Choosing appliances for your renovation.
One of the issues that often gets a renovation started, is when older appliances start to fade or stop working completely. At that point it’s a good time to consider the entire kitchen and whether or not it’s time for a full renovation, before trying to just replace that old appliance.
Older appliances that are built into an existing kitchen are sometimes hard to replace with appliances of the same dimensions, years or decades later. So replacing an appliance might not be as easy as just replacing a refrigerator or a built-in oven into an existing spot in your current cabinetry. So before purchasing a new appliance, check those measurements, trying to retrofit a new appliance but making changes to existing cabinetry often is costly and usually never looks quite right. Also, if the flooring was installed in front of and not under your dishwasher, removing that dishwasher might require opening up that flooring.
If you decide that you are going to take a look at doing a full-scale renovation of your kitchen, then looking at the age of the remaining appliances. That brand new freestanding refrigerator might be able to be incorporated into the new kitchen design, but I would hesitate to re-install a 20-year-old wall oven with its older dimensions, into a new custom sized cabinet, only for that appliance to reach its lifespan a few years after the renovation. If you are ready to do a full renovation with new appliances, the selection of those appliances is done very early in the kitchen design process as appliance selections dictate the placement of the appliances in the new layout. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to new appliances for your kitchen.
For cooking, there’s gas, electric, and induction, the selection of what system to go with should be done first and will be determined by many factors.
Do you currently have natural gas or propane in your home? Or are you willing to bring in propane if you really desire a gas range Induction is a newer magnetic technology and performs a lot like gas in that it gives instant heat, this technology might be worth exploring if you like the control of a gas range. We use it often for projects and I enjoy using it in my own home.
Wall ovens, steam or speed ovens, convection ovens, warming drawers, grills, griddles… these are just a few cooking elements that could be purchased as separate units or could be features included in a range. Also, the size of the range should be determined early on in the design process as it dictates the cabinetry layout and the ventilation needed for the range hood as requirements are determined by the range.
There are so many options for refrigeration as well, There is a French door refrigerator with refrigeration on top and a freezer on the bottom, allowing these units to be placed wherever needed in the kitchen. A traditional side-by-side refrigeration and freezer. Also, these elements can be purchased in separate columns freezer and refrigeration and added wherever desired in the layout. There are also drawers that can be integrated for refrigeration and freezer. The size of the space and the configuration of the space will help you determine what appliances look proportioned to your space. Determine what features you are looking for, then depending on the size and layout of the space, keep your mind open to some items that might make better sense for your kitchen design based on suggestions from your kitchen designer.
Appliance styles range from a very industrial commercial look to a super-contemporary sleek look, to a retro looking appliance with today’s modern features. Stainless steel is still the most popular finish in today’s kitchen, experts predict that this will continue. But we are seeing some stainless finished with a brushed look or a tinted look, as fingerprints are a little less visible on these newer stainless finishes.
We are also seeing some manufacturers introduce colored appliances, which visually is a nice change from all the stainless, but is very taste specific. Its impossible to predict what we are actually going to be seeing in appliance 10 years from now, so I advise clients to go with the look that they really love, unless they are getting ready to sell their home, in which case you might want to update a little more generically when it comes to appliance choices. Choosing your appliance is one of the many steps involved in completing a kitchen design and renovation. Be sure to involve a design professional from the beginning of the process to ensure that you are creating a kitchen space that you will enjoy for many years to come.
If you’ve ever imagined a luxurious master bathroom in your home, you might enjoy this classic master bathroom that we recently designed for one of our lovely clients. This bathroom was part of a large design project involving a kitchen, butlers pantry, mud room, several bathrooms, and of course this beautiful master bathroom. This long narrow space designated for the new master bathroom created several design challenges, but it also allowed us to use the length to create a dramatic focal point in the back of the bathroom featuring a freestanding tub with classic lines.
We designed a custom shower with dreamy white tile, seating, rain head, and a custom glass enclosure. We also included 2 separate vanity areas which we topped with beautiful gray and white stone. The homeowner’s beautiful chandelier was the starting point for this elegant bathroom. The black and white color scheme really gives this bathroom a timeless feeling, with the drama of an old classic black and white movie.
There are many ways that you can add luxurious, classic touches to any bathroom. If you are ready to undertake a renovation or new build project, it’s best to work with a design professional as the bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms to plan and design, issues involving space planning, safety, and comfort as well as aesthetics must be addressed when designing any bathroom. There are a few easy ways that you can add a bit of luxury to your existing bathroom if you are not quite ready for a renovation.
1 – Add Artwork
Black and white artwork can look great in a bathroom. With a few complimentary pieces of inexpensive art, you can create a classic or modern look in your existing bathroom. Expensive art should be placed strategically to avoid moisture damage.
2 – Add Plush Cotton Towels
Plush towels create a filing of luxury. Choose solid black and white and mix stacks of towels together. This gives a clean look without adding more patterns to the room.
3 – Add Unexpected Storage to the Vanity
Use a mirrored or glass tray or collection of small vases to store makeup and organize other small items. This looks better than plastic make-up organizers.
4 – Storage
Store larger necessary items in baskets, vases or cabinets. If an item is going to be visible and necessary, be sure it looks nice and is stored in a way that complements the space.
5 – Add Candles and Fresh Flowers
These small touches can bring a touch of luxury to any space especially the bathroom.
Not a day goes by without receiving an email from someone who’s seen photos of my work, inquiring about a specific paint color used on one of my completed projects. Although I am flattered at their interest, I know for sure that seeing a paint color in another space, on a computer screen, or in print, and then trying it in your space is in fact, the worst way to choose a paint color.
Could you get “ok” results? You could get lucky. But I’m sure most times, people are surprised at how the color looks when it goes up.
Why is this? There are a number of reasons.
First, when you see a paint color in a magazine or on a computer screen, it looks different than the color looks in person. Also, in a photo, it’s very hard to see what the color actually looks like because of the angle that the photo is taken, and the lighting used for the photos. Also, no real strategy is being used when selecting a random paint color. The reason you are drawn to the paint color that you are seeing in a professionally designed finished space is that the paint color you are seeing is being used in context with numerous other elements in the room in a purposeful way.
Most people believe that choosing paint colors is something they should be able to do easily. This process certainly looks easy, but in reality, this process involves a lot more than just trying to find a color that you like.
As designers, we look at natural lighting, the direction a room might be facing, how large the room is, undertones, color intensity, and numerous other things that are going in in the room and adjacent spaces, before deciding on a paint color. Other colors that you are using in the room might slightly alter the way a paint color looks. Knowing how to compensate for this is important.
The real magic happens when color is chosen carefully as part of a plan, marrying colors, undertones, and intensity throughout the space. Designers can often do this quickly because they have many years of experience and an eye trained to see the slightest intricacies of color. Just like anything else that looks easy at first glance choosing the perfect paint color is a lot more complicated than it looks.
So next time you find yourself with 6 different paint test spots on the wall and you are ready to head back to the paint store for more samples, or trying to figure out what color your friend painted her walls, call in the help of a designer who can help you select the perfect paint colors for your project.
This space saving, classic kitchen, that we completed 2 years ago, is loaded with traditional charm. It has recently captured the attention of Houzz viewers making it the 6th most popular kitchen on Houzz in 2019. This kitchen has now been published four times, twice as a featured project on Houzz, and it has also been featured on Bob Vila.com as part of a recent article, and again yesterday as a featured article. Since this kitchen seems to be a viewer favorite right now, so I thought I might take you behind the scenes a bit to tell you a little more about this project and the design of this kitchen.
This kitchen lives in a beautiful classic 1800’s home. The current owners, my clients, were not in love with the 1980s remodel that was done by the previous owners of this home as it stripped the kitchen of any of its traditional architecture. It really didn’t blend well with the rest of this beautiful home. So after working with them on numerous other projects throughout the home, these long-time clients turned to me to design and build their new kitchen space.
I created a design plan creating a beautiful large kitchen, expanding the space into the adjacent rooms and opening up to the backyard. My clients loved this design plan, but other projects took precedence, so after a few additional years, my clients were now ready to proceed with the kitchen project. Their overall goals for the property did change since we first looked at this project, and my clients decided that they did not want to enlarge or expand the small kitchen by opening it up to the adjacent rooms, as this would mean losing an adjacent study and bathroom. So, I went back to the drawing board to create a kitchen in the existing kitchen space that fulfilled their new goals and created a beautiful functional space within the existing kitchen area.
This kitchen design consisted of additional storage and cabinetry, additional countertop space, and a small space to sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We added new cabinetry, which now extends to the ceiling removing the old soffits. We worked around 3 existing doorways which were to remain in place, old radiator piping which remained, and we replaced the 2 existing windows with larger windows which were more proportioned to the space and took full advantage of the natural light. Careful planning allowed for additional cabinetry adjacent to the peninsula, which added more storage. A metal pegboard in cobalt blue created a small pot rack on the side of the refrigerator panel, creating more storage.
This new design, like my former design, honored this home’s traditional architecture but added light, and a fresh feel to the space using updated colors and material selections. A custom mix of glass tile created the backsplash, white quartz with the look of classic marble, created a classic but user-friendly countertop. A white porcelain farmer’s sink is a focal point in this kitchen, custom window treatments, maple flooring, and gleaming hardware added to the milky white cabinetry allowed this kitchen to now blend with the classic architecture in the rest of the home. New stainless steel appliances were also added, and really update the way this kitchen looks and functions.
The adjacent pantry area was also renovated, just off the main kitchen, we removed old dark pine cabinetry, added a doorway to the adjacent dining room which created a better traffic flow through the home. We designed and installed beautiful custom navy blue cabinetry with lots of storage and counter top space, which the owner uses for entertaining.
My clients are now loving this newly renovated kitchen space. This new kitchen contains many of the elements of a much larger kitchen and melds beautifully with the rest of the house which we have also designed renovated over the last few years. Finally, my client’s get to enjoy their new kitchen space as much as they enjoy the rest of this beautiful home.
Step 1- Choose China or Dishware
Creating a beautiful Easter table starts with choosing dishware. You can mix a few china or dishware patterns together or use just one pattern. If you are starting from scratch, white plates are a great choice because they are so versatile. You can use white plates and dishware with so many different tablecloths and flower options to create different looks for every holiday throughout the year.
Step 2- Choose a Tablecloth
Use a solid color or a boldly patterned fabric that will complement your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t want to use a tablecloth, look for some inexpensive placemats. You could also add color and texture with a table runner. Choose something that pulls together your color scheme.
Step 3- Create a Centerpiece
Arrangements of spring flowers make a great centerpiece. Individual blossoms of spring color and also be grouped in individual vases to create a great Spring table arrangement. Choose one color or use a mix of 2-3 colors. Use something unusual to hold your flowers, an old antique pitcher, a clear canister filled with jellybeans can add lots of colors and create a fresh springtime look. Also, remember to create a centerpiece that allows you to see everyone at the table.
Step 4- Choosing Glassware
When creating an Easter table design, we can’t forget about the glassware. I believe that glassware one of the most important details of your whole table design. Whether you are doing a simple table setting for a casual gathering with just one piece of glassware per table setting, or a formal dinner with numerous pieces, this adds sparkle and dimension to your table design. If numerous pieces of glassware are being used, I like to vary the heights as much as possible, but be sure to keep all glassware pieces proportioned to each other, this creates movement and balance across your table. Choose clear glassware or a color that complements your table, I like to mix colors to create a nice balanced yet interesting look. Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many options to choose from when purchasing, think about your china colors coordinate your selections with items that you already own. Sometimes I use different items at each place setting, don’t be afraid to mix and match. You might only have 3 glasses of one style and 3 of another but if you alternate each place setting, it will look cohesive.
Step 5- Decorative Details
Add personality to your table by adding decorative details. With the addition of 2 young grandchildren in my family, numerous types of bunnies, both chocolate and gilded, have once again appeared on my Easter table. Use what you have, heirloom salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, unique items that pull together the entire look of your table. It can be fun to incorporate meaningful items from family members, like great grandma’s crystal bowl, filled with candy or flowers. Just be sure it all ties in together in theme, color and proportion. Too many different things together will look cluttered and messy. Layer your table carefully, and just like putting on jewelry, if you are not sure, remove a piece. A little decorative detail goes a long way when mixed with the other elements of your table.
I really enjoy having guests in my home. I enjoy the late night dinners and laughter, I also enjoy the early morning chats over coffee. But I do know that anticipating guests can cause a lot of anxiety, even those of us that love having guests can feel anxious because we want our homes to be comfortable for them. They key is to be prepared, spend a little time preparing well before your guests arrive and you will be free to welcome your guests knowing that you and your home are ready for their visit.
If you have an actual guest room, great. Even a small space in an office can serve as a luxurious guest retreat if it’s well thought out.
Furnish your guest room with flexible furniture, if this is a dual purpose room, think about the floor plan and traffic pattern when it’s not being used for an office and how it will be used as a guest room when it’s needed. Will you need to access items in this room when it’s being used for guests. Plan ahead. Leave a little closet space, with a few empty hangers, and some drawer space in the room so guests can unpack a few things.
Before guests arrive, give your room a thorough cleaning, and dress the bed with fresh linens. If this room is seldom used, it might need a little freshening up a few days before your guests arrive.
I love to welcome guests with some fresh flowers and a candle in the guest room. It’s a small touch, but it really lets your guests know that you have done something special for them.
Try to use some nice quality sheets and bedding for the guest room. Even though this room might not be used regularly, no one wants to sleep on rough sheets, even for a few nights.
Have some extra pillows and blankets nearby, it’s hard to get comfortable in a new place, so having a few extra pillows means that guests can prop themselves perfectly while finishing up that book or video. A few extra blankets will allow guests to get comfortable without searching around for these items in unfamiliar territory.
Most guests will have chargers for their phones and devices, but it’s helpful to have an extra phone charger, or charging station, just in case. I like to have a power strip available for easy access to outlets. I also leave a small note with my home’s WIFI password in the room.
Provide a few personal necessities, stock a basket or a drawer with a few necessities, just in case your guests need them. Some travel sized soaps and lotions, an extra toothbrush and toothpaste, and a few other little necessities, your guests will feel at home and you won’t have to start searching around if someone needs something that they forgot to bring along.
I also add a few bottles of water and a few small snack items, no one wants to go searching through your kitchen for snacks after you’ve gone to bed, so just think ahead and leave a few things up in the guest room, just in case someone gets hungry, or let them know that you left them something special in the kitchen.
I also like to have a full-length mirror somewhere in the guest room, inside the closet door works great, it’s hard enough to live out of a suitcase, a full-length mirror lets guests quickly access their condition before heading down for coffee.
The summer months are just around the corner. That means people start traveling and you might have a few guest overnight guests in your home soon. Even if you don’t have a designated guest room, you could use some of these tips to prepare your home for their stay. Just a little preparation time can eliminate those feelings being overwhelmed, leaving some time to really enjoy your guests.