Kitchen Design & Renovation Clifton VA

Kitchen Design & Renovation Clifton VA

In February 2016, I received a phone call from a lovely lady who had recently moved into her home in Clifton, Virginia with her husband and teenage son.

She said she called me because she reviewed my work and client reviews online, and could tell that I was not a “cookie cutter” type designer.

We met on a February day in her outdated kitchen (see “before” photo above.) She immediately began showing me her collage of inspirational photos. “Wow”, I thought: this is definitely not our standard all-white typical kitchen project.

Aesthetic elements that inspired my client included:

  1. an old wood beam that she and her husband had purchased on a “whim” because of its beauty;
  2. copper elements — a collection of copper mugs that she wanted to display;
  3. multicolored ledgerstone, which was the surround of her fireplace in the Great Room;
  4. blackish steel beams — an industrial element that would provide the structural support required.

We had a clear starting point for the aesthetic elements. But what to do with the awkward kitchen layout?

Directly behind the kitchen was the laundry room, which awkwardly shared the kitchen sink run as you turned the corner to come into the kitchen.

If you look at the before photo below (the sink is not in view because it is on the other side of the room!), you can see that if you were cooking and needed to visit the sink (or vice versa), you would have to cross the room to the other side.

The other element that bothered my client was a single column dividing the Great Room from the kitchen. She wanted to eliminate it. She also wanted to convert the laundry room into a pantry and mudroom.

I examined the rooms’ existing configuration and proposed the following changes. (Any structural or other changes were confirmed and fine tuned by our structural engineer, Rob Fling, and Guy Brannock, Brannock Enterprises.)

  • Relocated the sink to the island;
  • Elongated the shared laundry/kitchen room wall and simultaneously pushed it back away from the kitchen
  • Because my client wanted many appliance conveniences in the kitchen — including a 48″ refrigerator/freezer — we had to shift our thinking. There was not enough room for a 48″ built-in refrigerator/freezer along with the tall micro/single oven cabinet. So I proposed the idea, which appears to be trending nowadays, of substituting a GE 36″ refrigerator in the kitchen and an 18″ Thermador freezer to be located in the pantry.
  • Elongated the main gas range top wall by eliminating the wing-wall on the right and reducing the doorway width into the Keeping Room.

The key aesthetic elements, which involved collaboration with and inspiration from my client included:

  1. Incorporating the wood beam into the hood over the GE Monogram 48″ gas range-top;
  2. Mirroring over the pantry and 18″ Thermador Freezer;
  3. Continuing with the fireplace existing multi-colored ledgerstone theme throughout the kitchen, pantry/mud/laundry mudroom and powder room;
  4. The structural beam would also serve as an aesthetic dividing the Great Room and Dining Room from the kitchen yet still allowing for an open layout concept
  5. Floating shelves and wood countertop in a similar (Oak) wood specie as the wood beam;
  6. LED lighting–strip for wall cabinets and puck for floating shelves;
  7. Copper sink, faucet, pendants, and cabinet hardware;
  8. Engineered quartz for all countertops (except for wood top area).

If you are tired of your current kitchen and looking to upgrade it to suit your current lifestyle and design preferences, give me a call.

I can save you time, money and stress by helping you define and refine your kitchen renovation ideas and your remodeling budget, assisting with the selection of cabinetry, countertops, appliances and all the other fixtures and finishes that go into a new kitchen, and coordinating the delivery and installation of your new kitchen with your contractor or builder.

You can reach me by phone or text at: (703) 801-6402; or by email at: sandra@expertkitchendesigns.com.

Latest Kitchen Storage and Design Options

Latest Kitchen Storage and Design Options

My monthly perusal of kitchen remodeling and kitchen design trade magazines gives me new ideas for items and processes I can incorporate in my clients’ kitchen designs. Here are four kitchen design trends, randomly picked, that I want to share with you:

Sliding Cabinet Doors

The continuing trend in American kitchen design continues to be “sleekness”. Sliding cabinet doors in lieu of doors that swing open offer one way to achieve that sleek look while maximizing available space.

sliding kitchen cabinet doors

Sliding Kitchen Cabinet Doors


Watch the video below to see how sliding cabinet doors work on Hafele’s Frontino unit:


 

Kitchen Workspace / Function Hidden Behind Retractable Doors

In smaller living spaces such as loft apartments and the like, the kitchen is often part of the overall living space. This open concept is appealing, yet for those who wish at times the kitchen looked more like furniture, the Orgavital by Mobalco offers a beautifully-designed and highly functional solution:

Orgavital kitchen storage cabinet

Orgavital Kitchen Storage Cabinet

Deep Drawers for Storage

Deep kitchen storage drawers are becoming ever more popular. Deep drawers can be designed to store trays, dishes, glasses, liquor bottles and taller small appliances.

Deep kitchen storage drawers

Deep kitchen storage drawers

Frameless or Full Access Cabinetry

frameless cabinet construction

Frameless Cabinets

American and traditional European cabinetry typically incorporates
1 ½ face frame construction.
 
In contrast, frameless, or rather, full access cabinetry uses ¾ “box” construction which maximizes interior cabinet space utilization. Drawer boxes and pullouts can be wider thereby increasing actual storage space in a kitchen.
 
Along with the trend for a more seamless look, this type of construction therefore offers dual benefits.


 
Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.
 

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget.

Kitchen Design Challenge: Traditional Tract House With Awkward Kitchen Footprint

Kitchen Design Challenge: Traditional Tract House With Awkward Kitchen Footprint

Fauquier County Kitchen Design by Sandra Brannock,  Expert Kitchen Designs

Fauquier County Kitchen Design by Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs

How many times have you seen large upscale production type homes with high ceilings, chair rail moldings, a spacious master bedroom suite, 3-car garage, and an excess of diagonal angles wherever you look (the latter being one of my architectural pet peeves, by the way — more on that later)?

The kitchens in these homes are typically plagued with poorly-placed entries and exits and awkward footprints.

I found myself faced with such a kitchen last year when I was contacted by two Fauquier County doctors, Tammy and Rob, for help with their kitchen redesign. They were both busy doctors, with four children in grade school. Well into two years of planning, they had visited a large kitchen and bath showroom, and had walked away with some basic 3D renderings of the space along with some cabinetry samples. And because Rob was eager to get going, they had purchased their high-end kitchen appliances, Sub Zero and Wolf.

Luckily, except for the appliances, they had not “pulled the trigger” on the project. Tammy put on the brakes as she knew something was not quite right with the proposed kitchen design.

On the cold February day I met with Tammy, she said, “We are about to remodel our kitchen and do not want to make a big mistake. Last year, we made a very big mistake by purchasing expensive wall to wall carpet. This mistake cost us thousands and now that carpet is lying in a roll in our basement — a complete waste. We do not want to repeat this experience with our kitchen remodel, so that is why I called you”.

Tammy and Rob’s kitchen was definitely a design challenge. Skinny in its footprint (by today’s standards in relation to the house), an easy but exorbitantly expensive option would be to bump it out the back of the house to expand the kitchen footprint. But was there another way to remodel this kitchen without bumping it out?

Beyond the challenge of the limited footprint, Tammy and Rob wanted to incorporate their pre-purchased appliances, which included a 30” Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer, a built-in Wolf microwave with single oven, and a 48” range. These appliances were “amazon-like” in relation to the kitchen’s footprint.

“Oh my . . ,” I thought to myself, wishing they had not purchased the appliances before they had a solidly executed design plan, as I would have advised them differently.

But I like challenges, and have yet to be stumped by any kitchen design conundrum, so I agreed to take on the project.

Smith Kitchen Before RemodelHere you see a photo of the kitchen after it was gutted. On the left is the existing diagonal knee wall. The column at the end was structural. It could not be removed because it provided essential support for the floor above.

There is no before photo of the other side of the kitchen which, prior to demolition, housed 24” deep base cabinetry including a tall double oven. This allowed little room for the existing small island which measured just 36”by 48”.

My first big challenge was, “How do I create an esthetically pleasing, balanced and functional kitchen while incorporating all of those big appliances?”

My first solution was to eliminate the “corner” in the kitchen by boxing it out. This allowed me to create two main wall runs for two of the essential work functions in the kitchen: cooking and food storage.

On one run, the focal point was the 48” Wolf range with a large decorative hood.

The second run, starting at the “blocked off” corner, I placed the 30” Sub Zero freezer, the 30” tall micro and single wall oven cabinet, and the 30” Sub Zero refrigerator.

Oven Range, Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer

I then created a large 135 degree island. On the shorter turn of the island I incorporated the essential support column. On the longer portion was the main sink and food prep area. We had enough room opposite for casual seating.

smith sink view 800

18 inch deep pantry storageFinally, we repurposed the far wall that used to house the double oven and 24” deep cabinets and transformed it into “decorative” pantry storage utilizing 18” deep base cabinets with counter wall cabinets.

We also were able to take advantage of Perlick’s wonderful Sottile Series Line which offers an 18” deep refrigerator. The latter served as cold storage for the kids’ drinks without having to access the large Sub Zero.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget.

Amissville Colonial Home Kitchen Remodel

Amissville Colonial Home Kitchen Remodel

Amissville VA kitchen remodel

Amissville VA Custom Kitchen Design by Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs


What to do with a “builder grade” kitchen whose footprint is awkward and poorly planned?

I received such an inquiry from a retired couple, Jan and Michael late last summer, near my home office here in Amissville. This colonial style home, although located here just outside of Warrenton, was not atypical of what we often see in the DC/Metro area.

Center hall colonial floor plans typically locate the kitchen in the back, with a formal living room just off the foyer and a stairway to greet its guests. As such, the kitchen is often set back farther in the house, closed off, except for open access to the breakfast nook and backyard.

This reality for Jan and Michael was something they tolerated, but a breaking point came when they realized they spent a lot of time in their kitchen (who doesn’t!), but its aesthetic and flow was really beginning to gnaw at them.. To put it succinctly, they were “done” with their existing kitchen.

On a cloudy summer day, I came to visit them. This is what greeted me when I arrived:

1) The sink was located at the very end of the peninsula with landing space only on the left side.

Amissville VA Kitchen Peninsula and Sink Before Remodeling

Kitchen Peninsula and Sink Before Remodeling

2) A white side by side refrigerator stuck out on the end of a cabinet run–which did nothing to enhance the feel of the space.

Amissville VA Kitchen White Refrigerator Before Remodeling

White Refrigerator – Before Remodeling

3) Although there was good effort on the part of the homeowner to enhance the existing space with red paint, the overall effect did little to improve the cohesiveness aesthetically.

4) The existing pantry was dark and dim with a door that opened into the hallways. Awkward.

So, what was my approach?

When faced with a limited footprint like this one, my first course of action is to examine all existing entries into the kitchen.

I ask simple questions:

  • Can this entry/exit be relocated or repositioned at minimal expense?
  • Will this improve upon the locations of main kitchen functions in accordance with NKBA guidelines?
  • Will traffic flow in and out of the kitchen to other rooms improve?

In Jan and Michael’s case, the answer to all these questions was “yes”. The entry into the family room (area to the right of the non occupied blank red wall) could be moved RIGHT about a foot.

Amissville VA Kitchen Before Remodeling

Amissville VA Kitchen Entry Into Family Room

By doing this, we were able to elongate the blank red wall to house a new counter depth refrigerator and a microwave in a base cabinet. We returned more cabinetry back into the family room wall, which acted as a second pantry.

Amissville VA Kitchen Remodel with New Refrigerator and Corner Pantry

New Refrigerator and Corner Pantry

Further, the wall which formerly housed the white refrigerator was now dedicated to the main/prep sink.

Amissville VA Kitchen Sink Remodel

New Kitchen Sink

This change allowed to create a unique focal point with plenty of counter space on each side of the sink.

The last wall, now free of the peninsula, was committed to the cooking function, and also allowed for it owns unique and attractive focal point.

Amissville VA Kitchen remodel new kitchen range

New Kitchen Range

Access to and from the breakfast nook was free and clear for the homeowners.

We also incorporated a “barn door” over the pantry opening, and added additional recessed LED lighting in that area.

Amissville VA Kitchen Remodel Pantry

New Kitchen Pantry

Cabinets were by Brubaker Kitchens, Sherwin Williams #6002 Essential Gray. Grays come in many hues– It was important of course to select the right gray for this kitchen–we did not want it to be too “blue” or in the “purple” hue.

The countertop was my favorite budget friendly “go to” Absolute Black honed granite.

The backsplash was 4×8” ceramic tile we found at The Tile Shop in Manassas.

The wood floors were also refinished — sanded and stained in place.

These elements, combined with the caring and skills of a local contractor, Mark McCormack of Compass Construction, whom I have known for years, provided Jan and Michael with a kitchen they are sure to enjoy for many years to come.

View The Project Slideshow

Click the image below to view the project slideshow.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget.

Kitchen Design Trends for 2016: The Kitchen Pantry

Kitchen Design Trends for 2016: The Kitchen Pantry

As promised, here is the second part of my blog about 2016 kitchen design trends. Today’s topic is the evolving nature of the kitchen pantry.

Pantries: Becoming More Beautiful Without The Laundry Room!

Old Style Pantry Laundry Room

Old Style Pantry Combined With Laundry Room

Decades ago, the typical kitchen, if space permitted, allowed for a nearby “closet” that served as a pantry. It was not uncommon for part of this pantry space to be dedicated to the washer and dryer. In an era when women were solely in charge of preparing family meals and doing the family laundry, it made sense to place the laundry room near the kitchen to make it easier for women to cook and do laundry at the same time.

In those days, no one thought it odd or ridiculous to be dragging dirty laundry through or near the kitchen on a regular basis.

Thank goodness times have changed. With our busy overscheduled lives, men’s and women’s roles have evolved. Men are as likely to cook as women. Husbands and wives often share cleaning responsibilities or hire a cleaning service to handle cleaning chores.

To accommodate modern lifestyles, today’s homes are likely to be designed so that the laundry center is positioned near the bedrooms, where most of the family’s dirty clothes and linens are generated.  In today’s families, where all family members are often expected to be responsible for washing their own clothes and dirty bed linens, it no longer makes sense to be lugging large laundry baskets up and down stairs and through the kitchen.


Modern Day Home Floor Plan

Modern Day Floor Plan with Laundry Room Near Bedrooms



Cluttered Dining Room Table

Cluttered Dining Room Table

The kitchen in modern homes has become a central living and gathering space. Formal living rooms and formal dining rooms are disappearing. (I personally cannot count the number of times I have seen formal dining room tables cluttered with stuff related to the family’s everyday activities — a testament to their essential function and purpose!) The trend towards eliminating formal living and dining rooms frees up more interior space that can be allocated to the modern kitchen — which leads me back to the topic of the pantry.

Today’s homeowners view walk-in pantries as a big plus and a new trend is appearing. The pantry is becoming more luxurious and more integral to kitchen design.

Over the last four or five years, and more frequently over the past year, if it is economically and logistically possible, my clients have been requesting a separate but visible open pantry space adjoining the kitchen.

In a few kitchen remodeling projects, I have designed pantry spaces that include high end appliances such as beverage centers, icemakers, and refrigerators. Floor to ceiling cabinetry matches that of the kitchen, and countertops are installed to house counter-type appliances. (See illustration below.)

Open Kitchen Pantry Design by Expert Kitchen Designs

Open Kitchen Pantry Design

Other trends on the rise: depending upon the space, the kitchen will house only a fresh food refrigerator, while the freezer is located inside the pantry since frozen items are not needed quite as often if the cook prepares from everyday fresh non-frozen ingredients.
  
So if you are wondering if it is time to reconsider your pantry’s storage needs and aesthetic, it is. This is truly a trend that is here to stay.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget.

A Chef-Worthy $50,000 Kitchen Remodel

A Chef-Worthy $50,000 Kitchen Remodel

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs

I was honored to be invited to contribute to the Trulia real estate blog recently on the topic of how to get a chef-worthy kitchen on a $50,000 budget.

According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost nationally in the United States for a 200-square-foot major kitchen remodel in 2015 is $56,278. And this falls into the category of a “low budget” kitchen remodel.

Start By Talking With Your Kitchen Designer

Often, homeowners don’t understand the cost-saving benefits of hiring an expert kitchen designer at the outset of your planning process. Your kitchen designer will ask the questions needed to clarify your vision, your goals, your time frame, your style and your budget, so you will know what is and what is not realistic within your budget.

Share your ideas and your priorities with your kitchen designer and ask them to help you clarify your kitchen remodeling ideas and direction. If your kitchen designer suggests that something you want is not cost-worthy, heed his or her advice.

Another advantage of working with a kitchen designer is that he or she will usually be able to provide you with higher quality cabinetry and appliances at better price points than you will find at big box home improvement stores.

Best Places to Splurge in a Kitchen Remodeling Project

The best places to splurge on your kitchen remodeling project are cabinets (estimated cost: $20,000 – $25,000) and quality appliances (estimated cost: $10,000 – $14,000).

Kitchen Cabinetry

Your kitchen cabinetry will endure the most abuse, so look for all-plywood construction along with a superior finish and top-notch door and drawer hardware. While your initial investment will be 20% to 30% more upfront, you will realize a positive return on your investment in five or more years when your cabinetry looks and feels as great as when it was first installed.

If you’re looking to trim costs, cabinets with MDF construction will save you approximately 12%. Oak, knotty alder, and hickory are no-upcharge wood species that will save you 6% to 22%. Consider high-pressure laminate for a contemporary look.

High End Dishwashers

A high-end dishwasher is a luxury worth considering, especially if it also offers the custom panel option. Hoods can be customized to suit the overall design.

Induction Ranges

If you’re currently using an electric range, don’t worry about converting to gas for a pro-caliber kitchen. Instead, replace the old stove with an induction model. There are many high-end professional kitchens using this marvelous method. It is instantaneous, efficient, and also minimizes the extra heat generated in a hardworking kitchen.

For more ideas on how to get a luxurious kitchen on a budget of $50,000 or less, visit the Trulia blog at: How to Create a Chef Worthy Kitchen Remodel for $50,000 or Less.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget and ensure that all the details of your kitchen renovation proceed smoothly, on time and within budget.