• A Gaudi Inspired Kitchen or Bathroom

    Parc Guell bench or the inspiration for your next kitchen backsplash?

    I recently visited Barcelona and immediately fell in love with the charm and architecture of the city (not to mention the tapas, paella, cava, sangria…I could go on and on). Of particular fascination to me were the works of Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi, which can be found all over the city from the in progress Sagrada Familia to La Pedrera, Parc Guell and numerous other buildings, churches and even furniture pieces. From the exteriors of these structures all the way through to the smallest details of the interiors, be it lighting, furniture, ventilation – Gaudi considered and designed it all down to the last detail. He was also ahead of his time when it came to recycling, creating ceramic mosaics made of broken and other waste materials in unique, one-of-a-kind combinations.

    It got me to thinking and imagining what a Gaudi designed kitchen or bathroom might look like. I absolutely have to believe that some sort of tile inspired kitchen backsplash, bathroom shower wall or floor in both would be an absolute mainstay. That’s the easy part to imagine. But what about the rest of a kitchen or the bathroom? In Gaudi’s home you saw many well thought out and designed furniture pieces. What ways would he have designed cabinets to meet the needs of the user? Would it have been something with an angle or curve, an unusual height? In the kitchen, I can close my eyes and see a 42” high wall cabinet that is 9-12” deep at the bottom and angling out so the top portion is 15-18” deep and closer to the user’s reach but not so much that I have to bend backwards to access. In the bathroom, maybe it would be an elaborate sitting area with cabinets wrapping around the sitting area to offer all the conveniences one needs from every angle. The only thing I know for sure is that a Gaudi designed kitchen or bathroom would be a modern, functional and highly customized space.

    By Jim Grace

  • Bathroom Design Ideas - Adding Storage

    We are all so used to filling up every possible space with cabinets. What about those times where there is a unique space or client need that requires more creative bathroom design ideas? An unexpected opening may be a great surprise and great convenience to a client.

    Whether for storage or a more popular nook for pets, opening up the space not only creates convenience, it can also make any space feel bigger than it is. In this bathroom, the client was looking for storage as well as a finished space that would give his pet some room in the bathroom. Both were important to them! Storage was incorporated above and a small nook was left below for the family pet to easily and comfortably access.

    In bathroom design or any design, you are often times only limited by the questions you don’t ask. Put your requests out there. We hear a lot of requests and usually when we put our ideas together with the clients, great results are achieved.

    By Jim Grace

  • Late night talk show or a kitchen remodel?

    And now for my top 10 list of kitchen remodeling ideas…

    The big entertainment news last week was that David Letterman would be retiring after over 30 years of being on television. But did you know that the real reason was just so he could remodel his kitchen? Think about it. At the very least, we know Letterman has always had an interest in food, mostly by dropping it off tall buildings and seeing what happened.

    But think about what’s happened to kitchens and how much they have changed in 30 years? Crazy colored appliances have been replaced by much more attractive looking and smarter options. Ovens that can take over the cooking process, dishwashers that can sense debris level and adjust accordingly in cycle, refrigerators that can scan products. Cabinets are more than just white or dark oak, with countless shades, glazes and colors in between. And countertops come in more shapes, sizes, colors and materials than ever before. Bye bye laminate.

    I won’t even mention smart design and staying-in-place. In the ‘80’s, smart design was including a small kitchen island for a new work and prep space. Today we can do so much more with a kitchen – from adding roll out trays and appliance drawers to changing countertop heights, adding light, opening up walkways and so much more. When you think about it, it’s hard to believe that Letterman waited so long.

    So we congratulate Mr. Letterman on the closing of this chapter in his brilliant career and will just wait for the call to come up and help him remodel his kitchen. It’s a little north of us but we are ready.

    Of course a bigger question looms with the announcement that Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman. Assuming he has a similar run of 30+ years, will we be talking about a Jetsons kitchen for him? We will be close to 2062…

    By Jim Grace

  • Over or Under...which was does your toilet paper roll

    A quick search of the internet tells you that this is no ordinary topic. Over 83 million results in Google. Wikipedia discussions that more than double the discussion length of far more newsworthy events and topics. Endless visual images and data. With studies that show we use approximately 15 billion rolls of toilet paper a year in the U.S. alone, we could wrap the Earth 40 times (now that’s getting tee-peed!).

    So once you’ve designed and completed your bathroom remodel….or you’ve just run out of toilet paper, recognize that a big decision looms…will you take the over or the under with the placement of your toilet paper roll?

    The arguments come from top and bottom. The “over” crowd cites a more natural flow that is easier to find and tear off the end. The “under” crowd will talk of a cleaner appearance and fewer chances that a small child, a cat or other pet may easily unravel.

    Let’s not even take a (s)wipe at vertical styles or more custom solutions. Whether it is your next bathroom remodel or just your next roll of toilet paper, will you take the over or the under? Let the betting begin!

    By Jim Grace

  • Kitchen Focal Point - Adding Glass Doors

    Glass lets you see in…and in some cases, see through!

    A good kitchen focal point will draw anyone into a kitchen’s space, from family and friends to yourself, making everyone feel comfortable, content and even a little curious as they focus on certain spots, trying to figure out the “story” of the kitchen. There are plenty of great kitchen design ideas that can help you create the perfect kitchen focal point. Here are 3 ideas to consider when creating your own kitchen focal point:

    Harmony over “look at me, look at me” – while we want our kitchen focal point to make a statement, we also want it to fit in with the entire look and feel of the kitchen. We don’t want to our focal point to be the kid with his hand up screaming “look at me, look at me!”. A good kitchen focal point will stimulate interest not just for it’s uniqueness but also for how seamlessly it blends into the entire space.

    Every side must be your “good side” – a good kitchen focal point will be visible and offer looks from multiple perspectives in the kitchen. Whether it is a decorative hood with detailing on all 3 sides or a thoughtfully designed kitchen island with multiple heights, decorative panels and storage, you will appreciate it from many different angles and views.

    Sometimes you can just “see right through” things – using glass will invite you and others to take a look beyond the surface and into the beauty inside the space. The inside could mean many things, from special personal items to a different colored interior or even a look through a second set of glass doors into the beauty of the outdoors or other setting.

    In some cases it is possible to combine all of these kitchen focal point ideas into a kitchen depending on its size and shape. But often times just having one is enough. Consider each of these keys when you look to create your own kitchen focal point.

    By Jim Grace