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Renovation Tips

Remodeling your home is a stressful but rewarding task. If you are apprehensive about the work involved to have that new kitchen or bath of your dreams, here are some of our tips to help you get through the process.

PLAN AHEAD

Probably the most basic piece of advice but a lot of things need to be planned and taken into consideration in this crucial first step.
It is important to plan EVERYTHING before you start on your renovation project. This will help the process go smoothly. Some important things to plan are your budget, design, finishes, fixtures, and materials.

BUDGET

Start with your budget, it is crucial to have that number figure before going any further. Leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses that might come up so you aren’t caught off guard. Then you can move on to the fun part of designing your space.

 

CHECKLIST

Create lots of lists! Lists of what you need to tackle for your space before, during and after. This will keep you organized and tracking progress. Besides, who doesn’t love the satisfaction that crossing something off brings?

ORGANIZATION/IDEA BINDER

Make a file/binder to keep all of your lists and information together in one place. You should add your Pinterest finds and inspiration to this as well to talk through with your designer/contractor. Keeping things altogether will be one less of a headache in the future when you’re looking for that one random sticky note that was holding important information.

 

TRAFFIC PATTERNS

Traffic isn’t just for the streets, it is also in your home. It’s important to think about the layout of your current space and how foot traffic patterns are going to affect your new space. Try not to hinder the natural flow of your home. You know the paths that are walked constantly and where people tend to hang out.

Traffic Patterns

STORAGE VS SPACE

Make room for more storage, not too much free space. Yes, most everyone wants large airy kitchens and baths these days but what about your stuff? Think about what you use in your spaces and where its new home will be. Add plenty of well thought out storage to your new room. Chances are, you will regret if you don’t.

 

VISIT A SHOWROOM

If you need help narrowing down choices, visit a design showroom. They have lots of product to browse, installation ideas and professional consultants ready to help.

Showroom

BACKUPS/TEMPORARY SPACES

Depending on how extensive your kitchen renovation is, it could take a long time. Any time without a kitchen sink/stove is just too long. The resolution? Set up temporary spaces away from the construction zone with a microwave/hot plate so you aren’t completely out of a kitchen.

 

COUNT ON COUNTERTOPS

You want a kitchen or bath renovation but don’t have the funds and/or time? Updating your countertops is a quick fix that can really transform your space. Adding a coat of paint or a new stain to cabinetry is also a quick and economical way to give your room a different look.

Countertops

COMMUNICATION

All happy relationships share good communication. Good communication with your designer, contractor, and any other personnel involved in your renovation is key! They cannot read your mind. It is important to express your thoughts, wants, and needs.

 

REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE

Yes, the journey can be long and tiring. You may have smooth sailing or lots of unexpected problems surface so it’s important to remember the end result and how your new space will be worth it.

Top Chef: Tips for Creating a Commercial Kitchen at Home

When designing a new kitchen, or remodeling an existing one, why not look to commercial or restaurant kitchens for inspiration? Restaurant kitchens are specifically designed to operate efficiently and safely—and with many modern restaurants now showcasing “open kitchens” they can even provide some style direction. Take a few notes from these spaces and your home kitchen will be poised for the big time…”Top Chef” will have nothing on you!

Create as open a kitchen floor plan as your space will allow. If you plan to entertain in your kitchen and share cooking activities, this is especially critical. Commercial kitchens are designed for ease of movement among multiple cooks. Try to keep a minimum kitchen aisle width of 3 ft, and up to 5 ft. if possible. A good floor plan eliminates unnecessary steps—meaning how many steps it takes to get from point A to point B—allowing you to cook and clean efficiently. And allowing anyone in that space to be part of the experience without being in the way.

bar island seating

Consider open shelving in place of traditional cabinets. This allows the cook to see and grab necessary pans, ingredients and utensils quickly and avoids sticky hands on cabinet doors. Shelving is also much easier to clean than inside deep cabinets. Instead of equipping lower cabinets with all sorts of drawers and pullouts, get rid of the cabinet doors and just go with drawers that can be sized to fit their intended contents. This is a more practical use of space and will still provide adequate storage for those items.

In a commercial kitchen, the sink(s) need to be versatile and hard working. For at-home cooks, the same is true, so opt for a large, deep sink. While there are many trendy and attractive sink surface options, stainless steel is a good choice since it is easy to care for and has that professional look. A versatile, high quality faucet is also important. Be sure it’s tall enough to handle large pots and has high powered spray options to adequately rinse dirty cookware and plates, as well as a gentle stream for fruits and vegetables. If your sink is far from your stove, add pot-filler faucet to that area.

large washing kitchen sink

The cook top and oven(s) are the central command of a commercial kitchen. Consider dual-fuel cooking appliances that give you more flexibility in cooking styles. It must have the responsiveness and control of a gas cooktop, while a convection oven will provide quicker cooking times. Continual cooktop grates are ideal as they can accommodate many different cooking accessories like griddles, woks and larger pots and pans. It’s also much easier to slide pans across it to keep something warm on a back burner while you continue cooking items in the front. Also be sure to plan for a proper ventilation system for your cook top. Try to find one with a high suction (and even carbon filters to decrease the smells) and low sound…your kitchen shouldn’t sound like a helicopter landing. And no one can enjoy that seared steak if they’re in plumes of smoke!

Large capacity refrigerators and dishwashers are another key component in commercial kitchens. For the at-home cook, there are many options. For refrigerators, consider how you cook. If you’re a fresh produce, stopping by the butcher and the baker, kind of cook, then have a larger fridge and a smaller freezer. Buying meats and cheeses in bulk? Consider side-by-side fridges, so that you can really fill up that freezer. If you entertain a lot or have a large family, two dishwashers might be ideal. One of the few items that has not been commercially updates for the home kitchen is the dishwasher. Even the best ones on the market are still not half as speedy as commercial ones. So if you have the space, place one on either side of the sink. You won’t regret this!

Finally, when it comes to the pretty, most commercial kitchens are going to be covered in stainless steel or floor to ceiling subway tile, like an old scullery. I would not recommend cladding your entire space in stainless steel—it can be quite cold! However, these applications were effective because they were easy to clean, or literally, hose down in a restaurant space. For home, look at single slab surfaces that are non-porous, like quartz, but still give you range of stone options. This will keep the space looking clean and make it easy to clean…a win-win combination!

oversized island

 

Original post created by: Marqet Group

 

 

The Inspired Kitchen: Edwardian Style

Taking cues from across the pond, we fell in love with this Edwardian family kitchen in the UK designed by Humphrey Munson. What struck us most was their smart application of cabinetry finishes. A midnight blue hue contrast beautifully with the upper wooden cabinets and white perimeter fronts. If this particular kitchen had been all white—our favorite kitchen color in America—it would have lost the depth and interest that these combinations ultimately make. One unexpected design element is the circular wooden table that been customized to fit into the countertop. Three people can comfortably sit here and have the advantage of seeing each other (versus being side by side).

Another surprise is the mirrored backsplash behind the stove. It adds a bit of patina to this new kitchen that makes it feel more lived in. Finally, storage is key to any functional kitchen and there are smart solutions all over this space: tray inserts on the side of the island, a niche by the stove to keep everyday spices, and a hidden coffee cabinet smartly placed near the primary sink. One final bit of inspired design is the mantel-like facade over the cooking area. It’s a perfect solution to hide the hood and add another place for display.

 

Original post created by: Marqet Group

Creating a Family Friendly Kitchen

It is often said that “The kitchen is the heart of a home”. It’s where families and friends gather to cook, eat, mingle and entertain…..truly enjoying each others company. For busy families, kitchen design is critical, as it needs to accommodate everyone that will be using the space–from parents who organize meals and activities, to children that need to do their homework or fix themselves a snack–even the family pet that needs access to their food and water!

Think about how each family member uses the kitchen and what their role is? How many people cook in the kitchen at the same time? Do you entertain often and host family holidays? Basically, think about a day in the life of your kitchen, both during the week and weekends.

 
Easy cleaning surfaces are key for busy families. Reduce maintenance and clean up time by installing quartz surfaces which resists stains and is more forgiving with impacts. Look for surfaces with a little texture, like honed quartz or concrete which will also resist fingerprints! If you have younger children consider ordering your countertops with gently rounded edges instead of sharp corners. And, stick with semi-gloss paint for your kitchen walls rather than flat to easily wipe away spaghetti sauce and dirty fingerprints.

An accessible pantry is a family’s best friend. A walk in pantry? Even better! An organized pantry helps reduce countertop clutter and organizes food and paper goods into specific locations, making it easier for shopping inventory and putting groceries away. Designate lower pantry drawers for children to make it easier for them to access their favorite snacks.

 
If you have the space, combine a walk in pantry with a laundry room and utility sink to make it easier to power through your laundry while you cook!

A large kitchen island can multi-task as a meal prep station, dining area, homework spot, etc. So why not consider two islands? One in the cooking zone, can be exclusively for meal prep, while the other can be for dining, homework or a general gathering spot for family or guests. If you don’t have room for a second island, go with a banquette or breakfast nook. With a bench and chairs you can fit more people into a smaller amount of space.

An organization center can act as the family hub in your kitchen. Whether it’s a built in desk or hidden within a cabinet, a spot for a laptop, tablet and other electronics will go a long way in keeping your family organized. Also include a family calendar and an area for sorting mail and paperwork.

 
Parents can use this area to plan menus with their children in view. Also consider incorporating charging stations hidden away in a cabinet or drawer, which will keep clutter off the countertops.

When planning appliances, add areas (away from the cooking zone) where family members can help themselves instead of bothering the cook.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Separate refrigerated drawers (at kids height) for easy access to snacks and drinks
  • A wine refrigerator to simplify entertaining
  • A food warming drawer to keep side dishes hot, warm plates and cook food in batches
  • Double dishwashers  simplify cleanup (especially when entertaining) by having two dishwashers in separate areas. Kids can empty one dishwasher while mom is loading the other!
  • Pet food storage bins incorporated into cabinetry. Also consider a pet feeding station built into the side of your island!

Hopefully these tips can help you design a family friendly kitchen that is not just beautiful, but also functional, practical and convenient.

Original post created by Marqet Group 

Countertops 101: A Breakdown Of What’s What In Surfacing

What is the right countertop material for your kitchen?

 

When designing your dream kitchen, or remodeling your current one, there are no shortage of tough decisions to make and with one decision impacting another, it can all seem quite overwhelming. Many find it easiest to first focus on countertops. Unfortunately, that raises even more questions! Specifically, what material and design do you want? What’s the right countertop material for your lifestyle? Do you need an easy to maintain, stain resistant surface? Or is style most important to you? For most people, the primary question comes down to which material is going to strike the best balance between beauty, style and maintenance.
 
Luckily, there’s a vast range of options available that address durability and maintenance, and all importantly, the style factor. However, with so many materials ranging from natural stone, quartz composites, stained concrete and even natural wood available, in practically any color, pattern or texture you could want, making the right choice can be tricky. And you might want to incorporate two materials into that space. Here’s the basic 101 on deciphering what’s what in surfaces.
 
Here’s a quick look at some of the top countertop materials available today to help you choose the right options for your kitchen.

granite kitchen countertop

GRANITE

While it now has more competition than in the past, granite is still a top choice among homeowners. Granite countertops offer both a high-end look and durability. With granite being a natural material, it has variation in color and pattern which adds to its appeal. Granite is comparable in cost to manufactured quartz, but does require more care and a regular sealing routine.

QUARTZ

With quartz being a manmade product it is practically maintenance free and far tougher than natural marble or soapstone. It has a pre-sealed, non-porous surface, making it stain, scratch, heat and impact resistant. It’s also available in a wide range of colors and patterns, giving perennial top choice granite a run for its money in recent years.

quartz countertop

concrete countertops
CONCRETE

A thick concrete countertop can be the focal point of a modern kitchen design. Concrete is highly customizable with many stain and texture options available. It can also stand high heat very well and is scratch and stain resistant if sealed properly. Concrete on its own can feel overly cold or architectural, so it’s often mixed with other materials and accents like glass, tile and marble to create a soft, one of a kind look.

WOOD

A butcher block style countertop can create a warm, cottage style look and when properly sealed is highly heat resistant and ideal for food prep. While you may have one vision of this style countertop, there are many species of wood, including teak, acacia, cherry and American walnut, that can be used for this purpose. It is also common for wood countertops to be mixed with other surfaces like natural or engineered stone to bring in the cozy element of natural wood while still providing a variety of prep surfaces.

wood countertop

marble countertop
MARBLE

Marble has timeless appeal, providing an elegant and sophisticated feel. Available in a polished or honed finish, it is many people’s choice for a high end look. Marble is highly porous so staining can be a problem without regular sealing and care. If you go for marble, expect it to weather with time. It will also stain, but lasts forever. Think of the great marble facades in Europe. If you love those,  then you’ll love this as a countertop.

SOAPSTONE

Soapstone is a non-porous natural stone that doesn’t require regular sealing, making it highly stain and bacteria resistant. Soapstone is more specific in its color variations, available in a range of gray tones from light to dark with subtle veining. It is a soft, natural material and is more prone to a variation of light and dark spots, as well as scratching. That said, it’s often a farmhouse favorite.

soapstone countertop and sink

stainless steel countertop
STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel countertops are a popular choice for homeowners looking for that commercial kitchen look. Stainless steel provides a modern, industrial feel that coordinates with any color. It is also one of the easiest countertop materials to clean as well as the most hygienic being impervious to heat and bacteria.

ULTRA-COMPACT

Ultra-compact surfaces are composed of raw materials that include marble, quartz, porcelain and glass. This countertop option is extremely durable and can be used both indoors and outdoors without the risk of fading. Ultra-compact products are available in many colors and looks, including that of other materials such as marble, wood and concrete.

ultra-compact countertops

Original post created by Marqet Group 

Outdoor Kitchens: Maximizing your Outdoor Living Space

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), more than 75% of all U.S. households include an outdoor grill or smoker. Outdoor cooking has been a popular pastime in the U.S. ever since Weber introduced their now classic kettle charcoal grill. Today, more and more families are expanding on that trend by creating true outdoor living areas as part of their home with fully functional outdoor kitchens. The idea of the kitchen being the heart of the home is now expanding to the outdoors. As a result, grill, cabinet and accessories manufacturers are offering more products and add-ons than ever, within a wide range of budgets and styles. 

Depending on where you live you may be thinking about designing an outdoor kitchen for the summer months, or perhaps for year round use. You can now customize your outdoor living space to meet your personal interests and extend the look and feel of your indoor decor to the outdoors by incorporating a variety of styles and design elements such as tile, granite, concrete or stone.

Here are some key areas to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen.

One of the most important questions is what kind of cooking appliance(s) do you want? If, like most people, you’re interested in using your outdoor kitchen consistently for entertaining you’ll want to include many of the features of an indoor kitchen so meals can come together seamlessly. Consider appliances that can handle a number of different cooking styles by including options such as side burners, built-in griddles, smokers and even an outdoor pizza oven! Duel-hybrid grills have the convenience of gas grilling and the ability for smoking or charcoal cooking on the other side. To get the most enjoyment out of your outdoor kitchen give yourself the ability to cook in a variety of ways.

Really think of your outdoor kitchen the same as you indoor, because the less running back and forth you have to do, the more you’ll enjoy your new space.

A bar or beverage center is crucial to any outdoor entertaining space. This could include a section of your outdoor countertop to make drinks or a full bar with seating. Nearly every appliance that’s available indoors is now available outdoors: wine coolers, outdoor kegerators, ice makers, undercounter refrigerators and freezers…and even a dishwasher (introduced from ASKO last year). And don’t forget the sink, which is great for both dinner prep and drinks.

A true outdoor living space will include more than just the cooking area. You want it be a communal area for gathering and mingling. Comfortable outdoor furniture, side tables and a dining area help create this extended living area. For chilly nights, a fire pit or heating element is ideal, while a misting system to cool everyone off during hot, humid days will keep guests coming back. The longer you can extend the season, the more value this investment will have. Don’t forget entertainment options such as outdoor televisions for watching the game or movie night…and an audio system for music throughout the day and evening.

As outdoor kitchens become more elaborate and the need for storage space increases, many homeowners are adding higher quality stainless steel exterior cabinets. Stainless steel is ideal for outdoor applications as it resists weather, rot and insects. Further, they are now available in multiple door, drawer and pullout combinations. Viking now makes outdoor cabinetry that is proprietary to their line of outdoor grills, and Danver makes cabinets that sized for their grills and outdoor appliances. They have also recently released a line of stainless outdoor cabinets with a powder-coated finish that closely approximates wood grain.

Original post created by Marqet Group