Kitchen & Bath Design News recently interviewed our president Charles Tiber regarding designing kitchens for Midwesterners. The resulting article was published in their March 2022 issue on page 22-25 with the title “Midwesterners Gather Round the Kitchen.”
Tiber’s two main ideas found in the interview answers below are rooted in the familiar terms of kitchen design: functionality and style. What is new is how we design kitchens and bathrooms for our clients in the Midwest with their desired functionality and style, whether a large or a moderately sized home.
Q: Are clients concerned (or not concerned) with specific elements, such as functionality, maintaining a home’s style, wellness/safety, sustainability, technology, following trends?
A: Most of our clients are not consumed about following popular trends. They do not want to go in a direction that may “date” their kitchen. Rather, it is more about using good design principles while maximizing their space for functionality and beauty.
In the Midwest, living and entertaining through all seasons must be considered. Entry spaces, drop zones and buffer spaces are important when designing a kitchen. Entering the home and the kitchen can present different challenges when it is 90 degrees outside versus when there are subzero temperatures with the realities of snow on boots and shoes. The desired air movement through the kitchen would be very different in summer or winter, while the moderate climates of spring and fall can demand certain other expectations in design.
Q: Has design style changed in your area in the last 10 years? What are customers looking for now that they might not have been a decade ago?
A: The most dominant change we have seen in our area is the desire for design that fosters relationships. The kitchen has long been the gathering place in the home, but that meaning is deeper than it was before the pandemic and the distancing that came with it. The relationships that have close contact are even more important, and kitchen design can help keep them close.
The kitchen should be inviting, should draw people in, and can create interaction, avoiding isolation. One way our firm is doing this is through linear design. In linear design, the work triangle is disrupted, and the focus is to have room for more bodies in the workspace while not causing bottlenecks. Multiple cooks can work, even in a smaller kitchen, and clean up can go on simultaneously. We recommend a workstation sink big enough for two.
As for the kitchen design itself, the workstation is in the island and a smaller clean-up sink is at the window. A good workstation does not reduce counter space but rather expands working space by providing multiple levels for prep, cooking and serving tools directly on the workstation.
We love to see families getting involved in cooking. A workstation brings people together and, as more personal home entertaining comes back, a workstation can help create opportunities for great meals and memories with family and friends.
You love your house, your neighborhood, your location but your home may not meet the needs of your future lifestyle. You could buy or build a new house. But what if you choose to stay and make changes that will suit your future needs?
An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to build their dream, while staying in the location that holds their family’s memories. Many are making renovation decisions now, while keeping possible future limitations in mind. Ageless design is not just for seniors; it is thoughtful and wise to consider the future for yourself, and, if desired, for resale.
Kitchens and baths are the most common areas to be remodeled, so let us examine some simple design ideas to consider that could impact your ability to stay.
In the bathroom, switch to a kitchen-height vanity cabinet and a comfort-height toilet. Create a barrier- free or low profile shower threshold; add strategically placed grab bars and a shower seat.
In the kitchen, choose drawers instead of doors and instead of pullout shelves. The full access and single motion nature of drawers is the most popular current option. A balance of different features is still preferred for flexibility in storage.
The design idea of a kitchen work triangle should be disrupted. Linear prep and cooking is more efficient. A large sink (like the The Galley Workstation) keeps the work contained and accomplishes prep, cooking, and serving in a single location. Designing the cooking surface nearby and linear to the sink, adds to this efficiency and keeps the turning and moving to a minimum. Also, fewer slips and spills should be expected.
Minimize bending and overhead reaching by keeping the microwave at or just below counter height. Microwave drawers are a good option for this very reason. Also consider a pantry cabinet with rollout shelves and perhaps drawers at the bottom. Choose appliances that have easy-to-read controls, soften counter corners to minimize bumps and bruises, and be sure your flooring choice will not be too slick when wet.
Standard kitchen clearances are generally 42 inches. If you have the space, widen your clearances. True universal design requires much more than that, but anything extra, even an inch or two, is an improvement.
If you want to keep your home, your memories, and your lifestyle, while preparing for the next stages of life, remodel using simple ageless kitchen and bath design to meet your goals.
More than just the workhorse of the kitchen, countertops complete the design and style of your kitchen. They must be beautiful, functional and durable!
If you’re ready to match cabinetry and countertops, there are six popular countertops you should consider for your kitchen remodel. (Note: These are popular because of durability, function and style. Pricing will vary based on availability and fabrication costs.)
Currently the most popular choice in kitchen countertops, homeowners choose quartz surfacing because of its many advantages. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, and its seams blend very well. It is easy to clean and is heat, scratch and stain resistant. Because of its manufacturing process (binding quartz crystals with a resin-based product), quartz is durable and has a seemingly endless choice of colors and patterns available through brands such as Cambria, Silestone and many others.
Granite surfaces are slabs of stone cut from the earth, making each piece unique. It is more porous than quartz and does require a bit more maintenance. You can order granite countertops with a polished, shiny finish; a honed, matte finish; or a specialty finish such as flamed or leather. Because of the many choices in colors and finishes, design flexibility is a significant advantage in choosing granite.
This natural stone countertop is available in 2 cm (3/4”) and 3 cm (1-1/4”) thick slabs at a stone selection warehouse. As a counter surface, marble offers a beautiful, timeless look. It has been a preferred stone in architecture throughout the ages. However we must warn you: marble is softer and more porous than granite. It is susceptible to stains and scratches. You might say it is more of a “living” finish, but be sure you are willing to “live” with it. Even so, some of the most beautiful countertop installations are in marble.
Those who love marble should also consider quartzite because it is a natural stone with similar beauty. Quartzite is a solid, crystalline mass of mineral stone cut from the earth in slabs. It’s harder than most knife blades and is more resistant to etching than marble. The generally lighter, more subtle tones of quartzite give it design versatility.
Would you be surprised to hear that porcelains are on the rise? It is becoming a popular trend for kitchen countertops! Although not completely new, porcelain slab countertops have improved greatly. Porcelain is beautiful, durable, and low maintenance. In contrast to solid surface and engineered stone counters, porcelains are rated for exterior use.
A durable surface for hard-working kitchens, wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think! Wood offers warmth both visually (the color) and tangibly (in contrast to cold stone surfaces). Often we’ve designed a portion of a client’s kitchen countertops to be a wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, sapele or mahogany. If you use a wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface and simply apply a food- safe oil to the wood.
While we haven’t discussed all the surfacing options that exist, these six countertop options are trending in kitchen design. The lasting beauty and durability make these countertops the most popular choices. There are other good quality surfaces you may want to consider researching as well, such as Durango, Soapstone, semi-precious stone and concrete.
A kitchen remodel is often prompted by a failing major appliance. A homeowner may begin to think that it’s time to update the whole kitchen and not just one appliance. Maybe you’ve found yourself saying: “If I am going to spend all that money on an appliance, I would like to have it designed into a more thoughtful, updated plan.”
Whether it’s a practical need or because the timing is right for your kitchen remodel, the appliance list is the first decision to consider. Don’t focus too much energy on brands and specifics at first, think instead about how you cook, bake, roast, store, and clean up.
The following questions will guide you in thinking about new appliances and a well-designed kitchen.
Questions to Guide You in Choosing Your Appliances
Cooking Surface: Do you need more than four burners for your cooking surface? Would a griddle be well utilized if you had one? Next, investigate the benefits and preferences of cooking with gas or electric. Once the cooking surface is considered, the needs for ventilation can be determined.
Oven(s): Do you need two ovens? Do you bake often? What types of food do you cook in your oven? Do you want to expand your baking/roasting skills?
Microwave: Do you use a microwave often and who uses it? Is it used for warming, thawing, or just reheating and popcorn? Would it be better for the users of the microwave to have it below the counter or above the counter?
Refrigeration: Is the freezer just as important as the refrigerator? Do you buy in bulk? Do you use fresh or frozen more? How much refrigeration do you need?
Clean-up: When do you run the dishwasher? Do you entertain often? How large are your groups? Do you need two dishwashers?
Sink options: Is your preference one bowl or more than one bowl? Do you use many large pots, pans, or sheets? Do you cut lots of vegetables? Do you need the garbage disposal in a separate, small bowl?
As you consider these questions to determine your appliance list, you may also want to consider some appliances that may be considered luxuries rather than necessities.
The convection steam oven is becoming more common in residential kitchens as manufacturers have sized them for the home. The idea is to cook with moist heat (like many restaurants do) which keeps your finished meals moist, speeds up the cooking process and re-heats like it was served for the first time.
How about a built-in coffee system? For most of us, coffee is a necessity! A coffee system that is built seamlessly into cabinetry allows you to grind, froth, and make that perfect cup of coffee with very little effort.
As you begin to answer these questions, your kitchen designer can help develop your appliance list and you will have a head start on your new kitchen design.
“We love that it’s timeless” is common to hear when remodeling a kitchen or bath. Many Ohio homeowners are asking for a timeless kitchen design. And while “classic” and “timeless” are in style, what can we say will never go out of style?
In this blog post, we’ll highlight five timeless kitchen design trends.
1. White Cabinetry
White kitchen cabinets are a well-established tradition dating back to New England and the Cape. Today, white cabinets are no longer just found in cottages along the coast but are implemented in traditional or contemporary design across the U.S. What makes them timeless is the 100+ years they’ve remained in style.
2. Shaker Cabinet Doors
Shaker (or similar flat-paneled) cabinet doors are easily traced back to the Shaker communities of the early 1800s. In principle, Shaker design was guided by simplicity and utility; it was minimalistic, but ingenious. With stile-and-rail cabinet doors and dovetail drawers, we continue to see their influence on design even today. The historical foundation gives us reason to think this cabinet door style may never go out of style.
3. Mixed Furniture Styles
When we talk about mixing furniture styles, we mean pieces that look like furniture—even freestanding furniture—that are incorporated into kitchen design. It’s timeless to have an unfitted look. Hoosier cabinets, pie safes, work tables, wash basins and other functional pieces were introduced years ago and are now buffet pieces and islands. It’s not cobbled together as it was historically, but now we design these mixed furniture styles to look evolved.
Marble is both ancient and truly trendy right now. Buildings still standing from ancient Greece and Rome have marble interior surfaces, exteriors, sculptures and art. The material itself has withstood the test of time. Today, is marble popular? You bet. Marble countertops are on trend. Trying to ride on the popularity of marble, many quartz and granite manufacturers—even laminate manufacturers—are trying to duplicate the look of marble.
5. Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring is a true classic. We can prove it. Many Colonial-era homes featured old-growth hardwood floors. And later around the late 1800’s, polished hardwood floors became mainstream in America (source: OldHouseOnline).
While the material itself is timeless, what trends is the color with which to stain the wood flooring. Also trending is floor tile that looks like wood. (With flooring manufacturers duplicating the look, that just proves what a timeless classic hardwood floors truly are!)
Consider the basics in a kitchen: cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and fixtures. If you are seeking to create a look that can better withstand the test of time, look for those foundations within historical design that speak to timelessness. Be creative within those foundations and the end result will be simple but artistic; both timeless and current.
Are overwhelmed by the thought of updating your kitchen? Do you wonder… Where do I begin? Should I just get an estimate from a kitchen remodeler? What do I need to have in place before I meet with them? What information do I take to our first meeting? When you don’t have the answers to these questions, it’s easy to put off remodeling your kitchen.
You have probably been dreaming and collecting ideas for your project for quite a while. But before meeting with a kitchen remodeler, there are three things you should consider about the project. You must consider the scope of the project, the budget, and how to proceed in implementing your plan. I will discuss each of these steps and provide some examples for you.
1. Understand the scope of your project
What do you want to have done?
To make it simple, we will categorize kitchen makeovers into three types of projects. While these three (“update,” “replacement,” and “full remodel”) are very generalized, having three simple categories does help you when it comes time to explain the scope of your project. I will explain each of the three categories for you.
Updating your kitchen may include some or all of the following: replacing countertops, replacing appliances and fixtures, replacing cabinet pulls or knobs, replacing cabinet hinges, adding backsplash tile, replacing flooring, and painting.
Generally, a kitchen update is remodeling the kitchen without replacing cabinets. Since cabinets are usually the most costly item in the kitchen remodel, the “Update” can be accomplished on a more modest budget.
One difference between the “Update” and the “Replacement” is the cabinets. In the “Replacement” you are replacing the cabinets. Generally, a kitchen replacement is replacing most/all of the materials while keeping the existing floorplan, including cabinets, appliances, and fixtures in their same locations.
Variations of the “Replacement” could allow for small changes in the floor plan and some modest electrical and lighting updates. Also common in a replacement kitchen remodel is the possibility of reusing some appliances and fixtures. Primarily, however, the layout will remain the same.
The Full Remodel
Fully remodeling your kitchen is replacing all materials, but also allowing for rearrangements in the floor plan and locations of appliances and fixtures. Generally, a “Full Remodel” of a kitchen includes removing everything including the drywall and flooring down to the rough framing members and subfloor.
Often in a full remodel, walls are being moved or eliminated and a new electrical and lighting plan is implemented, in addition to all the changes listed in the “Update” and the “Replacement” type of projects.
So, what are looking to do: update, replace or complete a full remodel? Once you understand where your project fits within these three categories, you can move on to developing a budget.
2. Develop a budget
Decide how much you are willing to spend
Within each of the three project categories, there is a wide range of costs. I’ll give you a few examples to help clarify.
In “The Update,” you are choosing specific aspects of your kitchen to update. Usually the goal is to keep the budget as low as possible. You can control costs by choosing which materials to replace and whether you want a high-end replacement or low-end. Let’s say you’d like to replace your countertops. The material you choose for the countertop will drastically affect the budget. For example, you may choose granite countertops, but there is a wide range of material costs within the choice of granite. The same is true for backsplash materials, appliances, and even the types of sinks and faucets.
When you are ready to replace your cabinets, you are most likely moving into the “Replacement” or “Full Remodel” categories. Since we’re now talking about cabinets, you should know that your budget will be greatly affected by the quality of construction and finish of the cabinets. Once again, you’ll have choices along the lines of basic and high-end finishes.
If you are asking a kitchen remodeler to tear down walls, move plumbing, and change flooring in a full remodel, be ready for a five- to six-figure remodeling budget.
Choose your minimum and maximum spending limits, but hold off on any final decisions until a remodeling professional builds a budget.
Ask a kitchen remodeler to develop a realistic budget
The most effective way to know if what you are willing to invest lines up with how much work you want done is to have a kitchen design professional develop a budget for you. This is more than a free consultation or estimate. One or two meetings should be enough to talk through your project requirements and develop a budget. But having a professional draw up a budget will show you if your ideal budget is realistic for the type of project you desire.
By now you have thought about the scope of the project and the budget for the project. Now it is time to hire a professional to get the job done. Your task is to pick the best professional for your kitchen remodeling project!
3. Choose who will implement the project
A kitchen design professional will spend the time to develop a plan and drawings. With these CAD drawings, he will be able to communicate the details of the project. He will also specify and review all the tasks that are necessary to complete the project. That’s when he can give you a fixed price for labor, materials and everything from demo to completion. Be careful to hire a professional that will provide this kind of detail and not just ask you to sign a contract based on a free estimate or a simple budget.
Also, you would be wise to check reviews and credentials as well as talk to past clients of each professional you are considering.
You now have a simple step-by-step list to help you prepare for your consultation with a kitchen designer or remodeler. Consider the type of remodel you wish to pursue. Consider the options available to develop a realistic budget. And consider carefully who will implement the project.