Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5 (More) Trends in Kitchens and Baths for 2015

Earlier this year we posted a blog on kitchen & bath trends following our Project Manager's trip to the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).  We have been on a photography spree lately having professional pictures taken of recently completed projects and wanted to share with you five more examples of trends in design for the year.

Shades of gray are in.  Seen here
are cabinets in 'Russian Sage', a 
greenish gray by Ultracraft.  Photo by 
Chrissy Racho.
1. Gray is in.  This trend actually hit the streets in 2014, but it has been gaining ground. We've had a number of clients looking to use gray in their kitchen or bath design. Gray is one of those colors that is flexible and can be combined with a myriad of accent colors-great for use as the canvas in a room where pillows, towels, dishware and other accessories can be changed out with the seasons or personal taste.

Storage and maximum
functionality.  Photo by
Chrissy Racho.
2. Functionality and max kitchen storage.  With so many gadgets and gizmo's out there for the cooking enthusiast, it makes sense that people want to maximize the storage space they have in the kitchen.  Clients are also requesting added functionality so that time spent in their new kitchen is as pleasant as possible.  Who doesn't know the feeling of looking for the right bowl or storage container that is buried in a jumbled mess at the back of a base cabinet you literally have to crawl into to find? To that end, pullouts and rollouts, drawers and lazy Susan's are becoming the go-to's for cabinets, pulldown faucet heads, flip up cabinet doors, hands free and touchless fixtures are among the other additions being built into a kitchen and bath design to maximize functionality.
Granite look-alikes, like this
laundry room top, are gaining
in popularity.  Photo
by Chrissy Racho.

3. Look alikes.  While granite is the ever popular countertop choice, laminates are coming back in favor.  Gone is the avocado green of the 1970's.  Manufacturers like Formica are coming out with some great granite look alike choices without the look alike cost.

      Quartz comes in a wide range of colors 
      from bright to neutral. Photo by Chrissy Racho.
4. New Quartz colors.  If you hadn't heard, Pantone's color of the year for 2015 is Marsala, an earthy red.  While a recent kitchen project didn't use this particular hue, we did use red in the countertops,  a Quartz called Red Jewel. Quartz is available in material created to represent natural stone like Carrara Marble, soothing earth tones and vibrant neon colors. for this project, we were lucky enough to have a client who welcomed and requested something so bold as red.   What color is your heart calling for?

Simple, clean lines and uncluttered
surfaces.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
5. Simple, clean lines. Homeowners are opting for a more contemporary look with cleaner lines, less detail, open shelving and sleek European style cabinets.  With our lives becoming more and more hectic, our homes are needing to work with us rather than against us.  Between multiple electronic devices and more and more visual information, being on the go with work, school and recreational activities, people are opting for simplicity and open sight lines, getting away from elaborate, decorative cabinetry and the visual overload of cluttered countertops.

Let us know what trend you would like to incorporate into a kitchen or bath project?  Or a trend you would like to learn more about.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

For Third Year, Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction Participates in Hartford Habitat's Women Build Program

As the female business owner of a construction firm in a predominantly male field, I have a passion for helping women become empowered.   In keeping with this, for the third year I joined forces earlier in May with other humanitarian minded women to participate on a Women Build event for Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity.  If you haven't heard about Women Build, it is a nationwide program of Habitat for Humanity, held each May the week before Mother’s day.  The program’s aim is to bring together women from all walks of life to gain construction skills and to work on a Habitat project in their local area which raises money and awareness of the housing crisis that exists for women and children here in Connecticut as well as across the country and worldwide. 
With a team of 10 women made up of friends and KBDC clients, we partnered with Hartford Area Habitat, construction professionals, and another team to hang sheetrock at a project on Enfield Street in Hartford on Saturday, May 9th, 2015.  Together, Team KBDC raised over $1,000.00 for the program. We shared a great day with some terrific people working to make a difference in another person's life and community. To learn more about Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity or the Women Build program, please visit http://hartfordhabitat.org.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

We Love Pancakes! The Ultimate Pancake Recipe to Treat Mom on Mother's Day (or any day!)

Photo by Chrissy Racho.

Who doesn't love pancakes?  Sometimes however they can be heavy.  This recipe however sounded so yummy, (and not too difficult) that I had to share it with you.  It's from America's Test Kitchen and uses ricotta cheese along with egg whites!  I am thinking of making myself these treats this weekend. Try the recipe below and let me know how your pancakes turned out.

Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes; serves 3 to 4

An electric griddle set at 325 degrees can also be used to cook the pancakes. We prefer the flavor of whole-milk ricotta, but part-skim will work, too; avoid nonfat ricotta. Serve with honey, confectioners’ sugar, or a fruit topping.


  • 2/3 cups (3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large whites
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 4 teaspoons juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons vegetable oil


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray and place in oven. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl and make well in center. Add ricotta, egg yolks, milk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Gently stir in melted butter.
    2. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and whip until glossy, soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer one-third of whipped egg whites to batter and whisk gently until mixture is lightened. Using rubber spatula, gently fold remaining egg whites into batter.
    3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of pan. Using ¼-cup measure or 2-ounce ladle, portion batter into pan in 3 places, leaving 2 inches between portions. Gently spread each portion into 4-inch round. Cook until edges are set and first side is deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately or transfer to prepared wire rack in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as needed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Smart Luxury Features for Your Kitchen or Bath

Master bath heated towel radiator in a bathroom designed and installed by Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Heated towel radiator.  Photo courtesy KBDC.
Creating a comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing kitchen or bath is essential when considering a renovation.  So much of our time is spent in these rooms that making them special when remodeling makes sense both from a practical standpoint, but also from a financial one.  What do we mean by "luxury"?  Typically luxury is a "want" as opposed to a "need", and often luxury is seen as something opulent, and to many, unobtainable.  In this instance, however, luxury refers to special touches in a kitchen or bath that create comfort, add functionality and increase our enjoyment of these spaces.  While not every kitchen or bath warrants all of these features, adding any of these will not only increase a homeowner's sense of well being, but also increase over all efficiency of the room.

Custom closet storage in a master bath suite designed and installed by Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Custom closet storage system.  Photo by
Chrissy Racho.

Luxury Bath Features

  • Heated Flooring
  • Heated Towel Bar
  • Lighted Magnifying Mirror
  • Drawer Accessories
  • Cabinet Accessories like Hampers and Rollouts
  • Dimmer Switches
  • Humidstat Fans
  • Wall Mounted Electric or Gas Fireplace
  • Kitchenette 
  • Closet Storage system
  • Hands Free Faucet and or Toilet
  • Anti-fog Mirrors
  • Night Light Toilet Seat

Luxury Kitchen Features

  • In Cabinet Lighting
  • Cabinet Accessories
  • Foot Pedal Waste
  • Foot Pedal Sink
  • Pot Fillers
  • Compost Through Counter
  • Water Filtration
  • Specialty Pet Centers
  • In cabinet lighting in a wet bar designed and installed by Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
    In cabinet lighting.  Photo by Chrissy Racho.
  • Hands Free Faucet

Features like heated flooring and towel bars can make a new bath feel like a day at the spa.  Who wouldn't like to step barefoot onto a warm bathroom floor instead of the standard cold tile.  Not only are these little luxuries,  but they can also serve as auxiliary heat sources for the bath.

For the kitchen, in cabinet lighting and accessories such as pull outs, rollouts, lazy Susan's and drawer organizers help make a kitchen efficient, providing a well designed and thought out space.

To start the creative juices flowing I've included photos of some of these accessories here. What would be on your luxury list?

This master bath includes a kitchenette area for morning coffee or night cap.  By Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Master bathroom kitchenette.
Photo courtesy KBDC

Kidney shaped pullouts provide accessible storage in a corner base cabinet by Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Base cabinet pull out.  Photo courtesy KBDC.

It's easy to be green with an in-counter compost bucket in this kitchen by Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction, West Hartford, CT
Through counter compost bucket.  Photo courtesy KBDC.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LIVE from the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show: 5 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends for 2015

Our Project Manager attended the 2015 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show held in Las Vegas.
This year's Kitchen & Bath Industry
Show was held in Fabulous Las Vegas!
Our Project Manager recently attended KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Going against the slogan, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” we’d like to share with you some of what she came back with.  We'll be creating a series of posts, so without further adieu, read below for 5 design trends for the kitchen and bath.

The cabinets in this picture feature a Storm Gray finish.  Gray is a trending color for 2015.
The cabinets in this master bath 
feature a storm gray finish.  
Free standing tubs continue
to be hot in 2015.  Photo by
Chrissy Racho.
1. Whether traditional, transitional, contemporary or somewhere in between, the colors currently trending for the kitchen and bath are whites, grays and browns.  These colors are being used in cabinetry, tile, and flooring in a myriad of shades and materials.  While red, and its many shades, is also making a splash in the home.  Annually, Pantone, the market leader in communication color, tracks leading trends and names a color of the year.  The Pantone 2015 color of the year is Marsala, and like the wine, it has a rich red hue that easily partners with the browns, greys and whites that are also trending. 

Tile featuring bold "wall paper" patterns are being used in a variety of applications.
Chevron and gray are two
popular trends this year.
Photo by Chrissy Racho.
2. Tile in “wall paper” type patterns like chevron, Moroccan and hound’s-tooth are featured in both bold and neutral colors.  Used in backsplashes, on the floor or as decorative accents, and in materials
like ceramic, glass, metal or even cement, these tiles can add a dramatic effect in a kitchen or bath.

The look of rustic wood is in like this floor tile resembling weathered wood.
The look of rustic is in, like
the flooring of this
master bathroom shower
suite.  The floor tile is made
to resemble weathered
Photo by Chrissy Racho.
3. Rustic wood grains are making their mark like never before, and are being used throughout a room as today’s design aesthetic is returning to the colors and textures of nature.  The look and texture of wood is being integrated into a variety of materials from vinyl to tile and is being used on the floor, walls, in the shower, on islands, and everyplace in between. 

4. Transitional design, design featuring simpler lines than traditional, but not as basic or severe as contemporary, is also trending in kitchens and baths for 2015.  This style is more relaxed with a family friendly focus.

5. Storage and organization is on everyone’s design wish list and there are many new accessories that can help keep a household in order.  These feature everything from knife block and utensil organizers built into a base cabinet to bathroom cabinet caddy’s for hair brushes and blow dryers.

There were so many trends featured at this year’s design industry show, including a 5,900 square foot show house.  Those discussed here are just a few that stood out and warranted a bit of discussion.  Other trends that continue to gain popularity are freestanding tubs, freestanding seats in the shower, touch and touchless technology in toilets and plumbing fixtures and integrating energy saving elements into the home.  There is much more to share, and we will in some other upcoming posts so stay tuned.
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