Mini Blog- Paint Selection

The paint color is usually the last decision that is made during the design process, which is because it is one of the easiest things to change in the grand scheme of things. However, the fact that it can be changed easily does not make it any less important. The overall color of the space is what will help to anchor the design. This is probably why people tend to overthink the paint color. It is commonly the most difficult decision that homeowners make during any renovation or home improvement project. There is no need to stress! Here are some simple tips, tricks, and steps to picking the right paint color on the first try!

Picking out a paint color should be fairly easy, but that also does not mean that a homeowner should spend as little time and effort as possible. The options for paint colors are seemingly endless, but a choice can be made with some thought and no stress! The first step is to pick out all of the other materials and finishes that will be used in the space because this will help to define the overall color scheme. Next, go to a local paint store and pick up out some colors to bring home. It is important to bring the other materials along to give some guidance because it is nearly impossible to chose a paint color from memory. Place the swatches in the room that has yet to be painted to narrow down the choices and pick a few favorites. Once the selections are narrowed down, go back to the store and get a small sample of each color and some primer.

Before directly painting the wall with the sample, apply some primer. This will help because it will show the true color of the sample without any interference from the existing hue. When the primer is ready, paint some fairly large portions of the wall in the sample colors. This is a very important part of the process because colors will look differently online, on a swatch, and even when it is on the wall! After this step has been completed, be sure to live with the colors for a few days and look at them in the different lighting at different times of the day to be sure that the color will always look perfect!

Once the selection has been made put all of the samples together to see what the final product will look like and to ensure that they all coordinate and compliment each other nicely. These steps will help to make certain that the perfect paint color is found! Paint is a very important part of the overall design. It can really help to transform the space and create an impact, but it is not something that should be repeatedly second-guessed or stressed over. After all, it can just as easily be painted over.

Mini Blog- Countertops

The options for countertops have grown exponentially in recent years with the help of technology and creativity. There is so much more than the laminate and granite of years past, including quartz, concrete, wood, solid surface, stainless steel, or even a combination, as well as, many more. Each option has its own benefits, as well as, its own disadvantages. The trick is finding the right option to suit the needs of the client and the design style. One option may work for one space, while another may not. In some cases, the client may want multiple countertop materials and the challenge is combining them in a way that looks purposeful and cohesive.

As with many other things in the design world, the options seem endless. The key is to steadily narrow down the options that are available. The easiest way to start is by looking at the budget for the project. This could narrow down the possibilities fairly quickly if the countertop budget is low. If the budget is larger then maybe the lower end options are ruled out. The next thing to consider is durability. How much is the space used? Does the countertop need to be durable? Lastly, the look of the countertops and how they will relate to the overall design of the space.

Laminate countertops are one of the most cost effective options because they are made of layers of plastic that have been bonded to particle board. This allows them to be made in a variety of colors and patterns. They are also more easily installed. The downside is that they are less durable and will have to be replaced more frequently. Granite is a natural stone, which means that it is porous and requires sealing. Poor maintenance of this stone will lead to staining and bacteria growth. This material is more durable than laminate because it is scratch and heat resistant, however it could chip or crack over time.

Quartz is different from granite because it is an engineered stone. It is made of 93% quartz composite and 7% binder, which makes it scratch resistant, stain resistant, and extremely durable. There is also a great variety of colors and finishes thanks to today’s technology. The downside is that they aren’t as heat resistant as granite and some of the other options and they tend to be more expensive. Concrete countertops are often formed on site or in a shop and are custom. This makes them just about as strong and as expensive as quartz, but they require the same maintenance that granite does to keep them free of staining. However, they will not chip or scratch.

Wood, or butcher block has always been a very popular choice when it comes to countertops. They are ideal for those who love to prepare food and bake. They can be sanded and refinished after years of wear, which makes them very eco-friendly and require less replacement. They do need to be sealed to avoid bacteria, and water damage. Stainless steel countertops are one of the most durable, and easy to keep clean, but unfortunately they are also one of the most expensive. They also create a sterile feeling in a space that is normally supposed to feel warm and inviting.

Last, but not least, would be solid surface. These countertops are about mid-range on the price spectrum. They are a very strong material that is seamless and non-porous. They also require much less maintenance than granite and concrete. However, they are not scratch and heat resistant like the quartz is, which could lead to more wear and tear over time.

There are still more options for countertops out there than the ones mentioned here. These just happen to be the ones that are most commonly used. Some other examples are tile, resin, marble, recycled glass, and even lava countertops. Just like with these options each one has their own benefits and weaknesses, which is why it is important to know the differences when specifying a countertop for a kitchen or bathroom application.

Mini Blog- Subway Tile

Subway tile is something that has been around for quite some time. This “trend” first made its appearance over 100 years ago when designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge placed the infamous 3 x 6 tile into a New York subway station. This simple, sleek tile quickly made its way into homes across the country and has been a staple in design ever since. Its versatility is the main reason it has remained so popular throughout the different eras. Its simplicity allows it to blend seamlessly in any design from modern to farmhouse. The most common subway tile is the standard white 3 x 6 that is laid in a brick pattern, but there are also countless ways to mix things up and be unique.

Subway tile has evolved a great deal since its first debut. There are now different styles, colors, sizes, and configurations that can be used to create a look that is perfect for every space. Instead of the basic brick pattern, tiles can now be arranged in the same pattern just vertically. They can also be arranged in a diagonal or straight herringbone patter. Those simple changes in the way a tile is laid can make a huge impact. There are many other ways to arrange tile that is different and unexpected. The options are endless. The style and size of the tile might lend itself better to a different pattern overall.

The way we install subway tile is not the only thing that has changed. The tile itself has taken on new forms. There are wider variety of sizing than there was back in the day. Subway tile can now be long and thin, it can be larger overall, or it can be the same 3 x 6 that we have come to know and love. This shift in sizing allows designers and homeowners a chance to be unique and different, while still sticking with a classic. The different textures of subway tile has also increased. There are so many more textures that make for an interesting backsplash! Hand-formed subway tile has taken over because of its authentic look and the way the light reflects off the ripples. Beveled subway tile is another popular one because of its traditional feel. There is also glass, metal, marble, and so much more! We have come a long way from the smooth, porcelain 3 x 6 tile.

Another way to dress up subway tile is the grout! Grout is so much more than a basic building material! It is an important part of the design because changing the color of the grout can have a huge impact on the space. A stark contrast between the tile and the grout is most common, but recently colored grout has taken off as a way to bring interest to the tile while still keeping it simple. The only problem with contrasting grout is that it must be done very well because any imperfections will be highly visible. This can give the space a much needed focal point or can enhance the intended style.

Subway tile has been around for over 100 years and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. This classic look has grown and evolved during that time period. There are so many options now in terms of color, sizes, material, texture, and pattern that every kitchen can be unique. Don’t be afraid to use subway for your projects because its so popular, instead make it your own!

Mini Blog- Island Ideas

We find that islands are now one of the most requested features in a kitchen. The functionality of the kitchen has changed. Modern kitchens are a gathering space for family and friends, as well as, a space to prepare and cook meals. Due to this change, the design of the kitchen had to be adjusted as well. There are so many options and possibilities when considering an island. What will its main function be? Will it have seating? Will it be a prep area? Will it house appliances? Those are important questions when designing for functionality.

However, kitchen islands are not only about usefulness, aesthetics are just as important. What style are you aiming for? Will it be a simple design or will it be more elaborate? There are endless design details that relate to this topic. Islands can have matching panels, detailed legs, intricate corbels, and many other options. The trick is to make sure that those details all match with the overall style of the space and how you plan on using it.

Those details are what make infinite possibilities for the design of any island. An island can be small, re-purposed, and easily moved, such as the island on the left, which was created using an antique dresser. It is smaller that the average cabinets and can be moved. With a slight design change, the top would be able to collapse so the seating could be moved. This would allow for more walking space around the island if needed. This island is perfect for the person who needs their space to transform on a day to day basis to best suit their needs at any given time. The photo in the middle is a larger and more permanent version of the first island. The seating is permanent, but because the space and the island itself is larger there is no need for it to transform. The photo to the right has another added component, which is a built-in appliance in the island. This is most often home to a microwave drawer, dishwasher, or under-counter oven. One thing all of these have in common is counter height seating.

In the photo above on the left there is also seating, but this is different than the previous ones. This island incorporates banquet seating, which allows normal table height and will often negate the need for a formal dining table. The island on the right has a unique feature; the counter tops cascade to the floor. This is referred to as a waterfall counter top. However, this one is unique in that the material changes from one end to the other, which is not common.

There are thousands of different combinations of design and functionality that will create the perfect island. It is only a matter of discovering what is most important to have. Function? Design? Most of the time it is a marriage of the two, which creates a happy balance.

Mini Blog- Lighting Trends

Light fixtures are one of the most important parts of any good design, but they are often not thought of as so. Without lighting there would be no way to see when it is dark, but lighting is so much more than that. It can transform colors, style, and how a room is perceived. The lighting choices that a person makes can make or break a design.

There is so much more to lighting than just the fixture that most people focus on, although that is just as important. Designers consider more than just the overall look of the fixture, they also consider the light output, the color of the light being emitted, and the size of the fixture compared to the space. With that being said there are normally multiple different types of lights within a space. There are those that serve a functional purpose, as well as those that serve a decorative purpose. The decorative light fixtures are most prominent and the styles of these tend to fluctuate more frequently. The recent styles of lighting that are most popular are anything with a matte finish, such as the matte black sconces pictured above. Another trend is over-sized pendant lighting. This adds drama to the space and really makes a statement!

Other fixtures that have been popular for quite some time are industrial light fixtures, but they are starting to lean towards a more refined and simple industrial look than those of past years. This adds interest to any space, creating a stylish yet understated look that is timeless. The geometric light fixtures also stem from this style, but are more modern in nature. Globe fixtures, in the form of pendants, lamps, and more are also gaining popularity for their simplicity.

As with anything, most trends will find their way into every facet of design. The most common being using natural and raw materials in spaces, which comes from society’s desire to be more environmentally friendly. Therefore, expect to see a lot of wicker, wood, and glass used in light fixtures. Each creates different style, but all of them have a feeling of sustainability!

All of these fixtures will be very prominent in design in the coming year and possibly after. These trendy fixtures help enhance every room and adds to each individual style. Did something catch your eye? Let us know!

Mini Blog- Laundry

The laundry room is often the space that is forgotten about or put off. This is one of the most versatile spaces in the home because it can shrink or grow to fit the space and the needs of the family that is utilizing it.

On top of varying in size, laundry rooms can also vary in functionality in order to make the most out of the space in the home and suit the needs of each individual family. Laundry rooms have more recently become a desired space in most homes. This is mainly due to the fact that in the past laundry rooms were most commonly found in the basement of the home, which was rarely a finished space.

As seen in the above images, laundry rooms are now commonly used as multi-functional spaces. For instance, they now house areas to hang clothing to dry, ample storage, pet areas, and even coat and shoe storage so that it can double as a mud room. This can help maximize the space in an attractive and functional way. With today’s technology the functionality of the laundry room is even more limitless. Washers and dryers can now be stacked to conserve space if need be, they can be placed on risers for easy reach-ability, or they can stand side by side to allow for more horizontal space.

Overall, laundry rooms have come a long way from simply having a washer and dryer in the basement. They can now be easily incorporated into any basic home design to create something both beautiful and functional.

Mini Blog- Kitchen Storage & Organization

Everyone wants their kitchen to be beautiful. After all, you don’t want to spend your hard earned money to create an ugly kitchen! However, in the journey to create this aesthetically pleasing space some homeowners forget about or sacrifice the functionality of their space.

A prime example of storage and organization in a kitchen would be the pantry. The pantry has many different forms now, including the freestanding pantry, built-in pantry, walk-in pantry, cabinet pantry, and the butler’s pantry, which is still called that even though the majority of us no longer have a butler in this day and age. Unfortunately, not all of us have the space for the gorgeous pantries above and some do not have room for a pantry at all! This is when we have to get creative with our storage solutions elsewhere!

In a kitchen with a limited amount of space for storage it is important to make the most of the space that you do have. This can be done by being creative with space that isn’t normally used, such as the wasted space underneath the cabinet. Or by making better use of one of the most difficult storage spaces in the kitchen; the corner. By using a corner drawer base you make the most out of that awkward corned by making it so much easier to access.

With all the advancements that we have today it is no wonder that our kitchen’s would follow suit. There are so many different things that have been added to kitchen design in order to help make things more user friendly and functional. Fillers and dead space can now be turned into spice pullouts in order to make that space usable. There are now inserts for drawers to better organize china and flatware, to get electronic devices off of the counter, to organize plastic containers, and to organize pots and pans.  

In terms of kitchen storage and organization we have come a long way. What are some of your favorite ideas? Let us know!

Mini Blog- Patterned Tile

Patterned tile seems to be gaining popularity recently in the kitchen and bath industry. It is frequently used to make a dramatic statement in a space, but a more subtle pattern can be chosen to create the opposite effect. 

These tiles can be used on the walls, floors, in shower niches, or even shower benches to add some character and contrast to the space. The possibilities are endless with this new trend. It adds something new and interesting to what would normally be bland and boring. Above are some examples of where this is most commonly used. Because this tile is dramatic it is normally used in smaller spaces so that it does not become too overpowering in a room of a larger scale.

This is becoming more popular in the Industrial and Farmhouse design styles, but could be used in more Transitional spaces as well. The only thing to consider is if this will be a timeless look or if it will fade out of popularity inevitably.

What an idea! What do you think of this new trend? Let us know!