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.

How to Incorporate Color in Your Home

Color infuses a space with character. There are numerous ways in which homeowners can introduce color throughout their residences. For some, there is no such thing as too much color while others shy away from adventurous hues.

“Whether you are bold or color-timid, you can incorporate color to fit your personality, adding warmth and distinctiveness to your home,” explains Harrell Designer, Debra Winston.

Accent walls, backsplashes, wallpaper, and cabinetry are great ways to make a bold color statement. But for those who would prefer not to see bold color everywhere all of the time, Debra suggests a “stealth surprise.”

“I have a client in San Jose who loves color and isn’t afraid to use it,” says Debra. “One of the ways they integrated adventurous shades was to add a fun wallpaper on an accent wall or use a pop of color on the inside of their closets. In the same way that a bright lining on a classic jacket provides a flash of color and personality, it makes them smile every time they select their outfit for the day. This ‘stealth surprise’ is a fantastic way for people who are concerned about having too much color overwhelm the space to dip their toes in the water.”

Whatever hue you choose for your covert closet color, pull pops of that same tone in adjacent rooms using colorful pillows, rugs, artwork, and other accent pieces.

For many, their home tends to focus on neutral tones. Debra has noticed that most people strive for warmth and stability in the overall color they choose. Décor and accent pieces offer incredible opportunities to infuse color as do kitchen appliances. Accessories in a kitchen such as a colorful tea kettle, trivet, painting or wall hanging add punch without permanency. Bedding, pillows, and towels can easily (and fairly inexpensively) be changed in baths and bedrooms. The same concept can be applied throughout the house, creating an entirely different mood based on the season or as a way to experiment with current design trends.

Painting the exterior of your entry door is another way to invite that pop of personality. Just as with the interior, the majority of homeowners also opt for a neutral tone for the exterior of their home. Choosing a complimentary yet bold shade for your entry door creates visual interest as well as curb appeal without making a major color commitment. A red door is a classic and historic symbol of welcome, or go with a vibrant tangerine to catch the eye (and make it easy for people to find your home)!

A popular home design trend is painting all interior doors a rich charcoal gray. When coupled with crisp white trim and a soft gray wall color, this palette is elegant and sophisticated, working well with a variety of design and decor aesthetics. Use a satin or semi-gloss finish paint to keep fingerprints at bay.

Color should welcome you, making you feel at home. Bold or subdued, deliberate or stealthy, however you choose to use color is an expression of you. It can be playful or classic, cosmopolitan or traditional. A lot or a little, color adds distinctiveness, warmth, and richness to every room, every space, and every home.

Debra Winston has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build since 2014 and has received numerous awards for her designs. Her fine arts background and her 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City give Debra a unique design sense that benefits Harrell Remodeling clients. Debra specializes in Kitchen and Bath redesign and is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), as well as whole-house remodels and room additions. Debra takes great pleasure in guiding her clients’ through the design + build process. She listens closely to what they want, and what will actually work for them. Her goal is to provide the best solution for every client’s distinct needs and lifestyles.

Looking for inspiration? Contact the design + build team at Harrell Remodeling and discover how we can transform your Silicon Valley house into an amazing home.

Unique Outdoor Rooms Offering Sun, Shade & Shelter

Outdoor living areas are one of the most sought after home improvement spaces for leisure and entertainment. One of the most challenging aspects of making these outdoor rooms both functional and enjoyable is finding that sweet spot between sun and shade while mitigating the impact of rain and other elements. Though traditional architecture offers some solutions, it also has its limitations.

Enter the revolutionary louvered outdoor structure from Struxure Outdoor (formerly Arcadia Building Products). The zero to 170-degree louvered roofing zones can be opened to a multitude of angles, providing the ideal amount of shade or sun as desired. They can also be closed completely, keeping out the rain or offering a fully shaded environment during the heat of the day.

In keeping with Smart Home technology, the iLouver app allows homeowners to schedule pre-set daily open and close times as well as choose from preset louver positions. An optional rain sensor shuts the interlocking louvers automatically at the first drop of rain, funneling to the built-in gutter system that can either be directed to an existing downspout or to a downspout hidden within its posts. Electrical wiring for lighting, heaters, and ceilings fans can also be tucked away inside beams for a streamlined appearance.

“These structures originally found their foothold in the commercial realm but are now taking off residentially,” explains Harrell’s Outdoor Designer, Lisa Parramore. “The maintenance is practically nonexistent and the cost is less than building out a roof, which prevents natural light from entering into your home.”

The epitome of distinct outdoor luxury, these scalable structures can be designed for spaces large and small, including patios, courtyards, decks, swimming pools, entryways, verandas, as well as outdoor kitchens and living rooms. Manufactured in the Unites States from durable powder coated aluminum, these innovative pergola-type structures are engineered and built to the exact specifications required in your unique outdoor space. Able to withstand severe wind and weather, homeowners don’t have to forego appearance for steadfastness and durability. Each design also undergoes a comprehensive structural engineering process, adhering to all local building requirements.

Struxure’s state-of-the-art outdoor configurations fit any architectural aesthetic, from traditional to contemporary. Clients can choose from five standard color options and a myriad of custom colors as well as optional architectural elements including traditional rafter tail and cornice designs. These high-end outdoor systems also allow your local remodeling company to customize the pergola on-site to further enhance the appearance matching it with the exterior of your residence.

“The louvered outdoor structure is a breakthrough in outdoor living with so many residential applications,” says Lisa. “It is by far one of my favorites for creating functional and beautiful outdoor spaces.”

Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning certified Professional Landscape Designer, Lisa Parramore is passionate about creating indoor-outdoor living spaces that inspire her clients to embrace and celebrate the California lifestyle. After living and working for two years in Japan, her projects embrace the extraordinary relationship between traditional Japanese architecture and its surroundings. Lisa co-authored the winner of the 2006 Best Gardening Book Award, Living with Japanese Gardens, and Japan Home with Chadine Flood Gong, ASID. 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.

Fall in love with your backyard again! Start a conversation with one of our designers today about creating an outdoor space that fits your lifestyle.

Images courtesy of Struxure Outdoor.

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.

Innovative Wallpaper Trends

Once upon a time, wallpaper was an extremely popular home decorating trend but one that after its heyday fell out of favor for decades. Over the past five years, thanks in good part to the popularity of HGTV, wallpaper is making a slow and steady comeback as a home décor option.

Says Harrell Remodeling designer, Debra Winston, “Wallpaper is on the leading edge of home design trends. It is very forward thinking and currently is embraced most often by early adopters who aren’t afraid of color, patterns, and making a bold design statement.”

Debra recently worked with a repeat Harrell Remodeling client who found some unusual wallpapers she wanted to incorporate into her San Jose ranch home. These fun small-run “stealth prints” by Spoonflower included an English floral pattern that upon closer inspection includes dragons interwoven amongst the vines, and another white floral skull print on a deep teal background.

“This client isn’t afraid of color or taking a design risks,” explains Debra. “Though these adventurous patterns aren’t for everyone, wallpaper can have a place in most anyone’s home décor.“

Having worked as a scarf designer for Ralph Lauren before her career shift to designing home interiors, Debra innately understands color and pattern in printed designs. With her finger on the pulse of up-and-coming trends, she is seeing a multitude of wallpaper motifs making waves in the home décor space.


Under the Sea


Underwater themed wallcoverings featuring colorful fish, octopus, and other sea creatures are fun, lively designs that make a vibrant, visually entertaining design declaration. A small amount goes a long way with these animated patterns.


Flora and Fauna


From monochromatic to wildly colorful, these wallpapers include both plants and animals. Inspired by classic motifs, ferns, leaves, and flowers coupled with monkeys, birds, barn owls and butterflies offer a fun and adventurous way to add some whimsy to any room.

“These daring designs pack a punch,” states Debra. “Using this design on an accent wall is ideal to make a visual impact without overdoing a good thing.”


Florals


Always popular, today’s floral patterns are tonal, subtle and soft. Romantic and elegant, these Asian-inspired abstract watercolor and ink wash floral designs are silver, whites, and grays, creating a reflective, textural quality that adds depth and interest. Also making a resurgence are organic, nature-themed floor-to-ceiling murals, such as bare tree branches in silvery whites and grays.


Animal prints


Modern, refined, and opulent, animal prints invite a unique, textural quality to any interior space. Inspired by the diversity of the animal kingdom, these designs include alligator, zebra, cheetah, leopard, and snake prints updated in both muted and bold hues. The cheetah print in navy and white, zebra in a pale, silvery gray, and alligator in navy, silver, or a rich burgundy conjure a contemporary twist.


Geometrics


Timelessly classic, geometric patterns invite a sense of visual order. Many of these wallpaper designs blend a matte shade with a metallic such as navy and gold, or charcoal with copper or rose gold. Many current geometric designs include a French influence by incorporating medallions, traditional brocades, and romantic, curvy designs. Be they linear, angular, curvy, or organic, geometric wall coverings are always sophisticated.


Natural materials

Harkening back to the 1970s are today’s wallpapers that are realistic in appearance. Stacked stone, shiplap, brick, grass cloth, linen, or barnwood, these designs give the illusion of natural materials. Offering visual texture, they often include hints of metallic for depth, deceiving the eye and invoking warmth. It is a way to bring the natural world into our high-tech environments.

“Whether you love daring design or prefer something more subtle, there is a wallpaper that will work for you,” explains Debra.

Debra has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build since 2014 and has received numerous awards for her designs. Her fine arts background and her 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City give Debra a unique design sense that benefits Harrell Remodeling clients. Debra specializes in Kitchen and Bath redesign, and is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP). She also works on whole-house remodels and room additions.

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

Fireplace Shapes, Styles & Trends

Gone are the days of the standard built-in masonry wood-burning fireplaces. Today’s fireplaces offer a tantalizing trifecta of ambiance, customization, and technology. Sleek lines and multi-media options abound, all of which offer homeowners endless ways to add the inviting warmth of a fire into their homes.

Fireplace Favorites

The linear fireplace is by far a homeowner favorite and a hot trend right now. Built into the wall, they don’t take up any square footage and they can easily be incorporated into rooms of any size. Linear units can be as small as 36 inches in length to an impressive 10 feet long (varying by manufacturer) with ribbon of flame spanning the entire width. Linear fireplaces come in a myriad of styles including tunnel, stand alone, corner and front facing units as well as space creators, used to separate living spaces while retaining an open feel. These horizontal pieces can be complemented with surround finishes including bronze, black, graphite, stainless steel, and even hammered copper.

Gas inserts are another popular option to convert and modernize existing brick or stone fireplaces without undergoing significant renovation. Though the general size and shape of inserts are fairly standard, there are a multitude of styles from classic to contemporary. A fireplace insert can transform your energy-inefficient, expensive, and high-maintenance wood-burning unit into a beautiful, energy-efficient fireplace that creates instant ambiance and warmth. Something to take note of for inserts is that they have a thicker frame around the outside of the units.

LED Lighting

Fire and technology seem like two unlikely bedfellows but today’s models are packed with techy touches. One of the most sought-after is LED lighting, which can be changed to fit décor or to achieve a particular ambiance. With the touch of a button, homeowners can choose from a rainbow of hues.

“Manufacturers have really upped their game in the choices of media,” states Harrell senior designer Sara Jorgensen. “One of our clients chose a unit with LED lighting so they could alter the color to fit their mood. They use the red tone for Valentine’s Day and Christmas and teal to show their support of their favorite hockey team, the San Jose Sharks.”

Reflective Glass

Once upon a time, brick was the material of choice for fireplaces, especially the back panels. Choices were limited to a simple straight brick pattern or a herringbone design. In addition to the traditional designs, modern fireplaces now offer a black reflective glass that enhances the beauty and luminescence of the flames. The clean, sleek lines of these reflective panels provide a contemporary look that can be a pleasing aesthetic addition.

“I highly recommend going to see the reflective panels in person,” says Sara. “They just sparkle.”

Customized log sets

Another medium that allows fireplace personalization is by choosing a customized log set. R.H. Peterson Company’s Realfyre offers an extensive line of incredibly realistic ceramic log inserts. The hand painted log sets are available in a wide variety of wood types such as woodland oak, western campfire logs, and charred, rugged split oak to name a very few.

For those desiring a more modern look, Realfyre also offers a glass pan burner system that are ideal for island, see-thru, and peninsula fireplaces. Instead of a log set, flames erupt from glass gems or nuggets that cover the base of the firepan. Different shapes, colors, and reflectivity of the glass can be chosen to fit the décor of a space.

Heat N Glo is another highly reputable fireplace manufacturer and they also offer a selection of realistic log sets as well as a modern ceramic fiber stone base for some of their models.

Zero Combustible Zone

Another technological advancement is the creation of a zero combustible zone. This transfers heat through other venting areas and away from sensitive electronics. Ortal fireplaces offer cool wall technology, allowing wall-mounted televisions to be placed within inches of the fireplace at optimal viewing level. With televisions being a primary entertainment source for most and the ever-increasing popularity of placing TVs above fireplaces, this eliminates the need to mount your TV at uncomfortable neck-craning levels.

No matter the type of fireplace you choose, it is required by code to have a screen for safety reasons. Depending upon the manufacturer, some screens are visible while others are more of a mesh that is designed to protect but not be seen.

Sara offers this advice to homeowners choosing a fireplace, “I always advise my clients to go see the fireplace in person so they get a real-life view of what it looks like and how visible or “invisible’ the safety screen is. Seeing it online just isn’t the same so it’s worth a trip to a place like California Window and Fireplace in Campbell before we place your order.”

With all of the media, finishes, shapes and sizes, there is a fireplace that fits your personality, décor, and lifestyle. The options are endless so let your imagination run hot!

Sara Jorgensen is a California state Certified Interior Designer (CID) and a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) with a BA in Fine Arts in Interior Design. A Harrell designer since 2005, she has the unique ability to discover and artfully execute her clients’ design desires along with their functional needs.

Since 1985, Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive home all around the Bay Area. A design-build firm with locations in Palo Alto and Los Gatos, we invite you to contact us to find out more about how we work, talk to members of our team, and discover how we can make your remodeling dreams a reality!

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.