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May 31, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan

Kitchens 101 - Kitchen Style (Part Two)

This is Part Two of our Kitchens 101 series with a focus on the style of your kitchen. Thanks again to our Design Leads, Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan for some great information to help you determine the style and finishes of your kitchen.

Choosing the finished look of the kitchen is a very important aspect for most home owners. Kitchens are often the hub of the home and as such, it not only needs to be a functional space, it should look fabulous too. There are so many choices in terms of finishes, it can be hard to narrow down your choices: cabinets, counter-tops and fixtures, there are so many choices!

Like we mentioned in Part One of this series, it's important for you to think about how you will use this space and what fits your style and needs today and long-term.  Here are a few suggestions from Leslie and Vanessa to aid you in your decision making process.

Cabinets: White, Wood or Painted?

- White is classic, fresh and clean, and is what we are seeing everywhere around us in the design world. However, we are also seeing more mid-toned wood finishes, as well as painted cabinets (light grey or blue are popular) or a combination of the above. A white kitchen with some wood floating shelves, or dark lower cabinets with light upper cabinets or adding a wood island with white cabinetry. The options are truly endless!

- The most popular cabinet door styles we are seeing is a shaker style or a flat panel door. These are classic and will stand the test of time!

Designer tip: With a shaker style cabinet door, choosing a small interior bevel helps reduce dust buildup and makes it easier to keep them clean while still maintaining the door style you're looking for.

Countertops:

- Quartz is certainly the new standard for most new higher-end kitchens. The modern look and the non-porous surface makes them both popular and low maintenance. They are a great option that will stand the test of time when it comes to style and durability. For a modern look, consider a waterfall finish on your island!

- Butcher block counters are another option that we continue to see. Often it's used on a smaller counter space, like an island. They can add a nice, warm and natural look to your space. Keep in mind that there is maintanence that needs to be done to keep these looking their best: How to care for a butcher block countertop.
- Granite was the standard for a number of years, but the colors and patterns are a bit more limiting. Because it's a natural material, it does have more variations and inconsistencies. It will require some resealing and maintenance. Here's a handy article on how to choose a timeless granite: The Most Timeless Granite

Designer Tip: One thing to keep in mind as you design your kitchen, is the maximum lengths available for your countertop surface. If you want to avoid seams in your island for instance, the size of your island may be determined by the size of slabs available.

Backsplash

The backsplash is an area where you can bring some personality into the kitchen by adding a splash of color, texture or pattern. However, if you're looking for something that is versatile and time-proven, we will almost always recommend white subway tile. Even within the subway tile category there are quite a few options such as matte, glossy or textured. 

- One trend that our homeowners are requesting more often, is an integrated quartz backsplash (see image below). While they are not inexpensive, it does create a clean and streamlined look that is easy to maintain, and it looks amazing!

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Fixture Finishes:

- For many years a chrome or brushed finish was the standard for kitchen fixtures and cabinetry handles. While they are probably still the most timeless choice, there are many great options in brass or matte black finishes as well to give a more modern and trendy look to your kitchen. Traditionally, it was recommended to match your faucets to your cabinet handles and pulls to keep your space consistent. Today, mixing and matching style and color is definitely considered acceptable.

This hardware finish guide gives some great detailed information on many of the options available: Hardware finishes

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Designer Tip: Cabinetry handles aren't as difficult to change as some other aspects of your kitchen, so it is a place you might choose to go a little more trendy in either finish or style, knowing that down the road that you might want to update.

We hope this information was helpful and gives you some direction if you're starting the design process for your kitchen! Stay tuned for Part Three of this series about kitchen appliances coming next week.

 

May 17, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan

Kitchens 101 - Planning Your Space (Part One)

Planning on renovating your kitchen, or building a new one and don't know where to start? We've gleaned some great information from our Design Leads, Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan on everything from kitchen layout to appliance suggestions, fixtures, trends and more! We have divided this post into three parts (Planning Your Space, Kitchen Style and Kitchen Appliances). Read on for some great information on planning and designing your kitchen to make it a functional space that fits your needs!

At Kenorah, as we work with our clients to plan their new kitchen space, whether it's a renovation or a brand new kitchen, we start with the question of: "How do you use your kitchen?". This is truly the key to planning a space that will be most suitable for you and how you intend to use your kitchen. Do you cook a lot, or are you looking for more of a display kitchen? Do you entertain regularly? Do you cook flavorful/spicy cuisine that might benefit from a spice/wok kitchen? What stage of life are you in? (ie young children, teenagers, multi-generational living?). We will also ask you about your style and discuss your long term decisions for your space. Are you looking for trendy and modern or would you prefer to create a space that is more classic and has some staying power?

All of these factors will play into the design of your kitchen, appliance choices, storage, and more and we work closely with our clients to help them the create the best space for their requirements.

Kitchen Layout:

The next step is going to be looking at the space you have and how to use that efficiently and effectively. Obviously there will be more choices if you're building a new house rather than renovating. However, even with renovating there are often more choices than you think! If you're gutting your kitchen, moving walls or windows and changing plumbing locations can open up a lot of options when it comes to a kitchen renovation. Sometimes your space will dictate your layout; perhaps you will need to stay with a galley kitchen, or the island you're dreaming about might need to be a peninsula instead, but we do our best to help you achieve your dream kitchen.

We are often asked about the 'kitchen triangle', however we like to think more in terms of 'kitchen zones'. We prefer to look at your space in terms of how you are going to be using it and look to incorporate various zones into your kitchen which could include: a prep zone, a cooking zone. a beverage/entertaining zone and/or a multi-purpose zone (ie a study/work space), etc. We do consider the kitchen triangle in the planning process, however, it's often not the forefront of the plan, but rather a consideration throughout the process for efficiency.

Kitchen Storage:

A key consideration in planning your kitchen is storage. While open shelving is all the rage, do you have enough cabinet space to have all your not-so-pretty kitchen necessities out of sight? 

- Pantries: A walk-in pantry or a large pantry cupboard is a great way to create storage for small appliances, serving dishes, dry goods, etc and is often seen as a necessity for families! Walk-in pantries can also be a great spot for a second fridge or dishwasher if your space allows.

- Appliance garages were popular a few years ago, but they aren't always as efficient as one would hope, as they tend to take up a fair bit of counter space. If you choose one of these, consider how the doors will open and will it be easily accessible and not block key areas of your kitchen?

- Garbage and recycling pull-outs are a little touch that add a lot convenience!

- Spice drawers seem like a good idea, but aren't always a flexible fit for different types and sizes of spice containers. It helps your kitchen designer to know what type(s) of spice containers you typically use so we can find the right solution that will fit your spices.


Image Source

We will be back with Part Two - Kitchen Style, next week. Stay tuned!

May 11, 2017  |  by Jake Kostelyk

Multi-Generational Living is The Next Big Thing

Multi Generational Living is the next big thing.

What is Multi-Generational living? We view it as at least two generations of adult families living on one property, or under one roof. 

To say that “Multi-Generational” living is growing in popularity is an understatement. Five years ago, we would receive enquiries about “Multi-Generational” projects a few times a year.  This year, roughly 1/3 of the families calling us are planning multi-generational projects. The reasons behind each project are unique;

-       Parents have a home that they’ve raised their kids in, yet no longer need the space but don’t want to leave. Their son or daughter (who are now married, perhaps with kids of their own) wouldn’t be able to afford a home anything close to what their parents have, and would love to live in their parents’ home. They’re considering renovating some of the house into a suite for the parents, and the “kids” live in the main living space.

-       Aging parents aren’t able to live independently anymore, due to health issues. One of their children want to renovate their home to allow their parents to age in place, and offer support as their parents age in the comfort of a home.

-       “Grandpa and Grandma” like to travel, and when they’re around, they want to be near their young grandchildren. They hope to partner with their son or daughter  to either build a new home with a suite for them, or buy an old home and renovate.

The real estate market in the Lower Mainland is one of the most expensive in Canada. Inventory of quality homes for sale is low, and prices are high. Living with two families under one roof is one way to enjoy living in a great neighborhood that wouldn’t be feasible any other way.

Personally, I am in the middle of a renovation of my own home. We’re renovating a bright and spacious walk-out basement “in law suite” for my wife’s parents to live in. Don’t worry, we’re adding MANY layers of sound insulation to quiet the noise that my 4 young children will inevitably make.

We’re not the only ones, and perhaps you’re considering “going multi-generational” in your living arrangement.  What steps should you take to assess if this is the right move for you?  Perhaps ask yourselves the following questions:

1.    Are we able to live with family, and keep relationships healthy and intact?

2.    What happens if we want to move?

3.    What are the benefits of living Multi-Generationally for our unique situation? What are the drawbacks?

4.    Do you want fully independent suites? Shared space? Who gets the garage and yard?

Once you’ve contemplated these questions, look at the feasibility of what’s possible. Financially, what makes sense? Does your home (or targeted neighborhood) have zoning or municipal restrictions on suites, do they allow laneways, etc?

We’re advocates of pooling resources, efforts and energy to live multi-generationally, but it needs to be the right fit.

If you’re considering a multi-generational living arrangement, it’s worth asking the tough questions, doing homework on feasibility, and doing the homework to determine if it’s the right fit. Have questions?  Can we help? Feel free to reach out! And if you decide to “go multi-generational”, be sure to budget for a bigger kitchen table! 

April 26, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague, Vanessa Palframan

The Kenorah Design Process

As designers at Kenorah, we work closely with our clients to create a finished home that they love. This starts from the very first meeting as we get to know you, and continues throughout the design process and building journey. 

From a designer's perspective, its our job to make the process as easy as possible as we guide clients through the project from beginning to end. There are many decisions to be made, which can feel overwhelming! The good news is: we're here to help, and our goal is to walk with you through the process.

This is how we at Kenorah work together with our clients:

Designer/Client Relationship

Our first goal is to get to know you, and build a relationship of trust. It helps us to know what your needs and goals for your home are. For example, if you have young children, you'll likely have a different vision for your home than empty-nesters; Or if you host dinner parties or family get-togethers regularly, the needs for your kitchen will vary. This information is of assistance  in everything from creating the right floorplan to selecting appropriate appliances and finishes.

Defining Style

Some clients have a very clear vision and know exactly what they want...while others aren't quite sure what their style actually is and have a hard time narrowing down the look and feel they want for their home. We help these clients by learning what they like and don't like to help them choose the right look for their home.

One of the ways we do this is by utilizing Houzz. We ask our clients to create a project album and add photos that they like, along with specific comments about what appeals to them from the image, so we can see what draws their eye. As we go through this process, we can often start to see clear themes emerge. We can then start pulling together the various elements to create the perfect look and feel to their home by utilizing just the right flooring, plumbing & lighting fixtures, paint colors and all the details that go into creating a finished product. We often create two to three different palettes as a starting point, and then tweak and update based on the home owners preferences. 

Our Style

Often with designers you'll see them create their own particular style in the homes they are creating for their clients. Our goal is to help our homeowners create a home that reflects their tastes and suits their lifestyle. We are always happy to provide recommendations and direction, as our experience gives us a good idea of what works together and what doesn't. However, we feel strongly that it's your home, and you need to love it! 

Melding Home Owner Styles

Sometimes two clients living in the same home have very different design aesthetics and don't quite know how to meld their styles together. We help them strike the right balance for the finished product. Sleek and modern with a touch of industrial? No problem! We'll help you find the right mix to make each of the the homeowners happy.

Design Communication

We meet regularly with our clients throughout the process (in the office/design library, in your home and with site visits), as well as use our customized online tools to communicate often sharing photos and updates. This is a collaborative process and we, along with our project managers, work hard to maintain seamless communication and updates.

Design Budget

We also work closely with our clients based on the outlined budget. Whether it's flooring or light fixtures, we will do our best to stay within your budget, or find ways to save costs in one area so there's room to splurge in another. 

 

As designers we're thankful for our fabulous clients we have the privilege to work together with! It's such a joy to see our clients settling in and enjoying their finished renovation project or brand new home. The end result is truly a collaboration of many people on the Kenorah team, together with the homeowners. 

We hope you enjoyed this little peek into the design process at Kenorah!

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