Kitchen Renovations

Refreshing Kitchens!

By Deb Williamson

Kitchen Renovations

Refreshing Kitchen Updates

While April Showers are starting to refresh our outdoors with the hope of May flowers, springtime is the perfect time to start planning for refreshing updates to yourkitchen. Kitchens are the heart of every home. Whether you’re cooking dinner for your family, entertaining friends or just midnight snacking, you’ll find yourself hanging out in the kitchen. That’s why kitchen updates always top the list of homeowners’ wishes and are the focus of so many home improvements. This spring, I would like to offer some fresh ideas to update your kitchen space.

Open Floor Plans

Sooooo….. what do today’s kitchens wish for? Open and airy come to mind. Wide open kitchen layouts that provide unobstructed views of the dining room, living room or outdoors are a must. Homeowners wish-lists include large oversized windows, sinks, islands, hoods and appliances. Other desirable items include cabinets that reach to the ceiling and stacked crown moldings that delight the eye and make the room visibly taller than it actually is. New floor plans need to provide an efficient flow within the kitchen, making it easy to move from the refrigerator to the sink and cooktop within a few steps without feeling crowded. Homeowners are also requesting larger kitchen spaces to accommodate several cooks in the kitchen and plenty of seating for guests.   

Cabinet Ideas

Fresh ideas in the kitchen start with cabinetry. Today’s cabinets offer endless options including numerous wood species, stain colors, paint colors, door styles, and finishing techniques. Your cabinetry plan should not only look great but should also offer you improved function and flow over your existing kitchen. Currently, homeowners are opting for multi-toned kitchens which incorporate a mix of painted and stained cabinets and makes it easy to mix and match furniture and accessories. White painted cabinets are still the most requested cabinet with gray and blue tones following closely behind.

Storage Solutions

Storage solutions are another way homeowners are freshening up their kitchens. Luxury kitchens are re-introducing the butler’s pantry in addition to walk-in pantries and tons of cabinetry. And for those who are lacking space, storage solutions are incorporated into their cabinetry plan, including kitchen pantries, oversized drawer bases, garbage recycling centers, charging drawers and pop-up mixing stands. High-end cabinetry hardware comes standard these days with full extension drawers allowing easy access to items in the back of the drawer and soft-close mechanisms that allow doors and drawers to gently glide shut while eliminating annoying noises.

Countertops Surfaces

Finally, new countertops are great way to refresh an existing kitchen or add the perfect complement to a new one. Solid surfaces such as quartz and granite countertops are highly sought-after options that provide durable work spaces and adds style to the overall kitchen plan. Quartz in black or white seem to be the countertops of choice with their no-maintenance finish and food-safe surface. If solid surfaces aren’t in your budget, there are some great looking high-definition laminates that can finish off your kitchen for a fraction of the price.

Attention to Details

Today’s kitchens require attention to details! Homeowners are using unique, oversized hoods as centerpieces and accenting the space with distinctive materials such as shiplap, stainless steel, huge corbels or wood beams and adorning the backsplashes with beautiful and unique tiles and accessories. Flooring trends are quickly lightening up in color contributing to the light and airy feel that homeowners crave. All of these details combined with an open floorplan create kitchens homeowners are dreaming of. This spring, there’s no better time to start thinking about ways to refresh your kitchen! 

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Home Improvement Goals for the New Year

By Deb Williamson

New Year, New Projects

As a new year begins our focus turns away from the holidays and towards goals for the coming year… whether that is starting a new fitness routine, trying a new activity or starting a home improvement project. Often times, we start the year with good intentions that fade away into unfulfilled ambitions. I want to provide you with a few tips to make sure your home improvement ideas become a reality.

Don’t Get Sidetracked

Don’t let your project get sidetracked before it even gets started. Sometimes homeowners have so many improvements they would like to make, it’s hard to find a starting point. A few simple suggestions can keep you on task. First, make a list of all the things you would like to do to improve your home. Make sure to be thorough and specific. After you have come up with a list, number the items in order of importance. Have every member in your household make a list and then compare ideas to come up with an improvement that benefits everyone.

Financing

Another detour to accomplishing your goals are finances. Home improvement projects can be expensive and it’s important to do some financial planning ahead of time. Once you decide on a project, it’s time to come up with a budget. Many times, estimates come in higher than expected and projects run into unexpected expenses, so it’s important to know your limits going into the project and budget for the unexpected.

Gather Information

Get Informed. The more you know about the costs involved and people working for you, the better you will be able to manage your project. Estimates from contractors, plumbers, electricians and any other professionals needed to complete your project will help you stay in control of your finances and keep your project moving forward. Always make sure to do your due diligence in finding out more about the people you are hiring to work on your home. You can do this by asking for references, viewing their websites and Facebook pages or simply by asking around.

Contact a Professional

Get started. Contact a contractor, architect or designer and start the ball rolling. It takes time and planning to execute a successful home renovation. Hiring a professional to plan and manage your project can make the process less stressful and more enjoyable while accomplishing your desired results.

Don’t Give Up

Finally, don’t give up! If you start feeling overwhelmed or estimates come in higher than expected, think about breaking up your project into smaller pieces. Start with a single room or area of your home and once that space is renovated move to the next area. And always remember, professional design help is just an email, text or phone call away!

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Tile Trends

by Deb Williamson

There is one home design trend that seems to have had a huge impact in 2018 and is gaining momentum for the coming year…… and that trend is tile. From floors to backsplashes, walk-in showers to accent walls, floor to ceiling, top to bottom, tile is trending in so many versatile ways and can be found in nearly every room of the home.  

Subway Tile

One very classic tile that has resurfaced over the past few years is subway tile.  Subway tile makes a timeless statement in kitchens, bathrooms and mud rooms. Today’s subway tiles come in a large variety of sizes and are available in every color under the sun. This allows homeowners the opportunity to take a timeless element and customize it to their personality by choosing just the right color, size and finish. From traditional to transitional and modern to rustic there are subway tiles available to accent any style. Traditionally, subway tile has been installed in a horizontal, offset pattern but today, if you want a more modern look try stacking the tile, running it vertically or installing it in a herringbone pattern. No matter what your project, I’m sure there’s a subway tile that can enhance your design.

Hardwood Appearance

Another tile trend that has become popular recently is tile that looks like hardwood flooring. The wood plank tiles come in a variety of colors and wood species. Not only do these tiles look like wood grain but with high-definition inkjet technology they also have the grainy texture. These tiles are especially popular with heated slab foundations as finding a real wood flooring that will accommodate heated floors can be difficult and expensive. Tile is easier to maintain than real wood floors, more durable, costs less, and is moisture resistant which makes these tiles a great alternative to real wood floors and is why we will see this trend continue.

Tile Patterns

Finally, my favorite trend in tile is patterns. In 2018, pattern tiles started popping up on the shelves of every tile shop and home improvement retailer in the country. Statement tiles can transform a space or create a perfect focal point. With playful shapes and pops of color, pattern tile can provide decorative elements and personalize your space. Color, pattern and texture are all equally important elements that bring a designed space together. I highly recommend introducing a pattern tile into your next home improvement project.

No matter what your home improvement plans are for 2019, I’m certain you will find a tile that is perfect for your project. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors, shapes, patterns and textures to personalize your space!

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2018 Minneapolis Parade of Home Trends

by Deb Williamson

If you had the opportunity to visit Minneapolis last month you may have noticed bright yellow ‘Parade of Home’ signs all over town. Maybe you were even fortunate enough to tour a few of those homes, where you would have seen some beautifully designed spaces, efficient floor plans and current home trends. If you didn’t make it up for the tour, I’d like to share some of the highlights with you today.

House by Sustainable9

House by Sustainable9

Floor Plans

Floor Plans were magnificent! Open, airy and functional come to mind when describing the homes on the Minneapolis Parade of Homes. Most front doors opened into inviting foyers showcasing oversized light fixtures leading into great rooms with sprawling fireplaces stretching to the ceilings and large picture windows framing water views, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Vaulted ceiling with beams or trays were standard in these amazing homes. Oversized kitchens, main floor master bedrooms with adjoining spa-like baths inspired well-thought-out plans. Staircases were unique and eye-catching as you made your way to different levels containing wet bars, workout rooms, home theatres, offices, guest suites, and typically multiple laundry facilities.

Continue Reading →

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Countertop Options for Today’s Kitchens

by Deb Williamson

If you’ve done any shopping for countertops lately, it won’t take long for you to realize that your options are endless. From high-end quartz and granite, to natural marbles and soap stones, to inexpensive high-definition laminates…… countertop options flood the kitchen remodeling markets. So which countertop is right for your kitchen?

My top pick for countertops is Cambria quartz. Quartz is rated 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness (diamond is 10) making it the most scratch-resistant and durable surface available. Cambria quartz uses the clearest white crystals which results in stunning designs with impressive coloring and dimension. Cambria countertops never need sealing, polishing or reconditioning and clean up with just warm water. This high-end surface is also non-porous which means stains and bacteria and never get absorbed, providing homeowners with food-safe preparation surfaces. Cambria is definitely the top choice for no maintenance countertops, but it does come with a premium price tag.

Granite is another beautiful countertop of choice. Because granite is stone cut from the earth, variations in patterns are expected. These variations add to the appeal of this 100% natural countertop choice, but it can also make matching up slabs difficult to achieve. The cost of granite is similar to the cost of quartz, but granite requires regular sealing, typically once a year. Granite is a porous surface which means spills need to be wiped up quickly, especially if its oils, wine, acids or soda.

A couple of other natural and beautiful countertop options include marble and soap stone. Costs of both of these surfaces are comparable to granite. Marble provides a timeless, natural charm with unique patterns and veining that help hide wear and tear. Drawbacks to marble include staining, regular sealing and strength issues. Soap stone also delivers unique natural surfaces with beautiful veining and colors but unlike marble and granite, are naturally stain and bacteria resistant. Soap stone does not require sealing, however, regular applications of mineral oil help disguise surface scratches and add shine, which can become cumbersome for busy homeowners.

Another solid countertop option to consider is concrete surfaces. Concrete is highly customizable, which means it can be molded into any desired shape. Concrete countertops are extremely durable, seamless and easy to clean. A couple of disadvantages to using concrete for your countertops include the need for sealing, heat sensitivity and hairline cracks that occur in nearly all poured concrete countertops.

Butcher block, stainless steel and recycled countertops are also options that are decorative and functional. The main advantage of a butcher block countertop is that it provides an ideal surface for food preparation when sealed properly. Stainless steel is also an attractive option that is easy to clean and delivers the most hygienic countertop available. Some of the drawbacks of stainless steel include the fact that it scratches and dents easier than most surfaces. For the eco-friendly homeowner, a recycled concrete, glass, paper, composite or plastic countertop might be the perfect surface for your kitchen. The limitations to recycled materials are specific to which type of material is recycled. 

Finally, don’t overlook the new high-definition laminate countertops. Weighing in at a fraction of the cost of solid surfaces, high-definition laminate delivers the most affordable countertop in a variety of attractive and up-to-date designs and colors. Laminate is easy to clean, easy to install, durable and easy to change when styles change. Some of the disadvantages of laminate countertops include heat and scratch sensitivities.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every countertop option available. Make sure to    consider what options are most appealing to you and what countertop surface will work best with your lifestyle. Remember to always look at the disadvantages, so you’re prepared for what may happen after the product has been installed. Once you’ve considered the options and made a selection, you can relax and enjoy cooking with your new countertops!

  

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