Welcome to the Hood

Great kitchen stove hoods make great focal points. Aside from covering the vent system, (necessary to pull steam and smoke away while cooking) they can provide the WOW factor in the overall aesthetic to the room. And the options for Hoods are endless: Wood, Stainless, Brass, Copper, Zinc, Stone and many combinations of … Wall Mount, Cabinet Mount, Under Cabinet Mount… Hoods that have plinths and corbels, banding, or a baffle base… Hoods with simple or classical moldings… Hoods made to blend into upper cabinets… Hoods that are made to make a statement.

Too many important options not to consult the best. Degreed with years of experience, let the kitchen design experts at AKB help you navigate the perfect hood look for you. Come visit us at the The Little Yellow House of Big Ideas! Or check us out online. You will find us at www.akandb.com or on Houzz.com  on Instagram at @architecturalkitchensandbaths  and on Facebook at online 

 

Alexa… What’s involved in a kitchen remodel?

Response: “Hmmmm, I’m not sure.” If you have Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service in your home, you’ve probably noticed a critical component. To get the right answer, you have to ask the right question. When my husband wanted to play golf but was worried about the weather, asking Alexa “What’s the weather?” didn’t tell him what he needed to know. “When is it projected to rain today?” gave him what he required to schedule a tee time.

At  AKB, asking Brent, Gwen, Jessica, Linda or Melanie your questions will definitely give you the answers you want. It’s why experience in the business is so important when deciding on which professional to use when you’re remodeling. Ready for a kitchen remodel but not sure where to begin? That’s where we shine. AKB designers ask the right questions to help you decide on the layout, materials and appliances to meet your goals. Do you like to cook? What do you traditionally prepare? Want an eat-in kitchen? Need seating for how many? What other activities happen in your kitchen? Do you like to entertain? Want double ovens?  Need a place to store your bar supplies? Docking stations for tech gadgets?  Cabinet-concealed garbage bins? Elevated dishwasher? Does a heat-, stain, and scratch-resistant countertop sound perfect for your family’s use? Prefer the beauty of marble? Want appliance garages to hide all your fun kitchen tools? Super Susans to get the most out of every corner cabinet? Thought about the sink you want? Basin configurations, sink shapes, materials and even accessories? Where does one begin?  Easy answer. Come see us at AKB, the Little Yellow House of Big Ideas!

What’s in a Name? Plenty when it’s Architectural Kitchens & Baths!

In the world of Kitchen and Bath design, finding the right company for your project is critical to the overall success. Beyond asking friends and family for referrals, an easy way to evaluate ABILITY can be demonstrated through a close look at a company’s Education & Experience. This is why AKB is the Best!

Many individuals in the industry have a working familiarity with the basics of architecture and interior design.  Yet most projects require in-depth knowledge of one or the other of these, or both. At AKB, this is where we make the top of the list! Owner M. Brent Richards is an architect with over 25 years of experience in functional layout and design. He graduated with honors from UK’s School of Architecture and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. Brent’s Design Team includes 4 Interior Designers: Linda Bratton, Melanie Flynn, Gwen Fowler and Jessica Mandt… each personable and professional. They can show decades of design experience and portfolios of work that are sure to impress any potential client.

There’s a simple reason that the Little Yellow House of Big Ideas offers the best option in kitchen and bath design… Education & Experience!

Kitchen Design Credit

In the world of publishing, an author that doesn’t credit the origin of their inspirations can potentially face a legal nightmare; conscious or unconscious plagiarism ruins credibility and confidence.  In the design business, this is also a struggle. When I see pictures of AKB kitchens on other people’s business sites without proper credit, I believe it robs designers of all the hard work and effort they spent in creating that beautiful space for their client. I’ve stated before in prior posts, any consumer looking to hire a company should wisely evaluate the company’s portfolio and should be vigilant about asking the important questions, WHO DESIGNED THIS SPACE?  WAS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER INVOLVED?  What was the scope of design influence beyond framing, plumbing, electrical work, drywall, paint, etc?

Companies or individuals that post pictures of finished projects that they did not design are seemingly taking credit for other people’s work. That beautiful photo resulted from many hours of design time, meetings and trips to evaluate materials and finishes for a professional designer to create a “playbook” for a remodeling team to follow.  Those leaded glass cabinets that reminded you of your grandmother’s kitchen? The herringbone pattern tile floor for your young family’s high traffic area? The table height seating for six to accommodate the various ages of your family? The hidden storage for all your high end baking appliances?… every decision incorporated by the designer reflects the attention to detail that came through the investment of time and design skill to uniquely satisfy each client.

 

Is Talking Better than Texting or Emailing. Yes

Since the kind of kitchen and bath assignments AKB engages typically require a substantial investment on our client’s part, we think that kind of investment deserves extraordinary attention, both ways. You get to know us, we get to know you.  Our designs are amazingly original- each custom cabinetry project reflects the time spent getting to know the client and becoming familiar with their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires and dreams. That happens best when we can sit down together and understand one another better- confidence is built to move forward.

Voice-based vs. Text-based

We have received many wonderful leads from social media over the years from Houzz, Facebook and Instagram but the ones that turned into clients always started with a phone call. We’ll invite you to visit our showroom with a  “Come meet us and see samples of our products!” This is a great way to gauge what your next step will be. Did you like what you saw? Did you respond to who you spoke to? Rarely do we get the luxury of working with an unlimited budget, but when we do, our clients have contracted with us because they have met us, personally evaluated our credentials and found us more than capable for the job. They rely on our expertise in layout and design and product knowledge to guide them in their decision making. Those important conversations happen in verbal discussions. SMS texts and emails may be great for When are we meeting? What is the address? What lines do you carry?  but not for deciding whether we are the right company for your project. On a recent inquiry to a provider in a similar but creative industry, I appreciated that they wanted to use the ease and anonymity of an email process, but it didn’t really resonant with me. I felt they really weren’t interested in me as a client. Some people have grown up with these formats and are more comfortable not “talking” to potential clients.  However, with designers, nothing takes the place of one on one communication. When I asked a peer who is an interior designer, “In your business, what type of client contacts you first by text message or email?” She responded, “No one legitimate. Considering the investment, the type of client who takes the time to personally meet with me and mutually discover if we are a good fit is the best client.”

I agree.

Thinking Local- Kitchen Design Trends

Following a worldwide group of kitchen designers and architects on Instagram, I see some pretty amazing posts. Clever uses of colors and materials working together to compliment beautifully designed spaces, some grand in scope, others artfully compact. I respond to a lot of images because I appreciate what was created. The Design is the first thing I notice but … I’m naturally drawn to what’s trending in Countertops and Cabinetry Finishes. Reading through some recent trade magazines, I found it interesting that our little neck of the woods mimics what is being seen on a national level. Here’s a snapshot:

Countertops

  • Quartz is outpacing Granite and Marble in AKB projects as well as on a national level. It’s durable, scratch resistant and easy to care for… with a vast selection of options that mimic natural stone. Price varies by brand with the high end of AKB clients selecting Cambria products.

Cabinetry Finishes

  • While White Kitchens have a never ending popularity, Silvery Grays, Blues, Soft Greens and more traditional finishes create beautiful spaces to be enjoyed for decades. The variety of stains and finishes available in flat, matte and satin topcoats are popular both locally and nationally. AKB product lines of professionally finished options are taken through a multi-step process that produces an extremely durable finish that is resistant to moisture and household chemicals, made to age gracefully.

Time for Technology

  • Tech savvy features in appliances are popular trends. Preheating the oven from the office so that dinner preparation can be expedited appeals to many of our clients. AKB has incorporated the ability to use smart phones to manage range and ovens in some of their designs. Another popular request is design consideration for discreet but convenient docking/charging stations for the family in the kitchen area.

If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, come see our portfolio at 345 Lafayette Avenue or online at AKandB.com. AKB creates beautiful spaces that are functional, aesthitically pleasing and add value to your home.

Color Cowards? Kitchen Trends

Listening to someone complaining about receiving the RH catalog recently had me thinking. The soothing monochromatic look in page after page of their multiple catalogs is only appreciated by some people as a satisfying thud in the recycling bin. Considering kitchens, clients commonly select traditional white cabinetry when remodeling their kitchen to lighten and brighten their space. Resale value is often a topic discussed with the AKB designer. But… every so often a client comes in to explore our vast selection of cabinetry stains and finishes and can’t quite seem to let go of a particular color sample. Naval Blue. SeaFoam. Pistachio. When veering away from the traditional stains and finishes, it is important to remember color means commitment. It can be the perfect choice for an island or more boldly as the overall effect. Countertops, fixtures and backsplashes can be artfully selected to create the perfect color palette. We encourage clients to take home samples and evaluate how the natural lighting in their home compliments the color… more importantly, how it makes them feel. Bottom line, you can be selfish with custom cabinetry and select the look you want. It’s hard to get tired of the things that make you smile.

While You Were Gone

Faced with the decision of when to begin your remodeling project, you might consider an option that a recent client selected- while they were gone! No one relishes the intrusion of workmen in and out of your home interrupting your daily routines, nor the noise and dirt that naturally accompany the process. How magical would it be if you could leave your outdated and ill-configured Master Bath and head for an extended stay at your favorite destination? When you returned after several weeks, you open the door to your newly designed space: one full of the features that you’ve always wanted!  At AKB, that happens. How? By working with a professional AKB designer, you pre-plan and coordinate ordering product with the timing of the project start date.  The costs associated with the plan are openly discussed and pre-arranged. The relationship with the contractor that AKB helped you select is amiable and trustworthy.  Communication is good and updates with pictures are provided to the client or local point person designated by the client. It’s remodeling with a personal touch.

 

Summer Ready

Yes, I know. Some people really like winter weather. The recent stretch of arctic temperatures loaded my social media site with images of snowy Kentucky vistas, sledding parties and dozens of new Instant Pot recipes to warm the belly. Multiple people posted pictures of captured snowflakes, marveling at the individual beauty. They love the season. As for me, wearing my fleeced lined boots, layered clothing and a raised mug of hot tea, I say “you do you”. Tragically, I am one of those people who can’t fly south for the season but grudgingly  manages until it is again time for  the birds to sing, flowers to bud and the sun’s strength to return to its warming glory.

Here’s an idea. If you’re like me and suffer through cold months, be productive and start planning your new kitchen! There are many people unaware of the time frame required to complete a custom kitchen so would it surprise you to know that now is a great time to start the process??

Imagine coming to AKB in early February with only some vague thoughts of what you wanted to do with your space. We would work together to create the perfect design for you over a couple of weeks of meetings, exchanging ideas and making suggestions. Selecting the materials that best suit your investment level and family’s anticipated use takes time and thoughtful consideration. Once ready to place the cabinetry order, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to complete. Delivery, installation, countertops, tile, fixtures and appliances… and when it all comes together, the sun will be out and you will be summer ready in more ways than one!

 

Coffee is on. Come see us at AKB and start the conversation!

 

Armchair Experts

 

Chip and Joanna. Drew and Jonathan. David and Hilary. Tarek and Christina.

Watch a few episodes of Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Flip or Flop… and you’ll feel you are on first name basis with these gregarious TV personalities. Follow along as they tackle the design dilemma du jour; all beautifully solved and staged for your viewing pleasure in an hour long show. They make it look so easy. Actually, they make it look deceivingly easy. Many of these shows dispense free advice and information on every aspect of the remodeling process. And of course, let us not forget the internet where there exists a dangerous amount of information available at the click of the mouse. Confidence becomes high and the allure of DIY is hard to resist to many.

Personal Note: As a young married, someone gave me the book Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard. (Did anyone else read it in the late 80’s??) The author inspired her readers to create beauty in their surroundings by adding “Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy” to every day of their life as a personal choice. Makes me laugh now but at the time, I was personally challenged by her “call”. As a new disciple, I took to heart her discussion on the merits of faux finishes and decided it would be the perfect way to make my bedroom beautiful. (Long before the days of youtube videos, you actually went and purchased books and magazines with step by step instructions.) I dutifully researched strie and sponge painting techniques and opted for the challenge of sponge painting. It looked so easy! What’s the worst thing that could happen? If just some wasted time and cost of supplies, I was ready for the task. 

Result: Epic fail. Using two types of green paint, I sponged, and sponged, and sponged… creating something that was so fantastically ugly, people were startled. Seriously, friends and family were rendered speechless. The nicest compliment I received was “Wow! This looks like it took a lot of time.” Ouch. When I finally was able to look at it objectively, I saw four walls that appeared covered in green algae (almost growing as you stared). It was a marvel of bad choice and technique. My only solution was to slather on a heavy coat of Kilz primer and a new coat of paint.

I realized too late that I didn’t know quite as much as my research convinced me I did.

Lesson Learned: Enjoy all the remodeling shows. Take notes on things you like. Go ahead and feed your DIY spirit if it means you don’t have to live with your mistakes… and realize that Chip and Joanna, et al are all professionals that have been applying their skills to this industry for years.
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