Last Updated on September 19, 2019
So, you’ve made the decision to update your kitchen cabinets, but the question remains, “What type of wooden cabinets will look best in your home?” With so many choices out there, we’ve made it easy for you to sort everything out. Granite and TREND Transformations offers a beautiful selection of wooden cabinet refacing options to give your kitchen the “wow factor” you’ve been looking for— and all in less time than a traditional kitchen cabinet renovation would require. Need help getting started? Here’s what you need to know.
These three little words
Type. Color. Grain. Before your dive in and try to decide on which type of wooden cabinet is right for your kitchen, be sure to keep these three cabinet details in mind. Here’s how it breaks down.
Type: In today’s marketplace, you will find a variety of wooden cabinet choices that include cherry, maple, oak, hickory, walnut and even pecan, just to name a few. Granite and TREND Transformations has narrowed all of this down by offering three exclusive types of cabinet refacing options: wood, Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) and Expressions- all of which are available in today’s most popular wooden cabinet selections. Here’s a quick breakdown of each and the color and design options available:
We use solid lumber to build sturdy and reliable cabinet door frames that will stand the test of time. Additionally, you can rest assured that we use all premium concealed hardware to give your new kitchen cabinets the upgraded look and feel you’re looking for. Our wooden cabinets are available in a range of decorative door styles, each of which can be customized in one of our 15 available colors.
Our RTF cabinets are seamlessly constructed with durable, rigid thermofoil (RTF) and warp-resistant medium-density fiberboard (MDF). These beautiful wooden cabinets are virtually maintenance-free and won’t twist, crack or peel. Plus, the doors are dent-resistant and easy to clean with a simple soap and water solution. No finishing necessary. These beautifully constructed wooden cabinets are available in a range of decorative door styles, each of which can be customized in one of our 12 available colors.
This artistically inspired line of wooden cabinets provides you with the highest quality, five-piece cabinet doors in the industry. Our Expressions line of wooden cabinets is available in a range of decorative door styles, each of which can be customized in one of our 16 available colors.
Whether your home is traditional, contemporary or country-chic, Granite and TREND Transformations has the perfect wooden cabinet design to match your personal style. Not sure about which color or design to choose? We make it easy with our free in-home design consultation. Short on time? Not a problem. Most of our cabinet refacing jobs can be completed in just a few days. Looking to add a beautiful countertop to compliment your new cabinets? Check out our gorgeous line of etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces. Contact us today to get started.
Last Updated on November 27, 2019
Buying your first home is part of “the American Dream,” and an exciting time when you plant roots for your future. It also comes with a hefty price tag and will most likely be your largest investment to date. With so many moving parts to the process (including moving all your stuff), knowing the facts can truly be the key to opening the front door of your new home. This month, Granite and TREND Transformations has put together an easy-to-follow first-time homebuyer’s guide to sort out the steps you’ll need to know when buying your first home.
Speak to a mortgage lender―or two or three
You’ve decided it’s time to buy your own home. But how do you know if it really is the right time or if you can afford it? Speaking with multiple lenders is the best way to explore your financial options to assess if buying a home is fiscally feasible. The goal is to get pre-approved for a home loan. You’ll receive an estimate of the size of the loan you qualify for, along with the interest rate. Pre-approvals are typically good for 90-to-120 days. There is a significant amount of paperwork you’ll need to submit to the lender, so it’s best to start gathering it all early so you’re ahead of the game.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bank statements
- Pay stubs
- W-2 forms
- 1099 forms
- Tax returns
(Tip: Reputable mortgage lenders will help you determine which type of loan is right for you. Plus, there’s no obligation!)
Choose the right loan for you
You will be amazed at how many types of home loans are out there today. We will discuss some of the more popular ones so you can determine which loan is best for you.
- Fixed rate mortgage—Just as the name implies, this traditional mortgage is fixed at an agreed rate and can be spread out for a determined number of years, including a 5-year, 10-year, 20-year, 30-year, and even 50 years. Just remember: The longer the time frame, the more interest you will be paying.
- FHA loans—Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are best for buying your first home since the down payment requirements may be less than for other home loans. New borrowers who qualify must meet the new FHA guidelines. As of 2017, new borrowers are required to have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for FHA’s 3.5% down payment program while new borrowers with less than a 580 FICO score will be required to put down at least 10%. Lenders use your FICO score to determine the interest rate you’ll receive on a loan and how likely you are to pay the loan back. So, it’s best to keep up with your credit rating and practice responsible payment habits to keep your FICO score as high as possible.
- VA loans—Veteran Affairs (VA) loans are unique. They are $0 down mortgage loans that are available to veterans, service members and select military spouses who have served in the United States Armed Services. They are issued by private lenders and are guaranteed by the U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The requirements vary, depending on the year of service and whether the discharge was honorable or dishonorable.
- Interest-only mortgages—Don’t let the name fool you. Interest-only mortgages do not mean you only pay the interest on the loan. In fact, it means the loan has the option to make an interest-only payment. Although this type of mortgage may keep your payment lower than a principal and interest payment, it’s important to know your money is only going toward interest and not being applied to the principal amount to pay down the loan.
- Option ARM Mortgages—Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) mortgages can be tricky. Here’s why: The interest rate fluctuates, which means borrowers can choose from different payment options and index rates. This can be risky, especially if you choose the minimum payment option.
(Tip: Maintaining the best possible credit score is key to qualifying for a low-interest rate. Be sure to pay your bills on time and periodically check your credit score for anything that doesn’t look familiar. Credit Karma is a great resource for managing and staying on top of your credit.)
Set a budget
Now that you know the amount of loan you qualify for, it’s time to crunch the numbers to see if you can afford to buy your first home. Here are the top three questions to keep in mind:
- Do you have enough money to make the mortgage payment? This may sound like an obvious question, but keep in mind there are other payments that come along with paying a mortgage. This brings us to our second question.
- Do you have enough income to pay the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance? Did you forget about those? You can have those payments rolled into your mortgage payment, so it’s important to factor those costs into your monthly payment. If the payment is out of your budget, now may not be the right time to buy.
- Do you have enough money to maintain the property? Owning your own home comes with great responsibility. If you’ve been renting, then you know the cost and responsibility of repairs has always been on your landlord. Homeowners are their own landlords. With that comes the responsibility of maintaining your home and keeping it in good repair. Be sure you have enough money saved for unexpected repairs, or you could find yourself in a bad situation.
Skip the online search and choose a real estate agent
It may difficult to resist the urge to search for your dream home online, but experts agree it’s best to work with a professional real estate agent instead. Here’s why:
- Browsing online listings can tempt you to fall in love with a home that is out of your price range. This is not the time to want something you can’t afford, especially when you’ll be paying for it over the next few decades.
- Working with a professional takes the guess work out of the home-buying process.
- There’s no cost to working with a real estate agent. (That won’t happen often when buying your first home.) This is a great way to get free advice from someone who knows the industry and can advise you on first-time homebuyer tips.
(Tip: When searching for a real estate agent, be sure to check out what neighborhoods they cover, how many years of experience they have, the number of homes they’ve sold, and most importantly― read the reviews carefully.)
Determine where you want to live
House hunting is easier when you narrow down where you want to live. Remember, the greatest neighborhood might not be in your best interest. Here are some things to consider:
- Commuting to work
- Proximity to family and friends
- School district if you have school-aged children or are planning on starting a family.
(Tip: Explore your favorite neighborhoods to get a feel for the community. You may even want to dine at some local restaurants or check out the local shops.)
A fixer-upper―to buy, or not to buy
Buying a fixer-upper may be a tempting option since you can potentially get more bang for your buck. A fixer-upper can put you in a larger house in a desirable neighborhood that you would not have otherwise been able to afford. This decision can go either way, however, depending on some important factors.
Here are some home buying questions to consider before buying a fixer-upper:
- Do you have the vision and creativity to see the possibilities of what an older home has the potential to become?
- Do you have the money needed to put into the renovations?
- Do you have the skills to do some of the work yourself, or enough cash on hand to hire someone?
- Do you have the time to commit to the renovation?
- Do you have the patience to live in a work zone while renovations are going on?
(Tip: If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions, then buying a fixer-upper may be the way to go.)
Decorating and renovating your new home
This is the fun part, when you can finally turn your house into a home. Putting personal unique touches and creative decorating into play starts with a game plan.
Here are some decorating tips to help you get started:
- Start with your bedroom—Did you know you spend almost one-third of your time in your bedroom? Getting your bedroom up to par is a great way to set the tone for your home. If you’re on a tight budget, you can start by buying quality bedding. It can make all the difference in creating a beautiful sanctuary.
- Resist the temptation to buy everything at once—Now that you’re in your new home, it’s normal to want every room “just so.” The reality is you just spent a large amount of money to buy your home, so going overboard by furnishing it too soon can cause a financial drain. (Remember: You must have enough money to make the payments!) It’s best to live with the space for a few months to get a feel for what you really want and where you want it to go.
- Remodeling-kitchen and bath renovations—Chances are you’ll want to spruce up the kitchen and baths at some point. These renovations can be costly but there are ways to refresh these rooms inexpensively without busting your budget. Switching out cabinet hardware or lighting fixtures in a bathroom go a long way in giving the space a lift without going all out. If your budget allows for a bit more renovating, then Granite and TREND Transformations is your go-to partner for beautiful cabinetry and today’s most trending and popular countertops and surfaces. With most jobs completed in one day with little or no demolition, you can transform your new home into the space you’ve always dreamed of.
(Tip: Declutter when packing up your old place by selling or donating things you haven’t used in a while. This will not only save you time and money with your moving expenses, but it gives you a fresh start.)
Everyone at Granite and TREND Transformations wishes you all the best in buying your first home. Contact us today to learn more about our beautiful etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces, or to schedule your free in-home design consultation.
Happy house hunting!
Last Updated on June 10, 2022
Islands can be the heart of the kitchen, where families gather to have casual meals and share stories of their day. Aside from their social function, kitchen islands should be sized, designed, and installed for a specific purpose. Homeowners today are opting for multi-functional islands equipped with sinks, cooktops, microwaves and even mini refrigerators.
With so many expectations on kitchen islands, homeowners tend to overcompensate for their excitement and make critical mistakes that they may regret later. That’s where Granite and TREND Transformations steps in. Our industry trained design consultants have the knowledge and experience to guide you every step of the way. Plus, our beautiful selection of etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces can not only make your kitchen island dream a reality it just may be the talk of the town.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when designing your kitchen island:
- Assign a specific task or function for your island: If its main purpose is a cook center, install a cooktop, drawers for utensils and storage for pots and pans. For a food/prep center, be sure to install a sink, chopping area and even a small refrigerator. If the main purpose is to provide an additional casual dining area, include seating and storage for dishware and serving.
- Find the right dimensions for your kitchen island: Determine how much space your kitchen will allow for an island (permanent or temporary). An island that is too small for the space won’t be functional; one that is too big may cause a disruption in traffic or workflow. The recommended width of a work island in a kitchen is 42 inches. For larger kitchens, two islands might work better than one large one.
- Plan for electric: Ideally, you want at least two electrical outlets – one at each end of the kitchen island (depending on its size). Also, be sure to follow electrical codes for kitchens.
- Design: It is always best for your island to match the overall style/theme of your kitchen. If your kitchen is modern with stainless steel appliances, then your island should be complementary – one of our trendy etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces and aluminum stools would pull the look together beautifully.
- Poor seating accommodations:We all come in different shapes and sizes, so be sure to consider the heights of all family members and guests if you’re planning on using seating around your island. Most kitchen island guidelines suggest a comfortable counter height of 42 inches for 30-inch-tall stools. Be sure to allow 24 inches of width per person/seating and 18 inches of countertop overhang for leg and knee room.
- Not enough storage:Homeowners can get so caught up in the idea of the island that they forget to allow for enough storage to make it function efficiently. Designing your kitchen island with organized storage (like pull-out shelves in the cabinets, sectioned drawers for knives and other utensils and even spice drawers) can save you steps and make your kitchen island more functional and easier to use. Shelves for cookbooks or a built-in wine rack are popular uses for the sides of islands (without the drawers/cabinets).
- Wider and bigger is not always better:Islands that are too wide are a common mistake that some design experts see in today’s kitchens. Islands that are too wide will prevent you from reaching the center of the island and make it more difficult to clean and utilize all the space. Instead, carefully plan your kitchen island’s size, placement and function based on the size and dimensions of your kitchen, and it should serve you well for years to come.
Are your ready to experience how beautiful our etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces can look in your home? Contact Granite and TREND Transformations today for a complimentary in-home design consultation. Your new kitchen island awaits.
Last Updated on July 18, 2022
Factors Affecting the Price of Granite Countertops
When it comes to comparing the cost of natural or engineered granite countertops, you get what you pay for. With so many variables to consider, choosing one that is high quality should be at the top of your list. What factors affect the price of granite countertops and makes some types of engineered granite more expensive than others? Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision for your home.
We all strive for good grades, right? Here are the “A-B-Cs” on grading natural granite. Simply stated, there’s low-, mid-and high-end granite. The amount of soft minerals that are present will determine the grade, color variations and durability. At Granite and TREND Transformations, we make our etherium® By E-Stone granite slabs in our manufacturing facility in Florida, which means we know everything we put into them and the quality you can expect. Our engineered surfaces are made of the highest quality materials mixed with ForeverSeal®, our own proprietary sealant which ensures the surfaces are nonporous, stain and scratch-resistant. (They never need regular sealing, like natural granite does.)
Thicker isn’t always better when it comes to engineered granite countertops. The granite countertops from Granite and TREND Transformations measure a 1/4″ thick and pack a powerful punch when it comes to quality and durability. Unlike natural granite that is about 1 1/4″ thick, our granite countertops are sleek, durable and lightweight, making them easier to handle and install.
Color is a factor affecting the price of granite countertops. Depending on the rarity and demand of the color, you may end up paying a higher price. Granite and TREND Transformations countertops are priced competitively based on industry demand. Plus, our color palettes constantly evolve, depending on industry trends and customer input, so homeowners like you can count on selecting from the most current colors and patterns to suit your décor.
You may not have given it much thought, but the type of edging you choose can drive up the costs of your granite countertops. Various edging options (like 1/4″ round, 1/4″ bevel or bullnose) can have an additional charge, so be sure to get the pricing for that upfront. Granite and TREND Transformations offers 1/8″ and 1/4″ round and bevel-edge options.
Granite is harvested from countries around the world and regions here in the United States. Since granite is heavy, its country of origin can seriously impact the price of the slab due to high shipping costs. The granite from Granite and TREND Transformations comes from Europe and is manufactured in the United States, where quality is ensured and backed with a Lifetime Limited Warranty.
Contact us today to talk about the factors affecting the price of granite countertops and to schedule your free in-home design consultation. See how easy it is to have beautiful granite countertops installed in your home, often in as little as one day.
Last Updated on August 7, 2019
What’s summer without a delicious summer salad recipe? This creative and chic combination of hazelnuts and asparagus pairs the perfect balance of crunch and tenderness to excite even the pickiest palettes. The recipe calls for tiny dandelion greens, but feel free to swap these for a blend of young baby lettuces instead. Either way, it’s a fresh new way to add flair to any summer meal.
Tip: Short on time? You can start prepping early. Steam and chill asparagus, skin, toast and chop the nuts, shred the cheese, make the dressing. You can even plate the lettuces and asparagus earlier in the day and refrigerate them, covered with plastic wrap. All you need to do at the last minute is sprinkle the cheese, nuts and dressing over the salad just before presenting.
- 3/4 cup [200 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup [65 ml] red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 1 pound [500 g] pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
- 12 cups (about 14 ounces or 400 grams) of mixed lettuces
- 3 ounces [90 g] toasted hazelnuts, skinned and coarsely chopped
Steam the asparagus until tender but still crisp, for about three or four minutes. (You can do this in the microwave, with just a few drops of water in a sealable plastic bag, for one or two minutes.) Rinse under very cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the vivid green color. Cut each stalk in half diagonally.
Blend the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, or shake in a covered jar.
Divide the greens among six or eight salad plates and scatter the asparagus pieces over the greens. Place a portion of the coarsely shredded cheese in the center of each salad, and then sprinkle the chopped nuts around the cheese. Just before serving, lightly drizzle the dressing over the salads.