Monday, June 28, 2010

Celebrity Kitchens

Celebrity Kitchens Featuring GreenMurrye Bernard 

Kitchens are generally very active spaces, serving as the social and functional heart of a home. It comes as no surprise that several celebrities, what with their already hectic lives, have chosen to incorporate soothing green in their kitchen designs. Whether they have private chefs or are chefs in their own right, these celebrities’ green kitchens forgo Hollywood style in favor of earthy appeal. 

Ina Garten’s Fresh Greens

The Barefoot Contessa not only possesses impressive skills in the kitchen, but her East Hampton home, which was published in House Beautiful magazine, features a kitchen to envy. Subtly striped olive green wallpaper sets off crisp white cabinets, topped with a black honed granite countertop. Charming black and white tile looks old-school beneath the modern Sub Zero fridge and 8-burner Viking stove where Garten whips up her delicious concoctions. She recently renovated an old barn on the property and began filming her show in a larger kitchen within this structure, so this green kitchen is now truly a cook’s private respite…or does she order take out when she’s off the clock?

Lance’s Luxurious Kitchen 

A world-class cyclist and celebrity in his own right, Lance Armstrong’s kitchen features decidedly masculine details. Exposed beams, granite counters and stainless steel pendant lights complement the unique shade of smoky green-painted cabinets. A palette of browns, greens and golds spans many hues without being match-y, resulting in sophisticated layers of color. For such a luxurious kitchen, which has been featured in Architectural Digest, it is also family friendly—Armstrong shares the home with his three children—with a comfy banquette dining area and casual bar stools.

 Big on Style: Kirstie Alley 

Put all jokes aside that come to mind when “Kirstie” and “kitchen” are uttered in the same sentence. Alley’s kitchen walls feature a beautiful glazed diagonal tiled design with chocolate brown trim. Like Garten, she opted for the clean look of painted white cabinets against a black and white tiled floor. Designer Nate Berkus is responsible for the transformation of Alley’s kitchen, which was featured on an episode of Oprah. See the kitchen for yourself on her show Kirstie Alley’s Big Life…and stay tuned to find out if Alley can transform her body to match the sleek lines of her kitchen!

 Green Rings Kristen’s Bell

There’s something to be said for keeping it simple. Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell accents her clean white kitchen with pops of green, including mossy carpet and fabric-covered stools with a complementary orange floral pattern. In keeping with the citrus theme, yellow accessories such as a bright tea kettle and a vase of daisies look just as cheery as Kristen does. She even coordinates her outfits to match her backdrop!

Charlie Sheen Green

Since he always seems to be embroiled in some scandal or another, Charlie Sheen no doubt enjoyed the respite of his spacious kitchen featuring crisp green cabinets. This cool color palette complements the design of the Mediterranean-style home in the Los Angeles neighborhood Los Feliz, where Sheen lived with his wife Brooke Mueller. Large windows bring the green of the outdoors in, and a cowhide rug injects a little whimsy.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 Easy Tweaks to Bring Summer Into Your Home

"Now that summer is here, I start thinking of ways to brighten up my house and bring summer inside.  You know, those little decorating changes that let you feel as if you’re on vacation?" Read On!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Worst Kitchen Trends

   We really enjoyed the blog by Jamie Goldberg on where she lists granite countertops, travertine floors, industrial style faucets and french door refrigerators as among her least favorite kitchen products! We thought we could add to this list of kitchen trends gone wrong and we bet you can too...

  • Bigger Is Not Always Better
We know kitchens are some of our most "lived in" spaces. They are where the party always ends up and where we spend a lot of our family time. But when you have to send text messages from the table to talk to someone by the refrigerator - you've gone too far. Kitchens should be properly sized based on the size of your home and your family. Kitchens sell homes - but maxing out the size of your kitchen at the expense of the rest of your house is defeating the purpose!

  • Too Much Floral 
This really goes for too much of any pattern - not just floral. Don't put the same pattern on your backsplash, tile countertop & walls. Don't make your walls so dizzying that you can't locate the peppermill because it's now camouflaged! Too much of any pattern in your kitchen can make you lose your appetite.
  • Ring Around The Kitchen
"The worst design idea of the century is the continuous-counter kitchen (CCK) planned around walls. Storage placed on walls is good, for example floor standing cupboards or appliances like fridges—but not working areas. Why do you want to prep food with a wall or a cabinet door a few inches from your nose, or eyes for that matter? Islands and peninsulas facing into the centre of rooms are the places for prepping and cooking. Sociability is not possible without eye contact."  Johnny Grey, Architect and Kitchen Designer, London and San Francisco, CA

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bath Tile Ideas

Looking for bathroom tile ideas? When the home improvement mood strikes, bathrooms are high on the list. Take a look at some inspirational pictures from tile companies around the country:

“Create peace and tranquility with Hamlet Manor. This delightful series from Florida Tile conjures up the mist of the highlands with rural pathways and thatched roofs, sheep grazing on straw in the moss speckled landscape." - Florida Tile

This design idea features “Gold Rush Mosaics on floor in Goldust 2″ x 2″ and Gold Rush wall tile in Goldust 8 inch x 10 inch” from DalTile - DalTile

Ann Sacks has some amazing tiles, and there are a number of pictures and design ideas you can browse through on their site - Ann Sacks

Metal tiles in the bathroom are a little unexpected for most people, but they sure can look impressive when done right. This backsplash is made from the “Metallismo" - Walker Zanger

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great Kitchens Sell Homes

The kitchen is the most important room to stage in your home. Potential home buyers will want to view it void of unnecessary countertop appliances and clutter. By showcasing your kitchen in the best possible light, you can potentially sell your home faster and increase the closing price. Even in a slow real estate market, making your kitchen attractive to a buyer could make the difference.

Clean Up The Kitchen
Studies have shown that one of the dirtiest places in the home is the kitchen. Before you list, pull out those rubber gloves and give everything a good scrub so that the kitchen sparkles. Replace unsightly floor tiles, or in a worst-case scenario, consider a complete floor makeover. Pay special attention to the cabinetry; in older homes, it is common to see cracks in the beaded caulking between the ceiling and the trim above the cupboards. For less than $10, you can buy a pre-mixed tube of crack filler and make it look like new. Also, to give the kitchen an inexpensive facelift, consider replacing the fixturing – an affordable way to give doors and drawers a second wind.

Clutter Is A Kitchen Killer
Kitchens are the focal point of almost every home. A great rule of thumb for the staging of a kitchen is to leave no more than two appliances on your counter. After you have uncluttered the kitchen counter, brighten and soften the space by adding some fresh fruit, new dishtowels, a cookbook, and plants or flowers.

Modernizing Today Will Help You Sell Tomorrow
Modernizing your kitchen can help you sell your home for years to come. Renovating your kitchen now will let you enjoy new appliances while boosting the value of your home for the future. While you may want to take specific appliances with you, stainless steel can make almost any kitchen sing. Another way to add value to your kitchen is to install concealed appliances – hiding the dishwasher and fridge, for example, can really spice up your kitchen for buyers. Also popular are dual microwave/convection oven (prices can vary between $200 - $900 for higher-end stainless built-ins) – another appliance quickly becoming a staple in most modern kitchens.

If you can’t replace appliances, be sure to have them repaired and cleaned. It’s also a good idea to clean your fridge and stove, as buyers will almost always open oven and fridge doors.

Take the time to make sure all the existing light fixtures have working light bulbs. Make sure the blinds are open on all the windows and, if required, add a small table lamp or two to accent a dark corner.

...And The Kitchen Sink
Another kitchen remodeling idea is to upgrade your “sinkware.” New faucets, soap dispensers and sinks (whether you are reglazing or replacing altogether) are affordable ways to give the kitchen an immediate facelift. Don’t forget, buyers love to turn on the kitchen faucet when touring a home.

The kitchen is the most important room and biggest selling feature in your house. Staging it properly can make every potential buyer say, “this could be my kitchen."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A "Builder Kitchen" Redefined

Attention home builders - Did you know Atlanta builders have counted on AK for over 14 years to provide cabinets, cabinetry design, kitchen designs, custom built-ins, product & material selection services and above all...QUALITY?

Have you ever noticed that no matter how you plan for a party, everyone usually ends up in the kitchen? While in the kitchen, wouldn’t it be an achievement if the discussion centered around the builder’s ability to create such a wonderful space? Would that type of discussion drive more customers to your door?

Let AK help make you the topic of discussion with your next project.
Every one of these pictures is a real AK Builder Kitchen

Distinctive kitchens and baths are proven to sell homes better and create greater value/margin opportunities for builders. Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate says "The kitchen is the most important room to stage in your home. By showcasing your kitchen in the best possible light, you can potentially sell your home faster and increase the closing price. Even in a slow real estate market, making your kitchen attractive to a buyer could make the difference."

Builders, do you want this important aspect of your business left in the hands of the same company that sells you 2x4s?

How many times have you been delayed by the challenges in the selection process: incorrect decisions, color changes, or lack of complete design focus from your customer? At AK, we work with your customer to make all kitchen selections, coordinate colors, determine layout and confirm placement of appliances, all the while taking into consideration each and every customer and builder concern.