Friday, September 19, 2014

Sharing: The New Media Room

Is the in-home movie theater a thing of the past?
With the rapid changes in technology over the last few years, the way we use tech in our homes has changed dramatically. Kitchens are getting smarter and more responsive; we can turn on lights from our cell phones, and our TVs have become portals to a whole new world.
A multipurpose media/game room may take its place.
One of our customers, Potter Construction in Seattle, recently posted their thoughts on the New Media Room. No longer a stand-alone space for watching movies, the new room is more of a multipurpose space that embraces TV viewing, gaming and more. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Creative Backsplash Ideas

Like the name implies, the purpose of a backsplash is to catch splashes and splatters behind sinks and cooktops, making these areas easier to clean. While you could just use a semi-gloss paint on the wall, why not make it more personal and unique?

The “rules” for a backsplash treatment are...well, there are no rules! While square or rectangular tiles are the traditional choice, designers are turning to a wide range of products, and using those products in new and interesting ways.

Take it up the wall. For many years, the backsplash area was confined to the space between the countertop and the bottom of the wall cabinets, and behind the cooktop up to the vent. That has changed in recent years, with material often extending all the way up to the ceiling. This is an especially good choice for kitchens with lower ceilings, as it will help to draw the eye upward and give the impression of more height.

Echo the counters. Using the same color or material in more than one area brings a room together, and you can use this trick on your backsplash. Above, the countertop material from the island is used behind the cooktop. Dark, espresso-stained panels on either side match the island and help to create a focal point out of this area.

Go classic. White subway tiles have become a classic choice for their clean lines and flexibility. Tiles can be laid out in a traditional “running bond” arrangement (shown above), herringbone or chevron patterns, or neatly stacked. Subway tiles are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, textures and materials, so you can mix and match to customize the look.

Use a freeform look. Granite remains a popular choice for counters, but marble and onyx are often used as well. Many designers will use leftover pieces of these stone slabs as windowsills, narrow shelves or backsplashes. (Onyx is especially striking in this application, as it can be backlit for a warm glow.) As seen above, the top edge is left natural or broken off for a rough, organic look.

Look to the past. Materials like tin tiles and beadboard can bring an old-school vibe to a brand-new kitchen. We love how the design above brings the beadboard from the front of the island to the backsplash area, and even wraps around the window.

Get creative. Remember the rule that there are no rules? We’ve seen backsplashes that use pebbles, leather, wood strips, stainless steel panels, bottle caps, broken pottery, Legos and more. We used pennies (above) for the backsplash of a display featuring black walnut cabinets.

If you use a non-traditional material, you’ll want to make sure that it is well sealed and caulked where it meets the countertop. Be sure to have examples of kitchens you like when you meet with your designer - this will help you both make the right decisions for your home, style and budget.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Selecting Cabinet Knobs & Pulls

Asymmetrical pulls reinforce this home's contemporary design
Once you've chosen the kitchen cabinets that best suit your home design and your lifestyle, you'll get to select knobs and other pieces of hardware that go along with them. Knobs and pulls may be small, but their style makes a big impact on your kitchen design. Here are a few things to think about when choosing cabinet hardware:

Select a finish. The finish of your cabinet hardware should complement the rest of your kitchen decor. For example, if you have brass faucets, you probably don't want to select stainless steel knobs or pulls because they'll clash. Opt for something that matches the theme of your kitchen, the way the oil rubbed bronze pulls above work with the distressed cabinets.

Bar pulls, knobs and "cup" pulls all work together because the finishes match
Variety is a good thing. Not all of the knobs and drawer pulls that you select for your cabinets need to be an exact match. The key is to choose styles that complement one another. This way, your hardware will blend harmoniously with the rest of your kitchen design.  

Make sure that the hardware styles all fit under the same category, like modern, vintage, rustic, contemporary, etc. Many manufacturers create families of complementary styles to help make the selection process easier.

Compare with cabinet doors. Before you set your heart on a particular type of hardware, see how the finish and style looks against your cabinet doors. For example, if you have dark wood cabinets, a cool, stainless steel knob would contrast perfectly. Above, the unexpected glitter of the pulls balances the colorful quartz counter.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sharing: Personalized Bathrooms

When it comes to the master suite, homeowners increasingly want a space that is a retreat, not just someplace to get ready for the day. One of our customers, Chermak Construction, recently shared a number of trends they are seeing in bathroom design, from small renovations to large redesigns. Read the article

This beautiful Chermak design features Canyon Creek's Millennia frameless cabinets. The door style is Shaker, in maple with Ebony stain.

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Easy Ways To Refresh Your Bathroom

From the smallest powder room to the largest master bath, a few simple updates can help create a welcoming space for you and your guests.

Match the wall color to the mood you want to create
Paint the walls. One of the quickest and easiest ways to freshen up your bath is with paint. A powder room is a great place to play with bold or bright colors, as it can give your guests a zap of energy. In the master bath, go with calm, soothing colors. And of course, pick a color that flatters your skin tone, so you’ll always look your best as you get ready in the morning.

Large mirrors magnify the abundant natural light in this spacious bath
Lighten and brighten. Daylight is a natural energizer, so look for ways to maximize any light that streams in. Sheer curtains or frosted glass will ensure privacy, and mirrors can be used to bounce light around the room.

These bar-style pulls are a modern classic
Change the hardware. A new faucet can instantly freshen your bathroom. Swap out the soap dispenser, towel bar, and the pulls on the vanity cabinets with coordinating finishes to unify the look.

With a bit of daylight, plants can thrive in the master bath
Bring in nature. Elements from nature can bring in a sense of peace and tranquility. Clear containers filled with small pebbles can hold makeup brushes, and a wooden shelf will add an organic texture. Consider a potted plant if you have natural light, or bring in a vase of fresh flowers.

Don't be afraid to put large items on a wide countertop

Have fun with the decor! Colorful towels, a chevron-striped shower curtain, and a unique mirror frame can bring personality to your bath. To really punch it up, add a brightly painted bench, hand-crafted pottery, mementos from a recent vacation, and other non-traditional accessories.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sharing: Reasons To Hire An Architect

For most people, the thought of an architect-designed home sounds like a dream that will forever be out of reach. As this article from Midwest Home attests, many architects enjoy the process of designing smaller, more affordable homes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ways To Update Your Walk-in Closet

Drawers, cubbies and extra shelving provide
just the right space for each item.
You may be the only person who sees your closet, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be just as stylish and functional as the rest of your home. For a beautiful and organized walk-in closet design, consider these simple updates:

Personalize your storage. If you've just moved into a new home, your closet probably has a single-height closet rod with a wire shelf above. This standard design leaves a lot of wasted space below your hanging clothes, and often results in towering stacks of clothes up above. Add shelves below, and double up the closet rods in one area to gain more flexible hanging space. Boxes and shelf dividers up above can help keep items tidy. Adding a section or two of drawers and cubbies can really maximize the space in your closet.

Provide additional lighting. Lighting can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your closet. Not only will it help you see your clothes more clearly, it illuminates your entire closet design. While natural light is good for visibility, it tends to create shadows and can have a fading effect on your clothes. Install some overhead track lighting that can be pointed where you need it most.

A colorful bench adds convenience and a nice touch of comfort. Four
hampers (at far right) make laundry day a breeze.

 Add seating and accessories. If there's enough room in your closet, put in a comfortable chair or bench. This will give you a place to put on shoes and pick out accessories. Plus, a brightly colored seat can give your closet personality. Accessories like belt racks, hooks and hampers will boost the function of your closet. For a boutique feel, add angled shoe shelves or even a spiral clothes rack.

This closet/dressing room has it all!
Make room. Go through your closet occasionally and donate usable clothes that you no longer wear or that don't fit anymore. This will make your closet feel much less crowded and give the rest of your garments necessary breathing room.