A kitchen island complete with a stove top dominates the cooking/dining area of Regina Hunsaker’s large, comfortable-looking Bothell home.
And, by the way, regarding that kitchen island and her cooktop, Hunsaker likes them right where they are.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
But, Hunsaker also noticed, especially when having friends or guests over, the cooktop took up a lot of space and, since it had often just been in use, wasn’t always as clean as she might have liked. When she suddenly found herself regularly hosting a prayer group of about 10 women, Hunsaker decided she just needed more counter space, so, essentially, she manufactured some.
Basically, Hunsaker put a mirror on a wooden base, coming up with a decorative bit of kitchen ware that sat on top of and covered her cooktop, instantly adding to the space available to her.
Flash forward a year or so and, using a more sophisticated production process, Hunsaker launched her own business, Cooktop Cover-Up, in October, with a patent pending on what appears to be her invention. Still, if asked, she admits the cooktop cover seems to be something somebody should have thought of long ago.
“I thought, at first, there has to be something out there,” Hunsaker said, who added that after an Internet search seemingly the only thing that came close was for a camping stove.
Hunsaker now has a Mill Creek framing shop building the base of her cover tops. She said using the frame maker gave her lots of choice in terms of colors and styles for the base of the cover tops. Mirrors still serve as the decorative top surfaces of the cover-ups, mirrors Hunsaker described as “Armadillo hard coated,” making them scratch resistant and almost shatterproof.
The inside of the cooktop cover consists of steel and aluminum. Hunsaker added the units are specially treated to resist mold and stand up to the humid conditions often present in kitchens.
According to Hunsaker, the cover tops work on all standard cooktops and specially designed units are available, if needed.
The covers come in several standard styles, but Hunsaker also came up with the idea for decorative clings that stick to the mirrored surface of the units allowing for cover-up surfaces to have varying designs.
At this point, the covers only are available at two retail outlets (one in Bothell’s Country Village and one in Kirkland) and online. Hunsaker expressed faith her business will grow and she even has heard from a couple of speculative investors.
Still, she insists she never intended to go into business for herself.
“I just needed it (the cover) for those luncheons,” Hunsaker said, adding she originally tried using a cutting board and a tablecloth to cover her cooktop but the result looked “cheesy.”
Hunsaker said husband Dave noticed how many people were commenting on the first homemade cover-up and encouraged his wife to take her notion to a different level.
“He’s the entrepreneur,” Hunsaker said of her husband, who runs his own mortgage company, albeit with the help of his wife. “I’m definitely more of a follower,” Hunsaker added.
The first step in launching the new product was finding a patent lawyer. That lawyer still is working to see if Hunsaker can formally register the cooktop cover-up as her own.
Another initial move in setting up the new company was creating a simple Web site, one that attracted enough traffic to encourage going even further.
“We’re still just small, we’re still cutting our teeth a little bit,” Hunsaker said.
• For more information, go to Hunsaker’s improved Web site www.cooktopcoverup.com.