Open + Inviting: A Bellevue Kitchen Remodel Done Right | Home + Garden


A dark, outdated, and narrow galley-style kitchen was quite literally cramping Emmanuel Solis and Janet Castaneda’s style. The young professional Bellevue homeowners wanted a bright, organized, and open space.

“They were easy to work with because they knew exactly what they wanted from the beginning: a highly functional, contemporary sanctuary,” said Anne Maresh Bauer, Neil Kelly Co. design consultant. Neil Kelly, located at Seattle Design Center, and in Portland, Bend, and Eugene, is a design/build remodeling company serving homeowners throughout the Pacific Northwest since 1947.

Walls needed to be opened between the existing kitchen, living, and family areas, which called for structural engineering and new framing. Open-concept kitchens are popular, and this transformation is an example of why that style is preferred by many.

“Open-concept kitchens feel spacious even when they are not large areas. They provide more room for multiple cooks, which is very common now, and they are much more inviting and accessible for casual entertaining,” Bauer explained. “Everyone ends up in the kitchen no matter how large or limited the space, so more open access to the area while providing room to move around and interact never goes out of style.”

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Eliminating clutter also was a main goal of this renovation. This kitchen created a space for everything, thanks to multiple drawers and pullouts. Appliances are housed in specialty cabinets that are easily accessible thanks to “lift up” cabinet hardware. Th ere are outlets and USB chargers on the island. A bench seat doubles as storage for occasional-use items.

“I really love how the range hood is minimized and allows the accent lighting to add visual interest. Th e range hood is almost completely hidden among white finishes, which makes the black lighting feel like a sculpture,” Bauer added.

The homeowners wanted a mostly white kitchen from the get-go. The black accents add visual interest. The end result is a sleek kitchen with room to move and a place everyone will want to be (and can, thanks to the remodel).

“The minimal style is very calming, given most of our hectic schedules, combined with working more at home, especially of late,” said Bauer. “What an amazing kitchen.” 

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