Today there are so many different ways to customize a kitchen to a specific individuals taste. There is an infinite number of combinations and possible designs. Cabinet hardware has come a long way in recent years. There is a knob or pull for just about every different design style there is. The choices for hardware are endless because there are so many new shapes, sizes, materials, and finishes.
No standard exists for how hardware is to be installed on cabinetry. There is no right or wrong configuration, only the limit of the imagination. Back before there were so many different options, usually a knob was meant for a door and a pull was meant for a drawer. This configuration is still very common today, but many people are beginning to branch out from what was once considered the norm. Some people prefer to use all knobs, all pulls, or a variety.
With kitchens having higher ceilings than before a second row of smaller upper cabinets is frequently seen. In this instance it is the perfect place to choose something different for hardware than the rest of the kitchen. One example could be a small latch instead of a knob or maybe it switches to glass for an accent.
Mixing metals has also become quite common. For example, every metal in the kitchen does not necessarily have to match! A faucet can be a brushed stainless and all of the hardware can be a brushed gold. They may be different, but the kitchen and design still look perfectly cohesive.
The world of cabinet hardware is a daunting one because the choices seem to be endless. What may seem like a small and insignificant detail can actually make a huge impact on a space and a design. The shape, color, and size of the hardware must speak to the overall style or the design could not be as successful.
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.
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!