Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kitchen & Bath Industry Show Highlights- See what's new!

I recently traveled to Chicago to spend 2 days at KBIS. Here are a few of the items that stood out to me.


Hollinsbrook- Cambria
Bradshaw - Cambria

CAMBRIA- Quartz stone tops, they have some wonderful new colors being released, and so natural looking it was amazing, the 4 new colors should a great addition to their line. Here is the link to check the rest of their colors.


 ART FOR EVERYDAY- Cabinetry moldings and parts. Some new products that are hitting the design scene. Legs, Corbels, Molding pieces. The New Art Collection has some moderns twists on and old Classic. Here is their link to check out the rest of the Collections.


LED- Spotlights- Hafele 

LED Puck lights- Hafele
HAFELE- This company provides hardware for cabinetry, operational hardware for cabinetry, lighting, organizational features for inside cabinetry. Here is their link to check the full product offerings.

LED Recessed lighting strip
LED Strip Lighting 
LED Ribbon Strip- Hafele

Sliding Doors w/ Frontino from Hafele
"(02-01-2012) Hafele America Co. is pleased to announce Frontino, an innovative hardware that allows sliding doors to sit flush on tracks, instead of on separate tracks like others in the market.  The Frontino closes quietly and gently and is a great alternative to the noise and slam you can get from hinged doors.  Unlike hinged doors, sliding doors maximum available space as doors don’t open outwards taking up space.  The Frontino is great for Aging in Place because sliding doors allow easier access to cabinet interiors for those who may be in a wheelchair or need the assistance of a walker.  The hardware is also very useful in the kitchen because doors can stay open while meals are being prepared.  “Sliding doors are a stylish, functional and practical choice for every kitchen!  The Frontino takes sliding to the next level by saving space,” says Mae Holler, Product Marketing Manager for Frontino. "

Hafele- Appliance Handles 


Richelieu- Sliding Door System
Richelieu-Sliding Ladder
RICHELIEU- This  hardware vendor provides cabinetry knobs, lighting, operational hardware for cabinetry, and much more. Here is their link to you can check the entire product line. 
Richelieu- Curved Rod Closet


Toto Aquia Dual Flush

TOTO- This company provides plumbing fixtures and more. They are in my opinion one of the best made toilets on the market. They also offer much more here are a few items for you to see. One item that being released soon is a toilet that only requires 1.0 GPF with cyclone flushing.  Here is their link for you to check more.
Toto- Neorest Dual Flush
Toto- Soiree Free Standing 

 A few new vendors also caught my eye.

Shower floors
Corner benches
ARB  Plantation Teak Products
This was beautifully hand crafted and no oil applied. Here is the link to check out their product line
Shower benches

The Wall Art is a heated unit

Warmly Yours- This a company I have used for years on floors for heating bathrooms, kitchen and much more. I saw this item and I thought you would enjoy seeing the latest and greatest. It heats the room, it can be art work or functional mirrors with or with out lighting.

A mirror with lighting and heater

I have much more that I can share, but I felt this companies had the most interesting new products, technologies, and styles to offer the Design Industry. It was very inspiring to see all the new products available to the Design Industry. 

Sincerely Yours 
Angie Keyes CKD

Monday, April 30, 2012

Is Design for your home really free? Is it worth it? How do you know?

      When you start on the path of a remodeling project or new construction, how do decide where to go?  With all the information at our fingertips today, I think we go to the internet to start our search. Do the websites draw you in or is it basic information they offer that you seek?

     So, now you select a few places to go or call. Do you make appointments or just walk in? If you look at builders instead of cabinet retailers, most don't really have showrooms or do they? Cabinet shops do have materials to see. Do look at the details of the showroom? Do they reflect current trends and is it clean place? Do they charge for design or is it just free? I think we all know nothing is really free, more than likely it's in their overall profit margin to cover the cost of the showroom and employees. I am very curious to hear about your first impressions of the places and people you talked with.

    How do you judge if the person you're talking with has the skills to do a functional, yet beautiful design? How do they listen? Do they ask questions or do you just tell them what you want?  Do you know what you want and the bigger question is will your ideas work? Do you have the proper storage, does the traffic flow work for you? What about how you cook and work in the space? Is there more than one cook, does it needs to be more than just a place to cook? What about the bath? Is the shower larger enough, are the shower fixtures at the right heights? What about storage or does the current layout work for who's using the space?  Do they ask you these questions? Do they write down your answers? Are they listening? Do they use your name during the interview process?

    How important is customer service to you? Do the places you have selected return calls on a timely manner, do they get back  to you when they say they will? How is the follow through? These are signs to look for to make sure the rest of your project will run smoothly or will those be a sign of how badly your project is going to go. Do they ask what your budget is? Do you tell them? Do you ask if they have pictures of completed projects? Do they have references they can give you and do you check them out?  

     When doing your research do you consider the independent designer?  Why not? Are they not as accessible? Do you think hiring this type of professional will be to expensive?  Typically a design done first is easier to plan a solid budget around and  this saves money and time by preventing mistakes, in addition you can avoid change orders that cause the budget to rise.  Does free design mean good design? Do you value free services or does paying for design really cost that much more?  Does a showroom of product make a difference?  Do you know if you're looking at good, better or best product lines? This brings me to a recent post I did about stain steel appliances. Are they good, better or best? I'm surprised to find that with all this information at the our fingertips most still don't look past the surface of what they are seeing.  As you can see I have lots of questions. I would love to hear from you about your experiences.

    I always hear about how terrible the remodeling or new construction process is, but I wonder is the process as researched as the marketing information tells us. After visiting the Kitchen & Bath Industry show in Chicago recently, I have been thinking about how to  pass on all the information that is out in the cyber world. It's overwhelming to me, can't begin to understand how the consumer must feel. 

 I wish everyone a good experience when tackling your project.
Angie Keyes CKD

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stainless Appliances - Why?

      Lately I've been following the House Hunters show, and it has been interesting to watch clients react to seeing stainless appliances. Why are you the consumer thinking that stainless is an upgrade?  Why is stainless steel thought of as better, no matter what brand they may be?

    I think the first reaction is that they have a professional look over the white or black. And I agree they do look sleek and more expensive. However I do advise clients to look deeper than skin deep. With all the information available on the web, do your research. As always there are different levels of appliances, good, better, best. You must decide which level is right for you.
     How do you decide which level is right for you. Even though price is a big consideration try not to make it the main reason you buy a appliance. For example: If you a expert cook/ baker, the range/oven/cook top will be an important decision. If your single and you don't have time for cooking, the refrigerator and microwave might be the appliances you spend more of your budget on. If you have a large family the size of the appliance can make a big difference. What if you cook a lot of strong smelling foods, then ventilation could be a area that needs more attention. I tell clients to make a list of the important appliances and the features they feel they need to have. I think this helps clients figure what they really should spent. Technology has made these choices much harder. So many choices, in addition so many opinions.

   So going back to why I started this conversation. If your buying a new home or an older home and they have stainless appliances, don't judge a book by it's cover. Make sure they are appliances that match the quality of the purchase price of the home.  Knowing what your are looking at will help get the best deal on that big purchase.

 I wish you luck on your adventure of buying, remodeling, or constructing a new home.

Sincerely Yours
Angie Keyes CKD

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Expectations of remodeling

         Why is it that the expectations of remodeling costs are still not in line with what things actually cost?  With all the information on the web about material costs, why is it that we still find ourselves with sticker shock on what a remodeling project will cost us?

     Is because with all the TV programs, magazines on remodeling and that the budgets given in these mediums don't reflect the actual costs, when not given special deals for being on a TV program or not including what labor costs are? We know that the labor market varies from area to area so it is very hard to actually put a number to this specific part of remodeling. 

     In Addition when remodeling how is it that the unexpected problems still throw people for a loop? Do we have X-ray vision yet that allows people to see inside walls or under concrete? If so I want these skills. And lastly why are we surprised at the length of what a remodeling project will take? 

      I have been watching programs on remodeling on the HGTV channel. And I find myself angry with how the process is handled, plus how the homeowners expectations are let go and not addressed from the get go. It's not only about the money, but about how the process of remodeling is approached. When you remodel an old home do you really believe that unexpected things will not come up that nobody could have foreseen?  Do we really think that all projects can be done with so little time. I know they say time is money, however do you really want someone to a rush job with your dollars no matter if it's $1,000 or $100,000? Or would you rather have it done right in addition to done well? I'm taking the the second way as I have first hand seen what a poorly done project looks like. I don't want it in my home. 

     Well I guess we need to remember it's TV and not all is as it seems. Not that these shows don't do good work I'm sure they do great work,  I just think the don't always show the correct process for how they achieve such wonderful results. They do help people visualize what can happen in spaces. In fact I fine them a good source of inspiration. Keeping up with happening is the world of design is a full time project, with technology and new products emerging everyday. 

    So how do you determine what to spend on a remodel? This is the first question that needs to answer and only you the homeowner knows what you can afford. Try to stay in your comfort zone. Do your research on the type of remodel you want to tackle; in addition remember to be open-minded along with flexible with the plans as well as the budget. Always budget for overages, because as I mentioned things can come up that will change what can be done.

   A few magazines have been putting remodeling budgets together for a value spaces and custom spaces.  When I read these I think that every one's opinion on what is a value budget and what is a custom budget can vary. When looking at the articles remember to take notes on what items are in line with what you can spend as well as what you want to have in your project.  

     I still have not found an accurate way to tell you what your remodel is going to cost. Some say the it will cost 10-20% of your home value. However, this does not work on every home price. Example: If your home is worth a $100,000 a remodel then would cost $10,000 to $20,000 well, this would depend on the room you are doing plus what materials you are selecting, not to mention the area in which you live in that determines what the labor costs are going to be. And it might actual cost just this to do the project you want or might not. 

     So all of the information out there can give you a false sense of what your remodeling project is going to cost. The best way I know of in determining a budget is to actual get a design done first. Then get an estimate on what that design will cost with the product choices you have selected. You then will be able to modify the design and product choices to achieve the desired finished project in addition to the investment your're going to make.  The big word in remodeling I like to use is compromise. Why? Because not everything can be done just because you think it can, everything has limitations. 

     I do suggest starting with a Professional. They can guide you through the design process that can help you get the things you want in that budget that you what to invest. I think most people realize that these designers do have a value that they can bring to the project. The investment you make in the beginning can end up saving you money in the long run. No one wants to spend time as well as money on a project to come the realization that they can't afford to do the project that they wanted, furthermore having to settle for something they actually didn't want. What a disappointment that will be. 

     To make your remodeling project a reality here are a few things I think will help make your project a success.  Communication is key. Discuss your budget in addition to your ideas clearly.  Make a list of what things are must for you and what things you would like to try to get if they fit your budget. This will help you prioritize what important.
Furthermore make sure you compare apples to apples. I know I've say this before however it 's needed to make sure you are getting the value for your investment.  I have put an outline together in the past for what to look for in planning a remodel. My blog post I did last year entitled " Budget- My thoughts on the subject" I think will help you plan your project.  

Happy remodeling! 
Angie Keyes CKD

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Custom Cabinetry - What does this mean to you?

       I recently discussed this word custom with a cabinet sale rep. The lines have burred over the years. As more cabinet lines add features to try to compete for a broader market share.  I find this subject is difficult to define, it means many difference things to people. So I went to my Linked-in network friends to ask what their thoughts were about custom cabinetry and what the word meant to them. Here are some of their thoughts on the subject. Feel free to post your thoughts.  

     “Custom means just that; not standard manufactured of the shelf. I have a custom cabinet maker that works with me from conception throughout the whole project phase. We design the kitchen and cabinets to give the most utilization of space, convenience, and appearance. The custom cabinets give you more storage space and we make them fit to any space opening. We design glass fronts, put personal touches on the trim and crown molding. All of it is custom."

     "As far as the flip-side you would purchase them out of a catalogue or go to the big box store and pick them up. Our cabinets are designed and built and installed in approx 8 weeks depending on design and how large the kitchen is. If anyone ever wants to visit our custom cabinet maker or visit some of our resent creations in the QCA just let me know; we would be happy to show what we are capable of."

 James Gulzinksi, Sr.

Owner of Pro Helping Hands, LLC

   "Custom means you have choices: size, finish, door style, internal configurations ( tall units especially), etc and not limited to a few door styles, colors, sizes in a 'series'. It's totally mix and match. custom eliminates the need for fillers."

Catherine Sloat 

Design Consultant -Kitchen & Bath Plus

   “In my experience custom means you have the opportunity to make the cabinet any dimension you want for instance, instead of three inch increments starting at 6,9,12, you can do a 17inch wide wall cabinet and make it whatever height you desire, also way more choices on internal items, door styles and finishes, but you also have to have that customer that wants to spend the dollars for custom cabinetry.”

Kelly McGee

     "Custom to me means something that is designed specifically for the client that you can't get anywhere else."

Shuva Rahim, Photographer

    "Custom to me means I am starting with a standard cabinet that I can change elements of to fit my needs and likes. To me, it does not mean I am getting something unique. Rather, I am able to make changes to something that already exists.”

Maxine (CooperBrand

LinkedIn Connector for “QC Linked Live” ■ Sales ■ Marketing ■ BS Development ■ Speaker ■ Event Planner ■ Referral Source

    "I think custom means cabinetry that makes use of all the space, even the odd little nooks and crannies, that could mean customizing off the shelf cabinets. Or, it could mean cabinets that are built from scratch with the wood, the details and the finish you choose.

Jill (McDowellWeitzel

Website Design ● Visual Identity Developer

    "Custom to me doesn't mean a "one off" cabinet system. It means that the system is one that meets the needs of and fits the unique space I have. I think that it is more about dealing with the uniqueness of the space than about anything else."

Dave Wellman

Helping entrepreneurs design success!

    "I believe custom means to satisfy a non-standard application. Such as building cabinets to match a specific decor, existing architectural design,specification or function."

Dan Spaete

Sales Manager ♦ Territory Manager ♦ Educator to the HVAC, Refrigeration and Metal Fabrication Industry

     "I were ordering custom cabinets, I would expect to be able to start with a basic/standard cabinet and then alter it to fit my needs, preferences and specifications. I would want an end product that was unique."

Kathy Middleton

■Identity Theft ■Legal Service Plans ■Employee Benefits ■Recruiter ■ Small Business Consultant ■Speaker

   "To me, custom means that I can get cabinets designed specifically to fit my space, and that I can choose the finish, style, pulls, etc."

Kurt Lokenvitz

V. P. Corporate Marketing at Hertz Farm Management

   "There are templates and then there are custom pieces. So essentially, to me, custom means a cabinet that is altered (even if only slightly) from it's original templated state."

Jamie Brodersen

Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Photo Editor, Audio & On-Camera Talent

     "When I think of "custom", I think of something that I'm able to modify to suit my tastes. It CAN mean, but doesn't necessarily have to mean, building something from scratch. For example, I think of a custom car as one you can buy off the lot with "basic" features, but then add the wheels, paint job, etc. that you want."

Dallon Christensen

Transforming ideas into results • Business Coach • Business Catalyst •Speaker • Writer •Operations/Planning Expert

   " I agree with Dallon, custom to me is something that is designed as a one of a kind, something that no one else has or can get."

Becki Rogers-Neese

Distributor at

       I want to thank all of my networking friends for the comments. I really appreciated their feedback. It's amazing to me the wide variety of statements made about what custom means to them. This is a word that is used everyday in the world of design.

      My own idea of custom is something that's created for that individual and tailored to their specific needs and wants. To create the dream space that they see in the mind. That is what I feel is truly custom.  

      I look forward to hearing from others about what they think this word means to them. 

Sincerely Yours 

Angie Keyes CKD