End Furniture Frustrations with Built-In Shelves

Home office ideasHow many times have we gone out in search for a piece of furniture to fit the specifications for the style and space of our home? Since we aren’t always fortunate enough to find the perfect piece of furniture to fit between the nooks and crannies in our home, custom built-in storage has become a popular alternative. “Built-ins are an ideal solution for incorporating a furniture piece and maximizing the potential of the space,” says Normandy Designer Chris Ebert. Bedroom storage ideas“Using the exact dimensions of the area to accommodate the different heights and depths of the corners and rooms in your home, gives you the opportunity to create the ideal piece you have been looking for.”  Choosing to add built-ins to your home allows you to have a one-of-a-kind look that fits precisely into an intended space. Custom shelving can also be tailored to fit specific styles of homes and individual items, all while creating a finished appearance.

“The floor to ceiling storage and display space built-ins can provide, adds visual height, as well as decorative elements, to the space,” added Chris.  Because built ins are constructed to meet individual homes requirements, home office furniture ideasit is also easy to match the architectural elements of the home and choose storage options that are specific to your style.   ”Built-ins often become a statement piece in the room, and help create focal points. Whether your home is modern, traditional, rustic or eclectic, varying materials of the built ins and designing them to fit the style and space of the room, can add to the overall panache and functionality of the area.

Built in wall shelving ideas

Normandy Was Ranked “Top Performer: Room Additions” For 2014

Qualified remodeler magazine august 2014The Normandy family is thrilled to announce that we have been ranked as the “Top Performer: Room Additions” by Remodeling Magazine for 2014! We are flattered to be recognized among so many talented designers and companies and would like to thank our loyal customers, hard-working team, designers and superintendents.



Qualified remodeler top performer august 2014



Stucco Range Hoods In the Kitchen

Stucco oven hoodProper ventilation is one of the most important elements in any kitchen, but just because your hood is a workhorse, doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.  Range hoods come in a wide variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and styles.  In addition to their aesthetic contributions, they help to conceal the blower, which removes the cooking smells and particulates from the kitchen.  “Range hoods are a functional design element of the kitchen that can really add visual interest to theOld world kitchen ideas space,” says Normandy Design Manager Troy Pavelka. “There are a variety of styles that can help enhance the overall look of your kitchen even further, depending on materials and selections you choose.”

Range hoods are available in a wide variety of materials including metal, wood, and stone; stucco or plaster hoods are popular choices for kitchens with an Old World or Tuscan influence and can lend an authentic feelingstucco range hood to the design aesthetic.  “The Old World style relies on texture, and pairing a stucco hood with distressed cabinetry and oil rubbed bronze finishes can immerse your kitchen into that style more fully,” added Troy.  “Stucco hoods also have the option of varying the texture of the surface with either a heavy or light application, a level of flexibility that makes them even more popular in these styles of kitchen.”  Stucco and plaster hoods can also be finished to match surrounding elementsWhite kitchen with stucco hood of the kitchen with a painted or faux finish.

Selecting the right hood for your new kitchen remodel can make a strong visual impact, especially when paired with the right backsplash and surrounding elements.  If you are thinking about a kitchen remodel for your home, register for one of our upcoming kitchen remodeling seminars for a primer on the kitchen design and remodeling experience.

Normandy Ranked #5 Among Top Remodeling Companies

Remodeling top 550Normandy is excited to announce that we have been ranked nationally by Remodeling Magazine!  This year, Normandy was named as the number 5 Full-Service Remodeling firm in the United States.  Thank you to our loyal customers who have helped us become the best remodeling company that we can be, and kudos to our architects, designers, superintendents and talented team members who make it all happen!




Top remodelers in Illinois

How To: Mask the Trash in the Kitchen

Kitchen trash and recycling cabinetJust because we know it’s there, doesn’t mean the trash can needs to be a visible component of today’s kitchens.  Now, there are creative ways you can incorporate the trash can into the kitchen, without taking any visual interest away from the space. “The trash can seem like an unpleasant fixture of the kitchen, but it is a necessity,” says Normandy Designer Leslie Molloy, CKD. “There are ways to integrate this essential Trash can cabinetelement of the kitchen without taking away from the overall look of your newly remodeled space.” Here are 3 useful tips to mask the trash in the kitchen:

Blend with cabinetry:  Storing the trash container in designated cabinetry can create a cohesive look with in the kitchen and wont diminish the overall aesthetic of the home.  Concealing the trash can with built-in cabinetry is becoming a more popular solution for homeowners, in order to keep kitchens fresh and garbage out of site.

Separate compartments:  “Rather than having multiple cabinets concealing the trash components, some homeowners choose to Hidden trash can cabinetseparate their recyclables and trash within the same pull out cabinet,” added Leslie. “As you see in this image, the homeowners os this transitional kitchen wanted to have one convenient drawer for their trash storage, so we were able to come up with this solution, which is complete with an extra drawer for towels and trash bags.”

Customize:  Like any room in the house, meeting homeowner needs is a crucial part of its functionality.  “Depending on the cabinet line, you can customize cabinetry to fit your individual project and taste,” added Leslie.  “If homeowners prefer the look of drawers over doors, it is possible to create the synthetic look of drawers on a single cabinet door.”  Depending on homeowner’s needs and the size of the kitchen, smaller trash units can be placed under the sink or installed on the back of existing doors as well.

DIY Rain Shower

Normandy remodeling

The Normandy Remodeling Superintendents are known for having a great sense of humor, and often find opportunities to have fun with our customers during their home remodel.

While out of town during construction, these homeowners, who are working with Normandy Designer Kathryn O’Donovan, were looking forward to the installation of the new rain shower fixture as part of their new bathroom remodel.

While it may not be exactly what they had in mind, they got a kick out of the DIY version of a shower head that our project Superintendent Al Lovas had waiting for them upon their return.

The homeowners got a real kick out of this makeshift fixture, but were even more excited to see the reveal of their newly installed rain shower head as well.

Taking The Kitchen Island To The Next Level

Bar height kitchen islandThe kitchen island is one of the most popular elements that people request in a new kitchen remodel.  Without a doubt, kitchen islands can provide additional work, storage, and dining space; but many people may not know that a few modifications to the typical kitchen island can make them serve even greater functions in the kitchen.

“By creating two levels of countertop height in an island, you open up a variety of opportunities and solutions for your kitchen,” says Normandy Designer Leslie Molloy, CKD.  “The height of the staggered island countertops depends on the preference of the homeowner and the purpose of the island’s functionality.”  Aside from Dark stained kitchen islandthe typical countertop height, you can either opt to add a lower level, often known as table height, or a higher section, often known as bar height.  “These variations are a popular option for combining preparation and eating areas,” noted Leslie. “But they are also great for additional cabinetry, storage and appliances, whether you decide table or bar height.”

For smaller kitchens, opting to add a lower level, or table height, section can give you the benefits of a dual level island without overwhelming the space.  This is also particularly attractive for avid bakers, as the table height is an easily accessible baking station that doubles as an eating area. Kitchen island with seating area

In larger kitchens, or kitchens that are open to other areas of the home, choosing to add a higher countertop at bar level can provide an informal barrier between the kitchen and the rest of the home. “This barrier can also aid in eliminating the sight of kitchen clutter as it helps define the space,” says Leslie.

Multiple levels on your kitchen island can provide many benefits to your kitchen.Kitchen island with bar  However, if your kitchen island’s primary purpose is for setting out platters for entertaining, you may find that the variation between high and low countertops causes more frustration because it lacks a continuous surface to arrange your serving pieces.

When deciding on the right type of island for your new kitchen, your designer will be your best resource to help you determine the right fit for the way you cook and the way you live.  We invite you to meet with Leslie Molloy, CKD or any other member of the Normandy Design Team for a free in-home consultation to discuss the best way to remodel your kitchen, and find the design solutions that are the right fit for you.

Aspiring Design Apprentice

Leslie Molloy CKDAt Normandy Remodeling, we’re always eager to find young design talent, but a recent visit from an apprentice designer proved how early the passion for design can be ignited.

Normandy Designer Leslie Molloy, CKD has frequently shared her expertise and experience with new designers to the team, and has proven to be a great teacher and mentor for newer designers to the company.  Leslie embodies the passion that is so Leslie Molloyimportant in a designer, and her design work frequently spills over into her home life.  Whether it is working on a solution for a client or applying her skills to her own new home, Leslie’s daughter Emily had been quietly watching, observing, and learning to love interior design as well.

After witnessing some at-home interior design work from Leslie, a curious Emily was eager to find out what happens in the day in the life of a Normandy Leslie MolloyRemodeling Designer.  Once Leslie saw how interested Emily was in her work, they agreed an apprenticeship would be the next step.

Designers are well known to be fashion forward and on the cutting edge of all elements of design, and Emily proved that she’s already on the right track. “Emily wanted to be prepared for her day at Normandy, and selected an outfit that would be fitting for any interior designer,” said Leslie. “She Leslie Molloywas dressed very professionally and topped off her look with a necklace and her very own business cards.”

Emily started her day with a tour of the building and meeting the rest of the Normandy Remodeling team.  “She was asking lots of questions during her tour of the showroom and felt very comfortable in her design element,” commented Leslie.  Later that day Emily and Leslie ventured to a job Leslie Molloysite to review an in-progress renovation for a kitchen remodel, as well as a visit to another customer for a formal measure of an upcoming renovation.  Once returning back to the office, Emily was more than ready to get started on creating design solutions of her own.  She was setting out layouts and drawing floor plans, letting Leslie know what she felt would be a good solution and why.  “She was very engaged throughout the day, in fact I had a difficult time convincing her to head home in the evening,” added Leslie.  “I am flattered that Emily’s taken such an interest in my work, and hope that she continues to follow her passion and embrace her creative spirit throughout her life.”

Brick Match Basics

Addition on front of houseAdding on to your home can pose a myriad of otherwise forgotten challenges in creating a cohesive look between the old and new spaces.  Depending on how these challenges are handled, the result can either diminish the look of your new room addition or, if done properly, can make the new addition look like it’s been there from the beginning.  One of the more commonly overlooked details that homeowners may not consider, is the matter of matching the existing brick or stone to the rest of the house.

“If your home is more than a few years old, there’s a chance that the brick that was originally used may not be readily available for your home addition,” says Normandy Design Manager Troy Pavelka.  Fortunately there are a few Brick additionindustry secrets that can help you navigate this fairly common challenge, none of which involve creating a dramatically different look for the home addition.

The first and most obvious option is to thoroughly search for an existing brick match among readily available stock materials.  This may involve some research at local brick and stone yards, but it will be the most economical and simplest solution.

If you can’t find an exact match, start by identifying something similar.  “If the color is close, but not perfect, there is also the option of staining either the existing brick or new brick, in order to create a more successful Yellow brick additionmatch.”  This can be time consuming and may be costly, but for some scenarios may be the best solution for the overall look of the house.

If you are able to salvage a substantial amount of existing brick at the point where the new room breaks through the existing walls, it is best to incorporate it randomly into the new materials so that it blends well and looks cohesive.  “By off-setting the design, it is much easier for the brick to look as if it is a match, because it is not located on the same plane,” advises Troy. “Interior corners create shadow lines and work with the light to help the brick appear more similar, even though it is not identical.”

Additions to a brick home can be accomplished very successfully, if you are prepared for some of the challenges of finding an appropriate brick match.  “The overall goal is to make the addition appear to be absolutely seamless with the rest of the home,” notes Troy.  “We know that we’ve been successful, when the average person will not be able to identify where the existing home ends, and the new room addition begins.”

How To Pair Kitchen Cabinets and Hardware

White cabinetry in kitchenCabinet hardware can seem like such a small detail, but it can have a surprisingly big impact on the overall look of your kitchen.  Kitchen cabinetry hardware allows the homeowner to bring their personality to the space even more and can take the style of their kitchen to the next level.  “When it comes to cabinet hardware, it can act as jewelry for your cabinetry,” says Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD. “It can really elevate cabinetry with a personal touch in the kitchen, and helps set the overall tone for the space.”

“In order to enhance the style of your kitchen, it is important to know how certain elements can complement, accent and stylize the space to its full potential,” added Laura. “Because White kitchen painted cabinetrythere are such a large variety of options for cabinet hardware, it really comes down to personal preference.”    Using this How-To Guide, will give you the tools you need in order to make the right choice for your kitchen.

1.  Style:  The overall style of your kitchen can dramatically change when you begin adding the finishing touches.  Whether you wish to decorate your kitchen in a more traditional, modern or contemporary style, the hardware can help advance these individual features even further.  To accomplish a very modern look, some homeowners choose to have a touch latch system installed, to create a Stainless steel hardwaresimplistic straightforward look, instead of adding ornamental hardware.

2.  Orientation:  It is common for knobs to be seen on doors and pulls on drawers, but this depends on personal interest and the style you wish to achieve in your kitchen.  “For more of a modern look, clean, linear hardware is ideal, but occasionally, pulls can be seen on doors as well,” added Laura.  “Another rule I tend to follow is that if a drawer is more than 30 inches, I opt for 2 pulls rather than one, in order to keep balance and proportion.” 

Kitchen cabinet with pulls out drawers3.  Contrast:  Hardware can be used to compliment surrounding items, such as appliances or accent pieces.   When attempting to accent stainless steel appliances, darker cabinetry highlights the hardware and allows for a contrasting look.  These dramatic accent pieces also add visual interest to the kitchen, without overwhelming the space.

 4.  Focal Points:  If you have an ornate backsplash or other striking focal point in your kitchen, you may choose to downplay the visual role of the hardware.  By selecting knobs or handles that visually blend into the Dark cabinetry stainless steel hardwarecabinetry, they don’t compete for your attention and can allow those show-stopping focal points in your kitchen truly shine.

Contrasting cabinet hardware