Halloween Special! Save 30% on all Sensa Countertops

5 Favorite Granites for Gorgeous Kitchen Countertops

 Article by: Charmean Neithart

Selecting a countertop material for your kitchen remodel or new build is a big decision. I often encounter clients with a mental block when it comes to making a decision on the numerous considerations, like color and edge detail. Additionally, once the countertop hurdle is over, then there is cabinet selection. 

I like granite and use it often for its durability and its earthy colors that add great texture to a kitchen. I have a few favorites that I have worked with over the years. These granite selections get my stamp of approval because of color, movement and their flexibility in complementing different cabinet styles. Take a look at these countertop selections and how they seamlessly blend with either painted or stain-grade cabinets to make winning combinations.


5BestCountertops1.JPG

1. Bianco Romano

Bianco Romano with painted cabinets. I suggest this granite when I have a homeowner who wants that classic white kitchen. This granite works great with pure white, warm white or beige cabinets. Additionally, nickel or oil-rubbed-bronze hardwareworks great with all the colors of the stone, which include white, cream, gray and a deep bordeaux.


5BestCountertops2.JPG

Bianco Romano with stain-grade cabinets. Due to the warm white, beige and gray palette, this granite works equally as well with stain-grade cabinets. I have seen it work beautifully with walnut and medium oak.


5BestCountertops3.JPG

2. Seafoam Green

Seafoam green with painted cabinets. This granite is just beautiful. The shade of green is earthy, with gray and brown undertones. There are great markings in the stone that look almost geometric to me. This granite works with painted cabinets and satin nickel hardware. I prefer this stone when it is polished.


5BestCountertops4.JPG

Seafoam green with stain-grade cabinets. If you are looking for a rustic or earthy feel for your home, this is a great combination. Add oil-rubbed-bronze or copper fixtures for the perfect lodge experience.


5BestCountertops5.JPG

3. Costa Esmeralda

Costa Esmeralda with painted cabinets. I first came across this granite when I had a homeowner ask me to create an ocean palette throughout the house. This granite is between green and blue, and of course will vary from batch to batch. The green-blue of the stone blends perfectly with sandy white cabinets and nickel hardware and fixtures.


5BestCountertops6.JPG

Costa Esmeralda with stain-grade cabinets. It’s equally stunning with stain-grade cabinets, for a masculine and warm look. This granite works particularly well in light-filled kitchens; the sunlight highlights the stone’s complex coloring.


5BestCountertops7.JPG

4. Absolute Black

Absolute Black with painted cabinets. This is my idea of a classic kitchen. I love this traditional look of white cabinets and Absolute Black granite, which looks great polished or honed. Painted cabinets in many colors pair perfectly with this granite, and nickel, chrome or oil-rubbed-bronze fixtures and hardware look terrific.


5BestCountertops8.JPG

Absolute Black with stain-grade cabinets. Another classic look that can feel rustic or modern. I love Absolute Black with medium oak or walnut. Rift-cut oak also has a great transitional look.


5BestCountertops9.JPG

5. Typhoon Bordeaux

Typhoon Bordeaux with painted cabinets. One of my favorite granite selections, Typhoon Bordeaux comes in cream, gray, brown or brick red. It’s a perfect choice for a light kitchen that has red undertones in the flooring. This granite really can vary by batch, from subtle brick-red veining to strong waves of brick red. Try it with beige or cream cabinets for a warm, light-filled kitchen.


5BestCountertops10.JPG

Typhoon Bordeaux with stain-grade cabinets. I’m a sucker for warmth, so this combination really appeals to me. The brick red and browns in this granite pair beautifully with walnut, oak, mahogany and cherry cabinets. It works well in Spanish homes that feature Saltillo floors. The deep red and brown in the granite and the rustic charm of Spanish architecture are a match made in heaven.

New This Week: 4 Ways to Punch Up a White Kitchen

Article by: Mitchell Parker

These days the words “white kitchen” seem redundant. When nearly half of homeowners out there are choosing white cabinets for their kitchens (49 percent, according to a 2014 Houzz survey on kitchen trends), you know we’re experiencing a full-on white-kitchen craze. But restrict yourself to too much white and you run the risk of creating a space that looks downright sterile. And nobody wants to be reminded of a hospital cafeteria. 

Here, four designers share how they punched up mostly white kitchens with special features that brought color, personality and contrast.

1. Statement Tile

Designer: Renee Urbanowicz of Melton Design Build
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Size: 180 square feet (16½ square meters); about 15 feet by 12 feet (4.5 by 3.6 meters)
Year built: 1975

Special feature: Handmade 8-by-8-inch Italian tiles. The homeowners wanted to add life to their kitchen in a fun way while maintaining a contemporary feel. A photo of a similar island seen in a magazine from Mexico inspired this idea. In each set, only four tiles have the same pattern. To mix things up even more, designer Renee Urbanowicz placed them in a random pattern. 

Homeowners’ request: A contemporary, well-thought-out, easy-to-clean, family-focused space with durable surfaces. 

Plan of attack: This kitchen was part of a remodel project for a 1970s-built house. The designers and homeowners first chose the slab cabinet door style without detailing. They then selected the white color for the kitchen, followed by the main countertop, the custom island countertop and the appliances. The colored tile on the island was one of the last elements selected.

Why the design works: The original space felt closed off and dark. Urbanowicz removed walls and soffits, refinished the popcorn ceiling and added better lighting, a walk-in pantry and the focal-point island. Keeping the cabinets along the perimeter of the room allowed for increased functionality and storage. Keeping the appliances in about the same location as in the previous kitchen reduced the need for extensive rewiring and plumbing work.

Who uses it: A couple and their three children. 

Designer secret: “The key to designing a great kitchen is ensuring that your plans are both functional and beautiful,” Urbanowicz says. “In this space, we specifically focused on a balance between maximizing the storage and keeping things open to the dining, living and exterior areas. Using the same type of cabinetry throughout the home ensured there was continuity and enhanced the contemporary feel of the entire home.”

Splurges and savings: The homeowners saved on the tile and cabinet hardware so they could splurge on a thicker, custom countertop for the island.

Take-away: “Limiting the number of colors used in the finished palette for a space really helps preserve a timeless feel,” Urbanowicz says. “The white base allows for easy changes to be made throughout the years to come.”

The nitty-gritty: Cabinets: Full Access, Omega Cabinetry; countertop: lattice quartz, Pental Granite & Marble; sink: Whitehaven, Kohler; tile: Varese, Design Materials; faucet: Trinsic, Delta

Team:Studio Q Photography

2. Bold Bookshelf

Designer: Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop
Location: South End neighborhood of Boston
Year built: 1900

Special feature: A tall black bookshelf. “The client was really into the idea of having a minimal white kitchen look,” designer Chris Greenawalt says. “I felt that the space would be elevated if we added an element that was in complete contrast to everything else in the room.” Its color isn’t the only thing setting it apart. While the white cabinets are smooth, the medium-density fiberboard and thermofoil black cabinets and bookshelf have a bit of texture to them. 

Homeowners’ request: The previous layout was not working functionally and was choking an already tight space. The homeowners wanted the basics: a better flow, a place to store their kitchen items and a place for their books. 

Plan of attack: Greenawalt first asked the homeowners what wasn’t working for them. “I find that people tend to better express themselves when describing what they’re missing, not necessarily what they want,” he says. “I think this leads to a more personally tailored design instead of some generic kitchen as seen onReal Housewives.” 

The homeowners felt the standard off-the-shelf cabinets and finishes had to go. Greenawalt started with a hardworking island. It serves as a cleaning and prep area, houses most of the appliances and functions as a dining table. The island also improved flow by allowing for two passageways through the space instead of the bottleneck layout that had existed. 

What goes on here: This space acts as the kitchen, dining room, bar and library. 

Who uses it: Sheng Lin, a pharmacist and real estate agent, and Aaron Angotti, who works in financial services

Designer secret: “I’m proud of the way the bookcase looks and functions in the space,” Greenawalt says. “I really enjoy the minimalist aesthetic, but the look can quickly become boring if you don’t introduce some texture into the design.” 

The nitty-gritty: Faucet: Blanco 441197; refrigerator: 24-inch built-in, Liebherr; cooktop: four-burner gas, Miele KM360GSS; oven: 24-inch electric, Miele DGC6700XL; dishwasher: 18-inch with panel, Miele G4580SCVI; microwave: GE JEM3072SHSS; countertops: Corian in Glacier White with 3-inch drop edge; cabinetry: custom, Camio; rolling ladder: Richelieu

Team: Michel Beaudry (builder); Camio Custom Cabinetry; Matt Delphenich (photographer)

3. Standout Island

Designer: Sydney Bond of Effect Home Builders
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Size: About 250 square feet (23 square meters)
Year built: 2014

Special features: A reclaimed-beechwood countertop on a blue-base island. Black granite on the perimeter countertops provides additional contrast. Soft gray-blue paint above the sink complements the island and continues on the walls throughout most of the main floor. “Blues are used a lot throughout the home,” designer Sydney Bond says. “A prairie-sky palette is familiar and comforting to Albertans.” 

Homeowners’ request: Spacious, with lots of windows. The homeowners also preserve fruits and vegetables from their garden and bake and cook every day, so the kitchen needed to be functional for that and have ample storage. 

Plan of attack: The hand-scraped walnut floors came first, followed by the white cabinets. From there came the countertops, then a subtle subway tile backsplash that wouldn’t take away from the main feature: the reclaimed-wood countertop on the island. The lighting and paint colors came last. Customized storage includes a recycling center, cookbook shelves and glass-front cabinets for displaying accessories. “There is an interesting mixture of some very traditional elements, like the apron sink and deck faucet, and then very modern elements, like the induction cooktop that blends in with the black granite,” Bond says. 

Who uses it: A husband and wife, both of whom are doctors, and their son and daughter, whom they home-school. Designer secret: Using charcoal-colored grout with white subway tile. “This small design element makes a world of difference,” Bond says. The grout helps transition the white cabinets to the stark black countertops. It was also a practical decision. “White grout is beautiful, but you will drive yourself crazy trying to keep it white,” Bond says.

“Uh-oh” moment: “When cabinets were made and installed but were not made to accommodate the apron sink the homeowners purchased,” Bond says. “Somehow this was not communicated to the cabinetmaker. A cast iron apron sink weighs a ton, and needs to be considered when designing the cabinets. Luckily, we were able to find an apron sink with a smaller apron and a bit smaller width, and the cabinetmaker made adjustments onsite to make it fit.”

Splurges and savings: By saving on the simple porcelain subway tile, the homeowners were able to splurge on the reclaimed-wood slab on the island. 

Take-away: “Elegance can be found in sometimes the most understated areas,” Bond says. “The kitchen is meant to be functional, but it turned out being one of the most beautiful rooms in the home. All it took was a couple of feature elements in a simple white kitchen to make a standout space.”

The nitty-gritty: Backsplash and flooring: Builder’s Floor Centre; cabinetry: Pioneer Cabinets; countertop: granite: Granite Worx; lights, faucets and pot filler: BA Robinson; reclaimed-wood island top: Flo Form; appliances: Miele; wall paint: Zephyr, Cloverdale; island base paint: Iron Mountain, Benjamin Moore; cabinet paint: Simply White, Benjamin Moore; wall coverings: National Drapery

Team: Fuse Architecture + DesignPioneer CabinetsMerle Prosofsky (photographer)

4. Material Mix — Reclaimed Wood, Copper and Iron

Designers: Michael and Betty Terry of Graystone Custom Builders 
Location: Newport Beach, California
Size: About 335 square feet (31 square meters)
Year built: 2015

Special features: Exposed reclaimed-wood rafters. A range hood handcrafted out of treated copper and trimmed in painted white millwork. Chicken wire on the upper row of cabinets. A darker paint color on the base of the island that grounds the white marble countertop. Slipcovered chairs that complement the seaside color scheme found elsewhere in the home. 

Granite perimeter countertops have the look of soapstone without the maintenance, and play beautifully with the Michelangelo Calacatta marble island countertop. The rustic white painted brick backsplash contrasts the cabinet details — dentil molding and beading — and bell jar light fixtures. Iron doors open to an outdoor patio.

Homeowners’ request: A rustic-meets-refined kitchen with a coastal theme. “This is the heartbeat of the home, right in the center,” designer Betty Terry says. 

Who uses it: An empty-nest couple who likes to entertain. 

“Uh-oh” moment: Where to end the brick backsplash. The designers eventually decided to continue the brick around the corner and into the hall. 

Splurges and savings: The homeowners liked the look of soapstone for the perimeter countertops but were able to save half the cost by going with granite. They splurged on the reclaimed-wood beams, details on the custom cabinetry and copper hood. The iron doors were the biggest splurge. 

The nitty-gritty: Island countertops: Michelangelo Calacatta marble, Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery; bell jar light fixtures: Hampton pendants, Hudson Valley; sink: Barclay 36-inch single-bowl farm sink, Pirch; faucet and fittings: Waterstone Annapolis collection, Pirch; range: 48-inch dual-fuel range, Thermador; dishwasher: panel-ready, Thermador; wine fridge: 24-inch stainless steel, Miele; refrigerator: 30-inch stainless steel, Miele; freezer drawer: 30-inch panel-ready, Sub-Zero; ice maker: Perlick; bifold iron doors: Euroline Steel Windows & Doors; slipcovered stools and window covering: Blackband Design

Got a Disastrously Messy Area? Try Triage

Article by: Alison Hodgson

For those of us who are Not Naturally Organized, running a household can be overwhelming. “I don’t even know where to begin” is a common lament. We look at our Naturally Organized family members and friends and wonder how they do it. How do they stay on top of everything? 

The short (and terrible) answer is, they never allow things to get out of hand. 

“Well, that’s not helpful,” you may be thinking. What if — asking for a friend — your house is completely out of hand and has been for some time? Where do you even start?

You start with a system designed especially for disasters: triage.

In medical terms, triage is the process of sorting victims of a battle or disaster into three categories:

  • Those who will probably live whether or not they receive care
  • Those who will probably die whether or not they receive care
  • Those whose lives may be saved by immediate care

But we were talking about houses! What does triage have to do with cleaning?

Consider a personal example. My home (which is not the one pictured here) has an open-concept plan. The front door opens into a small entry, and from there you can see it all: kitchen to the left, living room to the right and a long harvest table straight ahead. 

I told you before how I ignored one end of our dining room table while I focused on keeping our kitchen island clear. The north end of our table was dead to me while I worked to save our island and, really, our entire kitchen. The living room was never in any danger; I had that well in hand from the very beginning. 

Triage worked. I focused my energy on keeping the kitchen counters clean and cleared and allowed my family’s mess to accumulate on the table. Once maintaining the kitchen became habitual, I turned my attention to the table. We’re still building our housekeeping muscle there, but more often than not it’s clear.

In my kitchen I prioritized using the triage system: Everything on the outside (counters, sink, cabinets, appliances) is kept neat and clean, but a few of my cabinets aren’t well organized. My baking cupboard is a jumble, and so is one of the cabinets where I store food storage containers. For the first I need to buy containers to decant my dried goods, and for the other, adding another shelf would probably solve the problem. For now these cabinets are in the first category of triage: They’ll live. I’ll get to them later. 

If my desk met this desk at a party and tried to strike up a conversation based on commonalities, “I too am a wooden and horizontal surface” is pretty much all it would have to say.

On the other end of the spectrum is my desk. I have a small study just off the living room, accessible by French doors. There’s just enough room for a daybed, bookshelves and my desk. I keep the daybed neatly made, and it’s a favorite spot where my kids read. The desk is a hellhole, pure and simple, and forever it’s been in the most dire category of triage: as good as dead. I have been willing to shove piles of paper around until I noticed that my Naturally Organized husband (who often brings work home on the weekends) always sets up at our dining room table. I asked him if he would like to work on the desk in the study if I cleared it up, and he said yes, so the desk is getting moved up to the life-saving category.

If you would like to try triage for your own disaster relief, here are a few things to consider: 

Start with what’s visible. This is obvious, but it can go against the instincts of those of us who are Not Naturally Organized. How many times have you said, “We’re getting this place all cleaned up!” and then dumped out drawers, taken everything out of cupboards scrubbed them and then collapsed half-way through sorting everything and ended up with an even bigger mess? Yeah, me too. We tend to swing between perfection and squalor. 

If you’re cleaning the bathroom, just clean it. Scrub the sinks, tub and toilet; sweep the floor; wash the mirror; but do not clean out the cabinet under the sink. When cleaning has become habitual, then you can go for it.

Lower your standards. We love our pretty pictures, and there is a tender ache reserved for beautifully organized spaces. Show me a pantry with containers neatly labeled, and you have my heart. 

The day my house burned down, seemingly out of nowhere my arm shot in the air, and I shouted, “We’re getting a walk-in pantry!” Everyone attributed that to shock, but I was absolutely clear, and today I do have a walk-in pantry with shelves floor to ceiling. I love it. Is it swoonworthy? No. Does it store a ton of food, extra serving pieces, cleaning supplies and small appliances? Definitely, and it’s organized enough.

Don’t trust your instincts. Those of us who are Not Naturally Organized need to check our impulses when we decide to clean and organize. What we’re itching to do is rarely what we ought to do. For example, we have built-in bookcases flanking our fireplace. When we moved a year after the fire, the books I replaced numbered in the hundreds and not the thousands I once owned. As I continued to buy books, I simply set them on the shelves without a lot of organization, and that’s been fine. They’re routinely dusted and pulled forward so they’re always neat, and yet I have been longing to empty all the shelves and reorganize everything. 

This is a little tricky because this needs to be done, but not today. Before I tear into that project, I need to install some shelves in the study and really, of all the things I have going on, it’s a lower priority. My books are totally in category one. They’ll live without rearranging.

How to Make Your Mudroom Shine

Article by: Mary Jo Bowling

A recent Houzz Call for your mudroom photos drew a lot of praise for this drop-it-all zone off the entryway — and some strong opinions. Perhaps the highest praise came from reader lake1114, who said, “The mudroom is one of the best house creations since indoor plumbing.” When we talked with Houzzers who have created great mudrooms, we found out more about the layout, setup and cost of this hardworking space. All of them emphasized one thing: A mudroom is as individual as the people who use it.

Architects Byron Haynes and Andrew Garthwaite of Haynes & Garthwaite Architects say that mudroomsare essential in New England and other areas that have wet and/or cold weather. In fact, the home feature is so key, when the men launched their practice 18 years ago, “No mudroom is too small” was their private (and only half-joking) motto. “I believe one of our first projects was a mudroom off a garage,” says Garthwaite.

Nearly two decades and many mudrooms later, they still believe in the importance of the space. According to these New Hampshire architects, the front door on most New England homes is ceremonial. “Most people enter through the garage,” says Haynes. “But the key thing is that it has to be in a location that’s convenient.” And by “people,” he means guests too; that’s why the architects generally make the mudrooms fit the style of the house.

The configuration of the room depends on what their clients want. “We have clients who don’t like to see any clutter, and they want everything put away. For those people we give them closets and cabinets,” says Garthwaite.

“But for some others, such as people with kids, it’s more important that everything be accessible and easy to find. Those are the people who do well with cubbies or hooks,” Garthwaite says.

When it comes to cubbies, the architects have found that a stack of niches — one for shoes on the floor, one for coats in the middle and one for less frequently used items on the top — works nicely.

A lot of mudrooms on Houzz are more than mudrooms — some incorporate laundries, message centers and even craft tables. When clients ask Garthwaite and Haynes for additional functions in the mudroom, it’s generally a powder room, a dog shower or a small countertop that can hold keys and mail.

In terms of surfaces, the architects think the key surface is the floor. They say that most of their projects have some variety of a slip-resistant natural stone, such as Vermont slate, but they have also used porcelain tiles and Marmoleum. “We think the best mudroom floor materials don’t absorb water, aren’t slippery and are easy to clean,” says Haynes.

Travis and Arielle Weedman, of Weedman Design Partners in Oregon, do all kinds of mudrooms, but in general their philosophyis “less is more.” The two remodel a lot of older homes, and they find that there’s not always room for a large mudroom lined with hooks and cabinets. “In my opinion, mudrooms that work well have just what you need on a daily basis,” says Travis. “There are other places in the house to store the rest.” 

Case in point: The small but mighty drop zone seen here, which the Weedmans created in the entry of an older home. It holds the bare essentials: a bench for removing shoes, a mesh-front cabinet for hanging jackets and stowing backpacks (note: Each family member has one jacket space here, and the bottom of the unit is divided into two backpack cubbies), drawers under the bench for stowing shoes and a small drawer for keys.

“I personally don’t think every pair of shoes belongs in the mudroom,” says Travis. “That’s what the bedroom closet is for.” Following that line of thinking, the two adults and two kids in this household each stow just one pair of shoes here.

The key drawer is seen at right; the small cupboard below is for the dog’s leash and waste bags.

The Weedmans have designed mudrooms with painted cabinets and with natural wood finishes. “Natural wood wears well and does not chip, but wood painted with a semigloss paint should be easy to wipe down,” says Arielle. “A lot of it is simply personal preference.”

Individual styles also come into play for colors of walls and floors. “We have clients who don’t like to see dirt, so they choose darker colors,” she says. “However, we have others who want to see the dirt so they can clean it.”

Shelly Lindstrom, of Fluidesign Studiohas designed a number of mudrooms that were built by Barak Steenlage, of Anchor Builders, including this one. In her design mind, the room should be laid out carefully with an eye to operations, just like a kitchen. “There’s a high level of traffic in these rooms, so you want to make sure there’s good flow,” she says. “It should be easy to enter and exit, and you should be able to do so without causing everyone to shuffle around. You don’t want people to have to move so others can walk in or out.”

Other layout considerations include sight lines and seating. “In general you want to make sure you can’t see directly into the mudroom from other parts of the house. Not everyone wants to see a row of drying boots,” Lindstrom says. “And you will always need a place to sit to remove boots and shoes.”

Lindstrom echoes the other designers when she says that flooring needs to be durable and not slippery. For other finishes she favors beadboard paneling painted in a semigloss finish. “I like the lighter, brighter feeling of painted wood, and I’ve found it much easier to clean and maintain than drywall,” she says. The designer says she usually reserves darker wood for the top of bench seating, because that area takes the brunt of the wear.

Many of her clients with kids choose open hooks for coat and backpack storage. Lindstrom favors hooks with two prongs — one for coats, one for backpacks.

Costs: You can create a mudroom inexpensively with freestanding lockers and cubbies, or you can invest in custom built-ins. The consensus among the architects and designers interviewed is that setting up a built-in mudroom can range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000, depending on the amount of cabinetry and built-ins.

Haynes and Garthwaite estimate that a budget between $5,000 and $10,000 would be needed.

Arielle Weedman says there’s quite a range in costs of mudrooms, and notes that many of them are folded into kitchen renovations. She would budget roughly $3,000 to $10,000 for a mudroom project, and says a mudroom similar to the one shown previously from her company would cost roughly $7,500.

 

“In Minnesota you could spend between $1,000 and $8,000 to do a mudroom in a renovation,” Lindstrom says. “For a mudroom addition, you would expect to spend $15,000 and up.”

A comment from fern6951 sums it up nicely: “Each person/family has different lifestyles, so each mudroom needs to be designed differently. Some people need and want a simple, bare-bones, workhorse of a room; others prefer something more refined. There are no right or wrong ways to set up a mudroom as long as it works for the family living there.”

Bathroom Remodel Insight: A Houzz Survey Reveals Homeowners’ Plans

Article by:

Older and younger generations often have widely differing viewpoints. But who knew bathrooms could be so divisive? In a recent Houzz survey, we asked homeowners planning a bathroom remodel or already in the process of one about their needs and desires. Of the 7,645 people who responded, young and old homeowners tended to fall into two clear groups. 

Homeowners 65 and older are more likely to skip adding a bathtub than those under 35. This could be for any number of reasons, but it’s likely that younger homeowners may have or expect to have children, who would be more likely to use a tub. Plus, those 65 and older likely choose showers because they’re more accessible for aging in place.

Bathtubs have traditionally boosted resale value (which 31 percent of the respondents said was the driving factor for their bathroom remodel), but older people may be planning to hang on to their homes longer, so resale isn’t as much of an issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those adding tubs, freestanding models top the list, with 33 percent of respondents preferring them over drop-ins, undermounts and other styles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young and old are also split on how they like their showers. If you’re under 45, you’re more likely to choose a rain shower and multiple showerheads. If you’re over 55, you likely prefer hand showers and sliding bars.

 

Meanwhile, there are two camps when it comes to, er, No. 2. The survey found an even split when it comes to toilet exposure: 52 percent of people want an open toilet versus one behind a closed door. Younger homeowners (25 to 34 years old) prefer tankless or wall-mounted models over the traditional two-piece ones. 

Upgrading features and fixtures was the main reason cited for remodeling a bathroom (49 percent). Frameless glass is one of the more popular choices. About 79 percent of people will choose all-glass enclosures for their main shower, and 54 percent will chose frameless glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lighting is important too, whether it’s bringing in the natural sunshine with skylights or adding more LED lights. New windows top the list too, with 48 percent of respondents saying they plan to add a window and 41 percent a lighted vanity mirror. And if that’s not enough, 7 percent say they’ll add a showerhead with LED lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, 42 percent of all respondents are planning to add a shower seat. I think it was Winston Churchill who said, “Why stand when you can sit?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White cabinets are the preferred color choice, with 32 percent of homeowners saying they’ll choose this ultimate neutral hue.

 

Brushed nickel (26 percent) and polished chrome (24 percent) are the front-runners for faucet finishes.

Bathroom Remodel: A Survey Reveals Homeowners’ Plans

Article by: Mitchell Parker

Older and younger generations often have widely differing viewpoints. But who knew bathrooms could be so divisive? In a recent Houzz survey, we asked homeowners planning a bathroom remodel or already in the process of one about their needs and desires. Of the 7,645 people who responded, young and old homeowners tended to fall into two clear groups.

Contemporary Bathroom

by

Glen Ellyn Kitchen & Bath Remodelers

Drury Design

Homeowners 65 and older are more likely to skip adding a bathtub than those under 35. This could be for any number of reasons, but it’s likely that younger homeowners may have or expect to have children, who would be more likely to use a tub. Plus, those 65 and older likely choose showers because they’re more accessible for aging in place.

Bathtubs have traditionally boosted resale value (which 31 percent of the respondents said was the driving factor for their bathroom remodel), but older people may be planning to hang on to their homes longer, so resale isn’t as much of an issue.

Traditional Bathroom

by

Atlanta General Contractors

Cablik Enterprises

For those adding tubs, freestanding models top the list, with 33 percent of respondents preferring them over drop-ins, undermounts and other styles. 

Contemporary Bathroom

by

Bethesda Design-Build Firms

ART Design Build

Young and old are also split on how they like their showers. If you’re under 45, you’re more likely to choose a rain shower and multiple showerheads. If you’re over 55, you likely prefer hand showers and sliding bars.

Rustic Bathroom

by

Toronto Photographers

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

Meanwhile, there are two camps when it comes to, er, No. 2. The survey found an even split when it comes to toilet exposure: 52 percent of people want an open toilet versus one behind a closed door. Younger homeowners (25 to 34 years old) prefer tankless or wall-mounted models over the traditional two-piece ones.

Traditional Bathroom

by

Fort Washington General Contractors

HomeTech Renovations, Inc.

Upgrading features and fixtures was the main reason cited for remodeling a bathroom (49 percent). Frameless glass is one of the more popular choices. About 79 percent of people will choose all-glass enclosures for their main shower, and 54 percent will chose frameless glass.

Traditional Bathroom

by

Duxbury Design-Build Firms

ARCHIA HOMES

Lighting is important too, whether it’s bringing in the natural sunshine with skylights or adding more LED lights. New windows top the list too, with 48 percent of respondents saying they plan to add a window and 41 percent a lighted vanity mirror. And if that’s not enough, 7 percent say they’ll add a showerhead with LED lights.

Transitional Bathroom

by

Victoria Architects & Designers

The Sky is the Limit Design

Also, 42 percent of all respondents are planning to add a shower seat. I think it was Winston Churchill who said, “Why stand when you can sit?”

Traditional Bathroom

by

Larkspur Architects & Designers

McCoppin Studios

White cabinets are the preferred color choice, with 32 percent of homeowners saying they’ll choose this ultimate neutral hue.

Contemporary Bathroom

by

Portland Kitchen & Bath Designers

Kirstin Havnaer, Hearthstone Interior Design, LLC

Brushed nickel (26 percent) and polished chrome (24 percent) are the front-runners for faucet finishes.

Conquer Clutter With Drawers: 14 Inventive Solutions

Article by:

For many years drawers knew their place in the home. They were filled with a jumble of junk in the kitchen, stocked with sweaters and shirts in the bedroom, and crammed with pens and rubber bands in the office. But designers have begun to recognize the flexibility of this design staple. There’s nothing like an easy-to-access drawer to organize — or hide — the essentials of daily life. 

Consider these options to conquer the clutter in your home. 

This narrow stairway features a truly ingenious storage solution: two of the risers are fitted with drawers to make a pile of shoes disappear in a flash.

 

Tired of tying up your kitchen outlets charging phones, tablets and laptops? Install a power strip in the back of a drawer and let your electronics recharge sight unseen. Just make sure the drawer is shorter than normal to allow room for the power strip’s cord in the back. 

Make edibles a design detail: Display your pasta or legumes in glass-fronted drawers. Brightly colored varieties (think red beans and spinach pasta) look best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of wrestling the ironing board out of the closet whenever you need to touch up a shirt, get one of these nifty folding versions that fit into — guess what? — a drawer.

 

Wine lasts longer and tastes better if it’s stored away from the light. This drawer, with its handy wooden cradles, keeps vino safe and close at hand. Don’t put the drawer near the oven, though, as heat is also a no-no. 

Even doggies appreciate their own dining area. Keep their bowls off the floor and out of the way with a pet-friendly drawer that slides out at mealtime.

 

Forget drying delicates over a shower rod or the back of a chair. These skinny drawers are fitted with water-resistant racks that allow air to circulate, so your clothes will be ready to wear before you know it. 

Store clothes, sheets and blankets in drawers tucked under a platform bed. These beds work especially well in small rooms where there’s no space for a dresser. 

To eke out storage in every last corner of your kitchen, utilize the space under the cabinets with kick drawers. (They’re tucked in behind the cabinet’s toe kick.) This one hides a folding step stool to reach those high shelves, but you could also use this space to hold trays or cookie sheets. 

Clean up your entryway and keep track of outerwear by hiding it in discreet drawers. The ones here are faced with beadboard that matches the wainscoting.

 

Instead of there being a traditional ladder to access the top bunks in this kids’ room, a cleverly designed stack of drawers acts as a staircase. 

Need extra space for guests? Add a bed in a drawer that disappears under a window seat when it’s not needed. 

The pipes under a kitchen sink have always made it difficult to organize cleaning supplies. This drawer, with its U-shaped wire basket, is designed to fit around the piping, so you can easily access spray bottles, sponges and scrub brushes. 

This airy kitchen nook not only provides comfy benches for seating, but the drawers underneath can hide kitchen equipment.

Serveware Storage That’ll Serve You Well

It’s time to get those awkward serving platters safely stored so you can enjoy a season’s worth of cocktail and dinner parties without losing your head. Seriously, precariously stacked platters are dangerous. Consider these ideas for keeping your platters secure but handy, so they’re ready when you need them at party time. 

Traditional Kitchen

by

Mamaroneck Kitchen & Bath Designers

Dearborn Cabinetry LLC

Stacking too many heavy platters on top of one another in an overhead cabinet is a recipe for disaster. It’s great to have a variety of platters to handle whatever dish you’re serving, but that assortment means your platters probably don’t stack well. 

Keeping platters up high is actually a great space saver; the key is to fashion a deep shelf with partitions so platters can be stashed sideways. Standard upper cabinets are 12 inches deep, whereas base and floor-to-ceiling cabinets measure 24 inches, making the latter the most obvious cabinetry option for large platters.

Going vertical. The team at Dearborn Cabinetry included tray storage over this built-in microwave, making efficient use of the work area’s height. Built-in dividers placed in narrow increments keep upright platters safe, visible and reachable.

Traditional Kitchen

by

Chicago Kitchen & Bath Designers

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

The top tier of a floor-to-ceiling pantry is ideal for partitioned platter storage. It keeps trays available when needed but out of the way of the pantry’s more frequently used areas. Keep a folding stool nearby to lessen any temptation to climb up shelves.

Eclectic Kitchen

by

Berkeley Closet & Home Storage Designers

California Closets

The comprehensive shelving system in this closet-style pantry takes the need for a stool out of the platter-finding equation. This setup includes vertical storage for muffin pans, another one of the tricky-shaped tools so often used around the holidays.

Modern Spaces

by

Howard Lake Cabinets & Cabinetry

Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Horizontal stacks. If you still prefer to stack platters, use a deep cabinet or appliance garage and set horizontal shelves in a narrow formation, like in this setup by Dura Supreme. Take advantage of a cabinet’s predrilled borings, if it has them, by adding as many shelves as you need to maximize capacity. You can get additional shelves from the manufacturer or have new ones made to match.

Traditional Kitchen

by

Woodbridge Interior Designers & Decorators

miriam manzo

Show it off. Plate racks are an ideal way of putting your favorite dishware on display. If your home is older, you just might be lucky enough to have a built-in plate rack. If not, a carpenter can recess one within a wall (as long as the recess is free of plumbing, electricity or venting) and match the rest of the kitchen’s finishes.

Traditional Kitchen

by

Hagerstown General Contractors

david lyles developers

This rack keeps platters near the ovens and island but doesn’t get in the way of the kitchen’s everyday work zones.

Eclectic Kitchen

by

Other Metro Media & Bloggers

Jeanette Lunde

These two vintage racks turn an empty wall into effective (and pretty) platter storage.

Mediterranean Kitchen

by

Dallas General Contractors

Gage Homes Inc.

A more extensive version such as this tall rack allows ample space for plates and platters by placing them sideways. Because its location doesn’t hinge on a connection to cabinetry, it can be hung at any level that makes the most sense.

Traditional Kitchen

by

Greensboro Kitchen & Bath Designers

Cabinet Concepts, Greensboro

Don’t forget base cabinets. If your platters are heavy or you use them often, keep them at hand in deep, partitioned drawers like this one from Cabinet Concepts. No stools needed to find what you’re looking for.

Traditional Kitchen

by

Mountain View Appliances

Kitchens by Meyer Inc.

A single, full-size pullout behind cabinet doors provides room for larger platters. Its location directly under a large countertop ensures an ample workstation for filling up a big serving dish.

Asian Kitchen

by

Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators

Slesinski Design Group, Inc.

Take advantage of shallow spaces. If storage is a difficult thing to find room for, make room in unexpected places, like shallow drawers. In this kitchen the otherwise wasted space below the base cabinets has been utilized for valuable storage.

Woodipedia: Is It Cherry or Is It Alder?

Article By:

Stains have made it very easy to color one type of wood to make it look like another kind. But there are two species of wood that really do look alike in their raw state: cherry and alder. Here’s how to tell the difference. 

When you think of a cozy country kitchen, most likely you are envisioning warm-colored cherry cabinets. “Cherry was one of the most popular cabinet woods in rural areas throughout the country, because it was so widely distributed across the United States,” notes Andy Richmond, vice president and certified appraiser at Garth’s Antiques in Delaware, Ohio.

Yet there is another wood species that features a milder version of cherry’s reddish tones and grain patterns. Alder is affectionately referred to by woodworkers as “poor man’s cherry.” With a coat of finish, it can easily pass for cherry to less-discerning eyes. 

Cherry basics. When we speak of cherry, we are really referring to black cherry — Prunus serotina. A distinctive element of most cherry wood is gum spots, or pitch pockets. They’re short, black streaks that look like hardened resin deposits.

Sometimes cherry has pin knots — tiny brown circles that again add visual interest. High-end cherry is figured, meaning undulating rays of light seem to shoot across the grain, lending the board a shimmering depth. This radiant effect is called chatoyance.

 

Alder basics. Commonly known as red alder, Alnus rubra grows principally in the Pacific Northwest, where it is the most commercially abundant hardwood. The consistent grain pattern and quiet coloration of alder is polarizing. Some people like it for exactly that reason, while other people find it boring. Alder can have pin knots, but it doesn’t have gum spots.

You’ll sometimes hear references to clear or knotty alder, but those are just general descriptions. “That’s not a grade,” says Walt Maas, manager of Bohnhoff Lumber in Vernon, California. “There are industry standards for grading lumber — like there are for grading meat. Each type of wood has its own specifications that professional hardwood lumber graders follow.” 

This makes it easier to compare prices when shopping. However, Maas notes that some companies put their own proprietary grades on lumber, which makes comparison shopping more difficult. 

Differences between cherry and alder. There are three main differences. First, alder is significantly softer, so it weighs less. Second, alder is cheaper. And finally, alder has no sapwood, which is the creamy colored wood on the edge of a board. Like walnut, cherry is known for having a lot of sapwood. 

Cost. Cherry’s price is somewhat dependent upon the amount of sapwood. Most boards have more heartwood (the pinkish-red color) on one side and noticeably more sapwood on the opposite side. The percentage of each on a single board influences pricing. Another factor is board width. Wider boards of all species are more expensive.

Maas reports that the current wholesale price of cherry at his yard is $3.20 per board foot. Alder is priced substantially lower, at $2.70 per board foot. 

Color. While alder is fairly even in color, cherry’s basic red cast can have a whole spectrum of variations. This makes it difficult for woodworkers to color match the boards on large projects. Gene Leslie of Rancho Cucamonga, California (who made the cherry cabinets shown here) evened out the disparate tones by treating all the wood with lye to artificially age it while maintaining the clarity of the grain. Amateurs need to be thoroughly educated on this process before attempting it, however, since lye is highly caustic. 

When making tabletops and cabinet door panels, woodworkers frequently cut off the sapwood to feature the prized heartwood. The sapwood is then used for the interior structures, especially in drawer construction. 

Durability. Black cherry rates 950 on the Janka scale for hardness, which puts it on equal footing with soft maple but far below tougher hard maple (1,450) and black walnut (1,010). 

Alder is rated 590, ranking it as a very soft hardwood, slightly above poplar (540).

 

 

 

Not cherry. While there are no wood types erroneously identified as alder, there are several misnamed cherries. Chief among them is Brazilian cherry, also known as Jatoba. It’s an extremely popular flooring choice these days, not only because of its cherry-like color, but also because of its durability. Brazilian cherry rates 2,350 on the Janka scale. (Remember, hard maple is 1,450.)


Other woods masquerading as cherry are Patagonian cherry, Bolivian cherry and African cherry, which is also known as Makore.
 

Finishing. Cherry and alder are both prone to blotching when finishing coats are applied. Again, some people accept this as a beautiful trait of real wood, while other woodworkers try every finishing trick in the business to minimize it. It’s a good idea to ask for a finished sample. 

UV stability. Cherry naturally patinates to a darker, richer color over time. American antiques specialist Andy Richmond notes that antique cherry furniture can resemble mahogany.

It’s also a notoriously UV-unstable wood, which some woodworkers use to their advantage. To quickly and painlessly deepen the color of some cherry boards, woodworker Gene Leslie intentionally leaves them out in the sun after milling them. 

Sustainability. Domestic hardwoods have been endorsed by the U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture as a preferred green building material — in large part due to the responsible harvesting methods practiced by the American hardwood industry. The other important factor in the sustainability of American hardwoods is the minimal transportation requirements, compared to those of imported exotics.