Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The ONE Question You Need to Say “Yes” to Before Having Your Kitchen Cabinets Refinished

While budgets often determine the remodeling strategy in most homeowners’ quest for the “perfect” kitchen, we believe there is one question you should address before you establish your budget:

Do you love your kitchen’s layout?

You may think this question is irrelevant if you already “crunched the numbers” and decided that new cabinets are too expensive and that refinishing your existing cabinets is your only choice.

But before you look at your budget, sigh, and go in search of a contractor to repaint or refinish your current cabinets, you should know that Remodeling Magazine reports that, in the Seattle area, you can expect to pay a remodeling contractor approximately $25,000 for a minor kitchen remodel. Included in their calculations are painting/refinishing the existing cabinets, new countertops, new sink and faucet, new cabinet pulls and a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling. An average kitchen remodel with new cabinets is around $58,000, with an upscale kitchen running about $115,000. These figures will vary somewhat depending on the size of your kitchen, age of your home, and the scope and quality of the work you want to have done (but it gives you a general idea).

With these figures in your head, ask yourself, can I be happy with my kitchen layout for $25,000?

Maybe the cost of doing a full remodel suddenly makes your current kitchen layout seem just fine. If that’s the case, refinishing is a great option for updating your kitchen’s look. Done properly, refinished cabinets can be beautiful! The only downside is that your kitchen will continue to flow exactly as it always has.

But what if you really don’t like your kitchen layout and the thought of spending $25,000 to keep the same dysfunctional layout gives you heartburn? What then?

In theory, the easiest option is to increase your budget to allow for all the work you want done. If you’re not willing or able to dip into savings or to refinance your home to gain the budget you need, then you need to decide whether it makes sense to wait until your budget is more flexible. If you’re a talented do-it-yourselfer with plenty of time and patience, you can always refinish your cabinets yourself as a stop-gap measure until you can afford your dream kitchen.

When it’s time for your dream kitchen, let us know. We can deliver on that dream.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Coolest Kitchen Products are Hidden

Image Courtesy of S-Box
Whether your kitchen is sleek and ultra-modern or cozy and farmhouse-inspired, having a convenient, yet clutter-free, workspace is most likely high on your list of priorities – particularly if counter space is at a premium.

That’s why our designers are always on the look-out for products that are designed to enhance your kitchen’s workflow without sacrificing aesthetics or space. Two product lines we particularly love are S-Box’s pop-up storage and the under-cabinet lighting system by Legrand Adorne.

The S-Box pop-up storage system enables everyday items to be hidden from view until needed. With a simple touch, S-Box allows you to access your knives, TV/DVD, audio system, key box, spices, or even extra power outlets from one of three countertop mounting options: flush mount, recess mount or undermount (using a matching piece of the countertop for a fully-concealed look).

Image Courtesy of Legrand
Similarly, the Adorne under-cabinet lighting system is well-hidden but unlike S-Box’s integrated countertop solution, Adorne uses a power strip-like configuration to tuck electrical outlets at the juncture of where backsplashes meet upper cabinets. In addition to providing plenty of power outlets, the system’s modular design allows homeowners to strategically position lights, device cradles/chargers, USB outlets, standard outlets, and audio exactly where they are needed. To get a better feel for just how flexible this product line is, check out Adorne’s video.

If your kitchen is over-run with modern conveniences that you’d rather have handy, yet out-of-sight, please get in touch. We can help you reclaim your countertops.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Senior Living" Options: Remodeling for the Multi-Generational Household

Currently greater than one third of the country’s population is either disabled, chronically ill or over the age of 65. More homes are becoming multi-generational as Baby Boomers bring their aging parents home to live while still raising families of their own. It is now common to have small children and grandparents in the home at the same time; the challenge is to ensure that the home is usable by each member of the family, today and into the future. With some creative remodeling, it is possible to enjoy the richness of life together without the stress and strain of being crowded together in home that is too small or does not function well.

Financial Considerations for a Multi-generational Home

Multi-generational living can make excellent financial sense. The average cost of assisted living in 2012 was $3,550 per month ($42,600 per year) according to a long-term care market survey conducted by MetLife. An average addition with bath and special accommodations might run $120,000 or more, but often can be fully covered by the sale of Grandma’s home. Remodeling not only allows Grandma and Grandpa to be safe and enjoy their comparative freedom, it also improves the value of your home and can represent substantial long-term savings compared to costs of a senior-living facility.

What Kind of Remodeling Makes Sense for Aging Parents?

“Universal Design” is the skill of designing a home that is open to people of all capabilities, whether that includes children, elderly or those inconvenienced by temporary or permanent disability. In-law suites are a great option and usually include a master bedroom and a full bath, but some homeowners also choose to include a sitting room, small kitchen area and even a private entrance. In remodeling for seniors, consider implementing Universal Design features such as wider halls, easy access doors, and features like grab bars, no curb showers, and easy-to-reach shelving. Appropriate lighting is an important consideration for safety and the enjoyment of the space as well. In-law suites are ideally placed on the ground floor so grandparents won’t have to walk up and down too many stairs. If the suite needs to be on an upper level or the basement level, a home elevator can be designed into the plan.

The photos (above, right) are of a mother-in-law apartment that Estate Homes designed and built over an existing garage that connects to the main home by way of a sky bridge. This provides independent living with a private entry, while having a connection with the remainder of the family.

If you’re concerned about a parent who can no longer safely live alone, please contact us. We can help you explore the smart and rewarding “senior living” options you have right at home.