July 17, 2017

Standard or Counter Depth Refrigerator? A Tip.

After looking at trends the last couple of years, we have noticed Americans are downsizing their footprint. Builders have ceased building the 4000 sq foot spec home, and begun building smaller homes in their place. If you have been following, or visited Southern Smarts in the past you know we have featured many kitchen renovations on our site, big, small, and in between.

We have received many questions regarding refrigerators and space provided in your perspective kitchens. This can easily be overlooked. Depending on the location of your refrigerator, you may wish to look into a counter depth. They are a fantastic alternative to a standard size as they do not stick out past your countertops,  or stick out like a sore thumb in an otherwise streamlined new kitchen. They still provide ample cold storage for all of our everyday refrigerated items.

Hope this often, overlooked detail is helpful.

Happy renovating!

Steven

Counter Top Questions

Choosing your material for a new counter top can be very daunting. We have our favorites, but price always enters the equation..  What counter top  material really makes sense, and where do you start?

Let’s break down this major kitchen commitment…

First of all, the most important part of making your counter top decision is choosing your fabricator. This is the segment of the business that measures and installs your countertops. And just FYI , some storefronts sub contract their work, not bad, but make sure they are using an established local business..  Reputable product distributors use a good fabricator. Good fabricators have updated equipment, trained installers, and they work with reputable products.  It may sound like the cart before the horse, but what good is a beautiful piece of  raw stone if someone cuts it wrong, seams it in the wrong place , and does not stand behind their work?

Next? Material…

There are many options, and you have to ask yourself a couple questions..

How will I use this surface, and how can I make this countertop an important part of my kitchen design, and enhance my home?

Ok, let’s start with material and function.

Granite is a natural material, and it is a commodity. Granite quarry’s exist all over the world. Prices and availability change depending on the local economy. . Aesthetics change depending on the environment in the places they are mined. Granite is unique, beautiful, durable, and porous. It needs minor maintenance., and can vary greatly in price. It does have the ” upgrade ” factor If you are considering resale.

Quartz has come a long way. It is a great material, but until recently, not much to look at. It is a natural product that is manufactured, and because of this often has a warranty. The process of mixing the stone with resin, and then heating it, makes it non porous,and basically zero maintenance. It is a wonderful material in a functional kitchen, and it now has great design options. Its biggest drawback is the overall cost. Best advice for quartz on a budget, is to use it in a smaller space in your kitchen, and use a more economical product in your larger areas. If you choose to bite the bullet, and use it everywhere, you will not be disappointed.

Laminate is also very viable option, and I believe has a bad rap. It is a manufactured product that is non porous, durable, practical, and has great longevity.  Again, choices for design options have come a long way. Pricing is good, and the palettes for aesthetics are limitless.

You can also go crazy with concrete, stainless,  recycled and unique natural material., like seashells, and glass.

Don’t forget to ask your fabricator about remnants for a small space , ( powder room, laundry room..)..and don’t be afraid to mix and match your materials. Often that can make things work on a budget.  Don’t forget to talk about edge options with your fabricator. This can make a big statement as you frame out  your  kitchen. If  you choose to use any type of stone, a good fabricator can take the scraps from your slab and make cutting boards, and /or trivets to match , and protect your new surface.

Bottom line..  Counter tops are a big part in the big parts of your home. Educate yourself on the options, and create your counter surfaces with confidence!

Andi Bartruff