Tips for your new home or remodel

Tips1I’m going through a kitchen and living room remodel right now and in doing so I have discovered a few tips that I want to pass along. The beautiful thing about these tips as that they can apply to a remodel or building a new house because if these “tips” were done in the first place I wouldn’t have to go through a remodel.

All of these tips are doable, but some are probably going to be cut due to space or budget constraints. But for those of you who are about to undergo a new build this is the place to start. You can then pick and choose which items you want or need as your own personal taste will dictate.

First—Take the time to make a list of “wants” and “needs”. These are two different things for many couples and woman will have more input when it comes down to the kitchen. I have taken more of an interest in the kitchen and have learned a great deal in the past year and I’m enjoying cooking a lot more.

Here’s my list
Widen the aisles! You won’t regret it.

I love ample workspace! We both love to cook, so this will not be merely a “show” kitchen. I want this new area to look amazing, but it also has to function well. Our house is the party house and, as anyone who host’s parties will know, guests always end up huddled in the kitchen. It happens every time and it drives me crazy. This is precisely the reason we are taking down walls and making the kitchen, dining room and living room into one big room. I can’t take it any longer. We have a beautiful living room with a fireplace that nobody see’s. We have comfortable furniture nobody sits in and we have lovely artwork nobody looks at. Seriously? I could put a leakyV8 engine on blocks in the living room and nobody would notice. Why does everyone feel the need to gather in the kitchen?

So, were going to open up the kitchen and move the new island out into the living area an extra 16” from the cabinets to the island. This way people can walk comfortably around the island and mingle without interference. The oven and the sink are no longer back-to-back which frees up two people working uninterrupted. The room will open up and our guests will be forced into the “neglected” areas of the kitchen.

The minimum recommended kitchen aisle width is 42 inches but this is old school thinking in my book. Push the island out farther! It’s much more comfortable at 48 inches. If you live in a multi-cook household push it out even farther! Maybe even 52-54”. You can do it. It’s ok nobody is going get hurt. The extra space really eases tight spots, especially around the sink and major appliances. But bigger isn’t always better. I wouldn’t want to go wider than 54 inches, because depending on your layout your kitchen will look out of balance.

Drawers instead of doors.

This is a no brainer. I will always choose drawers over doors on my base cabinets. It’s so much easier to organize and find things when you can pull out a drawer instead of havingTips2 to squat down to dig around deep inside the cabinet.

Extra-deep drawers are great for storing dishes, pots and pans. I also try to fit as many wide (36-inch) cabinets in as I can, because these can hold all manner of items yet still be within easy reach.

Quiet dishwasher.

Ugh! If you have an open-concept kitchen and you use your dishwasher often, you know the importance of a quietly running machine. Most dishwashers today are really good even if you’re in the $800 – $1600 range. If you want to spend $4,000 on a dishwasher then skip on past the rest of this tip because you’re in a league of your own and money doesn’t matter.

If a quiet dishwasher is a priority for you, look for machines with a decibel level around 45 or below if possible. Keep in mind that the price of a dishwasher typically goes up as the decibel level goes down. If you can’t spring for a quiet dishwasher, look for one that has a delay setting (most of them have this feature nowadays) so you can set the dishwasher to start after everyone is off to bed or away for the day.

Low-maintenance flooring.

tips5Do you have a pet? Like a dog that sheds, for example! We have a wonderful Golden Retriever shedding machine. As much as I am willing to put a little bit of work into maintaining my Quartz countertops, when it comes to the flooring material I want flooring that can handle a dog and guests. However, I can’t break away from wood floors.

Some people like concrete and porcelain tile but not us. I prefer wood to anything else. Nothing is as warm and luxurious as wood and I’ll sacrifice a little more work for wood all day long. I just prefer wood.

Counter topstips4

Not everything needs to be granite. Moses smell the roses who doesn’t have granite these days. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen granite counter tops in laundry rooms.) Seriously? If you like granite that’s fine but just for a moment try and broaden the scope of your thought process and think about other options. Personally, I’m completely over granite as there are some amazing counter top materials out there now. Quartz is one of my favorites and the subtle beauty of quartz is understated and elegant. Believe me when I say you won’t be saving any money on quartz. It costs about the same as granite. Engineered quartz is the game changer of countertops in my opinion. Whether you love modern or traditional, apple green or ecru, honed or polished, flecked or patterned, quartz’s myriad options will have you covered. The only down side is that quartz isn’t particularly heat tolerant so you’re going to need a few trivets near by.

Engineered quartz is also easy to maintain, nontoxic and nonallergenic — there’s not much to dislike about this man-made material. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.