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We met on a February day in her outdated kitchen (see “before” photo above.)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).

Products Used

Thermador 18-inch Built in Freezer Column with Ice & Water Dispenser

T18ID900LP – Innovation A touch-screen TFT display panel allows intuitive control over your entire refrigeration system. Performance SoftClose® Drawers and Product.

Monogram 48″ Professional Gas Rangetop with 6 Burners and Griddle (Natural Gas) ZGU486NDPSS

Monogram 36″ Built-In All Refrigerator

Extending across the door and wrapping beautifully around the edges; A Monogram signature, slim tubular handle enhances the overall look.

GE Ice Maker 15-Inch – Nugget Ice | UNC15NJII

High nugget ice production produces up to 56 pounds of ice per day.

Signature Hardware 30″ Kembla Copper Farmhouse Sink

A shining example of copper’s natural beauty, this farmhouse style sink features smooth texture, earthy tones, and a beautiful living finish. Made with quality craftsmanship and from solid copper, it is sure to lend both aesthetic value and functionality

Williams Sonoma – Baltimore Pendant, Polished Copper

Inspired by the fixtures that lit stairwells and shop floors in the early 20th century.

Shenandoah Furniture Gallery – Farm Tables

Beautiful handmade farmhouse tables and reclaimed wood furniture.

Brubaker Kitchens – Cabinetry

WAC Lighting

Light Silt CQ 3CM Quartz Slabs & Countertops | Cosmos Granite

Light Silt CQ 3CM Quartz is SLAB available at Cosmos Granite and Marble, Washington. Light Silt CQ 3CM is a China origin and lies in Quartz group, in Multi pattern.

Steyn Kitchen Faucet with Spring Spout

For cleanup and prep, the Steyn Kitchen Faucet moves with you, thanks to its flexible coil feature and pull-down spray. This well-designed faucet features a ceramic disc cartridge.

The Tile Shop – Copper Rust Architectural Tile


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

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.

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.

Why I Love Pennville Custom Cabinetry for Kitchens

Why I Love Pennville Custom Cabinetry for Kitchens

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs, Northern VirginiaI recently had the pleasure of participating in a video commercial for Pennville Cabinetry. You can learn why Pennville Cabinetry is my top choice for custom kitchen cabinetry when you watch the video below. I am standing in a beautiful Pennville Stanford Collection custom kitchen that was completed a couple of years ago. It is absolutely gorgeous and the total example of what Pennville does with a lot of value. When I was first introduced to Pennville, I thought they would be like any ordinary cabinet company until Mark showed me the finishes and the construction and the door styles. My mouth fell open. I fell in love. This is the most incredible product I work with today.


Who would not want to cook in this kitchen? It is where everybody wants to be. Family and friends can gather around this inviting and beautifully designed kitchen for meals, enjoy themselves, connect and share and love.

One of the reasons I love to work with Pennville is their ability to add some personal custom touches to the cabinetry. We have a pantry cabinet here that they were able to inscribe for the homeowner with her own inscriptions, one saying goodies, one saying bread. Another thing that Pennville does is combine the cabinets so that they look seamless and like they were meant to be there forever.

This is a very clever way to use space on the side of a tall cabinet. We basically made this little secret compartment where keys and another items can be stowed away in a secret place that is very nicely concealed top and bottom.


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.

Reston Town Center Kitchen Remodel

Reston Town Center Kitchen Remodel

How do we get those cabinets and appliances up those very narrow stairs?

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designs, Northern VirginiaSeveral weeks ago I blogged about how to pick finishes for a kitchen. The kitchen referenced in that article is located in a large 4-story townhome right next to Reston Town Center in Northern Virginia. This townhome has extremely narrow staircases that do not easily accommodate the 100” tall oven and Sub Zero refrigerator cabinets the client wanted so that the kitchen could be “all that it can be”.

If you do not think ahead about entry and exit points for the delivery of new kitchen appliances, you can become quite unnerved on the day they arrive!

Thankfully, our careful advance planning prevented a panic attack.

Delivery Day

The cabinetry for this kitchen had been ordered 12 weeks earlier. Finally, the “big” day — delivery day -— arrived. I left early in the morning to drive directly to Reston, Virginia to meet the Pennville Custom Cabinetry truck and Brannock Built contracting crew.

Pennville Custom Cabinetry truck

Pennville Custom Cabinetry truck

Upon my arrival, the Pennville truck was there. It was a generous 43-foot-long tractor trailer truck equipped with “air ride” technology to ensure a safe, smooth, and secure ride for the kitchen cabinetry inside.

The first few cabinets were unloaded off of the truck. As expected, each was wrapped carefully with a its own blue quilted blanket for additional protection during transport. Nevertheless, as the cabinets were unloaded I still braced myself for possible damage just before examining them (a normal OCD trait of mine).

Thankfully there was no need to worry — after all, this was top-of-the-line Pennville Custom Cabinetry! Pennville cabinets take longer to engineer and build (right now, a 12 week lead time), but in the end, when you run your hands over the finish and view them in the sunny daylight, their exceptional high-quality construction makes them worth the wait. Pennville goes the extra mile to ensure that each cabinet is dimensionally correct and exemplary in its final form. In my experience, I have never seen a cabinet company with such high quality control standards. For discerning clients, Pennville cabinetry is always my top recommendation.

forklift

Forklift

So what came next? Well we knew that most of the cabinets could fit easily into the narrow stairway up to the kitchen. For the larger cabinets and 42″ Sub Zero refrigerator, we had planned to use a different, albeit unconventional, means to transport these into the client’s home. We used a fork lift-—this exact one:


Lazy Susan transport

Lazy Susan transport

The one cabinet we did not anticipate needing a forklift delivery method was…the square corner lazy susan! Glad we were prepared.

sub zero in windowNext, we brought in the Sub Zero refrigerator. Yes, it came in through that window.

Other large cabinets making their way through the window....

Other large cabinets making their way through the window….

Plus a few other cabinets . . .

These pictures document our how our advance planning prevented last-minute delivery issues. We examined all the steps and logistics that could present a problem during delivery, and by doing so, we were able to carry out this phase of the kitchen remodel successfully and with minimal stress.

Here is the contractor, Guy Brannock who, after everything made its way into the house, is very happy that all of our preparation paid off. Bravo Guy!

Mission Accomplished!

Mission Accomplished!


Stay tuned for the next phase: the installation process.


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.

Budget-Friendly Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodel

Budget-Friendly Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodel

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Mara and Suzanne are returning clients of Expert Kitchen Designs who wanted to update the small kitchen in their Arlington condominium before renting it out. I was first introduced to them several years ago by one of my favorite home building contractors, Eric Pilka of Oakmont Homes.

To stay within their budget, we implemented kitchen upgrades that did not require major structural changes. We improved the kitchen layout and installed new kitchen cabinetry, appliances, countertops, sink and faucet.

After renting out their condo, Suzanne and Mara purchased an open-floor planned home in Alexandria, Virginia that was well-suited to their contemporary/mid-century modern taste in design.

The only downside to their new home was the galley kitchen. It was pedestrian in all ways: cheap white cabinets and appliances and an ordinary laminate countertop. The one positive feature of the kitchen lay below the nasty vinyl flooring: here we discovered well-worn oak strip flooring that could be refinished to enhance the existing space.

Since I had a established an effective and congenial working relationship with these clients in previous kitchen remodeling projects, we were able to proceed smoothly with the new kitchen design project. I began as I always do by asking lots of questions to identify their goals and objectives:

  1. How long do you plan to live in this house?
  2. What don’t you like about the kitchen now?
  3. How much do you want to spend to get what you want?

We determined that they wanted the kitchen to open up into the dining/living area. I worked on the CAD drawings and provided a few perspectives to show them what the space would look like with two walls eliminated and other walls painted with their chosen color scheme.

Below are two renderings done with my 2020 CAD in a “live” perspective:

Arlington VA Kitchen Remodel CAD Drawing

The view above is taken as you stand in the dining room. On the left side, we eliminated the back and end wall to allow for deeper counter space with a small overhang for casual dining. On the right sink wall side, we eliminated the end wall.

Arlington VA Kitchen Remodel CAD DrawingThe view to the left is what you would see from the living area. This was designed after Mara and Suzanne had indicated they wanted a Soapstone countertop, and that the overhang on the living room side should be minimal. They also weren’t sure about the white subway tile. I left it out in this last rendering.

Once we were agreed that we had a plan that Mara and Suzanne loved, we could move forward with calculating all costs associated with the project. As I have said many times before, design is first and foremost to cost estimation of any kitchen remodeling project.

Now, Eric Pilka of Oakmont Homes had the scope and structural requirements he needed to proceed with construction. Eric determined weight-bearing loads from the walls we wanted to remove, then had supporting beams engineered for these walls. He also had a defined plan that allowed him to accurately calculate all costs for this kitchen remodeling project, which eliminated unpleasant cost-overrun surprises later.

After we determined all cost elements, agreements were signed and all systems were “go,” full overlay construction cabinetry by Dura Supreme in Classic White with the Craftsman Panel was the cornerstone.

The oak floor was uncovered and refinished. Soapstone countertops were installed. And the coup de grace was the marble backsplash in a subway tile pattern installed expertly by Eric’s tile installer.

Below are a few pics of the final outcome. See how they compare to my perspectives above…

Arlington VA Kitchen Design

Lighting Fixtures Arlington Kitchen DesignI selected the perfect lighting fixture (right) that allowed the entire counter-space to feel open and flowing without a “geometric” light just hanging over the large countertop.

We still need to repaint the walls. I always advise clients to postpone repainting walls until all elements, fixtures and finishes have been installed, as they will influence how light is reflected in the kitchen. Take some time to observe the colors in your kitchen at different times of the day and then decide see which colors suit you.

In kitchen design and remodeling, advance planning, accurate costing and patience pay off—– always.


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.