Warming Drawers, Convection Ovens & Induction Cooktops

Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a house a home. Warming drawers, convection ovens and induction cooktops are a popular choice in kitchens where cooking, entertaining or family gatherings are a focus.

Choosing the proper appliances to meet your culinary requirements is one of the many decisions a homeowner must consider during a kitchen remodel. Harrell Certified Kitchen Designer, Debra Winston advises her clients to consider how they cook, entertain, and their overall lifestyle when considering cooking units.

Debra explains, “Appliances for kitchens continue to evolve with more pre-programed settings to make cooking more pleasurable and more precise. There are many finish options now, available in suites such as matte black, shiny black, slate, rose gold, and the classic stainless steel. Look for smudge, scratch, and fingerprint resistant finishes. Also, newly popular is bright white in either a gloss or matte. Made with a powder coated finish, these whites won’t turn yellow with age. Bright pops of color such as orange or French blue can become an exciting focal point of the kitchen.”

Warming Drawers

These units are an entertainer’s must-have, perfect for warming food as well as keeping dinner hot for a family member who comes home late. It can also be used to warm plates and cups and is a champ at heating damp finger towels to the ideal temperature. They can also be used to proof bread and other yeasted doughs, make homemade yogurts or ferment foods. Warming drawers are typically 30 inches wide by 10 inches high and can be located below a wall oven or cooktop.

Convection Ovens

These ovens use a fan to uniformly circulate hot air, which results in faster cooking at lower temperatures. Convection units create an even, golden brown for baked goods and a toothsome crispy texture for baked poultry. Though available in gas and electric, the latter is preferred for baking. Convection ovens come in a variety of sizes as well as freestanding and wall units, ensuring you can choose the appliance that best fits your new kitchen design.

Induction Cooktops

Cooking with induction is safe, fast, and much more energy efficient than gas or electric. These cutting-edge cooktops and ranges use electromagnetic coils under a glass surface to create heat directly into cast iron, carbon steel, or magnetic stainless-steel cookware. (Aluminum, copper, and glass won’t conduct heat on an induction cooktop.) Since the heat is transferred directly to the cooking vessel, cooking is accelerated while the cooktop itself remains cool. This effective, innovative and easy-to-clean design is ideal for households with young children and also works well as a Universal Design feature. Believe it or not, this technology has been around for quite a while, and prices have come down significantly. (One note of caution; if someone with an implanted pacemaker is very close to the cooktop for an extended period of time, there may be some interference from the magnetic field).

Harrell Remodeling’s premier design team is here to help you create the kitchen of your dreams, including offering insights into the brands and types of appliances to fit your lifestyle and budget. Contact us to set up a complimentary meeting at our Palo Alto showroom with one of our award-winning designers to explore your kitchen remodel.

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

Designing Beautiful and Functional Baking Stations

When designing a functional baking space in a kitchen, Gloria Carlson always asks clients, “What are you baking?” There is no prescribed layout or single answer that fits every homeowner who loves to bake so it’s important to get to know each client’s lifestyle and how their current kitchen space works or falls short.

“I had a client who wanted a baking station designed into her kitchen. Her adult son was a professional baker and would often come to her home to bake,” Gloria shares. “Additionally, a few times a year, her husband would make 1,000 chocolate truffles, which meant he needed quite a bit of counter space for the creation of his desserts. There were very distinct baking needs required by this client, and yet keeping the kitchen aesthetically pleasing and generally functional on a daily basis were crucial too.”

For a client who enjoys baking, setting up their kitchen to function efficiently for this purpose, as well as meet the everyday demands of a typical kitchen and even an entertaining space, entails defining specific zones. Typically, there are four primary components to consider for a baking zone.

  1. Large, smooth counter surfaces
    Having a spacious counter allows the baker to comfortably spread out and have areas for each phase of the process. Using a smooth, durable surface such as quartz or natural stone ensures easy clean up. (Gloria advises against tile, which has grout lines). Bakers generally prefer a lower than standard counter height for kneading or rolling dough. This 30-inch counter can be in a separate but nearby location within the kitchen or can be stair-stepped off the main, 36-inch countertop.
  2. Appliances
    Electric ovens are preferred by most bakers, so many will select an electric wall oven or opt for a duel-fuel range, with an electric oven and a gas cooktop, providing the best of both worlds in one appliance. Having a secondary combi-speed oven (a combination microwave and convection oven) or a combi-steam oven (a convection oven with steam) provides an overflow baking source, especially if the kitchen isn’t large enough for two full ovens or a double wall oven. These multi-function combi-ovens are available in a variety of brands including Miele and Bosch.
    “Specific features in an appliance can make all the difference to an individual baker’s needs,” says Gloria. “If you bake bread, a steam oven offers major perks, and if you bake pies or cookies, you’ll want to use convection, but generally speaking, an electric oven will provide more even heat for baking than a gas oven.”
  3. Efficient, Ample Storage
    Divided drawers for baking utensils such as measuring cups and spoons, larger cabinets for mixing bowls, hand mixers, and tall cabinets for storing baking trays, should all be considered. Often, carefully planned inserts in drawers and specialized pull-outs in their cabinets ensure the homeowner has a well-organized and accessible location for their utensils. Baking ingredients should also be stored in a single area for maximal convenience. Using a Lazy Susan with bins for flour, sugar, and all other baking accoutrements or a pantry cabinet near the baking center can be very convenient. Placement for frequently used baking items and ingredients should be in close proximity to the primary workspace.
  4. Appliance Garage
    These cabinets are designed specifically for hiding away countertop appliances such as stand mixers and food processors when not in use. They should be located near the primary baking workspace to allow for easy set up and clean up. Mixer lifts within cabinets can also be used but do require an 18-inch cabinet for storage. This option can be convenient when a baking zone is at an island where you don’t want to leave the stand mixer out and don’t want to lift or move it.

Harrell Remodeling’s slogan is, “We never forget it’s your home.” Part of living up to this statement is sitting down with clients to learn what they want and need, how they live, discover their passions and hobbies. This helps guide the design, be it a baking station or an entire home remodel.

Do you live to create cakes, cinnamon rolls, or cookies? Do you bake baguettes, revel in dinner rolls, or make a mean banana bread? We bet you would love to have a baking station designed for how you cook. Our award-winning design team can make that happen! Get in touch, set up a complimentary consultation, and let’s whip up something wonderful together!

Harrell Remodeling premier designer, Gloria Carlson, has two degrees from Stanford University. She began her career in Speech Technology, but left to raise two children. After remodeling her home in 2001, she realized that design was her passion. 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.

Cabinet Lighting Trends

Cabinets are a key feature for both function and aesthetics in every home, especially in the kitchen. There are numerous ways in which to illuminate cabinets to showcase special décor, provide focused task lighting, and even automatically light up blind or corner cabinets when opened.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

According to Harrell Remodeling designer Debra Winston, under-cabinet lighting is the most important source of illumination in the whole kitchen. It offers concentrated, no-glare task lighting that is ideal for chopping, fine mincing, measuring, or reading recipes from the cookbook. Under-cabinet lighting is cleverly hidden from sight by adding a 1 1/2-inch light-rail mounted on the bottom front edge of the cabinet.

Accent Lighting

Lighting in glass display cabinets highlights special dishware or objets d’art. A single puck light can be built into the inside top of the cabinet or LED light strips can be recessed down the interior sides of the cabinet. With the single light option, Debra recommends having glass shelves so light shines down throughout the cabinet and brightens the entire display. Inset LED strips provide an equal amount of light from top to the bottom allowing the use of wooden shelves, and illuminating the entire cabinet evenly.

Up-Lights

To create general ambient lighting with a subtle glow, up-lights can be installed on the tops of wall cabinets that do not go all the way up to the ceiling. They reflect off the ceiling and provide an attractive atmospheric effect. As with under-cabinet lighting, low profile up-lights can easily be hidden from view behind the cabinet crown molding. This can be a nice solution to an Eichler home where no attic means recessed cans cannot be installed.

Corner or “Blind” Cabinet Lighting

Corner or blind cabinets tend to be deep and homeowners often can’t easily see inside. Installing lights that turn on when the cabinet door is opened provides much-needed visibility, especially for blind base cabinets.

Night Lighting

A Universal design feature, installing dimmable strip lighting beneath the cabinet toe-kick functions as a night light, providing subtle illumination near the floors. This feature is especially useful in bathrooms as well as in kitchens.

“There are numerous ways to incorporate lighting in your cabinets, whether they are in the kitchen or are built-ins located in Great Rooms or Master Suites. Efficient, long-lasting LED lighting can even be connected to smart home systems, allowing the homeowner to control their entire house from one panel or remotely via a phone app,” shares Debra.

Could your home use a little illumination? Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive homes in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. We invite you to schedule a complementary consultation with one of our talented designers to discover the possibilities for your home.

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

Peninsula vs. Island: How to Know Which Works in Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. So much happens in this space: creating and eating meals, entertaining groups, chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee, doing homework or catching up on emails. Having an area that invites multiple uses is an attractive option and that’s where peninsulas and islands shine.

If you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen to meet your family’s lifestyle, there are a lot of exciting design decisions to be made to achieve a space that is both beautiful and functional. Certified Kitchen and Bath Specialist and Harrell Remodeling designer, Debra Winston, advises homeowners to carefully consider how they will use their kitchen.

One of the key decisions is whether your new kitchen layout will benefit best from an island or a peninsula. A peninsula extends out from an existing wall or counter while an island stands alone in the kitchen. Islands fit perfectly into an open floor plan, creating a break in a large space without providing a clear border. A peninsula, on the other hand, creates a definitive border between your living space and cooking area.

Islands

People are drawn to an island. It is a fantastic place to entertain and interact with guests, keeping them on the periphery if you’re cooking. But Debra explains that an island does have certain requirements to make it functional.

  • Enough space: Ensure there is at the bare minimum 3 feet—four or more is better—around all sides for proper traffic flow.
  • Just the right size: Too large of an island can make for an inefficient space. It is important not to have the island block the “work triangle,” the pathway between the sink, refrigerator, and cooktop. It can become an obstacle (or a race track) if you have to walk around the island every time you have to grab something from the refrigerator and rinse it at the sink. If you put a prep sink in a large island, this can be a way of creating a secondary work triangle, alleviating the race track feeling. An island that is too small lacks usable counter space for just about any purpose.
  • Additional seating: Many families sit at their island to eat meals, saving the dining area for more formal events. An island should be large enough to seat two to four people comfortably, with seats tucking away when not in use. If you are lucky enough to have the space, five or six seats could be possible with the right planning. Allow two feet per seat/person at the island.
  • Sink or cooktop: A secondary sink in the island can be useful for food prep or for a beverage center with filtered, chilled, and carbonated water. Other people prefer a cooktop in the island so they can see into other rooms while preparing meals. If choosing the cooktop, the island should be wide enough for safety. The other thing to consider with this option is the vent hood location. If located in the ceiling above the cooktop, it can obstruct your view.
  • Extra storage: Islands offer a significant amount of additional storage.
  • Appliances: People who entertain or have large families may benefit from a second dishwasher in the island, especially if they’ve opted for a prep sink. Wine/beverage refrigerators are the perfect place for grab and go drinks and to chill your wine to perfection. Microwaves installed in cabinets allow young children to easily heat food without getting underfoot.
  • Proper lighting: Pendant lighting lends itself well to islands, illuminating the space for baking, meal prep, or casual dining. Skylights also work well above islands and offer beautiful natural light.
  • Universal Design: Having two different counter levels, one at the standard 36 inches and another connected counter at 30 inches extends the island’s functionality to those who require the use of mobility devices. And, if you enjoy baking, having a lower countertop is ideal for kneading doughs as well as a secondary workspace.
  • Multi-Level: Some people like to have an area at bar height (42”) to create a visual barrier between the public view of a great room and the messier prep area on the island.

Peninsulas

Years ago, the peninsula held court in many kitchens. It worked well if your kitchen was long and narrow and that basic principle hasn’t changed. Though most homeowners lean toward a love of islands, a peninsula can often fit the same needs in kitchens that don’t offer enough room for their four-sided counterpart.

  • The work triangle: If an island will interrupt the functionality of the work triangle (location of sink, oven, and refrigerator), a peninsula may be the answer. Dividing this triangle should be avoided as it detracts from the livability and overall design of the kitchen while a peninsula opens up the inner area of the kitchen, creating a continuous workspace.
  • Seating: A peninsula offers extra seating for eating, entertaining, and checking those work emails. As with an island, the seats should tuck under the counter.
  • Extra storage: Peninsulas can incorporate extra storage, and if they are deep enough, you may be able to get cabinets on the kitchen side as well as on the side with the seats.
  • Multi-level counters: Peninsulas can also accommodate two-level counters but in a different format. “By having the seating counter at a height of 42 inches, it also serves to hide the “mess” in the kitchen,” says Debra of the benefit of peninsulas.
  • Electrical: By code, both peninsulas and islands must have electrical. This also makes them more functional for working, using countertop appliances, and charging devices.
  • Lighting: Proper illumination is always a must. Pendants are a great option and visually define the space.

“One thing to remember is that both islands and peninsulas require proper clearance for passage behind someone who may be opening a nearby appliance, such as a refrigerator, oven, or dishwasher,” cautions Debra. “This is one of the many things we as designers think through in advance as we are designing a kitchen remodel.”

Peninsulas and islands both have their benefits and add to the beauty and functionality of a home. For kitchens that aren’t spacious enough for an island, a peninsula can be a fantastic option that is both functional and adds a wonderful design aesthetic to your newly remodeled space.

Is it time for your kitchen to get a much-needed makeover? Book a complementary design consultation at either Harrell’s Los Gatos or Palo Alto showrooms. Designing and remodeling distinctive homes since 1985, Harrell Remodeling serves homeowners in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

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.