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Designer Kimberlee Melcher’s favorite space is her newly renovated custom kitchen | Home | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander

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Kimberlee Melcher had her dream studio in Spokane not once, but twice, early in her interior design career with her contractor-husband Kevin Melcher under the moniker Downtown Kitchen & Design, and then again in 2014.

“We opened our first design showroom in 2001 renovating an old historic building, creating display kitchen vignettes with working appliances and using the space for trade events and hosting client parties,” says Melcher.

But things change, and within a few years of rebranding under Kimberlee Kristine, Melcher closed the downtown studio and decided to fashion the company’s new design studio closer to home. Her home.

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The couple renovated their Millwood-area residence into a space to entertain clients, as well as to highlight cabinetry, surface, flooring, countertops and lighting for which they are dealers.

The newly completed kitchen is now her favorite space, combining function and form, says Melcher, and does double duty as a showcase for her husband’s master craftsmanship, especially notable in the stacked crown molding.

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Open concept galley kitchens featuring large islands for family life and entertaining are enjoying enduring popularity with clients, says Melcher. Her own welcoming island cabinetry is finished in a distressed soft French blue, while the custom inset cabinetry in the rest of the kitchen is robed in a delicate white. An integrated armoire refrigerator is flanked by tall pantry cabinets, while an elegant wood hood tops the gas range. The farmhouse sink is crafted from firecay, which is scratch-resistant and less prone to harboring bacteria. The floors are French oak, with an oil finish and radiant floor heating underneath.

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Although the color scheme is mostly neutral, a carefully curated mix of textures,

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How Ben Hillman from a Place in the Sun renovated his house on a budget

Presenter Ben built a play area for his daughters (Picture: Simon Eldon)

As a presenter of the long-running Channel 4 show A Place In The Sun, Ben Hillman is used to helping homeowners visualise a property’s potential.

But with lockdown grounding flights, Ben finally got the opportunity and time to finish off his own dream home renovation project in Shoreham-by-Sea – and save a lot of money in the process.

Since buying it in 2016, Ben and wife Gaby have been slowly renovating their 1934 semi-detached, four-bed. Ben had spotted the house online while in Costa Rica and checked out its potential for extension and renovation by looking at Google Earth.

The couple were quick to add a wraparound extension downstairs. With that complete and the new, enlarged kitchen created and finished by Ben, there were a multitude of smaller jobs to complete, including a mammoth upstairs bathroom project budgeted to cost £15,000.

Retro: Furniture reflects a classic, mid-century vibe (Picture: Simon Eldon)

When the pandemic struck, Ben realised he needed a whole new approach.

‘We had been saving money for the bathroom but spent that money on shopping,’ he says. ‘I had spent so much money on the house [in the past] but lockdown made me reassess what money I’m chucking at it. We went from spending £15,000 on a bathroom to £500. But even though it’s super-budget, it’s great, and just as pleasing. Lockdown has taught me to be more inventive.’

Out went plans to knock the bathroom, shower room and hall into one larger space with a freestanding bath. In came a self-fitted plywood birch floor and a birch plywood shelf with birch wood bath panel.

Ben also managed to update the UPVC window using a new paint from Zinsser, which allows people to turn the frames

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