It’s always important to maximize the space you have available when coming up with a kitchen design for your home, but that’s even more true if your kitchen only occupies a small area. As one of the busiest and most used rooms in any household, it becomes vitally important to carefully fit all of the required features into the design to ensure that all your needs are met. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners in Toronto come up with a functional kitchen space over the years and whenever we work with a client that isn’t blessed with a large open space, we always tell them that it’s vital to focus on three main areas above all others: Storage, lighting and appliances. Many people think it’s impossible to create an impressive kitchen area if they don’t have a lot of space but that’s not true, and while it certainly is more challenging, if a small kitchen design is done right if can be extremely functional, visually attractive and efficient. During this article we’re going to make a few design suggestions and point out certain features that can help you to make the most of a small area.
I’ve Only Got a Small Area to Work With: How to Come Up with a Good Kitchen Design?
We’ve worked with many clients in Toronto that own a small one or two bedroom apartment in the centre of the city and while space does place a certain limit on you in terms of what can be achieved, it’s certainly not the “make or break” factor that many people make it out to be. To have the best chance of coming up with a small kitchen design that you can be proud of, take note of the following tips:
- Utilize the Centre – All too often we see people leaving the centre of a small kitchen empty, which is a big mistake since it doesn’t need to be left blank. Rather than doing this, think about having an island unit in this area, which can provide tons of additional storage as well as offer additional food preparation space. It could even serve as a place for you to eat your meals. This multi-use feature has to be part of your kitchen design as it helps you to make the most out of the space you have.
- Opt for Compact Appliances – Bigger is not always better and it certainly isn’t when your kitchen is on the small side. Rather than wasting lots of space by filling your kitchen full of bulky appliances, opt for smaller, compact appliances. This is particularly relevant to the types of appliances that typically take up a lot of room, such as the fridge. Select one that isn’t quite so deep and doesn’t protrude into the floor space too much.
- Hanging Pot Racks – This is something that’s definitely been “in” for a new years now and is a feature that can really work wonders in a small kitchen design. Rather than stuffing your kitchen cabinets full of pots and pans, install a pot rack and simply hang them up. Not only is this a great space saver, but it can also really add character to your kitchen too. Copper pot racks are particularly popular.
- Don’t Neglect Lighting – Lighting plays a particularly important role in a small kitchen design and can help to make your kitchen appear bigger than it really is. There’s nothing quite like natural lighting to illuminate and expand an interior space, but in terms of functionality and efficiency, task style lighting is popular for kitchen areas since it only lights the area you are using, therefore minimizing energy consumption.
- Only Install What You Really Need – Over the years we’ve worked with many homeowners that had a kitchen design that didn’t really work for them simply because they had packed it full of features that they didn’t really need or use. Sometimes less genuinely is more. Cut out anything you don’t need and stick with those features that are essential in your day-to-day life.
If you’re struggling to come up with a kitchen design for your home and need some help
Contact us today for help with your kitchen design
Whether you’re contemplating a full-blown kitchen renovation or you only have enough money (or only need) to make one significant change to your kitchen’s current design, kitchen cabinets are an important consideration. Visually, they occupy a significant amount of space and can have a considerable impact upon the overall aesthetics of your kitchen and they are obviously vital in a practical sense too since they are the feature that keeps everything tidy and organised. If you break it down even further, the main thing you need to think about when buying new kitchen cabinets is the material they are made from. This material will impact upon how well the cabinets perform, how long they last and how attractive they look. There is a range of materials available these days, all of which have their own various pros and cons, and during this article we are going to take a look at some of the main options.
What Material Should Your New Kitchen Cabinets be Constructed From?
You should have a set budget in mind when undergoing any kind of kitchen renovation and in terms of kitchen cabinets that budget will often dictate the material you end up selecting, since some are relatively cheap while others will require a larger investment. If you contact a kitchen renovation company in Toronto they will most probably introduce you to the following options:
- Solid Wood – Solid woods have long been considered the “default” choice for kitchen cabinets. It’s important to point out that there is a wide range of different hardwoods that are typically used to construct kitchen cabinets. Red oak is one of the more common choices due to its aesthetically pleasing pronounced grain patterns, its strength (and consequent durability) and the fact that it’s one of the cheaper hardwoods that can be used. White oak is similarly popular, and while it has a more subtle grain pattern, it does boast additional strength that often provides a longer lifespan. Then there’s hard maple, which features a fine grain pattern and a light colour, which is often a perfect fit if you are planning a contemporary style kitchen. The main thing to remember with kitchen cabinets constructed from solid woods is that in order to resist frequent exposure to moisture (which is likely in the kitchen area due to cooking), they must be periodically re-sealed and properly cared for.
- Plywood – If your budget doesn’t allow for kitchen cabinets made from a solid hardwood, plywood can be a good alternative. It’s a man-made material that’s produced using a specialized manufacturing process that essentially joins many “sheets” of lower quality wood together, which lowers the overall cost of the material while increasing its strength and durability at the same time. It’s also possible to stain plywood, it’s more resistant to moisture than other options (which is important in the kitchen as already mentioned) and it’s well known for being able to hold screws very tightly.
- Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – Just like plywood, MDF is an engineered material, but is much “denser” than standard particle board (which is generally considered the lowest quality option), giving it added strength. MDF is made from millions of small wood fibers that are combined with wax and a resin binder before being pressed together at extreme temperatures. The end result is a material that doesn’t have a visible grain (hardwood are your only option if you consider this a “must-have” feature of your kitchen cabinets), but it also doesn’t have the huge voids that you see in standard particle board, as the particles are compressed together much more tightly.
- Stainless Steel – Commonly used in commercial settings due to their hygienic qualities, kitchen cabinets produced from stainless steel are the next most popular option after those listed above. As you would expect, stainless steel is extremely durable, ideal for food preparation and storage areas, but does tend to highlight any scratches and marks that are accidentally made.
The material you choose for your kitchen cabinets can impact upon almost all aspects of performance and your kitchen’s aesthetics, and due to the wide range of different options that are made available nowadays it can be difficult to know which way to turn.
Contact us today for your kitchen cabinets queries
There’s a strong argument that can be put forward for any room when it comes to remodeling, but the number of reasons when it comes to the bathroom area perhaps top all others. If you are considering making a home improvement in 2014, a bathroom renovation should perhaps be the first thing you should consider, with the potential to increase your home’s value and make it more attractive to potential buyers, in addition to improving performance and maximizing the amount of available space. However, do you simply go down to your local big box store and get an independent plumber to install the fittings and fixtures you select, or should you buy into the many benefits that Bathroom Renovations offer? To be able to answer that question, you first have to be aware of those advantages…
Why Bathroom Renovations are Superior to Generic Solutions
You might not have ever thought about it before and you certainly won’t have timed it to check whether the following statement is correct, but…the bathroom is undoubtedly one of the most heavily used rooms in the average household. That fact alone makes it worthy of a more significant investment than other areas of the home, and here are a few reasons why Bathroom Renovations are worth the money:
- The Perfect Design – If you’re someone that has a clear vision of how you would like your bathroom space to look, then Bathroom Renovations are the ideal choice, since the possibilities are virtually unlimited. Whether you want granite, marble or quartz countertops, Bathroom Renovations make that possible. You pick the design of your bathroom rather than letting it pick you!
- Efficient Use of Space – While they are one of the busiest rooms in the average household, they are also typically the smallest, which makes it vitally important to utilize every bit of space available. Bathroom Renovations make use of every square inch and leave very little, if any, “dead space.”
- One of a Kind – Fed up of spotting the same home improvements done at several properties throughout your neighbourhood? Bathroom Renovations offer you the chance to differentiate yourself and really put your own stamp on the property. A custom design will allow you to choose colours, shapes and sizes that you like.
- Cater for Specific Needs – Everyone is different, isn’t that what they say? When it comes to the layout and features that are found in a bathroom, it’s the fact that everyone is different that results in our clients all having different needs and preferences. Bathroom Renovations allow you to incorporate those needs and preferences into the design, i.e. if there’s a person in the house that struggles with their mobility, specific features could be added to make their life easier when using the toilet or the bath. Another good example comes in the form of people that have children; they are often worried about the safety of their children, but custom bathroom designs enable you to almost eliminate this issue altogether.
- Higher Quality Materials – Whenever you buy something, you want to know approximately how long it is going to last, right?! We can tell you with absolute assurance that Bathroom Renovations will always outlast more generic fixtures and fittings. Why? It’s simple really, the way in which they are constructed and the materials that are used to construct them are of much higher quality, able to resist the stresses put on them by daily use much better than “regular” fittings.
Studies show that we spend close to a year and a half inside the bathroom at home over the course of an average lifetime. The first time we read that statistic it really hit home how important it is to have a bathroom that fulfils all of our needs and looks great, as spending all that time staring at something old and beat up would be depressing!
At PARADA Kitchens & Baths we pride ourselves on how thorough we are when working on a home renovation and always come out to your location to carry out an on-site assessment of the space you would like renovating, in addition to listening to your ideas and providing you with some expert advice.
Start your Bathroom Renovations today by calling us to set up an appointment.
If you’ve been thinking about a kitchen renovation for a while now but have never taken any action, it’s most probably because you’re worried about the money side of things. That’s absolutely normal and we always advise our clients against rushing into a home improvement project, as this often bumps the price of the project up considerably. Experts always advise you to prepare for the unexpected and the truth is it’s actually quite easy to spend more than you originally wanted to on a kitchen renovation. But you can’t let that fear paralyze your forever and if you work with a reputable home improvement specialist, you’ll find that your dream kitchen can be created for a price that you can afford. If you would like to know our top tips for saving on a kitchen renovation without sacrificing quality, keep reading.
Top Tips for Saving on Your Kitchen Renovation in 2014
The truth is that with a kitchen renovation, it’s the little things that can really start to add up, so if you can make small savings in multiple areas, the cost of the entire project can be reduced considerably. Here are a few ways in which this can be achieved:
Think About Making Your Kitchen More Efficient, Not Bigger
When people talk about a kitchen renovation, they often talk about expanding, making their preparation areas bigger or adding loads of extra appliances. That’s the total wrong approach; your focus should be on efficiency, not size. If you can achieve everything you want simply by maximising available space and using space-saving features, why go to the trouble (and expense) of knocking down walls and making serious changes to your home’s structure. In kitchens, one feature that often takes up more space than it really should are the cabinets, so start by replacing those with cabinets that don’t consume as much space but do everything you want them to.
Leave the Sink Where it Is
Try not to move the kitchen sink during a renovation project if you can help it, as this will really drive up the overall price. You will need the help of a plumbing specialist to do this, and even moving the sink just a few metres can add a few noughts onto the price of your kitchen renovation. If you feel like it’s a feature that just has to be moved to accommodate other features in your new look kitchen, seize the opportunity and have new pipes fitted, as in the long term this will save you a considerable amount of money. Incidentally, the same thing goes for power outlets and electrical work; if you can leave them where they are, that’s less work for an electrician and consequently less expense.
Stove Over Built-In Oven
These are two features you will probably want in your new kitchen; but do you actually use your oven? When you sit and think about it you probably don’t use it nearly as much as you think. It’s rated as the least frequently used appliance in the entire kitchen and some people can easily survive without one. Stick with a stove (invest a little more in it if you aren’t getting an oven) and forget the oven; this is an easy way to save several hundred to a few thousand dollars, although it’s obviously not viable for everyone.
Use Existing Appliances
A kitchen renovation doesn’t have to mean that everything has to be changed. If you currently have a range of appliances that are still in good condition, why replace them? Instead, clean them up and incorporate them into the design of your new kitchen where possible.
Help Out Where You Can
Many of the tasks involves in a kitchen renovation require some real skill and expertise, but there are also a number of tasks that you could help out with, such as painting and the removal of waste products. You might not think this would make much difference, but on a large scale job it can save you paying for quite a few hours of labour.
Finally, probably the best tip we can give you is to work with a home improvement specialist that has your best interests at heart and is prepared to work with you and the budget you have available.
find out how Parada Kitchens & Baths can assist you with your kitchen renovation, call us today.
We spend a staggering amount of time in the bathroom over the course of our lifetimes. So why is it that such an important part of the home is often neglected even when it’s blindingly obvious that a bathroom renovation is desperately needed? When money becomes available, homeowners often spend it on other home improvement projects, such as custom kitchens, new windows, professional landscaping or a new garage door. But we’ve got news for you: If you ever want to sell your home, the bathroom is one of the first things that prospective buyers will look at, and a bathroom that’s in a dreadful state is often a real “turn-off.” If it’s been a few years since you had any work done in your bathroom and you’re not entirely sure whether a bathroom renovation is required, keep reading as we are going to point out a number of signs that indicate your bathroom is in need of some care and attention.
How to Tell When You Need a Bathroom Renovation
A bathroom renovation isn’t done to simply improve the appearance of the room; it can also help to make this area of your home safer and enhance its functionality. The trick is to know when to start calling general contractors and asking for quotes, as leaving it for last minute could have some serious consequences.
Mold & Mildew Ever Present
Bathrooms can be a real haven for mold and mildew, as it provides the perfect conditions for it to thrive in. If it does keep repeatedly growing back after you remove it, you may need to consider a bathroom renovation, as mold and mildew can be potentially harmful; some varieties are known to be toxic. The solution might be as simple as installing a new fan to remove steam from the bathroom.
Is the grout in between your tiles in poor condition? If this is the case, it could lead to the development of the mold and mildew problem we just discussed. Furthermore, when the grout becomes damaged it can leave sharp edges exposed, which is potentially dangerous, especially if you have children.
You’re Nervous When Guests Go to the Bathroom
When you have friends over, do you get nervous or embarrassed when they say they need to use the bathroom? There is actually an expression that goes something like “your property is judged on the condition of your bathroom.” A bathroom renovation is the perfect way to “spruce up” a tired old bathroom and inject new life into it. Make your bathroom something you can be proud of and want to show off rather something to worry about and hide.
Your Bathroom is Always Cluttered
Your small, simple bathroom might have been adequate when it was just the two of you, but if you now have children and your bathroom is always full with clutter, a bathroom renovation is the ideal way to add additional space efficient storage solutions that can help to keep things neat and tidy.
Your Bathroom Looks Ancient
There’s old, and then there’s ancient! If your bathroom currently has faucets that are full of rust, has a toilet that doesn’t work properly and there are chipped tiles all over, it’s time to contact a bathroom renovation specialist and update the look and feel of your bathroom.
The Fixtures in Your Bathroom are Inefficient
Conservation is an important word nowadays as we strive to use our natural resources more efficiently. If you are still using older bathroom fixtures, you are most likely wasting unforgivable amounts of water every single day. Not only does that put more pressure on water treatment plants, but it bumps up your water bills significantly too.
Doesn’t Fit in With the Rest of Your Home’s Design
If you’ve renovated just about every room in your house over the years except your bathroom (not as uncommon as you might think), it may no longer fit in; in fact it probably sticks out. Many times interior designers will stress the importance of continuity in the interior of a house, and a bathroom renovation in this case would be the best way to achieve that. It could also be possible that your bathroom’s design is no longer well suited to your tastes (our tastes do change as we get older remember), and a change needs to be made.
PARADA Kitchens & Baths is the leading bathroom renovation specialist in the area. We serve Toronto, Mississauga and Etobicoke, and have the vision as well as the skills required to transform your bathroom into something wonderful. We always recommend setting up an appointment with us so we can come and have a look at your bathroom in its current state before any firm plans are made.