Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Stuff I wish my designer told me…

Contributed by Lori Dolnick

Have you ever had that realization moment… that head slap moment when your design project is completed and you wish you-knew-then-what-you-know-now? Being part of the design world, I have that moment all the time. Every time I go to a trade show, showroom event or client new product brief, I see or hear some tidbit that makes me want to rip out my walls and start over again. I named this story, “stuff I wish my designer told me,” because designers do have a universe of knowledge inside their heads, but they don’t always remember to share. And they can’t be clairvoyant either – knowing you’ll want something that you don’t even know exists. Here’re five of my moments in hopes that we catch you before you can hit yourself in the head.

According to Top Knobs, a fine cabinet hardware company, what’s old is new again. Many of yesterday’s styles are today’s hottest. Their new bath hardware line offers six interchangeable back plates that change the look of a hook, tissue holder or other piece of hardware by sliding a uniquely styled plate beneath. The back plate lets you match not only the finish – but also the style of the hardware to your faucets and other fixtures. Makes me just want to take a screwdriver to my downstairs bathroom when I see that while I neatly matched the finishes of my hardware on my last DIY makeover – I neglected to match the architectural styles completely. (Another tidbit I just learned – look for knobs like Top Knobs with sealed finishes. A sealed finish won’t show wear from hand oils where a “living finish” will. Without a sealed finish, the knobs you use more often will wear faster than knobs you don’t.)

While my kitchen designer was truly amazing… she did recommend a stainless dishwasher to me. Ok – she’s young, she has no kids… did I say no kids? How many dented stainless dishwashers have you seen in your friend’s kitchens? Unfortunately many kitchen designers, unless they have children of their own, won’t see their once pristine dishwashers – now dented by toddlers who fling themselves at top speed into their shiny surfaces. Thank goodness manufacturers like Miele offer integrated models. I worked with my designer upfront to change the stainless to a cabinet wood door and I’m so glad I did. Dented wood offers character. Dented steel – not so much.

I love my stainless sink. The shape and the depth. (Depth is really important. Another tidbit - make sure your watering cans and big pots sit comfortably in your new sink so you can fill them without tipping them out.) But then BLANCO showed me their new SILGRANIT II line and SIGH… that head slap moment again. Here’s a stone composite you can’t scratch, stain or dent. Given my overall clumsiness and affinity for heavy iron skillets – this would have been nice to have known before the stainless sink was spec’d in. And I love that you can have a sink in a natural stone color. It’s warm and inviting.

Don’t settle for less than a flush transition from one room’s flooring to another. Don’t let the floor company lazily dump an ugly metal piece in between. Flush transitions are do-able and they take that “accident-waiting-to-happen” piece of metal or wood out of the picture completely. I think we had to do like three floors before we pushed to get this done right. We have an oak floor flush to our walnut without a rise or transition on three sides and it looks beautiful.

When we did our treated wood deck, I had no idea companies like Trex or Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens even existed. If only I knew then what I know now. Composite decking does have its issues, but the saving in having to treat and stain the wood deck every couple years would have been worth the added expense upfront. Not to mention the absence of splinters. I’m also intrigued by the advent of outdoor kitchens in recent years. And I may upgrade to a kitchen instead of a grill on my next go-around. Atlantis offers easy-to-clean Perma Panel doors that resist heat and cold and they would neatly offer storage and convenience for outdoor grilling. It’s a great look and function for frequent outdoor barbeques.
Contributed by Lori Dolnick.

Click here to read all of Lori's posts.

1 comment:

LindsB said...

I love this post!! Things like this are sooo useful and great to read...keep these posts coming, I want to get inside of all you great designers heads :)

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