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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 19, 2001

Annual local kitchen and bath tour offers inspiration

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer

Judy Dawson of Designer Kitchens and Baths helped redesign this kitchen for Pam Tanigawa while sticking to the $50,000 budget. The kitchen maximizes on the use of angles.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Great Kitchen & Bath Tour

Sunday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Nine homes in Kailua, Hawai'i Kai, Kahala, Waikiki and Nu'uanu, featuring kitchens and bathrooms by professional designers in Honolulu.

A map to the homes will appear in Sunday's Advertiser.

Tickets: $10, available at all the homes

Sponsored by the National Kitchen & Bath Designers Association, Aloha Chapter; a benefit for Habitat for Humanity

Information: 596-0343; 988-9339

Pam Tanigawa yearned to turn her hot, dark kitchen into one of those showplace family gathering places in House Beautiful or Architectural Digest. But her budget was tight and she didn't know how to do it herself.

So for three years, Tanigawa kept going to open houses, gathering ideas and looking for a designer she could work with without spending a fortune.

Tomorrow you can see the results. Tanigawa's kitchen will be among nine open to the public for the annual kitchen and bath tour sponsored by the Aloha Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

The tour, which attracts 300 to 500 people each year, is an annual opportunity to see what lots of money can buy in the way of a remodeled kitchen or bath. A top-to-bottom kitchen redesign can cost $30,000 and up, professionals say.

But the tour also is an opportunity for budget-conscious do-it-yourselfers to steal a few professional tricks or gather small, inexpensive ideas to incorporate in their own homes.

"I've always felt that the kitchen is the center of a really good home," Tanigawa said. "Now I feel like I've got one."

What's new?

  • The old kitchen, entered through a small doorway, was sealed away from the rest of the living area. Now it has an open, flowing entry that connects it to the dining and living rooms, allowing it to serve as a family gathering place.
  • A new window near the stove lets in more natural light and creates a cooling breeze.
  • Dark wooden cabinets have been replaced by all white ones brightened with spot lighting.

"I feel like my average home is now someplace really special," Tanigawa said.

Tanigawa's lower Kamekame Ridge home was built in 1983 with a modern stucco design. Since then, she has enclosed a lanai area, transformed an entry and thought often about how to reshape the kitchen.

"The last three years I kept going to the kitchen and bath tours, looking for a designer who thought like I did," she said.

That's how she met kitchen designer Judy Dawson of Designer Kitchens and Baths. Tanigawa liked Dawson's clean, simple kitchen design, which didn't seem as extravagant as some of the others she saw.

"Some places you just walk in and know that the design is more than you can afford," Tanigawa said. "I've got two kids in college and I absolutely had to stay in budget."

So Dawson fashioned a new kitchen for Tanigawa that maximized change and minimized construction costs.

Stealing only six square feet of space from the living room, Dawson's plan energized the kitchen by putting in the new window, lots of new lighting, new tile that extended beyond the cooking area and plenty of angles.

Sticking to the $50,000 budget, she was able to put in new Bosch appliances, a mixture of granite and Corian counters, tile flooring and lots of little designer details, like the stainless steel door handles and the burgundy glass cabinet door pulls.

"The only things we couldn't afford right away were the SubZero refrigerator and the use of granite throughout," Dawson said. "But we've designed it so that those can be added later if Pam wants to."

Dawson said many of her creative touches come from studying an existing kitchen and how the homeowner uses it. "Ideas come from the house, not house magazines," she said.

Among those little touches she put into Tanigawa's home are these, which can easily be adapted for use by do-it-yourselfers.

  • Whenever possible, counters, cabinets and accents were set at angles. There's even a small wine rack set at a cockeyed angle.
  • Black granite was used in three different places: near the stove, as a backsplash and on top of an open cabinet facing the dining table.
  • A built-in microwave, and an oven set away from the stove top. "You don't use an oven as much so why put it in a prominent place?" Dawson said.
  • A wooden chopping block perfectly fitted into a counter space next to the stove, but still able to be picked up and moved to the sink.
  • A small garbage can attached to an undersink cabinet door, allowing it to be pulled out easily.

"I love it all," Tanigawa said. "The angles are beautiful, and there's a place for everything. I want people to come see that it's possible to have a beautiful kitchen without busting the budget."