Long-Distance Kitchen Love

Long-Distance Kitchen Love

July 2014Mary Gillis knows a good thing when she sees it.

On a Saturday, just before the start of a long weekend, she stopped in to the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources to look for paint. While there, “I saw these incredible cabinets,” Mary recalls. “I thought, These would be perfect for Eileen’s kitchen.”

Mary’s sister Eileen had been planning a kitchen renovation for some time. Part of her kitchen ceiling had caved in, making the project more imperative. But Eileen lives in Washington, DC, and the cabinets were here in Boston.

Despite the logistical challenges, Mary felt strongly enough about the quality of the cabinets and the affordable price that she emailed some photos of the cabinet set to her sister. They were an excellent match for the traditional architectural style of the home, and in nearly pristine condition. After checking with her architect, Eileen’s reply was, “Go for it!”

The large cabinet set included about 16 linear feet of base cabinets and 16 linear feet of wall cabinets, so there was a lot of flexibility to reconfigure and rearrange the set in a way that worked in the new setting. One of the most creative twists was turning a wall cabinet with glass doors on its side to become the top of a Hoosier cabinet (freestanding hutch-like cupboard).

The renovations gave the moderate-sized kitchen a more open layout. When she visited, Mary found it to be “an incredibly comfortable kitchen that feels like a visit to your grandmother’s house.” The cabinets were painted in different colors when used for an island, Hoosier cabinets, and traditionally installed.

For a cost of $3,000 for the cabinet set, plus $1,000 for a freight company to truck them to Washington, she was able to leverage what “looked like $25,000 or more worth of cabinets,” said Mary. Even with the cost of the carpenter’s extra work to adapt the cabinets to their new setting, they came out way ahead financially and are now enjoying a kitchen they love.

(The architect was Judith M. Capen, AIA, principal of architrave PC Architects, and the cabinetmaker was Mike Ryan, aka Mike Ryan Woodworking or MRW LLC.)