After 20 years of living with just an OK kitchen, Gary and Sande Becker took the leap and decided it was time for a remodel.

Gary and Sande Becker love cooking and entertaining, so they wanted to revamp the character and quality of the kitchen to match the rest of their home. The Centerville empty nesters’ home was built in the 1990s, and the kitchen needed an upgrade.

“I think we really kicked [the idea] around for five or six years. Our daughter finally said, ‘You think you’re ever going to do this?’ But when we got serious, we were totally committed,” says Sande.

The Beckers were on their way out of a home show at the Hara Arena and stumbled across Matt Jones from Greater Dayton Building and Remodeling.

“We just clicked,” adds Sande.

And Matt Jones’ designs and Greater Dayton Building and Remodeling’s services won the bid. The firm has craftsmen and trade partners that do different things, handling everything from the product to design and implementation.

Jones, the project manager, and the Beckers collaborated on the design, and the Beckers picked out everything starting with the stainless steel appliances.

“The Beckers really wanted a kitchen that functioned well for cooking,” says Jones. “The layout was relatively good. Some houses I’ve done, they don’t care about cooking: they want a kitchen that is purely aesthetic. Each kitchen starts with a different need.”

The Beckers and Jones didn’t change the overall layout of the kitchen because it was still user friendly.

“The stove was where the stove was. It was just outdated and it was time,” says Sande.

“[I] wanted a new stove,” Gary adds. “When we designed our home, the builder talked us out of a lot of features that we kind of wanted at the time.”

The Beckers chose a commercial-grade Wolf stove for its size and function. Wolf’s red dials and knobs—a trait the company is known for—really stand out and complement the two-toned, slate gray and linen colored cabinetry. Jones came up with the idea of having two-toned cabinetry, but deciding on those two neutral shades wasn’t easy.

“It was a struggle. My biggest thing was somehow we had to make sure the new kitchen still tied in with the older house. We played with all different colors and combinations and looked at samples for days. Once we decided though, we were all really confident it was the right thing,” says Sande.

In addition to the stove, the Beckers and Jones chose beautiful upgrades to replace the old laminate countertops, ineffective lighting, tired floor tiles and hardware. Now the kitchen has a porcelain tile floor, brushed nickel hardware, pendant lighting and an intricately detailed neutral backsplash behind the stove.

“ [Greater Dayton Building and Remodeling] have an amazing tile guy that made it happen,” says Sande.

A matching backsplash is also above the new wine bar and serving area, which was a flat wall with a picture on it before. Cabinets matching the rest of the kitchen were added for more storage space and aesthetics, and a Marvel wine refrigerator now keeps the Beckers ready for a party.

“It’s so functional,” adds Sande. “People who have been in this house for 20 years say, ‘What was there before?’ ”

The darkly speckled granite came from Global Natural Stones, a local company out of Springboro.

“Matt wanted something a little softer, [but] we got something a little more unusual,” says Gary. “When we went to pick the slab out, we were like kids in a candy shop. We really liked it and thought it tied in.”

To further update the kitchen, the remodelers took down the dated wallpaper and removed a huge soffit, which was popular in the 1990s and isn’t usually found in modern kitchens anymore.

“It’s like drywall and comes down maybe six to 12 inches from the ceiling, then it goes back to the wall and the cabinets go up against it,” Jones explains.

The missing soffit improved the aesthetic and made the kitchen look larger.

The whole project took four months, a little longer than expected, but the only snag was with the cabinetry. The Beckers and Jones weren’t happy with the original custom cabinets.

“It was damaged during shipping and one was the wrong size,” says Jones. “When custom cabinetry is done, you can’t just return one cabinet. If one is wrong, then the whole thing has to be rebuilt.”

And the project, which started out as just a kitchen, turned into a bathroom and hallway remodel to keep the flow of the home.

“In the hallway next to the kitchen, there used to be a desk with cabinets. I have to have a place where I can collect stuff. [Now] we have matching cabinets to house the cookbooks and we have all these wonderful drawers. I’m thrilled with this,” says Sande.

When their children were growing up, the Beckers used to always cook with their children and passed that love of cooking to them. And now they have a kitchen everyone can enjoy during gatherings with family and friends.

“People always stay in your kitchen,” says Sande.