It’s that time of year again! The weather is finally getting nicer here in Western New York, which means it is time to do the cleaning and organizing that was put off during the winter months! Winter tends to be the time when everyone goes into a hibernation-like state. Things tend to pile up when your stuck inside. And often, when the weather is less than desirable it can affect our motivation. Spring is the time most people awaken from their slumber and are ready to accomplish anything!
Spring cleaning your home is the perfect thing to do that will kick start the warmer months ahead. This means steadily going room by room and clearing out everything that isn’t useful or is cluttering up the space. After the harsh, cold months of winter it can also be therapeutic to open the windows for the first time that year and let in that much needed fresh air. I know that this is not necessarily fun for everyone, but try not to cram all of this into one weekend. Go step by step and try to spread out the tasks over a few weeks. It is more important to be thorough than it is to be fast. Spring cleaning will give your home that necessary cleansing so that you can focus on the beautiful weather and enjoying everything that summer has to offer!
First, go through every room in the home and do a general cleaning. This will allow you to get the more basic tasks out of the way so that you can focus on the specific room tasks. This will help keep the job from feeling less daunting. Begin at the entry and clean the things that tend to get forgotten. Work your way through the house systematically by starting each room at the top and working your way down.
Start by washing the walls and removing those cobwebs that we all know collect in the corner then move on to the lights and ceiling fans. By doing this all the dust and dirt will fall to the floor. This keeps you from having to redo the floors later. Next, clean light switches, heating vents, and door knobs before moving on to the floors and baseboards. Dust all baseboards and then sweep and wash the floors, including any carpets or area rugs. Do not underestimate what this will do for each space! Everything will look and feel so much better. Now the focus can shift to individual areas and their unique tasks.
Once those general cleaning tasks are complete the focus can move to more area specific tasks. In a home each room has a unique purpose, therefore it only makes sense that each room would require something different in terms of cleaning and organizing! The living room is a high traffic area in any home. It is where everyone congregates and spends time together, whether its playing games, watching movies, or just enjoying each others company. That is what this space tends to need a bit more TLC than others.
Furniture in this space can certainly take a beating. Kids, pets, and everyday messes build up and things can get pushed off. This is the perfect time to take care of all of those things. Start with spot cleaning the couches and chairs then follow with the vacuum. Be sure to dust any hard surface that can collect dust. Also, wash any linens or blankets that might need it! Go through any magazines and other things that could use a good purge!
The kitchen is ground zero for all of those other messes that occur in the home. Those stains and crumbs all originate in the kitchen. The kitchen also tends to be a dumping ground for all of the miscellaneous things that have no home. Mail gets left out, things don’t get put away, leftovers never get thrown out, and the mess just piles up. The kitchen tends to have many different places that can become disorganized quickly. One of those places includes the black hole we all know as the refrigerator. One of the first things that needs to be done in the kitchen is cleaning out the refrigerator. Throw out anything that has expired or donate what will never get used and wipe everything down thoroughly. Don’t stop there. Clean the outside of the refrigerator and all other appliances. Then pull everything out and clean underneath.
The next step is cleaning and organizing the pantry. This can very easily get unorganized when cooking and preparing meals. Have a method to the madness. Try to keep all similar products together and maximize the space as best you can. If you are feeling really ambitious, then place everything in clear containers and label them for a pristine pantry. Be sure to wipe everything down; inside and out. This includes the cabinets, shelving, and the back splash.
The bedrooms are one of the easier rooms to clean. Most people are not in the bedroom unless they are sleeping or getting ready. Unless you tend to dump everything in the bedroom so it is “out of sight, out of mind”, then you shouldn’t have to do much to get this room feeling fresh and clean! The bed linens should be washed every few weeks so I would take the time to do that while you are doing the rest of your spring cleaning. While everything is being washed and dried, clean out the dresser, nightstand and under the bed.
Don’t be afraid to move things out of the way to get the nooks and hard to reach areas that you may miss when cleaning weekly/daily. Once that is complete it is time to tackle the most difficult part of the room; the closet. Go through everything that you own and if you do not wear it or it doesn’t fit then donate it! Take this time to complete other daunting tasks, such as flipping the mattress. Once that is complete the bed can be made and everything can be organized.
The room in the house that no one wants to clean, but has to. Between the moisture and everything else the bathroom is a breeding ground for soap scum, mold, water spots, and much more. The bathroom should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. The vanity top needs to be cleaned. The floor, shower, and toilet all have to be scrubbed. However, there are a few things that can be done less frequently.
A few of those things include wiping the inside and outside of the vanity cabinet with a wet cloth, cleaning the grout, clearing the shower and sink drains, and replacing the shower curtain (if you have a curtain). The bathroom closet or linen closet can also be organized. Try to get rid of anything that is just taking up space and is not being used. If you have any small samples or travel sized hotel toiletries that can be donated try to do that before you throw anything away, unless it has already been used (that’s just unsanitary).
The best way to go about your spring cleaning is by making a list of the things that you wish to accomplish for each room or area of your home. Then make a general list of things that need to be done for most, if not every, room in the house. One of the things that usually needs to be done for the entire house is cleaning the windows inside and out. Or maybe some other things make it to your spring cleaning list, such as cleaning the garage or basement. No matter what is on your to do list, just take it slow and don’t rush. Good luck and happy cleaning!
The White Shaker Kitchen, a popular and timeless design style, however, it has become so popular that it has become static. When going with a white shaker, people tend to make more subtle design choices. This is normally because they are worried that if they make a choice that is more unique or different that it will go out of style in a few years and make their new kitchen feel dated. However, I like to tell clients that as long as they love it, it will never go out of style to them.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a simple White Shaker Kitchen. It is classic, neutral, and will never go out of style. However, the design is all about the details. A design can be enhanced tremendously by making some minor, but bold design choices. For example, switching things up and doing some contrasting cabinetry can certainly spice up an otherwise monotonous kitchen. By thinking outside the box the world of kitchen design gets much more interesting. The possibilities are endless.
By thinking outside the box, a homeowner can take an ordinary design and make it extraordinary! Contrasting cabinets is one of the easiest ways to add some flare to your kitchen. Some common ways to do this are to have a contrasting island or hood. Another way could be to have the wall cabinets and base cabinets different finishes.
This effect will bring some much needed diversity to any kitchen. This can also be done by simply changing the color of a painted door or by switching things up with a stained door to add some warmth and texture to the space. Either way, the space will pop with the added interest.
Backsplash is another area that holds serious potential. The classic 3 x 6 subway tile is a classic choice, but it has also become the safe choice! Even in the world of subway tile there are hundreds of different options that create a different look. From beveled subway tile to hand formed subway tile, the options are endless.
There are also other options out there that can spice things up a bit. One of the things missing from the average white shaker kitchen is texture. Texture can add so much visual interest to a design and break up some of the more monotonous finishes. Faux brick, for example, is a great way to bring some texture and color to a bland white kitchen. There are endless options out there for backsplash, including tile, metal, wood, stone, and more! So get creative!
Just like with back splash, there are many different options for countertops as well. Most commonly people tend to lean towards Granite and occasionally Formica, but thanks to the advances in technology there are so many different options. Quartz is now one of the most popular materials for countertops because of how durable and low-maintenance it is. Quartz has also advanced so much that it can now look similar to other less durable materials, such as marble.
In addition to the materials mentioned above, some other materials that can be used for a cooking surface include, concrete, butcher block, and stainless steel. Although these options are a bit unique that is exactly what will make a plain white kitchen stand out a bit. These options will add interest and further enhance the overall style that the homeowner is aiming for.
The ceiling is one of the most forgotten feature of any room. It is not often not even thought of as something that can be changed or designed. It is something that should always be thought of in terms of the design, but that does not necessarily mean that it always has to change. The best time to think about having a detail on the ceiling is when the space feels empty with out it. In a kitchen that has very little detail, it can turn it into something beautiful and interesting.
Ceiling details are also brilliant ways of adding texture to a space. The feature can be something that is simple and just enough to complete the look or it can be dramatic to make it a focal point of the room. For example, rustic beams on the ceiling is a rather simple look, but when paired with ship lap running perpendicular it makes a statement and adds more depth. These touches wrap up the look nicely and complete the design by adding a unique touch. Without adding some detail to the ceiling in a plain kitchen it looks somewhat unfinished.
Last, but not least, is another way to add interest into an otherwise ordinary kitchen. Open shelving is a perfect way to break up wall cabinets or to get some storage into an otherwise difficult space. They can store dishes or can be a place to house a small kitchen garden. By placing shelving in the space means that you have thought more about the overall design and style of the space instead of just following the norms. Open shelving is both functional and beautiful.
There are different ways to incorporate open shelving into any space. Floating shelves are perfect for the person who wants a very polished, clean look. Shelves with brackets are ideal for a more organic, modern approach. As far as placement goes, they can be used in a corner where it is normally very difficult to reach or they can be used in place of a standard wall cabinet. To be very bold some people will even replace all of the wall cabinets with the open shelving. Either way, the kitchen will be far from boring.
Lets face it, the White Shaker Kitchen is here to stay, but with these tips hopefully we can bring some fun twists to the tired classic! When designing your space, don’t be afraid to take some risks. They can be big or small, but as long as you love it you will never regret it; no matter how much time passes!
It is officially a new year, the time for planning, goals, and resolutions. If you are thinking that you would like to start this year off with that home renovation that you have been putting off, then you are most certainly not alone! Most people decide to look into home renovations in the first few months of the year. This is all well and good, just have realistic expectations on when you would like to start the project and when you would like it to be complete. It is also best to have some idea of the scope of the project and what you would like to spend.
In the home improvement world, it is all too common for someone to get overwhelmed or not know where to start. Hopefully, this blog will help those who aren’t aware of where they should start.
The first step is to gather ideas and inspiration for the space in question. This step is either taken too seriously or not serious enough. Some homeowners will have a thousand ideas with no real direction of where they would like to go. They might also have ideas that may not fit into their ideal budget. Tearing walls out and re-designing the entire floor plan might seem probable on HGTV, but it is going to cost more than what most people plan on spending.
On the other hand homeowners may have looked a bit, but when it comes to actual decision making are completely unsure of what it is that they want. The main goal when looking for ideas is to look for a general style that way no one gets bogged down in specific details they are trying to replicate!
This step is the most important because it will make or break your project. In today’s world, anyone says that they can do anything and in most instances this is not the case. If you want the job done right and in a timely manner then you should hire a professional that knows what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong I am all for a good DIY project, but know there are limits to what a person can do and do well. If you are following a YouTube video on plumbing or electrical work then chances are you should have called a professional.
Do this early on in the process because then you are not wasting anyone’s time, yours or the contractors. First, be sure to meet with more than one company to find the right fit. Second, always look at reviews, photos of past work, and ask to see that they are licensed and insured. Keep in mind that just because they worked for someone you know does not mean that they are right for this job. Also try to find a contractor that will take care of mostly everything because you do not want to be your own general contractor.
Once you have found the right professionals to work with you can more accurately set your timeline based on their schedule and product availability. Every contractor is different with how they work and schedule jobs. Some contractors like to focus on one job until it is complete before moving on, which means a shorter timeline for the homeowner. Others like to skip from job to job, which is what leads to a longer timeline.
If a contractor is scheduling you for a few months out, do not worry. This is because of a few things. The first one being that they are high in demand, which is a good sign because it means they do good work. The second is because they know it will take some time for you to make your selections and to get everything they need to the job in order to start.
Now as if the first parts of this process weren’t difficult enough, the next step is to decide what your space is going to look like. You have to make concrete decisions that are going to make this space what it is for years to come! That can be a lot of pressure to handle for people if this is their first renovation project. If your contractor does not have an interior designer on their staff then I would highly suggest hiring one for this portion of the project. They will be able to guide you in the decision making process. This will help things go much more smoothly.
If there is no designer and you decide to make these calls without the help of a professional then I would suggest going with your gut. Make one concrete decision then all of the others will fall into place. Another problem that I see occur far too often is people changing their minds frequently before they settle on the first one. Trust in yourself and what you like, if you keep gravitating towards a specific color, tile, or countertop then there is a reason for it!
After all of this is complete you are well on your way to completing the project. I won’t say it will be smooth sailing from here because things always tend to pop up in renovations and remodeling, but you have most of the work out of the way. Trust in the professionals that you have hired and yourself and your space will be beautiful! Are you starting a home improvement project? Was this helpful? If so, let us know!
December is the time to reflect upon the past year and look forward to the next. This is a popular time among design experts and professionals to think about the new trends that will be coming in the new year. A new year means fresh ideas and new designs. Most trends tend to fade within a year or two, while some can re-emerge after years of being dormant. In any case, this next year will be no different in terms of emerging and fading trends.
2019 will filled with a much more calming, natural color pallet. Some things that will be emerging are more neutral wood tones, meaning that the age of the bright cherry cabinetry has come to an end, for now….. Oak is even making a comeback, but not in the way that you are thinking! As far as color goes, the predictions have been leaning towards the warmer tones of the color spectrum.
White kitchens are at their peak of popularity, but they are slowly losing steam and while they will always be a classic some people are looking to break up all that bright, stark white. In the past this has been done by using contrasting countertops, backsplash, flooring, or wall color. This next year will welcome a growing trend of using neutral wood tones to bring some interest and texture into a space. This can be done by changing up the color of the cabinets, having some stand out and make a statement. In the photo to the right, the designer changed up the hood, sink base, and the floating shelves.
These wood tones are also gaining popularity on their own as well, with many people ditching the once popular cherry cabinetry in favor of something more natural and subtle. This color pallet is most likely stemming from the current interest in saving the environment, even though the wood stain that you chose will not help save the earth from global warming.
The color pallet is also shifting slightly in terms of tone. The colors are now moving towards the warmer end of the spectrum. Even the more neutral gray that has taken center stage in more recent years is shifting from cooler grays to warmer grays. Most people are probably wondering how long that trend will last, and while it has shifted slightly it seems to be sticking around for a bit longer. This warm, neutral will pair nicely with the subtle wood tones for an accent.
There will also be other colors taking center stage this year. Hopefully we will find less white and gray and more of these incorporated in interiors. Navy blue has been on the rise for quite some time and it seems to be no different in the coming year. Now it is being seen more in kitchen design, which can be seen as being at its peak in popularity by including it in something that is as semi-permanent as cabinetry. Hunter green, cavern clay, and living coral are all predicted by various color experts to be very popular colors this year. All of them tying back to nature in some way.
All things old do in fact become new again! However, this time there is a twist. Whenever someone thinks about oak the first thing they picture is the builder grade oak cabinets that went into every home in the 90’s. These are not those cabinets. Not only has it made a comeback, it has also gotten a makeover! The oak we all know and hate has a orange hue that works with very few color schemes. The new and improved oak has a much more subtle look to it! This helps the character and texture of the wood to stand out more.
Oak is also a wood that has become very versatile because it has a very nice texture that is most commonly used in more rustic/farmhouse kitchens, but has been seen lately in the contemporary market because it brings some interest to the clean, linear look of that particular style. Painted oak has also gained popularity because it is normally more cost effective than maple and has a more distinct look to it.
Black is becoming much more popular in interiors in a big way. It is being used with white for a dramatic contrast then paired with rustic, warm wood finishes in order to tone it down and make it feel more natural. This also reduces how dark it makes the space feel, which is often why so many fear its use in their spaces.
The best part about black is that there is no hue to it, just like white and gray, which makes it the perfect neutral. It can also be used many different ways in as much or as little as necessary. It can be used as the main color of the kitchen cabinetry or it can be used on the island as an accent. It can be used on the fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom to make them stand out. It can even be used as a decor accent in other areas of the home.
We have a lot to look forward to for the coming year! 2019 will be a year full of new and beautiful interior design. Colors are shifting to more warm and natural tones that mimic nature more. It is clear where our focus will be for the coming year. Aside from the aesthetics of design there will also be far more environmentally friendly design practices taking place as well.
As we all know, November is the month where everyone gathers to spend time together and be thankful. Due to the fact that this often occurs around a large table of some sort, it is only fitting that this month’s blog just so happens to revolve around the topic as well! Dining spaces have certainly come a long way.
The first thing I would like to point out would be that this is not titled dining rooms, but rather dining spaces. This is because the era of eating around a large formal dining room has come to an end. In today’s world, there are many ways and places to entertain guests.
Dining rooms have evolved from strict and rigid to free and open. Just as our way of life changes so do the spaces that we live and reside in.
With the open concept movement, many people are opting out of the separate formal dining room and going with something more inclusive. The photo to the right is the closest to the formal dining option in that it still uses a large dining table. However, it does differ in that it is a much more casual option. There are several reasons for this.
The first being that it is not an entirely separate space. It is in close relation to the kitchen and living space. They were still able to ground the space with the light fixture above, but because it is not surrounded by walls on all four sides it seems more casual.
The second reason this is a more casual option is due to the mixed seating that is present. In the photo above there are three different style seats present at the single table. This creates an eclectic, casual look that would not be found in the traditional formal dining rooms that were common in the past.
This is the perfect option for those homeowners who prefer to make the most out of what they are given. Banquette seating has been steadily gaining popularity for many reasons. The biggest reason most likely being that this option can maximize the space in the home more than a formal dining room can.
Banquette seating often takes up space along at least one wall this allows for better circulation throughout the room in question and can make the room feel much more open and spacious. It allows people to have a designated dining space without needed a large dining room that will most likely never get used.
This option also has a bonus storage compartment! Making use of the built-in bench seating as additional storage compartments helps to further maximize the usefulness of the configuration.
Some homeowners are opting out of having a dining table at all. These people instead choose to include some form of seating in the kitchen, whether it is at an island or a peninsula. This allows people to take space that would normally be allotted for a dining table and add it to the kitchen. This is especially beneficial to those whose kitchen is smaller than average.
This is by far the most casual option aside from not having any dining space. However, if you do plan on entertaining frequently or hosting large gatherings then this option may not suit you.
Most people will actually use a combination of the above options to add some variety to their home and allow for both casual and semi-formal dining. Everyone is different and the point of design is to create something that will work best for your way of lifestyle!
In the world today trends and styles are constantly changing right before our eyes. This sometimes leads to homeowners feeling confused and overwhelmed with the many possibilities of how their space can look and feel! These monthly posts will help people find inspiration for some of the most current trends and help to make them their own.
The goal for everyone is to eventually turn this inspiration into reality by using the ideas in their own spaces. In this months post we will focus on some of the more re-occurring trends that we see as the professionals.
The photo on the left is a prime example of the trends that we will be discussing. It has the majority of things that people are looking for when designing their ideal space.
This is a trend that has been gaining popularity steadily. This is a great choice for people who are torn between multiple colors that they want to incorporate.
In the kitchen to the right they opted to use different cabinet colors, as well as, different countertop colors. Most people choose to do one or the other, but this can be done successfully if the colors are similar. For example, in this kitchen they chose a gray cabinet with a white countertop for the perimeter and a white cabinet with a gray countertop for the island. It also helps if the countertops have a similar pattern that can bring in some consistency.
This can be a very dramatic design choice or it can be something that is a bit more subtle. The style and look that you are trying to achieve will normally determine which end of the spectrum you will be at!
A second trend that has appeared lately is a kitchen with wood accents. This may be because of the “Fixer Upper” fad, but the idea itself does have merit. It brings in a more subtle contrast than the previous idea. It is also a much more natural look that easily lends itself to a wide array of styles.
This is most commonly done with the hood or open shelving, such as what is shown in the photo on the left. But can also be done with molding, paneling, and other decorative accents.
This is a much more calming, neutral look for the homeowner that wants a change and is worried about the trend losing popularity and becoming no better than the shag carpet and pastel color schemes. Although, we are starting to see a revival of some of the old trends so you never know what will happen in the future.
Lastly, the concept of open shelving has become popular, as well as, practical. They are most commonly used in areas of the kitchen that are normally challenging to place normal cabinets, or in areas that are considered wasted space. This can be seen in many of the photos in this post.
For example, in the photo on the left they are making use of a hard to reach corner by using the open shelving as display space. This makes it useful aesthetically instead of functionally.
This example shows the shelving continuing the all-white theme that seems to be predominate in this kitchen, but it is also common to have the shelving contrast for a pop of color in a very monochromatic space.