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.

Discover Your Design Preference: Create a Houzz Idea Board

One of the best ways to discover your personal design aesthetic is to explore images of living spaces. Most people know what they like when they see it, be it color, floor or counter materials, the layout or theme of a room, or a specific architectural design style, but many don’t know quite how to put these preferences into words. Pictures are an ideal way to share with your designer exactly what you like – and what you don’t.

“I love Houzz Idea Boards,” enthuses Harrell Designer, Divya Vijayanandakumar. “Pictures speak volumes. They expose clients to different ideas, which in turn helps them articulate their design aesthetic as well as narrow down and assist in translating preferred style, materials, fixtures, and color.”

If you’ve never been to Houzz.com, this website focuses on all things residential. From specific design styles, room design and remodels, lighting, fixtures, window coverings, materials, you name it and Houzz has it. Their Idea Boards provide a way for homeowners to explore, save, and share images and comments with their designers. This is a much more efficient and effective way to gather all your images in one place (versus sending images via email or text to your remodel team members) to provide visual context to your remodel preferences.

If you’ve never created a Houzz Idea Board, it’s simple.

  1. Go to Houzz.com, create an account, and sign in
  2. In the top right corner, click on Your House
  3. Choose Idea Books
  4. Click Create a Book – here you can name your book (Kitchen remodel for example) and add a description if desired
  5. Save your Book – be sure to leave the Make Idea Book private option off to enable sharing
  6. Once saved, you’ll see a pop-up window asking you to share your Book with others using their email addresses. This can be especially helpful for your designer, Design+Build firm, contractor, etc.

You can create as many or as few Idea Books as you’d like. If you are undergoing a whole home remodel, you may want to create separate books for your kitchen, Master Suite and Bath, Living and/or Family Rooms, and Outdoor areas. This allows you to place images into each that pertain to specific living spaces. In a Kitchen Idea Book, for example, you may include images on cabinet styles and colors, countertop materials, islands, fixtures, lighting, flooring and more.

How to Add Images to an Idea Book

Adding images to an Idea Book is simple. Log into your Houz account, open the applicable Book and choose Add Images. You can search the almost endless array of photos on Houzz by typing in search terms, or choosing a starting point recommended by Houzz. You can also upload images from your computer if you have photos from, say, a model home, magazines, or a friend’s residence that you’d like to include in your Book. To do so, click the small upload file icon in the left-hand corner below the green Invite button.

Houzz also provides helpful filters to narrow down the types of images. This is helpful if you know you like farmhouse style kitchens, for example. But for many, starting with a broader search may unearth styles, products, and ideas they wouldn’t have known to explore.

To save an image, click on the Save Photo icon on the image. Ensure it will be saved in the appropriate Idea Book. Be sure to add comments about what you like in that photo.

Says Divya, “It is especially helpful when clients specify what it is they like about each image. Most pictures have a lot of components so telling us you love the cabinet style but not the color allows us to better understand and narrow down your preferences and exactly what it is you like.”

Once you’ve created and shared an Idea Board, you can continue to update it, adding more images, even deleting ones you’ve previously saved, and your designer will instantly have access to whatever changes you’ve made.

A picture really is worth a thousand words. A huge part of the thrill of a remodel is unearthing your distinct design style. Houzz Idea Boards are an excellent way to explore and discover what moves you as well as to communicate and share these preferences with your design+build team.

Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive homes since 1985. A full-service, 100% employee-owned design and construction company, Harrell a single point of contact, a proven process, and award-winning design. We invite you to stop by our Design Center in Palo Alto or schedule an appointment to discuss your home improvement project with one of our amazing designers.

Having created over fifty compelling interiors in both India and the Bay Area, Divya Vijayanandakumar brings a wealth of design experience to Harrell Remodeling Inc. Born and raised in Chennai, India, the most significant cultural, economic and educational center of south India, Divya initially pursued Computer Science but after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, she did a career about-face, deciding to come to Silicon Valley in 2004 to attend West Valley College, where she achieved her AA degree in Interior Design.

After working in a residential firm as a Junior Designer and then moving to a commercial firm as a Senior Interior Designer contributing her talents to large-scale office buildings as well as healthcare and educational facilities, Divya moved back to India in 2011. She spent a few years working at a high-end residential design firm before launching her own residential and commercial design+build company, The Plan-D, whose award-winning designs were featured in none other than Vogue Magazine.

Once again, the Bay Area called and Divya answered, relocating once again to Silicon Valley and joining Harrell Remodeling Inc. in May 2019 as one of our Designers. Divya brings with her a keen eye for design aesthetics along with a deep-rooted understanding of field work, project management, and entrepreneurship.

A LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, Divya also has her Evidence Based Design certification and accreditation. She is driven by creating a sense of function and beauty by understanding the deepest wants and needs of her clients. She fully believes that that grade of work you offer the world reflects that strength of respect you have for yourself, and lives by this credo through her integrity, professionalism, patience, and empathy.

Designing A Roof With Curb Appeal

We’ve all driven by houses that have that certain something. These welcoming, attractive homes have that much sought-after moniker referred to as curb appeal. All of the exterior elements come into play – landscaping, color of the house, entry door, windows – to create a cohesive and inviting appearance. Yet there is one important element we don’t often consider when it comes to curb appeal: the roof.

Harrell Remodeling Designer, Rafael Gomez, studied architecture and worked in both commercial and residential firms before joining Harrell.

“I remember early on in my career, designing rooflines was my biggest fear. I couldn’t grasp how what was going on inside a home could be matched up in a proportionate, balanced way with the roof,” reflects Rafael. “The experience in figuring this out was valuable in teaching me how interior and exterior architectural elements worked together. Now, I really enjoy creating rooflines that add to the beauty of a client’s home.”

There are multiple components that make up a roofline:

  • Shape
  • Pitch
  • Mass/scale/proportions
  • Continuity
  • Flow

The goal is to find the right balance of each of these elements while also designing a roofline that is in line with the overall architecture style of a home. It is also important to consider the neighborhood in which you live so your home fits within the overall residential look and feel of the surrounding area.

“To maintain the architectural integrity and continuity of their neighborhoods, many cities have architectural guidelines that impact what homeowners can do to the exterior of homes,” explains Rafael. “It is always advised to gather all of this information in advance of starting a project.”

The proper use of materials and design elements also helps to create curb appeal. Dormers with windows, enclosed soffits, gutters and downspouts, vents, and rafter tails that have a distinct design are all ways to add visual appeal to a roofline.

There are also a myriad of roofing materials that can enhance the beauty and resale value of your residence. Certain materials look best with specific architectural styles so it is wise to take this into consideration as well as the pros and cons of each type of roofing.

Thanks to their affordability, approximately 70% of homes in the United States have composition/asphalt shingles. This roofing material comes in an incredible array of colors and profiles, and is a great option for many types of houses. Available in clay, concrete, slate, and fiber cement, tiles are another roofing material that can offer a dramatic profile for the right style of home. Wood shakes, once very popular, offer an attractive, upscale appearance but tend to be considerably more expensive than their composite counterparts. Metal is a great option to achieve a farmhouse look, or for use on a feature area, such as an accent on an entry, dormers, or bay window. Solar tiles are an up and coming roofing product, eventually replacing the large and unsightly solar panels that can often detract from an otherwise attractive roofline.

Designing a roofline that accentuates your home, especially if you are undergoing a significant addition or remodel, can positively impact your curb appeal. It’s critical to ensure your roofline has a balanced appearance, it structurally sound, and properly ventilated. Working with a designer to assist in selecting the finishes, materials, and other elements guarantees a consistent architectural aesthetic and a home that has one heck of a WOW factor!

Let Harrell Remodeling help you achieve a roof with incredible curb appeal! Schedule a complimentary session with one of our talented designers at either our Los Gatos or Palo Alto showrooms.

One of Harrell Remodeling’s premier designers, Rafael Gomez has a background in Architecture and his extensive design experience brings a bold and forward-thinking edge to the Harrell Remodeling design/build team. After graduating from Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Rafael became a licensed Architect in Mexico. In 1995 Rafael began his professional career in San Francisco working in both commercial and residential architecture firms. Having worked in the field of design and construction, Rafael possesses a comprehensive design philosophy, which begins with the assumption that design is an intelligent process through which people arrange their environment. Establishing a relationship with his clients based on mutual trust and respect, Rafael carefully listens to client needs to create a custom design that fits their unique lifestyle. Designs that allow for function, durability and longevity are Rafael’s trademark. Thanks to his extensive project feasibility research and collaboration with our production department and engineers guarantee, these designs come to life. Rafael joined the Harrell Remodeling team after 12 years of design/build experience. His vision and attention to detail have won him many awards from NKBA kitchen renovations to whole house remodels as well as new homes.

The Bay Area News Group Names Harrell Remodeling a Winner of the Bay Area Top Workplaces 2019 Award

PALO ALTO, CA Harrell Remodeling has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Bay Area News Group. The list is based solely on Employee-owner feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

“Harrell Remodeling is thrilled to be named #13 in the Bay Area News Group Top Workplaces!” says Lisa Sten, General Manager. “Harrell Remodeling is “home” to 40 employee-owners, due in part to our team’s alignment in providing exceptional client service throughout the arc of the home remodeling Design+Build experience, and because we focus culturally on shared values and behaviors. Clients and employee-owners are drawn to Harrell Remodeling as we have high levels of engagement in The Harrell Process and with each other in creating an unparalleled home remodeling experience.”

“At Harrell we expect results, yet not at a cost to our functional teams, collaboration and culture.” Sten said.”We encourage innovation, creativity, and agility, and ‘fun at work’ is one of our 10 core values!”

“Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” Claffey said. “It’s an achievement organizations have worked for and a distinction that gives them a competitive advantage. It’s a big deal.”

“We are proud of our 100% Employee Owned company and our ownership culture. Employees, clients, vendors and trade partners often tell us that we are an unusually team-oriented and fun Design+Build remodeling firm, but being included on the Bay Area Top Workplaces list is a wonderful confirmation of that fact,” states Ciro Giammona, CEO.

About Harrell Remodeling: Designing beautiful and highly functional homes that reflect the style of the people who live in them is the work that has inspired Harrell Remodeling and their team of employee owners for over thirty-three years.

In 1985, Harrell Remodeling was founded by Iris Harrell and began with a single employee. Today, we employ thirty-seven employee owners, including designers and accomplished craftspeople. We are an award wining, full-service design + build firm specializing in high-end residential interiors and exteriors throughout Silicon Valley, from Los Gatos to Hillsborough. Harrell Remodeling’s projects range from stunning whole house, kitchen and bathroom remodels, universal design, home theaters and wine cellars, outdoor living and kitchens, to smaller projects focusing on a few impactful elements of design change.

Harrell Remodeling is a company that is known for our client focused design with both individuals and families who are interested in a quality renovation managed by a collaborative and receptive team of professionals.

With designers holding numerous certifications from the National Kitchen and Bathrooms Association (NKBA) and/or members of the prestigious American Society for Interior Design (ASID), Harrell Remodeling has showcased prominent, high-end interior and exterior design projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

We have received over fifty design awards through the National Association of Remodeling Industry’s META design contest, in a number of categories, including residential kitchen, bath, universal design, whole house remodel, and exterior landscaping. We have also won multiple Contractor of the Year, National Kitchen and Bath Association awards, and Chrysalis design awards.  We’re blushing a bit here, but are also proud of our press attention, frequently appearing in publications such as the California Home and Design, GENTRY, Silicon Valley Business Journal, Palo Alto Weekly, San Jose Mercury News and Qualified Remodeler.

Permits: Why Do You Need Them and For What Projects

Permits are part of just about every remodel project. A permit is required to ensure that a home is properly constructed, that it meets all building code requirements ensuring it is safe for its inhabitants.

The cost of a permit varies by the scope of the project, the number of inspections required, the city in which the project takes place, and the square footage involved. The time involved to obtain a permit also depends on the size of the project. A smaller project can often be reviewed “over the counter” while remodels or additions that are larger in scope need to go through a longer, more detailed review period.

Pulling a permit is beneficial to the homeowner in a number of ways. You can only get a permit once your plans have been reviewed and approved. This ensures key structural, electrical, plumbing, and other code requirements are addressed on the drawings for implementation by the builder and tradespeople. After work has begun, inspections are scheduled and the work must pass in order for the project to continue. This also protects the homeowner against a contractor who might be cutting corners on materials, workmanship, or trying to avoid following required code guidelines.

“Even the seemingly smallest of home improvement projects can involve multiple trades,” explains Harrell Remodeling designer, Rafael Gomez. “For instance, a bathroom remodel can involve tile work, electrical plumbing, structural, and drywall just to name a few. A permit and follow up inspections ensures each of these are done properly.”

There are some home improvement or remodel projects that do not require a permit including:

  • Roof repairs less than 100 square feet
  • Exterior or interior painting
  • Like for like window replacement (no structural work required)
  • Exterior siding or stucco replacement as long as there is no structural work
  • Fences 6 feet tall or less
  • Landscaping walls 4 feet or less in height
  • Installing flooring (no structural work required)
  • Constructing a detached shed 120 square feet or less with no electrical or plumbing

Since each city has it’s own permitting guidelines, is always best to check with your local Building Department to establish the exact requirements before beginning work.

There are also repair permits, which enables homeowners to replace a damaged area for a considerably smaller fee. These permits have less code update requirements since this is an involuntary project and the owner is typically fixing an issue rather than undertaking an update for aesthetic reasons.

Just about any remodel or addition entails obtaining a permit. A kitchen or bathroom remodel, two of the most popular among homeowners, typically require detailed drawings and permits.

“Any time you open the walls in a home, this is an opportunity to bring a house up to code,” states Rafael. “In bath and kitchen remodels, the requirements for both electrical and plumbing have changed dramatically and during construction is an ideal time to rewire, add in GFCI outlets in the appropriate locations as well as to replace and update plumbing and fixtures. Technically, any time you remodel a bathroom or replace plumbing fixtures, the code requires that all other fixtures in the home must also be upgraded to be CalGreen compliant.”

After meeting with clients and understanding what they want to achieve, Harrell Remodeling undertakes a comprehensive feasibility study. Rafael is Harrell’s point person on these detailed analyses, working closely with all public permitting agencies and utility departments in addition to zoning and green building compliance. The end result is an in-depth understanding of exactly what must be implemented for each unique project. To better equip himself with the ever-changing and extremely detailed world of permitting and building codes, Rafael obtained certification in Building Code Technology.

According to Rafael, “As your Design+Build firm, it is the goal of the entire Harrell Team to be armed with as much information as possible as early on as possible so we can provide a project timeline, address known issues early on, and ultimately create a beautiful new space for our clients.”

Designing and remodeling distinctive homes for over thirty years, Harrell Remodeling creates custom designs that fit our clients’ unique lifestyles. If you are considering a remodel, we invite you to attend one of our Remodeling Workshop Series or schedule a complementary meeting with one of our talented designers.

One of Harrell Remodeling’s premier designers, Rafael Gomez has a background in Architecture and his extensive design experience brings a bold and forward-thinking edge to the Harrell Remodeling design/build team. After graduating from Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Rafael became a licensed Architect in Mexico. In 1995 Rafael began his professional career in San Francisco working in both commercial and residential architecture firms. Having worked in the field of design and construction, Rafael possesses a comprehensive design philosophy, which begins with the assumption that design is an intelligent process through which people arrange their environment. Establishing a relationship with his clients based on mutual trust and respect, Rafael carefully listens to client needs to create a custom design that fits their unique lifestyle. Designs that allow for function, durability and longevity are Rafael’s trademark. Thanks to his extensive project feasibility research and collaboration with our production department and engineers guarantee, these designs come to life. Rafael joined the Harrell Remodeling team after 12 years of design/build experience. His vision and attention to detail have won him many awards from NKBA kitchen renovations to whole house remodels as well as new homes.

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.

Garage Doors: The Gateway to Curb Appeal

One of the most frequently used home additions is the garage. It rolls convenience, safety, security, and storage all into one. As a key component to your next custom remodeling project, a new garage or simply a new garage door can dramatically alter your Bay Area home’s appearance. And newer garage doors may provide improved function. If thinking about enhancing the curb appeal of your home, you may consider these options available for today’s garage doors.

Wood

Wood is a traditional garage door material that provides a more natural appearance. It blends in particularly well with brick, stone, and wood homes. Depending on the design, it can be elegant or rustic. Wood is a popular choice for carriage house designs and often comes with windows in the upper portion of the doors.

Metal

Metal garage doors for Bay Area homes are traditionally made of steel and aluminum. Traditional steel doors offer higher durability and an added sense of security. A more modern steel door, often called a sandwich construction, is now available with varying degrees of insulation to help ward off energy loss. Aluminum provides a sleeker look and is a much lighter weight material, although still durable. Both materials can be painted as needed to coordinate with the rest of your home’s exterior.

Fiberglass

If you like the look of wood but prefer a less weather sensitive material that is easier to maintain, fiberglass may be the answer for you. Fiberglass doors are made in a broad variety of styles, including faux wood finishes available in different colors and grains.

Glass Panels

Many attached garages are incorporated into the front of the house, while other homes have detached garages that sometimes function as temporary workshops for hobbyists. The need for glass panels on a garage door can be dictated by the desire to have the door coordinate with the appearance of the home or to increase the natural light within the space.
Garage doors with large glass panels are also available and marry well with homes that have a high incidence of glazing. Adding glass panels to a garage door can balances the exterior appearance and provide a source of natural light to the interior.

Classic Versus Carriage

Classic garage doors are typically laid out in blocks and rows of rectangles. As the door rises, they roll up and disappear into the garage ceiling. Carriage house doors hearken back to the horse-drawn carriage era, and typically open outward from the center. Choose your carriage house hardware and windows carefully to create a plain or more ornate look. Add lift handles and knockers for an even greater authentic appearance.

If you’re not sure which look will best enhance your curb appeal, talk it over with our design and build team from Harrell Remodeling.

How Harrell Protects Your Home

At Harrell Remodeling, our slogan is one we take to heart: We never forget it’s your home.

Harrell Site Manager, Mario Rivera, takes these six words very seriously each time he begins a new project.

“The very first thing we do is to make sure that our client’s home is properly protected. I try to talk in detail with every homeowner, letting them know exactly how we will protect their property. In the back of my mind, I always consider “What if” scenarios. By installing protective materials, my team works to minimize these possibilities.”

Installing and instituting protective measures is mutually beneficial. It safeguards the health and safety of both the homeowners and Harrell workers as well as defends against potential damage during a remodel. The on-site Harrell Team focuses on a number of areas within a home, each of which are dependent upon the project’s duration, scope, and exact location on the job site.

CARPETS & RUGS
For short duration projects, typically those under a month, carpet tape is used to shield most carpeting and large area rugs. This plastic material has an adhesive-type backing, which allows it to adhere to the flooring, providing a barrier against dirt and damage and a non-slip upper surface. (This tape shouldn’t be used on wool carpets, as it will pull out the strands.)

When a home remodeling project exceeds a month, more substantial measures are employed. This includes placing a paper (not plastic) under-layer barrier on top of the carpet to protect from moisture and possible mold build-up. This is followed by thick cardboard and thin wood or Masonite on top. This method offers multiple levels of protection that will withstand the daily rigors of a home remodel, including ladders scaffolding, and rough materials.

For carpeted stairs, a sturdy plastic non-slip membrane is applied. If the use of carpet tape is not possible, we will apply a product called Eco-Runner. This material is taped securely to the railing and baseboard. The angular nature of stairs requires the Eco-Runner material to be inspected frequently to ensure it remains intact, secured, and at peak protective performance. Railings and balusters also are swathed in a protective plastic under layer and adhered with a foam-padded tape. If necessary, thick rolls of cardboard can be shaped to protect the balusters to guard against heavier traffic.

HARDWOOD, TILE, LINOLEUM
Eco-Runner is a fantastic material for each of these types of flooring for short-term projects. For remodels over 30 days, durable plywood and cardboard are layered on top of the plastic runner to ward off scratches, dings, or other damage to the flooring beneath.

“Most flooring is very unique and if harmed, is often challenging to repair. Applying a variety of materials to guard against damage is well worth it,” explains Mario.

WALLS
Though drywall is easier to repair than hardwood or tile should it get damaged, that doesn’t deter Harrell Remodeling from employing cautionary measures. Often used as a primary interior artery for workers and materials, hallways are wrapped floor to ceiling in heavy-duty plastic using a zip wall dust barrier system, which minimizes denting as well as keeps dust from spreading. Zippered doorways allow access into closets, bed and bathrooms. To further inhibit damage to walls, 4 foot by 8 foot spans of thick cardboard called thermo-ply are leaned against high traffic areas, especially at corners.

DOOR JAMS
Protecting door jams, especially in high traffic areas, is a necessity and there are materials made exclusively for this purpose. The Harrell Team uses a plastic and cardboard C-shaped material that fits perfectly over the trim, offering instant defense against dings.

DUCTING & LIGHTING
Cold air exchanges can’t be covered, as they are necessary for your furnace to run properly so at the end of each project, air filters are replaced. Floor and wall heating grills in active work areas are covered to keep dust at bay.

For lighting that isn’t a heat source, such as LEDs, plastic can be applied. Since dust can impede the functionality of smoke detectors, they are either covered or replaced once the project is completed.

FURNISHINGS
Says Mario, “Though we always recommend moving as much furniture as possible out of the active work area, sometimes that isn’t realistic. When this happens, we cover each piece with a thin painter’s plastic and, if necessary, also use the zipper poles and heavy duty plastic walls to allow accessibility and added perimeter protection.”

Mario also lets homeowners know they should remove artwork, bookshelves, or other items on any walls that may be impacted by vibrations caused by work in progress on either side.

LANDSCAPING & EXTERIOR
When working on the exterior of a home, Harrell Remodeling subscribes to the same mantra of treating each of our client’s home with courtesy and respect. Though landscaping is more challenging to protect completely, the goal is to minimize the impact to lawns, bushes, and trees. Trees are surrounded with a barrier of 2X4s, temporary fencing, and caution tape while bushes will be pulled away from exterior walls during work. Lawns can be protected with plywood, which is often raised up on bricks or concrete pavers to allow airflow.

DRIVEWAYS
Since every driveway is unique, the onsite Harrell Team takes into account every aspect of the project that could result in damage over the duration of the job. Driveways can be fashioned from numerous materials including pavers, asphalt, stamped or brushed concrete. If the drive will be a high-traffic thoroughfare, including moving heavy or sharp materials to the actual project location, or if there is a possibility of spills, the location will be protected with a heavy-duty plastic topped by a layer of plywood or OSB sheets, secured together with metal clips.

If the drive will only be used as a walkway, a patterned orange liner is applied is the path of travel. The pattern designates the area of defined usage, ensuring cleanliness while avoiding damage.

Since most residential driveways are not able to withstand the weight of large vehicles or material loads, the on-site team will have any heavy materials delivered to the jobsite dropped off curbside. This avoids potentially cracking the driveway concrete slab, which can result in an expensive repair.

THE AIR
Undergoing a home remodel is dirty and dusty, adding extra particulate matter into the air. Though we do our best to cut wood, tile, and other materials outside, this isn’t always possible. To mitigate this, all tools are connected to a vacuum, which automatically switches on and off with the tool to collect dust. Hoods are used on saws to keep sawdust contained, and we always use HEPA filters to clean the air. Air scrubbers absorb and minimizing the spread of fine dust and particles, protecting both the homeowners and workers.

DAILY CLEAN UP
At the end of each workday, Mario shares that each onsite team sweeps, vacuums, and removes debris. Openings in walls and floors are covered, tools and materials are set aside and covered with plastic, leaving the work area as tidy and safe as possible.

“Protection is very important to me. I do it out of appreciation, safety, and respect of the homeowners as well as for the safety and health of my team and myself,” Mario says.

Mario Rivera began working in the construction trade in 2002, beginning with basic framing. Fascinated by tools and building from a very young age, Mario was hired in 2014 as a carpenter for Harrell Remodeling, working his way to site manager thanks to his diligence, passion, and attention to detail. He firmly believes that the manner in which Harrell Remodeling treats their clients’ homes is just one way in which the company rises above the rest.

“When you’re choosing a contractor, it is really important to find out how they will safeguard your home and your safety,” Mario states.

Are you dreaming of a remodel? Schedule a consultation with one of our amazing Designers to discover how Harrell Remodeling can transform your home.