Tag Archives: kitchen design

Is a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Right for You?

cosmetic kitchen remodel

This article was featured in All Things Real Estate Magazine, a great resource for Portland homeowners, buyers, sellers, and anyone interested in real estate. Ready to learn all about cosmetic kitchen remodels? Head over to the digital issue of All Things Real Estate or keep reading:


cosmetic kitchen remodel

If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen, deciding between a cosmetic remodel and a full remodel is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make because it will inform all your future kitchen decisions.

A cosmetic kitchen remodel can be a great way to give your kitchen a fresh look and feel. When it’s done right, you get beautiful results with less time and money than a full kitchen remodel.

In this post, we’ll go over the timeline for a typical cosmetic kitchen remodel, how to get the most bang for your buck, and common pitfalls to avoid.

How Does a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Work?

The timeline for a cosmetic kitchen remodel is 3-6 weeks. Compare that to 10-12 for a full remodel!

A cosmetic remodel might include:

  • Replacing the countertops
  • Changing out plumbing fixtures
  • Painting or re-facing cabinets
  • Installing a new backsplash
  • Adding decorative lighting

It typically does not include:

  • Replacing cabinets
  • Making structural changes
  • Major flooring or electrical work

Think of it like a makeover for your kitchen. If you have a good layout that just needs a few updates, a cosmetic kitchen remodel can work wonders!

kitchen-wood-cabinets

5 Cost Saving Tips for a Cosmetic Remodel

My advice is to make decisions about where to splurge based on what’s important to you. Consider these 5 tips for keeping costs down:

  1. Reuse appliances and fixtures if possible. These are fairly easy to replace down the road.
  2. Keep a spreadsheet of all your costs to find areas where you can cut. Anything you can do yourself, such as painting or demolition, will save money.
  3. For a great deal on countertops, look for remnant. Typically, these come in smaller pieces, so even if you can’t do the whole kitchen, consider doing the island or a portion of the kitchen you want to accentuate.
  4. If you currently have stained or damaged wood, you can usually sand it down and refinish it instead of replacing it.
  5. Choose an inexpensive tile like ceramic subway and lay it in an interesting pattern such as a herringbone, vertically stacked, or a third offset (instead of the typical 50% offset).

Cosmetic Remodel Pitfalls to Avoid

The goal of a cosmetic kitchen remodel is a timely and cost-effective kitchen makeover with beautiful results. Getting a good return on investment takes planning. Here’s my advice:

1. Choose Materials Well in Advance

Select and order materials prior to starting your remodel to ensure availability and avoid delays or be forced to choose something in stock. Delays, even on a small remodel, could snowball and affect other trades and run your schedule off the tracks.

2. Match Cabinet Finish and Door Style

If you are adding cabinetry, make sure you get the best possible finish and door style match or it will look “added on.” If you’re adding an entire new island or buffet piece this can be a completely different finish and style to add interest.

3. Hire a Professional Painter for Existing Cabinetry

It’s more expensive, but cabinetry is the workhorse of a kitchen and, if not done properly, the paint can crack, chip, and peel right away.

Tip: If you want existing oak cabinets painted white, your painter will need to add a fill primer coat to eliminate the grain pattern. This can be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. Another option for oak is to stain or paint it a dark charcoal or chocolate, which adds a fresh modern vibe.

Is a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel Your Best Option?

cabinet vignette portland kitchenNow you know how a cosmetic kitchen remodel works, how to keep costs low, and how to keep your project running smoothly. But is it right for your kitchen?

The answer depends on how well your current kitchen is meeting your family’s needs. Your kitchen may be a little old and outdated, but is it still fairly functional? Is the layout working for you? Are you happy with the basic structure? If you answered yes, yes, and yes, a cosmetic kitchen remodel may be perfect for you!

If your kitchen has major structural flaws, is too small, or needs a significant amount of remodeling work, you may be better off with a full remodel. At the end of the day, it’s up to you!

If you have questions about cosmetic remodeling, I’d love to help. Get in touch!

10 Interior Design Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time

indoor plants

If you’ve ever flipped through a design magazine from the 1970s, you know how dated certain design trends can become.

We may not love them now, but shag carpet and mustard yellow walls were once the hottest trends. Will the same thing happen to today’s trends? Is there a way to know what has staying power? Can you design a room that looks great now, tomorrow, and in 20 years?

I’ll answer those questions and more in this post. We’ll look at the top 10 design trends that will stand the test of time, but first, let’s go over three important characteristics of any truly timeless design.

Characteristics of Timeless Spaces

1956 home wallpaper 1956 living room

Photos: Bill Bradford, Bill Bradford

Both these living rooms were featured in Better Homes & Gardens in 1956. You’d probably guess they were both designed in the 50s, but one feels much more pleasant and liveable today than the other.

Let’s see why that is…

Timeless designs aren’t based on passing fads. Design trends that truly stand the test of time are simple, functional, and in balance with their environment.

Simple

Think quality, not quantity. You’ll notice that the most timeless designs from past decades aren’t cluttered or over the top. They’re simple and straightforward with just one or two main focal points in the room.

Functional

A timeless home is one that someone could live comfortably in now, 50 years ago, or 50 years in the future. Of course, function can change over time (imagine living without a microwave!) but you want a home that’s mean to actually be lived in, no matter what decade you’re in.

Balanced with the Environment

In a timeless design, everything is in proportion. For example, a giant, puffy sofa in a tiny room just doesn’t look balanced. Similarly, ultra-modern Scandinavian furniture may not feel right in an old-fashioned Victorian style home.

Think about fashion: Oversized or tight fitting clothing may be in style for a few years, but clothing that fits right and feels comfortable always looks good.

10 Design Trends that Stand the Test of Time

Now that you know how to go about designing spaces that stand the test of time, let’s look at a few of the building blocks you can use to put it all together.

Keep in mind: There are endless ways to create a timeless design, but if you’re not sure where to start, these 10 ideas will help.

1. A Classic Color Scheme

mediterranean timeless home

The safest way to ensure your colors won’t look dated in a few years is to choose neutrals like beige, off-whites, and grays. Those colors have been in style for hundreds of years and they most likely will be for hundreds more!

Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring, though. Why not throw in an accent color or two? Navy blue and dark green are two timeless colors that look great with neutrals. Or you may want to get creative and throw in a brighter color. When incorporated tastefully, even the boldest colors can be timeless.

2. A Single Focal Point

mid-century modern kitchen focal point

Those three timeless characteristics (simple, functional, and balanced) can be hard to achieve in practice. An inside designer secret is to choose a single focal point for the room (or two if it’s a bigger room).

A focal point can be almost anything, including:

  • A piece of furniture
  • An architectural detail
  • A beautiful view
  • A favorite piece of art

It may also depend on the room. In the living room the focal point might be a fireplace, a coffee table centerpiece, or patterned throw pillows. In the kitchen it might be a bold backsplash or a colorful appliance.

3. Your Favorite Art

wall art home

A piece of art can really help set the tone of a room. Contemporary art can bring an old-fashioned room into the 21st Century. A classic painting or sculpture can add some old world class to a more modern design, like in the room above.

Art is easy to change out. Even if your furniture or paint colors get a little outdated, you can always update your art!

Plus, there’s nothing more timeless than a beautiful piece that you know you’ll continue to love for years to come.

4. Indoor Plants

indoor plants

People don’t always think about plants, but they are one of the most timeless elements you can add to a room. Plants are refreshing, uplifting, and can even purify the air!

Plus, some plants are surprisingly resilient and don’t require much maintenance. Check out this list of house plants that won’t die on you from Today.com.

5. Good Lighting

good lighting living room

Good lighting is always in style. I love the effect of natural light, so I take advantage of windows and skylights whenever I can.

That’s not an option for every room, though. Luckily, light colored walls and ceilings help too, and the right ceiling light can make all the difference.

Tip: Paint your ceiling the same color or a 50% lighter version of your wall color. This eliminates the harsh line from wall color to white and give a feeling of height and expansiveness to any room.

6. Marble

marble kitchen countertops

Trying to choose a kitchen countertop or bathroom tile that won’t go out of style?

Marble is always classic. Elegant, smooth, and cool to the touch, marble is a natural stone that’s lifted from the Earth in whole slabs. It’s a natural and authentic material that’s always both traditional and stylish.

7. Crown Molding

crown molding timeless home

Crown molding is usually applied along the corner where walls and ceiling meet. If it fits your home’s style, it’s a great way to add character and smooth the transition from wall to ceiling.

Crown molding is a common feature in traditional homes. You’ll find it in almost any Victorian-style home, but designers and architects have been using crown molding since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It hasn’t lost its popularity since.

8. Soaking Tubs

soaking tub

There’s nothing more timeless than a luxurious, relaxing bath at the end of the day. Soaking tubs have been around forever and they’re still available today in a variety of sizes and styles.

Maybe you’ll get yourself a traditional freestanding claw-foot tub, or maybe you’ll opt for a big spa bathtub that’s built into the wall.

9. Natural Materials

natural hardwood floors stone

We’ve already talked about marble, but there are plenty of other natural materials that can help your home feel timeless and authentic.

A few examples are:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Natural fibers like cotton for window curtains, cushions, and more
  • A stone fireplace
  • Brick walls or backsplash material

10. Vintage Meets Contemporary

vintage furniture

Fads come and go, which is why committing wholeheartedly to one trend may not be your best bet. Incorporating a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces is a great way to add some variety and keep from looking dated.

Just remember to keep everything in balance with the environment and you’re sure to end up with a beautiful, textured, and dynamic space.

Putting it All Together

Let’s look at another example. This photo is from a home design magazine in the 70s (which is why the photo quality isn’t as good).

timeless 70s home
Photo: army.arch *Adam*

The room is simple, functional, and well balanced with its environment. Even though it’s over 40 years old, it incorporates nearly every every element we’ve talked about in this post.

  • A simple, neutral color scheme
  • A focal point (the view out the big glass doors)
  • Indoor plants
  • Great natural lighting
  • Natural materials, like wood and brick
  • A combination of old fashioned brick and “contemporary” 70s furniture

This space still looks like fresh, beautiful, and livable, because the designer stuck to classic trends and avoided many of the passing fads we all associate with the 70s.

My Final Piece of Advice

Remember to have fun with your home’s design. The most important piece of advice I can give you is this: The design that will truly stand the test of time is the one that fits your lifestyle and that you’ll still be happy with 10 or even 20 years down the road.

Is there a color or a piece of furniture you just love, even though it’s not the least bit timeless? I can help you figure out how to incorporate it into your home in a way that won’t look dated later.

 

How to Create Kitchen Color Schemes

Kitchen Color Schemes 101

Welcome to the next post in our interior painting color series! Last time I talked about choosing an interior painting color palette. We covered the color wheel, analogous and complementary colors, and how different colors affect your mood. It’s worth a quick skim if you missed it.

Today we’ll focus on what color you should paint your kitchen. There’s no one perfect kitchen color, but some are better than others. (The short version: White, cream, and light citrus and blues work well; avoid navy, black, and bright yellow.) I’ll suggest a few kitchen color schemes based on what looks good as well as how the colors affect your mood.

kitchen color

Let’s start with three questions.

1. What Color Are You Working Around?

Most people have a dominant and/or neutral color in their kitchen. To figure out yours, look at your cabinets or flooring. (Or think about the new ones you’ve already chosen.) They’ll usually dictate the rest of your kitchen color scheme. If you’re still struggling, just look at the biggest surface in your kitchen.

2. Is Your Palette Warm or Cool?

Now that you’ve identified your kitchen’s dominant feature, determine if it’s more blue or red. For instance, if your cabinets are bright white (blue undertones), a cream-and-yellow color scheme will look off. You’ll want to use cooler hues like silver and black, with touches of something bright like red as an accent. Blues and greens are excellent choices as well.

If your cabinets or floors are a warm mahogany (red undertones), you’ll want to build a sunny color scheme. Pale banana yellow, burgundy, cherry tomato, and pumpkin are all strong choices. Cream, beige, and tan paint will look better than a chilly white. The same is true if copper, brass, or gold dominate your kitchen. Save cool tones for small accents.

 

kitchen color schemes

Sources: Fancy House Road, Seldin

3. What’s Your Color Trend or Scheme?

Now that you’ve figured out what your main color is, whether it’s warm or cool, and one or two possible coordinating colors, it’s time to figure out your overall color trend. The main three color trends popular today are pastels, brights, and monochromatic colors.

Pastels are calm, Easter-egg colors: light blue, chiffon yellow, and dusty lavender. (An extreme version is a baby nursery.) Brights are high-saturation hues that make an impression. Designers often use them in small doses or tone them down with neutrals. And monochromatic colors are all in the same family, just lighter and darker variations of each other.

 

kitchen color schemes

Source: CertaPro Painters using Sherwin-Williams colors

So if your cabinets are a creamy white and your floors are warm wood, you have several paint options for your color trend: 

  • Pastel: sunny yellow or coral
  • Bright: tropical teal or a similar gemstone
  • Monochromatic: tans that are a lighter tint of the flooring or a darker shade or tone than the cabinet

If you have a hard time choosing paint colors, you can return to complementary or analogous color schemes.

If you remember from last time, analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They express “consistency and uniformity.” If you’re new to kitchen color schemes or feel overwhelmed, analogous colors are a safe choice.

Continue reading to learn about complementary color schemes…
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10 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

For many, a huge kitchen is the stuff daydreams are made of. If only I had an 8-foot kitchen island with a second sink, you sigh dreamily. Food would definitely taste better if you made it in a spacious kitchen with a 10-foot ceiling and sun streaming in enormous windows, right?

But physically increasing your kitchen’s square footage isn’t always an option. Thankfully, as a kitchen and bath designer, I have learned a few tricks along the way to enlarge the look and feel of your kitchen without knocking out any walls.

I can’t guarantee you won’t bump elbows with your significant other anymore, but keep reading and I’ll see what I can do to give you a little more breathing room.

1. Lighten up.

As I wrote back in January in “9 Ways to Make a Small Room Look Bigger,” dark colors almost always make rooms feel smaller. Switch up that maroon or navy for a creamy white, soft warm gray or light gray-blue.  I always recommend using at least a satin finish because it is easier to clean and reflects plenty of light.

white paint to make kitchen feel larger

(Source: 66US)

2. Try different tile.

Put your backsplash to work reflecting light, not just water. Light-colored tile, metallics, or glass tiles can almost serve as mini-mirrors and help increase the light in the room.

reflective tile backsplash to shine and bounce light

(Source: Homebunch)

reflective tile backsplash kitchen

(Source: HGTV)

3. Change your kitchen cabinets.

Deep mahogany is classy for sure, but painting your cabinets off-white can trick the eye into thinking your kitchen is roomier (or match cabinet color with wall paint color so the eye glides smoothly over them). Glass doors instead of wood will open up the space as well. Or remove the cabinet doors altogether for a more open look.

exposed shelving in kitchen

(Source: Pinterest)

4. Maximize your lighting.

If a chandelier or pendant light is too low or large, it can obscure views out the window or of your fellow diners. Make sure your kitchen light is appropriately sized for your kitchen. And if you have dark drapes, by all means, switch them out for lighter, more sheer ones or skip them altogether. (In that case, window film can provide privacy without sacrificing natural light.) Undercabinet lighting can brighten up preparation spaces as well.

5. Get food out of sight.

Storage can be at a premium in tiny kitchens, but a little creativity can maximize your space and get all those spices, oils, and produce off of your counter. Changing cabinet doors to pull-out drawers can give you access to dramatically more space and help you tuck more tupperware out of the way.

Or store your sundries on a thin rolling shelf that hides between your fridge and sink. Magnetized spice holders can get your spices off the counter and onto the fridge, clearing up room for cooking.

pull-out kitchen storage for small kitchen

(Source: Classy Clutter)

creative storage in small kitchen

(Source: One Lucky Pickle)

6. Go for slim furniture.

Look for open table legs, translucent materials, and armless chairs. They reveal more of your space as you scan the room.

see through furniture in tiny kitchen

(Source: BHG)

7. Be strategic with your floor.

High-contrast colors will make your kitchen look smaller, so ditch the bright kitchen rug for one that’s a closer shade to your wood or tile. Try not to break up the visual flow of the floor; long lines and large tiles are better than small grids. (This is true in bathrooms, too — check out my post on making small bathrooms look bigger.)

8. Think upwards.

Vertical space is your secret weapon. Get things off the floors and counters with high shelving, a magnetic knife strip instead of a block on the counter, and pegboards for pots and pans.

small kitchens need vertical storage solutions

(Source: Nest Design Studio)

exposed vertical shelving in kitchen

(Source: Barn Light Electric Company)

9. Downsize your appliances.

Swapping a family-size coffeemaker for a modest french press is one way to save big on space. If your appliances are old and bulky, take the opportunity to upgrade to a sleek, small, European model instead. Or embrace the liberating feeling that comes with decluttering and get rid of an unused kitchen gadget altogether.

european-style appliances for small kitchen

(Source: Tumblr)

10. Make it movable.

Get a cutting board you can place over your sink during meal prep, or create a pull-out cutting board. Consider a rolling cart for your mixing bowls and cookie sheets that can be whisked out of the way.

small kitchen storage with hidden cutting board

(Source: Tumblr)

One last bonus tip: Make your kitchen your own. Little photos and pretty drawer pulls can personalize your cooking space and make you happy to be there, even if it isn’t as palatial as you’d like.

How do you make your kitchen seem bigger? What’d I miss? Let me know in the comments.

Spice up your space… with color!

Kitch 2Have you ever noticed how color can affect your mood? According to Leslie Harrington, Executive Director of the Color Association of the United States, which forecasts color trends, “We react on multiple levels of association with colors — there are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors.”

Is your bleak indoor landscape crying out for some pizzazz?

Even the slightest splash of color can infuse your space with a new level of energy.  Here are a few inspiring suggestions to spark your imagination…

  1. Paint one or more walls
  2. Paint cabinetry
  3. Add interest with color and texture in flooring choices
  4. Select furniture that brings the right mix of solids, patterns and color to the room
  5. Add colorful appliances
  6. Throw in splashes of color with accents like pillows, throws, rugs, curtains, vases and art
  7. Add hardware (like jewelry for your cabinets) to add splashes of color and whimsical accents
  8. Choose unique colors and/or textures for kitchen and bathroom countertops
  9. Use lighting fixtures to add color and shape to brighten up a room

Coming up with a color scheme that fits your personality and your space is the first step. Then, calling in the assistance of a professional designer  can really help move things along.