This dramatic kitchen transformation brought to you by the talented team at Dever Design & Build

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Some of the kitchen updates include Alpine white cabinetry for the perimeter cabinets and white quartz countertops with gray veining in Calacatta Laza. To highlight the island, a darker shade of gray cabinetry was selected.

By Patricia Nugent

The concept of flow is elemental to most things in life.

When it comes to home design, either you have it—or you don’t.

Jeff and Mandy C.’s home in Waite Hill is gorgeous, but when they bought it in 2019, it didn’t offer much in the way of flow. Built in 1966, the spacious one-story ranch offers sweeping views of the lush seven acres upon which it sits.

However, its former galley kitchen was walled-in on three sides, rendering those views inaccessible.

“We knew when we bought the house that we needed to open up the kitchen,” says Mandy. “We needed more space for our three school-aged children, and we wanted an entertainment-friendlier floor plan, as we enjoy throwing parties and gatherings.”

The original 1966 kitchen included a galley-style setup.

They hired Jack Dever, of Dever Design & Build, after researching local builders with top reviews and speaking with other homeowners in the area. After founding his firm 30 years ago, Jack has earned a reputation for high-end custom renovations.

What appealed to Mandy and Jeff about Jack was his meticulous, detail-oriented nature and tendency toward perfectionism. In the end, their trust was well-founded.

The renovation took place last year from July through Thanksgiving.

Jack says the expansive scope of this project is a good fit with his core values and capabilities.

“I don’t know any other contractor who offers the hands-on level of concierge service that I do,” he says. “I only take on a small handful of jobs at one time so I can be at the job site every day, making sure things are going along perfectly.”

(L-R): What appealed to homeowners Jeff and Mandy C. was Jack Dever’s meticulous, detail-oriented nature and tendency toward perfectionism. He reimagined their kitchen to include greater functionality and utilization of space.(Photo by Felicia Vargo)

Expanded Living Space: Mission Accomplished
The initial phase of the renovation involved taking down the wall that separated the kitchen and family room.

“In its place we built a 17-foot-long island, the biggest I’ve ever created,” says Jack, “to overlook the family room, dining room and kitchen eat-in area. There’s enough room for a long bank of eight barstools. And with the main sink within the island, now whoever is using it looks out onto the entire living space rather than toward the wall.”

Mandy loves the layout, mentioning that from any point in the kitchen, she can see most of the first floor.

Getting the Mechanics of Color Right
The “before” kitchen didn’t have much natural light, and the darker maple cabinetry and countertops certainly didn’t help that.

Ushering in abundant light made it a natural to opt for a lighter, brighter palette.

The couple chose Alpine white cabinetry for the perimeter cabinets and white quartz countertops with gray veining in Calacatta Laza. To highlight the island, they chose a darker shade of gray cabinetry.

To keep the visual flow of the white cabinetry uninterrupted, Jack directed his cabinetmaker to build a custom range hood that mimicked the look of cabinetry and paneled the refrigerator in matching white cabinetry, too.

Dever Design & Build created a 17-foot-long island to overlook the family room, dining room and kitchen eat-in area. Photo by: Ron Kotar, Studio K Photography

Where Form Meets Function
Jack sat down with the couple and found out where the big and little pain points in their old kitchen were.

“Placement is everything, so we positioned the main refrigerator, flanked by a pocket-door pantry, near the mudroom entry door,” says Jack. “That made it convenient for when family members came in with groceries, providing a place to unload everything easily and put it away.”

Another idea that checked the boxes of entertaining as well as functionality was installing the beverage refrigerator in the island.

When the load-bearing wall came down, there were different heights in the ceiling. Jack and his creative crew turned a negative into a positive by enclosing the dropped section in crown molding creating, as Jack says, “a hidden gem of architecture.”

The new space was “put to the test” over the holidays—with the family throwing several large parties—and passed with flying colors.

“The transformation was stunning,” says Mandy. “Throughout every step of the process, Jack and his professional crew were excellent communicators, keeping us in the loop. Jack was a master at helping us visualize what the finished space would look like.”

The family is already thinking about having Dever Design & Build handle its next renovation on the docket—a master bath and potential garage addition.

Dever Design & Build is based in Willoughby. Jack offers free consultations. Just fill in your information on the Contact page at, or call Jack at 440-477-2338 for more information.