Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Countertops can make a huge difference!

As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, I am living in a renovation zone but things have picked up and starting to really come together.

This afternoon our counter tops (kitchen and bathroom) were installed and I cannot get over the difference! We had laminate counter tops in both rooms, the kitchen counter top was a solid grey which was probably not the best choice as it does not hide stains very well and every scratch is seen from a mile away; the bathroom counter top was a laminate but in aqua, white and peach speckled design. My husband and I were looking for a more modern look but we also love the natural look of granite and stone. We went to a few granite showrooms but everything we saw was quite typical, since our cabinetry was so plain we really wanted something special! We actually went to a granite supplier and had the opportunity to peruse their slabs and select ours directly from their supply. We found the perfect counter tops for our home and now that they are in the transformation is truly incredible.

What difference can a counter top really make? In our case we selected a slab of granite that was lighter in colour from the original laminate and now our open concept kitchen look enormous. Our stone back splash really stands out and the stainless steel accents add some sparkle. The whole kitchen comes together and is a true show stopper! The bathroom renovation was a complete overhaul (bye bye Barbie bathroom) but my husband was really worried about how the white wall tiles, grey floor tiles and blue glass accent tile would all come together - the 'biano antico' granite counter top was the key element for bringing all the pieces together.

When it comes to selecting your kitchen counter tops there are no right or wrong choice but here are some tips:

1 - Typically you want to choose a counter top that on the opposite side of the colour wheel from your cabinets, for example a dark espresso stain looks best with a lighter counter top but if you are selecting from granite you have some flexibility because granite has some many colours and fishers that you can choose from a variety of cabinet colours.

2 - Stay away from a single colour laminate. A solid coloured laminate counter top does not stand the test of time very well, stains and scratches are nearly impossible to hide with this type of counter top. If granite is too pricey, keep in mind that there are many laminate options that look (and can feel) like a granite counter top.

3 - Looking for something different? Try exotic granites or other natural stone such as marble or soapstone or even more cutting edge - concrete. With the increased popularity of granite certain colours are seen more frequently but there is a lot to choose from, so look around at other options.

Stay tuned for before and after photos of the major renovation!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Surviving your renovation

I have not been posting on my blog lately because we have been very busy with the final stage of our renovations. We purchased our home almost 2 years ago and took care of some easy renovations in our first year of living in our new home. Paint throughout, new tiles floor, sand and stain the hardwood, new back splash and landscaping the front yard - it was a lot of work but worth it! So this summer we decided to take on the remaining projects in our home - new bathroom, new kitchen counter tops, paint the exterior and landscape the backyard - and our home will be the home we have been dreaming of!

Although the end result is worth it, the transformation is amazing to see but living through renovations can be messy and stressful - here are some tips for surviving your renovation.

1 - Let your neighbours know what's going on. A dumpster can be an unpleasant sight but if your neighbours know you are doing home improvements they will appreciate your honesty and how your improvements will help increase the property values of the neighbourhood.

2 - Work with your contractor. Remember you are a team. Check in daily on the progress and discuss issues and concerns you have with your renovation. It is easier to fix problems while they are occurring and much more costly after they have occurred.

3 - Have a timeline. Make sure your contractor provides you with a timeline. There are situations which may put you behind time but at least there is a rough outline of what to expect and when.

4 - Plan ahead. Make your tile, granite, cabinet selections even before the work starts (and do your best to stick with those choices) as materials can take time to order, deliver etc... and that can delay your renovation.

5 - Think of your family. Renovations can disrupt family routines so try and keep everyone entertained and occupied, so not to frustrate everyone too much. Take your little ones to the park to play instead of the backyard, plan excursions while the demolition is taking place (that part is the messiest), visit your friends (and maybe your little ones can take an afternoon nap there) taking a break from the renovation is good for everyone.

6 - Get out. If the renovation will have your life completely upside down for months, maybe look into the possibility of a short term furnished rental apartment for you and your family, it might be way more comfortable and stress free.

7 - Before and after. Even though you may not be on a TV show or in a magazine, take some before, during and after photos so you can see the transformation - it's pretty amazing and you don't fully appreciate it while living in the construction zone!

Remember, renovations done between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010 are eligible for the Home Renovation Tax Credit. Check out this link for more details.

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