denver kitchen designer

On the Drawing Board

We are incredibly excited for a new project that will be delivering next month!  This rendering is a view of the kitchen and butler's pantry.  Working with a very neutral palette of warm grays and whites, this whole house is going to be transformed.  Very thankful to Ruggles Mabe Studio for referring us on this wonderful project.  

Kitchen

Kitchen

Butler's Pantry

Butler's Pantry

Master Closet

Master Closet

Piano Bar

Piano Bar

Sanctuary Kitchen Design Featured on Houzz.com

A few months ago, we were contacted for content regarding how to discuss budget with customers by Houzz.com.  We were happy to oblige, and the article went live today!  

Click link below for the whole article: 

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/71148445/list/for-pros-talking-about-the-budget-doesnt-have-to-be-awkward-really

Master Bathroom Before / After

After a few concepts exploring different configurations, our homeowners decided that a free standing tub, his and hers vanities, and a spectacular shower were tops on their list.

Here are the before pictures-

Photos from the completed renovation.  We relocated the shower, tub, and the entrance into the bathroom. 

Following a Kitchen Remodel - Week 3

Although it is tough to tell, there was a lot of progress last week.  The plumbers were able to successfully create new plumbing connections for the main sink, cooktop, and bar sink.  This week, the electricians are in the space, roughing in all the connections necessary for the new appliances and GFCI receptacles required in the kitchen.   

The flooring contractor dropped off some stain samples for our floors, which are going to be refinished starting next week.  Here's a look at our cabinetry finishes along with the flooring samples.  We are leaning towards the natural oak which will receive one treatment of bleach to lighten it and remove any orange / red tones.  We are also specifying a water based finish to prevent any "honey" coloring over the years. 

Here is the favored wood stain next to the new mudroom entry tile.  

On the Drawing Board - Boulder Modern Kitchen

We are very excited to be entering the final design phase of a fantastic project in Boulder.  This project will be quite extensive in scope, as we are moving the kitchen to a completely separate room in the home.  This transformation is going to give the homeowners a phenomal dining room in the space previously occupied by the old kitchen, and allow for a much larger new kitchen in a previously under utilized space.  Below is a rendering of the new kitchen.  

A Custom Shelving Unit Can Add a Lot of Interest to Your Space

This custom shelving unit was created using plumber's pipe and reclaimed boards that were found in a neighbor's back yard.   We think the overall effect is really unique now that it is installed on this tiled wall.  You can achieve some pretty unique looks by mixing materials that wouldn't naturally be found together.  Here, we used steel, reclaimed wood, and a marble-looking tile to create an aesthetic that is eclectic and interesting.    


On the Drawing Board...

What you are looking at is not a photograph!  This is a rendering of an arts and crafts style kitchen that we have been working on for a few months.  I find that the rendering medium is an extremely powerful tool for communicating designs to clients prior to signing off.  This particular kitchen will be new construction in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver. 


Contemporary Powder Bath

Recently completed work!  This powder room in Longmont, CO is clean, simple, and reinforces the fact that small spaces can be amazing and functional without going overboard.  I specified a bamboo plank wall behind the vanity.  The 6" wide planks really warm the space, and the 1/4" gaps between the boards provide a shadow line which is also interesting.  Wall hung vanity keeps the space feeling open and airy and I love the Brizo faucet that is mounted on the wall.  Wall mount faucets are a great option for small spaces because they allow for extra counterspace and are incredibly easy to clean around.  Limestone plank flooring in a herringbone pattern.  I worked in conjunction with Melton Design Build in Boulder, CO on this project.  Melton is an AMAZING construction company.  Their attention to detail and customer service are second to none.  Highly recommended!   

New Projects - Winter 2014/2015

I'm very excited about the projects on the drawing board at the moment.  It will be a busy winter!

Hilltop Neighborhood Denver - Ground has finally been broken on our new build in Hilltop!  My clients are a young family of three and they are building a house to live in and raise their family.  I am very excited about designing their kitchen and bathrooms.  We will be calling upon the white kitchen to anchor the great room on the main floor of this house, and it will be an amazing, comfortable, warm space when I am finished with it.  Drawings are underway and I'm happy to say that I'll have some 3-D renderings of this space before too long to show you.

Secondly, but happening much sooner, is a remodel just up the street from the new home I mentioned earlier.  I'm pleased to announce that we will begin work on a major remodel on a home just acquired by a wonderful family of four that recently relocated from another major city.  This project will entail new walnut flooring throughout the second floor of the home and a major overhaul of the basement which will include a home movie theater, new bar, billiard table area, home fitness gym, and children's arts and crafts room.  We're moving fast on this one and are hoping for a January completion.

Boulder - work continues on our condo remodel on Pearl Street.  As we enter the construction phase of the project, I will keep you updated with quick pics of the progress.

Also in Boulder -  another great young family has retained me to redesign their second floor master suite area.  Plans call for a complete overhaul of the function of this second level of their home.  I am planning for a spectacular master bath retreat complete with free standing tub and custom shower.  We're also going to add a laundry room to the second floor and refinish the existing guest bathroom as part of the scope of work. 

My third project in Boulder for this winter entails a very similar scope of work in redesigning an existing second level in a home to better fit the lifestyle of the hard working couple that owns the house.  I will be working with Melton Design Build again on this project to create a space that works both functionally and aesthetically.  

Bonnie Brae Neighborhood, Denver - We will make some minor alterations to the office and master bathroom of this home in the short term.  Longer term - an addition is in the design phase to connect a detached garage to the main portion of the home.  I will be working with the homeowners to design an interior layout that best maximizes the use of this new space.  Funny story: This will be my second time working on this exact home, but now with different owners! 

Fort Collins - I've recently been retained to redesign a kitchen in an absolutely beautiful home.  The kitchen has obviously been taken care of over the years, but it is in desperate need of a major remodel.  We will be knocking down walls and annexing space from a seldom used formal dining area to create a space that is comfortable, functional, and beautiful.  

I promise to keep you updated on the slate of projects on the drawing board as work progresses.  It will be an exciting winter with a lot of great designs happening!  

Scouting Shots of a White Transitional Kitchen

So you'll notice right off the bat that these are not the highest quality photographs.  That's because I took them myself with my phone camera.  So please forgive the quality!  I posted a few pics earlier this fall of this kitchen in various stages of installation, so hopefully this will tie it all together and you'll get an idea of what the space turned out like.  

The defining feature of the kitchen is definitely the sink wall facing out onto the back yard.  We were unable to remove a soffit due to structural beams in the ceiling, so instead, we tiled the whole wall with herringbone mosaic carrara marble and the installed 3" thick floating shelves with LED puck lights.  

Another feature in this kitchen that is a bit unusual is the use of reclaimed Wyoming dairy barn wood for accent pieces on the back of the island and peninsula.  The gray tones work really well with the carrara marble and Caesarstone countertops.  I also really pushed for the waterfall edges on the ends of the island, and I am so glad the homeowners decided to go for it.  

mearsforblog3.jpg

The floating shelves are 3" thick and have a small detail on the top and bottom edge.  I used 2-1/4" LED puck lights (3 on each side) as undercabinet lighting.  The pucks are aesthetically pleasing and provide for valuable light on the countertop surface, which is Frosty Carrina, by Caesarstone.

News, News, News

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post!  I've been busy the past few weeks and unfortunately, sometimes social media has to take a backseat to real work taking place...

New projects:  

An industrial modern home, built by Austin Signature Homes, is nearing the interior finish phase.  Austin Signature Homes has been a premier builder in Denver for more than 30 years and I am excited about working with them.  This particular home is located in Observatory Park.  We are working with rift cut white oak, textured laminates, and large format glass as finishing colors and textures in the kitchen and bathrooms.  

Second, a referral from an old client led me to a really fun young couple that is building a new home in Hilltop.  They plan on breaking ground in the next month or so.  While we are still a few months away from framing, it's never too early to start planning and designing.  

Our master bathroom remodel in Evergreen comes to a close this week.  It has come along nicely and we just finished painting the walls a great color by Benjamin Moore called Revere Pewter.   I'll have some shots of the final space in a few weeks.  Oh by the way, we are on budget and on schedule with this one, as usual!

Last but not least, I'm happy to announce that I've officially moved into an office shared by two other great companies: Jones Custom Builders and Hive Architects.  I have worked with both on a couple of projects over the past few years.  Architecture, construction, and design all under one roof.  Not a bad combo!

 

 

 

Denver Polo Club Kitchen by Chris Awadalla featured in 5280 Home Magazine Autumn 2014 Issue

I was happy to design the kitchen for this project by interior designer Megan Kane in Denver's Polo Club neighborhood, just south of Cherry Creek.  Jones Custom Builders did a wonderful job, as always, implementing the great design with amazing craftsmanship.

Click below for full article!

http://www.5280.com/dwell/magazine/2014/08/hit-refresh


http://www.5280.com/dwell/magazine/2014/08/hit-refresh

Here are 15 Ways to Add Really Functional Storage to Your New Kitchen

If you haven't checked out Houzz.com yet and you are planning on remodeling or building a new home....go there now!  It is stocked full of great ideas for those of us that love design, architecture, and construction.

Click on the link below to read an article that highlights some unique ways to add functional storage to your kitchen.  

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/15629224

Progress of Our White Transitional Kitchen Remodel in Boulder

This transitional white kitchen is shaping up to be a proper space.  My clients have been incredibly great to work with, so I am excited about the fact that they will be using this kitchen in a few short weeks.   

We had a solid concept in the initial planning stages & I was very happy with the way things were drawn up....However, I think that now that the finishing items are being delivered and being installed I'm even more happy about the way it will turn out.  White cabinetry, white Caesarstone countertops and herringbone carrara are going to make this kitchen pop.  

Here are a few progress photos...and I'm happy to say AHEAD of schedule!  

The peninsula will house the 5 burner gas cooktop and downdraft.  The island will now be used solely for prep surface.  Previously, the island was almost unusable because the cooktop took up the entire surface.  

The peninsula will house the 5 burner gas cooktop and downdraft.  The island will now be used solely for prep surface.  Previously, the island was almost unusable because the cooktop took up the entire surface.  

The stainless steel farmhouse sink will provide a nice modern contrast to some rustic elements we are incorporating into the design

The stainless steel farmhouse sink will provide a nice modern contrast to some rustic elements we are incorporating into the design

One thing that will really give this space a truly unique feel is the incorporation of some reclaimed barn wood that I found at Front Range Timber in Denver.  Love those guys.  They go to Wyoming and tear down old dairy farms, then repurpose the planks for projects such as ours...

Reclaimed barn wood will wrap the back of the island and the peninsula.

Reclaimed barn wood will wrap the back of the island and the peninsula.

Here are a few pics of tile that we will be using in the space. 

This amazing pattern is being installed around the fireplace surround, which is visible from the kitchen

This amazing pattern is being installed around the fireplace surround, which is visible from the kitchen

1 x 2 Carrara Herringbone backsplash

1 x 2 Carrara Herringbone backsplash

There will be a lot of work happening in the next two weeks in this space that will dramatically transform it.  I'll keep you posted!  

Planning for Switches and Outlets in Your Kitchen Design

It is quite easy to overlook the placement of GFCI receptacles (outlets) and light switches in your kitchen design.  We use these items so often that they become an oversight because they're always just "there" when you need them.  However, somebody had to think about where to put that light switch or that GFCI outlet.  It didn't just appear there...

I use a few simple guidelines for switch and outlet placement when designing my clients' spaces.  Simply spending a few minutes in the design phase to lay out these items can make a big difference in the overall function of a finished space.

Outlet Specification and Placement

Have you ever heard of a "decora" style switch or receptacle but were unsure of what it meant?  It refers to a line of outlets and switches manufactured by Leviton.  The "rocker-style" switches and square styled receptacles look more modern and have more features than the old school style of outlets, so they are preferred by most homeowners.  

Each municipality has its own requirements and codes for the placement of GFCI receptacles in the kitchen.  So you'll need to ask your electrician what the exact distances are for your town.  However, I can tell you that in its most general sense, you will need GFCI receptacles in the following locations in every kitchen:

  • Within approximately 2 feet of the outside edge of any sink located along a wall
  • On an island: one receptacle on each end of the island
  • On a peninsula: one receptacle on the end of the peninsula
  • On the kitchen walls: one receptacle every 2 feet (approximate.  Again, check with your electrician for the exact dimensions required by your town's codes)

If you don't want to see GFCI receptacles in your kitchen backsplash, you can also use what's called "plug mold".  Plug mold is more costly than standard outlets and more difficult to plan for and install, but it's very convenient and it completely hides your required outlets up under the wall cabinets.  

Plug mold is a great alternative to standard outlets in the kitchen backsplash.  There are several manufacturers of plug mold.  

Plug mold is a great alternative to standard outlets in the kitchen backsplash.  There are several manufacturers of plug mold.  

Another option I love for new kitchen outlets is the new Adorne line of receptacles and switches by Legrand.

The pop out outlet from Legrand is a great look in every kitchen

The pop out outlet from Legrand is a great look in every kitchen

Outlets are a necessary eye-sore in every room, but most important in the kitchen.  When planning your kitchen outlets, think about where you will place your small countertop appliances and where you'd like to have them plugged in.  When in doubt, add an outlet.  

You'll also want to think about where you'll charge your phone, tablet, and other mobile devices.  When space allows, I always plan for a charging station in the kitchen.  Not every kitchen has the room for it, but most do.  Having a spot to charge your devices away from where food preparation occurs is a very nice thing.  So don't forget to think about that aspect as well.  

Switch Placement in the Kitchen

When laying out the switch placement in a kitchen, I always start by looking at the traffic patterns of the space.  Most kitchens have 2 main entrances, sometimes three.  I will identify those spots and locate my switches for the main ceiling lighting (most of the time it's the recessed cans) in a spot where they are easily accessed by those entrances.  I almost always specify dimmers for the main can lighting.  

The undercabinet lighting is usually switched somewhere in the kitchen backsplash.  It is helpful to label the switches so that guests know what they're looking for when trying to turn on lights.  

Accent lighting can be switched almost anywhere.  (Accent lighting refers to the interior cabinet lights, or perhaps downlighting under the toekick).   Just make sure you think about it before the electrician shows up and decides for himself where it should go without consulting you first!

Whisper Switch from Legrand

Whisper Switch from Legrand

The main guidelines to follow are below.  Sometimes, giving an unglamorous subject (such as switches and outlets) just a few minutes of thought is all it takes to really save yourself some major headaches down the road!  

  1. Ensure that all GFCI requirements are met in your kitchen.  This means you will need outlets near the sinks, on the ends of the island or peninsula, and also above any courter surface - in the wall.
  2. Think about what sort of receptacles you want to see.  Are you OK with the old style outlets and switches?  Or would you prefer to spend a little more and get some modern outlets that have a better look?
  3. Identify the major entrances / exits to the kitchen.  Place switches for the main ceiling lighting at these locations.  Use a three way switch that will allow you to operate the lights from more than one entrance for best convenience.  Identify which lights should have dimmers and communicate to electrician.
  4. The switch placement for undercabinet or accent lighting can be placed anywhere you choose.  However, ensure that you think about this prior to the work being commenced.
  5. Spend a little bit of time thinking about what sort of phones or tablets you might want to keep in the kitchen and where you will charge them.  Do you want an exposed countertop area where your devices will be out in the open for everyone to see?  Or would you prefer to hide them behind doors?  Both of these options are available to you, it is really a matter of deciding which you prefer early in the design process and then planning accordingly.  

 

 

A Modern Bathroom in Greenwood Village - Scouting Shots

Scouting shots from a recent bathroom remodel in Greenwood Village. Here are some of the highlights...

 

Cracked glass floor detail...Axor tub filler and faucets...custom Anegre veneer high polish cabinetry. 

Cracked glass floor detail...Axor tub filler and faucets...custom Anegre veneer high polish cabinetry. 

We used a really great luminescent tile for an accent in the shower.  The wall tile is a 12x24 porcelain that is very similar to crema marfil marble. 

We used a really great luminescent tile for an accent in the shower.  The wall tile is a 12x24 porcelain that is very similar to crema marfil marble. 

 

Axor fixture, shown in front of the niche we built for additional storage. The storage niche is great for the homeowners' electric toothbrushes and has its own LED lighting and GFCI receptacles. 

Axor fixture, shown in front of the niche we built for additional storage. The storage niche is great for the homeowners' electric toothbrushes and has its own LED lighting and GFCI receptacles. 

Shower niche

Shower niche

The free standing tub is by Hydro Systems, and the tub filler is the Axor Massaud.  Striking!

The free standing tub is by Hydro Systems, and the tub filler is the Axor Massaud.  Striking!

7 Ways to Enjoy Your Kitchen Remodeling Experience

It's been a little over four years since I wrote, "8 Steps for a Successful Kitchen Remodel".  I received a lot of positive feedback about it.  That article was meant to provide a very basic look at what to expect during a kitchen (or bathroom) remodel.  There is a lot of information pertaining to expectations, responsibilities, and order of events.  So if you have never remodeled before - OR perhaps you just want to find out a little bit about my process, click on that link above to access that article.

This post is more geared towards providing some positive insights into how you and your family can not only survive, but ENJOY your remodeling experience.  There is a misconception that every remodel has to be a stressful, drawn out process with absolutely no joy in it.  And while ripping out your kitchen (or bath) can be anxiety-inducing; it shouldn't keep you up at night.  

7 Ways to Enjoy Your Kitchen Remodeling Experience 

1. Document everything with the idea that you will create a picture book about the experience once complete.  Check out www.mypublisher.com, or you can use the iPhoto Print Services online if you are an Apple junky like me.  Take detailed before pictures.  Try to take photos of every conceivable angle and if you can, envision where the most dramatic view points will be when the project is complete.  Taking a shot every single day isn't totally necessary, but I always take a quick photo of the major progress items, (cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc...)  Take the "after" shots keeping in mind where you took your "before" shots.  If you can stand in the same location-even better!  Put the before/after shots side by side for a dramatic effect.  This documentary of the progress of work can be really fun to look through a year or two after completion.

Well planned out temp kitchens make life much nicer for you when your real kitchen is ripped apart.

Well planned out temp kitchens make life much nicer for you when your real kitchen is ripped apart.

2. Plan your temporary kitchen space ahead of time.  So important!  Here's what you'll need: 

  • Cooking Appliances:  For about $50-$100 you can buy a couple of electric or induction table top burners that plug into a regular outlet.  In addition to your burners, set up a small microwave in a convenient location.  You'll use the microwave a LOT over the next few months.  
  • 6 foot folding table.  If you have room for two of these, even better.  You'll need a surface for your table top burners, microwave, etc.  
  • Trash can
  • Disposable dinnerware.  I know it is wasteful, but you're not a terrible person if you use disposable plates and forks for a few months.  There are several options that are recyclable as well.  Try to minimize the dishes you have to do after your meals. 
  • Get a bus box from a restaurant supply store.  Use it as as catch-all for dirty dishes.  

3. Plan Dinners with Friends You Haven't Seen in a While.  How long have you been planning to have dinner with that couple you love but haven't seen in 6 months?  In fact, how many friends do you need to catch up with?  If you are like me, then it's probably quite a few.  What better way to get away from the construction zone AND get a free dinner than going over to your friend's house???  You'll have some fantastic conversation topics to talk about over dinner.  It's OK to have an extra glass of wine too. You deserve it after living through this remodel...

4. Take Weekend Excursions.  What?  Go on a vacation during a remodel?  Well, a lot of us can't afford to take a big vacation while simultaneously paying for a big kitchen renovation.  For those of you that CAN - this is the best way to survive in style.  I hear Cabo is great this time of year...But for those of us that need to be a little bit more frugal during the renovation, taking a weekend excursion to that mountain town you haven't explored is a great way to get away.  Go camping, take a trip to see relatives.  In short - just get out and do something that requires you to stop thinking about what type of granite you should decide on for one weekend!

5. Watch a Tradesmen Do His (or her) Work for About 30 Minutes.  Most tradesmen would probably be cool with you taking an interest in their job.  This tip is not for everyone.  But for those of you that are interested in residential construction, it is a great way to learn something new while also getting on the good side of your subcontractors.

6. Use the Grill!  The grill is still my favorite cooking surface.  My family grills year round.  Yep.  Not uncommon to see me in boot deep snow firing up the grill in January.  A) minimal clean up, B) great flavor, C) large cooking surface.  Have a BBQ & tell your friends to bring a side.  You can cook anything on the grill and show off the progress of your kitchen renovation to everyone.

7. Create a Time Capsule with Your Children.  It's amazing what you pull out of old houses during a renovation.  50 year old newspapers, family photos, etc.  Well, why not leave a little something for the next family that lives in your home and decides to remodel?  Kids will probably really enjoy this exercise (unless they're teenagers, in which case they probably hate everything).  Ask them to grab one or two small items or photographs.  Add a current newspaper article or this month's 5280 Magazine.  Stuff it all into a mason jar and maybe include a nice note wishing the next homeowners luck.  You might stuff it into the new wall you're framing out or perhaps put it in the crawlspace in a corner where nobody will find it for a very long time.  Either way, it will be fun for your next homeowners.  

 

 

Scouting Shots from a Modern Project in Boulder

This European-inspired kitchen is truly one of a kind.  The high gloss finish was actually created using the same process that car detailers use to get a reflective shine out of automobiles.  The color is called Gauntlet Gray from Sherwin Williams. We really liked it because it actually reads a bit lavender once sprayed on the cabinets.  

The high gloss cabinetry is contrasted by pure white Caesarstone countertops (Blizzard 2141) and a matte gray finish for all the base cabinets

The high gloss cabinetry is contrasted by pure white Caesarstone countertops (Blizzard 2141) and a matte gray finish for all the base cabinets

Channel construction eliminated the need for any hardware below the countertops...

Base cabinetry - metal channel construction eliminates need for hardware

Base cabinetry - metal channel construction eliminates need for hardware

So as you can see the hood is not installed and the backsplash is also yet to be installed.  Here's a picture of the tile that will be used in conjunction with a 12x36 pure white tile on the splash. 

The marble accents in this mosaic should provide some warmth and implied texture to the kitchen...

The marble accents in this mosaic should provide some warmth and implied texture to the kitchen...

I also designed some refined cabinetry for the pantry.  It's minimalistic by design and provides tons of storage for coats, cleaning supplies, cook books, and more.  

The pantry provides functional storage and keeps mops, brooms, and coats out of sight.  

The pantry provides functional storage and keeps mops, brooms, and coats out of sight.  

I specified all opaque white glass doors for the wall cabinetry.  Blum Aventos hinges provide a "wow factor" when opening and closing the cabinets.  

The lift up hinges are super silky.  

The lift up hinges are super silky.