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.
“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.
Children’s bathrooms are absolutely fun to design! We focus on the details when we are designing a bathroom, and the kids’ bath is no exception.
Like many who are remodeling, you want this bathroom to last. You don’t want to get down the road a few years only to find your kids have outgrown their bathroom. We have three quick details you may have already considered for your kids’ bath remodel, but are worth mentioning:
Function: While it is fun and fulfilling to create the ultimate bath for the “little one,” design the functional aspects (such as the tub) not just for a small child, but also for the child as he or she grows.
Themes: Fun themes are great, but avoid purchasing permanent themed fixtures. Instead, introduce a theme using towels, floor mats, wall stickers, toilet seats and wall paint color.
Features: Some features that both a child and an older teen would appreciate are ample ledges or shelves in tubs/showers as well as soft-close cabinet doors, drawers, and toilet seats. Also consider conveniently placed small storage compartments for products used daily.
How do you design a bath your kids won’t outgrow? Our top four considerations for a well-designed children’s bathroom are safety, ease-of-use, durability, and longevity of design. Let’s break the bathroom into sections and we’ll share our tips to make your kids’ bathroom functional for all ages.
Opt for a shower with a tub. While tubs are not often used by teens and adults, it is usually a necessity for young children. Plan a tub that is amply sized for teens and adults down the road. Showering in an all-in-one fiberglass tub/shower is the most financially feasible option but can get a little claustrophobic for many. Surrounding a tub with tile or solid surface adds design, character, and a little more elbow room.
Other features to consider in the tub/shower:
strategically placed grab bars to prevent slips and falls
a handheld shower head on a slidebar, or 2-wall holders (one high for the shower, one low for the parent who aids the small child in bathing)
a rod with a shower curtain rather than a glass sliding door allows full access when bathing young children
Some brands offer a toilet seat with an integrated rim that is child-sized. When the child outgrows the necessity for this function, simply replace the seat. Also, the toilet height is usually an important decision. While a standard height toilet provides ease-of-use for a young child, an adult height or “comfort” height is likely best for everyone else. Of course, a toilet can be replaced easily as the child grows or when the kids’ bath will be converted into a guest bath.
Instead of privacy hardware on the entry door, use passage hardware that can’t be locked from inside for younger children. This can be easily changed as the child grows.
The vanity height is often a concern when designing a kids’ bath. The old vanity height of 30” is no longer used except for special circumstances. Often a client will choose a height of 32”-34” so that it helps the child reach the sink and still is useful for teens and adults. Sometimes the adult height of 34½” is chosen for longevity reasons. The thinking here is that the child will have to use a stool for a season either way, so make the height of the vanity efficient for when they are through the stool phase and for when the kids are out of the house and the bathroom is converted to a guest bath.
Water and moisture issues
To keep damage at a minimum, consider using tile flooring and tile baseboard instead of wood. Add plenty of floor mats to help avoid slipping. A suitable ventilation fan is a must to remove humidity from the bathroom. Humidity causes mold/mildew issues which can warp wood-made products and can damage many other products and surfaces.
How much should you expect to spend on a kids’ bath remodel? A coat of paint and some new hardware can easily make the space appealing and will cost very little. A full remodel will cost much more. Often, the desired scope of work is not in sync with the desired budget of a kids’ bath. Since there are many factors to consider, the best thing to do is to meet with a design professional to help develop a budget. Remember, a bathroom may be small, but there is no other room that is packed with as much product and labor per square foot of space. So meet with a professional to see if your thoughts for your budget will allow you to accomplish your project.
Designing a bath your kids won’t outgrow is possible! If you take these tips for longevity with you when you meet with your professional bath designer, you will be better prepared to fill your bathroom with products that will last. And remember, you will always be able to change the shower curtain, rugs, towels and accessories to accommodate their evolving style.
Wood countertops have been making a comeback in recent years. Many of our clients love the idea of using wood countertops for warmth and contrast in design. And it’s a great idea! We most often recommend wood countertops for an island, or even a portion of the island as a focal feature in the kitchen.
Why do we recommend wood countertops?
We recommend wood countertops for three reasons. Wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think! Some species naturally inhibit bacteria growth, while a quality clear coat finish seals the wood for an easily cleaned surface. Secondly, wood countertops are a durable surface for hard-working kitchens. Thirdly, wood offers warmth both visually (the color) and tangibly (in contrast to cold stone surfaces) and a gorgeous, natural style.
What types of wood species are available for countertops?
Countertops are offered in many wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, or sapele mahogany. After you choose a wood species, you can choose a stain color and a finish. A natural finish will benefit from a regular application of food grade mineral oil to keep it from drying out and seals the wood. Or a quality clear top coat will seal the wood for easy clean-up and protection against water.
Why are designers using two different countertop materials in one kitchen?
A well designed kitchen uses a combination of materials to provide both strong and subtle contrasts. Contrast is distinctive, and is necessary for a well-defined space. But blending textures using wood countertops creates a harmonious balance which makes us think: “there is something so inviting about this space.”
What other tips can you give us?
If you use your wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface. A redeeming quality of a wood surface is the scratches can be sanded out!
When designing an oversized island, consider warm materials such as this 1.75 inch thick wood countertop by Grothouse. The distressed and glazed walnut wood invites family and friends to gather for meals and conversations. The warmth of these materials encourages guests to linger, and the generous expanse of the counter provides ample space for enjoyment.