The Right Height for a Kitchen Island Countertop/Breakfast Bar

Homeowners spend a lot of time picking out cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, appliances, and lighting for their kitchens, but sometimes, not enough time thinking through basic functions. A frequent example of that is the height of a raised countertop on a kitchen island, sometimes also called a breakfast bar.

Open floor plans expose the whole kitchen to view – cooking mess and all. A raised countertop can help hide the mess behind a short wall, and makes a nice place to sit and eat, drink, and socialize.

That’s the basic function of a breakfast bar, but there’s more to getting the design right than just hiding the mess. Choosing the right finishes will make it look good, but we want it to work right, too. Here’s what you need to know to get the height right.

What Is Quality Construction?

A friend of mine put me on the spot when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

What’s The Best Kind of Stone To Use On Your House?

My clients and I talk a lot about the materials we’ll use on the outside of their homes, especially windows, siding, roofing, brick, and stone.

Stone in particular is a frequent topic, because while everyone knows what stone looks like, they aren’t often aware of the wide variety of stone types and colors, and don’t always know “real” stone from “cultured” stone – something that can impact the design of a home from the very beginning.

How To Safely Store A Valuable Car When There’s No More Room In The Garage

I bought my first car when I was fifteen years old.  My dad had it dragged back to our garage, and I spent the next year – until I was old enough to drive – taking the car apart, fixing it, and eventually putting it back together again.

But since the garage attached to our suburban Columbus home held only two cars, that meant someone’s car had to stay outside.

That arrangement probably won’t work at your house, but if you’ve got more cars than garages, what can you do?

colonial home office attic remodel

5 Ideas for Built-ins for Your Home Office

A big home office used to be a fairly common room in the homes I’ve designed, back when “working from home” required a separate, private room.

That’s not the norm these days – with laptops, tablets, and home networking in most houses, Mom and Dad can get work done from almost any room.

But the home office hasn’t disappeared completely…it’s just taking up a lot less space.  Sometimes it’s a much smaller room, and sometimes it’s a wall of custom built-in cabinets and shelves, like the ones in these RTA projects:

Great Ideas for Custom Built-in Bookshelves

I clearly remember everyone talking about a “paperless society” a few decades ago.  It was the dawn of the “digital era”, and all the buzz was about how email and digital documents would soon almost completely replace printing anything on paper.

Digital documents have certainly become a preferred method of data transfer for many of us (how many emails do you send and receive every day?) but there’s still plenty of paper around.  Some things, it seems, just don’t work quite right in a digital format.

prairie ranch family room

8 Great Built-In Seating Areas

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house – a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench – maybe it’s a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it’s worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home – a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.

6 Custom Built-in Ideas That Might Fit Into Your Home Design Plans

Most of the homes and most of the remodeling projects we design include some sort of “built-in” somewhere in the house.

Built-ins are custom-designed, made-from-scratch parts of the house that are designed for very specific purposes. Sometimes they’re bookshelves; sometimes they’re built as seating, and sometimes they hold wine bottles – built-ins can be designed to do whatever you need them to do.