May 14, 2021


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2020 Remodeling Excellence Awards – 425 Magazine

No doubt about it: The members of the Remodelers Council of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties do top-tier work. Every year, they submit their favorite projects to the Remodeling Excellence Awards. Below, we show you the first-place winners — 27 inspiring spaces that will have you looking at your home and dreaming of knocking down a wall and adding some flair somewhere.

Bath Excellence

Photo by John G. Wilbanks Photography


$55,000 to $75,000

The limestone look and curved walls of this lakeview home were fashionable 20 years ago, but these homeowners desired clean lines and better use of space in their retirement. Custom cabinetry offers plentiful storage. A built-in tub was swapped out for a freestanding tub, nestled nicely by the window, while a closed-in shower was replaced with a spacious, welcoming walk-in with heated tile floors. A heated towel bar and a floating vanity with LED mirrors and textured floor-to-ceiling wall tiles add just the right touch of luxury hotel bath inspiration. Nip Tuck Remodeling

Photo by Laurie Black


Less Than $35,000

In the middle of a kitchen remodel, this family found itself expecting a third child. The family needed to transform an existing attic bathroom to function better for their growing family, while being as cost-conscious as possible. The original space was awkward, tight, and had no storage. Removing the bathtub made room for a beautiful, full-height, walk-in shower. Obscure glass on an existing arched window added privacy while letting in light and preserving the house’s symmetrical front elevation. Replacing a pedestal sink with a custom shallow vanity created as much space as possible for towels and toiletries. Gaspar’s Construction & Handyman


$35,000 to $55,000

A large shower, a tub for two, and vessel sinks provided by the client were driving forces in this project. Working within a constrained space required a creative layout, with vanities and the tub placed in the center of the room. Large-format textured shower tiles lend an elegant yet relaxed feel to the space. A combination of modern pendants and recessed lights creates a warm ambiance and provides targeted task lighting. The vessel sinks drove the choice of pendant shade color, as well as the decision to float the cabinets at a comfortable height. Over the sinks, custom floating mirrors were fabricated to enhance sweeping lake views. Armada Design & Build


More Than $75,000

Photo by Tod Sakai, Sockeye Homes

This master bathroom was inspired by sandstone relics the homeowners collected during their travels in Bali. The most challenging aspect of the design was situating the statue niche so it’s visible from both the bathroom and master bedroom. The outdated, compartmentalized bathroom was reconfigured, making room for a double vanity, enlarged shower, and relaxing tub. To create a spa-like focal point, textured stone and Sapele wood panels were installed behind the tub, with a wall-mounted tub spout providing a maintenance-free water element. This space-saving design maximized the size of the stand-alone tub, while placing it adjacent to a window overlooking a serene private landscape. Sockeye Homes 

Kitchen Excellence


Less Than $70,000

Photo by Spence Redford, Rendering Space

This large family needed a more functional dining space for their six children — and all their friends. To accomplish this task, a wall was opened up, merging the dining room, eating nook, and kitchen into one large space. This new layout allowed the island to be rotated and extended by six feet. The island, painted a custom teal color and topped with a bold veined slab, takes center stage against a backdrop of bright white cabinets, hand-made tile, gray quartz, and durable dark bamboo flooring. Industrial reed-glass pendants and new recessed lights illuminate the space. Remod Builders 

Photo by Laurie Black


$70,000 to $90,000

This couple loves to create elaborate dinners together, but their kitchen, just blocks away from Pike Place Market, was too small to share comfortably. Fully opening up the kitchen would have sacrificed much-needed storage and required costly pipe relocation. Instead, a door was eliminated. The sink and cooktop were moved to keep the mess and heat away from the bar seating. A large refrigerator was replaced with a counter-depth model, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling cabinets. Custom stained glass reflects the condo’s Art Deco architecture. A cubby for the dog’s water bowl was squeezed in under the windows. These small adjustments flood the space with light and provide views of downtown Seattle. Gaspar’s Construction & Handyman

Photo by Tod Sakai, Sockeye Homes


$90,000 to $125,000

This remodel brings the outdoors in. Glass blocks and a load-bearing wall obscured a stunning lake view. They were replaced with three new windows and a beam. The refrigerator and cooktop were moved to create a more functional workspace. A new peninsula cabinet conceals headroom for the basement stairs. A beautiful Bora Bora blue tile brings the feel of the lake into the kitchen. Gray veining in the Arezzo countertop ties in with the Shadow Heirloom finish of the cabinetry and mimics the ebb and flow of the tide. An akira-patterned, Aquarius-colored backsplash distinguishes a separate wine bar and display cabinet from the kitchen. Sockeye Homes


More Than $150,000

Photo by Tod Sakai, Sockeye Homes

This family’s dark, cramped entry wasn’t working. With doors leading directly into the kitchen, the island became a dumping ground for backpacks, coats, and mail. The congested island was also used for homework and storage. Converting the kitchen into an L shape created a hallway with a bonus drop zone, redirecting traffic and carving out a better-functioning kitchen space. Floating upper cabinets and a custom metal stair railing maintain the open feel. Steel detailing continues with a steel frame around the upper cabinets and steel crown molding on the bar, wrapping down the sides for a magnetic tack board at the built-in homework station. New wood floors add contrasting warmth. Gaspar’s Construction & Handyman

Photo by Laurie Black


$125,000 to $150,000

This home’s original architect didn’t think to showcase its incredible views of Puget Sound. Opening the room, however, posed structural challenges; fully removing a post would have exceeded the budget. The homeowner decided to keep the post and instead enhance access to the outdoors with a 14-foot-wide NanaWall. Black stainless appliances and cage chandeliers coordinate with the NanaWall frame, while dark wood elements tie in with the stained wood post. Floating alder display shelves and a walnut plank island countertop contrast with white quartz and an on-trend navy cabinet color. Smoke-colored subway tiles complement the classic gray veining in the quartz. The oversized island replaced an awkward, flow-restricting peninsula. Sockeye Homes


Photo by Roger Turk, Northlight Photography

This 1923 kitchen underwent a remodel in the ’80s that paid no homage to the home’s character and left it lacking storage, natural light, and functionality. The new kitchen features a more efficient, timeless design, incorporating double ovens, a larger refrigerator, deep drawers, and a sink with a view. The eye-catching backsplash was fully extended to the raised ceiling to amplify the impact. Large-format, low-maintenance porcelain floor tiles bring a touch of contemporary style, while not being too trendy. The island pendants balance this with a more traditional design. To save on budget, the radiator was repurposed as a landing zone by adding a countertop. Neil Kelly 

Residential Remodel Excellence — Addition


Less Than $200,000

Photo by Cindy Apple Photography

This craftsman had only one bathroom, so the attic was converted into a bright, multipurpose master suite with a bathroom, more closets, and a built-in office. Exposing the collar ties provided more headroom, while adding a decorative element. A mini-split HVAC system regulates temperature year-round, ensuring the attic doesn’t overheat. The bedroom’s cozy reading nook features under-seat drawers, a bookshelf, vintage-inspired sconces, and a custom cushion. The new master bathroom has a freestanding bathtub and a small but luxurious shower, featuring a seat and niche. Patterned, heated floor tile adds a subtle pop to the neutral space. Wainscoting and built-ins throughout make the attic look original, blending with the aesthetic downstairs. Model Remodel 

Photo by Cindy Apple Photography


$200,000 to $325,000

These homeowners wanted a more expansive kitchen and an updated living room. The home’s typical 1940s-era footprint wouldn’t provide the square footage needed, so the front of the home was extended. This meant removing a dormer, expanding the width of the roof trusses, and installing new roofing and siding. On the inside, flush-mounted beams replaced walls to keep the spaces unobstructed. The new kitchen features a large island with seating, an induction cooktop and recessed hood, dual pantries with pull-out trays, an appliance garage, and tons of storage. White quartz countertops and recessed lighting brighten the space, while porcelain tile, solid oak hardwoods, and pendants add character. Palmer Residential 


More Than $325,000

Photo by Dale Lang © NW Architectural Photography

This custom home lacked a relaxing recreational space, so the space between the current home and detached garage was expanded to create a gorgeous spa. Designed to mimic the look and feel of Snoqualmie’s Salish Lodge & Spa, each detail was thoughtfully considered, from the vaulted ceilings to the custom spiral staircase. A team of carpenters spent more than a month crafting the spa room, where wood, glass, stone, and water all fuse together. Additional features include a wine room, full bar, theater, and loft specifically designed for music enthusiasts. Three sets of NanaWall doors open onto a covered flagstone deck with a two-story fireplace and full kitchen, including a wood-fired pizza oven. Rainier Custom Homes

Residential Remodel Excellence — Major Remodel


Less Than $250,000

Photo by Tod Sakai, Sockeye Homes

The 868-square-foot main level of this outdated cottage was transformed — without adding square footage. Walls were removed and the ceiling vaulted to open the living area and bring the lake view into the kitchen. A structural beam was exposed to create an architectural element that ties in with new hardwood floors. White countertops and a glossy backsplash were selected for a light, airy feel. Because the lower level already had extra bedrooms, a main floor bedroom was removed to make way for a luxurious master bath. Carrying the floor tile into the double shower makes the space feel larger, while a stand-alone soaking tub provides the perfect retreat after a day on the lake. Sockeye Homes

Photo by Jeff Beck


$250,000 to $350,000

The owners of this 110-year-old family home wanted to maintain its historic character while also creating a more functional space. In the kitchen, the pantry was eliminated in favor of a storage-maximizing buffet cabinet that doubles as a serving area. Existing top-nailed white oak floors and decorative radiators were refinished. Original materials, such as the leaded glass doors, were preserved. Bathrooms were remodeled in phases to keep at least one bathroom operable for the homeowners. In the laundry room, new cabinetry was integrated around the washer and dryer for folding and storage, and a striking hexagonal tile floor was installed throughout. Charming awning-style windows maintain the cottage styling. Potter Construction 


$350,000 to $500,000

Photo by A Medley Photography

After waiting more than 20 years to renovate this dated, divided Mercer Island home, the homeowners now enjoy a bright, contemporary space. A custom wood-wrapped fireplace at the home’s entrance serves as an art piece and focal point, with two hidden storage cabinets built in. Several walls were removed to open the main living space to the kitchen and dining areas for harmonious entertaining. The cabinetry design beautifully balances warm walnut tones and modern white acrylic; the oversized white waterfall island is juxtaposed by a quaint walnut eating nook. A thoughtfully considered pantry and laundry space is located adjacent to the kitchen, with seamless access from the garage. Rainier Custom Homes


Photo by Cindy Apple Photography

With growing boys, space is a priority. A two-story addition made room for a spacious master suite and contemporary open-concept kitchen. They stayed within budget by working within the existing footprint and removing a powder room from scope when sewer line and foundation issues were discovered. The kitchen features black countertops, herringbone tile, contrasting white cabinets, and a built-in compost bin. Sliding glass doors in the dining room open to a new patio for indoor-outdoor living. In the master, the bathtub, glass-enclosed shower, and his-and-hers vanity with mirrors that extend to the ceiling were all specially designed for these tall clients. Large east-facing windows and reflective surfaces flood the master suite with natural light. Model Remodel


More Than $500,000

Photo by CRD Design

(Tie with Wallingford Home Remodel) This 1920s house was a cobbled-together mess of older remodels. The sunken living room was raised to the level of the new chef’s kitchen for better flow, while custom hickory cabinets make it visually distinct. A large island and French doors that open onto an enlarged deck make it perfect for indoor-outdoor entertaining. Custom moldings, an elegant coffered ceiling, and a marble-surround fireplace make the previously unremarkable front sitting room shine. A jib door blends in with the dining room’s shiplap walls, concealing a jewel-box powder room. The enlarged master suite features spacious closets, a luxurious glass-enclosed shower, and a freestanding soaking tub. The basement was finished with a media room, full bath, and laundry. CRD Design Build

Photo by Rafael Soldi


More Than $500,000

(Tie with Complete Transformation) This charming Craftsman received both a structural and cosmetic facelift, including electrical, plumbing, roofing, and siding. Opening the entryway into the dining room profoundly transformed the kitchen, allowing for updated appliances and expanded storage, including Shaker cabinets and quartz countertops. Historical details, like original fir and oak flooring, were restored throughout. To bring in more light, new windows and skylights were installed, and the upstairs hallway ceilings were vaulted. In the upstairs bathroom, an old, damaged tub was replaced with a glass-encased tile shower with antiqued brass fixtures. The home’s classic beauty is reflected curbside, with an open-front entry, porch ceiling and beam work, and new paint and trim. Crescent Builds

Residential Remodel Excellence — ADU & Basement


Photo by M. Romney Photography

This 1915 bungalow’s basement was once only accessible from the backyard. To connect the basement to the main floor and go from a one-bed, one-bath home to a four-bed, two-bath home, the back of the house was extended and the basement excavated by two feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows light new hardwood stairs, which are accompanied by a custom iron handrail and tile landings that mimic a backgammon board. Basement windows were enlarged, and white nickel-gap paneling warms up the stained concrete floors. A new kitchenette features custom-paneled appliances, a built-in bar with an antique glass mirror, a bookcase, and locally made cabinets. This was all accomplished without changing much of the house’s façade. Harjo Construction 

Aging in Place & Universal Design Excellence


Photo by Strazzanti Photography

This Renton couple wanted aging-in-place solutions to maximize comfort and safety, while feeling seamless with the rest of the home. Low-pile wool carpeting was added throughout, with careful attention to flooring transitions to reduce trip hazards. Additional outlets minimize the need to locate hard to reach sockets. The awkward master bath was reworked, taking a few square feet from the bedroom to fit the shower, vanity, and toilet in one room. Working around a beam over the shower, a rain showerhead was installed in the wall instead of the ceiling. Similarly, roof lines negatively impacted closet functionality, making the owners overflow into an unheated attic access space, so the attic was adapted for extra closet space. Pathway Design & Construction 

Green Remodel Excellence

Photo by Cindy Apple Photography


Photo by Nathan SupakalThere’s no better client for a green remodel than an arborist. This Built Green 4-Star remodel features repurposed materials, vibrant colors, Energy Star appliances, low-flow fixtures, and a tankless water heater. Wide-plank white oak flooring, reclaimed from a century-old cotton mill and installed over in-floor radiant heating, creates a stunning foundation for natural finishes throughout. Reclaimed elm mantels adorn a double-sided fireplace, matching a bar countertop from the same tree. Zinc counters in the kitchen will patina over time. Trimmings from a neighbor’s tree were repurposed as stair balusters. Upstairs, a bright landing in the second-story addition hosts a reclaimed elm desk, bench, and plant shelves. Vintage tiles add interest to the master shower. Model Remodel 

Exterior Remodel Excellence


Following a major interior remodel, this client decided to bring the exterior up to the same standard, using sustainable, durable, low-maintenance materials: Hardie siding, AZEK decking, and PVC flat roofing. A 12-foot sliding glass wall increased the natural lighting in the kitchen and improved the already-spectacular view overlooking Puget Sound and the islands, while also providing a smooth indoor/outdoor transition. To open the view from the living room, a weather-worn Plexiglas deck surround was replaced with tempered glass and a Clearview steel cable railing system. The deck itself was constricted, rotting, and built on an insufficient foundation. Pouring new footings and removing an unused storage shed made a wider, more accessible deck possible. Better Builders 

Landscaping & Outdoor Living Excellence


More Than $100,000

Photo by Levi Clark, Soundview Photography

This 15,000-square-foot lot was dated. The clients sought to aesthetically connect their existing tennis court, raised wood deck, fire pit, fishpond, and front entrance with a new pavilion, hot tub, and indoor entertainment space. Three-thousand square feet of pavers were laid. New landscaping and lighting were added throughout. The pavilion, built with a durable mixture of stone, wood, and milestone, features bench and counter seating, a TV, a fireplace, and electric ceiling heaters for year-round comfort. Allowable impervious surface and drainage requirements made permitting for this project a challenge. Adding to the challenges, the clients needed the project done in time to host a wedding reception — work continued up to the minute before caterers arrived. Schulte Design Build 

Getaway Room & Specialty Space Excellence


Less Than $50,000

Photo by Kelly Clare Photography

The owners of this 1965 rambler desired a tranquil space as an antidote to their home’s active open plan. A plain room at the entry was the perfect candidate for a sophisticated library. Striking custom walnut bookcases and gorgeous metal patina wall tiles surround an existing wood-burning fireplace. To prevent a future chimney fire, an insulated venting flue was installed and excess creosote removed. Refinished church pews make an economical window seat. The new library floor complements the cabinetry and is carried throughout the entire main floor, bringing a sense of continuity. The absence of an entertainment screen makes the space perfect for enjoying an excellent novel or hosting a book club with friends. VanderBeken Remodel


More Than $50,000

Photo by John G. Wilbanks Photography

This laundry room is for more than just clothes — it’s also a gift-wrapping station and desk space. It needed to be light, bright, bold, and playful. Downsizing a little-used closet and removing an unused pull-down ironing board made room to relocate laundry machines, open up the space, and make the beautiful statement window a focal point. Working around central vacuums and heat ducts in the walls required creative cabinetry and soffit details. Quartz countertops with a classy veining complement white cabinetry, while a patterned floor adds just the right amount of fun. Under-cabinet strip outlets provide lots of power and a clean backsplash. The built-in desk includes file drawers and a pull-out mouse tray. Nip Tuck Remodeling

Design Excellence


Interior Design

Photo by Spence Redford, Rendering Space

This 1924 Snohomish farmhouse is a blend of historic preservation and contemporary high-end retail inspiration, for a perfect staycation vibe — you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler restaurant or bar space. The color scheme came straight from the barn, with scraps of weathered red lumber accented by watery green, teal, and blue tones. Special to the home is the grand entertaining area and incredibly appointed bathrooms. The master has a large his-and-hers shower, a custom trough sink, and is ensconced in shiplap. Another bathroom features a live-edge wood counter and vessel sinks. Exposed plumbing and a glass garage door with exposed tracks give the space industrial grit. Remod Builders

Photo by Cindy Apple Photography


Specialty Details & Finishes

This remodel utilized an existing attic to create sophisticated space with joyful features in every corner. Exposed, hollow-center collar ties add height to the ceiling, create drama, and draw the eye upward. A bronze star pendant adds interest above the stairs. At the top of the stairs, a built-in desk is set against tongue-and-groove panels. Crystal knobs and burnished bronze pulls and sconces add antique flair. Wainscoting behind the bed creates another custom backdrop, and a palm-blade ceiling fan adds a warm wood element. A recessed wood shelf tucked behind the bedroom door — a rarely useful space — adds a touch of character. Model Remodel



Photo by Jake Root Photography

This 1978 waterfront home had a compartmentalized and dark kitchen. The entry was overly grand with lots of unused space, while the living room was awkward at best. But location, location, location! Living room steps and a set of kitchen doors were relocated for better furniture placement and patio access to take advantage of prime waterfront views. Removing a kitchen wall and adding a single window created a far brighter space than before — even though three large windows were walled off! The original windows were not functional due to the neighbor’s shrubbery. This remodel required significant structural and HVAC alterations; an art niche was devised to conceal a required duct. Armada Design & Build