backsplash, kitchen renovation

C.A.D. – Computer Aided Custom Cabinetry

Cabinetry is made in a variety of ways. In today’s digital age there is woodworking software designed to help design custom kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. In the old-days all cabinet manufacturing was done by hand and designed on paper. Today’s manufacturing process has become more advanced, and there are even templates that can help homeowners design the cabinets of their dreams.

Today cabinets many cabinets are designed using computers that aid in the design process. Users can get a feel for what the cabinets would look like with 3-D cabinetry software. But there is more to the cabinet manufacturing process than just the software.

Cabinet Manufacturing

How Cabinet Making Changed

The old required tools for a cabinet making job were a table saw, some drills, and a lot of measuring. Everything was measured and done by hand. All that hard work paid off, but when computers came onto the scene they brought with them a whole new level of efficiency and precision for cabinet markers. Today much of the design process is done using software that makes the job of custom cabinet manufacturers much easier.

Framed vs. Frameless Construction

When it comes to cabinet construction and manufacturing, there are a couple basic design styles homeowners can choose between from. There are cabinets made with frames and there are also frameless cabinets. The frameless style is sometimes referred to as the European style of cabinetry. Framed cabinets have a frame around the front edge of the cabinet, and oftentimes are used because of the style they bring.

A benefit of frameless cabinets is that it is much easier to access what is within them, and many that choose a European style of cabinets do so for this reason.

Materials

There are several materials used in the construction of cabinets. The most obvious is the wood that is used on the outside. From cherry to walnut, to pecan and red oak, there are a variety of woods used to make cabinets. Another one of the materials used is MDF, or medium-density-fiberboard. It’s an inexpensive, durable material that’s used in lots of woodworking projects. Particle board, a synthetic wood made from wood chips and sawmill shavings, is also used. Plywood is another material used in the making of cabinets.

Construction

The cabinet itself is constructed like a box, constructed with MDF, particle board, and plywood. The cabinet boxes are reinforced with either triangular beams at the corners or beams along the inside running from side to side. The doors of cabinets are generally made of solid wood, and the shelves are usually made of plywood or MDF.

The Finish

In the marking of cabinets, the finishing process is just as important as the construction. In the old days all finishing was done by hand and piece by piece, but today’s manufacturing facilities sometimes have large-scale processes that can get the finishing down faster and more efficiently.

There are several kinds of finishes that are still used on cabinets. Stains change the natural color of the wood but allow the grains to still be seen. Paints come in many colors and can be used to change the color of the cabinet. Other finishes used in the construction of cabinets are varnishes, which provide an outer protection. A glaze can also be added to give a shiny, somewhat transparent coat on top of the finish.

This is just a basic overview of all that goes into the construction of custom cabinets. Today, computer software can be used to make the entire process more efficient, and is just one of the many ways that cabinet manufacturing and construction have changed over the years.

Protecting Your Kitchen Cabinets From Dogs, Cats and other Pets

Protecting Your Kitchen Cabinets From Dogs, Cats and other Pets

Keeping Custom Cabinets Pet-Proof

One of the most exciting things about home renovation is getting new cabinets. Having custom cabinets installed is one of the best ways to make a kitchen come to life. But one of the downfalls of bringing in beautiful new kitchen cabinetry is that, for pet owners, those great new custom cabinets are just a scratch away from being damaged. That’s why it’s so important for homeowners with pets to make their custom cabinets “pet-proof.”

Dog and cat owners have to be on guard against things that other homeowners don’t have to worry about. A new puppy is more than just cute. Around a new set of custom kitchen cabinetry, the puppy is a hazard. The good news is that there are precautions that can be taken for a homeowner to protect their kitchen cabinets from their dogs or cats.

How to Make Cabinets Pet-Proof

Continue reading “Protecting Your Kitchen Cabinets From Dogs, Cats and other Pets” »

Living Room Decor

How to Upgrade Your Home This Winter

The Top Ways to Renovate Your Home this Season

It’s never the wrong time of year to improve the value of a home. Once spring rolls around, it’s going to be the popular time of year to buy and sell homes. That means that this winter is the best time to start renovating and spicing up the house. Whether it’s adding fancy bathroom vanities, renovating a kitchen’s floors or cabinetry, or even doing a total home renovation, there are a variety of ways to upgrade a home this winter.

Focusing on the Home Millwork

Continue reading “How to Upgrade Your Home This Winter” »

Wood or Tile Floors for Kitchen Renovation

As a homeowner, there are always things that could be repaired or renovated. That is particularly true when it comes to the kitchen. Some questions, like “should I get wood or tile floors in the kitchen?” come up in nearly every conversation between a homeowner and their designer. Thankfully, there are no wrong answers to questions like that, but there is still advice that can provide clarity.

The Burning Question of Kitchen Renovation

Wood Flooring or Tile Flooring? There are certain advantages to both wood and tile flooring. That’s why it’s important to discuss the pro’s and con’s of each.

Continue reading “Wood or Tile Floors for Kitchen Renovation” »

painting, painting tips

Snap Crackle Pop: The Concept of Single-Wall Painting

Sometimes it can be difficult to strike the right balance between bold and traditional.  Though it’s safe to say that most people would like their home to have at least some level of creativity and personal flair, there’s also nothing wrong with sticking to the basics.  One of our favorite trends that we’ve been seeing recently is the concept of single-wall painting.  Single-wall painting, as we use it, does not mean that only one wall is painted, but that only one wall is painted a bold color.  We love it, and here’s why:

Contrast

If you have an entire room painted one color, that color ends up going unnoticed after a while.  Regardless of whether you’ve decided to paint a room something bold like red or purple, or something soft like beige or egg shell, both types of colors will lose their effect when you can’t view them in contrast to an “other”.  That being said, in choosing to paint only one wall of a room a bold color, that color actually ends up becoming more highlighted and more noticeable than it would be had it been the color of the entire room.

Making A Statement

In having only one wall of your room painted a bold color, that wall automatically becomes somewhat of a frame or a highlighted background for a piece of furniture or object that you’d like to highlight.  In bedrooms, the boldly painted wall is often the one with the bed against it, but it can also be used to highlight a particular shelf of items, a dramatic piece such as a grandfather clock or armoire, or anything else you feel is worthy of underscoring in your home.

Potential Color Schemes

In general, we like to caution against using this technique with white walls as your “simple” color, as it can sometimes make  a room appear unfinished.  However, even a light grey (especially a light grey) can maintain the same purity and simplicity as white without the unfinished look.  Light grey can look stunning when paired with yellows, purples, and blues.  We also love the combination of beige and red.  The subtle oranges of the beige bring out the warmth in the red, which makes for a soothing overall feeling in the room.

For more information on paint tips, home renovation, or design, contact Alliance for your next big home improvement!

backsplash, kitchen renovation

Kitchen Finishing Touches: Backsplash, Countertops, and More

You’re all set with your kitchen renovation.  The proper walls are knocked down, you know where your island is going, and you know what color the room is going to be.  You’re on the right track, so don’t worry.  But what about the finishing touches?  Will the things that could be left, more or less, blank, stay as such?  Plain white countertops are nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is leaving paint as the only thing that covers your kitchen walls, but to give your kitchen a clean, finished look, consider our suggestions for the finishing touches.

Backsplash

In almost every kitchen, you’re going to have some space left between where your countertop ends and where the bottom of your cabinet begins.  This is where backsplash comes in.  You can certainly leave that space painted, but backsplash tiling can add an entirely new depth and intricacy to your kitchen’s design.  However, tiling of all the same color sort of defeats the purpose of tiling at all.  In tile work, each section of your workspace is automatically broken down into a small piece (your tile), so why not take that opportunity to do something beautiful and polychrome?  No need to go wild, even a two or three-color backsplash scheme can brighten the room.  We recommend staying within the same color family in backsplash tiling.  That is to say: if your kitchen is painted a deep cherry red, consider backsplash tiling that ranges from white to pink to scarlet to black.  An observable color spectrum will tie the room together and make the central color pop even more.

Countertops

As far as countertops go, we have two major suggestions: granite and steel.  Two of the strongest substances on Earth (as we’re assuming diamond countertops are probably a little out of everyone’s price range), granite and galvanized steel are extremely practical as countertops.  Their scratch-resistance and sturdiness make them ideal cutting boards, no cutting board required.  Galvanized steel has popped up a lot recently along with the use of Edison bulbs and other nods to industry.  This is not surprising, considering the fact that modern design is all about minimalism and simplicity, which is found in spades in the industrial sphere.  Granite lends itself to a more finished, professional look, and can come in a shocking variety of styles.  Browns, blacks, and whites are common to see in granite, but what about greens? Oranges?  Reds?  The vast number of colors that you can find within the granite itself means that it will mesh well with many different paint colors and backsplash color schemes.

In designing your dream kitchen, don’t stop just feet before the finish line.  Take the time to work out the finishing touches, and let Alliance Home Design help you do it.

home renovation

Think Outside the Room: Ignore Conventional Home Plans

Whether you’re renovating an old home or starting from scratch, you may enlist the help of an architect or home designer.  Professionals can prove to be invaluable resources, and their opinions certainly mean a lot, but don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who has their business down to a science.  This may sound counterintuitive, but a home designer has a set formula for the layout of every home they design is going to produce a design that isn’t only unoriginal, but cookie-cutter.  Alliance Home Design thinks outside the box, and outside the room, every time, and one way we suggest starting your home plan?  Forget what rooms are “supposed” to be for.

A Bedroom-Sized Bathroom

A lot of homes nowadays have a guest bedroom or two, but you know what they say: house guests and fish both start to stink after three days.  Rather than keeping your spare rooms available for potential passersby, why not convert your extra space into something that you will definitely use every day?  That’s right.  A bathroom.  It seems crazy, and requires a little bit of extra plumbing and electrical work, but that spare bedroom can become a bathroom with more space than you can imagine.  No need to cram the toilet next to the bathtub next to the sink.  By turning your spare room into a bathroom, you open up the possibility of a jacuzzi-style bathtub, a large, chic farm sink, or even an armchair (Yes! We’ve seen it!).  People will applaud your creative use of space and leave with the question, “So what did they do with the room that was supposed to be the bathroom?”, which we also have the answer to…

A Bathroom-Sized Closet

Now “bathroom-sized” doesn’t exactly sound grand, but a closet the size of even a small, simple bathroom is huge in terms of closet space.  Many closets that are advertised as “walk-in” make that claim very ambitiously, and unless the space between your steps is about 6 inches, you’re not really going to be able to walk anywhere.  Same as with the converted bathroom, this room switch will require a little bit of plumbing work, but it is well worth the space.  A walk-in closet the size of a bathroom affords you the ability to not only having a better home for your clothes and accessories, but storage for the rest of your home as well. 

At Alliance Home Design, we want to create the home that’s right for you, not the home that’s right for just anyone.  A bedroom-sized kitchen?  A kitchen-sized living room?  Anything is possible with a creative mind and Alliance Home Design by your side.

bathroom remodeling

Choosing A New Tub For Your Bathroom Renovation

Doing a full renovation of your bathroom is a large undertaking, and if you’re going to change a few things, you might as well change them all, and you’ll probably have to change them all in order for all of the elements of your new bathroom to mesh well.  Below, we want to suggest some potential tubs for your new bathroom.

Clawfoot

If you have the room and the budget, a clawfoot tub is a beautiful and elegant addition to any bathroom.  Typically freestanding, that is, no one wall is attached to the tub, clawfoot tubs require a bit more room than other tub designs.  Clawfoot tubs were often used by royalty or the very rich.  Clawfoot tubs are featured in the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  The Biltmore, belonging to and built by members of the Vanderbilt family, is a mansion on an 8,000 acre estate.  Clawfoot tubs won’t exactly make your home the Biltmore but…it’s one step closer.

Jacuzzi

Go big or go home should be the slogan for a jacuzzi tub.  You’re already spending thousands on a renovation, why not spend the little extra to make your bathtub into a full-blown spa.  Jets, bubbles, even LED lights can transform your bathroom into something unrecognizable.  We usually recommend that those who wish to input a jacuzzi tub also opt for a standing shower, as once you get in a jacuzzi it is very hard to get out, and we don’t want to be responsible for any tardies at work!

3-Wall Alcove

The most common type of bathtub, a 3-wall alcove is a tub that typically found at one end of a bathroom, touching the 3 ends farthest from the means of entrance.  The most affordable and least obstructive bathtub style, it can still be quite elegant.  Tiling the sides, building out a ledge, and installing a premium shower head can make even the simplest of bathtub designs feel custom-made and gorgeous.

At Alliance, all we want is for you to end up with the dream home that you deserve.  A bathroom can often be a make or break in selling a house, so shouldn’t it be a make or break in living in one?  Treat you and your family right and renovate your bathroom and get a brand new bathtub to go in it today, with Alliance Home Design.

kitchen remodeling

2016 Home Design Trends

At Alliance, we’re all about staying current and staying stylish–affordably, efficiently, and expertly.  Here, we want to lay out for you some design trends that we’ve noticed in 2016 that may stick around for a while, and could inspire the design of your own home.

Two-Toned Kitchen Cabinets

Though traditional kitchens feature cabinets all of the same color and tone of that color, 2016 has seen a departure from that mundanity.  A single-toned kitchen is classic, elegant, and simple, so if that’s the look that you’re trying to achieve, you may want to stay away from two-toned cabinets.  Two-toned cabinets are fun, interesting, and fairly uncommon.  The number of options and combinations you have increase exponentially when you’re using two-tones, which means your chances of creating a kitchen that no one else has ever created go through the roof.

Islands

We know, kitchen islands are nothing new.  However, what are starting to pop up more frequently are what are known as workhorse islands.  Workhorse islands essentially refer to islands that exist for much more than counter space.  Workhorse islands can feature seating (such as high-boys and bar stools), storage (such as cabinets or a hollow bottom), and utilities (such as stove-tops and deep sinks).  These islands are not only useful, but also make your kitchen feel like more apart of your house as a whole.

Openness

In a sense, this goes along with the idea of installing workhorse islands, but it also refers to the idea that your kitchen, and the elements of it that define it as such, are beautiful all on their own.  This means hanging pots, open shelves, glass cabinets, see-through refrigerator doors (yes they exist!)…the list goes on.  This openness follows the philosophy that your food and the tools used to prepare it are aesthetically pleasing, and part of what makes your home your own.

To implement any of these ideas into the design of your home, or anything else you may want to incorporate, contact Alliance Home Design today!

custom kitchen

Customizing Your Kitchen

Depending on what your lifestyle is like, you could be spending a lot of time in your kitchen.  It’s not just where you cook, but depending on your culture could also be where you eat, socialize, and spend quality time with friends and family.  Creating a kitchen that’s right for you is well worth the money, as your kitchen should be somewhere you feel at home.  Even if you’re not the type that adores their kitchen, or even spends very much time there, your kitchen is still a reflection of you.  Below are some ideas for exactly what parts of your kitchen you can customize to get the best results for you and your family.

Height

Not all of us are as vertically gifted as others, and high kitchen cabinets can be just plain impractical for those of us who measure under 5’6’’.  Many kitchens feature a cabinet above the refrigerator, typically used to store things many adults don’t want youngsters to get ahold of, but what about adults that just happen to be the size of youngsters?  As we age, we get shorter, but it doesn’t mean we should go hungry!  Properly sizing the height of your cabinets as well as the height of your counter tops, bar stools, or appliances can make all the difference in your kitchen feeling comfortable and truly customized to fit your needs.

Color

Kitchens tend to stick to the same old color palette: whites, blacks, browns, and maybe reds if one is feeling particularly adventurous, but it doesn’t have to be that way!  Customizing the color of your kitchen to fit with your whole house is completely possible with the right contractor.  Greens, blues, yellows, oranges, purples, and more are all possible if you just do your research.

Dining Space

Like we said before, not everyone spends the same amount of time in their kitchen.  If you’re the type that likes to eat and socialize where you cook, then you probably want some sort of dining and gathering space in your kitchen.  An island with bar stools gives your kitchen a very open and welcoming feel, and it allows the cook to interact with their guests while continuing to prepare a meal for them.  However if you’re the type that prefers to keep cooking and company separate and your current kitchen has some sort of dining space, don’t be afraid to get rid of it!  A custom kitchen is supposed to be designed for you, so there’s no shame in eliminating the parts of it that you know you won’t use. 

Being conventional shouldn’t limit you from having the kitchen you really want.  For a kitchen remodeling consultation contact Alliance today!