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 How magical would it be if you could leave your outdated and ill-configured Master Bath and head for an extended stay at your favorite destination?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.

Ready for Remodeling?

AKB is gracious with their time and with every client. We are often approached by bright and savvy visionaries who are new to the remodeling process. They visit our showroom after seeing our design work online or on a remodeling tour.  They like what they see and began the conversation of possibilities. They spend a lot of time consulting with our designers and coming up with a conceptual plan. AKB designers are so good at what they do that they make the process seem effortless. At this point, we have had a few seek out the big box stores for comparison. Seduced by the thought of lowering costs, they throw professional design experience, product knowledge and product quality to the side and pull the trigger based on perceived savings.

AKB designers are Professionals at Space Planning. Every member of the design staff can demonstrate their expertise through an extensive portfolio. They design spaces incorporating client wishes using quality cabinetry with professional knowledge of how each product line performs and works.  Quality Design, Quality Product and Quality Product Knowledge.  There’s a reason that the Big Box “Cabinet” bid would be “cheaper” than ours. It is “cheap” and doesn’t include the type of personal and product knowledge that a discerning person ready for remodeling would choose to ignore. Few spaces are perfectly plumb and it takes experience to deal with all the inevitable but solvable issues. And when things go wrong, best of luck with the big box store solving issues to your satisfaction.

Meet AKB’s Team


Recently a friend’s parent was admitted to the hospital for a non life-threatening condition. After the battery of tests to determine the issue, they were counseled by the staff to consider a particular procedure.  My friend went into patient advocate mode and asked pointedly, “How many of these procedures have you done at this facility?” followed up by “How many of these procedures have you done personally?”  Valid questions that have a direct bearing on the results desired.

It got me thinking… 

In the remodeling world, selecting a reputable company with a team of qualified professionals who have executed the procedures time after time with successful results may not be life or death situations, but are certainly instances that are life changing!  This is why I encourage any one who is exploring who to hire for their remodeling project to understand not only the value of education, but of experience.
Meet Team AKB.
Brent– AKB Owner, Architect. Designer. University of Kentucky Graduate. Former Principal and Board Member of Ross Tarrant Architects. 
Gwen– Designer. University of California, San Diego and the Design Institute of San Diego. Portfolio of high end kitchen and bath projects that span 20 years. 
Linda- Designer. University of Kentucky, Interior Design. Former owner of her own design company with experience in multi states. Over 30 years in interior design and kitchen and bath experience. 
Melanie- Designer. University of Kentucky. Interior Design. Former Partner of a home decorative company and former CFO of Embry’s. Joined AKB’s team in 2013.
Any one of these talented people can show you a Portfolio of Work and Demonstrated Results.
Isn’t that what you deserve when making serious changes?

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due


Attended a Remodeled Home Tour this weekend to represent AKB. Loved seeing how quickly talent is appreciated!  People passing through the renovations AKB had on the tour couldn’t quite pinpoint what they liked… they loved the entire look. The “Entire Look” in a kitchen or bath is because an AKB professional designer was involved. PERIOD. The look and feel of the entire project admired is because AKB listened to their clients and created the design and found the products that represented their client’s vision. Partnering with a qualified remodeling company completes the picture. Awesome results.


It’s Not “Paint by Numbers”

I remember paint by number kits as a kid. Given to me by the visiting relatives to either keep me busy during adult conversations or usher my creative talent, I took great pleasure in completing each and every project. My budding talent was destined only for the “gallery” of the family refrigerator, but I enjoyed the activity none the less. What’s not to like about it? No expertise or expensive materials required. Everything the creator needed in one convenient box. Art made simple.

Today, I’m in a business that is a far cry from the paint by numbers kits. Nothing that AKB creates comes out of anything ready-made. There is no Lego like warehouse of product to install in projects, no Garanimal-like plans on file to reuse. Everything does not “match” and is “interchangeable”. Fact is, every project is CUSTOM. Every client’s needs are evaluated to provide exactly what they want at the cost they are comfortable investing. At the end of of a project, everything looks so effortlessly “correct” and appealing that the viewer is led to believe the result is as simple as a paint by number kit.  I can assure you that it is not.

Professional Designers created the look that you are admiring. Looking at a photo? Please ask who designed the space. The Designer/Architect or Interior Designers are the  true “voice” of every photo. Every decision made from material, lighting, color and placement were made by them. Read something like ex/”Material by…”, “Cabinets by…”, “Lighting by…”, and you have been short changed on WHO DESIGNED THAT SPACE?!

It’s no different than a designer garment. The Designer’s name goes on the garment… regardless of the workmen that put it together.

It should be the same on a beautifully designed space.

Visit AKB and we can show you exactly what each and every picture means.


You say Tomahto, I say Tomayto

Everyone has their own perspective… we see it daily in our showroom. What appears to be a “WOW” factor to one person is standard to another. In my previous posting “Clueless on Cost”, I discussed how different products in the same layout can radically affect the cost. There is nice… and then there is really nice. In some of our serious six figure kitchens what distinguishes an upscale remodel boils down to two factors: project scale and luxury products.

Project Scale

Big doesn’t always mean more expensive, but when projects involve comprehensive designs for Main and Secondary Kitchens or Kitchens with specialized pantries and wet bars, the investment is higher. High/Vaulted ceilings might benefit from cabinetry details (friezes, mouldings, glass fronts, paneling, strategic lighting, etc) to complement the grand scale of a room. Custom made focal points, finishes and designer hardware complete projects beautifully but come at a significant cost.

Luxury Products

Think automobiles. They all serve the same general purpose of getting you from point A to point B. But let’s be honest, some manufacturers’ names roll off the tongue a little sweeter than others. Enjoying the premium feel of grained leather and wood accents or heated steering wheels and seats, are all options for the person willing to make that investment. Appliances are no different. Luxury appliances are a big selling point for performance, for look, and for prestige. Scan through the real estate market listings and when a realtor wants to brag about a property, you’ll find, “State of the art kitchen!” usually means Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, Northland, La Cornue, AGA, Bosch…multiple dishwashers, specialty ovens, warming drawers, wine coolers, undercounter fridges, beverage centers- just to name a few. Countertops of exotic natural stones, expensive fixtures, designer lighting and flooring materials tick the meter to Upscale.

Have a project in mind requiring that type of investment? AKB can show you how it’s done.


Clueless on Cost

You’ve dreamed of the perfect kitchen for you and your family to enjoy, saving photos and articles on ideas to consider for your new room. You can’t wait to replace your ugly and unneeded soffits with beautiful ceiling height cabinetry! The tipping point comes when you sit down with pen and paper to do your financial due diligence. What exactly does a kitchen remodel cost? This is critical for many potential clients and requires more than just a guesstimate. If you’ve never remodeled before, here are some factors to consider…

There are many variables in remodeling but it mainly boils down to  three typical categories: Minor, Major, and Upscale. I’ll touch on the first two and leave Upscale for another post!

Minor updating usually doesn’t involve replacing the cabinetry.  New knobs and pulls, updating countertops, or maybe staining/painting existing cabinetry fall in the minor category. Major and Upscale remodeling is what AKB specializes in and involves the design and installation of custom cabinetry solutions, selection of countertops, tiles, fixtures, appliances, paint colors and lighting. But, before all these pretty pieces and parts are installed, demolition and room reconstruction are two items on your budget list that require a competitive bid. If you have not already decided on who you want to work with, AKB will help you select the contractor that best suits your needs.

Now for the fun part- deciding on all the pretty pieces and parts! The sky is the limit… and maybe you wish your budget was as well. Not to worry, this stage just may require a little give and take on your wish list. Consider the following example:

Same exact layout… and a $20,000 different price tag. The darker version is approximately $20,270 for Cabinets, Delivery & Installation, Hood, Hardware, Countertops, Appliances, Back splash, Faucet, and Sink.The lighter version is approximately $39,000 with the costlier selection of full inset doors and drawers, glass door cabinets with finished interiors, nicer grade granite and Electrolux Appliance package.

Clearly there is a wide range of costs to consider when budgeting for the look you want. At AKB, helping guide you through those decisions is what we do best.

What Not to Wear- Cabinetry Style

Looking for a new home? Looking to remodel your current one? An important factor in evaluating cost and value of cabinetry cannot be determined by looking at the exterior alone. Using the example of Glass-Front Cabinetry, here’s what you shouldn’t see!

Glass Front Cabinetry is an option that adds texture and interest to kitchen, bath and wet bar spaces and provides opportunity to showcase personal collections. It is visually very appealing in the overall design and look with its myriad of cabinetry styles, details and levels of glass obscurity. Well made products of this option should show that the glass panel is securely in place… held by metal adjustable clips, custom made screwed in frames, or sealed in place with silicone. What shouldn’t you see? Staples. Your hard working cabinets deserve a little more attention that the framed poster on your basement wall! So open up the door, see what you are considering investing in and make sure it is a quality product.

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