Here is your opportunity to get some insider perspective straight from Bradco Designer, Joanne, who took the time to answer a few specific questions:
1. Let’s say I’m a new home owner starting to work on my cabinets. How do you choose the right style and color to accommodate a kitchen?
“First and foremost, know the style of your house. The style of the kitchen should be based on the style of the house. The two themes should go hand in hand so that the designs flow together. This tip is not only an important cosmetic feature but also a money saver. Consider this: It’s more economical to work with a pre-existing kitchen base and make specific stylized adjustments than it would be to start from scratch. Work with what you have and make the improvements from there; a few key changes can make a huge difference in the finished product.”
2. How would you select colors that best suit my space?
“Kitchen colors should be chosen based on the floors. Generally we suggest complementing color schemes. For instance, dark wood floors go well with light furnishing choices and light-colored tile floors go well with dark-colored furnishings. These scheme tips help to make unique shades more prominent. As always these suggestions are dependent upon personal preference and/or budget. To echo the previous answer of working with your home’s existing style, you could always pick a specific architectural feature that you want to highlight and make that element more prominent in the kitchen. For example, if your home has many beams or unique crown moldings replicate those aspects in handle choices or decorative elements. Keep in mind that if there is already a large amount of wood in your home and your goal is to tone down that element; a simple solution is to paint the cabinets. Earth tones are usually a good stand-by choice for any home.”
3. How do you establish a budget and how would you accommodate someone on a low budget?
“What is your home worth? Budgets are derived from the value of the home and your cash flow. If money is tight, make a list and put major priorities on top to make sure those items are taken care of before anything else. It is advisable to set aside twenty percent of your budget to handle the unexpected to be more safe than sorry. There are always budget saving options available such as: using maple butter blocks, countertops made from recycled material, or utilizing tile for a back splash in place of the more expensive marble options.”
4. How long does the kitchen remodeling process usually take?
“Generally the time can fluctuate depending on how much work needs to be done on a particular kitchen. Keep in mind that if you decide to choose custom cabinets, they should be the first item ordered since they take the longest to make. An average job can take two months so prepare your meal options accordingly.”
5. Do you incorporate eco-friendly aspects in your design and what are you favorite products? Are you an advocate of eco-friendly solutions?
“Double yes. I can truly get behind the eco-friendly products and often suggest this option to clients. There have been many advancements in price alternatives these past years making eco-friendly a more viable option for everyone. My most recommended options are countertops made from recycled materials and formaldehyde-free plywood for cabinets. Plywood is my choice because it’s easy to work with and good for people who have allergies.”
6. What are some new trends that have been popular in 2011?
“Definitely functionality over design is a major trend that has played into this year. More clients are not over-designing and less over-stylized concepts are currently being applied to kitchens. Less bells and whistles sort of speak.”
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Smart Money Magazine recently published an article entitled “10 Things Interior Designers Won’t Say.” Numbered lists are popular formats, whether they’re giving positive tips or helping you avoid dire consequences.
The Smart Money article falls into the dire consequences category. Since we deal with many interior designers here, we took a good look at the list. Here’s what we think, in response to the 10 things designers apparently won’t tell you:
My Qualifications? My good taste, naturally.
1. On a question of qualifications, especially in a big-ticket and long-lasting transformation like a kitchen remodeling or bathroom renovation, it’s probably a safe bet to go with a professional interior designer, or one who works regularly with the cabinet maker, craftsperson or architect you’re using. Areas that involve water and electricity must adhere to codes, and it’s more than just what looks good. The interior design has to hold together in a functional and safe way as well. We agree with the Smart Money article that you should do your homework about your designer selection. The California Council for Interior Design Certification administers the Certified Interior Designers Law, and you have to pass requirements before you can call yourself a Certified Interior Designer. Certification by CCIDC is the highest standard of professionalism for interior designers in the State.
“I’ll decorate in my style, not yours.”
2. Do you even have a style? To be honest, many people like lots of different styles. The Smart Money article advocates careful examination of the designer’s portfolio, and matching their style to yours. If you’re not sure you have a style, start gathering images that really appeal to you, and your style will emerge. Good interior designers work to bring out your style, and make it better. We agree that you’ll enjoy working with an interior designer with whom you have good report. We don’t necessarily agree that specialists can’t work effectively outside their specialty. As in every relationship, good honest communication is the key!
While we’re at it, here’s another thought: if you’re writing the check, you’re the boss. But if you’ve hired someone to bring your ideas to fruition, hear them out.
“I’ll redesign your budget along with your rooms” and “My hourly rate will make you see red.”
3. & 5. Again, communication is the key. Ask your interior designer every money question you can think of. Do they charge by the hour or project? Will they give you a breakdown of design, construction and finishing costs? What is included in their fee, and where does the fee fall in the cost of the project? Are they bonded or insured? Clarify your objectives for the room, then start with what you can afford and are willing to spend as the total cost, including their fees. Use your interior designer’s expertise and experience, ask for alternatives, and see what can be done within your spending range (your budget.)
The Smart Money article says, “Have the interior designer give you a proposal with everything itemized before anything is started.” We agree. They also suggest that a simple room typically takes about 20 hours of designer work, and that clients should set a maximum if they’re working with a designer on an hourly rate.
“You have no idea how much that sofa really costs.”
4. This is in reference to the discounts designers will get from trade showrooms. Will they pass the discount along to you? Go ahead and ask. You should be well-versed in what styles and fabrics will work in your home before you buy anything. It’s easy enough to take shots of what you like to show your designer, or to look at furniture your designer recommends. But sit on it/lay down on it/pretend you’re eating at it first. Make sure your furniture choice is functional and comfortable before you consider investing. Along the way, you’ll also be getting a good idea of the retail cost of various levels of quality construction.
At the very least, you shouldn’t pay more than retail. The interior designer interviewed for the Smart Money article passes along savings 20-30% below retail, even with her markup.
“Shop at the right stores and you’ll pay less for interior designers.”
6. The Smart Money articles notes that national chains, like Bloomindales and Ethan Allen, offer design services at an excellent rate (and sometimes free.) We’ll leave the living room up to them, but Bradco Kitchens and Bath offers complete kitchen and bathroom design services, as well as kitchen and bathroom remodeling. And we specialize in green kitchen/bath design! Bradco’s kitchen designers are trained experts with many years of experience, who utilize the latest design software so you can view your new room in 3D! (If you are interested in talking to one of our designers, call our office for an appointment: (323) 936-3457)
It’s a good idea to ask your designer for referrals, too. With a store-based designer, make sure you understand any fee or purchase requirements, and that you get them in writing.
“Using my contractors will cost you.”
7. The Money Market article notes that many interior designers work with preferred contractors, often because it saves time and increases reliability. (At Bradco, we use B & R Construction, an on-site construction company that has an exclusive agreement to prioritize Bradco customers.) That said, you may have construction contacts who might be well-known to you, or less expensive. Don’t be afraid to ask for bids on your job.
“Don’t rush me — or I’ll have to charge you.”
8. This one is just common sense: design and renovation/construction take time. While it’s important to have a schedule, it’s also important to have reasonable expectations based on a good communication with your designer/architect/builder. The Smart Money article notes that getting work done for the holidays means starting the job in the summer. Ditto getting ready for summer visitors: you’ll need to start the process months ahead of time.
If you’re renovating a kitchen or bath for a big event, like a wedding or graduation celebration, make sure the designer knows the date you’re aiming at, develop a calendar, and start well ahead of time to avoid rush costs.
“Custom orders mean you’re courting disaster.”
9. According to Smart Money, there’s more “custom” furniture (which includes anything different than the showroom model, including upholstery) being ordered today, because there’s less standard stock on the floor. Make sure you understand and OK every part of the order, and that means….you bought it. Get samples of upholstery or fabric, get a good look at the stain color on the wood, and be sure of your dimensions. When you’re working with a kitchen/bath designer, it’s easier if you can actually see and touch cabinet samples and look through the showroom for countertops and fixtures.
“If I botch your project, good luck getting reparations.”
10. Three words: have a contract. (Or a letter of agreement). Make sure you’ve got a method for handling disputes. Even if you have it all in writing, there are still opportunities for error, disagreement or opinion. And work with a designer who carries liability insurance.
The Smart Money article was updated and adapted from the book “1,001 Things They Won’t Tell You: An Insider’s Guide to Spending, Saving, and Living Wisely,” by Jonathan Dahl and the editors of SmartMoney.
Bradco Kitchens and Baths takes pride in having industry leading design professionals that take our customers through every step of the design and construction process. Bradco also has a special running for the month of April, NO TAX! That’s right, no tax when you purchase a complete kitchen from Bradco Kitchens and Baths, Los Angeles’s first place to get quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Click here to access the special.
In the case of many of our Bradco clients, kosher living and food preparation is the optimum lifestyle choice. Bradco has taken this opportunity to make it known that we have designed many kosher kitchens and we want to share our expert design knowledge with all of you to help facilitate staying kosher in your homes.
When preparing food that is kosher, cleanliness and halting cross contamination of meat and dairy fare key. To implement these values into kitchen design, we focus on counter space, appliances, and storage space elements. Implementing labels for separating stored food items such as dairy and meat are a great way to avoid confusion and help keep your kosher kitchen in tip top shape. Two sinks are recommended for a kosher kitchen however, if budget is an issue there is also a budget friendly alternative.
Double sinks are acceptable as opposed to two separate units but obviously not ideal. Stainless-steel sinks and steel or granite countertops are the recommended options for those who cannot have distinct discrete areas for meat and dairy.
Function and style do not have to suffer when you opt for stainless steel appliances for your kosher kitchen and they are ideal due to the ease of clean up. Two of each appliance such as ovens, sinks, or dishwashers are the epitome of kashered options. Although that is not always an option when you’re looking for a budget friendly selection. All of these alliances and more are available for sale at Bradco.
In regards to countertops, be sure that the material you have is pure granite or stone. If it isn’t, you may need to replace your existing material. While there are different rabbinic options concerning countertop materials that have the ability to be kashered from milk to meat, vice versa, or for passover, Bradco can supply you with your desired countertop material whether it be granite, composite stone, etc. It is evident that form and function need to also be factored into kosher kitchen remodeling.
A truly kosher kitchen will have two separate sets of cutlery, cookware, serve ware an extra set of dishes. The meat and dairy need to be kept separate through food preparation all the way to serving because these dishes and serve ware will be used on a daily basis for all meat and dairy containing meals. Naturally, extra cabinets and organizational storage spaces are necessary for these items. Bradco can help to maximize storage space by replacing standard shelves and drawers with modular wire shelves and baskets. These shelves and baskets can be configured in a variety of ways so that the existing interior cabinet space is used to it’s full potential.
Of course, if there are any questions that arise during the design of kosher kitchens you should seek rabbinic guidance and after that feel free to contact us.
Bradco Kitchens & Baths
6011 West Pico Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (424) 209-2309
Contemporary Style: Contemporary Kitchen Design in Los Angeles has moved further towards the mainstream in recent years and is no longer an edgy fringe style. Contemporary kitchen design trends generally include the combination of overt functionality, minimalistic detail and stark horizontal lines that create a fresh, distinctive look that will modernize the lifestyle of any homeowner. The term “Modern Organic” is a popular kitchen design trend in Los Angeles, combining contemporary kitchen design with earth tones and distinct textures that create a unique look that is being applied to many high profile projects here in LA. Quartz counter tops are the fastest growing choice for contemporary kitchens and it’s easy to see why. They provide a clean, elegant look with fantastic color pallet that easily compliments any modern cabinet style. No contemporary kitchen design trend would be complete without the proper appliances, stainless steel’s chic look is still king but an increasing variety of colors coming from new age appliance manufacturers allow designers to add personalized flare. Finally, mosaic tile back splashes enhance light & dark contrasts to truly layer on the esthetics achieved through a contemporary kitchen design.
Going Green: Sustainability is the foremost kitchen remodeling trend of 2010 in Los Angeles. Everyone from big-budget celebrities to first-time homeowners are taking the environment into consideration during their kitchen remodeling projects. Holistic approaches to selecting your green kitchen design trends go past recycled products and extend to creating a healthy indoor living environment for you and your family. Using re-claimed wood and formaldehyde-free kitchen cabinets are some highlights of effective and healthy sustainable kitchen remodeling trends. Other notable eco-friendly kitchen design trends in Los Angles include water efficient faucets, energy-star appliances and recycled countertops.
White Themed Kitchen Design: Many Los Angeles designers are recommending the chic, clean look of white kitchen cabinets and white kitchen countertops. This white & off white color theme will continue to be one of the most popular new kitchen design trends and kitchen remodeling trends for 2010. The clean and minimalist regal that comes from a white kitchen theme enhances the open space in the room and provides a substantially brightened mood. Other trending colors include earth themed pallets such as light brown, bone and beige tones.
Functional Kitchen Design: The primary goal of well-designed kitchen remodeling is to get the most out of the space available; kitchen design trends in LA combine multi-functional features that make kitchens more practical and comfortable. Trending features such as flexible faucets, dishwashers-in-a-drawer and concealed appliances combine convenience with style; while the addition of high-tech appliances creates an enhanced social atmosphere to any kitchen space. Storage has become both stylish and efficient; modern kitchen designs save you both space and frustration without sacrificing any esthetic elegance. These functional kitchen design trends utilize custom storage areas with adjustable dividers, cupboard inserts, and pull-out baskets.
Traditional Kitchen Design Style: Traditional styling is continuing to be one of the most popular new kitchen design trends in Los Angeles, and it will continue to have significant presence within kitchen remodeling trends as well. When homeowners want to add resale value to their house, upgrading to a traditional style kitchen is a great way to appeal to a large market of buyers. Shaker style cabinets, inset doors and exotic natural stone counter tops will help to highlight lasting luxurious styles within the traditional kitchen design trend. A surging kitchen design trend in Los Angeles is to incorporate contemporary design elements into a traditional kitchen remodel, creating a hybrid style of design that appeals to many types of homeowners in LA.