2018 Home Project Wish List

For many people, January 1 signifies it’s time to create their annual home-project wish list. Two of the most desired projects are remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms.

20170927_152318    DSCN0984

Memories of the holidays are still fresh, and perhaps your home did not perform well with the additional traffic. Frequent collisions between people in the kitchen… the carpeting in the hall bath stayed wet the entire time family was visiting… the oven temperature was inaccurate and you scorched your signature dish… You get the idea.

Now is the perfect time to make a solid plan and ensure future holidays are a joy. To make the process less stressful, it is helpful to clarify a few things first:

  • How much do you intend to invest in the project? Determining a realistic budget is one of the most difficult tasks in a remodeling project. Unless you have unlimited funds, skipping this step can result in headaches and disappointments for you, your designer, and the entire project team.
  • What is your preferred timetable for completing the project? It is easy focus on the actual construction time and forget about the time required for planning. It can take an average of 3 to 6 months to finalize layout, products, and finishes.
  • Do you have a go-to contractor or will there be a bidding process to complete once the design is final?

Each of these points has many details to consider. Your designer is a great resource to help you work through these steps and understand how selections, materials, and finishes affect price.

There are also publications, such as Remodeling News and Fine Homebuilding, that cover budget, materials, and construction issues, to help educate you.

You CAN have the kitchen and bathroom of your dreams! All it takes is a little planning.

Happy New Year and Happy Planning!


Planning a kitchen that benefits all ages and abilities

When designing your dream kitchen, it’s easy to get dazzled by all the latest styles and trends. And if we are young and healthy, it’s hard to even imagine having difficulty doing kitchen chores in our own home. But that’s exactly what can happen if you are temporarily disabled due to an accident or illness. Or if you happen to be a very tall individual or a child.

Modern kitchen design has embraced principles that emphasize the importance of creating spaces that function for people of all ages, sizes, and abilities. You can have an absolutely stunning space everyone can navigate, including Grandma and her little bakers in training.

Simply having counters at different heights enables people of different sizes to use them comfortably. Instead of shelves, installing drawers in lower cabinets brings items to the user.

multi-level island bakeware storage

The lower level of this island can be used for dining or as a baking center. A side-by-side refrigerator freezer can be stocked to accommodate a seated user or keep tempting treats above the reach of little hands. Cookie sheets and muffin tins are easy to find and store in drawers with vertical dividers. No more digging through flat piles of baking supplies.

dish storage drawersdishwasher drawer

Dishes are easier to put away when stored in drawers. It’s no longer necessary to get a shoulder workout when emptying the dishwasher! Another convenient appliance is the dishwasher drawer. You can stack drawers or use them as singles on either side of the sink. The height is easily accessible to a child, a seated user, or an adult who doesn’t want to bend almost to the floor to unload the dishwasher.

double frdoor oven bluestar french door range

My favorite easy-to-use appliances are the french-door wall ovens and ranges that are now readily available. You can access the interior of the oven without having to reach over a burning hot door.

revashelf pegboard glideware

Rev-a-Shelf and Glideware are two manufacturers that offer convenient storage systems for pots and pans. Both accessories are friendly to users of all sizes and abilities, and it’s easy to retrieve and replace items.

universal design kitchen

A microwave is easy to access when installed just below the counter. When the cooking surface is lowered for a seated user, an induction cooktop helps prevent burns.

These are all ideas that are easy to implement into any kitchen remodel.

If you need a truly accessible kitchen that accommodates specific physical challenges, it is best to work with a kitchen designer. Once you and your designer have planned the space and products that best fit your needs, you can begin the fun process of making that space dazzle and shine in your style!

Vegas, Baby… What I did on my KBIS 2014 trip

Early last year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced an agreement to co-locate the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, Nevada beginning in February 2014 under the banner of Design & Construction Week. There is a lot of crossover between the two industries, and what a great way to showcase products from both industries while saving professionals a few bucks on travel expenses.

Never having been to Las Vegas, I was also excited to see the nearby sites. I’d heard horror stories about checking into hotels in Las Vegas, but I had no problems. I’d spent a long day traveling and was looking forward to plopping down on the bed and relaxing as I waited for my travel companion, roomy, and dear friend to arrive. When I walked in, the curtains were drawn to one side, the window was open (yes! a hotel room with operational windows) and this was the view greeting me!


You’ve probably been to a convention or two for whatever your profession is, so you might understand the excitement that is generated.

Having both shows at the same venue was a bit over-stimulating! I felt like a kid in a humongous candy store. Many exhibitors injected fun and history into their booths and their excitement was contagious.

Merillat Cabinets showcased a model mid-century kitchen that many of us could have had in our childhood homes. They kept a supply of red aprons on a coat rack nearby and invited booth visitors to pose for pictures to be featured on their Facebook page. A very smart use of social media to get designers to visit their page and learn what they’re up to. Of course, Debbie and I were game and reenacted scenes of cooking. I’m mashing potatoes and Debbie is washing out milk bottles.


Best of KBIS

The Best of KBIS is an annual competition that showcases the best of the kitchen and bath industry. Entries were judged by the members of the Modenus BlogTour Las Vegas. Winners were selected based on functionality quality/durability, flexibility, aesthetics/style and innovation and were announced on Wednesday, February 5th at NKBA’s Center Stage. Following is a list of some of my favorite products from the show. I was thrilled to see that they won places on Best of KBIS:

  • Merillat’s CoreGuard Sink Base Cabinet features engineered polymer sides, back and floor, which are easy to clean up. The floor is slightly tilted to the front so any puddles will be easy to see. Raised ribs on the cabinet floor help keep the items stored inside dry. If you have ever had an undetected leak slowly turn the floor of your cabinet to mush, you will really appreciate this! A few of the accessory companies offer a covering resembling a giant coaster for the sink base floor, but this seems like a smart choice when replacing the cabinet.


  • The Glideware cabinet accessory provides a convenient, sliding mechanism from which to hang items. At the booth purses, as well as pots and pans, were on display, demonstrating how you could easily use this accessory in a closet. It is always difficult to organize pots and pans with their matching lids. I love how easily you can slip the lids over the handles, provided you have the right kind of cookware. Using Calphalon pots and pans shows how strong the product is. Glideware won the silver award for the Best in Kitchen category.


  • Elmwood Cabinetry obviously works hard at innovation, because they always have something new to show at KBIS. This year, the Elmwood booth featured wall-height cascade cabinet doors that you can use to hide entertainment equipment, a desk area, pantry, messy kitchen, whatever you like. The doors are customizable to the height you want. With the high ceilings at KBIS, Elmwood chose very tall cabinets to show as many features as possible. For discerning customers who don’t want what everyone else has, Elmwood has something unique and functional to offer.


  • When I first wrote about the Dacor Discovery Wine Station in the January issue of K+BB, I thought it sounded like a fabulous product. When I found out Dacor was returning to KBIS, I was very excited. The booth was crowded with people when I stopped by and I could barely get near the Wine Station; I was hoping to get a glass of wine.


Since my friend Debbie is in the building business, we split our time between KBIS and IBS. One of my favorite booths at IBS was SeaGull Lighting. The fixtures are well made and very reasonably priced. The two largest lights you see in the display case are from the Sfera Collection, an Energy Star series that would work extremely well in today’s transitional homes.


We really liked the products displayed by Authentic Pine Floors, which featured the new Mondavi Home Collection. This unique flooring is made from wine barrels, so the staining is all natural, from the grapes that made the wine! The booth also featured flooring from their Grandpa Mac and Old Dirty Goat lines. If you stopped by the booth and had your badge scanned, you received an email informing you that a Builders’ Show sample box was available for those who requested it. I can’t wait to get my sample box and see what’s inside!

Authentic Flooring Mondavi     Authentic Mondavi Floor

We visited the IBS Outdoor exhibits on our last day at the show. We were hoping to spot Ty Pennington, but we found this guy instead.


KBIS Sessions are Educational and Fun

KBIS is more than just a sensory overload. It is also an opportunity to attend educational sessions offered by peers and vendors as well as take NKBA certification exams and continuing education classes.

On Tuesday afternoon I attended the session: “SoLoMo – The New Acronym That Leads to New Customers,” presented by the president of my local NKBA chapter, Phil Zaleon. Phil runs a marketing and promotion company, Z promotion & design and is also a partner in The Kitchen and Bath Channel, a mobile and social media community linking homeowners with kitchen & bath and remodeling professionals.

Phil discussed how social and mobile media, as well as local exposure in TV and radio commercials all work together to bring in different types of customers. He provided statistics about which social media sites are currently the most popular: Facebook has been the top social media site for a year. Pinterest, however, drives traffic to websites and 85% of its viewers are women over 40, who happen to be the main buyers of kitchen and bath design/remodeling services. These statistics are a moving target because the popularity of social media sites changes often. It’s great to know a marketing professional like Phil is minding the marketing store so designers can focus on the business of design!

On Wednesday afternoon I attended the seminar: “Designing and Selling Using 3D Software,” presented by Scott Harris, CKD, CBD, Vice President, Chief Architect. Chief Architect is 3D design software that is used by building and design professionals. You can use it to design a house from foundation to electrical and plumbing to curtains and landscaping. Or you can design one room, my favorites being kitchens and bathrooms, specifying everything from the flooring, cabinets, fixtures and lighting to the windows and doors, as well as all the technical guts required to make all the products function.

Every designer who uses 3D software knows how valuable it can be in helping clients see what their space will look like when your design is implemented. When you show a prospect a flat, 2D floor plan you do not get the same reaction as when you walk them through a 3D, full-color presentation. Scott explained how to leverage the software’s power and appeal to the client’s emotions by incorporating their very own backyard into the design. With Chief Architect you can select the scenery that is visible when one looks out the windows of a 3D view. How cool is it that clients can “stand” in their virtual new kitchen or home and look out the window into their own backyard? I know I’m showing my geeky-nerdy side here, but this software is very cool.

Design and Construction Week was a success any way you look at it. I hope to attend next year, and maybe by then I will figure out how to balance attending seminars and sessions with seeing all of the exhibits. I know there were many wonderful products I didn’t see, but the trade magazines, NKBA website, and The Kitchen and Bath Channel all have a wealth of information and videos about the show.