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We met on a February day in her outdated kitchen (see “before” photo above.)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

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.

Expert Kitchen Design Tips: Keeping Cool During the Hot Remodeling Season

Expert Kitchen Design Tips: Keeping Cool During the Hot Remodeling Season

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

Sandra Brannock, Expert Kitchen Designer

After nervously weathering a lull in business this past winter, I’ve been blessed with a “flash flood” of kitchen design clients over the past eight weeks.

I am not alone in the “feast or famine” home improvement business cycle. Just about everyone in the home remodeling industry experiences a sharp upturn in business during the April – October peak season when homeowners decide they are ready to get started on the home improvements they’ve been dreaming about through the holiday season and winter months.

The spring and summer seasons are a thrilling time of year, when I get to apply my unique talents and skill sets in service to a variety of clients, each with their own unique vision, budget, space constraints, design tastes, and expectations.

It is also a crazy-making time of year when I and my team members are challenged to manage homeowner expectations while keeping each kitchen remodeling project on schedule, within budget, and tend to the hundreds of details involved in every kitchen remodeling project.

A kitchen designer’s job is akin to an orchestral conductor who must ensure that each member of the orchestra is properly rehearsed, cued to play their part at the exact right point in time, and in perfect balance with their fellow musicians from the beginning to the end of the symphony.

When a new client hires me, they are usually eager to get started on their kitchen remodeling project immediately. And I am eager to please them with a kitchen design that delights and exceeds their expectations.

My tasks as a kitchen designer include:

  • an initial consultation with each client where I ask clarifying questions and listen deeply to identify the client’s vision, goals and budget,
  • evaluating existing space constraints,
  • perfect measurement taking,
  • project documentation,
  • drawing,
  • aesthetic prowess,
  • attention to details when ordering, and
  • the ability to accommodate the client’s change requests at any point in time without losing focus and momentum

… all while maintaining sanity in my own personal life.

Remodeling partnersMy own job is complicated by the availability of my trade partners who, like me, are working with other clients who each have their own set of needs and scheduling expectations.

During the peak remodeling season from April – October, cabinet manufacturers, appliance and plumbing suppliers, countertop fabricators, and tile shops are all operating at full or capacity, striving to meet the demand and deliver their products and services on schedule to each and every customer.

When consumer demand is at its peak, and each service provider and manufacturer is working at full capacity to meet the demand while the market is “hot,” it is inevitable that mistakes will be made.

So if you, dear prospective client, want to ensure the best outcome for your kitchen remodeling project, here are my suggestions:

  1. Start early, well before the peak season hits. Home remodeling contractors have plenty of time from October – February to give you the undivided attention you want and deserve. A successful kitchen or home remodeling project takes months to complete. You need to allow a realistic amount of time for advance planning, mid-stream changes of plans, and contractor scheduling, especially if you want your remodeling project completed in time for the holiday season.
  2. When you meet with a designer and contractor, know that their cost estimates and estimated completion time are just estimates. It is impossible to accurately determine the final cost and time frame for your project until all key elements have been identified, including fixture, appliance and finish selections, permitting, manufacturing schedules, subcontractor availability, and delays due to weather or unforeseen construction circumstances.
  3. Be flexible. I have found that by the time a client is ready to leap into the process, a sense of urgency overwhelms them. Everyone involved in your project wants to be efficient and get the job done on time, on budget, and in a way that leaves you thrilled and delighted. But the reality is that planning any remodeling project will take much longer than you expect. You will be happier when you align your expectations with reality.
  4. Do not impose your unrealistic expectations for a speedy and perfect delivery on your remodeling team. When remodeling contractors pressure their employees and subcontractors to “hurry up” to please you, mistakes will be made and you will not be happy with the final outcome.

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.

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.