Denise and Terry Pemberton caught the remodeling bug seven years ago. They settled into their Glenmore digs in 2006 and never stopped adding personal touches, building additions to each side of the home, and choosing one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.
“We don’t mind tearing down a wall to see what’s on the other side,” said Terry, a State Farm retiree who now owns a consulting firm. The same spirit transfers to the kitchen: a majestic, custom-made, dark cherry stunner that features two islands, a wine cellar, and side cabinets with tempered glass doors. But it didn’t start out that way. The original kitchen and the current one are diametrically opposite not only in color, but feel and style.
“When we started out, everything was white,” said Terry. The cabinets were “washy” white, too “beachy cottage style” for their taste and something had to be done about it. Even before the kitchen was a contender for an upgrade, Terry stumbled upon Fred Dodson’s woodworking shop; the two talked about a possible job involving creating a cabinet to hide the TV in the couple’s sitting room and the rest, as they say, is history.
Dodson, a woodworker and owner of F. M. Dodson Woodworking, began work on a custom cherry TV cabinet, then moved to the fireplace mantel, then again to the second-floor banister, and finally, almost by chance, to the kitchen.
From design to completion (there was a lot of talking, redesigning, and coming up with new ideas in the middle), the project took about 18 months to complete and for both parties, the wait was well worth it.
“They both worked really hard and did a lot of renovations in their own home, so they came to it knowing what goes into it and having the courage to make major changes,” said Dodson.
Denise can’t single out one specific element in the kitchen as her favorite, but, rather, she said the beauty is in the fact that even though the cabinets have different details and, in certain areas, texture, the richness of the wood and the warmth of the color make it come to life.
Calling it a labor of love is not an overstatement. Once the Pembertons fell for the Greene & Greene architecture style (they’re the creators of the mission style movement), the personality of the space began taking shape. Terry Pemberton and Dodson focused on a pair of doors photographed in a Greene & Greene book; the tree-like motif was sophisticated and impossible to replicate if not by hand.
“It was a good match,” Terry said. “Fred had all of the skill sets and I did the heavy lifting.”
Purchasing the wood for all the projects in their home amounted to almost 20 trips to a local saw mill, and the subsequent sanding and milling drew curious stares from passersby.
“All the sanding and finishing I did here, outside the garage,” said Terry. “A lot of neighbors walked by and wondered what I was doing for three years.” Terry Pemberton is proud of every decision he and his wife made to get to the result, but if you ask him, he’d say that his most treasured accomplishment is a detail that is almost imperceptible to the untrained eye. Every cabinet door is “book matched,” which means that the sheet of wood that was used to make it was cut, split, and opened like a book so that it mirrors its counterpart.
“It’s extensive labor, but that’s probably not ever done,” said Terry with a proud smile.
As ideas spurred other ideas, the Pembertons found themselves with a unique, impeccably made kitchen that exudes warmth.
“Our kitchen is very efficient, but very beautiful,” said Denise. “It draws people in. It’s very intimate.”