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Remodel project can completely transform your kitchen, bath

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)
David Bauer Spokane Home Builders Association

Whether you have an outdated kitchen, or it’s just too small for your lifestyle, remodeling this space can make a drastic change in your home’s feel.

One of the first items to consider before you embark on the project is the size of the space. In general, many older kitchens are small with many walls and low ceilings. Remodelers often can remove walls between the kitchen and dining room or add ceiling height for a “great room” concept.

Proper lighting is crucial in any remodeling project, especially in a kitchen. Simply adding more windows can work wonders in dark kitchens. Recessed cans and other light can provide a glow that’s good for preparing meals and other tasks.

Kitchen surface choices are endless. Granite is today’s hot material for countertops, since it is maintenance-free, indestructible and of great quality. Flooring options include tile, stone, wood, vinyl and linoleum. Wood is the product that typically replaces vinyl in remodels, for it is soft and can flow from one room to another.

New appliances also can bring new life to an outdated kitchen. Let your contractor know how you live and what you like to use in your kitchen. These experts can steer you to new products and ideas you may not have considered or even known about. High-end appliances such as stainless steel and cabinet-fronted refrigerators are very popular, as are under-counter refrigerators, warming drawers and cabinets at varying heights.

Design Kitchen for Function, Form

Design the kitchen for function as well as beauty. By including plenty of storage space and drawers, you will be able to eliminate clutter from the countertops. Remember to respect the style of the house and bring in design elements that enhance it rather than ignore it. If you are hoping to improve the resale value of your home, or want the most bang for your remodeling buck, the kitchen is the place to look. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

The master bath is the home’s one true hideaway where homeowners can relax and enjoy a little luxury, and it’s here where homeowners are investing their money for some real in-home pampering.

About one-quarter of the cost in remodeling the bathroom goes into the actual square footage — building the space. The other 75 percent is in the finish features. There are plenty of variables as you plan your budget. Jetted tubs are the current luxury standard. One Japanese model — a 3-foot-deep tub built for sitting — features an air massage mechanism that swirls champagne-sized bubbles around the body in varying intensities.

High-end shower stalls lined with stone or tile and featuring two sprayer heads — or three or four — are now the rage. Some designs combine a handheld unit with a central ceiling-mounted rain head that inundates the user with water. If you have room, multiple heads at either end allow both you and your partner to shower at the same time.

There is also a surprising array of choices in toilets. One $5,000 model has a built-in bidet that “does everything.” If you want to retrofit your existing toilet, you can get seats that play music, warm you, blow-dry you and spray a deodorizer.

For the vanity, designers and remodelers agree that one sink doesn’t cut it in the hunt for luxury. Vanities must be long enough to easily accommodate both partners, and are often separated by a cabinet to create a clear separation of territory. If you’ve got the space, separate vanities can be even better. Your choice of vanity hardware is bigger than ever, with the trendy choices being metals with dark patinas such as hand-rubbed bronze.

Don’t Forget Lighting

To complete the ambience of your bathroom, don’t forget the lighting. Designers say the room should have good ambient light, usually with the use of inset cans set on a dimmer. You can also include toe-kick lights mounted underneath cabinets that illuminate the floor at nighttime. Any lighting plan also must include task lighting on both sides of the mirrors, for shaving and makeup.

The care you put into designing your master bath can have a big influence on your quality of life.

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