Trend Watch: Is Gray Here To Stay?

It should come as no surprise that gray has officially caught fire as a trendy color to include in your home interiors. All you need to do it take a look at your Pinterest feed or even the covers of the magazines at the grocery checkout. Gray has found its place in the home and the kitchen. We recently had the opportunity to attend a Design Symposium hosted by our friends over at Dura Supreme Cabinetry. We spent the good deal of the day learning about current trends as well as trends forecasted to hit the industry soon.  We can’t wait to share with you what we learned from industry leaders and we thought addressing this common question is a great place to start. Weekly, (sometimes even daily) our designers get asked by our clients “Gray?! Isn’t that a trendy color to use on such a permanent project?” The short answer is yes… but allow us to present the strong case for why you should still consider it.

gray_backsplash

What used to be a fun accent color has now taken over the entire palette of color choices. When companies like Formica, Dura Supreme, and Cambria invest a large amount of money into research and development of new materials and selections for our customers it is your first clue that this “trend” is not dissolving anytime soon!

gray_kitchen_Village_Home_stores

So how much longer will gray remain “a thing”? About 5-8 more years. So if you have been holding off on gray, you still have time! Just like any color you shop for in an outfit or while furnishing a room in your home, do what you are comfortable with. If a gray kitchen from floor-to-ceiling is not your thing there are so many options on how to include gray into your space no matter what your comfort level.

classicWhat is the “Classic” approach to including gray in your kitchen? Consider one of the very first materials used in ornament and decoration… marble! You can’t get a more classic look than gray veining in a slab of natural marble. This continues to be a popular choice for kitchen countertops and Formica has even taken steps to improve options if you budget doesn’t allow for true marble to be installed. Take a look at the “Calacatta Marble” and “Bianca Luna” designs available from the Formica 180fx® series.  Larger patterns and a more realistic texture get you as close as possible for a fraction of the price. Take a look at this Rock Island kitchen we remodeled that includes a more classical look. The Koch “Oyster” paint is a subtle gray color in place of a painted white. The marble tile in the backsplash is another classic choice.

cautiousEven though gray is predicted to continue to popular for at least the next 5-8 years, you may want to take a more cautious approach to including it. If that is where your comfort-level is with the trend you still have a lot of options.

gray_paint3Think of the non-permanent surfaces of your space that you may want to revisit in the next 5-8 years. Paint is a great example. Keeping the more permanent materials like cabinets, flooring, and countertops neutral leaves the door open to  change out the wall color a few years later and get an entirely refreshed look. Other places can be in your kitchen accessories like barstools and linens.

oh heyBut what if you want to really go for it? How can you dive into the gray kitchen trend? You and your designer at Village Home Stores have so many options! There are now gray colors available in every surface for your kitchen and bath project.  Of course you can install an entire kitchen of gray and we can help you find the right balance and design for that. Accenting with gray can also make a huge impact. Here are a few ways you can accent your kitchen with gray:

gray_kitchen_accentsGray kitchen islands have been so popular in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. We have installed many in remodeled spaces like this Moline kitchen but dozens and dozens into new homes as well.

weathered barnwood garayAnother great idea for a way to accent your kitchen with gray is to include gray floating shelves or even finish the back of an open cabinet with a gray panel. The barnwood shelves in this remodeled kitchen from Village Home Stores also displays another great accent item, teh hood. Take a look at our “Gray Is Here To Stay”  Pinterest board to see tons of great examples of gray accents in action.

gray_kitchen_islandGray has always been an option for kitchen materials but the past few years and predicted years to come, it is a force to be reckoned with!  We just installed this new gray weathered Cherry island in the showroom (shown above) from Dura Supreme and it was quite the conversation-starter at our Q.C.B.R. booth this year ( and don’t worry there is a full tour of this new display hitting the blog soon).

Something that really stuck with us when we attended the Design Symposium was a statement from Karen Wistrom ASID, Vice President of Marketing at Dura Supreme Cabinetry who said gray is “not just for prison walls and cloudy days” anymore. We agree and can’t wait to help you get started on your own project.

Contact us today with a click or a call and let’s get started!cabinets_Geneseo

Best Of Houzz 2015: A Houzz How-To

First and foremost a gigantic THANK YOU to our customers and contractors who helped us to be considered in the Best Of Houzz 2015 award process. We are so excited and grateful to announce that our store received an award in Customer Service from Houzz.com.

village_on_houzzHouzz.com has become a wonderful tool for our customers and contractors to use during their project with us. Last year we became more active on the site to give access to our project photos to the 25 million monthly users the site sees. Many of the projects featured right here on our blog have been uploaded as complete projects to our Houzz.com portfolio. Find our Houzz professional profile here.

houzzIf you are unfamiliar with Houzz.com and what it is we want to give you a brief how-to in this blog post.  The site itself also runs as a very user-friendly app on tablets and even smart phones. Many of our clients use the Houzz app on their tablet while right here in our store. Houzz is available to help you collect ideas and inspiration for your remodel or new home project. What sets this site apart from others is that you must be a professional to upload content to the site. Not only is the content itself monitored for quality, all reviews submitted to the site go through an extensive process before being posted.

ideabooks on houzzUsing Houzz is very simple. You create an account using your email address. From there you will create “ideabooks” that you will save your project ideas into. Think of these ideabooks as the file folders you would keep your images within. If you were building a home, having multiple ideabooks to keep areas of the project organized can be a fantastic tool. These ideabooks can also be made private. For example, you and your spouse or partner can share your houzz ideabooks with your designer at Village Home Stores and make notes within the app. This allows you a visual way to collaborate on ideas. Our “Hoods” idea book is shown on the left. We often use this ideabook in meetings to help get an idea of what look the client is looking for in their design. Houzz has a step-by-step tutorial about creating ideabooks that can be found here.

image tags on houzzEach professional profile requires upkeep and accessibility. We monitor our profile closely for any questions and interaction we get from our content. We receive around 2-5 questions about our project photos weekly and are able to provide expert answers to the users on the site. Many of the questions you may have about an image you find on Houzz can be answered within “tags” on the image. Image tags on Houzz can be added by users and professionals both publicly and privately. These tags are another great tool to use an collaborate with your professional. These green price tag icons are click-able notes within the image. They may include product information or notes from your designer as to why the image was saved and sent to you.  If you find you have a question that isn’t answered within the image description or a tag you may always contact the professional who uploaded the image.

We do love Pinterest but sometimes content on that site can lead to a “dead end” and your questions remain unanswered. On Houzz you have direct access to the professional who provided that content via email. In fact think of Houzz as a professional directory for your project. Houzz is the largest residential design database in the world and it is and easy way for people to find inspiration, organize their ideas, get advice, and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Houzz offers a wonderful service to their users that connects a professional directory with project images and customer reviews. Thanks again to all of our clients and colleagues who reviewed and used our profile in 2014 and led to this Best of 2015 Customer Service award! phone_number

Mudroom Managed: Hazelwood Homes

We will be sharing the kitchen from this Hazelwood Homes Inc. home built in Geneseo, IL next week. We wanted to start by featuring one of the more unique spaces in this home. The back door bench area that serves as a drop zone at this home is so great that we had to feature it first.

drop zone areamudroom lockerAny busy household can appreciate this drop zone near the garage entry of this home. “A place for everything and everything in its place” comes to mind right away. With a single base cabinet, a full row of wall cabinet storage including mail slots and a long row of coat hooks outfit this area for maximum storage.

This area is located in the hallway just off the kitchen and also allows access to the powder room nearby. The reclaimed wood bench allows a location for shoes to tuck away and mounting double hooks instead of a single style allows each family member to hang a jacket and accessories in the same area.

kitchen_renderingKoch cabinetry Oyster FinishThe door style selected for this space was a beaded style from our Koch Classic line. The beaded style of door is a perfect compliment to the inset painted cabinets in the kitchen (within eyesight of this area). The Birch cabinets have been painted with the “Oyster” finish which is a light almost “dove” grey color that will be more forgiving over time for soil and messes than a bright white would. A single piece of matching Soapstone was used as the countertop in this drop zone to carry over the same style from the kitchen as well.

Do you have an area that gets cluttered up with backpacks, shoes, and all kinds of piles? Chances are there is a smarter way to use that space! The design team at Village Home Stores can help you figure out the best way to use your space and make the entire are much more appealing to see as well. Contact us today for an appointment or call with any questions 309 944 1344 

Use & Care: Stainless Steel Appliances

One of the most common questions we get when showing Stainless Steel appliances to customers is but doesn’t it show fingerprints? The short answer to this is yes, but we usually then walk that same customer over to a Black appliance. With the industry change to a smooth and glossy finish in place of a texture, Black appliances can actually shows fingerprints pretty clearly. Stainless Steel can be a great look for many projects. That being said, there is a small amount of maintenance for your Stainless Steel appliances.

stainless steel wipesAlways use a cleaner that is labeled specifically for Stainless Steel. There are a great number of these available. Village sells products by “Affresh” that are manufactured and approved by Whirlpool for use on their appliances. Many Stainless Steel cleaners come in spray and wipe form. While wipes can be convenient for quick touch up, they can dry up easily if the container isn’t closed properly after use.  If you have a busy kitchen you may prefer the wipes because they are a one-step process and are perfect for touch-ups and frequent use.

affresh for stainlessSpray or lotion-form cleaners require an extra step but can give a great result of you are cleaning your appliances less frequently and want the best results. Use spray-on products about every other month or as you see they are needed. In the showroom we are constantly using Affresh to keep things looking great. Follow the directions on the label. In most cases you apply with one cloth, let the product set, then return with a clean cloth and buff. The best tool you can keep handy for daily cleaning is just a clean, dry microfiber cloth. This can be used to wipe smudges and prints quickly.

We do want to mention a few things to avoid when cleaning your Stainless Steel appliances. You want to be sure to protect your investment and not let certain things come in contact with the Stainless so your appliances look great for years to come!

magnets on stainless steel

  • You want to be sure to avoid using Magnets on your Stainless panels. The reason for this is the reaction that happens over time where the metals make contact. These marks can be difficult to remedy once they happen. Magnets also can become a cause of scratches to appear on your appliance.
  • Abrasive Cleaners, Pads and Clothes can be damaging to the surface of Stainless Steel.
  • Bleach or any kind of Hydrochloric Acids need to be avoided. These materials can cause a harmful reaction to your Stainless Steel.
  • Lysol cleaners contain ingredients that fall into the category listed above and should be avoided.
  • Long exposure to Table Salt or Salt & Vinegar Mixes can be damaging as well to Stainless Steel.

alternative cleaners for stainless steelBut what alternatives can be used? We do recommend using the Affresh products or others approved for use on Stainless Steel. If needed, there are some alternative methods you can try as well. WD-40 can be used on stainless and is said to be helpful in repelling prints and smudges from happening. The smell however is not to appetizing so you may want to stick to another method. Baby Oil can also be applied to Stainless and certainly smells more pleasant than WD-40.

Village-Home-Stores-AppliancesJust because you see Stainless appliances on magazine covers at the grocery check out or all over Pinterest does not mean the look is your taste. White and Black kitchen appliances remain very popular and even the now-discontinued “Bisque” finish is very sought-after in our region. Both Whirlpool and Maytag have recently introduced combination finishes that offer a Black or White appliance with Stainless hardware and accents.  These can be an excellent option for a customer who may not want full panels of Stainless Steel in their space.

There are some “matte finish” or “fingerprint-proof” appliances available in the market but they can be very limited in features and models as the finish is not universally available on all products. It can also be difficult to put together a full kitchen of models in these specialty finishes. The look is slightly discolored from true Stainless so be aware of that when selecting models and locations. These “fingerprint-proof” finishes can be a fantastic choice if, for instance, your refrigerator is separated from the other appliances and won’t be near another appliance. The combination Black-with-Stainless and White-with-Stainless finishes have become very popular and are now available in many many models. That list of combination models continues to grow as the false-stainless look is becoming less popular in purchases.

Talk to your salesperson about what appliance finish is right for your lifestyle. Don’t have a salesperson yet? Call or contact us today to get started. You can always shop appliances online anytime here. but seeing these models in person is the best way for us to show you all of your options. See you soon!  (309) 944-1344 

Style Files: Rustic Transitional

We have had such a great response to the sneak peeks we have posted of a remodel project we just completed in Walnut, IL. The style of a space or taste can be tricky to pinpoint but this kitchen definitely had Rustic elements and a truly Transitional style…alas, it must be Rustic Transitional! But what exactly do we mean by that? These “Style Files” posts will be a series of blog posts that you can use to reference your own personal style. The best way to help you do that is to show you rather than tell you.

Take a look at the palette of finishes from the kitchen that inspired this post:

rustic kitchen materialsfloating shelvesNotice that it is quite a mix of finishes and textures. Just like with any project, that is why you have a whole team of people to work with at Village Home Stores. We can help you select materials for the entire big picture. Does adding something as rustic as reclaimed barnwood or beams sound intimidating to you? In the case of this kitchen, it was a very small percentage of the overall look and makes a huge impact! Especially with that faux-finished hood!

Let’s start by defining what the industry means by “Rustic”:

rustic style definitionThe most important thing to take away from this when you are wanting to introduce just a small amount of rustic elements to your space is texture.  Rustic textures can actually become very formal when controlled, contained and surrounded by the right overall design. When we use the term “Transitional” we just mean that the style of a space is somewhere between traditional and contemporary and this can be interpreted many ways (expect that to be an upcoming “Style Files: Transitional” post). A Transitional space is meant to avoid being time-stamped with any certain period.

corner drawers The best reason to select Transitional materials is you will have the ability to revised the space at a later date for a very different look and keep the main elements intact. The unsung hero of Transitional style absolutely is the flat-panel doorstyle. A basic, flat-panel doorstyle void of any curves, arches or elaborate molding detail is the best way to invest in a Transitional space. This style of cabinet can be ordered with a slab style drawer front or what is called a 5-piece drawer front that looks like a door on its side.

 When Rustic elements are added to a Transitional space you create a unique style:

rustic transitional style

rustic light fictureFound materials can be a key ingredient in making a space truly unique to you. Antiques collected traveling or family heirlooms can be integrated in the space and give you a look that your neighbor couldn’t ever recreate. Think outside of the box. If the space is near a lake or coast, maybe some rope would be a great Rustic touch. This light fixture from Elk was a beautiful selection by Windmiller Design & Development at their Edgewater home in Bettendorf, IA. The rope is a great contrast to the dark iron and beams above it.

The full album of images from this project will hit our Houzz profile soon. Until then, did you click on this blog post because your tastes may be leaning to Rustic style but aren’t ready to jump all into a fully Rustic space? Perhaps when you are ready to start your project “Rustic Transitional” might be the best way to describe your tastes to your designer at Village Home Stores? Pin this post to your Pinterest “kitchen” pinboard or email this link to your designer with the subject line “this!” We are here to help put it all together with you. Follow our Rustic Transitional board on Pinterest and get inspired. Call or contact us today. (309) 944-1344.