Category Archives: kitchen remodels

How to get more cooking, countertop and storage space!


Kitchen island demonstrating storage convenience

That’s what a kitchen island is for. When you decide you can’t do without one any longer, the first thing you must do is determine if you have room for one. That done, decide what features you want the island to have. For some, a fully functional kitchen island is a more appealing and convenience option, allowing them to do perform all kitchen tasks at the island.

If you choose to incorporate a fully functional island in your kitchen, you’ll need to have gas, water and power piped to the island. With all those things in place, the kitchen island can feature a stove, sink, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, blender, coffee maker, refrigerator and any other cooking, cleaning and storage elements you can fit on and in it!

Storage is often an important and challenging element of kitchen islands. Many of the larger ones feature both drawers and cabinets for storage. To make the storage efficient and “close-at-hand”, keep shelving and drawers shallow and narrow; you’ll avoid foodstuffs and supplies stacking up and migrating to the back, never to be seen again.

Finally, consider adding some convenient or decorative elements to your kitchen, if you have the space. You can increase the storage space and efficiency of your kitchen by adding a lazy Susan or pull-out trashcan to the island.


Kitchen island with gas stove!

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What is the cost per square foot for my remodel?

Uh, oh! This is a loaded question to a home remodeler. Cost per square foot is impossible to calculate before the layout of the room(s), quality of materials, fixtures and appliances are settled on. Just selecting a certain price range of kitchen appliances can change the project cost significantly.

It makes more sense to focus on the cost to construct in discussions. This can be revised based on the clients personal choices, complexity of the remodel, etc. Perhaps a more important number to use is the clients budget, minimum to maximum amounts. Then the remodeler can show the client what is available in materials to meet their budget constraints.

During the design phase, for instance, a more expensive granite countertop could be replace by a clients wish for a high quality gas stove. There are numerous trade-offs, and a good experienced contractor will know what less expensive material will look as good as the clients first choice product.

Kitchen remodel, after photo

Before remodel, this kitchen was chaotic and poorly laid out; not all cabinets had doors. After the remodel, it presents a pleasant, light, organized work space.


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New Year’s Kitchen Resolution!

Make it one of your news year resolutions to remodel the kitchen to include proper storage room! One can gradually get used to having full cupboards that are never opened; with items that you use daily all piled on the countertop. After a while you might not “see” the mess, but when preparing dinner, it can be very annoying to have to move things aside so there is a little bit of cramped room to work.

Don’t put up with it anymore! Custom cabinets can be designed and configured to make your space workable. Most homes are built with standard, generic cabinets that are not made to fit every home, and so may have odd corners and gaps, showing poor planning for storage of kitchen appliances and tools.


Loads of storage in this remodeled Bellingham kitchen!

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Kitchen remodeling for efficiency and style

A majority of our kitchen remodels do not move walls or add-on to a home; the majority remodel within the existing space. This is far less expensive than adding on or moving walls. Some of our customers have had interior walls removed, to open up the kitchen, to include the living room or dining room within the visual space of the kitchen. This makes the kitchen seem larger and allows the cook to converse with family and guests.

A well designed custom cabinet layout can add incredible storage capacity and style to a box-store, inexpensive brand setup. Stainless steel sinks, matching refrigerator and stove, and new faucets along with a new countertop will make you think you’ve moved into a completely new home!


Stove is in the island; cabinets do not go all the way to the soffit; cabinets are of a uniform, monotonous quality.


Stove has been moved from the island; cabinets go all the way to the soffit, utilizing all available space.

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December 13, 2013 · 2:00 pm

How to avoid mistakes with your kitchen remodel

Don’t pick styles and colors that are extreme; after a few years they may wear on you and become annoying. Here are some suggestions to help you design a kitchen that you will love for years to come, and will be a selling point if you ever decide to move!

1. White is the most popular color. The National Kitchen and Bath Association survey’s always find this color at the top. It is never out of style; it is a bright color that reflects light and makes small kitchens seem larger. It looks clean, and is easier to clean!

2. Hardwood flooring rates as very desirable for 80% of home buyers. It has warmth and makes homes look cozy and inviting. It goes with all kitchen styles.

3. For cabinets, you can’t go wrong with Shaker style. They have been popular for generations and their simple, clean lines are easy to keep clean. They are a perfect fit for transitional style; a great combination of traditional and contemporary.

4. Carrera marble for countertops is a classis that never goes out of style. It has a lacy graining and subtle white colors that will fit with any color scheme. They are long-lasting and less expensive than quartz.

5. Backsplash tiles – go with subway tile and you will love it! This has been popular since the 1900’s. Remember, neutral colors will always be current and blend with any look.


Subway tile backsplash

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Why Remodel Now?

You know what they say: “What is the bottom line?” Meaning money, of course. That’s why you should remodel now. A master bath remodel, kitchen remodel, or adding a well-designed powder room will add value to your home.

Of course, you will be able to enjoy updated fixtures, colors and furnishings for as long as you live in your home. Replacing worn-out and dated faucets, shower fixtures and sinks can immensely improve enjoyment of just being home.

So, speaking in specifics, what gives the biggest return on investment in the remodeling world?

  • Repair or replace siding
  • Add a deck or improve the existing deck, if it is fairly new
  • Make improvements in the kitchen
  • Repair or replace windows
  • Remake a bathroom
  • Add insulation, especially to the attic
  • Remodel the basement
  • Have an addition built on, or up
  • I know this is not home remodeling exactly, but have your yard landscaped

Built in bench with 2 level deck in landscaped yard.

Decks have a lifespan, and if they are at or near the end of theirs, replacing a traditional single-level deck with several levels and built-in benches are winners. If your previous deck required a great deal of maintenance, have the new one built with low-maintenance materials. There are some wonderful railing options, such as cable railing and glass that allow much more light onto the deck, and do not obstruct the view.

Kitchens and bathrooms are obvious places to do either a complete remodel, or update things as you can afford to. New sinks and fixtures, new countertops, new flooring and paint are all lower-cost remodel projects, that nevertheless, add a great deal to enjoyment and value of the home.


Complete kitchen remodel, including granite countertops, custom cabinetry, and large appliances and fixtures.

Replacing cabinetry and large appliances are bigger ticket items, but are well-worth doing when you are ready.

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10 Design Trends for 2013 (or maybe 8?)

Well we’ve done the research for you, combing through thousands (just kidding – maybe hundreds; uh make that maybe tens) of websites and blogs, noted what our clients have requested lately, and the results are in. Ta da!

1. Kitchen cabinets: Clean, simple contemporary looks will be popular, with homeowners looking to economize and eliminate clutter and details that increase cleaning time.

2. Quartz composites are popular for countertops, due to low-maintenance (one of my favorite phrases), sturdy countertop material. Don’t forget great-looking!

3. Pre-finished and engineered wood flooring is becoming more popular due partly to the lower installation cost compared to site-finished flooring and to the hard, durable finishes available.

4. Deep, single compartment kitchen sinks, believe it or not! It seems like since forever that every kitchen had a two-compartment sink, but no longer is this a requirement. With accessories such as fitted colanders and dish drains, deep single bowl sinks have all the benefits of a divided sink, plus the large size to actually fit a roasting pan or baking sheet. We are getting both stainless steel and Corian requests from clients for materials. Kitchen sinks tend to be stainless and bath lavs tend to be Corian.

5. Colors; this is a very personal thing, but the indications are that charcoal will be popular this year (if the stars line up . . . ha, ha, just kidding).

6. Bathroom countertops are going with marble for total luxury, or marble look-alikes with manufactured stone materials.

7. Remodeling the home for older residents, which is called aging-in-place (we are certified for this type of design), or alternatively, called universal design, meaning the layout and materials are appropriate for any age, as is helpful in multi-generational homes, is increasing in popularity.

8. Green and sustainable is popular, with homeowners choosing materials that are free of toxics and any chemical off-gassing ingredients.

9. and 10. How about our readers sending in your opinions and observations on what you feel are the home remodeling trends this year? Shoot us an email at and we will post your comments. Keep it clean, people! Seriously, we’d love to get your input.


Pale green shower tile with frameless glass door

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