Monday, October 24, 2016

Battle of the Backsplashes: Glass Mosaics vs. Natural Stone

by Sam Ferris
Read about the pros and cons — and see great examples —

of these two popular kitchen backsplash materials

One of the many great kitchen debates involves backsplashes. Just as they do when considering cabinets, countertops, paint colors and flooring, homeowners care about factors such as cost, maintenance and resale value when they’re shopping for a new design. Glass mosaics and natural stones — such as travertine, marble, soapstone, granite and quartz — are two options that get the lion’s share of attention, so we decided to lay the pros and cons on the table. Use this head-to-head showdown to choose the winner for your kitchen space.

The Case for Glass Mosaics

1. They offer a high-end look. Glass mosaics sure know how to dazzle. They’re much more polished than natural stone, which is undoubtedly why they often feel more luxurious. Certain color combinations and shapes can make an artistic statement, while iridescent and shiny finishes can make neutral tones feel as bold as primary colors.

2. They’re a hot commodity right now. Glass mosaics are trending. Whether it’s because of how sharp they look or because they’re a fresh alternative to traditional choices such as natural stone and ceramic is up for debate, but there’s no denying their selling power. That’s good news if you’re sprucing up your kitchen for resale. If you’re planning to list your home in the near future, a glass backsplash can certainly seal the deal.

3. They’re relatively easy to clean. Grout joints aside, the smooth surface of glass mosaics translates to simple cleaning. It’s a cinch to wipe down, and you don’t have to be as selective with cleaning products as you do with natural stone. However, you can run into higher maintenance with more intricate styles that have excess nooks and crannies or mixed materials such as stone and metal.

The Case Against Glass Mosaics 

1. They can be costly. You might have to crack open the piggy bank when purchasing a glass mosaic. In general, they cost more than natural stone backsplashes. Quality glass mosaics rarely cost less than $10 per square foot. Most cost between $20 and $30 per square foot, with high-end options topping $50 per square foot. These are no small investments, even for kitchens with less ground to cover.

2. They can quickly go out of style. Long-term resale value is questionable when it comes to glass mosaics. Colors and patterns that are in style now probably won’t be in five or 10 years, not to mention that glass mosaics themselves may not be either. Take into account your long-term plans. If you’re not living in your forever home right now, you may want to play it safe with natural stone.

3. They’re seldom unique. Some people would label glass mosaics as cookie-cutter. Yes, some designs are one of a kind — particularly those that are crafted by hand or manufactured with avant-garde techniques. Most styles are mass produced, however, which eliminates the novelty factor. They aren’t like natural stone, which is an innately unique product. On the plus side, with so many glass mosaic styles available, you may just stumble upon one that not many homeowners have.

The Case for Natural Stone

1. It has universal appeal. If you’re remodeling with future resale in mind, a natural stone backsplash should be at the top of your list. Not only are travertine and marble — to name two — timeless, but they’re also well-liked, which gives them top-notch staying power. They will appeal to a large buying audience, whether you’re selling in five, 10 or 15 years.

2. No two stone backsplashes are the same. The beauty of natural stone is that it won’t ever look exactly like your neighbor’s. Variation is an inherent property of stone, even within two pieces of the same color. All of the veins and swirls will belong uniquely to your kitchen. If you’re looking for something to call your own, go with natural stone.

3. It doesn’t cost a fortune. Natural stone is budget-friendly. Travertine, for example,comes in many forms (subway tile, 4 by 4, mosaic), all relatively affordable. 

The Case Against Natural Stone

1. It’s harder to clean. This isn’t to say stone is necessarily hard to clean. It just requires a little more elbow grease than a glass mosaic does. The pits and grooves make it more challenging to wipe down, especially because dirt and scum can get caught in between.

You also have to be selective with your cleaning products. Natural stone can discolor when exposed to certain chemicals. Warm water or a special stone cleaner will usually do the trick, but always check manufacturer guidelines before you bust out your cleaning supplies.

2. It isn’t water- or stain-friendly. Stones are naturally porous. They tend to absorb stains and water, both of which run rampant in kitchens. It’s important to seal your stone every couple of years to protect against grease and grime. Even then, some stains will be hard to remove. Some homeowners just don’t have the time or patience for this added maintenance. Devoted cooks might want a backsplash that’s better equipped against staining.

3. It can have too much variation. Natural stone is unpredictable. There’s a good chance your backsplash installation will look a tad different from the sample piece you saw at your local retailer. Variation usually isn’t a problem, and most homeowners choose natural stone for a diversified look. But sometimes you’ll notice colors and patterns that you don’t really care for — and you have to either live with them or start from scratch.

At Cabinet-S-Top, we welcome the opportunity to be your professional and help you create a stylish and beautiful kitchen you can enjoy everyday.  Give us a call at 330.239.3630 or visit our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~

Monday, October 10, 2016

Kitchen Confidential: 11 Ways to Design With Black

 by Sam Ferris

From baseboards to countertops, go 
bold by adding black finishes to your kitchen

Black finishes are no stranger to kitchens, but they’re definitely trending right now. Homeowners are rolling out inky hues on just about every surface, from window trims and baseboards to cabinets and countertops. Whether you want to play it safe with decorative pieces or go all-in with pitch-black flooring, you too can get a taste of the dark side. Here are 11 ideas to get you started.

1. Light fixtures. We all know lighting plays a key role in just about every kitchen, but so can the color of your light fixtures. A spherical chandelier with a wrought iron finish may turn out to be both the centerpiece of your dinette area and your entire kitchen, as can a trio of black pendant lights above an island. The traditional Austin, Texas, kitchen seen here combines both in classic fashion.

2. Accent pieces. If you’re nervous about going black, small decor pieces can make the plunge a lot less intimidating. They’re easy and inexpensive to swap out and won’t completely alter your kitchen’s aesthetic. Lamp shades, vases, antique timepieces, picture frames, artwork and place settings are just some of the ways to throw a little chic black into the mix.

3. Furniture. Even though furniture involves more commitment than decor does, it’s still a relatively safe way to venture over to the dark side. While larger furniture pieces are by no means inexpensive, it certainly costs less to change out black furniture than to change out countertops, backsplashes and cabinets. Less costly pieces include dining chairs and bar stools. If you’re more adventurous and willing to spend a bit, try an all-black dining table.

4. Hardware. Even the tiniest of kitchen accessories can don a black finish. Cabinet hardware is no exception. There’s more than one finish to choose from, including iron, nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. Iron hardware is perfect for traditional-, Spanish- or Mediterranean-style kitchens, as is oil-rubbed bronze, which brings a bit of warmth to the table. Sleek black nickel hardware adds a polished touch to contemporary and modern designs. Opt for large pulls to show off more black.

5. The island. Say what you want about black cabinetry, but there are few better ways to get a look that’s as smart and sophisticated. Painted black island cabinetry can fulfill so many different design desires. It can wow in contemporary kitchens that have a clean white palette or add a little bit of charm to farmhouse and French country designs. Let your black island stand alone as an accent piece or paint another one of your cabinets to match it.

Consider adding a touch of gold to dark cabinets with a vintage finish. It’s one way to go black but still incorporate some color and warmth into your design.

6. Backsplashes. If you’ve ever shopped for a backsplash, you can imagine all of the creative black designs available. These include classic options like subway tile, and various materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, glass and even natural stone.

A black backsplash doesn’t have to be loud. If you’re not a fan of solid black mosaic or ceramic tile, choose a style that blends black with one or more other colors for a softer look. This Shabby Chic-style kitchen’s mosaic backsplash coordinates with the solid black countertop but also has lighter colors in it.

7. Countertops. If you think black cabinets and backsplashes are too bold, your counters are a good middle-of-the-road option. Black countertops can tie together a crisp black-and-white color scheme, and you can find them in a variety of materials, including granite, quartz and soapstone.

If you want a subtler way to introduce black into your countertops, shop around for a style that has movement and veining. You can also mix colors and styles. This contemporary kitchen features dark perimeter countertops but maintains a light and airy design with a white island countertop.

8. The range hood. Black appliances are totally out of style, right? Not quite. Metallic hoods are one of 2016’s hottest kitchen trends, and this includes black metal finishes. Whether it’s made of stainless steel, painted wood or metal, a black range hood can hold its own in a kitchen full of high-end finishes.

9. Window trim. This option comes with a fair share of flair. Outlining your windows with a deep black hue, or using black on the baseboards or crown molding, creates depth and dimension and is undoubtedly a statement-making design choice. Start with one of your windows and see how it transforms your kitchen.

10. Cabinets and shelves.Cabinets and shelves aren’t just for storage and display; they can be accent pieces too. This Scandinavian kitchen features open shelving with a painted black interior, which accentuates the shape of the island. If you have floating shelves, you might like the contrast of black shelves against a light wall or backsplash.

Have open or floating shelves? Squeeze a little bit of black into your kitchen by choosing dark shelf supports or corbels. They deliver a lot of visual impact against a white backdrop.

11. Flooring. It’s a decision many homeowners wouldn’t dare to make, but installing a black floor can be well worth it. A dark tile floor can ground your kitchen design and create a little drama. Pieces with lighter finishes will also appear bigger, better and bolder against a rich black backdrop.

Maintenance is the other important consideration aside from aesthetics. Dust and dirt tend to show more on darker surfaces, so stay away if you want to do less upkeep.

You can tone a black hardwood floor down a notch by adding texture via grains and knots. Grains may even bring in a bit of white to soften the color of your floor.

Love black hues in the kitchen?  At Cabinet-S-Top, we can help you create with just a splash of color or help you go bold to make a statement.  To get started, stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

10 Statement-Making Mirror Styles for the Bath

by Laura Gaskill

Framed in carved wood, warm brass or Venetian detailing,these bathroom mirrors are lovely to wake up to

Why settle for a standard-issue mirror when the alternatives are so beautiful? Swapping out a plain wall mirror or medicine cabinet in favor of something with more presence is a budget-friendly way to make over the bathroom or powder room without investing in a full remodel. From chunky and rustic to intricate and refined, these 10 mirrors can make your bathroom the fairest of all.

1. Carved wood. An uncommon carved wood mirror found at an antiques shop makes a stunning focal point in this bathroom. Of course, yours doesn’t need to be antique to make an impact — any mirror with a substantial carved wood frame will do wonders to warm up the bath. As long as the room has proper ventilation, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about steam damaging a wooden mirror frame, but if you’re concerned (or if it’s a pricey antique), stick with the powder room, where there’s less moisture.

Tip: If your mirror is quite wide, try hanging a pendant or a pair of pendants from the ceiling instead of the usual wall sconces to save space. Clear or tinted glass (rather than an opaque fixture) is best if it will hang in front of the mirror.

2. Driftwood. Organic, beachy and statement-making, a great big driftwood mirror is sure to become the focal point of the room. Look for one that is about three-quarters as wide as the vanity, with a nice thick frame. It’s best if it looks a bit wild.

3. Venetian. Elegant and refined, a Venetian mirror makes an especially lovely choice for a small bathroom, where a mirror with an oversize frame may overwhelm the space. And remember, a bit of contrast is a good thing — pairing the curving shape of a Venetian mirror with crisp, modern fixtures creates a welcome balance.

4. Bright brass. Bright, warm metal finishes like gold and brass look fresh and modern in a slim-framed mirror like the one shown here. Combine a brass mirror with a concrete sink and a low-profile faucet in black or brass for an of-the-moment look that also has staying power.

5. Antique brass. Less trendy than bright brass, mirrors with an antique brass finish are warm and timeless yet still current. Instead of going matchy-matchy, consider mixing things up with black fixtures, such as the oil-rubbed bronze faucets shown here.

6. Tilted. Metal-framed tilted mirrors that look as though they could have been pulled from an old-time apothecary are satisfyingly simple. Work them into a traditional, modern or industrial look — this unfussy style goes with just about anything. 

7. Sunburst. Cheerful and shiny, a sunburst mirror would make a fun choice for a powder room. Depending on the style of sunburst you choose, this look can read midcentury (like the one shown here), elegantly Art Deco or traditional-with-a-twist.

8. Nailhead. A shapely mirror frame accented with nailhead trim is an undeniably glamorous choice for the bathroom. Select a frame that really fills the space above the vanity (but does not extend beyond the edges) for a bold look.
9. Nautically inspired. Simple round mirrors hung from rope bring to mind a ship’s portholes. A nice choice for a crisp, modern space or any home near the sea, these round mirrors look equally smart as a single or in a pair above a double sink.

10. Mismatched cluster. Want a creative, economical way to fill up a large wall space over a double-width vanity? Try hanging a collection of small mirrors as you might hang a salon-style art wall. Aim for a mix of frame shapes and finishes for an eclectic look, and fill in any awkward gaps with tiny mirrors.

When your ready to remodel your bathroom, Cabinet-S-Top's designer can guide you to create the space you envision.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~