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Carmel Kitchens and Baths – Edible Monterey Bay

1-Kitchen-DesignEvery cook has different requirements and each kitchen space is unique, so when it comes time to remodel, the goal of the certified designers at Carmel Kitchens and Baths is to create the perfect fit.

“Remodeling is usually something people think about for a very long time before they finally decide to do it,” says owner Gary Courtright. “When they come to us, they either have a dream or a problem and it’s our job to make sure their space works effortlessly and is beautiful.”

Courtright has been designing kitchens, baths, studies and other built-in spaces at Carmel Kitchens and Baths for 12 years and last year took over the business when the previous owner retired. Designer Julie Young has been at CKB 11 years and has a degree in Interior Design. She worked previously in commercial design, before deciding to go for certification by the National Kitchen and Bath Association—a rigorous process that requires 60 hours of course work and sitting for a 6-hour exam. 


Their studio is part of the Carmel Design Collection at the entrance to the Barnyard Shopping Village and is well worth a visit. It’s filled with tasteful model kitchens in a variety of styles, from quaint Carmel cottage to contemporary. You can see innovative pullout shelving, built-in espresso makers, the latest hidden dishwashers and gorgeous new countertop materials that will have you itching to get started on your own remodel. An interesting footnote is that when the displays at Carmel Kitchens and Baths are updated, floor model cabinets and appliances that can’t be sold are donated to Habitat for Humanity, undoubtedly making for some very swanky habitat rooms.

Foodie kitchens


Of the hundreds of kitchens that Courtright and Young have designed, their favorites are for foodies. “There’s no one I would rather design for than someone who loves to cook,” says Young, who’s an avid baker herself and takes all the requirements into consideration.  

“Nowadays you can go to a Farmer’s Market 5 days out of 7 and we find people shop more frequently. With fresh foods you don’t need to have such a big pantry or a huge deep-freeze,” she explains. In her designs, Young makes sure serious cooks get plenty of prep space and if there are going to be two cooks in the kitchen that there is enough space for each of them—which sometimes means two sinks. She puts in special areas for people into juicing and large cabinets for storing sous vide equipment, which is increasingly popular with home cooks. 

“What I love about this work is the impact good kitchen design can have on the way people live,” says Courtright. “It’s not just that people cook more, we find they socialize more, entertain more and spend more time together than they did before.”

Operating mainly on the Monterey Peninsula, but also sometimes further afield, both designers often find themselves working on homes for retirees or second homes for people who hope to someday retire to our beautiful area. So they design kitchens and baths that will allow people to live in their homes as long as possible.

313011_284523721570314_710593247_n-4For these clients, they make sure that spices, condiments, pots and pans are stored in pull out drawers at waist level so they can be easily reached. Countertops can also be installed lower than normal, microwaves can go under the counters and dishwashers can be elevated so that it’s not necessary to bend over when loading them. Floor spaces are designed wide enough to accommodate walkers or handrails at some point in the future and barrier-free showers are installed whenever possible.  

Stylish homes

Courtright says they can design kitchens or baths that integrate with any architectural style, but locally they see a trend towards the eclectic. People are combining traditional and modern styles and pulling away from the strictly contemporary or putting in a contemporary style kitchen with a nod to the traditional—like the “flying brackets” on display in the showroom. Stop by and see them!

As for countertops, granite is not the favorite it once was. “Once granite started appearing at Motel 6 and Home Depot it lost some of its luster with our clients,” he says. Instead they are turning to marble, limestone and reconstituted quartz products like Cambria or Caesarstone—which come in beautiful colors and are more durable than stainless steel.

Bathrooms are the most personal spaces they design. “People love the home spa feel with larger showers, more elbow room around the sinks and large format tiles that are easier to keep clean,” says Courtright, adding that fancy showers with multiple sprays are not installed in our area due to water conservation measures.


Carmel Kitchens and Baths is a member of the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program and environmentally friendly manufacturing is practiced at the cabinetmakers they use. Cabinets certified by the Forest Stewardship Council are also available.

Once you decide to take the plunge and remodel, a good designer like Gary or Julie is your best ally. The design cost is a very small fraction of the total and they will go over dozens of options that only a professional would think of. Once a design is agreed, they help with the permit process and put you in touch with proven contractors and craftspeople, who they know can be trusted to complete the installation on time and on budget. They work with the contractor and visit the job site as often as needed, even snapping photos of the progress to send to out-of-town clients.

“It’s fascinating how emotionally affected we are by design,” says Courtright. “Clients often invite us to a party to celebrate the completion of their new kitchens and it’s really gratifying to be giving them a better lifestyle and see how happy they are in their new space.”

Locally involved


When not working, both Courtright and Young are deeply involved in the local community. Courtright worked with a group of environmentalists to help get lands that were once part of Fort Ord preserved as a national monument and traveled to Washington DC last year to meet with President Obama. He enjoys mountain biking with his wife and five sons and is also involved with the Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association, building mixed-use trails at Fort Ord National Monument and local parks like Mt. Toro.

Young has been involved with the Santa Cruz-based NGO Rising International for many years. It’s a program designed to help local and international women escape grinding poverty and discrimination, through the sales of handicrafts. Carmel Kitchens and Baths hosts two sales of Rising International crafts a year—on the day after Thanksgiving and on the Saturday before Mother’s Day—two more good reasons to stop by their lovely studio showroom.

Carmel Kitchens and Baths, 26386 Carmel Rancho Lane, Carmel, CA 93923. Tel. 831.624.4667.

At Edible Monterey Bay, our mission is to celebrate the local food culture of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, season by season. We believe in sustainability, and we believe everyone has a right to healthful, clean and affordable food. We think knowing where our food comes from is powerful, and we hope our magazine, website and newsletters inspire readers to get to know and support our local growers, fishers, chefs, vintners and food artisans.

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