Monday, April 30, 2012

Survey Shows What Deck Owners PINE For

   'Tis the season to use your deck! AK found this newswire piece about decks very topical; it suggests a shift from the "luxury" of outdoor kitchens toward the "practicality" of decks. (These definitions of luxury and practicality of course depend on the individual kitchen or deck! Outdoor kitchens CAN be practical and decks CAN be lavish) What has not changed is how important a deck, or other outdoor living space is to a family's enjoyment of a home.
(/PRNewswire via COMTEX/) For many homeowners, the deck of their dreams is just that: still a dream.
That's the finding of a recent survey conducted on Facebook. More than 2,000 people responded to the query, "What would you do if you won $15,000 to spend on your deck?" Fans were asked to rate how strongly they felt about 11 different options, with one being least interested and 10 being the most interested. The number one answer, with 47% giving it a 10, was to tear out the current deck and start over.
The survey found that alterations that improve both beauty and functionality were the most popular choices. Next in line, chosen by 43% of respondents, was to add lighting. Improving the landscaping and adding built-ins, like benches and storage, tied at 41% each. Rounding out the top five improvements, at 40%, was the choice to enlarge an existing deck.
Outdoor kitchens have been a popular project, but only 28% of those taking the survey would spend their dollars here - possibly underscoring a shift toward practicality over luxury. Other possible ways to spend the windfall were to get new furniture (34%), change to composite or exotic wood (29%), repair damaged wood (25%), change the color (24%) and add a water feature.
"Overall, the survey findings reinforce how much people love their decks, and how important the deck is as a place to spend time with family and friends," said Jeff Wilson, HGTV/diy network host and a consultant for The Thompson's Company. "I think that's why people want to add lighting, furniture, and storage, so that they can do more of what they already do - sit back and relax."
The last question asked participants to list anything else they'd add to the deck of their dreams. While many named hot tubs or fire pits, others asked for shade and enclosures, reinforcing the finding that homeowners want their decks to be a comfortable outdoor living space that can be used as often as possible. Many people stated simply that having a place for friends and family to gather would be enough. (Of course, some took dreaming to a new level, asking for spaceship launching pads, a Prince Charming to preside over the grilling of steaks and a giant chess board with alternating color stained squares and life-size movable pieces.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mosaic Garden Art: Perfect For Mother's Day

  Ever since mom hung your first piece of artwork on the refrigerator, you knew she loved your homemade creations!! Nothing means more to a mom than something her loved ones made especially for her. If the frig is full and the house is too, you can make mom something for her garden! (or patio, or porch, or windowsill...)
  Mosaic items have been trending all over the internet, like Pinterest! It's personal, practical and pretty. You can select items that you or your mom likes or that have a special meaning for you both. You can also make it as simple or as complicated as you like.
  Here is a simple method great to do with younger children. Kids can pick fun items to put on the pots; buttons, tiny toys, "jems"...anything their little heart desires. Letting them select some items from a craft store is half the fun!:
  • Newspaper
  • Pieces of broken pottery, tiles, beads, marbles, beach glass, shells or charms
  • Ceramic tile grout (available at hardware stores)
  • Plastic knife
  • Terra-cotta flowerpot
  • Sponge
  1. Cover the work area with newspaper. Before starting to decorate the pot, sort through the pottery pieces and discard any that have sharp edges (a parent's job).
  2. Spread a heavy layer of tile grout onto the flowerpot with the plastic knife. Then press the tile pieces into the wet grout. When finished, spread a little more grout between the pieces so that most of the broken edges are covered.
  3. After the pot is dry, wipe off any grout film with a damp sponge. has a great DIY piece on a slightly more "adult" method if you want to create something a little more intricate. Check it out here: Making Mosaic Garden Art

Have fun, and an early Happy Mother's Day from AK!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Marietta Master Bath Remodel: Featuring Delta Fixtures

Delta is working with AK to create a stunning finished product including 8" spread Victorian Bronze fixtures.

Here is the bathroom before our work begins!

The entrance to the bathroom is soon to have a new 36” pocket door; the casing will be stained in chocolate truffle to match the darker cabinetry.

(New cabinets will be dark, rich wood by Dynasty by Omega. )

 The light fixtures will stay but the walls & ceiling will be repainted and new crown molding & baseboards will be added.


New Paint Will Be:

Countertop will be Emperador Dark marble:

The tub will be removed and replaced by a curbless walk-in shower! The shower will be 8' long by 4' wide 
Shower will boast: 1 fixed 6" head on one end, sliding hand-held spray on other end, an 8" rain head over the bench, 3 body sprays, 2 tiled inserts (one on each end for shampoos, etc and a soap dish insert)
A lineal drain will be used on the shower floor.
Can you picture it all coming together? Stay tuned for project updates!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Latest Trend In Home Remodeling: Multi-generational Homes

 Home trends reflect life trends; they are often poignant societal markers that can be easily related to their historical time-frame. Today's biggest trend in homes and remodeling reflects the need for home design that supports multi-generational living. 
  In 2008, an estimated 49 million Americans, or about 16 percent of the total U.S. population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation, according to the Pew Research Center. What's more is studies show these trends will continue.  
  “Factors such as job losses, home foreclosures and a changing attitude toward multi-generational living have all contributed to the rise,” said Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education at KraftMaid Cabinetry. “Now families are finding relatives at both ends of the age spectrum living together under one roof.”  These factors forged the creation of GenShift 2011: a conglomerate of companies, including KraftMaid Cabinetry, researching how lifestages are redefining kitchen design.
  “Living in a multi-generational home can be a great experience, but it can also be very challenging,” said Reep. “It’s important to take each generation’s ideas and needs into consideration, especially when it comes to home design.” 
   The GenShift research brings to light generational differences in design and function that even many contractors are unaware of. For example, it is very common to see an area, and island or a furniture piece designed for wine storage in a remodeled kitchen. But did you know that 22% of homeowners feel that a place for feeding pets is of utmost importance in a kitchen whereas only 10% who feel they need a space to store wine. This is not what a Google search of beautiful kitchens would lead you to believe; this is just another reason why working with a professional remodeler who takes the time to ask questions and to listen is SO important. Good design works for your lifestyle and for your family - one size, or style, does not fit all!
   Keeping that in mind, here are a few kitchen design elements that Sarah Reep recommends to create a home designed for all ages: 
  • Get creative with lighting. Different tasks and generations require various levels of lighting. A combination of recessed, pendant, and under-cabinet lighting provides both aesthetics and functionality.
  • Add a splash of color. While monochromatic color schemes have been popular in recent years, older generations may prefer contrast between countertops and cabinets in order to maximize visual acuity. 
  • Vary countertop heights. Lowered counters will create a workspace for small children, wheelchair users and those who prefer to sit while preparing meals. Homeowners can also use the varied heights for different tasks, such as lower counters for kneading dough and higher counters for cutting vegetables.
 (Tips Compiled By GlendaCameron)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Visit Our Ebay Store

 We're selling various items on Ebay! Including custom cabinets, granite & more! See our listing and watch our store for more items. If you're looking for something specific, ask us! We just might have it...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home Cleaning Tips

 How about cutting some time out of your cleaning routine? We've gathered some home cleaning tips & tricks that you can use to help with the endless task of keeping your house clean. Incorporating these into your weekly cleaning can help save you some time and aggravation. Let us know what other tips you use - we'd love to hear more!
Dust In Small Spaces
Use paint brushes to dust cracks and hard to reach places in telephones, stereos, etc.

Dingy Chrome
Use Club soda or seltzer water to clean chrome.

Magic Marker Ink
Hair spray will remove magic-marker ink from surfaces.

Door That Sticks
Car wax applied to a sticking door will ease opening and closing.

Heel Marks
Use a pencil eraser on black heel marks.

Refrigerator Odors
  • A little vanilla poured on a piece of cotton and placed in the refrigerator will eliminate odors.
  • After cleaning the refrigerator add a dash of lemon extract to the rinse water for a fresh scent.
Shower Curtains
Shower curtains can be renovated by being washed, on gentle cycle, with a pint of white vinegar. 

Food Particles In Microwave
Cleaning a microwave is easy. Fill up a cup of water and put it in there on high for a few minutes. The steam from the cup will loosen any stuck-on food, and then you can just wipe it away. It’s that simple.

** Toilet Cleaning Trick **
Most cleaners are tough on your toilet, so try something gentler that will do the job just as well. Once a week, drop two denture tablets into the bowl and leave for at least 20 minutes. Then give the inside of the bowl a quick brushing and flush. The same action that brightens dentures will leave your toilet gleaming.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hidden Dangers In The Home

  Much of what we do during a remodel involves safety: keeping the space safe during a job, designing for a family to live safely in a space after the remodel, preparing the new space for kids or adults to age gracefully & safely, etc. etc. 
  In conjunction to our work with home safety, it is also National Window Safety week. So, with that thought in mind, we thought about posting some obvious - and some maybe not so obvious - tips for home safety. Afterall, your home should be the one place in the world where you always feel safe!
    • Electrical Safety:
    • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, send about 2,400 children a year to the emergency room: electrical outlets. Cover them, lock them, protect them...there are many options on the market!
    • Replacing a correct size fuse with a larger size fuse can present a serious fire hazard. If the fuse in the box is rated higher than that intended for the circuit, excessive current will be allowed to flow and possibly overload the outlet and house wiring to the point that a fire can begin. Be certain that correct-size fuses are used. (
    • Falls: 
    • Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents in the home and lead to more than a million people going to hospital annually.
    • Grab bars can help you get into and out of your tub or shower, and can help prevent falls. Check existing bars for strength and stability, and repair if necessary. Attach grab bars through the tile to structural supports in the wall, or install bars specifically designed to attach to the sides of the bathtub. 
    •  Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide. Apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of rugs and runners. Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backing. Over time, adhesive on tape can wear away. Rugs with slip-resistant backing also become less effective as they are washed. 
    • For all stairways, check lighting, handrails, and the condition of the steps and coverings. Stairs should be lighted so that each step, particularly the step edges, can be clearly seen while going up and down stairs. Consider refinishing or replacing worn treads, or replacing worn carpeting. Worn or torn coverings or nails sticking out from coverings could snag your foot or cause you to trip. The lighting should not produce glare or shadows along the stairway. You should be able to turn on the lights before you use the stairway from either end.
    • Windows:
    • Keeping windows and doors open not only provides fresh air through the home, but it is a hidden danger in your home if you have little ones. Window falls increase dramatically during the spring and summer months; however, they can be prevented. It takes supervision and a device called a window guard (

    • Keep windows locked and closed when they are not being used.
    • Keep furniture away from windows so kids cannot climb to the ledge.
    • Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.
We've barely scratched the surface here so we encourage you to post any questions or comments you may have so we can answer your questions and help others stay safe in their homes!