Outlet Technology

Earlier this year, Harrell Remodeling Designer Genie Nowicki, spent three days at the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) where she was immersed with the latest industry products, trends, and technologies. Although not as sexy as steam showers, spa bathtubs, and the latest fixtures, electrical outlet technology was prevalent at KBIS.

According to Genie, “Kitchens and bathrooms have considerable code requirements. These are spaces in which numerous appliances are used around water, so there are strict guidelines around the placement and type of outlets used. At KBIS, there were some really exciting solutions to make unsightly outlets more visually pleasing, or unique ways to hide them completely.”

Outlet Technology

With more and more devices requiring USB ports for charging, electrical outlets are finally incorporating this technology and docking stations are being integrated into kitchens and baths.

Smart WiFi plugs are remote control devices, enabling automation to actively manage any appliance, light, or device via an app or using a smart home assistant. Affordable and easy to install, these smart plugs allow you to control or schedule lights and temperature, pre-heat hair styling devices with the touch of a button, regulate your kid’s access to gaming consoles and television, and monitor your home’s energy efficiency.

For years, outlet trim plates have been available in a variety of colors, designs, and finishes but the outlets themselves hadn’t followed suit. Finally, outlets are being designed in a number of metallic finishes to create a seamless, cohesive appearance.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Kitchen

GFCI outlets are required to be placed every four feet in a kitchen, and within two feet or less of the edge of a sink or cooking surface. There are multitudes of ways to make outlets less conspicuous, maintaining function without compromising the aesthetics of your space.

  • Under cabinet outlets: The outlet or outlet strip is hidden from view but may have “dangling” appliance cords.
  • Pop-up outlets: Tucked into the surface of a countertop, these low-profile outlets are made accessible by simply pushing on the them to have them ‘pop’ above the counter or pushing them down to hide them away. These may not be accepted by all building departments.
  • Outlet post: Nestled between cabinets, a post is a great way to incorporate outlets.
  • Hinged cabinet facade: Hiding outlets behind a hinged drawer façade allows accessibility when needed but is disguised when not in use.
  • Recessed below counter: An outlet strip can be hidden underneath a deep countertop edge, peninsula, or island overhang for easy access without compromising design.
  • Inside drawers/cabinets: A great place to install a docking station for tablets, phones, and others devices.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Bathroom

Just as in kitchens, our bathrooms must have GFCI outlets and have equally strict requirements on placement. We typically have a number of personal grooming devices that can crowd our countertops, creating a tangle of cords and a battle over outlet access. This can be resolved with creative and functional outlet placement.

  • Medicine cabinets with built-in outlets: great for storing and charging electric razors and toothbrushes.
  • Inside cabinets: A great way to get outlets off walls is to place them inside cabinets. USB outlets allows for charging of phones, wireless speakers, and tablets.
  • Underneath counters: An ideal blend of accessibility and functionality.
  • Inside drawers: Outlets at the back of a drawer is ideal for plugging in hair styling or personal grooming devices.
  • Pop-up outlets: These low-profile outlets work well in bathrooms and can be set into the countertop.

“It’s always exciting to offer clients inventive new ways in which to integrate outlets in bathrooms and kitchens that both maximize and personalize the function and beauty of the space. Plus, the evolving technology that allows homeowners to control appliances at the touch of a button is very desirable,” shares Genie.

Are you dreaming of updating your kitchen or bath? Schedule a complementary meeting today and allow the design team at Harrell Remodeling to help you discover what’s possible.

Genie Nowicki, senior designer, holds numerous certifications in design, and is a renowned authority of Universal Design, and the recipient of multiple awards. Genie joined the Harrell Remodeling team after years of running her own successful design business. Beginning her career in the world of income tax planning, she made a career leap in 1990 to the equally “detail and code-filled world” of kitchen and bath design. Genie obtained her Certification in Professional Kitchen and Bath Design in 1992 and achieved her Certified Kitchen Designer (CID) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) status in 1996. After passing another rigorous examination, she became a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in the State of California in 2002 and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) in 2006. Her experience has included residential interior design, kitchen and bath design, barrier free/Universal Design, lighting design, and participation in numerous showcase houses in the Bay area, as well as several commercial projects. Genie prides herself on listening to her clients and providing timeless design work that is appropriate to her clients, their lifestyles, and their homes. Her excellence in design has been recognized with awards, projects published in local and national magazines, and a Sunset design book, and an article she wrote was featured in the Fine Homebuilding Kitchen and Bath Annual Issue.

Incorporating Color In Cabinetry

Color is just one way homeowners can express their personality. A popular way to incorporate color is with cabinetry, which is especially popular in kitchens. Once upon a time, high quality cabinet color choices were very limited, but these days, just about any color is available, opening up a myriad of amazing design possibilities.

Harrell Remodeling Design+Build’s award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Gloria Carlson, has helped numerous clients remodel their kitchens, including integrating colored cabinetry. “Using color is very personal,” Gloria explains. “Although many homeowners want a palette that uses muted color, others get pleasure from bolder colors that are more unique to them.”

According to Gloria, the key to incorporating colored cabinets is to choose a focal point. This is an area in the room, such as a kitchen, that you immediately want people to notice. Gloria suggests choosing a feature or material that you love and working around that. It could be a unique backsplash, the island, a high-end range or vent hood, or individual colored cabinets. This focal point is the starting point around which everything else must revolve.

Choosing a cohesive, pleasing color palette is also incredibly important. Choosing complementary colors (those that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel) work well together, or as Gloria says, they “pop each other.” Complementary colors make a bigger statement, and are more vibrant and contrasting. When homeowners want to break out of the safe color box it’s also important that they don’t overdo a good thing.

“I had a client who had already purchased their kitchen countertop material, which was a beautiful blend of blue and mushroom beige,” shares Gloria about a recent kitchen remodel. “These homeowners wanted to make a bold statement so we used the countertop colors in the cabinetry, and we complemented that with a vibrant orange Dacor range as the focal point.”

When choosing colored cabinets, Gloria generally recommends purchasing cabinets outside of California. Other states aren’t restricted to water-based paints, which enables cabinet makers to use a much more durable baked-on colored varnish.

The style of cabinet also comes into play where color is concerned. A more neutral or “safe” palette can typically be matched with just about any style of cabinet but if bold hues will be used, it is best to avoid traditional cabinetry.

Colored cabinets can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. The upper cabinets can be one color while the lowers are another. Alternately, the island can be one hue while all the perimeter cabinets are another. Yet another option is to have individual colored cabinets, using them as a focal point. Colored cabinets can also be combined with dark or light wood cabinetry, making a very distinct visual statement.

When asked about colored cabinets, Gloria’s advice to her clients is to go for the “ROE—Return on Enjoyment versus the ROI.” If the homeowners are planning to stay in their residence for a while, Gloria encourages them to think more about their personal enjoyment of their home rather than worry about resale years down the road.

“Sometimes something that is truly unique—like that blue, mushroom, and orange kitchen combination—becomes timeless in a different way,” Gloria clarifies.

Are you exploring the idea of colored cabinetry in your kitchen? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Gloria or another of Harrell’s designers to discover how color can enhance your space and fit your personal style.

Gloria Carlson, Harrell senior designer, earned two degrees from Stanford University before beginning her career in Speech Technology. When she remodeled her home in 2001, she realized that design was her passion and true calling. She went to work for her contractor and returned to school to study Interior Design at Cañada College, where she specialized in Kitchen and Bath Design and Green/Sustainable Design. Gloria quickly realized that the kitchen was her favorite room to design, and decided to focus her years of training on this specialty, including multiple examinations from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and earned the title of Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Before joining Harrell Remodeling, Gloria worked as a Designer in a Kitchen and Bath showroom, and now she enjoys designing projects of all sizes, from a small bathroom update to whole house interior and exterior remodels and additions.

Gloria prides herself on listening to her clients and providing designs that are appropriate to their lifestyles and their homes. She possesses a practical approach to her projects, creative style, and responsiveness to her client’s needs. She also is very attentive to both budget and detail. “Remodeling one’s home can be stressful, so I try to make the process as fun as possible,” says Gloria. “I listen carefully to the homeowner’s desires, whether functional, aesthetic or budgetary, and come up with a plan that will work for them. Then, throughout the project, they know they can count on me to respond quickly to questions and help with decisions.”

Gloria has won multiple awards for her designs from the local chapters of NKBA, NARI, ASID and IFDA. Outside of work, Gloria loves to play tennis, and being a “foodie”, enjoys everything epicurean.

Countertop Options for Outdoors Kitchens

California living means outdoor living. Thanks to our state’s amazing climate, outdoor living spaces are one of the most sought-after additions to a residence and beautiful functional outdoor kitchens are a key component of these al fresco remodels.

When designing a kitchen that will be exposed to the elements, it is important to consider the materials used, especially for countertops. Harrell Designer Lisa Parramore advocates her clients choose either Quartz or natural stone for exterior kitchen surfaces.

Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock created naturally from pure quartz sandstone while Quartz is a man-made material that offers a huge variety of looks, from solid colors to patterns that mimic the look of marble, granite, and other natural stone. Manufacturers like Cambria, Silestone, and Caesarstone have an almost endless selection of colors, styles, and finishes.

Quartz is a popular choice for countertops, but when using it outside, it is important to note that this material does not appreciate sun exposure. Quartz is best used in outdoor areas where sunlight is limited to eliminate or severely reduce any chance of fading. Manufacturers typically will not guarantee their product if it is used outsides where it receives extended exposure to direct sunlight.

Quartz lovers never fear. There is a solution to this dilemma—Ultra Compact Quartz. Manufacturers of this product include NeoLith and Dekton. No maintenance, easy care, stain, scratch, and dent-resistant, this almost indestructible material is ideal for outdoor use. Available in a variety of colors, Ultra Compact Surfaces enable homeowners to achieve their desired design aesthetic without worrying about fading, functionality, and durability.

“For clients desiring a contemporary look, I love using Ultra Compact Surfaces with powder-coated stainless steel cabinetry,” shares Lisa.

Natural stone is another popular option for use in outdoor kitchen spaces. The most popular outdoor surface products include granite and marble, each with their own pros and cons. Granite is durable, resists staining, and is readily available in a multitude of hues but extreme temperatures can comprise the integrity of the surface. It is also wise to use light colored granite if it will be exposed to sun, as darker shades will retain a tremendous amount of heat.

“Part of the beauty of granite is its naturally occurring, shimmering crystals but severe heat and cold can result in the stone cracking,” Lisa clarifies.

Marble is another stunning surface that homeowners love. Though it doesn’t fade, marble can stain if not properly maintained. For those who don’t mind a “patina,” marble is a viable outdoor option but if the possibility of discoloration makes you, cringe, marble may be a material to avoid.

In the majority of her outdoor kitchen designs, Lisa uses granite, Quartzite, and Ultra Compact Surfaces. Marble typically has a polished finish, while granite can be either honed or polished. Depending upon the Quartz product chosen, they can have a low sheen, high gloss,  or even a velvety-soft suede finish.

“I always recommend checking with the fabricators when deciding upon exterior materials and their planned location. Their in-depth knowledge is invaluable to retaining your product warranty as well as ensuring the surface chosen meets your needs and expectations,” Lisa advises.

Lisa Parramore is Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning certified Professional Landscape Designer. She is passionate about creating indoor-outdoor living spaces that inspire her clients to embrace and celebrate the California lifestyle. With her ability to beautifully integrate a home’s interior with the outdoors, Lisa brings a distinct vision and design sense to the Harrell Team.

Are you thinking of adding an outdoor kitchen or living space to your home? Now is the perfect time to start a conversation with one of our designers about creating an outdoor space that fits your lifestyle.

Color Trends for 2019

The colors we choose for our home speak volumes about our personality and style. When it comes to color, some homeowners are more adventurous while others lean toward hues that are mild and understated yet still convey individuality.

Color has a direct impact on our emotions. Some homeowners desire an overall neutral palette that creates a pleasing, tranquil space while others prefer introducing lively hues that provoke an energetic atmosphere. Whatever your preferred palette profile, there are many ways to introduce color into your home.

Clothing is the catalyst for residential color trends, working its way from fashion into our living spaces. For the past few years, gray has been a forerunner in the neutral color space, replacing browns and beiges that once graced the walls of many a Bay Area home.

In keeping with this popular color inclination, Benjamin Moore’s Color of 2019 is Metropolitan,  an adaptable, stylish, and understated neutral gray. The company also creates a coordinating color palette designed to work beautifully with their starring hue.

Says Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore, “Metropolitan AF-690 emanates nuance, harmony and extravagant ease. Always adaptable, it softens to matte or shimmers with sheen. It’s neutral. It’s understated. It just is. This is color, off-duty.”

Sherwin Williams has traveled down a different path with their rich terracotta hue, Cavern Clay,  the earthy quality of which works well as an accent wall coupled with neutral tones or as a standalone color, infusing a warm sophistication to an entire room.

Pantone recently announced that their Color of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral, which they describe as “an animated, life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens.” Vibrant and at the same time soothing, Living Coral embodies our “need for optimism,” providing a sociable, spirited, and playful manner in which to invite connection and intimacy in our home environment.

Other color palettes are finding their way from the runway into hallways, kitchens, and livings spaces. Turquoise, navy blue, metallic including gold and rose gold, and matte black are trending in popularity as homeowners personalize with pigments in a myriad of manners. Adding vibrant pops of color is a great way to infuse character and playfulness throughout your home. Colored cabinets, entry doors, countertops, accent walls, and tile are all wonderful ways to introduce color.

“Navy and other blue tonal values are making headway especially when accented with gold,” explains Harrell Designer, Sara Jorgensen. “In the kitchen, painted cabinets are taking things by storm. Navy works beautifully as a cabinetry color especially when accentuated with gold hardware.”

In addition to navy, gray and white tones are popular palettes for kitchen cabinets. Islands offer an ideal way to introduce accent colors; wood tones are trending as popular ways in which to highlight kitchen islands.

As for metallics, while chrome and satin/brushed nickel remain much-loved among homeowners, brushed brass, rich gold, and the elegance of rose gold are finding a foothold in homes. Drawer pulls and knobs, lighting, and fixtures are classic ways in which to tie in metallic throughout your home.

“Tile is another way to pull in color and texture into a room,” says Sara.

Geometric tiles, especially in black and white, create a high contract focal point.  Tile backsplashes behind cooktops can be designed as a beautiful mosaic or a simply stunning accent. Shower niches are another way to imbue color into a bathroom that otherwise may embrace a neutral palette.

Your home is a blank canvas and the colors you choose for your living spaces are as individual as you. The design team at Harrell Remodeling has their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends. Armed with that information plus your personal preferences, we will make your home come alive with color!

Call us today to schedule a design consultation with a Harrell Designer to discuss your next remodeling project.

Clever Storage for Corners in Kitchens

When redesigning a kitchen layout, Harrell designers frequently need to be creative to maximize storage in corners. Older kitchens often left these corners very difficult to access, but there are now more creative solutions. There are generally two types of corner storage, Lazy Susans and another option referred to as a “Blind Corner”.

According to Harrell Certified Kitchen Design, Gloria Carlson, corner cabinets occur in the majority of kitchens. “I generally specify about four variations of corners during kitchen remodels,” Gloria states. “Depending upon the size available, I recommend either a Lazy Susan, or a Blind Corner with a ‘Magic Corner’ or ‘LeMans’ system.”

Most people are familiar with a Lazy Susan, a circular “plate” that spins, enabling easy access to everything housed on its flat surface. Lazy Susans are the most efficient use of space in a corner cabinet. They require 36” in both directions at the corner and function in much the same manner as the table-top device or ones frequently used to hold spices.

There are three main styles of Lazy Susans, the first being a unit with two flat, spinning surfaces that are attached to a center pole, but these can be flimsy, so Gloria rarely chooses them. A “Super Susan,” has spinning flat surfaces that sit on stationary shelves, making them more sturdy and also avoiding items from falling off into inaccessible areas. The third type of Lazy Susan is a push-through Lazy Susan, in which the soft-close cabinet doors fold in on themselves and the interior storage units spin outside the cabinet for extra easy access.

The other storage option that Gloria recommends is for blind corners, which requires 27” in one direction and 48” in the other. Two popular Blind Corner options are the Magic Corner and the LeMans system. These storage systems tend to be utilized when the blind corner space is shorter on one side than the other. Comprised of multiple baskets or shelves, the LeMans and Magic Corner are designed so that one unit slides forward and out when the door is opened while the rear storage units move into the cabinet opening, providing complete access.

“I work closely with all of my clients to understand how they function in their kitchens. This, in addition to the available space in the corner, will give me the information needed to make product recommendations,” Gloria explains.

Whichever corner storage option is chosen, ideal access must be considered. A bifold door hinged in the middle is often specified for a Lazy Susan, whereas Blind Corner cabinets typically have a single hinged door on the long side of the cabinet. With a bifold door on a Lazy Susan, Gloria carefully considers the hinge side that works best with how homeowners work in the space, allowing them maximal access to the contents of the cabinet. A push-through door can make sense when access with a bifold door is more limited.

“If corners are situated near a range or cooktop, the door should open away from the appliance,” explains Gloria.

Though much less common, it is possible to have drawers in corners, though they require the creation of uniquely shaped corner drawers and also don’t effectively utilize the available space.

Special corner storage features are most frequently found in base cabinets but occasionally occur in wall cabinet configurations as well. Upper cabinet corners are limited to the use of Lazy Susans.

If you are contemplating a kitchen remodel, it is very likely that your cabinet layout will result in corner cabinets. By understanding your storage options as well as by working with a designer who knows their stuff, those once awkward areas can be transformed using some unique storage solutions.

Considering updating your kitchen? We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of Harrell’s design team to help you explore your kitchen, bath, or home remodeling project.

Colored Kitchen Appliances

Focal point and pops of color are terms our designers use all the time. Both of these design aesthetics can be achieved in kitchens by incorporating colored appliances.

For most homeowners, especially those who prefer safer color choices and those who are remodeling with reselling in mind, sticking with stainless steel is generally probably the best way to go. The staying power of stainless steel is timeless and typically appeals to the majority of homebuyers as well as homeowners.

But for those who want to make a bold statement and achieve a custom design that showcases their distinctive style, colorful kitchen appliances are a great option. They add a unique focal point and that pop of color all in one fell swoop while also serving a functional purpose.

Says Harrell’s award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) designer, Gloria Carlson, “I find a small population of clients decide to choose to include colored appliances in their kitchen but the look it achieves is so much fun and really speaks to their individuality.”

There are a number of companies that offer colored appliances. Price, color availability, and style vary to fit almost any budget. Most Many companies offer colored ranges, and others some also include refrigerators and other appliances in varying hues. UsuallyOften, clients decide to have the range as the focal point with all other appliances in stainless steel or having fronts to match the cabinetry.

Some of the colored appliance manufacturers Harrell Remodeling Designers frequently recommend include:

“Whether our clients want a totally custom color, a standard or a professional-style range, or an appliance that is contemporary or really retro, we can help to find exactly what they want,” explains Gloria.

BlueStar specializes in ranges, hoods, cooktops, and refrigerators ideal for the serious home cook. These professional chef-grade appliances are available in over 750 colors as well as textured finishes. BlueStar will also match customer colors so if you have a favorite, they can make it happen! Their website allows you to configure your range, choosing everything from size, number and type of burners, trim, doors as well as knob and overall color of the appliance. As you “build” your range, you can see exactly how it will look in real time on their website.

American-made Dacor offers their luxury Heritage ranges in custom colors. Dacor allows clients to add that perfect splash of color with a few standard colors as well as hundreds of custom color options.

La Cornue designs high-end, handcrafted French ranges that are truly the “masterpiece of the kitchen.” These appliances are works of art and make a daring, everlasting statement while providing the ultimate in a professional-style range. Their Château and Cornufé collections each offer an incredible array of colors from which to chose, including one-of-a-kind hues. The options are endless, allowing homeowners to make an appliance statement that speaks volumes.

Big Chill is a great option for clients who are looking for appliances with a vintage feel. They also have a sleek, modern Pro line as well as a classic, industrial collection. Depending upon the collection, they offer either standard hues or as many as 200 custom colors in addition to a full line of professional grade appliances including ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, and hoods.

Colored kitchen appliances can be used a number of ways, from being the singular focal point surrounded by a neutral background to making a bold statement by having all appliances a custom color. The options are endless and Harrell’s Designers are here to help you make these important decisions.

We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of Harrell’s design team to help you explore your kitchen, bath, or home remodeling project.

Designing A Kosher Kitchen

Having grown up in a traditional Jewish household that followed strict kosher guidelines, there is no one more capable to design a kosher kitchen than Harrell Remodeling designer, Debra Winston. So when Harrell was approached by a couple to update their circa-1960s kitchen while incorporating solutions that would allow them to adhere to their kosher meal preparation, Debra was exceptionally qualified for the task.

The 50-year-old kitchen was dark and dated. Counter space was limited as was storage. Though the kitchen had an eat-in area, it wasn’t used as the couple ate meals in their Dining Room. The husband is kosher and his wife, a gourmet cook with Italian roots, converted to Judaism and also observes kosher practices. They enjoy entertaining and preparing large meals for friends and family, especially during Passover.

There are three categories of kosher foods: meat, dairy, and pareve, which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, and other foods. To simplify the kosher concept, there must be dedicated pots, pans, knifes, bowls, dishware, and utensils for preparing, cooking, serving, and eating meat and dairy dishes. This means there are two sets of everything in addition to special dishes and serving platters for Passover. With extensive sets of duplicate cookware to function properly and follow kosher requirements, the kitchen needed considerable storage. Debra’s clients also wanted high-performance appliances as well as more counter space.

After speaking in depth with her clients, visiting their home, and armed with her personal knowledge of the kosher standards, Debra embarked on transforming their kitchen. The end result may not look any different from a classic kitchen redesign but the changes Debra incorporated made a huge difference in the couple’s ability to easily and enjoyably prepare kosher meals for themselves and guests.

“I enjoy taking a poorly designed space, and reconfiguring it with an improved layout, enhanced lighting, increased accessibility, and heightened functionality,” states Debra of one of the many things she enjoys about her job as a Harrell’s designer.

Some of the key elements of this kosher kitchen include:

Storage, Storage, Storage

In this kosher kitchen, storage – and lots of it – was a crucial component of the redesign.

Separate Storage for Meat & Dairy

Base cabinet drawers on either side of the range were designed for pots, pans, and other cooking utensils. One side was dedicated for tools and cookware for meat, the other for dairy. There were also independent drawers for each full set of silverware and utensils. The upper cabinets had enough space to separate meat and dairy plates as well as serving dishes.

Double Height Pullout Pantry

A tall narrow pantry next to the refrigerator houses spices, condiments, and a variety of ingredients. The two Kessebohmer hardware inserts hold 330 pounds each, and are open from both sides making for easy visibility and accessibility.

Secondary Cabinets

Upon gutting the kitchen a false ceiling was discovered, which enabled the ceiling height to be raised from 95 inches to 103 inches. This allowed for secondary upper cabinets ideal for storing Passover china that is only used once a year. A cabinet above the wall oven houses vertical baking tray dividers measured to fit the owner’s baking sheets and adjustable shelves offer additional flexible storage.

Drawers

One of the drawers is composed of a two-tiered wood cutlery drawer with dividers, creating additional space for separate meat and dairy flatware and utensils. Another drawer has a knife block insert on the left side, and dividers to organize utensils on the right.

Blind Cabinets

Although there was not enough space in the kitchen for Magic Corners or swing-out half round shelves, we were able to make the blind cabinets useful. These cabinets are installed with lighting that automatically turns on, allowing easily visibility to all areas. These are used to hold trash bins, tall vases, and other items not needed on a regular basis.

Display Cabinets

Glass cabinets and niches offered multiple ways for the homeowners to display special dishes, tchotchkes, and other objets d’art.

Double Basin Sink

In a kosher kitchen, a double basin sink is required so that meat and dairy items can be washed separately. The divide in the new sink is 6” in height, allowing pots with long handles to extend over the divider. They can soak without encroaching on or dumping water into the other side. A Blanco Silgranite sink was chosen because of its durability to resist scratches, stains, and heat. This was accented by a Brizo single handle pull-out faucet and a filtered instant hot water tap.

High-End Appliances

A love of cooking and Italian heritage coupled with kosher standards necessitated desire for modern, high-performance appliances. A Sub-Zero refrigerator with wood paneling to match the cabinetry enabled them to have enough space to isolate meat and dairy. A gas 4-burner Wolf Range Top provides efficient and consistent cooking while a warming drawer takes the chill off plates and keeps prepared foods at the perfect temperature until the meal is served. In lieu of a microwave, the homeowners opted for a Miele Speed wall oven. Its compact size allows it to heat quickly, and the use of steam ensures healthy, fast food preparation. A traditional Miele convection oven is right below, allowing plenty of options when preparing meals for large gatherings.

Countertops, Flooring, Lighting, Flow

Cambria Brittanicca countertops mimic a classic white veined marble without the worry of stains, etching, or upkeep. The old engineered wood floors were replaced with authentic oak hardwood. LED lighting was used in a variety of manners to provide ambient, task, and accent illumination, all of which brightened the previously gloomy space. And, the once narrow entry into the Dining Room was widened to 45 inches, allowing a better flow between the two rooms.

Thanks to Debra Winston, this gorgeous kosher kitchen has everything the homeowners desired. The new floor plan doubled the usable space, storage abounds, and the 1965 GE stove has been replaced by top-of-the-line Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances. With its copious storage, large double sink, and improved lighting this kitchen would also work well for those people with unique dietary requirements or food allergies who must segregate food and/or cooking tools.

“I have dreamed of working with Harrell Remodeling for more than 20 years, such is their reputation for smart, impeccably designed and crafted spaces. The danger of such dreams is creating unreasonable expectations, but Harrell exceeded all of them in the rebuild of my kitchen. There are few people who can boast of having fun during a kitchen remodel; I am one of them. Unbelievable attention to detail, quick problem solving, spectacular communication (including on the job site, where I learned so much that has made me a better homeowner)… we simply could not have done this with anyone else and emerged with our day jobs and marriage intact!”

Debra has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build for four years. She has a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts, is a painter and quilt artist, and spent 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City before moving to California. She studied Interior Design at Cañada College, where she specialized in Kitchen and Bath Design and worked as an Interior designer prior to joining the Harrell Team in April 2014. She has received numerous awards for her designs. Debra specializes in Kitchen and Bath redesign, is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), and also works on whole-house remodels and room additions.

Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive homes in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley since 1985. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our incredible designers in Palo Alto or Los Gatos and discover how we can transform your home, kitchen, or bath.

Add Some Fun To Your Next Remodeling Project

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a serious undertaking, but it can also be a great opportunity to add a touch of playfulness to your home. Whether you are remodeling a powder room, a master bath, or a kitchen, the Harrell Remodeling design team excels at creating modern residential designs while also developing special spaces that reflect the personality and spirit of the homeowners.

Americans are staying in their homes longer than ever before, opting to renovate or remodel rather than move to a larger residence. Families in the 1950’s typically moved approximately every five years. Since 2013, most people tend to stay in their homes an average of nine years compared the year 2000 when they moved every seven years. Many Bay Area and Silicon Valley residents are following this trend and as a result, personalized remodeling designs that are unique and individual are becoming more popular.

Gloria Carlson, a senior designer at Harrell-Remodeling, loves to create fun and creative designs that reveal her clients’ unique personalities and passions.

“The number one thing I do when I have a specialized design project is to listen. I want to understand what they are looking to achieve, both functionally and aesthetically, so that I can help to realize their dreams,” said Gloria.

Here are three examples of Harrell Remodeling clients who wanted to express their individuality in their kitchens and bathrooms, and how Gloria’s exceptional talent for creating enjoyable and useful designs were incorporated in these projects.

Creating Enjoyment Through Better Organization

Recently, a couple with whom Gloria had known previously came to Harrell Remodeling wanting to create a larger kitchen. Having been entertained by this family in the past, Gloria already understood the owner’s kitchen “rhythm” and family flow. She recognized that the client cooked in designated areas throughout the kitchen, from baking to making coffee. Gloria listened to their specific requests to create a new, streamlined, and contemporary layout that emphasized special zones and the following details:

Accentuated Special Kitchen Zones

  • A baking area that included an appliance garage for small appliances, offered efficient storage for flours, mixing bowls, utensils, etc. in adjacent cabinetry. This zone was situated directly next to the oven.
  • The coffee zone was designed to hide coffee containers, filters, and boxes of teas, and Gloria made sure the espresso maker aligned perfectly with a potfiller faucet to fill the machine’s water tank.

Carbonated, Filtered, and Chilled Beverage Zone

  • In the center of the kitchen, Gloria designed a large island to function as a buffet serving area, prep zone, and gathering spot. To help contribute to the central gathering purpose of the island, Gloria specified a faucet that included a built-in filter, water chiller and carbonation system at the sink. An under-the-counter refrigerator and built-in liquor cabinet made the island a refreshing kitchen hangout.

Customized Planning Zone

  • A planning zone with organizer shelves, key hooks, and a cork board and white board was designed to add a functional focal point to the room.
  • Color was integrated into the kitchen to highlight the modern upgrades and to make the space visually appealing and inviting.

“My clients still tell me how much they love what I did in their kitchen,” said Gloria.

Entertaining with Serve-Yourself Soda

Gloria worked with another family who entertained frequently. These homeowners wanted an area for guests to gather away from where they were doing their last-minute cooking, and they requested a built-in soda fountain, for their own love of sodas and for fun entertaining.

Fountain Soda Bar With Fully Equipped Bar Gun

  • A separate beverage zone was created on the opposite side of the prep zone and kitchen sink. The beverage area was designed in an “L” shape that allowed for plenty of storage space both above and below the wet bar area.
  • At the beverage center, Gloria specified plumbing for a carbonator, refrigeration line, filter system, and a fully loaded bar gun with a multitude of syrup flavors required for making fresh sodas.

Customized Backsplash Made From Vintage Bottle Caps

  • To punctuate the theme with a really fun and unique design, Gloria designed a backsplash that was made up of vintage bottle caps. Hundreds of bottle caps were individually placed in the backsplash to resemble tile, resulting in a customized conversation piece that echoed the homeowners’ affection for soda.

This clever kitchen redesign melded the clients’ passions to create a nearby entertainment space for guests while also allowing the homeowners to simultaneously work in the kitchen and interact with their guests.

Creating A Kitchen and Bathroom Design To Reflect A Family’s “Joie de Vivre”

Sometimes a client just wants to forego all traditional design concepts, and allow Harrell Remodeling and its amazing designers to create something truly fresh and new. This was the case with a Bay Area family who wanted their home to reflect their passion for travel and desire to welcome nature into their children’s bathroom.

Once again, Gloria stepped into the picture, transforming the family’s kitchen and bathroom. Highlights of these design projects include:

Customized Kitchen Magnetic World Map For Displaying Travel Tokens

This family traveled the world, collecting magnets from each place they’d visited as tokens of their adventures. Gloria noticed they mounted their collection of magnets on a large whiteboard attached to a kitchen wall. She replaced this bland whiteboard with customized world map wallpaper, with colors to match the kitchen palette, which was adhered to a steel plate to make the map magnetic. The new design allowed the family to place their magnets on the specific countries and cities, while creating a showcase piece that sparked conversation during dinner parties.

The family also wanted a bathroom with a jungle theme for their elementary school aged daughters. For this part of the project, Gloria invited the children to participate in the design and material selections, and they created:

Colorful Children’s Bathroom With Tropical Jungle Theme

A unique combination of tiles was applied to the bathroom walls to give the space a jungle vibe. A niche in the shower showcased a tile mural with a family of monkeys hiding in a rainforest. Beneath the showerhead, Gloria designed a glass mosaic blue tile waterfall that flowed down the wall, across the shower pan, and onto the bathroom floor to create meandering river. The blue tile river stops in front of the vanity in the shape of a small puddle of water.

Gloria used porcelain tiles with a wood grain to create a large tree trunk design on the shower wall and a leafy mosaic tile and green grout to create the foliage.

The results for this home were spectacular, playful, and completely customized for the client’s lifestyle and personalities.

When it comes to your residence, infusing a remodel with a touch of individuality can be a wonderful way to make your mark on a space. Whatever your passions, hobbies, or visions for your Bay Area and Silicon Valley home, the award-winning designers at Harrell Remodeling Design+Build can help you “take a walk on the wild side.”

We invite you to contact us for a complimentary consultation to discover how Harrell Remodeling can design your next distinctive space.

The Future of Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Trends

Most homeowners are intrigued to know the hottest kitchen and bathroom design trends and what materials are currently being used in ultra-modern homes. And when they are ready to remodel their own residence, homeowners want to ensure the firm they choose for their remodel project is intimately aware of the latest trends, materials, and design.

That’s why Harrell Remodeling makes it a point to send at least one of their designers to the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to observe and track emerging trends. KBIS is the world’s largest kitchen and bathroom tradeshow where cutting edge designs and trending themes can be experienced firsthand. This year, the company sent two of its designers to perform reconnaissance on behalf of Bay Area homeowners. The two returned with an amazing list of noteworthy styles that will be evolving in the next year or two.

This year, Harrell Remodeling senior designers Sara Jorgensen and Debra Winston attended the KBIS show, returning with valuable insights into current and leading trends for their clients.

“The KBIS is such a huge show. We walked 21 miles and took 21,000 photos. The experience inspired us and we were able to identify design trends and techniques that will absolutely translate to more amazing Harrell Remodeling results for our clients. These trends are happening now, but will also be emerging in the future,” said Sara.

In general, Sara explained that there was a clear distinction between East Coast design trends and West Coast design trends.

“East Coast styles are still very traditional. They are using lots of detailing, and decorative cabinets. But when you see the West Coast styles, they are all frameless cabinets with clean lines and very contemporary,” said Sara.

EMERGING RESIDENTIAL TRENDS

Here are some trend highlights from the show that are relevant to Silicon Valley homeowners:

  • Walnut cabinets
    Everywhere Sara and Debra went, they saw walnut finishes dominating kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This rich walnut finish is replacing the white-on-white look that’s been popular for traditional kitchens and baths. Walnut is not relegated to just the exterior of the cabinetry but is also being used on the inside of cabinets. Sara and Debra observed that many modern designers are skillfully combining the color white with walnut in a variety of ways to showcase the trend.
  • LED lighting modules
    The use of sleek, under-cabinet, energy-efficient LED lighting was clearly an emerging trend. Manufacturers are developing thin lighting tape that can be used throughout both the bathroom and kitchen. The use of lighting was everywhere, but most prevalent in the skillful illumination of the undersides of counters and cabinets. In many cases, this sleek under-counter lighting highlighted the walnut and white finish on upper cabinets.
  • Incorporating textures
    There’s no getting around it, textured surfaces will be a major influence for residential designers in the near future. Texture is a fantastic option for homeowners wanting to add something different to their kitchens and baths. The use of texture was found in multiple materials including tile, plastic, and even metal. For example, the two took note of engraved textured metal wall panels, walls that looked like rustic wood, and surfaced tile used for highlighting kitchen backsplashes. Sara and Debra discovered that, “texture is here to stay!”
  • Gold accents dominated
    Both designers discovered that gold is being extensively throughout many of the kitchen and bathroom designs they toured. Gold is used sparingly to accent beautiful walnut or other wood finishes. It is also elegantly paired with navy blue. This trend of navy blue and gold was used frequently in kitchen islands or perimeter cabinets, where small gold lighting or cabinet fixtures accentuated the rich blue.
  • Bold, playful colors
    The use of bright reds, blues, and yellows were prevalent throughout the show. For example, many appliances are now sporting bold colors to add some spark to the kitchen. Daring colors are being combined with textured metal in apron-front sinks. Another unique manner in which color was incorporated was by painting the insides of cabinet drawers with bubble gum pink or other playful hues.
  • Televisions and fireplaces
    One of the most visible themes Sara and Debra noted was a focus on televisions above fireplaces. As the designers explored this theme further, they realized that fireplaces are now being manufactured in such a way that they can be paired closely with a large, suspended television. Many high-tech fireplaces incorporated LED lighting trim around their perimeter with the lights changing color to coordinate with a favorite sporting team or to set a mood. Also, there were clever ways of concealing the television behind a large piece of art when not in use. The TV was secured to hardware allowing it to swing down, under the artwork and in front of the fire for easy viewing.

While not every homeowner will use all of these ideas and concepts in their remodeling project, they do provide a great framework for future design ideas. In addition, the concepts have been instilled into the deep arsenal of talented designers at Harrell Remodeling, who are always looking for the next great design solution!

“Design Trends” as Part of Harrell Remodeling Workshop Series

Because the KBIS show was so immense, Harrell Remodeling has incorporated some of Sara’s and Debra’s notes into a “Hot Trends in Products, Design and Remodeling” seminar that are part of the firm’s regular informational series of workshops and presentations for the Bay Area homeowners.

With locations in Palo Alto and Los Gatos Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive homes since 1985. We invite you to stop by our “Jewel Box” Showroom, attend one of our workshops, or schedule a complementary appointment to learn how we can make your remodeling vision come true.

Designing Your Kitchen for Entertaining and Fun

We’ve all heard that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning Senior Designer, Gloria Carlson, agrees. The kitchen being her favorite room to remodel, Gloria has helped many of her clients reimagine their kitchens, making the spaces not only beautiful and functional, but also creating a place for entertaining friends and family.

Understanding a client’s entertainment style is paramount to producing a finished product that fits their unique lifestyle and preferences. “Everyone entertains in different ways,” explains Gloria, who is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD).

There are a few key questions Gloria asks when meeting with clients who want to redesign their kitchens. Gloria delves into the following areas that guide her toward an end result that best fits the way they live and entertain.

  1. “How do you cook?”
    This includes how the homeowners interact in the kitchen. Does one person cook everything and then clean? Does one person prep while the other cleans? Will two or more people be cooking together?
  2. “How do you want to live?”
    When the homeowners entertain, how many people typically come to a gathering? How do they want to interact with their guests? Do they need flexible seating space for both intimate and large groups?

According to Gloria, some people are what she calls “participatory entertainers,” meaning they love having gatherings where friends and family are involved in the preparation of the meal. This entails designing the kitchen to provide plenty of workspace for meal prep and clean up, as well as ensuring there is adequate room for people to move freely throughout the kitchen. Often a spacious island is part of this type of entertaining kitchen remodel.

Other people prefer to cook alone but want to have an inclusionary yet distinct gathering area that allows guests and host to interact while the food is being prepared. Sometimes they simply want seating nearby for easy conversations with guests, and sometimes they are looking for something more specific. “We had a client who loved soda fountain drinks,” Gloria said. “Using this theme, we created a separate bar area and serve-yourself beverage center with a soda bar gun, ice maker, and vintage bottle cap backsplash that was a big conversation piece.” This custom entertainment space connected to the kitchen, creating the ideal blend of separation and interaction, enabling the host to cook in peace yet entertain and converse with their guests.

Still others want their kitchen to be a showpiece, a beautiful place to gather and entertain, yet they don’t plan to use it for cooking. These spaces take ambiance, flow of people, and ample seating into consideration. Of course, they are also functional and well thought out, even if they are only used to entertain.

Gloria also finds many clients hold gatherings that revolve around sports. Having a television in the kitchen area or nearby with an area for guests to eat and watch the game is key. Other homeowners want flexible spaces where they can add or remove tables and seating based on the size of the group they are hosting.

No two kitchens are ever alike. Each kitchen Gloria creates is custom, unique to the people for whom she is creating it. “Designing a kitchen for entertaining and fun is very much an individual endeavor,” she says. Each kitchen is distinct, centering on the homeowner’s personalities, lifestyle, hobbies, personal design aesthetic, and cooking/entertaining style. She believes that any combination of homeowner and designer will create a completely different design within the same space, yet the end result can be beautiful, functional and solve the problems of their previous kitchen.

Gloria says that there are a few things that clients do want in a kitchen designed for entertainment. These include:

  1. Efficient storage to house kitchen tools
  2. Considerable counter space to set out food, especially since buffet-style meals are very popular
  3. The durability and low maintenance of Quartz makes it a sought-after material for countertops
  4. Ample, flexible seating areas (bars, peninsulas, or islands, etc.)
  5. Many clients would love an island in their kitchens, but she cautions that an island must fit the space. Squeezing in an island can result in a cramped, less functional. and desirable layout.

“Remodeling one’s home can be stressful, so I try to make the process as fun as possible,” says Gloria. “I listen carefully to the homeowner’s desires, whether functional, aesthetic, or budgetary, and come up with a plan that will work for them. Then, throughout the project, they know they can count on me to respond quickly to questions and help with decisions.”

Whatever socializing style fits you, there is a kitchen that will fulfill how you live, cook, and entertain. Harrell Remodeling Design+Build and premier designer, Gloria Carlson, can help your kitchen entertaining dreams become a reality.