November 2022
Fireplace Ideas to Add Style to Your Home
The closet used to be a place to hang your clothes; now, closets are evolving into so much more. Today’s walk-in closet looks more like a trendy boutique than a closet. This space should be clean and well-lit and make you feel calm, especially as you start (or end) your day.

Need some help figuring out what to include in a luxury master closet? Here are some must-haves:

Dressing Area
To make getting dressed easier, you need to have a designated space in your closet to put on clothes. You’ll need full-length mirrors to check your look from all angles, and ideal if you can create room for a three-way mirror.

Your dressing area should also have seating – a bench, at the very least – so you’ll be able to comfortably put on shoes or sit and sip some coffee while you ponder today’s outfit choices.

Credit: Space Savers
Customizing Your Closet
Designing and building your closet means including cabinets and shelving unique to your needs and your wardrobe. If you want everything kept out of sight, built-in cabinets with doors and drawers will be essential. High-quality cabinets can be the puzzle piece that transforms a regular closet into a luxurious space in your home.

For many people, viewing their clothing helps them decide what to wear. We can create open-concept storage with specific areas for items such as shoes, handbags, jewelry, and accessories. A closet with ample storage for all your clothing items is key to staying organized and having calm, stress-free mornings.
There are quite a few options for closet lighting, and using more than one type is optimal. You could use recessed lighting to light the room from above combined with LED strip lighting anywhere that could benefit from more light. Some examples could be clothing racks or shelves. You could also add a window or two to give the closet natural light and real-time information about the weather. A skylight could also be your solution to adding natural light, with the bonus that they do not take up closet wall space.

Lastly, a chandelier is a must-have in a luxurious closet for some people. A prominent hanging light fixture reflecting your style will be the finishing touch that brings your closet to life.

Credit: The delight of design
Coffee Bar
This may seem a bit extravagant, but having a coffee bar in your closet can be a game-changer – especially if you have a two-story home. You won’t have to walk down to the kitchen to start your day. Instead, you can brew coffee while deciding what outfit to wear.
Want to turn the closet of your dreams into a reality? Together we can design a closet that helps you get your day started calmy and helps you stay organized. Give us a call so we can get to work.

October 2022


Fireplace Ideas to Add Style to Your Home
It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting colder, and soon we’ll be spending more time indoors.
Whether you’re snuggled up watching a movie or wanting to add ambiance to your home, a fireplace provides cold-weather comfort. Fireplaces have been used for thousands of years, beginning in the Stone Age as simple dug-out holes; they became a necessity, serving as the home’s primary heat source and hub, and were relied on for cooking. In the 21st century, fireplaces still serve as a source of heat and continue to bring families together, yet have transitioned into more of a luxury in modern-day homes.
And from a design standpoint, there are plenty of ways you can make a statement with your fireplace that reflects your style and creates a focal point in any room. If you’d like to add a fireplace to your home or spruce up an existing one, here are some fireplace trends to inspire you.
A stone fireplace is an excellent option to add texture to a room. Stone fireplaces have been popular for years, and we don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, especially since natural elements have been prevalent in-home design trends.
Pairing your stone fireplace with natural wood beams or a wood mantle is a great way to create a stunning focal point in your space. You could also use light stone, like travertine, in an all-white room to create a bright, luxurious space. Whatever you decide, a stone fireplace will be an excellent addition.
Tara Kantor
If you’re hoping to create a timeless, luxurious element in your home, a marble fireplace is a great way to do so. Marble comes in many colors and patterns and can work with most color palettes. For example, marble can be used against dark walls or built-ins to create a dramatic element in a study or great room.
Room Divider
Many homeowners are steering away from completely open spaces and finding ways to create defined living areas. One way to achieve this is by installing a room divider fireplace. These fireplaces are often installed between a dining area and a living room, but you can get creative and install them in other places, such as between a bedroom and a bathroom
Room divider fireplaces are also helpful in warming multiple areas of your home at the same time.
A newer trend in home design is the minimalist style. This style avoids intricate detailing and opts for clean, uncluttered lines. A minimalist-style fireplace blends into the room, focusing on the beauty of the flames instead of the decorative elements that often surround a fireplace.
Frameless fireplaces look best in homes with a modern, high-end style. They are an excellent addition to a living room or a bathroom as a surprise finishing touch.
Gas fireplaces are still the best option for California because you can be easily added to an existing space. However, like wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces (and cooktops and ranges) may be banned in the near future in California due to environmental concerns.
What type of fireplace would work best in your home? If you aren’t sure, we can help you decide. Give us a call so we can help you choose where your fireplace should go and what style would best compliment your home.

September 2022


Home trends are constantly changing. Regarding bathrooms, sleek spaces are on the way out, and more luxurious, intricately decorated spaces are becoming fashionable again.

If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, these are the most popular trends:

Wet Rooms
One of the newest trends in bathroom design is the wet room. A wet room is a space constructed with materials designed to get wet and often combines the shower and tub into one open and luxurious area—an excellent idea for those with limited space. Some wet rooms include a shower space and a freestanding tub in a glass enclosure separate from the sink and toilet areas.

We know what you’re thinking—doesn’t everything get wet? Don’t worry. Wet rooms have a sloped floor, so water will be guided to a drain and not get left standing on the floor. Since the space is more open and there are fewer nooks and crannies, they can be easier to clean. And many of the new trends are connected to universal design principles. Houzz reported that more than half of bathroom renovations are completed to address needs specific to groups like aging family members, young children, or people with disabilities.

Neutral Tones
Regarding bathroom color schemes, neutral, earthy tones are becoming more popular. Off-white or clay tiles in the shower space and wood accents are trendy, as are wood and natural tones. A clean white countertop, coupled with neutral tones, looks wonderful. To add an element of nature to the neutral bathroom, many homeowners include greenery into their design by including shelves or deep window sills on which to put potted plants, or for an over-the-top idea, simply opening their bathroom up to a private outside garden room.
Vintage Details
Ultra-modern bathrooms are giving way to more vintage details. Antique vanities with intricate detailing are popular, as are freestanding tubs. Both look elegant and interesting while being functional. Large, ornamental lighting is a must-have in the vintage bathroom. Brass chandeliers or large gold sconces next to a framed mirror make the space look vintage in the best way possible.
              AVALANA SIMPSON                                                                        ANNIE SCHLECHTER
Homeowners are also installing wallpaper with a vintage feel. Think bold floral patterns or a wallpaper featuring birds or butterflies. Lastly, vintage brass or jeweled hardware gives the perfect finishing touch to the vintage-style bathroom.
A Smarter Bathroom
Regardless of the style you choose, your remodeled bathroom needs some smart upgrades. Home technology has come a long way in the last few years, so while planning your bathroom remodel, make sure to include some of these upgraded features:

  • Touchless faucets – these are becoming common in the home
  • Voice-activated showers – you can turn on the water with a voice command and set the water temperature too
  • Self-cleaning and self-deodorizing toilets
  • Interactive LED mirrors that can display your email, traffic reports, the weather, or your smart home controls

August 2022

When it comes to remodeling, most of us think of the cosmetic upgrades that will make our homes look beautiful and reflect our tastes. You may be dreaming of marble countertops, a huge walk-in shower, or floor-to-ceiling windows, but did you know some upgrades can’t be seen that you may like just as much? Hidden upgrades may not be necessary, but once you include them in your home, it will be hard to do without them. These are some of our favorite hidden home upgrades to consider for your home renovation:
Photo credit: Warmly Yours
Heated Floors
Radiant floor heating can add comfort in the bathroom or bedroom – keeping your feet warm first thing in the morning and after your shower during colder months. Radiant heating can be installed under most flooring materials, including concrete, natural stone, ceramic, and porcelain tiles, but it is less effective under wood flooring. Radiant floor heating is convection heat – water or oil is contained in the tubing – so it is energy efficient.
Heated Countertops

Like heated flooring, heated countertops are a feature you didn’t know you needed. Countertop heating mats are usually only installed in specific locations in the kitchen since the mats aren’t large enough to cover the entire countertop. Mats will heat the counter to a comfortable temperature, so it does not feel cold.

Heated countertops will keep your morning coffee warm longer and make it more comfortable to place your hands or arms on the counters. They are especially beneficial for people who have arthritis or joint pain.

Photo credits: Home Innovations, Houzz
Central Vacuum

If vacuuming is one of your least favorite chores, consider installing a central vacuum system. Central vacuums are permanently installed, and suction dust and dirt into the main collection tank. Rather than moving a heavy vacuum throughout your home, you take just the hose to one of many outlets installed in convenient locations. Another fantastic option for central vacuum systems is a baseboard or under-cabinet dust pan – especially in the kitchen. With the touch of your foot, it suctions dirt and debris into the collection tank. Many homeowners with central vacuum systems report that their allergies had improved as the system picks up more dust and allergens than regular vacuums.

Photo credit: QuietCool
Whole House Fan

A whole house fan pulls air in from open windows and exhausts it through the attic and/or roof. It provides attic ventilation in addition to cooling your house. Whole house fans reduce the need for air conditioning, lower energy costs, and improve your home’s air quality. With the active ventilation of a whole house fan, the powerful breeze from the windows allows homeowners to feel 5 to 10 degrees cooler within seconds of turning on the fan.

When going to bed, especially in a two-story house, during summer, it can be sweltering and uncomfortable. You can direct cooling air into your bedroom by opening a window across your bed and turning on your whole house fan. A whole house fan can also quickly remove unpleasant cooking or pet odors and help rapidly dry newly-cleaned floors and carpeting.

What other upgrades would you like in your home? We have ideas! Call us to discuss all the features you’d like to see – and some that you can’t – when we plan your home remodel.


July 2022

Granite Composite Double-Basin Drop-In sink in Black

Guide to Kitchen Sinks
The kitchen sink probably isn’t the first thing you think about when designing your new kitchen. However, it is an item that can either complete the design or one that could undermine the look you want. Plus, considering the kitchen sink’s functionality, it is an essential part of a remodel and shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a new kitchen sink.
Stainless-Steel Double-Basin Undermount Sink


The material you choose for your kitchen sink plays a vital role in the sink’s maintenance and design style. These are some of the most commonly used kitchen sink materials:

Stainless Steel – The stainless-steel sink has been a long-time staple in the kitchen. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and heat resistant.

Cast Iron – Another popular choice is the cast iron sink. The enamel coating on cast iron sinks comes in various colors and styles, each long-lasting and easy to maintain. Metal cookware can leave “scratch” marks on the surface which can be removed with non-abrasive cleaners.

Granite Composite – If you’re looking for a sink that looks modern and is also durable and stain-resistant, consider a granite composite sink. Manufactured using a mix of granite stone dust and acrylic resins, granite composite sinks tend to be heavier than other kitchen sinks, which may eliminate some mounting style choices.

Fireclay – Fireclay sinks look the same as cast iron sinks but are made from clay and glaze fused at very high temperatures. Fireclay is an excellent material choice for a farmhouse sink. Metal cookware and grease can leave marks or stains on the sink that can be removed with non-abrasive cleaners.

Bocchi Vigneto StepRim Farmhouse Apron Front Fireclay Double Bowl Kitchen Sink in Biscuit, with Sink Racks, Strainers, Cutting Board, and Colander.


The number of basins in your sink is something else you should consider when choosing a kitchen sink— based on your personal preference as well as the style of your kitchen.

Single-Basin – For a farmhouse style or industrial style kitchen, a single basin kitchen sink is the way to go. One large bowl allows more space for soaking large items they frequently use.

Double-Basin – Considered the traditional style, double basin sinks have two bowls of equal size and depth. This style allows for multitasking. You can soak potatoes on one side while filling up a pot on the other or defrost dinner items on one side and clean the breakfast dishes simultaneously.

Triple-Basin or Double Plus Drainboard – Triple-basin sinks used to be the most sought-after sinks. They had two-large basins plus a small one in the middle for the garbage disposer. They’re not so common anymore. There are also sinks with a drainboard built-in.

Kohler Cast Iron Undermount Single-Bowl Farmhouse Workstation Kitchen Sink

Whatever style you like, we will help you plan your remodel and help you choose the best options to ensure you achieve the look and functionality you want for your home.



June 2022

Do you have a space in your home that is dark or gloomy? Have you already tried all the easy home decor ideas to help brighten the room, but it’s still too dark? If that’s the case and you want to make a more significant change, we have some ideas or you to consider.
Open It Up
The best way to add more light to a dark space is to add one or more windows or french doors. The larger the windows or doors, the better. While this may sound like a huge undertaking, it may not be as difficult as you think. If adding a window or door is not practical, consider adding clerestory windows higher up on the wall, allowing natural light to enter without disturbing your privacy.
You could also swap out interior doors for french doors to allow light to flow throughout the house. Adding a transom window above an interior or exterior door is also an option.
Get Help from the Ceiling

If your room doesn’t lend itself to adding windows or a french door, look up to the ceiling. You could add skylights to allow natural light to enter the room from above. Installing canned or recessed lighting and a fresh coat of light paint are other good ways to brighten a room.

Add Reflective Surfaces and Extra Lighting
You’ve heard of accent walls. You’ve also probably heard about the design trick of using mirrors to bring more light into a space. Consider combining the two to create a mirrored accent wall. Alternatively, glass mosaic tile reflects light beautifully and comes in numerous shapes, colors, and sizes. Adding extra recessed or under-cabinet lighting and/or larger and brighter light fixtures will also make your room feel brighter.
Lighten the Flooring
Replacing dark flooring with flooring in a lighter color will instantly add light to your space. Choose a light-colored wood floor, easy-care engineered flooring materials, or light-colored tile.
Lighter paint colors will brighten a room and make it look larger. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have white walls. Lighter shades of just about any color will help to brighten a space.

Ready to brighten up your dark space? We are here to help. Whether you want to gut and remodel or add windows and lighting, we can help you decide the best options for your home. Give us a call to discuss your options.

May 2022

Is Your Home Ready for Outdoor Living?
Memorial Day is quickly approaching, marking the official beginning of summer relaxing and entertaining. The days get longer, which means it’s time to hang out with your friends and family while enjoying delicious food. If you plan to host family barbecues this summer, we put together a list of all the essentials you’ll need.


You could purchase an updated stand-alone grill or consider a built-in grill. The built-in option could be part of a simple outdoor kitchen with prep space and storage or a complete food prep and entertainment area, including refrigeration, plumbing, and bar seating.

An outdoor kitchen space will take your barbecues to the next level. Hot dogs and hamburgers are great, but what if you added an outdoor pizza oven or a smoker?

Seating Area

A comfortable seating area on your deck or patio is a must. Ideally, you’ll have two seating areas, one for relaxing and sharing a drink with family and friends and another for dining. And, if you want to take your outdoor seating area to the next level, build it around a water feature or a fire pit as a focal point.

You will want a shaded area as part of your overall outdoor plan to enjoy sunny days comfortably without risking a sunburn. You could put up umbrellas around the deck and seating areas or opt for sunshades that can be easily installed when needed and removed and stored in the winter months. Sunshades can be found at home improvement stores, garden centers, and online, and they come in various shapes and sizes. A trellis, pergola, or covered deck creates a more permanent shade solution and provides ambiance to your outdoor area.
Think of your outdoor spaces as open-air extensions of the living area in your home. Depending on your needs, they can be large spaces fully equipped with misters, a television, and speakers. Or you can keep it simple with a dining table and chairs. Either way, it will make outdoor living much more enjoyable.
Temperature Control
A ceiling fan in your outdoor space will help you enjoy your deck or patio, even when the air is hot and humid. If you have a covered patio or pergola, you can install a ceiling fan to get air circulating when needed. If not, you can use stand-alone fans to help keep cool. Another option is to add misters to use on sweltering days.

Additionally, consider adding outdoor heaters so you can use your outdoor area on cool evenings.

There’s still time to get your backyard summer and barbecue ready. Give us a call so we can put together a plan and start building your outdoor spaces.



April   2022

Home technology has come a long way in recent years. New technologies can simplify your life by making it easier to be environmentally friendly, keeping you and your bathroom cleaner and your home entrance safer and more convenient. According to a study by Parks Associates, 25 percent of homeowners plan to incorporate smart technology into their homes in the next year. They are most interested in products that make things more convenient and reduce energy use.

If you’re not sure where to begin, we have found three new technological solutions for you to consider:

House with solar panels on roof and power storage system

Kohler Power Reserve

As homeowners become more conscious of energy conservation, they are looking for solutions that help reduce their carbon footprints. But they also don’t want to sacrifice having the power they need to run their homes.

Enter the Kohler Power Reserve. It’s an energy storage system that keeps your home powered during outages — while providing energy independence by storing excess solar energy for future use. Think of it as an energy bank account: you deposit solar energy and use it as you see fit.

The Kohler Power Reserve consists of a battery and an inverter, compatible with AC and DC input configurations. During installation, it is connected to your home’s solar array. The inverter converts solar energy into usable electricity for your home. Excess energy is stored in the battery for use when solar energy can’t be generated or when the grid is down. Compatible with any solar panel, it can be installed indoors or outdoors. It also has a mobile app that allows you to monitor and control your power system from anywhere, at any time.

By storing and using excess solar power, you can lower your reliance on the grid and lower your energy bills. The system can be personalized for each family member based on their power usage needs. And you can control the time of use by using your stored energy during peak usage. find out more at

Modern home with solar panels and Kohler's Power Reserve technology
CLEANOVATION: Revolutionary Cleanliness Technologies

For the past 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in innovation, technology, performance, and design with products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. TOTO is the world’s largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings, with $5.19 billion in annual sales. Their new CLEANOVATION – a combination of clean and innovation – technology helps promote peace of mind and wellness through cleanliness.

The Washlet bidet seat is one of the new items in the CLEANOVATION line that should appeal to many homeowners. It uses pure, clean water to leave you feeling fresher and cleaner than ever before. Once the cycle is activated, a wand with AIR-IN-WONDER-WAVE technology provides soothing warm aerated water. Once that cycle is complete, there is a drying cycle where warm air lightly dries the area.

Washlet bidet seats are environmentally friendly since they reduce the amount of toilet paper used and fit most standard American toilets. Additionally, TOTO has introduced CEFIONTECT glaze technology that prevents particulates from adhering to porous ceramic surfaces. The surface layer on TOTO toilets with the CEFIONTECT glaze is an incredibly smooth ion barrier that keeps the toilet cleaner longer. Less cleaning means fewer chemicals in the environment and less water used for cleaning.

Later this year, TOTO will also introduce a WELLNESS TOILET that incorporates multiple sensing technologies to support consumers’ wellness. Each time you sit on the WELLNESS TOILET, it scans your body and critical outputs then provides recommendations to improve your health. You can track all of the information on a mobile cell phone app. For more information, visit

The Washlet bidet seat from TOTO
Masonite M-Pwr Smart Doors
Masonite, one of the leading interior and exterior doors brands, recently introduced its new M-Pwr door. This door comes pre-wired to accommodate technology to make your front entrance secure and convenient. The door is integrated with a Yale smart lock you can control with your phone or home assistant, a Ring Video Doorbell, and motion-sensing LED lighting to illuminate the entryway. It also connects to your home’s power supply and has an emergency battery backup.

Smart front door being locked with phone
These are just a few examples of how technology makes the home a better, safer, more convenient place. Have any questions? We’d be glad to answer them and help you integrate new technology into your home to make it energy-efficient, clean, and safe.


March 2022

These days, people spend more time at home, so they need the space to work, play, and pursue their interests. But most people don’t have unlimited space –especially in the Bay Area. Here are a few ideas to help you think through how to create multi-functional spaces in your home.

Home Office/Guest Space

How many of us scrambled to find a space inside our homes to set up a home office when the COVID-19 pandemic made working from home the norm?

Home office uses closet space to keep spare room usable
The rarely used guest room was the most logical place for many home-based employees, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have family and friends visit us anymore. To have a space that allows you to have a productive workday while also accommodating occasional out-of-town visitors, you need a plan. You’ll want plenty of desk space integrated into the room, but you also need to preserve floor space for a guest bed. You could consider converting the closet into a desk area, so you don’t take away any square footage. This space would also allow for storage and organization of equipment and files that can be hidden when you have visitors.

The office/guest room should have sufficient electrical connections for computers, phone chargers, and any equipment you need. Make sure you also have a strong internet connection in any room you will be using for work. However, you don’t need to worry about the bed being in the background for Zoom calls, as you can easily install a range of virtual backgrounds or blur the background in your Zoom settings.

Parent helping child with homework at kitchen counter
Kitchen/Homework Area
Online school might be a thing of the past, but many parents are taking a more prominent role in their kid’s schooling. These families need a room where parents can easily supervise and assist with schoolwork.

The kitchen and family room areas are often utilized for this purpose. You can set up the island for a spot where kids can eat quick snacks or meals and do their homework. If you don’t already have electrical outlets installed on your island, it makes sense to install them now so laptops can be easily plugged in.

You can also dedicate one of the kitchen cabinets as a storage space for school supplies. If you have an island with cabinets on both sides, the overhang side of the island is a perfect place for them. Worst case, if your kitchen is big enough, you could replace your current island with one that has additional cabinets configured to your needs. Having your kids in or near the kitchen also makes it easier to keep them on task while you’re cooking dinner.

Luxury home gym in basement with TV and seating area.
Gym/Recreation Room
A basement or bonus room is a great place to watch movies and relax, but it’s also an excellent place for a home gym. For this space to work, you could create “zones” for seating, exercise equipment, and a television.

Installing a surround sound system will create a real cinematic experience and uplift your workout routine. However, you’ll also want to add soundproofing and acoustics to the room, so you don’t hear loud movies or workout music in the rest of the house.

Ventilation is also essential, so the room smells fresh when you are not using it to work out.

If you need inspiration for creating multiple-purpose rooms in your home, check out The Not So Big House website and books. Since 1998, architect and author Sarah Susanka has been helping people create houses for “The way we truly live.” As she states, “A Not So Big House feels more spacious than many of its oversized neighbors because it is space with substance, all of it in use every day.” And, if you need help turning your inspiration into reality, give us a call, and we can help you develop a solution that will make the rooms in your home multi-functional.


February  2022

Do you love your home? It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is here, so it’s a good time to remember how much your home does for you.

If you have fallen out of love with your home, it might be time for a remodeling project that will help you remember what attracted you to it:

Make it More ‘You’
Your home should be a reflection of your individuality and style. But personal tastes change over time, along with home design trends.

If your home doesn’t reflect your current tastes and lifestyle needs, it would be a good time to plan an update.

You might have loved ornate styling in your kitchen and dining room a few years ago, but now you want a cleaner, more modern design.

Modern and traditional style kitchens by Hammerschmidt Construction
The master bath that’s original to the home might be functional, but now you need a place to relax.

Making your home fit your personality might be as simple as changing the furniture and updating the paint colors. But with remodeling, you can make it look – and function – the way you want.

Make Room for Gathering

If it’s been a few years since you moved into your home, chances are the people in your life have changed. Maybe you’ve started a family or are soon to have an empty next. Or maybe your circle of friends has grown.

Nothing fills a house with life like getting together with your friends and family. If your home doesn’t easily accommodate large get-togethers, reconfiguring your space will make having company more enjoyable.

Often the place to start updating is the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and a natural gathering place. Ideally, your kitchen should allow you to interact with people when prepping food and allow traffic to flow around you but not directly in your path.

Another popular relaxation area is your outdoor space. Your deck, patio, or backyard can be configured to make your outdoor space attractive and welcoming.

Projects you might consider this year could be a new deck or patio with zones for seating and conversation, for kids to play, and for grilling and cooking. If your space and budget allow, consider installing an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchen under pergola with view of covered patio.
Take Care of You

Finally, your home should be your sanctuary – a place to rest and rejuvenate from the stress of the day. A master suite can be a tranquil, comfortable place where you can enjoy some quiet time to soothe your body and maintain your health. Having a home that makes it easy for you to care for yourself and your family is a sure way to fall in love with your home again.

Give us a call, and we’ll help you design and build the projects that will make your love your home.

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