The most-often requested feature for new and remodeled master bathrooms is two sinks, followed by:
Separate toilet room
Having two sinks is great, but they have to fit in the space available, which means that the side-by-side concept has to be bypassed if the available space for two sinks is less than 66″ wide. Below are two examples of bathrooms that are 5′ x 10′-3″ and 5′ x 11′-2″.
Carnival Kitchen featured in Kitchen & Bath Business magazine.
I didn’t intend for the Carnival kitchen to get national attention, but that’s what happened.
Let me explain.
I worked for a local custom cabinet maker and home remodeler as a sales-designer while finishing my design schooling. The owner expected me to schedule appointments with everyone who visited the business. One afternoon in early March, a couple came to the showroom, and we talked about their goals for remodeling an outdated kitchen. It didn’t register that they could afford a luxurious, custom kitchen with unique features because they had just started thinking about remodeling. They resisted when I asked to schedule a second meeting in their home, saying that they needed to do more looking. My boss was furious. Although he taught me a lot about cabinetry, I didn’t particularly appreciate how my boss treated his “customers” and staff. I resigned three weeks later after he yelled at me for not meeting his sales expectations. That’s when I formed D. P. Design in April 1984.
When the couple returned to the showroom, they were told that I’d left. After seeing an article in the San Jose Mercury News about me winning the Henry Adams Award during graduation, they called me and invited me to their home to talk about what they wanted. Our meeting lasted over three hours! They had a long — and exclusive — wish list.
What features did they have to have?
Homeowners’ Wish List
Magnetic-induction cooktop (standard equipment today, but there was only one manufacturer at that time)
Wok (only available as commercial equipment)
Double ovens and a microwave oven
Serving cart built into the cabinets
Walk-in pantry with dutch doors
Display area for their collection of Red Skelton clown figurines and plates
Sub-Zero built-in refrigerator
Sub-Zero built-in freezer
Countertop with two seating areas
A rainbow of bright accent colors — primary and pastel
Garden windows for daylight, display, and plants
A Dreary Kitchen Dungeon Needed Help — Lots of Help!
Original kitchen: a dungeon
Although it was large, the original kitchen felt like a dungeon. It had dark-stained cabinets, laminate countertops, and olive-green carpeting! Yes, carpeting! The lighting was awful. Fluorescent fixtures inside the skylight provided most of the light that glared in comparison to everything around them. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the adjacent eating area provided light during the day, but cabinets over the peninsula prevented light from getting into the kitchen. It was hard to imagine anyone working in the kitchen successfully while maintaining a good mood.
Delightful Carnival Kitchen Details
Red Skelton “Freddie the Golfer” plate
The Red Skelton clown figurines and plates collected by the homeowners and fabric with a wreath of colorful flowers and butterflies inspired the “Carnival” kitchen theme. Hank Corriea and his employees used the material to create custom window treatments. Peggy Spaulding transferred the wreath motif to 12″ tiles that Fasar required with their magnetic induction cooktops.
The cabinet maker and I designed an enormous six-foot-wide custom wood hood with two exhaust fans hung above the Thermador gas cooktop and the Yick wok with a single burner rated at 36,000 BTU’s. We incorporated a unique lit display cabinet in front of the two fan ducts for the figurines and plates. Oak cabinets were still trendy, but we decided to use natural straight-grain rift oak to avoid visual overload.
Carnival Kitchen stained glass panels
Yippee! We achieved all of the homeowners’ needs and wants. My creative spirit was soaring, and we defined other “carnival” kitchen details that included:
Custom stained-glass inserts in the dish pantry and all wall cabinets created by Dave Benoit, backlit with automobile dome lights, made the stained glass sparkle. Remember, this was 30+ years before LED strip lighting.
Peggy Spaulding painted a fanciful flower-and-butterfly mural for the backsplash behind the gas cooktop and wok with the same colors as the induction cooktop tiles.
The contractor installed “Tivoli” rope lighting around the perimeter of the skylight.
Jan Moyer painted an imaginative portrait of the wife on the water heater door: she’s barefoot and pregnant, dressed as a clown, sitting on a stool with a frying pan in one hand and a golf club in the other hand. The bottom of her apron reads, “I’d rather be golfing.”
Wife Painted As Clown
It Pays To Work With The Best . . .
This Carnival kitchen remodeling was a magnificent opportunity to start my career! My clients and I had great brainstorming sessions, and they adopted all of my recommendations! To achieve my clients’ goals, I worked with the best people in the industry:
Rob, the open-minded cabinet maker
Peggy, the experienced tile artist
Dave, the detailed stained-glass master
Gary, the friendly appliance dealer
Hank, the masterful window treatment manufacturer
Jan, the creative trompe l’oeil painter
Bruce, the helpful lighting expert
. . . But There Are Always Challenges!
There were problems with this Carnival kitchen project: Because the roof over the kitchen was flat, there wasn’t enough space to install recessed light fixtures. We had to use track lighting. If we were remodeling this kitchen today, there wouldn’t be a lighting problem. About three years ago, flush-mount dimmable LED ceiling fixtures became available. There were problems with the floor installation and the tile. I proved to the homeowners that I was their advocate, and all of the issues were resolved successfully.
The Whimsical Carnival Kitchen Sparkles Like The North Star
Carnival kitchen finished!
With all of the difficulties resolved, the wife said she was as happy as a child on a carousel. She admitted that they had doubts about how I would “pull off” mixing Red Skelton’s clowns into a sophisticated kitchen. An avid golfer and a lady with a great sense of humor, she was delighted with her portrait on the water heater door. She said that her husband liked all the stained-glass details, how we’d made the cabinet doors sparkle. I was delighted with their reaction and asked if I could photograph the kitchen. “Of course!” was her reply.
Two weeks later, I hired Russell Abraham, a renowned architectural photographer, to take pictures of the kitchen. His fee was three times what I charged for my design services, but it proved to be a blessing in disguise. In May 1985, two months after finishing the kitchen, I was at a national trade show. Leslie Hart, the editor of Kitchen & Bath Business magazine, approached me. We had attended the first bathroom seminar offered by Ellen Cheever, a kitchen and bath design leader who had been one of my teachers in design school.
Ms. Hart told me that I had made a good impression on her with a project I did during Ellen’s seminar and asked if I had any projects that she could publish in her magazine. I barely squeaked out the words, “yes, I do.”
“Good,” she said. “Send me a complete description of the project with all of the products you used. Don’t forget to send photos.” It took me two days to create a story about the project, entitled “Springtime Carnival.” I covered the article and the 8 x 10 photos with cardboard, then slid them lovingly into the manila envelope. Standing in line at the post office, I held the envelope over my heart and said a prayer for good things to happen.
For several weeks, I couldn’t concentrate on daily tasks because I was so excited about the possibility of being included in one of the kitchen-bath industry’s premier magazines. One month passed. Then two. Then three. I’d given up about “Springtime Carnival” ever appearing in K&BB magazine. It was early September when I got a call from Michelle Tomasik, one of the magazine’s staff writers. She wanted to verify details of the “Springtime Carnival” project for an article they might publish. She didn’t give any specific dates when the article might appear.
Be Patient. Then Follow The North Star To Success!
Again, several months passed, and I forgot about the phone call. I also forgot that the K&BB magazine’s new issues arrived in the last week of the month for the following month. In late November 1986, my husband and I decided to drive to Long Beach, California, for the first West Coast Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in early December, co-hosted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association and the K&BB magazine. They shared a sizable centrally-located booth. I wanted to see if Leslie Hart was there so that I could ask her about the article. I didn’t need to, because . . .
Magazine cover featuring “Springtime Carnival.”
As we approached the booth, I saw the December issue fanned out on the countertop. The “Springtime Carnival” kitchen was on the cover! And there was a four-page article inside! Whoosh! My career was off to a great start!
Remembering this one-of-a-kind Carnival kitchen still gives me goosebumps. I can’t believe that I’ve been a designer for 36 years! It’s been an incredible journey of personal and professional growth while helping others achieve their dreams. I’ve been fortunate to have many wonderful clients and fabulous projects. There have been hurdles in my business, like the recession in 2006-2009 and the recession during the pandemic. Remembering successes like this keep me inspired and motivated to help you and others. There’s still a lot of untapped creativity inside me! Every kitchen is one-of-a-kind because your needs, lifestyle, and budget are different from everyone else in the world!
It’s an honor to share stories about real people, most who’ve overcome remodeling fears and lived through the transformation of their home and life. The articles are (and will be) about how my clients coped and what we did to achieve the best results. There will always be hints, how-tos, and tips. All of the articles will be in a particular category called “Case Studies.” I invite you to read them, leave comments, and share them with family and friends. Here’s a list of case studies:
What I learned during this project will help you achieve what you want during the first meeting with your designer: Share everything you want to include in your project, no matter how expensive it is or how whimsical and unrealistic it seems! Of course, you can always add details during the design. But it could affect the priorities on your “wish list,” and it may require you to make tradeoffs. Remember that your designer is your facilitator, helping you to achieve your remodeling goals.
The Carnival kitchen was the North Star that led me in the right direction to a successful career. I’ve had hundreds of opportunities to help homeowners achieve their dreams and goals over the past 36 years. The wonderful thing is that I still have a “creative bucket” that’s full and ready to help you with your remodeling project. Contact me for a phone call or virtual meeting to discuss your needs and intentions and what may be holding you back from achieving them. I’m here to help you — always, in all ways.
Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.
Follow These Steps For The Best Bathroom Remodeling Results
Why do you need this information?
To help you:
Avoid confusion and frustration.
Make great decisions.
Create a safe, functional, and beautiful area for you, your family, and/or your guests.
Stay within a reasonable budget.
There’s so much that you can include in your remodeled master or guest bathroom, so many details to think about. It can be confusing and frustrating! Do you know that remodeling a master bathroom can be a higher investment per square foot than remodeling a kitchen? That’s why it’s important to follow my suggestions, so you make informed decisions about everything, and avoid expensive mistakes!
The goals of all remodeling are to improve — your home and your life. You’ve probably been thinking about this project for a long time. The average is 3 – 5 years. During the pandemic, though, it’s possible that you delayed remodeling. You are not alone! When everything settles down and you’re confident about proceeding, I’ve developed these steps to help you finish your project in a reasonable time, within a reasonable budget. Without unwanted hassles and frustrations. You deserve to get what you want and you deserve to be happy during and after your bathroom remodeling.
A standard bathroom is 5 feet by 8 feet and requires many decisions, many opportunities to make mistakes.
What’s the first mistake that homeowners often make?
Homeowners’ first inclination is to look at countertop materials and tile immediately. This is okay, but it may lead to confusion and it may delay other more important decisions like plumbing, cabinetry, and lighting. Where do you start? Why?
If you want to achieve all of the four goals I listed above, your first and most important decision is to hire a professional specializing in designing bathrooms. The National Kitchen and Bath Association has a great article about the importance of hiring a design specialist. It’s important because s/he will help you make important decisions that a contractor needs to give you a reliable estimate. It’s okay to call contractors, but you’ll probably hear that they need a set of plans and specifications to provide you information about your investment.
Years ago, I was at a plumbing showroom to check on a client’s order. The manager acknowledged me although he was helping another designer and her client. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but I was close enough to hear the gist of their conversation. They were looking at a sketch that the manager had drawn of the bathroom, and they were talking about the whirlpool tub that the homeowner wanted. There was a long silence after the manager asked, “Where do you intend to put the pump access?” The designer asked, “Where would you recommend it? We don’t want it to get in the way of the front that’s going to be decorative tile.” Later, the manager confided that he’d prefer to work with experienced bath designers any day. I felt sorry for him, and for the homeowner.
Step #2: Hire a remodeling contractor
If you don’t have a contractor, it’s possible that your designer can refer you to someone who’s worked on her/his projects. There are several resources available to you to find a qualified, experienced local contractor. Local building/remodeling organizations affiliated with national organizations that have excellent websites:
I’ve included a link to an e-book at the bottom of this blog that will help you ask the right questions before hiring a designer or a contractor.
Deciding your style is Step #3
This step helps you answer this question: What style of bathroom do you want? Houzz.com has over 1.5 million pictures! You can select which style appeals to you:
Contemporary * Modern * Traditional * Mid-century Modern * Farmhouse * Transitional * Industrial * Scandinavian * Coastal
There are other filters, too, besides style:
Wall tile color
The great thing about Houzz is that you can easily share everything with your designer by setting up a project folder on the Houzz website.
Step #4: Determine a realistic bathroom remodeling budget
With help from your designer and contractor, establish a realistic budget. There’s an excellent resource to help you, the Cost vs. Value Report, where you can obtain up-to-date, local information for a bathroom remodeling project to help you decide how much you want to invest. They list the typical materials used for the size and project investment as a guideline.
Step #5: Select ALL your plumbing!
Your designer may send links to plumbing manufacturers’ sites so you can pre-select what appeals to you. Next, visit a local plumbing supply showroom, not a “big box” store* with your designer to see (and feel) everything. There, you’ll see:
Tubs and/or shower bases
Valves and diverters
Grab bars (they’re crucial for safety!)
Get an estimate for all the plumbing you’ve selected and see how it fits into your budget. You may have to make adjustments to what you’ve selected, but the good news is that you’re making tradeoffs before it becomes an emergency. Your designer and contractor will have recommendations to help you choose good-quality products that won’t break your budget.
*Why not a “big box” store?
♦ The employees may or may not have all the knowledge to really help you; they’re just there to take your order.
♦ The quality and selection of products are more limited than a specialty showroom; they show and sell only what’s most popular and profitable, known for making “deals” with manufacturers to keep the price low and their profit margin high.
Bathroom cabinet decisions: Step #6
Your designer can help you define how you will store all of your personal-care equipment and products, towels, and toiletries. S/he should help you make final decisions about the style and color using Virtual Reality Perspectives. Your designer and contractor will also help find the right cabinet manufacturer to supply what you want.
Step #7: Finally (!) select your bathroom surface finishes
Visit a showroom with your designer, not a “big box” store* to select everything that will make your remodeled bathroom special:
Backsplash (it may be tile or the same material as your countertop)
Floor tile — think about radiant heating as a necessity, not a luxury.
Engineered stone countertop**
** If you prefer natural stone, visit a showroom that specializes in this material
Get an estimate for all the products you’ve selected and see how the numbers fit into your established budget. Make adjustments to what you’ve selected, if necessary, keeping your #1 priority items at the top of your “wish list.” It’s human nature to forget low-priority choices. We feel cheated if we have to give up something we really want.
Step #8: Tie up your remodeling details
The last step before you actually start construction is several steps:
Verify all information on the plans that your designer has prepared, especially all of your product decisions
Obtain a preliminary-final estimate from the contractor that includes:
Fees and expenses
Compare the estimate to your budget, and make final adjustments to your choices, as needed, especially if you’ve got a limited budget. Homeowners who use a spreadsheet to help them define and maintain their budget have the greatest chance for success without regrets.
Step #9: Get your remodeling construction started!
You’ve made it this far! In twelve weeks (or less), you’ll be able to enjoy your newly-remodeled bathroom! Congratulations!
There’s much more to bathroom remodeling than most people realize. Hope you haven’t found this blog too boring. Most of us dislike the process, especially when we want to leap ahead to the results. In a normal working relationship with my clients, I walk them through each step without making a big deal about it. When I write articles like this, I’m trying to protect everyone who wants to remodel a bathroom. Yes, that’s unrealistic. But if I help only one person — you — then I’ve been successful! Wishing you the best of luck with your bathroom remodeling project. I’m here, rooting for your success!
Get the FREE e-book (an excerpt from “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling”):
Questions about your bathroom remodeling project? I will help you! I’m only one phone call or one email message away! Contact me today!
Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.
Many essential details are crucial to achieving your ideal kitchen. What details are necessary to consider when you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen? The first is style.
Fundamental Detail #1: What style appeals to you?
Asian: Emphasis on natural materials, strong horizontal lines, and a mix of textures. The color scheme can be monochromatic (aka “shibui”) or high contrast.
Beach: Crisp white or aged driftwood cabinets with sand-colored countertops. Aqua blue and turquoise accent colors.
Contemporary: Clean and uncluttered, practical. European-style cabinets made of wood or high-gloss solid colors, or a combination. Backsplash accented with geometric shapes.
Craftsman: Simple straight lines, quality construction, and minimal ornamentation. Emphasis on natural materials. This style originated with the Arts and Crafts movement, often confused with the Shaker style.
Eclectic: These kitchens have a mixture of textures, time periods, trends, and colors. Keep in mind that there shouldn’t be too many focal points.
Farmhouse: Rough-hewn beams and old-world appearance is the appeal of a farmhouse kitchen. Cabinets are a simple style, often distressed; some cabinets may look like old repurposed furniture. Wood floors are popular for this style.
Industrial: Characterized by high ceilings, large windows, wide-open space. Exposed brick and concrete, piping, and structural supports.
Mediterranean: There’s nothing shy about a Mediterranean kitchen; it’s full of saturated colors, strong lines, and ornate details. It often includes rough-hewn beams and dark wood cabinets.
Modern: Features flat surfaces, geometric forms, and little or no ornamentation or adornments. Cabinets are flat panels made of wood or laminate with solid-color countertops.
Traditional: Embellished cabinets have raised-panel doors and drawers with heavy moldings; mix cabinet finishes and counter depths for a custom, furniture-style look.
The style of your kitchen is important. However, it’s more important — especially if you have an open floor plan — for your kitchen to blend with your home’s style and color scheme. You can see examples of these kitchen styles at Houzz.com. It’s the best resource to see examples and find information. The great thing about this site is the ability to save and send pictures to others. It’s a great communication tool! You can also find professionals in your area and select products from the Houzz extensive catalogs.
How To Define And Prioritize The Necessary Details
During the design and layout phase, you’ll be making hundreds of product decisions! To help you define the essential details you want to include in your new kitchen, I’ve created the 15-page Homeowner Kitchen Survey checklist. It’s easy to download the Kitchen Survey: click the link below and fill out the simple form. The Kitchen Survey includes extensive lists about the following major topics to help you, in an easy-to-use format:
Architectural Features (doors, windows, skylights, HVAC, exterior walls, roof)
Countertops and backsplashes
The Kitchen Survey has other information to define your lifestyle, color preferences, and ergonomics that may affect the layout. Your new kitchen should meet your needs for a specific style. But it must also be functional and safe. If any of the essential details that define function and safety get overlooked, they could negatively impact your results.
Most of us use our kitchen differently from the way it was originally designed to be used. This is one of the major motivators for kitchen remodeling. Homeowners typically ask for more and better storage, more countertop area, and appliances that make kitchen chores easier. There is often a request for custom features that fit the occupants’ unique lifestyle.
Appliance Placement Is The Most Important Detail
I ask about the food that the family likes and how they prepare it. I also ask about how meal preparation and cleanup chores are shared. As we chat, I observe and ask about their dominant hand because we always move towards our dominant hand. This is important when placing appliances in relationship to countertop landing areas. Years ago, NKBA did motion studies and determined that someone with a dominant right-hand wastes more time when the dishwasher is on the right-hand side of the sink. Why? Here’s what happens:
Right-handers will pick up a glass, dish, or utensil with their right hand. Then they transfer it to their left hand and use their right hand to scrape and rinse the item. Then they put down the scraper or sponge and transfer the item to their right hand to place the item in the dishwasher. Then they repeat the same motions with the next item. That’s many transfers per load! This equates to time wasted doing the dishes! When you’re cleaning up after meals, observe how many times you have to transfer from one hand to the other. Now you have something to think about when you’re layout out your new kitchen!
When I was attending kitchen design classes, I had an “old-school” teacher who emphasized the working triangle’s importance. It’s still a reference used by the NKBA: “. . . an imaginary straight line drawn from the center of the sink to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator and finally back to the sink. It should be no more than 26′ total. No single leg of the triangle should be less than 4′ or longer than 9′.”
The working triangle assumes that only one person will be using the kitchen, which doesn’t align with current multiple-user trends. The original triangle didn’t include a microwave. A microwave oven is used more often than a cooktop because it uses less energy and heats food faster. A microwave-convection oven is used more often than a standard oven. It cooks food faster and uses less energy because the oven cavity is smaller. Instead of using the work triangle solely, I prefer to use a customized work station layout that is defined by the activity and the family’s lifestyle:
♦ Main course preparation
♦ Salad and vegetable preparation
♦ Baking preparation
An Overlooked Essential Detail: Appliance Doors
There is an essential detail to consider when placing appliances: Do the open doors create a conflict with traffic or another appliance? Years ago, I learned a simple step to avert problems: on the floor plan, show all of the appliance doors open, using dotted lines.
Many older homes have ovens that are placed adjacent to a doorway. This is very dangerous, especially if young children live in or visit the home. It’s normal to leave an oven door open after we’ve moved the food to a countertop. When children come dashing into the kitchen full-tilt, they don’t see the open oven door. It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. This is a good reason to show all appliance doors open on the floor plan.
But appliance placement is just part of your new kitchen. The appliances you choose are affected by your lifestyle. In recent years, I’ve seen increased interest in a single oven with a separate microwave-convection oven. French-door refrigerators with a bottom freezer drawer generally provide better storage than side-by-side refrigerators. They’re a better option than refrigerators with full-sized doors because the door swing can block an aisleway.
Light Is A Key Detail For Success
Lighting is an essential detail that not only enhances your beautiful new kitchen but makes it functional and safe. To be effective, lighting must be designed to work in layers. This is achieved by using three or four dimmers. The quantity and quality of light are different for preparation, serving, eating, entertaining, and cleanup. We’re lucky to have dimmable LED fixtures to light our kitchen. Lighting falls into four categories:
1. Ambient or General: It usually refers to natural light coming through windows, etc. It can also mean artificial lights such as recessed fixtures used to light walkways.
2. Task: Increasing illuminance to accomplish a specific activity. General lighting can be reduced because task lighting provides focused light where needed.
3. Mood: This is often overlooked. But it’s easy to achieve with dimmers that provide the flexibility of use.
4. Accent: This focuses light on a particular area or object, like a painting on the wall or beautiful accents inside a display cabinet. It can also be an object of interest, like beautiful blown-glass pendant fixtures over an island or peninsula. Accent lighting creates visual interest in a room.
Recap: Essential Details For Your Kitchen
Your new kitchen requires a lot of thought about all of the essential details, starting with style to be successful. Then there are all of the products that will be included in your kitchen. The placement of your appliances determines the layout, how you’ll use your kitchen. Lighting is the final necessary detail in your kitchen. Can you achieve everything on your own? Only a certified professional kitchen designer who has the education, training, and experience can help you make all of the decisions ahead. And a professional kitchen designer will prepare detailed plans for estimates, permits, and construction. You can find certified kitchen designers in your area with a search on the NKBA site.
PODCAST: Essential Details For Your Kitchen
Get your FREE Copy of the Homeowner Kitchen Survey now!
You saw the sample of the Kitchen Survey above. Simply fill in the form, and we’ll send your free copy now!
Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.Contact Diane today, to talk about your kitchen remodeling project.
Recent topics are being revisited in this blog, starting with appliances. I was excited to visit the largest appliance store in Oregon, Standard TV & Appliance, to see the new Whirlpool “Sunset Bronze” appliances. They are elegant! The brushed finish is a warm gray, like nickel. I love the handles, which are a cool stainless steel color, blending the two metals perfectly! For my listeners in the greater Portland area, the Beaverton showroom at 3600 S.W. Hall Boulevard, is selling the floor models of the “Sunset Bronze” appliances at a fantastic price! The suite includes a french-door refrigerator, dual-fuel range and a microwave-hood. It’s difficult to hold my frustration at bay, though. I really wish manufacturers would listen to professional kitchen designers and discontinue making microwave-hood combinations. They’re not safe, and they don’t provide good suction! Safety has to be the #1 priority in all home remodeling!
While I was there, my new dedicated salesperson, Christi, showed me the Dacor “Modernist” display with clean no-nonsense lines. Oh, it’s gorgeous! Their full line of products is available in black stainless steel or stainless steel. One of the many things I love about the new Dacor products is their Wifi integration. Christi showed me how the hood automatically turns on when she turned on the range. This is a wonderful safety feature!
Exhaust Hoods: Safety Features and Code Requirements
Here are safety tips I share with everyone:
Remember to turn on your exhaust before you turn on your cooktop.
Your hood should be 6” wider than your cooking surface. This gives you more area to collect steam and grease while you’re cooking, and it protects wall cabinets on both sides of the hood.
There should be 30” clear vertical space from the top of your cooking surface to the bottom of the hood.
You’ll need make-up air if:
You’re interested in a new high-BTU gas cooktop or rangetop
If your hood is rated at 400 cfm or more.
Your exhaust hood should be powerful enough to clear the air. But in today’s tight homes, you’ll have to add another source to maintain equal pressure balance inside your home. Your investment in make-up air will add $1,000 or more to your project. Make-up air is a code requirement in most states, and there’s no way to avoid it.
Recent Topics #2.1: Behr Paint Colors
Two weeks ago, I talked about color and paint. August is when major paint manufacturers start introducing their new colors for the coming year. Behr and Sherwin-Williams have announced their new color trends for 2020, and Miller Paint has introduced new colors, although they avoid the word “trend.”
The paint giant recently released a trend-driven collection of 15 shades they’re predicting will take over interiors in 2020. The collection is named Restore, Worldhood, and Atmospheric. The colors include a range of balanced neutrals and earthy greens to “lavish oranges.” In a recent press release, Behr said, “The new palette sources inspiration from the desire to engage with the world around us and restore balance in our everyday lives.”
Back to Nature delivers the most literal interpretation of the landscape around us. It includes soothing shades of green and blue, to “provide restorative qualities to encourage balance,” says Behr. Because of their calming, de-stressing effects, the shades within the Restore palette are great choices in a bedroom or home office.
If you’re looking for something a bit bolder, Behr’s Worldhood palette is your best bet that includes warm red, yellow, and burnt orange. The palette is reminiscent of electric sunsets and “natural rugged landscapes.” Try it in a room that sees a lot of guests, as the overall warmth of the shades translates to an inviting environment for hosting.
Behr’s Atmospheric palette delivers “new neutrals” in a collection that’s anything but boring. This palette is perfect for every room in your home, and you can choose colors from the other two palettes for accents.
Homes are a living example of the family that occupies them. Each family member -– each room — has its own personality, but every one complements the others, to create a unique, unified environment.
Recent Topics #2.2: Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors
On August 13, Sherwin-Williams announced its color palettes for 2020. There are five distinct categories for the new colors: Alive, Haven, Heart, Mantra, and Play. Here’s what Sherwin- Williams says: “The new 2020 Colormix Forecast palettes work to create restorative spaces for relaxing, recharging and inviting creativity. This forecast resonates with designers for its warm and nature-inspired palettes. In nature, it’s always right. The new palettes also bring a sense of joy. Whether your happiness comes from people, nature or spirituality, each palette evokes happiness. It’s about the balance of color and the striking shades of blue and the soft pastels throughout the color story.”
“With so much going on in the world, it’s important that we give ourselves space to escape and recharge. Using colors derived from nature provides us the connectedness and restorative powers that we need to tackle our day-to-day lives. This year’s color trend palettes foster focus and balance for mind, body and spirit — something most of the experts agree is needed in the world right now. 2020 is going to be a big year for everyone. We are starting a new decade, and it’s an election year. All of this change affects us, making us crave balance in our lives, so it makes sense that these palettes offer visual balance for our surroundings.”
It’s interesting that Sherwin-Williams created special mandalas for each color group, and defined each with positive influences:
Alive: Optimism, Authenticity, Glocalization*, New Local
Haven: Simplicity, Wabi-Sabi, Conservation, Material Health
I love to learn new words! *Glocalization is the practice of conducting business according to both local and global considerations. *Scandinese (or Japandi) is the fusion between Scandinavian and Japanese design that are based on simplicity with a strong reference to nature, first introduced in 2017.
Behr and Sherwin-Williams are large companies with big advertising budgets. By contrast, there’s a paint company based in the Northwest that’s my favorite: Miller Paint. The company was formed in 1890 by Ernest Miller, Sr., who purchased a stone mill and began manufacturing his own paint. I just learned that Miller Paint is employee owned. That’s a keystone to their success, and an important element of the company culture that’s both empowering and exciting. Love their logo: “Made here, for here.”
It was interesting to discover that Miller is the only paint company that talks about environmental commitment. They say, “Miller Paint was first in the market to convert our main line of interior products, ‘Acro,’ to a zero VOC product line in 1996. it has received rave reviews for its performance qualities. . . and demonstrate the company’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible manufacturer in the marketplace.” Most recently, Miller Paint started the move to FSC certified recycled content paper for their product literature. In their corporate offices and stores, Miller Paint recycles bottles, paper, cardboard and cans.
Miller Paint currently participates in two utility-based environmental programs: The Green Power program through PGE, which helps to fund renewable energy, and NW Natural’s Smart Energy program – a carbon-offset program that supports projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Miller Paint works directly with Metro, the directly elected regional government that serves more than 1.5 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, as well as the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, to recycle unused or unwanted latex paint. Metro Paint is sold by Miller Paint. There is a great internal program for recycling and re-purposing latex paints into workable products. WOW!!!
Miller does have a palette of 15 new colors, the “Color Now” collection. They also feature a “color of the month” that’s in their ColorEvolution collection. Other paint companies use flowery marketing words and flashy advertising to sell their paint. But for a local gal whose family always used Miller Paint, this is what I recommend if you are thinking about updating your home’s colors. Here’s a link where you can get more information about Miller Paint colors: https://www.millerpaint.com/color-choice.html
New Topics #1: Homeowner Problems (and how to avoid them!)
Hiring A Contractor Without Checking License and References
I’m so grateful to homeowners for providing me with current topics to talk about! Last week, I had a meeting with a homeowner who told me that her husband hired a contractor to build a deck for them and didn’t bother to check the contractor’s license status or check references. You’re way ahead of me! Yes, the project went sideways, and the homeowners don’t have any way to get the deck fixed other than hire another contractor. She didn’t tell me how much money they paid for a lousy deck, but I’m guessing it was thousands of dollars. The bottom line? Always verify a contractor’s license, bonding, and insurance status. Ask for and check references!
Verbal Change Orders
I received an email from a client, telling me that the contractor verbally told her about change orders that amount to over $1,000. Change orders do happen, unfortunately. There’s at least one mystery story behind the walls in every home. Change orders (even small ones!) need to be detailed in writing before the work is done! Change orders should include:
Written description of the work to be done
Breakdown for materials with a subtotal
Breakdown for labor, including the number of hours
The markup or margin
Total for the change order
There should be a place for you to sign and date the change order. You should get a copy for your records and the contractor should keep a copy.
These incidents were a motivator for me to add more questions to the “Questions For and About Contractors and Designers” that’s available as a free download. Recently, clients confirmed that having and using the questions was a big help. Experience has proven time and again that honest communication and having up-front information will ultimately make your project go smoother, with fewer hassles and cost overruns.
Do you provide detailed written change orders for extra work before it’s done? (For contractors and designers)
Were detailed, written change orders given to you in writing before the work was done? (About contractors and designers)
New Topics #2: Why Hire A Kitchen Designer?
Last week, I received a link to a wonderful article in Better Homes & Gardens, “Why Hire A Kitchen Designer.” The article doesn’t specify, but the same information is true for bathroom design. If you’re thinking about remodeling your home and you’re on the fence about hiring a professional designer, this article will change your mind! I’ve been saying these same things, and more, for years. So good to read it from a reliable, trusted source!
After reading the article, I signed up to receive more information from BH&G, and learned that they have 11 sweepstakes for you to enter. The prizes are significant! For all of the sweepstakes, there are no purchases necessary, but you may get emails from the companies offering the prizes. That’s the way marketing works in today’s world!
Doing this “recent topics mashup” was fun! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and hope that it will help you. Did you catch the difference in emphasis between Miller Paint and the other two companies? Behr and Sherwin-Williams use sales-oriented words and phrases in advertising to evoke an emotional response to nature, relaxation and balance. But Miller actively practices all of these concepts with their commitment to make our world a better place, starting with employee owners who really care.
Podcast: Recent Topics — An Astounding Mashup For Homeowners!
The topics in this blog are all an important to what I do, to help you achieve a successful building or remodeling project. I’m here to help! Call me today to talk about your goals: 503-632-8801.
Ten awesome remodeling products are featured in this blog. Pro Remodeler recently listed 100 products, but most of them are for people in the construction industry, or products I’ve written about before. Honestly, the selections were disappointing. Maybe it’s the season, maybe it’s a sign of the times. I selected these to help you plan for an upcoming (or future) home improvement project. There’s everything from appliances to plumbing, exterior products, and flooring. Every one of these wonderful products will enhance your home and your lifestyle!
Unique Remodeling Product #1: New Color Introduced By Whirlpool Appliances
Whirlpool is touted as the No.1-rated appliance brand and used in three out of four homes, according to independent studies. Whirlpool brands, including Amana, Maytag, KitchenAid, and JennAir, provide a full range of major kitchen appliances. There’s versatility that gives you choice from multiple styles and colors across multiple price points. Many of the products are designed and manufactured to be compatible with other smart home features.
A full suite of Whirlpool kitchen appliances is available in the new Sunset Bronze, a fingerprint-resistant brushed satin finish with subtle warm undertones that reflect natural light, delivering a soft glow. I hope that this color becomes popular with other manufacturers, just as black stainless steel has. I’m going to visit the local appliance showroom to see how the new Sunset Bronze looks with different woods and colors, and will report my findings to you. Whirlpool has a wide selection of appliances in Black Stainless and Stainless Steel, too.
A complete suite of kitchen appliances from Bosch delivers thoughtful details, such as the Benchmark series’ side-opening oven doors and flush installation. This is perfect for access by people with limited mobility. Various finishes are available for wall ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, and dishwashers, including the popular Black Stainless Steel. Manufacturers have listened to consumers about wanting finishes that guard against scratches and fingerprints. Bosch also offers small-scale appliances for apartments, ADUs, and other tight spaces. https://www.bosch-home.com/us/
Amazing Product #3: Capture And Use The Space Under A Deck!
Azek’s under-deck water management system definitely qualifies for a marvelously unique product! It’s available in white to help brighten under-deck areas. Ideal for second-story decks, the system channels water under the deck boards to a gutter and downspout. It’s a great idea! The “DrySpace” system can be used with Azek and TimberTech decking. Using it with natural wood decking or other brands of manufactured decking may negate any warranties. It’s best to check with the manufacturer before committing to use this product. Kits are available for 12-inch on-center spans in 12-foot lengths and for 16-inch on-center spans in 12- and 16-foot lengths. https://www.azek.com/
Stunning Product #4: Fantastic Exterior TV Lift System
With so many outdoor living spaces being created, it makes sense to have a TV as part of the ambiance. A patio cover to protect the TV may not be possible, so what do homeowners do? Here’s a wonderfully unique system: a TV lift cabinet that’s meant for ourdoor use! Cabinet Tronix has introduced 10 handmade outdoor TV lift cabinet designs. There are multiple weatherproof material options for both the cabinet top and bottom, to seamlessly incorporate into a homeowner’s outdoor space. Materials include porcelain tile that mimics the look of wood, and Honey Natural Stacked Stone. Each cabinet is fitted with a TV lift system and backed by a 10-year warranty. The company also makes lift systems for interior use. https://www.cabinet-tronix.com/
Extraordinary Product #5: Enhance A Pergola With Wonderful Accents
A pergola or pavilion can create an outdoor room while it enhances your garden. But the structural connectors have to look good as well as provide the long-lasting strength you need for safety. Simpson Strong-Tie, a longtime leader in structural connectors for contractors and engineers, has developed the “Outdoor Accents” system to provide both beauty and strength for outdoor projects using nominal and rough lumber sizes. The line features an innovative screw and washer combination that has the look of a traditional bolt but doesn’t require pre-drilling to ease installatio. The connectors also meet building codes for high-wind and seismic conditions. Available in a black powder-coated finish. https://www.strongtie.com/products/go/connectors/outdooraccents
Magnificent Product #6: “Tesla” Plumbing
Delta’s “Tesla” Collection is a full line of bath (and kitchen) faucets that draws inspiration from organic forms found in nature. These marvelously unique products have a soft yet modern look that fits users’ hands for maximum control. They incorporate innovations that result in easier installation and better performance. Diamond Seal Technology reduces leak points and lasts twice as long as the industry standard for leak-free operation for the life of the faucet. The “Tesla” collection is available in chrome, polished nickel and stainless steel. https://www.deltafaucet.com/search-results?searchTerm=tesla&searchType=Delta_Products#resultPage=1&offset=0
Wonderful Product #7: Continuous-Cleaning Toilet Minimizes Your Effort
A housecleaning chore that everyone dislikes is scrubbing the toilet. Kohler has released its ContinuousClean technology, a system housed directly in the toilet tank. It automatically dispenses a consistent amount of toilet bowl cleaner with each flush. A three-step process keeps it simple: (1) Insert two puck-style toilet bowl cleaning tablets; (2) set the dial to the desired dispensing level; and (3) monitor the blue LED indicator light on the back of the tank to ensure the system is working. The light will turn red when it’s time for new tablets. The system houses the tablets in a reservoir separate from other toilet components to ensure that toilet performance is not affected. It operates on two AAA batteries, so no access to outlets is necessary. https://www.us.kohler.com/us/s?Ntt=continuous+clean&Ns=onSale%7C1%7C%7CP_is_AddToCart%7C1%7C%7Cnew_product_s%7C1
Cali Bamboo launched several new bamboo floors, including two—Riverwood (shown) and Outer Banks—made for herringbone-style installations. The other new floors are Savanna, Bordeaux, Bourbon Barrel, and Treehouse. All feature solid Fossilized bamboo construction, Cali’s proprietary manufacturing technique, which the firm says is the world’s hardest floors. Herringbone wood flooring is ideal for formal living rooms and dining rooms. The flooring is backed by a 50-year residential warranty and a 15-year commercial warranty. https://www.calibamboo.com/bamboo-flooring.html
Impressive Product #9: Cold-Hot Water Dispenser
California Faucets has added the Combination Hot and Cold Water Dispenser to its Kitchen Collection. It sports a single-handle design for a streamlined look. Homeowners may select a traditional or modern faucet body, and choose a handle from nearly a dozen options, ranging from traditional-style Porcelain Lever to contemporary Black Blade and Stick designs. Over 30 artisan finishes are available, one reason why California Faucets has always been a favorite manufacturer for my clients. Dispensers are solid brass and hand-finished at the firm’s U.S. factory. http://www.calfaucets.com/product/traditional-style-single-handle-combo-hot-and-cold-water-dispenser-9623-k10-xx
Imposing Product #10: Farmhouse Sink With Flexible Design
Elkay has unveiled the awesome Crosstown Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sink with Interchangeable Apron (shown). Homeowners may choose from a mix of seven different materials and colors, enabling them to change the apron in minutes for a new look to match the season or their own personal style. The company has also introduced its Quartz Luxe Single and Double Bowl Sink, available in metallic-flecked Silvermist or deep Jubilee colors to enliven any kitchen. http://www.elkay.com/farmhouse
I hope these ten awesome remodeling products inspire and help you as you make product choices for your home. If you see any products that you’d like to share, please let me know with a comment (below). You can also send me an email: email@example.com.
“Today’s Home” Podcast: Ten Awesome Remodeling Products for 2019
Product research is one of the many things I love, to help you make informed decisions. Contact me today! Let’s talk about what you want to achieve!
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