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by RestonNow.com Sponsor April 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

As we get into warmer weather and we switch from heat to air conditioning, finding ways to be more energy efficient in our kitchens can help the environment and our utility bills. Here is our short list of how to have a more energy efficient kitchen.

LED Lights — Recessed, under cabinet and such not only save money on energy costs, but it also produces less heat which is essential in the kitchen.

One thing to remember is kitchens heat up naturally from cooking. So, to have the ability to make sure to put LED lights on dimmers will help keep your kitchen cooler, since we do not need light at 100% output all the time.  

Energy Efficient Appliances — According to website Alliance, Energy Star appliance can help households save up to 30% on their electric bills. Another benefit of energy-efficient appliances is they help you cook faster and healthier light meals. The Steam Combi Ovens allows you to cook all your meal at once in less than 30 minutes.  

Dishwashers — Many homeowners feel that they use the same money/water by hand washing. That is wrong. Dishwasher requires less than one-third the water it would take to do those same dishes in the sink.

A tip to save even more is don’t use the heated dry cycle. A heated dry period can add 15% to 50% to the appliance’s operating cost. Run the dishwasher only when full or if you have the option utilize the dishwasher’s short cycle.

Refrigerators — Did you know your fridge is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home?

Check the temperature inside to be sure you are utilizing the temperature control that is the most energy efficient. Your fridge should be between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2.78 – 4.44 degrees Celsius), and 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) for the freezer. If your refrigerator is running colder than that, you are wasting energy. 

Also, avoid putting super hot food in the fridge, keep the leftover to cool outside and only when in room temp, place in the refrigerator. Allowing your hot dishes outside of the fridge will help the refrigerator with keeping the temp leveled and not work extra hard to make up for the heat source inside it.

Vampire Energy — Vampire energy, also known as standby power, is the electric power consumed by many consumer electronic devices when they are switched off but still plugged in, and that wasted electricity is costing you consumer’s money. We have lots of those in the kitchen.

Most households leave their toasters, coffee machines and cell phone chargers plugged in a while, not in use. An easy solution comes from Lutron with the Lutron Maestro Wireless Plug-In Appliance Modules. You can plug in your appliances to the system and set them to go off the grid while you are not home or asleep.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

When Mrs. A. called AKG Design Studio, she was looking to have her cramped condo kitchen in Reston made into an open contemporary concept. In today’s blog, we are sharing the highlights of this kitchen redesign from demo to completion.

In our linked videos you will find out the realities of having a kitchen redesigned and how a kitchen designer is essential to keeping the project moving forward because changes to plans can happen as the construction in the kitchen takes place.

Some of the things we dealt with in this remodel was uncovering more considerable wall depths when taking out the pantry and ductwork we could not move when we opened up the kitchen. So, below are our points in our timeline from demo to wrap-up.

Demo Day:

Who does not love demo day, it allows us to say goodbye to the old and the first steps toward physically putting the plan AKG Design Studio drew for Mrs. A’s new kitchen. A big thank you to Macco Remodeling & Restoration for taking on this fun job. Check out the before space and hear how space will be opened up and turned into Mrs. A’s dream opened space concept.

End of Week 1 Check In:

When we checked in at Mrs. A’s house about a week later, visually, it did not seem much work was done, but all the magic behind the scenes was taking place. The first week of the remodel is dedicated things like moving plumbing and electrical; it does not seem too exciting, but oh so necessary. You can check out all of the behind the scenes highlights here.

End of the Third Week Check In:

By the third week in at Mrs. A., one could certainly see the progression. The walls were down, drywall was put up and the cabinets had arrived. See the update here.

Highlights of the Before:

Just like the show The Voice, we wanted to take a break from Mrs. A’s condominium progression and show you the highlights of the before. Things to know about when we took the before pictures, it lacked pantry space and the pantry door blocked the bathroom door.

The kitchen table chairs blocked the entrance, it lacked counter space and it just felt cramped from all sides. Also, this video has a preview of all of the different versions of our virtual drawings. Check it all out here.

The Finished Picture:

Finally, a brand new kitchen at Mrs. A’s Reston Condo Kitchen…

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

As we adjust to losing an hour, many are enjoying mother nature’s extra hour of natural light outside.

Now if we could just capture the sun and bring that light inside somehow? Thankfully, the Romans in the 13th century BC figured out that if they placed unglazed openings in their roofs, it allowed the sun to come in during the daytime.

Through years of innovation and creativity adding the right type of windows can maximize the amount of natural light in your kitchen or bathroom. So, what are our top picks of windows that offer most natural light?

Picture Windows   If you want your home to have a large open feeling and a great view, we recommend picture windows with no grids.

Picture windows come in contemporary and modern designs. The one drawback is they do not open, so if you love views, sunlight, and fresh air from all your windows, keep reading some of the other options.

Double Hung Windows — The double hung window is considered the most classic. They are made to be easy to open, even while leaning over a counter to do it. They come in a variety of grid styles.

Garden Windows — Do you like to grow your fresh herbs? Alternatively, do you want to show off the work of your green thumb? The Garden Window may be for you. It bumps out so it can display your favorite greenery and gives you extra light from the roof of the window.

Casement Windows — If you love fresh air and can not get enough of it, these windows are for you. The best part about casement windows you can open them as wide as you want because they open outwards, which allows you not to lose any space in your kitchen.

Bay Windows — If you love a bit of sunlight while you are enjoying your morning coffee, the bay window is for you. It brings in lots of light into a kitchen or breakfast area. If they are placed low enough, they can have bench seating below it.

Built-in Window Treatments — Not all of us have the best views, but still want to enjoy sunlight, while having privacy at the end of the day. The best options are to use windows that have built-in window shades.

You can lower these from the top to give you the privacy you want while keeping the sunlight from the top. Having the shade built into the window will eliminate the shade from getting dirty and worn out.

***Please note your window selection may not comply with your HOA regulations, so always check with them first before deciding on the right window for your home.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm 1 Comment

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

What is it about spring that we are ready to shed the old and have a bit more space, a clean slate if you would?

Most start to think about their “big” spring cleaning as we dream of warmer weather with light breezes and sunny days. As a kitchen designer, I am often brought in this time of year to help create spaces that allow me to help homeowners to declutter and minimize their small kitchen spaces into something that can stay cleaned out year round.

Unlike a home organizer, I look at a home and help homeowners “declutter” or “spring clean” with the types of cabinet choices there are out there. Adding cabinet spaces that have built-in organization capabilities help keep from “disorganization” happening throughout the year, allowing you to more time to go out and enjoy the spring weather.

They are four main ways that help your kitchen clutter-free.

1. Pull-out storage — Did you know you can add 50% more storage from adding pull-out cabinetry? Other benefits of pull-out cabinetry are they are a great way to keep clutter off your counters because they help organize your small items. Another bonus, they are better on your body as you age, because they put everything at your fingertips.

2. Cleaning Caddy — We all keep our cleaning things under our sinks, but running back and forth, because you could only hold the paper towels and Windex, but forgot the toilet cleaner? Can take the extra time you would instead be doing something else. Adding a cleaning cabinet caddy that rolls out and you can carry with everything you need to clean the perfect answer to cut down the trips for missing cleaning items.

3. Drawer Dividers — People love drawers, yet when it’s an empty drawer with no additional organization tools, it can be hard to place things in them without everything moving every time you open or close it. We suggest drawers with dividers, so its easier to keep the dishes in lower cabinets. These are great for kids and people with different abilities to be able to reach what they need.

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor February 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Did you know that February is not only the month of love but National Family Baking Month? What a fun way to spend the last two of the coldest months of winter, in your house with the sweet aromas of cinnamon rolls in the air.

We have compiled a list of the top 3 essentials to help get you and your family baking together without breaking the bank. And we also found a fantastic recipe link to how to make your version of Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls at the end of the article.

Mixing Bowls — An essential to baking is the correct mixing bowls. Mixing bowls come in a variety of materials, such as glass, ceramic, copper, plastic and stainless steel.

Glass and ceramic bowls can be pretty and double as serving dishes, but they are easily breakable. Copper is the most beautiful, but usually the most expensive. Plastic is durable but tends to absorb odors. Stainless steel is the most durable and cost-effective. We love Cuisinart and suggest Cuisinart CTG-00-SMB Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 3.

Rolling Pins — What is it about a rolling pin, that brings back happy memories of someone baking during your childhood? Of course, like mixing bowls, there is more than one type.

The first rolling pin we think of is the traditional wood rolling pin, as it is the most commonly known. The second rolling pin is the marble rolling pin; these are great for thinning out doughs that usually break easily with a wood rolling pin.

The third type of well-known rolling pin is the french rolling pin. Unlike the traditional and marble rolling pin, they do not have the wood panels connected to them. These are great for your little ones as they do not have to grasp the sides of rolling pin, but can use the bottom of their hands to glide the rolling pin across the dough.

One of our favorites is Sugar Maple French Style Rolling Pin: Tapered Solid Wood Design. Hand Crafted in the USA. By Top Notch Kitchenware!

Hand Mixers — If your family is new to baking, starting out with a high-end top stand mixer may not be the best place to start on your mixing journey.

So, instead, we recommend starting with something that will get the job done, a hand mixer. Hand mixers like stand mixers can come in a variety of different styles for different types of mixing. For instance, hand mixers can come with beaters, whisks or dough hooks.

You can get hand mixers with just the beaters or with all three. We recommend the VonShef 250W 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Stand and 5 Accessories Includes 2 Dough Hooks, 2 Beaters & 1 Whisk plus Turbo Function and Handy Stand — stylish red design that has everything to start your baking journey.

Now for the best part of this article, how to make your own Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls. It’s called the Clone of a Cinnabon and it’s from one of our favorite sites Allrecipes.com. Happy Baking!

(This content uses referral links.)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor February 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

One of the best inventions second to the kitchen stove is the kitchen sink.

At one time, kitchen sinks were stand-alone features of a kitchen that looked like a trough.

Today, we call them farmhouse sinks and they connect to countertops and cabinets, not only are they no longer just sinks — they are a part of the cooking center.

Cooking Centers are fantastic for small and large kitchens. They add counter space for small kitchens because homeowners can turn their sink into a counter by placing a board over the sink.

Some of the smaller sinks come with counters that have strainers in them, so they can strain things directly into the sink, without touching the bottom of the sink.

In larger kitchens cooking spaces consolidate all the work to one area by adding a bar to create a super large area where two cooks can work at the same time. Those come with lots of accessories, from cutting boards to veggie wash bin to drain mats and even knife blocks.

So, what else has changed since kitchen sinks first came on the scene? First off colors! You no longer need to stick to stainless steel, black or white — this year color is everywhere.

Elkay and Kruea present sinks with colors from aqua to hot red!

You can’t change colors without changing materials. Companies are creating options for those who no longer want stainless steel- we are now looking at copper, cast iron, stone composite sinks, bamboo and fireclay — giving homeowners the ability to pick the one fits your style needs.

If you do love a stainless steel sink, but just want it to have a more modern design, Thompson Traders Hammered Stainless Steel. They are super beautiful! If a farm sink is not your idea of breathtaking, they have it in also in a farm sink style.

Another way sinks have changed, it’s cool not to have rims.

Since a lot of people love the look of a rimless integrated sink, Topzero is changing the rules, and those sinks are fab! The rim of the sink comes up to the edge of the counter, so it’s no longer under counter that needs to be sealed and collects germs and such.

Kohler, of course, is always living up to its tagline and takes the cake with their fantastic new farm sink! Created initially as a utility sink, it is making its crossover into the kitchen for the perfect farm style look.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

I have just returned from #KBIS18 which is the National Kitchen and Building Show of 2018 in Orlando, Florida. My expertise in creating functional and fabulous small kitchens was what brought me down there, but after being there, my head is buzzing with so many ideas to share with all of you.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my experiences and what I learned from other national and international designers. 

In the meantime, in this week’s post, I am sharing some of my Facebook Live posts so you can see some of the beautiful products out there to help your home not only feel more luxurious, and functional.

Global Designs — It’s a big world out there, and someone has to design it. As a panelist In this workshop, we discuss some of out throughs on how designers can work anywhere thanks to the internet. We also discuss global design has changed the way we think of design in 2018.  Find out my thoughts and ideas on Global Designs here: Here we go guys, going global.

The Galley Kitchen  — The Galley Kitchen can have a big impact on a small kitchen space. Galley Kitchens were created to solve the age old problem of fitting the most functionality into a small kitchen. The brand is known for taking a sink and creating a multi-functional kitchen prep and serving area. You can learn more about The Galley Kitchens here: Tips for small spaces from #Kbis2018

Kitchen Hoods — The trend of kitchen hoods are changing. They are no longer big boxes that are unattractive. They are circular and created to match your kitchen’s style. You can learn more about the different kitchen hoods now offered here: Fabulous Hoods

Showers — What would you do if you had a personal waterfall in your home or brought outside moss indoors? These were the themes of the showers we saw. If waterfalls and nature doesn’t appeal to you, then we also saw some fully functional and beautiful show heads that were all about getting the water pressure for your perfect hot shower. You can see all the shower heads here: Showers! The bold look of KOHLER #kbis2018

Fire Pits — The show had some beautiful fire pits that were a combo of fire pits and waterfalls. Some of the fire pits for your backyard can also have additional seating for guests at your next outdoor event. You can learn more about Fire Pits here: Live from #kbis2018

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Choosing the right bathroom design for you and your family can seem overwhelming as the number of choices to pick from can seem endless. To help narrow down your options below is an insider’s guide to bathroom lighting, paint colors, storage and flooring.

Lighting — Although, you may dream of beautiful light fixtures in your bathroom the reality is if you pick the wrong one, you could look an unattractive yellowish-green color while putting on your makeup. Instead, we suggest trying to use as much natural light in the bathroom as possible. Alternatively, if you love the appeal of a romantic sconce lighting, don’t use this as your primary light source, add some recessed lighting overhead.

Paint Colors — Similar to lighting, paint color can affect the look of your skin color, so be careful with paint selection that would make you look sickly or you have a bit too much makeup on. When choosing the right color for your bathroom, white never goes out of style. If you love the idea of white but need some color in your life, you can always do white cabinets, sinks or toilets, and paint your bathroom something brighter like Sherwin-Williams Organic Green, which is part of the 2018 Sherwin Williams Color Swatch.

Flooring — With the frigid temperatures, the country has been feeling, this is the perfect time to talk about heated flooring. Heated flooring is relatively inexpensive and easy to install under the tile. Heat flooring is usually a mat with coils in them. They are installed under tiles and often come as a kit. Many kits have temperature controls, so you can set the heat to be on from during the time you and your family take your showers to when you are ready to get in and out of the shower. When your floor is warm, you stay warm, allowing you to save on your heating bill, because you will not be required to use as much forced heat.

Storage — When designing a small bathroom, it is important to remember to use all the space wisely. The first step to design is matching the storage space to your lifestyle. So, first ask yourself if you need everything your bathroom is currently storing? If you do not, lighten the load and design for a space where you can comfortably get to everything you need and want in your bathroom.

Utilize the wall space above the toilet by adding floating shelves. If you do like to hold a lot of your makeup and toiletries, along with towels for yourself and guests in your bathroom, we suggest a vanity with drawers where you can add various sized baskets organize your things.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Whether you are super organized and finished your holiday shopping this past June or felt great you finished up on Cyber Monday; you may be realizing you may need a last minute gift or two for your favorite home chef in your life. Don’t worry the gifts below are sure to get a smile on their face while they immediately start thinking what they will be making when they use them. The great thing about all of them is they all under $50, inexpensive enough so you can buy one for yourself too.

Vintage Blacksmith Flatware Caddy — This is an excellent gift for those who love to throw a buffet-style dinner party. They are made out of mango wood and have either an F, K or S engraved in each one, so your forks, knives and spoons are neatly organized awaiting hungry guests to get them as they go down the buffet line. Retailing at $59 it can be bought with the Vintage Blacksmith Lazy Susan to add a bit more charm to your sauces for an additional $49.

Silpat Silicone Cookie Sheet Liners — We all have our favorite bakers whom we end up eating one too many of their cookies. Let’s encourage them to keep baking by buying them a Silpat silicone cookie sheet liner. These help cooks save money and help the environment by giving them a baking mat they can bake with, without having to use cooking grease or parchment paper. Wilson Sonoma has them at four different sizes with prices ranging from $17.56-$21.56.

WonderVeg — Veggie Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer — Veggie Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer — Who does not love a Zoodle? A zoodle are noodles made with zucchini. Many cooks are looking for healthy alternatives to heavy kinds of pasta meals, and the Wonder Veg machine creates zucchini spaghetti noodles quickly and efficiently, which is a great time saver for any cook. The WonderVeg can be bought on Amazon. It comes with six spare parts; it also includes a cleaning brush and mini recipe book. The WonderVeg retails at $23.97 and is part of Prime’s free two-day shipping products.

Jenaluca Herb Scissors Stainless Steel — For those home chefs who love to add fresh herbs and spices to their food. These are the perfect gift to make herb confetti. They are a five blade cutting wonder. The blades are stainless steel. They come with a unique cover and a special cleaning comb for after use. They are currently part of Prime’s free one-day shipping and retail at $14.97.

Come meet the AKG team. Join us this Sunday, December 17 for a breakfast and a private shopping event at Pottery Barn, Reston Town Center. Hope to see you there!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

When picking a contractor, it can be difficult to know where to begin, whom to interview and finally who to hire. Here is a list of my top tips and things to look for when you are selecting your contractor.

References: Ask friends, relatives and co-workers for references. You will get the best references from these people and you may be able to see the contractor’s work before speaking with them.

Verify Your Contractor: When hiring a contractor, you want to use your inquiry skills. Verify your contractor’s quality of his work and lines of communication. Keeping lines of communication open will help reduce the stress. You will know how your project is progressing and what are the next steps are.

Interview A Few Contractors: It might be seem a bit time consuming, but we recommend interviewing a few contractors. You want to make sure that while they are in your home, they will “fit” in.

Licensed, Insured, Bonded:  Check all of your contractor’s credentials and verify their insurance coverage. It is also a good idea to know what is covered by your homeowner’s insurance and what your contractor’s business insurance covers. Ask your contractor to submit a Certificate of Insurance when you hire them with your name and address on it.

Talk About Repairs: Check with your Contractor for what kind of warranty they offer on their labor. Make sure what they will and will not do is in your contract when it comes to repairs and if anything changes from the original contract, try to get that in writing too.

Assume Nothing: You will want to get all the details of your agreement in writing, down to the last wall plate. This is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Don’t Let The Price Be Your Decision Maker: The saying, “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to contractors. The price of a service reflects quality. Sometimes, the better deal is more expansive in the long run, because the cheaper contractor could take longer, “forget” to finish, or will require avoidable repairs later. Someone who is well established and has quality work may seem like more money up front, but will be less costly in headaches and aggravation latter. We believe that’s priceless.

Be Upfront About Your Home Improvement Budget: You will save yourself and your contractors much time by being completely honest about your budget. It does not benefit you or your contractor to hire someone you can not afford.

The Deposit: Never pay more than 50% off the total price for a deposit.

The Bill: When paying the final bill, know that your job is not complete until all building inspections are satisfied by the proper authorities and yourself. Once inspections are passed and you are satisfied with the work, sign the certificate of completion. Once that is signed, pay your final bill.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 8 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

It is time to find out what’s back, what’s new and what needs to stay in 2017. These are your top trends for kitchen design in 2018:

French Door Ovens — Love french doors? We have seen the benefits of the french door refrigerators for years. Now, the trend is moving to french door ovens. French door ovens allow you to bake, cook and not bend down to lift that heavy casserole out of the oven.

Induction cooking — This year it is all about being more energy efficient. With many homes in Reston being electric stoves, this is a game changer. Induction cooking cooks things faster and more evenly as it is an electromagnetic field that heats the stovetops evenly while keeping it cool to the touch. With the new magnets stickers, you do not need to buy a whole new set of pots and pans.  

White appliances/slate appliances — Whether you prefer white appliances because they stand the test of time in their stylish design or sleek and easy to clean slate appliances are you a 2018 trendsetter. Something to remember when choosing white verse slate, white reflects lights and makes a smaller kitchen look larger. Slate appliances are known for their smudge-proof surfaces and stand up to constant family use.

Bluetooth connected appliances — Bluetooth connected appliances came into the market in 2015, but in 2018 the appliance companies are taking it to the next level.  GE’s version of Bluetooth, called ChefConnect™, allows its Profile Series range to speak to the microwave, synching up clock times and automatically turning on vents and lights when the cooktop is in use. Just drop the food in the stove and go nap!

Wallpapers that are mixed with geometric prints — Yes! Wallpaper is back and it’s not your grandmother’s wallpaper. Give your space a modern feel by adding classy, colorful or funky geometric shapes on wallpaper. You can do this with a plain wallpaper and geometric art or a focus wall of eye-pleasing mixed colors wallpaper.

Gold, brass, copper faucets and hardware — Metals also takes center stage in 2018. Aged brass, copper and rose gold are hot. If you are not looking for a full update on your kitchen or bathroom, but you want to add some bling? A quick switch of fixtures or hardware will keep you trendy, without breaking the bank.

Dekton –– Looking for a close to perfect countertop? Dekton may be your answer. It is heatproof, scratch and stain resistant. The countertops are made from a proprietary blend of quartz, porcelain and glass. It’s thin and can be used indoor and outdoor even as wall panels.  

Build in and concealed appliances — Save space by adding built-in appliances into your kitchen cabinets with taking counter space. Not happy with appliances colors? Get a panel and hide it. This trend opens new worlds for designs; appliances can now stand alone as a stylish statement piece or disappear into the surrounding cabinetry.   

Steam ovens over microwave cooking — Microwave ovens are so 2017,  so it is time to upgrade to a steam oven. The benefits of steam cooking are cooking quickly like in a microwave but not losing the nutrients and moisture.

Tile — Like microwaves subway tile need to stay in 2017. Shapes and colors are taking over. Stick to Zellige, tainted glass, terra-cotta, geometric cement, grid colored, terrazzo or color penny tiles.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Based on many favorite tv design shows, one would think everyone is going to the open kitchen design plans with island seating. After doing many kitchen design consults, I know island seating is not for everyone. The sometimes forgotten breakfast nook is ideal for families who would like a space for light meals. The appeal to a breakfast nook or cozy kitchen seating is that it has less of a barroom feel.

Although there are several scenarios of when a kitchen nook is an excellent choice, one of the best times to add cozy kitchen space is in an older home. Older homes many times have an unused breakfast area that is too small for a kitchen table. Additionally, many kitchens in older homes have windows that make it challenging to add cabinets without losing the kitchens natural sunlight. So, instead of losing space and light in the kitchen, a breakfast nook could be the perfect solution.

The great thing about kitchen nooks is that they can add storage space. Since most of them are are custom built to fit your space; they can be made with storage in the bottom portion of the nook’s seating. Another option is buying ready-made chairs and benches with storage space.

Of course, as a homeowner, getting the most out of space with or without extra storage will be essential, so follow the flow of the area when having your nook designed. Depending on the shape of your kitchen your nook can be curved, L-Shaped, U-Shaped, or parallel. The key is to make sure it has enough space for people to sit and stand from it easily.

Another thing to consider when having a cozy kitchen space designed is whether or not the nook will transition into another room or be the separation space between the kitchen and another room.

Although, having a nook that is near windows are beautiful, not all kitchen nooks will be near windows. You can still get all the lighting you need by adding a fun light fixture above the cozy kitchen space.

Breakfast nooks are also an excellent spot for homework, add in bay windows, and you can have quite the serene place for morning coffee.  Of course, cozy kitchen spots are also a fantastic way to add a touch of color to your kitchen by adding fabric pillows on the chairs or benches of your breakfast nook.

When choosing fabrics for your cozy kitchen space, stain-resistant fabrics are ideal if you will be eating light meals there. If you have small children, another idea is diner style nook with vinyl seating, which is easy to wipe down and keep clean.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor October 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook and Twitter.

Many times, we spend a lot of time and energy getting our house ready for the holidays and forget to do a quick facelift on the bathroom our guests will be using. Below are some quick fixes you can do on the weekend to get your bathroom guest-ready.

Paint  Painting the walls is an economical way to change the entire look of a bathroom. If you need help selecting a color, we suggest checking out the Sherwin-Williams ColorMix Forecast. If you do not want to paint your entire bathroom, paint the cabinets using chalk paint. A small jar from Michaels for $10 can go a long way, and no prep work needed.  

Fixture — Another simple to brighten up your sink is changing the faucet. From dull and rusty to new and shiny, it will spruce up you sink in no time.

Accessories and Hardware  If you painted the cabinet, you may as well change the cabinet hardware. New, fun or just updated styles will dress up your vanity with a new look. While you are at, how about a new towel bar, towel ring and toilet paper holder that will make your guest want to change that last roll? If your accessories are still usable but look outdated, consider spray-painting the hardware for a more economical hardware update.

Mirrors — If you love your bathroom, but it just needs that little extra something, adding mirrors or a new vanity mirror may be the trick. If you are trying to update your bathroom to something more modern, choose a frameless mirror for the vanity or go for fancy frame for a chic new look.

Accessorize — Whether you take out your favorite holiday hand towels or buy new towels to be used year-round during Black Friday, a fresh towel set along with matching or complimentary shower curtain can make one feel like they are walking into a new bathroom. Moreover, while changing out the towels and shower curtains, don’t forget to pick up matching bathroom rugs that complement and pull together the entire look. If you are having quite a few parties this season, buy two matching towel sets, so you always have a backup set while the other is in the wash.

Declutter — The most inexpensive upgrade is to declutter your bathroom counters. Remove and toss any makeup that is older than six months, then go shopping Black Friday for new makeup for yourself! If you have creams, lotions and bubble bath sets you have never opened, ’tis the season to regift. Have a bunch of unused or barely used hotel toiletries? Bag them up and drop them off at your local homeless shelter.

Deep Clean — You may wipe down your bathroom weekly, but go in and wipe down the walls and baseboards, wipe inside the base of the of the vanities and cabinets. Clean underneath the sink and don’t forget that hard-to-reach area behind the toilet. A quick cleaning tip: Hang a bag with a mix of water and vinegar around the shower head and leave it overnight. It will dissolve all mineral deposits and leave it shiny as new.

Have questions or comments? Share them! If you have implemented any of the ideas in the article, share them on AKG Design Studio’s Facebook page.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor September 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook and Twitter.

The holidays are a time where we somehow find the time to do our regular schedules, additional shopping outings, parties and gatherings of family and friends.

During times like this, having some extra multitasking appliances in the kitchen can allow you the time to sit and enjoy your guests or buy that last-minute gift. Below are the appliances we recommend for the next holiday party you host:

Built-in Refrigeration: Having extra refrigeration without taking up too much space during the holidays is a must. The CoolDrawer is a cooling drawer that handles frozen food, fresh food and wine — you can choose your option so you can keep extra ice or chill a bottle of wine for the party, or keep the extra groceries until you are ready to cook

Power Blender/Food Processor: Food prep can take the most time when preparing for a party, but with a little Ninja power, it can be a breeze. A Ninja comes in several different sizes and models. You can buy an individual food processor from Ninja or a complete set that includes a blender, single-serve cup, food processor and spiralizer. With a Ninja, it is easy to chop,  blend food, crush ice, make smoothies or pesto.

Crock-Pot: Crock-Pots are a kitchen’s best small appliances. With a Crock-Pot, you can set and “forget” meal, keep things warm during a party in them. They are great to feed your family or friends a healthy meal, and because you can get them in multiple sizes, you can create a big meal or a small side in them. Another great benefit of a Crock-Pot is if you are not the host of the party, you can purchase a Crock-Pot holder to take your meal on the go.

Steam Ovens: Like having extra refrigeration, having an extra oven that doesn’t take up the same amount of room as your regular oven while having the industry strength will save cook time when getting ready for your next family gathering. The Miele Combi-Steam oven is a small 24-by-24 oven that is big on function. A Combi-Steam oven harnesses the power of a convection oven with steam cooking and speed.

Hand Blenders: To quickly whip something up without the mess of taking out your blender or food processor, a hand blender like the Cuisinart SmartStick is a kitchen must. The Cuisinart SmartStick comes in six different models. The basic model, called the quick prep, is a one-speed hand blender. With the more advanced models, you can whip, chop, mash, blend and store it all in the drawer.

What are some of your favorite holiday kitchen must-haves?

by RestonNow.com Sponsor September 8, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

In the Design Studio with Anna banner

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook and Twitter.

Faucets always seems to be the neglected child of the kitchen design.

We spend hours selecting our cabinets, countertops, backsplash and even hardware, touching and feeling and making sure it’s just right. However, when it comes to faucets, the budget has been blown and everyone is exhausted making selections, yet there are so many of them to choose from.

Style: There are 8 basic styles of faucet that we are all familiar with.

Pull-down: Those are the larger goose neck type that has a sprayer that pulls down.
Pull-out: A bit more of a traditional faucet, lower to the sink with the spray pulling toward you, the clearance to the sink tends to be lower.
Commercial: Look of the large industrial faucets with a flexible hose for a sprayer. Those fit in a professional looking kitchen with modern touches. Pay attention to the size as they are big and can over power a small kitchen and a small sink.
Single handle: Some sort of a gooseneck with the spray on the side
Two handles: Can be on the sides of the gooseneck of a very traditional bridge faucet. Those pair nicely with a farm sink to complete the look.
Motion sensors: Gaining popularity, as people do not want to touch the faucet with dirty hands, those come in handy as well when you have people with limited mobility at the house.
Pot filler: Normally installed above the stove for ease of use of filling large pot for pasta and soup without needing to move the pot across the kitchen.
Bar: Those are usually a smaller version of the pull down, but without the pull down. We use then often in the prep sink area and not just in a bar setting. Beware that they are smaller, so maybe too small for the kitchen sink.

Where to buy your faucet and why: Make sure you buy from a reputable plumbing distributor.

There is nothing more annoying than a faucet that leaks after a few months of use, or a pull-down sprayer that no longer pushes back into place and now just hangs there, making the faucet look broken and ugly. Look for brand names you know, with warranty, and parts that can be easily replaced if needed. Look for metal parts and not plastic — those will break easily and the finish will fade fast. Make sure the internal cartridge is metal or ceramic; unfortunately, most faucets at the big box store and some outlets are plastic and those will break very fast.

Finish: So many amazing finishes are available now, so there’s no need to just stick to brushed nickel or brass. Mix and match the finish for a unique look!

Go with bold black for a modern look or a brushed brass for a classy traditional look. The quality of the finish improves tremendously and most manufacturers offer lifetime warranty on the finish.

Care: Single-handle tends to be the easiest, as you just have one big spout to wipe and done. The commercial style will be a bit of a pain because of the coil around the top, which makes it hard to clean under it. Material-wise, most are well made these days and should last a long while. Most manufacturers will warranty the finish for a lifetime.

When you are done with your dishes, give the sink and the faucet a quick wipe and you are done. Do not use materials that will scratch the finish. If there is grime or a limestone buildup, use baking soda or white vinegar on a toothbrush to clean it out. A daily clean will help avoid those. Always use ammonia, bleach and acid-free cleaners — this is a good rule for all our kitchen surfaces.

For oil-rubbed bronze, use Windex only with a soft microfiber cloth. Please remember to always check with the manufacturer to see what they recommend based on the finish.

Ready to rock your faucet? Which style and finish is your favorite?

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