• We all were captivated by it. The U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup winning performance captured our interest, our enthusiasm and eventually our hearts with a thrilling championship final win over Japan 5-2. And they did it with style, with each game and performance building on the previous to peak at just the right time. They did it in transition as well, as veterans like Abby Wambach, Christine Rampone and Shannon Boex accepted lesser roles on the team they love and led to allow the Carli Lloyd’s, Alex Morgan’s and Morgan Brien’s their turns.

    Transitional in kitchens and soccer.  More alike then you would think.

    In many ways, transitional design is very similar. Consider the range of influences. In soccer it is most often a combination of veterans and youth. In kitchens, its traditional style (the “veteran”) paired with modern or contemporary influences (the “youth”). Just like Wambach and the others, traditional takes on less of a role in the kitchen to accommodate its’ modern counterpart. And there is no arguing its’ popularity. Over the last 10 years, the transitional style has exploded into kitchens.

    Just how much of an influence though varies and is heavily subjective to the coach, or in the case of kitchen design, the client. For the client, it is as simple as asking yourself the question of whether you are more modern or more traditional and then taking cues from there. The reality is that it works well in almost every style home, and can work in more ways than one. It can be more traditional with a modern influence or more of a modern design with traditional influences. What does that mean exactly? In its’ simplest form, its’ heavy on clean, simple lines combined with the style and history of more traditional design elements. By combining styles of past and present, you create the current style for your kitchen.

    The U.S. Women’s National Team created their style (Taylor Swift even sang about it!). Now it’s your turn. And while I would not put one of them to work in the kitchen, I would gladly welcome them all over and cook whatever they want. For all they’ve done, they’ve earned it.

  • Every kitchen has a focal point. Whether it is intended or unintended well…that’s another story. For the desperate to remodel crowd, the whole kitchen could be the focal point because you can’t stand it. But for this post, we’re talking about a different kind of focal point. The focal point of YOUR kitchen. Whether it is something special, something unique, something contrasting or maybe all of the above, your kitchen’s focal point guides every visitor’s eye to, and in some cases along, your kitchen.

    Most are very simple…a contrasting finish on a single cabinet or kitchen island. Or maybe a wall cabinet that extends all the way to a countertop. It could be decorative glass doors on cabinets or a pro-style appliance. There are near endless choices when it comes to finding the right kitchen focal point for your kitchen. Here are 3 of our favorite kitchen focal points:

    3 kitchen focal points you should consider.

    Kitchen islands – there are so many things you can do with a kitchen island to make it a focal point. Consider a contrasting finish, decorative accessories to give it a more furniture look or tiered height countertops that combine multiple functions of sitting, socializing and food prep. In some situations you might just combine all 3!

    Backsplashes – the variety, options and popularity of backsplashes has never been greater than it is today. From materials choices ranging from the timeless (subway tile) to the unique (glass, copper & other materials), the space between your countertop and wall cabinets has never been more exciting.

    Wood countertops - there is just something timeless about a well-finished piece of wood. Done right, it adds a richness and character to any room of the home. This especially applies to the kitchen, where a finished wood countertop can add the perfect finishing touch. With choices of exotic woods and thicker built up surfaces, a wood countertop becomes a stunning focal point in any kitchen.

    The most important thing to consider when finding the right focal point for your kitchen is….you. You are the one who will be in your kitchen day in and day out. What will you love to look at? What will bring a smile to your face every time? Find that out and you have found your kitchen focal point.

  • When we decide to embark on a kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling project, it can all feel like a bit of a splurge. The reality is that for most of us, we may complete a kitchen remodeling project 1-2 times during our lifetime. The same can be said for bathroom remodeling.

    So it is interesting to see that the one item customers like to “splurge” on the most in both kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling projects is the same. According to a Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) survey conducted exclusively for Kitchen & Bath Design News, the one item that clients like to splurge on more than anything else is countertops.

    Kitchen and Bathroom Countertops

    And why not? The countertop has many important roles. It is a main focal point in both rooms, pulling the space together to make it all work. At the same time the countertop has the difficult task of being the backbone, requiring durability and strength as it handles the bulk of the work load, all while trying to maintain its’ good looks. The countertop tries to do it all by being functional and unique and making a statement in your kitchen or bathroom. And the smaller the space the more clients tend to splurge on countertops, where the visual impact can be even greater.

    For the kitchen, it is where are eyes are constantly drawn to as the dividing point between the wall and base cabinets. Or as the focal point on a kitchen island. Maybe a smaller piece of butcher block or marble as a prep or baking station. In the bathroom, it is the landing space for everything that influences the look, feel and color of the entire space. For both rooms, engineered stone and quartz continues to be a popular choice for its selection of colors and ease of cleaning with granite not too far behind and still considered “the” choice, especially in kitchens.

    And the splurge doesn’t just stop at the type of countertop material. With a variety of other countertop related choices available, including decorative edges and full height backsplashes to make even more of visual impact on your space, the urge to splurge on countertops will always be strong.

  • None of us want to miss out on the must-haves when it comes to remodeling. And for today’s kitchen, those “must-haves” are surprisingly practical and highly impactful to the function of the kitchen. According to the results of a recent online poll of more than 300 kitchen dealers and designers conducted exclusively for Kitchen & Bath Design News by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI), here are the top 5 “must-haves” for today’s kitchen:

    5 must haves for the kitchen

    1)Full extension drawers – Nobody wants to try and guess what is in the back of the drawer of any cabinet. Full extension guides allow drawers to come out to the front edge of your cabinet, letting you easily see and grab everything inside that drawer.

    2)Trash/recycling bins- Just like nobody wants to guess at what is in the back of the drawer, no one wants to see their trash or recycling either. Today’s combinations offer both, with options from 1-4 bins to handle multiple trash and recycling needs.

    3)Kitchen island- The reasons people want a kitchen island are vastly different. More storage, a dedicated work space, a space for the kids to do homework, a place for friends or guests to sit, you name it. A kitchen island can do any…or all of the above.

    4)Deep drawers - As our collection of pots, pans, serving dishes and more grow, so to do our storage needs. Adding deeper drawer cabinets to a kitchen offers greater flexibility for storing more of anything, including those larger or more oddly shaped items.

    5)More accessible storage - from pull out spice trays that hide behind fillers to the classic tilt out sink tray, having storage where you really need it makes all the difference in a well-designed kitchen. Understanding the cabinets and cabinet accessories that can provide more accessible storage is a critical part of the discovery and design process.

    Other must haves that just missed out making the top 5 include LED lighting, separate range hoods that are not part of a microwave and custom and semi-custom cabinets that can meet the changing needs and demands of how clients store, prepare and serve their food.

    At the end of the day, it’s most important to know what your own “must-haves” are for your kitchen. By doing your research (like reading this informative blog) you will quickly identify your own as you put together the kitchen of your dreams.

  • When most people talk to us about their current kitchens, the descriptions leave little to the imagination…and even less to desire (though rarely is it ever as bad as they describe when we go out to see it for ourselves). From storage to functionality, cabinet finishes to cranky appliances, the list goes on and on. Thanks to the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI), a recent survey identified some of the most common things that bother clients about their current kitchens. If you match most or all of these, it may just be time to think about remodeling your kitchen.

    Kitchen Tried or Kitchen True

    Space/Storage – chief among complaints about current kitchens, space or storage is always at a premium in most every kitchen. Sometimes the solutions are as simple as increasing the heights of your wall cabinets from 30” to 42” to gain extra storage in every cabinet. Others though may require some movement of walls and more.

    Countertop – laminate is often the culprit here, even though today’s laminates offer surprisingly realistic replications of their stone counterparts. Most are lured today to the look of granite and engineered stone or quartz.

    Layout/Functionality/Not Efficient – as we grow older or our home and family dynamic changes, a kitchen layout that was once practical no longer becomes efficient. Many times the changes are significant (think removing a wall), but in some cases some creative design can improve the functionality of the space. Many of tenets of universal design work well in any kitchen regardless of age and should be given serious consideration when redesigning the kitchen.

    Dated cabinets – working with a dark oak or pickled finish? Or can’t stand the kitchen doors with the hardware mounted right at the center of the door? We feel your pain. As the largest focal point of the kitchen, cabinets impact the look of the entire space and their impact can’t be understated. Plus, you can only paint over them so many times…

    Appliances – some of those old finishes are coming back into style, but today most complaints around appliances deal more with functionality and less with form (though avocado green is still not everyone’s choice). With the versatility and increased performance of today’s appliances it becomes one of the first if not the first thing chosen when designing a new kitchen.

    So while we may choose NOT to whisper in your ear, we can still channel our inner Ramones (or 5 Seconds of Summer depending on your demographic) and try to “tell you all the things that you wanna hear” to get rid of what you don’t like and help you design the kitchen of your dreams.