If you’re a fan of Chris Rock, you’re likely familiar with his piece about the differences between men and women. Namely, that women can’t go backwards when it comes to lifestyle (and men can’t go backwards in another area…but that’s a whole other topic!) When we moved to Houston, I was absolutely rattled by the grade of kitchens supplied by production builders. The market I came from was known for high-value and fully customized kitchens with many cool features, few filler pieces, and – wait for it – cabinet hardware. Of course, these kitchens came at a (steep) price, and the tradeoff seems to be for the exterior appearance and cladding - Houston area homes use more expensive materials (stone, brick, cement board siding, stucco) than what was typically used in construction back home. To come back to my earlier point, it was difficult to go from Lee Valley knobs and pulls to …nothing. Literally, grabbing the edge of a cabinet door or drawer by the very edge to open and close it. If this is your reality, I hope these before and after images are of interest to you.
This is a recently-built production home in Sienna Plantation. The cabinetry was upgraded from the basic offering but hardware was not included. The finish is brushed nickel to compliment the stainless steel appliances. Large European bar pulls were selected to scale with the size of some of the taller cabinet doors and the cups were added for charm. No other changes were made in the “after” photos but the impact of the hardware addition is very noticeable.
The addition of hardware to the cabinetry also offered an improvement to the functionality of the kitchen. Opening doors and drawers via pulls and knobs is much easier than grasping them by the edges. It’s also easier on the cabinetry itself – previous to the hardware being installed, one of the longer utensil drawers broke and had to be repaired, likely because it had been opened improperly so many times which added strain to the construction. Finally, the natural oils from your fingertips (not to mention sticky ones covered in frosting, candy, and the like - just my house?) can work to wear down the stain or paint on your cabinets. If you’re considering adding hardware to your kitchen, it’s a good idea to do so before your cupboards begin to show signs of deterioration.
If you would like stop prying your doors and drawers open by the edges, contact The Ashbury Construction Company today for a complimentary hardware consultation. You won't regret adding a WOW factor to your kitchen or making daily tasks such as unloading the dishwasher or setting the table more enjoyable!
I don’t cook. But I love kitchens! As a gathering place, the heart of the home and base camp for entertaining friends and family this space can’t be beat. I’ve been fortunate in my adult life to own 9 different homes. Most were new but two were resale and included older kitchens, one of which was absolutely dreadful and required a full replacement while the other needed only new hardware and counter tops in order to obtain a current look. Having built more than 25 houses (some of which had more than one kitchen) I’ve been around the block a time or two when it comes to this important room. While I haven’t seen it all and the trends are ever-changing, my grasp on components such as cabinetry, hardware, and overall layout is firm.
I speak frequently about working with and improving builder-grade features because this is the reality that I am currently living in a production-built home. If it is yours as well, I hope to give you a jumping off point or at minimum, some inspiring ideas as to how to personalize and make positive changes to your space. If you are living in an older home many of these tips will work as well, although you may find charm and character have already been “built-in” to your home – lucky!
If you find yourself staring at your kitchen day after day, in the space between not-quite-hating-it-yet-not-quite-loving it, there is hope. Without embarking on a full gut and remodel job, there are changes that can be made to improve the appearance of your kitchen as a whole. Hardware is one of the easier places to begin. If you are living in a new production-built home, there is a good chance that you don’t have any cabinetry jewelry at all, which is actually a good thing. You have the opportunity to choose the style and finish, without the limitations of existing drill holes or required patchwork. I’m finishing a hardware project right now and will have a post about it shortly with before and after shots to demonstrate the impact of hardware where there wasn’t any before.
Adding a backsplash can not only improve the look of your kitchen but its functionality as well. In one of my homes, we decided to forgo a backsplash and paint the wall between the cabinets and counter a complimentary color instead. Until the first time my husband made spaghetti sauce (told you I don’t cook!) and it splashed everywhere. Fresh paint doesn’t wipe well and we ended up installing a tile backsplash in the end. Grease splatters are also far easier to wipe from a backsplash than a wall. Tile is a popular choice but I have also seen wallpaper, beadboard, and tin used to great effect.
It’s possible that you like your kitchen but are either missing or have an extra “area” such as a desk or butler’s pantry that you aren’t sure how to use. These can be repurposed with a few tweaks into a showpiece with function. Many times the model homes have coffee bars, full bars, a china hutch, or a baking area on display for our visual delight. Selling a home has everything to do with how people feel when they are in it – if the looks of the brewer station had you feeling cozy, it’s possible to replicate this in your own home. Especially if there is an area in your kitchen that isn’t being put to good use – an example is the desk area. Years ago, these did serve as great command posts, but with cell phones and laptops it isn’t as common to set up a permanent space to accommodate these devices and the desk area has become a little lacking. It’s easy to allow the cabinets over the desk to become overrun with school papers, magazines, phone chargers, and the like (ask me how I know…) but a bit of time to clear that clutter and organize the central space into something useful and loved is time well spent. These are a few of my favorite spots that I have used for inspiration over the years (photos are from 2011) as created by John Weiland Homes in North Carolina.
Painting your cabinets or adding a decorative finish such as a glaze or distressing is also an option; albeit a messier and more expensive one. There are DIY options available, but they have a tendency to make this project appear easier than what is realistic. I would suggest having a painter or contractor perform this job, and expect that all of your cabinet doors will be removed for the duration. You will likely need to empty all of your cupboards as well, which starts to sound like a bigger job for some than for others.
Other cabinetry options include:
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for your kitchen. The Ashbury Construction Company can help with any of these projects – please call, text, or email if you’d like a consultation, including cost estimate. I may not cook – but I still have plenty to bring to the table. Enjoy!
Thursdays and Fridays used to be my jam. Then, I had three kids. And left the 9-5 grind. Meaning every day can either feel like a Monday or a Saturday, depending on how crazy the kids are or how heavy the workload is. With the advent of current technology, an office in pretty much every home, and trying to do more in less time, the expectation is that we are always “on” and ready for more. I know I’m not alone in this, but it always causes me to SCRAMBLE come Friday afternoons. Reviewing what has happened (or…not happened) during the week and planning for the next.
I was excited to start a cabinet hardware project this week and will share the before and after photos in a blog post just as soon as it’s complete. This project, like every other, included several lessons. I’m definitely eating a bit of crow over here; surely you can’t wait to hear all about it…
My plan designer is almost done with the prints for the new build in Quail Valley but we are at a bit of an impasse. The master bath can be drawn with or without a corner soaker tub and everybody has a (differing) opinion. After building a house without a tub in the master bath and watching it sit on the market for too long, I’m pretty unwilling to omit it in this case. Several realtors have assured me it’s not a big deal, as there is a tub in the secondary bath on the same level but I’m not sure. The room is much more spacious without the tub, and it is one less to clean if you’re an optimist like me. If you have any thoughts on this dilemma, I would be grateful for your opinion.
Finally, I’ve been trying to track down paint chips from the now defunct Martha Stewart line. The paint codes are tough to come by so an actual color to match from a chip seems to be my only option. I have ventured to eBay in hopes of finding somebody willing to part with theirs to no avail. I’m guessing that there are two types of people – the kind that throw away paint chips once they are done with them, and those who cling to them forever. If you have a line on any I would appreciate your help. Gosh, those shades are beautiful!
If you’re interested in a hardware installation yourself, or would like further info on the new home I’m building in Quail Valley please call, email, or text. If these colors by Martha have you coveting a new paint job, we would be happy to help with that as well.
May your weekend be filled with everything you love. I’m looking forward to basketball playoffs, (lots of) coffee, and landscape cleanup with my three helpers. Enjoy!
I really loved my last job. Loved the work they did, loved the never-two-the-same days, loved the people. And I REALLY loved the water cooler talk. Except that it was more coffee maker talk, because construction runs on coffee. In my current venture, there is still (plenty of) coffee, but not much talking. So pour yourself a generous mug – none of that half caf nonsense please - and settle in for water cooler talk about…water.
I’ve lived in different homes, cities, and countries and can tell you that the water is different everywhere. Well versus city water; treated versus untreated; hard versus soft, and even the surrounding soil can have a tremendous impact on the quality of water you rely on each and every day. We drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, and use it to nourish flowers and plants – some of which we then eat. Personally, I am always far more concerned about the effect something will have on my children than on myself and water is certainly no exception. 1980’s parenting offered children in my home the choice between two beverages: milk or tap juice. For the uneducated, tap juice is water. I have followed suit with my own three children, meaning they consume many glasses of water daily. Just ask the dishwasher! Your water can also affect the way your skin and hair feel and look, the scum in your showers and glass, a strange film on your counters even after you wipe them, and even more worrying – build up where you can’t see it (inside pipes and water heaters for example).
There has been much talk of chloramines lately and I feel it’s only the beginning. In Sienna Plantation (the community where I reside), a temporary switch between surface water and well water for a period of a few days had the residents buzzing. Is it safe? Why does it smell like chlorine? Who can I call and IS IT SAFE TO DRINK THIS STUFF? Water issues are the things of nightmares in developing countries – not the cushy suburbs of North America, right? While our concerns certainly pale in comparison, you might be uncomfortable with some of the information that is circulating regarding our water supply or experiencing some of the issues mentioned above and wondering what you can do about them.
It is possible (and fairly straightforward!) to treat your own water by having a water softener, conditioner, reverse osmosis system, or combination of those installed by The Ashbury Construction Company. We promise not to conduct any of those scary high-school-chemistry-gone-wrong tests at your kitchen sink or to give you a high pressure sales pitch. What we will give you is piece of mind and higher quality water. The appointment is free and we have installed pricing starting at $1500. There are a variety of systems to treat a variety of issues and we will work with you to find the one that works for your home and your budget.
Let’s not forget the unsung hero of this post and the majority of my construction work, without which this would all be impossible – but requires plenty of fresh water – coffee! Come on over here you sweet temptress and lie to me about all of the wonderful things we are going to accomplish today.