Zillow Digs, Pinterest, Houzz…no end to inspiring websites for review when considering a remodel. Dream with caution: The reason some of these images are on these sites, is because they are exceptional. It is very easy to recreate a color, or mood, but please don’t be disappointed when you see the perfect throw on a chair, only to discover it was a hand woven in the 17th century, and costs thousands! Staging a room for a magazine or website, is absolutley not the same, as living within a budget. The country cozy setting below is easy enough to duplicate. The little kitchenette off the guest room is a luxurious addition. The house this cozy room lives in, is for sale in TX for over $1.7 million. We LOVE when people bring us pictures they found on line. It helps us narrow down all the choices.
Recently we’ve had a couple calls from customers who fell in love with something on Pinterest. We loved their ideas, and the inspiration piece. One thing the customer didn’t love, was the price tag. Custom comes at a price. The charming hex tile below was hand colored by Pratt and Larson. This simple design retails for approximately $116/sq foot. Sadly, once we fall in love with images, it’s hard to go back to the drawing board. Always be prepared to be realistic about your skills, and or budget. Beware current buzz words such as: Organic, Bespoke, Custom, Curated, Hand Crafted, One of a Kind. These are your clues to a hefty price tag. We want to help you create your dream space. Bringing ideas from websites is a great way to start focusing on your taste.
It is also good to know when to hire a professional. The other type call we get is from homeowners, and well intentioned handy people, who get in over their heads. YouTube is an endless source of ‘how to’ information. Doing some projects yourself can save thousands. Major improvements however, can go very wrong, very quickly. Please start small if you have never tackled something like setting tile. Often times, working with a local business can help you either with free professional advice, or flexible payment plans. We don’t want your dream to turn into a nightmare!
Norman believes that the best shutter is the result of meticulous management of each step in its creation. Every step: research and development, product design, raw materials sourcing, handcrafting, quality control, and even packaging are carried out with one goal, to bring you matchless quality, durability, and long-term value in your Norman investment.
For that reason and more, we offer their products here at Valley Floors.
We often work with people that have a vision in their mind about their kitchen design. I’m going to focus specifically on the back splash, the area above the counter, or behind the stove. This design element is often considered decorative. Although, in areas surrounding the stove or sink, it has a practical function. Occasionally, we meet people that become frustrated when they can’t seem to find the backsplash material that will pull their dream together.
Of course, working with professionals will generally help the process move in the right direction. I began wondering about how kitchen counters are utilized. Arguably, the kitchen is the most important room of the home. It is also the place where busy families intersect for information, drop off & pick up of many items, and of course, socializing, and nourishment. Designing a kitchen is a very important and expensive project. Generally speaking, individuals go through the process only once in a lifetime. It can be a daunting task.
What do people see as a ‘dream’ kitchen? We sift through magazines or websites trying to get an idea. As with fashion magazines, we are generally shown images such as this:
Well, this may not be your style, but it certainly makes a statement! We plan our fantasy room. We have our vision in mind, now it’s time to create our dream…right? Perhaps, but generally, it requires a little more planning and time than most people realize. According to the 2010 census, the average sized kitchen is about 150 square feet. We also own more stuff which lives on our counters than ever before. In my own official survey of my facebook friends, and coworkers, which include a wide demographic of education levels, lifestyles, income, and geography, I was able to determine the majority of us live with some version of this reality:
We certainly love our gadgets. The point I’m trying to illustrate is, most of us are busy. We own many things that live in the kitchen. Most of those things live on the counter, covering up the backsplash area we are trying so hard to design. I’m going to give you a few ideas to consider. This is the fun part!
The 1st thing to consider is your budget. Since it is generally a small area, it won’t require much material. The majority of the cost will be labor. Because there are few staright lines, there will be a fair bit of cutting to ensure the tile is placed evenly. This is where hiring a professional tile setter is a good idea.
Bacasue editors rarely show kitchens with all of our “stuff” in magazine photoshoots, why not add a decorative accent color or insert higher on the wall, closer to the upper edge drawing your eye up? Another idea, is to keep the tile above the counter simple and add a dramtic accent over the stove. This area is less likeley to be obstructed by objects.
Here is an example featurung a niche for utensils. In this kitchen, a clean white subway tile was laid in a stacked bond pattern, which is a little unexpected. Based on the size of the area shown here, we can assume they saved at least twenty linear inches of precious counter space. I also like the depth of the niche. If it were deeper, Items could become hidden, and possibly create a dangerous situation reaching for lost utensils. This is a dream element that can easily be created in any kitchen.
Another design idea that can be duplicated, is using a large format tile. A large format tile may be 12” x 24”, or larger. It’s an unexpected twist. There are fewer grout lines to clean, and it can also give a pop of color. In the example below, they chose a soft blue which gives an airy feeling to the hard stainless appliances, dark floors, and island. This is a kitchen that will stand the test of time. It isn’t a trendy color that will seem dated in a few years. Clean white cabinets, and counters are always in style.
Here is another example of a typical kitchen. Keep in mind as you formulate your design, kitchens are places we live. This photo is an example of what happens when our lifestyle is not taken into account during a kitchen design.
This photo actually prompted me to look at my own kitchen. I removed every item that didn’t add to the design of the room or function as a useful tool!
Now, imagine this kitchen with a coat of paint on the builder grade cabinets, and a dramatic back splash like these dark tiles set in a running bond pattern, seen below.
Many people assume a dark color will make a room seem smaller. In this instance, is gives the room a feature. The dark color actually recedes and highlights the beautiful counter.
I hope you look at your space with a fresh perspective. Be realistic in your expectations. Look at dream kitchen photos for elements you can borrow, but keep in mind, it takes hours to set up a photo shoot. Bring in images you love when you shop. It really helps your design team focus on your vision and narrow down the vast selection. Be prepared to spend some time and bring samples home to view in your space, with your lighting.
Stop in with your ideas. We are here to help you.
Here is a custom shower in progress. One of our favorite designers, Judy Elliot from Lyme, NH, helped her client create this soothing bath. Valley Floors was excited to install polished white Carrara marble tiles all from Ferrazzoli Imports. We cut the natural stone wall tiles to a 6" x 12" brick. The same Carrara marble was used to build the custom niche seen on the right - which is the perfect size to contain all the products this homeowner uses. The floor in the shower is also a white Carrara marble in a basket weave pattern, accented with grey dots. The bathroom floor is the same 12" x 12" tile which was left whole. We are confident this timeless design will be enjoyed for many years. The skill of our tile setter is evident as the cuts match perfectly.