Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Counter Top Trends

Do you remember the days of avocado green, harvest gold, and bronzed brown appliances? Well, oops, knowing that will "date" me, huh?  Today I decided to research new Kitchen Design trends to share. I heard some rumors a couple of years ago that the colors of yesterday may resurface with a new twist in appliances. I did not find new green, gold or brown refrigerators, dishwashers or stoves in my search today. I will dig a little deeper for that info for a later post.
I did find interesting changes in counter top materials. I see copper back splashes, sinks, and even counter tops. There is still a strong design element of two separate materials being used in for working surfaces in Kitchen Design.
Beautiful granite is still very popular. Being a truly natural stone, each slab has unique characteristics. You select your slab. You make the decision where the cutouts will be to preserve the pattern displaying the characteristics you love. It is durable.It does require being sealed once a year to maintain its beauty. Even though it seems unlikely, granite can stain. It can also be damaged if you habitually set hot pans on it. 
Man made quartz based products are gaining in popularity too. These do NOT need to be sealed, are non porous, and resistant to damage. They do not stain or need sealing. Some are very hard to distinguish from finer grained granite. However,a four by eight slab displaying a busier design or high contrast colors does repeat patterns similar to a Formica product.
Marble is reappearing in kitchen applications. It is a perfect surface for a kitchen large enough to have a dedicated baking prep area. Marble is a much softer stone that stains easily. It is classic and elegant which makes it perfect for those who are mindful and committed to remembering it can be rather unforgiving if precautions are not taken while preparing certain foods or pouring beverages.   
The love of stainless steel is expanding into counter tops now. Another metal, copper is gaining interest. Metal surfaces reflect light and lend themselves to contemporary design very well, especially stainless steel. Copper is versatile and can add an "old world" touch in the right setting.
A muted opposite look is available in honed stone surfaces. Black granite is often "honed" to have a matte finish. It resembles soapstone which is elegant and expensive without the high cost. Very new stones being used for kitchen applications are limestone and basalt.
Glass is another reflective sleek surface being developed for work surfaces. A company named Curava Recycled Glass Surfaces collects glass from landfills, post consumer and post industrial waste. They make beautiful counter tops out of discarded glass bottles, windshield, and window glass. They also add sea shells to the composite in some of the choices. What an impressive use of the recycling effort we all value!    
The most surprising to me is the return of great interest in wood counter tops. They are becoming very popular again, especially as an accent piece on an island designed to look like furniture. 
To the rescue comes the ceramic and porcelain industry. These brilliant artisans are excellent at paying attention to what consumers love. They, then design products that look exactly like stone, wood, or even fabric that can be utilized practically by people. They know how to create the right product for every design solution. The old 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 tile counter tops are trends of the past. The new ceramic selections are a completely new breed of awesome!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Water Damage, Unwelcome Winter Surprise

Last week we were up in the 50's. Next week, they say we will have some days in the 30's again! REALLY? If you are like us, I think you will wholeheartedly declare, ENOUGH! The beauty of spring announcing her arrival with crocus, daffodils and tulips is near. How happy we will all be to welcome warmer weather! 

Many of us have received an unwelcome wake up call to Spring. The warmer weather melts Ice Dams. We are here to help our customers asking for help with interior water damage. The challenge of melting ice is a reality check. The winter of 2014 - 2015 has been the coldest and snowiest winter in decades. We made it! We SURVIVED!  Perhaps, your homes did not make it through unscathed. We are here to help!

I have to admit, during my commute home from the showroom, I wanted to capture pictures of some pretty amazing roof lines encapsulated in thick reflective ice. The beauty of snow covered roofs and long icicles refracting golden glowing light pouring out of windows or winter sunsets reminded me of Thomas Kincaid  paintings. In those moments I forgot the harsh reality of the damage ice dams cause to our homes.

What is an ice dam? An Ice Dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof under certain wintertime conditions. An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home. It will put gutters and downspouts at risk too. 

How do they form? An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice. The flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice.

Some people were able to rake snow off which helped them avoid damage. Storm after storm made that process difficult. Many of us just could not keep up. Now we have water damage issues. Give us a call.  We are here to help you address any damage with understanding, skill, and experience. 

There are also preventative measures available to help minimize or eliminate future Ice Dam problems too that we would be happy to discuss with you in preparation for next winter.