The (Kitchen) Island Life

As today’s kitchens become more connected to other living and entertaining spaces, the island becomes more versatile and serves as a hub – meal prep, seating, storage, entertaining, homework. The island is a customizable piece, so when you’re planning its composition, it’s important to think about the role you need it to fulfill and how you primarily use the kitchen. Do you have a large family? Are you often the host? Do you love to cook? These are all important questions to consider.

StorageHartland Kitchen Remodel

The island is a great spot to insert extra storage. Whether it’s a spice drawer, roll-outs for everyday dishes, or open shelves for cookbooks, there are many ways to make your kitchen island work beyond meal prep and seating.

Size

The dimensions of your island are shaped by its role in the kitchen. If you’re looking for counter space and enough seating for the family, you may want to consider an extra-long island or an actual table attached to the island. Maybe you plan to use the island for meal prep and a party buffet. A wide island might be the perfect option. It’s also important to consider its height. A 36-inch height can accommodate meal prep and seating. A 42-inch height is ideal for bar stools. The island can also be designed with two levels, so it can work “double duty” – cooking and dining. This also breaks down the scale of the island and gives some separation to obscure cooking messes from view.

Waukesha Kitchen RemodelLighting

Proper lighting over the island is essential. Pendants or a chandelier offer ambient and task lighting to help with smaller kitchen duties and overall illumination. The lighting over your island is also an opportunity to get creative and showcase your style. Glass pendants, lanterns, drum pendants, multi-light fixtures – island lighting can set the tone for your space, add a punch of color, or reinforce the kitchen design.

Utility

As we’ve said, the kitchen island is flexible, so outfit it with the tools you need for your various tasks. Entertainers may want to consider a beverage or wine refrigerator. Others choose to include a microwave drawer or dishwasher in the island. Home cooks often prefer a prep sink in the island because it’s easily accessible, accommodates cooking and clean-up simultaneously, and makes sharing the space with another cook easier.

DetailsShorewood Kitchen Remodel

The island is an opportunity to add character to the kitchen. Consider a contrasting stain or paint color to make it a focal point and highlight your style. Opt for furniture-style legs and toe kicks to create a high-end look. Choose a countertop material that suits your style and the island’s main role. Do you like marble’s classic look? Are you interested in granite’s durability? Perhaps, you’d prefer the warmth of a butcher block top? The options are truly endless!

Job Opening: Lead Carpenter

Bartelt is currently looking for an experienced, full-time lead carpenter to join our crew and work on our job sites throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Bartelt is a well-established, well-branded residential and commercial remodeling company located in Delafield, WI.  Winning local, regional, and national industry awards, Bartelt specializes in high-end remodels and is a member of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council and the Metropolitan Builders Association.

Requirements:

  • Minimum of five years of experience as a lead carpenter in remodeling
  • Minimum of a high school education or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Presentable and reliable van or pickup truck
  • All necessary hand and power tools and ladders

Bartelt will supply scaffolding, harnesses, tethers, generators (when needed), extra tall ladders, specialty tools and equipment, and safety equipment (i.e. Tyvek suits, eye and ear protection, shop vacuums, Hepa vacuums, etc.).

Desired Qualities:

  • Ability to lead a crew of carpenters
  • Efficient and able to accomplish tasks in a timely manner
  • Quality- and detail-oriented in rough and finish carpentry
  • Strong communication, people, and organizational skills

Compensation/Benefits:

  • Based on experience and skill level
  • One week paid vacation after one year of employment
  • Participation in the 401K program after a one year waiting period

Interested individuals should email their resumes to Rick Bartelt at rickb@barteltremodel.com.

From Basement to Lower Level

As the cool weather moves in, families tend to spend more time indoors.  Perhaps, you’re starting to feel cramped or can’t seem to agree on a television program to watch together.  Maybe the kids are looking for a place to hang out with friends.  A finished basement, or lower level, is the perfect opportunity to extend your living space.

The Essentials

Whether you’re transforming the basement into an entertaining hub, guest area, or hobby space, there are certain elements that remain important to create an inviting, practical lower level.

LightingOconomowoc Finished Basement

Like other areas of your home, it’s important to layer the light.  Recessed lights provide ambient lighting while pendants over a bar or table offer task and decorative lighting.  Sconces, floor lamps, and under-cabinet lighting are other options for your lower level.

Storage

Although you are creating a new living space, it’s important that the basement continues to serve one of its main functions: storage.  About one quarter of the basement is often left unfinished, to keep space for mechanicals and shelves to store holiday décor, leftover paint cans, unused clothing or toys, and other miscellaneous items.  In the finished portion of the basement, it’s important to consider storage, as well.  Incorporate closets and cabinetry into your new space to keep your lower level clutter-free.

Muskego Finished BasementCeiling

It’s vital to consider the ceiling height of your finished basement.  Typically, 50 percent of the finished area must be at least seven feet tall.  This is dictated by local building codes.  Pipes and ductwork can affect the ceiling height.  In many cases, they can be hidden within your basement design in a standard drywall ceiling or in a tray or coffered ceiling.  In other situations, it may make more sense to relocate pipes and ductwork.  When considering your ceiling options, it’s also important to think about access to mechanicals and plumbing.  Acoustic ceiling tiles or access panels are sometimes the best option.

Sound Insulation

You don’t want your lower level to become a source of “noise pollution,” especially if you have a home theater, so sound insulation can be installed at the joists between the lower and main levels to alleviate this.

Flooring

Tile, stained concrete, engineered wood, and high-end vinyl tile are popular options in the lower level for their durability and low maintenance.  Carpeting is also put into many lower levels to add warmth.

Exit

There should be easy, safe exit routes in case of emergency.  An egress window is large enough for a person to exit through it, a viable option for the basement and a necessity for a lower level bedroom (the egress window must be in the bedroom it’s serving).  Not only does it provide an extra avenue to exit the basement, but it also offers natural light.

Endless OptionsMuskego Finished Basement

The lower level can be transformed to serve your family’s specific needs.  Here are some roles that a finished basement often fulfills:

  • Bar area
  • Game room
  • Family room
  • Home theater
  • Fitness room
  • Craft area
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Home office
  • Playroom

Rick Bartelt Interview in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rick Bartelt was recently interviewed for a feature in the Building Lifestyles section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Check out the article “Building a quality reputation” to learn more about Rick and the Bartelt team.

Rick Bartelt in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

See it online here.

Recent Project: Inviting Sunroom Addition

Our clients enjoyed entertaining friends and family, but their kitchen and other existing spaces weren’t conducive to this hobby.  They desired a warm, inviting space for their frequent get-togethers.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Before     Waukesha Sunroom Addition - After

The home’s back elevation was “cookie cutter” and lacked character.  The sunroom addition features a cupola with Azek crown molding and trim, adding charm to the exterior and blending with the existing structure.  The exterior also includes fiber cement composite siding for less maintenance and more durability.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Bar

The sunroom’s interior offers easy access to the kitchen to assist with entertaining.  There is a pass-through, and the large archway allows people to flow from one room to the other, making it one useable space.  The bar area features Golden Fantasy granite, wood-framed doors with “water glass” inserts, a slate backsplash, a beverage refrigerator, and custom wood wine cubbies.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - View

The kitchen and entertaining space originally ended abruptly at the back of the house, so there was little room for guests.  The addition has an open concept, conducive to entertaining a group of people.  The large windows also showcase the conservancy views, and the patio door connects the space to the outdoors.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Ceiling     Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Ceiling Detail

The hand-framed, vaulted ceiling makes the addition feel more spacious, and the box beams at the hip rafters and cupola draw guests’ attention upward.  Rope lighting was incorporated at the crown molding and cupola to highlight the unique ceiling.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Fireplace

The fireplace is a focal point, giving the room a cozy feel.  It features hand-cut Lannon stone that ties the addition  into the home’s exterior.  The dynamic slate floor also uses hydronic heating, so the homeowners can comfortably enjoy the space in the winter (even without socks).

The Details

Handblown Pendant     Wine Cubbies

Sculpted, Furniture-Style Toe Kicks     Curved Casing

The Sunroom

Comfortably enjoy the outdoors year-round.

Serving as a connection between the indoors and outdoors, the sunroom is an essential space in many households.  It is a room that allows you to enjoy your setting year-round.  Whether you’re looking for a spot to relax, entertain, or get some work done, a sunroom has a lot to offer – natural light, more space, gorgeous views, and beyond.

Environmental Control

Hartford SunroomFrom extreme heat to the bitter cold, with the proper insulation, heating, and air conditioning systems, this light-filled room can be enjoyed throughout the year. A natural or gas fireplace provides additional warmth on chilly evenings, creating an inviting atmosphere.  Radiant floor heat is another option, so homeowners are able to comfortably enjoy the space in winter (even without socks).  A ceiling fan is an option, as well.

ViewWaukesha Sunroom

Choose a spot that takes advantage of the views.  Whether you live on a wooded lot, by the lake, or near a sprawling field, the sunroom is a perfect opportunity to showcase your backdrop.  Floor-to-ceiling windows, transoms, French doors, and a large patio door offer natural light and ventilation and help frame your surroundings.

Versatility

Waukesha SunroomA sunroom that serves multiple purposes will be used more often. Perhaps, the space includes a sitting area and a bar.  This is the perfect spot for either relaxing after the workday or entertaining a group on the weekend.  Maybe the sunroom features a reading nook and a table for dining.  It’s the ideal location to enjoy some alone time or share a meal with your family.  There are endless options to make this room work harder for you.

ProximityOconomowoc Sunroom

It’s important to position the sunroom near other entertaining spaces – the kitchen, family room, powder room, and patio.  If it’s easily accessible from frequently used rooms, you may enjoy the space more often, and it extends your living area.

 

Design Discussions

Bartelt Design Discussion

Listen monthly for Bartelt’s 60-second ”Design Discussion” on 620 WTMJ.  You can learn more about each tip on our blog.

Entertaining

Ceilings

Mudrooms

Open Concept

The Front Entrance

Nooks

Efficient Storage

Back-To-School

The Functional Dining Room

Although a formal dining room isn’t for every family, often eliminated to expand other rooms of the home, many homeowners opt to preserve this area. The dining room can serve as an extension to your home’s entertaining space, inviting people to linger at the dinner table to enjoy good food and company without the distractions of the (sometimes) chaotic kitchen. It can be especially useful for someone who is the extended family’s main host or on holidays. If a formal dining room is a staple in your home, here are some tips to create a formal, yet functional space.

Hartland Dining Room RemodelLocation

The dining room should be easily accessible from the kitchen and other gathering areas. This makes serving less complicated and accommodates the flow between entertaining spaces. You can create a defined, yet open dining room with a pass-through, arched opening, large French doors, and beyond. It’s also a good idea to consider the dining room’s proximity to a powder room.

Lighting

It’s important to include multiple layers of light in Hartland Dining Room Remodelthe dining room. A chandelier over the table serves as a focal point and can set the tone for the room. Is it traditional? Does it have a more modern vibe? Beyond the decorative chandelier or sconces, incorporate recessed lights to provide ambient lighting for the room. In- and under-cabinet lighting in a built-in buffet or wet bar offers task lighting and highlights servingware. Homeowners may want to put their fixtures on dimmers to create a softer glow for entertaining. Natural light should also be considered.

Oconomowoc Dining Room RemodelStorage

You’ll need a spot to stash dining essentials. Think about how you entertain and what pieces you often use to narrow down your storage options. A wet bar with custom cabinetry is ideal for storing glasses and barware. Beyond its storage capacity, it’s also a great spot to mix drinks, and it can serve as extra counter space. A buffet or built-in cabinetry can house dishes and linens. A window seat with drawers is another opportunity to insert extra storage into the dining room.

Space

Scale the dining room appropriately. To make sure the space isn’t oversized or too small, ask yourself these questions. How many people do I need to comfortably seat? What furniture goes into the space? There should be enough room that guests don’t have to vacate their seats to let someone pass by, but it’s important to remember that too much space can become cavernous.

Remodeling Lookbook

May is National Home Improvement Month, so throughout the past few weeks, we posted before and after photos (every weekday and non-holiday, that is). Here is a compilation of Bartelt transformations!

Exteriors

Kitchens

Lower Levels

Bathrooms

 Other Spaces

Recent Project: Family-Friendly Lower Level Remodel

The homeowners wanted to transform their empty basement into another living space that both the adults and kids could enjoy.  It was important that the lower level offered a comfortable area to watch movies, entertain, and play.

Muskego Lower Level Remodel

The remodeled space is a balanced mix of cozy and sophisticated details.  It features an informal entertaining area with engineered hickory flooring, a bold chandelier, ample storage, and room for a large table.

The arched openings and columns add character to the lower level and keep the entertaining area and living room open to one another while defining each space.

Muskego Lower Level Remodel

This space also includes a wet bar with marble subway tile, leather-textured granite, and custom cabinetry in a smoky gray color.

Muskego Lower Level Remodel

The lower level playroom features two chalkboard doors and can be closed off with barn-style doors to keep toys hidden during gatherings.

Muskego Lower Level Remodel

The lower level also includes a powder room, featuring unique lighting, and a fitness room.

For detail photos, see this project on Houzz.