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.

June Home Inspiration- Finding Your Design Style

Finding Your Design Style

The start of each design is a bare room. The blank walls and empty floors are just begging to be brought to life. The different materials used and the accessories that are brought in will determine the function, personality, and overall style of the space. The possibilities for every space are limitless. The beauty in design can be found in the simple things. Each space, whether it be an office or a home, reflects the individual who uses it. You can often learn a great deal about someone based on what their personal spaces look like.

There are so many different design styles out there. It can be hard for some people to determine where they fit so we have compiled a list of some of the most popular styles. This post will touch on the most common interior design styles, such as, Traditional, Modern, Transitional, Farmhouse, Industrial, and Coastal. Each style has unique attributes that distinguish one from another, which will be explained in detail! Lets get started!

Photo Credit: http://www.beachstudios.co.uk/?property_id=117&s=17&np=37

Traditional

The traditional design style can be best described as classic. It often features ornate details, wood tones, rich color palettes, detailed moldings, and a variety of textures and patterns. The shape language is comprised of both straight and curved lines. All of these features create a beautiful depth to each space with layers upon layers of visual interest.

This style is also known for being very lavish, which is why there is normally an abundance of accessories and decor to fill the space. The furnishings are often very intricate and have rich, bold fabrics in a wide variety of textures and colors. This style is very consistent with what originally migrated from Europe. The features have held strong through the test of time and will always be timeless. It has been slightly adapted over time and toned down, but all in all it has many of the same aspects now as it did back then.

Photo Credit: http://zuhairah-homeinteriordesign.blogspot.com/2012/10/southern-traditional.html

Modern

This is often one of the most misused and misunderstood phrases in the world of design. It is often confused or used interchangeably with the Contemporary style even though they are different. Today’s modern style is based largely on a movement that occurred during the 20th century. In keeping with the philosophy of the design movement, modern style focuses on functionality over aesthetics. If a detail in the design does not serve a specific purpose then it is not necessary at all.

Generally there is an emphasis on the linear form, whether it be vertical or horizontal. This keeps the space basic and uncluttered. The color scheme is often very simple and monochromatic. Nature is often incorporated and celebrated in the design with the use of natural light, colors, and materials. Modern style can be considered the opposite of its Traditional counterpart in many ways.

Photo Credit: mymodernhouse.info/apartment-living-room-ideas/Photo Credit:

Industrial

With the increasingly popular idea of reusing abandoned industrial spaces it is no wonder why this style has grown in demand over the past few years. This style was born out of the combination of modern style with vintage, old world aspects. This style is normally found in more urban areas such as lofts that naturally possess many of the common features, such as ample natural lighting and raw, exposed materials. The highlight of this style is the emphasis on the unfinished. In any other style the ducts, brick, and structural beams would be buried behind drywall and forgotten, but in this style they are celebrated.

Industrial style is comprised of a mainly neutral color scheme with possible subtle hints of color. In place of color this style uses a variety of textures to add visual interest to the space. For example, exposed brick, timber, concrete, steel, leather, and other materials are used for dimension and to add some warmth to what can feel like a cold space. An open floor plan, high ceilings, and expansive windows are also trademarks of this style. With changes in how we are adapting and reusing old spaces it is clear that this style will not fade any time soon.

Photo Credit: ratihome.com/43-lovely-all-white-apartment-in-modern-style/

Transitional

The transitional design style is a combination of both the traditional and modern design styles. This has also become much more popular in recent years because the desire for classic architectural elements that give a home its character is increasing with the desire for more modern furniture and accessories. It is the perfect compromise for the person who loves both. The difficult task when designing a transitional space is finding the perfect balance between the two styles so they are not at war with one another.

Some aspects of this style include a neutral color palette, modern materials, added textures, fewer accessories, and a mix of modern and traditional furniture and accessories. The goal of a transitional design is to stay away from designing in one particular style or era. It adds a type of freedom that is lacking in other design styles. The options are limitless and are always evolving.

Photo Credit: https://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=163525Photo Credit:

Coastal

Coastal design looks exactly like it sounds! The intention of this style is to create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that is inspired by the beach and ocean. This is done in a very subtle and elegant manner. Coastal design is often confused with Nautical or Tropical, but while these style do have some common features they are different in many ways. Coastal design takes a less literal approach in the decor and design and opts for something that is a bit more understated in nature. The design may feature some beach motifs, but in very tasteful ways.

A key component to coastal design is a great deal of natural light! This is often accomplished with large windows, french doors, or skylights. To keep the room feeling open and bright, a light and airy color pallet is often used with subdued tones of blues and greens. The majority of the space will feature neutral and natural materials, such as wood floors, painted wood, and off-white furniture. Another common trademark of coastal design is large, plush pillows and furnishings that create an enjoyable environment.

Photo Credit: https://www.homestolove.com.au/cosy-coastal-home-interior-6692

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!

October Home Inspiration- Kitchen

Kitchen Inspiration

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.

Photo Credit: https://onekindesign.com/2015/08/29/cozy-cottage-farmhouse-style-dwelling-in-the-california-foothills/

Contrasting Cabinetry/Countertops

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!

Photo Credit: https://onekindesign.com/2015/08/29/cozy-cottage-farmhouse-style-dwelling-in-the-california-foothills/

Wood Accents

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/home-bunch-an-interior-design-luxury-homes-3938330/interior-design-ideas-5571935385

Open Shelving

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=144980