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Leather Luxury: Try a Leather Finish on Your Granite Countertop

November 15th, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Design, Design and Build, Kitchens | Comments Off

LeatherIf you’re planning a kitchen remodel and looking for some new ideas, one trend we’ve noticed gaining in popularity lately is a leather finish on granite countertops. A leather finish brings a subtle, elegant difference to the standard granite countertop.

Why Choose a Leather Finish?: If you like the idea of granite, but feel that a polished finish is too glossy for your taste, your alternatives are usually a honed finish or a leather finish. A honed finish can be problematic, as it tends to retain every fingerprint and is easier to stain. It also hides some of the characteristics of the stone when it is honed. The leather finish provides a subtle texture that amplifies the characteristics of the granite and is easier to maintain than the honed finish.

How it Looks: If you imagine the difference between a glossy photograph and a matte photograph, that is the difference between granite with a polished finish and granite with a leather finish. A leather finish works best on darker surfaces, particularly black.

Advantages: A leather finish enhances the colors and textures in natural stone, while achieving a higher uniformity in the surface appearance than honed. It is easy to clean and maintain and is pleasing to the touch.

A leather finish on your granite countertop – a perfect balance between style and practicality – could be that inspired touch of individuality that really makes your kitchen remodel stand out. Working with a professional design team, informed choices about every detail of your remodel make the difference between ordinary and memorable in your home.

Trick or Treat? Decorating Your Home with Orange

October 27th, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Design, Painting | Comments Off

Decorate_OrangeWith Halloween just around the corner, the color orange makes its annual appearance throughout the neighborhood. But, should orange be relegated to October in your home? When you are looking for a way to express individuality in your interior space, orange is a choice that makes a bold statement. While the color is often used for safety precaution signage, there is nothing “safe” about using orange in your home – that’s what makes it so fabulous! Orange usually inspires strong reactions one way or another – we love it or we hate it.

Orange is a highly creative color, known for stimulating energy, appetite and socialization.  A secondary color derived from the primary colors red and yellow, orange is represented by many hues, such as pumpkin, gold, flame, copper, brass, apricot, peach, citrus, coral and tangerine. Each conveys its own mood and brings its particular spirit to a room.

Native Americans associate the color orange with kinship, while in China and Japan, orange is used to symbolize happiness and love. In Feng Shui, orange signifies Yang, Earth, strengthened concentration, purpose, and organization, and is thought to be good for the “health” area of your home.

Intrigued? Find inspiration for decorating with orange here.

Daring? Take a look at these orange and black decorating ideas.

Looking for guidance? Our design team brings your vision to life.

“Orange is the happiest color.” ~ Frank Sinatra

Make a Small Room Shine: Remodel Your Powder Room with Attention to Detail

October 20th, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Bathrooms, Design and Build | Comments Off

PowderRoomsWhile the powder room is usually the smallest room in your house, it’s also a room often used by guests, a space you should feel comfortable and proud to share. Experiment with design in a powder room’s compact area to express your personal style and make a lasting impression on visitors. Here are some ideas for your powder room remodel:

Design for a Small Space: First things first. The necessities of the room – usually just a toilet, sink, mirror and a small amount of storage – should be carefully planned to make maximum use of limited space.

Experiment with Color: A powder room is a safe place to be bold. Consider abandoning neutral tones for unexpected colors such as black, red, metallic, or your favorite splash of inspired hue. Worry less about making the room appear larger and concentrate on making the most of the space as it is.

Add Personality with Materials: Because of its small size, the powder room represents an excellent opportunity to play with high-end materials that might be too costly in a bigger room. Some of the favorite elements of powder rooms we’ve designed for clients include the jewel box effect of sparkling Swarovski crystal fixtures, the artistic texture achieved with intricate hand-painted mosaic tile work, and the organic natural beauty of a hand-carved stone sink basin. What’s most important is finding the materials that reflect your particular point of view and then working with a professional designer to realize your vision.

Bring Imagination to the Details: Lighting, carefully designed to achieve the ambience you desire, is essential in a small space. Creative displays of appropriately scaled artwork add interest and personality to the room. Rich texture can be achieved through the use of flooring materials and fixture selection. In a smaller room, each design detail is significant.

Big ideas for your small powder room remodel help you express your personal style with flair. Working with a professional design team, you can see your vision come to life in a way you will be proud to share with any visitor.

Trend watch 2011: What’s In? What’s Out?

October 10th, 2010
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Posted in Green Home, Kitchens | Comments Off

Green Home KitchensEvery homeowner has their own unique vision. Whether you’re planning to update your kitchen or bath space or create a more environmentally-friendly living space, home remodeling today is all about lifestyle. More than ever, consumers are looking for the right tips and trends for creating a design that is based on longevity. The days of the quick flip are long gone.

If you’re ready for a remodel and looking for inspiration, here are a few tips to help you create your perfect space:

1) Design to entertain: With value more important than ever, the goal here is to provide a relaxing and fun environment for your guests. Turn your kitchen remodel into the hottest new restaurant in town, create comfortable and functional living spaces, install some of the latest home automation/high-tech gadgets (think built-in iPod docking station, wine fridge, built-in espresso maker). The goal is to create a space that makes you want to stay home for dinner. On the downside, your guests may never want to leave.

2) Get in touch with your inner green: If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, opt for energy-efficient windows, lighting fixtures and tankless water heaters that are not only friendly to Mother Nature, but will offer big savings down the road. If you want to go the extra mile consider recycled countertops, radiant heat or water catch basins. Incorporating energy-efficient products and features will not only make your home look better, but will also make you feel better about giving back to the environment.

3) Bring the extended family together in a functional way. Long gone are the days of form over function. With more families expanding their homes to meet the needs of aging parents, homeowners want to seamlessly integrate these spaces to match the look and feel of the rest of the home. Universal Design is perhaps the newest and hottest trend in remodeling today. It allows you to design a space that is functional for all individuals in the home, including those who may be in wheelchairs or need special access, but marries these functional aspects with the overall design plan to create a simply beautiful result. Put simply, home is where the heart is, and creating a comfortable living space is a trend that will never go out of style.

Now on to the fun stuff. Want to show off your home design skills to the rest of the neighborhood? Here’s an insider look into what’s hot and what’s not for 2011:

Overall Design Style

What’s in:  Transitional/ contemporary (clean lines, minimalistic design accessories, big accents) and a style that is simplified, cozy and functional. Spanish style and Santa Barbara style remain popular choices.

What’s out:  Tuscan-style design

Colors

What’s in: Grey and white are strong color choices, along with accents of chocolates and dark brown; or any splash of color that expresses your own personality.

What’s out:  Beige/taupe.

Countertops

What’s in: Glass, wood, polished stone, quartz, granite, green materials (vertrazzo and recycled paper countertops), including a mixture of honed and polished finishes. Leather finish on natural stone also creates a nice touch.

What’s out:  Tile

Backsplashes for the Kitchen or Bath

What’s in:  Mosaic and glass tiles, porcelain, natural stone mosaic, 3form acrylic

What’s out: Full granite backsplashes, monochromatic, single size tile

Window Treatments

What’s in: Motorized shades as part of smart system to create ambience

What’s out: Vertical blinds

Technology

What’s in: iPod docking stations built in, smart systems, media, home automation, remote control steam showers with aromatherapy and music.

What’s out: Wires

International Flair

What’s in:  Wrought Iron, European, Spanish, distressed furniture and nail heads.

What’s out: Over-the-top accessories or themes.

How to Solve Color Dilemmas and Select the Perfect Paint Color

September 16th, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Design, Painting | Comments Off

PaintColorsChoosing the right paint colors for your home is both exciting and daunting. How do you know which colors to choose and which colors will look good together? Will you be happy with your choices once the project is done and your home is painted, or will you have regrets? A professional interior designer with an experienced painting company can help you navigate the world of color. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

Identify Goals
Before starting a paint project you should always identify what your goal is with the space. How do you use each room and what type of atmosphere do you want to convey in the space … Cozy? Relaxing? Exciting and Bold? Bigger?

Work With What You Love
With thousands of paint colors to choose from, picking the perfect color for your space can be overwhelming. One of the best ways to narrow down selections and hone in on the tone that will make your space sing is to look at your existing furniture. Think about the colors of your couch, rug, floors and cabinetry. The colors you’ve chosen to furnish your home are a good indicator of the palettes you like. You can also try to pull colors from a favorite painting or art piece that inspires you.

Find Your Light
There’s nothing worse than choosing a color in the store, then getting it home and seeing it completely change as the light hits it. When choosing a paint color, keep in mind how much light the room gets, noting that in very bright rooms, each wall may look different at different times of day. The best way to test paint colors is to tape chips horizontally to the walls. Once you select your color, get a paint sample and paint large patches on each wall in the room and spend some time with it (at least a few days) to see how the light affects the color throughout the day.

General Color Tips & Trends
Our designers at Jackson Design and Remodeling Painting offer the following tips:
• Small spaces are instantly brightened with a light colored paint.
• Painting a ceiling a dark color can make a large space feel cozier.
• Warm tones work well in kitchens (reds, yellows, oranges) – and these palettes have also been proven to stimulate appetites!
• Use bold colors as accents: purples and reds are the new “it” colors.

The Holiday Season Approaches: Is it Time for a Kitchen Remodel?

September 10th, 2010
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Posted in Design, Kitchens | Comments Off

HolidayKitchensWith the holidays on the horizon, we start to make plans for opening our homes to friends and family to celebrate the season together. Looking around your kitchen, how ready do you feel? If you have been delaying a kitchen remodel until the time is “just right”, the holidays provide the perfect impetus for taking action. Imagine how much easier and more festive your holiday season could be with a beautiful new kitchen designed to be more efficient, energy-conscious and welcoming.

Here are some ideas for how the holidays can inspire your kitchen remodel:

Storage and Organization: An organized kitchen makes all the difference when it comes to preparing meals for the larger groups we tend to host during the holiday season. The wealth of new storage provided by ample cabinetry, innovative drawer systems, and slide out or stand alone pantries cuts down on the time it takes to find the right tool while you’re cooking and the right serving ware and dinnerware when you’re ready to set the holiday table.

State-of-the-Art Appliances: Today’s appliances offer a combination of sleek built-in design and innovative energy-efficiency. Both trends mean you can have that extra large refrigerator or stove you’ve been dreaming about without detracting from your overall room design or adding significantly to your energy bill. Beyond the fridge, stove and dishwasher, consider appliances that make entertaining a breeze and everyday life a little more luxurious, such as a built-in espresso machine or wine cooler.

A Gathering Place: Perhaps most important for a kitchen remodel design, especially during the holidays, is that the room provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to gather together. Space planning is essential when it comes to this aspect of designing your new kitchen. A professional designer can help you determine how best to reconfigure the space you have now for optimal efficiency and appeal.

If you’re inspired to open your home to guests this season and share the joy of your stunning new kitchen design, now is the time to get started!

Creating a Beautiful Entryway for an Apartment

August 23rd, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Design | Comments Off

EntrywayYou may feel somewhat limited in your creativity and design capabilities when you begin to remodel or renovate your apartment. However, size is not always as big of a hindrance as you might initially imagine. Creating a beautiful entryway for an apartment can be simple and affordable, if you know what pieces to purchase and how to arrange things properly.

Before starting any major renovation project, it is important to seek the permission of the owner, in writing whenever possible. Although most are gracious about the opportunity to increase the value of the apartment, and some will even contribute to the work in some way, others would rather only minimal changes be done to the apartment. You will save time and money by learning before you begin what is acceptable, and what changes will have to wait until you own your own home.

To create a beautiful entryway, first decide whether you want the entry to feel like a part of the living room, or more like a separate space. If you want it to blend in with the living room, and simply want an entry area, adding a small table and rug to harmonize the entry with the room is sufficient in most cases. However, for creating the feel of a separate room, here are some helpful tips:

Change the color palette. This can mean a drastic change, like painting the walls around the entry an entirely different shade, or a more minor change, such as unique tree of life wall art and separate flooring. If you are going to paint, choose a color that complements the color in the living room, or choose a deeper tone of the same color. Use painter’s tape to mark the edge of the entryway and use a strip of molding to split the rooms if the wall is continuous. You can also differentiate the floor by using an area rug in the entry over the existing flooring or carpet.

Add unique touches. First impressions are hard to change, and the better your entryway looks, the more people will remember it. Add things that mean something to you, such as inviting phrases or words. From simple and elegant designs to modern and creative outdoor wall art decorations, the possibilities are endless.

Make the entryway functional. Finally, don’t forget to add the touches that make a beautiful entryway more functional. This includes a place to keep a visitor’s hat, umbrella, or coat, and a mat for wiping mud or water from your feet in bad weather. If it snows frequently, choose a more absorbent mat to avoid getting mud and water on the flooring beyond the entryway.

Creating a beautiful entryway for an apartment does not take a lot of space, money, or time. You can keep it simple and stylish with a few touches, or create something fabulous that feels almost like a room unto itself with just a few feet and some creative accessorizing. Above all, the area should be as personalized as the rest of your home, be bold and use whatever you feel appropriate – from wall crosses to fish wall art. Do not be afraid to do things your way, and let your imagination design something spectacular.

Details Make the Difference in Kitchen Remodeling

August 16th, 2010
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Posted in Design, Kitchens | Comments Off

EspressoMakerWhen planning your kitchen remodeling project, you may look to the latest trends and innovations for inspiration, but you also want to be sure to create a space that expresses your unique vision. Well-considered details make the difference between a nice but ordinary kitchen and one that is truly spectacular and memorable. Here are some ideas for ways to make your personality shine through in your kitchen remodel:

Backsplashes: Once a purely functional feature, the kitchen backsplash has become a key focal point in kitchen design. The possibilities for self-expression are nearly endless. Backsplashes can be created from a variety of materials, each with its own distinct contribution to the aesthetics of a room: granite, marble, stainless steel and other metals, textured glass, ceramic tiles, mosaic and stone are just some of the choices today. Colorful hand-painted mosaic tiles, which add a one-of-a-kind artistic flair to the kitchen, are a trend we’ve recently seen growing in popularity.

Innovative Storage: One of the factors that will determine how much you enjoy your kitchen in the future is how easy it is to work in and use every day. The latest storage solutions embrace a sleek and practical functionality. Storage is being introduced everywhere in the kitchen, at levels that are more accessible for everyone. Pull-out pantries and cabinets create ease of use and a clean, seamless design at the same time. “Magic” corner cabinets slide and rotate to allow twice the customary space, while once ordinary cabinet drawers can be fitted with hyper-organized dividers to make finding the right cooking tool a breeze.

Cool Appliances: While energy-efficiency has become a leading concern for homeowners choosing new appliances, a focus on small luxuries has also taken a leading role. Appliances such as built-in wine refrigerators or espresso makers add that small touch of convenience and luxury to everyday living that makes you appreciate your kitchen remodel daily.

However you decide to plan your kitchen remodel, working with a professional designer you can find the ideal balance between personal expression and functionality so that your new kitchen is a room you treasure for many years to come!

Four Reasons Why Now is the Right Time for a Whole Home Remodel

August 10th, 2010
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Posted in Design and Build, Whole Home Remodel | Comments Off

WholeHomeIf you’ve been waiting for just the right time to finally get started on the whole home remodel you’ve been dreaming about, your moment has arrived! For the prudent homeowner, the market is showing positive signs that make larger remodeling projects a smart value decision right now. If you decided 2-3 years ago to put off your remodel, or if you were thinking about moving instead of remodeling, you may want to take a look at current conditions and reevaluate. Here’s what we’re seeing as important factors when people make the decision to start their whole home remodel now:


1. Higher Value
Remodeling costs related to labor and materials are down 15%-20% from what they were a few years ago. You will get more for your money if you act now instead of waiting a little longer. One sign of lower costs is unprecedented value offers from manufacturers. For instance, JDR’s primary cabinet manufacturer – DeWils – is offering all wood species at the same price as oak, including mahogany, which is usually 40% more.

2. Flexible Schedules
Working with an A+ rated design build firm three years ago, it was customary to have to wait up to six months to get your project started. With today’s larger available labor force, scheduling is more open and flexible for most remodelers. You should be able to get your whole home remodel done more quickly and at just the right time of year that works for you.

3. Homeowner Attitudes
A renewed focus on value and quality has homeowners making different choices when it comes to a whole home remodel. They are reevaluating the relative value of working with an architect and a series of contractors vs. working with a “one-stop” design build firm. Many are also seeing the advantage in adding square footage to their homes now while costs are lower, instead of just upgrading a kitchen or living area.

4. Quality Survives
The downturn in the economy has weeded out most of the poor performing contractors. The good, strong ones have for the most part survived. Your chances of finding an excellent quality contractor to work with are higher now than they were a few years ago. Still, you should always do your homework. Make sure you thoroughly research a design build firm before you sign a contract. Look for companies that offer educational seminars where you can meet the team in person. Clear and compelling information on their website, along with a portfolio of work you find appealing, is also essential. Always get (and check!) references from past clients who had similar work done by the firm.

Do a little research and you will find that there is incredible value to be had right now when considering a whole home remodel!

Color Inspiration for Your Whole Home Remodel

July 28th, 2010
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Posted in Art and Decorating, Custom Homes, Whole Home Remodel | Comments Off

Color_InspirationNothing determines the personality of a room more than the paint colors you choose during the design phase of your whole home remodel. Working with a professional designer, you will explore many options for expressing your unique personal style with color.

Before you meet with your designer to talk color, it’s a good idea to do some research on your own to find inspiration and ideas. Here are some places to start:

Benjamin Moore: Personal Color Viewer
This interactive tool is a fun way to experiment with color and visualize what different hues will look like in your home. Choose from an array of room photos and then instantly apply color from hundreds of swatch choices.

HGTV Designers’ Portfolio
There’s a lot of great content on the HGTV site when you are planning your whole home remodel. We love this particular function, which allows you to browse photos by the color of a room. You’ll find hundreds of inspiring photos in a variety of styles.

Frazee Paints: ColorLife
At the Frazee Paints color chooser page, you will find ColorLife, where you can explore an amazing amount of information about the world of color, including color analyses, trends, design ideas, the “color of the day,” and a virtual decorator (registration required.)

Pratt and Lambert Paints: Personality Quizzes
These simple quizzes (one for the interior and one for the exterior) ask you a series of questions about personal preferences. After you submit your answers, you are given a suggested color palette that “matches” your personality.

Choosing a color palette should be one of the most enjoyable phases of a whole home remodel, but there are so many options it may sometimes seem overwhelming. Take the time to assess your current home’s aesthetic – what do you love and what don’t you love? Do you want a subtle change or something dramatically different? What mood do you want to create in your home? How would you like visitors to describe your home? Do you have important pieces of art or home furnishings that you want to complement with color?

Explore all of the possibilities and open your imagination to the trends and products available today. With your ideas captured and the help of a professional designer, you will create a home where every room welcomes you, your family and guests with color that expresses your personal vision and lifestyle.