Kitchen Design Online and Targeted Ads

Familiar with the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? It’s when some obscure name or bit of information suddenly seems to appear everywhere… and with great frequency. Houzz was like that for me around 2011. Some of our more tech savvy clients would mention some element or picture of a kitchen they found on “House”. Did you say House? No. Not House –, “spelled with two z’s”. As Houzz gained content and popularity, clients increasingly started to stumble upon this site during their searches for kitchen and bath remodeling ideas. Started in 2009, this popular website and online community now has become quite the standard for remodeling, decorating and landscaping ideas.

Current statistics boast Houzz having 40 million users who enjoy browsing the 11 million photos for ideas and evaluating the selection of 1.5 million industry professionals who have personal sites on the platform. For design and remodeling clients, no more lugging around large binders and magazine clippings to show professionals what you want. For companies, no more heavy portfolios needing constant updates to show prospective clients what kind of work you can do. Houzz offers an easy way to sort, organize, showcase and share your ideas and/or volume of work.

Originally, this all came about in a beautiful ad free environment.  It prospered because design firms provided Houzz with their content (photos), free of charge. Companies were encouraged to upload their professional photos in hopes they would gain the notice of local prospective remodeling clients. Those 11 million photos are from companies like AKB. Look us up on Houzz at and you’ll find a wide sample of the hundreds of spaces we have completed in 14 years of business. There are currently 58 unique projects that add up to 461 images that we designed and photographed, adding more every month. Providing consumers equal access to any firm who wanted to showcase their creative capability was a real boon for having presence on Houzz. But a cautionary note- Houzz converted to pay to play several years ago which has created a negative perception. Firms now pay dearly to pop up as you are scrolling through images even when it has nothing to do with what you are searching. Looking for outdoor lighting ideas? Why do you keep seeing construction companies or makers of window blinds? For a site that built its presence on ad free values that lured many of us to upload our photographs and give them the content that has made them popular, it’s a little disappointing. I’ve been in marketing for over 25 years and sometimes cringe at the sophistication of digital advertising these days. Pop-ups interrupt my browsing experience and some ads just feel creepily intrusive. So if 2019 finds you in the remodeling spirit, here’s to you stumbling upon our portfolio on Houzz and maybe liking a picture or two. Come visit us the old fashion way and discover what we have to offer: talent, professionalism, fair pricing and results.

Proof in the Portfolio!

When it comes to selecting products based on color, finish, style or price, people can be very specific. Selecting an architect and/or designer for a project appears to be more of a challenge. It shouldn’t be. A new kitchen or bath is a serious investment and one should factor in more than what someone charges. In the remodeling process, finding the right service provider is largely about documented skill. You want to sell your house? Find a top producer in your market with the best track record for moving homes of similar size, like Reali. Need surgery? Find the physician with the most experience in that particular procedure. Ready to remodel your kitchen or bath? View the firm’s portfolio and evaluate the staff. By the way, how long have they been in business?


Portfolio- Checking out a company’s portfolio has never been so easy. Company websites should showcase a variety of recent projects that are updated often. A robust portfolio demonstrates the scope and range of work a firm can handle. It should show diversity, as this indicates designers who are listening to what their client’s want. Take your search a step further and explore sites such as Is the company on this site as well? You can read additional reviews and see images which can be a great source of inspiration and discussion.

Experience- Experts in the functional layout design of spaces is what you’re after! The person who has the experience and past designs that show how colors and materials can work together to compliment the client’s taste and style is easily discovered by asking them to show you their portfolio of work! Additionally, degrees and industry affiliations give you the confidence of dealing with professionals.

Years in Business- It’s important to deal with a company that has been operating in a trustworthy manner for many years… AKB has proudly been in business since 2005. What does 13 years in business offer clients? A wealth of industry and product knowledge. Confidence in being financially sound. Multiple repeat clients.

Come see us at the Little Yellow House of Big Ideas!

Welcome to the Hood

Great kitchen stove hoods make great focal points. Aside from covering the vent system, (necessary to pull steam and smoke away while cooking) they can provide the WOW factor in the overall aesthetic to the room. And the options for Hoods are endless: Wood, Stainless, Brass, Copper, Zinc, Stone and many combinations of … Wall Mount, Cabinet Mount, Under Cabinet Mount… Hoods that have plinths and corbels, banding, or a baffle base… Hoods with simple or classical moldings… Hoods made to blend into upper cabinets… Hoods that are made to make a statement.

Too many important options not to consult the best. Degreed with years of experience, let the kitchen design experts at AKB help you navigate the perfect hood look for you. Come visit us at the The Little Yellow House of Big Ideas! Or check us out online. You will find us at or on  on Instagram at @architecturalkitchensandbaths  and on Facebook at online 


Alexa… What’s involved in a kitchen remodel?

Response: “Hmmmm, I’m not sure.” If you have Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service in your home, you’ve probably noticed a critical component. To get the right answer, you have to ask the right question. When my husband wanted to play golf but was worried about the weather, asking Alexa “What’s the weather?” didn’t tell him what he needed to know. “When is it projected to rain today?” gave him what he required to schedule a tee time.

At AKB, asking Brent, Gwen, Jessica, Linda or Melanie your questions will definitely give you the answers you want. It’s why experience in the business is so important when deciding on which professional to use when you’re remodeling. We consider things you might not have, for example hiring walk in skip bins when taking on a big remodel task to make clean up 100x easier! Ready for a kitchen remodel but not sure where to begin? That’s where we shine at this residential remodeling co. AKB designers ask the right questions to help you decide on the layout, materials and appliances to meet your goals. Do you like to cook? Do you often use a microwave and would you use an over-range one? If you answered yes, then by having a look at these reviews, ( they could help to give you a head start on your remodel. What do you traditionally prepare? Want an eat-in kitchen? Need seating for how many? This definitely needs to be considered, and should translate in the size of the dining table in your kitchen if you do not have a dining room. If you’re struggling with finding the right dining table size and design for your own family’s tastes, check out the, with plenty of beautiful designs available. What other activities happen in your kitchen? Do you like to entertain? Want double ovens? Need a place to store your bar supplies? Docking stations for tech gadgets or storage for an upright and canisters vacuum? (After all, vacuum cleaning is essential to keep the kitchen spotless and pristine; if you’re in the market for a new one, you might want to check out this Stick vs Upright Vacuum Reviews website before making your purchase.) Cabinet-concealed garbage bins? Elevated dishwasher? Does a heat-, stain, and scratch-resistant countertop sound perfect for your family’s use? Prefer the beauty of marble? Want appliance garages to hide all your fun kitchen tools? Super Susans to get the most out of every corner cabinet? Thought about the sink you want? Basin configurations, sink shapes, materials and even accessories? Where does one begin? Easy answer. Come see us at AKB, the Little Yellow House of Big Ideas!

What’s in a Name? Plenty when it’s Architectural Kitchens & Baths!

In the world of Kitchen and Bath design, finding the right company for your project is critical to the overall success. Beyond asking friends and family for referrals, an easy way to evaluate ABILITY can be demonstrated through a close look at a company’s Education & Experience. This is why AKB is the Best!

Many individuals in the industry have a working familiarity with the basics of architecture and interior design.  Yet most projects require in-depth knowledge of one or the other of these, or both. At AKB, this is where we make the top of the list! Owner M. Brent Richards is an architect with over 25 years of experience in functional layout and design. He graduated with honors from UK’s School of Architecture and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. Brent’s Design Team includes 4 Interior Designers: Linda Bratton, Melanie Flynn, Gwen Fowler and Jessica Mandt… each personable and professional. They can show decades of design experience and portfolios of work that are sure to impress any potential client.

There’s a simple reason that the Little Yellow House of Big Ideas offers the best option in kitchen and bath design… Education & Experience!

Kitchen Design Credit

In the world of publishing, an author that doesn’t credit the origin of their inspirations can potentially face a legal nightmare; conscious or unconscious plagiarism ruins credibility and confidence.  In the design business, this is also a struggle. When I see pictures of AKB kitchens on other people’s business sites without proper credit, I believe it robs designers of all the hard work and effort they spent in creating that beautiful space for their client. I’ve stated before in prior posts, any consumer looking to hire a company should wisely evaluate the company’s portfolio and should be vigilant about asking the important questions, WHO DESIGNED THIS SPACE?  WAS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER INVOLVED?  What was the scope of design influence beyond framing, plumbing, electrical work, drywall, paint, etc?

Companies or individuals that post pictures of finished projects that they did not design are seemingly taking credit for other people’s work. That beautiful photo resulted from many hours of design time, meetings and trips to evaluate materials and finishes for a professional designer to create a “playbook” for a remodeling team to follow.  Those leaded glass cabinets that reminded you of your grandmother’s kitchen? The herringbone pattern tile floor for your young family’s high traffic area? The table height seating for six to accommodate the various ages of your family? The hidden storage for all your high end baking appliances?… every decision incorporated by the designer reflects the attention to detail that came through the investment of time and design skill to uniquely satisfy each client.


Is Talking Better than Texting or Emailing. Yes

Since the kind of kitchen and bath assignments AKB engages typically require a substantial investment on our client’s part, we think that kind of investment deserves extraordinary attention, both ways. You get to know us, we get to know you.  Our designs are amazingly original- each custom cabinetry project reflects the time spent getting to know the client and becoming familiar with their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires and dreams. That happens best when we can sit down together and understand one another better- confidence is built to move forward.

Voice-based vs. Text-based

We have received many wonderful leads from social media over the years from Houzz, Facebook and Instagram but the ones that turned into clients always started with a phone call. We’ll invite you to visit our showroom with a  “Come meet us and see samples of our products!” This is a great way to gauge what your next step will be. Did you like what you saw? Did you respond to who you spoke to? Rarely do we get the luxury of working with an unlimited budget, but when we do, our clients have contracted with us because they have met us, personally evaluated our credentials and found us more than capable for the job. They rely on our expertise in layout and design and product knowledge to guide them in their decision making. Those important conversations happen in verbal discussions. SMS texts and emails may be great for When are we meeting? What is the address? What lines do you carry?  but not for deciding whether we are the right company for your project. On a recent inquiry to a provider in a similar but creative industry, I appreciated that they wanted to use the ease and anonymity of an email process, but it didn’t really resonant with me. I felt they really weren’t interested in me as a client. Some people have grown up with these formats and are more comfortable not “talking” to potential clients.  However, with designers, nothing takes the place of one on one communication. When I asked a peer who is an interior designer, “In your business, what type of client contacts you first by text message or email?” She responded, “No one legitimate. Considering the investment, the type of client who takes the time to personally meet with me and mutually discover if we are a good fit is the best client.”

I agree.

Thinking Local- Kitchen Design Trends

Following a worldwide group of kitchen designers and architects on Instagram, I see some pretty amazing posts. Clever uses of colors and materials working together to compliment beautifully designed spaces, some grand in scope, others artfully compact, you could get some farmhouse style inspiration from websites similar to for example. I respond to a lot of images because I appreciate what was created. The Design is the first thing I notice but … I’m naturally drawn to what’s trending in Countertops and Cabinetry Finishes. Reading through some recent trade magazines, I found it interesting that our little neck of the woods mimics what is being seen on a national level. Here’s a snapshot:


  • Quartz is outpacing Granite and Marble in AKB projects as well as on a national level. It’s durable, scratch resistant and easy to care for… with a vast selection of options that mimic natural stone. Price varies by brand with the high end of AKB clients selecting Cambria products.

Cabinetry Finishes

  • While White Kitchens have a never ending popularity, Silvery Grays, Blues, Soft Greens and more traditional finishes create beautiful spaces to be enjoyed for decades. The variety of stains and finishes available in flat, matte and satin topcoats are popular both locally and nationally. AKB product lines of professionally finished options are taken through a multi-step process that produces an extremely durable finish that is resistant to moisture and household chemicals, made to age gracefully.

Time for Technology

  • Tech savvy features in appliances are popular trends. Preheating the oven from the office so that dinner preparation can be expedited appeals to many of our clients. AKB has incorporated the ability to use smart phones to manage range and ovens in some of their designs. Another popular request is design consideration for discreet but convenient docking/charging stations for the family in the kitchen area.

If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, come see our portfolio at 345 Lafayette Avenue or online at AKB creates beautiful spaces that are functional, aesthitically pleasing and add value to your home.

Color Cowards? Kitchen Trends

Listening to someone complaining about receiving the RH catalog recently had me thinking. The soothing monochromatic look in page after page of their multiple catalogs is only appreciated by some people as a satisfying thud in the recycling bin. Considering kitchens, clients commonly select traditional white cabinetry when remodeling their kitchen to lighten and brighten their space. Resale value is often a topic discussed with the AKB designer. But… every so often a client comes in to explore our vast selection of cabinetry stains and finishes and can’t quite seem to let go of a particular color sample. Naval Blue. SeaFoam. Pistachio. When veering away from the traditional stains and finishes, it is important to remember color means commitment. It can be the perfect choice for an island or more boldly as the overall effect. Countertops, fixtures and backsplashes can be artfully selected to create the perfect color palette. We encourage clients to take home samples and evaluate how the natural lighting in their home compliments the color… more importantly, how it makes them feel. Bottom line, you can be selfish with custom cabinetry and select the look you want. It’s hard to get tired of the things that make you smile.

While You Were Gone

Faced with the decision of when to begin your remodeling project, you might consider an option that a recent client selected- while they were gone! No one relishes the intrusion of workmen in and out of your home interrupting your daily routines, nor the noise and dirt that naturally accompany the process. How magical would it be if you could leave your outdated and ill-configured Master Bath and head for an extended stay at your favorite destination? When you returned after several weeks, you open the door to your newly designed space: one full of the features that you’ve always wanted!  At AKB, that happens. How? By working with a professional AKB designer, you pre-plan and coordinate ordering product with the timing of the project start date.  The costs associated with the plan are openly discussed and pre-arranged. The relationship with the contractor that AKB helped you select is amiable and trustworthy.  Communication is good and updates with pictures are provided to the client or local point person designated by the client. It’s remodeling with a personal touch.