Remember those old alley kitchens, simply made for one or two people to be in there at the same time? Then came the “Great Room.” Ahhhh the sea parted and the kitchen became part of the living room or TV room. The marriage of these two rooms changed our lives forever. Entertaining became so much easier. Super Bowl parties, Thanksgiving, Wine parties, the absolute best form of social networking all because some brilliant home builder blended the kitchen with the den. The concept of the great room is credited to Joseph Eichler, a California Real Estate developer known for his modernist style homes. However, In 2007 Money magazine said the Great Room is dying because of the cost to cool or heat those high cathedral ceilings, but I beg to differ.
The concept of opening up the kitchen will always be the most popular option because it ads that ingredient of “fun” into the home. Our neighborhood rotates a wine party from house to house each month and I get such a kick watching everyone congregate in the kitchen. There are comfortable seats in every room in the house, but everyone stands around the kitchen island where the food and wine are.
When you are designing your kitchen, make sure it is a kitchen that is laid out for “fun.”
Fun when you cook, fun for the kids or Grandchildren, and fun for entertaining. Eddie Matney, The valley’s “most colorful chef” and owner of Eddie’s House in Scottsdale, says “You actually spend more time in the kitchen than any other place in the house, other than the bed room of course. It’s my favorite room in the house.” Chef Eddie shares some great tips when designing or remodeling your kitchen.
1. Do not cut corners when it come to appliances, you will find it much easier to cook well in a fully equipped kitchen.
2. If you can have a gas stove/oven, DO IT. Although electric is ok, the best will always be gas! Check out propane also!
3. The best kind of kitchen is a fun kitchen! You can make it fun, with colors, cutting boards, maybe an island. A wok station is fun and different too.
Another tip that we’ve done at our house is to hang 5 x 7 black and white photos of the family and guests eating and having fun. Photos of smiles and laughter are contagious. They’re fun to look at and are constant reminders to keep the kitchen fun and cheerful. It’s a real plus to get your kids involved in the kitchen early on because it not only helps them appreciate good food, but it also teaches them to be self-efficient so they’re ready to fly when it comes time to leave the nest. If there’s room in your kitchen space, put in an island with stools. It’s a great place for your children or friends to sit while you are preparing meals.
One of the beauties of custom Stone Creek cabinets and islands is the ability to have the kitchen laid out exactly the way you want it. Stone Creek is not limited to standard box sized cabinets so let your imagination soar! Plus, the rich look of the wood will compliment the other rooms of the house your open kitchen is exposed to. A great room starts with “great” cabinets from Stone Creek. You can check out our kitchens at www.stonecreekfurniture.com. To learn more about Chef Eddie go to www.eddiematneys.com.
Hire a professional to manage your kitchen remodeling or you’re likely to get burned
Many homeowners think they’ll save money by being their own general contractor, but in most cases, you’ll end up losing money versus saving money. Plus, what’s the cost of your sanity? I don’t know about you, but with kids and the job I don’t need anymore stress in my life, so having someone handle the whole job is well worth it. Dan Walker of Heritage Construction Specialists says the most important reason to hire a company or general contractor is to make sure everything is done to code. “You can get into real trouble if you pick the wrong team to remodel your home,” says Walker, “if everything is not done to code, it’s not only dangerous, but you’ll have trouble selling your home down the road after an inspection.” Walker also suggests you ask for a copy of their contractors license and insurance certificate before you sign on the dotted line.
Remodeling your kitchen requires a well-coordinated schedule and a team of professionals that are use to working with each other. You really need a “kitchen remodeling quarterback,” says Ron Jones, president of Stone Creek Furniture.” Jones also knows the importance of hiring a reputable company to do the work. “Many of our kitchen customers have bought furniture from us before, and when they find out we do kitchen remodeling, they’re excited because they finally found a company they can trust to get the job done right.” Jones adds ” having a good reputation and being in the valley for over 19 years really makes a huge difference for consumers, because either they’ve been burned in the past or they know neighbors who have been burned by “fly by night” contractors.”
So how do you know you are hiring a true professional? “Ask for a referral” says Dan Walker. “We always provide a couple of referrals of remodeling jobs we did in the neighborhood so they feel comfortable with our ability.” I remember my wife asking our contractor for referrals when we remodeled our kitchen five years ago. I can still see the softball size Adam’s Apple he tried to swallow when he realized he was handing over referrals to my wife, a lawyer who was a former TV reporter (she even makes me nervous today). But he had nothing to worry about; everyone she talked to had nothing but praise for his company so we were ready to sign.
Good contractors also have great relationships with appliance dealers and are very familiar with the specs and sizes of those products. The synergy between all the sub contractors is vital to a successful kitchen-remodeling job. I had a friend who insisted on hiring her own tile guy to do the kitchen counter top. Well, he decided to put on another sub top on the base cabinets and screwed up the height of the finished product. So, the range top wasn’t even with the counter top, the electric switch covers didn’t fit because the backsplash was higher, the unfinished top of the base cabinet was exposed…it was a nightmare, all because they brought in a switch hitter who had never played with the team before.
What is considered the #1 home improvement project that will add the most value to your home? Kitchen remodeling! When done right, 80%-90% of the cost can be recovered when the home is sold. This makes kitchen remodeling the right home improvement project to start now.
Areas to focus on include new cabinets, flooring, countertops, modern appliances and paint.
To most people, the kitchen is the heart of the home…a place to be enjoyed by all. A beautiful home with an outdated kitchen is probably the single biggest factor in a home not selling (or at least not selling for the desired price). If you have considered remodeling your kitchen but have felt it too expensive or time consuming it is time to determine if that really is the case. Call Stone Creek today to schedule a no obligation appointment to meet with one of our kitchen design experts.
We appreciate it when a Stone Creek Furniture customer takes the time communicate with us. Below is a copy of a letter sent to Ron Jones, President of Stone Creek Furniture.
June 18, 2009
Mr. Ronal e. Jones, President
Stone Creek Furniture
4221 E. Raymond Road, #102
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Dear Mr. Jones:
As you may recall, I sent you a letter dated April 20th, expressing my concerns about the finish on one section of a three section bookcase that had been built for me by Stone Creek. Subsequent to that letter, two your employees promptly came out to our home, picked up the entire bookcase and brought it back to the shop.
The offending section that didn’t match was rebuilt and finished to match the other two original sections. The drawer fronts were also all re-toned to better match the new section and the rest of the bookcase. The refinished bookcase was then delivered to our home last week.
I am very please and, admittedly, relieved as well, to tell you that the bookcase looks great. The focused efforts of your crafts people are quite evident in the workmanship and finish work that has been done.
I also want to tell you how much we appreciated the pleasant, professional manner in when Jeannine worked with us to get the mater resolved. She was very prompt and dependable in her contacts with us, kept us informed, and patiently listened to our concerns.
Finally, we were impressed with the to technicians who delivered the finished bookcase. They were patient, courteous and respectful, and cheerfully assembled the three sections. They adjusted the bookcase into a plumb attitude and also made adjustments to the drawers across the bottom.
Your people went the extra mile for their customer. They made a difficult situation much easier for us to deal with. We know that there was significant extra expense involved for which we have you to thank, particularly in the state of the present economy. We are very grateful to you all.
In the meanwhile, at Jeannine’s suggestion, w have sine contacted Cinemagic to assist us in getting a design and building of the entertainment unit finished. It will be a few weeks before we can complete the selection of electronic components. I will then get back in touch with your design people.
I look forward to working with your company again. Please convey my words of thanks to the involved members of your staff.
As much as I talk about keeping certain areas of the kitchen neutral, I could just as easily remind all of our customers the visual impact of artful display in the kitchen. Nothing could be more boring than a kitchen that just says “kitchen”.
The kitchen is the workhorse of the home and it needs to have personality injected into the space. Your beautiful Stone Creek cabinetry can be set off with a timeless backsplash that will showcase the antique scale you found covered in dust at an auction last summer. Now cleaned up and piled with fresh fruit it brings history and interest to the space not to mention a great conversation piece. Those glass fronted doors on you upper cabinets can tell a story of Grandma’s depression glass and how in her time, you got a piece each time you bought detergent. Kind of like the CrackerJack surprise you get today, but in dish form. There’s alot to be said for a playful personality. Mine has an old crock next to the cooktop that holds my soup ladles and wooden spoons. I even have an old wooden stirrup from a saddle that I use to hold napkins. That’s the one no one understands! It’s my kitchen and I want it to look like me. I love things with a history and even better, a story. Like the produce signs I bought right out of the dirt at a country fruit and vegatable stand a few summers back. The farmer thought I was nuts. Told me to come back in two days because he needed to have his Amish wife paint more signs if I was going to buy his old ones. This farmer wanted to clean them up for me. Are you kidding! I wanted the mud that was splattered on them to stay put. Just the visual of those horses and buggies traveling that country road everyday made those signs even more special.
He must have seen tourist written on my forehead because he charged me an arm and a leg for them but to this day they are one of my prized possessions . They hang in my pantry and not a day goes by that they don’t make me smile.
Now, I’m not saying that your kitchen has to look like mine. It wouldn’t be your personality. But a nest of colorful bowls or that huge vase of forsynthia branches on the island can say alot about you. Our furniture and cabinets speak for themselves. Let artful kitchen display be a big part of what your kitchen says about you.
I would love to help bring life and personality to your kitchen. Fill out the form to the right and we’ll get started.
This week has been a tangle of streets and interstates as I went to the far corners of Phoenix to visit with Stone Creek kitchen clients. From Ahwatukee to Carefree, I keep hearing the question…..What are the “must haves” in kitchen design today? So I’ve come up with my top five. I could actually do more but these rank right up there with all my other lists of top fives. Like the top five appetizers to make for guests or better yet, my top five restaurants in town. I could add the top five things I am waiting for my husband to do around the house, but if truth be told that list is much longer. Enough about him.
So here are my top five:
1. Timeless cabinet style. Stick with the classics. Understated design will stand the test of time. Not only will you not tire of it but if you sell your home down the road the new homeowner will thank you. Adding glass fronts allows you to showcase your china and the contents can be changed on a whim.
2. Islands with seating. Today families entertain in the kitchen. Friends want to be part of the action while you are putting the finishing touches on your special bruschetta. Kids can do homework or crafts here. You can keep an eye on teens when they are on facebook and casual Saturday lunches will always take place here. Not to mention the additional counter space when setting out a buffet or just that expanse of granite to admire. You might even choose a different stain for your island. It will truly make your space feel custom.
3. Energy efficient appliances. I don’t need to elaborate on what a huge benefit this is. Just look at the Energy Star ratings when you visit an appliance store. Your salesman will be able to point out all the benefits. You can also go to energystar.gov for rebate opportunities.
4. Organized storage. This can run the gamut of recycling bins to spice storage and the numerous small appliances we don’t want cluttering our new countertops. Everything should have a place. It makes your kitchen look larger and makes food prep that much easier.
5. Stone Countertops. The queen of countertops is still granite. Engineered quartz is gaining steam but granite will be the front runner for a long time. The best part is going with a client to select their slabs. They are always amazed at the process. Just wearing the hard hat makes them feel special.
I’m sure your list may differ from mine but give me the opportunity to share a few more and I’ll listen to yours. We’ll create the kitchen of your dreams and have all the bells and whistles you can handle. Fill out the form to the right to get started.
I find inspiration in lots of unusual places. It could be a rusted gate that I think would be a great piece of art above the mantel or a colorful matchbook cover in a favorite restaurant. Sometimes you really have to look for inspiration and other times it just falls in your lap. This past weekend it just fell in my lap.
My husband and I decided to get away for a few days to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. He didn’t tell me until just a few days before we were leaving that our destination was wine country in California. I was mentally packing my suitcase with a cozy wrap for the cool evenings and wine country casual for the daytime when he told me that our accomodations would be an old lodge with fireplaces at every turn. This man is speaking my language. I could see us renting bikes and touring wine country with baskets of wine, cheese and that crusty bread that I love. I thought the weekend would be nothing but total relaxation but everytime I turned around I saw something that would be perfect in a Stone Creek kitchen. If it wasn’t the warm patina on an old piece of wood it was a textured stone that could become great backsplash. Even listening to our tour guide at the Grgich Estate and winery made me think of decorating. She was talking of how lunar cycles effect grape growing…My thoughts turned to the cycles of decorating.
She continued to point out how the planting, pruning, and harvesting of the grape was essential to a great bottle of wine. In my mind I’m thinking…the design, construction, perfect layout and the process of choosing the right materials can give you a Stone Creek kitchen to drink her wine in!!! You might say that decorating takes over my life. I just think that inspiration can come in many shapes and forms . Being surrounded by 200 wineries in the span of 4 days can truly relax you. Let me help to bring some relaxation to your kitchen. Just fill out the form to the right and we’ll put some wine country inspiration in your kitchen.
Is it just me or is grey taking center stage? Everywhere I look grey has taken the place of taupe. A recent Nordstrom catalog featured a ton of grey fashions and in one of the 12 decorating magazines that I subscribe to (yes 12) shows everything from a soft grey paint on the walls to a fabulous grey kitchen that just screams vintage french country. Teamed up with a zinc planter to hold the spatulas and ladles it was the epitome of a relaxed, been around awhile kind of feel. Now I know what you are thinking…dull, boring, not all that exciting but if you team it with any accent of yellow, turquise, apple green, red or even black it comes alive and has a very natural feel. Ultimately, I think grey is one of the easiest color schemes to work with. It can go Traditional to Contemporary depending what you accessorize it with. We loved this color so much we’ve added it to our line. If you want a little something unexpected but very livable in your home, fill out the form to the right and let me help put some wonderful grey in your life. I promise it won’t be dull.
If my husband tells me one more time he wants to take me to Italy I’m going to be sick. First the kids were too little to be left with a sitter for that long. When they were in elementary school he thought they would miss us too much. Now that they are teenagers….I don’t need to expand on that one.
Well for now he’s off the hook because I had the opportunity to work with a client on a kitchen that had so much Italian flair that I thought I was in the country itself. All I needed was a Vespa and loaves of Italian bread spilling from the basket to truly take me there. I can almost feel the breeze in my hair.
If it wasn’t the warm aged kitchen cabinets and amazing granite countertops it was the arched windows above the farmhouse sink and don’t get me started on those aged beams. You could almost imagine yourself surrounded with family and friends cooking in there all day and making an event of it. So for now my husband is off the hook. But in a few years the kids will be in college and guess who’s going to Italy!!
If you would like to bring the Italian countryside to your kitchen just fill out the form to the right and let me help bring the flavors and smells of Italy to you.
I just finished working on story boards for all the showrooms …kind of an “IDEA” board if you will. Pulling together a cabinet finish, countertop material, backsplash, fabric etc. You get the point. The one that seems to keep coming up in conversation with customers is the Transitional Style. For the couple that likes traditional , but wants a modern feel, this style delivers. As you can see in the photo ,the cabinet finish (131A) is warm and inviting and teams nicely with the golden crystal granite countertop. The backsplash is an understated 6×6 (PLTiburtino Chiaro) accented with a simple button accent piece. The fabric for counter stools has warm colors but a contemporary feel. I can see an oil rubbed bronze faucet, and complimentary knobs and pulls on the cabinets. Here’s a style that has longevity, appeals to the masses and whether you are staying in your home for years to come or selling in 6 months will have the style equivalent of a classic dress with a fabulous necklace.
If this style appeals to you, just fill out the form at right and we’ll get started.