After: "No regrets," the Henrys say about their $65,000 remodel. In fact, the couple is now embarking on remodeling their living room.
When Maxye and Lou Henry were searching for a home to buy in the early '90s, they had two requirements:
First, the house had to be in a rural setting.
Second, the kitchen had to be awful.
The bank-repossessed 1970s tract home that the couple found on a three-quarter-acre view lot met both requirements.
Before: When the remodel began, one of the first tasks was removing the wall between the kitchen and the family room.
"We bought the house because we hated the kitchen," says Maxye, a magazine editor. "We wanted to build our dream kitchen to suit ourselves, and it wouldn't have made sense to tear apart a decent kitchen."
The Henrys knew a dream kitchen would be put to good use. They love to cook and entertain. Maxye does a lot of pickling and preserving. The couple, along with guest chefs, also give monthly cooking classes for friends, offering instruction for preparing such dishes as pasta, paella and risotto, as well as Asian and Indian cuisine.
After: By removing a wall between the kitchen and family room, the Henrys were able to create this spacious cooking area, which can accommodate a six-burner stove and opens up to the family room. The Henrys chose the sturdy ceramic floor tiles because they can handle dirty dog prints.
The deteriorated kitchen far exceeded the Henrys' hopes for awfulness.
"There was no kitchen," says Lou, an attorney. The stove had only two working burners, the built-in microwave and wall oven were history (for roasting, the couple used a backyard barbecue) and the trash compactor was missing parts.
The first goals for the remodel were to remove a dropped ceiling and take out a wall between the kitchen and family room. There, they wanted to create a peninsula to hold a six-burner Viking stove, allowing for cooking demonstrations that could be seen by friends in the family room.