cabinetry

DAY 7 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Kitchen Cabinets

My apologies on the rage that builds throughout this post. Kitchens fire me up.

The biggest complaint I get during consults is about the kitchen cabinets. No shock there. But, do we really need to go ripping them all out? Maybe sometimes. If you just want to and have the funds, great. But, if you don’t, today’s challenge is for you.

There are several ways we’ll tackle the kitchen cabinets today. The first one we will address is the biggest complaint about cabinets.

There Isn’t Enough Storage

To that I say BULL SHIT. I have yet to meet a kitchen that can’t be worked. Even the smallest kitchen I have ever seen I was able to figure out where to put everything. The trick is being realistic about your stuff. I’m not going to beat this to death because we have purged a bunch already and I will have a rage stroke if I go too deep on this. But a few tips here:

  • Small Appliances: Purge any small appliances that are redundant to your big ones. For instance a toaster oven is ridiculous to own if you have no room and you have a perfectly good ACTUAL OVEN that can….you know… toast things. And you can really go balls to the wall and just pitch the toaster while you’re at it because again…you have a giant full size toaster oven called an ACTUAL OVEN. Now move on to the others. The blender you never use. The panini press. The popcorn maker. If you MUST have these but don’t want them in the way, consider moving them to a place that is less in the way like a shelf in the garage, basement, pantry or laundry room.

  • Pots & Pans: What do you actually need and actually use to cook? Do you need 18 skillets? I think not. You can likely get by with a large soup pot or dutch oven, a larger skillet, a smaller skillet and a sauce pan. Maybe even less than that depending on how desperate you are for space.

  • Utensils: Look at your utensil. Purge the idiot ones. Replace any that are too far gone like that carrot peeler that the handle broke off of 2 years ago, yet you keep trying to get by like freaking a hero. Splurge today on a carrot peeler. You deserve it.

  • Dishes/Glassware/Mugs/ETC: How many sets of dishes do you have? How many sets of glassware? What about all those random plastic cups you got at baseball games or at Harkins Theaters 18 years ago. Tell those mofos to get a life and peace out. Try to keep a set if you can. It just feels better. Allow yourself to keep random mismatched if it feels like a collection to you. Like maybe your mugs. Otherwise, those random mismatched plates can take a hike.

  • Storage Containers: If you have an explosion of storage containers, then go through them and purge the ones that have no matching lid or container. If they suck, get new ones. Grab a little bin and throw all of the lids in there and stack the bottoms together.

  • Spices: That stuff goes bad. How old is yours? What is never getting used…EVER?

Be harsh. Your sanity depends on your ability to win out over the guilt of getting rid of that one mug and saucer your mom got you because it {insert fake high pitched mom voice here} “would be so cute for soup!” but doesn’t stack well and is taking up serious real estate only because it is “so cute”. Ok moving on to the actual cabinets.

Organize In A Way That Makes Sense

Now we put things back in a way that makes sense to how we use the kitchen. Put cups, plates, silverware and bowls near the dishwasher to put away more easily. Pots and pans can go near the oven or even in the oven drawer. I feel like this is obvious but I have been in homes where the cookware was nowhere near the cooktop. And actually, just last month I bought myself a little mug tree and put it by the blender, which may make no sense to you, but to me is genius because that is where I blend my bulletproof coffee (coffee + butter). Life has become so much better being able to pick up a mug right there and pour my coffee in.

If you have everything put back and you still don’t have the space you need, then you maybe weren’t as ruthless as you needed to be. Try again.

Remove A Cabinet

And everyone loses their shit. “Why would I want to remove a cabinet!? I need storage!” Well, upper cabinets feel like giant heavy boxes hanging over our heads because that is exactly what they ARE. You can feel it. It’s like bad feng shui or some shit like that. Find one random one that is poking out. Hanging there. All willy nilly. I double dog dare you. All you need is a screw driver. There will be consequences though. Holes to fill. Paint to paint. Maybe a shelf or two to hang. Or if you don’t need storage because you have purged half your kitchen belongings, hang some art! Your heart will love it. There should be more art in the world.

Replace These

i almost don’t even want to say this next one because the minute I do you’ll tune out. Every other design website and show has said this is the way to update your kitchen and I don’t like to be like “them”. But, changing your YOU KNOW WHATS can be good if you do it right. Be creative. Don’t go with the obvious. Sometimes what you think is a decent handle will look terrible strewn all over your kitchen. Imagine looking into your kitchen and seeing black (brushed nickel, brass, whatever) bars dotting the landscape. Does that look good or annoying to you? What about handles that “match” your cabinets? They disappear! Could you like that more? I have done that in this kitchen because I didn’t want the hardware to ruin the color scheme. Finding white handles was near impossible so I spray painted some nickel ones.

There are loads of options here and I’d say that one size doesn’t fit all. Look up some kitchens similar that to yours on Pinterest and see what you might like. A good place to find hardware is Amazon because you can often find packs of 10-20. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve used over and over.

Remove These

Take that stuff down from above your cabinets.. Just try it. See how it feels for a few days. In most cases it doesn’t “work” in my opinion. More things looming overhead. Not good for the soul.

Add Storage

LAST RESORT. Now we get to it, but not until way after the purge. Why add storage to fuel the hoarding fire? That makes no sense. If after all of that you still need a bit more storage, or maybe just a more suitable type of storage, consider these options:

  • Try using some of your cookware as the “art” of the room. Hang pans somewhere, alleviating the need to take up a cabinet

  • Add shelves for glassware, dishes, mugs, etc Let’s hope you chose to keep a good looking set or collection

  • If you have an empty wall, bring in a buffet. It can double as storage and extra counter space.

Try your best to keep most things hidden. More things to look at usually result in a cluttered head. At least for me.

That’s It

That’s a lot to take in and for some of you a lot of work ahead so we’ll stop right there. Show us your work in progress and your after photos over on Instagram or tell us about it below!

Missed a challenge? See the last week here.



Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Last time I wrote about a design capsule, I wasn't sure I'd ever do so again. After all, it was supposed to be a tried and true template. It was meant to be classic. It was meant to never need changing. This theory lives on, the Renovation Design Capsule of Winter 2016 is still tried and true.  It works! However, I did consider in the back of my head that I would someday want to change it. I do that sort of thing. Often. And so, it's true I wanted more. Let's not call this a change. Let's call it the second capsule in a series . After all, just because one exists doesn't mean another can't as well. I'm convinced that design styles change simply because designers get bored. Plus, variety is the spice of life, amiright? 

So, RDS 2 was born. Winter is over. Spring and almost summer is in the air. Let's punch this up a notch. 

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

What's new about this one is the brighter colors added. I just love the colors of nature, so we have some deep blue and bright green to brighten up the place. Here's a recent design for an investor client's flip using that delicious green color. 

 

The finishes are the same, but check out some of the new fixture styles I'm loving. I'm also digging some plays on the classic patterns. Sure we've got the hex and subway tile in there but these versions are elongated. Planks are still going strong and I threw some penny rounds in there for shits and gigs. The part I really want to implement going forward is some geometric pattern whether it's like this modern wainscoting or tossing around some X's in barn doors or capping off island ends. This could really get fun and ridiculous. 

Finally, the material section. I'm still loving the ceramic tile, marble and natural wood obvs. Guys, I still dig me some granite. It is just so random and delicious. The variations are wonderful. It's a natural product. I love it.

Now, let's talk about the quartz. People are all over this stuff here in Phoenix. Did I mention I moved? I say people are obsessed with it from the perspective of a person that has been looking for and talking houses here for 1 week...K. Clearly I don't have that much research under my belt. I'm not sold on quartz. It's a natural material-ish. Supposedly, in my 5.3 seconds of Googling, quartz counters are 96% crushed quartz jammed together with a resin. Scientifically speaking. Resin ain't real, people. Sometimes they throw glass in there. I don't like sparkly specks. I don't like glass in my counters. I like real. Maybe I'm just a quartz newb and don't know what I'm talking about. They say it's easier to maintain and more durable. I've had granite for YEARS and have never had an issue. It's not like it's going to melt away. Or, maybe like me, people just got bored with the same thing. That's possible. My answer to that is to stop using Uba freakin' Tuba. Unless it's leathered Uba Tuba. That's cool. 

What was I talking about again?

Let's end this post right here. Shall we?

 

Flipper Tricks: How to Finish Off Tile Edges

When you're in the renovation biz, you'll come across all sorts of problems you never even considered. What you think is a simple project, installing a backsplash or tiling a shower wall, creates other problems you must then solve.  GRRRR!

One of those issues that has turned up for me countless times is how to finish off a tiled edge. One might assume with bullnose tile. Of course! But that's not always an option or maybe not even preferred. Sometimes, matching bullnose tile is not available at the store. And, let's assume that we don't have cabinets to finish off the top either. Even if we do, there is often that inevitable area that juts out just passed the cabinetry that needs to be dealt with. What then?

You have several options.

Custom Bullnose

Yes. You can have bullnose made. Here in Cincinnati (they have other locations), I head to American Bullnose. I bring my tile with some to spare, they chop them up, round them out and hand them back ready to go. Of course, not all tiles can be transformed into bullnose tile. Such as in the case of the beveled tile, the texture would create a problem and cannot be bullnosed. Below is a shower created with custom bullnose tiles, placed on the outer wall edge, as well as surrounding the tub. 

 

Schluter Edge Strips

One popular option is to use Schluter metal strips  to make a straight finishing edge to your tile. These can be used anywhere tile is laid: showers, floors, backsplashes. These are nice because they come in an assortment of finishes and shapes. An example of this can be seen below at the top and side of the backsplash. Nickel was chosen to coordinate with the other nickel fixtures in the room. They now have white which blends nicely with subway tiles like those shown.

Caulked Edge

If you don't want to add another color or element to your kitchen, another option is to caulk the tile edge to finish it off. Have your installer fill in that corner between the tile and wall with caulk to match the grout. Matching grout caulk is available at most hardware stores next to or in the grout section. This will take some precision! Your installer must be very careful with the tile alignment in order to create a nice straight line. They must also be good at getting a smooth finish with the caulking. You don't want a bumpy caulk line, calling attention to the lack of precision instead of the beauty of the tile. However, if the caulk line strays a little onto the wall, touch it up with some wall paint and call it a day. 

Trim It Out

Finally, you could use a very thin wood trim piece such as quarter round or scribe molding. Paint it the same color as the tile so it doesn't stand out. With the extra thick cement tile used in this kitchen, we used some cabinet trim to finish off the sides of the backsplash. The color coordinated perfectly so we didn't need to paint it. 

It's silly to think that this kind of detail goes into kitchen or bathroom, but it does. Best to have these tricks in your arsenal so you are ready when the time comes! Go get 'em. 

Any ideas I missed? Any other issues you might be dealing with right now? Lay it on us in the comments!