5 Ways to Tell If Your Kitchen Needs a Remodel

 

Have you been putting off a kitchen remodel for a long time? Are you in need of some definite signs that your kitchen is in desperate need of renovation? Here are 5 ways to tell if your kitchen really needs a remodel.

Insufficient Storage Space

Are items stacking up on counters or other surfaces that you need for meal prep and other tasks? This probably means you have insufficient storage space in your kitchen. There are plenty of budget solutions, such as built-in “floating” shelves or finding organization products at your local home goods store to take better advantage of the space. But when there simply isn’t enough space, the cabinetry layout may need significant altering, meaning a remodel is in store.

Bad Workflow

Finding yourself bumping into appliances or counters or even a table in the middle of your kitchen just trying to do everyday tasks? One of the most important aspects of kitchen design is the “work triangle.” This means that there should be a clear triangular path between the sink, the cooktop, the refrigerator, and back to the sink. If some aspect of your kitchen is interrupting this flow, or there’s insufficient space to move around, it may be time to consult a kitchen design expert to find solutions to this problem.

Poor or Insufficient Lighting

Some kitchens simply do not have sufficient lighting in them. There are LED bulbs now that can simulate daylight at very low wattage, so you can actually get more light power out of a single bulb that you would traditionally get with two or even three. But perhaps the existing fixtures aren’t enough. They may be poorly placed, the wrong type of lighting for the type of room you have, or just simply no longer your style or out of date. If so, it’s time for a kitchen remodel because that’s really the only way to change their location.

Cabinets Showing Signs of Wear and Tear

If you have cabinets that were bought from a budget kitchen depot or local big box store, chances are that you’re starting to experience problems with them if you’ve had them for a long time. Perhaps the doors are jamming, closing incorrectly, or not closing at all. It may just mean you need new door hinges. If you need brand new doors, redooring may be an option, but that can cost as much as new mid-priced cabinets. Unless you have super good cabinet frames, it may be worth seeing if it’s better off just replacing them altogether.

Loose or Leaking Fixtures

Is your kitchen faucet leaking and causing water spots on your counter or around the faucet area? Perhaps it works fine, but seems wiggly or loose. Have you noticed peeling sealant, mold, or water damage around the sink basin? What about the pipes underneath the sink. Do you even go under there? If those are leaking, loose, or showing other damage, you likely need a kitchen remodel in that area at the very least.

Using Zones in Kitchen Design

You may have heard of the work triangle when it comes to kitchen design. Recently, there has been a new design trend to use zones in kitchens. This shift in design philosophy is more of an extension than a replacement for older methods. The placement of appliances, counters, and work areas are as important as ever. Kitchens have become more multi-functional in recent years. So zones are an excellent way to improve the flow and efficiency of your kitchen. Read more

Top 5 Countertop Styles for 2016

Countertops are one of the most fundamentally important aspects to any kitchen. While cabinetry costs a huge chunk of the design budget, countertop surfaces are just as important. Choosing surfaces that will last and serve your needs is important. Today, there are dozens of options for countertop materials. To help you narrow down the options, here are the top 5 countertops homeowners are seeking in 2016.

Marble Countertops

HGTV calls marble countertops “the current darling of the design world.” This timeless countertop material is both aesthetically enjoyable and disguises wear, tear, and light stains. But in exchange for the high-end look, marble tops need regular sealing and particular attention to care. This is due to the porous nature of marble. Stains can be an issue, as well as etching. However, the most popular choices in marble, typically Carrara or Calacatta, are comparable in cost to some granites. So while marble is high-end, with some dedication to maintenance, it can be worth the added cost.

Butcher Block Wood

One of the most recently trendy countertop materials is butcher block wood. Not only decorative, when properly sealed, they are quite sanitary and functional. It is also one of the most heat-resistant budget countertop options. Typically, these wood countertops are used for food prep spaces, but they can be used throughout a kitchen. Usually, however, butcher block is used in addition to engineered stone or quartz countertops to help keep costs down while also adding a timeless design element to the kitchen.

Laminate Countertops

Once one of the most popular countertop options, laminates are making a comeback in budget-friendly kitchen remodels. Most popular have become laminate patterns that look just like granite, marble, quartz, or even wood at considerably discounted costs. Even bright “retro” colored surfaces reminiscent of the mid 20th-century have become trendy. While laminates are heat, scratch, and water resistant, they don’t match up in durability to granite or quartz. Still, properly maintained, laminate countertops can last for decades.

Engineered Quartz Countertops

Close to granite in popularity, engineered quartz countertops are often quoted as being “practically maintenance free.” Indeed, these countertops are acid, heat, impact, scratch and stain resistant. Also, due to a non-porous surface, they don’t need the sealing which natural stones such as granite and marble require. Engineered quartz is available in a great array of patterns and colors, and it rivals what is still the most popular countertop option today.

Polished Granite Countertops

Even with the rise of engineered quartz, polished granite is still the top countertop choice among homeowners every year. One of the most traditional countertop surfaces, polished granite offers high-end appeal that is quite durable and adds significantly to your kitchen’s value. Being a natural stone, granite has often unique variations in its pattern. While these variations can prove to be tricky when matching up slabs, this adds to the surface’s aesthetic appeal. When it comes to cost, granite and quartz are similar in price, although granite requires more maintenance than quartz. Yearly sealing and being careful to quickly wipe up all stains should do the trick.

Differences Between Full Custom and Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinetry is the most expensive part of any kitchen remodel, taking up as much as 40 percent of the overall budget. One trick that kitchen designers use to save money is to mix semi-custom cabinets with regular custom cabinets. Some cabinetry lines offer mix-and-match options allowing you to blend semi-custom into a design and make them seem like custom cabinets. But true custom cabinets do have some advantages. Read more

Innovative Plumbing Solutions in the Kitchen

Using innovative plumbing solutions can help give your kitchen more style and convenience. A few small changes, such as built-in filtration, handy attachments, and faucet upgrades will turn any kitchen around easily.  

Add Whole-House Filtration to Save on Bottled Water

Did you know filtration for your whole house can be just as affordable as single-sink filtration?  If having a water filter is important to your area, consider installing a filtration system that spans the entire home. They’re small and can save a ton of money and time spent on attaining bottled water.

Draft Beer Towers Can Help Get-Togethers Run Smoothly

Anyone who has a fair amount of social gatherings knows how crazy it can get serving drinks. Adding a draft beer tower, in addition to the normal bar sink can help reduce time spent serving. Guests can easily serve their own beverages or you can do it yourself with less hassle.  

Faucet Attachment Water Fountains Create Fun and Save on Dishes

Everyone should stay well-hydrated. Sometimes, this means the glasses and cups pile up, with barely enough time to wash them before they’re dirtied again. This is especially true if your household members are active or you have more than a couple people in your family. What fun kids and adults alike will have drinking out of a handy attached fountain, such as the Kwik Sip. This makes drinking water more convenient and gives everyone more motivation to do so.

Save Time With a Pull-Down Spray Bar Faucet and Soap Dispenser

With all the faucet options available today, it can be difficult choosing the one that works for your needs. However, the latest popular pull-down spray bar faucets seem to be a good fit for most any lifestyle. Whether you have a lively social life, an active family, or intimate gatherings, the pull-down feature can save loads of time. Rather than having a separate sprayer and pulling out an unsightly bottle of dish soap or hand soap, the soap can go directly in an attached dispenser and the faucet itself detaches and pulls down to act as a sprayer with a simple, quick action. This is a lifesaver when you have kids or when you have social gatherings, with multiple people waiting to be served.

Farmhouse Sinks Add Style and Convenience

Farmhouse sinks are making a huge comeback. They’re large enough to do just about anything. Yet, they have a certain style and charm that comes with no other type of sink. These handy old-fashioned sinks come with old-style charm and are available in all sorts of styles and colors. Custom options are also available. Double-bowl farmhouse sinks seem to be the most handy, as you have two sides to work from at once. On the other hand, if you rarely use two sides at the same time, one bowl may be best for you. They come in deep and more shallow options, as well. Talk to your kitchen contractor about your needs, so that you can both figure out what works best in your situation.

 

Save Headaches With an Open Concept Kitchen & Playroom

 

Need to cook, as well as keep an eye on the kids at the same time? An open concept kitchen with an adjacent playroom may be exactly what you’re looking for. Imagine a space custom-designed for your family’s specific needs, design choices, and lifestyle. Knowing exactly what the kids are up to will surely save many a headache around meal times.

Decide How Much Space You Have

The space you have available will help you and your contractor decide on options that work for your family. Customizing exact needs, based on availability of space helps ensure optimal results. For this reason, going with a design build contractor can be one of the best choices. These contractors are experts at designing, as well as building a space that works for each unique situation.

Consider Your Child’s Habits

How does your child play? What things keep him or her busy for the longest? What are some favorite toys and play habits? All of these things should be taken into consideration when designing the playroom area. Busy and favorite toys are the best ones to occupy your child while your hands are full with dishes, dinner, or other kitchen tasks.

Factor in Your Cooking Habits

When you cook, clean, wash dishes, and perform other tasks, how do you like moving around the kitchen? Would you like to face the playroom while doing these things? Do these habits currently hinder your ability to keep a watchful eye on the little ones? A design build contractor can factor in things like this, as well as your style, budget, and more to come up with the perfect kitchen for your family. Even if your kids like to help with the kitchen tasks, a playroom break will come in handy.

Family Lifestyle is Important

How does your family enjoy spending time together? If reading is one of your favorite things to do, consider adding a library section to the playroom. This way, you can easily transition from kitchen activities to reading or playing together. Perhaps you can make a great snack to enjoy together in the play area. The possibilities are endless and can be custom-tailored to meet your family’s exact needs.

Keep Your Contractor Informed

If you have a change of heart regarding certain options, small or large, let your contractor know as soon as possible. Also, quickly notify your contractor about additions to the plan or concerns you may have. With design build, your contractor should already be working very closely with you. But it’s still important to remember this. Constant and clear communication is key to getting things done the way you want, which is important in getting the kitchen and playroom that works best for your family. The more you tell your contractor, the less you both have to worry about. Then, you can simply relax and watch your child having a blast without compromising whatever needs to be done in the kitchen. This not only saves headaches for everyone, but also allows for more family time and interaction, which is always a good thing.

Maximizing Kitchen Storage Space with Your Design Build Contractor

With your style and needs in mind, a design build contractor can help you maximize the space available in your kitchen. If you need more storage or preparation space, working with an experienced professional is a must. The knowledge of working with various spaces, styles, designs, and lifestyles will be invaluable, as your contractor works with you to create your dream kitchen.

The Design Step Helps Provide a Clear Picture

When it comes to kitchen storage, it absolutely must be done right, so that convenience and lifestyle is taken into consideration. When you hire a design build contractor, a preview of the end result and a clear picture of what’s being done is a natural part of the process. This step is key to making absolute certain the final product is something you can live with on a daily basis.

Building With a Design in Mind Helps Things Run Smoothly

Because that end result is very clear, this helps the rest of the process flow. When the area is designed specifically with you in mind and with an exact end goal, everyone is on the same page. A good design build contractor will make sure everything follows the plan. However, if you have any changes or concerns in mind, be sure to bring them to the table as quickly as possible. This is another major benefit to a custom design: it’s all about what you want and need.

Design Knowledge is Key

A key component in design build is having that professional knowledge, experience, and licensure to get the job done properly. Be sure to hire someone who is not only knowledgeable in the design build process, but that has obtained a proper construction license. Permits will be required for certain types of construction. Aside from the legal aspect, having someone with this invaluable experience will help ensure the job gets done the way you want it to. Kitchen construction is not something that should be left to just anyone.

Your Project is Customized Exclusively for You

Who wants a cookie cutter kitchen storage space that’s exactly the same as someone else’s? When you work with a design build contractor, your project is customized to your liking and needs. Be sure to tell your contractor about everything you’d like to store in your kitchen and how your family uses the space. If you have any fun hobbies or lifestyle ideas you’d like incorporated, be sure to let your contractor know. Your input will be key throughout the process, so that the end result is something you love, as well as something you can live with comfortably.

Enjoy Exactly What You Had in Mind

Once the design build process is complete, you get to see your ideas and the contractor’s experience come to life. So, what do you do at this point? Show it off to everyone, of course! Sit back, relax (or cook everyone an awesome meal, now that you can find everything), and simply enjoy exactly the design you had in mind for your dream kitchen storage space. This is the part where you’ll truly appreciate that design build was the right choice for your project.

 

Avoiding the Cookie Cutter Kitchen

Everyone wants their kitchen to be unique. I’ve gone into a lot of kitchens over the years and so many of the remodels I have overseen often began with a cookie cutter variety kitchen. With my remodeling company, I’ve always stressed creative remodeling solutions with input from the homeowners in creating a unique and efficient space. Cookie cutters simply don’t work for us.

The problem with cookie cutter kitchens is that one size does not fit all. Even when dealing with older homes, I’ll still find bargain basement cabinetry with uninspired layouts. Some of them are even not that functional in daily life due to slave constraints. Cheap countertops and hardware I find all too often in homes that deserve much better. With many homes in New England, especially Massachusetts, often having fairly high property values, the kitchen is no room to skimp on.

Bargain Basement Options Can Be Too Limited

Past budget remodels that have come from big box stores or bargain basement cabinetry outlets rarely allow for creativity or much flexibility. This is mostly because in order to keep their prices low, these places have limited access to particular lines. You’re pretty much stuck with package deals. These can leave you with cabinets or countertops that you don’t really want or may not be quite what you need.

Creative designers can try and make the best of it, but there’s a difference between being budget-conscious and simply choosing what seems to be the cheapest option. You may have to wait much longer than expected, plus you can’t necessarily be sure of the quality of installation.

If you’re on a tight remodeling budget, I look at it this way. My team and I look at what you have in your existing space that’s available for reuse. It’s always best to be creative with the existing pieces. We’ve reused many cabinet boxes and countertops over the years because there was nothing wrong with them. The kitchen can still be reorganized and made over while utilizing existing materials. Especially when it comes to cabinetry, repurposing can save a bundle.

Staying on Budget, Still Making It Work

Being on budget is the most important part of any remodel. This is why we scope out the entire project before we get started. We can allow for any potential difficulties or delays the project may face.

Once the budget is set, the essentials are fleshed out. It’s from there that we set about filling in the blanks and finding creative solutions to get your kitchen to where you’d love it to be. Plus, you can count on my expert installers to get it all put together correctly.

In the end, it’s all about the design. It’s making sure that the blueprint incorporates everything you’re looking for at the best possible price point. Cheaper is not better when it comes to kitchens. Affordability can happen while still using high-quality materials that fit your plan.

My remodeling team and I specialize in affordable creative remodeling solutions. We’ll work closely with you to build a kitchen that works on any budget. You don’t have to worry about having a cookie cutter kitchen any longer.

5 Ways to Ease Your Next Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling your kitchen can be easy, fun, and adventurous if you take the right steps and get the right people involved from the beginning. You’re getting the kitchen you’ve always wanted. That’s definitely something to take seriously. But it’s also an experience you should enjoy.

Get All Financial Parties Involved

Bring everyone together that will have anything to do with the financial aspect of the remodel. This should include anyone involved in contributing financially. That way, everyone is on the same page from start to finish. Set goals and a budget early on so that there are no discrepancies in what’s going on.

Plan Earlier Than You Want Work Completed

Start your plan well in advance of your ideal timeline for work completion. A comfortable  starting point would be around 8-12 weeks before you actually want the remodel project completed. This gives everyone enough time for planning and deciding exactly what needs to be done.

Contact/Retain a Design Build Contractor

A design/build contractor can help make what you’re envisioning come to life. Before any work is done, the contractor will help you make plans and design your kitchen with you. Then, once everyone is satisfied with the design, the same contractor will build, knowing exactly what is wanted and needed. Hiring a design/build contractor helps ease confusion that can often occur when proper plans aren’t made ahead of time.

Reconfirm Your Goals and Budgets

Do some research on your own in the comfort of your home about styles, kitchen gadgets, fixtures, countertops, appliances, flooring, and everything else you’d want and need in your kitchen. Then, reconfirm your goals and budgets with your contractor.

Set a Firm Start Date

This is important for many reasons. A start date let’s you know when to make alternate plans for kitchen use while it’s being worked on. Obviously, it also let’s the contractors know when to begin so they can put it on their schedule. As mentioned above, early planning is best.  That way, everyone is ready and aware of schedules enough In advance for proper preparation.

Make Plans For Periods of Downtime

Remember that you will be without your kitchen during the time it takes to remodel. Times will vary for each individual project. Your contractor should discuss specifics with you. Think about what will happen during your kitchen’s downtime. Where will you cook? What will you do with kids and pets? Can they be restricted to a specific area or will they need to stay with a sitter? Will you stay in the home during the remodel or will you stay elsewhere?

Important Things to Remember

  • Let your contractor know immediately if something is not going well in the process.
  • The sooner everyone is on the same page,  the smoother things will go.
  • Remember to enjoy the process. It’s not every day that you get to be involved in having your dream kitchen built.
  • Slow down and breathe. A kitchen remodel can be exciting. Don’t forget to relax and relish in the moment.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Kitchen Lighting

A couple of decades ago, kitchen lighting was nothing but a fluorescent light. If the kitchen was too large, it had a couple of them. The bulb was too bright when it came to a snack in the middle of the night, but also too dim when it came to reading. However, it did work. Today, this workable status is irrelevant. Kitchens are no longer used to cook and eat only, but also to read the morning press, work on the laptop or perhaps welcome some friends. With these ideas in mind, it does pay off to rely on a wide plethora of lighting solutions, only to create the perfect environment for your everyday activities. It sounds luxurious, but the truth is that you can come up with successful kitchen lighting without having to spend a fortune or face any challenges.

Task lighting and its benefits

Task lighting is ideal to focus on particular areas or activities. You want to benefit from the best light in the targeted environment, without any unwanted shadows. Task lighting is directly proportional with the type of activities you conduct. You do not want to cover the kitchen in all kinds of bulbs though, so you have to focus on the work surfaces. Under cupboard lighting is excellent for this idea. LED lights might be pretty handy because they do not require too much room either. Besides, they allow light adjustments, so you can set them to provide as much or as little light as you need.

Considering the island

The island requires special lighting. Whether it is located in the middle of the kitchen or in a less common place, it represents one of the places with the highest exposure. The island is very useful when cooking, but also when reading. Its central part must be thoroughly lighted. Most specialists recommend down lights, yet small and decorative pendants can be just as handy. It is imperative for the lights to match the entire decor of the room though. While the island does represent a special place in your kitchen, it still needs to follow and respect the theme for a whole unitary image.

Dealing with tall ceilings

Places with tall ceilings are great because they offer more cubic volume and storage capabilities. However, a tall ceiling also underlines a visually large environment. Lowering its scale is imperative or the entire kitchen will always look empty. In order to connect flooring and the ceiling, stick to low hanging pendants, especially for the island. You can successfully delineate the environment in an open kitchen with this change though, especially if the rest of the place has different types of lighting fixtures. At the same time, it might be a wise idea to use the top surfaces of the cabinets for up lights. This idea reduces the necessity of general lighting as well.

In the end, kitchen lighting can be very tricky. However, a little education and a few tips can work wonders on the final effect.