives a stone’s throw from the Minot Country Store in Minot. “We decided to create a kitchen in a space that was formerly a work room that connected to the barn.”
While it was a dream-come-true project for Simpson, there were a few challenges. The flooring was uneven due to wear-and-tear through the years and the space was huge -- just about 16 by 20 feet. It would take creative vision and good planning to convert the space into a modern day kitchen.
Simpson began by drawing plans for the project. She happens to be an interior decorator who works primarily on commercial spaces. Her plan for the kitchen would be her first venture into residential design.
“I picture things in scale,” said Simpson, who wasted little time in drawing every detail that she wanted incorporated into the new kitchen. Eventually, she would find use for every bit of space available.
Her brother-in-law, Mark Simpson, is a contractor who has done lots of work in the central Maine area and who agreed to take on the project at the family home.
Simpson said that working with a contractor is definitely a partnership where ideas are sometime negotiated between the two parties.
“The space has a very high ceiling and I wanted to add a beam across the room,” said Simpson. “I also wanted to have kitchen cabinets staggered across the room instead of simply straight across.”
While her brother-in-law voiced concerns about the beam and staggered cabinets, Simpson asked him to trust her design and proceed with it.
“Whether the contractor is a family member or not, you should always stay true to the vision that you have for your project,” advised Simpson. “Hold your own to your original design.”
The project took over four months to complete from start to finish. “Mark was working on the kitchen between other contracted jobs that he had underway,” said Simpson. “My husband, Greg, would do most of the prep work to set things up for Mark’s time onsite.”
The completed kitchen indeed has the cross beam across the room and staggered cabinets throughout. There’s a 5-by-8-foot kitchen island that has a sink and electrical power, with cabinets underneath. One section of the island accommodates stools for leisurely dining.
While the only cost of the project was for materials, Simpson made wise budgeting decisions. “I used laminate countertops which were about half the cost of granite,” said Simpson. “However, when it came to the lighting, I spent a bit more to get exactly what I wanted.”
Simpson has sound advice for others undertaking a home renovation project.
“If you want something to be a certain way, then be sure to do it that way unless it is something that you can’t afford,” said Simpson.
And while Simpson had an interior decorating background to guide her in designing her kitchen, she believes there are plenty of other resources available for home renovators.
“Ask for advice from friends or relatives; people who have done similar projects,” suggested Simpson. “Visit local businesses that offer lighting, cabinets, and custom designs. You can learn a tremendous amount by tapping into their expertise.”