Kitchen Remodeling Success Tip #2: Timeframe

Kitchen Remodeling Success Tip #2: Timeframe

An important consideration in every kitchen remodeling project is your timeframe. You may have a high sense of urgency to complete your kitchen makeover as quickly as possible so as to minimize disruptions to your family’s routines.

However, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of time needed to thoroughly plan the details and elements of your kitchen makeover to ensure that you are happy with the final outcome.

You and your family members will need to make key decisions on multiple elements that will go into your new kitchen, including:

  • Paint colors
  • Flooring materials and finishes
  • Countertop materials and selections
  • Kitchen cabinetry styles, materials, and selections
  • Kitchen appliances and accessories

Your kitchen remodeling choices must also be coordinated with the building contractor who will have his own timeline for scheduling and installing your kitchen elements, so it’s essential that decisions be made in a timely manner to avoid costly project management delays.

Chances are, you will need to invest more time than you anticipated in planning for your kitchen remodeling project.

The more you communicate your desires, preferences, choices and expectations up front to your kitchen designer and building contractor, the better your chances of being delighted with the final outcome of your kitchen remodel.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

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. Let Expert Kitchen Designs take the headaches out of your kitchen remodeling project and take care of all the details so your kitchen renovation proceeds smoothly, on time and within budget.

How to Set a Realistic Kitchen Remodeling Budget

How to Set a Realistic Kitchen Remodeling Budget

When I meet with a new kitchen remodeling client, one of the first questions I always ask is, “What is your budget for your kitchen remodel?” This is a tough question for most people. You may not feel comfortable discussing money matters with your kitchen designer right away. You may be thinking that whatever number you disclose will be either too much money or too little money. Or, you simply may not know what your kitchen remodeling budget should be.

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Nevertheless, it is important to establish a realistic budget that will cover the costs of all the elements you want to have in your remodeled kitchen.

One way we arrive at a realistic budget number is to sit down and talk about it. I will talk with you about all the elements of your kitchen design and what you can expect to spend on lighting, the design, cabinetry, flooring, appliances, hardware, and anything you may have seen on Houzz or showrooms that you want to include in your kitchen remodel.

By having a candid discussion to start with, we will be able to determine a realistic budget for your kitchen remodeling project.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen DesignsSandra 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. Let Expert Kitchen Designs take the headaches out of your kitchen remodeling project and take care of all the details so your kitchen renovation proceeds smoothly, on time and within budget.

New Kitchen Storage Accessories — KBIS 2015

New Kitchen Storage Accessories — KBIS 2015

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

As we know, the point of any kitchen cabinet storage accessory is to make life easier for the end user. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some tend to be “space wasters” and a bit “gimmicky”. Having said this, I am a big fan of the basics: pull out shelves, tray dividers, spice pullouts and cutlery dividers.

At the 2015 KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry) Show in Las Vegas, I did see some great new innovative storage accessories. Here are a few of the ones that made sense to me.

Pullouts Plus 270 Degree Lazy Susan Revolver

Base cabinet corners of any kind challenge kitchen designers. There is always a downside either with the aesthetic or the function. For those who do not want a blind corner unit, and prefer square corner susans, the following insert, called a 270 Degree Revolver, from Pullouts Plus (pulloutsplus.net) is practical and functional.

Sugatsune Lateral Opening Door Hinge

The concept behind Sugatsune’s Monoflat LIN-X Hinge is completely unique. The video below demonstrates it perfectly. For me, as a designer, I would use these hinges for a tall corner pantry application, where two doors that meet in the corner could slide away from one another independently and without interference.

Rev A Shelf Knife Storage

Rev a shelf knife storage

Rev a shelf knife storage

How many times have you found yourself hesitating, just for a moment, trying to decide exactly where to slide that food prep knife into its proper “slot”. If you are like most, and you do not have a luxuriously large kitchen with a large Wusthof knife storage drawer insert, knife storage can be cumbersome.

Rev a shelf knife storageWhat I saw at Rev A Shelf’s booth was to me a “wow” moment. They have come up with a knife block, stored in a pullout, that allows you to insert the knife anywhere. To me this is ingenious because it realizes space and time efficiencies.



Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen DesignsSandra 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. Let Expert Kitchen Designs take the headaches out of your kitchen remodeling project and take care of all the details so your kitchen renovation proceeds smoothly, on time and within budget.

KBIS 2015 in Las Vegas Part Two —Color, Finishes and Form

KBIS 2015 in Las Vegas Part Two —Color, Finishes and Form

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

As promised, here is the second article about what I learned and observed at the Las Vegas 2015 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and International Building Show (IBS).

Today, I touch upon my impressions regarding color, finishes, and form trends. All four at the show were combined in different ways perhaps described best as: the rustic with the sleek, the industrial with extremely polished, something vintage with something brand new, commercial styles morphing into residential. Of course, my blog below could never capture every impression made upon me. But all below made significant impressions on me making them all “blogworthy”.

Kitchen Color Trends

Neutrality is Still “In”
Would you be surprised if I told you that the palette of neutral colors gray, white, and brown are still going strong? And that this palette consistently appears in cabinetry, countertops, and flooring-—the three main building blocks of any kitchen?

A neutral color palette remains, at least at for now, de rigueur.

At the show, almost all kitchen (and bathroom) vignettes featured these neutral color schemes. They dominated the “canvas” and, then, on occasion, bright “pops” of color would be introduced in the space, such as a tile backsplash or a single furniture piece in a bold color such as red or orange.

The guideline followed is: fixtures that are not easily changed remain neutral in color. If color vibrancy is needed, it is found in items that are changed more easily, such as these stools:
ORANGE STOOLS

Finishes

Hardware — A Slight Surprise
For metal finishes such as decorative cabinet hardware, pulls, knobs and the like, the standard polished chrome and nickel, brushed nickel, black, oil rubbed bronze types were displayed in booths as always.

What made a bold “new” entrance was something that most have considered forever in the history books: antique and polished brass.

The pulls and knobs on display this year were not in their traditional form, but rather presented in contemporary or modern ones:
brass pullbrass hardwarebrass hardware on cabinetsSimply by changing the form, but not the finish, the whole feel is transformed. Applying this concept to almost anything sheds light on how something old can be new again.

Appliances — The Continuing “Go To” Finish

stainless refrigeratorAs for appliance finishes, if you heard a rumor that stainless is going “out”, this is not entirely true. It is true that more and more appliance manufacturers offer “panel” ready appliances — meaning you can have a matching cabinet panel made to make the appliance look like the front of a cabinet. But, outside of this option, stainless is still the most popular appliance finish. Although there continue to be a few appliance manufacturers, Viking, La Cornue and Big Chill, to name a few, seeking to distinguish themselves with bold vibrant colors, the standard “go to” is stainless. It remains so because it is neutral in color.

Engineered Quartz Finishes

raw concrete CaesarstoneCaesarstone, an engineered quartz countertop manufacturer from Israel, displayed some of its new finishes that mimic concrete: Raw Concrete, Sleek Concrete & Fresh Concrete. They also have improved their “art imitates life” with their Concetto series. If you are one who needs color, take a peek at this:

caesarstone profondo

Laminates

Another “wow” at the show was revealed to me when I explored Lab Designs’ booth. Incredible samples of high pressure laminates, one after another, were displayed, and many I had ever seen before. Some of these laminates were so compelling, you wanted to touch and feel them — because they had a 3-D quality to them.

honey cayman rattan laminatelaminate sage

Tile: Art Imitates Life

If you are in the mood to stretch your creative brain even more, the tile industry is not lacking for material to help you do so. Tile has truly become “art”, and the choices are infinite for anyone wishing to expand their options to be creative. A few examples:

Kitchen wood tile floor example

Porcelain Tile with Wood Finish

In the world of porcelain tile, the wood look is exploding. These tiles actually have “grooves” that look like the characteristics of real wood.

Weathered Concrete Tile

Weathered Concrete Tile

Another hot trend: tile that looks like weathered concrete. This trend is due to the industrial/commercial look that is making its way into residential interior design.

And then, if you are tired of tiles offering repetition with 90 degree angles, you can enter the world of Ann Sacks. Below is a photo of Sakura tiles which create an Asian inspired wall.

tile mural

Form

If I had to assign a “gender” to the type of form trends I saw at the show, I would say without hesitation: masculine.

  • Countertops—thick, simply in form in edge detail, often 6 cm thick.
  • Kitchen sinks and faucets—straight, linear, minimalistic
    Cabinetry—rustic or sleek. Less details.
  • Hardware—minimalistic with right angles. Some outright “rustic.”

Stay tuned for my next and last article on the show. This one will cover new storage solutions for the kitchen.


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.

Choosing the Best Color Scheme for Your Kitchen

Choosing the Best Color Scheme for Your Kitchen

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs, Northern VirginiaChoosing the best color scheme for your kitchen is one of the first and most important elements that must be addressed in the course of every kitchen remodeling project.

The colors you choose for your home’s interior will affect your life every day. When meeting with my kitchen design clients for the first time, I typically address the client’s color preferences up front. The importance of color choices should not be underestimated when designing your kitchen because even if the technical aspects of your kitchen design are all correct, the wrong color scheme can spell disaster.

The best time to discuss the topic of your kitchen’s color scheme is during our initial meeting which, ideally, will take place in your home. When I can see your living spaces firsthand, I am able to understand your color preferences in terms of vibrancy, warmth or coolness, and neutrality.

As we discuss your kitchen’s design elements, I may ask if we can take a tour of your home. What rooms do you prefer over others? This allows our conversation to become even more interesting as we explore, together, your color preferences.

For a brief technical “color” starter course, let us consider what color truly is. Color is created by a unique reflection and absorption of light waves. The colors that we see every day are the visible parts of what scientists refer to as the “electromagnetic spectrum” (there are light waves that are invisible to us!) As Christopher Crockett explains in his EarthSky blog:

The electromagnetic waves your eyes detect – visible light – oscillates between 400 and 790 terahertz (THz). That’s several hundred trillion times a second. The wavelengths are roughly the size of a large virus: 390 – 750 nanometers (1 nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter). Our brain interprets the various wavelengths of light as different colors. Red has the longest wavelength, and violet the shortest. When we pass sunlight through a prism, we see that it’s actually composed of many wavelengths of light. The prism creates a rainbow by redirecting each wavelength out a slightly different angle.

light spectrum

color hues, values and saturation
I think you would agree when you appreciate color from a technical standpoint above, we need to be well focused on this subject.

Now to complicate things further (and, hopefully, to clarify as well), each individual’s perception of color varies from one person to the next. In our eyes, we each possess rods and cones which perceive color differently. And further, it has been established that 1% of women and 8% of men are “color deficient”.

So what does this all mean? That color choices are complicated by your own genetic makeup. It is not simply your imagination when you perceive a color differently than your spouse or other people living in your home. However, color selections can become easier when you consider the following carefully before committing to the color scheme for your kitchen.

In a physical space, colors will appear differently depending upon several factors:

  • Time of day
  • Time of year
  • Weather outside (sunny, cloudy, snowy)
  • Color presence of one or more horizontal or vertical elements—floor, wall, or ceiling
  • Dominance of artificial lighting — LED, incandescent, fluorescent
  • Dominance of natural lighting
  • Other color elements in the room

All the items above create additional light waves that “crash” into each other to create a different color than the one perhaps intended! Therefore, if you consider all of the above, it is true: each kitchen’s color scheme is unique because no two spaces are exactly alike in their light spectrum’s variables.

So what do I advise?

First, think about your space in terms of the elements that will “dominate” spatially. Typically, these will be:

  1. Cabinetry
  2. Countertops
  3. Flooring
  4. Walls
  5. Lighting, to include natural daylight and artificial lighting.

Then, from the above list, choose what “must be”. As an example, let us say you want to have the most popular choice these days for cabinetry: painted. Allow me to share with you a dialogue I recently had with a client:

Sandra: “What color do you want your cabinetry to be?”
Client: “White.”
Sandra: “There are many tints and hues of white. Gray, yellow, blue, green, pink…”
Client: “I want a gray white”.
Sandra: “Do you want a blue gray, green gray, or purplish gray?” (This is said somewhat with exaggeration, but the truth is there are such types of “gray white”)
Client: “Are you serious?

Yes, I was serious. I cannot make this up. I live and breathe in the world of design, and I can see, before my client does, subtleties of color that will affect the outcome.

My discussion with my client above continued further for about another hour. We then discussed all of the elements impacting the final desired “color scheme” in her kitchen.

Color wheel
In summary, from my experience, the correct color decisions must be made early in your kitchen design in order to avoid a costly and disastrous end result that will leave you feeling miserable for years to come whenever you spend time in your kitchen.

All my life, I have always had a knack for color in all ways. Earlier this year I finally took the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 hue test in a professional setting. My test results confirmed that I am well qualified to advise you on your color choices and that I am in the correct business: I scored 96%.

For further reading, visit ColorMatters.com.

Quick Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Kitchen for the Holidays

Quick Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Kitchen for the Holidays

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

I recently had the honor of being quoted in the Chicago Tribune as part of a larger article, Last Minute Home Fixes for the Holiday. The impending arrival of holiday guests is a great motivator to spruce up your kitchen before the holiday parties begin. With that in mind, here’s a recap of the suggestions I made in the original Chicago Tribune article:

Declutter. Empty the cabinets, throw out or donate things you don’t need. Then pick up some cabinet organizers, like spice racks or shelves.

Add colorful accents. If you don’t have the time or energy for a full paint job, accent items can wake up your color scheme. Stay neutral with your fixed items, but add new punches of color with things that are flexible, such as a stool or decorative bowl.

Change your cabinet hardware. New knobs, handles and drawer pulls can give new life to tired cabinets. While shopping for new hardware, pick up any replacement hinges or pegs needed to secure those cabinet doors or shelves that have become wobbly.

Update your lighting. Changing to LED bulbs has become less expensive over the years. Or, you could pick up a new lighting fixture. If you’re using incandescent lights, try swapping a traditional switch for a dimmer switch to gain control over the room’s ambiance: low lighting for intimate dinners or a brighter atmosphere to showcase your holiday buffet.


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.