7 Tips to Improve Kitchen Flow

Introduction

The kitchen is the heart of your home, and it’s important to get it right. The flow between each area can make or break your kitchen design. If you did some cooking for Thanksgiving you may have noticed that things could have gone a little better, but are unsure of where to even start. Here are 7 tips to improve the flow in your kitchen:

Assess your kitchen.

The first step to any successful kitchen redesign is to assess your current situation. What’s going well? What could be improved? Are you dealing with a specific problem—such as a lack of storage space, too many appliances or an inefficient layout—that needs to be addressed right away?

Understanding your needs and wants in relation to the space at hand is essential for deciding where and how to make changes. It’s also important to consider the flow between areas like the kitchen and dining room, where people often transition between tasks.

Take time to think about how you work in the kitchen

  • Ask yourself: What do I do in the kitchen?
  • How often do I do it?
  • How long does it take?
  • How much space is involved (e.g., am I chopping vegetables, or am I making an elaborate dinner for eight people)?

If you’re a beginner cook, your answers will be different than if you are an experienced chef. If you are a novice cook, there’s no shame in having a pretty simple setup; just make sure that it works well for your needs. For instance, if preparing an omelet is something that takes up only half an hour every Sunday morning and involves only a few ingredients and utensils, then set aside some counter space near the sink so that everything is within arm’s reach of each other as needed—no need to buy expensive storage containers or drawers!

Designate zones for prep, cooking and cleanup.

Designate zones for prep work, cooking and cleanup. Envision your kitchen as a series of zones, each with its own distinct purpose.

  • The prep zone is where you’ll cook up ingredients like meat or veggies before adding them to other dishes. This step can be done outside on the grill or indoors on the stovetop or in an oven.
  • The cooking area is where you put together whatever meal it is you’re making—for example, chopping vegetables for salsa or browning ground beef for tacos.
  • The cleanup zone is where dirty dishes are washed and dried after being used in the other areas of the kitchen; these may include pots, pans and utensils that were used during food preparation and storage containers that held pre-cooked ingredients before they were added to meals (like canned beans).

Add in convenience features for everyday tasks

Adding in convenience features for everyday tasks is a great way to make your kitchen flow better. It’s simple, and you can do it yourself with relatively little effort.

One of the most useful things you can add is an electric kettle. This will allow you to quickly heat water without having to wait on a stove top or microwave. If a stove-top kettle is out of your budget, try using a microwave safe glass container instead—it works almost as well!

If you want to get more organized in the kitchen, try investing in some drawer organizers. These are great because they allow you to store things like silverware and utensils in drawers instead of having them all over your countertops or hanging on hooks above cabinets. This makes it easier for people to find what they need when cooking or cleaning up after a meal.

Evaluate your storage space.

Storage is a vital part of the kitchen flow. You may have plenty of storage space, but if your items are in the wrong place or are difficult to access, it’s going to impact how easy it is to operate your kitchen. To make sure that you’re using your storage space effectively, consider these tips:

  • Don’t store items that you don’t use often. If you don’t use something regularly, find a way to store it elsewhere (such as in an attic) or donate it so it can be used by someone else.
  • Don’t store items that are hard to get at easily.
  • Keep frequently-used utensils and appliances near where people will need them most often during cooking time—the sink, stovetop, and oven should all be within close reach of each other for maximum efficiency when prepping meals in this area of the kitchen (or any other part). This also means making sure there isn’t too much clutter around work surfaces so everything stays out where it needs to go without being hidden behind piles of random stuff!

Maximize vertical space.

  • Maximize vertical space. With a small kitchen, it’s important to maximize your vertical storage space as much as possible. I recommend using wall space over cabinets because it gives you more options for shelving and cabinets are often too bulky for tight spaces.
  • Maximize under-the-sink storage. Most kitchens have an awkward gap between the sink and the cabinet below it, which is prime real estate for storing things like baking supplies and cleaning products that could otherwise go on shelves in other parts of your kitchen but might get lost among food items or spices if kept there instead. Use baskets or bins to store these items here so they’re easily accessed when needed (and out of sight when not).
  • Use the top over your oven/fridge as well—think about how many times you move things from one surface to another throughout cooking: measuring cups going from countertop to stovetop back down again; cutting board moved from sink side next time we need more room on our cutting board tray that sits next door near our fridge door (which is where we keep most of our prep materials); etcetera! All those things can be put up high so they stay within easy reach no matter where else you happen

The best kitchen layouts can make a big difference

Whether or not you’re in the process of renovating your kitchen, it’s important to think about how you work in the space. A well-designed kitchen layout can make a big difference in terms of efficiency and productivity. The best kitchens are designed with specific zones for cooking, preparing food and cleaning up. They also include convenient features that make everyday tasks more efficient. When evaluating your storage space, think about what items will be used most frequently and where they should go so that they’re always within reach but not in the way (or vice versa). Maximize vertical space by utilizing overhead cabinets, pull-out drawers or even wall-mounted hooks for pots and pans.

Conclusion

The kitchen is a place for inspiration, creativity and family time. It should be easy to work in and function well. By following these tips to improve your kitchen flow you will be on your way to creating a space that works for you!

How to Remodel the Laundry Room

Use this step-by-step guide to figure out what you want and how to make it happen.

What’s funny about laundry rooms is that we’re in them a lot, yet we approach these spaces as an afterthought.

There’s no standard laundry room size, shape or layout. Often these utility spaces are created in awkward leftover areas after every other room in the home has been planned out. Or they’re banished to dark corners of basements and garages. And yet you’ve probably noticed you’re spending a lot of time in that confined area. Shouldn’t that space warrant extra attention?

This step-by-step workbook is how HomesReinvented by SatinTouch will help you think through your options and plan some ways to make your laundry room function better and look nicer.

Step 1: What Are You Hoping to Achieve?

Why have you decided to remodel your laundry room? And what’s important to you? The answers to these questions will inevitably affect your decisions and, above all, your budget. Are you simply after more function? Or are you hoping to make the space look nice too?

Do you plan on working with the space you have? Or are you relocating your laundry room to another part of your house? Buying new appliances and adding some paint or wallpaper is one thing; knocking down walls, rerouting plumbing and building an entirely new room is another.

Another question you should ask is, “Why now?” It’s good to think about why this is the right time to remodel or redecorate your laundry room. Is this a one-off project or part of a larger remodel? If you plan on eventually tackling a larger project, such as a kitchen or master bathroom, it could be more cost-effective to wait and do everything at once, when you’ll probably already have a contractor, tile installer and other professionals on site doing work.

If you already have a painter coming in or a tiler for your kitchen, get a quote for other spaces too, like laundry rooms aren’t always just about washing and drying clothes. People tend to store all kinds of things in their laundry rooms, from batteries to flashlights to dog food.

So while you’re planning, think about the other functions you want your laundry room to serve and make sure you create room for those things. Many people also make their laundry room function as mudrooms; storage rooms for vacuum cleaners, brooms and sports gear; butler pantries; command centers for organizing family calendars and mail; home offices; craft rooms; pet rooms; and more.

The way you wash, dry and fold clothes will dictate how your new space functions. How often do you do laundry? Once a week or every day? If you have a large family with multiple hampers, maybe you want to set up a system of individual baskets that better organizes laundry for each member of your family.

Where do you fold clothes? Do you prefer to fold everything in the laundry room and then carry it to the bedrooms? If the former, adequate counter space will be important. Maybe you want to consider a large island if your budget permits.

Or maybe you like folding clothes on the sofa so you can watch TV while you work. If that’s the case, maybe counters aren’t vital for you and you’d rather use the space for something else, such as more storage cabinets.

Also, if you like to hang up clothes right away, maybe you’ll want to make sure you get a hanging rod in your space. Have lots of delicates? Perhaps drying racks are in order. Do you iron often or prefer to use a steam setting on your appliances?

When do you do laundry? If it’s during the day, does your space have natural light? If not, could you consider adding a window? If you prefer to do laundry at night, maybe adequate artificial lighting is more important to you.

If you’re worried that your laundry habits might not be the most efficient way of doing things and you’re unsure of how you can make them better, it’s probably a good idea to bring a professional onboard for help. He or she can help you think through the way your space should function and even offer up solutions you might not have considered. If you don’t have a personal relationship with a designer, the designers at HomesReinvented by SatinTouch can help.

The selection of your appliances, or your existing appliances, will greatly affect other decisions for your space. For example, do you have or want side-by-side or stacked appliances? Stacked appliances can save space, but shorter people might need a step stool to reach the top controls.

Do you want or have front-loading or top-loading appliances? Front loaders give you the option of adding a countertop for folding and sorting, but some people say front loaders often don’t drain sufficiently, leading to mildew inside the machine. That may be the case with older models but that many manufacturers have sorted out the issue with newer models. At any rate, it’s best to do thorough research.

Once you have the basic function of your laundry room pinned down, it’s time to look at your budget again to see how you can make your space more comfortable and stylish. Create an ideabook of photos of laundry rooms from the internet to get the juices running.

Counter space for folding is perhaps the most popular special feature. If you’ve got front-loading machines, consider adding a countertop above them. Or if you’ve got the space and budget, consider a large island on which you can spread out all your laundry.

As for countertop material, stick with something durable, such as quartz. You want a material that can stand up to spilled detergents and bleach.

The second-most requested special feature is probably a deep sink for soaking or hand-washing delicates and a spray attachment for the faucet for doing spot treatments.

Here are a few additional features to consider:
Rod for hanging clothes
TV or radio
Window
Wine fridge
Pet-washing station (as shown on the following page)
Rolling laundry carts
Fold-down ironing board
Drying rack for delicates
Additional storage closets

Step 2: Research and Budget

Before beginning any home project, you need to know how much you can spend. A new washer and dryer can set you back a couple of thousand dollars right off the bat. Moving plumbing around, adding a sink or window and building custom cabinets are also significant costs.

Laundry rooms are typically small spaces, and if you already have good appliances and adequate storage, the cost of making over your space could be as low as the price of paint or wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper). It all depends on the level of design you’re striving for. Some people just want their laundry room to function. So decide if this is a space where you want to invest or if that money could be put to better use elsewhere.

When creating your budget, start with the big expenses: cabinets, flooring and appliances. These will provide the function. After all, laundry rooms are utilitarian spaces first and foremost. Once you tackle that, you can move on to spiffing things up if your budget permits.

To save money, decide what you can keep and what you need to replace. Can you get by with painting or refacing the existing cabinets rather than replacing them? Can you make do with the flooring? Buying appliances during holiday sales or buying floor models can also help keep costs down.

If you’re moving your laundry room to a new location in your home, you’ll have to think about venting, plumbing, draining, knocking down walls and more, all of which add significantly to the cost.

Step 3: Find a Professional

After determining the general scope of your project, you’ll probably have an idea of whether you need to hire a professional for help. If you’re doing a major renovation, you’ll want to assemble a knowledgeable team to make sure things run smoothly. A professional can help you think through problems and offer solutions you might not have thought of, such as adding a window for natural lighting.

Step 4: Think About Style

Once you’ve tackled the functionality of your space, consider spiffing things up a bit with paint, wallpaper, tile and accessories. If your laundry room is tucked out of the sight of guests, you might want to consider experimenting with some fun, energetic colors or prints.

The more visible your space, the more you’ll probably want it to look nice. A laundry area in a side-entry mudroom that guests and family members often pass through might warrant some extra attention. On the other hand, if your laundry area is in an unfinished basement where few people ever venture, then looks might not be as important to you.

Wallpaper is another good option (yes, I said wallpaper, again). A fun print can energize your space, especially if you lack natural light. A happy color or print can transform it so it’s not a place you dread going to. It adds a little nice surprise, and it’s not a big expense in the scheme of things.

A tile backsplash is another way to add style, but you may want to keep the tile neutral so they can change paint colors more easily.

And remember, laundry rooms are typically small, so the cost of wallpaper or even a backsplash may not break the bank. It’s a good place to spend a little extra to cheer things up.

Another simple add-on is window treatments, a decorative light fixture and a rug, all of which help create an inviting atmosphere.

Step 5: Construction Documents, Estimates, Demo, Installation and More

At this stage, the process for remodeling or making over a laundry room is similar to any other renovation project. You’ll be perusing floor plans, elevations and other relevant drawings. You’ll iron out the finer details and get a grip on what permits need to be pulled.

If you’re working with a designer, he or she will probably help you interview contractors and get estimates on the cost of your project. Once you have that settled, you’ll begin preparing for installation by making sure you have all the materials on hand, as well as getting your space ready for demolition.

Make sure you save all receipts, construction documents, warranties and product information so you can properly maintain and care for your appliances and other features.

After your project is finished, walk through the space and make note of anything that’s cracked, chipped, broken or installed incorrectly. Get this list to the person who’s in charge of fixing these mistakes and include information about how and when the work should be completed.

As Requested by One of Our Clients, Tips for Designing Your Bedroom

Learn how to think about light, layout, circulation and views to get the bedroom of your dreams.

Have you ever been in a room that just feels right? Nine times out of 10, it’s because it has a simple design that functions well. But creating a simple design is harder than it looks — particularly in bedrooms.

Why? Because every bedroom absolutely has to have a bed in it. And beds are big and ungainly, and dictate the placement of every other object in the room. But if you’re lucky enough to be planning a bedroom from scratch or remodeling an existing bedroom, you can control the other elements and create a space that’s both practical and pretty.

Because the bedroom is one of the simplest rooms in the house, it’s often overlooked. One of the first steps to a great bedroom design is having an efficient and well-designed floor plan that gives you everything you want — no matter how much space you start with.

Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your bedroom.

1. Plan for Simple Circulation
Try to keep your circulation on one side of the room. Hotels do a great job of this. There’s a reason 90 percent of hotels have the same floor plan: because it’s simple and it works.

Circulation plans become a little more challenging with en suite rooms — bedrooms with bathrooms attached, as in the plans above — or bedrooms that have doors to the outside. To save on space, pay attention to where you locate the bathroom and closet in your bedroom. Rooms that have bathroom or closet access before the sleeping area require a longer hall.

If you organize the circulation so the bathroom and closet are accessed through the sleeping area, you don’t need a separate hall, and you can add the circulation space into the room to make it feel larger too.

2. Focus on the View

A bedroom always feels nicer when the first thing you experience is a pleasant view out the window — as opposed to a view looking straight at the bed. If you’re designing a new bedroom or reworking an old one, try to come up with a layout that focuses on the vista — whether it’s something as stunning as a lake or as simple as your backyard.

3. Keep Privacy in Mind

It’s always nice when you can leave the bedroom door open without forsaking all of your privacy. The Designers at HomesReinvented by SatinTouch always try to avoid designing a layout in which you look directly into the bedroom from a more public space, like a great room, kitchen or family room.

4. Connect With the Outdoors

While this might not be feasible in all climates, connecting a room with the outdoors is a great way to make the space feel larger and admit more natural light. If your bedroom is on the ground floor (or is on the second story and has an adjacent terrace), adding a set of French doors can instantly increase visual space.

5. Consider the Furniture Layout

Your bedroom’s architecture should take your furniture into account. Bedroom floor plans usually have a bed wall — but what about dressers, nightstands, TVs, chairs and a desk? Work with your architect or designer to make sure there is enough space beside the bed for nightstands and ample circulation so you can access three sides of the mattress.

6. Increase Light and Ventilation

Locating your bedroom at the corner of your home can give you windows on two or more adjacent walls. This gives you the added benefit of cross ventilation and a softer natural light.

How to Choose a Paint Color

Erin Carlyle offer tips for examining your closet, memories and daily life to find the right paint colors for your home.

Putting a new paint color on the walls is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to transform a room. But where do you start if you haven’t already picked out a color? An interior designer from HomesReinvented by SatinTouch or color consultants can help you hone in on the general color you want, such as yellow, gray, white or green. A pro can also advise you on the specific paint color to choose.

But before you commit, it’s worth considering which colors you truly love. We interviewed three interior designers for their best tips on how to identify these colors. Their practical suggestions will have you feeling more color-confident in no time.

Whatever you do, don’t just head straight to the paint store to browse through the paint chips, or you risk being majorly overwhelmed. Of course, if you’ve already done this, you’re not alone. “People will actually hire a painter without knowing what colors they want to use yet,” says D.C.-based interior designer Kelly Porter. “Even before you go to the paint store, you really want to narrow down the colors. Even before you pick up the swatches.”

But how do you narrow down a color in the first place? Designer Keith Wardlaw of Plus Modern Design in Kansas City, Missouri, suggests examining your wardrobe. “I tell clients, No. 1, to look in their closet and see what colors they wear often,” he says. “They’re going to gravitate toward certain colors that look well on them. Obviously, what better way to look great in the interior than if you paint what you look great in?”

A. Visit Your Closet

Whatever you do, don’t just head straight to the paint store to browse through the paint chips, or you risk being majorly overwhelmed. Of course, if you’ve already done this, you’re not alone. “People will actually hire a painter without knowing what colors they want to use yet,” says D.C.-based interior designer Kelly Porter. “Even before you go to the paint store, you really want to narrow down the colors. Even before you pick up the swatches.”

But how do you narrow down a color in the first place? Designer Keith Wardlaw of Plus Modern Design in Kansas City, Missouri, suggests examining your wardrobe. “I tell clients, No. 1, to look in their closet and see what colors they wear often,” he says. “They’re going to gravitate toward certain colors that look well on them. Obviously, what better way to look great in the interior than if you paint what you look great in?”

Browsing your wardrobe can also help you come up with ideas for accent colors. For instance, if you tend to wear a lot of blue and often pair it with khaki, tan leather shoes and silver jewelry, perhaps those colors could be a theme for your home. You could translate that theme to your living room with blue walls, soft leather furnishings, and gray (or silver) for other accents like the rug and toss pillows shown in this photo by Jen Samson Design.

B. Unearth Your Happy Memories

Porter, the D.C. designer, holds color workshops in which she gives a questionnaire about personal associations with particular colors. “What color was your room growing up?” she asks. “What color makes you the happiest?”

Inspiration can come from anywhere. “Maybe your grandmother’s kitchen was yellow, and you have great memories of traveling with her. Maybe you saw this great shade of blue when you were traveling in the Caribbean, and it calms you,” she says.

If no colors come to mind from your memories, try getting out a photo book from one of your favorite trips and seeing if any colors speak to you. As you go about your days, visiting restaurants, shops and even other people’s homes, pay attention to which colors you’re most drawn to.

There are no real rules about color, Porter says. One of her clients painted her bedroom a bright red — generally considered to be an invigorating rather than soothing color. While red may cause many people to feel alert when it’s time to be sleepy, “it was very calming to her,” she says. “You really have to know what moves you and not be influenced by what other people like and what other people say.”

C. Envision the Feeling You Want

So you’ve decided to paint your room blue. How do you narrow down which blue? It can be helpful to think about the feeling that you want to create in the room, Wardlaw says. If you’re seeking a cozier feel, choose a blue on the darker end. If you’re going for a more serene vibe, a lighter, perhaps sea blue may be better.

As you’re drawn to shades of blue, pay attention to whether you prefer blues that tend toward lavender, green or pure hues. Knowing the undertones of the shade you’re selecting is useful for coordinating with trim and accessories. A good designer, like those at HomesReinvented by SatinTouch, will be able to identify these undertones and help you select a paint that works with your furnishings.

You’ll also want to keep in mind whether your paint color should have cool or warm undertones — and again, a designer can be invaluable in helping you identify these subtleties. If you’re starting from a blank slate, a cool gray or a warm gray might suit you equally. But if you already have furniture and accessories in warmer hues, you may want to choose a warmer tone that complements what you already have.

D. Seek Inspiration

Browse photos online for general color and style ideas, and “tone and value inspiration — meaning light or dark or medium,” advises designer Carl Mattison of Atlanta-based Carl Mattison Design. But keep in mind that the way colors read on your computer screen or mobile device probably won’t be the way they read in your room, where they’ll be affected by the amount of light and even the landscaping that the light is coming through.

If you fall in love with a color online, go out and select a swatch and bring it home before committing. Even color chips won’t be exactly how the paint color will appear, so it’s important that you actually test out the paint on your walls.

Tip: As you’re browsing for inspiration (a friend’s home, new home tours, open houses, etc.), look for rooms that are similar in size and shape to the one that you’ll be painting; that way, the effect will be more similar.

Narrow Down Your Options to No More Than Four Colors

Once you’ve settled on a general color, your designer can save you a lot of time by suggesting a few excellent paint color choices and helping you choose the best option among them.
However, if you like to be more involved in the selection process, you might head to the paint store and pick out several chips and bring them home. Then it’s time to winnow them down.

“Say you come home with eight shades of blue,” Porter says. “Lay all the swatches out and compare them to each other. You will start to see the subtle differences between each color. Some of the blues lean toward green or aqua. Some are a denim shade. Some have a funky undertone that you just don’t like at all.”

Winnow down the options to three or four colors. You can tack the color chips to the wall of the room you’ll be

painting, or use a sheet of paper as a neutral background. Keep in mind as you make your comparisons that the paint chips will appear a bit darker on a light background, and lighter on a dark background, Porter says. “Often, after comparing the paint chips to each other, it will be pretty clear which color is going to work,” she says.

If you still aren’t comfortable with the color options, you could consider taking away all but one option and looking at each color individually.
Also, this may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget: As you assess colors, consider how each option will look with the elements of your room already in place (and that you’re not willing to change).

Put Paint Samples Right on the Wall

Once you’ve chosen your three or four final colors, it’s time to test them. All three of our experts agree: It’s better to paint the wall than those sample boards the paint store sells. This is not just because it’s more economical. “You need to paint at least a 1-by-1-foot square on all four walls,” Wardlaw says. “You paint on the wall because that’s exactly where it’s going. You’re painting over a previous color. I feel a board doesn’t saturate in the same way.” Mattison recommends painting an even larger area — at least 3 feet by 3 feet — for each sample color.

Porter advises placing the paint samples side by side on the wall. “They should still be lined up because one would still need to compare and choose based on the process of elimination,” she says. Again, if this is overwhelming for your eye, you could consider looking at them apart.

It’s also important to make sure the sample can you purchase has the finish that you’re planning to use (matte, eggshell, satin, high gloss) because that can also change the way a color reads. Many stores sell the sample-size cans only in the matte finish. You may want to consider buying a full quart to get the true effect.

Look at the samples on the wall at various times of day, and try different types of lighting (various wattages) to see how that may change the colors. Live with the colors for a few days. When a clear winner emerges, you’re ready to paint the walls.

How to Choose the Best Sink Type for Your Kitchen

Drop-in, undermount, integral or apron-front — the design pros at HomesReinvented lay out your sink options.

Once you’ve decided on the material for your next kitchen sink, you’ll want to decide what kind of installation to do. There are four basic types of sink mounting, and each has pros and cons.
You’ll want to consider each option with the way you cook and clean in mind. Here’s what to know about mounting types for kitchen sinks.

1. Apron-Front or Farmhouse-Style

Apron-front sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks (see picture to the left), have a broad, exposed front edge and are usually quite wide and deep.

These charming sinks have come a long way from their humble beginnings in the 18th century as a butler’s sink. The size and shape were introduced to accommodate larger objects, and the sinks were quickly put to use to wash everything from household items to clothes and even children. They’ve evolved through the years to become one of the most popular styles of kitchen sinks.

While these sinks were traditionally single-bowl, they now come in divided two-bowl configurations. They are also available in a wide variety of materials, such as fireclay, cast iron, stainless steel, natural stone, manufactured solid surfaces and copper.

These are certainly attractive sinks, but there are a few issues to keep in mind if you are considering installing one in your kitchen. Apron-front sinks are typically wider, deeper and heavier than other sink types, so they may require at least a 36-inch-wide sink cabinet. The sink cabinet also must be able to accommodate the apron front.

If you go for a stainless steel or copper version, be aware that the apron can get scratched from contact with belt buckles or metal buttons. And, unless you choose an undermount installation (with the countertop extending over the sink edge), there will be a seam between the sink and countertop in which moisture and gunk can collect.

2. Undermount

Undermount sinks (see next page for photo) get attached to the underside of the countertop for a smooth look and an easy-to-clean design. Undermount and apron-front sinks often require professional installation and can only be mounted to a sturdy and nonporous countertop material, which can add considerable cost to the project. Installation is more expensive than for a drop-in sink, because the countertop opening has to be cut precisely.

It’s also worth noting that while I have heard of successful applications with wood countertops, extra care must be taken to protect the wood from water. Some laminate countertop manufacturers also claim that you can undermount a sink to their material. Discuss it with a design or build pro or a countertop retailer to see if this is an option for you.

Depending on your particular undermount sink, you may have some options regarding the reveal — how much or little of the top edge of the sink is visible just below the inside edge of the countertop.

A positive reveal leaves a small portion of the sink edge exposed. This is the easiest type of installation, as the cutout doesn’t have to be as precise as it does for a zero reveal. It also allows you to keep an eye on the status of the sealant between the sink and countertop, and more easily reapply it in the future as needed. The downside of a positive reveal is that the exposed edge tends to collect gunk and grime.

With a negative reveal, the countertop extends slightly beyond the edge of the sink, offering the cleanest look.

But that overhanging countertop can catch objects as you lift them out of the sink, causing chips or breakage to both the countertop and objects. It’s also more difficult to keep tabs on the seal between the sink and countertop.

A good hybrid, then, is the zero or flush reveal. Here the countertop is cut to the exact dimension of the sink, so there is no place for water and food to collect and also no lip that can cause damage or get damaged. This can be a more expensive installation, however, because the countertop opening has to be cut precisely.

Talk with your designer at HomesReinvented by SatinTouch or any other construction professional about what type of reveal you want for your undermount sink.

3. Drop-In

Drop-in sinks are installed on top of or over the countertop. These tend to be the most budget-friendly sinks, primarily because they are the easiest to install.

This is a popular sink style for those on a tight budget, for those installing a sink within a porous countertop body material (such as wood or laminate) or for those looking to repurpose a vintage sink or get a vintage look.

As mentioned, drop-in sinks are installed by “dropping” the sink into a cutout in the countertop material and then sealing around the edges where the sink lip meets the countertop. The obvious downside to a drop-in sink is that the raised lip makes it more difficult to wipe food particles directly into the sink, as you can with an undermount sink.

Whereas undermount sinks have a clean, minimalist feel, drop-in sinks — especially vintage or vintage-look sinks — can bring a charming appeal to the kitchen, creating a fantastic focal point.

4. Integral

Integral sinks are made from the same material as the countertop, often fabricated as a seamless unit within the countertop. If you’d like to have your kitchen sink blend in, and you are installing stone, metal, solid-surface, concrete or quartz countertops, think about having an integral sink fabricated. Your countertop fabricator will form a sink using the countertop material. The look is very clean and seamless — perfect for a contemporary kitchen.

Integral sinks are generally the most expensive type due to the cost of the raw material and fabrication — these sinks are usually custom-designed and custom-manufactured — in addition to the cost of installation. But for those with the budget for it, it’s certainly an appealing option.

The 4 Stages of a Remodel: The Midproject Crisis (Continued in October)

Prepare for the mechanical rough-in stage, and don’t worry if things don’t look like they’re progressing on the surface.

In the August Edition, we covered the ins and outs of what I refer to as the Honeymoon Phase of construction. Next up is a stage similar to a concept most everyone is familiar with: the Midlife Crisis. (Whether you’ve experienced one or not is an entirely different story.) It often comes with questions like, “What am I doing? Where am I going? What is the meaning of life?”

Likewise, the second phase of a home remodel, which I fondly refer to as the Midproject Crisis, is paired with parallel questions: What’s my contractor doing? Are we still moving forward as planned? Was this really all worth it? And of course: What is the meaning of life?

Fear not: Your contractor is working hard, your project is moving forward and, yes, your decision to renovate your home is, and will be, worth it. I can’t really speak about the meaning of life, but I can speak about the experiences of homeowners and remodelers during this period of a remodel.

Typically, once demolition and framing is finished (the Honeymoon Phase) and before sheetrock is put up, mechanicals will begin. (This probably is referred to as “mechanical rough-in” or “mechanical rough” by your contractor.) Mechanicals refer to the guts of the house: electrical; plumbing; and heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC). Like our own guts, most of the work done during mechanicals occurs behind the scenes.

So what is going on behind the scenes? Let’s break it down by type of work.

Electrical. The groundwork for all new light fixtures, outlets, switches and appliances will be done during this phase. New wiring will be run in the walls and ceilings, electrical boxes will be installed for future fixtures, and electrical panels may be upgraded so they can handle heavier loads (this is especially prevalent in remodels where appliances are added). At this point, electricians are making sure that everything that will need power will have access to it and meet your municipality’s building code.

Plumbing. As with electrical, plumbing rough-in ensures that all plumbing fixtures, appliances and other water features will be supplied with water, gas (if your house uses natural gas) or both. So pipes may be moved or installed in new places, shower pans (the things that make sure the water stays in the shower) are installed and inspected, and gas lines may be moved, extended or even put in.

HVAC. Unlike electrical and plumbing, HVAC is the only mechanical where nearly all the work is completed during the rough-in stage. Pathways for new vents (for bath exhaust fans or kitchen vent hoods) are determined and vents are installed, air conditioning units may be replaced, and air return vents are located in appropriate positions.

All this sounds exciting, right? No doubt, it is. But the progress isn’t as visual as it is in the Honeymoon Phase. Since everything occurs behind walls, under foundation or in attics, the big “wow” just isn’t there like it is when everything is torn apart.

It’s around this time that I’ve often seen homeowners concerned about progress. Yes, plumbers are there, but where are the new sinks?
Why isn’t there a single light fixture installed yet?
Is the HVAC guy even working, or is he just taking a nap in the attic?

The other contributing factor to the crisis is the fact that any speed bumps that crop up during this phase take a bit more time to resolve.
Overall, the placement of existing framing is the biggest obstacle in mechanical rough-ins.

If your plans specify that there is going to be a can light in Location A, but Location A has a structural beam directly above it — no can do. Or say your architect has designated a toilet to be mounted on the wall instead of on the ground, but existing wall framing prevents this from being a viable option. Back to the drawing board. Or maybe your HVAC contractor needs to be able to provide ductwork to a new vent hood location in your kitchen, but there is no open attic space to place the ducts. Time to think through the alternatives.

Another obstacle, which is less common but should still be noted, is the condition of existing mechanicals. Any wiring, plumbing or venting that is found to be damaged, dangerous or just not up to par with your municipality’s building code will likely need to be remedied.

And don’t even get me started on inspections. If your job is permitted, inspections for mechanicals will occur during this stage. City building inspectors are well known for being thorough. If you don’t have everything just right (which ultimately is good, because they’re looking out for your safety), they will not hesitate to make your contractor fix the issue before any work can continue.

So we’re halfway there. What’s next? Is the light at the end of the remodeling tunnel finally visible?
When will your house start to look like a home again? What is the meaning of life? (I’ll tell you one last time — I can’t help with the meaning of life!)

But for more information on the next phase of a remodel, look for the next installment in this series in our October Edition: the Renewal of Vows.

Contractor Tips: Top 7 Home Remodeling Don’ts

Whether you work with a general contractor or act as one on your own project, getting a glimpse into the mind of a contractor can give you a new perspective into remodeling projects around your home.

I’ve learned a lot working as a contractor, and some of those lessons can help homeowners too. What you do is just as important as what you don’t do, and sometimes a homeowner’s instinct can negatively affect a home renovation project.

How do you know if you’re helping or hurting your project? Read on to find out and to see what can help simplify your home remodel.

1. Don’t delay decisions
If you want your remodel to go well, the best thing to do is make every single decision before work starts. A good builder can talk you through the list of situations that might come up on your job, but decisions about situations aren’t usually what cause delays.

Instead, most of the issues are related to decisions about things like paint, trim and faucet selection. These may seem small, but when your faucet is two weeks late, plumbers have to be rescheduled and the medicine cabinet door hits the faucet when it’s installed, you’ll see how something small can balloon into a week’s delay on a five-week project.

2. Don’t change your mind (too much)
Even though it’s inevitable that you’ll change your mind about something on your project, know this: Every time you change your mind, it’ll result in a change order. Although the change may seem minor, there are always added costs — even if it’s only the time spent discussing the change.

Scheduling can be affected too. Everyone working on the job needs to be informed of the change so no one’s working on the old plan. Everyone makes changes, and that’s OK — just be aware of the potential to disrupt and delay the job.

3. Don’t buy your own materials
It seems like an obvious way to save money — a builder is going to mark up the cost of materials and pass that added cost on to you. That’s true, but the builder may get a better price than you to begin with, meaning that even after markup, you’ll pay the same price.

4. Don’t put lipstick on a pig
Though a builder will rarely come right out and say this, some houses should be knocked down rather than have money put into them to fix them up. Though this is a rare situation, it’s common for people to put money into fancy cabinets for a house with a sagging foundation, or into a high-efficiency furnace in a house with no insulation. Listen to the professionals who come to look at your job. Be open to their suggestions.

5. Don’t work without a contingency fund
If you find out that the work you wanted to do costs more than you expected or budgeted, you’re in good company. It’s almost unheard of that a person sets a realistic budget for a project. But don’t eat into your contingency to stretch the budget. If you follow rule number one and make every decision ahead of time, you can probably get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good general contractor.

6. Don’t be a distraction
It may sound harsh, but every minute someone working on your house spends talking to you, they are not working on your house. Is the conversation important and one that will have an impact on the job? That’s one thing, but the electrician on the job isn’t getting paid any more to spend 30 minutes talking about your vacation plans.

7. Don’t ignore what the house wants
Though some people can pull off wearing a pair of high-top sneakers with a tuxedo, it can also go horribly wrong. Houses are the same way. Can an ultramodern kitchen in a Victorian brownstone work? Absolutely, but make sure you can pull it off. This is not to say a house can’t evolve with the times. There are no hard and fast rules — just get to know your house, live in it and do your research before you pull out the sledgehammer.

For a One-On-One sit down with one of the top designers in Minnesota,
call HomesReinvented by SatinTouch
(763) 954-0744

8 Home Renovation And Remodeling Trends For 2022

Home renovation and remodeling can be a great way to increase your home’s value and make it look the way you want. Sam Hawrylack researched the top trends for 2022 to help you see what home renovation and remodeling trends might be of importance to you.

Renovation Vs. Remodel

Renovation and remodel are two words that are often used interchangeably. But, in actuality, they mean two very different things. So, if you’re talking to a contractor or a mortgage lender, it’s important to have your terms right to get the correct estimates and the best rate/terms on your loan.

The difference between a renovation and a remodel depends on whether you’re creating something new. A renovation means you’re updating or restoring a room or home. It retains the same functions but will look different. A remodel means you might change the entire functionality of a room or home in addition to its design.

Both options change the look and feel of your home and might even increase your home’s value. There are many ways to cover the cost of renovations and remodels, but how much do they cost?

Home renovation and remodeling projects costs vary depending on your area, the scope of the job, and your timeline. Therefore, it’s best to compare quotes from different companies to get an idea of the average cost in your area and learn how much your project may cost.

Before you jump on board and renovate or remodel your home, shop around and find the best prices from top-quality contractors in your area. Make sure you choose a contractor experienced in the type of renovations you need and can work within your budget and on your timeline.

Each year, the home improvement renovation and remodeling trends change. While certain trends stick around for a while, some trends are here and gone faster than you can say remodel. So here are the top 8 renovation and home remodeling projects for 2022.

1. Spa Bathroom
Creating a serene environment in your bathroom remodel gives you somewhere to unwind and relax after a long day. Whether you’re spending more time at home or you just want somewhere to be alone with your thoughts for a while, consider a bathroom with a large bathtub, stand-up shower, low lighting and calm colors.

Bring a bit of nature into the bathroom to complete the calming environment, and don’t forget the scented candles. If your bathroom is tight on storage, add built-in shelves or cabinets to keep the room feeling clean and calm. You can have all of your necessities but keep them out of sight so that you can have the serene environment you desire.

2. Improved Outdoor Areas
Today’s trend outdoors is to make it look like your living room, but outside. Think of all of the comforts of your living room and how you can bring them outdoors. Think large sitting areas including tables and couches, beautiful rugs, pergolas to protect you from the sun, and maybe even a fireplace or TV to spend cozy evenings outdoors.

Many homeowners even have large dining tables outside and use them to entertain when the weather is nice. A pergola can provide more use of your outdoor space even when the weather isn’t cooperating.

3. Bold Wallpaper
You might think it’s a ’70s thing, but wallpaper has made a comeback. After years of intensive painting, trendsetters decided that bold wallpaper, at least on one wall, is the way to go.
Not only does it catch the eye, but wallpaper is a lot easier and less time-consuming than painting.

Wallpaper goes great in any room, and it’s very easy for it to help show off the personality or style you want for the space while staying on a budget. Of course, you might not want to wrap your entire room in wallpaper but choosing one accent wall to have some “fun” is all the trend right now.

4. Large Window Banks
There’s nothing better than natural light in a home, and the best way to get it is with large window banks.
Whether you add windows to multiple walls in your home or install a floor-to-ceiling window wall as the focal point in a room, the large windows will transform a space in the most beautiful way.

Natural light doesn’t only make your home more beautiful, it keeps your utility bills down too. So not only will you save money, you’ll also be doing your part to decrease your carbon footprint on the environment.

5. Multifunctional Islands
Kitchen islands had their moment in the spotlight, but homeowners have avoided them in recent years. This year they are back, and they do so much more than just act as counter space. Homeowners are saving space by installing their dishwasher, sink and trash pullout all in the island, leaving much more room throughout the kitchen for other things. Of course, an island is also a gathering place for everyone, so the trend in 2022 is large seating areas around the island for the crew to gather.

6. Multifunctional Rooms
If 2020 – 2021 showed us anything, no matter how big your house was, it still wasn’t likely enough to give everyone enough workspace. That’s why in 2022, the trend is multifunctional rooms.
Parents and families want to know they have the space for spontaneous Zoom meetings, at-home school, or room to work at home without tripping over everyone else.

From offices that double as rooms to do schoolwork to kitchens that double as a work zone on the fly, multifunctional rooms are needed for just about every family today. Don’t forget about the space to relax too. Today it’s not just about rooms to work in, but also rooms that allow relaxation and unwinding. Think couches in home offices, chairs in bedrooms, and extra seating in the kitchen so the kids or your spouse can converse with you while you cook, bake, or just get ready for the day.

7. Functional Mudrooms
Every home needs a “drop zone” or a place everyone can transition from coming outdoors to being ready for the indoors. Shoe racks, closets, and areas to wash up are just a few of the key features of a functional mudroom.

Today’s mudrooms are sleek and offer more than a washer and dryer. They are the room where everyone cleans up and gets rid of dirty clothing from being outdoors or away from home and into the clothes that will keep the house clean.

8. Built-in Storage
Even if you live a minimalist lifestyle, you’ll need plenty of storage. Today’s trend is built-in storage to hide what you need while keeping your home looking and feeling sleek. Think pull-out shelves, cubbies in mudrooms, bathroom hooks and cubbies to finagle all the cords and accessories, and stylish open shelving for bedrooms and bathrooms for decor and storage.

Built-in storage can be open or closed and hidden. You decide what look you’re going for in your home, but you can make use of your walls to have the storage you need without taking up too much space.

Call us to schedule a
Design Consultation
with John Zuber

(763) 954-2744

Key Measurements to Help You Design Your Kitchen

Working with the exclusive Designer to HomesReinvented by SatinTouch, John Zuber, will help you get the ideal kitchen setup by understanding spatial relationships, building dimensions and work zones – specific to your own home.

Whether you are moving into an existing kitchen, remodeling the one you have or building a new one, understanding a few key building measurements and organizational guidelines can help your culinary life run more smoothly.

Kitchens provide storage for your food and cookware, give you room for prep and cleanup, and of course also provide a place where you can cook and bake. When it’s thoughtfully arranged, these functions operate logically, making working in your kitchen a better experience. Here’s some general ideas on how to get the ideal setup.

Designing the Three Main Areas of a Kitchen

Ideally, refrigeration and dry-goods storage should be located nearest to the kitchen’s entry point. The cooking area should be located toward the dining spaces, and the sink is best positioned between those two functions. This creates what’s called a work triangle. The best work triangle is less than 21 linear feet. Work triangles that exceed 26 feet make moving from one function to another inefficient in most cases.

Everyone has personal preferences for what works best, so consider this a guide and not a rulebook.

1. Storage. Designers recommend putting refrigeration and dry-goods storage at the kitchen entry point. Putting your pantry on one side and a countertop that’s 15 to 24 inches on the other is a good idea. This will allow you to easily set down items that have been taken out of the freezer and refrigerator.

The pantry can hold dry goods plus brooms and supplies like paper towels. Use drawers in this area to hold plastic bags, foil and anything that can contain food to be stored. For the cabinets in this area, you will want to have mixing bowls, cake pans, measuring utensils and any other items that aid in assembling meals.

2. Preparation. Ideally, prep and cleaning space is best located around the sink. Within these areas will be everyday glasses and dishes, along with trash receptacles and the dishwasher. Allow 18 to 36 inches of countertop space on one or both sides of your sink.

Preparation areas are best kept clear of other items, since you will always be taking out bowls, plates and utensils there. Allow at least 36 inches of uncluttered countertop space for preparation in a small kitchen. Larger kitchens will have much more. This is one reason that islands are so popular. They provide broad and well-lit surfaces on which to perform the majority of kitchen tasks.

3. Cooking. The cooking centers should be arranged around the range, cooktop and wall ovens. Place pots, frying pans and baking sheets in the vicinity around your burners and ovens. It is a good idea to place small appliances such as toasters and coffeemakers in this area also, as it will leave your preparation areas unobstructed.

Allow 21 to 36 inches of countertop on either side of your cooktop. If possible, place wall ovens with a free countertop immediately next to them so that you can set down hot food immediately. Place seasonings, breadboards and potholders in nearby drawers and cupboards. Keep serveware toward the dining area.

Other Kitchen Measurement Considerations

The dimensions of all the pieces in your kitchen are important to get right to make the best use of your space.

Refrigerator depth. A common refrigerator width is slightly less than 36 inches (92 centimeters). The problem is often the

depth. In recent years some manufacturers have designed them to be much deeper than a 24-inch base cabinet. You can still buy shallower freestanding refrigerators, but you have to pay close attention to the dimensions listed in its specifications to be certain. The other option is built-in configurations, but they are significantly more expensive.

Look for a depth of 30 inches or less, excluding handles, unless you can design your kitchen space to accept a deeper unit. Another thing to consider is the swing of the refrigerator door. Always examine the swing direction to see if it will meet an obstruction.

Cabinet height. Upper cabinets are normally positioned at 18 inches above the countertop and are 30 to 42 inches in height.

Consider that your average maximum reach over and into an upper cabinet is 70 to 80 inches above the floor. Cabinets set at above 7 feet will likely need to be accessed with a step ladder. Cabinets above 8 feet are not practical for the majority of people; however, they may serve as storage for seasonal or decorative items, to be reached with step stools and ladders.

The standard dimensions for base cabinets are 24 inches deep and 36 inches high. In general people are getting taller, so some homeowners are bumping up the counter height to 38 inches.

Distance between cabinets. Another important dimension to consider is the distance between cabinets. Entry points can be as little as 36 inches when there is a cabinet on only one side.
Stay at least 42 inches from the face of a cabinet to the one on the other side; 48 inches is even better, but going beyond 60 inches is too wide in most cases. However, if it is a U-shaped kitchen, you could get away with up to 96 inches.

The 4 Stages of a Remodel: The Honeymoon Phase (Continued in September)

Prepare for the fast-paced progress of demolition — and the potentially jolting slowdown of structural issues.

As with anything in life, a remodeling project can come with its ups and downs, as Hannah Kasper wrote. Certain phases seem to go a mile a minute, while others feel like they’ve lasted a lifetime and a half, all while it looks as though nothing is being completed. Fear not — this is pretty typical. And, while every project is different, a good portion of renovations have four major phases, what she’s calling the Honeymoon, the Midproject Crisis, the Renewal of Vows and the Happily Ever After.

For now, let’s take a closer look at the Honeymoon phase of renovating.

After weeks of searching for a remodeler in your area, calling references, checking out their online profile and reviews, and then working toward an agreeable price, you say, “I do,” sign the contract, finalize the design and schedule the work to begin. There’s a little nervousness in the air, but as you enter the Honeymoon phase, the mood is mainly one of excitement.

Demolition Begins

After your selections are made and ordered, a few weeks go by, and the day comes for work to start.
Protective products are placed, and demolition begins.
Demo, sweet, demo.
Normally one of the quickest moving stages of a remodel, demolition makes it look as if a lot of work is being done practically overnight.
Cabinetry is removed, walls are torn down, appliances are taken away and, in a matter of days or weeks (depending on the size of your project), you’re staring at a blank canvas.

After that, any necessary framing and structural work will begin. Framing usually isn’t as exciting or fast-paced as demolition, but still, there is visible progress almost daily.
At this point, you and your partner are walking on air. The rate of work is astounding, and you’re still very excited (although maybe a little less nervous now) about the entire project.

Speed Bumps Ahead!

However, like a delayed flight on a real honeymoon trip, there are obstacles that can slow down this phase, specifically during demo. If you’re living in an older house, there’s the possibility that when your walls are opened, asbestos or lead could be discovered, which will need to be dealt with before work can continue.

Another common speed bump is building permit delays. Going through government-mandated processes can be tricky sometimes, especially if you or your building professional don’t have everything you need to get the green light from your municipality the first time around.

More holdups can come from structural elements that become apparent after demolition. For example, say you were going to move a door to another wall in your dining room. Once the demo crew opens up the wall where the new door will be installed — surprise! — there are plumbing pipes running the height of the wall.
Reconfiguring design to meet these new requirements will add time to the demo stage.

Don’t panic! These delays happen often, and it’s worth accounting for and accepting these hurdles before you even begin to think about renovating.

 

Rolling With the Punches

To help your honeymoon run more smoothly, here are a few tips I’ve learned from witnessing hundreds of remodels (and even surviving a couple myself):

1. Embrace change! Really. Give change a huge hug. Get to know it on a personal level. Because no matter what room you’re touching (whether it’s the kitchen or a teensy guest bath), it’s likely that you use that room daily. The sooner you accept that this room (major or not) will be unavailable for a period of time, the sooner you’ll be able to adapt your daily routines to fit around it.

2. Love your microwave! This applies to kitchen remodels specifically. As soon as demo is done, your primary cooking and eating area will be gone. Before your project starts, find an untouched room in your home to create a mini kitchen that will include necessities such as a microwave, toaster oven and coffee pot. Think of it as the mini kitchen you had in your dorm or apartment in college and revel in the nostalgia.

3. Don’t worry too much. I know this sounds hard — OK, really hard, especially for control freaks like myself — but trusting your building professionals to know what they’re doing (even if you do come across one of the aforementioned speed bumps) will really help you keep your head on straight. And if you do have questions or concerns …

4. Communicate! Communication has proved time and time again to be one of the biggest parts of a remodel — and a successful marriage. I cannot stress it enough. Talk with your contractor, talk with your significant other — talk, talk, talk. Ask framing questions, bring up budgetary concerns, muse over paint colors. Whatever is on your mind, getting it out of your head and into the air is beneficial for everyone involved (especially you).

And remember: The Honeymoon phase of a remodel is definitely one of the high points in a process with numerous peaks and valleys, so try to enjoy it. No matter what you may encounter during demolition and framing, it’s likely that the mood of everyone on board — you, your contractor, your family and even your pet — will be very positive.

You’ve just embarked on a new journey, and the excitement of watching the image of your new home come into focus just adds fuel to your fire. Revel in that post-contract-signing bliss and maybe enjoy a glass of your favorite beverage with your significant other while you two imagine the new space that will be formed in your newly torn-apart home. Enjoy it, because what lies ahead is a bit uncertain.

With that in mind: What happens when it feels like nothing is happening? Is there still work being done? Are we still on schedule? Is it OK to freak out a little bit? Coming up in the September Edition – “The Midproject Crisis.”