Friday, August 22, 2014

The Rise of the Neutral Palette

Neutral kitchen in white with single lever faucet in chrome.  Designed and installed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Movement is introduced in this unique backsplash tile.
Photo by Chrissy Racho. 
Over the last year or so we have seen an increased call for white or off-white cabinetry in both kitchens and baths. Simpler cabinetry styles and clean lines together with natural tones of wood and stone create a calming atmosphere in what can become two very busy spaces.  Even those kitchens and baths we have remodeled that use a more decorative cabinetry style, are striving for this feeling of calm, using neutrals for a clean and crisp look.

I believe this is partly due to kitchens coming out of the back room of the home and taking center stage as the main living area. Homeowners are spending more time here as the kitchen becomes a gathering space for activities beyond cooking and eating.  People want their kitchens to be as comfortable and stylish as the rest of their living spaces.  As our lives become busier, the kitchen serves as a representation of nurturing, sustenance.  It’s where we live and often what we associate as “home”.  

Bathrooms on the other hand, are our sanctuary from the world.  It's a place where we begin and end our busy days.  Folks are looking for that spa-like feel; a get away place.  Soothing colors help us to feel organized, peaceful and help to start the day off on the right foot.
Shower walls and flooring in black and white. Bath designed and installed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Black, white and gray tiles are hardly 
boring in this shower.  They reflect a
graphic quality and the black liners on
the shower walls break up the white 
of the tile.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.

Neutral colors are extremely versatile and look at home in either a contemporary or traditional setting.  Pops of color in accessories like soaps, towels and pillows are easy to change out with the seasons or on a whim.  The array of color available now in both cookware and dishware can make anyone’s decorating a breeze. 

Movement, creativity and interest can be expressed in a number of ways.  The use of countertop material, tile, cabinetry hardware color and finish, flooring and fixtures can all play a part in forming an interesting environment.  Neutral need NOT equate boring.  So think outside the proverbial box, go white, beige, grey, but introduce texture, change up the tile on the backsplash, use an interesting floor material.  Use neutrality to create calm and order and as the backdrop, the canvas for expressing your creativity.  Introduce color in pillows, towels, pottery and cookware.  You’ll be surprised how exciting neutral can be.
Black and white kitchen with pops of red.  Designed and installed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Red stools, cookware and accent rug add
a fun element to this young family's 
kitchen.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's a Wrap: KBDC coming to HGTV in 2015

In case you missed our news earlier this spring, KBDC was recruited in April by Pie Town Productions for the HGTV reality television series, House Hunters Renovation. KBDC was brought on board to design and install a project for an upcoming episode, scheduled to air in 2015. If you're not familiar with House Hunters Renovation, it's an hour long program which follows a couple as they tour homes for sale during the first half of the show. The show’s second half features a remodel design pitch then goes behind the scenes as the couple undertakes a renovation project in their chosen new house. Filming has just been completed for this episode and the wrap party was a huge success. Everyone is happy, including me. I wish I could post some pictures to pique your interest, but we are sworn to secrecy. All I can say is that this was a fun project and an interesting look behind the scenes at the making of a television show. We'll be sure to share more information once an air date has been scheduled.  For more information about KBDC, visit our website, or find us on Houzz.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Your Kitchen Remodel-making additional space work for you and your family


White kitchen with hood, range and built in microwave by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
A recent kitchen remodel by Kitchen +
Bath Design + Construction.
Photo by Chrissy Racho.
It’s a misconception shared by many that more space is better, and many a contractor or builder has given their client the extra space they requested without first learning how the family uses the space they have as well as how they would like to use this space.

Before jumping head-long into any remodeling project, especially one as involved as a kitchen remodel, there are some things that you should take into consideration.    



1. Consult with a professional. 
We are a design-build firm and work closely with our clients on major projects such as this to integrate a remodel into the rest of the home.  You will want to consult with a professional about your project so that the end results will:
·         makes sense with the other spaces in your house
·         work with how you envision living and working in the space
·         add value to your home, both monetarily and functionally

2. Before any construction begins, you and the professional you are working with should answer specific questions about how you use your home and how you would like it to function.  These may include (but are not limited to):
·         how many people make up your household
·         how long do you intend to stay in the home
·         do you have pets/are there considerations needed in the remodel for pets
·         for a kitchen remodel, who is the main cook in your house and is there a secondary cook
·         are there specific physical considerations for anyone in your home (height, handedness, limitations)
·         do you have specific cooking hobbies
·         how is the space used by your family (daily use, weekend use, bulk purchasing, etc.)
·         how would you  like the space to relate to the rest of the home
·         do you entertain regularly
·         are there secondary activities you would like to happen in this space

These are just a few of the questions that you should address initially.  Budget and style can be discussed once these sorts of questions are answered.

3. Measure twice, cut once
            Nowhere is this old adage more applicable than to any type of home remodel.  Make sure your professional has a comprehensive process that includes an initial site visit, budget analysis, detail drawings and elevations, material recommendations and selections based on your project objectives, as well as a dedicated Project Manager and thorough installation process.  At KBDC for example, each project employs a team of skilled subcontractors that we have long standing working relationships with.  They understand and appreciate our process which includes a full time design oriented Project Manager, an inclusive job site binder complete with all floor plans, elevations, specifications and pertinent information each discipline may need.  This assists with making our remodeling projects run smoothly; finish on time and on budget.
 __________________________________________________________

Original floor plan of a kitchen remodel by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
BEFORE: The original floor plan segmented the space and cut
the cook off from the rest of the home.
To illustrate this process are pictures of a recently completed project.  The kitchen pictured here was originally cut off from the rest of the home by a narrow hallway and didn’t allow connection to the surrounding spaces including an attached 3 season porch and family room. 

By answering the above listed questions and more, we learned that this client is an avid baker and cook, and wanted more connection to family during prep time, as well as a place in the kitchen for kids to hang out and do homework.  Our solution was to remove the wall which separated the kitchen and dining room, creating better flow and openness to the adjoining spaces. 
New kitchen floor plan of this West Hartford kitchen by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction
AFTER: by removing a wall and relocating the powder room,
we were able to create an open concept kitchen, a mudroom
and landing area near the front entrance.
White kitchen with farm house sink, dishwasher and breakfast bar in this kitchen designed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction
Appliances were reconfigured and we
added a bar area at a bake center to
allow for interaction while in the
kitchen.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
Entrance from the outdoors and mudroom area of a kitchen designed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
The new mudroom area
allows for all of the daily
paraphernalia to be left by
the door.
Photo by Chrissy Racho.
 Using the existing foot print, we flip-flopped the layout, relocating a half bath to the other end of the kitchen where we also created a mudroom area and desk/landing space as you enter from the outdoors. This entrance/landing space serves as a place for mail and a charging station for the family’s various devices, while the mudroom is a drop spot for coats, backpacks, shoes and other daily paraphernalia.

We reconfigured the appliances, and moved the door leading from the kitchen to the sun porch for easier access to both the porch and the backyard.
An added breakfast bar at a baking center is the perfect place for kids to have a snack or do school work, and the kitchen is now open and connected to the family room, a hub of this home. 

Farm house sink and pendant lighting in a white kitchen designed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
The sink and dishwasher are in close proximity to a bake
center and new breakfast bar.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
View of breakfast bar and stainless steel stool seating in a white kitchen designed by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
A view of the breakfast
bar which also is adjacent
to the sun room.  Photo by
Chrissy Racho.
We hope this example of thoughtful consideration of space planning provides you with an example of the advantages of working with a design/build firm, and how it can take your remodel beyond simple aesthetics to tackling the larger (and more important) issue of function.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

We Raised the Roof (and the bar)! Are You Ready to Take on A Remodeling Challenge?

New white cabinetry provides ample storage in this master bath remodel by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction.
After: The resulting space is bright, light, 
and has many new features.
Picture of the construction of new roof and back wall of this remodel by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction.
During: the roof and back wall of the
the home were removed and space and
windows added.
This was a complicated, multi-faceted remodeling project which entailed extensive design development & advanced construction skills.  Two bathrooms and the master bedroom were gutted to the studs. The entire back roofline of this saltbox home was elevated by reframing. The second floor back wall of the house was removed and reframed so that we could add additional space to the bathrooms, an expanded master bedroom and walk in closet.   Working in collaboration with our subcontractor and a structural engineer, much time and energy went into the design and planning of this major renovation.

In the end this project was beautifully completed both on time with a mutally agreed upon time line, and on budget-no small feat in a project with many variables.  The final design addressed each of the client’s needs which included:
Glass shower surround and shower bench in this master bath remodel by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction.
A new window adds natural
light.
  • Removing the tub from the master bath and creating a new large functional shower space with seat and frameless clear glass surround
  • Built in make-up vanity area 
  • An expanded and refurbished guest bath 
  • Heated floors in each remodeled bath
  • Custom built-ins in the walk-in closet 
  • A crisp white and gray color scheme throughout 
  • New hardwood flooring to replace carpet in the master bedroom 
New marble topped make-up seating area is every woman's dream in this master bath remodel by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction.
A new make-up area is every woman's dream, 
complete with lighted magnifying mirror.
An additional bonus was the ability to include new windows along an elevation that was previously void of natural light.

I think you’ll find this space calming and sophisticated.  The subcontractor who was instrumental in the build out of the space, a thirty year industry veteran, feels it is the best designed project he has worked on.  We’re pretty proud of the final results too.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction Will Be On HGTV's House Hunters Renovation!

I am so excited!!  Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction will be coming to Home & Garden Television!  We were recently approached by Pie Town Productions, creators of many programs seen on HGTV and LifeTime TV, to work with them on the reality television show House Hunters Renovation.  If you have never seen the program, it is an hour long show that follows a couple on their house hunt during the first half, and a renovation of some aspect of the new home during the second half.  We will be remodeling this couple's kitchen and are beginning to film our portion of the show this week.  This episode is scheduled to air next year.  Its been a little hectic, with the design process being sped up to accommodate the production schedule.  We should be finished with the filming, and the project, by mid-July.  Along with an accelerated design process, there has also been some tight budgetary constraints, however we work with great vendors and subcontractors who have helped us to meet these and stay on track.  I must say the fast-paced process so far has been a little stressful, but also fun.  It should be interesting as we film the design pitch to the househunting couple and begin the project.  We are not usually meeting with our clients or installing a kitchen with cameras rolling, so it is going to be an experience for all of us, including my Project Manager, carpenter and the many talented people we typically have working on our jobs.  I hope it will also be educational for the homeowners and viewers alike as I discuss the design choices and thought process behind them.  Once there is a set date for this episode, I will be sure to let you know, so stay tuned!
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