Thursday, December 5, 2019

Last Design Project for 2019

On a personal level this has been a wonderful year.  Between my design projects and my writing projects, I feel truly blessed.   

As a kitchen and bath designer, I'm not usually involved in remodeling either the bath or the kitchen toward the end of the year.  Everyone, myself included, is busy using the kitchens for family events and no one wants anymore stress, confusion or mess in the home.  So, I've been helping clients with other interior elements in the house like choosing paint colors, rugs, draperies etc.  My final design project for this year is the remodeling of a laundry room off the kitchen. The design is done, cabinets are on order but the actual install will not begin until the 2nd week in January.

Here's a picture of the cabinet I recommended to my client for the updated laundry room.  I chose white because a few years ago I was called in to help with her kitchen remodel and she has white cabinets in the kitchen, so white makes sense. White kitchens are classic.  They never go out of style because people love how clean the kitchen looks.

Usually I recommend a full overlay door styles but in this instance a standard door style is a better choice.  The difference between the two can be seen in the frame. A full overlay door means you don't see the door frame around the door, whereas, you can see the 1" of frame in a standard style. A full overlay gives you better access to the inside space but will always be more expensive than the standard style. Storage was not an issue in this remodel because the current melamine cabinets had plenty of empty space, but my client clearly did not want to go the expensive route with this make-over. One of the first parameters I try to establish in any project is the budget that I need to design within. This flat panel standard door style will meet her needs, give the laundry room a fresh and upgraded look and stay within the budget.

Another element in this design that can greatly effect cost is the countertop.  While granite and quartz are the norm these days, there are some very nice Wilson Art and Formica laminate materials available. As long as you choose a bevel, waterfall, bullnose or some other curved edging for the countertop, it will look great in a laundry room.

There is a top mount sink in this laundry room so we did not have a discussion about undermount sinks and laminate countertops. Whenever there is an undermount sink you need to look at a different material for your countertop than laminate.  Yes, you can install stainless steel and acrylic undermount sinks but it comes with a risk. The main issue is the strength of the adhesive to hold a sink full of water and not pull down or weaken the laminate.  Stone and Ceramic sinks can not be installed as undermount sinks on laminate countertops. The material itself is too heavy for the laminate product.  I do not recommend any undermount sink to be installed in a laminate countertop.

Life is too busy for both my client and myself so this install will take place in January.  However, the cabinets need to be ordered in December to make that happen.

Enjoy your holidays everyone.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Happy 25th Anniversary to Arizona NKBA

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is the main organization for kitchen and bath designers.  It is a not-for-profit, nationwide organization dedicated the kitchen and bath design profession.  It have several chapters within every State.  Last month, the Arizona Chapter of NKBA in the Phoenix area celebrated its 25th anniversary.

For the event, the current Board invited previous Board members to attend if possible.  Some of us  could not attend, so the first picture below does not include every one that has served on the Board.  Like many Board Members, I have served in several positions over about a ten year timeframe.  I appreciate the current Board's invitation and recognition to the past Board members. 

The pictures below were provided by David Reser, Victoria Reser's husband.  Victoria is the Membership Chair on the current Board.  Thank you David for the pictures.

Past and Present Board Members

Friday, November 15, 2019

Volunteer and Give Christmas Cheer

completed cup
Preparing for Christmas is under way. As a kitchen and bath designer, the last months of the year are usually not that busy for me. It tends to be more decorating and/or interior design type of work because people are using their kitchens to the max during the holiday season.But this is a great season for volunteer activities.

Since the age of ten,  I've been volunteering for one thing or another but my favorite activities are: working the so called 'soup kitchens', and caring for kids and the elderly. I think the elderly in our society may be the most neglected.

Working with several other women on organizing a Christmas Store where kids can come to buys gifts for family and friends is a fun activity and there is plenty to do. Putting things in categories such as Dads, Mom's, $1.50 items, is the first stage.

 Other cups completed
My first task is to fill the cups with goodies. The cups sell for around $1.50 and they go fast. The current request is for 200 cups, so we'll be doing cups for awhile. 

Other task going on at the moment are filling the baskets, then wrapping them.  And setting up the tables, so the kids can easily move around them to see what would be the best present for Mom and Dad and other family members and friends.

This year the event is held on December 8th. It's held at the Community Center next to the Gracie's Thrift Store at 1520 East Apache Blvd. It will be a super-great day. The smiles on the children's faces makes it so worthwhile. If you are in the area, please let the children stop in and browse.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Modern Style Bathroom Vanities

I'm at the process of looking for a new vanity for the bathroom that I'm working on. The style is modern so that is a big known that I can check off right away.  Knowing your style is critical to every design project. It is something you need to discuss from the get-go with your designer.

My favorite vanity is a curved sink vanity that I placed in my "Barn Door" bathroom design a few years ago.  I absolutely love this vanity.  To meet my client's needs, I had my installer modify the cabinet to include electrical functionality.

In my current design, I've decided to have the cabinet built.  I love designing furniture pieces because it gives me the greatest amount of flexibility and I can incorporate everything my client needs. It is not always easy to modify a piece of furniture that is already constructed.

The bathroom I'm working on is a small area that includes all the elements of a bath area plus an apartment size washer/dryer unit. The vanity needs to fit beside the washer/dryer and it must have two sinks.  I have my task cut out for me.

Whether a custom vanity or a store bought one, there are certain vanity essentials to adhere to:
- quality craftsmanship
- personalized storage
- stylized design.

The style of the bathroom is a simple, clean line endeavor using stand alone furniture pieces in the space. The cabinet is designed to be a floating unit and will be installed 10" off the floor.  Floating vanities can be placed as far up as 12" but often depends on where you want the height of your countertop to be.  It is oak with a teak veneer.  The two sink vanity top was chosen first as I needed to adhere to certain measurements. The veneer was ordered as I was working on the design.

The design is complete and construction is underway.  When complete the 3"countertop will sit on top of the cabinet.  Below is the item as it stands now.  I have applied a sealer to teak strip so you can see its finished color.  You can apply a stain to teak, but I like it with just a sealer.

I'll post a picture of the installation once we have it in place. 

Teak Cabinet: 55" double sink vanity, 4 full-extended drawers, electrical plug-ins.

Teak with one coat of sealer

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Understanding Leathered Granite

The uniqueness of each piece and the sustainability of granite make it the most popular countertop among homeowners. In most of my kitchen remodels, I specify granite countertops.  Although porous, it wears well in a kitchen and adds a natural movement that can not be matched by any man made product such as quartz.  I love granite in all its finishes.  I've had polished granite in my own kitchen for at least 15 years.  It's a great material for a countertop because it is stain resistant as well as heat resistant.  It's very durable but you can chip it if you bang something heavy against it. I randomly put a sealer on my granite.  It takes about 5 minutes to do so.

My current project has base cabinets along two walls in the kitchen and an island.  The base cabinets that create the island are cobalt blue while the cabinets along the perimeter walls are a medium gray.  The idea behind this design is to give the island a more dramatic position within the kitchen space.  This distinction can be achieved by the manipulation of three elements: color, finish(texture), material.  In this design, I used all three.  

Leathered granite has a matte or non-reflective finish, so if you like the high-reflective sheen of a polished granite, the leathered look is not for you. The diamond-dipped brushes that graze the granite takes the shine away and makes the stone muted and more stain resistance because the process will close the pores. The process also adds an amazing texture to the stone that allows it to be rough and elegant at the same time. This texture element also makes the stone more slip resistant when wet. Fingerprints and water spots are also lost on the hardy surface of the leathered granite.

As much as I love the unique look of leathered granite there are two drawbacks that you should be aware:
1) The uneven nature of the stone can make it susceptible to damage is met with a sharp object.
2) It can be difficult to clean if crumbs and liquids accumulate on the surface.  This is why it is important to ask the fabricator what type of seal they put on the granite.  Keep in mind that polished granite will always be easier to clean than leathered granite.

For the cabinets along the perimeter walls I've chosen a polished quartz.  This will contrast nicely with the muted leather look on the island.  It's a quartz product so it is more susceptible to damage by hot pots/dishes on the surface.  Pictured on the right are two samples of the Avenza quartz.  On the left is a honed quartz sample so the sheen is muted, the sample next to it is the polished one that will be installed.

Sorry, the countertops are not installed yet so there is no picture to attach of the countertops in place, but after there are installed I will post the pictures.