Tuesday, January 19, 2016

7 Designer Secrets For Small Kitchens

Having a large kitchen space could be a luxury for many homeowners because most kitchens are cramped and tiny. However, you can do some changes to your small kitchen by incorporating some of these designer tricks:

1) Keep it all white. 
AK Classical Kitchen
White reflects light best, making the kitchen space look bigger. Paint the countertops and cabinetry in white so that it will look seamless with the walls and ceilings. For some depth and shadows, use recessed-panel cabinets with crown moldings.
2) Keep color contrasts in the same color value.
If you do have to add some color, maintain similar hues of the color scheme. This way, the sudden "pop" of color won't let the eyes see the shifts and breaks in the room. Like white, using similar hues can bring an expansive effect.
3) Go for a mirrored backsplash.
Using mirrors is an old designer's trick that can help open up the space and add more light. "Mirrors are especially useful when there is no, or minimal, natural light in a kitchen," said New York designer Jenny Wolf, according to Architectural Digest
4) Use glass doors for your cabinets. 
Glass cabinet doors gives the room depth, as the walls can be seen through it. The challenge is to make sure to keep the cabinets orderly and, if possible, color-coordinated.    
5) Have an open shelf.
AK Marietta Kitchen Facelift
If glass cabinets aren't your thing, perhaps having open shelves is better. Aside from creating an illusion of space, it also feels warmer and more welcoming. "Open shelves invite visitors to feel at home and help themselves to whatever they need. They don't have to ask where things are, or go rummaging through cabinets because it's all in plain view," said homeowner Jamie, according to Good Housekeeping.
AK Contemporary Kitchen Remodel
6) Flood the space with lights. 
Use little window treatments so that natural light is not blocked off. Add additional lighting fixtures on walls, backsplashes and countertops to open up the space.
7) Use slender furnishing.
Pick counter or bar chairs that have slim legs, or if you have a working table to use as an island, it should be long and narrow with clean lines. Ditch furnishings with thick bases, as they will make the room visually bulky.
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Text By Rachel Cruz 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Kitchen Design Trends

It's another year, and with that comes a huge number of new home design trends. These 2016 trends are based upon what AK designers are seeing from our clients and additionally the interest from metro Atlanta homeowners. 

These are remodeling and design trends that you can bet on seeing in the crop of 2016 kitchen remodels around Atlanta!  
Warm Metals Design Crush: Amy Meier

Warm Metals Are On The Rise- Step aside silver tones, hotter gold completions are en route
in. Following quite a while of brushed nickel, chrome and cleaned nickel being the most well known completions for apparatuses, hotter brilliant tones are making a colossal rebound. 
Simplified Styles Are Best - This is the year we keep our kitchens spotless and uncomplicated. A couple of things you can hope to see are straightforward profiles and level section entryways. Plans will likewise fare thee well not to present an excess of materials or hues. 

Cooler Tones Are Still Cool  - Cooler shades are the shade of decision this year. Known for
being quiet and relieving, they are connected with water, sky and cooler temperatures. Samples on this shading range incorporate dim, blue and white. You can hope to see these hues consolidated in an assortment of ways, including cupboards, backsplashes or accent hues. 

Backsplashes Are Making A Splash - Backsplashes will keep on being smooth and lovely, yet with limited grout lines. You can hope to see glass tile backsplash, vibrant patters, color and geometric designs.

Smart Storage - Design ideas keep on enhancing, prompting a plenty of custom inserts, dividers, coordinators and pull-outs. These add another level of comfort and effectiveness to your space, whether putting away plates, utensils or flavors. 

Steam Ovens Are Hot -  Convection steam oven are grabbing hold. This new machine utilizes
steam to defrost, heat, moderate cook and warm sustenance things. Advantages incorporate offering your sustenance some assistance with retaining a greater amount of its vital vitamins and supplements. On the other hand, this new appliance isn't going to take up precious space in your kitchen or change the look and feel. Rather, it will supplant or show up nearby the microwave. 

TV  - It appears that TVs may be viewed as a standard 'kitchen appliance' in 2016. Whether it is to take after alongside your most loved cooking appears or find the news while making breakfast, TVs are getting to be ordinary in the kitchen. With such a variety of choices for customization, creators can flawlessly include a corner, retire or set of pocket entryways that consolidate this media part consistently into the design.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Six Step Guide to Moving Versus Remodeling

  From our friends at Design/Build Pros
   Moving vs. Remodeling is an age old question that is very much alive today, now that the economy has somewhat bounced back and homeowners are spending more of their discretionary income on their homes.
   Rather than agonize over whether to move or improve, we recommend gathering as much information as possible, considering all of your options, and making an educated decision that puts you and your family in the best possible position.
   Moving or remodeling is a life decision, and most people can gain more clarity when they understand the reasons behind their desire for change. Are you considering moving because…
  • You want to live in a more desirable neighborhood?
  • You want to shorten your commute?
  • You want better access to a downtown area?
  • You want a larger or smaller yard?
  • Your at-home family is growing or shrinking?
  • You want to be closer (or further) from family?
  • You want a better interior layout or floor plan?
  • Your home is old and just needs too much work?
   Your answers to questions like this will be a great starting point. You might find out that, based on your answers, remodeling is really not an option for you. Or you may surprise yourself and have a realization that you can transform your existing home to make it what you really want.
You can definitely do a lot of good research online (such as reading this article!), but we also recommend gathering some professional opinions about your specific situation.
Watchung NJ Kitchen Remodeling - Design Build Pros
Ask a contractor friend to come over and give you some ideas on what you can do with your home. When homeowners ask us for our opinion, we always discuss the Three D’s of the Remodeling Project Budget.
Ask a local real estate agent to give you a basic market analysis so you can get an idea of what your home is worth, what it might be worth after a remodel, and what homes in the area are selling for.  Or if you don’t know a real estate agent to ask, you can do your own research on sites like RealtorZillow, and Trulia.
There are so many variables in making a decision like this that you want to assume as little as possible. The more information you can gather, the better.

Evaluate Costs

We like to say that there are two categories of costs involved in remodeling or moving – Obvious Costs and Hidden Costs.
The obvious costs may include:
  • Cost of remodeling – contractors, architects, materials, etc.
  • Cost of purchasing a house
To help homeowners evaluate costs of various remodeling projects, we have compiled a comprehensive Estimated Remodeling Project Investment Costs Guide. However, there are many additional costs to either moving or improving that are often overlooked by homeowners, but they’re very real:
If you’re selling your house and moving, hidden costs may include:
  • Making small repairs to your existing home so it shows nice
  • Staging your home
  • Real estate commissions
  • Moving company
  • Improvements to the home you are buying
  • Closing costs
  • Possible increase (or decrease) in mortgage interest rate
  • Possible increase (or decrease) in property taxes
If you’re remodeling, hidden costs may include:
  • Interior design
  • Furniture
  • Possibly staying in a hotel while work is being done
  • Eating at restaurants or take-out meals
  • Change orders for the remodeling project
This is where your trusted professionals, such as remodeling contractors and real estate agents, can really help. These may be seemingly insignificant “hidden” costs, but they can definitely add up and influence your decision-making process.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Personal Planning Before Bathroom Remodeling

We enjoy hearing what the average homeowner has in mind when they decide the want to redo their bathroom. We really chuckled at this personal account from Prentiss Gray, an NJ columnist ready to plan his bathroom remodel. Gray says "Bathrooms can be pretty boring. It’s amazing that we can take so little thought when putting in or refurbishing a bathroom. Most bathrooms are a major investment and we not only use them every day, but also spend a good deal of time in the process. 

It should be a nice room but so many of us try desperately to get them to be as inexpensive as possible. Unfortunately, it can’t always be both.

Instead, why not start from what we’d like to have? How do you imagine your favorite bathroom?

I once had a contractor tell me, with a very dour look, that bathrooms shouldn’t ever be bigger than a
Marietta Bathroom Remodel
jail cell, otherwise it was very wasteful and people would spend too long in there. Maybe that’s what accounts for how a lot of them feel. What do you really want? A deep comfortable tub, with massaging streams of warm waters? A wide open double sink with acres of counter space and voluminous mirrors? A grand throne of a toilet with a heated seat and plenty of legroom? Maybe one big enough for two people to use at the same time without intricately dancing around each other?

Most bathrooms have three major fixtures — the sink, the toilet and the bath/shower. In our latest bathroom, we are forgoing the bath entirely, just going “shower only” so we can really get the shower of our dreams. Bathtubs have never really been big enough anyway. Remember swimming around in warm soapy water, what happened to that? Sitting all scrunched up in a cramped tub is just not the same, no matter how many candles or bubbles there are. Give me a shower with a comfortable seat any day. 

 That sinking feeling 
 Sinks haven’t changed much since we used bowls and pitchers, in fact the bowl is back. Some of the nicest bathroom sinks today are effectively bowls placed on top of the counter. The nice thing about this above-cabinet style is that the sink can show off its styling, with many color and patterns available and we don’t have to lean over as far to use them, making it much easier on the back. It also means that just about any cabinet can be a stand for the sink, because plumbing has become so modular. For that matter, any bowl can become a sink basin just by drilling a hole for the drain and stopper. Imagine the possibilities for creating your own signature piece. 

 Le toilet 
 Although Consumer Reports says the best-rated toilets are the standard ones — big tanks on the back
Atlanta Custom Shower 
with cold plastic seats and old flush levers on the tank — we don’t have to go that way if we don’t want to. On a recent trip to Europe, I was pleased to notice that the toilets were far and away above our own toilets. Water savings has been the style in Europe for a long time, so that fits our needs beautifully. Most toilets flush using less than 1.7 gallons of water these days, some as little as 0.85 gallons. Minimal water usage has become a requirement in most building codes. But the Europeans also have a lot of models that are wall-mounted. The tanks are either hidden in the wall behind the toilet or don’t exist because the flush is assisted by design, pumps or both. There are huge benefits to wall-mounted toilets. Not only do they save a lot of space while providing more seating room and variable height, since they don’t touch the floor it makes it easy to clean under and around them. Not to mention it makes it much simpler to add options like rugs or other floor coverings to the bathroom.

 Bathing beauty 
 There are a lot of options for baths, but most are designed to fit in the standard 5-foot opening. For something bigger, it pays to take a look at the Japanese style Ofuros that have become available lately. The traditional soaking tub, long used by the Japanese, provides for a relatively compact but totally immersive experience. Beyond that, much the same experience can be had with walk-in tubs or sliding wall tubs like the Kohler Elevance. Sealed by inflatable gaskets and/or the pressure of the water in the tub, walk-in tubs are very handy for seniors, the disabled, or anyone who likes the feel of a really deep tub with a seat. All of these soaking tubs require good water flow as well as fast drainage. That’s because most walk-in tubs are filled after you get in and drained before you get out. Who wants to sit there for 15 minutes waiting for the tub to fill or drain? 

Options and accessories 
 What about steam showers or heated towel racks? How about task lighting alternatives or warmed floors and all the entertainment options? I’m pretty sure we can come up with a bathroom that we’d never want to leave." Ready to customize your bathroom? See what AK can do: Atlanta Bathroom Remodel

Friday, October 23, 2015

Proper Basement Renovating To Add Square Footage

   Would you like to add square footage to your house for a home office, extra bedroom or perhaps that deluxe new entertainment center you’ve been dreaming of? Remodeling the basement is an excellent way to expand your usable space without the hassle and expense of extending your home’s footprint. What’s more, it will reap about a 78 percent return on your investment when you sell your property. Don’t forget the essential first step of any basement remodel, though: getting rid of moisture and keeping the space dry.
Moisture due to condensation
Unfinished basements are often humid due to insufficient ventilation. Open the windows and run fans in the area for several days before starting your remodel. To avoid long-term humidity problems, install an exhaust fan. If your laundry facilities are in the basement, make sure that your dryer is properly vented to the outdoors, and never hang wet clothes inside to dry.
Reduce condensation in the air by insulating your cold water pipes to avoid “sweating” in the summer (theirs, not yours). To deal with a serious condensation problem, operate a dehumidifier and apply a waterproof coating to the walls.
Moisture that enters via the foundation
Water can seep into your home through the foundation in a variety of ways, and if it does, the 
Moisture Leads To Mold
basement is where it will end up … unless you take proactive measures to keep it out.
Clear out your gutters to prevent overflow. Make sure you have enough downspouts -- one for every 600-800 square feet of roof. Inspect the downspouts for leaky seams and check that they are safely channeling runoff from rain or melted snow a minimum of 5 feet (or even better, 10 feet) away from your home’s foundation. If not, protect your foundation by installing downspout extensions.
Grade the soil of the surrounding yard so that it directs moisture away from the foundation. The ground should slope downward 1 inch per linear foot.
Plant bushes and flowers at least 1-3 feet away from your house, depending on their size. Their roots tend to trap water (particularly if they rot) and you don’t want that close to the foundation. Decorative garden edgings, such as brick flowerbed borders, should be placed a similar distance away from the building.
Any cracks in the foundation or in your concrete driveway and walkways can also permit water to accumulate below grade. You can attempt to fix these yourself, using one of the kits on the market, but be warned: concrete cracks are both tricky to repair and potentially very hazardous to your foundation. For the most reliable work, consult a professional concrete contractor.
Anti-moisture installations
Vapor Barrier
If you happen to live in a locale with an especially high water table (the natural level of water under the ground), you may need to have a sump pump (be sure to get a battery backup system!) or perimeter drains installed to control moisture below the surface of the soil.
While simply painting the basement’s concrete floor is often suggested as a very affordable finish, it will not be a viable solution when you have an undersurface dampness problem. Instead, seal off moisture with a layer of dimpled polyethylene atop the concrete. Then go ahead and install new flooring. Ceramic tile or vinyl is a good water-resistant choice.
When the remodeling project begins, have a vapor barrier installed on both the walls and the floor. Use metal or wood furring strips to offset the framing from your exterior walls. Add insulation, which should include vapor protection to make sure that you stay warm and dry.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why We Love To Remodel Marietta Homes

  For those poor souls who don't live in or around Marietta, Georgia...let us tell you a little bit about this wonderful city. Marietta is the largest city in Cobb County with about 59,000 residents. The first city plat was laid out in 1833, depicting a quaint town built around a city square that still exists today! Though many places in Marietta were set on fire during the first strike of General Sherman's "March To The Sea" in 1864, many historic homes and sites still stand. The Oakton House in Marietta has
been continuously occupied since 1838 and the original barn, milk house, smoke house and well still stand on the remaining five acre property.

  Homeowners in Historic Marietta enjoy close proximity to the Marietta Square with restaurants, antique shops, specialty shops, museums, theaters, and turn of the century architecture. With a variety of home sizes and styles Historic Marietta is also convenient to Kennestone Hospital, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, and concerts in the park. Every year Marietta hosts the popular Marietta Pilgrimage Home Tour which features 6 private historic homes all restored and decorated for the season!

  You can see why we think Marietta is a pretty fantastic place, and why so much rich history has led to the growth of a community that lives in the past, present and future. And that is why we love to remodel Marietta homes...

  • The History
  Even newer homes or homes that are not officially deemed historic hold within them a heritage of the city it stands on. The new homes are beautiful and luxurious family-centric spaces while the older ones are being renovated and restored with such care. The homes in Marietta show the great pride their owners have!
The Hagood-Sheeler-Musolf House, c. 1929

  • The People
 We might be a little biased, but we have the best clients on the planet. Our Marietta remodeling clients have been some of the most wonderful, fun and kind people we have met. We have been able to explore all styles and trends in homes around Marietta and it is the variety of people and styles that really adds interest and spice to the city!

  • The Style
    Marietta grew as one of the first "suburbs" in the country. After the civil war this city would help invent a distinctly American form of house. The American Craftsman style and the Arts and Crafts movement created some incredibly interesting bungalows around Marietta that now flow seamlessly into the eclectic revival homes of the later 20th century. 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Truths About Our Homes

AK Atlanta Kitchen Remodel

  When we work in a home, we are often times making significant changes that the homeowner has been thinking about, and wanting for a long time. The best part of our job is giving a family a beautiful space that improves their life at home. But it doesn't always take a renovation to fall in love with your home again, sometimes it just means remembering (or realizing) some basic truths about the place we call home.

  • Comparing your home to someone else's takes away from authentically creating yours
There's certainly something to be said about absorbing inspiration from as many sources as you can find. But comparing your home to others in a jealous, why-can't-I-have that sort of way just takes away from the energy of discovering what it is that you love. What it is that makes a home a home to you. Comparing yourself to others can lead to buying things that you'd never normally buy. You've got to step away from scrolling through people's Instagram accounts and focus more on creating spaces you'd want to Instagram.

  • You really probably don't need all that stuff
Clutter is a happiness killer. We're not talking about collecting things — if you're someone who loves a home full of fun finds that you've picked up throughout the year, fill that space up to your heart's delight (just maybe dust pretty often). We're talking about homes that are filled with unneeded things. Items bought out of boredom, because you wanted to impress someone else. Bought impulsively and without thinking. That kind of stuff? That's clutter. And you don't need it. It'll only physically and mentally bog you down. Learn that lesson as soon as you can — and be open to relearning it in every new home you live in (as it's easily forgotten).

  • Home is who you share it with 
So learn to get along with whoever shares your home, whether it's a roommate or a spouse. Communicate with roommates calmly (and don't leave passive aggressive notes — even if they're funny). Work with your spouse to come up with designs that make everyone comfortable. Consider your pets' needs so that they don't get bored or restless and tear the joint up. Celebrate your home by inviting people over, even if it's just for tea and packaged snacks. And learn to be alone if you live alone. Don't always be seeking out distractions. Use quiet time at home to listen to your surroundings and get to know yourself.

  • You don't have to learn how to fix everything, but knowing what's "off" makes life easier
    AK Home Maintenance
Creating a nice home means paying attention to what's going on within — how the appliances are working, noticing if the toilet's constantly running. You don't have to be an expert at fixing everything, but you should know when something's not quite right. Just being attentive to your home's normal state means you'll catch when things aren't quite right, and it might save you time and money on repairs later on.

  • Even the smallest studio will seem like a mansion when you learn that "home" actually extends beyond your walls
We've really encouraged you to explore your neighborhoods this summer. Though your home is your sanctuary — the place that recharges you and you find peace and solitude in, really delving into your neighborhood could be another way to find joy in where you live. Even if you don't live in your dream location, there might be a restaurant that could become your favorite Friday night hang out. There could be a small hardware store that makes buying home supplies a more pleasant experience. There could be a nice few streets that you can take walks on to clear your mind.

Excerpts from an Apartment Therapy post originally published 8.3.2014 - CM