People have to realize when you
are talking about a kitchen remodel, you are talking about an
awful lot of dust and debris, said Richard Froze of Froze
Design-Build. If they arent emotionally prepared to deal
with the mess and the inconvenience, sometimes we advise them to
take up residence elsewhere while the work is being done.
Part of Frozes job is to prepare
them for what they are about to undertake, make alternate kitchen
arrangements, and offer support throughout the project.
We try to keep as much of the
working kitchen intact until we absolutely need to tear it out,
he said. We will set up a temporary kitchen in the basement or
another room in the house with sinks and temporary hookups for
gas. If they have kids, we want them to know this is a huge
imposition. Tell them to expect to be out at least 2 months, maybe
more, maybe less depending on what comes up.
Ann Brotz knows a bit about
temporary arrangements. While Froze remodeled the kitchen in her
Shorewood home, she set up temporary workspace in the dining room
and the powder room.
We didnt eat out as much as
might think, Brotz said. We had the refrigerator in the
dining room and used the bookshelves as a pantry. We used the
microwave a lot. After almost nine months of doing dishes in the
powder room, we were just so happy to move back in when the job
What he considers his specialty is
respecting the architectural integrity of the homeparticularly
some of the older homes on the Northshore.
We do a fair amount of
historical work on existing homes making sure that the woodwork
and architecture of the home is consistent with the addition or
remodel we are doing, Froze said.
The original kitchen was also
representative of the timedark, little workspace and
incompatible with a lot of modern kitchen conveniences.
We had collected clippings for
at least two years of what we wanted in a kitchen, Brotz said.
Sometimes you can just tell certain things wont work because
you have to consider how you use the kitchen, how you like to
After getting a clear idea of what
you want out of your kitchen, the next step is to carefully choose
a contractor. Peter and Sandy Earle of Shorewood cant stress
enough how important it is to find someone you feel good about.
You just have to go with your
gut, said Sandy Earle. We wanted someone who would take
pride in the worksomeone with attention to details.
The Earles Shorewood home was
built in 1916. Unique architecturally, the home features dark
woodwork and leaded glass work throughout. As only the fourth
owner in the homes history, Peter Earle was very concerned
about preserving the unique woodwork and cabinetry details in the
In one part of the kitchen we
had this hardwood flooring that is sewn oak, he said. The
oak of the period the home was built in and the oak of today are
very different. Froze selected the wood and they milled it
themselves to get it as close to the original as possible. There
is a tulip pattern in the stained glass throughout the home. Its
in the front windows, the door to the dining room, and in other
areas. Froze duplicated the pattern in a leaded glass cabinet in
the new kitchen.
Everything fits together with
the house. The cabinets were custom built right here to match. The
drawer pulls and hardware all match or come very close to the
original work. That was very important to us, Froze said.
That kind of attention to detail
requires a lot of hours on the job.
Find a contractor who will work
within your budget. Froze said the only time the jobs come in
higher than quoted is when changes are made after the work has
Making changes not only means
more money in some cases, but it can also mean delays if we are
waiting on certain products, he said. A lot of clients will
have friends or family come over during the work and give all
kinds of suggestions and that is when the changes start. Sometimes
it sends us back to the drawing board and drives up the price.
Froze said both the Brotz and the
Earle kitchens exemplified the more detailed aspect of his work.
Both incorporated granite,
hardwood and special glass work, he said. The idea is to
make them look like they have always been there, that they fit the
house. Both used to be the coldest rooms in the house, now they
are the warmest.
Both Earle and Brotz also
appreciated Frozes eye to the future with their remodeling
We have future plans for
remodeling upstairs above the kitchen that they anticipated for
which was important to us, Earle said. They put in wiring
and piping that will make that future job easier. That is very
helpful to us. You really need to have collaboration with the
contractor. I would tell people to take time out at the front end
of the project and really figure out the details. Get different
bids and find someone you have chemistry with. Im a trial
lawyer and I just dont want to come home and have an
adversarial relationship with the contractor. For both
families, the result was well worth the wait.
This was something I wanted for
so long that I think I was really prepared for it, said Brotz.
There were some frustrating things that came up along the way,
but our project manager handled them so well. I would tell people
going through this that if something doesnt look or feel right
to them, to be firm about it. You are spending a lot of money,
make sure you get what you want.