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!
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! Things tend to pile up when your stuck inside. 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. Go step by step and try to spread out the tasks over a few weeks. 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. 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 collect in the corner then move on to the lights and ceiling fans. 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! Now the focus can shift to individual areas and their unique tasks.
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. 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. The kitchen also tends to be a dumping ground for all of the miscellaneous things that have no home. 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. 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. 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! The bed linens should be washed every few weeks so 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. 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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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, 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. 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. Most commonly people tend to lean towards Granite, but thanks to the advances in technology there are so many options. Quartz is now one of the most popular materials for countertops because of how durable and low-maintenance it is.
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 style that the homeowner is aiming for.
The ceiling is one of the most forgotten feature of any room. 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. 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.
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 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.
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. 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!
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!
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. Its important to have realistic expectations on when you would like to start the project, how much you would like to spend, and the overall scope of the project.
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. 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!
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. 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.
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 go with your gut. Make one concrete decision then all of the others will fall into place. 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!
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.
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 be filled with a much more calming, natural color pallet. Some things that will be emerging are more neutral wood tones. 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 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.
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 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.
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 means its at its peak in popularity. 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. The new and improved oak has a much more subtle look to it.
Oak is a wood that has become very versatile because it has a very nice texture that is most commonly used in more rustic/farmhouse kitchens. Lately it can also be seen 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.
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!
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!
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.
With the open concept movement, many people are opting out of the separate formal dining room and going with something more inclusive. One option would be to place the dining table in close relation to the kitchen and living space. Designate the space with an area rug or hanging light fixture. With this open concept the dining space will seem more casual.
Another way to make this more casual would be by incorporating mixed seating into the design. Some options for this would bench seating, upholstered chairs, and basic dining chairs. 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. This option can maximize the space in the home because it often only takes up space along one or two walls. This allows for better circulation
It also creates a designated dining space without the need for a large dining room that will most likely never get used. This option can also have some bonus storage! 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 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. Depending on the size of the kitchen, this also might not be the best option if there is inadequate space.
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! Let us know what you think and what you would do if it was your home!