Remodeling Trends

Our interesting and informative monthly newsletter

design builders logo REMODELING TRENDS
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In This Issue
Motivational Quotes
Kitchen Countertops: Time-tested Products
Add Excitement with Decorative Trim & Molding
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904 Ethan Allen Highway,
Ridgefield, CT, 06877

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About Design Builders
  Design Builders & Remodeling is a full-service, residential design build firm headquartered in Ridgefield, CT. The firm has proudly serviced discriminating buyers in Fairfield, Westchester, Litchfield and Putnam Counties since 1986.

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 Design Builders and Remodeling specializes in the design and building of additions, renovations, new home construction, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling and new kitchens.

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Traditional kitchen countertops like granite, laminate and quartz are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. It's  important to find that perfect balance between style, function and ease of maintenance in choosing the right counter as you remodel your kitchen.

David H. Adams, President

Design Builders and Remodeling, Inc.
(203) 431-9104

Motivational Quotes
"Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens."

- Epictetus

Kitchen Countertops :
Time-tested Countertop Products  

We would like to discuss traditional kitchen countertop products. Granite continues to be the most popular product selected by our customers. Quartz is a close second. New laminate products are also getting a lot of attention.

granite transitional kitchen
 Granite was used for the island and perimeter counters in this transitional-style kitchen


Most people favor granite countertops for their kitchens because the beauty and durability of granite are unsurpassed. Granite is more expensive than many other counter surfaces, but since it will last for years, it is an investment. The type of edging you choose for your granite countertop and the thickness of the granite will also influence the price.


Caring Tips: Granite is a hard surface for food prep and can be wiped clean easily. For regular cleaning, it can be wiped with a mild soap solution. Water can cause a temporary stain if left on granite for a period of time but the stain will disappear after the water evaporates. Oils will stain granite, too. Most oil stains can be removed with a paste or poultice that draws the oil out of the surface. Once a year, a sealer should be applied to the surface. This takes about 15 minutes. 

granite countertops mission style cherry cabinets
Granite countertops, custom mission-style cherry cabinets, tile flooring and stainless steel appliances give this traditional-style kitchen a warm, rich feel.
New designs of quartz counters look so much like granite and marble that you will need to look closely to tell the difference. Cambria is one of the market leaders and has produced designs that are rich in color and veining. Quartz is scratch, heat and mildew resistant and can have a seamless appearance. Silestone and DuPont Zodiac quartz countertop products offer 15-year warranties.

Caring Tips: Unlike granite, quartz does not require sealing and is easy to maintain. Clean with a wet cloth. There are products you can purchase designed for shining stone counters such as Simple Green Stone Polish that restore the luster of granite and quartz.
transitional kitchen quartz cambria
The counters in this transitional-style kitchen are quartz by Cambria. The "Torquay" pattern used on the island resembles marble. The "Praa Sands" pattern used on the perimeter counters resembles granite.

cast iron sink laminate countertop
A dark brown cast iron drop-in sink blends with the laminate counter surface of this kitchen and becomes an architectural element.
Kitchen designers and home magazine writers are talking about laminates because of the range of options and the quality of products that manufacturers now offer. Laminate is versatile, easy to care for and is much less costly than stone, quartz or solid surface counters. Glossy finishes that are available in laminate provide the look of granite. High definition laminates can replicate wood finishes and products such as quartz, marble, soapstone and solid surface. Edgings have changed and now undermount sinks can be installed with laminate. Two manufacturers to check out are Wilsonart and Formica. These products are a great option if you have a tight budget for your project.

Caring Tips: Never place a hot object or cut directly on the surface of a laminate counter. Do not use abrasive pads such as Scotch-Brite because they will scratch the surface. Formica recommends using a clean cloth and a mild liquid detergent or household cleaner to clean the surface. Rinse off with water and wipe the counter dry with a clean cloth. 
Add Excitement with Decorative Trim and Molding
decorative trim couch living space
The well-known maxim "less is more" is associated with the famous architect Mies van der Rohe, who believed that good design reduces a building to its necessary elements. However, sometimes when we look around at the plain, unadorned boxes that make up the various rooms in our homes, we think just the opposite: "Less is, well, ... just less."

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add excitement to a boring ceiling or a lackluster doorway. One of these is to include decorative trim and mo
ldings in your design plans. Whether it is an intricate ceiling medallion or a simple, understated crown molding, there are patterns and shapes of millwork to enhance any style of interior.

The important thing to keep in mind is that your house should be treated as a whole. You need to assess the architectural style of your home to determine into which category your home best fits. Is it Cape Cod, Mediterranean, Craftsman or Ranch style? To a certain extent, the architecture should dictate your choices in interior trim and molding, so that the exterior and interior spaces fit together harmoniously. However, once you determine the style you wish to use, you can create variations on that theme from room to room.

Consider also the possibilities of materials from which the molding may be made:  
  • plaster ornament molding
    Plaster ornamentations have been added to walls and ceilings for centuries and are still available today. If you wish to restore an older home and are concerned about authenticity, this could be your choice. Today's plaster decorative pieces are reinforced and less prone to chip. Keep in mind, they are heavy and cumbersome to install and therefore may add to labor costs.
  • Hardwood decorative trim can be carved out of a variety of wood species. If you are not wanting to have your trim painted, but plan for it to be stained to let the grain show through, nothing beats the beauty of natural hardwood. These pieces are lightweight and easy to install. Natural wood does have some disadvantages, however, such as occasional splitting or warping.
  • MDF (medium-density fiberboard), made from wood fibers glued under heat and pressure, is a less expensive option for molding than solid wood. It is durable and comes pre-primed and ready to paint. MDF should not be installed in wet areas, however, or it may swell from the moisture.
  • Polyurethane composite millwork pieces are made from forms into which the polyurethane is poured. These types of molding require no sanding, priming or sealing and come ready to be installed. They are lightweight and simple to work with.
doorway molding decorative Let your imagination soar! Consider doorways and windows. Look for points of visual interest or uniqueness in your rooms, and then think of ways to accent what you already have. Brackets, niches, columns--all are additions that can lend your rooms some panache!
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