Chicago Kitchen Turns from One Century to the Next

Built in the early 1900’s, this turn of the century kitchen was small, lacking storage space, seating and cooking zones. While it had gone through a few cosmetic changes over the years, it was long overdue for a major overhaul and Normandy Designer Stephanie Bryant, CKD was brought in to do the job.

“The homeowners requested a small back hall closet for coats and shoes as well as more storage space for small appliances,” said Stephanie. “They also desired additional counter space to create their delicious masterpieces and to serve family and friends.”    

To make room for these requests, the kitchen needed to expand. Therefore, Stephanie took advantage of a small, enclosed back porch that adjoined the space.

“This covered porch was originally converted into an office space,” said Stephanie. “We decided to convert it yet again, this time using the additional square footage to design a kitchen that met the homeowner’s needs.”

Once the kitchen was made larger, the next focus was on appliances. Because the homeowners loved to cook, a steam oven, extra task sink and 48” wide refrigerator were incorporated.

After the appliances were selected, it was time to dress up the space. The kitchen was modernized with high gloss, frameless white and metallic charcoal cabinetry. Additionally, by eliminating the frame, the homeowners were given greater accessibility into the cabinet interior. To top it off, the design included a sleek, glass tile backsplash and easy-to-maintain quartz countertops. Hand-blown glass pendants and fun color island stools also helped to bring the contemporary look home.

Overall, the end-result is a modern space that is open, bright and functional. There are multiple zones that allow for multiple family members to bake, can, and brew their specialty beers all at the same time. The steam oven in the island and the extra sinks also create a more functional kitchen layout for the whole family.  With the large island, the family has a wonderful new area to entertain their guests.  The new space also includes the requested coat closet, seating, and appliance storage they were seeking.

The space has now become a comfortable entertaining spot for the homeowners and their friends, where everything is very easily accessible, functional and inviting.

Learn more about what goes into a kitchen remodel by attending one of our free, kitchen remodeling seminars. You can find upcoming dates and register here. Or follow Normandy on Facebook and Instagram for more design trends, ideas and inspiration.


Where to put the sink if your kitchen doesn’t have windows?

When a kitchen remodel is done right, numerous details that come together to make up a beautiful interior. A few of these particulars include lighting, cabinetry, layout and color pallete.

“There should always be multiple focal points in the kitchen,” said Normandy Designer Christopher Ebert. “This includes windows, range hoods, decorative cabinets, changes in cabinet colors and islands.”

While all good kitchen designs include multiple focal points, a well-placed window is not always guaranteed to be one of them.  However, options for natural and artificial light mean that a kitchen can be bright and cheerful with or without windows.

“It is always nice to have natural light, however, in certain situations like condos, there might not be any exterior walls,” noted Christopher. “In that case, it is essential to add enough ambient and task lighting.”

Perhaps one of the most common questions that arise when your kitchen lacks a window relates to the placement of the kitchen sink.  A very typical kitchen layout will place the sink directly in front of a window.  This is a great choice for the view and the natural light it provides, but where should you put your sink if your kitchen doesn’t happen to have a window?

“Sinks are usually in front of a window because there aren’t any cabinets above it, making it easy to maneuver around,” said Christopher. “However, the sink can be placed elsewhere and still be very functional and beautiful. For example, a lot of time a sink in an island makes sense even when you have a window .”

Set up a time to meet with Christopher Ebert to discuss a smart layout and beautiful design for your kitchen remodel. Or, sign up for our free seminar “Secrets of the Ideal Kitchen,” to learn more about the renovation process. You can also follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Instagram for the latest design ideas and trends.

Seven Bathroom Remodeling Trends for 2016

Similar to the fashion industry, design trends tend to change year-over-year. This is especially true as color combinations shift, technology improves and innovative new products hit the market. Because there is so much to consider, we’ve consulted our award-winning design team on where kitchen and bathroom designs are heading in 2016. If looking to remodel your bathroom, here is what’s trending as well as a few items that continue to stand the test of time.

1. A Luxurious Shower Experience –Custom, high-end showers can be tailored to your every need. This includes benches, body sprays that are customized to your height, rain and hand held shower heads as well as the capability to generate steam.

2. Low Maintenance Materials – Thanks to modern technology, engineered stone and porcelain tile are able to closely mimic natural stone.  This means you can get the look of a natural stone like marble or soapstone without having to do the required maintenance. Plus, there’s an added level of durability. 

3. Square Components – As homeowners opt for a more contemporary look, square shaped shower heads, sinks and fixtures are growing in popularity. Overall, they provide a sleek, high-end and modern aesthetic.

4. Free Standing Bathtubs – If owners are incorporating a bathtub, many are choosing a free standing soaking tub instead of an integrated tub with a surround.  Free standing bathtubs provide and elegant, spa-like aesthetic and make for a great focal point in the space.

5. Storage innovations – Pull outs and organizers aren’t just for kitchens anymore. Vanities now include pull out hampers, trash cans and organizers. Designers are also working in cubby space for storing towels and toiletries.

6. High-Tech Upgrades – Electronic devices are taking hold. This includes digital valves that allow you to control water temperature, lighting and steam with the touch of a button. Shower heads have also progressed, with built-in speakers and blue tooth capabilities that enhance the ‘singing in the shower’ experience.

7. Open Shelving – Your bathroom can benefit from open shelving. In fact, it is a great way to keep things like towels organized and within reach.

Still looking for more bathroom trends and insights? Join us tomorrow for our free bathroom remodeling seminar “Pursuing the Perfect Bathroom Suite.” Or, set up an in-home consultation with a Normandy Designer to discuss current trends you can incorporate in your space. You can also follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for insights and updates as the year unfolds.

First-Ever “Sprit of Normandy” Award goes to Tom Leatherwood

Pictured above from left to right – Tom Leatherwood and Andy Wells

Since our beginnings in 1979, we have cultivated a company-culture that is rooted in honesty, quality and superior customer service. Normandy employees exhibit these values on a daily basis, but president Andy Wells wanted a way to recognize those truly exceptional individuals that help make the company what it is.

The ‘Spirit of Normandy’ Award was created to recognize one Normandy employee each year who embodies the values and ethics we were founded upon, and who better to make that determination than the Normandy remodeling staff.  This year, Normandy employees voted Tom Leatherwood as the first-ever 2015 Spirit of Normandy recipient.

Customers may remember Tom as the knowledgeable and highly skilled person who can solve just about any post-renovation problem that might arise.  Normandy offers a 5 year warranty, which means that customers who find an issue with their renovation, even years later, will get prompt attention and a swift resolution.  As the sole member of the Normandy service team, Tom takes a thorough approach and solves the root cause of the problem, earning him much deserved appreciation from customers.

Tom Leatherwood’s frequent praise and accolades from the customers he assists makes it unsurprising that his co-workers felt the same way.

“Tom does a fabulous job of taking care of our customers, treating each and every person’s home as though it were his own,” says Normandy President Andy Wells.  “Nearly everyone who has interacted with Tom has great things to say about him, it’s easy to see that he loves what he does.  We’re very fortunate to have him on our team.”

Throughout his twenty years at Normandy, it’s safe to say that Tom has been considered a jack of all trades. In addition to servicing customer warranties and maintaining the showroom, Tom also contributes his quality workmanship to the ‘handyman for a day’ referral rewards program.

“It is an honor to be recognized in such a positive way by my co-workers,” said Tom Leatherwood. “I’m fortunate enough to work with all of the different departments, and I really enjoy the ability to regularly touch base with everyone.”

“Our team of designers, architects, superintendents and support staff continually show their passion and commitment to their customers and colleagues.” said Normandy President Andy Wells.  “We created this award to celebrate individuals, such as Tom, who show integrity, initiative and a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.”

The 2016 Spirit of Normandy award is anyone’s game. In the meantime, for more information, company news and photos of our recent work, follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Spa-Inspired Master Bathroom Wins Design Excellence Award

Prior to their renovation, the owners of this 1990’s home had a dull master bathroom on their hands. Overall, the space was lacking in layout and style, making it a far cry from the spa-like space that they very much desired. Therefore, they called upon Normandy Designer Laura Barber to help create a relaxing retreat that reflected their personal style.

The first order of business was to modify the existing floorplan. To start, the existing linen closet was removed and the toilet was relocated toward the back wall to allow for a larger vanity space.  The giant tub and deck were also removed and replaced with a free-standing, contemporary tub.  Subsequently, the shower doubled in size both physically and visually by removing the partition wall and replacing it with full-height glass.

With the layout complete, storage became the next priority.

“Storage was extremely important to the homeowner,” said Laura. “Because we removed the linen closet, we needed to find an alternative solution. To increase the storage of the room, we installed a larger vanity that incorporated a pull-out hamper, more drawers and open space under the sink to keep things organized.”

“The shower bench on the tub side also has open cubbies below it to store towels, baskets and toiletries,” added Laura.

All in all, the materials used in this space were in line with the homeowners contemporary style and their desire for natural elements and texture. For example, the crisp white tub is made from volcanic limestone and has a soft-curved line that complements its natural pebble stone floor. Additionally, the vanity cabinets and mirror surround are a dark, textural laminate that adds interest to the space. The engineered stone countertops also blend the soft, neutral stone look that the homeowner loves with their practical desires for low maintenance.

Layers of light were another important element in the transformation of this bathroom.

“We added a large, decorative pendant light as well as long, curved, linear wall sconces to offer great task lighting at the vanity and continue the soft, curved element in the space,” said Laura. “We also added recessed LED can lights to provide general task lighting throughout the remainder of the room.”

This master bathroom remodel was so well executed that it recently received a Remodeling Excellence Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Greater Chicagoland.  If you are ready to transform your master bathroom into a serene retreat, request a free consultation with Laura. Or, register to attend our next bathroom remodeling seminar to get a better understanding of the design process. You can also follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Twitter for additional ideas and insights.

Top Three Home Addition Regrets

Additions are a great option for homeowners who need some extra space, but want to stay in their current neighborhood. However, there are a few items to consider before moving forward. Here are three of the biggest home addition concerns that many homeowners encounter, and tips from Normandy Designer Vince Weber for how to avoid them.

An Undersized Addition – Sometimes, you just want a little more room. But there is a fine line between not adding enough space and doing too much.

“Size is a double-edged sword,” said Vince. “While your decision has an effect on the cost of the project, it also affects your future enjoyment of the space and the overall investment of your home.”

Not Matching the Existing Style of Your Home – In terms of interior choices, it is important that the addition be a continuation of your current home. Therefore, all the trim should match and there should be a continuation of your current flooring.

“Matching the existing exterior materials and style will help make the addition look as though it was original to the home,” noted Vince. “Cutting corners with cheaper materials or choosing a drastically different style for the addition will do more harm than good, as it creates a more jarring appearance between the existing and new area.”

Brick versus Siding – If your home is comprised of brick, consider matching the existing look as opposed to selecting siding.

“Oftentimes, if the addition is in the back of the home, siding is preferred because it is a less expensive option. However, siding screams addition,” said Vince. “I recommend starting with the idea of having the addition look like it was built on the home to begin with. Start there, look at cost, and then make changes if you need to find some savings.”

Set up a time to meet with Vince for more information on adding a seamless addition to your home. Or, register to attend one of our upcoming addition seminars to learn more about the home addition renovation process. You can also see our photo gallery of beautiful additions and follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Instagram for design tips, trends and inspiration.

What are Distressed Cabinets?

There are a variety of ways to tailor your cabinetry to your taste, and if you prefer a vintage inspired look, distressing can be a great selection for your home. Distressing is a process that gives cabinets an old and weathered appearance. There are many different distressing techniques that can be used to create small chips, dents or scratches on the surface of the wood. Overall, this technique creates the illusion of age, allowing new cabinetry to look as though it was found at an antique shop.

“The process of a distressing is done by the cabinet manufacturer using a variety of different tools. Some cabinets are distressed before the finish and some are done afterwards,” said Normandy Designer Kathryn O’Donovan. “A sign of good distressing is that the marks are random, with no consistencies in the wood.”

Ways to distress wood cabinets include:

Worm holing – This style of distressing mimics the look of small worm holes within the wood.

Rasping – With rasping, the wood is given the appearance that it was hand cut by a craftsman.

Cracking – This technique mimics cracks in solid wood, creating the effect that the wood has gone through years of changes in temperature and humidity.

Wearing – In this case, the doors are sanded down at the edges to give the appearance that the wood has been worn.  The wearing also allows for a two-tone affect. The top finish is worn away to 

Scraping – Scraping simulates the wear and tear of wood that had items fall and ‘scrape’ against the wood finish underneath.

 Gouging – Gouging looks as though pieces have been physically notched out of the wood.

“Once distressed, glazing is an option that can help further accentuate your cabinetry,” added Kathryn. “The glaze will get stuck in the recesses, helping highlight the uniqueness of the door.”

Set up a meeting with Kathryn to talk about your renovation project and the details of distressed cabinetry. Or, you can learn more by registering to attend one of our free remodeling seminars. You can also follow Normandy on Facebook and Twitter for the latest trends and design ideas.

Normandy Design Team Earns Nine Remodeling Excellence Awards

We are proud to share that Normandy is the recipient of nine Remodeling Excellence Awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Greater Chicagoland. These prestigious, annual awards are presented to Chicago-area remodelers who have produced high-quality interior and exterior renovations.

These nine awards represent the work of Normandy Designers Laura Barber, AKBDStephanie Bryant, CKDKaren ChananLiz Reifschneider: Jennifer Runner, AKBDTerry Tondelli and Vince Weber. The categories of these projects range from kitchens to bathrooms, additions, interiors, exteriors and entire house remodeling. Overall, their work was judged by an impartial panel of industry experts. Projects were evaluated on their degree of difficulty, overall craftsmanship, functionality, aesthetics and innovativeness.

In total, Normandy has received over 50 NARI Remodeling Excellence Awards in the past five years.

“The fact that so many of our renovations win awards and gain accolades year after year is an honor and testament to the creativity and work ethic of our team,” said Normandy President Andy Wells. “Our designers continue to blaze the trail for creative design solutions and thoughtful space planning.”

Visit our photo galleries or follow Normandy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see photos of our award-winning work.

Normandy Remodeling Wins Two 2016 “Best of Houzz” Awards

Have you visited the Normandy Remodeling Houzz page lately? Then you might have noticed two shiny new badges on our profile. These badges showcase that Normandy was the recipient of two “Best in Houzz 2016” awards, for design and customer service.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Normandy has acquired both of these coveted award designations.

“We are honored to be recognized yet again by the Houzz community,” said Normandy President Andy Wells. “These awards, from homeowners and customers alike, recognize the efforts of our talented and passionate staff to create an exceptional, high quality remodeling experience and innovative design solutions.” This is the fifth consecutive year that Normandy has acquired both of these award designations.

Houzz is a leading platform for home remodeling and design.  The Houzz community, which consists of over 35 million unique monthly visitors, selected Normandy Design Build Remodeling from among a network of over one million remodeling, design and home building professionals. Criteria included the popularity of work amongst Houzz users and the number and quality of client reviews received in 2015.

Check out the Normandy Houzz page to view recent projects and read customer reviews. You can also follow Normandy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Add Dimension and Detail to Your Kitchen Cabinetry with a Specialty Glaze

There are many custom features and finishes that can enhance the style and depth of your cabinetry. One of these popular add-ons is glazing. This is an extra step in the finishing process that can add warmth or an antiqued aesthetic to your cabinetry by using a pigmented glaze.

“Glazing works really well if the cabinet door is ornate because the glaze will be concentrated in the details, highlighting the details of the door,” said Normandy Designer Kathryn O’Donovan.  “It can also enhance the color of the paint or stain. For example, glazing and distressing a cabinet will better highlight the intricate details and design of the door and in some applications, the natural beauty of the wood.”

A glaze can be applied in a variety of ways, and different techniques achieve different results. The three most common ways to apply a glaze are as follows:

Ceruse Glazing – This is applying a light glaze to a wood species with an open grain. The grain is manipulated and the glaze is applied, absorbing into the open pores, thus highlighting the grain and texture of the wood.

Brushed Glazing – With brushed glazing, the glaze is lightly applied using a brush in a linear pattern. With this technique, the light brush strokes are visible, giving a subtle change to the appearance of the finish. This effect is most visible on the flat plane of a door style.

Traditional Glazing – Once the glaze is applied to the surface, it is hand wiped off. While the flat surfaces then have the majority of the glaze removed, the tint will still be visible in the detail of the door, helping to further enhance the door style. Depending upon the color of glaze being used, the color of the cabinet can become lighter or darker.

“Whatever the glazing application, the process can be applied to cabinet doors, drawer fronts and decorative items such as corbels, carvings and moldings,” added Kathryn.

Make an appointment with Kathryn to discuss your kitchen remodel, including the cabinetry options available to you. You can also register for our free seminar “Secrets of the Ideal Kitchen” to learn more about the remodeling process. Or, follow Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Twitter for inspiration and information on the latest design trends.