Case Study: A Bathroom Remodel for Functionality and Glamour

This bathroom remodel features a clawfoot tub and gorgeous cabinetry.Kingswood Designs had the opportunity to completely renovate a master bathroom in a McMurray, PA home. The home was built in the 1990s, and the master bath was outdated and in need of a refresh.

The Bathroom: Before

The existing master bathroom consisted of two rooms. The first room contained a vanity, while the other room contained a shower, tub, toilet and an additional vanity. There were also walk-in closets connected with the bathroom. This layout divided up the space and made it less functional.

The homeowners had a few important goals for their renovation:

  • Open up the floor plan.
  • Create better functionality.
  • Update the decor.

The Design Process

To help our clients achieve their goals, we presented two design options. In the end, the client decided that there were elements of both designs that they loved. So, we combined the two designs into one that the client could fall in love with.

To get started, we did a complete tear out of the bathroom and eliminated the walls, so we could give the client the open concept they desired. In the end, we were able to greatly increase the amount of usable square footage by removing the whirlpool tub and knocking down the walls.

In order to accommodate the new layout, we moved all major plumbing for the tub, shower and sinks. We also built in a water closet to provide privacy when using the restroom.

The Bathroom: AfterBathroom remodel featuring a glass shower.

Once the client had settled on a design and the bathroom was cleared out, it was time to make the design come to life.

Cabinetry

We helped the client select charming open glass shelving that displayed their personal items and decor. We used a semi-custom cabinetry line that fit the client’s tastes. To create more counter space, we bumped out the vanity in front of the linen cabinet. This was a decorative touch that also added a lot of functionality. Finally, we also added a separate makeup vanity, so the client had a comfortable space to get ready and store cosmetics.

Countertops

The client wanted countertops with a high-end look, without high maintenance. We knew that quartz countertops were the perfect solution.

Flooring

Sleek porcelain plank flooring was chosen to complement the countertops and cabinets. We ran the flooring in a direction that makes the room appear larger.

Lighting

Such a glamorous bathroom was deserving of very ornate lighting to complete the look. We added a crystal chandelier over the clawfoot bathtub. Recessed lighting and increased ventilation were also installed.

Following the renovation, the clients were beyond excited about their functional, serene bathroom. They had a new bathtub, new shower, and completely new layout. It was designed for their personal tastes and requirements, and was completed on time. It was a very successful job, thanks to the talents of the clients’ designer and project manager here at Kingswood Designs.

The Work Triangle Vs. Work Zones

Work with a kitchen designer to decide whether the work triangle or work zones are best for your kitchen.If you’re considering a renovation to your kitchen space, planning the layout of your kitchen design is the most important step. Deciding the location of the appliances and kitchen features will have an impact on how functional, convenient and comfortable your kitchen is.

For example, imagine the layout of your kitchen has your cabinets and sink on one side of the kitchen space and your dishwasher all the way on the other side. It would take a lot longer to load and unload your dishwasher because you’ll have to carry dishes across the kitchen space.

When planning your kitchen design, there are two basic layout options. You can choose the traditional work triangle or the use of more modern work zones. The work triangle has been around for decades, since the refrigerator became a staple of the kitchen. With the popularity of larger kitchens that open to adjacent rooms, work zones have also emerged as an effective kitchen layout alternative.

How do you choose which is best for you?

The Kitchen Work Triangle

The kitchen work triangle has been considered the best way to design a kitchen for years. It’s a concept that’s been put to use since the 1940’s, back when kitchens were often smaller.

The kitchen triangle layout focuses on the triangular arrangement of the three main appliances in the kitchen: the oven, refrigerator and sink. These are also the three main work areas. By placing them equal distance from one another, you create a triangular shape. This makes it easy to get from one work area to another as quickly as possible.

The Rules of the Kitchen Work Triangle

There are a few rules that you should follow to create an effective work triangle. Generally, the distance between each appliance – or work area – should be no less than four feet and no more than nine feet apart from one another. This ensures that your kitchen isn’t too cramped, and that each work area is a convenient distance from the other.

Because every kitchen is shaped differently, there are different approaches to the kitchen work triangle. In some cases, your sink may be closer to your stove than it is to your refrigerator. Or you may have a kitchen island that sits in the center of your kitchen space. Kitchen work triangles typically work best for smaller kitchen designs that emphasize food preparation and cleanup over everything else.

The Kitchen Work Zones

Kitchen work zones don’t exactly represent a completely different alternative to the work triangle. Instead, they are more of an evolution of the work triangle.

The role of the kitchen has changed dramatically over the past few decades. The kitchen space isn’t just an area used for the preparation of food anymore. Today, families use the kitchen as a secondary dining space as well as a space to entertain. Many families even use the kitchen space for office work or homework as well. It has become much more communal than it ever was before.

In addition to the fact that the basic function of a kitchen has broadened over the years, kitchens have also grown in size. This is not only a result of the ways in which the kitchen has grown in use, but also due to the use of different appliances. More homeowners have begun implementing dishwashers, microwaves, larger refrigerator units, secondary sinks, wall ovens and more into their kitchen designs.

What has all of this meant for the work triangle? It’s grown a bit obsolete for families who want to use their kitchen for multiple purposes and want to incorporate many large appliances. This is where work zones come in. The basic principle of a work zone is to divide the kitchen up into different areas, or “zones,” in which fixtures and appliances are grouped together according to their use.

The Rules of Creating Kitchen Work Zones

When planning out work zones, think about the different functions you’re planning to have for your kitchen. Then think about the tasks that you will be performing regularly, like storing food, meal prep, cooking, baking, serving, eating and cleaning. Each zone should be set up to perform specific tasks.

Take the task of cleaning for example. A zone set up for cleaning would most likely consist of a sink, counter space, a dishwasher and a nearby compost and garbage bin. This makes cleaning efficient since you can stay within that one zone.

Each zone should also have enough storage space so that you don’t have to wander out of the zone to complete a task. For example, your spices and cooking ware should be stored within the same zone as your stove. Counter landing spaces should be used between each zone as a transitional area to help improve efficiency and safety.

For larger kitchen spaces, you may want more than one of a particular feature or appliance. For example, you may want a sink for your clean up zone as well as a secondary sink for your food prep zone. If you only have one sink, you’ll have to plan the zones so that they are able to share that sink.

You should also think about the other ways your family will use the kitchen. Will you be entertaining? Do you want to be able to see into your living room, so you can interact with the kids or your guests while you cook? Maybe one side of your kitchen island is set up as an entertainment and serving zone, where people can eat snacks, do work or socialize with whoever is using the kitchen. You may want to strengthen this zone by adding outlets for a laptop and other devices.

There are a lot of differences between a kitchen work triangle and work zones. Deciding on which one to use depends on a number of different factors. How are you planning on using your kitchen? How many appliances do you plan on installing? How much space do you have?

Talk over your priorities with your designer. They’ll help you decide which design is best for you, your family, and your space. Then, they will help you determine whether a work triangle or the use of work zones will suit your kitchen design the best.

5 Tips for Preparing Your Kitchen for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about how to prepare your home for a grand celebration! If you are planning to have friends and family over for Thanksgiving, you want to give yourself plenty of time to get your kitchen and dining area ready for food and fun.

Here are our best tips to keep in mind when preparing your kitchen for a Thanksgiving feast.

Prepare your kitchen for your Thanksgiving feast.

  1. Get Your Equipment and Appliances Ready

One of the most important steps in preparing for Thanksgiving is to make sure your kitchen appliances are in good working condition. Check everything – from the fridge, to the blender, to the mixer – to make sure everything is functioning properly.

If anything is not working, now is the time to consider purchasing a new appliance. You need everything in perfect working order to make the best Thanksgiving dinner yet!

  1. Make Sure You Have Enough Seating

Take a close look at the amount of seating you have available in your kitchen or dining room area. Make sure you can find a space for everyone to sit. If your dining table isn’t quite large enough to accommodate your guests, you can place stools around your kitchen island for extra seating.

But keep an open floor plan in mind when you’re setting chairs and moving furniture. Keeping things open will ensure your guests can flow easily from room to room and around the serving area.

  1. Create Room for Food Prep

Creating a Thanksgiving feast requires a large food preparation area. So, you’ll want to remove all unnecessary items from your countertops. Then you need to thoroughly clean your countertops so you can set up a clean, organized workspace. We recommend using non-abrasive cleansers, no matter what kind of countertops you have. Stay away from products that contain ammonia, bleach or acid to keep your countertops in top shape.

Once you’ve cleared your counters and know how much space you have available, create a cooking plan for the day. Think about everything you need to cook and make sure there is an appropriate place to prep everything and a place to keep everything while the rest of your meal finishes up.

  1. Decide on Buffet or Family Style Serving

You should decide early on if you want to serve your Thanksgiving feast buffet style or family style. Buffet style is when everyone gets up to get their food from a buffet line. Family style is when the food is passed around the table.

So how do you decide? Think about the space you have available to place the food. If you have plenty of counter space, buffet style may be the best option. But if counter space is limited, choose to put the food on the table or a nearby counter and pass it around the table family style.

No matter which option you select, make sure you have enough serving dishes and platters to serve each dish. You also may want to have some slow cookers or hot plates available to help keep the food warm while waiting to serve your feast.

  1. Have Containers for Leftovers Ready

One of the best things about Thanksgiving…the leftovers! The last thing you want to do after preparing, serving and eating a big meal is to spend a lot of time searching for storage containers to keep your leftovers in. A few days before Thanksgiving, put all your food storage containers together in one place and make sure each container has a matching lid. You also want to have plenty of plastic wrap available to place over the food.

Planning ahead for your Thanksgiving feast can save you a lot of stress and headaches. If you prepare ahead of time, you will have plenty of time to get your kitchen and dining area in order for all the festivities. In turn, you can relax and enjoy this special day with your friends and family members!

 

Why Use Granite Countertops?

Granite countertops are a centerpiece in this kitchen.
Granite is a dense natural material that is perfectly suited for installation in high usage areas. This makes it an ideal material to be used as a kitchen countertop. This igneous rock provides an exceptional hard surface that will last a lifetime. It is undeniable that granite is one of the most beautiful and functional surfaces that can be installed in a home.

Granite countertops have a rich beauty that few other surfaces can match. A natural material with a timeless appeal, they can take your remodeled kitchen or bathroom to new visual heights. They can even become the centerpiece of the room!

With hundreds of shades of granite to choose from, there is an option for every homeowner. Plus, they are durable and will last a lifetime. Here are some of the reasons you should use granite countertops in your home’s design:

Unmatched Durability

Did you know granite is second only to diamonds in terms of hardness? In addition to its longevity, granite’s hard, dense stone makes it very resistant to damage, including eroding acids like citrus juices and vinegar. It does not easily scratch, nor will it burn and warp if a hot pan is placed on its surface. Once installed, granite countertops will last a lifetime. You’ll only need to replace them when you’re ready for a change!

Under normal wear and tear, granite resists scratching, cracking, and chipping because it is heat resistant. But if you do somehow chip or crack your granite countertops, they are simple to fix.

Endless Design OptionsUsing granite countertops in your kitchen guarantees a polished look.

Granite is made of many various types of crystals. Each slab of granite has unique coloring and veining. Often granite is sold in shades of white, beige, black, blue, green, or gray. The crystal mica has a metallic luster, while feldspar, hornblende, and biotite all give granite its many colors. Large pieces of quartz make up the majority of granite, which is responsible for granite’s resilience to heat, impact, and daily wear. And because no two pieces of granite are ever the same, your kitchen countertops are truly a one-of-a-kind design.

The high gloss finish that is applied enhances the natural beauty of the stone, making it even more appealing. With so many varieties of granite available, it is easy to match existing cabinets, floors, and paint colors. The color of the granite can even serve as inspiration for an entirely new kitchen design.

Maintenance is a Breeze

Although granite countertops don’t always need to be sealed, it does help them resist dirt and spills that may cause etching and staining. When properly sealed, granite countertops are almost maintenance free. At Kingswood Designs, we recommend sealing your granite about every two to three years to keep them in top shape.

Granite is moisture-resistant, but it is still porous. Using a sealant blocks liquids from seeping in. Instead, they bead on the surface for you to wipe away. When properly sealed, granite countertops are almost maintenance free, offering worry-free upkeep and easy clean-up with soap and water.

Another wonderful feature of granite is how sanitary it is. In a kitchen where food is handled every day, this is a particularly important feature. The polished surface lacks any porous areas. This treatment keeps it safe from the dangerous bacteria that plague other materials used as countertops. For those seeking an environmentally friendly countertop, granite is also recyclable and often repurposed.

Here are a few simple tips for easy granite countertop maintenance:

  • Blot up spills immediately.

Acidic substances like wine, tomatoes, and fruit juices can stain the surface, as can cooking oils.

  • Use a soft sponge or cloth and hot water for quick clean-ups.

Repeated use of soap can cause a build-up and dull granite’s natural shine. Use a specially formulated natural stone cleaner instead.

  • Use trivets, hot pads, and coasters.

It’s true that you can put a hot pan directly on granite, but it is always a good habit to use trivets, hot pads, and coasters.

Beauty and Function Combined

If you want a countertop material that is beautiful and functional, there’s almost no better choice than granite. Created by nature and crafted by man, granite perfectly complements your kitchen’s other design elements. It works beautifully with wood cabinets and, depending on the color and pattern you choose, looks stunning with bronze, brass, copper, pewter, and stainless faucets and fixtures. They can handle the daily use of kitchen knives and tools without the scratching that is common to standard countertops. The smooth surface also serves as the perfect workspace for baking!

Affordability

Granite countertops are readily available and highly affordable. Plus, they last a lifetime, which makes them a smart investment. As an added bonus, granite countertops also boost the value of your home.

Granite countertops looks great in your bathroom as well.

Understand Your Granite Countertop Warranty

A granite countertop is an important investment in your home, and not only do you you want to ensure that you are getting a high quality stone, but that you have a good warranty to protect your investment. Different manufacturers each offer different types of warranties, and it is important to be informed in advance so that you know exactly what you are getting.

What is the time period of the warranty?

Many different manufacturers have term limits on their warranty, such as 10 year, 15 year, and even lifetime. Each warranty comes with its own conditions and specifications, so getting a lifetime warranty is not necessarily the best if the terms and conditions are extremely limited.

What exactly does the warranty cover?

A countertop is under daily assault from regular household use, and even in the best of materials, stains, chips and cracks can occur. You’ll want to see specifically which types of damage are covered by your warranty, and see what is involved regarding labor, replacement costs, and materials.

Does my warranty require yearly sealing treatment or specific products?

It is important to follow the terms of your warranty, including its recommendations, in order to get the most life out of your countertops and keep them looking like new. It is also essential to know whether the warranty can be voided if the recommendations are not followed.

Is my warranty transferable?

Should you decide to sell your property in the future, a transferable warranty is an excellent selling point. A transferable warranty means that it transfers along with the title of your property to the new owner. Also check to see if there are any limitations regarding the transfer.

How to Choose Your Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are a valuable investment in your home. One of the most attractive options you have when choosing your counters, they bring a special warmth and unique look to your kitchen. Keep them well-maintained and they’ll give you outstanding beauty and performance for years to come!

So how do you choose the right granite countertops for your project?

Understanding Granite Price Ranges

Granite pricing ranges from the letters A to Z, depending on the variation of the granite. Each letter correlates with a price point; with A being the lowest and Z the highest in price. A uniform piece of granite will be closer to an A; a high variation pattern will be closer to a Z. Each slab at Mont is marked with a letter.

Selecting Your Granite

Now that you understand the price ranges, you can browse the wide variety of inventory that Mont Granite has to offer. Be sure to take your time, because of the longevity of granite, you want to select a style that appeals to your taste and complements the look of your home. Once you have found the perfect slab of granite that appeals to you, you can tag it with your name and Mont Granite will hold your slab(s) for a maximum of 14 days.

Completing Your Granite Experience

Once you have selected the perfect granite for your home, the expert staff at Kingswood Designs will guide you through the remainder of the process and answer any questions that you may have. The design consultants at Kingswood Designs are experts in their field, with a strong commitment to not only meeting their customers’ expectations, but exceeding them. We also know that countertop fabrication shouldn’t hold up your project. We’ll cut and fabricate your granite countertops right in our granite shop located below our showroom!

We will also pair you with a dedicated designer who will help you choose the right granite countertops for your style. The process is simple, as our team walks you through everything, and make sure it all stays on track.

To discover more about how granite countertops can be the perfect choice for your remodeled kitchen, call or email us today. We always make sure to get the job done without any interruption to your lifestyle!