It’s rarely been said that one has too much counter space. In fact, lack of counter space is one of the top complaints of homeowners who wished they had more room to make their kitchens function more efficiently. Extending that precious kitchen real estate is easier than you think and doesn’t have to blow your budget. In fact, some minor tweaks can make extra counter space in the kitchen without costing you very much at all.
This month, Granite and TREND Transformations offers some solutions to gaining the counter space you need:
Clear the Clutter: If you are like some multitaskers, your kitchen might very well double as an office that has papers and bills piled on precious counter space. Experts say that at least one square foot of counter space can be gained just by taking paperwork out of the kitchen.
Store Small Appliances: Small appliances (like electric can openers, blenders and stand mixers) should only be kept on the counter if they are used every day. For appliances that are used once a week or less, experts suggest keeping them in cabinets, while those used once a year should go in storage. You will be amazed at the space you will gain and how much sleeker your kitchen will look.
Over-the-Sink Cutting Boards: The concept has been around for a while, but today’s cooks are embracing the idea with a fresh take on a simple solution. With new products on the market, you now have options such as an over-the-sink cutting board with a plastic insert that allows you to slide your freshly chopped food into the tray and carry it to where you need it (instead of the old use-the-knife-and-carry-the-board trick). Others are opting for larger and roomy cutting boards to fit over their cooktops. These cutting boards come in all different shapes, sizes and styles to fit any type of sink (or cooktop) you may have. Some also come with a collapsible strainer. Over-the-sink cutting boards and over cooktop cutting boards optimize limited area and make extra counter space in the kitchen.
Built-in or Pull-Out Cutting Boards and Surfaces: These clever gems are at your fingertips whenever you need them. Whether they are built-in or fit snugly underneath your countertop they are space-saving workhorses that are efficient without taking up too much counter space space.
Fold-Down Countertop: These clever surfaces can make extra counter space in the kitchen by turning an ordinary space into an instant countertop, tabletop or even desktop where your kids can do their homework, for example. It’s the perfect solution for cooking preparation, eating, or whatever you might need it for at the time, and then it folds down until you need it again. It’s a great way to utilize horizontal space without taking up too much room.
Utilize Wall Space: Using a wall mount dish drainer and shelving are great ways to free up space and de-clutter your counter.
Rolling Islands: These countertops on wheels are not only versatile but they can be placed and moved easily wherever you need them. A rolling or portable island can easily adapt into whatever you need it to be – a bar cart, server, or cutting board – it’s the perfect solution for the added space you need in a pinch. Most rolling islands have drawer space and lower shelving or cabinets for extra storage, making them the perfect host for your next party or holiday gathering. Just remember that if you don’t plan on using the rolling island year-round, you’ll need a place to store it. Dining rooms, covered decks or even laundry rooms are good places to park your rolling cart. And don’t be surprised if you find another great use for it wherever you decide to keep it.
Do you need extra kitchen counter space? How about upgrading your countertops altogether? Granite and TREND Transformations has today’s hottest kitchen countertop options. Contact us today to learn more about our etherium™ by E-Stone surfaces and see how you can transform your kitchen from drab to fab in just one day!
When it comes to kitchen design, homeowners rely on their personal styles to tailor their renovation according to their individual tastes. Turning to a more classic look can be the perfect balance of creating a timeless look with a personal flair. Granite Transformations offers a variety of options to custom design the perfect classic kitchen that will never go out of style.
1. Cabinetry: White or cream-colored cabinets define a timeless, classic kitchen style that will match nearly any countertop or backsplash.
2. Clean Architectural Details: Simple, classic details (like islands with legs, furniture-style toe kicks and crown molding) enhance a classic kitchen style and bring elegance to the décor.
3. Black Countertops: When it comes to classic color combinations, most would agree that two contrasting colors (e.g., white and black) is the way to go. Black recycled glass, quartz or granite countertops are excellent options if you are considering a classic black and white kitchen.
4. Subway Tile: Clean and classic, light colored subway tile is typically 3″x6″ but can be found today in more modern sizes, including 2″x6″, 2″x8″ or 2″x4″. Changing the proportions can instantly add a new look and dimension to your kitchen. Subway tiles are available in a variety of finishes and can be beveled, square-edged, or even handmade to fit your space. Granite Transformations offers a variety of beautiful Subway Glass Mosaic Tile colors to choose from.
5. Door Styles: Keeping cabinet door styles simple and not too modern is another element of a classic kitchen design. Shaker doors with bead molding are perfect examples of this classic style.
6. Neutral Color Palettes: Mixing neutral colors with white is a safe bet when you want a classic look with just a splash of color or character. Some homeowners choose a brown and white combination (like walnut cabinets with white granite or recycled glass countertops, or white cabinets with gray countertops).
7. Adaptability: One of the main advantages of a classic kitchen is that you can completely change the look with just a few additions. Mixing in modern lighting fixtures or bar stools, for example, can easily bring a new feel to your kitchen – without taking away its classic look.
Granite Transformations offers complimentary in-home design consultations with professional design specialists. Whether you’re considering a complete kitchen renovation or just a quick facelift, Granite Transformations can help make the process easy and stress-free. Please feel free to your comments about this post or if you have other ideas about a timeless kitchen and would like to share with us and our readers.
Today’s savvy home buyers are opting for smaller houses that offer space which is efficient, flexible and allows for stress-free living. Here are some hot home improvement trends that can make your “home-sweet-home” a little sweeter.
• Maintenance-free Exterior Siding – Fiber-cement siding is becoming one of the fastest-growing divisions of the siding market. Made from a combination of cement, sand and cellulosic fibers, it looks like wood – but will not rot, combust or give way to termites and other wood-boring insects. It is more expensive than paint-grade wood, vinyl and aluminum siding, but at $5 to $9 per square foot, it still returns 87% on your investment, which is the highest return of any upscale project (according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report). Cleaning and some caulking every spring is the only maintenance required for fiber-cement siding, and repainting is recommended every seven to 15 years (compared to wood, which requires repainting every four to seven years.
• Convertible Spaces – Although some homeowners still opt for their formal living and dining spaces, the trend is to forego the “company only” rooms and transform them into convertible spaces that can adapt to our lifestyles. Foldaway walls can turn any room into a quick over-flow party space and Murphy beds concealed in an armoire-like wall unit can turn a spare room into a guest room. For open spaces, home design experts suggest using area rugs to define (or redefine) specific spaces.
• For the Love of Laundry – Love it or hate, laundry is here to stay, so why not make the best of it by converting an unused space (like a mud room or spare bedroom) into a laundry room that you will actually love being in. With space that is big enough for the washer and dryer, a designated rack for hand-washables, a sink, and room to store detergent and related cleaning supplies –this may become your favorite room in the house. To make the conversion easier and save on plumbing costs, choose a space that has existing plumbing hookups or one that is adjacent to rooms with running water.
• Keeping up with the Kitchen – Trends show houses getting smaller, but according to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey, kitchens are actually getting bigger. Families are spending even more time in the kitchen, helping to prepare meals together or entertaining friends for casual get-togethers. Double-prep sinks have been replaced by dual-prep islands with expansive counter space and extra storage. Some homeowners are opening up their kitchen space by combining seldom-used dining rooms and incorporating recycling centers and recharging stations.
• Energy Overload – Some of us can’t seem to go even a few hours without checking our phones, tablets, blackberries or laptops for the latest message, email or social media update. It may be an understatement to say we are a culture that runs on “energy and information overload.” To keep our connections to the world in check, we must keep our devices powered up by using additional energy to keep them charged. Current trends are also showing homeowners who install LED fixtures and are setting their thermostats at more economical temperatures. So, are we staying ahead of the energy curve? Energy monitors are a great way to monitor, track and gauge electricity usage on individual devices. Whole house monitors are also available, and some even supply real-time feedback that can be viewed remotely and that graph by the second, minute, hour, day and month.
• Storage Stow-Away – As the need to de-clutter our homes continues, homeowners are banishing storage baskets and discovering hidden and unlikely hideouts to stash their stuff. These options include under the stairs, over doors and even beneath the floors. Cozy niches and nooks are also losing their places as ‘museum corners,’ and are taking center stage for built-ins to show off collections and books, or even conform to precious storage for office supplies and kids toys.
• Home Office – Trends show an increasing number of us working from home in some capacity. Entrepreneurial passion, flexible work schedules and mobile communications have homeowners transforming spare bedrooms, family room niches and even basements and attics into office space. Despite wireless connections, having a designated office space is a great way to store and organize files and supplies and keep printers, fax machines and other office-related items.
Feel free to share this blog post or include some trends you have seen in the comments below. Do not forget to rate the post.
If you are one of many homeowners who have recently renovated their kitchen, now is the perfect time to show it off by hosting a summertime dinner party. Whether you’re hosting a formal sit-down dinner or a more casual buffet-style soirée, here are some entertaining tips for a memorable occasion.
Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Write out your guest list and send invites at least three weeks in advance so that you can plan your seating and grocery or catering list to gauge how much food you will need.
What Are You Serving? – Warm weather entertaining typically brings lighter foods, colder drinks and a more relaxed atmosphere. Choose grilled meats or fish for your main course and serve lighter salads with a vinaigrette dressing instead of heavier mayo-based salads. Assorted grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables tossed in olive oil and fresh garlic are an easy way to serve your sides at room temperature without the fuss of keeping them hot.
Drink Up! – For a fun bar setting, let your guests make their own drinks by offering a specialty drink. Flavor-infused vodkas with a selection of juices and mixers are a great way to get the party started. Offer chilled beer and wine to round out your bar. Be sure to offer non-alcoholic beverages to your guests and don’t forget the cardinal rule…you can never have enough ice!
Set the Mood – Choose music to set the overall mood for the party and select your playlist a few days ahead. During the first hour when guests are arriving, choose songs that will get the party started as everyone settles in, mingles and relaxes. For dinner, select music that is relaxing (but not so soothing that your guests want to take a nap after dinner). For dessert, pump it again, but this time create a montage of songs that are reminiscent of times spent together to create a feeling of nostalgia. Your guests will leave with a happy heart.
Tips and Suggestions to Host the Perfect Summer Dinner Party:
Iron your napkins and tablecloths a few days before your party.
Set your table ahead of time.
Empty your dishwasher.
Keep centerpieces low and elegant for easy conversation.
Serve beautifully arranged appetizers “family style” at the dinner table.
Use your china. (What are you saving it for?)
Set up the bar the day before. Start making ice, or buy enough ice and store in a cooler.
Decide on which platters and serving pieces you will be using.
Plan seating and use place cards for cordial and stress-free conversation.
Serve one-bite appetizers and have bowls of munchies and dips on cocktail tables and buffets.
If you plan to grill, make sure you have an extra propane tank on hand or fill the one you have.
Allow for grill time while your guests are mingling before dinner.
Don’t be shy when your guests ask to bring something. Keep a list of items you may want – like a unique dessert, a specialty coffee, or even a favorite family recipe side dish.
Don’t forget the powder room. Placing a pretty flower arrangement and disposable guest towels in your powder room are elegant ways to show your guests you are thinking of them.
Smaller kitchens can be cozy and inviting, and instill a sense of warmth and charm to your home. Homeowners today are embracing the remodeling of their small kitchen areas as more options are available to them, with exciting creative ideas springing up right before their eyes. Two of the immediate questions you’ll ask yourself is, “How will I fit everything?” and “Where will it go?” Remember to consider the best options for storage, lighting and appliances, and to keep them at the top your list when planning your beautiful new space.
Granite Transformations® offers these space-saving tips to spark your imagination and inspire your dream kitchen:
• Multitask – When space is at a minimum, maximize its functionality by looking for spaces that can be used for more than one purpose. One example is opting for an island or peninsula, instead of setting up a traditional table and chair ensemble. This family-friendly gathering space offers a spot for casual meals in addition to extra work space and storage. Some can even be equipped with a small sink to allow for quick clean-ups on those busy nights.
• Smaller and Compact Appliances – Appliance manufacturers have met the demands of creating a more efficient space for small kitchen owners by offering a range of space-saving and compact appliances, such as refrigerators that are 24 inches deep (instead of 30 inches deep) and microwave ovens that can be hung underneath cabinets to save precious counter space.
• Smart Storage – Maximize your storage space by increasing the depth of your countertops to accommodate more appliances and increase work space.
• Maximize Counter Space – Opting for one large countertop rather than smaller ones throughout the kitchen creates a more open space, and is more functional for busy cooks who are looking for extra room. Another great tip is incorporating a cutting board that can slide over the sink to expand the countertop even more.
• Cabinets – Think “up” when planning your cabinet layout. Utilizing the empty space above traditional cabinets creates a feeling of grandeur and is the perfect place to store your seasonal dishes, platters or bakeware. Yes, they may be a bit harder to reach, but grabbing a step stool a few times a year is worth the increase in space you’ll enjoy every day. You may also want to consider having a spice rack cabinet tucked inside one of your doors. It’s a great way to organize your spices and free up counter space.
• Strategic Lighting – Installing under-the-counter lighting can create an illusion of more space, which will not only make your kitchen appear larger but add a touch of ambiance as well.
• Adding a Large Window for Natural Light – Let the sun shine into your beautiful new kitchen by opting for a large bay window. The sunshine will not only light your kitchen but bring the soothing effect of a sunny day into your home.
• Flooring – If you’re considering replacing your flooring with tile, opt for placing the tiles on a diagonal, which will give the illusion of a larger space.
• Open Shelving – Displaying your dishes and bowls on open shelving reduces clutter and offers a more relaxed and casual feel.
• Make it Happen – It all starts with a click of your mouse or a quick call to your local Granite Transformations dealer to schedule a free in-home design consultation that will turn your dream kitchen into a reality. Granite Transformations makes it easy and we take the guesswork out of the entire process. Your new kitchen can be only one day away…
Surprise your Mom this Mother’s Day by preparing this delicious no-fuss French Toast Casserole. Whether you’re spoiling her with breakfast in bed or feeding a crowd for a Mother’s Day brunch, she will welcome the day off and savor every bite of this sweet and comforting dish. The make-ahead recipe makes the big day stress-free for you, too! Just prepare the casserole the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. The aroma of brown sugar and cinnamon filling your home is sure to bring a smile to Mom’s face and hungry mouths to the table.
With gratitude to all of the great moms out there, Granite Transformations® wishes all of you a Happy Mother’s Day!
Baked French Toast with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
Cooking Tip: You can either slice the bread and layer in a casserole dish or cut the bread into cubes. Either way, it’s a delicious way to celebrate Mom on her special day.
1 loaf French bread, cut into ¼” thick slices or cubed
8 large eggs
3 ½ cups whole milk or half-n-half
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons softened butter
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
Pinch of salt
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs with milk (or half-n-half), ¼ cup of brown sugar, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. You may use a blender if you wish.
Layer bread slices or cubed bread in a buttered casserole dish. Pour egg mixture over bread, pressing bread down lightly to make sure all of it is submerged in the egg mixture. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning (or one hour before serving time):
For streusel: In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of brown sugar with flour, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Add pecans (if using). Sprinkle over the soaked bread and bake from approximately 45 minutes to one hour, or until nicely browned.
Serve with warm maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side for a beautiiul presentation.
Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day from Granite Transformations!
Having to make one more decision in our busy lives can be overwhelming. Kitchen and bath renovations can take us from calm to crazy in a matter of minutes, so educating ourselves on the best choices for our lifestyles can be the best strategy to minimizing the mayhem and make the process more fun and productive.
In recent years, homeowners ditched their laminate countertops for the more trendy and sophisticated look of granite. In an age where we are constantly evolving and wanting the best bang for our buck, educated consumers are discovering quartz to be the hottest trend in countertops as its popularity is soaring in kitchens and baths across the country.
Made from a mixture of quartz and ForeverSeal®, Granite Transformations® offers quartz countertops in several beautiful fashion-forward colors: Perla Bianca, Perla di Sabbia, Crema Luna, Fire Beige, King Ivory, Pietra Serena, Ivory, Sunset Beach, and Bianco Reale.
Here are some reasons why you should consider quartz when determining the best countertop surface for your home:
• Quartz is very strong, so it is therefore less prone to scratches and chips.
• Quartz is heat-resistant, allowing for a more stress-free cooking environment when you need to set that hot pot down somewhere.
• Quartz is a non-porous surface (making it stain-resistant), thus eliminating the worry of spilled coffee, wine or even olive oil leaving unsightly marks on your countertop.
• Quartz’s non-porous nature makes it more difficult for environmental bacteria, mold and mildew to grow, so it is the ideal choice for kitchens and baths. This provides an extra layer of protection and peace-of-mind…and makes it easier to clean.
• Quartz is available in a spectrum of colors and has a more uniform appearance, creating a sleek and sophisticated look.
• Quartz countertops are environmentally green – meaning they are safe and virtually free from emitting radon gas (a colorless, odorless gas which has been known to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, according to the EPA).
Whether you’re ready to create a beautiful new look for your kitchen, bath (or both), considering a quartz countertop from Granite Transformations is today’s fresh alternative to other countertop materials. Schedule a Free In-Home Consultation now!
Today’s trends can soon be tomorrow’s faux pas, so doing your homework when it comes to making the right design choices in your kitchen remodel is critical to creating a timeless, classic look. The last thing you want is to spend your money on improvements that will be considered yesterday’s news and outdated within a year or two.
Here are some of the top trending tips to avoid, thus ensuring that your remodel will look beautiful and contemporary for years to come:
• Colorful Appliances – Opt for stainless steel appliances. The latest trend with appliance manufacturers is to sell the notion that white, arctic or ice is the new stainless. Some may argue the point, but the truth is, stainless remains the go-to finish for its versatility in accessorizing any décor, whether it be contemporary or traditional.
• On-the-Counter Microwaves and Over-the-Stove Microwaves – Today’s state-of-the-art kitchens are featuring under-the-counter microwaves. Not only do they fit in seamlessly with your cabinets, but they save on precious counter space and make busy family schedules more efficient by installing them at an accessible height for children. (There’s no need to worry because they are equipped with safety locks for homes with toddlers.) And let’s not forget that this will reduce the risk of those unforeseen burns from spills when removing food from over-the-stove microwaves. Ouch!
• Large Custom Built Range Hoods and Hanging Pot Racks – Although they were popular a few years back, large range hoods and hanging pot racks tend to create a cluttered feel. Today’s homeowners are opting for a more open kitchen concept and prefer storing their cookware in deep roll-out drawers for easy accessibility.
• Appliance Garages – As funny as it may sound to house your small appliances behind closed doors, these small garages were a popular trend in the 1980’s and 1990’s, taking up precious counter space. Today’s homeowners mostly choose to keep their most often-used appliances proudly displayed on the counter, or they opt for pull-out drawers as the places to keep their mixers or blenders.
• Farmhouse Sinks – From 2011-2012, farmhouse apron-front kitchen sinks were all the rage. Today, they are quickly becoming outdated. Stainless steel and granite sinks remain the timeless choice for durability and style.
• Built-in Desk Areas – Let’s face it, having a desk in the kitchen is like having a treadmill in the den. The initial intention was there, but we soon found ourselves using these desks for the wrong reasons (such as using it as a place to drop our keys and mail or throw our coats over after a long day). Free up that precious kitchen real estate and create a space that’s functional and fun (perhaps a small wet bar for entertaining).
With so many decisions and choices to make, one thing is clear…creating a kitchen space that is classic and functional will not only bring you years of enjoyment, but will save you money in the long run by avoiding a do-over only a few years later.
Spring. We wait for it all year. It’s a time to brush off the winter blues and start planning a ‘rejuvenation vacation.’ As you may have heard, homeowners across the country are opting for ‘staycations,’ as families find the joy of family time in the comfort of their own homes. Most of us would agree that our kitchens are the ‘heart’ of our homes. It is a place where our families gather and memories are made. Now is the perfect time to treat your kitchen to a spring makeover with new granite countertops. Or, consider giving your cabinets a facelift with a beautiful new look – all in a time frame that will fit even your busiest schedule.
Take a look at how fun and easy it is to create a beautiful new space in as little as one day with Granite Transformations.
Remember, your house is a reflection of your personality, so get those creative juices flowing. Here are a few friendly suggestions to get you going:
Color – Is it time to rethink the walls? It’s been known that color sets the mood for almost every situation. What is the color-theme in your house? Are you one for a peaceful and serene atmosphere, or do you love a more bold and funky look? Whichever suits your style, remember to choose a color that not only reflects your personality but also showcases the ambiance and furnishings of your home and kitchen.
Style – Are you more of a traditionalist or do you like a more cutting-edge décor? Choosing the right countertop will surely enhance whichever theme suits you and will add another layer of elegance to your kitchen.
Functionality – As we have already agreed, the kitchen is the heart of the home and one of the busiest rooms in the house. Making sure the room flows and functions well is the key to a stress-free zone. A kitchen island can serve several purposes, such as extra storage, food preparation, a place to eat, and for homework. There should also be plenty of counter space, and cabinets and appliances should be placed where they can be accessed easily and the doors don’t block traffic flow when opened. Storage space should allow for everything to be reached easily and be placed where the items contained are going to be used most. Instead of cabinets, wide drawers can be easier to access larger kitchen tools. Functionality is a major consideration when redesigning your kitchen.
Make It Happen – It all starts with a click of your mouse or a quick call to your local dealer to schedule a free in-home design consultation that will turn your dream kitchen into a reality. Granite Transformations makes it easy and we take the guess work out of the entire process. Your new kitchen can be only one day away…
Nature Made Granite. We Made it Better.
We often get asked by our clients about alternatives to granite countertops.
One of the questions we hear most is: “I would like something other than ordinary granite for my counters—what options do I have?”
While we appreciate the beauty of ordinary granite, Mother Nature certainly didn’t foresee the demands of modern lifestyle when creating its mineral wonders.
If you are a passionate chef or love to enjoy a glass of Frédéric Magnien Bourgogne Pinot Noir in your kitchen, you are probably familiar with the stains that red sauces and wines can leave behind on ordinary granite countertops.
There are times when plain granite just won’t work.
Today’s decorating trends are quite eclectic. There is no specific formula or any proper method to “put things together”. The only rule is that there are no rules except one: Follow your instincts.
If you are comfortable with your ideas, go for it.
An example that comes to mind is the use of log furniture in a modern decorating scheme. Depending on the approach you take, you can take on a rustic log cabin theme and pull it all together with accessories and appointments that add color as well as unique touches of style while taking away the heavy impression that log furniture can leave with you.
A good balance of styles can make your home comfy and truly enjoyable. Picture a kitchen/dining space with a beautiful natural pine log table and chairs set in a space decorated with contemporary rustic cabinetry and an attractive granite countertop.
The natural look of log furniture can be dramatic when set against the right background. This rustic feel can be carried out throughout the home and mixed and matched throughout. Rustic tables with legs that have been whitewashed can make a visual impression when the tabletops are topped with a style of granite similar to that used for the kitchen cabinets.
Because granite is a natural material, it will work well when used in combination with any number of materials. Rustic cabinets are an ideal base from which a theme can be fully developed. The great thing about granite is the many colors that nature has endowed it with. Most often, you will find a highlight color within the granite that can be used as the basis for color schemes throughout the home.
About the company: JHE’s Log Furniture Place is a leading manufacturer and retailer of rustic log furniture. This company has a huge online store offering indoor and outdoor log furniture, as well as rustic décor and accessories. Its furniture is proudly made in the USA and the company has excellent customer service.
So if you read the Granite Transformations blog you probably know that we offer glass countertops, though many people don’t exactly know what that entails. We are familiar with standard stone-based options like granite, marble, silestone, and soapstone. The idea of glass countertops is intriguing – a shiny, smooth surface that can come in a wide array of colors, perhaps a wider array than than can be found within a stone-based inventory. Is it durable? Yes! Let us explain the process.