Mini Blog- Flooring

There are many things that go into the making of a good design, including functionality, aesthetics, and style. Flooring is one of the many material components that go into achieving this. With any material there are some that are more commonly used than others. The main three that homeowners will choose include hardwood, tile, and carpet. However, although most people would like to choose hardwood, it is not always that easy and more often than not they go with something that has a similar look. The floor that is chosen is very important because that is generally what is going to get the most abuse in any room. Be aware of how much use the space gets and how durable the flooring should be.

Carpet is definitely one of the most cost effective options, but in high traffic areas it can also require the most maintenance. It is one of those materials that is better suited in some rooms than others. The best place to use carpeting is in bedrooms because generally it will be more comfortable and used less. On the other hand, everyone wants the look of hardwood, but not the price or the maintenance. There are so many other option out there now. Luxury vinyl, laminate, and even tile all come in wood looks! These all offer the look without all of the problems! Tile is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms because it is water resistant. However, the other materials have come a long way because luxury vinyl is also a water resistant option.

When looking for something outside the box, there are some other interesting options that can also be used. Brick pavers can be found in areas that will get a lot of abuse, such as entryways and mudrooms. They have even been used in the occasional kitchen! Concrete is another option that is available. It is durable, but they can be quite cold, hard, and prone to cracking. These would be best in a warmer climate.

Can’t choose? Why not do both? Transitions have become much more fluent in today’s design world. Floors can have insets that differ from the rest of the space or they can meld together to create an interesting pattern. This is perfect for those areas that need a bit more durability than others. For example, if area surrounding an entryway is hardwood and consistency is desired, then insetting tile into the hardwood to help with dirt, mud, and water is the perfect solution. This will keep the hardwood looking great and it is a great addition to the overall design. The options for what to do on the floor is limited only by the imagination.

October Monthly Home Inspiration- Kitchen Layouts

Kitchen Layouts

The layout of the kitchen is important because it will determine how functional the space can be and how it can be best utilized. The layout should create what is called a “work triangle”, which is where the stove/cook top, refrigerator, and sink create a triangle within the kitchen. This concept is used to determine efficient layouts for the kitchen that are both aesthetic and functional.

This idea obviously works better with some layouts than others. For example, this can be very difficult to achieve in a single wall kitchen because all of the appliances are located along that one wall. Also, some homes may be better suited for some layouts better than others.

Photo Credit: https://jane-athome.com/

Single Wall Kitchen

The single wall kitchen layout is most commonly used in apartments and in smaller homes. In larger spaces, an island will usually accompany the single run of cabinets. This type of layout is also commonly seen in a more contemporary style.

This design is best used in a combined kitchen and dining area where wall space is limited. The table can also double as an additional prep space. One of the flaws with this option is that unless the appliances are streamlined and integrated, it can look rather cluttered. Other than that it is by far the most simplistic.

Photo Credit: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/one-wall-kitchen-storage-and-decor-ideas

Galley Kitchen

Galley kitchens are commonly found in older homes and apartments. The open concept trend has made the galley kitchen a less desirable option. However, they are still perfect for more narrow and awkward kitchens because it makes the most out of the available space.

This layout is all about the cooking and prepping aspect of the kitchen and less about socializing and dining. They are one of the most functional options, unfortunately they also tend to be dark and can feel slightly claustrophobic without any natural light. It is important to take this into consideration in order to have a successful design.

Photo Credit: https://www.easydiyguide.com/choosing-new-kitchen-cabinets/

U-Shape Kitchen

This layout allows for a lot of flexibility within the design. Things can be moved and rearranged to allow for better functionality overall. This works well in both large and small spaces. If the space permits then a table or island can be included in the center for more work space or dining needs.

U-shaped kitchens can be easily placed adjacent to other living areas, such as dining and living rooms. This allows for a distinct separation while still allowing a connection and a site line to those spaces. On the other hand, if not done well then this kitchen can seem rather bulky.

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L-Shape Kitchen

With the open concept idea becoming more popular, this layout has naturally followed. It lends itself very well to most size kitchens. By positioning all of the taller units together, such as the refrigerator, pantry, and oven cabinets, then it will allow the space to feel more open.

This layout is very easily adaptable. It is very open, accessible, stylish, and social. It allows room for either a table or an island in the center. Unfortunately, fitting everything in while maintaining functionality can sometimes be a challenge.

Photo Credit: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/before-and-after-white-and-gray-kitchen-renovation

Kitchen with Peninsula

The peninsula is the perfect way to add some extra storage, seating, or prep area without needing more wall space to place cabinetry. The short span mimics all the benefits of an island, but takes up less floor space.

The peninsula tends to be an addition or an extension of one of the main layouts that is described above. It is most commonly added to L-shaped, galley, or single wall kitchens.

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Kitchen with Island

A kitchen with an island has quickly become the most desired layout for a kitchen. It tends to be the most open of all of the layouts, which means there is very little separation between rooms.

Islands can also house sinks, appliances, and other things that would not fit in the main part of the kitchen. A design that includes the use on an island will be very social. It is the perfect kitchen to entertain because it allows the person preparing the food to socialize.

Photo Credit: https://www.lovelyluckylife.com/white-and-navy-quartz-kitchen/

Mini Blog- Cabinet Hardware

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.

Mini Blog- Kitchen Storage & Organization Continued

Functionality is so important when it comes to designing a kitchen. It helps to create a space that is stress-free, easy-to-use, and organized. Cabinets have come a long way with the addition of new inserts that help to increase the functionality in any kitchen.

One of the most common things that can be found in kitchens today are roll-outs! These can be found in the form of trays and so much more! They help to make the most out of the space by allowing for easy access to the entire cabinet, therefore nothing is out of reach. Roll-outs are also designed specifically to house spices, utensils, and other items that are often stored ineffectively. This creates a more organized atmosphere and makes it easier to locate specific items without the need to search extensively.

Small appliances have become very common in kitchens today. There seems to be an infinite number of them and some can be used multiple times daily, which makes it crucial that they are easily accessible. However, no one has infinite space on their counter tops and many people prefer to have their appliances out of sight. There are a few different ways to address this dilemma. If counter space is no issue then an appliance garage would keep them out of sight while still in arms reach. A solution that is unique to the large Kitchen Aid mixer that everyone seems to have on the counter top is a mixer pull-up. This allows the mixer, its accessories, and other miscellaneous things to be stored out of sight.

Lastly, it is always the small things that make the biggest difference. For example, a built-in organizer for baking sheets, pans, and trays keeps everything organized and easy to find. This helps to make the most use out of the space. Another small modification can be done to the area on the side of the cabinet, which can then be used for a message center, keys, and other small objects. The one that will make the most difference is the drawer organizer. This will keep all like silverware and utensils in the proper place. It will ensure that everything is neat and easy to locate.

With today’s advancements and technology there are so many different ways to make a more functional kitchen. This blog focuses on only a few of the various mechanisms that bring order to the chaos. It is important to pay attention to how you use your kitchen because what might work for someone else will not work for you and while the new gadgets can be alluring, they are also not always necessary. Keep in mind what is most important to you when you’re designing your dream kitchen.

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.

May Home Inspiration- Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

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!

Photo Credit: http://www.foundrentals.com/blog/2015/11/30/found-home/

General Tasks

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.

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Living Room

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!

Photo Credit: https://www.mcgeeandco.com/products/jensen-coffee-table

Kitchen

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.

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Bedroom

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.

Photo Credit: http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com/2016/10/our-bedroom-tour-autumn-accents.html

Bathrooms

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.

Photo Credit: https://decorlogix.com/keep-your-bathroom-neat/

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!

December Home Inspiration- Emerging Trends

Emerging Trends

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.

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Neutral Wood Tones

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.

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Warmer Color Pallet

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.

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. 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.

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!