Not Your Regular Kitchen Blue

When I was growing up, we had a blue kitchen. Well, at least the walls had baby blue tile and the counter tops were blue with one of those 50s style patterns. But, the cabinets were brown. They were traditional and plain wood. But, as in all things, the kitchen blue that usually comes to mind has grown up and become modernized, just as I have.

Blue Cabinet

Not only can you find blue kitchen cabinets, but you can find them in a high gloss finish that adds a clean and fresh look. Blues are said to be a cool color, one that signifies peace and calm. I’ve heard it said that it also helps you feel more satisfied eating less food, but I am not a nutritionist or dietitian, so you should research that further if you are interested.

Something new that we are also seeing is stark contrasts in colors, as you see the white counter tops above.

Blue Kitchen CounterWe are also seeing a mix of metal and white appliances paired with the blue, making it okay to mix appliance colors while maintaining the beauty of the kitchen.

Blue Kitchen Design

But, even using high gloss blue doesn’t limit you to one style. You can add a blue backsplash, a blue countertop, throw in some funky colors and patterns. It is all about getting creative with the tools you are given. Today’s kitchen blue is so versatile that you can really create a unique & beautiful space that makes you happy.

Anyone have a blue kitchen or thinking of creating one?

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Why Quality Can Be Affordable

When you hear the word “Affordable”, what do you think? Well, you might be thinking “Cheap.” However, something that is affordable is not necessarily cheap.

“Cheap” implies a low cost, poorly-made product. It implies stinginess in resources, and is definitely not associated with quality. However, you can have a “quality” product that is also “affordable.”

Something is affordable when the cost of not having it, exceeds the cost of purchasing it. Well, in terms of quality, think about whether sacrificing quality is worth the discount in price. For example, if you choose to buy your kitchen cabinets from a place who uses particle board because they have the lowest price, you are sacrificing the quality in order to save money now. However, in a few years, when the particle board sags, you will need to replace it, and this will bring your expenses much higher than you anticipated. Now imagine, you chose something slightly higher-priced, but also higher quality. In the long-term, you will save money because you will have those cabinets for much, much longer. Not only will you save money on the actual product expense, but you also save having to install or hire someone to install a new set every few years.

The same goes for any purchases you make. You have to weigh whether the increase in quality warrants the increase in price, or vice versa. If it is something you really need, make sure you get the best quality for the price that you can actually pay. Don’t try to save a few bucks now, try to save yourself from a few headaches later.

 

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A Personal Touch to Kitchen Design

The kitchen is said to be the heart of the home; the place where people gather. It is commonly judged by everyone who sets foot in it and everyone who uses it from day to day. That’s why designing a kitchen that fits your (or your customer’s) lifestyle is so important, and quite challenging at the same time.

The kitchen needs to be designed in a way that you (or your customer) will feel comfortable in spending a lot of time in there. The challenge becomes addressing the practical needs of the homeowner, while maintaining the eye-pleasing aesthetic, staying on top of the trends and staying within a set budget.

Designing your space WHILE INSIDE the space, can help ensure that: measurements are accurate; the colors are in fact the ones you’d like to utilize; the lighting is adequate; the special elements that make a kitchen look like a home, and not a showroom exhibit, are present or can be integrated; and can help you focus the design so that it addressing the needs without going overboard with unnecessary accoutrements.

Rather than relying on purely visiting a showroom or home center, in-home design can help add that personal touch to your kitchen. Whether you are designing your kitchen yourself or using a professional, having an observation period can allow you to see things you may have not noticed before. Even if you are designing for yourself, you could set-up a camera and record yourself during 1-2 days to see how you and your family/roommates move in the kitchen.

Modern kitchen design is moving toward working in symbiosis with the lifestyle you should be living. High quality, customizable and innovative products are beginning to surface at affordable prices, making a beautiful lifestyle attainable for more than just the wealthy.When you can customize the look, the design, and the pricing of your kitchen, you are able to take control of the the lifeblood that flows through the heart of your home.

 

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Kitchen Trends in 2013

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recently published their Kitchen and Bath Style Report on the trends for 2013. Some of the trends we took note of were the following:

Gray color schemes have jumped in popularity.

2013 Kitchen Design Trend Gray

While white and off-white colors remain the most popular.

2013 Kitchen Design Trend Favorite White

With Browns and Beiges in second place.

2013 Kitchen Design Trend Browns and Beiges

Transitional ( a blend of traditional and contemporary) has topped Traditional as the favorite kitchen style, with Contemporary close in third.

2013 Kitchen Design Favorite Trend Transitional Style

Kitchen Design Trend 2013 Contemporary Style

White painted cabinetry has seen an increase in use.

2013 Kitchen Design Trend White Painted Cabinetry

While we have also seen a vast majority of designers incorporating LED lighting into their designs.

2013 Kitchen Design Favorite Trend LED lighting

Sometimes trends can vary depending on the location. What trends have you seen where you live? If you are a designer or builder, what have you incorporated into your projects?

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Houzz Visits Miami

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a networking event held by Houzz at CB2 in Miami. If you are not familiar with Houzz, it is a community of home owners and home industry professionals exchanging ideas, experiences and tips.

When I arrived, they had us register and fill out a card to win a raffle, as well as register for a CB2 Designer Rewards program that includes a 10% off discount. For the night only, they extended a 15% discount. After registration, there was a light networking time with some hors d’ouevres and white wine.

Houzz’s presentation opened up with a brief history of Houzz and a testimonial video. Houzz was founded in 2009 by a husband and wife who were seeking an easier, more streamlined process to renovate their home. Within a year, the site grew so big they were able to quit their job to work full time on it.

Houzz now has 14 million users, 6 million ipad/iphone app downloads with 70K views and a 5 star rating, as well as 1.2 million high quality images. Designers upload about 3K images a day and homeowners add about 700K images to their Ideabooks per day. (If you look really closely in the picture below on the right, you might spot my hand or my nose.)

 

 

They also revealed some results of a homeowner study they conducted with over 200,000 respondents. Below are some stats they shared with us.

In Miami specifically:
  • 87% are homeowners, average age is 49, average household income $120K, average home value $472K
  • Only 26% are in their first home
  • In the next two years, 74% are planning to decorate or redecorate, 42% are planning to remodel or build an addition, 7% are planning to build a custom home
  • Also in the next two years, 50% are planning to hire a general contractor, 25% an architect, 21% an interior designer, among other home professionals
  • 44% of Miami homeowners went over budget on their last renovation project, and 14% had no budget specified at all.
  • 83% said improving the look/feel/flow/functionality was an important motivation behind their projects, while only 43% cited increasing home value
  • Biggest challenges for Houzzers when it comes to renovation & design? Finding the right products and defining their style – a marketing opportunity for all pros on Houzz.

(I’ve got the national stats in case you want to peek at them). We also learned that 68% of respondents reported getting their information and ideas from Houzz and other online sites. Only 11% reported magazine and 9% reported word of mouth as the source.

Other tidbits included the fact that clients start early when hunting for professionals, that they want a 360 view of the companies they plan to work with, and that you can influence how your brand is perceived by controlling the brand images and identity that you present to your audience. One of their Best of Houzz 2013 design team recommended having a creative and professional photographed profile image to help attract attention. Houzz also suggested doing a 3 question, 30 second screening for potential customers and clients that come to you from the network to make sure you have the right fit. One thing I also learned was that you could add green tags onto images and add products onto the site to sell to the designers who need the suppliers and manufacturers.

Toward the end of the event, I did some more valuable networking. (Much to my dismay, I did not win the raffle prize. But hey, you can’t win them all. I am generally lucky at prize winning. Last event I went to, I won a Vietnamese Pearl Necklace.)

Overall it was a pretty cool event and I am glad they shared the results of their survey. As a marketing coordinator, it is very helpful to know more about your audience.  Anyone else attend the event? Know of any other cool events we should attend? Share them below in a comment.

Well known award winning kitchen designer Julia Johnston (who also spoke at the Tour of Kitchens event I also attended) recommended that the kitchen categories be broken up differently and have more representations of styles and trends. Houzz reported that they segment based on what people are searching for on the site.

 

 

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