From kitchen to living room

As stated in “Banquette seating – will it work in your kitchen?” the trend in home design is to make the kitchen a place to gather, yet openly transition into other rooms. Kitchen islands play a key part as they go from food preparation countertop to banquette seating – making the transition seamless.   Any style is adaptable so it doesn’t matter if your home is industrial, modern, traditional or a fusion of something between. The way to pull it together is to coordinate…not match…the cabinetry you have in both areas.  Matching looks contrived. Coordination gives you more versatility and a natural feel. These days, farmhouse style is seeing a resurgence. This style is particularly easy to work with due to using a mix of antique finishes with a pallet of subtle colors. The same goes for rustic. Modern and industrial styles may present a little more challenge. Here the versatility of shaker cabinets offers a number of variations that tie rooms together. For example, a window seat with storage beneath may have wider or deeper frames and be a different but complementary color to the kitchen. The same can be done if you have cabinets surrounding a fireplace or beneath a buffet nook. Another way to coordinate any style is with glass doors and open shelves. A mix of these in both the kitchen and adjoining room could show off similar dishes or art collections. We tend not to think about having cabinets in the living area, yet they are the best way to store items you want to have handy but not always out in the open....

Sustainable Remodeling

Remodeling is a great option if you are living in an improved housing market. The effort to upgrade over moving feeds makes it economical to stay put longer and customize what you have. It’s why we work with high-quality companies…such as Oakcraft and Timberlake…to install cabinetry our clients can live with long term. Looks and efficiency still motivate changes. What’s under the surface determines ease-of-use and durability. It’s Better Business To Make Cabinets That Last Manufactured woods like particleboard reduce costs. But those savings are lost if they affect indoor air quality. Many manufacturers have removed urea-added formaldehyde to make them NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) compliant. But it’s possible they use other VOCs or volatile organic compounds that will gas-off over time. Another problem with particle board is that it doesn’t stand the test of time. Its mixture of sawdust and glue is more susceptible to moisture. While that may seem immaterial in a climate like ours, it needs to be factored in for cabinets placed near dishwashers, showers or hold sinks. Manufactured woods don’t hold hardware as well. They’re more likely to strip and chip than wood and plywood that can last 50 years. If you screw a hinge into hardwood, it will stay there until someone comes along to unscrew it. As unlikely as it is for people to live in their homes for 50 years, quality construction increases overall home value and factors into remodeling options. Another way to cut manufacturing costs is to glue and pin or staple drawers and shelve ends together. With a little investment, the better method is dovetail construction where...

A Great White Kitchen

Kitchen trends come and go, but a white kitchen stands the test of time. It’s clean, fresh and adds resale value because it’s a blank slate for any new buyer to customize. White kitchens have a grand history. In the 1920s and 30s, white was the only color offered by manufacturers. White was associated with sanitation and health. Since it began keeping records, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reports that white appliances have consistently outsold all other colors. White also regularly tops the list of the most popular kitchen colors in the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s annual survey. Why white? As the brightest color, it makes even small kitchens seem spacious. It’s a great color to build upon with light fixtures, cabinet hardware, and tile accents. It’s easy to change elements around it whenever the mood strikes. It is applicable to traditional, contemporary, and transitional design styles. Because it’s a standard color for any manufacturer, white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances are usually cheaper. All white kitchens can still have options. Appliances are offered in variations of white. Decorative white overlay panels can even cover existing stainless steel appliances. Countertops are available in a wide selection of white granite, quartz or marble. Some modern designers are even incorporating white concrete into their kitchen visions. Glass shelves or light colored wood can provide a little contrast without sacrificing the monochromatic theme, too. To keep a white kitchen from appearing boring, add interesting details like decorative bowls or baskets, detailed trim, and knick-knacks with character. Perhaps paint the ceiling or the kitchen island with a bold contrast...

When Two Kitchen Islands Are Better Than One

The trend towards large kitchens continues to grow. More than simply meal preparation, modern kitchens now have specialized food and drink preparation stations. Even more important, kitchens are the focal point for more friends and family interaction. All of these features require more countertop space which leads to larger kitchen islands. If this describes your home, think in terms of having two kitchen islands instead of one. With the right layout and configuration, dividing one large island into two improves traffic function and flow. When it comes to function, two islands divide the work stations so that food preparation and clean up are more efficient. For example, set up one island exclusively for food preparation. The other island houses the sink and dishwasher for clean up. Or divide islands to separate the work station while the second island is a bistro style for others to eat and socialize. And there’s no reason why the islands have to match. Contrast them with one open underneath and the other lined with cabinets to organize and store kitchen items in one place. You may host events where one island is needed to create an elongated buffet. Sometimes an extra large work area is necessary. Consider a drop leaf that connects one to the other. The biggest advantage to two islands is to facilitate traffic control, especially in busy kitchens. One big island forces traffic around it. Two smaller islands create an additional route for everyone to move about.  It also shortens steps from one side to another.  Dividing a big island into two is one way to transform your kitchen. Before you...

Your Farmhouse Sink Faucet

Once you’ve decided a Farmhouse Sink fits your kitchen style, you now have a number of options to customize this critical area.    Previously in our article - “Farmhouse sinks gain popularity”; we discussed the characteristics that differentiate Farmhouse Sinks from modern ones. We included additional features to consider before you purchase. “Different materials customize Farmhouse sinks.” reviews a number of options of materials to choose from – including the pros and cons of each. Now let’s look at the options for placing hardware:  Is there a best location? The three ways to mount hardware are on the sink itself, the surrounding deck, and on the wall. As the name suggests, sink mounted hardware has holes drilled into the sink itself. The type of hardware, either single or double handed, determines the number of holes needed. Single handed faucets with the water temperature and pressure in one assembly only require one hole. Double handed faucets with the water controls separated from the faucet need three. If you add an additional faucet (maybe one for filtered water) it can go up to four. But suppose you fall in love with a collector’s sink that already has holes? Or want to change the faucet style in the future without giving up the sink? If your change requires fewer holes, you can use an escutcheon plate (deck plate at the base) to cover the one(s) you no longer need. Deck-mounted faucets put the hardware in the countertop surrounding the sink - a style well suited to contemporary kitchens. With this option, be careful of how water, dirt, and grime accumulate between the...