Wednesday, August 31, 2011

10 post-recession kitchen and bath design ideas

When homeowners today reach out to remodelers to update tired kitchens and baths, they do so with the expectation that they will get the latest kitchen and bath design ideas. And as kitchen and bath remodeling activity grows in the wake of the recession, some of the clearest and most promising new ideas are represented in the nearly 500 entries received by the National Kitchen and Bath Association for its annual design competition.

The trends represent what’s currently fresh and forward-thinking in kitchen and bath design including distinct visual elements and color, unique design details, personalized products and materials, and an architecturally artistic approach to proportion, says NKBA President David Alderman, CMKBD.
“NKBA designers continue to find surprising ways to incorporate complex design solutions and the latest technology into incredible kitchen and bathroom designs,” says Alderman. “We’re excited to release some of the overriding trends conveyed in the 2011 competition.”

No. 1 Commitment to Color

Clients and designers alike are making strong commitments to color. The relationship with vibrant color is introduced into the room through a backsplash of back-painted glass in a strong carrot orange, representing a color that’s smooth and fresh, and also refined enough to pair with the contemporary exotic wood cabinetry. This is a sleek kitchen deserving of a color that makes a statement. The tangerine, mango, and carrot family of colors is being incorporated into the palette of stylishly appropriated residential spaces across the country.

No. 2 Tactile Appeal through Textures

The use of actual and implied texture offers a tactile and visual feast. Lines, colors and patterns can act as either a point of interest in a given space or a mellow background to a more prominent component. The textured touch is apparent through an oversized glass mosaic tiled rug inset into the limestone floor, creating the effect of an actual textured and patterned area rug. A quilted effect, also seen in fashion trends, was created using custom-made glass keystone tiles, adding a shimmering surface to the wall of the shower.

No. 3 The Attributes of Glass

The National Kitchen & Bath Association is seeing glass shining and glimmering throughout kitchen and bath designs this year. Lighted panels of Mica art glass incorporated into the design of the volcanic stainless steel hood, the window in the door, and a glass tiled backsplash shining from behind granite countertops act as pops of color and light against the warmth of wood. In this example, they also help to provide cohesion, and as glass continues to be used in so many places and spaces, the application appears almost limitless.

No. 4 Freestanding and Angled Tubs

Large freestanding tubs are taking front and center in bathroom design, and in this master bath retreat, the tub is centered and visible through French doors leading to the bedroom space. Freestanding tubs could be considered almost the norm, creating a focal point of near sculptural quality. Rounded, rectangular, and angled tubs are specified as an artistic accent that also provides a soothing soak. Whether situated on stones, wood flooring, or a low stage of sorts, the freestanding soaking tub is an integral part of many master or main bathrooms.

No. 5 Espresso and Chocolate in Cabinetry

Silky hues of chocolate and espresso are shimmering from the doors and drawer fronts of distinct cabinetry, incorporated into striking kitchens, ranging from contemporary to traditional. Natural finishes—absent glazing, distressing, and overall pomp and circumstance—are now found in many kitchen designs, as simple chocolate browns act as the smooth and understated partner to brighter accents. Whether black coffee or milk chocolate, the cabinetry foundation in the mid to dark brown family of colors appears rooted in the residential design approach.

No. 6 Walk-in Pantries

With the introduction of greater amounts of open wall space, and less in the way of wall cabinets, the need for a larger separate pantry has been prompted. Open plan kitchens are requiring alternative pantry and storage solutions. The grand scale of this kitchen aptly allowed for a walk-in pantry designed for use as a working pantry. Sinks, dish storage, and food storage can be incorporated into pantries that appear as this one, to be entirely integrated in appearance into the space, and serving as a transition from one room to the next.

No. 7 Detailed Ceilings

This sophisticated design has a rustic touch that relies on traditional architectural features paired with sleek contemporary finishes and materials. The rough-hewn barn beam ceiling is beautifully detailed, and although the detail was newly created, it appears as if original to a comfort-worn space. The ceiling is highlighted by cable-strung lighting, which lights the textures and natural intricacies of the rough wood, bringing intimacy to the elongated space. This design feature straddles two trends seen strongly in the competition: detailed ceilings and textures.

No. 8 Natural Elements

This refined rustic southwestern powder room is the perfect example of the use of natural elements in design. An agate slab became the foundation for this bathroom space that’s as unique and distinct as the elusively elegant stone itself. Translucent crystal formations within the rock are highlighted by backlighting that sets off the smoky grays, brown, and icy white. Polished stone combined with leather-wrapped cabinetry is at the core of this opulent space. When the beauty of nature can be brought inside a home, the impact is unmatched.

No. 9 A Tiered Approach to Proportion

The concept of stacked components and graduated overlapping heights was brought to a new level of sophistication in this urban kitchen. Varying heights of the island surfaces, the elevated and overlapping dining countertop, and the statuesque pantry cabinet create asymmetrical proportion, while complementing the cityscape outside the windows. The tallest point of the pantry, thickness of the countertops, and the dining surface resting effortlessly on the prep and cook surface convey a proportionally tiered balance to this contemporary space.

No. 10 Inlaid Flooring

Variations of inlaid flooring are being incorporated into many new kitchen and bath designs. To accommodate the wet environment in this French style master bathroom, a new wood-look ceramic tile combined with natural travertine was used. Each piece was hand-fitted and angled to mimic the look of a real parquet floor. French carved cabinetry legs draw additional attention to the stunning floor. Designers and installers are being called on to bring innovation, stretching old boundaries as materials are selected and flooring is installed.
I have come across this article and thought it might be interesting for everyone to see. I hope you find it informational.

2011 Kitchen/bath trends: Fusion of contemporary and traditional

Today’s homeowners want everything from their kitchens and baths – pampering comfort, useful features and dazzling design
Categories: Kitchen & bath, Design, Products, Design, Kitchen & Bath, Products, Professional Remodeler
February 28, 2011
Kitchens and baths remain a strong segment of the remodeling market, because like other remodeling markets in the current construction economy, homeowners are choosing to stay in and renovate their existing homes rather than purchase or build new homes.

These two areas of the home have traditionally been the beneficiary of the bulk of most homeowners’ careful planning and renovation dollars, and that should continue to hold true. While the economic slowdown has certainly affected the overall scope and expenditure on kitchen and baths, people simply aren’t willing to skimp too much on the rooms they use most. They want a certain flair and style while incorporating as many creature comforts and features that make their daily use as enjoyable as possible.

“Traditional is still the predominant design style, but it is constantly evolving and incorporating contemporary elements,” says Peter Ross Salerno, CMKBD, owner of Peter Salerno, Inc. in Wyckoff, N.J. “I’m seeing a lot of sleek, European styling and contemporary elements like glass, stainless steel and concrete being combined with traditional American ‘warm’ elements like cherry cabinets.”

This fusion of contemporary and traditional is not really a new trend, but rather a continuation and evolution of what’s been going on in kitchen and bath design over the last decade or so. Consumers love the clean, straight lines of European-inspired faucets and appliances, but they still crave the rich warmth and comfort of traditional American elements such as cherry cabinetry and farmhouse sinks.

“People nowadays are going for what I call the ‘soft contemporary’ style,” says Alan Hilsabeck, Jr., CMKBD, RID, president of Hilsabeck Design Associates in Flower Mound, Texas. “I’m seeing fewer intricate carvings and moldings and more proportionate lines and simple elements. Most people are trying to achieve a simple elegance for a calm, relaxing and tranquil design aesthetic.”

The results from the National Kitchen and Bath Association 2010 Kitchen and bath style survey reinforce this notion and shows that the soft contemporary trend is nationwide. More than 75 percent of NKBA members surveyed said that traditional styling was the style of choice for their customers, but more than half of survey respondents stated that they also incorporated many contemporary elements into their customer’s designs as well.

The economic effect  
Activity in the kitchen and bath segment of the remodeling market has remained strong, but many are seeing customers scale back on their overall scope and budget. “Before the bubble it was all about the ‘bling factor.’ But the downturn has caused people to demand added value – not just gadgets that look cool,” says Ji Kim, industrial design manager for Moen. “They’re willing to spend a little more money, but only if the product looks good, makes use easier and is durable.”

Hilsabeck, whose firm specializes in medium-high to high-end projects, says many of his clients are scaling back a bit in the scope of their projects. He says consumers in general are more educated on realistic cost as opposed to simply focusing on price, which means they aren’t remodeling on the cheap, but they are eschewing “dream items.”

“People are scaling back on jetted tubs, for example. They still want a good quality jetted tub, but they aren’t going for the chromatherapy, fancy leather cushions and other bells and whistles,” says Hilsabeck. “When my customers want a new kitchen or bath on a budget, they no longer want to tear out entire walls and move plumbing or electrical components. They stay within the existing footprint and are being very careful with their material choices.”

Salerno specializes in very high-end kitchens and baths only, and says his clients are sometimes scaling back, but those who are concerned about budgets are putting remodeling projects off for a time until the economy bounces back. “I’ve seen some scaling back on flooring and countertop choices, but most of my clients are simply postponing because they don’t want to compromise on any features,” he says. “Above all, people still view their kitchens and baths as showpiece rooms that they and their guests can admire, but more importantly they also realize they will be spending a lot of time in these rooms and they want to enjoy the entire time.”

In the lower to middle segments of kitchen and bath remodels, the NKBA survey found there is a definite trend toward cost-efficiency, which emphasizes value over lowest price. These customers will still spend an average of 15 to 25 percent of their home’s value in a kitchen remodel (10 to 20 percent for baths), but in the current economic climate that often leads to frugal decisions. That can mean anything from going with counter-depth slide-in appliances to achieve the look of built-ins without the price tag, to re-using old granite from a kitchen remodel to spruce up a bathroom vanity.

Individual trends
So, what effects have the recent glut of style-savvy but cost-conscious consumers had on what’s been installed in recent kitchen and bath remodels? Generally speaking, luxury kitchens and baths are still sporting all the fancy features and components that high-end customers crave, and those remodels in the lower price points are gleaning some of those features deemed conducive to a better experience, while forgoing those that are too frivolous for a tighter budget.

Faucets – Pull-downs remain the faucet of choice for kitchens, with many customers choosing those that require only a one-hole cutout for a streamlined look and easier cleaning. Hilsabeck says his clients are looking for functional pieces of art in the kitchen and still choosing multiple showerheads and body sprays in the bathroom. Brushed nickel is still the hot finish, but Venetian and oil-rubbed bronze are becoming more prevalent. Polished chrome in both the kitchen and bath and all white faucets in the bathroom are gaining in popularity as well.

Sinks – Hammered copper and custom fabricated stone and concrete sinks are still popular in high end kitchens, while stainless steel still rules in the other price points. For bathrooms, Hilsabeck says he sees a nationwide movement away from vessel bowls – mostly due to care, cleaning and maintenance issues. “Undermount is dominant now, and partially recessed bowls are gaining in popularity because you can get the look of a vessel bowl, but cleaning is easier and you can still have a deck-mounted faucet as opposed to the added expense of wall-mounting,” says Hilsabeck.

Countertops – Granite still dominates the landscape, but engineered stone surfaces are making great gains in all price points. Salerno says his clients will choose just about any surface from natural wood to concrete to stainless steel if it helps them achieve the look they crave – no matter what the maintenance issues. Cost-conscious customers will often mix and match surfaces, using expensive granite on a center island for visual effect while installing solid surface or high quality laminate in other areas. Many people are splurging on natural stone, ceramic and glass tile for backsplashes or accent areas to add a little “pop” for very little added expense.

Cabinets – Cherry, maple and alder (in that order) are the most popular cabinet materials, and white/neutral furniture-grade paints and finishes are becoming more common. Clean, straight lines and simpler molding and trim are in demand, as evidenced by the rise in popularity of Shaker style cabinetry. Task-oriented cabinetry and work stations are on the rise, such as baking stations with tray drawers and other cabinet spaces to house specialty appliances.

Flooring – Hardwood flooring dominates the kitchen landscape, while porcelain and ceramic tile are the materials of choice in bathrooms. “I’ve seen a lot of scaling back on travertine and other natural stone tiles,” says Hilsabeck. “Porcelains and ceramics now have a huge presence because of their high quality and much lower price.”

Lighting – The main trend in this category is energy efficiency, as LED fixtures continue to become more popular. More and bigger windows are in vogue for natural light and views. Designers are constantly looking for new and different ways to incorporate lighting into kitchen designs, from clever under cabinet and task lighting installations to those that are less utilitarian but nonetheless have great impact. “I installed fiber-optic lighting into the concrete countertop of an oceanside home, and timed it to dim and brighten in unison with the sound of the waves outside,” says Salerno. “The homeowners were blown away.”

Green aspects – The universal acceptance of high efficiency faucets and fixtures and energy star appliances has been good news for green advocates, and on-demand tankless hot water heaters and hot water recirculating pumps are strong sellers, but other eco-friendly measures are still considered not worth the added expense and hassle to many consumers. “My clients aren’t necessarily going out of their way to seek green items, but some are more popular because they provide the look consumers want -- such as bamboo flooring,” says Salerno. “Reclaimed items are popular, but more for their design interest as opposed to the green aspects. I’ve had large range hoods fashioned from reclaimed tin ceilings and people love the look and function, but the recycled aspect is just a bonus for my clients – not a necessity.”
Looking forward
The future for kitchen and bath trends looks bright, as designers, manufacturers and homeowners alike will continue to push design and performance advancements. “One area that I feel will move forward in the near future is greywater re-use,” says Paul Patton, senior product development manager for Delta.

“Manufacturers are working right now with the medical community to get standards written, and once they are adopted and accepted by the public, that will be a huge new product segment for kitchens and baths.”
The combination of electronics and faucet design will also continue to evolve. Touchless faucet technology has gained strong acceptance and manufacturers are constantly fine-tuning the technology and its implementation. And other electronic features are making inroads as well. “Digital showers where the user can pre-set temperature and pressure settings, start their morning shower by remote control and program multiple showerheads are very promising,” says Ji Kim from Moen. “Those types of things are still a luxury trend right now, but those always seem to trickle down to the lower price points and the frivolous features are culled out and the technology gains more widespread demand.”

As far as designs and motifs go, most in the industry agree that it will be a continuation of the last decade or so – soft contemporary with a mix-and match mentality. Consumers will continue to combine certain elements from sleek European designs into their familiar and comfortable traditional motifs.
“It seems like our industry has been pushing contemporary for a few years,” says Salerno. “But it’s really not contemporary versus traditional. It’s a fusion of both styles and this is where I think we’ll be going for at least the next ten years or so.”

How foreclosure impacts your credit score

How foreclosure impacts your credit score

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

an Extreme Makeover in Alpharetta

We did an Extreme Makeover on this home in 2009. Completely renovated the kitchen, master bath, master bedroom and the powder room. It's now for sale, so I thought it would be nice to brag a little with all the work we had done. This project was completed in five weeks (that's kind of a big deal as those projects usually take much longer). Check out the spectacular kitchen and master bath and the rest of the house.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Listen to the radio show where I was a guest. From June 23, 2011.

3056 Pomona Way, East Point, GA - Another Extreme MakeOver Specialists Project.

This particular project is a foreclosure property that needed to be completely updated. Built in the 1960's, the home layout was outdated and not interesting the the homeowners in this market. With the Extreme Home Makeover Specialists team, this home has a whole new face (and feel). Check it out for yourself.

I invite you to contact us with your comments or questions. We are always available to discuss with you your comments and suggestions or questions.

A Foreclosure Extreme Makeover Video