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25
Aug

3 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Jazz Up a Neutral Bathroom

Crisp White. Dove Gray. Eggshell. Taupe. These and dozens more variations of white, gray, and beige make up the neutral color palettes the National Kitchen & Bath Association says are the most popular for bathrooms this year. But here’s the thing. Popular as they are, neutral interiors can be downright boring if you don’t jazz them up a bit. That’s why we’ve gathered some ideas for transforming a neutral bathroom into a showcase for your personal style. But let’s start with what makes neutrals great.

Because neutrals don’t align with standard color families, they make the perfect foundation for a bathroom’s color palette. Neutrals look good on their own, but they’re also able to prop up bright colors or bold patterns without causing visual friction. Neutral colors work with any architectural style. And they showcase our own taste.

Plus, the experts at Realtor.com point out that when it comes to selling your home, you don’t want to scare away potential buyers by using colors they can imagine getting sick of—such as orange or purple. Instead, Realtor.com advises keeping large surfaces such as walls, floors, and ceilings neutral—so when those prospective buyers walk through the door they can picture their own belongings inside your home.

Still, you don’t want to live your life inside a neutral box with no personality. And with that in mind, here are three easy ideas for boosting the intrigue of a neutral-color bathroom.

  1. Layer multiple versions of the same neutral. If everything in your bathroom is taupe, you—and everyone else—will get bored. Add depth by teaming up tints and shades of the same gray, white, or beige. This bathroom does just that with dove-gray grass cloth walls and charcoal-gray mosaic floor tiles, which create a subtle contrast to the grey Astoria Modern vanity with its Carrera marble top from Jeffrey Alexander. The botanical painting showcasing a full spectrum of grays to accentuate the theme offers the finishing touch.
    Astoria_VAN103-30-T
    Hardware Resources Astoria Modern bath vanity by Jeffrey Alexander
  2. Combine different neutrals in the same room. Add subtle variations by embracing more than one neutral in the same palette. This bathroom shows how its done by teaming Moroccan-pattern wallpaper in shades of taupe with limestone flooring and Jeffrey Alexander’s Carrera-marble-topped Cade Contempo bathroom vanity in warm gray. A pale taupe Roman shade, wicker hamper, and satin-nickel fixtures complete the look. The overall feeling is calming, but delivers a bit of a twist.
    Cade Contempo_VAN100-48-T
    Hardware Resources Cade Contempo bath vanity from Jeffrey Alexander
  3. Augment the intrigue with texture. Wood, stone, metal, glass, ceramics, and textiles can inject everything from high-gloss drama to homespun warmth into the mix, even if everything in the bathroom sports the same shade of beige. Choosing Element’s clean-lined Lindley vanity (this one wears a warm espresso finish) instantly adds the romantic texture of louvered doors to any bathroom. Beaded-board wainscoting, plank flooring, and ribbed vases augment the look with a variety of different textures.
    Lindley_VAN079 (1)
    Lindley bath vanity from Hardware Resources Elements

In other words, by choosing a stylish and textural bath vanity and accessories—from pendant lighting to faucets—a neutral color palette allows you to express your unique personal style. What’s more, with a neutral backdrop, changing your look when the mood strikes is as easy as changing out the accessories. So think of a neutral bathroom as an investment in your happiness while adding onto your home’s equity and enduring appeal.

More Boosts for Neutral Baths

  • Insert pops of color. Keep the eye moving about the room with colorful decorative hardware, lively linens, and moisture-resistant artwork.
    Punctuate with black. Add drama with black accents such as cabinetry hardware, tile designs, or a black granite countertop.
  • Add a little sparkle. Let metallic decorative hardware, plumbing fixtures, light sconces, and/or accent pieces in glittering gold, polished nickel, or shiny bronze double as jewelry.
  • Enlist interesting shapes. Like kitchens, bathrooms feature a lot of hard edges and sharp corners. Faucets, lighting fixtures, and accent pieces with curvaceous silhouettes offer opportunities to capture attention and soften the look.
  • Incorporate pattern. Break the monotony of an all-neutral bathroom by adding one or two carefully selected patterns to the mix. Think about using wallpaper, a shower curtain, a rug, ceramic tile, or heavily veined marble to make an impression.
Chatham_VAN102D-60-T
Gleaming pieces of polished-nickel hardware and matching sconces keep the eye moving about a neutral bathroom furnished with a Hardware Resources’ Jeffrey Alexander Chatham Shaker-style bathroom vanity in grey. A geometrically patterned area rug further energizes the space.
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17
Aug

Though some Big Box stores may claim they have a custom line of cabinets, technically this is not true.

Full custom cabinets are completely made from scratch, They are designed to fit your space and built off those designs.

Big Box custom is actually semi-custom. In other words they make an existing set of cabinet sizes fit into your space. The sink base is 36″, not the 35″ your space needs, But 36″. This is why you see “fillers” in these cabinet layouts. Pieces to fill gaps where their pre-sized cabinets don’t fit into your space.

If you want something very unique, well, you won’t be getting it from semi-custom cabinets.

When you see a plan from Lowes, for example, you will see cabinets labeled DB36 for example. This is their pre-sized Drawer Bank that is 36″ wide. But what if you really need a 34.5″ drawer bank in that area? What if you want the top drawer to be 7″ deep and the bottom two drawers to be 10″ deep? Sorry Charlie- Lowes provides 5″ top drawers only.

Custom cabinets offer completely customizable cabinet sizes, styles, accessories, etc. But, they also offer more than this. Fully custom cabinets allow you to be creative- adding elements that fit your unique life style. You have a set of charger plates that are 14″ in Diameter. These won’t fit in a std 12″ deep upper, so make one upper 15″ deep.

You have a beautiful vase you’d like to display that is 17″ tall. Provide a glass upper with adjustable shelving. You are a chef wanna be, you have more spices than chef Ramsey. Design in several spice pullout units in various locations where you would use them most. Tired of bending over to see what’s inside your base cabinets and rummaging around to find that one special bowl? Design in pullouts in your lower cabinets to easily access everything inside.

And corners are the pits, the dark pits. Deep, dark and basically useless storage space.. Not anymore, There are lots of new corner accessories to make that one your new favorite cabinet space.

From double stacking silverware drawers, to pantry solutions, custom accessories can turn just a kitchen into a usable cooks dream space.

 

 

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15
Aug

Should you choose a decorative molding with an angled profile or a flat crown molding? More and more people are choosing a flat molding. The number one reason is looks.

A flat crown is modern and contemporary-usually used with shaker style cabinets.

But another important reason to use a flat crown is to hide ceiling level issues. Many homes, particularly older homes do not have level ceilings. At one spot your ceiling height may be 98″ tall, at another 97.5″ tall and at yet another 98.25″ tall. These height differences are a mess to deal with if they fall within a run of cabinets.

With conventional crown that has an angled profile this variation will be accentuated. Since the crown must be at the same level on the cabinets it will produce a gap at the ceiling where the ceiling height is taller. If the ceiling dips, the crown must be moved down covering more cabinet frame and the eye will definitely see this difference.

A flat crown, however, can have it’s height adjusted by shaving off a little here or there as needed to meet the ceiling perfectly and this won’t be noticed by your eye.

Consider this when choosing a crown profile.

 

14
Aug

When considering glazed cabinets, be aware that “Glaze” is a buzz word. Glaze is actually the name of a product and not a technique.

Having said that, there are many interpretations of the term glazed cabinets. Lets look at them:

  1. Pin-point glaze- a thin even line (usually applied with a glazing gun) that catches in all the profile changes. A modern and contemporary look.
  2. over-all wipe on glaze – a thin glazing medium is applied over already finished (usually painted) cabinets to antique the color and collect in the recessed areas of the profile. – an old world, antiqued and muddied look.

This is all then clear coated to seal in the glazing medium.  Depending on the glaze color and how it is applied, different looks can be achieved.

A common method of this over-all glaze is to cover the entire door front with a glaze using a pad or brush (depending on amount of stroke marks desired), wait till sticky, and then rub off, being careful to follow any grain of the wood. This is  time consuming but produces the antique look. It can be varied by how much glaze medium is removed in the wiping process.

Keep in mind that since this is a hand applied process, there will be variations from door to door and streaks and swirls will be present.

 

 

14
Aug

It’s a great look, yes, to put an oven inset under your cook-top instead of using a stand-alone slide in unit. But there are  things to be aware of before you run out and purchase your appliances.

Not all cook-tops can be installed on top of wall ovens. There are factors to consider.

You look at the specs and see that the new cook-top is 2-3/4″ high, perfect/ your oven is 29″ tall. 29″ +2-3/4″ = 31-1/4″…Plenty of room in a 36″ base cabinet right? Actually NO!

What you really need to look at are the “cutout” specs and actual appliance distentions. These are found in separate spec sheets and installation guides about your appliance.  You need to look at both.

If you can’t find these specs on the Home Depot, Lowes, or Sears  Sites, that’s no surprise. These are big box stores selling appliances, not appliance stores. Google the appliance model number and find a site that has these specs detailed.

So what does “cutout” dimension mean?  This is the hole in the cabinet that must be available for the oven. Lets say your new oven in 30″ wide, it may be a 29″ actual unit with a trim kit in front of 1/2″ on each side that will overlay the face frames of your cabinets on the sides. If it is 20″ high, it may actually be a 27″ high unit with 1-1/2″ trim overlay on the top and 1-1/2″ overhang on the bottom.

Now lets look at the cook-top specs. Chances are it’s actually a 5-6″ deep unit and requires another 1/2″ underneath before it hits anything for cords or gas lines. This spec is usually in the installation guide.

So lets calculate. A base cabinet is 36″ deep, it has a toe kick, lets say 4″, so the cabinet is available space is now 31″. Subtract the 5-1/2″ deep cook-top = 24-1/2″ remaining. So the oven can only be 24-1/2″ tall.  Hmm- not likely.

So what do you do?

  1. Look for a thinner cook-top. There are not a huge selection, but GE and LG do make some that require only 3-4″ below the cook-top space. In general a gas cook-top will be thinner than an electric as well.
  2. Find an oven that is smaller. Perhaps a 27″ instead of a 30″.
  3. Consider having a lower toe kick under the stove area to gain a few inches of available height space. Be careful it’s not too low that when you open the oven the handle hits the floor

My last piece of advise- Don’t always trust the appliance store’s recommendation. Do your homework and check out the specs for yourself or you may be in for a sad surprise when the oven is installed.

 

 

 

17
Feb

Cabinets have infinite options and design possibilities and are the most expensive part of your new kitchen. Here are some definitions to help you out when talking with your cabinet builder.

Box – The actual carcass of your cabinets. It can vary in quality and finish and can be easily overlooked. Having a UV Cured finish inside is important for easy cleaning of spills.

Face Frames – Face frames attach to the front of boxes. The cabinet doors attach to these face frames. Frameless cabinets will have nothing more than edge banding (a thin veneer) on the front of your boxes.

Doors & Drawer Fronts – Covering all or most of the openings in your cabinetry, these are the main visible aspect of the cabinets.

Toe Kicks – The space under the cabinet that allows room for your toes as you stand at the cabinets. There are different styles. A toe sweep for example gives angled corners to the toe kick to allow you to easily sweep underneath them.

Hinges & Slides – The necessary hardware used to operate your doors and drawers. These can greatly affect the quality of your cabinets. Drawers that stick or eventually sag from low budget slides will cost you more in the end.

Knobs & Pulls – Door knobs and drawer pulls can be vastly important not only to the look of the cabinet but to their functionality. They may be an extra cost or included in the cabinet bid.

Finish – The coatings that protect your investment. Much like the paint on your car, finishes give style and protection. Stain, paint, and top coats should all be considered.

10 Questions to Ask Your Cabinet Maker

1. What materials will you use in making the cabinets? Solid wood core plywood for the boxes and solid hardwood for the face frames are a must for longevity. Never settle for particle board boxes.

2. How are the cabinets being assembled? Glued and pocket screwed for strength and pocket screws for face frames. Cheaply stapled cases without glue will fall apart in time. Ask if face nails will be used on your face frames creating lots of small unsightly pock marks.

3. What are the finishes and will they be finished on site or in shop? Shop-finished cabinets are preferred. Having someone in your home to spray finishes with VOCs and chemicals is not recommended at all. A shop sprayed pre-catalyzed lacquer is the best finish. Cabinets with glass doors or no doors should be stained and finished inside to match the outsides. These cabinets should have shelves stained to match as well. Ask if nail holes made in installation of crown molding will be puttied and stained? Ask if the cabinet installation included caulking also.

4. How are the drawers and slide-out shelves made? Dovetailed drawers are the standard of strength. Solid wood sides are best. Don’t accept stapled MDF. In fact, no MDF at all should be in cabinets. MDF is not a structural material.

5. What Hardware will you use? Under mount soft-close are the best.With good hardware you will find that doors and drawers open and close with ease every time. For the doors, there are soft close features that will keep them from banging. Quality hardware will last much longer. Also ask if the hardware products are cheaply made of cast pewter or if they are cold rolled steel?

6. What are my doors made of and what will the style be? Raised panel and Shaker doors? Inset or overlay frames?  As for material, solid wood will lend itself to a long life. Many cabinet manufacturers use MDF for the center panels and then veneer over for the wood grain.

7. Will you provide the design and shop drawings and in how much detail? This is a super important question. Be sure you completely understand every aspect of the drawings; ask, ask, and ask for more details if needed. Don’t leave anything to chance. Get as detailed as you want.

8. What accessories are behind the doors? This is a tricky one because when you approve drawings, many times the number of shelves, slide out drawers, trash bins, and many other items can be left out. Be sure to ask what is included (and in comparing bids, this is an essential component).

9. How long will the cabinets take to make and install? This simple question can change everything.

10. Is the installation included? Installation is a big factor, and it is by far better if the cabinet maker installs as opposed to someone who has never even seen your kitchen layout. When the cabinet builder installs, any needed adjustments can be taken care of immediately. Also, ask if the knobs and pulls will be installed as well.

11. (BONUS) Can I visit the production facilities to become familiar with the process? Look for cleanliness and tidiness. You should find evidence of their skills and expertise. You should feel welcome to come see how they work. So, on your next cabinet purchase, relax and enjoy the process.  The work will be well worth the usefulness and beauty of you new cabinets.

13
Feb

Living without a kitchen can be hectic, crazy and expensive. And eating out every night could end up blowing your remodeling budget. But if you plan and prepare, you can survive, thrive and even have fun while waiting for your new kitchen to be done.

Plan on setting up a temporary kitchen in some place like your garage, basement or utility room (ideally, someplace with a sink). Even if you aren’t keeping your old appliances, for now keep at least the refrigerator and microwave oven to set up in this area.

Ask for details on LWi’s Complementary Faux Kitchen when we do the removal of your old cabinets.

As you pack up your kitchen here are a few items to leave out:

  • Plate, bowl, cup, silverware for each
  • Saucepan
  • Skillet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Toaster oven
  • Coffee pot
  • Crock Pot
  • Cutting board
  • Knives
  • 2 dish towels
  • Wash basin
  • Sponges and detergent
  • Trash bags
  • Zip lock bags

Useful Ideas

  • Use a cooler to wash dishes in.
  • Keep lots of non perishable snacks on hand like PB, crackers, dried fruit, etc.
  • Make clean up easy by using paper plates and plastic cups.
  • Use the outdoor grill – try foil packed meals, remember your scouting days?
    • If you’re worried about putting your cookware on the grill, rub bar soap on the bottom and sides of your pots and the black soot from the grill will easily wash off.
    • Remember that your grill can do almost anything your oven can, cooking everything from casseroles to pizzas. Most grills also include a side burner, which is great for making pasta or steamed vegetables.
  • Use a crock pot for meals.
  • If you’re still going to have a freezer during the remodel, make some big meals ahead of time and freeze them in smaller portions. You can defrost single-meal portions and reheat them in the microwave.
  • Offer a friend a home-cooked meal in exchange for using her kitchen.
  • Set up a mini kitchen somewhere else in the house so that you can do cooking while your kitchen is out of commission. Ideally, this location should have a sink or, if not, it should have easy access to water. You could set up your mini kitchen in a laundry room or near a bathroom. Equip it with a coffee maker, a microwave, a blender, a toaster oven, a hot plate and a slow cooker.
  • Prepare your meals in tin foil pans instead of earthenware to eliminate a lot of cleanup
  • Despite the temptation, don’t ask workers a lot of questions or hang around while they work. They will actually work faster and better if the client is not standing over their shoulders.

The most important thing to always keep in mind is the finished product – how you will feel once it’s all done.

12
Feb

The hub of your home is the kitchen. You start your day there with coffee and end your evening there with dinner or a snack. You help with homework, sort mail, prepare meals, and entertain in the kitchen. You want your home’s center to show who you really are and you want to feel great about it.

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and make your kitchen dream a reality. But it’s a little, okay, maybe a lot, overwhelming and you’re not even sure where to start or even what to expect in costs. The LWi Custom Cabinets website breaks down the process for you and even shows you a cost breakdown analysis with a budget calculator. It helps in understanding what to expect cost wise for cabinets, flooring, lighting, new appliances and counter tops.

Here is an example: Let’s say the value of your home is $315,000 and you want to allocate 5% to the kitchen remodel ($15,750).

Then, 35% of that budget should be for cabinets (about $5,500), 12% for countertops (about $1,890), 10% for flooring (about $1,575), 10% for appliances (about $1,575, 4% for electrical and lighting (about $630), 3% for new wall coverings ($472), 25% for labor (about $3,937) and the last percent for miscellaneous (about $157). Of course, if you are not planning on some of these features, more can be allocated to other areas. And keep in mind, this labor number is spread out over all aspects of your new kitchen.

Ok, so now you have decided on your budget. First start with appliances. Go shopping and choose what works for you and where they will be located. This is an important first step because new cabinets will be built around them, so to speak.

Next it’s time to have some fun and get cabinets started. Seems odd to start cabinets next, but remember after you’ve signed off on your new cabinet plans it takes 4-6 weeks to have them built. In that time you’ll be selecting countertops, flooring and lighting. Plus you’ll have a cabinet color sample to take with you when you shop. You’ve probably read that first sentence again and thought “fun?” Yes, planning your cabinets should be fun. Because you’re creating your new kitchen now. The cabinets are the number one feature both for functionality and beauty. You may already know what your dream kitchen looks like – fantastic – you’re over a huge hurdle. If not, time to go through magazines, lots of them. Visit Houzz.com and Pintrest too for ideas.

Don’t look for an entire kitchen you like. But instead focus on pieces of the kitchen. One photo may be the perfect color, another best style; another has legs you love on the island, or a pantry pullout system that would make your life so much easier. Gather it all up and take it to the cabinet designer at LWi Custom Cabinets. You’ll work with Joshua. That’s his job, to look at your space and make it all work for you.

Once it’s all designed, you’re on your way. Now is the time to take care of electrical and plumbing you may need done, choose new flooring, countertops, new paint, and lighting. Most of all, always keep in mind that final look of your new kitchen and how you’ll feel once you are enjoying it while you have your morning coffee.

26
Jun

It’s an old saying, and one that still holds true. In today’s faster and cheaper world, a lot of the most important decisions are based solely on price and how fast we can get it. Sometimes faster and cheaper is just that. When you’re comparing remote controls, you might stand there for 20 minutes looking at all of the options before you decide. You pride yourself on finding the most bang for your buck, and move on. Maybe later you realize that you should have taken a little more time, and bought that one that was $5 more. We all do it, and usually end up buying twice. Value and lowest price aren’t the same thing.

Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing home, if you’re like most people, you have done your homework. You’ve looked at all the latest websites, schemed and dreamed, and come armed with a big book of ideas and plans. Taking all of those pictures and convenience hardware options and integrating them into your exact space isn’t easy.

Factors to consider when choosing a custom cabinet maker:

Customer Service – Customer service is probably one of the most important. If you’re waiting two weeks for a bid from one company, and another has already met you, provided samples and designs, and accurate pricing, then you shouldn’t keep waiting. The same way you’re waiting for a bid is how you’ll be waiting 6 weeks late on your cabinets, and then waiting again for them to come and do their punchwork if you go with waiting. There is a serve in customer service. Find someone that wants your business, takes care of your needs and questions quickly and efficiently. How you are treated is something to never overlook for the potential “savings”.

Quality – What your cabinets are made out of and how they’re put together is important. Do you save $1,000 bucks and live with puttied nail holes that don’t match scattered across the face of your $15,000 dream kitchen? Did you consider asking how they attached their face frames? Most people don’t. Are you painting your cabinets? Are you being quoted “Paint Grade” by one company and “Paint Grade Maple” by another? Most people don’t know that what’s specified as “Paint Grade” is usually a combination of wood species and man-made pressed board that could never take paint evenly. “Paint Grade Maple” is just that, solid white maple. The nebulous combination of “Paint Grade” might save you a little money up front, but what are you going to have to live with? You’ve put so much time and thought in your dream kitchen, would you want to pinch pennies in quality?

Finish – The most beautiful cabinets in the world can still be ruined by a poor finish, and the ugliest can be made beautiful by a good finish. The finish is really what you see when you look at cabinets to be honest. Are you really comparing the same things when you look at pre-finished and job-finished? The guys that painted your walls might be cheap to throw some stain or paint on your cabinets, but what’s that going to look like in your home that you’ve worked so hard for? Wouldn’t you rather your project be finished in a dust-free controlled environment by experience professionals using state of the art processes? You might save $500 having those painters “stain and finish” your cabinets, but who’s going to pay them to put them all back together when they’re through? How many options and samples do you think the wall painters will have for your unique finish? What is the finished product going to look like when you’re through, and isn’t it worth $500 to be happy with the finish?

Installation – Getting your new dream kitchen installed properly is probably the most crucial step. You’ve approved your designs and finishes and can’t wait to see what it all is going to REALLY look like. Are the same people that designed and built your cabinets installing them? Some cabinet companies “sub out” their installs to other individuals that you’ve never met and have never seen your cabinets before the morning they arrive at your home. Are you comparing a sub-out install to an employee install? Will your project manager be there to oversee the crew? Will the installers even speak your language? It might be a wash price wise, but you can bet that if your cabinet price has installation as a separate line item, your cabinet install is being subbed-out to the lowest bidder. Having the people that know your cabinets inside and out install them not only saves you time, it produces a better end result. Isn’t that what you’re looking for?

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