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Top Kitchen Design Tips

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Kitchens remain a top remodeling project in 2014, according to the Member Profile Study done by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Eighty-two percent of NARI members identify kitchens as its No. 1 service. This year, the associations 2014 CotY Awards program, which recognizes top projects in 25 categories, totaled nearly $73 million worth of remodeling projects and identified national trends emerging, especially in the areas of kitchen updates. Consumers want practical, comfortable kitchens that are efficient to use and easy to live in. says Tom OGrady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARIs Strategic Planning. Bigger isnt better, but homeowners still want a feeling of space, and open concept and islands are still part of kitchen trends in 2014. Improving the overall look and feel of the kitchen was most often cited as the main motivating factor by homeowners for remodeling, followed by improving function on the CotY entries. Whether you are updating for resale or for your own use and enjoyment, some trends to consider:

Lighting: The continuing trend of fewer upper cabinets in the kitchen creates more space for decorative task lighting, often on adjustable arms that gives the option to have the light directed where it is needed most. Decorative task fixtures in black, iron and aged brass finishes make a statement. Other trends include: Pendant lights over kitchen islands continue to be a great opportunity to bring style into the mix. Chandeliers in kitchens add a pretty and an unexpected sparkle and can soften up the hard lines and smooth surfaces of appliances and countertops below. An oversized lightening fixture becomes a focal point in an otherwise plain room. Under cabinet lights, controlled by a dimmer, provide ambiance.

Built-in cabinetry that looks like furniture Mixing and layering finishes and woods to create a custom look is another key trend, as is built-in accent cabinets that act as framework for the rest of the cabinetry. These cabinets, often designed tall and narrow with glass fronts provide the look of a built-in china cabinet to showcase collectables. In general, upper cabinets are less popular because they stop the line of sight, especially to backyard garden views. Appliances are subtly hidden behind the cabinetry for a clean, streamlined appearance. Colorful kitchen cabinetry has made a big comeback. Palettes using and mixing blues, orange, browns or greens countering neutral white, wood or dark finishes are providing kitchen flair. Dramatic contrasts of light cabinets and dark countertops provide visual impact.

Wine storage With the explosion in the wine market over the past few decades, wine is becoming more of a lifestyle choice and factoring into kitchen designs. Dedicated butler areas for entertaining, sampling and sharing wine with guests are very popular, allowing the cook the opportunity to socialize while doing food prep. Integrated wine coolers, an answer to tight kitchen spaces, are nestled into cabinetry along with wine racks to showcase a homeowners collection. If you're planning a home renovation project this year, consider incorporating some of these trends to update your kitchen. Before construction gets under way, consult with a professional remodeler about the renovation projects you have planned.

Source: www.NARI.org

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10 Inside Tips From a Designer Who Specializes in Small Baths

481045989 SMALL BATH 10 Inside Tips From a Designer Who Specializes in Small Baths

By: Dona DeZube

A New York City designer shares secrets to making a small bath both functional and beautiful.

Got a small bathroom to renovate? Go wild with texture and colors if its a rarely used guest bath, but stick to clean and simple in a master bath. Thats the word from designer Jamie Gibbs, who transforms incredibly small New York City bathrooms into beautiful spaces. I liked being shocked by details in a little space, especially if its not going to be used much, Gibbs says.

His small-bath secrets:

1. Avoid textures in bathrooms that get daily use. In a heavily used bathroom, anything with texture becomes a collection spot for mold, mildew, and toothpaste. Say no to carved vessel sinks or floor tile with indentations.

2. Be careful with no-enclosure showers with drains right in the floor. These Euro showers allow for a feeling of openness, but the average American contractor doesnt know how to waterproof the floor for them, Gibbs says. The tile seals can be compromised if not installed correctly, causing the materials to decompose, and water to leak underneath.

3. Use opaque windows and skylights to let light filter into all parts of the bath. A long skinny window with frosted glass means you don't have to burn high-wattage light bulbs. Make sure water condensation will roll off the window into an appropriate place (i.e. not the framing or the wall) to avoid future maintenance issues.

4. Look for fixtures that have a single handle rather than separate hot and cold taps. Space-saving gearshift faucets are a very good choice in small bathrooms, says Gibbs. Youll also save money by not having to drill holes in the countertop for the hot and cold taps.

5. Save space with wall-mounted toilets and bidets, but be aware that the water tank goes into the wall. Thats fine if space is such a premium that you wont mind going into the wall to make any repairs. But if you share a wall with a neighbor, that's a different issue.

6. Use a wall-mount faucet to make a reduced-depth vanity work in a small space. I can get away with a 22 vanity instead of a 24 vanity with a wall mount faucet, Gibbs says.

7. Check the space between the handles and the faucet of any space-saving fixtures. If you can only get a toothbrush in it to clean, you'll save space, but its functionally stupid, Gibbs says. Make sure the sink is functional, too. If youre using a vessel sink, make sure its large enough and not too high. If its too high, you'll knock it so many times that the fittings will come loose, Gibbs says.

8. A pedestal sink is all form and no function. Its a great-looking sink, but theres no place to [set] anything, Gibbs says.

9. Wall-mounted vanities seem like theyre space savers, but they create dead space between the vanity and the floor a space that often accumulates junk and never gets cleaned.

10. If you're comfortable with it, go European and put up a glass walls between the bathroom and bedroom to create the illusion of space. Or put bathroom fixtures in the bedroom just outside the bath.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/small-bathroom-design-tips/preview/#ixzz3FhG5ksVe

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Top 10 Things That Make Your House Spooky - and How to Fix Them

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The Plan Collection (TPC) notes that having a haunted-looking house might be just the look you want once a year, but what about once Halloween's over? The company shares their list of the top 10 elements of a house plan design that can make any home the scariest in the neighborhood along with advice on how to fix them.

1. Eerie Architectural Style. Remember the rather "unique" look of the home in The Addams Family? Norman Bates' house on the hill in Psycho? Certain architectural styles - such as Victorian and the Second Empire style with its mansard roofs - have a long history in spooky literature and horror films. Ironically, we often associate these same styles with some of the most cheerful and charming places in the country - just think Disney's Main Street USA.

2. Lifeless Color Scheme. Dark paint colors, when used as the primary exterior color, can make almost any home look dreary, uninviting. Lighter paint colors that complement the design of your house are often the better choice for the exterior of your home. Reserve your use of darker color to areas that emphasize special features such as the trim or windows.

3. Ghostly Lighting. No one wants to knock on the door of a house without exterior lighting, but lighting features that cause heavy shadows along walk-ways or at entry points - creating that fear that something or someone might be lurking just ahead -- can be even worse. Redirecting the light features or using lower wattage bulbs is often an easy way to chase the ghosts away. If investing in new lighting, consider lamps that emphasize the beauty of your home's exterior features.

4. Zombie Landscaping. Those trees and bushes might have looked perfectly sized to the house for perhaps the first five years after planted, but don't forget... they're alive. Alive! Neglected trees and shrubs keep growing and need constant tending. Without attention, they end up surrounding your house with an "undead" feel. In addition to detracting from the house design, older, large branches are also a risk to your home in storms. Take those pruners and cut off some heads or at least give everything a good trim.

5. Suspended Maintenance. Most everyone puts at least some repairs off, but rigorous home maintenance is essential. Spring and fall are the best time of year to start checking fix-it projects off your list. Fix that step before you have to fix the entire stairs! If the exterior is starting to look dull consider power washing it. Touch up paint before a small problem becomes a big one.

6. Scary Windows. Small windows or windows covered with heavy drapery create a more somber feel. For small windows, use brighter window treatments to lighten the mood. Take advantage of any larger windows to bring outdoor light into the home.

7. Creepy Front Door. Ever have second thoughts before knocking on a front door while trick-or-treating? Well, the size and color of the entry door play a big role in making first impressions. If the front door feels uninviting, think about using a bolder, friendlier color such as a bright red, or chase away the shadows by strategically using lighting.

8. Bone Chilling Floor Plan. Small rooms and narrow hallways make for a cramped, uninviting floor plan. Consider an open concept floor plan if buying or building a house. If renovating, be sure to consult a professional before removing walls in your current home, as they may be "load bearing" walls, and will have to be replaced with other supports or structures.

9. Mysterious Staircases. Narrow staircases with walls on both sides can be dark and creepy. Lowering a wall to open the staircase up to the room or hallway below can go a long way to dispelling some of the dark, scary mystery and making your stairs more inviting.

10. Horrifying Home Dcor. Dark, oversized furniture and heavy rugs can have a tendency to make a home feel less inviting. Stacks of stuff and excess clutter around the house? Not going to help the situation. Ask yourself if you really need all that stuff and if not, get rid of some of it.

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