Ask Nicely: How do I merge my kitchen and dining room without completely abandoning either the traditional or modern style?

Dear Evelyn:

For years I’ve been toying with the idea of knocking down the wall between my kitchen and dining room (instead of squeezing into the tiny breakfast nook). I find that my family rarely uses the dining room, and as much as I love having a formal dining room, I also love the idea of opening up the space. The question is how to merge a modern kitchen with a traditional, antique-laden, “boxy” dining room. Clearly, I need to do some serious planning to ensure cohesion and continuity between the two rooms. Do you have any suggestions for merging the two spaces without completely abandoning either the traditional or modern style? Your advice would be helpful and much appreciated.

Dear Ditching the Dining Room:

You are not alone in perceiving your formal dining room as a slowly dying design concept. When we ask our kitchen redesign clients how many times they’ve used their dining room in the past year, most can count on one hand the amount of times they’ve had meals at the dining room table– and many of our clients are a bit frustrated with the wasted dining room space as it does not serve a purpose nor fit their modern lifestyle.

With dining rooms being used less frequently (at most, twice a year for formal holiday gatherings) it seems that dining rooms no longer lend themselves to the more up-to-date way we live, eat and entertain. As opposed to holding onto to your existing outdated and confined dining room, you are wise in thinking that family would benefit from a more spacious, casual living area that they can use every day.

You’ve proposed a great solution to resuscitate the demise of your wasted dining space by knocking down the wall between your kitchen and dining room. This could potentially double your kitchen space; creating a more open, casual environment. An open plan will not only allow more interaction between the kitchen- the hub of the home- and other rooms, it will also enable more interaction between the family.

Repurposing the dining room is a popular design trend, especially in older homes with families that prefer casual living. When planning for a remodel that ditches the dining room, you must come up with a plan that considers the best way to transition both spaces while seamlessly blending style and architecture. If you are rethinking your space or looking for ways to repurpose your dining room, start with our top 5 considerations for your dining room-volution:

  1. Function and Purpose. Consider the way you operate in your current space. Think about what works, what is lacking and what is on your wish list. Your new kitchen design should represent the way your family lives. Maybe you want to enlarge the general area, create an open concept for your home or update a less efficient layout.

  2. How to keep balance. How do you knock down walls for a merge without drastically changing the existing style of either room. There are certain design techniques that designers can suggest, such as incorporating traditional or even “transitional” style cabinets in the kitchen to better blend with the formal architecture or decor of the dining room. However, if you love stark, sleek modern kitchens you may have to completely ditch the traditional, antiquated dining room style for a totally new sleek, modern or minimalist space. Working with a designer can open up your mind to the scope of possibilities

  3. Gather Inspiration. Scroll through Nicely Done’s website portfolio, look at magazines and online sites, such as houzz.com and Pinterest. Start compiling ideas, photos, appliances, layouts and floor plans you like. This is a great place to start if you are undecided on how to shape new ideas for the space.

  4. Think of your budget. I’m sure there are concerns about the cost inherent to your kitchen renovation. Blowing out walls, and moving gas lines, plumbing connections and electrical wiring can add up. Generally renovations are less costly. It is less expensive to remove walls than to build out or add on new rooms.

Our “Design Review” is a very thorough process, in which clients receive one/multiple design ideas, a full showing of potential materials/cabinetry/accessories/ plumbing, and then a full presentation of the proposed budget. This enables you, as the client, to have a really thorough presentation as you make your decision about financial expenditures, and ultimately making a commitment to the project with us.

  1. Lastly, have fun. It’s your space! Repurpose and reimagine your dining room for how you want to uniquely live. How about adding an area for: a cook book library, office nook or coffee bar. How about an area for cafe style seating, or adding a large butler’s pantry, or oversized kitchen island. Re-envision the possibilities in a manner that not only makes your kitchen functional, but also more fun and enjoyable.

Claiming your dining room space for a kitchen update may pay off now (for your enjoyment) and later when it comes time to resale. Our designers would love to assist you in designing the concept of merging your rooms. The fact that a room is called a dining room or kitchen area does not mean that’s the only functions. In fact, I propose that buyers and owners alike might want to spend some time rethinking and rearranging the wasted spaces in their homes to maximize efficiency and live to the very edges of your home’s precious square footage.

Ask Nicely: Can you help me explore which options to consider and how to get the most out of the design?

Dear Evelyn,

I am an avid HGTV fan. I love to watch the popular design shows because I want to stay up to date on design trends. One of my favorite elements are the fabulous kitchen islands. Kitchen islands seem to be a hot commodity right now; which inspired me to explore new options for my own outdated kitchen. My goal is to incorporate an island that will enhance my kitchen both aesthetically and functionally– an island that my family won’t be able to resist gathering around, while at the same time, creating more efficiency to the overall space. Can you help me explore which options to consider and how to get the most out of the design?

Dear Island Lover,

This reminds me of that fun question, “If you were stuck on a deserted island and had to choose 3 things, what would you choose?” However, in your case, the question is more like, “If you were designing the kitchen island of your dreams, what are your must haves?” This is an important question, as we know that the heart of many homes is the kitchen, but of course, the heart of the kitchen is often the island. Here are six tips to consider as you design your island paradise; one that feels like an oasis.

1. First, ask yourself, what is the island’s function?

Before you start to think about counter tops and finishes, the first thing to consider is what your island’s main functions and priorities are going to be. Perhaps you should think of your lifestyle and then write a list. Would you like to devote more of the design towards cooking or gathering to eating? Will it be used primarily for prep work or entertaining? How about the kid’s homework? If you want appliances and sinks in your island, you’ll need more space. If it will be used just for casual meals, seating should be your priority. Or would you like to use it for all of the above: prep work, cooking, cleaning, eating, homework and entertaining? It is important to determine what your emphasis will be, and that will help to steer your design.

I would recommend thinking of your island as part of a solution to your kitchen’s overall flow of working and living patterns. Then allow the other design details to fall into place.

2. How will an island fit into your kitchen layout?

Kitchens tend to have a busy nature that makes the space anything but static. Designing a functional layout requires every part to be cohesively designed, to ensure that the “working” space of your island functions with the rest of your kitchen in a way that makes the most sense. Creating a work “triangle layout” is key. This layouts revolve around a basic connection between the refrigerator, stove and sink; keeping everything within arm’s reach while you’re cooking. For example, an oven built right into the island looks impressive, but it achieves a lot more than that. It creates the coveted “triangle layout” between the stovetop, refrigerator and sink, so you can chop, sautee’ and rinse dishes with the greatest of flow and ease.

When designing your island, it is also important to create open floor area to make room for traffic while cooking. The design of the entertaining/eating side of the island is usually determined by the adjacent space (a dining room or living room) if there is one. If your kitchen flows right into the living room, an island or bar layout can be the perfect way to separate the spaces without feeling disconnected.

3. What appliances do you need in your kitchen island?

If you decide you want to integrate appliances into your kitchen island, you need to plan for function as well as spacing. List the appliances you want in your island, in order of priority.

Here are a few appliance choices and scenarios to consider. A range: if you’re installing a range, you must also consider the space needed for an exhaust vent or hood. A dishwasher: will the main sink also be configured into the island? If so, spacing is key. Do you have a large kitchen? If your refrigerator or stove isn’t near the island, you may want to incorporate a small undercounter refrigerator, microwave or warming oven. Will your appliances be concealed to add a sense of visual continuity, or will your they be focal points? Since appliances can easily be the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel, deciding what can fit into your new kitchen and where it will go is a critical decision.

4. How high should the counter be?

This is a frequently asked question. First, determine your seating height. If you want to have bar stools at your island, you’ll need to decide if they will be 36 or 42 inches high. A 42-inch-high bar stool and counter allows for more flexibility in design, as the island can then have two levels. Two levels will enable you to have the working side set lower for prep work and the dining side higher to accommodate bar stools. And, here is a cool tip, the area in between is a great place for electrical outlets.

For a more universal design, a 36-inch-high counter provides for seating that’s between a typical bar stool and a table seat. It doesn’t allow for as much flexibility in design, but can be a good choice for a designated eating area. I suggest leaving at least 12 inches of overhang for seating areas, but 15 to 18 inches tends to feel more comfortable.

5. Do you need a designer?

Kitchen islands are often a main gathering area, work space and focal point, therefore it requires a lot of thoughtful consideration when implementing your design. A designer will offer you a professional sense of proportion and will take care of planning for all its proposed uses. You should consider working with a designer, especially when your island is related to more than just a working kitchen, but an overall design feature for your home.

6. Set the mood

There’s no denying the allure of a glorious counter space. If your desire is to create an island that family won’t be able to resist gathering around, then you should choose fixtures, features, textures and color scheme to set a mood. Warm tonal colors, pendant lights, high-backed stools, a pot rack hanging overhead, and other special finishing touches should be chosen to create a space that makes the kitchen feel more, well, homey.

This is your opportunity to design an all-purposed island that gives your family no excuse not to sit and savor a meal– even if it’s just cereal topped with milk!

At Nicely Done Kitchens, we take a comprehensive approach to design, creating the perfect island as a part of your complete kitchen remodel. Ready to get started? Call us today at 703-764-3748 for a complimentary consultation.

Ask Nicely: Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Evelyn,

I love to entertain in my home. There is nothing that I love more than being surrounded by friends and family, and hosting summers cookouts and holiday gatherings. Although my home is spacious, and I have an ample sized dining room, my family seems to always gather in my kitchen. My kitchen is narrow and with everyone congregating there, it tends to get a little crowded. With the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas season quickly approaching, I am considering a kitchen remodel. Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Hostess with the Mostest,

So, the party is at your house—and, more specifically, the party is happening in your kitchen. Interestingly, many homeowners are considering kitchen remodeling projects centered around the kitchen as a hub for entertaining large families and holiday plans. It most certainly sounds like your kitchen needs a remodel to be more family friendly before the fire marshall gets called out to break the party up! I hope that the following tips will help you design a kitchen that will keep side dishes warm without the worries of managing crowd control.

Have a Vision and Set Goals

As you consider a kitchen remodel, the thing to keep in the forefront of your mind is how you envision using your kitchen space in the future, as well as a layout that will not only create an inviting space, but also meet your cooking, storage and seating needs. Set goals for your remodel based on that total vision. Setting goals will keep you aligned with that vision as you contemplate the features of your design, such as floor plan, appliances, furnishings, cabinetry and more.

Space Planning

Space planning is also an important factor to consider for a great entertaining kitchen. The real value of a kitchen remodel comes from proper space planning to improve how your entertaining kitchen functions. When designing a kitchen that functions as an effective entertaining space, specialty features that are integrated in the space should make cooking and serving food easier. Space planning will help determine the types of specialty features to integrate, such as:

  • an oversized island with a row of stools to add additional seating for socializing, and also increase counter space for serving a family-style buffet

  • a beverage prep area or wetbar to serve drinks and house wine and beverages

  • a butler’s pantry to store large amounts of food and ingredients

  • additional cabinetry and shelving, that doubles as display and storage, for serving platters, bowls, trays, linens etc.

Open-Concept

Open-concept kitchens beg for family gatherings. Open-concepts create a no-barrier design which is great for hosting because it opens up the space, eases congestion and creates flow. This will enable your guests to move about unrestricted, and you can freely cook and chat as others help serve up food and drinks. Keep in mind, when it comes to incorporating an open-concept, it will be helpful to work with a designer to ensure that the features of your kitchen will integrate seamlessly with the rest of your home’s aesthetics.

Appliances

Decisions about what type of appliances you will need also comes into play. The idea of being able to have a separate wall oven (or two!) is pretty exciting for many home cooks who love to entertain. Are you considering new cooking appliances? Your dream setup may not work in your current kitchen. Whether you’re dreaming of a stacked double oven, or a single oven, microwave and warming drawer combo, a designer can help you determine the best appliance configurations that will work best for your space.

Ask Nicely: Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Evelyn,

I love to entertain in my home. There is nothing that I love more than being surrounded by friends and family, and hosting summers cookouts and holiday gatherings. Although my home is spacious, and I have an ample sized dining room, my family seems to always gather in my kitchen. My kitchen is narrow and with everyone congregating there, it tends to get a little crowded. With the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas season quickly approaching, I am considering a kitchen remodel. Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Hostess with the Mostest,

So, the party is at your house—and, more specifically, the party is happening in your kitchen. Interestingly, many homeowners are considering kitchen remodeling projects centered around the kitchen as a hub for entertaining large families and holiday plans. It most certainly sounds like your kitchen needs a remodel to be more family friendly before the fire marshall gets called out to break the party up! I hope that the following tips will help you design a kitchen that will keep side dishes warm without the worries of managing crowd control.

Have a Vision and Set Goals

As you consider a kitchen remodel, the thing to keep in the forefront of your mind is how you envision using your kitchen space in the future, as well as a layout that will not only create an inviting space, but also meet your cooking, storage and seating needs. Set goals for your remodel based on that total vision. Setting goals will keep you aligned with that vision as you contemplate the features of your design, such as floor plan, appliances, furnishings, cabinetry and more.

Space Planning

Space planning is also an important factor to consider for a great entertaining kitchen. The real value of a kitchen remodel comes from proper space planning to improve how your entertaining kitchen functions. When designing a kitchen that functions as an effective entertaining space, specialty features that are integrated in the space should make cooking and serving food easier. Space planning will help determine the types of specialty features to integrate, such as:

  • an oversized island with a row of stools to add additional seating for socializing, and also increase counter space for serving a family-style buffet

  • a beverage prep area or wetbar to serve drinks and house wine and beverages

  • a butler’s pantry to store large amounts of food and ingredients

  • additional cabinetry and shelving, that doubles as display and storage, for serving platters, bowls, trays, linens etc.

Open-Concept

Open-concept kitchens beg for family gatherings. Open-concepts create a no-barrier design which is great for hosting because it opens up the space, eases congestion and creates flow. This will enable your guests to move about unrestricted, and you can freely cook and chat as others help serve up food and drinks. Keep in mind, when it comes to incorporating an open-concept, it will be helpful to work with a designer to ensure that the features of your kitchen will integrate seamlessly with the rest of your home’s aesthetics.

Appliances

Decisions about what type of appliances you will need also comes into play. The idea of being able to have a separate wall oven (or two!) is pretty exciting for many home cooks who love to entertain. Are you considering new cooking appliances? Your dream setup may not work in your current kitchen. Whether you’re dreaming of a stacked double oven, or a single oven, microwave and warming drawer combo, a designer can help you determine the best appliance configurations that will work best for your space.

Ask Nicely: How much should I expect to spend on a quality new kitchen?

Dear Evelyn,

My husband and I have owned our home for just over five years. The home was built in the 80’s and there is not a lot of cabinet storage or counter space. I’ve been researching remodeling prices online and they seem to be all over the place. Some prices are very high and others seem unrealistically low for what we have in mind. How much should I expect to spend on a quality new kitchen? What are the main variables that affect pricing?

Evelyn:

The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s the room where some of the most important things take place; dining, entertaining, family meetings and gatherings. It’s no wonder that it is the most commonly renovated and upgraded area of the home, and what brings the highest return on investment! Unlike other rooms, however, the kitchen has so many different pieces, parts and requirements ranging from electricity, plumbing and gas to cabinetry, flooring and appliances.

When it comes to your kitchen, the overall design, the quality of the materials and expertise in installation means the difference between a quality, high-end centerpiece to your home and a low-end, poorly functioning room that will have to be replaced again in a few years from wear and tear.

The two extremes I mentioned speak to where you will see the largest variations when it comes to the price of a remodel.
It is also important to take into consideration the current value of your home as compared with other homes in your neighborhood so that you do not over-build or under-build. Investing 8% – 12% of the value of your home is a good rule of thumb to follow when estimating the cost of your new kitchen.

If details matter to you (down to how a cabinet opens and closes and visual flow of the space), you’ll want to work with an expert firm specializing in high quality design, materials and installation. Depending on size, you can expect to invest $40k – $70k+ for a designer kitchen.

If you are planning to move in a year or two or are more interested in a basic and simple update, such as just replacing countertops and installing lower end appliances, depending on size, a $10K – $20K budget would be appropriate.

Evelyn Nicely
President
Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths

Starting the Process at Nicely Done

Almost every day, we have people walk through the doors of our showroom in King’s Park and stand just inside the door, looking a bit lost.

“There’s just so much to choose from, I don’t know where to start!” is a common refrain.

Often, they are not only unsure of where to begin in terms of material selections, they are unsure about how the design process works. And many times, they have been letting their fear of the unknown keep them from walking through our door or calling us and beginning the process.

Don’t let fear keep you from calling us or stopping by the showroom! Let’s demystify the beginning of our process so that you know exactly what to expect from your first two visits with Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths.

Whether you call or stop by our beautiful showroom, we will request some information from you. Nothing too complicated– just your name, address, phone number and a basic outline of the work you’d like to have done. We will also ask if you have an appointment time and day preference and if you have an approximate budget in mind for your project. If you have any special requests or already have ideas about what your dream kitchen or bath looks like, we will take some basic notes so that the designer assigned to your project will be able to make her first visit to you with as much information as possible.

Once we have your form filled out, we will assign a designer to your project. Rest assured, all of our designers have their degrees in architecture or interior design and are wonderful to work with! We will set up an appointment with you and your designer for what we call the “initial appointment”. The initial appointment will take place at your home. During this time, you will spend 1.5 to 2 hours or more talking with the designer. She will want to discuss what is and is not working for you in your current kitchen. Now is the time to tell her if you dislike the layout of your kitchen or if you feel that you have no storage space—be honest about your needs and wants. Your designer will listen, ask questions and take notes that will help her to design the best possible kitchen for you and your unique needs. Afterwards, she will take an extensive set of measurements necessary that will help her accurately design your new kitchen.

At the close of the initial appointment, your designer will make your next appointment, which we call a “design review”. For your design review, you will come to see us at our showroom.

The designer then returns to our offices and works to complete your new design. Using the information she has gleaned from your initial appointment and the latest design technology, she will come up with a design that will hopefully excite and delight you. During your design review appointment, she will likely have some sample materials set out for your proposed kitchen.

That is a brief synopsis of the first two appointments that you would have with Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths. Even if you walk through our showroom door or call with no idea where to start, you will leave after design review with a very clear vision after having worked with one of our amazing designers. And remember—we are a one-stop shop, so not only do we have great designers, we have a full project management team that will work in conjunction with our contractors and your designer to give you the best possible project with the least amount of stress for you and your family.

And the best part? Both the initial appointment and the design review are at NO cost to you. There’s absolutely no obligation on your part, though of course, we hope that you will love your design and Nicely Done so much that you will want to continue on in the process with us!

Hopefully, knowing this information will help put you at ease and give you the confidence you need to finally make that call or stop by and visit our showroom–don’t put your dreams off for another moment!

What is Universal Design?

There’s a design buzzword that you may have been hearing lately: universal design. What is universal design and how could it benefit you or your loved ones? How does universal design apply to kitchen and bath design?

First, let’s define universal design. It’s a very organic term and can be applied to just about any item that humans use, from can openers to architecture. The basic premise of universal design is that an item or facility is designed with the specific intention that it may be used, be accessible and be understood by any person, regardless of any physical limitations, age or processing challenges.

The most important aspects of universal design for those of us designing kitchens and baths therefore, is to ensure that the room or rooms will be accessible, safe and easy to use for all members of the family. In Nicely Done Kitchen & Bath’s market segment we are seeing a rise in requests for designs that accommodate a growing number of older homeowners who want to remain in their homes as far into the future as possible.

These are a few examples of how universal design would be applied in your new kitchen:

• Rounded edges on countertops and open shelving and simple cabinet and drawer fronts without ornamentation that can catch or snag clothing. The same goes for hardware in the kitchen—softer edges and simpler design as well as knobs and pulls that would be easy to grasp.
• Sink: opt for a more shallow (6-8”) depth to avoid leaning and strain on the back. Also, the overall design should locate the sink close to the cooktop to avoid carrying heavy/hot pots back and forth.
• Microwaves should be located at or below counter height to minimize bending and reaching overhead.
• Minimize the use of “blind” corner cabinets—utilize features such as LeMans shelving, lazy susans or corner drawers.
• Choose drawers over doors as much as possible—an open drawer will display all contents at once. Drawers and pull-outs can be worked into your kitchen design in many different areas—pantry, island and base cabinets.
• Choose flooring materials with texture to reduce slipping.
• Your designer will help you decide the correct amount of space between counters to allow room to maneuver in the future, to allow for wheelchair use and even spaces where a raised or lowered counter could allow access from a seated position when standing for long periods gets difficult.

Universal design in the bathroom may be even more important than in the kitchen as accidents are more apt to happen in the bath or shower:

• Choose low-or-zero threshold showers and either avoid bathtubs altogether or chose a bath with a wide, strong ledge to seat yourself on and swing into the tub.
• Grab bars are a must in and near shower/bathtub and toilet areas.
• A built-in bench and niches in the shower allow for a place to sit and less stooping and bending to reach toiletries.
• A handheld shower and/or adjustable height showerhead brings the water to you, whether seated or standing and is easier for a caregiver to use.
• Comfort-height toilets are generally 2” taller than a standard toilet and make sitting and rising from the toilet easier.

If you’re thinking that this type of design will look institutional, we can assure you that it can be just as beautiful as every kitchen and bath we design!

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths has aging-in-place certified designers on staff who are well versed in the principles of universal design and would love to help you design a kitchen or bath that can safely and comfortably accommodate you and your family’s needs well into the future!

Forecasted Trends of 2017

Forecasted Trends of 2017

1) Gray and white painted cabinets continue to rise in popularity. Designers at NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association) also predict increasing requests for color schemes including shades of blue and black as well.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

 2) Combining/mixing materials and colors—Separate colors for islands and even wall and base cabinets helps to add visual interest and break up solid walls of cabinetry. Cabinets come in just about any color you can think of—one of our cabinetry manufacturers will now custom paint cabinets to match any color sample you desire. If you love fuchsia, there’s a manufacturer who will make you the most beautiful fuchsia cabinets! Mixing countertop materials is gaining in popularity as well—quartz is still king, but consider combining a butcher block countertop on the breakfast bar, marble on the island, quartz on perimeter countertops or any combination that suits your taste and lifestyle.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

3) Simple cabinet styles—Think Shaker style—classic, clean-lined and easy to dress up or down. They have been in style, they are in style, and they will still look great years down the line!

4) Farmhouse look—Farmhouse/rustic style is still extremely popular, especially when mixing elements with modern and contemporary touches. Take a look at this beautiful apron sink from Kohler—it looks great in every kitchen—from classic to modern.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths Photo

5) Bold lighting fixtures—Oversized drums and pendant fixtures—another way to bring the wow factor into the kitchen!

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

6) Specialized storage features—Organization and clever use of every space in the kitchen in the form of customized drawers, rollout trays, recycling bins, pullout spice racks—just about any configuration to meet your needs and help make your kitchen as user-friendly and organized as possible.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

7) Sensor-activated items: faucets that turn on with a motion of the hand, lights that turn on and off with activity in the room, even a meat thermometer (Moen) that utilizes Bluetooth technology to let you know when the roast in your oven is done. Technology is here to stay. Why not let it help make life in the kitchen easier?

Jenn-Air photo

8) Appliances—Love to cook? Imagine a Wolf gas range coupled with convection ovens and a fridge big enough to hold all of your ingredients. Induction cooktops and convection ovens are rising in popularity, as are microwave drawers over built-in or freestanding microwaves.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

9) Hardware–Fresh and modern in shades of gold, copper and pewter. Don’t be afraid to venture away from matching your stainless steel appliances.

Top Knobs photo

10) Open shelving—Open shelving looks fresh and modern and allows you to display specialty pieces in full view.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths photo

11) Faux furniture pieces—Cabinetry that emulates the look of a china hutch or buffet. Bring your beautiful cabinets out of the kitchen and into the dining room, office or great room.

12) Glass-fronted cabinets—Glass lightens the space and breaks up banks of cabinetry as well as provides space for display in the kitchen.

Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths Photo

A Few of Our Favorite Things 2016

It is no small task to pin down our favorite kitchens of the year! The team at Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths truly believes that each kitchen and bathroom that we design and construct is a work of art. As we bid farewell to 2016, we thought we’d revisit a few of our favorite kitchens from this year. Here are just a few of them:

Aren’t they gorgeous? This is just a small sampling of the lovely kitchens we installed in 2016. You too deserve a beautiful kitchen! If 2017 is the year that you’ve decided to take the leap and start the process towards a new kitchen or bathroom, please give us a call. We are more than happy to help you make your dream a reality!

We would like to wish all of our clients, both past and present, a very Happy Holiday season!

Your Friends,

The Team at Nicely Done Kitchens & Baths

Preparing for Your Remodeling Project

Congratulations!  The kitchen you’ve been dreaming of for years has been contracted!  Your beautiful new cabinets and countertops have been chosen and dates have been set for cabinet delivery and installation of your new kitchen.  Until now, you’ve been fixated on choosing finishes and envisioning cooking and gathering in your amazing new space.

That space will be realized, but only after a few weeks of noise, dust and disruption to your home and life.  What are some steps you can take to minimize the mess and impact on your family’s day-to-day operations?

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First, know and accept that there will be dust, especially during the demolition phase of construction.  Tearing out old flooring, cabinets and countertops, taking out walls and other demolition activities are going to cause dust.  NDKB’s project management team will talk with you about closing vents, changing your air filter frequently and how the contractor will work to control the spread of dust outside of the construction zone.  Our contractors do their best to ensure their work spaces are left clean and free of debris before leaving the jobsite every day.  Still—it is best to accept that you will likely find dust in other areas of your home.

Second, know that there will likely be people in and out of your home, sometimes several different people in a single day.  With your permission, NDKB will place a lockbox at your home so that the contractors working on your project can enter your home and work.  Project management and the contractor will strive to keep you apprised of the work schedule so that you are never surprised by the contractor’s presence.  If you have situations that require that we schedule days when the contractor does not work at your home, we are happy to accommodate.  We realize that not only can the dust, noise and disruption be difficult, but also having strangers entering your home on a daily basis.

Here are a few suggestions of ways to pave the way for a smooth remodeling project:

  • Declutter your kitchen—remodeling is a great time to go through your kitchen and donate or dispose of items that you no longer use or need. You’re going to need to remove everything from your kitchen before demolition—what a great time to lighten your load!
  • Remove everything from the kitchen—every last thing. First, box up items that you don’t use on a regular basis, like the turkey baster and the Christmas cookie cutters.  Label all of the boxes in the event that you do need to find something.  Find a place in your home to store these items, away from the construction zone.
  • Pack like things together so that moving back into the kitchen is a breeze.
  • Just before demolition day, remove the items that you use on a daily basis. Designate a place in your home outside of the construction zone to become your temporary kitchen.  A table to hold the microwave, toaster and coffee pot may be all that is needed.  If you’re getting new appliances, it may be possible to move your old refrigerator into the garage or another space to use during remodeling.
  • Invest in paper plates and disposable cutlery as washing dishes will be a challenge. Tip:  a large cooler works well for washing dishes, especially one with a spigot to let water out and is likely cleaner than the bathtub for washing dishes!
  • Plan meals that are easy to prepare and will use small appliances such as the microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker. How about using the grill? It can be used for everything from meat to veggies!  If you’ll still have a freezer available, make freezer meals prior to construction to quickly reheat during remodeling.  Eating at restaurants is another option, but one that can get old quickly and make quite a dent in your wallet.  Simple meals will help your bottom line and keep family routines intact.
  • Although we strive to minimize dust leaving the construction area, some dust may still escape. Consider covering furniture in rooms adjacent to the kitchen—inexpensive drop cloths or old sheets work great.
  • If you have pets, please let us know. Plan on a space for them away from the construction area as they could disrupt work or get hurt.  If you have a pet that is very nervous around outsiders or doesn’t tolerate noise well, it might be wise to consider a kennel or temporary care for them.

Perhaps the best piece of advice we can give you is to remember that in the grand scheme of home ownership, a kitchen remodeling project will only last a few weeks:  keep a positive outlook, be flexible and keep your sense of humor!  This too shall pass, and when it does, you’ll be left with a beautiful new kitchen, Nicely done!