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
  • 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!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction Joins Hartford Habitat For Women Build Week

Saturday, May 10th started out dreary, but the clouds parted and the afternoon turned out glorious.    It was a successful day for Hartford Habitat’s Women Build with a number of teams of women turning out to work on Habitat homes in the Hartford area. 

As the female owner of a design/build construction firm, I am always eager to lend a hand to other women and have been participating with Hartford Habitat for a number of years.  Armed with 4 other women on team KBDC, we made our way to the build site in Bloomfield and got to the task of learning the nuances of roofing.  Our task this day was to build, roof and prepare 6 sheds at the 6 homes being renovated on the same street. 

For those that don’t know about the work Hartford Habitat for Humanity does or the Women Build program, Habitat for Humanity is a national initiative to provide affordable housing and home ownership to hardworking families who meet certain financial guidelines, with many of these families headed by single women.  Women Build week runs the week before Mother’s Day nationwide and gives women a chance to learn new skills and work alongside other like-minded individuals and construction professionals to build a Habitat home in their community. 

This year’s Women Build week was held May 5 through 10th and brought out 100 women to participate on projects in Bloomfield and Bristol.  A fundraising component is attached to participation with Women Build.  This year $10,000 was raised for the program with more donations continuing to come in.  If you would like to make a donation or learn more, you may visit the Hartford Habitat website at  A dedication for these homes will take place in early June.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction of West Hartford Offering Summer Continuing Education Remodeling Seminars

Lorey Cavanaugh, CKD/CBD Owner of Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford to lead summer design seminars.
Certified Kicthen and Bath Designer
Lorey Cavanaugh will hold kitchen
+ bath remodeling seminars at her show-
room in West Hartford.  
Photo by Chrissy Racho.
Certified kitchen and bath designer, Lorey Cavanaugh owner of Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction (KBDC) in West Hartford will be holding kitchen and bath planning seminars in the KBDC showroom at 13 Sedgwick Road, through the West Hartford and Farmington Continuing Education programs in the months of June and July.
Bathroom Planning Guidelines will be held on Tuesday, June 24, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and Kitchen Planning Trends and Guidelines, a two part seminar, will be on held Tuesdays, July 8 and 22 also from 7:00-9:00 p.m.   
Principles of good kitchen and bath design, along with how to maximize your remodeling dollar, will be among the topics discussed by Ms. Cavanaugh, a 30 year veteran of the industry. Her company, Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, has been awarded “Best in Customer Satisfaction, 2014” by   Space is limited.   To register for either of these programs, please contact West Hartford Continuing Education at (860) 561-6900 or Farmington Continuing Education at (860) 404-0290.  For more information about Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction or Lorey Cavanaugh, please contact KBDC at (860)953-1101.                                 

Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Kitchen Trends & A Kitchen That Has It All

White kitchen cabinetry and floating shelves are hot trends.  Kitchen by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT.
White cabinetry & floating shelves are among the hot
trends for 2014.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, NKBA, and a recent survey they conducted among kitchen and bath designers, kitchens are trending toward the contemporary for 2014, this includes transitional and shaker styles.  Detailing such as floating shelves, LED lighting, clean lines and easy care materials are what people are looking for as they redo their kitchens. 

White painted cabinetry was the number 1 choice for 2013, and the NKBA respondents predict that finishes in gray, and black along with colors other than white will gain in popularity, however they don’t anticipate white in its various shades to go away any time soon.  The trend toward dark natural finishes/stains will grow as well, while distressed finishes are anticipated to decline.  

White kitchen with gray Marmoleum flooring.  Kitchen by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT.
This kitchen boasts Marmoleum flooring in a
gray color called, "Satellite".  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
Ceramic wall tile along with glass tile and natural stone are the leaders for use in backsplash applications.  For flooring, wood is the hands-down winner, but ceramic tile is a close second with natural stone following but expected to be on the decline as homeowners are leaning toward maintenance free finishes.  “Green” products such as cork and linoleum have been popular, however, wood continues to hold in popularity and what’s being asked for in 2014 kitchen remodels, according to this particular poll of industry professionals. 

Stainless steel appliances, white cabinets and satin nickel hardware are popular kitchen "must haves".  Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Satin Nickel pulls and finishes, as well as stainless steel
remain popular with polished chrome not far behind.
Photo by Chrissy Racho.

As far as finishes for knobs, pulls, and faucets, satin nickel remains dominant with polished chrome another popular finish.  Stainless steel appliances and sinks also dominate and the NKBA poll does not see this trend waning.  Faucets that feature pull out spray heads or touch-less technology are also expected to grow in demand.

Touch-less faucet in black and white kitchen.  Kitchen by Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT.
Touch-less faucets and pull down spray heads are trending
for 2014.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
  “Green” features such as water-saving faucets and LED lighting are also heavy hitters in 2014 as new regulations to the kitchen and bath industry continue to influence product lines and features.  This “Greening” of the home also dominates how consumers cook, with induction cooktops, gas cooktops and convection ovens being used more and more, while electric cooktops or ranges are losing ground.  Microwave drawers are replacing free standing microwaves, and energy saving appliances are being requested for today’s kitchens.

According to this poll, LED lighting in all forms is expected to increase in popularity as pricing comes down and it becomes more and more difficult to find incandescent bulbs.  Halogen lights and CFL’s are currently popular choices, though respondents to this NKBA survey expect use of these options to decline in favor of LED lighting.  Lastly, docking stations for various electronic devices along with flat screen TVs and creating storage for these items is high on everyone’s list along with added storage for pots, pans, spices, cookbooks, etc.  Creating storage for a kitchen’s entire myriad of tools remains a high priority for homeowners as they request a place for everything and everything in its place.  Clean lines and clean appearances-no clutter on countertops-is at the top of today’s wish list.

Dark counters and soapstone island counter contrast white ceramic backsplash tile.  Kitchen + Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT.
Dark soapstone island countertop and granite perimeter counters
contrast against white ceramic backsplash tile.
  Photo by Chrissy Racho.

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