"'Oh, we're nothing alike,' but when you see the kitchens, there are more similarities than differences."
Written by Jon Shadel | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan | www.skandiaremodeling.com
This scenario might as well be the plot for a kitchen-themed Hollywood comedy: Twin sisters Jackie and Kathie have the same design-build firm remodel their kitchens, but — as much as they like to emphasize their individuality — they each make many of the same design choices in the process.
Make no mistake, Jackie and Kathie are two unique individuals with their own personality quirks: Jackie is a bit more outgoing and Kathie a bit quieter. Jackie works in sales, and Kathie is a forensic accountant. Jackie and her husband, Scott, havea little girl. Kathie and her husband, Trevor, have a cat they treat like a child. But for all of their differences, the similarities between the twins are unmistakable.
Their story begins with Jackie’s split-level home in West Linn and its poorly-conceived 80s kitchen — complete with blue linoleum flooring, particleboard cabinets and laminate countertops. When Jackie and Scottbought the home, they knew the kitchen would need to beremodeled to address the lack of storageand awkward floor plan. Butfinding the right contractor took some time.
Jackie sought someone who would collaborate with her and Scott during the design process. Paul Olson, owner of Skandia Remodeling, ended up being the perfect fit.
“After interviewing several contractors, we chose Paul because he listened to what we wanted,” Jackie says. She explains how their kitchen design evolved through conversations with Paul around the dining room table. In the end, he helped them define what their dream kitchen should look like.
First, he helped them address spatial challenges by removing a wall that separated the kitchenfrom the living room; this gave the space an open floor plan. Next, they added a large island at the center of the kitchen, providing bar seating for guests and space for preparing dinner. Paul also designed a corner pantry to remedy the lack of storage.
Jackie’s finished kitchen — with its alder wood cabinets and cream quartz countertops — certainly has a refined and contemporary look, a style so enviable that Kathie began reimaging her own kitchen.
Paul can’t help but laugh at the situation he found himself in when he discovered the client Jackie referred to him ended up being her twin sister. But things got even more humorous when he actually began working on Kathie’s design.
“The comedy, to me, in this whole situation is when Kathie said, ‘Oh, we’re nothing alike,’ ” Paul says with an ironic laugh, “but if you’d see the two kitchens, there are more similarities than differences —the cabinets look almost identical.”
Paul can spot a number of similarities between the twins’ kitchens, including cabinetry, certain colors and materials. Kathie even mimicked the idea for Jackie’s dog-food station to make a cat food station. But for all of the similarities, the kitchens certainly aren’t identical, and Kathie’s space posed a number of its own challenges.
The primary goal in Kathie’s kitchen was to make her small space feel bigger and pack it with functionality. “I only had 4 drawers in the entire kitchen,” laments Kathie. “We couldn’t even open the fridge and dishwasher at the same time because the doors bumped each other.”
Paul addressed her concerns with a design that expanded the size of the kitchen without major changes to the home’s floor plan. Additionally, he added countertop space and gave Kathie the additional storage she needs. “The kitchen is now a space we want to hang out and cook in,” Kathie says. “Trevor and I can now work side by side in the kitchen.”
“Kathie and Trevor were able to see the type of work Paul and Skandia produced and were impressed by it,” Jackie says, “That made their decision an easy one.” It’s clear, then, that one other thing these twins now have in common is a love for their kitchens.