The age-old law of supply and demand is very active in the home improvement market. The purchase of homes has increased as the country continues its way back up from the recession, but there are also obstacles (primarily economic) that are preventing a full force housing boom. While nothing is guaranteed, it is safe to say that where there is a home, there may be the need for remodeling services of some kind or other. Home improvement is therefore more or less on an even track as this week’s blog explains.
The outlook for the future of home sales is a bit divided. Affordability is an obvious issue for some people, and the price of buying a home is increasing by 5% for this year. This is Many younger people are opting to rent instead of buy. In spite of this, for those who can benefit from the improvements in the economy, home sales are expected to increase by 30-40% – at least for this year. And as more homes are bought and sold, the services of more home improvement professionals will be required.
There is additional hopeful news on the horizon. Since the end of the recession, the home improvement industry has maintained a healthy (if not booming) growth. With the projected, albeit slow, improvement in the U.S. economy (at 3.1%), combined with a decrease in unemployment, sales in housing are expected to increase. And if house sales increase, it follows that home remodel services of any and all kinds will be in demand. Here is where the situation gets even better: people who own a home but are looking to sell will often have either minor or major remodeling improvements made so that the house will look more appealing to potential buyers and also increase its return on investment. Then, when the house is sold, whoever buys it might have additional changes made to suit his or her tastes, whether it’s new cabinetry for the kitchen or a complete bathroom remodel. So, in a nutshell, regardless of whether a home is sold or bought, it means that business will be steady for home improvement professionals.
The expression that “timing is everything,” has certainly been the case for home sales. After the recession, for the purpose of stimulating economic activity, interest rates on new mortgages were very low. Rates were expected to rise to a dramatic 5% by the end of last year, but factors that included international crises and an overall slow worldwide economic growth led to an increase of only 3.87%. Interest rates are nevertheless expected to rise as the year progresses, which may well account for what the Mortgage Bankers Association reported was an increase of nearly 50% in home loan applications that took place this past January. Essentially, to avoid the predicted higher rates in the future, home sales are escalating in the short run. (As of April 16, according to Bankrate.com, the rate was at 3.80%, so if you are considering buying a home, now might well be the time.)
Another factor that may prove optimistic is the population; specifically in regard to generations. The now 50-to-69 year old “baby boomers,” once the largest age demographic, are passing this mantle to the 18-to-34 year old “Millennials” who are predicted to outnumber the boomers this very year. The older generation, generally, are more open to having remodeling projects performed on their homes than they are to relocating. As stated earlier, although more young people are likely to rent a home, this is hopefully a transitional period in their lives until they can build up enough capital to purchase a house.
Overall, job prospects for carpenters, painters, and other home improvement professionals are in a relatively healthy place. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the average annual rate for growth in home improvement services is 3.5%. This, in combination with the upward economy (however slow it may be), is a good sign that so long as people of all ages are going to buy or sell their homes, there will be a need for any number of construction, painting, and remodeling contracts.
If you are selling your home, or are moving into that new place you’ve just bought and are considering some renovations – namely, a kitchen or bathroom remodel, consider contacting Granite Transformations. We provide a free in-home consultation for whatever your home improvement project might be. So, a free in-home consultation, combined with the increased value a remodeling job could bring to your home – will earn ultimately earn money for you in the long run.
The word “hack” is thought of in a bad way most of the time – from lousy professional service to illegally getting into a computer’s system. A lesser known (but more positive) definition of “hack” is “a clever solution to a tricky problem.” That’s the topic of this week’s Granite Transformations blog – a few creative “hacks” that are clever solutions to any tricky kitchen organization projects you may have going on.
We begin with basic organization. Most of us, at one time or another, take our kitchen space for granted. Everything we need is just “there” in its own space and place. Over time, clutter and disorganization set in. We start to rifle through a bunch of assorted items to get to the utensil, appliance or whatever it is that we want at the moment. Mild annoyance gives way to out and out frustration. All of this fretting can be avoided by these inventive (and inexpensive) kitchen organizing ideas.
To “fix” the disorganization dilemma of small objects and items, purchase a few small lidded plastic containers. Label them, and place each specific item into that particular container (e.g., “Rubber Bands,” “Plastic Bag Twist Ties,” etc.). (One suggestion we have is to avoid labeling a container as “Miscellaneous,” because you might start putting everything into that one, and you’ll be back to square one of searching to try and find stuff.)
Flatware organizers, as we all know, are where we keep our knives, spoons, forks and other kitchen utensils separate and in order. If you purchase a second (or third) flatware organizer, you can place everything from straws, skewers, or chopsticks into these additions. Then, whenever you need one of these more unique utensils, you can easily get to them.
Having a whiteboard on hand is an oldie-but-a-goodie when it comes to kitchen organization. On this, you can write down everything for the project at hand in big, bold letters; whether it’s a step-by-step recipe, a shopping list, or the different foods that are in the refrigerator or freezer.
You Can Use THIS and THAT in the Kitchen?!
Another example of how we take the kitchen for granted is by getting conditioned and comfortable (dare we say – lazy?) in our thinking of what items are used in this space. Here are a couple of cool kitchen organization tips whereby the last objects you would think of in relation to the kitchen might well bring efficiency and functionality to a whole new level.
File folder racks or old CD cases are perfect for storing cooking sheets in a narrow cabinet space. You can even mount towel racks on the inside of your cabinets for storing lids for your pots and pans (the handle of the lid lays on top of the horizontal rack). You can hang an old gardening rake upside down on your wall for storing wine glasses.
Do you keep your cutting board in a drawer? Is it on display on the sink or island? One option that will save space and money is placing the cutting board in a rack that can be attached to the inside of a kitchen cabinet. An inexpensive magazine rack (yes, you read that right) will serve the same purpose as a pricier one in upscale home improvement stores. Place a couple of 3M hooks (plastic hook with adhesive back) inside a kitchen cabinet, hang up the magazine rack, and your cutting board has a new home.
Now, for something really unrealized, did you know that a boot tray can make a useful drawer for placing napkins and placemats? If you have space between the top of your refrigerator and the cabinet just above it, you can place a just bought, never used boot tray in this gap and make this to keep napkins, placemats, and doilies, among other items.
We’d like to share is to keep Band-Aids in a nearby kitchen drawer. (Be honest, have you ever thought of Band-Aids as being anywhere in the kitchen.) But it more than makes sense. You will hopefully never need to use them, but in case accidents such as a small cut from a knife happens, you’ll be ready.
Do you have no place to store all of your extra plastic bags in the kitchen? Attach a 3M hook to the inside of a cabinet door, cut a hole in the back of the tissue box, stuff it with your plastic bags and hang it from the hook. It’s a great way to pull out a bag quickly without having to rummage through the pantry or under the sink.
What we’ve just listed are a few DIY tasks that can make your kitchen a smoother, easier place to work in and enjoy. We hope that we’ve been able to give you some ideas that you can find useful and helpful. Do you have any handy kitchen hacks that you’d like to share? If so, feel free to contact us. Everyone here at Granite Transformations hopes you are enjoying the spring season!
Last Updated on January 22, 2020
Granite Transformations tours the kitchen for this week’s blog. If you are wondering about what kitchen design ideas and services are out there, then relax (maybe even at your kitchen table), and read on.
What makes the kitchen setting in the spring season actually enjoyable is that we can cook and bake at a more leisurely pace, as opposed to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, where we rush around with the pressure of having many dishes prepared (piping hot) all at once. And, as it is spring, this is a time of year when people tend to consider updating or replacing their kitchen. If you are one of these people, Granite Transformations can give you some guidance.
Maybe you want to freshen up the look of your kitchen cabinets. Or, you’d like to update your countertops (your choice of granite, recycled glass, or quartz) or add an island. Before anything else, consider taking this quiz that we came up with last month to help point you in the right direction of the kitchen style that’s best for you.
There are many new and different kitchen design ideas and styles that have risen in popularity in 2015. The good news is that with such an assortment of designs, there is something to please everyone. The bad news is deciding what design to choose from. For this blog, we will be looking at two contrasting kitchen styles, along with the growing popularity and versatility of the kitchen island.
Vibrant, Tribal Colors
One newer trend is the use of vibrant, tribal colors and hues, such as deep blues, maroons, burnt yellows and deep scarlet in a matte or gloss finish to provide a comfortable, homey flare to the kitchen space.
While we’re on the topic of islands, for those of you who want to change up the look of your kitchen and are thinking of replacing your sit-down table with a kitchen island design, you are in good company. Islands are now replacing tables, and also becoming the main feature for contrast as far as color scheme goes. For instance, the light perimeters and darker colored painted islands, and vice versa.
Art deco and art nouveau is inspiring the style of kitchens in a big way. Middle Eastern influences are triggering repetitive, elegant patterns taking the form of feature walls or backsplashes created in mosaic tile. Big, bold patterns that make a statement are quickly growing in popularity. Glass has also risen popularity in the past year, and is now a preferred material for kitchen backsplashes.
Flat-panel cabinet doors are being replaced with classic door profiles, such as Shaker doors. Indeed, the “Shaker” model of furniture (craftsmanship, form and function) is itself becoming very stylish, and a survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association concluded that 40 percent of respondents said they will do more shaker-styled kitchens in 2015, in part due to their versatility.
“Traditional” kitchens are often defined as functional. However, the style of kitchens today combines the old with the new, appropriately named “modern traditional” kitchens. “Modern traditional” kitchens are having an influence on choice of color, kitchen cabinets design, and textures, among other features.
Want to know another interesting fact about kitchens? More people are designing their kitchens to accommodate their pets (namely cats and dogs). From feeding stations, to day beds and doggy faucets, nothing it outside the realm of possibility!
So, it seems that there’s a lot of stuff cooking (with kitchen makeovers that is). The topics presented above are only a few of many kitchen design ideas for this year. If you have any other questions, check out our own additional findings for trends in kitchen design. Contact us for a free in-home consultation, today.
Just think, when fall and winter roll around later in the year, you’ll be scrambling through your brand new kitchen as you get the holiday meals ready. But before you know it, spring will be here, and you’ll be relaxing in this stylish new room and think to yourself: “Has it been a year already?”
Spring is officially in full swing, and that yearly ritual known as “Spring Cleaning” is being practiced far and wide. This is the time of year for change; for getting rid of the old and making way for the new.
This desire for change takes home improvement projects into account as well. For this week, the professionals here at Granite Transformations will offer several topics that we’ve collected on bathroom upgrades. So, the question for this week’s blog is: “Bathroom makeover, anyone?”
Since late last year, there has been speculation as to what the most popular bathroom design trends of today would be, and we have weighed in on this topic as well. The variety of different looks and styles is impressive, both in creativity and functionality. Those of you who are considering this major upgrade have so many bathroom design ideas to choose from, you may find making a final decision on what style to go with as the hardest part of the project! For this blog, we are focusing on a few of the basics…
Unique Floor Tiles
Let us begin with tiles. Tiles are the predominant surface of most bathrooms. So, working from the ground up, let’s look at flooring options. Feature floor tiles are attractive, practical and economical. In smaller bathrooms a feature floor tile can add style and elegance without overwhelming the space. Moving on to the walls (as well as staying with floors), another bathroom design trend that is getting attention from homeowners is their choice of geometric tiles, which add depth and visual interest to an otherwise neutral space. While you are in “tile mode,” check out our selection of mosaic tiles for inspiration.
We now cover a particular style of bathroom; one that is straightforward, sane and sensible; in a word – sustainable. This bathroom design idea that is a win-win for all is in fact known as the “sustainable style.” The “sustainable” bathroom is constructed from recycled, reclaimed and upcycled materials – a method that Granite Transformations firmly believes in and is proud to practice. The glass countertops that we have installed on many bathroom vanities are made from 72% post-consumer glass products. In the increasingly eco-friendly world we live in, it is only natural that this particular style is becoming popular. Here’s to hoping that “sustainable” is here to stay.
The last bathroom remodel concept we present here provides an interesting futuristic look. If you want to really alter the look and feel of your bathroom, consider installing a “floating bathroom vanity.” Instead of being anchored to the floor of the bathroom, floating vanities are attached to the wall and give the impression that they are “floating” above the floor, leaving a clearance of between eight and twelve inches. The bonuses of having a floating vanity is that it will give a fresh, spa-like feel to your bathroom, and also make a small bathroom seem larger. Amazing, isn’t it? A relatively small switch – changing a vanity’s placement from the floor to a wall – can make a big difference in the look and feel to a bathroom.
What are some other trends in the bathroom space? Larger master bathrooms that open up into the bedroom, fixtures that control water flow from multiple sources, freestanding tubs, custom vanities, gray tones and smart lighting with sensors, that light up your vanity when you’re getting ready to shave or put make up on.
As you can see, bathroom design ideas cover a lot of territory – and each idea has its own subset of ideas. Needless to say, the choice of what style to go with can be a difficult one. If you want to learn more about the products and services that Granite Transformations can offer for your bathroom remodel, contact us for a free in-home consultation. Your walls, floors and vanity may become one among many unique and eye-catching bathroom design trends.
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, show Mom your love and appreciation by giving her the day off and treating her to a day she’ll never forget.
For the best Mother’s Day idea for your Mom, first give some thought of what you think she would want most. What would make her feel special? Here are a few fun and easy ideas to let your mom know how much she means to you:
Brunch or Dinner at Home. Giving Mom a break from the kitchen is one of the most appreciated gestures you can do for her. Restaurants are notorious for being overcrowded on Mother’s Day and the dining experience is typically nothing short of mediocre or disappointing. Make it a day she will cherish by planning a beautiful brunch with all of her favorite dishes. Or, cook a special dinner tailored around her most loved foods. Add special touches to the table by filling pretty vases or bowls with her favorite flowers and scatter little notes with special messages that express how much she means to you.
Spa Day. Treat your mom to a day of beauty and pampering – and watch any stress she may be feeling fade away. Better yet, join her and share in the peace and tranquility of blocking out the world for a few hours. Mom will love the quality time with you, and you will love seeing her relaxed smile.
Plant an Herb or Vegetable Garden Together. This may not be the norm for a Mother’s Day surprise, but these days, more and more cooks are reaching into their own homegrown gardens for fresh vegetables and herbs. Save Mom a trip to the farm stand or local store and plant an herb or vegetable garden together – right in the backyard. She will love the easy accessibility of home grown goodness. Then, you can both follow this up by cooking a delicious dinner with the vegetables and herbs from the garden!
Scrapbook or Memory Album. What could be more special than a memorable keepsake of a scrapbook or album filled with special family moments? You may need a little extra time to compile the photos, but the appreciation will be well worth the effort to create a collection of memories that will last a lifetime.
Bring her “Wish List” to Life. These are phrases we hear our moms say a lot of the time: “I wish I had this,” or “I could really use that.” Surprise her with a cookbook from her favorite chef or maybe a chef’s knife, or even specialty cooking oils for her favorite recipes. On a more personal note, fill a pretty basket with some of her most loved beauty items (like her favorite mascara, lipstick, foundation and perfume). She will love the thought as well as the fact that you saved her from a trip to the department store.
The final gift you can give Mom this Mother’s Day is a new countertop from Granite Transformations. Installation is fast. The counters are more durable than granite or quartz, and there is less maintenance required. Plus, they come with a lifetime warranty! Schedule your free in-home consultation today and get a free quote. Wishing all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!