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Room Makeover winners have plans to bring 1970s-style kitchen into current decade

Jason and Melissa Baker of Willmar are the winners of the West Central Tribune’s Room Makeover Contest. They have big plans to remodel their 1970s-style kitchen and make it more modern. Removing the outdated wallpaper, flooring, sink and countertops are all in the plans, for starters. Tribune photo by Ashley White1 / 3
Jason and Melissa Baker, of Willmar, are the winners of the West Central Tribune’s Room Makeover Contest. One of the worst parts about their kitchen, Jason says, is the bright orange sink. They’ll replace it with a black double sink to match their modern style. They also plan to replace the yellow laminate countertops in the kitchen with a countertop that’s a mix of black, white and gray. Tribune photo by Ashley White2 / 3
Jason and Melissa Baker of Willmar are the winners of the West Central Tribune’s Room Makeover Contest and they have big plans to remodel their 1970s-style kitchen. One of the first things they’ll do is tear off this orange-and-green wallpaper, which has a mix of people, dogs and geometric shapes as the design. Tribune photo by Ashley White3 / 3

WILLMAR — First-time homeowners Jason and Melissa Baker moved into their 1977 split-level home exactly one month ago. They purchased the house for its potential, not necessarily for its interior aesthetic appeal.

Most of the home is reminiscent of classic 1970s style: shaggy green carpet, yellow laminate countertops and some pretty bold wallpaper choices.

In time, the Bakers, who have a 5-year-old son, plan to remodel the entire home to reflect their own modern style. They’ll have help when it comes to the kitchen, at least, as they were named winners of the West Central Tribune’s Room Makeover Contest.

Melissa Baker’s mother nominated their kitchen for the contest, and the room was determined to be the winner by a combination of public voting and judges’ selection. The title of the entry was “our very outdated kitchen.”

The 8-by-10-foot kitchen does have a few redeeming qualities, Melissa Baker says, including “a good set-up” and plenty of cupboard and counter space. But the retro, 1970s-style décor has to go.

“As much as it’s in good condition, it’s not really our style,” said Baker, of Willmar. “People tell me this style is coming back, but I don’t really believe that. Either way, I wasn’t here for the first ’70s, and I don’t want to live there now.”

Avid DIYers, the Bakers already have big plans to remodel the kitchen. One of the first things they’ll do is tear off the mismatched orange-and-green wallpaper, which has a mix of people, dogs and geometric shapes as the design. They’ll also replace the linoleum floors with hardwood, and swap the yellow countertops for one that’s a mix of black, white and gray.

They’ll also update the light fixtures, fix the handles and hinges on the cupboards and give the whole room a fresh coat of paint. Last but not least, they’ll replace Jason Baker’s least favorite part of the room: the large, bright orange sink that sits about an inch higher than the adjacent countertop.

“We have a black double sink picked out,” Jason Baker said. “It will actually sit level with the countertop. I’m very excited for that.”

As winners of the Room Makeover Contest, the Bakers received $500 gift certificates from Jerry’s Flooring of Willmar, Hennen Furniture of Willmar and Cullen’s Home Center of Willmar, and $150 gift certificates from Perkins Lumber of Willmar and Three Sisters Furnishings of New London. 

With their winnings, the Bakers hope to finish their kitchen remodel in time to host a Thanksgiving dinner for 15 family members.

“We were definitely going to remodel anyway,” Melissa Baker said. “We’re very glad to have this help now. It’ll be the extra push we need to get it done.”

Ashley White

Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.


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