Kitchen Renovations

What happens when a contractor/owner, award winning interior designer and an experienced showroom owner of European cabinetry walk into a bar-less kitchen?  Investigation ensues!  We are looking for supporting walls to see how much can be removed!  In the kitchen pictured, the supporting wall was on the right in the photo and now anchors the island.  State-of-the-art Miele appliances allow the typical old kitchen look to disappear and the new integrated kitchen to emerge. What was a separate dining room and living room are now combined into one open space.  Visual space with freedom for homeowners and guests to interact is the new norm.  An original door to the exterior (There were already sliding doors.) was eliminated and a flat screen TV that can be viewed from the island and dining area was added. 

If you can’t find the appliances, we have achieved our goal!  The seamless cooktop in black surrounded by black granite with the granite, marble, mirror and metal combination mosaic as the new focal point of the wall.  The hood is directly above the cooktop – another new option!  The island has a quartz seamless top.  Suspended lighting in modules completes the look with added cans above.  This is the third kitchen this team has created and even with visuals to assist homeowners with the “new” look a trust factor between team members allows for more creativity.  Let the tear out begin!

Do You Need To Update Your Built-in Appliances?

It’s no longer the quick in and out that new appliances with delivery and a plug in used to be!  If the appliances involve wood panels then the cabinet maker typically has to make new ones.  If the sizes vary then additional detailing ensues with molding added, countertop materials ground off, etc.  In the kitchen pictured:

  • we doubled the size of the island
  • increased the cooktop to a more standard 36”
  • designed wood detailing to conceal the hood above
  • added quartzite countertops with better extensions in eating areas
  • updated lighting in the kitchen, adjoining dining area and nearby great room.

The original plan had the kitchen at a right angle instead of angled from the sink.  The island could have been extended even further if this angle hadn’t created a tight corner.  In thirty five years of design, I have become very cautious about angling anything as it creates spacing issues.  This renovation did require my design and a general contractor.

The quartzite countertops (natural stone that is harder than granite) is light gray with a little peach to pick up the homeowner’s desire to leave the existing Mexican tile floors she loves.  The leftovers were used for oversized subway tile for the backsplash.  The size was determined by the fan width. There is always a direction indicated by the space!

Including Asian Accessories in Your Home

With Crazy Rich Asians #1 at the box office, it gave me pause to appreciate all of the beautiful Asian accessories clients have used over the years.  You can easily integrate with most styles special art objects purchased from travel, items passed down or treasures discovered. You can add to the diversity and personalization of your interior.  It has been interesting in my own travels to discover a piece at Giverny that Monet admired.

A new board on Pinterest – Asian Vibe has examples of pieces that most of us take for granted as a part of American interiors.  Pictured: Chinese apothecary chest with contemporary accents, sculpture of sailing woman with THE umbrella, antique mandolin, hand painted silk kimono next to an antique female memory board, a contemporary brass sculpture with the vibrant Chinese red charger, a paper mache fish on a red leather box with shell and quartz log backdrop.  Mix it up and enjoy your treasures!

Need a new look for fall?  Bring in old and new additions from this wonderfully artistic culture.  

Combining Luxury with Ageing In Place

Luxury homes and aging in place are very compatible from a design standpoint!  We all want our kitchens to be welcoming gathering spots in our homes. 

  • First address lighting – Use under-cabinet and in-cabinet to highlight details then recessed ceiling cans and pendants over the island to create layered looks that can be individually switched on.
  • Drawers in cabinets or banks of drawers make access and visibility easier.  I have three banks of drawers and pull out drawers behind doors, including the recycling drawer, 3 office drawers (It would be better if one of these was a file drawer for kitchen related appliances and recipe info.), spices, baking, pots and pans.  
  • A lazy susan in the corner is another convenience.
  • Set 48”  paths in kitchen walkways wherever possible.  If there isn’t enough space for 48” on all sides then it is fine to use 36” in combination.  They don’t all have to be the same, ask a designer to help with the balance.
  • Lever handles are easier than knobs. Now the touch-activated faucets offer another easy option.
  • Grab bars can double as towel bars.  There are pretty options!
  • Areas lowered to chair height also work for wheelchairs.

Visit my Ageing In Place board at Pinterest!

Make Your Home Fire Resistant

Make your home more fire resistant if you are building in a location that is fire prone.  These considerations can give you peace of mind if drought or forest fire management continue to be an issue.

  • Stucco walls with no open seams
  • Aluminum doors and windows
  • Class A fire-resistant roof – no roof vents
  • Concrete pavers and tile on the patio
  • If you are using wood outside ipe (Brazilian walnut) and other options are fire resistant
  • Steel for outside stairways
  • Tempered glass withstanding temperatures up to 450 degrees

 Of course, these materials are more expensive but may well be worth it!

Why Not Raise The Roof?

These pictures show flexible duct running through the crawl space in a remodel.  If there is enough room for the duct, the low ceiling areas can be raised.  If you want higher ceilings than this allows then the roof in those sections is typically removed. Most homeowners start with the living area or a new addition.  All of the electrical lines coming from the main breaker box or boxes are extended to the new height and the new duct work added.  During the recent recession, it was typical to “make do” but with the improved economy more homes are being totally remodeled or torn down.  Building permits are needed for this extensive work.  A contractor oversees the work with drawings from an architect or architectural designer.  Interior designers do the best space planning with furnishings in mind and colorization!

Dreaming of a Kitchen Remodel?

Dreaming of a kitchen remodel? And you’re a serious cook? Maybe your caterers need extra space when you’re entertaining? A Wall Street Journal article recently discussed the appliances in three southern California homes. Let’s see which ones you need!

Contemporary or Urban Farmhouse?

Whenever contemporary design surges to the forefront, another style with more warmth and texture is always soon to follow.  The growing popularity of urban farmhouse with a “Fixer Upper” feel gives the cushioned, sink-in-the-sofa feeling many want when they finish the day and relax with family.  Barn doors, living edge wooden tables, wooden ceilings and walls, stone details, exposed beams, farmhouse sinks and freestanding tubs all add value to your home. 

Contemporary or more traditional, the floor covering of choice is wood.  The pre-finished engineered woods have given stability to this popular option.  Wood grained porcelain tile is a lower priced option. 

Walls are light with either look.  Add personal touches of your favorite colors, photos, personal collections and either look extends your personal touch!

Adult Coloring Books

Extend your color blends to your own home by photoshopping your exterior front or any room! The Sherwin Williams Color Tools enable you to experiment with changing your colors before you pick up a brush. You can take a photo of any view with your smartphone camera, upload to the app then recolor to a combination you are considering without much effort.

With a light box and an enlarged photo, the exact room or exterior can be redrawn with only architectural details then let the fun begin! My cantera stone rep, George, used this on one of our projects to add stone details around the windows. I have used it to show improvements to fireplaces. It is representative of the exact space. Do you want blue window frames? Color them in! Or change the fireplace to a low, horizontal line of fire and get a truer visual on the space!