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

Tips For Where To Put Your TV

Mounting tv in nicheA newly remodeled room can seem like the ultimate blank slate when it comes time to decorate.  But considering the room’s intended use and developing a furniture plan early in the design process can be immensely beneficial to how you enjoy this new room addition or renovated space. There are certain elements and focal points that are meant to take full attention of a space that don’t always include the TV, even though at times, all eyes tend to be on it.  “Because of the varying tastes and interests TV for master suitehomeowners tend to have, some people choose to make the TV less of a visual statement, but still need to find a way to fit it into the space,” says Normandy Designer Karen Chanan.  When considering incorporating a TV into the rooms of your home, use these 3 tips:

1.  Placement-  When you know your newly designed space will be home to a TV, consider it from the beginning. This way you can design it into the space, rather than treating it like an after-thought.  “Keeping the TV in mind can help you decide the orientation of the room and make sure each element is thoughtfully placed,” added Karen. “This includes window placement to reduce glare and purchasing or placing furniture accordingly in order to find a comfortableTv above fireplace mantel solution that makes sense for the room.”

2.  Focal points-  Whether it is art, a TV or the fireplace, every room needs a focal point, and the living room is no different. Determining the focal point of the room early on will allow you to build added components into the space in order to hide cords, create a seamless niche or account for larger cabinetry or furniture to place the TV inside, depending on how much attention you wish to call to it.

3.  Intention-  In living rooms and other areas of the home, the TV is usually exposed, however, there are other alternatives to having aTv on swivel base TV in the space, without calling attention to it.  Ways to diminish the presence of the TV in a room are cabinetry, where it can be lowered and raised at the homeowner’s convenience or swivel arms that allow the TV to be flexible for angles it is watched, or mounted.  “Mounting the TV in the corner decreases the opportunity for the television to dominate the look of the room,  thereby letting the intended focal point remain as a stand-alone feature,” noted Karen. “Having an idea of the layout of the space and accounting for furniture and other elements of the room can help create a space ideal for your personal interest and intended use of the room.”


Mixing Stained and Painted Kitchen Cabinetry is a Winning Recipe

White cabinets stained distressed islandMixing stained and painted finishes in the kitchen is a remodeling trend that’s been popular for several years, and shows no signs of fading any time soon.  “Introducing multiple finishes in the kitchen allows you to create contrast, enhance the visual interest of the space, and break up the potentially monochromatic look of the kitchen,” says Normandy Designer Kathryn O’Donovan.  Mixing colors, textures and materials can work in any style of kitchen; it is just a matter of how the effect is applied.  “In a modern kitchen, it is more common to see contrasting colors in a similar glossy or matte finish,” notes Kathryn. “For a more traditional look, you can pair a distressed, stained cabinet with crisp white painted cabinetry which will create that wonderful ‘antique furniture’ look.”

Mixed finishes in the ktichenSelecting an accent color for your kitchen remodel can provide a welcome pop of color without becoming visually overwhelming.  “I recommend that statement pieces are offset with more subtle choices so that you don’t overwhelm the space,” commented Kathryn.  “And while there are some traditional design guidelines that should be followed, many of the rules are being rewritten; which means that today’s kitchens are filled with character and personality, and are no longer simply aWhite cabinetry stained wood collection of white cabinets.”

Kitchen with mixed cabinet colors

A Kitchen Ledge With A Stylish Countertop Edge

White kitchen with accent colorsWhen selecting kitchen countertop treatments, it is important to remember that each style of kitchen has its own unique components, which help them stand apart from other styles.  “The kitchen countertop edge can add the smallest of detail, but still create such a strong impact on the overall look and feel of your kitchen,” says Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD.  “After you have determined the style you wish to achieve in your kitchen, these countertop details can make all of the difference in helping you reach your goal.” Here is a list of kitchen styles and examples of which countertop edges would help enhance the style you wish to achieve in your kitchen.

Traditional:  Popular for their eye-catching accents, traditional kitchens are famous for Countertop edge detailtheir architectural details, decorative elements and cabinetry adornments.  “In traditional kitchens, more ornamental countertop edges are commonly seen,” added Laura. “After selecting your cabinetry, you can use the details found in the door styles and trim to influence what countertop edge would work best for your kitchen.”  Countertops in traditional kitchens are commonly seen with some variation of an Ogee edge treatment, due to their decorative curved details.

Transitional: Incorporating the gentle curves of traditional and the clean lines of contemporary, transitional is the balanced combination of the two.  With only hints of ornamentation, any countertop edge in a transitional kitchen that is Black kitchn countertoo elaborate will have you shifting from transitional back to traditional.  Maintaining that balance between traditional and contemporary in this style means that a cabinet door with more detail will need a countertop edge that is simpler and less detailed. The reverse also holds true in that a Shaker style cabinet door can pair nicely with curves or soft lines of more traditional countertop edge treatments without the overall look of the kitchen becoming overly ornate.

Contemporary or Modern: These two styles of kitchens can share many similar elements, including sleek lines, cutting-edge appliances and frameless cabinetry. Modern however, Modern kitchen countertopfocuses more on lack of ornamentation and a strong horizontal grid system, while contemporary uses a mix of materials, shapes and scale.  “Since contemporary and modern kitchens focus on clean lines, I suggest a waterfall, mitered or eased countertop edge detail in these styles of kitchen,” added Laura. “Continuing with the sleek look and lack of embellishment in a modern kitchen, countertop materials are usually solid in color to enhance the shape and hard lines of the structure.”

Traditional kitchen counter

Not all countertop options have a broad range of choices to consider for the edge treatment.  Different materials and manufacturers have different options, since the various materials perform differently.  Some materials, such as certain marbles, are too fragile for a mitered edge and may be prone to chipping.  Not every profile is right for every surface, so it’s wise to consult with experts in the materials that you are considering before falling in love with a particular look for your countertop edge.




Marble kitchen island

Island table and chairs

Traditional kitchen counter

Normandy Designer Ranked Nationally as Top “40 Under 40”

Award winning ann stockardEvery year, Professional Remodeler Magazine recognizes the industry’s next generation of leaders through a national search of rising talent. We are proud to announce that this year, Normandy Designer Ann Stockard was named to the 2014 list of the top “40 under 40” professionals in the remodeling industry!

“I’m honored to have my name listed among some of the most talented remodelers in the nation,” says Ann. “My work brings me such joy and fulfills my passion for design; I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Ann has won numerous local and national awards and has had her work featured in various publications. Ann’s recent award wins include a National Chrysalis award for a bold Hinsdale bathroom remodel and a 2014 Contractor of the Year Award Accent wall in showerfor her Willow Springs kitchen remodel.

Anyone who has had the privilege of working with Ann knows it’s not surprising that her design passion and eye for detail creates beautiful projects for so many homes throughout Chicagoland.  Normandy is proud to have Ann as part of our team, and we offer her our Congratulations on her recent recognition!



Colorful bathroom ideasAll white kitchen

Double kitchen island design