Molly McCabe participated in her first home remodel when she was only 12, renovating an 1895 farmhouse on Lopez Island.
Now she could win any of those home improvement reality TV shows.
After earning a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a career in finance, 19 years ago she followed her “passion for making dysfunctional spaces functional, as well as beautiful.”
As a result, her business on Bainbridge Island, A Kitchen that Works, recently won a statewide Excellence in Remodeling award from the Building Industry Association of Washington.
The judging is heavily weighted on the complexity of the job from a structural and design standpoint along with how successful and creative the contractor was at meeting the needs of the homeowner as well as overcoming jobsite issues, McCabe said.
“The entries are very detailed in terms of the work performed, materials used, and the problems that arose prior to, and during construction,” she said.
McCabe did have a budget to work with, but for privacy reasons she could not say what it was, or name where the remodel took place, other than it was in Kitsap County.
But she could describe how extensive the remodel was. She said the front entry was relocated, and a wall was abbreviated to allow everyone entering the house to see the spectacular view the moment they step inside. The kitchen was relocated to another area of the home to provide access to the deck, where the barbecue is, as well as the “glorious view.” The floor plan was reconfigured to allow separate bedrooms for each family member and a new powder room off the entry. Challenges with the lot, that presented themselves after the beginning of construction, required a change in the job and the budget. She said the goal of her business is to help each client find the “sweet spot” between cost and value.
Founded in 2002, A Kitchen That Works LLC has grown from a kitchen design firm to a full-service and licensed design-build firm for residential remodels and is now owned by Molly McCabe and her husband Clive Pardy, who joined the business in late 2010. The staff is small, with just a part-time office assistant, but they have a loyal crew of local subcontractors, McCabe said. The architect for the award-winning home’s exterior was Christopher Gutsche with Ecosmith Design and Consulting, also of BI.
Neither McCabe or Pardy went to a trade school, both were in finance, but “design and construction is in their DNA,” McCabe said. She grew up around designers and architects – her father was a furniture designer. Pardy’s great, great grandfather was a guilder at Buckingham Palace in London, and his grandfathers and father were all in the building/decorating trades. He has a Bachelor of Science in accounting.
And they are always learning. They travel each year to trade shows “to enhance their knowledge base as well as catch up with new product and design offerings.”
The House that Patience Built
The homeowners loved the view, but not the low ceilings, awkward chopped-up spaces and high utility bills. The initial request was for vaulted ceilings, multiple envelope improvements and a cosmetic remodel of the kitchen and first floor bathrooms. They wanted the home to be beautiful, functional, safe, energy efficient and worthy of the fantastic lot it was located on.
Built in 1944, it needed a seismic retrofit. After the start of construction, it was discovered the house had been set on fill dirt and that a large underground fuel tank had leaked for decades. 75% of the home faced demolition and 500 cubic yards of contaminated soil removed.
The remodel included:
• High-efficiency windows, doors and skylights, and a combination of spray foam and batt insulation
• The entire house was rewired, and electrical panels were replaced to accommodate an improved lighting scheme, generator, alarm system, automated window blinds and more
• New sheet rock, flooring, interior doors, kitchen appliances, quartz countertops and fireplace indoors along with cementitious siding, metal roofing and decking outdoors.
• Multi-port ductless mini-splits, hydronic heatin, a heat-recovery ventilator, electric resistant heat in master bathroom and new exhaust fans in each bathroom and the laundry room to ensure even heating/cooling and good indoor air quality.
• All cast iron and lead plumbing pipes were replaced; all new kitchen, laundry and bathroom fixtures.