Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Does Your Kitchen Match Your Style?

  Our respected peers, Seattle kitchen remodelers, Powell Custom Homes & Renovations, wrote this great piece about deciding on a style for your kitchen remodel. An issue near and dear to our heart...It's a big part of what we do with every Atlanta kitchen remodel - help the homeowner decide the best style to suit their taste, their need for function and to mesh well with the rest of their home! After all, a minimalist modern kitchen may not be the best choice if the rest of your home is done in country french, or old European. AK's design professionals can help you pick a style that will meet your need for form, function and, of course, style! Take a look at Powell's ideas below and their list of the most common kitchen styles to get a head start before you meet with AK!

   "Once you’ve arrived at the conclusion that you really want to remodel your kitchen you’ll be faced with another major decision: What do you want it to look like? Even if your decision to remodel is largely driven by functionality (that is, your kitchen just doesn’t work the way you want it to), the way your kitchen looks is extremely important. Because you spend so much time in your kitchen (preparing food, eating, doing homework, or just hanging out) you want it to be a place where you feel comfortable. 
So what’s your style? What style of kitchen makes you feel comfortable and at home? It’s good to have a general sense of the look and feel you’re after, because that will affect the materials you choose. Not every kind of material works well with every style (Think about wearing hiking boots with a tuxedo or flip flops with an evening gown). And your choice of materials is significant because—if you’re like most people remodeling a kitchen—you’ll only spend about 15 percent of your budget on labor. The rest of your budget will go toward materials. 
How do you determine what style is right for you? One of the best ways to do that is to do some online searches of popular styles and see what you like. Start with the basic styles listed here, type them into your browser and look at images that represent these styles:

-Modern Kitchens Modern kitchens emphasize a simple, sleek style with clean lines that let the materials you chose and the colors you pick come to the forefront.
-Traditional Kitchens In a traditional kitchen the focus is on details such as crown molding and raised wood paneling complemented by rich, deep colors.
-Country Kitchens Country kitchens tend more toward a warm, casual, comfortable atmosphere that often features a rustic or weathered look.
-Contemporary Kitchens A contemporary style kitchen may take advantage of contrasting textures and bold accents in a natural setting.

Are you locked in to any of these styles? Of course not, but using them as a starting point will help you find examples of which materials work best in different settings. 
What else would help you define your kitchen style?"

For more on kitchen design possibilities, check out our blog: Kitchen Design Ideas For 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Painting Tips To Help You Paint Like A Pro

  Most remodelers, and real estate agents, will tell you that nothing can change the feel and look of a room quite as quickly - and inexpensively - as a new paint job! While most of our clients choose not to paint on their own, we know that for smaller rooms or smaller projects, doing it yourself is sometimes a great option. 
  Beware of the companies and paints that make promises like "2 coats in one" - as this is rarely the case! Especially if you're painting over a color. Beiges, with yellow or pink undertones, sandy taupes and greens are safe and popular colors if you're looking for universal appeal from your paint. Mediterranean tones are the current trend for "bold" paint colors in homes that need a little spice without a major change.
  Here are more tips to help you complete your painting project with the prowess of a pro! 
Primer comes before paint.
Tempted to skip the primer? Primer not only provides a good surface for the paint, but it also brings out the paint’s true color.

Paint like a pro.
Painting is your chance to show off your skills. Use an edge pad for clean lines around doorframes, ceiling edges and corners so your walls look great — down to every last detail.

Create a sticky situation.
Paint won’t stick to the wall if you haven’t taken the time to prep. The surface must be clean, non-glossy and in good condition.

One gallon at a time.
How much paint will it take to cover your walls? The pros recommend one gallon for every 400 square feet. Covering textured, rough or unprimed surfaces may require more.

Dry days make good painting days.
Moisture in the air keeps water-based paint from drying. Skip the humid afternoon paint project and slow drying walls won’t wreck the rest of your day.

Put your sandwich bags to work.
Slip a small plastic bag over your doorknobs and tape the edge to avoid getting paint in places it wasn’t meant to go. You’re so resourceful.

Out with the old.
If the old paint on your wall is flaking off, it’s a good idea to buy a paint scraper and get it out of the way. Once all the old paint is gone, sand the surface smooth, prime and your new paint will look great.

Clean finish.
If you’re looking for paint in high-traffic areas, semi-gloss is the way to go. Shiny and durable, semi-gloss is a parent’s best friend.

Give the walls a sponge bath.
Washing your walls from top to bottom is always recommended because paint sticks better to a clean surface.

Don’t look back.
Once an area starts to dry, it’s best to leave it alone. Going back over it can leave marks and color streaks in the paint’s surface.

Polka dots look good on fabric—not floors.
Unless you’re trying to paint your floor, we recommend covering it up with a drop cloth. It’s the cheap, easy way to save yourself a whole lot of irritation.

Take away the shine.
Paint doesn’t always adhere to glossy surfaces. We recommend using a light grade sandpaper to take the gloss off the surface so your new paint sticks like it should.

Turn in the brush.
Small rooms can feel gigantic when it comes to painting. A roller will do a better job than a paint brush in less time.

Spare the wall plates.
Before you start, remove all wall plates and tape off light switches and electrical outlets. You’ll get high marks for professional-looking results.

Patience is a virtue.
You’ve completed your mission to fix every imperfection with patching compound. Now, make sure it’s dry. Then sand smooth, prime, and you’ll have a surface good enough for any pro.

(tips courtesy diy network)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Design a Classic Bathroom That Never Goes Out of Style

Vintage bathrooms are very popular and because of their classic appeal, will never go out of style. When many of us think of vintage baths, we see claw-foot tubs, pedestal sinks and white subway tile. Today’s vintage bath includes these plus other design elements from the early 20th century, then combines them with modern conveniences. Let’s take a look at some vintage-inspired baths and the types of products used to create them now...

15 Elements of Today's Vintage-Inspired Baths

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Worst Kitchens & The Worst Kitchen Designs

  Peeking back into the start of summer 2010...We wanted to repost our Top 3 WORST Kitchen Trends, as we think they are still pertinent a year later. We also couldn't help adding some of the "Worst Kitchens in America" from CBS' Early Show. Though many of us may be wishing for a kitchen remodel - especially with the kids spending more time at home this summer - at least we can be thankful we don't have one of these kitchens! (But, if you do, you may want to keep our number handy!)

  "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

Are These The Worst Kitchens In America?  
What Do You Think?
We think this kitchen could use some storage solutions...and maybe a new island? Just a thought.

With the coordinating paper towels, we think this one could qualify for the "too much floral" category. And the pink tile? Wow!

Oh no. Great faux-finishing intentions gone horribly awry.

You can get doors for those...