Today’s Dream Kitchen Remodel Contest

Kitchen before renovation
Danny Lipford with homeowner Linda Paradis in her kitchen before renovation.

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I’m at the home of Linda Paradis of Stafford, Virginia, who was the winner of our Today’s Dream Kitchen Contest, sponsored by Merillat cabinets. As the contest winner, Linda received a complete kitchen makeover including new cabinets, countertops, flooring, lighting, and even a new kitchen door!

Linda’s goals for her kitchen renovation included opening up the space in the room, improving the functionality and organization of the kitchen cabinets, and giving her kitchen a whole new look.

Kitchen Planning and Design

Kitchen designer Jen Schatzer with the local Merillat dealer, Reico Kitchen & Bath, worked closely with Linda on the planning and layout of the kitchen renovation. After putting together an initial plan, based on a functional use of the space, the style and finish for the cabinets and type of countertop were selected.

Looking at cabinet samples
Designer Jen Schatzer and homeowner Linda Paradis plan kitchen renovation.

To open up the room and increase the usable space, the dining room wall and pantry were removed. An “L” shaped bar area between the kitchen and dining room was then added to increase the amount of cabinet and countertop space without adding much to the overall size of the room.

Kitchen Demolition

Kitchen demolition in progress
Kitchen demolition underway.

The man charged with turning Jen and Linda’s kitchen design into reality was Greg Perez of G.A.P. Custom Carpentry. Greg and his crew began by tearing out the existing cabinets and removing the veneer brick backsplash.

Next to go was the dining room wall and pantry walls. Since neither wall was load bearing, removal was easy, though care had to be taken when working around the existing electrical wiring.

The final stage of demolition was pulling up the three layers of vinyl flooring and leveling the sagging subfloor.

Kitchen Cabinet Installation

Once the damaged drywall had been replaced, Greg began installing the new Merillat cabinets and DeNova countertops.

Hanging kitchen cabinets being installed
Installing of Merillat kitchen cabinets started with hanging cabinets.

The corner hanging cabinet went in first, followed by the hanging cabinets on either side of the “L” shaped kitchen design. The corner base cabinet incorporates a lazy susan design for easy access.

The base cabinets were raised 3/4″ so they would be level with the cement backer board subfloor and tile flooring. The base cabinet under the sink is a new design from Merillat called CoreGuard, with polymer sides and bottom that are impervious to moisture.

Measuring for kitchen countertops
Measuring for kitchen countertops.

Other amenities include a refrigerator cabinet, plate rack, pullout trays, and soft-close drawers and doors. The dining area was outfitted with lots of display cabinets and a window seat.

Kitchen Countertops

To map out the shape of the kitchen countertops, an articulating arm is attached to the base cabinets and used to provide a series of points around the kitchen. These coordinates are then fed into a computer to give the precise dimensions to make the DeNova quartz countertops.

Completed Today's Dream Kitchen renovation
Completed Today’s Dream Kitchen renovation!

Read more about the Merillat Today’s Dream Kitchen Contest at Plea for New Kitchen Answered (

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Clothes pin recipe holder

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Clothes Pin Recipe Holder

To make a recipe holder for your kitchen cabinets, cut 1/2″ off one leg of a wooden clothes pin, and drill a 3/16” hole though the long leg. Insert a screw in the hole, and screw the clothes pin to the back of a hanging cabinet so it can swing up when not in use. (Watch This Video)

Decorative paint finish tool kit

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Decorative Paint Finish Tool Kit

The Martha Stewart Paint Finish Tool Kit contains eight different painting tools and an instruction book to allow you to create a dozen different decorative paint designs in your home. The Paint Finish Tool Kit is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

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Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Eco-Friendly Office

Tips for making your office greener include employing energy saving settings on computers and using a power strip to turn them off when not in use. Reducing paper usage and buying recycled paper. Communicate by e-mail whenever possible, rather than by snail mail.
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  1. Boy, do I wish I had seen this kitchen makeover contest because I had the ugliest kitchen in the world. I live in a 1890’s Maine home and the kitchen has been in need of a make over for the past 10 years we’ve been here. My husband and I embarked on the make over ourselves since we have limited resources. We’re not done yet (since we only have weekends to work on it), but we’d love to share our journey with you some time. It was great to watch the make over and the owner’s face in her new kitchen. Congratulations Linda!

    • Hi Andrea,
      Glad you enjoyed the Today’s Dream Kitchen episode! Don’t give up hope of winning your own dream kitchen renovation. This is the second year that Merillat cabinets has sponsored the Dream Kitchen contest on our website, so keep checking our contest page in case we have another kitchen remodel giveaway in the future! In addition, we hold other contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways on our contest page from time to time for our visitors, so you never know what you might win!

  2. Thanks Andrea! It was definitely a dream come true to have won this contest. Like you and your husband, I try to do what home improvements I can since I have such limited resources. I’m always looking for helpful hints and tips on how to improve my home so it was a blessing to have come across the contest. I figured why not someone has to win so why not me. I can say that it was an honor to have been able to work with the most amazing people in this endeavor from Jen Schatzer at Reico Kitchen and Bath, Greg Perez from G.A.P Custom Carpentry and his crew, and most importantly for this couldn’t have happened with out them, Danny Lipford, his staff and Susan Cross from Merillat. God Bless you all!

  3. We moved into this house in 2009 and the kitchen is a mess. I am disabled and my cabinets do not have base pull-outs or a lazy Susan all of which would be helpful in reaching things without having to get on my hands and knees in fear of breaking a bone and/or not being able to get up! I considered having my kitchen renovated, but the cost factor is preventing it for me.

    In my prior home I installed Merillat cabinets which included a lazy Susan and base cabinet pull-outs. The new owner is luch and loves the cabinetry! I wish I could have moved the cabinets with me to my new home! No such luck. Perhaps by a miracle of God I will be able to find the funding to renovate my current kitchen with Merillat cabinetry! God bless!


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