Posted in Back splashes, cabinet hardware, Cabinets, Counter tops, Kitchen Trends, Kitchens, Kitchens Don'ts, Maple Cabinets, Oak Cabinets, Paint, Resale Value, Return on Investment, Traditional Kitchens, Trends in Tile, White Kitchens

Musings on when to paint your cabinets

So your house is not selling. It’s sitting on the market without offers while other houses in the neighborhood are selling while your home continues to linger. Feedback from your realtor says that potential buyers don’t like the kitchen. Realtors advise depersonalizing your home, (remove family photos and personal “clutter”), so buyers can get a better sense for how this home would fit their lifestyle.  But how do you depersonalize your dated kitchen? Your father may have built or installed these cabinets or you may have selected your favorite maple wood stain but does that matter to the buyer?  Remember, they are not buying for sentimental value.

Do you dig in and wait for the buyer who likes your taste to come along months down the line or do you appeal to more home buyers who desire the current trends and get your house sold quicker?

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Kitchen Circa 1990’s. Floors Circa 2015. Fresh coat of paint, hardware, new counter tops and splash and this kitchen would be charming!

A former client was shocked that their house is still sitting on the market with really insulting low ball offers while the cheaply renovated neighbors house sold in 10 days. This is a sad case of letting your personal style getting in the way of selling your home. It doesn’t pay to be annoyed that your dated cabinets are better quality than your neighbor’s cheap but cute “ok-Ikea” kitchen. If it’s dated, even though it was in style when you remodeled 10, 20 or 30 years ago, facts are facts: out of style kitchens are a big fat negative for the buyer who wants a move-in ready home.

Are you ready to drop $100,000 or more off of your asking price so you can sell your house? Ready for a change?  Or for a modest investment in paint, cabinet hardware and new counter tops, you can update for kitchen for a quicker sale.

Let’s get started:  Consider what’s fresh and timeless versus what home-buyers consider dated and dreary.

# 1: Consider painting your wood cabinets, (yes I said it, paint your wood cabinets!). It’s ok to paint wood. Hire a professional painter to get the job done fast and efficiently.

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Bright white and wood look charcoal plank tile floors as shown in a model home at the Oaks at Portola Hills.

Take a tour of model homes in your area to get a sense of what is trending in your town.

# 2: For a bit more elbow grease, route out the door panels and add clear glass for a vibrant change in your wall cabinets.

# 3: Add cabinet hardware to your cabinets. It’s the jewelry in the kitchen. Brushed nickel or polished chrome knobs and pulls add a nice touch.

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Caesarstone Shitake Counter tops, Brookhaven by Wood-Mode Cabinetry

#4: Are your wood stained cabinets in good shape but the counters are Uba Tuba or Baltic Brown granite? Rip out the counters and splash! Install new counter tops in a light quartz. Back splashes with a little pizzazz becomes a focal point in the kitchen.

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Cherry wood with Mosaic stone and glass tile for the splash and quartz counter top.
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Paint White Cabinets, mosaic & subway backsplash, quartzite slab, polished chrome pulls

Pick up any kitchen magazine and you’ll find a majority of the covers show kitchens with quartz or quartzite counters. Dark & busy counter tops appeal to fewer people.

Even the quartz manufacturer’s weed out dated colors. I just threw out 10 sample blocks from one of my vendors that discontinued colors that were popular 4 years ago but not today. Edit out what doesn’t work.

Solid color quartz counter tops or marble and “marble-like” are in high demand for most of my clients.

 

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3 x 6 white subway tile and honed quartz counter top.

And finally tip # 5: The most popular back splash today: Subway tile! Painted kitchens and subway tile are always a classic winner! A client came to us after seeing our fabulous contemporary display in an appliance showroom, but once they saw our classic white display with subway tile, the decision was done. This style evokes immediate love for classic good looks.

Update the back splash with a classic white subway tile! It is timeless and one of the more affordable back splash tiles available. Paired with new counter tops, paint white cabinets, new hardware, a new faucet and stainless steel sink will transform a kitchen into an appealing space for a home buyer to consider.

And if you are in the Orange County area and need help with your dated kitchen, please give me a call for an estimate. 949.448.9627.

 

 

 

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Posted in Accessable Design, Blum, cabinet hardware, Designing with pets in mind, Home Automation, Humor in the Kitchen, Kitchen Organization, Kitchen Storage, Kitchen Trends, Men in the Kitchen

Kitchens should be fun! It’s so easy, dance if you want to.

The quest for the most efficiently built cabinets never ends. Here is a Merillat ad from the sixties, (maybe someone from Merillat can confirm the year of this ad for us),  that shows modern convenience back then, to the new video from Blum showing us the latest technology and convenience today.

Ok, so a little more news on base cabinets today. Yesterday we looked at corners in action, today we are going to look at a real cute guy in action. (Grin). This video deserves a post all on it’s own. A man who dances and cooks. I LOVE THIS! Servo drive has been around for a few years, but this video was just created in May ’09. Think of the uses, even if you limit the Servo drive to just one of your hardest working drawers, imagine the convenience! With a tap from a knee or a push from the hip, no more water drips on the cabinets near the sink. No more chicken hands on your drawers or cabinet pulls.

The product is showing the new Blum Servo Drive for drawers. Drawers open automatically using an electrical drive.   Sorry, cute guy not included.

If you are having trouble viewing the U Tube Video, click here:

Posted in cabinet hardware, Faucets, Glamour, Style Notes

Glam is in! Black and Grey accents in Kitchen and Bath

Imparting sexiness, glamor and oh so sophisticated; watch for the newest shades in decorative fixtures, stone and paint. In a sea of chrome and oil rubbed bronze, grays and blacks are making their way to the center stage.


Also for the floor, look at Galaxy Black stone from Ann Sacks. It comes in three finishes: Honed, Antiqued, and Bush-Hammered. With sealer, it simply glows as a surface.

Galaxy Black by Ann Sacks, brings a rustic yet sophisticated black limestone to our stone assortment. Reminiscent of a starry sky on a dark night, the character and patterning of this material has inspired its name. Offered in a variety of finishes, this material is uniquely flexible.

Vintage elegance. NDI botanical arrangement brings quiet elegance to
black marble and gray veined tiled walls.

Renea Abbott’s home in Houston is filled with uber drama details in nuetral shades of gray and muslin. I was searching in the November-December issue of Veranda for a picture of her kitchen with calcutta gold marble tops with the wall cabinets removed, bit no such luck. Instead, above is a sneak peek of the powder room. Walls painted in a soothing nuetral gray.

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Posted in cabinet hardware, Faucets, Glamour, Style Notes

Glam is in! Black and Grey accents in Kitchen and Bath

Imparting sexiness, glamor and oh so sophisticated; watch for the newest shades in decorative fixtures, stone and paint. In a sea of chrome and oil rubbed bronze, grays and blacks are making their way to the center stage.


Also for the floor, look at Galaxy Black stone from Ann Sacks. It comes in three finishes: Honed, Antiqued, and Bush-Hammered. With sealer, it simply glows as a surface.

Galaxy Black by Ann Sacks, brings a rustic yet sophisticated black limestone to our stone assortment. Reminiscent of a starry sky on a dark night, the character and patterning of this material has inspired its name. Offered in a variety of finishes, this material is uniquely flexible.

Vintage elegance. NDI botanical arrangement brings quiet elegance to
black marble and gray veined tiled walls.

Renea Abbott’s home in Houston is filled with uber drama details in nuetral shades of gray and muslin. I was searching in the November-December issue of Veranda for a picture of her kitchen with calcutta gold marble tops with the wall cabinets removed, bit no such luck. Instead, above is a sneak peek of the powder room. Walls painted in a soothing nuetral gray.

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Posted in cabinet hardware, Counter tops, Kitchen Storage, Quirky Design Details, Small Kitchens, Stainless Steel, Style Notes

A Little Rough Around the Edges


I came across this photo at Design Sponge and stopped to inspect it closely.
I think it is a charming photo giving us a glimpse of a small kitchen space done very inexpensively but “oh so cute” in the details. So you don’t have a ton of money to redo your space? With a little innovation you can turn anything into charming with a little “do-it-your-self work” that costs barely anything.
What works:

  1. The cinder block wall is painted a dark chocolate brown that sets off the white cabinets. Hides flaws, your eye won’t focus there but on the cute collections on the shelf.
  2. They painted the exposed electrical conduit the same color as the walls. Great way of hiding flaws.
  3. Open stainless steel shelves with white plates works great as a inexpensive alternative to cabinets. Keeps the space from being weighed down with top heavy cabinets that make a space look smaller.
  4. No doors on the white cabinet. If cabinet doors are ugly, take them off. A fresh coat of paint hides all sins.
  5. Wall mounted utensil holder serves two purposes, additional storage space + it hides the coldness of the cinderblock wall.
  6. It’s edited. Bowls, cups, plates, glasses are shown as bare minimum. Only one small appliance on the counter. Buying too much and having it all hang out creates chaos.
  7. Left of the sink, The counter is tiled in an interesting tile pattern. The cabinet doors are removed there as well, and a black and white fabric installed in place.
  8. The stainless steel sink and counter look prefab with a very inexpensive faucet but still looks tre’ chic because the homeowner designed the space with a great color combination. This is black and white at it’s finest on a tight budget! My only idea would be to change the knobs on the cabinet to a stainless pull or a little larger white knob.

This kitchen is located in a Brownstone in Brooklyn. Samira Gagne, lives here with her husband Kapono Chung. Read more on what else they did in this space. They really did a fine job with “found objects”, infusing their own creativity in the space. Creative! What a happy space!

Posted in cabinet hardware, Universal Design

Design with Aging in Mind


The fastest growing segment of society is the elderly. By 2020, there will be 53.2 million Americans older than age 65—about 16% of the population—and 6.5 million of those will be over 85, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nobody really wants to see themselves as “aging” but it is inevitable.

The problem is that when people think of safety features, visions of hospital medical supply equipment and “ada compliant” fixtures comes to mind. Mention ADA and you may get cold stares from your clients. American Disability Act of 1990, sets Federal standards for accessible design in public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It does not cover residential design but that should not mean “ada” design should be overlooked in the home.

The problem with the term ADA when designing for older clients is that aging should not be viewed as disabled! Design should not be age specific. Replace the term “ADA Compliant” with Universal Design and now it sounds Utopian. The term is somewhat new age but seems to be the most common term Americans refer to when discussing aging in place. All products should be suitable for young and old.

‘Design for the young and you exclude the old. Design for the old and you include the young’, said Professor Bernard Isaacs, of The Centre for Applied Gerontology, Birmingham.


Safe design can be attractive. Universal design that uses sophisticated design elements while still incorporating safety features can improve the quality of life and serve young and old without regard to whether it was designed for age specific issues.

I like the definition “Inclusive Design” the most, The British Standards Institute defines inclusive design as “The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialised design.”.

There are additional sources of information available to incorporate into your design.

  • One of the most common accidents to occur in the home is falling down. The NSC, (National Safety Council) has useful building ideas and tips to reduce the chance of falling by using smart design. Please read:Designs on Building Safe Homes for the Elderly

What can I do to improve my kitchen design?

  • Lighting: Excepted from Lighting Design for Aging Eyes
    Article by Stan Pomeranz
    • Every area should have general illumination in addition to task lighting.
    • Daylighting and dimmable fluorescent are good indirect ambient light sources.
    • Accent lighting adds visual interest and becomes important for orientation and safety. As we age, it becomes more critical to clearly define hallways, stairs, and potential changes in surfaces or levels. Proper lighting can do this effectively.
    • Lighting design must balance between creating visual interest and visual disruption. This is particularly critical with older eyes that find blurred vision or changes in contrast unsettling. Scallop lighting effects on hallway walls or alternating high and low illumination levels within a space create a visual distraction.
    • Shiny floors provide another source of glare and the resulting light patterns can be disorienting.
    • It is also helpful to visually define where the wall meets the floor and avoid shadows which effect detail perception a higher ambient light level is helpful in creating pleasantly lit areas.
    • The placement of light switches, electrical receptacles, and shelves at heights that better accommodate children, short people and people with disabilities that limit their range of reach
  • Appliances:
    • A trend in standard design is to place the microwave above the range in the kitchen. This placement inhibits the use of the microwave and creates a safety hazard for many people, especially children. The application of a universal design feature would be to relocate the microwave to a lower position that is convenient for a broader range of users while still saving counter space.
    • Install wall mount ovens instead of ranges. Bending and knee limitations make using a range much more difficult. An oven mounted at a height convenient to the user is a safer approach.
    • Look for cooktop burners that sit below a smooth, glass top. These burners look at lot better than your old electric coils. You clean the glass top – not the coils. That’s much easier to do.
    • Choose controls that sit at the front or side of the cooktop. And look for burners that aren’t set in a straight line. With these features, you won’t have to reach across hot burners to turn up the heat or stir a pot at the back of the stove.
    • Ask about push-button controls. It’s much easier to push a button than to turn a knob. These buttons are also easier to clean.
    • Buy a cooktop with a heat indicator. This light reminds you when the burner is still hot. The light goes out when the burner cools down.
    • Make sure your cooktop and stove are easy to read. Find a model that uses different colors to tell you which parts are hot and which parts are cool. Look for displays that use big numbers that you can see from across the room. And, check out the instruction book. Large type and simple sentences can help you find answers quickly.
  • Make Your Cabinets Work For You.
    • Think about removing the doors on your cabinets. Or replace the doors you have now with glass. You’ll be able to see clearly where you stored everything. You won’t waste any more time or strength looking for things in all the wrong places.
    • If you can’t replace your doors, then replace the handles. Handles that look like a “D” are easier to grab than round knobs.
    • Lower the height of wall cabinets for easier access.
    • Add a Lazy-Susan to a deep shelf or a corner cabinet. This flat, round tray spins around easily. Give it a turn and you can easily bring items from the back of your cabinet to the front.
    • Add a auto switch inside a lazy susan cabinet or a deep pantry. Lighting a typically dark area is much easier to find things when the light automatically turns on when the door is opened.
    • Install pot and pan drawers instead of door/drawer base cabinets. The simple motion of opening up a drawer is easier to maneuver than a roll out tray behind a door.
  • Counter Tops
    • It’s okay to keep most of your counters where they are. That’s about 36 inches from the floor. But add at least one counter that is 28″-32″ high. Children will love working here. You’ll find it easier to chop and bake at this height. And someone who needs to sit while they cook will be thrilled to have a nice place to work. Just make sure there’s enough knee space under the counter to pull up a chair or wheelchair. That knee space should be 30 inches wide and 27 inches high.
    • Be sure to choose counter edges that are rounded, not sharp. This will help reduce the injuries if someone falls in the kitchen. In addition, the edge of your counter top should be a different color than the rest of the counter. Pick a color that really stands out. That way, people with poor vision will be able to see clearly where the counter ends. Fewer dishes will spill and break.
  • Passages
    • 32″ clear door openings @ accessible areas
    • Barrier free path to all accessible areas in the home

Additional Resources.

  1. The Accessible Kitchen Layout. http://www.cs.wright.edu/bie/rehabengr/kitchens/ffloor.htm
  2. AARP, Certified Aging in Place Specialists. http://www.aarp.org/families/home_design/rate_home/a2004-03-23-caps.html
  3. What is Universal Design? http://www.aarp.org/families/home_design/universaldesign/a2004-03-23-whatis_univdesign.html
  4. Baby Boomer Demand Boosting Universal Design. http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20030627_universal.htm
  5. The Accessible Home: Updating Your Home for Changing Physical Needs by Creative Publishing Internatonal (Editor), Bryan Trandem (Editor)
  6. Aging in Place, http://www.asid.org/knowledge/Aging.htm
  7. These resources are designed to help consumers make good decisions about the products they need to improve their home environment. http://www.homemods.org/pages/products.shtml
Posted in cabinet hardware, Planning

The Home Know It All

I was contacted by Holly Reynolds to let me know that my site has been featured in an entry on TheHomeKnowItAll.com, a comprehensive blog on home improvement, decorating, cleaning and organizing, do-it-yourself, gardening, and easy repair projects. Each day, Monday through Friday, The Home Know-It-All walks readers through the basics of a specific topic related to the home, with links to other sources of information and products available on the web.

My website was featured in the September 18th post on Cabinet Hardware.

Use this link to view the specific article: Cool Cabinet Hardware

Thanks Holly!