Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fade To Black

   Or maybe, Paint To Black is a more appropriate title? We saw a great post by Alpharetta's own Peace Painting Company, Inc on Hometalk. (In case you're not up with the latest, all the cool remodelers, contractors and homeowners are chatting on Hometalk! Check it out!) 
   We've been working around metro Atlanta for over sixteen years now and have seen our share of "Golden Oak" and white stairs and railings. Are you familiar with this?
   It's a builder favorite!
   Well, when we saw what Peace Painting did for an Alpharetta home, we wanted to share it! For relatively little time and money they dramatically changed the look of this home's small stairway. 

Imagine going from something like this:

To this!
   It's an easy way to update your stairway - and can be done by your painter, your contractor, or if you're ambitious - even yourself! (Although, after reading some of the stories of do it yourself railing paint jobs gone wrong that people posted on Hometalk, we might recommend a professional!) 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Are You Prepared To Make The Hard Decisions?

 When we think about remodeling, it's easy to think of all the great positive and exciting aspects to the project; having a beautiful new space that functions well for your family and adds value to one of your most valuable investments - your home. What we sometimes don't think about is the hard work that it takes to get that end result!
  Even when you're working with a professional design/build remodeling firm like AK, you're not completely off the hook for hard work. Your main job during your remodel, as an AK client, is to make decisions. It sounds simple enough, right? 
Paper or plastic? Do you want fries with that? Is that a Grande or a Venti? 

We all make countless decisions every day! But making decisions for your home, that you have to live with, and look at, day in and day out can be a little more intimidating and stressful than many homeowners anticipate. The inability to make decisions and commit to materials and products has derailed more than a few fantastic remodeling projects. 
To prevent this from happening to you here are some common sense, and some not so common sense, tips to put yourself in the right place and prepare yourself to make good decisions. When it comes to your remodeling project, that is. As for the fries...you're on your own.
  • List Your Goals
    • Make a list of your top goals you want the remodel to accomplish. (You can also fulfill this tip by using AK's kitchen remodel questionnaire and/or bath remodel questionnaire.) For example, if you're looking for the remodel to give you a space that's easy to clean, list that as a goal. When you have to make material selections, make sure they meet the requirements of your list. You can eliminate high-maintenance materials like marble, unsealed stone tiles, etc. right off the bat because they are not easy to clean!
  • Shorten The List
    • There are five million and one choices for cabinet pulls, and backsplash tiles...even grout! Do yourself a favor by shortening the list of choices. Only look at items that are 1) - Within your set price range and 2) - Meet the style and design goals of your remodel. (don't look at art deco knobs for your traditional kitchen)  It's easy to think "I should just look. What if I find something I love that I hadn't planned on!?" The problem is that you will cause yourself more stress and more time than if you just shortened your list of choices, and picked from there. If you've done the right planning and research beforehand, and are working with the right company, you'll make the right choice!
    • AK does this for our clients! If our clients are looking for an oil-rubbed bronze knob with complimenting pull we don't send them out into the overwhelming world of knobs to fend for themselves. We preview selections with the best manufacturers and select several suitable options, within their price point, and let the clients choose from these pre-selected options. AK clients are in no way limited to these options, but they all appreciate AK eliminating the leg work and allowing them to pick from the best of the bunch!
  • Set The Mood
    • Know when your decision deadlines are from the beginning. (The deadlines will likely be based on stages of completion and not calendar dates. Your remodeler should keep you well informed on where you are on your project timeline) Prepare yourself to make these decisions by conducting all your research beforehand: look at magazines, tear out pictures, review your list of goals, visit friend's houses, talk to your remodeler. Give yourself time! Don't try to choose your new granite countertop the day before you leave for vacation. You need to be in the right mindset and feel comfortable and confident when making these important decisions. Don't wait until the last minute.

Friday, August 5, 2011

AK's Latest Atlanta Kitchen Remodel - Before & Afters

 This client initially contacted AK to have their bathroom remodeled. The kitchen was on their radar, but they thought they'd like their bathroom completed first. However, after meeting with AK's President and hearing his ideas, feeling comfortable with the company - and the realizing the amazing potential their kitchen held - they decided to go ahead with a complete kitchen remodel. Before the kitchen was plain, very white, with limited space. It was not designed for ultimate functionality! Now the kitchen is rich and classic. With varying and accenting colors and textures...simply stunning.

Now you can see below the kitchen before & how it looks today!
(It's almost complete!)

See The Remodel Underway!

 The space is prepped, ready for paint, tile, cabinets & more!

 The new tile the homeowner's selected is beautiful! It compliments the paint choice, and will provide an excellent entry/exit surface for the outdoor access. We love the neutral tones with the taupes!
 Re-purposing the old cabinets! It's like renovating TWO rooms!

8/16/11 Update

 The Cabinets Are IN!
The furniture base gives a high-end, classic look to the remodeled kitchen. The tile compliments all the colors of the kitchen and the light grout brings in the light accent cabinets. It's all coming together beautifully!!

 The new kitchen compliments the style of the rest of the home.

 These are the old kitchen cabinets, re-purposed in the client's basement. We now refer to the space as Oscar the Cat's Kitchen. Oscar insisted on his own kitchen to go along with the upstairs renovation! 

You can see the finished product starting to take shape.

"The kitchen is coming together well, the cabinets are incredible, and re-purposing the old cabinets will give us tons of storage. AK has been a joy to work with, no struggles, no worries.
-The happy homeowners"

8/23/11 Update
The cabinets are complete & the granite is in!

"The work is almost complete. The lighting and appliances went in yesterday, a few small details to finish up. Having our kitchen back is almost too good to be true. The wok has been professional from start to finish, AK takes care of all the detail, this has been as close to a stress free renovation as we could have hoped for. 
-The happy homeowners" 
 8/24/11 Update

"It has been wonderful being able to hear what others are thinking about our new kitchen. Working with AK has taken what could have been a huge chaotic event and turned it into a peaceful transformation. This is truly our dream kitchen...
-The happy homeowners"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fabulous LED

  Maybe believe the future of residential lighting lies with the LED. Energy Star states that LED lights are a "natural fit for cutting-edge renovation, new construction projects, or do-it-yourself upgrades. ENERGY STAR qualified residential LED lighting uses at least 75% less energy, lasts 25 times longer than incandescent lighting and provides optimal light color."
  AK has been using LED under-cabinet lights for many of our Atlanta remodeling projects for quite some time because of their energy efficiency, long bulb life-span and because they produce 95% less heat than a normal incandescent bulb. The cooler bulb and fixture is better for the cabinetry, and better for the fingers trying to change the light bulb! There are other ways to use LED lighting in the kitchen, and K+BB featured several of them this month on their website. See K+BB's fabulous LED finds below:

-Handcrafted from iron, Tango from Corbett Lighting is an orb-shaped pendant featuring cutouts that radiate light. Offered in a textured bronze finish, it is available in four sizes, as well as a sconce. Shown is Model 138-44, which measures 30 in. in diameter and is illuminated with an 18W LED.


 -Bruck Lighting System’s Rain Chandelier features handblown glass pendants suspended at different lengths from a 24-in. x 24-in. aluminum canopy.

-Offered in 15- or 24-lamp configurations and a variety of artisan glass options, it is lit with 3W LEDs or 20W halogens. Custom designs are also available. 

 -Dorian from WAC Lighting mimics the shimmer of jellyfish with layers of hand-applied dichroic glass in amber, orange, blue, green or pink (shown). Measuring 12 in. tall and 6 1/2 in. wide, it is equipped with strands of crystal beads designed to suggest the motion of tentacles. The pendant can be used with several of the company’s lighting systems and specified with mounting hardware in a variety of designer finishes.