Before & After: These House Flippers Transformed a Smelly Old Kitchen into a Modern Marvel

updated Feb 20, 2021
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Before: Dark kitchen with many wood elements

The minute Ann Carson set foot inside this historic Colonial-style home in Seattle’s Washington Park neighborhood, the age of the property overwhelmed her senses — literally.

“It had the worst odor,” recalls Carson, who co-owns Flipping Seattle with her husband, Scott. “It was musty and smelled like it hadn’t had its windows opened in decades. The home was originally built in 1923, and the structure had not gone through many changes other than some painting and upkeep throughout the years.”

They had their work cut out for them in completely renovating, updating, and flipping the home, comprising four bedrooms and three bathrooms amid 3,423 square feet. They were determined to retain the charm of the home while making it suitable for modern living.

From a materials perspective, that equated to vintage touches like new penny tile and a subway backsplash, as well as refinishing the original hardwood floors. From a layout perspective, a major target for renovation was the unfinished “dark and dingy” basement. “The creepy kind that’s all cement,” notes Carson. “It even had an indoor clothesline that spanned the width of the basement walls.” The space was finished and reworked to include a new family room, bathroom, laundry, and office. “We added more square footage by doing this without having to add on to the structure,” she says.

Another space that was completely reimagined was the closed-in kitchen. “It was in the front of the house and was a little, dark, sodden box.” The room featured dark, worn-out wood paneling; dated appliances and fixtures; zero space for in-room dining; and no exterior access.

“We really wanted to open up the kitchen space and take advantage of the water, city, and mountain views the home had,” Carson says. “It was very compartmentalized, so we wanted to create a better, more inviting flow.”

The only answer was to remove the entire kitchen. The walls came down; the cabinets were torn out; and all the flooring, tile, and countertops were removed.

“We needed a clean slate,” she says, “and we really needed to relocate the kitchen to the back of the house in order to create a luxury kitchen worthy of the views. This was really important because the home is situated in a very upscale neighborhood.”

In the new kitchen space, portions of two exterior walls were removed to create a corner bank of windows, which “were really important as the views of Lake Washington were the money shot we had to take advantage of,” Carson says. The huge picture window above the sink is sure to make doing dishes a little more pleasant. Now, French doors lead to the revitalized deck, which replaced the former dilapidated one, she says. Other structural changes included creating an in-kitchen eating space and a center island for additional dining and prep space.

The walls were painted Berber white while Koehler chrome fixtures and honed Carrara marble countertops were installed. The Thermador appliance package included an oversized refrigerator, a gas range, and double ovens — truly a chef’s kitchen. Three chrome pendant lights over the island and plenty of recessed lights are bound to illuminate the room and keep out that Seattle gloom.

When it comes to Carson’s ultimate goal for the home — ”to recreate the inside while keeping the exterior charm of yesteryear” — it was achieved and then some, especially considering the profit from the flip. Their team purchased the home for $1.25 million (it was originally listed at $1.7 million), re-listed it for $2.2 million, and sold it for $2.1 million.