More Tips to Renovate you Kitchen on a Budget

September 25th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

If you find that your kitchen budget needs to go on a diet, take heart, Real estate experts Barbara Corcoran offers a practical guide to revitalizing a kitchen with ways to cut the fat. Also, check out the NBC News Video for additional tips.

What is Really Important

September 24th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

You many have come across this already. I want to share it again here because the message holds true no matter what we are facing in life. With remodeling, it seems that crisis and drama are played out in an accelerated fashion. You have the construction crews invading your house at the crack of dawn, or someone doesn’t show up, or a material is back ordered and there are quick decisions to be made by you and your spouse but you do not agree on the same things and the contractor needs an answer right away. This is the type of stress that finds it’s way under your skin.

When it gets this stressful, take a step back, breathe, and know this to shall pass. In the overall scheme of things in life, we have to constantly remember to put things in perspective.

When you have a moment, I have included a video link for you to watch. Please listen to Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 18, 2007, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues. A Professor’s Life Lessons.
The full lecture is found at ETC Global News.

What is Really Important

September 24th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

You many have come across this already. I want to share it again here because the message holds true no matter what we are facing in life. With remodeling, it seems that crisis and drama are played out in an accelerated fashion. You have the construction crews invading your house at the crack of dawn, or someone doesn’t show up, or a material is back ordered and there are quick decisions to be made by you and your spouse but you do not agree on the same things and the contractor needs an answer right away. This is the type of stress that finds it’s way under your skin.

When it gets this stressful, take a step back, breathe, and know this to shall pass. In the overall scheme of things in life, we have to constantly remember to put things in perspective.

When you have a moment, I have included a video link for you to watch. Please listen to Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 18, 2007, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues. A Professor’s Life Lessons.
The full lecture is found at ETC Global News.

Where Wine and Art Do Not Mix

September 24th, 2007 § 5 Comments


I was browsing this image at Trendir, and thought, “Gorgeous”, but upon closer inspection, I saw the pegs contained bottles of wine. First of all, in California I would want to know if this was earthquake safe. Probably not. Secondly, while this may look beautiful, heat rises. Why would anyone want to keep an expensive collection of wine in a hot spot? Maybe they are empty? Use this design in a wine cellar only please. It is a dynamic, stunning L-shape kitchen, but the design fails to store wine properly. For more views of this fabulous cabinetry take a look at Ernestomeda Barrique .

The marble is lovely too, but oye, the stains, the scratches and acid etching you will have from your Merlot wine. Good thing the marble is the color of wine. Helps the stains blend in.


I do like the Kidney shaped corner storage cabinet. Love the stainless toe kick too. Check out the oven! There is a drawer above it and below the cook top. Clever!


I am a big fan of open shelves in kitchens. Love the stainless banded shelves shown here.

Where Wine and Art Do Not Mix

September 24th, 2007 § 5 Comments


I was browsing this image at Trendir, and thought, “Gorgeous”, but upon closer inspection, I saw the pegs contained bottles of wine. First of all, in California I would want to know if this was earthquake safe. Probably not. Secondly, while this may look beautiful, heat rises. Why would anyone want to keep an expensive collection of wine in a hot spot? Maybe they are empty? Use this design in a wine cellar only please. It is a dynamic, stunning L-shape kitchen, but the design fails to store wine properly. For more views of this fabulous cabinetry take a look at Ernestomeda Barrique .

The marble is lovely too, but oye, the stains, the scratches and acid etching you will have from your Merlot wine. Good thing the marble is the color of wine. Helps the stains blend in.


I do like the Kidney shaped corner storage cabinet. Love the stainless toe kick too. Check out the oven! There is a drawer above it and below the cook top. Clever!


I am a big fan of open shelves in kitchens. Love the stainless banded shelves shown here.

Taking the "Dis" out of Disabled

September 24th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

I love this! I was tooling around the web, (I have given up my Sunday Times), in favor of searching my favorite blogs when I found this at KitchAnn Style.
As designers, Universal Design, is something we all need to incorporate into our daily vocabulary. This unique toilet is revolutionary in concept and design. It would be nice to see this become available.

The Universal Toilet, designed by Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong, is a flexible toilet design usable by both individuals with disabilities and the general population that removes the social stigma of handicapped facilities. For users with disabilities, even a dedicated handicapped toilet requires maneuvering, especially when in a wheelchair. With the Universal Toilet users don’t need to turn or twist but can simply slide forward off the wheelchair directly onto the toilet. There is even a chest board to lean against for added stability and comfort. Handles on the chest board can also be of use when standing or transferring between the wheelchair. For other users, the chest board becomes a backboard to lean against. The Universal Toilet is also very space efficient,requiring only a quarter of the space of existing handicapped toilets. And since the toilet’s sleek, curving forms are like nothing seen before, users with disabilities need no longer feel self-conscious.

Taking the "Dis" out of Disabled

September 24th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

I love this! I was tooling around the web, (I have given up my Sunday Times), in favor of searching my favorite blogs when I found this at KitchAnn Style.
As designers, Universal Design, is something we all need to incorporate into our daily vocabulary. This unique toilet is revolutionary in concept and design. It would be nice to see this become available.

The Universal Toilet, designed by Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong, is a flexible toilet design usable by both individuals with disabilities and the general population that removes the social stigma of handicapped facilities. For users with disabilities, even a dedicated handicapped toilet requires maneuvering, especially when in a wheelchair. With the Universal Toilet users don’t need to turn or twist but can simply slide forward off the wheelchair directly onto the toilet. There is even a chest board to lean against for added stability and comfort. Handles on the chest board can also be of use when standing or transferring between the wheelchair. For other users, the chest board becomes a backboard to lean against. The Universal Toilet is also very space efficient,requiring only a quarter of the space of existing handicapped toilets. And since the toilet’s sleek, curving forms are like nothing seen before, users with disabilities need no longer feel self-conscious.

Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?

September 23rd, 2007 § 4 Comments


Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?
More conversations on “Do’s and Dont’s” for “Small Space Kitchen Design” over at the Kitchen Exchange Blog. In it, a homeowner, Mads (her blogging name), asks for a critique of her small 9′ x 9′ 1/2″ kitchen she designed 100% by herself. Peggy Deras, CKD, gives some great insight on what went right and wrong in this remodel. Having been contacted by the homeowner myself for a critique, we exchanged a few emails back and forth as well. You can view my critique over there at Kitchen Exchange.

This is actually a lovely story of an American living in Italy. (Jealous)! Her tales of construction calls to mind another charming tale of an American living in Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, with a not so charming experience remodeling the Italian way.

The house is in Genova about 2-3 hours from Florence. I discovered that Mads spent 5700 Euros for her remodel and another 3,000 Euros in labor. That’s $12,263 US Dollars. But wait, before you buy your plain ticket, this wasn’t exactly an easy remodel either. For those here in America who cry at having to wait 6-8 weeks for their remodel to be completed, you could be in for something much longer in Italy! It was a self-professed nightmare of an experience. For more info visit Post Reconstruction: A Tale of Life in Italy. Two walls were knocked down and rebuilt to expand the space (in Italy walls are still built with brick and limestone so it took almost 6 weeks for them to dry!!!). Mama Mia! She also had many problems with the workers who laid the mosaic tiles and floors but they did such a bad job she refused to pay them for that. You can see in some photos how bad the mosaic was put up.

But the good news is that Mads saved money through the ingenious sourcing of her tiles, fixtures and cabinets. A huge savings came about in that she did most of the work herself, including installing her cabinets and her hood. Bravo, woman! You are brave. What I want to know, where was “Dear Husband in all of this?” Did he help? Or was it easier to keep him out of the task?

She explains,

I was able to keep the costs low by doing the following

The mosaics are swimming pool tiles
Cost 225 euro for 16 square meters ($317 US dollars)

The floor tiles are from a company that deals with commercial clients, but I sweet talked them into an order by going directly to their factory. The color was so particular that I couldn’t get any graniglia to match so I decided to have the counter tops tiled with the structured version of the floor tiles which were honed. I also ended up ordering 90% of the tiles for the rest of the house form them as well. I’m very happy with their product (http://www.ariostea-hightech.com/)

Interesting little fact. Italians don’t like tile on their counter tops. Who knew? Mad continues to relate her tedious experience of finding someone to tile her counter tops. I thought I was viewing a gorgeous teak stained wood top! You fooled me, that is actually tiles on your counter top!

Now for you and I having your counter tops tiled is a normal thing. In Italy its like asking someone to ride their bicycle to the moon. I searched for six month during the reconstruction for someone to do this. I realized that I would have to do it myself. By the time I had decided to do the counters myself, all the drama of the tiles played out and then with some modification I would need of cabinets to make the washer hide behind a cabinet door and so on, I decided that no one would ever understand what I was talking about, so I’d have to do it myself. I went online and got all the info I needed and went to work.

In the end, I assembled and put up the upper cabinets. Modified most of the lower cabinets in one way or another to get them to fit with the washer, connected all the water and gas lines. Very dangerous trial and error process! I put up the hood and had the fun job of connecting the big flexible chrome tube thing that took me an absurdly long time.

I got an electrical sawing machine and cut the wood (with all those angles!) for the counter tops. I had a tiler come and put the tiles on the counters and do the part over the walls in Mosaics as out contractor was incompetent. The tiler also came back to do the bathroom. Anyway, at the end of the day, everything is a bit crooked, but no one really notices but me!

Mosaics 225 euro
Floor and counter tiles 750 euro
fridge 700 euro
washer 450 euro
dishwasher 450 euro
sink 250 euro
stove 700 euro
hood + option 750 euro
bar stools 200 euro (total)
Tap 130 euro (On Sale!)
Cabinets 1100 euro
Total 5700!

Check out the photo link for more photos of Mads remodeling.
She says:

If you do check out the photo album, I and other bloggers are taking input on the dining room which I don’t like at all!

Mads, great story! Thanks for posting. I’ll be right over to house sit while you are in France! Ahh, how nice.
Laurie ;-)

Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?

September 23rd, 2007 § 4 Comments


Kitchen-exchange: Did I get this right?
More conversations on “Do’s and Dont’s” for “Small Space Kitchen Design” over at the Kitchen Exchange Blog. In it, a homeowner, Mads (her blogging name), asks for a critique of her small 9′ x 9′ 1/2″ kitchen she designed 100% by herself. Peggy Deras, CKD, gives some great insight on what went right and wrong in this remodel. Having been contacted by the homeowner myself for a critique, we exchanged a few emails back and forth as well. You can view my critique over there at Kitchen Exchange.

This is actually a lovely story of an American living in Italy. (Jealous)! Her tales of construction calls to mind another charming tale of an American living in Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, with a not so charming experience remodeling the Italian way.

The house is in Genova about 2-3 hours from Florence. I discovered that Mads spent 5700 Euros for her remodel and another 3,000 Euros in labor. That’s $12,263 US Dollars. But wait, before you buy your plain ticket, this wasn’t exactly an easy remodel either. For those here in America who cry at having to wait 6-8 weeks for their remodel to be completed, you could be in for something much longer in Italy! It was a self-professed nightmare of an experience. For more info visit Post Reconstruction: A Tale of Life in Italy. Two walls were knocked down and rebuilt to expand the space (in Italy walls are still built with brick and limestone so it took almost 6 weeks for them to dry!!!). Mama Mia! She also had many problems with the workers who laid the mosaic tiles and floors but they did such a bad job she refused to pay them for that. You can see in some photos how bad the mosaic was put up.

But the good news is that Mads saved money through the ingenious sourcing of her tiles, fixtures and cabinets. A huge savings came about in that she did most of the work herself, including installing her cabinets and her hood. Bravo, woman! You are brave. What I want to know, where was “Dear Husband in all of this?” Did he help? Or was it easier to keep him out of the task?

She explains,

I was able to keep the costs low by doing the following

The mosaics are swimming pool tiles
Cost 225 euro for 16 square meters ($317 US dollars)

The floor tiles are from a company that deals with commercial clients, but I sweet talked them into an order by going directly to their factory. The color was so particular that I couldn’t get any graniglia to match so I decided to have the counter tops tiled with the structured version of the floor tiles which were honed. I also ended up ordering 90% of the tiles for the rest of the house form them as well. I’m very happy with their product (http://www.ariostea-hightech.com/)

Interesting little fact. Italians don’t like tile on their counter tops. Who knew? Mad continues to relate her tedious experience of finding someone to tile her counter tops. I thought I was viewing a gorgeous teak stained wood top! You fooled me, that is actually tiles on your counter top!

Now for you and I having your counter tops tiled is a normal thing. In Italy its like asking someone to ride their bicycle to the moon. I searched for six month during the reconstruction for someone to do this. I realized that I would have to do it myself. By the time I had decided to do the counters myself, all the drama of the tiles played out and then with some modification I would need of cabinets to make the washer hide behind a cabinet door and so on, I decided that no one would ever understand what I was talking about, so I’d have to do it myself. I went online and got all the info I needed and went to work.

In the end, I assembled and put up the upper cabinets. Modified most of the lower cabinets in one way or another to get them to fit with the washer, connected all the water and gas lines. Very dangerous trial and error process! I put up the hood and had the fun job of connecting the big flexible chrome tube thing that took me an absurdly long time.

I got an electrical sawing machine and cut the wood (with all those angles!) for the counter tops. I had a tiler come and put the tiles on the counters and do the part over the walls in Mosaics as out contractor was incompetent. The tiler also came back to do the bathroom. Anyway, at the end of the day, everything is a bit crooked, but no one really notices but me!

Mosaics 225 euro
Floor and counter tiles 750 euro
fridge 700 euro
washer 450 euro
dishwasher 450 euro
sink 250 euro
stove 700 euro
hood + option 750 euro
bar stools 200 euro (total)
Tap 130 euro (On Sale!)
Cabinets 1100 euro
Total 5700!

Check out the photo link for more photos of Mads remodeling.
She says:

If you do check out the photo album, I and other bloggers are taking input on the dining room which I don’t like at all!

Mads, great story! Thanks for posting. I’ll be right over to house sit while you are in France! Ahh, how nice.
Laurie ;-)

Budgeting

September 21st, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Remodeling? You can hear the sighs and the next question is, “how much is this going to cost me?” Set aside some time to work up a budget and then plan to edit, and edit again.
If you know what you like but have no idea how much it will cost, there are tools out there to help you determine your budget. Sticker shock is not uncommon. It is so easy to have champagne tastes and beer budgets.
Its’ time to determine your project budget. Here is an opportunity to shop from your arm chair. Before we get started, get your tape measure, get your room dimensions and lets get going.
Here are some tools to help you.
Consumer Reports has a handy little interactive calculator tool called the Quick Cost Kitchen Remodeling Estimator.
Remember, this is not an exact method, but a pitch to get you in the ballpark for standard replacement kitchens. Your plan for a remodel may have additional structural and mechanical requirements that will increase the budget. This type of expansion may be reflected in the “luxury” column.

So I tried Consumer Reports Quick Cost Calculator for my self. I plugged in my room size, it asked for the shape of my room, and my zip code, and it spits out quick figures in the Basic, Standard, Custom and Luxury columns.
It is more detailed if you proceed to tabs 2 thru 4. So I tried that too. This is where it gets fun. Arm chair shopping for everything without leaving your home!
Step 2 takes you shopping. It asks for construction details I want to use in my project. Cabinets, Soffits, Counter tops, Sink, Disposer, Flooring, etc.

Step 3 takes you through your kitchen appliance selection.
Step 4 Provides a complete breakdown by category.
Based on my selections with mid range cabinetry, mid range appliances, premium sink selection, quartz counter tops and splashes and updating plumbing and electrical, my average budget comes to $ 48,976. I can redo the numbers if I want to change my selections from basic to premium. This is an incredibly handy tool for saving time without running around to appliance, cabinets, and tile stores. Of course that time will come next, but now you have basic information that will be a jumping off point for evaluating bids you will start to acquire from contractors, appliance stores, flooring, etc.

Another Quick Cost Calculator is from Omega Cabinetry. The tool is much more basic but handy still for getting a ballpark estimate based a percentage of your homes worth.

Omega’s calculator has you pick a percentage of your home’s value. For this example, I picked 10% of my home’s value. (The inflated value of homes in Southern California will skew my budget so I picked a lower percentage). The problem I see is that the appliance budget of $4,790 is too low for what I want to purchase. Now I know, I can choose to increase my project budget to perhaps 15% or reselect my appliances and design features. Ironically, the Consumer Reports detailed calculator came in at $48,796. About $896 variance between the two calculators.

How realistic are some of these line item figures from an actual estimate? Here in California, I see a trend with many homeowners selecting higher end appliances, much more than 10% of a client’s budget is spent on appliances. As far as sticking to budgets, I don’t think any one ever does. Will you stay with a $1,800 refrigerator or will you upgrade to the $4,500 model. You may fall in love with the $20 per piece deco tile instead of a $8.00 deco tile.

Now, the hard part is sticking to a budget. Plan on spending 15% or 20% more than what you planned. Check out these Quick Cost Calculators for yourself. I would be interested in hearing how it compares with your actual remodel costs.

On the flip side, you may have won the budget battle and plan on doing most of the installation yourself. My best advise, is to consult a professional Kitchen Designer before you embark. Check the NKBA Website for Kitchen Designers in your town. There are Kitchen Designers who work independently, without being tied to selling you any product. Kitchen Designers who work in showrooms will rebate the design fee into the cabinetry you purchase from their showroom. Consultation fees vary based on the level of service you require. It may be simply to evaluate your plans. Or you may want a full set of plans prepared for contractors to bid from.

And finally, the more concise you are in your specifications for your project the more precise your estimates will be from the contractors who will be putting in a bid for your project.
Happy remodeling!

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