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- 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.

February Home Inspiration- Taking Design Risks

Taking Risks

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.

Photo Credit: https://thefreshexchange.com/a-simple-kitchen-update/

Contrasting Cabinets

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkdoBMLlK6u/

Interesting Backsplash

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!

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BeHViVWApEM/

Unconventional Countertops

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.

Photo Credit: https://onekindesign.com/2015/04/24/40-amazing-and-stylish-kitchens-with-concrete-countertops/

Ceiling Features

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.goodnewsarchitecture.com/2018/03/24/how-to-maximally-generate-kitchen-island-decoration-in-your-house/

Open Shelving

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.

Photo Credit: http://www.homebunch.com/florida-new-construction-family-home/

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!

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!

December Home Inspiration- Emerging Trends

Emerging Trends

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.

Photo Credit: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/66/d7/f6/66d7f63c88c69e7775b1a45ba71eafba.jpg

Neutral Wood Tones

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrfbJzMFiUR/

Warmer Color Pallet

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.

Photo Credit: https://www.durasupreme.com/blog/ideas-creating-breakfast-beverage-baking-centers-your-kitchen#.XC4wC1xKhhF

Oak’s Comeback

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.

Photo Credit: http://www.homebunch.com/transitional-custom-home-design/

Introducing Black

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.

Photo Credit: https://honestlywtf.com/home/black-kitchens/

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.

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