Choosing the Best Design Elements for Your New Home – Kitchens
If you’re buying new construction in the Savannah, GA area, you may be surprised by the amazing variety of design elements you can customize when it comes to finishing your new home. Gone are the days where cookie-cutter homes were produced by the dozen with little to no individual input from the buyer. At Ernest Homes, you’ll be delighted to tour our Design Studio, where you’ll find dozens of options for just about every personal choice you can make. In fact, you may be a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions you’ll be making. That’s why this post – and some to come – are designed to help you determine which elements best fit both the style of your new home and your family’s needs.
Let’s start with your kitchen. No doubt about it; our families spend the most time focusing on their kitchens. The heart of every home, the kitchen is the room that needs to be functional above all, but also representative of your family’s personality. It’s important to marry how you’ll use your kitchen with the design elements that will please you.
While you may be tempted to choose a countertop by looks alone, you also need to consider factors such as durability, cost and how easy they are to maintain. Options include natural stone such as granite, marble, limestone and soapstone, which are durable, heat resistant and come in a variety of colors to match your decorating scheme. They’re a classic choice that never goes out of style. However, they do require regular sealing to keep them beautiful and safe for food preparation. Softer stone such as the lime and soap stones can chip or crack more easily. Natural stone is often your most expensive option as well.
Cultured stone countertops are made of quartz, and contain pigments that make them look like natural stone. Cultured stone comes in a variety of colors and unlike natural stone, can be uniform in pattern. It is heat, scratch and stain resistant, does not require sealing and is easy to clean. However, it does cost almost as much as natural stone. Solid surfacing countertops such as Corian have the appearance of natural stone, without the cost or maintenance. You have to weigh these positives against the cons; solid surfacing countertops tend to scratch more easily and can be scorched by hot cookware.
Laminate countertops are typically made of plywood covered with a thin layer of plastic resin. They’re much less expensive and are heat, scratch and stain resistant. Printing technologies can give them the appearance of stone, metal or wood. However, if it does get scorched or seriously scratched, laminate must be replaced; it cannot be repaired. With a laminate countertop, you can only choose drop sink options due to the construction of the laminate.
You can also choose wooden butcher block style countertops, which need regular oil treatments; poured concrete tops or stainless steel, a hard-working surface that has the advantage of making a smaller kitchen space look much larger due to its reflective properties.
Cabinets can use up to half the budget for your kitchen, so selecting the right ones can be a difficult choice. Important factors such as the amount of storage you need, how tall or short your family members are, and what materials are used in the construction can sway your decision. The first thing to consider is whether you’ll go framed or frameless. Framed cabinets have both a box and face frame, and the doors and drawers are attached to the frame. Frameless cabinets, also called European-style cabinets, skip the face frame; doors and drawers attach to the cabinet box itself. This style provides easier accessibility and a sleek, modern look. Choosing the color or finish depends on the overall design scheme – whether you’re going for a traditional, timeless look or something bright and modern. Consider the room’s light source; a kitchen with larger windows and natural sunlight will lead you in a different direction than a darker room requiring artificial light. You can choose dark wooden finishes, pebbled gray, stark white, or a rainbow of shades in between. If you’re an organized family with eye-candy dishes and matched glassware, glass fronted cabinets can be a charming – and magazine worthy - option. Extra-long upper cabinets are a great way to increase storage space. Don’t forget to add cabinets above the refrigerator; they’ll add additional storage space for seldom-used items.
This convenient appliance is a necessity for many families, but they’re something that needs to be considered from the very beginning of your kitchen design. Mounting one above the stove is common, but it may make it difficult for younger family members to use. Microwaves can also be set on the counter, but this will take up valuable space. Alternatively, microwaves can be placed on pull-out shelves, set into cabinets or built into a kitchen wall. You also want to consider whether you want a multi-function unit that features convection cooking or grill options.
Overhead light is essential in a kitchen, so choose fixtures that will allow for bright light throughout the room. You may also want to add task lighting in other areas to make your work easier; consider under-cabinet lights that will give extra brightness to your countertops, above sink lights to ensure a higher level of safety and separate lights in pantry closets.
Ready to move on to the next room? Watch for our next post, where we’ll let you in on some of the secrets to designing a fantastic bathroom!