Your newly renovated kitchen only needs one more item, the right set of barstools! Selection criteria hinges on height, style, comfort and price. Your goal is to create a cohesive look that balances your new space and creates visual interest. High back, low back, or backless? Swivel vs. stationary? Upholstered, leather, wood, rattan, metal or acrylic seats? Deciding on which direction to go has a lot to do not only with the overall look you want but who will be using them.
If children are involved, no surprise that upholstery gets dirty. Leather and wood will get scratched with metal detailing on denim pants and cleated shoes. Regarding swivel vs. stationary, I’ve found that the fewest moving parts when children are involved is a good rule of thumb. Something about spinning chairs and children is a recipe for trouble. Metal swivel chairs knocking into marble countertops can also be an issue. Versions with armrests have to be carefully measured to make sure the armrests clear the countertop height easily.
How many chairs does your island accommodate? Rule of thumb is to divide the length of your island’s counter by 30 to determine how many stools will comfortably fit. Extra wide barstools will obviously reduce your overall seating capacity.
Blend in or stand out? Scandinavian elegance, Italian sleek, Amish country, a hint of retro or industrial chic… selecting barstools is all about finding the ideal balance between aesthetics and ergonomics. Ask your AKB designer for helpful hints!
How do you define luxury? Extreme Quality? Expensiveness? Aesthetic Appeal? Luxury brands ride on perception; luxury items make us feel a certain way. Some relate to a desire for quality or to own a “work of art” and frankly some relate to a desire to let others know they can afford that work of art. Reading a couple of expensive property listings, I was particularly enjoying the bathroom descriptions. You’ve heard of heated floors, steam showers and towel warmers. How about customized cosmetic cooling options that reduce bacterial and fungal growth in those expensive organic products? Interested in a toilet that costs $10,000?
Sun-flooding in every direction in this luxurious corner primary suite with two enormous walk-in closets, ensuite 5-fixture spa bath with Calacatta Gold marble slabs, custom white oak vanities, double sinks with Lefroy Brooks fixtures, radiant-heated floors, towel warmer, steam shower and private Toto Neorest NXi Dual Flush toilet.
HIS quarters, with a full bath and dressing room, are distinguished by mahogany-tone lacquered millwork with bronze trim creating the feel of an old school gentleman’s club. The shower is equipped with custom Olympic Grey marble shaving sink and anti-fog shaving mirror. Connecting is HER boudoir that is appointed with a Waterworks tub, gas fireplace, heated floors, steam resistant mirrors, and Biszet cosmetics refrigerator. A private stairwell leads you up to HER dressing room, a three room suite, with custom millwork cabinetry, glass shelves, lighted handbag display and a temperature-controlled vault for furs.
Most people just want their bathrooms to be a comfortable space where things are easy to reach and easy to store. Luxury to one is different to another. Updating that mid century bathroom with no convenient plugs, limited storage and traditional counter heights to the new standards can feel like “luxury”. Good news. At AKB, we can do the full range. 🙂
Selecting kitchen and bath hardware is as much about function as it is about aesthetics. Beyond the myriad of styles and finishes available, I find it more important to select by shape and size. Hardware reduces the amount of hand contact with your cabinets, which helps to keep your cabinetry clean. So how it fits your hand comfortably is a personal choice. Maybe you are in the position of having to consider ergonomics for a diverse set of users? Large hands, small hands, arthritic hands can be accommodated with the right hardware.
Pulls or Knobs?
Where does one begin to decide? Do you lean toward Cup Pulls, Tab Pulls, Ring Pulls, Curved Pulls, Bar Pulls, Recessed Pulls. Round Knobs, Square Knobs, Crystal Knobs, Knurled Knobs, Smooth Knobs, T-Shaped Knobs. For those not working with a designer, sometimes placing blue painter’s tape on your cabinetry helps you visualize what direction you want to go. Once those holes are drilled, you’re pretty much committed.
Pulls only-Popular in creating a more modern look. Good for hands with limited dexterity. Caution: Designs with sharp radius edges hurt to hip bump and are known pocket catchers.
Knobs only-Popular in creating a minimalistic look. Good for the budget as knobs tend to be less expensive than pulls. Caution: Larger drawers may require two knobs. Knobs that are not round tend to twirl and create misalignment. (Think oval and t-knobs horizontal when the rest are vertical)
Pulls and Knobs-Common to have both pulls and knobs featured in the kitchen. Knobs are most typically placed on doors, and pulls are placed on drawers. Remember that the same finish from different manufactures rarely matches perfectly. You should try to use just one manufacturer when selecting a combination.
Key takeaway-Each kitchen is unique to the owner. Making hardware selections should best meet your style but equally as important, your comfort. Best advice is to go to a hardware dealer where you can actually touch and feel the product and decide how it might work for you.
Save? Donate? Dump? Your design is complete and cabinets are ordered. The contractor is ready to set the date to start your project. If you’re planning on living in your home during your kitchen remodel, get your game plan ready! With some careful planning, you can save money, lessen the hassle and come out successfully organized upon completion.
Action Item: Empty cabinets/drawers. Remove decorative items from shelves and walls as vibrations can cause them to fall. Are you going to reuse any appliances? Clean your ovens and dishwashers if they will be moved and stored in your garage, basement or other room. (No need to attract critters looking for a crumb or two!) Assemble a collection of items you tend to use daily along with cutlery and serving pieces to get through each day, supplementing with plastic and paper products when necessary. If you keep important documents in your kitchen drawers, make sure they are safely relocated and easy to find.
Call Habitat for Humanity ReStore and see if they are interested in your old cabinets, appliances, fixtures, hardware or gadgets and make a date to have them collected and out of your remodeling team’s way. As you’re unloading your cabinets and drawers, take a realistic look at what you’ve collected. Still holding on to unused kitchen gadgets? The silicone Pie Crust Protector or the ever handy Onion Goggles? The Hot Dog Slicer shaped like a dachshund? That heated knife making butter melt that never made it out of the box? How about the Corn Silk Remover that keeps scooting to the back of the drawer. The Taco Proper- because spilling tacos is no laughing matter. Some people loved the mandolin slicer. After mangling my fingers a couple times, I pitched it. Any item that has missing parts or pieces needs to hit the trash.
You’ll still need to eat during your remodel, so establishing a temporary kitchen is a must. Other than a coffee pot, microwave, fridge, hot plate, or portable grill, the main issue for most people is water. Water is so much more than washing dishes. You need water to clean your hands, clean your fruits and vegetables and clean your surfaces. Purchasing pre-washed and pre-cut fruits and vegetables helps in food prep. Drying racks are nice.
Consider how you, your family (including pets) and the contractors will be entering and exiting the home. If you have a kitchen door that leads outside, problem solved. Otherwise, consider laying down plastic sheeting to deter tracking dirt and debris on your floors. Hanging plastic sheeting in open doorways can also help keep dust from circulating throughout the house.
When the project is done, it’s a good idea to change your filters and have your air vents and furnace thoroughly cleaned. Take extra care as you move appliances into your new space. Use carts and drop cloths to avoid damaging any of your new cabinetry and flooring. Then… time to enjoy.
Fondue Night. Growing up in the 70’s, it was my favorite answer to “What’s for dinner?” We had the basic orange fondue pot with a set of long spears that had different colored tips so you knew which one was yours. Cubes of french bread slathered in melted cheese, chunks of beef fried in hot oil and angel food cake pieces swirled in melted chocolate- the ultimate in family dinner fun. But wait! Right in the middle of Gilligan’s Island, a commercial pops up for “The Rotating Lazy Susan Fondue Set”!! A fondue pot centered on a turntable, ingenious! My brother and I always wanted one.
I was curious as to where the lazy susan originated and thought a quick Google search would provide an easy answer. Not that lucky. 13th century Chinese? 18th century England? An invention by Thomas Jefferson (for his daughter) or a by product of the phonograph by Thomas Edison? No article agreed with the next. Seems it is a bit of a mystery for such a simple little gadget. If anyone has better information, feel free to share in the comments.
In the cabinet business, Lazy Susans are a little more complex. They vary in materials, shape, size and cost with the goal of making the best use of corner cabinet areas that would otherwise be problematic. Less expensive options are usually flimsy pole mounted plastic affairs, not appropriate for heavy items. Most of our designs incorporate the serious version, the Super Susan. Rather than being supported by a pole, they are supported by a fixed shelf, rotating on a ball bearing turntable with an articulated door. They are the perfect place for small appliances, larger casserole dishes and heavy canned goods.
If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, taking it to the next level in specialized storage options is what AKB does best. Pullout Platter Drawers, Appliance Garages, Corner Drawers, Spice Storage, Super Susan, etc are available to customize your space.