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by RestonNow.com Sponsor — April 21, 2017 at 10:15 am 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

This is part two of the history of the kitchen. (See Part 1 here.) The last 100 years have led us to what we have now.

Early 1900s — Ergonomics!

In 1899, the Hoosier Manufacturing Company introduced a free-standing kitchen storage piece, known as the Hoosier Cabinet. Until then, there was no storage in the kitchen and cabinets were built at home as needed.

The unit included space-saving features like upper and lower cabinets, in-cabinet storage spaces for things like flour, sugar and spices, it even featured a pullout work surface! Although the Hoosier Cabinet wasn’t large, it filled the storage void and made working in the kitchen much more efficient.

In the early 1900s, gas became the preferred source of heat that allowed ovens to become smaller and lighter. According to Wikipedia, “The evolution of the kitchen is linked to the invention of the cooking range or stove and the development of water infrastructure capable of supplying running water to private homes.” The industrial revolution brought inventions, cheaper prices, and new ways of thinking about economic and ergonomic efficiency.

Right after the Hoosier kitchen popped up, in 1926 an Austrian architect named Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky create the Frankfurt kitchencreating in effect the first fitted modern kitchen as we know it today. Base cabinets, wall cabinets, work surface and appliances fit into the space.

The Mid-century Home style, or the Roaring ’40s

The art deco was influencing everything from fashion to vacuum cleaners to the kitchenThe Frankfurt kitchen has taken over the world and the main stream layout and function. Combined with art deco, we got the first highly designed kitchen!

Where in the past kitchens were only a place of utility, with no character, the art deco took over and introduced many of the design elements that we see today like bold geometric lines, strong colors of the Fauvism movement and fine craftsmanship. Homeowners were inspired to take down walls that once enclosed the kitchen in a box, to open spaces for entertaining.

Pre-manufactured modules, using mass-manufacturing techniques developed during World War II, brought down the cost of kitchens, bringing those design options to most households in the US. And, of course, radar technology brought us the first microwave in 1946.   

The Feminism Era (’60s-’70s)

Not surprising, but as the feminist movement was growing during the ’60s and as more women joined the workforce, more time-saving appliances took to the market. We got the first coffee machine in 1952 and the holy food processors in 1960, the Starmix MX3. (You can still find some on the original versions floating around on eBay if the KitchenAid is too fancy for you!)

The heavy colors of yellow and gold are a common thread from the ’50 into the ’70s. Appliances are the same color as the cabinets — how about an avocado green fridge and linoleum floor to match? The cabinet doors are flat and clean line, taken over by mix of bright colors. Microwave sales skyrocket and TV dinners a hit on the grocery shelves — from breakfast to dessert they offered all possible varieties.

Kitchens are fun, functional and full of color!  

The ’80s: From Kitchen to Cool

We love the music, but the fashion sense left a lot to be desired!

Yes the avocado green left the kitchen and made space for lighter colors, and lots of oak! The kitchen now has various styles, from country to ultra-modern. (Think Griswolds vs. the neighbors across the street.) The beloved work space, the island, was introduced by designer Susan Zises Green in 1985. It was the biggest change in layout since Frankfurt kitchen.

It is in the ’80s that kitchen becomes the heart of the home! Not only video stars were made, but we are also introduced to celebrity cooks on TV who push the design to kitchens that equipped with more and more “show-off” items to guests, open to the living spaces and providing areas for home work, display decorative items and social spaces.

Today’s kitchens are still very similar to the original Frankfurt kitchen, yet the social and technological changes in the past 100 years influenced the function, size and form. Kitchens today are the grand rooms of the past, creating “super kitchens,” the hub of the house and family life.   

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — April 7, 2017 at 4:15 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

After a fun conversion last night at the Lake Anne Brew HouseI decided to write today’s post about the history of the kitchen!

Why the kitchen? Because everyone always ends up in the kitchen.

These days, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we cook together, host guests and conduct plenty of other activities. Our kitchens are now super kitchens, with multi-functions that flow in and out the rest of the house.

This was not always the case. Historically, kitchens were not the space where people gathered, unless they worked there. The rich didn’t spend their money to make it attractive since they didn’t bring guests into the kitchen. Kitchens were places of utilitarian work — people came into the kitchen to cook or to patch something from the cook. They were small spaces, busy, most days too hot, smelly, noisy and very smoky.

Kitchens in the Middle Ages

Cooking was essentially done over an open fire within a one-room home or within the great hall of a larger structure. All manner of life revolved around the cooking area, which was the primary source of heat, light and safety.

With the invention of the chimney around 1185 AD, homes started to divide into additional rooms — still getting heat from the kitchen’s fireplace, but with less soot and smoke issues. The location of the kitchen in the house was based on economical possibilities. The upper class, who could afford fireplaces, would situate the kitchen as far away from the dining room as possible to avoid all the commotion. The middle to lower class would have the kitchen in the middle of the house to provide a source of heat.

Kitchens in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Economic and political changes had a major influence on the design and function of the kitchen.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influence of the French style of cooking, with elaborate dishes, formal table settings and strict etiquette. Explorers traveled the world and brought home exotic foods and spices.

Now there was a need for more servants to cook and clean all those dishes. Now the kitchen grew larger to accommodate all the necessary food, prep area and extreme amount of dishes! Yes, they did have big tables in the kitchen, but those were use as a prep area and for the servants’ meals.

End of the 19th Century — Progress

The industrial revolution impacted the world, including the kitchen. It brought the use of coal, then gas; the invention of cast iron; electricity; and plumbed water adding to the functionality of the kitchen, changing the look of the kitchen with it.

According to Old House Online, “the growth of American coal and iron mining in the 1820s made cast iron the wonder material of the 19th century and led to a prolific industry in making stoves for cooking as well as heating.”

However, kitchens were still away from the center of the house — in basements and the back of the house.

Make sure to check back in two weeks for Part 2 of the history of the kitchen.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — March 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm 7 Comments

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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

A quick and easy way to update your kitchen without a big expense is to update your backsplash.

A backsplash is like that one piece of jewelry that gives every outfit a final touch. It adds a flair of personality and a great layer of design to your kitchen. Since tile install can be an easy DIY project, the backsplash can be replaced more often than you think and ensure your kitchen is as fashion forward as you are. Just a quick facelift of the backsplash (and maybe the hardware while you are at it) and you have an updated kitchen.

While selecting backsplash, the latest “safe” trend is the classic white subway tile. I challenge you to show your own personality in the backsplash and think about what statement you want to bring to your kitchen. Maybe you need some more bling in your life or simple elegance, or something to add a more sophisticated look with a bright twist. The options are endless.  

If you must use a rectangle/subway tile, look at creative ways to lay it out. Play with the layouts to create a look that matches your kitchen style — herringbone for a traditional look or stacked straight for a contemporary look. Find a different texture like crackled glass or a handmade look.  

The tile industry has finally started thinking outside of the 4×4, and geometric shapes are popping up everywhere from penny round, honeycomb arabesque and puzzles! Look at this geomantic pearl.

Laser-cut tiles are tiles that are cut by lasers to produce elaborate designs that are pieced together like a puzzle. Many of them are made from marble, so the price maybe steep. You may want to look at ceramic options of geometric tile that can give you the same effect for less cost.

Many companies like Fireclay from California now offer custom tile designs in affordable prices! You can pick your pattern and your own color or four, creating one-of-a-kind custom-designed tiles just for you.  

Beyond porcelain or glass tile, there are plenty of other materials that can be used for your backsplash from wood, wallpaper — yes, it’s making a smashing comeback! — chalkboard paint and different recycled materials, such as those skateboards we used in this Arlington project.

In The Design Studio - March 24, 2017  

Maybe you can’t decide on tile or are looking for a cleaner look with easy maintenance. Think about running your countertop up as a backsplash as well. This will not be as cost-effective or easy to replace, but it sure creates a stunning backdrop to your kitchen and a conversation piece.  

In The Design Studio - March 24, 2017

Whichever product you end up going with, make sure it vibes with the countertop, since your backsplash will always be right up against the counter. If you are going with a busy countertop such as granites tend to be, go with a solid backsplash color but add pattern. But if you go with a solid color counter as quartz, go with pattern and color to balance the blank canvas of the top.

No matter what, remember to have fun, be bold and show your style!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — March 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Spring is right around the corner, and most people take time to do some extra cleanup and organize their homes, inside and out. Here are a few tips on how best to organize your kitchen.

STEP ONE: First things first, take everything out of the cabinets! Crazy, I know, but this mayhem is in the name of order! By pulling everything out you can inventory what you have.

Do you really need 15 cookie sheets? You know some of them may have seen better days, time to toss! How about boxed food that is about to expire or you will never eat and it’s just collecting dust and taking space? Those are great items to donate to the local shelter.

Don’t be scared to toss things that you do not use. Most kitchens are short on storage, so there is no point in holding onto your dishes from college or an extra pizza cutter.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017STEP TWO: Group all the items by their use and then frequency. Sort and group all the baking goods together, all the baking sheets, glasses and so on. Now, sort them by how often you use then. If you have more than one set of glasses but only use one on a daily basis, keep that one aside.

STEP THREE: Before you jump into putting everything back, make sure to look at your work space and where everything is located. Spices are best by the stove or close to where you do most of you prep. Serving dishes should be away from your cooking zone and handy to all house members without bumping into the cook, so is the silverware and glassware.

Think about and maximize your efficiency in the kitchen by minimizing the number of steps you need to take. There is no point storing your cooking utensils on the side of the island if your main prep area is by the stove.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017STEP FOUR: Use clean containers to group items together and store them upright so you can see what’s in them. Take an extra step to label them, if it’s unclear what’s inside. You can use larger containers to store and organize plastic containers and lids. Also, use the same system to organize your fridge!

STEP FIVE: Now you can start putting things back.

I like moving from the top down. Place all the items that you rarely use in the top cabinets, where they are hard to reach and you don’t need to get to them every day, then work your way down to the items that you use every day and place them on the two bottom shelves of the wall cabinets. Use the bottom cabinets for the bigger items, such as pots and pans.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017Create your own zones, such as a coffee and tea station, but storing the coffee mugs above the coffee machine and all the supplies on the shelf above or the drawer below. If you are remodeling, consider great accessories such as this one for your k-cups. Some other rollouts can be added — check out Rev-a shelf for great ideas to transform the inside of your cabinets.

For more ideas and gadgets checkout out Pinterest board: Maximizing kitchen storage with accessories.

Have your own fun ideas? Share with us!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — February 24, 2017 at 12:30 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

When you think about cabinets you mostly think that they are built out of wood, and that’s true for the most part.

But most cabinets are not built from solid wood. There are other materials that go into the construction of cabinets. Most are wood-based, but others are not.

SOLID WOOD

Just as the term implies, it’s solid piece of wood, all the way through. The only variation might be panels that are pieces of solid wood joined together to create a larger slab. Those are usually used only on the framing and doors of the cabinets. Most cabinet lines will only use solid wood for the face frame, and better cabinet line will use it for drawer boxes and rollouts.

In The Design Studio/Feb. 24, 2017

PLYWOOD

This is an engineered wood product, one that’s probably most familiar to most. It’s made up of thin wood layers of wood that are glued together in a sandwich form. This construction gives the board more stability.

Most custom and high-end cabinet lines use plywood for all their parts, such as the box and shelving. In mid-level lines, plywood is usually available as an upgrade, which most customers opt to get to provide longevity to their kitchens.

PARTICLE BOARD

This is engineered wood that is made from wood chips and particles that are combined with an adhesive and fused together into boards. Most stock lines use particle board as the starting point for their construction level. Particle board is cheaper but also absorbs water very quickly and then disintegrates the particles, so you need to very careful about placing cabinets made from particle board in wet spaces.

In The Design Studio/Feb. 24, 2017

MEDIUM DENSITY FIBERBOARD (MDF)

This is another engineered wood product that’s made up of wood fibers. MDF has a finer texture than particle board and is denser and heavier than particle board. It’s used for cabinet doors, shelves and cabinet boxes.

Many pre-fabricated low-end vanity cabinets are made from MDF. It will mostly be used for painted cabinets, as it has no wood grain look to it, but it is easy to paint.

In The Design Studio/Feb. 24, 2017

Now that we know about the construction options, the level of customization available and materials used in building the cabinets, how do you spot a great cabinet?

Top-quality kitchen cabinets are made like good furniture, so look for furniture-type construction of the box — 3/4-inch solid hardwood front frame (for framed cabinets); thicker, rather than thinner; and box construction of at least 1/2-inch plywood.

The shelving should be made of plywood as well for extra stability. The drawer boxes and rollouts should be solid wood with undermount glides. Those will be easy to spot, as they will be built with dovetail corner construction and not glued or stapled. The glides will be mounted under the drawer/ rollout for maximum support, and most are built for at least 100 pounds of weight load.

Lastly, ask about the finishing process. Cabinet manufactures have different ways to adhere the finish to the cabinets and you want it to last long.

Regardless of who you buy your cabinets from, make sure you understand what their warranty covers and for how long. Many of the high-end cabinet lines will offer lifetime warranty on the cabinets finish and parts.

If you are still not sure which cabinet is right for you, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. We would love to help!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — February 10, 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Last time we spoke about the big, overall question to ask yourself when selecting cabinets. Today, we are going to dive into the details, the ABCs of cabinets.

It seems to be easy to just pick a door style and color, but why are there so many cabinet options? Shades of gray and versions of shaker. Are they all created equal? Can you create your space from almost each cabinet line out there? Sure! But there are few things you should know before investing new cabinets.

In The Design Studio - Feb. 10, 2017

CABINET TYPE

As you start shopping around, you will notice three different level of cabinets — stock, semi-custom and custom. Let’s look at the different options that each has to offer.

Stock cabinets provide a quick and cost-effective way to give a kitchen a fresh new look. The cabinets are built in common cabinet sizes and are available in a limited variety of door styles, colors and finishes.

A stock brand such as Aristokraft can offer style, selection and value, along with speedy delivery, to keep your remodeling project on time and bring your vision to life. If you are looking to sell or flip, those cabinets are a good value.

Semi-custom cabinets are available in more styles, features and options than stock cabinets, allowing you to create a personalized look for your kitchen at less expense than custom cabinets. Built to order and available at cabinet dealers, semi-custom cabinets are generally delivered within four to eight weeks. Semi-custom cabinets give you the options to modify cabinet size in limited capacity, but with all the added features this is the prefect cabinet grade for a mid-range remodel.

Two of the semi-custom lines we carry are Kemper and Waypoint. They each offer different door style, price point and features.

Custom kitchen cabinets offer the widest range of wood types, finishing options, construction platforms and modifications. Cabinet lines such as Decora and Candlelight offer cabinets that are built to spec and can be modified based on your design. If you can draw it, they can built it.

Working with custom lines offers greater flexibility in the design as far as space planning and style.

In The Design Studio - Feb. 10, 2017

FRAMED AND FRAMELESS CONSTRUCTION

The two most popular cabinet construction types are framed and frameless. Those vary by manufacture and areas of the world. While frameless is very popular in Canada and Europe, the framed construction is mostly popular in the U.S.

Framed cabinets incorporate a wood “frame” around the front outer edge of the cabinet box. That’s in contrast to a frameless cabinet, which doesn’t have this feature. The framed construction is considered to be a bit more traditional and has few overlay options for the door application

Partial or traditional overlay — As its name suggests, covers only part of the cabinet and reveals the cabinet frame.

Full overlay — The updated style, cabinet doors cover the whole frame for a furniture look.

Inset door — The doors are inset into the frame. This is a fantastic look for modern farm style or an upscale traditional look.

In The Design Studio - Feb. 10, 2017

Frameless — These cabinets tend to be more contemporary. The doors must cover the whole cabinets front since there is no frame. The door styles on frameless cabinets tend to be flat and slick-looking; also, some cabinet lines will offer more traditional door styles. Your contractor will need to know that you selected frameless cabinets and may charge extra labor cost, as those need extra work on leveling.

Next time, we will review the different constitution features that each cabinet grade has to offer, and how to spot a great cabinet!

Got questions? Post them below! We would love to hear from you!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — January 27, 2017 at 10:15 am 4 Comments

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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

New Year, new resolutions — and you made yours to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or basement.

One of the biggest costs of your project is going to be the cabinets. Can you create your space from almost any cabinet line out there? Sure! But there are a few questions you should ask yourself while investing in your space.

  1. Am I am remodeling my dream home or planning to sell in the near future?

If you are planning to stay in your home long-term, consider investing in higher-end cabinets that will last for many years to come, and make sure to get the functional and decorative items you can afford. Remodeling is a big expense and you don’t want to redo your kitchen in five years because the fridge is too small or the stove needs to be relocated for better function. This is true for all remodels, but most of all if you are planning to stick around for the long haul. Custom cabinets with full wood and solid construction will last you for years to come.

Or maybe you are planning to move when the kids leave, or when you want to expand the family. This is a good time in your life to invest in mid-level semi-custom cabinets that will last five-plus years and still look smashing when it’s time to sell.

Do what it takes to make this project functional for you to enjoy without going overboard. Over investing will not give you the return in the short run, which brings us to the next question.

In the Design Studio - Jan. 27, 2017

  1. What is the value of my house and what will be my return on investment?

Adding a $50,000 kitchen to a $150,000 house is unlikely to yield $50,000 in value, although it may make you a happy chef.

As a general rule, look to spend about 25 percent of the home’s value for a new kitchen and 12 to 15 percent for an updated bathroom. According to the Cost vs. Value report, based on DC 2016 numbers, a mid-range kitchen remodel costs $61,087 and will yield $37,514 return, which is 61.4 percent of the value. (The national average is 64 percent.)

A more conservative approach will recommend spending between 6 and 10 percent of the total home value to get fair returns. In the Reston area, a median home cost is $438,000 and a major kitchen remodel will cost an average of $50,000, based on the size of your kitchen and the complexity of the job.

Since cabinets tend to be about 40 percent of your overall materials budget, it’s important to select a cabinet line that will offer you all the options that you are looking for while fitting into your budget.

In the Design Studio - Jan. 27, 2017

  1. How complicated is my design project?

Many customers underestimate the complexity of their project.

As I have said many times before, just because you have a small kitchen, it doesn’t mean your project is easier or simple. On the contrary, the smaller the space, the bigger the challenge to create a functional space.

As crazy as it may sound, when working in small spaces, we prefer to use custom cabinets to achieve the right function and form. Working with custom cabinets will give us the freedom to utilize every inch of the space without losing to space fillers. They will also work around odd walls and such, since they are built to fit your kitchen.

In the Design Studio - Jan. 27, 2017

In conclusion, think about those three questions when considering your project to make a better-informed decision that will fit your budget, home value and lifestyle.

Next time, we will talk about the ABC’s of cabinets. What makes them different, and what are the different options to look for while selecting your cabinets?

Have a question or a comment? We are looking forward to hearing from you!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — January 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook; and Twitter.

As our spaces and technology evolve, so do the spaces in our homes. Many home owners are asking for bar areas in the house. From a relaxing coffee spot to a full-on bar service area, if you are remodeling your home, a bar area is a must. Those spaces can be part of the kitchen or in a different part of the house, based on your space or who you are planning to host. Some bars can be extravagant and space-consuming, but this is not a must. You can create the perfect spot just about anywhere following your own personal style and needs.

Types of bars

Wet bar — In most cases, this will be in the basement with the appliances such as a bar fridge, a wine cooler, a sink and even a dishwasher. Those types of bars definitely need some planning and space.

Coffee bar — Not much into alcohol or looking to create a relaxing spot? Many home owners are adding a coffee station in the master bedroom and in the kitchen. Some will add a cabinet where the coffee machine can hide while not in service, and some will create an creative display.

Built-in bar areas in the kitchen — While renovating, many home owners add a wine cooler and wine storage to the main kitchen, allowing them to entertain while still staying the center area of the house.

Bar sheds — Move over man cave, the bar sheds are taking over! Have an old rusty shed with too much stuff that no one needs? Convert it into a bar! It’s a great spot to entertain outdoors and bring the party outside.

Mobile bar — Don’t have the room for a full-on bar? How about a nice bar cart? This is an easy and inexpensive way to showcase your spirits, and it can be moved around to where the party is.

Here are some bar ideas:

Arlington keg

While renovating this Arlington main floor, the home owner, who is a beer lover, requested a space for a keg. By moving the fridge to the new location, we were able to accommodate a perfect spot between the kitchen and the family room. This created a great spot connecting the rooms, bringing the party into the space between the family room and kitchen.

Arlington Keg/In the Design Studio

The classic basement bar

This project is the classic wet bar located in the basement. This bar has a sink and wine cooler. The raised seating area creates a sense of a real bar and has great space to sit or stand conveniently around it. It’s important to create storage space for all your bar needs, and some open space to display your collection of stemware and spirits.

Basement Bar/In the Design Studio

The secret master indulgence

As we mentioned before, many customers are adding a coffee bar to the master bedroom. You can create a built-in space or just use some unique and enclosed space such as this one. Convert an old armoire to a full-service coffee spot without seeing it all the time.

Master Coffee Station/In the Design Studio

Whichever bar works best for your lifestyle and budget, make sure you have plenty of comfy seating space around it, so your guests can kick back and watch your bar skills in action.

Do you have any plans to create or renovate your home bar? Tell us in the comments below!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — December 30, 2016 at 11:30 am 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook; and Twitter.

This was a fantastic year with plenty of innovations, new looks, mixed materials, and styles that created a whole new world of transitional design options, creating space for any taste out there. Technology invaded our kitchens with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to control our cooking, lights and even our shopping lists! So what’s in store for 2017? Let’s explore…

According to Zillow Digs the latest home trend forecast is that “Homeowners today want an open and thoughtfully designed kitchen that blends seamlessly with the rest of the home’s design aesthetic.”

While the trend of open and “super” kitchen continues, consumers are looking for smoother transitions between spaces bringing up the hidden appliances as the next trend. Panels on appliances, and covered coffee stations is what to look for. When selecting new appliances, remember to choose ones that are specifically designed for integration.

hidden appliances

Also from Kerri, 2017 will be about bringing warmth and comfort into the home. Ditching the harsh industrial look and moving towards a softer look, incorporating plush velvet and jewel tones.

If you recently remodeled and selected to go with white cabinets, you are still leading the pack, as the soft transitional look is still in the lead. Still moving slowly toward a more modern look, sleek wood paneling and high gloss cabinets will be taking a chunk of the market, but those will be more popular in the big metro areas where modern design vibes with contemporary living spaces. Following the trend Kemper cabinets recently added a few modern and sleek cabinets to their line.

mixed

According to the Inman report, instead of going for a monochromatic stainless steel look, homeowners are choosing appliances and accessories with various finishes, such as gold, copper or pewter. The final result is an eclectic, one-of-a-kind space.

So if you were not sure how the brushed bronze hardware will go with the stainless steel appliances, worry no more! Just mix and match and have fun. Remember, hardware is one of the easiest things to replace in the kitchen and yet it can change the whole look.

Mid-century modern no more! The clean lines of subway tiles are on their way out, fun and funky patterned tiles are taking their place. The backsplash is where you can let your personality shine. The tile industry is happily embracing the trends and providing us with plenty of fabulous tile in every color, shape and design your heart desires. From laser cut glass to hand painted geometrics designs, the artist in you can rejoice.

tile

What will be the color of the year? according to Pantone, the leading color this spring will be greenery, but if the zesty yellow-green shade is not your style, No worries! This is why Pantone also released 10 different color pallets that are predicted to be very popular this year. The company hopes these colors will address consumers’ desire for something new, yet comfortable. My favorite and my prediction for the most incorporated colors in the kitchen is “Rev it up” pallet. Mixing black and white, gray with jewel tones of blue and orange as accents.

Here is to another year of fabulous, out of the box, no cookie cutter designs.

Cheers!

To learn more about Anna Gibson, check out the latest featured article on Houzz.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — December 9, 2016 at 10:35 am 1 Comment

ANNA GIBSON

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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook; and Twitter.

Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner, the holidays of light! From candles to sparkling indoor and outdoor LED lights. Since your family are going to spend lots of time in the kitchen this holiday season from cooking, to eating, wrapping gifts and writing cards and of course a lot of hosting, let’s talk about lights, kitchen lights!

As we have seen, the kitchen serves many functions year around and especially during the holidays, so it’s important that the lighting is both task-oriented as well as ambient and friendly and serves multipurpose spaces and the use of the kitchen. With proper illumination, a room functions better, is more appealing to the eye and can even uplift the mood. The three main layers of light in the kitchen are task, ambient and accent lights. Let’s see how each functions and what type of light fits the category.

lighting-1

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor — November 11, 2016 at 1:00 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterestTwitter and Facebook.

Long before the dust takes over the house and the kitchen is down to bare wall, let’s talk about to how to prepare for the design process. Making your kitchen pretty is great but making you kitchen functional is also really important.

Here is a seven step plan to help you get the most out of your time with your designer and get the results you want:

1. Collect — When you make up your mind that it’s time to start thinking about a remodel, then that is also a good time to start collecting ideas. The internet makes this task much easier with sites such as Houzz and Pinterest. You can create idea books that you can later share with your designer, and even other family members can chime in and add their ideas, as well. Make sure to note on each photo what you liked about it and why you saved it. After 50 photos of kitchens, you forget.

2. Lists — Make an inventory list of what’s in your kitchen — especially appliances, dishes you want to display, how many sets of silverware you have. All this will become handy information for the designer and for you to make sure everything will fit into the new kitchen.

EP103-Moseley-Afters3. Give it time — In your “time” budget, leave plenty time for planning. Kitchens are not just cabinets and counter tops, there are plenty of other things to consider, discuss and brainstorm about. Before I even meet with customers I ask them to fill out a questionnaire about their lifestyle and kitchen function so I can understand their needs better. There will be a few meetings with the design to review the different layout options and selections, this time can stretch between 3-6 weeks of planning time, before anything is even ordered.

4. The big picture — Before we dive into the little details, we need to see what can be done with the space and what the customer wants to accomplish with the remodel. Is it just a face lift or a full restructure of the kitchen layout? Do you want more space for baking or to seat people in an island? Ask yourself why you are remodeling the kitchen and let the designer come up with few possible layouts to solve those dilemmas. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — October 21, 2016 at 1:00 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterestTwitter and Facebook.

You saved your money, you spent hours on HOUZZ and Pinterest. You talked to all your friends and neighbors and you are finally ready to make it happen! Your dream remodel project is about to become a reality.

Looking at the survey from our last blog, 60 percent of you are fearful of problems with the contractor, 40 percent of you fear going over budget and no one has fears with regards to the result.

Here are few tips to help you deal with those stresses during your project:

Blog jitters  Your contractor. Make sure to verify your contractor, not only by checking the quality of his work but also his lines of communication.

Keeping those open will help reduce the stress since you will know how your project is progressing and what the next steps are.

Things will happen, but knowing that it’s being addressed in a timely and appropriate manner, will make all the difference. Make it part of the contract to have set meetings and phone calls with updates on the progress of the project. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — October 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments

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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterestTwitter and Facebook.

Since older tile tends to crack and water damage brings mold and flooding, most homeowners remodel bathrooms as the first project in the house.

Some people enjoy the DIY approach and will task themselves with a weekend(s) remolding project. Some will go for the pros. Whichever path you choose, here are a few things to consider.

Know what a bathroom remodel costs. Like any other project, before you begin, it’s important to put your expectations into perspective when it comes to how much money you’re willing to invest. The size of your bathroom, the quality of materials and any changes in layout can affect the cost of a remodel. Many people mistakenly underestimate cost because of the size of the space. Items like tile (and you will need lots of it) and fixtures can bring the prices up into the thousands.

Bathroom layout Knowing a few bathroom planning guidelines, like the size of a typical bathtub and how much space is needed for a toilet, will help you plan your remodel more efficiently.

Trying to fit too big of a vanity will not only leave you no space to move but will also be against code. When it comes to bathrooms, remember less is more. Leave enough space to move around safely. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — September 23, 2016 at 2:00 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

While thinking about your upcoming remodeling project one thing to think about is sustainable design.

To create a truly green design, a space not only has to have energy-efficient appliances and planet-friendly features, it must be designed to withstand the test of time. Replacing or remodeling every few years is just as wasteful.

Let look at some items that can help save energy, save the earth yet keep you on track with your design style and needs.

 Lighting

Lighting/Photo by HouzzTo cut down on lighting costs, try using LED lighting. This cuts energy use by more than 50 percent.

If possible, add windows to use natural light to brighten up your kitchen and bring down your electrical bill.

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor — September 2, 2016 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 her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on HouzzPinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Whether you remodeled before or this is your first time at it it’s important to remember a few basic guidelines of remodeling DON’TS in order to avoid costly pitfalls of your projects. Relying on your instincts or ideas that you saw on TV/ Pinterest not always going to work best at your house, affecting your home renovation project negatively.

How do you know whether you are hurting or helping the project? Here are some remodeling pitfalls to consider:

pitfalls photo no#1Purchasing your own materials

Although it seems like a money saving idea, you should not buy your own materials. Your contractor most likely gets better prices then you and even though they markup the materials, you might not notice the price difference. On the other hand, it will be put the liability on your contractor in case something is wrong with the order.

Keep changing your mind or delaying decisions

In order for your remodeling project to go smoothly as possible, you should make your decisions before the work starts. Some things are out of your control and mostly involve the actual construction.

Opening walls is always like a jack-in-the-box, especially in older construction. Decisions regarding your design and selections must be made before the works starts as order time can vary and your contractor may move faster than your decisions making, creating a delay. Changing your mind will create the same effect and may cost you lots of money and time if the items were already ordered or installed.

Pitfalls photo no#2Working without contingency funds

Always have a backup plan and funds! As I said earlier, older homes and even some of the new construction can surprise you. If the work that you plan to do will cost more money than you can afford, you should reconsider the project. Make sure to setup realistic budget expectations with your designer and contractor. Make sure to leave at least 10 percent of your total budget toward the unexpected. So if the plumbing behind the sink needs to be updated in order to avoid future leaks, you will avoid the stress of coming up with additional finds. And if you don’t use the funds, you can now shop for furniture for your new space.

pitfalls photo no#3Cutting corners

When thinking about materials and design layout options make sure to invest in the best quality materials and workmanship you can afford. A shoddy job or not what you really wanted will have to be redone sooner, creating more waste and costing you more in the end. Choose materials that will stand up to kids, clean freaks, dogs — whatever’s “real” in your world. Listen to the experts. Kitchen designers, architects, and experienced contractors all know things you need to learn — the sooner, the better.

Last week’s poll results. Where do you feed your pets?

According to our latest poll, 70 percent of our readers feed their dogs in the kitchen. Keeping the pooch part of the family and the food on protected ground is key for most people. Just remember to give them a quit spot to rest and keep plenty of water available all day.

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