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Idea file
Dream kitchen inspired by homeowner's design diligence



Though the footprint of the galley-style kitchen wasnít altered in the renovation by Carmel Builders, many aesthetic and functional updates were incorporated, such as two styles of cabinetry, engineered beveled wood flooring, and recessed and decorative lighting.

For 10 years Mary Ann Thielen had been gathering ideas in a three-ring binder for her dream kitchen, so when it came time to renovate, she was more than prepared. "Our main objective was to give her an updated kitchen and to let her have all the features she had been dreaming about and collecting," her husband, Paul Thielen, says.

The couple have lived in their Greendale home for more than 35 years and updated just about every room but the kitchen. "The kitchen jumped out like a sore thumb," says Louis Weiher, vice president of Carmel Builders. "Every other room was pretty much the way they wanted it."

The biggest challenge for renovators was working within the existing footprint of the galley-style kitchen.

"We didnít have an opportunity to steal any space from another room," Weiher says, but they did tear out two closets and absorbed a dinette that wasnít used. "We took the dinette area and tied it into kitchen rather than making it feel like an extension of kitchen," Weiher says. It features cherry furniture-style cabinetry and contains a desk with a specially designed drawer for Mary Ann Thielen to store her collection of recipe cards.

The work area of the kitchen is defined by painted and glazed white cabinets, Persian Brown granite and a subway tile backsplash.

Special features, many of which came from Thielenís idea file, include a microwave concealed behind pocket doors, an appliance garage and cabinet pullouts for dish towels and cookie sheets.

The project earned Carmel Builders a 2010 Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year gold award.

The kitchen was the last major space in the 1969 Greendale home that needed updating.

Thielen says the couple are very pleased with the results. His wife finally has her dream kitchen, and long after the project has been completed he often hears her say, "ĎI just love this kitchen.í"