Top Tech and Trends From KBIS 2021

Harrell Remodeling Designers Barb Wingo and Brooke Nicholson virtually attended KBIS (The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show®), the preeminent and highly anticipated kitchen and bath design event. In association with the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), KBIS offers an inspirational, interactive platform showcasing the latest industry products, trends, and technologies.

The topics and products presented at KBIS confirmed that homeowners seek to repurpose and reimagine the spaces in their homes. It came as no surprise that outdoor living, smart home technology, cleanliness and hygiene, and Universal Design continue to gain traction.

“Harrell has seen firsthand how spending so much time in their homes has clients exploring new ways to improve it inside and out,” affirms Barb.

“The environment and eco-friendly renovation was another hot topic,” Brooke contributes. “Luxury kitchen upcycling is a trend that is also gaining a foothold.”

Here’s a quick peek into our Designers’ top KBIS take-aways for 2021.

Taking Life Outside

The pandemic and ensuing stay-at-home orders have upped the ante for indoor-outdoor living. Travel restrictions have homeowners seeking to design memorable experiences in their own homes. Barb points outs, “Rather than traveling to resort destinations, the trend is to transform yards to create a multi-functional retreat atmosphere at home.”

Through expanding usable outdoor square footage, homeowners also extend the value of their homes. Families are looking for covered outdoor areas that offer protection from the elements with all the comforts of inside spaces. They want amenities that allow them to cook, dine, relax, entertain, work, study and learn al fresco.

Pergolas and cabanas expand outdoor space by creating exterior “rooms” that can be fully equipped with a myriad of conveniences, including outdoor kitchens, pizza ovens, surround sound, WiFi, lighting, and outdoor furnishings that rival their interior cousins in comfort.

Watching TV outside, participating in Zoom meetings and social hours, and family movie nights under the stars have all given rise to the popularity of projection. The anti-glare technology enables a vibrant, clear image even in full sun, and it rolls up and hides away when not in use.

“Outdoor living has been a hot trend for years, but the trend now is to design exterior spaces that serve as a destination, offering many of the luxury amenities of travel locations. Homeowners want a multi-functional area they can use as an office, movie theatre, learning environment, and staycation escape all in one,” Barb points out.

Smart Kitchen/Smart Appliances

Smart appliances that are part of the connected environment in a home bring additional value to the owner. With the ability to update wirelessly and customized with enhanced capabilities, this technology is a future-proofed investment, continuing to provide value over time instead of becoming obsolete.

In addition to dedicated displays on the appliance, many appliances can be voice or touch controlled by smartphone apps. “Your connected washing machine can notify you when the cycle is complete; your oven can ping you when it’s preheated; the dishwasher will alert you when the drying cycle is finished,” Barb elaborates.

Smart food storage technology helps reduce food waste and expense. These devices track what’s in your refrigerator and pantry and informs you when items expire. They can even suggest recipes with the ingredients you have on hand. Brooke explains, “Your smart phone can show you what is inside as well, so if you can’t remember how much milk you have while you are at the store, you can just turn on the camera inside your fridge and have a peek!”

Another top tech appliance touted at KBIS is the LG Washtower. This full-size, full-capacity washer/dryer takes up half the space, stacking neatly in a kitchen, closet, or other location, eliminating the need for a dedicated laundry room. The centrally located control panel for both the washer and dryer makes it easily accessible. Built-in artificial intelligence detects fabric texture and load size, automatically selecting the proper wash motions and drying temperatures. The turbo wash setting with five variable sprays thoroughly cleans a load in under 30 minutes. LG also has a Styler steam closet that fits perfectly tucked up against the Washtower. The WiFi-enabled steam closet is ideal for sanitizing and reducing odors in sporting and fitness gear, reducing wrinkles, and gently refreshing delicate fabrics.

The GE Kitchen Hub provides access to all Android-based devices from your kitchen microwave, including other smart appliances, lighting, etc. The Hub can access the internet, streaming services, email, and offers video chat capability. Oh, and it can help you cook, too! The Hub’s scan-to-cook capability reads package bar codes and programs the proper cook time and temperature. The touch screen allows users to search guided recipes, and a built-in camera tells you if you’ve missed a step or if what you’re cooking is cooked appropriately.

Bold Fixtures and Finishes

New offerings in kitchen and bath fixtures allow for even greater personalization of the home as a reflection of the homeowner’s unique lifestyle.

Kohler offers new hues from calming to vibrant for kitchens and baths. Kohler’s Iron/Tone sink comes in a dozen shades, including Lavender Gray, Black Plus, and Indigo Blue.

Stunning, statement faucets and plumbing fixtures are available in Matte Black, and Vibrant Brushed Moderne Brass as well as Vibrant Ombré effects in Rose Gold/Polished Nickel or Titanium/Rose Gold.

Hygiene and Hands-Free

COVID accelerated the popularity of personal hygiene toilet seats, both for cleanliness in the face of the virus and self-reliance from those infamous toilet paper shortages. The once separate functions of toilets and bidets have been combined into one fixture, sometimes referred to as bidet seat or washlet.

A bidet seat can be part of a new toilet or added to an existing toilet. Equipped with auto on/off and auto-select single or dual flush capabilities, these intelligent toilets offer a completely hands-free experience. Many people find this appealing from a cleanliness standpoint.

While most toilet/bidet fixtures require a nearby electrical outlet, some, like Kohler’s Purewash™ manual bidet toilet seat, require no electricity or batteries. The Purewash installs in minutes, connecting to the toilet’s water supply line.

 

Also in high demand are touchless or hands-free faucets. Motion-sensing and voice-activated fixtures, like Delta’s TRINSIC VoiceIQ™ kitchen faucet connects to voice-enabled platforms like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Homeowners can turn the water on and off, pour specific amounts, and warm-up with spoken commands. The TRINSIC also has a hand wash feature, providing the proper length of time pre-set for lathering, scrubbing, and rinsing, a great feature for households with kids.

Luxury Kitchen Upcycling

Sustainable and eco-friendly products and services continue to be on-trend. For homeowners who plan to remodel their kitchens, upcycling is a way to give kitchen cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and appliances a new lease on life. Organizations like Renovation Angel receives donated high-end kitchens and, in turn, upcycles luxury cabinetry and appliances in other homes. They have partnered with Miele, Sub-Zero, and Wolfe, along with numerous other high-end brands.

The Renovation Angel Upcycling process:

  1. Renovation Angel conducts an inspection
  2. They provide a net value estimate
  3. They carefully remove/demo the kitchen
  4. A third-party appraisal (Approximately $450) is conducted
  5. Tax deduction paperwork provided upon appraisal completion
  6. For those purchasing a upcycled kitchen, you’ll need to hire an outside party for installation

Brooke explains more about this unique take on upcycling, “Renovation Angel takes donations of kitchens and offers significant tax credits. People buying the used kitchens receive a deep discount on elegant kitchens and appliances while also reducing recycling and landfill tonnage.”

Universal Design

Universal Design is an evergreen trend that gained more attention as families sheltered in place. The process of creating products and environments accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, Universal Design applies to people of all ages and in all stages of life. Independent design principles and products benefit those who live in the home and to those who come to visit.

In addition to sleek and stylish Universally Designed products, voice-activated smart technology makes life easier for those with varying abilities. Voice commands turn on and off lights and appliances, including activation of a pre-set morning or evening routine. Verbal instructions or motion sensors activate faucets and fixtures. Water sensing systems monitor and send alerts regarding water leaks. Smart thermostats can adjust the ambient temperature with an app or via voice command. Smart keypads allow doors to be locked upon command and unlocked with an app. Personal hygiene bidet seats allow for independent self-care.

To discover more about the latest technology and trends for your home, we invite you to attend any of our complimentary virtual workshops.

To explore the remodeling possibilities your home has to offer, connect with one of our talented Designers.

Woman Founded and 100% Employee-Owned, Harrell Remodeling, Inc. has created distinctive homes in Silicon Valley and on the mid-Peninsula since 1985. Our Design + Build Team is here to help you reimagine your home inside and out.

A modern, gray universal design bathroom features a curbless shower and tile details.

Harrell Remodeling Designers Win Multiple NARI META Awards

Two of Harrell Remodeling Inc.’s Designers were honored recently at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Silicon Valley awards gala. Gloria Carlson and Debra Winston received coveted META Remodeling Awards for multiple projects that transformed the homes of three Harrell Remodeling clients. Both designers have received META honors in the past but, as Gloria shares, “A large part of the award is the fact that we’ve solved very unique problems, making dramatic and often life-changing transformations in our clients’ homes. Clients love to feel that their needs were met but in such a way that their home was acknowledged as an award-winner.”

META, short for metamorphosis, “signifies the transformation process and beautiful results that can be accomplished through a remodeling project.” The Silver, Gold and Platinum awards are categorized by project price point and include everything from interior redesigns of kitchens, baths and living spaces to residential landscape design to entire home remodels.

Designer Debra Winston won multiple META Gold awards for two projects within one residence, which incorporated Universal Design principles to enable the homeowners to age in place. The first project took a small, outdated master bathroom from “Blah to BLING” while the second Gold award winning project transformed the compartmentalized floor plan into a spacious and dramatic interior.

Blah to Bling

Two META Gold awards for Residential Bathroom under $100,000 & Universal Design Bathroom

“This couple isn’t afraid of color or of embracing their unique style and personality in the home,” Debra remarks. “This project definitely proves that Universal Design can be beautiful and functional.”

Dark, dated, and depressing, this original San Jose master bath was small and was not wheelchair-accessible. The corner shower was much too small for assisted bathing and had a high curb that created an entry barrier. Debra reconfigured the area, more than doubling its size by taking space from the hall bathroom. In its place Debra designed a stunning spacious roll-in shower with teak folding bench, grab bars, and a handheld shower to make bathing safe, easy and accessible. The wall-hung Toto Washlet toilet and white high-gloss floating vanity with Silestone quartz white platinum counters are functional and attractive. The “bling” comes from wall, floor, and backsplash tiles with burnished metallic finishes, glittering mosaics, and silver “ribbon candy” pendant lights that add sparkle.

Debra relates, “One of the wife’s guilty pleasures is collecting fragrances and nail polish. To display her collection in style while offering easily accessible storage, we added was a 16-inch X 5-foot Robern medicine cabinet.”

Dark to Dramatic

META Gold Award for Residential Interior $250,001-$500,000

The same homeowners also needed to convert the entry, kitchen and great room of their home to increase functionality and accessibility. The existing 1950’s kitchen was dark, narrow, and closed off from the living space by a 16-foot long wall.

Removing the entry coat closet and the dividing wall created an open floor plan, allowing ease of movement and linking the great room and kitchen together. The same glossy white cabinets grace the updated kitchen and are accented by vivid glass “wavy” backsplash tiles and matching pendants above the contrasting dark island. The kitchen is illuminated with recessed lighting and a skylight.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring extends into the great room, which had a dated brick fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases with scalloped wood trim, all which had been painted white. The space was transformed by applying concrete over the existing brick for an industrial look, adding metal mesh door panels to the bookcases, and matching the color of the kitchen island. Floating shelves and an edgy wallpaper transform the space into one that is functional, accessible, and captures the homeowner’s distinct style.

“The homeowners aren’t afraid to be bold with color, texture, and design,” Debra explains. “In their previous home, they used a small-run “stealth print” wallcovering and decided to continue this adventurous design aesthetic by incorporating a fanciful skeleton wallpaper as a feature wall in their new great room.”

Last but not least, all interior doors were painted a charcoal gray, and the home’s exterior was modernized, removing the dated scalloped facia and adding horizontal cedar plank siding. The stucco was painted a deep teal and the exterior entry door a bright orange, creating curb appeal with significant WOW factor.

Small to Spacious & Stunning

META Gold Award for Residential Interior Remodel $100,000-$250,000

Harrell Remodeling Senior Designer, Gloria Carlson, was a META award winner for her transformative design on a two-story Menlo Park home. The layout of the client’s home restricted her ability to age in place as there was no bed and bathroom space on the main level that offered the necessary accessibility.

To achieve a functional, accessible, and beautiful master suite, Gloria reconfigured the existing floor plan, which included a barely usable ensuite “micro” bathroom and small closet, with an adjacent sub-standard “bedroom” that was too small to be used as one.

By incorporating the footprint of the second bedroom, Gloria created a luxurious master bathroom and walk-in closet, both 3-1/2 times larger than their original spaces. The once infinitesimal closet was expanded to a walk-in closet, allowing the owner to store all of her clothing in one place whereas before, it was scattered in various closets throughout the home.

A large shower includes accessibility features such as a low curb, folding teak bench and grab bars. The client and Gloria worked together to lay out the shower tiles to mimic hot air balloons floating skyward, reminding the homeowner of one of her favorite getaways.

Gloria interspersed numerous other personal touches reminiscent of vacations including custom cabinet knobs made from stones found near the owner’s beloved mountain cabin on the double vanity and seated make-up area.

“The homeowner is a tall woman and she wanted the bathroom designed to comfortably fit her height,” Gloria explains. “Now she has a master ensuite bath that not only fits her personality but her stature, enabling her to comfortably and safely live in her home for years to come.”

Baker’s Dream Kitchen & Functional Garage

META Gold Award for Residential Interior Remodel $250,001-$500,000

Gloria designed a dream kitchen for another Menlo Park client, a close-knit family that loves to bake. Their adult son is a professional baker while the husband makes 1,000 truffles at a time multiple times a year. Their kitchen was attractive yet the confined space was not conducive to the cooking and baking functionality this family desired.

“This family is very unique and as such, had very specific requirements and challenges to solve in their home remodel,” Gloria states. “Not only were they avid bakers and chefs but they had a menagerie of exotic pets whose needs they also wanted to embrace in their remodeling project.”

Significant changes to the structure were made to create the dream kitchen that fit the family’s lifestyle. A load-bearing wall was removed, and a massive engineered beam inserted into the ceiling framing opened the kitchen and dining areas. It also allowed for a large island with seating for four, a lower counter area for the son’s baking while the husband used the large, higher portion of the island for making his truffles. With so many special baking appliances and accoutrements, storage was at a premium. Appliance “garages” were added for mixers and other large items while overflow storage was added to the home’s garage. The end result is an open, expansive space filled with natural and artificial light, colorful cabinets, plentiful prep space and storage, high-end appliances, and a mosaic backsplash, which is a nod to the family’s Spanish heritage.

The garage itself also underwent a significant METAmorphosis, transforming it into a fully functional space for laundry and overflow kitchen storage. Gloria also designed a secure location to store high-end bicycles in addition to a separate area for storing food for their tortoises, iguanas, snakes and other reptile pets.

Founded in 1985 by Iris Harrell, Employee-Owned Harrell Remodeling, Inc. has been transforming distinctive homes for 35 years in the Bay Area. If you are considering a METAmorphosis of your Silicon Valley or Mid-Peninsula home, Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning Design + Build team can make your residential dreams a reality. Explore our website to see more of our projects, learn about our company or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Hot Countertop Trends

A stunning countertop is one of the elements that makes for an amazing kitchen or bathroom. Countertops come in a myriad of materials but the latest countertop trends are making headway, edging out former top contenders.

Quartz continues to be a favorite among homeowners who are remodeling both kitchens and baths. According to Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning senior designer, Sara Jorgensen, nine out of ten Harrell clients choose quartz for their countertop materials. There are many “pros” to quartz including its durability, low-to-no maintenance, and the incredible variety it provides, with marble look-a-likes being the most popular.

“Besides the wide selection and low maintenance, quartz can be manufactured in jumbo slabs, which makes it ideal for expansive islands,” Sara says. “This means our clients can have a perfectly seamless and truly gorgeous countertop.”

The “newest kid on the block” when it comes to countertop trends, Sara explains, is epoxy. Epoxy is often used to resurface old countertops but can also be applied over wood. It must be created on-site versus typical counter materials which are fabricated offsite and installed at the residence.

Epoxy counters offer limitless variety in design including colors and patterns. It can be created to look like marble, granite, concrete, stone, or something completely unique and custom. These counters can be metallic or matte and are always seamless with a luminous high gloss, which protects the color beneath. Epoxy is food safe, durable, heat resistant, and easy to clean.

“Epoxy countertops are really exciting from a design perspective,” says Sara. “I love their versatility and how the product can be used to achieve such amazingly realistic patterns mimicking marble and other popular countertop materials at a fraction of the cost. I really think this trend will be gaining momentum in kitchen remodels.”

Epoxy countertops can be professionally installed or, for those feeling adventurous, created as a DIY project. It can be applied over tile, laminate, wood, concrete, and other surfaces. If you want a specific pattern and a countertop that is top quality, Sara recommends foregoing the DIY option and leaving it to the pros.

Last on Sara’s list of trending countertop materials is porcelain. Once primarily used in tiles on kitchen and bathroom counters, this man-made material is fabricated in large slabs, which are then installed much like quartz or granite. Porcelain is durable and resists just about everything including stains, heat, scratches, chemicals, and UV light. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, many of which look like marble or natural stone. Porcelain typically doesn’t require sealing and is an environmentally friendly option as it’s made from 100% natural clay-based materials and is completely recyclable, should you ever choose to change your counters in the future.

Sara explains, “Porcelain can be fabricated in extra large slabs and, because it is so thin, it can be applied directly over existing counters, if needed.”

When it comes to countertop trends and color, typically, whatever countertop material is chosen, Sara says her clients continue to prefer a high contrast between cabinets and counters.

When the time comes to reimagine your kitchen or bath, allow Harrell Remodeling’s design team to help you discover the possibilities. We offer numerous free inspirational and educational workshops and are always available to meet with you for a design consultation.

Sara Jorgensen, one of Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning designers, artfully executes her clients’ design desires coupled with their functional needs. Sara’s creative passion, authenticity, and open style of communication, enabling her to provide an innate understanding of client needs to the Harrell Remodeling Design + Build team. “Some clients know their style. Others need inspiration. Through the design exercises in which my clients’ partake, we come easily to an understanding of their preferences. The ultimate goal is to create a beautiful, timeless, on-budget, and functional project,” says Sara. Sara works from a holistic viewpoint to the smallest of details that create the design’s ‘wow’ factor. Her designs have won awards from the NKBA, NARI and National CotY and encompass a wide variety of projects from Wine cellars, Yoga rooms, Master Suites, Kitchens, and Decks to whole house remodels. A Bay Area native, Sara holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design from San Jose State University. Sara is a California state Certified Interior Designer (CID) and a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP). Outside of work, Sara enjoys kayaking, San Jose Sharks hockey, snowboarding, cycling, snowman building, spending time with family and relaxing outdoors. She is a proud committee member of the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club and enjoys driving her Model T around California on various club tours.

HarrellCARE: Small Projects and Kitchen & Bathroom Refreshes

In Silicon Valley, it can be challenging to find professionals who have the time or even want to take on smaller home improvement or maintenance projects. This often leaves homeowners with some less than appealing options: hiring an under-qualified person, taking on the projects themselves, or deferring needed home maintenance.

Project Manager, Marshall Parker, works exclusively on HarrellCARE projects. “This unique program was created because we kept getting requests from clients who needed work done but couldn’t find anyone qualified to complete it,” Marshall explains.

That’s where HarrellCARE comes in. A unique and separate service from Harrell’s Design + Build format, it provides the utmost in quality, exceptional customer service, and attention to detail for which Harrell Remodeling is known while focusing solely on the often-overlooked small project niche.

HarrellCARE is designed to fulfill the needs of two specific areas:

  1. Remove & Replace
  2. Small Projects

HarrellCARE Remove & Replace Division

This high efficiency, streamlined segment of HarrellCARE is specifically for kitchen and bathroom “refreshes” that update these spaces aesthetically within the room’s existing footprint.

Harrell Designer, Debra Winston UDCP, works with all HarrellCARE Remove & Replace clients to help them choose new materials, fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, and the like to update the look of their kitchen and/or baths.

“Homeowners that work well within the HarrellCARE Remove & Replace scope are those who can make decisions quickly and who don’t want a fully customized kitchen or bathroom,” shared Debra. “It is a great way to achieve an updated look with some custom details without undertaking a major remodel project.”

Any design aesthetic can be achieved, resulting in a beautiful, functional and efficient space without moving walls, plumbing, gas or waste lines. Debra explains, “We can easily relocate electrical appliances in a kitchen, change a shower-tub combination into a full shower, bring the electrical or plumbing up to code, and use cabinetry to maximize space planning. Universal Design concepts can even be implemented in a kitchen or bath refresh.”

Debra encourages clients to create Houzz Idea Boards, sharing them with her so she understands what they like and what they don’t. She then curates materials, finishes, and fixtures from items in the Harrell Remodeling showroom as well as from Harrell suppliers that meet their design preferences. Though these refreshes aren’t completely customized remodels, there is a lot of tailored design that can be integrated including cabinet sizing, layout and tile designs.

All necessary permits will be obtained, and any needed code upgrades will be performed. Often times owners are unaware or don’t think they need a permit when they regularly do. It can be surprising for them to find out their small project fits that requirement. The HarrellCARE team arranges all the necessary trades and communicates with the homeowners, ensuring they are aware of what work is scheduled and when. If any issues, such as termites or structural damage, are discovered during demo, these will be also be properly addressed and resolved.

A typical kitchen project takes from 10 to 12 weeks and a bathroom refresh project takes from 5 to 7 weeks and involves two distinct phases: the design phase and the construction phase. Both have defined pricing and focus on quick turn-around with top-quality work. Clients get access to a designer to help them achieve the design they desire while the build team schedules all the necessary trades to keep the project on track, on budget, and on time.

HarrellCARE Small Project Division

The Small Project segment is a catch-all of sorts, a broad service that tackles that never-ending honey-do list that the majority of large companies or contractors won’t even consider. Homeowners often hire handymen but even they often don’t have the bandwidth, desire, or the ability to complete many of these small jobs.

“One of the things I hear most from HarrellCARE clients is that they’ve called dozens of businesses but Harrell is the only company that has called them back,” says Marshall.

Marshall clarifies the HarrellCARE Small Projects service as having one primary criteria: all jobs must require “zero to minimal designer involvement,” he explains. “Other than that, it can entail almost anything, from touch-up painting, installing new light fixtures, replacing a window, weather stripping doors, rebuilding decks, installing a shower door, a bathroom vanity, or even hanging Christmas lights. You name it, and odds are, it falls within the HarrellCARE Small Projects scope.”

Many small projects involve multiple trades such as electricians, plumbers, structural engineers, and painters as well as required code upgrades and permitting. Marshall’s dedicated HarrellCARE team handles it all to minimize homeowner headaches while completing each project in a timely manner and on budget.

Depending upon the type of project, a homeowner will pay either Time & Materials or, if the work can be defined, a Fixed Price will be agreed upon in advance. “We may also draw up a pre-construction services agreement if the job is fairly complex, entailing a lengthy timeframe due to structural work and permitting requirements,” says Marshall.

If you have a kitchen or bath that has a few decades under its belt and could use a refresh, or a honey-do list that simply never gets done, the HarrellCARE team has got your back. To learn more about HarrellCARE, give us a call. Marshall promises: he will call you back. To see photos of some of our Remove & Replace spaces, visit our HarrellCARE webpage.

The Yays and Nays of Wall Hung Vanities

Bathroom vanities add a distinct design aesthetic in addition to storage and counterspace that the majority of homeowners desire. Floor-mounted vanities have been the go-to for decades, but wall hung vanities are edging their way in as a more popular contender. They used to only work in a modern space but wall hung vanities have evolved considerably in appearance and flexibility.

“Wall mounted vanities are a hot home trend,” shares Harrell Remodeling award-winning designer, Sara Jorgensen. “They can be custom designed or for a more budget-friendly option, prefab vanities are great options. They fit beautifully in cozy powder rooms to spacious bathroom spaces and the variety of styles, colors, and countertop possibilities, you can create a custom feel for much less money.”

As with anything, this traction-gaining trend has its pros and cons. If you are contemplating a bathroom remodel and are intrigued with the sleek appearance provided by a wall hung vanity, take these points into consideration.

Attributes

  • Streamlined, contemporary appearance: Thanks to their clean, minimalistic lines, wall hung vanities often have a modern feel, but they do come in a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary. To give the piece a furniture-like appearance, legs can be added. Whether one chooses modern metal legs or classically traditional “feet,” this embellishment adds to the vanity’s aesthetic. If you want a traditional look, choose a traditional door style with recessed or raised door panels and avoid mounting it too high to give the illusion the vanity is actually is anchored.
  • Varying heights: Since these vanities don’t have to rest on the floor, they are able to be hung at whatever level best fits the homeowner’s needs, achieving a custom height without paying a premium for a custom cabinet. Additionally, height flexibility allows accessibility for all ages and abilities while specifying the correct vanity can provide a sink that can be easily used by those in a wheelchair.
  • Accent lighting: Another benefit of wall hung vanities is the ability to install lighting underneath, which can serve as accent illumination while soaking in the bathtub or providing a soft nightlight glow.
  • Illusion of spaciousness: Since the vanity exposes the flooring beneath, it creates a more expansive feel, an element that works exceptionally well in smaller bathroom spaces.
  • Tuck it away: Depending upon the height of the vanity, items, such as scales, can be tucked underneath rather than taking up space inside cabinets or being set in a corner. For a family with young kids, Sara loves tucking a step stool underneath, which alleviates tripping hazards.
  • Easier to clean: Mopping beneath a wall hung vanity is often easier than a floor mounted version.

Disadvantages

  • More involved installation: Vanities that are mounted on the wall require more blocked in framing, which equates to installation that is slightly more involved and expensive.
  • Not designed to hold weight: Even when properly installed, a wall hung vanity cannot support the same amount of weight as a floor mounted vanity. This is something to consider if you have young children or people who might lean on the vanity for balance or support.
  • Less storage: Wall hung vanities tend to come in similar widths as their floor mounted counterparts, but they are typically shorter in height, which means less storage space. Adding in custom features can balance this disadvantage.
    Continuous flooring: If you’ve previously had a floor mounted vanity and want to install a wall hung version, having flooring that is finished beneath the cabinet is a must since it will be completely visible.

“There is a lot to love about wall hung vanities but there are always personal style and function considerations,” Sara explains.

Wondering if a wall hung vanity is workable in your bathroom remodel? Let one of Harrell Remodeling’s top-notch designers help you create a bathroom space that will fit your lifestyle and your budget. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Harrell Remodeling Inc. award-winning designer, Sara Jorgensen, artfully executes her clients’ design desires along with their functional needs. Sara brings a creative passion and, thanks to her authenticity and open style of communication, she provides an innate understanding of client needs to the Harrell Remodeling Design + Build team. “Some clients know their style. Others need inspiration. Through the design exercises in which my clients’ partake, we come easily to an understanding of their preferences. The ultimate goal is to create a beautiful, timeless, on-budget, and functional project,” says Sara. Sara works from a holistic viewpoint to the smallest of details that create the design’s ‘wow’ factor. Her work encompasses a wide variety of projects from Wine cellars, Yoga rooms, Master Suites, Kitchens, and Decks to whole house remodels. Her designs have won awards from the NKBA, NARI and National CotY. A Bay Area native, Sara holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design from San Jose State University. Sara is a California state Certified Interior Designer (CID) and a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP). Outside of work, Sara enjoys kayaking, San Jose Sharks hockey, snowboarding, cycling, snowman building, spending time with family and relaxing outdoors. She is a proud committee member of the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club and enjoys driving her Model T around California on various club tours.

Barn Doors in Showers

Barns doors have become a widely coveted design trend, so much so that they’ve even made their debut in the bathroom as shower doors or as a component in complete enclosures.

The barn door-style shower is notable because of its uniquely modern top-frame hardware that makes it an attractive focal point. Harrell Remodeling designer, Debra Winston explains that, instead of hiding the glides behind a valance, you can see the decorative rolling mechanism—kind of like those mechanical watches that show the gears. Shower barn doors come in frameless versions and offer a clean, contemporary appearance unlike most doors with an unappealing top frame. The hardware comes in a variety of sleek finishes, including chrome, brushed nickel, and black. Along with the actual barn door hardware, the door handles and towel bar can be added with a matching finish.

Debra recommends reading the door specifications very closely or consulting a professional when it comes to choosing a door as well as installing. There are two main configurations of doors: bypass and inline, both of which can be used with either a full-sized shower or a shower-tub combo.

Bypass doors: Both glass panels slide, allowing access from either side of the shower.
Inline doors: One panel of glass is stationary and the other serves as the single sliding door.

“Shower-tub barn doors typically have a lower profile door track, making them much easier to clean and less of a toe-stubbing hazard,” clarifies Debra. “And, for those with young children, the lower track it makes it significantly easier and more comfortable to bathe them in a tub.”

The location of the movable glass panel is something to which homeowners should pay close attention. “One very important thing to consider when installing an inline shower door is to have the fixed door opening on the same side as the showerhead,” advises Harrell designer, Debra Winston. “This ensures water doesn’t leak out since it will spray toward the stationary glass panel, not in between the shower door panels.”

Shower barn doors can be used to create a full glass enclosure with three fixed panels and one that opens and closes. “This is fantastic for small spaces. It doesn’t block the light and has a dramatic look,” Debra explains. “The glass panels can also be frosted to allow for privacy, if desired.”

The barn door isn’t just relegated to the typical angular configuration. They can also be used with an arc or pie-shaped shower pan. These are generally used in bathrooms where a shower is desired but space is at a premium. Tucked into a corner, showers utilizing the sliding barn door require less floor space than those with a swinging door. You don’t need to worry about the door swinging out into a toilet or vanity. “These showers, though not particularly spacious, function beautifully and give the bathroom a more airy appearance.”

Shower doors come in multiple thicknesses. ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, with the thickest being ½ inch. All shower doors will be tempered glass so that, in the event they break, the shards will not have sharp edges. 3/8” is the thinnest I recommend to clients, as if the glass is ¼” it can feel flimsy and rattle when opening and closing.

With glass comes some maintenance. To avoid soap scum, water spots and mineral build-up, it is important to make sure your doors have some invisible surface glass protectant, such as Microtek. It is recommended to use a squeegee after every shower to prevent water spots. It may also be worth considering installing a whole-house water filter to prevent the hard water mineral deposits from damaging the glass, hardware finishes, and clogged plumbing.

Shower barn doors are a beautiful way to update a bath and work well with many styles, room sizes, and configurations. If you have a bathroom that’s seen better days, get in touch with Debra or another of Harrell’s designers to discover how your bathroom can be transformed into a truly amazing space.

Debra has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build for five years. She has a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts, is a painter and quilt artist, and spent 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City before moving to California. She studied Interior Design at Cañada College, where she specialized in Kitchen and Bath Design. Debra worked as an Interior Designer prior to joining the Harrell Team in April 2014. Debra has received numerous awards for her designs, her specialty being Kitchen and Bath redesign, Debra is a passionate Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), and also works on whole-house remodels and room additions as well as Harrell’s color specialist.

Outlet Technology

Earlier this year, Harrell Remodeling Designer Genie Nowicki, spent three days at the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) where she was immersed with the latest industry products, trends, and technologies. Although not as sexy as steam showers, spa bathtubs, and the latest fixtures, electrical outlet technology was prevalent at KBIS.

According to Genie, “Kitchens and bathrooms have considerable code requirements. These are spaces in which numerous appliances are used around water, so there are strict guidelines around the placement and type of outlets used. At KBIS, there were some really exciting solutions to make unsightly outlets more visually pleasing, or unique ways to hide them completely.”

Outlet Technology

With more and more devices requiring USB ports for charging, electrical outlets are finally incorporating this technology and docking stations are being integrated into kitchens and baths.

Smart WiFi plugs are remote control devices, enabling automation to actively manage any appliance, light, or device via an app or using a smart home assistant. Affordable and easy to install, these smart plugs allow you to control or schedule lights and temperature, pre-heat hair styling devices with the touch of a button, regulate your kid’s access to gaming consoles and television, and monitor your home’s energy efficiency.

For years, outlet trim plates have been available in a variety of colors, designs, and finishes but the outlets themselves hadn’t followed suit. Finally, outlets are being designed in a number of metallic finishes to create a seamless, cohesive appearance.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Kitchen

GFCI outlets are required to be placed every four feet in a kitchen, and within two feet or less of the edge of a sink or cooking surface. There are multitudes of ways to make outlets less conspicuous, maintaining function without compromising the aesthetics of your space.

  • Under cabinet outlets: The outlet or outlet strip is hidden from view but may have “dangling” appliance cords.
  • Pop-up outlets: Tucked into the surface of a countertop, these low-profile outlets are made accessible by simply pushing on the them to have them ‘pop’ above the counter or pushing them down to hide them away. These may not be accepted by all building departments.
  • Outlet post: Nestled between cabinets, a post is a great way to incorporate outlets.
  • Hinged cabinet facade: Hiding outlets behind a hinged drawer façade allows accessibility when needed but is disguised when not in use.
  • Recessed below counter: An outlet strip can be hidden underneath a deep countertop edge, peninsula, or island overhang for easy access without compromising design.
  • Inside drawers/cabinets: A great place to install a docking station for tablets, phones, and others devices.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Bathroom

Just as in kitchens, our bathrooms must have GFCI outlets and have equally strict requirements on placement. We typically have a number of personal grooming devices that can crowd our countertops, creating a tangle of cords and a battle over outlet access. This can be resolved with creative and functional outlet placement.

  • Medicine cabinets with built-in outlets: great for storing and charging electric razors and toothbrushes.
  • Inside cabinets: A great way to get outlets off walls is to place them inside cabinets. USB outlets allows for charging of phones, wireless speakers, and tablets.
  • Underneath counters: An ideal blend of accessibility and functionality.
  • Inside drawers: Outlets at the back of a drawer is ideal for plugging in hair styling or personal grooming devices.
  • Pop-up outlets: These low-profile outlets work well in bathrooms and can be set into the countertop.

“It’s always exciting to offer clients inventive new ways in which to integrate outlets in bathrooms and kitchens that both maximize and personalize the function and beauty of the space. Plus, the evolving technology that allows homeowners to control appliances at the touch of a button is very desirable,” shares Genie.

Are you dreaming of updating your kitchen or bath? Schedule a complementary meeting today and allow the design team at Harrell Remodeling to help you discover what’s possible.

Genie Nowicki, senior designer, holds numerous certifications in design, and is a renowned authority of Universal Design, and the recipient of multiple awards. Genie joined the Harrell Remodeling team after years of running her own successful design business. Beginning her career in the world of income tax planning, she made a career leap in 1990 to the equally “detail and code-filled world” of kitchen and bath design. Genie obtained her Certification in Professional Kitchen and Bath Design in 1992 and achieved her Certified Kitchen Designer (CID) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) status in 1996. After passing another rigorous examination, she became a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in the State of California in 2002 and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) in 2006. Her experience has included residential interior design, kitchen and bath design, barrier free/Universal Design, lighting design, and participation in numerous showcase houses in the Bay area, as well as several commercial projects. Genie prides herself on listening to her clients and providing timeless design work that is appropriate to her clients, their lifestyles, and their homes. Her excellence in design has been recognized with awards, projects published in local and national magazines, and a Sunset design book, and an article she wrote was featured in the Fine Homebuilding Kitchen and Bath Annual Issue.

Add Some Fun To Your Next Remodeling Project

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a serious undertaking, but it can also be a great opportunity to add a touch of playfulness to your home. Whether you are remodeling a powder room, a master bath, or a kitchen, the Harrell Remodeling design team excels at creating modern residential designs while also developing special spaces that reflect the personality and spirit of the homeowners.

Americans are staying in their homes longer than ever before, opting to renovate or remodel rather than move to a larger residence. Families in the 1950’s typically moved approximately every five years. Since 2013, most people tend to stay in their homes an average of nine years compared the year 2000 when they moved every seven years. Many Bay Area and Silicon Valley residents are following this trend and as a result, personalized remodeling designs that are unique and individual are becoming more popular.

Gloria Carlson, a senior designer at Harrell-Remodeling, loves to create fun and creative designs that reveal her clients’ unique personalities and passions.

“The number one thing I do when I have a specialized design project is to listen. I want to understand what they are looking to achieve, both functionally and aesthetically, so that I can help to realize their dreams,” said Gloria.

Here are three examples of Harrell Remodeling clients who wanted to express their individuality in their kitchens and bathrooms, and how Gloria’s exceptional talent for creating enjoyable and useful designs were incorporated in these projects.

Creating Enjoyment Through Better Organization

Recently, a couple with whom Gloria had known previously came to Harrell Remodeling wanting to create a larger kitchen. Having been entertained by this family in the past, Gloria already understood the owner’s kitchen “rhythm” and family flow. She recognized that the client cooked in designated areas throughout the kitchen, from baking to making coffee. Gloria listened to their specific requests to create a new, streamlined, and contemporary layout that emphasized special zones and the following details:

Accentuated Special Kitchen Zones

  • A baking area that included an appliance garage for small appliances, offered efficient storage for flours, mixing bowls, utensils, etc. in adjacent cabinetry. This zone was situated directly next to the oven.
  • The coffee zone was designed to hide coffee containers, filters, and boxes of teas, and Gloria made sure the espresso maker aligned perfectly with a potfiller faucet to fill the machine’s water tank.

Carbonated, Filtered, and Chilled Beverage Zone

  • In the center of the kitchen, Gloria designed a large island to function as a buffet serving area, prep zone, and gathering spot. To help contribute to the central gathering purpose of the island, Gloria specified a faucet that included a built-in filter, water chiller and carbonation system at the sink. An under-the-counter refrigerator and built-in liquor cabinet made the island a refreshing kitchen hangout.

Customized Planning Zone

  • A planning zone with organizer shelves, key hooks, and a cork board and white board was designed to add a functional focal point to the room.
  • Color was integrated into the kitchen to highlight the modern upgrades and to make the space visually appealing and inviting.

“My clients still tell me how much they love what I did in their kitchen,” said Gloria.

Entertaining with Serve-Yourself Soda

Gloria worked with another family who entertained frequently. These homeowners wanted an area for guests to gather away from where they were doing their last-minute cooking, and they requested a built-in soda fountain, for their own love of sodas and for fun entertaining.

Fountain Soda Bar With Fully Equipped Bar Gun

  • A separate beverage zone was created on the opposite side of the prep zone and kitchen sink. The beverage area was designed in an “L” shape that allowed for plenty of storage space both above and below the wet bar area.
  • At the beverage center, Gloria specified plumbing for a carbonator, refrigeration line, filter system, and a fully loaded bar gun with a multitude of syrup flavors required for making fresh sodas.

Customized Backsplash Made From Vintage Bottle Caps

  • To punctuate the theme with a really fun and unique design, Gloria designed a backsplash that was made up of vintage bottle caps. Hundreds of bottle caps were individually placed in the backsplash to resemble tile, resulting in a customized conversation piece that echoed the homeowners’ affection for soda.

This clever kitchen redesign melded the clients’ passions to create a nearby entertainment space for guests while also allowing the homeowners to simultaneously work in the kitchen and interact with their guests.

Creating A Kitchen and Bathroom Design To Reflect A Family’s “Joie de Vivre”

Sometimes a client just wants to forego all traditional design concepts, and allow Harrell Remodeling and its amazing designers to create something truly fresh and new. This was the case with a Bay Area family who wanted their home to reflect their passion for travel and desire to welcome nature into their children’s bathroom.

Once again, Gloria stepped into the picture, transforming the family’s kitchen and bathroom. Highlights of these design projects include:

Customized Kitchen Magnetic World Map For Displaying Travel Tokens

This family traveled the world, collecting magnets from each place they’d visited as tokens of their adventures. Gloria noticed they mounted their collection of magnets on a large whiteboard attached to a kitchen wall. She replaced this bland whiteboard with customized world map wallpaper, with colors to match the kitchen palette, which was adhered to a steel plate to make the map magnetic. The new design allowed the family to place their magnets on the specific countries and cities, while creating a showcase piece that sparked conversation during dinner parties.

The family also wanted a bathroom with a jungle theme for their elementary school aged daughters. For this part of the project, Gloria invited the children to participate in the design and material selections, and they created:

Colorful Children’s Bathroom With Tropical Jungle Theme

A unique combination of tiles was applied to the bathroom walls to give the space a jungle vibe. A niche in the shower showcased a tile mural with a family of monkeys hiding in a rainforest. Beneath the showerhead, Gloria designed a glass mosaic blue tile waterfall that flowed down the wall, across the shower pan, and onto the bathroom floor to create meandering river. The blue tile river stops in front of the vanity in the shape of a small puddle of water.

Gloria used porcelain tiles with a wood grain to create a large tree trunk design on the shower wall and a leafy mosaic tile and green grout to create the foliage.

The results for this home were spectacular, playful, and completely customized for the client’s lifestyle and personalities.

When it comes to your residence, infusing a remodel with a touch of individuality can be a wonderful way to make your mark on a space. Whatever your passions, hobbies, or visions for your Bay Area and Silicon Valley home, the award-winning designers at Harrell Remodeling Design + Build can help you “take a walk on the wild side.”

We invite you to contact us for a complimentary consultation to discover how Harrell Remodeling can design your next distinctive space.