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@designREMODEL Baths, Kitchens & More
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5 Key Details For A Better Cape Cod Kitchen Remodel

We're doing lots of kitchen remodeling here on Cape Cod. Especially on houses built in the 80's and 90's. When it comes to kitchen remodels and makeovers, there are lots of details to consider and so in this post, I'm going to key in on 5 details that anyone looking to remodel their kitchen should consider.

1. Cabinets. Wood or Particleboard? Some showrooms will tell you that you can save thousands and that particleboard has gotten so much better than in years past. In my experience, the actual savings are quite small. In addition, I have found that installing the cabinets to be more difficult as you are fastening cabinets to the wall through sawdust embedded glue. And to top it off, I have seen new cabinets that use particle board, swell particularly those located near the sink or next to the dishwasher.

2. Hardware. Would you like to be able to open your drawers fully so you can see and access the contents? Be sure to request full extension hardware on all of your drawers and roll-out trays. In addition, ask for the hardware that has a soft-close feature. Also, request the adjustable cabinet door hinges that feature the self/soft close option. This hardware is included in all of the cabinets we sell and install. Some cabinet dealers may not specify this hardware unless you ask for it. A favorite brand of hardware we like to use is Blum (Made in the USA) which can be identified by the bright orange clips on the underside of the drawer.

3. Lighting. LED's are hot! In the last couple of years, LED's have taken over the lighting market in a big way. Thanks to improvements in brightness and color rendering that is more natural, LED's are here to stay. In our kitchens, we specify and install LED bulbs in every lighting fixture. Our under cabinet lighting consists of LED tape lights that light up every corner of your counters for great task lighting. We're also shifting away from recessed lighting towards thin LED disks that provide superior lighting. LED's reduce energy consumption and have less heat output which reduces loads on cooling systems.

4. Drawers or Roll-Out Trays? In most kitchens we design, we prefer to specify drawers rather than cabinets that have doors with roll-out trays behind. Why? The drawers provide more storage area as they are wider than the roll-out trays. Plus you can open and view/access the contents of a drawer in one motion. With cabinets that have a door with roll-out trays behind, you will have to open one or two doors and then reach in to roll out the tray. That's 3 steps vs one. For a number of reasons, having all drawers (vs doors/roll out trays) do come in at a higher price point but is well worth the additional cost for the ease of use.

5. Flooring Choices abound when it comes to flooring! Tile is often an excellent choice for kitchens due to its durability to stand up to years of daily use. Pre-finished wood is also a great choice for kitchens especially if you have wood flooring in adjacent rooms to match or meet up against. Another type of flooring that is fast becoming a favorite is vinyl planks that snap together as you lay them. What is amazing about this product is that looks so realistic that even my experienced eye has been fooled into thinking it was real wood. The better quality vinyl planks are backed with cork or a similar substrate. This type of flooring needs to be laid as a floating floor rather than fastened to your existing floor. Because it is a floating floor it should not be installed under cabinets which is actually a plus because you can change out the flooring if you ever wish to do so in the future.
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This is a fabulous idea! Especially in a bathroom.

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Sneak peek at almost completed custom bathroom built from scratch in lower level of a Falmouth MA Home.  Shower tile is large format subway and shower base is Kohler Archer 60x60 
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2014-05-22
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How To Spot a Poorly Constructed Bathroom...

Often times I can walk into a bathroom of any age or style and immediately spot the small things that tell me if the bathroom was remodeled the right way or not.

The giveaways...

Tile abuts fixtures, casings and baseboard.  Talk about looking like crap. The grout usually looks messy and when the wood shrinks from seasonal changes, cracks will start to show. Not to mention that the baseboard looks even smaller due to the reduced height.  And don't get me started on tiling in a vanity bottom instead of going under.  If someone wanted to change the vanity at a later date due to a style change, or if it was damaged, they would be stuck trying to match the exact footprint of the old vanity. 

Beadboard paneling installed over the drywall.  This is another save-a-buck detail that drives me crazy. The paneling is usually so thin that it the bead detail is minimal and yet applying it over the drywall flattens any window or door casing profiles.  The proven way to install beadboard wainscot in a bathroom is to remove the drywall from the wall and apply the beadboard directly to the studs. This allows you to install a true beadboard and also keep the profiles/shadow lines of the window and door trim intact.

Tub or shower base is spongy. Just about every tub or shower installed over the last 40 years has been installed without regard to proper support under the base. I can step into and immediately feel if the base is properly supported or not.  It has give and feels bouncy. The correct way to install the base or tub is as follows:

1. Replace or upgrade the subfloor with new and or additional plywood. 
2. Nail down wire mesh under the base or tub foot print. This is to help keep the mortar in place. 
3. Mix and pile mounds of structural mortar over the mesh.
4. Bed the base down into the mortar and confirm that it is level.
5. Install temporary blocking around the rim or top to keep it from moving as the mortar cures. 

Doing the above ensures that when anyone steps into the tub or shower, there is an absolute feeling of solidness. Yes, doing this while installing the tub or base is a pain and takes more time and money and it's worth it.

Cheesy soap dishes or alcoves. This detail absolutely drives me crazy. Below is a picture of a tiled bathtub surround with a molded soap dish just slapped into the wall. Not only does it stick out like a large pimple on your forehead, they placed it right in the middle of the accent tile row.  Down. Right. Ugly.  

Read more about poorly constructed bathrooms here. http://www.atdesignremodel.com/journal/how-to-spot-a-poorly-constructed-bathroom.html
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Bringing home a new member of the family. Meet Sheba, future job site dog and quite the love bug!
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Before and after pics of a Falmouth Cape Cod Kitchen Remodel 
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Falmouth Cape Cod Kitchen Remodel
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Complete update of late 70's bathroom in Sandwich MA. 
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2013-09-10
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