Dave and Mona McNay, retired air traffic controllers from Kansas City, took a gamble when they bought their Gold Canyon home remotely, before they ever stepped foot in it.
They had a vision, and they could tell the house had good bonesÂ â first and foremost, high ceilings.
The McNays know a thing or two about visions. Theyâve remodeled and sold several houses. Their most recent, a Lake of the Ozarks vacation house in Missouri,Â sold on the same day it was listed.
âIf a house has low ceilings, it will always look dated, even after you remodel it,â Mona said.
The couple bought the 3,000-square-foot Gold Canyon house in 2012 when they moved to Arizona from Kansas City after retirement.
âIt was right at the very end of the recession,â Dave said. âIt was a great time to buy it and save a lot of money and invest in remodeling.â
The homeowners are tackling the remodel in segments. They took care of the backyard and kitchen first.
âWe entertain a lot, and I love to cook and bake,â said Mona, explaining the reason why the kitchen was a priority. âWe have a Super Bowl party every year. This year, we had 40-plus people at our house and it just keeps getting bigger as we make new friends.â
Dave used his prior experience to run the project and manage the contractors.
âWe took this kitchen down to the bare bones,â Dave said. âWhen we started the demolition, it exposed a lot of wires. We had to have an electrician come out and get that rewired. And then we took out most of this wall down to the studs just so we could have access for the correct plumbing because while youâre into it, you might as well have plumbing to hook up to the pot filler and to the ice maker.â
The total cost for electrical work and plumbing came up to $6,000 and $2,000, respectively.
The tiles for the backsplash and kitchen cabinets were the main focus for Mona and Rebecca Arteaga, the interior designer the couple hired for this project.
âDave and I instantly fell for that color of the cabinets and the cabinet company,â said Mona of their $29,000 custom stained alder wood cabinets from Distinctive Custom Cabinetry. âWe looked all over, but we kept coming back to that.â
Next, Mona and Arteaga visited Arizona Tile for the backsplash tiles, where Mona fell in love with an iridescent blue tile. The blue reminded Mona of water, and of their home on the lake in central Missouri where the couple used to spend their weekends. The color also matches the swimming pool adjacent the kitchen through the glass sliding doors to the back yard.
Dave, on the other hand, wasnât thrilled with the vibrant color palette of the tiles.
âIt was hard to tell the color from the swatches for the backsplash tiles,â Arteaga said. âSo we glued them to some sheets and held them up so he had more of a visual.â
âHe still didnât seem convinced,â remembered Mona. âHe said he would rather go with something âblah.’ “
Dave said he said conservative, not “blah.”Â
Dave ended up installing the backsplash tiles himself, at a cost ofÂ $2,000.
The original pantry was a problem for Mona.
âIt had the ugliest sliding doors with glass windows,â she said. âWho wants glass windows on their pantry?â
They opted to transform the pantry into a beverage bar. Arteaga then suggested turning an existing closet near the kitchen into the pantry instead.
The original kitchen also had an 18-inchÂ ceiling soffit. Since adding storage was important to them, the homeowners raised the cabinets all the way to the ceiling.
The spotted brown granite countertops had to go, too. They were replaced with a fresh white quartz for a total budget of $6,100.
âWe just didnât want it too busy,â Arteaga said. “We were going for a more contemporary look.â
Dave admitted he didn’t like the countertop either, at first.Â
“But then I warmed up to them,” he said.Â
It’s not easy for three people to see eye to eye when running a project.
âBut the three of us worked very well together,â Dave said. âWe kept an open mind. It wasnât just one person saying, âThis is the way it is.âÂ It was everybody working together to get this huge project finished and to a place where everybody was happy with it.â
Adding the kitchen appliances ($24,000), the removal and installation of new floor tile, and extras like garbage disposal and reverse osmosis system, the McNays spent a total of $86,000 on the remodel of their kitchen.
They’re planning to remodel the bathrooms and one of the bedrooms next.
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