Monday, June 26, 2017

11 Great Design Tips You Might Have Missed This Week

by Mitchell Parker

Swap out your light fixtures, choose dovetail
drawers for heavy dishes and know where
to stop your kitchen backsplash

1. Paint your interior doors dark. If your home has white walls and ceilings and you’re looking to add a little character to the interior without repainting the entire home, consider painting just your doors black or charcoal gray, as was done in this charming Nashville, Tennessee, home of former Paramore guitarist Josh Farro and his wife, Jenna.

We’ve written before about reasons to consider painting your interior doors dark, but to recap: It adds instant elegance and contrast and helps highlight other black accents in the room, if you’ve got them. 

2. Use reclaimed wood for an island kick plate. Kitchen islands are busy hubs that have kids and adults bellying up to work, eat or chat with whoever’s cooking. But if you’re concerned about the inevitable kicks scratching and chipping away at your island, consider wrapping the seating portion of the island in reclaimed wood. The material won’t show dents and dings as prominently, and it’s a great way to add warmth and personality. 

3. Consider a window backsplash. If you’re looking to get more light into your kitchen, and if your budget and home structure allow, consider punching as many holes as possible into a cabinet wall. Here, window slivers above and below the hanging cabinets and a large window behind the range create a cool effect that brightens the industrial space.

4. Swap out your light fixtures. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive and easy way to bring style to your home, try swapping out your current light fixtures for something a bit more dramatic. It’s a pretty straightforward DIY project, though you must use caution when doing any kind of electrical work and always make sure you turn the power off. Lowe’s has a pretty simple guide to follow for changing a light fixture.

5. Don’t discount plywood. These white-stained plywood walls in a Swedish home show how powerful simple materials can be when thoughtfully designed and implemented. 

6. Vary your flooring materials. This London kitchen features a lot of bold style choices, but the mix of floor materials is definitely at the top. Hexagonal encaustic tiles wrap around to delineate the kitchen and dining area, and then, through a dappling effect, transition into antique parquet flooring in a herringbone pattern that leads to the living spaces. 

7. Get to know marble contact paper. There’s no shortage of DIY magic you can do with marble-patterned adhesive paper. In the Washington, D.C., studio shown here, homeowner Liz Fassbender used the material to elevate the look of an Ikea coffee table by applying it to the bottom shelf.

8. Grow herbs in the kitchen. Blessed with a sunny window in your kitchen? Consider growing herbs and other edible plants that you can use to garnish drinks and meals. 

9. Know where to end your backsplash. It’s a dilemma, but designer and Houzz writer Yanic Simard breaks down what you need to know about where to stop your precious tile material. It depends on several factors, including ceiling height and where your cabinets and countertops end. Click here to read his article.

10. Get down with durable dovetails. Deep drawers are great for easily accessing kitchen items in lower cabinets. But without proper construction, those drawers might not be able to bear the weight of heavy dishes. Talk with your cabinetmaker or kitchen designer about dovetail drawers, or another durable construction method, to handle heavy loads. 

11. Consider a convertible coffee-and-dining table. Space is often hard to come by in New York, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up the comforts of more spacious living. In this 400-square-foot apartment, the homeowners used a table from Ligne Roset that can be lowered to coffee table height for everyday use and raised to dining table height for meals.

Cabinet-S-Top is an award winning kitchen and bath remodeling company serving Northeast Ohio since 1991.   Specializing in expert design, product selection and installation services. Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where Should You Start and Stop Your Backsplash?

by Yanic Simard

Consider these tips and tricks to work around cabinets,
windows and more for a finished look in your kitchen

Wondering where to end your backsplash? Never even thought about it? It can be a surprisingly complex question. These tips will help you find the right place to stop your backsplash to get a crisp look in any kitchen.

From a designer perspective, the best time to stop a backsplash is … never! After all, when you’ve chosen a beautiful material, why wouldn’t you want more of it? Taking a backsplash wall to wall and counter to ceiling makes for seamless lines and definitely a dramatic effect.

Of course, in reality it isn’t always an option to cover every inch of wall in a coveted stone. Even in this luxe kitchen someone had to decide: Where should the finish end on the range wall? Above the range hood? Below it? In your project, the decisions can be simple or quite complicated, depending on multiple factors.

General Rule No. 1

Opinions differ on this, but for a polished look I typically tile just the main walls of the kitchen (those that back the cabinets), ending at the corners rather than wrapping around to finish the sides, if there are any. In the case of an odd corner (like on the left here, where there is likely a pipe in the wall), consider the whole corner part of the “back.”

In some cases, a “sidesplash” on a noncabinet wall can be functional and beautiful, but skipping it is the simplest way to avoid situations where elements don’t line up neatly. Typically, the counter, upper cabinets and wall all end at different places on the sides, leaving no definitive stopping point.

In this example, the tile ends at the corners instead of wrapping onto the small wall with the doorway. If it did wrap onto that wall, the two sides of the door would be hard to balance and likely a bit awkward.

Kitchen Size

Small kitchens. Fully covering the wall usually is your best bet in a small kitchen (or in a larger kitchen that has just a small area for the backsplash).

This sort of layout, with just a single backsplash area between the fridge cabinet and side wall, is common in galley kitchens in apartments and condominiums. Tiling the entire area in one material makes for the tidiest finish, which can help make the kitchen look its biggest.

Big kitchens. In the case of a very large kitchen, or one with dramatically tall ceilings, taking tile to full height can bust the budget or completely overload the look. In a case like this, ending the tile vertically at the same line as the upper cabinets gives a better finish.

If you use a darker color for the tiles than the remaining upper wall, it can actually help bring down the apparent ceiling line so the room feels a little more intimate.

In spaces with taller ceilings, a bulkhead often is used to fill in the void above the uppers. This also gives the tile a natural place to finish, so everything looks pleasingly framed in and there’s no empty space left to collect knickknacks and dust.

General Rule No. 2

Knowing where to stop the tile horizontally is easy if your kitchen runs wall to wall, but what if it ends partway along a longer wall? In a case like this, where the kitchen cabinetry ends midroom, the best option is to end the upper cabinets, lower cabinets and backsplash all on one crisp line.

Notice at the right side of this kitchen how the backsplash aligns with the upper and lower cabinets — while the counter hangs out over that line a little bit — rather than extending to the end of the counter and sticking out past the upper cabinets (which to me would be much less tidy).
Of course, this requires the upper and lower cabinets to align crisply, which can take careful planning when laying out the kitchen. Using filler panels and adjusting the spacing around a window can help make cabinets end at the same place on the top and bottom, even if the widths of each cabinet don’t match perfectly above and below.

Other Considerations

Peninsulas. What about times when the upper and lower cabinets don’t align? A common place for this to occur is U- or L-shaped kitchens where the uppers end over a peninsula. In this case, I would suggest ending the backsplash in line with the uppers, so you still get a crisp vertical line.

Windows. Sometimes there will be very small areas of wall between windows and a counter or cabinet. It may be tempting to leave these areas empty (and often easier on the tile installer), but the overall effect will be subtly tidier if you imagine the window does not exist when planning where to end the tile.

In this space, the tile continues to the end of the counter, as ending at the upper cabinet would be far too early.

Here, the tile continues all the way to the corner and up to the height of the upper shelves so that from a distance the line of the upper cabinets is unbroken. It’s a subtle difference versus simply ending at the window, but these little details can make a kitchen feel so much more finished.

Modern slab backsplashes. In a kitchen with modern styling and a cool slab backsplash, it’s extra important for the elements to align pleasingly, or the look can become sloppy. Here, the cabinets and counter are sized to line up perfectly. When installing a peninsula with an overhang, you can also add or subtract an inch or two of counter to make the math work out just right.

Traditional slab backsplashes. Going for a more traditional or farmhouse-inspired look? A charming slab backsplash like this benefits from having some negative space left around it and doesn’t really need to line up with anything — in fact, it can be almost better if it doesn’t.

Edgy tiles. If you’ve got an interesting tile shape, such as a playful hexagon, you can consider ending the tile with a messy edge to give a more relaxed appeal.

This can apply to the horizontal ends and the verticals. This tile fades slowly to white vertically so that the vibrant blue doesn’t have to carry all the way to the ceiling, and it makes for a unique feature.
Cabinet-free walls. In L- or U-shaped kitchens that have large areas — or entire walls — with no upper cabinets, you can tile the empty wall full height or simply continue the upper line of the backsplash around the entire room, as done here.

Ending the backsplash with a shelf, even a shallow one, can give it a nice cap on walls where there are no other particular ending points such as a window or cabinet.

Differing heights. In a kitchen with many items at different heights, I would still use the bottom of the cabinets as a main stopping point, with possibly a little exception at the range for a taller backsplash up to the hood. Ending at the windows would leave an awkward sliver of space below the cabinets.

In more traditional kitchens, sometimes the tile will run even a little above the bottom of the cabinets, which gives a pleasing overlap that feels more relaxed and reduces the need to cut tiles into tiny slivers.

Another way to solve any backsplash height conundrums is to use an elegant short backsplash, just a few inches tall. This way, you can run it around the entire counter at one unbroken height and leave the rest of the wall a uniform color.

You can also pair a short backsplash with a second backsplash material, so you have one style (usually the more high-end material, such as a stone slab) run continuously and then a second material in pieces where needed to fill in.

One Last Idea

Keep in mind, a full-height backsplash might not be as budget-busting or as visually overwhelming as you might think. A classic porcelain tile, with an optional contrast grout, can give a sophisticated, classic look for just a few dollars per square foot, meaning it can actually be the more luxe-looking option than a higher-end material used in a conservative dose.

Need a designer to help you create the desired look for your kitchen?  To get started, stop by Cabinet-S-Top located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Monday, June 5, 2017

12 Ways to Make Any Bathroom Look Bigger

by Yanic Simard

These designer tricks can help you
expand your space — without moving any walls

Most of us dream of having a vast, spacious bathroom with a separate tub and shower, two sinks and maybe even a decadent chaise just for lounging between soaks. Well, whether you live that dream or not, you can make your bathroom live up to its full potential by using these strategies to give it a larger look. From carefully choosing your color palette and essential fixtures to employing a few clever visual tricks, you can use some or all of these tips to make your bathroom appear twice as large.

1. Go airy with white on white. One of the easiest ways to give your room a spacious look is to use lots of white — white tile, white paint, a white vanity and so on. This noncolor-color naturally recedes, making the space look bigger. It also reflects any available light, rather than absorbing it.
White finishes can make any space look bigger, but they’re especially effective in a bathroom. Since a bathroom typically has lots of white fixtures already (the tub, toilet and sink, for example), using white for other surfaces creates a seamless look that makes the space appear as airy as possible.

Note that using lots of white doesn’t mean the space has to lack character. Using different textural elements such as molding, pale stone or tile and fabric accents, as well as the occasional touch of metallics or wood, will retain the seamless look while still giving the eye lots of richness to take in.
2. Try tone on tone. Not a fan of stark white? You can still get a very big and breezy effect with a tone-on-tone palette in warm beige, soft grays or even faint hues such as powder blue. Choose a sumptuous tile, and find a paint color for the remaining walls that picks up on one of the hues within it. The overall effect is still serene and spa-like, without the jarring visual breaks to shrink your perception of the space.

3. Use a floating vanity. In a tight bathroom space, it can be tricky to balance a demand for storage with a desire for space to breathe. A floating vanity is a great answer. It gives you lots of room to store daily essentials, but the peek of flooring underneath makes the area feel a notch more open. In a very small space, having a little bit more room to plant your feet can make a big difference.
4. Less is more. If you don’t really need maximum storage, consider using a smaller vanity to leave a bit more open space, rather than fitting in the biggest unit you can. Leaving a little negative space will make the area feel less stuffed, and thus roomier. And if your toilet or tub is next to your vanity, you’ll appreciate the extra open space even more.
5. Go big with your mirror. A large mirror can double the size of your space and, in a bathroom especially, can really help visually double your investment.
In one sense, a very large mirror can be a bit expensive. However, compared with the price of tiling that wall, a mirror can actually give you an equally dramatic look (if not more so) at a better value.

Splurge on a large mirror with a beautiful frame, or go wall-to-wall with a custom-sized piece. The effect can be so powerful that you need little else to make the room look perfectly finished. This can be especially effective in slim powder rooms with small walls that don’t take much glass to cover.
6. Use a glass panel. Another great way to expand the look of your space is by replacing a shower curtain (which forms a bit of a visual wall even when drawn open) with a glass panel or door. The entire square footage of the room will be visible at once for a bigger look, especially when you’re in the shower.
If you prefer more privacy, you can use a frosted or tinted glass panel, which will still allow a lot of light to filter through so your shower experience feels less claustrophobic.

If you’re performing a complete renovation and don’t consider yourself a bath person, try skipping the tub altogether and installing just a shower stall instead. They are easier to get in and out of, and removing the tub eliminates a lot of bulk that eats up precious room.
7. Find your niche. Sometimes a little extra space can go a long way. Adding an open niche not only steals some empty wall cavity space to use as storage, but it can add a lot of visual depth that makes the walls look farther away than they really are.
Don’t love open shelving? Use that niche space for an inset cabinet and get all that functional storage without having a large object protruding into the room at eye level. This will make the vanity area feel much more open and give you lots of extra elbow room.

Keep in mind that plumbing, studs and other hidden conditions can affect where you can and can’t add a niche, so you should definitely talk to a professional before planning to open any walls.
8. Apply bright lighting. Good lighting is important to making any space look big and open, but in bathrooms, which often don’t have much natural light available, it’s especially important. Plus, in a bathroom, you need good lighting to do things such as shave or apply makeup effectively, so its importance can’t be overstated.
For these reasons, it’s key to have a rich lighting scheme, preferably with multiple light sources at different locations. A grid of ceiling lights, as well as sconces or a contemporary edge-lighted mirror will help you avoid shadowing and make the space feel bright and open.

In a small powder room, or where you can’t add new electrical for lights, try changing your ceiling light to one with multiple bulbs so you have light coming from several directions from one fixture.
9. Create long lines. Whether your bathroom is a typical rectangle or more oddly shaped, you can usually find one wall or area that’s a bit longer than others to emphasize. Adding a shelf, a band of tile, a molding chair rail or another long element (even a simple stripe of paint) can help emphasize the longest line in your room and draw the eye to the widest point.

In this room, the encroaching low ceiling is de-emphasized by the wide shelf and tile backsplash that highlight the widest point just below where the slope begins.
10. Visually push the walls apart. If your bathroom is already very long and tunnel-shaped, rather than emphasize the length even more, consider working against the length and visually stretching the width instead.

This room uses the direction of the long, elegant floor tiles, as well as a band of accent tile in the shower, to visually stretch the width of the room for a more balanced look and a less tunnel-like atmosphere.

11. Go vertical. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Sometimes, if your bathroom has small square footage, rather than try to make it look bigger horizontally, the smartest approach is to embrace the height as the largest dimension and emphasize that feature instead.

Using vertical elements as simple as a tall, thin mirror and a bold accent color on a skinny wall can enhance the height of a space and make the room feel big and breezy from that perspective. Add some delicate lights and a little black and white tile, and you’ve got lots to keep the eye moving from flooring to ceiling.

12. Keep a low profile. Want to add some personality or drama to your bathroom without visually shrinking the space? Just look down. Try adding drama to elements with a lower profile, such as the vanity or the floor tile, while keeping the elements around your eyeline more simple and open. This approach gives the room lots of character while still maintaining a sense of openness. In fact, having a dark or vibrant color near floor level can sometimes make the upper half of the room feel even more open and airy by contrast.

Ready to remodel your bathroom?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top to speak with one of our expert designers.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~