Sarah’s Style File – September 2013


Welcome to Sarah’s Style File, I’m Sarah, Foster Remodeling Solutions Senior Design Consultant and each month I’m bringing to you a feature project for you to experience the remodeling process with us!  For this month’s highlighted project I have chosen a kitchen remodel in Haymarket. While the house was fairly new, the builder grade materials and outdated wallpaper held back what was a lovely large kitchen space from its full potential.


Kitchen Remodel – After
Before                                                                        After

While the majority of the existing layout was maintained, we did make some minor changes. The location of the refrigerator limited mobility around the island and with the cooktop located in the island it made this large kitchen’s walkways feel cramped. By relocating the refrigerator onto the adjacent wall we created more counter space and saw a really nice opportunity for a focal point so we moved the cooktop to the back wall. Here we were able to play with the heights of the upper cabinets to accent the lovely 9′-0″ ceilings and installed a dramatic hood allowing a perfect area for an accent tile. With the cooktop moved, we created a larger island with more storage for the clients. Everybody loves the look of a built-in refrigerator, but in this case, the clients did not want to invest in the extra cost of one so we removed a section of framing in the wall behind the fridge location and reinstalled the framing turning the 2″ x 4″‘s from going 4″ deep to 2″ deep, thus gaining a few extra inches to recess the refrigerator. Now, if they need to replace it in the future, their options are much more open to whatever they choose. Another wish list item for them was to create an out of the way location for a TV, for that we decided on an open cabinet above the refrigerator so they can now enjoy the morning news or a cooking show without losing any counter space!

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Before                                                                         After

Many clients ask me “what’s the big difference between builder-grade cabinets and “remodeling grade”, aren’t cabinets just cabinets?” As you can see from the before and after photos this project perfectly highlights one of the major differences. Looking at the before photos you can see the sides of the cabinets, particularly on the island, are a different color, that is because in a low grade cabinets the end “skins” as they are called, are not actually wood, they are laminate. When installed they do match, so an untrained eye would not easily see the difference, but as the cabinets age the natural wood color will change over time and the laminate, because it is not wood, will stay the same, creating a noticeable color difference. This can also be seen at the crown molding and the toe-kick (the recessed portion of wood that runs vertical from the bottom of the cabinet to the floor). With what I have deemed “remodeling grade” cabinets all the moldings, trims and ends are finished in the same wood and therefore age similarly. People are often surprised to hear that wood ages, but it does, Cherry and Oak will darken with time and Maple will yellow, keep in mind that the amount of natural light cabinets are exposed to will accelerate this process. This is one example of how remodeling a kitchen can get expensive; the quality of materials typically used in a remodel compared to a new home build is significantly higher and therefore more costly.

Before                                                                          After

As you can see, the clients wanted to brighten and modernize the space, but still maintain a transitional style. To achieve that we took down all the dated finishes, including the dark green wallpaper, and came back with gorgeous cherry cabinets in a zinfandel stain with a classic door stile balanced out by other light colored components. The countertops are Cambria Quartz in Buckingham which is a nice neutral tone with a lot of movement creating a very natural look. On the floor we installed 6″ x 22″ porcelain tiles in a staggered pattern which really played up on the linear pattern and shape of the tile. Underneath the tile floor we installed a radiant heat mesh which if you have not experienced it, is quite luxurious. For those that love the durability and easy clean-ability of tile but hate the cold feeling, this is a wonderful product. It isn’t cheap, but every client I’ve installed it for just raves about how they can’t imagine life without it, and with its own thermostat (that can have a timer setting) daily comfort is nothing more than a button push away. The under-cabinet lighting that we added highlights the simple and classic backsplash which is a 3″ x 6″ White Travertine subway tile in a honed finish accented behind the cooktop and at the desk area by a stunning ½” x 1″ mosaic tile that is a mix of marble, glass, shell and metal. Finally for the paint we chose a warm neutral tone that kept the space feeling timeless and bright, tying all the finishes together nicely and providing a nice contrast to the darker cherry cabinets.

Kitchen Remodel – After

Thanks for joining me this month on Sarah’s Style File and I look forward to seeing you again in October!! As always, if you have questions about a project or you are thinking about remodeling, give me a call here at Foster Remodeling Solutions!

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

written by: Sarah Wolf, Design Consultant