Lasting Kitchen Trends:  Kitchen design that will endure longer than the decade

Whether you are a gourmet cook or all about the microwave, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen. It’s the center for snacking, eating, gathering and socializing.  As we start a new year and a new decade, there are some trends in kitchen renovations that will add value, function, and timeless beauty to the heart and soul of your home.

The most frequent requests we get from clients renovating their kitchen is that they would like to maximize storage and design their space for entertaining, while incorporating convenience and style. Trends we’ve seen that cater to these requirements and that will carry through the decade include more amenities such as larger or double islands, workstation sinks, fancy lighting, larger refrigerators and other beautiful integrated appliances. With the heightened warmth and comfort associated with these conveniences, your kitchen will become a pseudo second family room.

When designing your kitchen, start with the end in mind.  Thinking about what is most important to you and your expectations of the space will help you know where to focus your budget.  As a designer, we ask about a client’s expectations of the space and look at the overall layout in terms of location of appliances and storage requirements.  We look at function and take into account useable heights for countertops and sinks. We also pay special attention to finding the best finish materials and anything else that we can add that showcase your personality and enrich your living experiences.

Because a kitchen is such a high traffic, highly used room in your home, putting your money into quality appliances and plumbing really pays off.  Performance countertops are also a wise investment as they add lasting beauty and function. With your remaining budget, it is fun to add more luxury to your kitchen with beautiful contemporary products like custom designed vent hoods, galley workstation sinks, induction cooktops and integrated appliances in which the appliances appear to be part of the cabinetry.  Some other favorite new kitchen conveniences are pop up outlets installed in your countertops or drawers for electronics, lighting installed in the cabinetry, instant hot and cold taps and refrigerated drawers.

Whatever your lifestyle, there are so many new products and materials available that add function and beauty to a well-designed kitchen area that will last the test of time.

Originally published in the Houston Chronicle on Feb. 16

Harvey Recovery One Year Later

One year ago Houston changed forever as 60 inches of rain flooded our highways and homes. None of us will ever forget driving into neighborhoods seeing piles of belonging and memories out on the curb to be hauled away as trash. Still a year after Hurricane Harvey hit, many homeowners are still in the process of rebuilding. Homeowners were faced with many decisions as the water receded. Should they renovate, tear down and rebuild, raise the foundation of their existing home, or move away from their home and community?

As we look back on this year, two of our flood victim clients started the rebuilding process right away. As we met with these clients soon after Harvey, we had to discuss the possibility of moving or completely demolishing their home and trying again. These very emotional conversations resulted in one client in Bellaire deciding to raise their home foundation and then do a complete renovation, while another client in Champions opted to leave the foundation as it was and renovate. Both of these homes took on enough water that the drywall had to be removed up to four feet. Although the homeowners knew there was a possibility that they would flood again, they both loved their home and location and community, and they didn’t want to give that up.

Champions Remodel

This home was only a year old when Harvey hit, so it was never an option to tear down and start again. The homeowners were able to move in with family as their year-long renovation took place. Some of the original finishes in the new home were poor quality, so the remodel has helped restore this home into something better than what they lost. Changes in the floorplan to enhance the flow of the home were small, but significant. The improvements included the creation of an opening from the dining room into the kitchen and the reconfiguration of the master bath . With these minor changes, as well as major upgrades in the finishes, this family couldn’t be happier to be back in their beautiful home.

Drywall removal and a large fan drying out this home were a common sight in flood victims’ homes. Check out the amazing transformation as this kitchen went from devastation to dreamy!

Bellaire Remodel

This home is still in the remodel process a year later because the clients opted to have the foundation raised before any interior renovation took place. The home was lifted four and a half feet through a process of digging and lifting, inches at a time, to ensure that floodwaters wouldn’t destroy their home again. This home renovation is a complete design and remodel including finishes and furnishings. The process has been emotional for the clients as they went from enjoying their beautiful home to living in a small apartment. The homeowners are very much anticipating the completion and move in date in October.

Homeowners opted to raise the foundation, which also meant the addition of a beautiful stone exterior finish.

Harvey was such an unprecedented event with so much loss that none of us knew how long it would take to rebuild or what challenges would come. Many businesses and storefronts and roads were back up and running quickly, but restoring homes has taken time. Floodwaters left so many Houstonians in need of rebuilding that the demand for materials and contractors skyrocketed. Even through the challenges, it has truly been a pleasure working with victims of Harvey and helping them restore their homes and their lives, as we have shared in the design and rebuilding process with them.