Tag Archives: Open Concept

Timeless Design Part I

It’s a common question: how can we create a space that stands the test of time and looks like it has always been there?  A remodel is a big investment, so homeowners want to ensure that the space has a long “life span.”  You don’t want to look back 10 years from now and think, “That was so 2013.”

How can you achieve timeless design?  Bartelt answers that question in a three-part blog, discussing efficient layout, seamless transitions, and classic style.  Today, we’re focusing on your home’s floor plan.

Efficient Layout

Think about your lifestyle.

It’s important to understand how you use different rooms in your home.  Do you entertain frequently?  Are you a gourmet chef?  Do you have small children?  Questions like these affect the flow and specific details of each space.  If you entertain often, for instance, you may want a large island, wet bar, and direct connection from the kitchen to the family room.  If you enjoy cooking, that may dictate the placement of your cooktop in relation to prep areas.

You should also identify what is and is not working for you in your home.  Are there rooms that are rarely or never used?  Do you have a cramped kitchen and an oversized dining room?

Evaluating your lifestyle and determining if your home complements it are the first steps in the remodeling process.

Create open, yet separate spaces.

“Open concept” is a term we hear frequently.  Eliminating walls, doors, and other barriers can accommodate better flow and make the space feel larger, but it’s essential not to merely create a big, open box.  Use arches, columns, French doors, shelves, beams, and other details to Colgate Kitchen Remodelcreate open, yet defined spaces.  It adds character to your home and still allows you to engage guests in the other room while you prep in the kitchen.

Consider functional rooms.

Unused rooms or “catchalls” are taking up valuable real estate in your home.  Make room for practical spaces, such as mudrooms, laundry Mequon Mudroom Remodelrooms, and home offices.  These spaces often serve as your family’s hub, offering organization and serving a specific purpose.  There are endless options to make these rooms work harder for your family – lockers, cubbies, closets, message boards, “drop zones,” benches, and beyond.

Maximize your storage.

There are many storage options available to keep your home organized and more functional.  Don’t waste any space!  Incorporate cabinetry that extends to the ceiling.  Consider organizational Spice Racksystems, such as Rev-A-Shelf, that offer pull-outs, racks, and dividers to make use of dead corners.  There are often empty pockets where you can seamlessly insert storage – on unused walls, in a kitchen island, under the stairs, even in narrow areas (i.e. cookie sheets or wine bottle storage).

When planning your storage, make sure to think about how you use various spaces.  You’ll want everything to have its place, to be within arm’s reach of where you’ll need it.  In the kitchen, you’ll probably want spices by the range, knife storage near the butcher block, and drawers with silverware dividers close to the sink and dishwasher.  In the mudroom, a coat closet, mail organization, and cubbies with hooks may be essential.Pull-Out Pantry

There are many other creative opportunities for storage and organization:

  • Butler’s pantries
  • Drawers built into banquette seating
  • Pot racks
  • Cookbook shelves
  • Pull-out pantries
  • Closets

 

Host a Soiree at Home

Create a space conducive to entertaining with these party essentials.

Many of our homeowners explain to us that they’re looking to create spaces that accommodate their love of entertaining, so we’ve compiled a brief list of design elements we thought were important for successful events.

LibationsWauwatosa Wet Bar

A beverage center, or wet bar, is the perfect addition to your entertaining space. Whether you use it as an extra prep area or a cocktail-mixing station, you can customize it to your style and needs. Include an extra sink. Outfit your wet bar with a beverage refrigerator. Add wine and stemware storage. The options are endless!

Room to Move

It’s fun to focus on the small details, but you should also consider the room’s layout. An open concept is helpful for hosting family and friends. When the various entertaining spaces, indoor and outdoor, are open and connected to one another, you’re still able to engage guests while cooking or mixing drinks. People can also move about freely.

(Kitchen) Island Fun

Hartland Kitchen IslandPeople tend to congregate in the kitchen, so an island is often essential if you plan to entertain. It can provide more workspace, so multiple chefs can concoct culinary masterpieces at one time. It’s a place to lean against, sit by, or set your drink on, and it allows the cook to socialize with guests while he or she works. It can also serve as your party’s buffet!

Mood Lighting

Pay attention to the lighting in your kitchen (and other entertaining spaces). Include task lighting, such as under-cabinet lighting, for food preparation. Pendants over the island and recessed lighting provide task and ambient lighting. It’s also a “bright idea” to put your fixtures on dimmers to create a softer glow when guests arrive.

A Place (or two) to Sit

Seating – by the island, at a table, as a built-in, or in an adjacent room – is important to consider. Although people will walk around mingling, most will eventually like to take a load off of their feet and relax. Each type of seating has pros and cons (i.e. a banquette can maximize space), so we suggest having multiple options if they make sense for the room.

Tunes

Music can set the mood for your gathering. Many systems let you listen to tunes throughout your home and outdoors, allowing you to change the volume in each space or control the entire system with the touch of a screen anywhere. You even have the option to listen to different songs in different rooms – jazz in the kitchen and rock in the lower level – or the same song in every room.

StorageAmple Kitchen Storage in Hartland

If you entertain regularly, you’ve probably started quite the collection of platters, linens, glasses, vases, and beyond. Make sure you have a place for everything. Consider cabinetry that extends to the ceiling, drawers in the island, a butler’s pantry, drawer and cabinet organizers, such as Rev-A-Shelf systems, and other organizational options.

Quality over Quantity

Homeowners focus on the details rather than square footage.

As you look around your home, you may be thinking about the wish list you have for it – better storage, an updated kitchen, more usable space. Is the logical solution to make the move to a bigger home? Or should you consider an addition? Although these are both plausible answers, you don’t necessarily need more square footage to satisfy your list.

More and more homeowners are making the decision to update and upgrade their homes within the original footprint, focusing on better space planning and special details.

Smarter Space Planning

Unused Spaces

You need more space, but how can you find it without expanding? It’s important to evaluate how you live in your home. Are there areas you rarely or never use? Perhaps, it’s time to ditch those rooms and use the additional space in places, such as the kitchen, where you spend more time. For instance, many homeowners are getting rid of formal dining and living rooms to allow them to enlarge more functional areas of the home.

Open Concepts

People are also eliminating walls, doors, and other barriers to create open floor plans for a better flow between rooms. With proper space planning, an open floor plan can make the area feel larger and perform more efficiently.

Ample Storage

There are many creative storage opportunities to keep rooms organized and make them functional for you. Don’t waste any space. Make use of vertical space, incorporating cabinetry that extends to the ceiling. Consider systems, such as Rev-A-Shelf, that offer pullouts, racks, lazy susans, and other accessories to make use of dead corners. There are often pockets of space in areas – under the stairs, on empty walls, in an island – where you can seamlessly (and without taking up space) fit in storage.

Family FoyersWauwatosa Mudroom Remodel

Family foyers, or mudrooms, are a practical use of space and could possibly be the hardest working room in your home. It’s a great area to stash all the necessities for getting out the door in one convenient place. Many homeowners incorporate lockers into this area, assigning one to each family member to store coats, shoes, and backpacks. It can also include a “drop zone,” bench, additional storage, or laundry space. The possibilities to make the area efficient for your family’s needs are endless.

Personalization

Without the cost of extra square feet, homeowners have the opportunity to invest in quality products and finishes for their home. This allows you to not only personalize your spaces, so they aren’t “cookie cutter,” but also enjoy luxury items.

What are examples of products and materials people are investing in? Check out this brief list (the possibilities are endless).

In the Kitchen

High-End Appliances

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, high-end or specialty appliances may be a great investment. Examples include stainless steel appliances, double ovens, warming drawers, large cooktops with griddles or grills, induction cooktops, steam ovens, and beverage refrigerators or drawers.

Beverage StationsHartland Wet Bar

We are seeing more people include beverage stations in their kitchen or family room. Wet bars are popular for entertaining, often featuring a sink, beverage refrigerator, and extra storage for glasses. Built-in coffee units are also becoming commonplace. The Miele Coffee System, for instance, is a built-in unit with a water reservoir or plumbed-in option. Now, homeowners can enjoy coffee, espresso, and cappuccino right at home.

Hot Water Dispensers

How often do you use hot water? Do you make hot beverages? Or enjoy oatmeal at breakfast? Do you cook pasta al dente? Or need to soak dirty pots and pans? Hot water dispensers allow you to do things like this instantly, saving time and offering convenience.

Custom, Furniture-Style Cabinetry

Sculpted toe kicks, corbels, faux finishes, crown molding – furniture-style cabinetry adds a personal, luxurious touch to your home. Custom cabinetmakers are also offering more “gadgets and gizmos” to make homeowners’ lives easier and more organized, including soft close hinges and drawer glides, tray dividers, roll outs, and spice racks.

Colgate Kitchen with custom cabinetry and granite countertopsCountertops

There are numerous kitchen countertop materials available. Soapstone, granite, marble, quartz, high-definition laminate, and concrete are just a few durable examples. Each has its own “personality.” For instance, granite and soapstone create a natural look while marble offers a classic feel. Your countertop is just another way to add character and introduce quality materials to your space.

In the Bathroom

Thermostatic Shower

A shower that features a series of shower heads and sprays, such as a rain head and hand spray, allows homeowners to feel pampered during shower time. A luxury shower can also include a thermostatic control valve, allowing the user to turn on all shower heads at the same or different times and regulate the temperature.

Around the House

Custom Millwork

Incorporating custom millwork – wainscoting, crown molding, arches, base boards, corbels – throughout your home creates an upscale look and adds architectural interest to an ordinary room.

Wauwatosa Foyer FloorQuality Flooring

It’s important to invest in quality, durable flooring. From custom hand-scraped floors to porcelain and ceramic tiles, there are many options for kitchens, family rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and other spaces. The floor is also a great place to have fun and display your personality. For instance, we used custom wood staining in a home to blend two hardwood floor colors in a foyer, creating a checkerboard pattern.

Home Automation

Many homeowners are turning to home automation for better efficiency and safety. Whole house automation is a central system that connects and communicates with appliances and systems in your home. It allows homeowners to instantly control their lighting, thermostat, entertainment unit, security system, and other objects. It’s just another opportunity to tailor your home to your lifestyle needs.