Before & After: Grand Capitol Hill Remodel


Our recent clients, a couple working in Seattle tech, purchased this 1909 home for its spacious interior and grand features. The home, located between Capitol Hill and Eastlake in Seattle, is one of many box-style homes in the neighborhood having features such as: a dormer, covered porch and square columns. Though the home had been renovated before, the interior had more Victorian details than modern ones. With the help of local architect Board & Vellum, designer Jules Thomas of Maker Agent and our build team, the couple reimagined some of the major spaces and made quick updates to modernize others. The result is a truly stunning modern home that retains its historical grandeur. Note: The interior design of the home is currently still in progress, and we look forward to sharing updates upon its completion.



The entryway and stairs received a touch-up with new painting, flooring and a fireplace addition. The fireplace was a change that occurred during the build process, as the living room shaped up to focus on the entertainment system. So that the fireplace did not compete with the TV, the original brick fireplace was removed from the living room and a new traditional, marble fireplace was added to the family room where it becomes the focal point. [Read more…]

Contemporary Downtown Condo

Drawn to its proximity to the opera house, art museum, and all else vibrant downtown Seattle has to offer- not to mention its stunning views of Seattle’s waterfront- this mature couple decided they would like to hang their hat in an urban condo, as their forever home. They chose SkB Architects and Model Remodel to convert the dated, 90s-style unit to one that felt contemporary and interesting. The work focused on creating a more intuitive, open layout in the kitchen and living room, which lent itself to the couple who would spend most of their time between the two areas.

After gutting and resetting the footprint of the kitchen, Model Remodel installed all new cabinets and appliances. The cantilevered kitchen island countertop posed a real challenge for the company. Its unique design required steel supports underneath. That meant carrying an extremely heavy piece of metal up the building’s elevator and carefully maneuvering it through the hallway. During the installation of the wine fridge, the crew used a remnant piece of the kitchen’s quartz countertops on top of the wine fridge, to tie it to the rest of the space. The crew also built in a lovely bench niche- matched to the kitchen’s cabinetry- for the couple to gaze at the clouds, waves and ferries in Elliott Bay. Perhaps the most beautiful part of the kitchen, though, is the unique orange and grey backsplash tile. It gives a retro pop in the ultra-modern environment.

Throughout the rest of the home, Model Remodel put down exquisite hardwood floors; exposed the plumbing piping, concrete beams, and concrete columns for a modern, industrial look; installed a sleek fireplace insert, to comply with the building’s HOA guidelines; dropped the ceiling to add overhead, recessed art lighting; revitalized the unit with fresh paint; and turned a bland den into a dynamite entertainment room.

The couple is utterly pleased with their condo choices and are relishing the years ahead they will spend relaxing in their new home.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Eastlake Small Space Maximized


The owners of this 488-square-foot condo comprise a fun Yakima couple and their Seattle-based daughter. The family views this small space as an investment property but also loves having it for the time being. Its Eastlake location in the heart of the city is perfect for their interests. It provides an urban lifestyle for the daughter, living there full time now. However, when she moves out, it will turn over to the parents, who are highly involved in Seattle’s theater community and plan to use the condo for weekend trips to shows. When the family is ready to sell, though, their investment is sure to pay off, due to the condo’s prime location for young professionals in South Lake Union.

With all their future plans, they asked for the help of Model Remodel’s in-house designer to make the small unit as sleek and functional as possible. She presented two full concepts to the family that included plans for the kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. One of the main objectives was getting the most out of storage space in the small unit, keeping the appearance uncluttered and sophisticated. After feedback from the clients, the designer was ready to move forward with construction plans.

The Model Remodel crew reworked nearly every surface in the condo. In the kitchen, they replaced the old cabinets with ones that stretched all the way to the ceiling, maximizing the cabinets’ storage. They replaced the dated appliances with European, smaller-than-standard ones. The team picked beautiful Palissandro laminate cabinets, paired with white quartz countertops with a waterfall edge. The cabinet doors also operate on slick push latches. The crew used the same cabinets in the bathroom and living room, for a cohesive look throughout.

Other changes include cork flooring throughout, as the mother and daughter love yoga and thought the flooring would work well for their practice. The crew also installed some chic sliding door partitions between the sleeping area and living room to provide privacy, despite the small space’s open layout. The team also made way for more vertical storage in areas such as the bedroom closet and bathroom.

The family is thrilled with the new look. All the changes created a space that was more organized and functional, in addition to being more stylish. It is a terrific unit for the clients to own for the next several years to come.  An added bonus, they were an absolute pleasure for Model Remodel to work with. The designer said about the wonderful clients, “They were great. I’ve never laughed so hard in meetings as I did with them.”

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Greenwood Kitchen in Blue

This 1902 home has an interesting history. Rumor has it that Gus Knudson- one of the Woodland Park Zoo’s earliest animal keepers- built and owned the Seattle house. Many of the out houses in the neighborhood were used to shelter animals, and these homeowners were even told monkeys likely played around on the structure in their backyard!

Many years later, these 21st century homeowners were ready to make the kitchen in the main house a little more modern, while keeping the charm of the home’s vintage origins.

The first challenge was enhancing the existing space without altering the layout that this young Greenwood couple liked. The crew began by removing everything, to create a fresh slate. From there, they replaced the old, black-and-white checkered tile floor with gleaming Bay Laurel hardwoods. They then replaced the cabinets and added crown molding along the ceiling, making the relatively small kitchen appear taller and more elegant. They also installed new light fixtures and under-cabinet lighting that brightened the entire space. Perhaps the conversation piece of the kitchen, though, is the client’s choice for bright blue accents. With a wall color named “Fiji” and a backsplash tile color called “Crater Lake,” the color palette is definitely a standout in this kitchen.

Perhaps the defining success of this project is that the homeowners now spend as much time communing with guests in the kitchen as they do in the rest of their house!

Sustainability features of the project include low-VOC paints and finishes; locally sourced cabinets and countertops; air sealing around the window and stairs; and sustainably harvested wood floors. Greenhome Solutions was a strong partner in the project, providing a number of the environmentally friendly finishes.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

All About Wine in Kirkland

These Kirkland homeowners love wine. When their 800-bottle-capacity wine fridge in the garage stopped cooling properly- coupled with the fact that their kitchen was long in need of an upgrade- the family decided it was time for a remodel.

First, Model Remodel’s in-house designer made plans to remove the half-height wall in between the two structural columns. This quickly improved the flow from the kitchen to its adjacent rooms, in addition to making the kitchen feel more connected to the living room. Then, she examined why the current kitchen wasn’t functioning well. After sketching multiple options, the best solution was to modify their existing layout. By pushing out the counter a few extra feet and moving the range, it allowed more than one person to work in the kitchen comfortably and vastly improved the space’s functionality.

The designer and the clients collaborated to customize the new kitchen—adding a bread drawer, a pull-out bin for trash, textured tile, a three-sided pull-out pantry, an air switch for the garbage disposal, outlets hidden under the cabinets, a Nest thermostat, and a dual-drawer dishwasher.

Of course the main conversation piece of the house is the new and improved wine storage. The space now comprises three wine fridges that can store a total of 239 bottles of wine. (Because the family didn’t want the wine storage to feel too commercial or overwhelming to the rest of the house, they opted for creating storage for fewer bottles.) A modern waterfall countertop encloses the two short fridges. Above them is a sleek upper cabinet with an awning door to store the family’s beautiful glassware. As a bonus, the space doubles over as a staging area for parties and entertaining.

The family loves their new kitchen and even threw a party to show off the new space (and drink off the extra bottles of wine). Now that the hard work is over, the couple can sit back, relax and have a glass of wine.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Wallingford Family Kitchen

The young, professional couple in this turn-of-the-century craftsman home loves to cook and had a clear sense of their priorities when they decided to remodel their kitchen. First, the family is highly committed to sustainable building and having a healthy home. Second, the couple wanted a design that would respect the traditional character of their home. Finally, they wanted a kitchen with increased functionality and storage space. As the couple had a baby on the way, they knew they would be spending a lot more time in the kitchen in the coming years.

Model Remodel in-house designer laid out a space that helped the family hit their priority list. For sustainability and a healthy home, she helped the couple pick all wood cabinets with no urea formaldehydes, LED lights, low-VOC finishes, backsplash tiles with a recycled glaze, and cork floors. In addition, they were sure to pick durable materials that would stand the test of time.

To be true to the character of the craftsman home and avoid something that felt too modern, the couple chose antique-looking cabinet pulls and light fixtures, as well as traditional inset Shaker-style cabinets. The kitchen looks as if it had always been part of the home but with all of the latest modern conveniences. At one of the first design meetings, the couple showed the designer an image of a kitchen with turn-of-the-century Parisian influence. She used that inspiration to create a warm space where she imagined the couple enjoying a lazy weekend morning together– French press coffee, flaky pastries and the Sunday Times.

Finally, for the all-important increased functionality of the kitchen, the designer created more storage space with a walk-in pantry and custom-cabinet solutions. Everything can now fit behind a closed door, which leaves the counter free of clutter. The Model Remodel crew took out a half-height and a full-height wall to open the space up to the dining room and let in light. Two of the kitchen outlets even have USB hubs, so the couple can plug their iPad in while cooking off of an online recipe.

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography