A Planned DIY Kitchen


The end of this year I would like to wrap up with a DIY lesson.

Recently my daughter and her husband did a remodel of their kitchen. Now they have done prior work so they are experienced at construction. As I watched them go through the process I thought of a couple of tips to help you with your own projects.

  • Create a floorplan, measure correctly and then remeasure
  • Get the professional cabinetmaker to remeasure and verify your choices; have them explain what type, quality and function of cabinets that you are getting. Who will do the install?
  • Do your homework! Study dimensions for the layout then research the proper products. Plumbing that can be installed according to your vision. Appliances that fit (always selected before ordering cabinets)
  • Decide on materials for countertop, backsplash and flooring. Bring home 2-3 selections and look at it in your space and light. Make decisions like what type corners and radius you want prior to cutting, otherwise the counter/granite installers will make them for you
  • Do learn and follow the proper order of how things are done and installed so that it goes smoothly
  • Hire professionals for the electrical and plumbing work
  • A good cabinet installer is worth his weight in gold! Don’t try it if you are unskilled
  • Do plan on being onsite for much of the work done by those you hire
  • When someone tells you that “you can’t do that” ask why, what other solutions there might be. It is your vision not theirs and they may not see the same resolution that you can, don’t assume there is only one way to do something
  • Do set up a work/kitchen area ahead of time so that your life is easier, keep it away from the dust, move it a couple of times if you are juggling a larger project
  • Try to get a schedule of times that subs will drop by, be available if there are questions/problems
  • Order as much ahead as you can and store it until install

Trust me- a professional can help you from making mistakes, even if it is just a couple of consults

PS: My daughter did all this and more and her project is as she envisioned and picture perfect. (This photo is not it) She had the usual bumps along the way that comes with construction but she was always available to problem solve and monitor progress. So while they hired much of the work to be done they planned it and managed the project well which is a big part of project success.

Good luck with your planning, if you need help feel free to call for a phone interview to see if I can help.



There are so many choices when remodeling and especially a place that centers around the family and cooking. Before you sign on the dotted line and hire a contractor consider some tips to avoid costly mistakes:

  1. DON’T OVERSPEND: What is your budget? Allow for some overage but you can really get carried away with the choices and it could cost more than you wanted because each item is looked at as just “one” entity and not the overall sum of costs.
  2. What is the value of your remodel in terms of resale, are you keeping in track with what the home will bring or are you so intent on “your style” that you are going to lose money?
  3. What is the architecture of the home? Are you trying to put a modern kitchen in a Tudor? How is that going to transition from the entry and room to room?
  4. Keep the floorplan modifications simple, the more you change walls and move plumbing and electrical the higher the costs
  5. What are the costs of the products that you are replacing? Are they top of the line or are you just as happy with the middle of the road? It is very possible to spend and get good quality on some products but save on others
  6. Do not do DIY’er activities if you have no skills! Leave it to the professionals. You can always do clean up and demo to save on costs
  7. Start with your appliances. Get good advice on their function from a qualified showroom. Make sure they fit the space before ordering cabinets and then DON’T make any changes
  8. Plumbing is important. Buy quality sinks and faucets, don’t scrimp as these are the work horses of the kitchen and will be there a long time. People always underestimate their costs
  9. Jewelry. Hardware- Knobs and Pulls help to define the space and style of the kitchen and express its architectural style. They don’t have to be expensive but they should look and feel like it, as they are the final touch of the “outfit” of the kitchen. Don’t forget to look around at the hinges and doorknobs, do they look dated now?
  10. Paint- it really pulls everything together and makes things look fresh and crisp. Choose a good color to accent the other features in the room
  11. Counter tops and Cabinets- educate yourself on their brand and purchase good quality as they are the bones of the kitchen. Check out how the doors and drawers work; learn what makes a good cabinet. Tops can be granite, quartz or laminate- if you blend it all together it will look well designed and feel cohesive no matter the cost
  12. THE BACKSPLASH. It is the main focal point of the room and attention to detail should be placed here. Spend some money on a full height backsplash and create a mood. It can be a spot behind the range as a focal point or an overall feeling

Lastly, it is worth it to hire a professional to help you design and manage your project and schedules to make sure they are no oversights and change orders. You will want this new space to function, be beautiful and last for a very long time.

Time to Attend the HomeShows

Time to Attend the HomeShows



It is hard to believe that the New Year is almost upon us, it went so fast this year! I hope you were able to accomplish some of your design goals this year, maybe a new kitchen or bathroom. This is a great time of year to start planning for future projects. Create your list of “Must Haves” and then choose one to start with,  you will most surely complete it this year. Don’t get overwhelmed with ALL the projects just make a list and then pick your top priority, assign a budget, do some homework and enlist some help to make it happen, ask a professional for help if you need it. Even if you are a DIY’er you can use a consultation and an overview from a professional to get you off to a good start.

I am off to what is the first of the Homeshows and there will be many more to follow so check your area.

The Remodel Show is this Fri-Sat-Sun the 2nd thru the 4th at the Seattle Convention Center. Following that in Feb is the Big Seattle Homeshow, and then there are local shows in Tacoma and Everett.

What are the top 5 reasons to go to a homeshow:

  1. There are many serious business owners who show their products and talent, from closets to roofs, interiors and exteriors. It is a great way to make a contact with a professional.
  2. Since there is so much information to pick up and read it is a great way to start your research and homework.
  3. It is educational. Many vendors will tell you about budgeting, true remodel needs and processes.
  4. It is inspiring to see all the new products and vignettes that these professionals have taken the time to display for you,
  5. It is entertaining, lots to see, a lot of people to visit with and keeps you current on the trends.

I will be at NWSID, Northwest Society of Interior Designers, Booth at both shows. We are doing “complimentary consultations” at the Remodel show so bring your ideas, photos and plans. There will be 4 of us each day to give the consultations but we are always ready to talk with you at any of the shows.

I will be there from Fri Jan 2nd 2-6pm, Sat Jan 3rd from 10-7pm and Sunday the 4th from 2-7pm

Consultations are by appointment or drop in: Fri 2-6p, Sat 11-5p, Sun 11-4

Come on by and meet me and chat about your design needs! Or Call Patty at #425-793-6380.



0412-sand-stripes-bathroom-l[1]What are the new trends in bathrooms? Most people want a spa or hotel like feeling for a retreat. To accomplish this use soothing colors, stately materials and a well defined plan. Today’s bathrooms can be a place of luxury and convenience.

Here are some trends in bathroom design:

  • Vanities are replaced with cabinets at a 36” height
  • Many vanities are hung off the wall with lighting underneath as an accent
  • Robern has medicine cabinets with not only storage but lighting and outlets built in for convenience
  • Sinks are undermount or vessel sinks that mount above the countertop
  • Many faucets are wall or bridge mounted
  • Chrome and satin nickel are still a popular finish, use a brand faucet for a luxury look
  • Faucets have a “hands free” or touchless option plus you can set the temperature
  • Lighting is at eye level with sconces or wall hung lights and overhead cans as needed
  • Dimmer light controls with separate quiet fan controls
  • Freestanding tubs for a luxury bath feeling with floor mounted faucets
  • Chromotherapy and heated tubs such as MTI’s
  • Walk in showers when remodeled in lieu of a tub/shower unit
  • Control systems for spray or steam showers such as Kohler’s DTV shower or in the ceiling rain showers
  • Delta has a TEMP2O Shower with correct temperature every time1013-open-house-bathroom-l[1]
  • There are many options for built-in auditory systems; Kohler has the Moxie showerhead
  • Bench seats are added for comfort and function
  • Shower doors are frameless
  • Toilets are comfort height and offer dual flush technology for a watersense feature; also they can be wall hung or in wall tank toilets that conserve space with a clean line look
  • Tile can be a mosaic accent or 3”x6” subway; carrera marble is popular
  • Floors are large format tiles; many with heated floors
  • Countertops are granite or solid surface such as quartz
  • Grab bars now have a designer look and can act as towel bars or storage tbh-bath-3-l[1]


KBIS, what’s New

KBIS, what’s New

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              In February I attended the Kitchen and Bath show combined with the International Builder Show and Window Fashions show in Las Vegas. They were combined for the first time making it a very large convention to attend. As I walked the floors I saw great new product designs for storage, cabinetry, plumbing and…….more. Here are just a few Highlights.

Before doing any purchasing it would be a good idea to do some research on the latest designs and solutions as they are not all in the stores as yet.

Wilsonart has added granite looking laminate such as Cosmos Granite and Florence Gold. Consentino introduces Dekton for surfaces, it provides superior strength. Try it in the kitchen. Cambria added new surfaces such as the Coastal Collection, implying salty sea air.

Many lighting companies had added new features in LED strips. Legrand has new switch options.

Cabinets can be fitted with Glideware for access to pots and pans. Rev a Shelf has added a Universal Pul-down shelf for medicines a great storage option, so new the photo isn’t out yet but there is a You Tube video to watch. Ronbow has several new vanity cabinets and medicine shelves that power up and also light with LED.

Plumbing has added even more to their line of touch free kitchen and bath faucets. There is a shower head that plays music, Kohler’s “Moxie.” Tubs not only have air and bubble jets for massage, also lighting for chromatherapy and heat. Plus they can have electronic keypads as a control. Toilets open upon entering the room, have lights and heat. Geberit has an alternative look to toilets for space saving and replaces the traditional tank. Also comes with creative flush pads, one lights up like a rainbow. Luxurious shower systems have been added by all manufacturers, such as Brizo Hydrati 2 in 1 detachable shower head with magnetic locking.

Oceania has added unique styles of shower-tub combinations. Plus more options in their beautiful sink line, either in vessel or undermount.

Elmwood, Hafele, and Richelieu had innovation storage solutions for sliding doors, cabinet storage and lift systems. Ask your cabinet dealer for information on how to add these features.

Grab bars are in many stylish designs and colors. Invisia has discreet bars and shelves for the bathroom. There are also new series of walk-in tubs.

Wellness mats has a new series of anti fatigue mats allowing you to create your own shapes and size.

There are so many resources to list, these are just a few. Have fun searching!

Things to consider when planning a kitchen remodel

Things to consider when planning a kitchen remodel

Things to consider when planning a kitchen remodel

Things to consider when planning a kitchen remodel

I am planning on monthly blogs but while we are still finalizing my website I may get a bit behind such as this one which should have been for January. Here are some things to consider when planning a kitchen remodel. It is a big subject so I will cover more at another time. Remodeling a kitchen is still a good home improvement investment and according to a Windermere study an average of 64.6 to 75.9% return for a major remodel and 69.8 to 91.5% for a minor one in our Pacific area.

Where do you start: the first thing to do is get an idea of what you like, some people buy magazines or buy books and have them tabbed with the style they like, you can look online at blogs and even cabinet websites. It is helpful for those of us who work with you as we can see what you like and don’t’ like.

There is a difference between doing a kitchen as a replacement job or a full remodel job. For a replacement you are basically leaving the footprint or plan of the kitchen as is, or with only minor changes. A full remodel can involve moving walls, rearranging plumbing or electrical, adding cabinets and more. Obviously the cost of labor for this work is higher.

The difference in cost can be sizeable. A minor kitchen replacement can start at $20,000 to a major remodel 3 times more and upward to $125,000 depending upon selections. Here are some suggestions to think about and some cost saving tips:

  • Do not relocate walls, plumbing, electrical, if the current floor is in good shape keep it
  • Consider the materials, such as laminate countertops over granite, they come in wonderful colors and textures now, select a 4-6” backsplash rather than a full height backsplash
  • The question of whether to replace cabinets or not is always ask. If your cabinet is functional and in good shape and it is just not in the budget you can have them cleaned or painted. There are companies like Shelf Genie that can add roll out shelves for improved function. I usually suggest replacing the cabinets as new cabinets offer so much more function than the 30 year old ones. There is a face frame and a framed cabinet box to choose from, I use Bellmont and Kraftmaid. I like full overlay doors, so the face frame does not show; unless you want an old traditional style then an inset door is used. Do some research on the quality of the cabinets. The cost will change depending upon the wood choice and stain treatment, ie: maple versus cherry, the door style, ie: shaker versus a detailed door, drawer tracks such as full extension, whether the box is all plywood versus pressboard, how the box is made, and additional add-ons.
  • Repurpose & Reuse. You can sell your old appliances, cabinets or fixtures or you can donate to charities like Habitat for Humanity. You can give them to someone you know who needs them. You can put the old cabinets in the garage and make a work area like I did. One of my clients put an ad on craigslist and was immediately contacted, someone came and picked up every bit of her old kitchen, the people receiving this gift were thrilled.
  • Labor, if you are skilled you can negotiate some of the work, such as painting, trim, and other tasks, just make sure the end result will be a good job. Even if you don’t have craftsmanship skills, doing the demo and removal can save some costs.
  • Appliances. The cost of the overall job is related to what you choose for appliances, from budget friendly to luxury. Ask yourself “what is most important” then perhaps choose an expensive range and a basic refrigerator, that is what I did for my own kitchen.
  • Function. I believe that you must replace everything, the sink, the faucet, the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, knobs, anything that is old or will break down. The exception is if your floor, ie: hardwood is in good shape. Or if you have recently purchased appliances.
  • Work Triangle and traffic flow. Everyone wants an island but the work isle should be 42” for a one cook kitchen and 48” for a two cook. The walkway behind an island should be 36.” Don’t try to put an island where it won’t fit, go for a peninsula or anther solution. There are small cute furniture pieces that may work for you here.

Who can help: You can work with an interior designer, a kitchen designer or a contractor. Do some research in your area and interview 2 or 3 to see who best fits your needs.  If you plan on helping a a DIY’er then make that known. Good communication is key. As an example when I help clients I help with the layout, cabinet selections, granite or material choices, look at plumbing, etc. You need some to help with all the decisions. Plan on the length of time it will take and set up a staged area for cooking while under construction. Consider an extra 10-15% in your budget for unexpected costs. Take before and after photos, they will cheer you up at the end and amaze you, showing you where you started and where you finished!