Today’s Dream Kitchen Remodel Contest

Kitchen before renovation

Danny Lipford with homeowner Linda Paradis in her kitchen before renovation.

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I’m at the home of Linda Paradis of Stafford, Virginia, who was the winner of our Today’s Dream Kitchen Contest, sponsored by Merillat cabinets. As the contest winner, Linda received a complete kitchen makeover including new cabinets, countertops, flooring, lighting, and even a new kitchen door!

Linda’s goals for her kitchen renovation included opening up the space in the room, improving the functionality and organization of the kitchen cabinets, and giving her kitchen a whole new look.

Kitchen Planning and Design

Kitchen designer Jen Schatzer with the local Merillat dealer, Reico Kitchen & Bath, worked closely with Linda on the planning and layout of the kitchen renovation. After putting together an initial plan, based on a functional use of the space, the style and finish for the cabinets and type of countertop were selected.

Looking at cabinet samples

Designer Jen Schatzer and homeowner Linda Paradis plan kitchen renovation.

To open up the room and increase the usable space, the dining room wall and pantry were removed. An “L” shaped bar area between the kitchen and dining room was then added to increase the amount of cabinet and countertop space without adding much to the overall size of the room.

Kitchen Demolition

Kitchen demolition in progress

Kitchen demolition underway.

The man charged with turning Jen and Linda’s kitchen design into reality was Greg Perez of G.A.P. Custom Carpentry. Greg and his crew began by tearing out the existing cabinets and removing the veneer brick backsplash.

Next to go was the dining room wall and pantry walls. Since neither wall was load bearing, removal was easy, though care had to be taken when working around the existing electrical wiring.

The final stage of demolition was pulling up the three layers of vinyl flooring and leveling the sagging subfloor.

Kitchen Cabinet Installation

Once the damaged drywall had been replaced, Greg began installing the new Merillat cabinets and DeNova countertops.

Hanging kitchen cabinets being installed

Installing of Merillat kitchen cabinets started with hanging cabinets.

The corner hanging cabinet went in first, followed by the hanging cabinets on either side of the “L” shaped kitchen design. The corner base cabinet incorporates a lazy susan design for easy access.

The base cabinets were raised 3/4″ so they would be level with the cement backer board subfloor and tile flooring. The base cabinet under the sink is a new design from Merillat called CoreGuard, with polymer sides and bottom that are impervious to moisture.

Measuring for kitchen countertops

Measuring for kitchen countertops.

Other amenities include a refrigerator cabinet, plate rack, pullout trays, and soft-close drawers and doors. The dining area was outfitted with lots of display cabinets and a window seat.

Kitchen Countertops

To map out the shape of the kitchen countertops, an articulating arm is attached to the base cabinets and used to provide a series of points around the kitchen. These coordinates are then fed into a computer to give the precise dimensions to make the DeNova quartz countertops.

Completed Today's Dream Kitchen renovation

Completed Today's Dream Kitchen renovation!

Read more about the Merillat Today’s Dream Kitchen Contest at Plea for New Kitchen Answered (

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Clothes Pin Recipe Holder

To make a recipe holder for your kitchen cabinets, cut 1/2″ off one leg of a wooden clothes pin, and drill a 3/16” hole though the long leg. Insert a screw in the hole, and screw the clothes pin to the back of a hanging cabinet so it can swing up when not in use. (Watch This Video)

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Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Decorative Paint Finish Tool Kit

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Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
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Tips for making your office greener include employing energy saving settings on computers and using a power strip to turn them off when not in use. Reducing paper usage and buying recycled paper. Communicate by e-mail whenever possible, rather than by snail mail.
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Today’s Dream Kitchen Remodel Contest