Tag

Countertop Archives - cornerstonecustomconstruction

The Kitchen Island Curves and Wraps In 2013

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design, Video Episodes | One Comment

The Latest Trends in Kitchen Island Design Trade Lines for Curves and Mixed Materials for Monolithic.

MonolithicIslandNAM

The latest kitchen design trend creating a buzz at the International Builders Show has to do with the shape and make of the kitchen island.

Kitchen Island Curves:

CurvedKitchenisland

Still a must-have in any modern kitchen, the island is softening its linear look with curves that allow for round-the-table seating instead of shoulder-to-shoulder.

Kitchen Island Surfaces Go Monolithic:

MonolithicIslandNewAmericanHome

Countertops that wrap around the island base are showing up in the latest kitchen designs. It’s an aesthetic known as Monolithic. You’ll be hearing that word a lot in 2013. Monolithic design is defined as a single material that seamlessly wraps around a surface, wall, cabinetry or any other feature.

large_Cambria-Darlington-Contemp

Some of the best examples are in the concrete surfaces of kitchen countertops, very on-trend this year. Concrete is a malleable material that can be sculpted and molded to create a seamless surface.

Kitchen Island Doubles Up:

HuntersKitchenRendering

The kitchen island is doubling up in some homes to offer more multi-tasking capabilities, surface space and storage. Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says the double island is a great solution to a common kitchen design challenge: keeping the kitchen open while preserving storage space. “In one of my homes, the shape of the kitchen is square. Rather than enclose the kitchen with walls to create more surface and storage space,  I added the double island  to maintained the openness while providing this added functionality.”

In this example picture above,  Jorge designed two islands each with seven linear feet of countertop space that sit four feet apart.  The inner island, located in the kitchen center, will be monolithic, made of wraparound Carrera marble with white cabinetry underneath. The island facing out towards the family room features the same white Carrera marble countertop but with an espresso wood cabinetry base to compliment the floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the family room.

For more design ideas and money-saving new construction tips, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube

TS_HD1920x1080 2

5 Tips to Pick the Perfect Stone Slab

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments

 

granite kitchen backsplash in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite kitchen backsplash in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Natural stone gives any room rich and timeless character but picking the perfect piece of stone for your kitchen countertops can be tricky business. Since it’s a natural material, no two lots or pallets of stone are alike. Each harvest from the quarry has its own unique characteristics and appearance. Selecting the ideal stone surface not only involves a good eye but a clear understanding of the material. Here are a few money-saving tips to help you pick the perfect stone slab for your home’s countertops and kitchen island.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

 Pick the Slab Before Building the Kitchen Island and Counters:

A common mistake homeowners make is selecting a stone slab that doesn’t fit the kitchen counters and island.  Hakan Collu, Owner of International Tile and Stone, recommends that homeowners pick the stone slab first then design the countertops and island to fit the stone surfaces. “This is a big mistake that can cost money and detract from the look of the stone. Kitchen design should be collaboration between the designer/builder and the stone supplier to avoid waste and extra cost,” says Collu.  When the kitchen island is built too large for the stone selected, the homeowner has to buy an extra slab and ends up with an unattractive seam. Also, certain colors of stone are limited to certain sizes. To get the maximum use of the slab, pick it out first, then build the island to fit.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Understand the Stone’s Durability and Limitations:

White Carrera marble is the popular choice these days for countertops; it’s also a stone that requires regular maintenance and care. “Homeowners need to understand the stone’s characteristics and limitations so there are realistic expectations about the stone’s durability.”   Marble is not as durable as granite; it stains, scratches and cuts.  Travertine, a type of limestone, is a softer stone and is more absorbent making it vulnerable to stains.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Ask HOW the Stone is Priced:

Stone can be priced per square foot or by the piece.  It’s important to ask what is included in the price of the stone. Ask whether the countertop and island CAD design, the stone slab’s custom cut, and it’s installation are included in the price.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Lay the Slab Down to See How Light Reflects:

Stone slabs typically are displayed standing upright. When looking at stone piece, lay it down to see how light reflects. This will give you an accurate representation of the way the stone will look lying flat as a countertop. It allows you to show the stonecutter the area of the stone you want highlighted in the custom cut. Also, this is a good way to inspect the stone for fissures that are harder to see when the stone slab is standing upright.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Ask if the Stone Has a Sealer:

A quality sealer can extend the lifetime and durability of natural stone. The Marble Institute of America says that most granite countertops do not need to be sealed. Granite is stronger, more resistant to scratches and more durable than most stone surfaces. Most granite slabs are factory treated with a resin coating to fill in micro-fissures, indentations and other imperfections. Marble is a good candidate for a quality sealer because it is vulnerable to mild acids commonly found in the kitchen. If you do choose to seal the stone countertop, The Marble Institute of America recommends using a quality sealer that is resistant to water and oil and has a life expectancy of ten to fifteen years and

Look for Remnant Stone:

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Sometimes, great deals are available with remnant stone. This is stone that was leftover from a custom cut. By choosing stone scraps, you can find an exotic stone piece for a fraction of the cost. These stone scraps are ideal for small areas such as niches and half baths. For more money-saving tips and design ideas, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

Top 3 Trade Secrets for a Multi-Tasking Kitchen

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | 5 Comments

 

Kitchen designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri www.imyourbuilder.com

The modern kitchen in today’s home must be a multi-tasker, able to handle more household duties than just the cooking. Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri says his clients are asking for kitchens that take on tasks once reserved for single-use spaces. “Today’s kitchen comes stocked with amenities that handle household business such as computer niches, technology stations, and recycling centers all designed in an open floor plan that seamlessly integrates the kitchen with the great room (family room) and dining area.” Jorge has been in business for more than 12 years designing and building custom residences throughout Florida. Based on his observations of changing lifestyle needs in the function and design of the kitchen, he shares his top three trade secrets for creating a modern multi-tasking kitchen.

Create Work Stations:

Today’s kitchen has to handle all types of household business from paying bills to doing homework. The modern floor plan contains workstations and task-oriented cabinetry to facilitate daily life. Cabinetry design features accessibility and convenience with fewer overhead cabinets and more lift-up or sliding doors and pull out drawers at arm’s reach.  Work areas can include a baking station with tray drawers, the food prep area, the coffee bar, and custom storage compartments for appliances. “I design the kitchen to include architectural elements such as wall niches and bump-outs to store coffee machines and other appliances or to showcase dinnerware.”

A computer niche in the kitchen can serve as a satellite home office allowing members of the family to research recipes, do homework, pay bills, and shop online. “The kitchen computer niche is another feature that brings the family together in the heart of the home. It keeps the kids out of the formal office and allows supervision of their online activities.”

According to the American Institute of Architects’ recent design trends survey, 43 percent of architects polled saw an increase in demand for computer areas in the kitchen. “The last few years have seen kitchens take on new functions with dedicated computer areas and recharging stations,” says the AIA.

Although everything can be done wireless, Jorge says some clients want the option of a CAT 5 connection point in the kitchen.

Create an Entry Drop Zone:

The corridor leading from the garage to the kitchen is an ideal space to serve as a drop zone. Jorge designs this area with a bench and under seating storage for people to sit, remove and store shoes. The entrance corridor also features upper cabinets for sports gear and backpacks and wall pegs to hang jackets, umbrellas and other articles of clothing. A countertop serves as a technology docking area to recharge phones and other electronic devices. Underneath the countertop are   filing drawers to store household paperwork. The drop zone frees up the kitchen to focus on other tasks and prevents clutter. “I design this area to be just as architecturally relevant as the rest of the house even though its function is solely utilitarian.”

Jorge enhances the look of the drop zone by adding an arch or beam header to integrate wood elements. The bench base is accented in travertine or stone with cedar wood doors that open to storage compartments underneath. The upper cabinets feature distressed wood complimenting the beam and cedar doors below. The pegboard is an opportunity to introduce clever design elements such as antique hardware and family memorabilia.

Create Social Spaces:

A well-designed kitchen island is essential for entertaining in today’s kitchen. Jorge designs the kitchen island with a minimum of 42” clearance all the way around and a 36”-high bar top that is level with the island. “If you don’t have the space, make the island smaller or reconfigure the kitchen so it’s bigger. Don’t cramp the kitchen. You’ll regret it.”

Jorge recommends consulting with the supplier of the countertop surface during the design phase so there are no issues with the sizing and installation of the countertop with the base cabinetry. “This is a common and costly mistake people make. They build the kitchen cabinetry months before they look at their stone countertop options only to discover the pieces aren’t large enough. So, they end up with a seam in the middle of the island and pay for two slabs instead of one.” Countertop stone selection is a team effort with the kitchen designer, cabinet manufacturer, builder and homeowner.

A social kitchen is one where entertaining happens indoors and outdoors. The trend in home design is to merge the outdoor and indoor living space. The location of the kitchen is key to this successful integration. “People gravitate towards the kitchen. By locating the kitchen next to the outdoor living space, it will pull people outside. Essentially, the kitchen becomes part of an indoor-outdoor party room by adding sliding glass walls to create one space. The outdoor kitchen can handle the grilling while the indoor kitchen serves as the food prep area and a window over the sink can open up to pass through beverages.”

Today’s kitchen takes on many roles, designed to be the cook, the entertainer and the household manager. For more kitchen design tips check out “Trade Secrets by Jorge,” on YouTube and www.imyourbuilder.com. If you have questions or comments about your own kitchen design, post us a picture and write us on facebook -www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.Home.Builder