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

Davenport Remodel: Cabinet Curiosity

This kitchen remodel is so new to these homeowners they haven’t even had the chance to “move into” the new cabinetry. I stopped by last night to take some final photos to share here on the blog and was greeted by two very sweet cats right when I walked in the front door. These cats were very curious about my camera and equipment and still very curious about their new kitchen. With their permission, we would like to show you around the new space…

Range_wallThe original kitchen was ready for an update but the layout itself was also in need of a few changes. These customers worked closely with their designer at Village to find the space to expand the island in the new layout. The new cabinets also extend all the way to the ceiling for over a foot of added shelf space in all of the wall cabinets.

Durian BuildersThe original island in the kitchen worked well as a landing and prep area but only included two small cabinets. The new island is almost twice as long and now includes a curved end section that will act as an eat-in dinette area. The curving overhang on the back travels on into the inside area of the kitchen island as well. Counter-height barstools are on order for this new island.

The clients knew they wanted to select a Cambria Quartz for their countertops but were not sure which design they liked best. One of our favorite things about Cambria is that not only are they made in the US, they are made in the Midwest! While these homeowners happen to be traveling through Minnesota, Cambria welcomed them to stop by and see full slabs of their designs. Once they spotted this ” “Bradshaw” color in person, they knew it was perfect.

curved_island_topCountertops that overhang in toward the user are very common in many island designs. The back end of this island is paneled for a very polished and finished look. The front side facing the kitchen sink wall is full of much needed cabinetry storage.

drawer_undercounterIn most cases a “full-height door” cabinet will be included in any area that the counter will overhang above it. The overhang itself keeps you from fully accessing the top drawer of a standard base cabinet. By carefully planning the location of the island curve, this design allows a standard base cabinet with a wide top drawer to have full access.

Now that we offer flooring and backsplashes our customers have began to select some really beautiful materials with us.  It can be discouraging to pair the right materials with the perfect layout and design for the installation and then remember you will have outlets and switches interrupting that great look. This solution has become very popular for many of our remodel projects…

outlet underneath kitchen cabinetThe underside of a standard kitchen wall cabinet is constructed with the “floor” of the cabinet recessed up from the surrounding sides of the unit. This recess area is great to conceal under-cabinet lighting but can also be used other ways. When placed near the back of this recessed area, an outlet or even switch can be installed and stay fairly concealed from eye-level when viewed from across the room. This keeps electrical receptacles from crowding the beautiful backsplash area.

cat_photobombThe new kitchen cabinets include great storage spaces like the all-wood susan in the corner you can see in action over on our YouTube channel here (note the curious cat in the last frame of the video). Speaking of curious cats, it seemed like every time I opened a cabinet to snap a photo they wanted to model the cabinet. You will notice when we post the full album of photos to our Houzz.com profile that about 70% of the photos have a cat in them. If we know anything about the internet it is that the world doesn’t mind a good cat video or photo so about halfway through the photo shoot I just stopped asking them to move out of the way and let them show me around. I think they thought they had invented a new game called “hey climb in here!”

kitchen_davenportIt should also be mentioned that the kitchen is not the only work that was completed as a part of this remodel project. The crew from Durian Builders also removed part of a wall and we even replaced the back patio doorway to the deck. Flooring and trim was installed and some work was done in the adjacent Laundry Room as well.

Durian_BuildersThe original kitchen included a wall that blocked access to the Dining Room behind it. The before photo inset here shows that the wall was very much a part of this new space and opening it is into the rest of the home was a huge part of making this new space even more accessible and enjoyable.

Cherry_Kitchen_CambriaOur full Project Management Program at Village Home Stores is in place to make the remodel process easier on you. The designing and selection stages have become so much easier for our clients now that the flooring and backsplash can be selected along with the other materials. The cabinetry is from our Koch Classic line in the Cherry “Prairie” door and “Burgundy” finish. Natural Oak wood floors were installed throughout. The Handles used in this remodel were from Hardware Resources and were the perfect compliment to the curves of the Stainless appliances.

This project involved many subcontractors that were coordinated by our team at Village Home Stores. All materials came from Village Home Stores. Having a one-stop-shop like Village Home Stores as your material resource can be a wonderful advantage when remodeling your home. Pair that easier shopping experience with a team from Village who schedules, estimates and coordinates everything for you and you have a easier time overall. Are you looking to start a project this year? Contact us today to set up an appointment via our website here. Or call today! (309) 944-1344 Village_Home_Stores_phone

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Before looking ahead at what amazing things 2015 has in store for Village Home Stores, we wanted to take a look back at our year online with you. Your response has been so fantastic to all of our content and we thank you so much for joining in with us! With 30 years of business behind us and many more ahead of us, we have been so happy to start sharing with you some of the work that we are doing. Turns out you love seeing beautiful spaces just as much as we love creating them! So what have you been most interested in? Finishes and function!  We have had great feedback on the many combinations of finishes we can arrange for your project.finishes

pinboard_kitchenWith all of the categories or products and finishes available it can be overwhelming when you begin a project. At Village Home Stores we realize that taking on a project like a remodel or building a new home, there is a lot to select. That is why during your project you will gain an entire team of staff here at Village to help you make those selections. Seeing combinations we have already completed can help us help you decide your own tastes and needs. See our entire Pinterest board of completed looks here. We will be adding to it almost weekly throughout 2015.

Selecting finishes for your project is not the only thing that grabbed your attention in 2014. You made it clear to us you are also interested making your design as functional as possible.Function

Kitchens need to look beautiful but they also must function as best as they can. All across our social media platforms we have noticed you love having access to see inside some of the cabinets in our designs.pinterestThis Kitchen Storage Solutions board over on our Pinterest page is a great running collection of some of the amazing cabinets available right now to help you make the most of your kitchen space. Many of these cabinet storage solutions can be ordered from our standard cabinet lines and a smarter way to use your space is one of the main reasons why  our customers choose to remodel their existing kitchens.

pinterest_ideas_kitchenPinterest is a wealth of inspiration for your project and if you see an idea on there do share it with us! We would love to help make it happen for your project! Walk-through pantry fronts continue to be a common request from our customers and our Pinterest followers love to see them as well. Our most popular board over on our Pinterest page is one that showcases “Transitional Kitchens“. This pin board  has a collective 145 “re-pins” and proves to us that many of our Pinterest followers are drawn to more universal styles instead of full on Traditional or Modern kitchen spaces. Choosing fixtures like your cabinets and tops in a Transitional style is a functional way to use your space and adapt to it over the years as your own tastes change.

We also have become very active on the website Houzz.com. If you are planning a remodel or building a home anytime soon we highly recommend starting a profile with Houzz to keep you organized. It is a wonderful tool to collect ideas and share them with your Village designer and/or builder.houzz2014

Hidden OrganizerOne of our popular images on our Houzz page is this kitchen organizer drop zone cabinet. This image has been added to 170 ideabooks on the site in 2014. It shows a panel-ready refrigerator as well as a kitchen “command center” in a Bettendorf home. We completely understand why anyone working on a kitchen project would want to include this in their design. Keeping kitchen counter piles and messes organized for an active family can be challenging but this unit helps out tremendously! See it in action here over on our YouTube channel.

Speaking of YouTube, that is another place you can look forward to seeing more of us in 2015. See our channel here. You can also watch our new Village Home Show on WQAD ! We will also have a website where you can watch current and past episodes, just click here .

instagramWith the launch of our new television show and all of the new projects we will be starting in 2015 you can follow along a number of ways. If you are on Instagram see behind-the-scenes photos and short videos of featured projects we post there. Follow us at @villagehomestores. Our Facebook page will continue to be a great way to see what we are working on as well. We hope to help inspire  you wherever you are online and we can’t wait to see what great things 2015 has in store for us! Is 2015 the year you take on a home project? If so, feel free to reach out to us to get started. Estimates are free and your first appointment can be as detailed or relaxed as you would like.

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Rock Island- Soffits Out & Storage In

rockisland_remodelWe love to showcase large kitchen spaces here on the blog. Many of those kitchens are in brand new homes that have allowed for a larger space for the new kitchen. The truth is most of the remodeled projects we do here at Village Home Stores are smaller challenging spaces.  Not every customer has the luxury of a lot of space to work with. You choose to invest in a remodel of your current home to make it better for you to enjoy. That is why we are here. To make the most of your space and help provide you with a better functioning design and layout than what you have currently. This Rock Island remodeled kitchen is a fantastic example of how you can take the same space your kitchen currently uses but maximize how you use that space.

kitchen_design_rock_islandYou don’t have to remove walls or add onto your existing home to end up with a brand new space. In the case of this kitchen, the overall footprint stayed almost the same. The designer from Village Home Stores did do some rearranging of the location of the new appliances. This allowed for more open areas for users and a less crowded look overall. The original kitchen had the cooktop and microwave hood on the same wall at the refrigerator. Wall ovens built in across from this in the old kitchen filled out the opposite wall. The new layout moves the two taller elements together into one space and leaves the new cooktop area is open and spacious. A smarter layout paired with bright finishes help this new kitchen seem much larger.

tray_divider_abovewall_ovensThere were existing soffits in the original kitchen that were torn out.  The new kitchen design now has more wall cabinet space to reach all the way to the ceiling. The wall oven cabinet in this new kitchen offers tray divider storage above the wall oven (see above) and a wide drawer below the ovens adds even more space for bake ware and racks.  The tall cabinet that acts as an end cap to the new refrigerator has been installed in a unique way as well. By ordering the cabinet with doors applied to the right side, our carpenters were able to install this tall pantry cabinet to open away from the refrigerator. See it in action over on our YouTube channel here. A shallow cabinet with a wider shelf in place of a deep and narrow unit is perfect choice.shallow_pantry

drawers_below_cooktopA large drawer stack located below the new gas cooktop keep pots & pans within reach and a prep space to the left and right of the cooktop keeps the design open and spacious. The L-shape top projecting out on the left also acts as a landing zone for the wall ovens directly behind it. fullview

footed_sinkbaseWith the soffits removed, the new sink wall becomes an eye-catching space that also packs a lot of storage solutions. The sink base has been pulled forward by 3″ and decorative feet have been added to create a furniture look. Wood feet can be ordered with the kitchen cabinets to  give your space this “magazine” look with just a simple upgrade. The new design has a symmetrical layout with an appliance garage on either side of the sink.

appliance_garage (1)Even with both of these garages installed all the way down to meet the countertops, the user at the sink isn’t crowded. There still remains a lot of counter space on either side of the sink. Appliance garages are a fantastic storage solution to keep your kitchen counters from seeming cluttered.

oyster_painted_kitchenThe finishes for this kitchen play a major role in how bright and open the new space feels. Birch cabinets from our Koch Classic line in an “Oyster” painted finish have been paired with “Torquay” Cambria countertops. Throughout the new kitchen “Smoke” wood plank style luxury vinyl tile has been installed. The backsplash tile used in the new kitchen is by Jeffrey Court and the thin accent details have just the slightest sparkle to them when you see the kitchen in person. This Rock Island kitchen remodel was completed using our full Project Management program at Village Home Stores. If you are searching for a source that can provide you with materials, full estimates of labor, and also coordinate the project we are that place! From start to finish we can manage it all for you. Give us a call today or contact us via our website to set up an appointment to get started on your remodel with Village Home Stores. Village_Home_Stores_number

Tour The Set Of The New WQAD Kitchen

With the Village Home Show launching this coming Sunday at on WQAD News 8 we wanted to give you a look around at the set itself. You may have already seen it in action during the morning news. Local chefs and guests have already began to use the fully-functioning new kitchen set on  air. Village_Home_Show_setbeforeThe Village Home Show will feature before and after stories of kitchen and bath remodel projects from right here in our area. We wanted to not overlook the before and after story of the set kitchen itself. This unused corner of the news studio at WQAD has been totally transformed into a kitchen larger than many we remodel. We made this space beautiful AND functional.

The kitchen layout fits multiple users and is outfitted with camera-friendly finishes. There could be as many as three or four camera angles used during any taping and the space has to look as inviting as possible. The space within the kitchen is large enough for many users at a time to fit comfortably within while using it.layout_wqad_kitchen

We wanted to select finishes for this set that would look timeless and relate-able to viewers. We think these cherry cabinets and neutral finishes can be easily imagined in your own home. The main perimeter counter tops of the kitchen are by CambriaUSA Quartz in a color called “New Quay”. The kitchen cabinetry is from our Dura Supreme line and the Cherry Valencia door in a “Mission” stain and “Charcoal” glaze has been installed throughout the set.walk zanger tile

The pub-height table top is a granite perfectly named “Earth Glitter” The natural veining and shimmers add a bit of character to the space without looking busy or distracting from the guests who may be seated there.

walker_zanger_backsplashThe  backsplash tile we selected for the set kitchen has already become very popular. It is a ceramic tile from Walker Zanger’s 6th Avenue Collection. With bright studio lights and cameras pointing in many directions, we wanted a big impact but nothing reflective. This “Cocoon” shaped “Flax” tile is available in a matte finish. 

cooktopQuartz counters were chosen for their excellent durability for this multi-use space. When you see the kitchen on-air during cooking segments the user at the cooktop actually faces the news desk. The weather center is close by to the right of this peninsula. The weather team could take just a few small steps and sneak a sample of food  being prepared a few feet away.

The kitchen appliances you see in this set are all from the newest launch of Maytag products. Click on each link to see more about each model. A combination wall oven and microwave are installed right next to the large french-door counter depth refrigerator. Just in case the dishwasher needs to run while a camera is on, we installed Maytag’s quietest model available. The 5-burner gas cooktop will be getting the most use and that is why we designed the kitchen to keep that front and center.maytag

The cabinetry in this kitchen is unique in many ways and we have Dura Supreme to thank for that. One of our favorite details can be found in the corner of the kitchen…glass_doors

curved_cabinet_doorCurved doors on both the base and wall cabinets are a subtle detail that add a lot of style. This feature instantly created a custom-cabinet look to your space without having to shift all of your product over to a completely custom-cabinet line. The mullion door design options from Dura Supreme are very unique as well. We ended up selecting the look above to suggest the curves of an “8”.

pantry_shelvesWe have been thrilled to see the kitchen in use and are so excited to share the Village Home Show with you every Sunday. We love helping our customers create beautiful spaces in their homes where memories can be made and we look forward to watching a lot of great memories made at WQAD. We can’t wait to hear from you what you have seen happen in the new kitchen.

Tune in every Sunday morning at 11am to learn about the latest industry trends, hear from expert guests and see beautiful spaces transform right before your eyes. The projects featured on the Village Home Show are part of the Project Management program available from Village Home Stores. We can’t wait to share with you what we have been working on.