Chrome Vs. Nickel Finishes

Chrome and nickel finishes look very Differences between chrome and nickel similar, but upon close examination, one will find notable differences in three categories that are important to consider for your cabinet hardware or plumbing fixtures.

Finish:  Nickel tends to have more of a soft, warm finish.  Chrome will have a cooler and brighter finish.  You can typically find brushed and polished options in both finishes.

Cost:  Chrome will usually be more cost-effective than nickel.

Maintenance:  Chrome is a durable, low maintenance finish. There are two types of nickel finishes, PVD and silver nickel. The more commonly used nickel, PVD, has been available for decades now and is low maintenance.   Silver nickel is considered a “living finish” and is a luxury finish, with rich subtle color that needs to be cleaned with care.

Modern Kitchen Cabinet Styles

modern kitchen cabinets created by Normandy Designer Chris EbertDuring a modern kitchen remodel, it’s common to select full overlay cabinets because they convey the clean lines and minimalism that homeowners want to achieve in the project.  “In a recent project, we took it a step further and selected high gloss cabinets from Plain & Fancy Cabinetry,” says Normandy Designer Chris Ebert.  “The homeowners wanted a white, black, gray and blue color scheme, so the cabinets are a combination of white and black, and look very sleek in the space.”

“In a modern kitchen likgray countertop ideas created by Normandy Designer Chris Eberte this, you don’t want a really fussy countertop, leading us to choose a gray top with blue flecks from Cambria,” noted Chris.  “The space was pulled together with marble and glass tile backsplash that created a nice balance in the kitchen.”

“The tricky part of this galley kitchen remodel was attaining the open concept the homeowners wanted,” commented Chris.  “We were able to take down one wall, but the brick wall between the sunroom/dining area and the kitchen was load bearing and we had to work with it.  The solution was to create a sense of congruity from one side to the other, and we did that by incorporating cabinetry on each side.”

Black refrigerator with white cabinets created by Normandy Designer Chris EbertWhite kitchen cabinet hardware created by Normandy Designer Chris EbertModern kitchen design Normandy Designer Chris Ebert

1950s Ranch Home Makeover

1950s ranch home remodeling ideas created by Normandy Designer Troy Pavelka and Chris EbertThis 1950s ranch home in Glen Ellyn was almost overlooked by the homeowners because of the lack of curb appeal, but with supply in low demand at the time, they went ahead with the purchase and hoped it had high potential.

Working with Normandy Design Manager Troy Pavelka and Normandy Designer Chris Ebert, the homeowners were quickly blown away with the possibilities.  The most notable part of the transformation was the exterior, which now incorporates a butterfly roof and Mondrian style windows dominating the façade.   “A year and a half later, drivers are still constantly slowing down to stare when they drive by,” said the homeowner in an interview with Chicago Home & Garden Magazine.

The award-winning home not only has impressive curb appeal now, but an interior that holdRed kitchen color schemes created by Normandy Designer Troy Pavelka and Chris Eberts its own, too.  ““There’s nothing average about this house, and the interior needed to reflect that,” said Ebert.  “The remodeled kitchen features pops of red tile backplash and opens to a modern living room showered with natural light.”

“This is a prime example of how remodeling a home to fit your needs and style is a completely viable option,” says Pavelka.  “It starmodern living room furniture created by Normandy Designer Troy Pavelka and Chris Ebertted as your standard 1950s ranch style home, and was remodeled into an architecturally unique home that’s able to catch peoples’ eye from the street.”




Modern home renovation ideas created by Normandy Designer Troy Pavelka and Chris EbertModern exterior home ideas created by Normandy Designer Troy Pavelka and Chris Ebert

Open Concept Kitchen Wins First Place

Open concept kitchen ideas created by Normandy Designer Leslie Lawrence Molloy CKDNormandy Designer Leslie Molloy, CKD worked with homeowners to create an open concept layout for their kitchen, a popular kitchen remodeling trend.  The Burr Ridge couple was frustrated with the kitchen’s layout and functionality because it didn’t fit their lifestyle.  Leslie’s innovative storage solutions and traffic flow conscious design were not only ideal for the homeowners, but also struck a chord with industry peers.  The kitchen was recognized with a First Place Remodeling Excellence Award by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Chicagoland.

For more details and photos of this kitchen, read the full story.


Contemporary Basement Remodeling Ideas

This finished lower level hardly looks the part, with abasement media room ideas created by Normandy Designer Leslie Lee chandelier, stone accent walls and everything in between.  Created by Normandy Designer Leslie Lee, this Lake Forest basement was transformed into an ideal entertainment space, complete with a media room, bar, lounge and kids play area.  The elements that make this contemporary basement such a unique space include:

 -  The pop of color in the media room, a nod to Pantone’s color of the year Radiant Orchid, makes a great frame for the focal point television in the space.

-  The columns were done in a crisp white, and can be found throughout the basement, contributing to the light and airy aesthetic of the space.  Some of the columns are maskibasement columns Normandy Designer Leslie Leeng support columns, while others are decorative to help designate the different areas while maintaining an open, yet symmetrical, concept throughout the basement.

Incorporating natural elements, like the stone accent walls and warm cabinetry, paired with ample lighting make the space seem less like a lower level and more like another room in the house, which was a goal of the homeowners.

This basement renovation is a greatbasement pendant lighting ideas Normandy Designer Leslie Lee example of how important it is to tie in not only the homeowners’ style, but also their personal history.  “We actually designed the entire bar area around a prize fish that they caught on one of their trips to the South Pacific, with the stone resembling sand and blue pendant lighting resembling the ocean,” noted Leslie.  “The entire space is a great representation of the homeowners’ lifestyle, which should be the goal of any home remodeling project.

The basement remodeling project was finished basement lighting ideas created by Normandy Designer Leslie Leerecently recognized with a Remodeling Excellence Award for Leslie’s ability to create a space so in tune with the homeowners’ lifestyle, while managing to finish the project within budget and the agreed upon timeline.

Normandy Remodeling Turns 35

normandy remodeling reviewsNormandy Remodeling is a company started by two acquaintances with enough experience in the remodeling industry to know that they could provide people with better service and quality.  “The remodeling industry tends to get a bad reputation, and Jack and I knew that it didn’t have to be like that, that we could make the process better for everyone involved,” says Normandy Co-Owner Reg Marzec.

Not only dinormandy remodeling employeesd their idea work, but the gentlemen became best friends along the way.  Setting out to be an anomaly in the industry 35 years ago in 1979, Reg Marzec and Jack Steindl have stuck to their principles of making customer service a top priority.  “We tried to approach our customers as though we were building for ourselves,” says Marzec.  “We truly wanted to do a good job and be proud of our work.  It’s that simple.”

The pair was also able to develop a unique team environment where employees could be passionate and thrive.  “Our Director of Production, Greg Glatz, has been with us for 30 years and one of our veteran designers, Tony Tondelli, has been here 26 years,” noted Marzec.  Normandy has grown to be one of the top remodeling companies in the Chicagoland area, being named Remodeler of the Year in 2007 by Remodeling Magazine and winning dozens of awards each year for their creative designs and high customer service ratings.

Steindl sadly passed away in 2011, but said in an interview with Professional Remodeler in 2011 that “…the fact is that if Reg and I quit or died or retired, the company’s going to go on.”  It’s a sentiment that’s proven to be true, and with projected growth on the horizon, there is little doubt that there are more good things to come in the next 35 years for Normandy Remodeling.  Steindl’s son-in-law, Andy Wells, became a Principal for the company in 2003; while Marzec continues to review every blueprint created by Normandy’s architectural team.  Marzec couldn’t be happier about taking that leap of faith with Steindl 35 years ago.

Normandy Gives Back

Here at Normandy we realize and appreciate the success we’ve had, and try to sponsor events that will benefit others throughout the year.  One of the causes we’ve supported this year was related to the Disney 10k and Disney Princess Half Marathon, and we received this warm thank you letter in return (and fun pictures!):

Hello all –

Thank you thank you thank you for all of your generous donations to Give Kids the World for the Disney 10k and Disney Princess Half Marathon!  My daughter Veronica and I ran the 10k on a Saturday morning and then the Half Marathon the next day a few weeks ago.  We completed both and here are the pics to prove it!  We dressed up like Minnie Mouse for the 10k and I dressed up like Jasmine (Alladin) for the Half Marathon.  It was steamy (80 plus degrees and 95% humidity) and embarrassing, but a lot of fun!  No track records were set by us but we did stop a lot along the way to get silly character pictures (I really felt sorry for those poor actors that had to be hugged by hundreds of sweaty runners!).

The real reason for all this was to support Give Kids the World.  We had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at their huge facility in Orlando while we were there.  What a place!  They work with Make a Wish and a network of doctors to give kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families an all-expenses paid week at the parks and at their facility, where the kids are treated like royalty!  All day free ice cream, Christmas and Halloween every week, arcades, water rides/tubes, presents every day.  Every week they host about 150 families.  It’s really amazing and run largely by volunteers.  They always can use more volunteers (picture a really rewarding add-on day to your next trip to Orlando!) so keep them in mind!

I really appreciate your support!


As Good As New – Without The Move

Kitchen expansion created by Normandy Designer John LongMoving to a new home was not an option for these Downers Grove homeowners because they absolutely loved their neighborhood.  However, they frequently entertain and came to the common realization that everyone always seemed to wind up in the kitchen area at some point.  They worked with Normandy Designer John Long to add on to their home, which would not only give them the extra space needed in the kitchen and casual dining area, but also facilitate space for gift wrapping and storage for their wine collection.

“The new kitchen features beautiful dark cherry cabinets and a large island, making the space warm and inviting to guests.  We also included a separate wine cooler and bar area near the dining space to ease the overall traffic flow,” says John.  White cabinets for craft room created by Normandy Designer John Long“Underneath the new kitchen houses the custom wine cellar and an ideal space for crafts and gift wrapping, with organized storage and an island to work on.  This is a great example of how investing in your current home is a way to achieve everything on your wish list, without having to start over.”

The final transformation is stunning, and has been recognized with a First Place Remodeling Excellence Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Chicagoland.

Wine storage ideas created by Normandy Designer John LongCherry cabinet with hood and backsplash created by Normandy Designer John Longhutch like cabinet piece created by Normandy Designer John Longbar area on main level ideas created by Normandy Designer John Longbathroom remodel created by Normandy Designer John Longtile pattern ideas for bath tub created by Normandy Designer John Longtile pattern ideas for bathroom created by Normandy Designer John Long

Home Spring Cleaning Checklist

“Spring has sprung. While you’tudor home exterior ideas created by Normandy Designer Vince Weberre banishing the cobwebs during your annual spring cleaning, take some time to give your home a thorough inspection. A few simple maintenance maneuvers will ensure that your home will remain in good shape and that all systems will keep humming efficiently.

1.  Clean your gutters. After a long winter, dirt and debris will gather in the gutters. Clean them out and ensure that they are still in good repair. Direct the downspouts away from your foundation. If the ground closest to the house along the foundation puddles water from the downspout, add extenders to direct the water further away from the house so that the water doesn’t cause damage.

2.  Inspect your roof. If you can’t remember the last time you had a roof inspection, it’s probably time to call in a professional to take care of any repairs. Check for loose shingles or damage, and have them fixed before leaks happen. If you had issues with roof dams or heavy snow accumulation on the roof during winter, you might see damage to the lowest few feet of your roof. Ice and water can seep under the flashing, wreaking havoc on insulation and the roof deck below.

3.  Check your foundation, basement and crawlspace. Before those spring rains hit, check the foundation around your house for cracks or imperfections. Seal them or call in a contractor if necessary to keep water from seeping into your house. The same goes for walls and floors of your basement and crawlspace. Check for any signs of moisture and seal as necessary. Also, keep a close eye on the sump pump. Ensure that it’s working properly and get a battery backup just in case.

4.  Maintain your A/C. Call a qualified HVAC contractor to give your air-conditioning system a once over. Doing so each year will help ensure that the system is running at peak performance and help to lower your energy bills. Be sure that the inspector looks at the system’s condensate drain hose where sediment can build up. Use a wet-vac to suction out any blockage.

5.  Fix the deck. If you have a wood deck, now’s the time to inspect the surface for warping, loose boards and popped nails that could cause damage to treading feet. If you have stains or discolorations, you should reseal the deck so that it is protected against heavy spring and summer rains.

6.  Clean the water heater. The average lifespan of a water heater is eight to 12 years. If yours is more than five years old, you should check around the base for any leakage or rust. If you find some, replace the heater. For areas with hard water, you may be required to drain the water heater to eliminate sediment that builds up in the tank.”

The above article is courtesy of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. 


Luxury Master Bathroom Wins Contractor of the Year Award

White bathroom vanity created by Normandy Designer Stephanie BryantBetween having the closet featured as a finalist in an Architectural Digest contest and now the bathroom being honored with the prominent “Contractor of the Year” Award from the regional National Association of the Remodeling Industry, this master suite renovation created by Normandy Designer Stephanie Bryant, CKD, has been buzzing in the remodeling industry!  The elegant space brings a bit of vintage glam into the homeowners’ private bedroom retreat and is incredibly detail oriented.  Read the details of Vintage bathroom ideas created by Normandy Designer Stephanie Bryant, CKDthe project to find out how Stephanie pulled everything together to create such a stunning space and to see more pictures.