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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Kitchen & Bath Showroom CATEGORY

Ken Ryan is owner of Kitchens by Ken Ryan, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (415) 935-0968 or by email.

Ken Ryan

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Ken Ryan: Kitchen Guru

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NOVATO – It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Ken Ryan feels most at home when he’s in the kitchen—after all, with more than 35 years of experience as a kitchen designer and remodeler, he’s probably spent more time there than in any other household space. As Ken relates, his involvement with kitchen remodeling began early in life. “After attending trade school as a teenager on Long Island, I went to Los Angeles in 1978 to work for a kitchen remodeling company,” he remembers. “In 1982, they sent me up to the Bay Area to open a northern division of the company. After working for that company for a few more years, I broke away and started my own business, and I’ve been remodeling kitchens in Marin ever since.” Today, clients of Kitchens by Ken Ryan continue to benefit from Ken’s extensive expertise.

Ken says one of his favorite parts of the remodeling business is collaborating with clients to build their dream kitchens. “I really enjoy communicating with clients, educating them and helping them get through a process they often find bewildering. By the end of it, they have beautiful new kitchens, so it’s always a rewarding experience to share with them.” Ken also enjoys getting creative with design. “You’ll often find me at my desk, playing around with new ideas for kitchens.”

Having grown up in a small town, Ken appreciates the equivalent feel of Novato, where he lives with his wife, “M,” and their two daughters, Briana and Kelsey. “It’s a lot like the town where I grew up—everybody pretty much knows one another,” he says. “Between running our business and raising our daughters here, being a part of this town has been a great community experience.”

As a lover of the outdoors, Ken appreciates the natural beauty and diverse opportunities afforded by the regional landscape, particularly the Sierra mountain range, with which he feels a close connection. “I’ve been in awe of the Sierras since I first saw them on a road trip as a young man,” he says. “Since skiing and whitewater kayaking are two of my passions, having the Sierras so close is a real blessing.” Ken also likes to hit the road with his family on a regular basis and visit a variety of favorite destinations. “Once every couple of months my family and I take a road trip out to Yosemite, Shasta, the Sierras, the ocean or wherever else we want to explore.”

In both his life and career, Ken ascribes to a belief in the cyclical nature of ethics—in other words, what goes around comes around. “I think it’s important to do the right thing in every situation,” he affirms. “Even if it costs you money, it doesn’t matter—you spend that money and do the right thing, because the decisions you make tend to come back to you. When you do right by others, others do right by you, and that’s a great cycle to be in.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Ever read a book more than once?
A: I have an atlas of the western United States that my family and I often refer to when planning our next adventure. We have discovered some truly beautiful places in our explorations.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actor would you choose to play you?
A: Tom Hanks—he can be very serious, but he can also be funny, and he strikes me as a very likeable person.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Whenever I’m traveling or out on some excursion, I’ll pick up a rock. I use them as paperweights in my office or put them in my rock garden at home.

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Whitewater kayaking at Clavey Falls on the Tuolumne River.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: Advise on how to be humble and appreciate everything in life.

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Choosing Kitchen Cabinets and Countertops

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NOVATO — When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, two of the most important choices to make are which types of cabinets and countertops to install. Here are a couple of basic tips to help you make an educated choice: Cabinets: Custom… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Kitchen Remodeling Options

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Complete Video Transcription:

NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you're planning on remodeling your kitchen, you'll first need to know where to start and what your options are. Today, we’re in… Read more

Scott Amarant is a longtime veteran of the building industry and owner of Amarant Design & Build, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 398-3556 or by email.

Scott Amarant

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Scott Amarant: Building Perspective

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DUBLIN — After 40 years as a building contractor, Scott Amarant traces his track record of success and innovation back to a simple adolescent interest. “I’ve been building since I was very young,” he affirms. “In addition to the construction side, I had a strong desire to participate in design. I drew my first set of line drawings when I was 11 years old. While my friends were reading comic books, I was reading about floor plans!”

Later, during his first couple of decades as a building professional, Scott worked in a consecutive series of capacities, from building decks for a hot tub manufacturer to constructing custom homes for property developers. Eventually, he came upon an innovative opportunity. “In the remodeling industry, I saw the concept of the showroom being overlooked,” he explains. “With this in mind, I focused on developing a new business model: the ‘design and build showroom.’ The main idea was to collaborate and build relationships with professionals from various sides of the industry. This approach worked well for us, and we continue to use it in our showroom today.”

As owner of Amarant Design & Build, Scott says his favorite part of his job is bringing out the best in people. “Within the last few years, I’ve come to realize the responsibility I have to both my customers and employees. I’ve enjoyed renewing my understanding of those relationships, which has given me a fresh perspective on how to bring out the best in the people who work for me.”

A lifetime resident of the San Ramon Valley area (where he lives with his wife, Dena), Scott expresses his appreciation for the Bay Area’s all-inclusiveness. “My wife and I have been all over the United States, from Santa Fe to Seattle to Maui. Every place was wonderful in its own way, but it wasn’t all-inclusive—it didn’t have everything. In contrast, here in the Bay Area, we have everything you could possibly want to do. I mean, where else can you go skiing and golfing in the same weekend?”

Outside of work, Scott likes to stay active, both physically and in his local community. “My wife and I are avid golfers, but we’re also active in our community, helping with charities and nonprofit organizations,” he affirms. “We also like traveling around the Bay Area, going wine tasting and attending various events.” Additionally, Scott enjoys spending time with family and friends, including his two adult sons, Jason and Jesse.

In his life and career, Scott espouses the virtue of maintaining a positive perspective. “I was fortunate to have an experience early on that taught me life is what we make it,” he explains. “In the end, how we perceive and act on the opportunities that present themselves will determine the way we go. Through it all, I’ve found it’s best to stay positive, always look for the best in people and understand that, even in difficult times, there’s an opportunity to gain greater wisdom and understanding.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Scott replies simply that he wouldn’t. “I actually had an exit plan in place, and we were moving toward that when it dawned on me: ‘What am I going to do with myself?’ I truly love my work, so I’ll probably always keep a hand in it and continue sharing in the successes of our clients and team members. I imagine I’ll eventually start to slow down as I get older…but maybe people will be polite enough not to tell me.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music. I mainly enjoy the classic rock I grew up with in the late ’60s and ’70s. Some of my favorite artists are Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; James Taylor; and Carole King.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: I have a few: Norm’s Place in Danville, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in Dublin, and Copper Skillet in Dublin.

Q: If you could travel to any country in the world, where would you go?
A: New Zealand.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: Building blocks.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: For being Senior Class Vice President, high jumping and my smile.

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Plumbing Tip for a Kitchen Remodel

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DUBLIN — When planning for a kitchen remodel, one aspect to consider is the location of plumbing fixtures such as water shut-off valves, which control the delivery of water to fixtures like the faucet, dishwasher and refrigerator. In most cases, the… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Plumbing Tip for a Kitchen Remodel

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Complete Video Transcription:

DUBLIN — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to remodeling a kitchen, one seemingly minor detail can make a big difference later on. Today we’re in Dublin… Read more

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