How To Choose The Best Countertop Option For Your Kitchen

Kitchen countertops are a necessary element of every home, but they don’t have to be boring. Having a little bit of fun with your countertop is a great way to bring color, texture, and dimension into your kitchen.

Get Creative With A Kitchen Island That Pops!

Your kitchen island is a great place to have a little fun with colors and finishes. Contrary to old school trends, it doesn’t have to match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry. Choosing furniture-style feet and wood tones can complement an all-white kitchen. Adding a pop of distressed red can correspond nicely with light maple cabinets highlighted with a mocha glaze.

Built for Boomers

Last week we looked a little at kitchen and bath trends geared towards Millennials. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Baby Boomers. Both demographic groups are the largest in the United States at the moment, so it’s only natural that all industries have geared their products towards each individually.

Today we will look at trends that Baby Boomers seem to love. Don’t worry, this isn’t another “aging in place, we get it, we’re old” article. This is a “let’s kick it up a notch and love where we live” article.

It’s Not All About Aging In Place

We have already covered aging in place, so we won’t really talk about it much here. But this is something that everyone should consider when remodeling or building, especially boomers.

What Boomers Want

According to Professional Builder and Kitchen and Bath Design News, Baby Boomers like a few things that are different from Millennials and a few that are similar. A lot of boomers want to make life easier with technology and open spaces, while some are also looking for that top of the line style. It just depends on the person and their taste.

  • Large Windows: Large windows give an open indoor and outdoor feel. It makes spaces seem more spacious and well-lit by letting in natural light.
  • Wide Doorways, Hard Floors, and Accessible Yet Attractive Showers: This touches back on the aging in place concept, but also just makes the home appear more roomy. Hard floors also make it easier to move things around and clean.
  • Low or No-Maintenance Materials: Again, aging in place may come to mind, but there are other reasons this is trendy. For one, who wants to spend time cleaning when you can spend time traveling, visiting family or just generally having fun? I don’t.
  • Open Plan and Private Space Balance: Millennials did not fall far from their baby boomer parents and grandparents… we all love to entertain, but we also need our personal space. Finding the perfect balance is key for both groups.
  • Technology: Surprise surprise.. boomers actually want MORE technology in their homes. Why? It makes life easier! It saves money. Technology is key for boomers and millennials alike.
  • Trendy and Contemporary: A lot of baby boomers out there are looking to be at the cutting edge of interior design trends, and so they want the latest and greatest.

Are you a boomer? What do you think? What do you want to see in your home if you could have ANY remodel?

Trends in Cabinetry

Cabinetry is always changing. Whether it’s style and finish, overall design and functionality or even material, cabinet trends change constantly. That’s why it’s important to choose trends you know fit your personal decorating style and lifestyle.

Right now a few trends are floating around for cabinetry. Here are a few

1) Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves seem to have become extremely popular. A floating shelf is just what it sounds like. It’s a shelf with no visible support or surrounding cabinetry.

Here are more creative ways to use floating shelves.

2) A Design for Wine

Wine has never really been in or out of fashion, but if wine were ever trending, it’s now. Wine is one of the top things bought online at the moment. It’s also hitting the kitchen design industry pretty hard. Whether you want to add a bar space to your home or a space for wine in your kitchen cabinetry, designing around the love of wine is trendy right now.

Some spaces include slots for wine glasses and bottles. Some include a space for a particular wine fridge. In a lot of cases, when designing cabinetry for a new kitchen or a remodel, keep your wine in mind!

3) Hard Working Cabinets

Condensing cabinets into one wall, making them hold as much as functionally as possible is a huge trend right now. It probably spilled over from the tiny house fad. Those small spaces need cabinetry that works hard to keep spaces uncluttered.

Even if it’s not a singular wall of cabinets, having efficient cabinet spaces is hot. Built-in spice racks and lazy susans are just the beginning. Pull-out trays, customized drawers, bread boxes, cookie sheet slots, etc. are all on the rise. The limit to what you can do with your cabinet space seems to be as big as your mind can make it. (BHG)

The Future of Cabinetry

As always, the future trends of any industry depends entirely on the consumers’ tastes. What are your favorite trends right now? What do you want to see more of in the cabinet industry? Let us know in the comments below.

New Faucet Technology

It seems nothing goes without a technological innovation these days, and faucets are no exception. The best thing about getting a new faucet is that you don’t even have to remodel or change anything else… unless you want to. A new sink might be nice too, right?

When it comes to faucet technology there are a few options out there: touchless and touch. Inspire Kitchen and Bath carries Moen and Delta products, two brands which have come out with new faucet technology recently.

Moen Motionsense

Moen’s latest faucet technology is Motionsense. Basically you don’t have to touch the faucet at all. It has sensors on the top and side for varying needs. To turn the water on, wave your hand in front of the sensor. To turn it off, wave your hand back over it one more time.

moen motionsense

Delta Touch20®

Delta’s Touch20® is relatively self explanatory. All you need to do to turn it on is touch it, and barely. The faucet actually picks up the static electricity of your skin, so you almost don’t need to touch it at all. And to turn it off, simply touch the faucet one more time.

So What do you Choose?

Choosing a type of faucet, as always, is up to your preferences. Touchless or touch technology might not be as important as the finishes and styles these faucets are available in. Prioritize your choice. Do you care more about look or function? What functionality do you want? Motionsense or Touch20?

There are many things to consider. Your best option is to discuss your desires with a local expert.

Have anything to add? Leave us a comment below!

Granite VS Quartz

Granite and quartz make for very similar and very different counter tops all at once. Most homeowners discussing stone counter tops think only of granite or marble because they have been around the longest. Natural stone came before man-made stone. Even after quartz was released as a counter top material, it took a while for quartz counter tops for to become a popular product in the United States (source).

Any homeowner’s decision between the two would depend upon what they want to achieve with their counter top. Think about what benefits, features and the overall look you are striving for. Below is a list of the features, benefits, pros and cons of granite and quartz counter tops.

Granite

Granite is natural stone. This means that the stone is porous and imperfect. There may be small cracks, etc. On one hand, this provides for a completely unique counter top. On the other, crevices create space for bacteria to live in. It also gives room for harmful agents, such as red wine or bleach, to stain your stone. It is recommended to seal granite counter tops periodically. This prevents the buildup of bacteria, stains, etc.

So in summary, with a granite counter top you are looking at more maintenance for a more unique look.

Quartz

Quartz counter tops are man-made. This product is made by binding quartz stone together with resins, which also give it color. That process leads to a product that is not porous. No pores means no cracks and crevices for bacteria to lodge itself into. It also means there is no seal required. Quartz counter tops generally require less maintenance than granite counter tops.

Quartz has traditionally had a more uniform look to it since it is a man-made product. But recently newer colors and patterns made to look more similar to granite have become more popular. So you have more control over the look and color of your counter top with this option.

Which Do You Choose?

As we highlighted in the beginning, which product you choose will depend entirely on your preferences. On a tit for tat level, the price between the two materials is very close. Level 1 granite is closely priced to level 1 quartz. Usually quartz is slightly more expensive, but not always. So price is not a major difference here.

The biggest difference is going to be the maintenance and look. Which look are you going for and how much effort are you willing to put into maintenance?

 

If you have any questions or comments, please leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

2017 Color Trends

What’s HOT?

When planning your remodel, whatever room in the house, color plays a huge role. The 2017 color trends we’ve compiled here for you are meant to facilitate the color choice process. If you need help choosing a color, we’re always happy to help!

Elle Decor colors to look for:

  • Confident Colors
    • Dusky Blue
    • Blue Green
    • Sunshine Yellow
  • Composed Colors
    • Mineral Gray
    • Light Blue Green
    • Earthy Green and Taupe Beige
  • Comfortable Colors
    • Powdery Blue
    • Pastel Pink
    • Dusted Yellow

House Beautiful Color Trends 2017:

  • “Inner Glow”
    • Sunny yellows are used to make rooms pop.
  • “Courtyard Green”
    • Emerald greens are a classic that is just not going out of style anytime soon.
  • “Oval Room Blue”
    • A powdery blue that feels sophisticated enough for a presidential space.
  • “Greenery”
  • “Olive”
    • A toned down sophistication of the color green great for trim and millwork.
  • “Stone White”
    • Not every room needs a color, white can also make a room stand out.
  • “Mushroom”
    • The new go-to neutral.
  • “Dusk”
    • A dusky blue is not quite as scary as it sounds.
  • “Black Chiffon”
    • From a sophisticated built-in bookshelf to decorating a man’s den, black can say a lot.
  • “Poised Taupe”
  • “Shadow”
    • A shadowy plum color, that quite honestly is my favorite, brings a feeling of luxury to any home.
  • “Violet”
  • “Ramie”
    • The newest spin on classic white on every surface brings the ultimate sophistication.

HGTV , Pantone, Sherwin Williams and Vogue also have lists detailing more color trends.

Have anything to add? What colors are catching your eye right now? Let us know in the comments section below.

So You Want Better Drinking Water…

Last week, we let you know why it’s so important to test your water regularly. Regardless of what you may have found, the chances are you probably found something wrong with it. Whether that problem was hardness, acidity, bacteria, lead, or anything else, you’re going to want a water treatment system of some sort. If you found something like bacteria or any other harmful contaminant, you may want to consider a water treatment system for your whole house. The best thing to do is talk to your local water treatment service.

If you just found chlorine, lead, gasoline additives, volatile organic chemicals, hardness, etc. then a simple under-cabinet kitchen system should do the trick. That way you’re not ingesting things that may not be so healthy for your body.

Not All Water Treatments Are Created Equal

When you’re looking into kitchen water treatment systems, it’s extremely important to consider the various kinds of filters, their ratings and specifications. The most highly recommended type of system for drinking water is one that will leave in the minerals and helps you maintain your nutrients. A reverse osmosis system (RO), will not leave in the essential minerals and nutrients. As a result you may end up becoming deficient in a lot of key nutrients.

Instead you need something like the HFC-1000 High Flow Drinking Water Filter system from AlwaysFresh®. This system takes your water through 5 stages of filtration and leaves you with those key minerals and nutrients.

HFC-1000 5 Stages of Filtration

  1. Built-in Micron Pre-Filter: Wrapped completely around the carbon block to filter dirt, sediment, filterable iron, etc for increased cartridge life.
  2. Fine Filtration: Thick compression molded powdered activated carbon block. Class 1 certified for removal of particles .5 micron (1/50,000 of an inch) and larger.
  3. Absorption: Specially formulated High Capacity carbon with over 1,000,000 square meters of absorption surface area.
  4. Filter Protection: Silver Zeolite technology blended throughout the filter for efficacy & longevity.
  5. Scale Control*: Polyphosphate spheres are slowly released to provide protection against hard water scale build up in water using appliances.
*Claim not certified by WQA

HFC-1000 Benefits and Features

  • Exclusive Patented Quick-Change Cartridge
    • Inlet & outlet ports sealed with dual 0-ring technology
    • Sanitary sealed quick-change cartridge 1/4 turn, no tools required
  • Complete Installation Kit
    • Under-sink to existing faucet (no additional faucet required)
  • Lead-Free Design
    • Virgin polypropylene materials and tubing – no lead

If you have any other questions about water filtration systems, please feel free to leave a comment below and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Right now at Inspire Kitchen and Bath, get an HFC-1000 FREE with purchase of any qualifying product.

What’s In Your Water?

Whether you’re on a municipal water system or well water, testing your water is an important step when it comes to owning a home. I would even test your water if you rent your home. You just never know what you’ll find. Water contaminants come in many forms and sometimes disguise themselves relatively well.

“Water can be contaminated in several ways. It can contain microorganisms like bacteria and parasites that get in the water from human or animal fecal matter. It can contain chemicals from industrial waste or from spraying crops. Nitrates used in fertilizers can enter the water with runoff from the land. Various minerals such as lead or mercury can enter the water supply, sometimes from natural deposits underground, or more often from improper disposal.” – WebMD

Public vs Well Water

Public water systems are regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), so you are unlikely to find extremely harmful toxins, at least not in detrimental amounts. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your water is completely free of all toxins and unsafe chemicals. Things like chlorine, lead, bromodichloromethane, chloroform and arsenic might be present. Not all of these chemicals are in drinking water in every area of the country. Those are just a few examples of the scariest possibilities out there.

Well water systems are even more dangerous in terms of water contaminants and pollutants because they are generally unregulated. In the Virginia area, you may find a lot of nitrates, pesticides and/or bacteria in your water due to the agricultural based local economy. It is also possible that well systems are infiltrated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are industrial and fuel-related contaminants. As time goes on, the ground and chemicals in it change as well. So you should truly test your well water on a regular basis. The CDC recommends you test your well water every spring.

Basically, what you find in your water will depend on where you are and how you get water in your home. Consult with your local water treatment and testing facilities for specific information on your system.

Water Contaminants

For a complete list, including information on each individual chemical and how it would infiltate a drinking water source, visit the EPA website. 

Simple Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Winter

Winter is coming, and along with it come cold temperatures and potential plumbing problems.

Below are some simple tips to get your home ready for winter.

Inside your home:

  1. Simple Tips To Get Your Home Ready For WinterMake sure pipes are well-insulated; close vents to your crawl space and insulate the openings
  2. If your laundry room or a bathroom is right next to the garage, keep the garage door closed to retain heat
  3. If your bathroom vanity or kitchen sink is along an outside wall, keep the cabinet doors open to allow more heat inside around the pipes.
  4. Always leave your heat set at least 55 degrees F while you’re gone

Outside your home:

  1. Disconnect your garden hoses
  2. Turn off the water supply to, and drain irrigation and sprinkler systems
  3. As a preventative measure, make sure you know where your main water shut-off is. After a pipe burst and your house is flooding is a bad time to realize you don’t know where to turn the water.

What to do if you do have a frozen pipe:

  1. Call a professional plumber
  2. Do NOT use a blowtorch to thaw a pipe. Many people have inadvertently set their house on fire!

Following these simple tips to get your home ready for winter can minimize the risk of a burst pipe and the consequences of a water leak.