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” »

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.

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!

kitchen renovation

Elements of a Great Kitchen Renovation

Between cooking, eating, and just sitting around sharing stories, you can end up spending a tremendous amount of time in your kitchen.  A room that you spend so much time in should be pleasant to inhabit both from a design perspective and in a practical sense.  Pots and pans should be in the most convenient place possible, the cook should be able to talk to family and friends without being isolated, and people should be impressed by its design.

Socializing

Coming together over a meal has been a human custom for millennia, and your kitchen should be conducive to facilitating conversation.  An island is a great addition to your kitchen if you have the space for it.  Acting as a large table/counter space that sits in the middle of the kitchen, an island totally opens up space and prevents the cook from being isolated in a corner facing the wall while cooking. When people have an island, they typically purchase bar stools to line it with and install the stove directly into it to easier facilitate conversation.  A chef being able to cook and talk to their guests while they do so is an invaluable amenity in any kitchen.


Convenience

Whether you’re in the kitchen every day or always seem to be ordering take out, when you do cook you want your dishes, cookware, utensils, and appliances to be in easily accessible and practical places in your kitchen.  In kitchen design, people seem to get stuck in the same old routines as to what goes where, and what’s tradition isn’t always what’s best.  Pots and pans are often precariously stored in cabinets, which is not only unsightly, but dangerous as well.  Installing a row of hooks in your kitchen to hang your pots and pans from proves to be very aesthetically pleasing, provides easy access to cookware, and frees up cabinet space for other things that can be more easily stacked.

Storage

Rectangular cabinets aren’t your only option for kitchen storage, and too often people get stuck in a rut thinking inside the box, or in this case, inside the cabinet.  Consider custom cabinets with unusual shapes that are more suited to your needs.  For instance, cabinets that are tall, narrow, and slightly slanted to one side make for great baking sheet storage.  They stack nicely sideways as the slant forces them to stay upright by leaning on each other.

When redoing your kitchen, give it the love and attention it deserves.  Think outside the box, get the custom look you deserve, and do it with the best at Alliance Home Design.

bathroom remodeling

Renovating Your Bathroom For Resale

If you’re looking into the possibility of selling your home, starting to consider small scale renovations is a good idea.  By spending a little more money to start with you can end up raising the value of your home exponentially.  Bathrooms have been shown to be the most highly scrutinized room by potential buyers, so you want to make sure that yours is up to snuff before inviting people to take a look at it.  Bathroom renovations can be expensive, but by doing the proper research beforehand you can avoid costly mistakes and a drawn out renovation process.  The investment is well worth it, and small changes can result in big money.

Stereo System

A built in music system in your bathroom is an inexpensive luxury to install that immediately increases the value of your bathroom dramatically.  Though a small amenity, being able to toggle between the radio, your iPod, and CDs without getting out of the tub is a pretty sweet treat.  Great for relaxation, romance, and convenience, this cheap renovation is well worth the money.

Counter Space

In smaller bathrooms, it can be hard to install a lot of counter space, but it’s an element that a lot of buyers find extremely necessary.  If you’re able to accommodate it, you should definitely consider installing double sinks, as the counter space offered on either side and in between can be a major selling point in your home, not to mention the benefit of having two sinks in the first place. 

Shower Amenities

You may have noticed that in some hotels there are built-in shampoo and conditioner dispensers in the wall.  Instead of struggling to eke out liquid from the bottle, you can dispense it with the push of a button right in your own home.  It’s inexpensive and a whimsical little luxury that appeals to everyone.  An additional investment you could make in your bathroom is a large, whirlpool bath, such as a jacuzzi.  The word “jacuzzi” has certain luxurious connotations that will be the cherry on top of your bathroom remodeling.

If you can afford it, redoing your bathroom before selling your house can be a great way to increase its value.  Between new sinks, vanities, tubs, and anything in between, make sure you’re getting the best for your money and contact Alliance Home Design today for a consultation.

crown molding, contractor, installation, renovation

Installing Crown Molding: What is Your Contractor Doing?

Installing crown molding is a simple and effective way to give your home class, elegance, and charm without spending an exorbitant amount of money.  Because moldings are not typically installed at eye-level, they can seem to go unnoticed, but how unnoticed are they really?  Your brain is always taking in information, and though guests may not comment on your molding, they are subconsciously detecting the refinement of your home that employment of beautiful crown moldings will display.

The first step in installing crown molding is deciding which type of crown molding to use.  Different materials are better for different uses, and depending on what room of your home you’d like to install your crown molding in can determine what material you should use.  Wood makes for beautiful crown molding, but can be expensive.  A cheaper alternative is MDF, a combination of wood and resins, which is also pre-primed and ready to paint.  One thing to look out for in using MDF in molding is the level of moisture and humidity in the room you’re looking to install it in.  MDF will warp in great levels of humidity, meaning that it may not be the best choice for a bathroom, kitchen, or any room with excessive levels of moisture.

The next part is the hardest: cutting the corners of the molding.  This is a job best left to professionals, but it’s still helpful to know how they do it.  The easiest way to cut the corners of crown molding is using a coping saw.  A coping saw is the most popular tool for beginners.  It is a saw with a narrow blade that stretches across a U-shaped frame and is used for cutting the curves of the wood.  Additional tools include power miter saws, which we typically think of as a power saw, which makes a quick, accurate cut in a piece at a selected angle.

Once you have the right type of molding and it’s cut to your liking, the next steps are all about precision in placement.  Be sure to begin by measuring and marking the wall as well as your molding.  The most important part of crown molding installation is ensuring that the pieces fit together and fit the wall you’re placing it on.  Once you’ve made certain that the pieces will fit well, you can secure them to the wall using a caulk gun.

Crown molding is a classic element of home design and can really tie a room together.  Be sure to ask your contractor about the crown molding that is right for your home!

crown molding, baseboard molding, molding

Baseboard and Crown Molding: A Match Made In Heaven

Crown molding is often talked about, and obsessed over, when people are thinking about renovating a home.  Its timeless elegance and classic simplicity make it an immediate cultural signifier in American homes, but what about its lesser known parter: baseboard molding.  Baseboard and crown molding are the Abbott and Costello, the Sonny and Cher, the Lennon and McCartney of interior home design.  Though crown molding does look beautiful on its own, pairing it with baseboard molding is what really makes your home feel properly decorated.  It’s almost as if you are framing each room of your house, bookending it with plaster moldings.

Though baseboard molding appears to be a lot simpler in design than crown molding, it still takes a lot of skill and expertise to work with.  In fact, the most talented of baseboard installers will be able to install perfectly joined baseboard molding even on a crooked wall.  Because molding is such an important part of your home, leaving it to the professionals is probably a good idea.

If you’re renovating and considering new molding, then you might as well do it right.  By renovating in the first place, you’re making a statement that you want to build a better, more beautiful version of your home.  When you’ve finally got the money together to make your big changes, don’t skimp on what you think might be the small stuff!  The nature of molding is that if it’s well done, you probably don’t notice it.  Unfortunately, people tend to notice imperfections before giving congratulations, especially when it comes to something that people don’t often think about like molding choices.  People spend a lot of time thinking about the design of their home, but tend to focus more on the obvious and prominent features like paint color and furniture.  Your molding is an equally important decision, and knowing what molding you want from the get-go will result in an easier, more efficient, and more ultimately successful renovation. 

Ask Alliance Home Design about baseboard and crown molding to make the right decisions regarding your home renovation.  You can’t go wrong with this timeless pair in making your home feel whole.