There’s an episode of the sitcom Cheers from the late 1980s, where bar fly Norm is trying to sell his newfound flair as an interior designer to a rich young couple by impressing them with the line, “I programed myself to dream about your space each night.” It’s pretentious and funny of course, but there’s something to it.
You see, in the design/build world of remodeling we really do want to know how you live in a space in order to figure out how to improve it, to make life easier, and better overall because of the functionality, the color scheme, and finish, and the surfaces we recommend. You might think of it as intentional design by observation.
Whether you are a gourmet cook of sorts or a pop-tart aficionado, we want to observe how you make breakfast. We also want to know how you clean your kitchen, how often or how little. No judgment.
So, here are few questions we ask to begin the process of understanding your “clean factor:”
The responses to those questions provide great insight to us because different surfaces require different levels of effort to keep a new kitchen looking new.
For instance, frameless cabinets are generally easier to clean than framed cabinets. Flat-panel doors are generally easier to clean than paneled, beaded, or arched style doors because flat panel doors don’t have groves or recesses where dirt and grime can accumulate.
For a guide on how to clean cabinets see our latest post on the topic here.
Style matters too of course. Homeowners that want a contemporary modern look and feel to their kitchen often prefer flat panel doors, while others seeking a more traditional appeal but don’t want to spend a lot of time keeping cabinet surfaces clean, often select Shaker designs that are characterized by clean lines that add depth and interest without being visually overpowering.
There is a reason why white cabinets are selected more than 50% of the time by homeowners. They do not show dust particles or fingerprints that are visible on cabinets with dark paints and stains. On the other hand, selecting a cabinet style that features grains and grooves can help hide stains and scratches and are typically easier to repair and restore than painted cabinets.
Kitchen countertops present the biggest challenge for most homeowners. That’s why we help our clients understand the balance between cost, durability and ease of cleaning.
The easiest to clean and most durable countertop material is engineered quartz. It resists stains, scratching and incurring damages from hot pots and pans, and requires minimal maintenance to keep looking good. It also tends to have the highest cost point.
Granite countertops are also durable and relatively easy to clean with warm soapy water, however, granite or other types of stone countertops need to be resealed periodically to avoid the potential for staining. They can cost as much as quartz, but there are lower-tiered options for less.
Wood countertops look great, but most require resealing at least annually if not more depending on usage. However, there is a new product on the market that is both stunning and requires less maintenance by Grothouse. We have samples at our new Blaine display center in case you want to see these amazing surfaces in person. Just give us a call for an appointment.
Stainless steel appliances also are easy to clean with soap and water. However, they can easily show fingerprints and scratches. Black stainless steel on the other hand doesn’t show fingerprints. However, the black oxide finish can be scratched and reveal the stainless steel beneath.
The easiest and most highly durable materials for floors are ceramic and porcelain tiles. Ceramic and porcelain are highly moisture-resistant, scratch and stain-resistant, and don’t require any special cleaning materials. Luxury vinyl flooring is also very durable and easy to clean. Stone and tile floors should be resealed at least annually. But of course, solid and engineered hardwood flooring is fairly durable and stunning.
Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are the easiest to clean in a kitchen. If you don’t want the glossy vibe in your kitchen, a good alternative is a satin paint.
Similar to flooring, ceramic and porcelain tile backsplashes are the easiest to clean. Glass is another relatively low maintenance backsplash material and using glass sheets eliminates the need for grout, as does quartz or granite.
Brushed finishes for plumbing fixtures and door and cabinet hardware are easiest to clean: if you make the investment in PVD finish, the finish will last a lifetime. Matte finishes hide water spots and fingerprints which is not the case with chrome and other shiny finishes.
These are all the things we take into account when helping you design your new kitchen or whatever space it might be. It’s a lot to consider, which is why the collaborative method of design-build creates such impressive results.