The Finishing Touch

With the help of Thurston Kitchen+Bath, a 1990s spec-built kitchen in Vail goes from mainstream-dated to high-end custom.

Photos: Tim Murphy

Sometimes all that’s needed to make a kitchen feel current are updates to what we touch the most: cabinets, countertops, and appliances. This was the case for Barb and Kent Erickson’s recent kitchen renovation, which they worked with designer Bob Zeltman of Thurston Kitchen+Bath to achieve. With a well-working floorplan, the Ericksons were looking to Zeltman to help them upgrade the space by exchanging the builder-chosen finishes on their 1995 Vail home for high-quality materials imbued with a modern, Scandinavian simplicity. 

The Ericksons wanted to work from the home’s original ash flooring and held this material in mind while selecting new Zonativa teak cabinets with Schwinn tab pulls and Caesarstone countertops. The couple also desired a significantly reconsidered island. Zeltman removed the preexisting, which was both small and awkwardly angled, and designed a sleek, generously sized Nanotech replacement with a solid teak bar top cantilevered off one side. “The island substantially changed the feeling of the kitchen,” Zeltman says. “It has no visual support, so it’s quite eye-catching.”

In addition to surface upgrades, Zeltman assisted the Ericksons in selecting new appliances—a Wolf Pro gas cooktop, Kitchen Aid oven and microwave, Franke sink and faucet, and a teak paneled Asko dishwasher—which were installed flush with the cabinetry for a streamlined effect. The kitchen’s warm woods and clean lines give it a distinctly Scandinavian look, which Zeltman says was not top of mind in the decision-making process, but is nonetheless appropriate: Kent Erickson has Swedish ancestors.

“After twenty years of clients requesting a ‘mountain rustic’ look, we’re starting to see more of the minimal, contemporary look,” Zeltman explains of recent projects coming out of Thurston’s Vail office. “There’s been a big shift away from knotty alder, casings, and door trims to something more simplified, and our showroom is reflecting that.” If the Ericksons’ kitchen is any indication, the designers at Thurston are more than capable of making the change.

Thurston Kitchen+Bath is a proud sponsor of this year’s Denver Design Week. To learn more, visit