Entries Tagged 'remodeling' ↓

Kitchen remodeling in a down economy – part 1.

As house values are down across the board and loans / mortgages are harder to get, homeowners are finding few easy-money options for grand remodels. But hey, you probably should not do that anyway! Instead, why not go after projects that cost less, or even garner practical savings and keep their value much better when it comes time to sell.

This is very true for kitchens: usually oneof the (if not THE) most expensive room in your home, a remodel can even cost anything upwards of $50.000 – which can be as much as 10% of the value of your home.  Instead of spending a ton of money, let’s see a few options on modest, practical, recessionproof improvements that build a home’s long-term value while conserving energy or just allow you to rest and enjoy your kitchen.

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A fantastic kitchen hood

Are you bored with the standard, run-of-the-mill hoods you can find in every store? No designer could yet create something you _really_ like?

Here is the answer: create one for yourself! At least one homeowner in Brussels, Belgium had done so, to make her kitchen look original and appealing. This great-looking (and not really-hood-like, which is I think the best part) range hood was developed by architects Lhoas & Lhoas as part of an interior redesign.

The common but practical kitchen object was transformed into a beautiful abstract sculpture with an elegant, minimalist but still bold shape and a white finish. The design contrasts nicely with the rest of the of the kitchen furniture and manages to draw attention.

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Unique Kitchen Cabinet Styles

The best kitchen cabinets are ones with their own stories: inspiring, making us dream up a creative spaces for our homes. I’d like to show some really unique kitchen cabinet styles I’ve seen lately

Mismatched-DIY

‘Shabby chic’ is an up-and coming trend, DIY cabinets are for the creative ones. Shabby chic is a form of design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their age and signs of wear and tear (sometimes the older the better) or new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, minimalistic, and feminine feel is emphasized to differentiate it from regular vintage decor; hence the “chic” in the name.

Materials are as varied as you can imagine, from shipping crates to thrift-shop finds to old metal filing cabinets. Best of all, it’s dirt cheap!

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Kitchen lighting improvements

When you want to re-decorate your kitchen, first one tends to think the improvement of the kitchen in terms of big-ticket things such as new appliances, like replacing the old oven, a new refrigerator, or painting the walls, installing some extra cabinets (not always a good idea!) and more. However, we very rarely think changing the lighting of the kitchen – but it is an equally important feature! Lights can not just light up (ehmm..) your kitchen, but change the style, the mood, and even the colors!

When talking about kitchen lighting, several factors come into play: lighting should properly illuminate the room, but it should not be so bright that it hurts the eyes. Kitchen lighting should be installed in a way than every corner receives optimal light, and work can be done without straining the eyes.

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Five things I’ve learned building a new kitchen

Now that my kitchen is ready, it’s time to share a few things I’ve learned along the way… So, let’s see what I’ve heard from professionals as well as what are the things I’ve learned the hard way….

1. I can add that easily later, no problem.

Sure, but only if you leave space for that microwave, built-in coffee machine or whatever. Now there’s an issue: there will be a gaping void in your kitchen until you add the new piece of equipment. Sure, you can buy an extra cabinet door to cover it… But don’t forget, temporary solutions tend to become final ones – and as long as temporary things go, they are not the best. So look out.

Designers say it’s best to add features to your new kitchen during, not after, renovation (or building). Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll use a something, prepare for its future installation by running cable and electrical lines. For example, one day, you, your growing kids, or a future homeowner may want a flat-screen television or a home-monitoring screen in the kitchen. Or, you may someday need more outlets on your counters and island. Be sure to have the right cables for electricity – that new washing machine or electric oven needs beefier cables than a hand-mixer..

2. I won’t have any clutter in my new kitchen.

Yes, sure, you don’t need that extra storage, do you? I bet you do! I’m always short of storage and I bet you’re the same, except for that guy living in a warehouse. Sure, it’s not always good to have lots of stuff in a crowded pantry (and the things on the bottom of the heap won’t be used up ever) but always plan for more storage than you think you’ll need. You’ll be thankful to yourself at the end.

Sure, storage units are not the best-looking of the kitchen-furniture herd, but you need a balance between function and style. (or that warehouse…)

3. Bigger is always better.

So the bigger the better, you think. If you just got that greeeeeat big kitchen, prepare for one thing: first you’ll be tired, next you’ll be fit. Because of all that walking, that is.

My designer friend says this is a typical mistake and homeowners have to live with for a long time, since kitchen renovations are done only once every 10 years or so. The solution, some say, is to install two sets of kitchen appliances, essentially having two work triangles into the kitchen area. But you still have to walk…

4. Yes, it will fit. I need it, you know.

New flat, new kitchen. Finally, you can put all your dreams into it. All the things you’ve seen in magazines, that gorgeous island, that fine range and all bells and whistles.

Don’t try to do what’s popular without any thought to whether it would work or not in the space… As opposed to the issues of a great spaces, there are issues with smaller ones as well – you need good organisation and keep an eye on not overstuffing it.

Sorry, you cannot always have an island or that great L-shaped worktop. In smaller spaces it’s better to put in quality – in cabinets, appliances, design – you’ll especially appreciate a good designer helping you think through all aspects on how you best utilise the space you got.

5. I want that kitchen from the magazine

It’s tempting to follow the latest trends, but it’s better to be practical. Do you need that hi-gloss finish with your small kids? (how will it look like in a month’s time?) Will you still love antique cabinets in 10 years? Will that funny red-yellow kitchen featured in the magazine really work in your house?

Always try to keep things – colors, materials, moods – in sync throughout your home – it feels so much better when you arrive. Don’t get carried away and plan before you do anything – remember, changing anything later will definitely cost more.

An advanced lesson in hardwood flooring

Want to install new flooring in your kitchen (or any room, for that matter)? So did I. Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt – probably the hard way.Beautiful room with solid floor

Measure twice, cut once

Once my engineering teacher and numerous craftsmen told me this and its oh-so-true. Not just measure what you need, also what you already have.

Here’s my story: my open kitchen – living room had some stone-tile flooring and radiant heating below it. So far so good. Turned out, the stone needed breaking up as it was installed very-very badly – about seven years ago. I had a choice: either I break it up or it will come up all by itself soon. Not liking surprise-self-destructing floors, I’ve chosen the chisel. Worked like a charm. Continue reading →

Step 6 – Kitchen Floor Basics

Tile kitchen floorBesides the cabinets and countertop, your kitchen floor is the visually most prominent part of the kitchen. Appereances are important, however don’t choose the material just based on looks. Think through what you will most likely need, then drive to a flooring store to see for yourself. There are a host of options, let’s see what’s available….

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Top kitchen island ideas

These kitchen island pictures present many different styles and ideas for islands that will help you create the perfect kitchen island for your layout. You’ll see a variety of materials used for cabinetry and countertop surfaces, including stainless, granite, marble and wood, that help tie the design with function. The many features of kitchen islands are also shown, including wine racks, storage cabinets, sinks, cooktops, eating areas and cooking areas.

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5 Kitchen Design Trends That Are Here to Stay

Kitchens that are larger, open and multi-functional are here to stay according to industry experts. A generation ago, the kitchen was the room where mom cooked meals alone. Now it’s the “centre of the home,” filled with family and friends.
Instead of pricey fads like glass countertops and large-sized microwaves, look at these few kitchen design ideas that will be worth the time and money.

A quick prep area with a small sink, cutting board and microwave or a larger sink in the island helps with gourmet cooking. Mixed and matched cabinet finishes, exotic woods, jewelry-like hardware and display areas that show off glass collections give the kitchen an eclectic look. Wrap-around desks that extend into the family room provide more space. Cabinet storage for pull-down spice racks and buffet storage for beverage centers make the kitchen run more efficiently. And that’s a goal worth investing in.

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Tip of The Day – How Does Color Impact Your Mood?

Color samplesConsider these when choosing your kitchen color scheme:

  • Yellow is a cheerful, uplifting color that is also known to help with digestion — making it a perfect choice for your kitchen!
  • Blue is a calm, soothing color that not only lowers blood pressure, it is also known to decrease hunger. The perfect choice for a diet!
  • Red is a stimulating, upbeat color that adds visual punch and a high-energy feeling. Beware! It can also raise your blood pressure and induce hunger!
  • If you are a very orderly person, white is an ideal for your kitchen color scheme, as it creates a sense of cleanliness and order.
  • If white is too white, a soft gray might be a better choice for your kitchen. Gray has calming properties and also decreases hunger — but avoid using it heavily, it can also be depressing!
  • Black is the new black! Black is a classic, elegant color choice for your kitchen, creating a feelng of depth and richness. In a large room, black will make the space feel warm and more intimate. However, in a small room, black is overwhelming, making the space feel too small and closed. Use it moderately unless you have a large kitchen.
  • Green is a pleasing, tranquil color. It’s your ideal choice if you want to create a feeling of nature. Even better, it can reduce allergic reactions to certain foods and lower blood pressure.
  • For a sense of casual warmth, brown is your color. Various shades of brown can be used together to enhance the sense of natural comfort.