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Charlotte, NC 28203
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Charlotte, NC 28217

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Category: Kitchens

When to Phase Your Whole House Remodeling Project

When considering whether to phase your home remodel into smaller chunks, investment, disruption, and isolation are the three most significant factors to consider.

5 Best Home Improvements to Increase Resale Value

Learn how to increase your home resale value with these top improvement ideas.

Charlotte Architectural Styles and What They Mean for Your Home Remodel

Learn about Charlotte’s housing history which is rich with a diversity of architectural styles and themes that represent popular trends.

May 20, 2021 by Chelsea Allard

7 Kitchen Cabinet Organization Ideas for Your Remodel

Cabinetry is one of the biggest investments you’ll make when remodeling your kitchen. We’ve gathered our best kitchen cabinet organization ideas to help you consider which features you’ll want to discuss with your kitchen designer.

May 20, 2021 by Chelsea Allard

5 Kitchen Drawer Organization Tips

Here are five of our favorite kitchen drawer organization tips to prevent “junk drawer plague” – where every drawer becomes a mess – no one has time for that nonsense.

March 22, 2021 by Chelsea Allard

4 Inspiring Coffee Station Ideas for Your Home

Here’s 4 coffee station ideas to consider incorporating into your kitchen remodel.

September 30, 2020 by Chelsea Allard

What’s the Best Kitchen Design for a Growing Family?

A great kitchen design isn’t just about the traditional work triangle. Particularly for a growing family, kitchen design should also be inclusive of the myriad ways your kitchen will be used –for which activities, when and by whom. The traffic flow in, out and through a family-friendly kitchen should be a critical factor in space planning, not just during meal times, but throughout the entire day. This young family tasked us with the challenge of opening up the previously remodeled kitchen of their 1950’s Myers Park home, after hearing from other contractors that what they wanted to accomplish couldn’t be done.

Kitchen Design Goals

While not the original kitchen to the home, the remodel by the previous owners had addressed aesthetic concerns, but not the space planning. With two young children at home, our clients’ most important goal for the remodel was an open kitchen design for increased visibility and traffic flow. Their secondary goals included maintaining a formal dining room and foyer to stay in keeping with the age and style of the home; transitional style with modern amenities such as professional-grade appliances; more functional storage and additional pantry space; a large island with seating for four and to repair the faulty hardwood floors from the previous renovation.

Cream kitchen with brass pendants over the island and a large window over the sink

The angled walls with bar height pass through helped the kitchen to feel somewhat connected to the den, but it was still impossible for our clients to keep an eye on their kids while preparing meals. The tiny vestibule at the back door was tight and included two-floor transitions since the tile and den floor was higher than the kitchen and foyer, creating a tripping hazard. The light from the kitchen window couldn’t filter into the hallway or living space, creating a dark atmosphere. The plan was to remove the walls between the den and kitchen to open the space, but the challenge was ensuring enough wall space for cabinetry and appliances without sacrificing valuable storage.

A Family-Friendly Kitchen Design that Works

Ultimately, after reviewing three different kitchen designs, our clients elected to close the doorway between the formal dining room and the kitchen. This allowed the kitchen to take on a functional L-shape and kept all the major appliances out of the island, increasing usable counter space. Because the formal dining room was right next to the kitchen, losing the extra doorway didn’t impede traffic. Opening the backdoor to the kitchen made it easier to haul toddlers and groceries to and from the car.

The new kitchen design features an open plan from the den and kitchen, making it easier to drift between the two spaces seamlessly. Reframing a portion of the existing floor system to bring the whole area down to the same level eliminated tripping hazards and made floor clean-up a breeze. We left the original window in the same location, but with the removal of the walls, light pours deeper into space, making it feel more spacious. Ultimately, there was extra space to fit an even larger island than what was in the original kitchen design, providing ample seating for the whole family.


BEFORE – The awkward, angled counter with dropped soffit kept the kitchen and den separate, preventing an easy flow for daily childcare or entertaining. The barstools blocked traffic to and from the back door—the main point of entry for this family.


AFTER – Working extra storage into this kitchen design was simple thanks to the large island. Hidden base cabinets under the seating area provide adjustable shelving for less frequently used items.

Maximizing Space

Simplifying the bar design made it visually recede and increased functionality. Removing the bar sink in favor of a dry bar allowed versatile counter space to act as an everyday drop zone or a serving space for entertaining. To delineate the bar from the kitchen while keeping some visual continuity, we repeated the same cream cabinets and used the quartzite slab material as a solid backsplash. Now guests (and kids) can easily mingle between the formal living room, the den, the bar, and the kitchen during gatherings.

The cased opening and original glass transom that were formerly separating the kitchen and foyer hallway were relocated approximately 6′ to incorporate some of the former halls into the new family-friendly kitchen design. As requested, a proper foyer was maintained in keeping with the formal architecture of the home.

An HVAC return and a tiny coat closet were relocated to create space for a custom pantry cabinet under the stairs. Increasing dry goods storage was an important goal for this growing family. Tall pantry cabinets with easily adjustable roll-out shelves are a great solution for maximizing the space available within a small footprint.


BEFORE – The stepped design of the bar cabinetry made it feel heavy and intrusive and the sink and ice-maker were never used.


AFTER –  A built-in beverage center provides space for wine, beer, and mixers outside of the main refrigerator.


DETAILS – The built-in maple spice rack keeps herbs and spices organized and accessible. The fully integrated refrigerator with custom panel blends into the surrounding inset cabinetry for a traditional look.

Finishing Touches

A critical part of making the kitchen design feasible was incorporating two large steel beams —welded on-site—to support the second story floor above. Our engineering team created a structural design to ensure the integrity of the proposed kitchen design, resulting in the family-friendly entertaining space they desired.

In the den (now visible from the foyer) the colonial fireplace surround was replaced with a transitional cast stone design. Using the same material for the hearth, surround and mantel created a soothing contrast in textures as opposed to color, allowing the artwork to be the true focal point.

Custom cabinets, hidden storage accessories, matching appliance panels, and one-of-a-kind quartzite counters elevate this family-friendly kitchen design while maintaining a classic, transitional style.


BEFORE – The hood overpowered the range top and the soffit and pass-through to the den dated space. Angled walls are an inefficient use of space.


AFTER – Open site lines and clear traffic patterns are all part of this redesigned kitchen. Shades of cream, taupe, and sage green offer a soothing, timeless look.


DETAILS – Wide island drawers with built-in drawer organizers keep knives and flatware neatly sorted, right where they’re needed most.

If your current kitchen design has you frustrated and disorganized, we’d be happy to talk through the possibilities with you. Schedule a call and our team will reach out shortly.

August 19, 2020 by Chelsea Allard

The Home Bar: Revealing Wet and Dry Bar Ideas and 5 Reasons Why These Bars are on Charlotte Wish Lists

In evaluating the ebb and flow of ongoing trends the other day, we were discussing the evolution of today’s home bar. Home bars are still incredibly popular, usually as part of a greater kitchen remodel, but they are far from what they once were. From simple, compact dry bars to complete entertaining spaces in their own right, home bars still feature prominently on our clients’ wish lists. Here are some wet and dry bar ideas to consider:

Say Goodbye to the Tiny Wet Bar

Home bars of the late 90’s and early 2000’s almost always featured a tiny, impractical sink, smack in the middle of the countertop, rendering what was left of the counters unusable for much of anything. They were usually hidden in an alcove near the kitchen, or off the living room in an awkward hallway. The bowl sized sinks were deal breakers for most of our clients, and they wanted them gone in favor of more flexible counter space.


BEFORE: This wet bar was added during a previous remodel, but the tiny sink only served as a dust collector.


AFTER: Electing for a dry bar with a beverage center gave this couple more flexibility, extra counter space and improved cabinet storage with the addition of a wide drawer for bar accessories.


Multi-Functional Dry Bar

Fast forward to today, and home bars are still requested in at least half of the kitchen remodels we design. Nowadays, we take a multi-functional approach to the design to best utilize the space available. Most home bars err on the simpler side, and most do not feature sinks unless they have a significant amount of extra space.

Dry bar with kegerator and beverage center

This multifunctional space in the hallway between the kitchen and formal dining room acts as a dry bar and drop zone for the kids’ activity schedules. The left side features a built-in kegerator, a beverage center, and extra wine and stemware storage. The right side features open shelving for books and family photos, a pin board for schedules and Panthers tickets, and wide drawers for the kids’ craft supplies.

Some dry bar ideas include an appliance for wine, beer or other beverages and act as a landing zone for entertaining. Whether you’re having friends over for a casual dinner or you’re celebrating your child’s birthday, a dry bar gives you space separate from the kitchen to stage beverages, appetizers or dessert.

Where to Place Your Home Bar

Whether wet or dry, ideally your home bar would be located in close proximity to the kitchen, between it and another space like a formal dining room or living room. Locating the bar in the transition space between two rooms creates a natural flow for traffic and conversation, and allows guests to help themselves easily without entering the kitchen while you’re cooking.

Dry bar in hallway between kitchen and dining room

Located in a nook off the hallway between the kitchen and the formal dining room, this dry bar serves as a morning station for coffee most days, but quickly converts to the beverage station for holiday gatherings.

Home Bars Aren’t Just for Cocktails

While most home bars do feature stemware and bottle storage of some sort, they aren’t limited to alcohol. Many of the families we work with prefer beverage centers—small built-in refrigerators with multiple zones that can properly store a few bottles of wine and a case or two of La Croix or Kombucha. Beverages tend to take over the main refrigerator if left unchecked, so having a smaller space just for your daily drink of choice leaves room for more fresh produce and leftovers. 

Having a flexible space to store the special occasion china that also acts as a snack station for the kids is still a worthy feature of any modern kitchen design. Thoughts on any other wet or dry bar ideas? We are all ears

Home bar with open shelves, wine storage and white cabinets

This dry bar features a beverage center and drawer for snacks. The towers on the left and right are perfect for housing small appliances, vases and stemware.


Take Your Home Bar Up a Notch

If regular movie nights and football parties are your jam, you may want to consider a more elaborate casual entertaining space. With enough room and the right design, a dry bar can easily become a full-fledged kitchenette, preventing repeated trips to the actual kitchen. A beverage center and a small (but usable) sink are must-haves in this case. Ice makers and refrigerator drawers for mixers and snacks are also a nice touch. An 18” dishwasher wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially if your hang out zone is in the basement or a detached garage.

Modern wet bar with black cabinets and ice maker

Located right inside the back door and conveniently separating the kitchen and the living room, this wet bar features a wine chiller, an ice-maker and a prep sink. It’s right off the back door, making it easy to run inside and grab a cold beverage before heading back to the lake.

Whether you’d like to incorporate a multi-functional dry bar as part of your kitchen remodel, or you’re interested in creating a completely separate entertaining space, we’d be happy to help you design the space that’s perfect for your needs. Schedule a consultation with us today!

February 29, 2020 by Chelsea Allard

3 Ways to Create a Custom Kitchen Design

Whenever we begin working with a new client to redesign their kitchen, they almost always fall into one of three categories: A) They know exactly what they want and rely on us to translate their vision; B) They have strong opinions about a couple of key areas, but mostly they’re open to any solutions we suggest for their new design; C) They don’t know what they want, but they know what they have isn’t working. Regardless of where you fall, here are three ways to create a custom kitchen design that feels personal to you and your family.

1. Utilize Custom Cabinet Modifications to Serve Your Needs

Higher quality, made-to-order cabinet lines are going to allow customization to some degree. This can be a game-changer for making the final kitchen design feel truly custom since it means we can make the cabinet as specific to your functional, aesthetic, or architectural needs as possible. There are few kitchens that don’t require at least one cabinet to be modified to maintain the best-finished look.

Backless wall cabinets over windows to allow natural light into kitchen

More often than not, we’re modifying most cabinets to give our clients the best possible design. Modifications can include custom sizes, combining boxes to avoid seams in inset designs, adding special storage accessories, or finishing the ends in a specific manner just to name a few. The options are endless.

Bar height white kitchen island

2. Incorporate A Design Element with A Story

One of the easiest and most satisfying ways to set your kitchen apart from your friends’ kitchens (even if you have the exact same taste) is to incorporate something personal that tells part of your story. On more than one occasion, our clients have approached us with special pieces to include in their custom kitchen design – from hundred-year-old barn beams, they found in an outbuilding on their property, to a favorite light fixture that came with them each time they moved, to a custom colored range to match the label of their favorite bottle of champagne – incorporating these personal touches into our clients’ kitchen designs set them apart from their neighbors.

Custom farmhouse kitchen design with reclaimed beam

The vertical beam next to the staircase was salvaged from an old barn on this couple’s property. Having a piece with a story gives extra life to this farmhouse kitchen.

Don’t already have something you’d like to include in the new design? No problem! Choose one item that has yet to be selected and pick something you absolutely love that can act as a statement piece. It can be something semi-permanent like a light fixture, unique cabinet hardware, or backsplash tile, or it could be something you find on your own like vintage stools for the island or a beautiful painting to hang in the breakfast area.

orange range in a modern kitchen with mosaic tile backsplash

3. Plan Storage to Support Your Daily Habits

Just because you make coffee and take supplements every morning as part of a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean they have to be out on the counter in full view 24/7. From everyday dishes to serving pieces, pantry items to charging stations, our kitchens are responsible for storing a LOT. When everything has a place where it’s easily accessible and hidden from view, you’re able to move more efficiently and feel better in your space without visual clutter. Planning ahead of time, which tasks take place in which zones of your kitchen will help your kitchen designer suggest the best storage solutions to help your day run more smoothly from the get-go.

Built-in coffee station

One of the best ways to make a kitchen more functional is to store items where they are used and not necessarily with like items. For example: Instead of keeping all glasses and mugs together in one cabinet, store drinking glasses near the refrigerator for access to filtered water, and store mugs near the coffee station. Customizing the design for the way you move in and around your kitchen saves time as you won’t be crisscrossing as often while you’re preparing meals, snacks, and everything in between.

Custom-designed spice and tray pull outs in peacock green kitchen island

Narrow, pull-out storage cabinets for cutting boards and spices were placed close to the cooktop for convenient access during prep.

Want to speak with someone about your custom kitchen design? Schedule a call to speak with one of our project developers. 

December 30, 2019 by Chelsea Allard

5 Popular Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas for Your Home Remodel

When it comes to kitchen cabinet hardware ideas, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options available. Do you want knobs or pulls, all pulls, a combination of both, or something else entirely? What about finishes and materials? What size and how many? Just like jewelry can make or break an outfit, the look of your cabinetry can enhance your whole kitchen and give your home a more custom look.

kitchen cabinet ideas for your next remodel

A combination of knobs and drawer pulls keeps this traditional Myers Park kitchen from appearing weighed down by cabinet hardware.

So, where do we start? Since no one wants to spend hours obsessing over knobs and pulls only to realize they made the wrong choice, it’s best to lean on an experienced designer who will help you make the right choice for your kitchen. After 15 years of designing and specifying hardware for each of our kitchen and bath remodeling projects, we’ve developed an effective system for narrowing down the options quickly. Let’s explore a few kitchen cabinet hardware ideas and what they could look like in your home.

Things to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware


Function always comes first. By asking yourself three important questions, you can narrow the pool of options quickly:  What kind of cabinets are these going on, how much use do they get, and who is using these cabinets the most?

Kitchen and bath cabinets get heavy usage, so delicate materials like leather or woven tab pulls, or semi-precious stones aren’t going to hold up over time. Those built-in cabinets flanking the fireplace on the other hand, are probably opened and closed less frequently, so a more decorative selection would be appropriate there.

If you or a member of your family have large hands, some pulls are going to be much more difficult to grasp than others (like cup pulls, or short pulls). People with arthritis in their hands should avoid knobs as they are almost impossible to grasp. Instead, opt for pulls since they can be opened by hooking something through them if necessary.

In some cases, it may be preferable to order all of your cabinetry with hidden, built-in touch latches, so you can bump the doors with your knee or elbow, allowing them to pop open effortlessly. Contemporary designs tend to work best with this application, but it’s not a requirement. If you’re interested in this solution, make sure to discuss it with your kitchen designer during the design phase as it’s best to order the cabinets like this from the manufacturer instead of trying to retrofit them later.

Material and Finish

Cabinet hardware, whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere throughout the home, can vary wildly in cost depending on the manufacturer, material and finish. A chrome knob made out of a metal alloy from the local hardware store could be $2, while a solid brass appliance pull for a panel-ready refrigerator could be well over $350. Most people want good quality pieces that aren’t going to tarnish or discolor, but don’t find it necessary to splurge on solid brass or bronze. They may feel richer in your hand, but most of our clients don’t find it’s worth the extra investment.

kitchen cabinet remodeling ideas

In this master suite remodel we mixed chrome faucets with brushed brass cabinet hardware, lighting and mirrors for a less predictable look.

When it comes to finishes, don’t fall into the “every single metallic element in the house must match” trap. Production builders use this strategy because it’s easy and it saves them time (great for them, not so great for you). Mixing metals creates a much more custom look and really sets your home apart from your neighbors. Nowhere in the house is this more evident than in a space with a lot of metallic elements such as the kitchen. It’s ok to have stainless appliances, oil rubbed bronze hardware on your interior doors, brushed brass light fixtures, and a polished nickel faucet with polished nickel cabinet hardware. As long as each finish makes sense with the rest of your design, don’t be afraid to mix it up!

Should your cabinet hardware have knobs, pulls, or a combination?

Now that you know how much usage your cabinets are going to get and who is using them the most, consider the breakdown of knobs and pulls. While it’s easy to decide to use all knobs or all pulls, the finished kitchen cabinet or bathroom hardware will look much more custom and function better when you take each individual cabinet into consideration.

kitchen cabinet hardware tips

In this farmhouse-inspired kitchen cabinet remodel we used a combination of knobs on the doors, cup pulls on the drawers and longer pulls on the paneled appliances.

Drawers and pull-outs tend to operate best with pulls, while doors can easily be opened and closed with knobs or pulls. We prefer a combination of knobs and pulls of various sizes to keep them proportional with the cabinets. This is where things can start to get confusing. Our designers calculate the size and quantity for our clients, but in case you’re trying to do it on your own, we’ve broken down our system below.

Here’s an example of the same kitchen elevation, three different ways:

Knobs with Short Pulls

home_ design_studio_in_charlotte_nc

Most higher quality hardware lines offer their pulls in several different sizes, but if you fall in love with one that doesn’t you may want to double up like we did here. On drawers over 24” wide, two pulls look more proportional than one small pull in the center. This look is most often seen in farmhouse style kitchens where cup pulls have been selected. Unfortunately, most cup pulls don’t come in various sizes.

All Pulls

The best way to determine the right size pulls for a set of drawers is to take the width of the cabinet box and divide it by 3. It’s unlikely the pull you’ve selected will ever be that exact measurement, so on wider drawers, choose the next size up. For smaller drawers it usually looks best to size down. If the cabinets are inset, first subtract the size of the frame (typically each side is 1 ¼” or 1 ½” wide, so 2 ½”-3” total). If your chosen cabinet hardware has wider stiles, you may need to size down.

If you’re still worried you’ll make the wrong choice, just remember to ask yourself three questions: How often are these cabinets getting used? Who are the primary users? What sizes do I need? 

If you’d like this attention to detail on every aspect of your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, schedule a call with us today to speak to one of our project developers about your goals.