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We are on HGTV.com!

September 26, 2014

Kitchen Island with multiple functionsPlease follow the link below to visit our project featured on HGTV.com

Stylish Kitchen Renovated for Optimal Use

http://www.hgtv.com/kitchens/stylish-kitchen-renovated-for-optimal-use/index.html

 

“To hire or not to hire … that is the question”

June 3, 2014

“To hire or not to hire … that is the question”

 

Okay … it’s time. You’ve discussed this home improvement on and off for quite some time.  You’ve clipped pictures from magazines, created an ‘idea-book’ on Houzz® and written lists of ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.  Now it’s time to take action and pursue the ‘dream project’ that will truly improve the quality of life in your home …perhaps even make the difference between wanting to stay in your home versus moving.  But a big question looms before you … how to proceed?  Should you ‘do-it-yourself’ or hire professional services?

 

Many home improvement projects can be done by the homeowner.  The most important consideration should be that you have the desire, time, skill and patience to tackle a project that could leave your home in a state of ‘construction zone’ for weeks, if not months. Tackling a major project can be very satisfying so long as you know what you are doing … especially if significant structural and mechanical changes are involved.

 

Alternately, if you are embarking on a major renovation of your home, be it a kitchen or bath project, a basement completion or an addition … and, if you want this new space to both  function and look its optimal best … then retaining the services of a professional design/build company may be the best investment you could make.

 

The term ‘design-build’ is used to describe a service that takes you from the very beginning stages of a project (budget development & needs assessment) into a thorough design study offering cost options, product specification and selection; and provides comprehensive management services for the construction phase of your project.

 

There are many reasons to choose this direction, besides the obvious benefit of experience and expertise brought by a professional … one of the most compelling is the convenience of ‘single-source responsibility’ for all the details of your project.  It’s well understood in the construction industry that the fewer people involved in the design and expedition of a project the more successful it’s likely to be.  Figuratively speaking, ‘the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing’.  Quality design/build or ‘turn-key’ service eliminates costly errors, duplication of services and simplifies the communication chain.  “He said – she said” pretty much disappears as a project dilemma.  And because the project has been designed, ordered and installed by this single source, you will have the best chance of your project coming in on budget, on schedule and even better… done right the first time!

 

How does one find the right professional?  Talk to folks who have completed a similar project and ask for a recommendation.  Another option is the internet which makes it easier than ever to search and scrutinize a company through their website and on-line reviews.  Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple good companies, schedule interviews.  Face time is important to get a feel for the personality of the company and its people. Then choose someone you feel comfortable with, as you will be spending a fair amount of time working together.  If you’ve done your homework, you will be in good hands. And now … it’s time to pursue your dream!

“…and the 2014 Color of the Year is…”

April 7, 2014

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published March 2014.

Visit http://www.lindquistandcompany.com if you want comprehensive information of how to complete a successful kitchen or bath project.

 

 

“…and the 2014 Color of the Year is…”

Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture’s announcement of ‘best picture of the year’, Pantone’s annual announcement of ‘Color of the Year’ is a bit of a ‘non-event’… creating little if any stir with the general population. And to say that professional designers wait with baited breath for this annual color decree might also be a bit of a stretch. But this year’s color, ‘Radiant Orchid’ is greatly welcomed … especially given the harsh winter we have endured … not just as Northlanders, but for much of the country. What could feel more lively and fresh than ‘radiant orchid’… a color selected by the Pantone Color Institute® to ‘intrigue the eye and spark the imagination’! It is the ‘breath of fresh air’ we need right now to feed our dreams of gardens ablaze with color … a color to liven the bland palette of winter!

Last year’s color, ‘Emerald Green’, was chosen because it served as a ‘symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity’. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, this year’s color is, ‘an invitation to innovation’ and ‘encourages expanded creativity and originality’ which is increasingly valued in today’s society. ‘Radiant Orchid’ is ‘an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones’ and ‘inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.’

It may seem that these proclamations are rather trivial in light of the more serious issues people face in daily life, but color has significant impact on how we feel and function in our everyday habitat. And Pantone takes its color selection process very seriously. Every year a new color is selected through a painstaking process where color experts from around the world gather to discuss color influences that are being observed in art, culture and technology. This global authority on color influences product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, cosmetics, home and industrial design, product packaging and graphic design.

So how will we find ‘Radiant Orchid’ enhancing our lives? It has already made its way onto the red carpet of the high end fashion industry. But if you are not into haute couture, you might encounter it in more subtle ways. Because this color was made known to manufacturer’s a year in advance, radiant orchid has already influenced new paint colors, furniture and decorative accessories. You will find it already incorporated into product packaging graphics, as well as the set designs of movies and tv shows.

This is a color that compliments deep hunter greens, and pairs well with turquoise, teal and pale shades of yellow. If you are looking to re-fresh an otherwise neutral room, this vibrant hue will liven up grays, taupe and beige, without overwhelming other colors. Radiant Orchid is a perfect color to apply to the design concept of ‘color blocking’ where a splash of a single color is introduced to a neutral space for visual impact.

So welcome, ‘Radiant Orchid’! You are the bright splash we’ve been craving for some time now … so glad you’ve arrived!

 

‘The Dream Stage’

March 6, 2014

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published February 2014.

Visit http://www.duluthsuperiormagazine.com if you wish to view their website or subscribe to this nice magazine.

Visit http://www.lindquistandcompany.com if you want comprehensive information of how to complete a successful kitchen or bath project.

‘The Dream Stage’

 

Tired of winter? One way to escape the doldrums of cold and ice is through dreamy thoughts of a new project in your home.  With the holiday season well behind us, perhaps you are thinking of ways to improve entertaining in your home.  Perhaps it isn’t even inside your home that you envision your next project.  It might be a major landscaping project, potting shed or outdoor kitchen.

There is the practical side of planning a new project: developing a budget, retaining a designer and developing plans. But much more fun than that is the dream stage … where you start making lists of what you would like to have (ignore cost at this stage) and start perusing pictures for great ideas that inspire. Two great internet sites exist to help you do just that.

Houzz and Pinterest are web-based sites that provide abundant resources, mostly in the form of photography, helping people research design options for their own projects.

Houzz is an on-line community of professionals, founded in 2009 by a California couple who, in their quest to build a new home, became frustrated by traditional methods of searching design resources.  Today, this expansive website boasts over two-million photos of residential interiors, exteriors, as well as landscape photography … all of it professionally submitted. Visitors to the site can browse photos by room, style, feature or location.  By clicking on a photo, you can learn about the designer, the products featured in the project, as well as ask a question directly to the designer. Perhaps you are curious about the exact color of paint used on the walls of the kitchen … or where a light fixture or tile was sourced. The professionals on Houzz are happy to answer your questions. Additionally, you will find articles on topics related to home design and a user forum.  Over 2 million home improvement professionals use the site to connect with homeowners.  Visit www.houzz.com.

A second popular photo-sharing site is Pinterest.  This website differs from Houzz in that it is not a professional based forum, as any user is allowed to ‘pin’ images from any source to share with the Pinterest community. The website forum is not restricted to home design, but also includes arts and crafts, style, fashion and food.  On the home improvement side, the community includes professionally submitted photography as well as that by DIY homeowners. Like Houzz, users may save images and categorize them into a personal profile. On both sites you can browse the profiles of other users and share ideas. Visit www.pinterest.com.

The third and traditional way to gather a ‘dream-book’ of ideas is to simply peruse home design books and magazines.  Sometimes it’s nice to just sit in a cozy chair and flip pages!  If you prefer this method, be sure to tag your favorite photos and attach a note about what grabs your fancy.  By doing so, you will build a great library of ideas that can eventually be shared with whomever you engage to help expedite your project.  So, let the hunt begin … because this is how great projects get off the ground!

CONSIDERING A ‘FIXER-UPPER?’

February 13, 2014

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published January 2014.

Visit http://www.duluthsuperiormagazine.com if you wish to view their website or subscribe to this nice magazine.

Visit http://www.lindquistandcompany.com if you want comprehensive information of how to complete a successful kitchen or bath project.

CONSIDERING A ‘FIXER-UPPER?’

 There’s a certain appeal to owning and living in one of the beautiful century old homes gracing Duluth’s hillside.  In their glory, these homes were rich in architectural details and solidly constructed. I often encounter folks who desire to purchase and restore an older home.  Rarely an impulsive decision, it does happen, unfortunately, that folks discover, after the purchase, they are in ‘over their heads’ with the cost of necessary improvements. There usually is no turning back at this point, so it’s best to approach this venture realistically. Consider the following before taking the leap into purchasing an older home for restoration.

 Both patience and a ‘hands-on’ approach are generally required to successfully renovate an older home.  Unless you have a sizeable budget to hire professionals, plan on doing a lot of the work yourself and accept it will likely take years to complete.

Prior to purchase, the home should be thoroughly inspected by an experienced professional well versed in the construction and renovation of homes of this era.  Be it a structural engineer, architect or contractor; retain someone with an eye to spot underlying issues.  A decrepit foundation, deteriorated structure or crumbling sewer system will set one back financially before any fun details can even be addressed.  Renovations in older homes often follow a domino effect … touching one thing may result in a ‘Pandora’s box’ of repairs.

 Older homes are likely to contain hazardous materials such as lead-based paint and asbestos that can be costly to abate. Thoroughly assess these issues and determine costs for abatement before taking the plunge.

Verify the state of the mechanical systems.  Is the wiring up to current code with wet locations protected by GFCI receptacles?  Is the service panel large enough to meet the needs of a modern family? If the home has old cast iron and galvanized plumbing, a complete re-do may be required, as these older pipes often deteriorate and crack. Assess the heating system for age and efficiency.  Many older homes have hot water systems great for heating, but do not lend themselves to the installation of air conditioning. Is this important to you? Likewise … insulation and energy efficiency are often missing from these homes, which leads to high heating (and cooling) costs. Check the insulation of exterior walls (often there is none), as well as the attic and foundation. And determine the state of the windows.  If upgrades are needed, you may be facing some big ticket items.

Does the layout of the home lend itself to your family’s life style? If renovations are required, verify if the home’s structure will accommodate the removal of walls, allowing you to create the large ‘live-in’ kitchen-family room you desire.

Lastly, note the architectural details that make the home desirable.  If they are in poor repair and need to be replicated, or perhaps lost over the years due to poorly executed renovations, a little up-front research will help determine the feasibility of bringing them back.

Don’t be ‘surprised’ by unexpected costs that might diminish the joyful experience of restoring an older home. All said … go for it!

A Designer Looks Back On 2013

January 6, 2014

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published December 2013.

Visit http://www.duluthsuperiormagazine.com if you wish to view their website or subscribe to this nice magazine.

Visit http://www.lindquistandcompany.com if you want comprehensive information of how to complete a successful kitchen or bath project.

 

A Designer Looks Back On 2013

 

The kitchen and bath industry is forward thinking and fast paced with something new always just around the corner.  As designers, one of our challenges is staying on top of the continuum of new products and technology Decorative glass panelwhile honoring timeless design. Sometimes it’s a balancing act … to be progressive and timeless at the same time … but it’s a challenge we enjoy.  That said … it is a good time to look back at the transitions that have occurred over the past year … in trends and technology.  These changes have made an impact on our approach to design over this past year and will continue to have an impact in the future. Here are a few observations about 2013…

 

White kitchens have always been popular in Northland area homes, due to the volume of 1920’s era homes in our region. White kitchens on a national level, however, have become extremely popular with several cabinet manufacturers reporting white paint to be their top selling finish.  Added to this classic look is a concept called ‘color blocking’ which introduces a piece of significant contrast to an otherwise ‘white’ space.  Color blocking may result in a contrasting hood or island or decorative element, such as upholstery or artwork.  A visit to Houzz, a popular home design website (houzz.com), will demonstrate many examples of white kitchens with color blocking as a design element.

 

Engineered quartz countertops have steadily grown in popularity over the past year, rapidly closing rank on natural stone.  On-going introduction of new patterns and colors have resonated with many homeowner’s who like the durability and ease of maintenance quartz offers over natural stone.

 

2013 witnessed a significant growth in the use of large format digital imagery – a technology that has significantly impacted the design industry by improving the appearance of many long standing materials.  Most impressive are the very realistic natural patterns available in porcelain tile and high-pressure laminates, resulting in products that are attractive and affordable, as compared to their authentic counterparts.

 

Touch-activated faucets have been used commercially for several years, but during this past year several manufacturers have extended ‘touch’ technology to kitchen faucets which operate by simply touching them! They have become popular with homeowner’s who enjoy the ease of operation and hygienic quality afforded by this feature.

 

We’ve been working with LED lighting for several years … but 2013 seemed to be the year we witnessed great strides in the development of attractive applications at prices which now make it more affordable.  LED is not a trend, but a technology here to stay.  We are watching very closely and expect to see continued improvements in 2014.  It won’t be long before LED becomes the industry standard for lighting design.

 

Lastly … glass emerged as a major design player in 2013 … found in colorful applications to appliances, kitchen backsplashes, interesting cabinet designs, shelving and countertops …  we can only imagine what new and exciting things are lurking around the corner of 2014.  So stay tuned … I’ll be reporting in as soon as these products and trends they make themselves known!

EMERGING KITCHEN TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES OUR QUALITY OF LIFE

December 6, 2013

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published October 2013.

Visit http://www.duluthsuperiormagazine.com if you wish to view their website or subscribe to this nice magazine.

Visit http://www.lindquistandcompany.com if you want comprehensive information of how to complete a successful kitchen or bath project.

EMERGING KITCHEN TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES OUR QUALITY OF LIFE

Nowadays it is hard to imagine a kitchen without a microwave oven or automatic dishwasher.   Add the long list of small appliances designed to save us time and personal energy… from food processors to immersion blenders … and it is clear that advancing kitchen technology has had a direct impact on the quality of our lives.

We may take these conveniences for granted, yet only 50 years ago most of these did not exist.  I grew up in a home built in 1957; and I remember how thrilled my mother was to have a kitchen with reasonable cabinet storage, laminate counters, a double sink, electric cooktop and separate wall oven.  So modern!  I vividly remember, in 1973, the acquisition of our first microwave oven and the excitement that surrounded it.  Food on the table in less than 3 minutes!  Shortly thereafter, we acquired an automatic dishwasher, and our first self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer.  These three conveniences significantly impacted the quality of our life and in particular … my mother’s.  They allowed her more free time to pursue other interests … expanding time previously focused on household chores to time spent painting beautiful watercolors.

The evolving technology in today’s kitchens is mind-boggling.  Following are examples of new technology that will likely become household standards at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Counter-intelligence.  There currently is a focus to integrate digital technology into solid surface countertops.  The precursor to this technology was introduced by Hewlett-Packard for the Disney Innoventions Dream Home, where a computer screen, imbedded in the countertop, reads UPC codes, recording them into inventory.  It will tell you when your eggs expire and if you name a dish, the ingredients light up on this interactive countertop as its voice (Lil’) talks you through the recipe.

Stainless that is … well … stainless!  Labs are currently working on types of stainless steel for use in the kitchen that will be truly free of fingerprints as well as bacteria.

Blast Chiller Technology.  LG, a Korean manufacturer of appliances, has introduced a technology available in their high end refrigerators that ‘speed chills’ beverages. Designed into an extra drawer in the fridge, ‘blast chill’ will chill a 12-ounce can in about five minutes or a bottle of wine in eight minutes rather than the typical 40 – 60 minutes.

No ‘Watched Pots’.  Cooktop sensors are in development that will alert you when contents of a pot are boiling and then automatically reduce the heat to a preset simmer for a preprogrammed length of time.  No more ‘boil-overs!’

Truly Home Grown!  Aeroponic garden technology is already in use by a Chicago based chef to provide fresh produce in his restaurants. Using a solution of water and nutrients to mist the roots of plants, this efficient (and neat) soil-free method of agriculture will eventually find its way into our homes.

Many other new developments exist even if they have not been brought to market yet.  Just as our mothers were ‘amazed’ by what a microwave oven did to ease their kitchen workload … our children and grandchildren will experience kitchen technology we can only imagine.

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