Just because the person in charge of tackling the project is your brother, that doesn’t give you special treatment while you’re living through a kitchen renovation. You still have to rework your living arrangements and toast your bagels in the makeshift garage kitchen like everyone else. But Linda Blevins would do it all over again—even live through a tornado during construction—to finally have her dream kitchen in the Beavercreek home she’s shared with her husband, Tim, for 35 years.
Linda’s brother, Greg Thompson, is the owner of Greater Dayton Construction Group. Since the Blevins family, which included their two grown children, moved into their home, Thompson and crew have done several projects to renovate and expand the house including custom shelving and a master bath remodel.
“We did a three-room addition in 1997,” Linda explains. “But that renovation wasn’t that bad because most of the construction was accomplished outside of the house…much different than this remodel.”
To achieve the open concept kitchen the Blevins wanted, the living room, the entryway and the dining room were all impacted.
“I moved everything into two bedrooms, and I set up our kitchen in the garage with a microwave and refrigerator to do what little cooking we could. It was an inconvenience, but we really stayed on track despite the odds,” Linda says.
In the middle of construction, the Blevins’ home was affected by the tornadoes that tore through Beavercreek. They lost their favorite shade tree and pergola in the back yard, and they were without power for a week. “And we’re on a well, so when we don’t have power we don’t have water,” Linda adds. “One of the contractors loaned us his personal generator for the week. It helped with construction, but also kept our refrigerator plugged in. We were very grateful for that.”
Linda admits that the only thing that threatened to slow down construction was her indecisiveness when it came to selecting finishes and fixtures. Luckily, she had her daughter, Jaclyn, to help her make decisions. “She was a really big help to me on deciding what would look good together in the space.”
Linda worked with architectural designer James Kent to bring her vision to life.
“Linda has an artistic background and a very organic nature,” Kent says. “Those were things that were important to me to showcase in this space. I think as designers we try to bring that personal touch of our client’s personality to every project we design.”
The word organic perfectly describes Linda’s vision for the kitchen. “I knew I wanted something natural looking,” she says. “I wanted the look of the natural stone of our fireplace to be carried through to the kitchen. I love neutral tones.”
After selecting the Kraftmaid cabinetry, Linda focused on the countertops, and she admits, “I blew that budget out of the water. I fell in love with the quartzite the moment I saw it.”
“Linda introduced me to the Crystalize quartzite,” Kent explains. “And it’s unbelievably dynamic, especially on that massive center island. There is something magical about an island that pulls everyone to it. I don’t know what it is—the face-to-face interaction maybe.”
Five-inch, hand-scraped hickory plank flooring was used throughout the space to connect the kitchen and living area as one, large room. The induction cooktop was moved from the island to the perimeter countertop to open the island up for entertaining. The hexagonal tile backsplash is one of Linda’s favorite features of the space.
The original kitchen window was small and limited the views into the back yard, so it was expanded and replaced with a six-foot, sliding Pella window above the kitchen sink. “I’m currently watching the hummingbirds fight over the flowers out back,” Linda says of the back patio they also renovated.
“We’ve kind of become party central,” Linda explains of their home. “Before we did this project, everyone would be in the kitchen and it would be tight around our small island. I wanted a big island everyone could gather around, and I wanted people in the living room to still feel like they were a part of the party.”
The dog-feeding station wasn’t in the original kitchen design, but Linda wanted to extend and round an edge of the countertop to protect her precious Chihuahua, Lola.
“Because she was so little, I worried about the possibility that she would be easy to step on while she was eating,” she explains. “This kept people from tripping over her. My brother Greg was the one who said she needed a chandelier.”
Tim and Linda unfortunately lost their beloved Lola in early August. Although they said they would never have another pet, the couple has already started discussing the possibility. “It’s just too quiet around here,” she says.
Contractor Greater Dayton Construction Group; Designer James Kent; Cabinetry Kraftmaid; painted canvas perimeter and stained cherry island; Countertops Crystalize quartzite; Flooring Hand-scraped hickory planks; Appliances GE Profile, Custom Distributors, Inc.; Tile Nabi Hexagon Sea Wind Ceramic Tile from Tilebar; Light Anabella Rectangle Chandelier from Arhaus