Tag Archives: countertops

Newest Look in Quartz Surfaces

In the latest issue of Kitchen & Bath Business magazine, I found the latest look in quartz surfaces – patterns!  Manufactured by CaesarStone, this product makes use of a polished/unpolished finishing process to produce a pattern in the countertop surface.

Motivo comes in a couple different patterns – an animal print (similar to an alligator skin) and a wallpaper-like damask.  According to their website, the product is still non-porous and very low-maintenance.  Very interesting look, and something completely different.  While it’s not for every client and every space, I can definitely see applications for it!

I think it could be especially interesting in a commercial space – to dress up a boring ladies’ room or spice up a bar.  What do you think?  Is it something you could see in your home?  If so, where would you use it?

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Beautiful Countertops on a Budget

Countertops are one of the easiest, and most common, changes that are made in kitchen update projects.  Clients are often interested in upgrading their current countertops to quartz, granite or another solid product.  (Check out my earlier post on the differences between granite and quartz countertops for details on those options.)  However, what if your budget does not allow for a complete upgrade to stone?  Well, you have a couple different options to consider.

First, you could use stone on an accent area only, with a lower-priced counterpart on the remaining portions of the kitchen.  For example, put granite on your island, as that area is most easily seen by guests, and most often used by the homeowners for tasks such as meal prep, homework and conversation.  Likewise, quartz could be installed only on the raised portion of the kitchen island or peninsula – your “snack bar” area.  Again, this offers a punch of color, pattern and “upgrade” without requiring the budget for installing a stone product throughout your entire kitchen.  Generally, I try to find a coordinating laminate that is different from the stone; trying to match a real stone with a laminate is not a great idea – the imposter will always be detected when put up against the real thing.

A second option is to use plastic laminate on all your countertops.  Laminate is beautiful in its own right, with thousands of patterns available.  New finishes now make it look even more like real stone, but without the “cool” feel and the extra-hard surface that stone offers.  Again, with the amazing laminate patterns out there, I don’t often feel the need to use laminate to replicate real stone; let laminate be laminate, I always say.

I just found a new laminate, however, with an amazing look!  Formica just came out with a new laminate option called 180fx.  With a HUGE pattern repeat, and the swirls of real granite, this is a fantastic option for a kitchen upgrade on a budget!  If you select the right edge profile detail, I think the average person would be hard-pressed to determine whether this is laminate or real granite.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Upgrades and updates can be made on any budget, with the right products!

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Home Staging 101

Are you trying to sell your home?  As everyone is aware, this is not the best time in history to sell a home.  Now, more than ever, you need to make your home stand out as the best value for the dollar.  Buyers are more saavy, and with increased home inventory on the market, they have so many homes to choose from.  Following are some tips for making your home stand out above the rest.

First, and most importantly, you need to de-clutter and de-personalize your home.  This is not the time to be emotionally attached to your home.  Realize that you are selling it, and a new family will enjoy it for years to come.  Detatching yourself from your home will allow you to pack up some of those family photos, your child’s artwork and other personal items.  Pack nearly every knick-knack into boxes, as clutter makes a potential buyer feel your space is smaller than it is.  Leave only a few choice accessories on tables and shelves.

You may need to rid your home of furniture, while you are at it.  Too much furniture in a room decreases the square footage of your home, visually.  You want your home to look spacious, open and warm – not crowded, busy and full!  Even though you may need 2 dressers in your master bedroom, consider moving one out.  Although your family of 5 may need 2 sofas for adequate seating in the family room, move one out for better visual effect.

Which leads me to my next point – clean, clean and clean again!  During a tour of your home, a potential buyer will be less-than-impressed with the layer of dust coating every surface.  A sparkling bathroom and shining kitchen will go a long way to closing the sale.  Before you leave for the day, make all the beds, straighten your closets and make sure your home is ready for an impromptu showing.

If you enjoy color, you may have wall colors that are less-than-desirable to potential buyers.  That eggplant wall in your living room may excite you, but annoy someone else to the point of losing the sale.  Yes, I realize this is an easy thing for a buyer to remedy, but many people cannot see past a paint color – good or bad!  So, to make the very best impression, consider neutralizing your paint colors.  Beige, taupe or buttery yellow are nice, warm tones to consider.

If you are willing to spend a little money to ready your home for a sale, there are a few key areas in which you should spend it.  Kitchens and bathrooms offer the most bang-for-the-buck when spending money on upgrades.  Consider new countertops in your kitchen (granite or quartz are popular upgrades) or a new tile backsplash.  New hardware on your cabinets can provide an updated look on a tight budget.  In the bathroom, countertops can also be upgraded, and consider a new faucet and/or light fixture to update the room.  Don’t spend too much on upgrades, however – you may price your home out of the market!

To get a good idea of what a well-staged home looks like, tour model homes in your area.  Think of what makes a model home look so good – no clutter, minimal furniture, just a few accessories and bright, open spaces.  Take cues from what those designers have done, and apply them to your home, as well.

If all else fails, or you feel overwhelmed with where to start, call an interior designer!  A designer can help you decide what to keep and what to pack away, what paint colors will work best in your spaces, how to arrange your furniture for best effect and what upgrades may be necessary to get the most money for your home.  I have been staging model homes for sale for over 8 years, and I would love to help you get your home ready to sell.  Or, leave your questions in the comments section below, and I would be happy to answer what I can!

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