One couple’s story of making a dream come true.

John and Tammy Ouellette had been doing construction projects for other people for more than 25 years. As owners of Precisions Builders in Auburn, they had built and remodeled homes and housing complexes, hospital departments and dental offices, bank buildings and college dormitories. Their long list of customers included St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Bowdoin College, Community Credit Union and the Oxford County Courthouse.

Finally, last year, they decided to be their own customers and do a project for themselves, a project they had been talking about for a long time. So, John began the work of building an addition onto their home to make space for a brand new kitchen. At the same time, he and Tammy turned to their friends at Hammond Lumber Company for help.

We use Hammond Lumber for all of our building materials and kitchens,” says John, “and they have very experienced people. This particular project was for ourselves. It was our kitchen, in our home, so we went to Hammond again and went through the whole process.”

Guiding them through that process was Jessica Enman, one of four designers in the Kitchen, Bath & Flooring Center in Hammond’s Auburn store on the Poland Road. The Ouellettes had worked with Jessica before and had been very impressed with her ability to listen and to turn ideas and sketches into finished kitchens.

A learning experience

For Tammy, who handles all the office-related tasks for Precision Builders while John concentrates on actual construction, it was a learning experience.

I’ve always been behind the scenes,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about actually putting a kitchen together. This was all new to me, and from a whole different perspective from what I normally do. I had no idea of what’s involved.”

Tammy’s first step was to go to Hammond Lumber and sit down with Jessica. It would be the first of many such conversations they would have; some at the store, some at the Ouellette’s home. At one point, the Hammond designer took measurements of the addition John was building to see how many of the kitchen features they wanted would actually fit into the space, and how they might be arranged.

After that,” John says, “it was just a matter of deciding how it was going to be laid out: which way the island was going to go, how big it would be, how many cabinets we were going to have, and how much countertop space. We tried different layouts until we finally decided to move forward with one of them.”

From imagination to paper

Tammy saw herself as the typical homeowner who may not even be aware that she doesn’t know what things she should be thinking about, or what all the questions are that need to be answered.

Jessica pays close attention to the details that maybe your typical homeowner really doesn’t know you need to think about,” Tammy says. “She knows what questions to ask to get what’s in your head out onto paper.”

Although John was very accustomed to reading and working from two-dimensional floor plans, his wife was not. And that’s a familiar situation for Hammond’s designers, no matter whether their customers are building kitchens, additions or complete homes and commercial buildings.

As Jessica puts it, “I can draw up a plan, but a lot of people don’t understand how to read a plan. So, a three-dimensional CAD [computer-assisted design] drawing, which looks a lot like what you’ll end up getting, can be very helpful.”

It certainly was for Tammy: “Looking at the 3D drawings made it so much easier for me to see what the end product was going to be. ”

From paper to perfection

Once they had the basic layout, the Ouellettes could move on to details such as the style and color of the actual cabinets, drawer hardware and other accessories. Jessica helped them identify features they could add and also suggested changes that might give them even more of the convenience and enjoyment they wanted. Meanwhile, John and his crew completed the addition to the house and then installed the new kitchen. When they were done, Tammy knew she had exactly what she needed to pursue her passion for cooking.

It’s perfect!” she says. “It’s a dream kitchen. It really is. I love all the detail. I love my baking oven. I love my mixer cabinet. I love all of it. I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

When she thinks back to the start of the project, Tammy remembers how intimidating it all seemed and yet how quickly that fear faded away once she dove in.

As she likes to say it now, “Going to Hammond Lumber took the scary out of doing a kitchen.”


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