FREE DESIGNS AND ESTIMATES

How to Choose a Kitchen Sink Size

By Jennifer Ott

In addition to choosing the best materialmounting typenumber of bowls, and bowl depth for your kitchen sink, you also have a range of sink size options. An extra-wide kitchen sink will obviously give you more space for food prep and cleanup, and you might prefer it over the confines of a smaller sink, but bigger sinks typically cost more and can take up valuable real estate in a small kitchen.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. We’ve pulled together kitchens that feature various sink sizes, along with tips to help you figure out the perfect sink size for your cooking and cleaning needs.

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Smooth Solutions to Kitchen Counter Corners

The designers of these kitchens found creative ways to ease the transition from counter to walking zone.

Erin Carlyle April 26, 2020. Writing about the cost of renovation and what it takes to remodel. Former Forbes real estate reporter. Fascinated by cool homes, watching the bottom line.

It’s pretty standard for kitchen cabinets to run in a straight line until they meet the end of a wall or the start of a doorway. But sometimes, that isn’t the smoothest route. These six kitchens employ clever alternatives for ending a run of cabinets. Though the solutions vary, each makes the nearby passageway feel a little more smooth. Could this be a solution for your kitchen?

1. Curved Toward Walkway

For this Northwest Washington, D.C., kitchen by Case Architects & Remodelers, the designer gave the countertop a curve to soften the lines and give the space a transitional feel. The curve is also a practical choice because the counter abuts a walkway that heads toward a door. A curve in the pebbled quartz countertop means there’s no sharp corner to hit should you make a misstep.

2. Recessed by Door

Another way to pull the counter back from the walkway is to recess it, as Shannon Eckel-Braun of Design Factory Interiors did for this Waterloo, Ontario, kitchen. Instead of a full-depth cabinet abutting the door that leads outside, a 12-inch-deep cabinet creates some breathing room. “I wanted it to be recessed back so you feel like you can smoothly walk around it,” Eckel-Braun says. “I didn’t want the countertops to just end.”

3. Angled by Door

This kitchen in Stockholm, Sweden, by Stylingbolaget has a range that sticks out farther than the doorway wall. One option would have been to stop the run of counter where the range ends.

But the designer found a solution that also adds storage: angling the countertop to the left of the range so it forms a wedge that looks interesting but not awkward. More important, it creates a smooth route in and out of the kitchen. And with the space used for open shelving rather than a traditional closed cabinet, all that space is easily accessed.

Here’s a more traditional way to angle a counter near a doorway: with a corner cabinet. The shape of this end run of cabinets in Oakland, California, by Kitchens by Francis invites you into the room. It also smooths the way out — you can glide right by via an efficient diagonal route.

4. Rounded on End of Run

The designer of this kitchen in Hampshire, England, used curves to soften the lines of this long, narrow kitchen. The curve of the tall breakfast table echoes the curve of the cabinet by Lewis Alderson & Co. Both curves distract the eye from the otherwise long, straight shape of the space. The cabinet’s curve also allows space for a walkway around the table.

5. Rounded on Island

In this Minneapolis kitchen by Crystal Kitchen + Bath, squared-off cabinets at the perimeter maximize storage, but the curved shape of this island’s end zone offers a practical way to avoid uncomfortable bumps where people tend to hang out. As with the first example in this story, rounding the island adds to the room’s transitional feel, as do the speckled countertops and horizontal bar pulls on the cabinets.

8 Tips for Harmony in the Kitchen

Article by: Laura Gaskill

There are probably as many ways to handle cooking and kitchen chores as there are people — is it any wonder the kitchen tends to be a hub for minor (but irritating) household disagreements? Whether you and your partner or housemate have been bickering over dishwashing or garbage duty, here are eight strategies for maintaining peace and harmony in the kitchen.

1. Don’t micromanage. Unless it’s a major health issue (like cross-contamination), if your partner/housemate/kid likes to do things differently than you do, let them. Even if it bugs you, know that it’s far from the end of the world if the dishwasher is loaded “the wrong way” or the cheese ends up in the produce drawer. Choose your battles carefully, because picking too many fights in the kitchen is sure to end in disgruntlement on both sides.


Harmony Kitchen 2

2. Take care of the other person’s most disliked chore —and ask them to do the same for you. It’s incredible how personal the issue of chores can be! Do you despise garbage duty? Can’t stand chopping veggies? Whatever it is, let it be known and try to arrange a fair swap of duties of personal worst for worst. This relieves a lot of chore pressure, since what each of you strongly dislikes is taken out of the equation.

3. Try the Golden Rule of dish washing. The Golden Rule of dish washing states that if you cook, you are officially off the hook for dish washing and cleanup duty. This method makes a lot of sense and keeps things pretty simple and conflict-free. Of course, it won’t work for everyone — perhaps you enjoy cooking and don’t mind doing the dishes (or you’re worried your precious pans won’t be cared for properly), in which case it’s best to find an alternative chore for the non-cook to take on.

4. Be willing to break the Golden Rule of ddish washing If you cooked — and dirtied every single pan and dish in the house in the process — be considerate and pitch in during cleanup, even if you usually follow the Golden Rule. This is especially important if your partner or housemate usually makes simple, one-pot dinners when it’s their turn to cook. And it follows that it’s reasonable to ask for a little cleanup help when they’re the one to whip up an elaborate feast. A bit of flexibility makes for a more positive experience for everyone. (Just don’t forget to ask nicely if you’re the one who made the mess.)

5. Avoid the too-many-cooks situation. If you both like to cook, trying to collaborate on a meal isn’t always the most positive (or peaceful) experience. And if your kitchen is small, it can be hard for more than one person to be cooking at a time. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, consider having one person do some early prep work (like chopping veggies or starting a marinade) and let the other person take over when it comes time to put the dish together. And it’s probably a good rule that whoever is doing the actual cooking gets to decide how it’s done.

6. Keep a master shopping list.There’s nothing more frustrating than starting in on a recipe only to discover you’re out of a key ingredient. Designate a single spot in the kitchen, such as a centrally located chalkboard or notepad, as the place to jot down ingredients and supplies as they run out, and encourage everyone in the house to use it.

7. Make decisions during peace time. If an issue comes up that you feel you need to hash out, wait until you’ve moved on to a non-kitchen activity before bringing it up with your partner or housemate. 

In other words, don’t try to settle anything during the dinner rush — tensions may already be running high if you’re trying to get dinner on the table, and any argument isn’t likely to end well.

8. Get some outside help. If everyone in your household (including you) is very busy, getting a bit of extra help to get kitchen tasks done can make all the difference. Perhaps you could hire a cleaning service to take care of the most onerous chores, or try signing up for one of the new delivery services that provide fresh ingredients and recipes. Even something as simple as grabbing some meal plans and shopping lists online can ease the day-to-day burden of keeping the household nourished and running smoothly.

Kitchen Color: 7 Sensational Yellow Backsplashes

Article by: Jennifer Ott

While shopping recently I was struck by the prevalence of yellow hues, particularly for the latest spring fashions, in each and every store I passed. And it’s no big surprise that I’m now also seeing an uptick in requests for yellow backsplashes and wall colors for kitchens. 

If you’ve shied away from yellow in the past, it’s time to revisit this hot hue. Whether you prefer a pale lemon, a warm glowing gold or an eye-popping primary, there are increasingly more options out there for yellow backsplashes. Here are 7 stunning kitchens with yellow backsplashes, as well as a few of my top picks for yellow tiles.

I would never recommend picking a backsplash color solely because it’s trendy, but if you love yellow, I think it’s a fantastic choice for a kitchen. We associate yellow with sunshine and firelight, with zesty citrus and spring’s first flowers. It’s tough to feel blue in a sunny yellow space. 

The tiles used here are just the ticket in this charming, rustic kitchen. I like how the designer went for a single open shelf instead of wall cabinets, and that the tile runs straight up to the ceiling. 

Backsplash: Handmade 2-inch by 2-inch ceramic tiles. For a similar look, try the bright yellow Mexican Talavera tiles from Tierra y Fuego.

Don’t want to deal with grout maintenance? Try this cool and contemporary alternative to backsplash tile: back-painted glass. This is a terrific option for those who have a specific color in mind for their backsplash and are having trouble finding it in tile form, as you can paint the glass in any color you can dream up. The bold goldenrod backsplash here adds such liveliness to this kitchen, and it plays really well with the white wall cabinets and the greenish-gray base cabinets — what an excellent combination of materials and colors.

Backsplash: Glass back-painted in Golden Sand from Dulux. For a similar paint color available in the United States, check out Yellow Coneflower from PPG Pittsburgh Paints.

Of course, paint isn’t the only thing you can put behind glass; here’s a backsplash made with fabric-backed glass. What a brilliant idea! I love the yellow and gray patterned fabric that was used; it’s busy but works, because it picks up other colors used in the kitchen. The best part about this backsplash is that it was designed so that the entire thing can be taken down and the fabric changed out as desired.

Backsplash: Custom backsplash made with ⅔-inch tempered glass, affixed with metal standoffs, over fabric attached to plywood.

These bold lemon-yellow glass mosaic tiles simply sparkle in this modern kitchen, making the backsplash the star. Which brings up an important point I like to make to clients who are on tight budgets: If your backsplash area is relatively small, such as this kitchen’s, you might be surprised how affordable even the more expensive backsplash materials can be. If you are using only a few square feet of material, it doesn’t have to be a budget buster. And if you make it the focal point of the kitchen, I say it’s money very well spent.

Backsplash: 2-inch by 2-inch Glacier Glass mosaic tile in Citrine Satin from Stone Source.

If bold yellow backsplashes just aren’t your thing, check out this beautiful glass tile in a soft sand color. I am digging this as an alternative to white subway tile. It adds the perfect wisp of color in an otherwise very neutral space. The sheen from the glass also adds a nice textural element, particularly in contrast to the more matte-finished cabinets.

Backsplash: Lucian glass tiles in Sand from Ann Sacks.

Here’s another fetching mellow yellow backsplash tile. In general I advise homeowners to pick either a bold hue or an unusual shape when selecting backsplash tile. It can help keep the tile from feeling dated too quickly. This soft yellow diamond-shaped tile has such great dimensionality as well as a glamorous, mod vibe. It’s perfect in this cool kitchen.

Backsplash: 3-inch by 9-inch diamond-shaped tiles from Heath Ceramics.

I’ve had two different clients tell me that this is their favorite kitchen on Houzz. I can see why. It’s a beautiful light-filled space with clean lines and expansive white walls that gets a warm boost from the wood floors and that fantastic yellow glass mosaic backsplash. 

Backsplash: 1-inch by 2-inch glass tile in Corn, running bond pattern, from Global Tile Design.

Should You Save or Splurge When Selecting Products?

Article by Lauren Hunter

Major Kitchen Remodel, Midrange

Average cost: $56,768

The heart of the home is no place to skimp, but a major kitchen remodel doesn’t have to break the bank. High-ticket items, such as cabinetry and appliances, make up the largest chunk of the project cost but also allow for the most savings. Meanwhile, fixtures like sinks and faucets have smaller price tags but can quickly add up in cost. Here are some price ranges we found for the kitchen. Remember, lower-cost solutions, such as cabinet refacing and countertop resurfacing, broaden the price ranges even more.

Semi-custom cabinetry: $15,000 to $50,000 for 30 linear feet of cabinetry and a 3-by-5-foot island. Based on these numbers, outfitting the kitchen with top-of-the-line semi-custom cabinets costs almost as much as the entire national average project cost.

Appliances: Like cabinetry, this category can vary widely. Homeowners who want the basics can spend as little as $2,500, while high-end customers can spend six times that on the refigerator alone.

Laminate countertops: Look for $20 per square foot for standard styles, to $40 per square foot for materials using the latest imaging technologies. Are your clients dead-set on granite? Have them double that price range.

Standard faucet: Pick up a no-frills chrome-finish faucet for as little as $50. But if your client’s definition of “standard” includes a pull-out, pull-down, or side spray, prices quickly rise. Count on $150 to $550 for models with those features.

 

 

 

 

Bathroom Remodel, Midrange

Average Cost: $16,724

Bathrooms are four of the five most expensive Cost vs. Value projects ranked by cost per square foot. That said, fixture prices are reasonably consistent across manufacturers. Remind clients that while high-end fixtures and fancy tile can bust the budget, it’s labor they’ll pay the most for in these small spaces.

Ceramic tile: For the shower surround, we found 4-inch square ceramic tile for as little as 8 cents each, but double that if you want something other than plain white, and continue up to $13 per square foot, including accent tile for $1 or more each. On the floor, 12-inch square ceramic tile ranges from less than $1 per square foot to more than $5 per square foot for slate-look or patterned tile. Clients who want glass, natural stone, metal, or specially formatted designs can easily top their tile allowances.

Bathtubs: This project calls for a 60-by-30-inch alcove tub, which we found for as little as $220 for acrylic or $550 for porcelain-on-steel. Both materials topped out at around $1,500, with no bells or whistles. Add jets or other therapies and $1,500 can become the starting price.

Toilets: A quick $100 will buy the specified “standard white toilet,” but what does “standard” mean? One piece or two? Gallons per flush? Some design flair? Generally, two-piece toilets cost less than one-piece units, though either can be had for less than $250. Higher-price units can run $650, though we found some ornate designs priced as high as $1,400.

Deck Addition – Composite, Upscale

Average Cost: $36,385

With so many options on the market, composite decking may be among the more challenging product selections for homeowners to nail down, so to speak. Considered by some deck builders to be a step up from pressure-treated lumber for its durability and longevity, composite decking has been joined in recent years by all-plastic PVC decking and other selections that incorporate varying amounts of wood, plastic, and recycled content. Product composition plays into pricing, along with board dimensions, solid vs. hollow construction, capped vs. uncapped material, and capacity for hidden fasteners.

For this category, manufacturers asked us to remind users that pricing will vary by region and that labor will play heavily into the price of a decking project. Several companies also advised considering product life cycle and life span when choosing composite decking.

Composite decking:Keeping labor, regionality, and life span in mind, we found composite decking prices ranging from $1.63 to about $4 per linear foot. PVC products cost slightly more at upward of $5 per linear foot for some brands.

Railing: To complement the composite deck, this project calls for composite railing, which we found for $10 to $70 per linear foot. Vinyl options cost from $8 to $25, and aluminum from $5 to $35. Stair sections may be priced differently, and premium balusters and glass panels can run up to $150 per linear foot.

Roofing Replacement, Midrange

Average cost: $19,528

Asking for the price of asphalt shingles is like asking how much an airline ticket will cost. Pricing for commodity building materials such as shingles is heavily dependent on the cost of raw materials, and manufacturers regularly send “price increase alerts” to their distributors. In 2014, those price increases were around 5% to 9% for roofing materials.

That said, industry professionals note that downward price corrections do happen as the market demands. Additionally, contractors can often take advantage of bulk or package pricing options that reflect discounts off list prices, but may include labor costs—which can be hard to call out from the total. Take all those intricacies into account when considering the price for a 30-square roof. Pricing cited here reflects retail figures, which can vary significantly from distributor pricing.

Asphalt shingles: Three-tab shingles will be the most economical option at as low as $23 per bundle, but architectural shingles are a more popular choice and can run from $30 to $60 per bundle. With three to five bundles per square, the materials cost works out to $70 to $280 per square. Expect premiums on cool-roof products.

Felt underlayment: For $15 to $20 per roll retail, a roll of 15-pound felt covers about 4 squares, or half that with 30-pound felt. (Expect to spend $8 to $10 per square.) Synthetic underlayments cost about $14 to $25 per square, but their peel-and-stick properties may help reduce labor costs.

10 Stylish Options for Shower Enclosures

Article By: Michelle Gann

A shower is one of the first things you notice when you step into a bathroom, so make sure your enclosure not only matches your style but also accentuates your bathroom. 

We’ve all seen or lived in a home with the ever-so-famous enclosure framed in polished brass, but there are tons of other options with which to surround your shower. Whether you go for framed or frameless, or with no enclosure at all, choose your style wisely. 

1. Frameless glass shower enclosure. This is a very popular option right now because of its flexibility; a frameless glass enclosure lends itself to any style, whether it’s a clean, sleek design that appeals to modern tastes or a simple and understated one with an elegant and classic look. 

The glass itself is fairly easy to clean and maintain; it’s even more so if you get glass with a finish baked on that repels soap scum and water spots. Overall, frameless glass is a great way to showcase your shower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Aluminum and glassshower enclosure. Need a little something more to spruce up your shower? Don’t be afraid to be unique and try a shower surround that has flair. Created with glass panels set into an aluminum frame, this shower enclosure mimics the look of the tile in the back of the shower. The dark metal mixed with the clear glass gives the enclosure an eclectic feel.

 

3. Glass block shower enclosure. Eliminate the need for a door with a glass block enclosure. Glass block surrounds are versatile, and there are textured patterns on the blocks themselves. They have strong lines and give your bathroom a clean, cool look. 

The options are virtually limitless with glass blocks. You can find different block styles, thicknesses and even colors. 

4. Sliding enclosure.Want the beauty of glass but don’t have the room for a swinging door? Try a sliding glass door, a very practical space-saving option that’s also stylish.Sliding doors can be customized to fit any style and space, and are a great way to show off your shower and still have room for other bathroom fixtures.

Looking for a sliding glass door on a budget? Try a partially frameless sliding door. It will give you an airy look without breaking the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Tub enclosure. Just because you have a tub doesn’t mean you are stuck with a shower curtain. Tempered hinged glass can give you the best of both worlds: the ability to reach the fixtures and the ability to keep water in the shower. 

Also, tempered ⅜-inch frameless glass is very durable, so even if you bump the panel against your toilet or vanity, it won’t damage the glass.Tempered glass can be sandblasted to create a frosted look, providing some privacy as well as looking good. Have a little fun with a combination of frosted and clear glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Textured glass enclosure. If you want privacy without the frosted look, try a glass with texture. The beautiful textures are enhanced with water running down the glass and create a spa-like feel. Textured glass also allows for a see-through effect while masking specific details, making the bathroom seem larger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Bathroom by Other Metro Architects & Designers YLAB Arquitectos 

7. More than one entrance. Who says showers can have only one entrance? Having more than one way to get in and out of the shower is more than just practical. It creates so many design options and can give a bathroom a his-and-hers feel. It also will give you more space in the shower. 

A fully frosted surround gives this bathroom a very luxurious atmosphere, while the exposed sides of the enclosure give the room an open feel. This is great for tall, narrow bathrooms.

Looking for something a little less closed off? Try frosting only a portion of the panel to provide privacy while still showing off your fabulous shower.

 

 

 

 

 

8. No shower enclosure.Some bathroom layouts don’t require an enclosure at all. A consistent floor material makes this bathroom seem expansive. The open shower with just the tiled wall separating it from the vanity gives the bathroom a nice feeling of unity. 

Worried about keeping the heat in? Add a heated shower floor or a heat lamp in the ceiling (or both).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Bathroom by Los Angeles Architects & Designers Tim Barber LTD Architecture & Interior Design 

9. Framed enclosure.Framed enclosures are a popular option because they are a low-cost solution to the age-old problem of how to keep water in the shower. But just because the shower is framed doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Instead of polished brass, try a chrome finish for a look that can be classic or modern. 

Adjustable panels at the top allow for venting in this fully enclosed shower as well as give it a little flair. 

Want something affordable and traditional? Go with an oil-rubbed-bronze frame — and don’t forget to add a drain cover to match.

 

 

 

 

 

10. Tile and glass enclosure. A frameless glass door combined with tiled walls gives this bathroom an open look. A tile surround with frameless glass windows not only makes the shower feel bigger on the inside, it also allows plenty of light in. 

Need something more daring? Don’t be afraid to mix materials. Try a darker tile with rippled glass.

July Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

Article By: Laura Gaskill

July is a great time to tackle outdoor chores, like pepping up that curb appeal before the Fourth, and to lighten up your home, from clutter to energy bills. With Independence Day right around the corner here in the States, it’s also a great time to show some patriotic spirit and give back to your community by supporting local businesses or donating items to charity. Here are 12 to-dos to consider putting on your list this month.

Modern Porchby Austin Architects & Designers
austin outdoor design

1. Keep tabs on irrigation systems and water usage. Make sure your prized blooms don’t wilt in the heat by checking your irrigation system regularly. If your area has limits on water usage, be sure to set your timer accordingly.

2. Extend the life of your driveway and paths. Attend to small cracks and chips before they have a chance to grow.

Traditional Kitchen by Peachtree City Architects & Designers
Historical Concepts

3. If you live in the U.S., honor Independence Day with Americana, folk art and locally sourced goods. As you are out shopping this month, make a point of seeking out goods made in the USA. From vintage folk art at a summer fair to locally grown tomatoes, there are lots of things you can buy to support local businesses and craftspeople.

Traditional Landscape by Mercer Island Specialty Contractors
Shepherd Stoneworks

4. Start a garden journal. If you don’t already keep one, consider beginning a dedicated garden journal. Filled with your notes on what you planted and how each plant fared, this little notebook will be worth its weight in gold when planting time comes again.

5. Donate extra produce to a local food pantry. Wondering what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or tomatoes, once your neighbors and friends have had their fill? Ample Harvest, a nonprofit organization, helps link gardeners with local food pantries to feed those who are struggling. Check the group’s website to find a local food pantry that will accept your garden surplus. 

Contemporary Landscape by Mexico City Landscape Architects & Designers
A Pleno Sol

6. Increase shade in the garden. 

Cool off and spend more time outside comfortably with the addition of an umbrella, outdoor drapes or a shade canopy. If you have young children, consider setting up an extra umbrella or tent over their sandbox or favorite play area to avoid sunburns.

Traditional Living Room by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators
Tom Stringer Design Partners

7. Cut summer energy costs. Keep window shades and curtains tightly drawn during the day to maintain a cooler temperature indoors — exposed windows will heat up your home like a greenhouse. Be sure all window air conditioning units are tightly fitted, with no cold air escaping. For those with central air, setting your thermostat to a higher temperature while you are out during the day will help keep costs down.

Modern Living Room by New York Architects & Designers
Robert Young Architects

8. Go on a clutter-busting spree. Summer is a great time to pare down belongings. Try setting a timer for 15 minutes and see how many things you can get rid of … and if that felt too easy, do it again!

9. Paint something white. Evoke the whitewashed ease of a summer cottage or beach house with a coat of crisp white paint. Paint flea market furniture, old hand-me-downs or (for the brave) the walls and floor. 

Contemporary Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Designers
Feldman Architecture, Inc.

10. Clean fans and filters. Keep your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and air conditioning units running efficiently by cleaning and replacing filters regularly.

11. Wash windows inside and out. Let that summer sunshine in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry. If you want to avoid using a ladder outside, reach exterior windows with a window-washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer.

Traditional Exterior by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators
Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

12. Boost your home’s Fourth of July curb appeal.

 Whether or not your house is on the parade route, it feels good to freshen up porch plantings, trim hedges and 

hang those flags

July Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

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