Category Archives: Design


Cabinet Hardware

There are a lot of details that go into kitchen and bathroom remodels. Picking out the correct cabinet hardware is a hard choice for many. A lot of the decision making comes down to personal preference on esthetics. There are a lot of styles and sizes to choose from, and many people don’t realize that there are design “rules” to picking the right products.

Depending on the face of the cabinet or drawer, the hardware you select could look undersized or oversized. When selecting the size of the hardware for drawers try to remember the rule of thirds. The drawer pull can be up to 1/3 of the overall width of the face of the drawer. Don’t get too stuck on this rule, but it is one that many interior designers use when choosing the right hardware for their clients.


Cabinet doors are a little different and should be a smaller version of the drawer pull since they are typically placed on the lower edge of the door. If it’s oversized it can throw off the balance of the whole room. Cabinet hardware is typically less than 6″ in length for upper cabinet doors.

Like we said before, there are a lot of colors and styles of cabinet/drawer hardware to choose from. Choosing the color of the hardware comes down to personal preference. If you really want your hardware to make a statement you can use copper or metallic pulls.  Also keep in mind the other “hardware” in the area. What color/finish are light fixtures or appliances? If they’re stainless or nickel, you could consider getting cabinet hardware to match.


Ergonomics shouldn’t be ignored.  Keep in mind how often you’ll actually be using these cabinet and drawer pulls. What works best for you? Are knobs or pulls more comfortable and easier to use? Most of the work done in these areas requires the use of one hand or even a few fingers while cooking, so choose something that is practical.


Sometimes different brands and finishes can be intermixed, depending on the material and product, but typically it’s best to find a manufacturer that has pulls and knobs that you like.

Builders, like Englund Construction, are excellent resources when it comes to choosing the best hardware for your kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel. We help our clients make decisions like these every single day!

Wallpaper Nightmares

Wallpaper has come and gone out of style countless times in the interior design world.  It can help you achieve a different look, and there are many tempting patterns and styles to choose from.  Wallpaper can even seem easy to install, and many manufacturers have come out with “new and improved formulas” that claim to be maintenance free and fool-proof.  If you are considering wallpaper in your home or office, make sure you think long and hard about it before jumping in.

Installing wallpaper is never as easy as it seems. If you want it to look good, a lot of measuring and skill is needed to make it look right, and even if you have a ton of experience, it can end up looking like a disaster or take you ten times longer than you thought it would.

Installing is one half of the story.  What you like today will likely soon be out of style. The cost of removal and repair typically outweighs the benefits of installing. Taking wallpaper down is quite the process and getting everything removed is almost impossible.

The moral of the story is to think before you decide to plaster you walls with glue and paper. Is this style something you can live with for years to come? Are you sure you want to deal with the hassle in a few years to remove it?  If it were up to us, wallpaper would be outlawed across the nation. Paint is a far easier to work with and a lot more budget friendly.

Is the Kitchen the Most Important Room?

It can be argued that the kitchen is indeed the most important room in the home. There’s typically one person in the home (Mom or Dad) who does most of the cooking, whether they love to or not. The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the home, and is the center of the activities of the day.


Typically the person who does all the cooking is the one concerned with the size and layout of the kitchen. When a family goes looking for a home to purchase or remodel, the cook (aka mom, “household manager”, Fommy, househusband, mr. mom, or stay at home dad) almost always seem to spend a lot of time picking apart the kitchen.  The other person may be more concerned about the garage, deck, or game room (man cave). Overlooking the value of a good kitchen can be a huge mistake.

As we discussed in our Kitchen Triangle post, the layout of a kitchen can be very important. If you’re looking to purchase a new home, or are looking to remodel, pay attention to the layout, space and storage capabilities. If you are considering a kitchen remodel, keep the triangle in mind when laying out the main features.

The kitchen is not the room where you should be overly consumed with trying to save money. When looking at cabinetry, look for quality. (Use our Cabinetry Options in the Kitchen for more ideas/help). Purchase or look for quality, well made appliances as well. Appliances that do the job right and will last a long time are essential to a successful kitchen.

When designing, purchasing, or remodeling your home, make sure you spend extra time on the kitchen. Years of your life will be spent in this space and small changes and preferences can make the world of a difference.

Molding Details – Make or Break a Look

owk150413sMolding details are one features that can can add value to your home.  Molding, if done correctly, can make a room or space seem more upscale and up-to-date. Molding can give a home a distinction, add architectural dimension, and make a space look truly special and luxurious.  It can be used to frame windows and doors, and even line the base and top of walls.

Crown molding is typically installed right where the ceiling meets the walls.  There are many different styles of crown moulding, ranging from very ornate to simple flat wood trimmings. It adds dimension to a room and shows that the homeowner’s have put effort into making their home look it’s best.

owk150413dWill molding work for your house? Many homeowner’s are concerned about ceiling heights, and getting the right look for their homes’ style. If your room’s ceiling height seems too low, there are options for crown molding that can be considered.

Many people believe that molding is too expensive, but there are many options for all budgets. Many people view a home with molding as “finished”, and that can give you an edge in today’s competitive housing market.  Speaking with a qualified contractor can help you determine if your home is right for crown molding.



Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is extremely hard to get right. There are not very many options to choose from (especially in Washington state), and it seems like someone in the industry just really needs to figure it out. The bathroom is where you need task lighting the most, aside from the kitchen. Personal grooming, and small intricate tasks are generally done in the bathroom and these activities require adequate lighting without creating shadows.

vanity lightsFinding the right bathroom/vanity lighting fixture to go in your home can be challenging. The ones that will provide the best light are not always the best looking. There is a reason that almost every “backstage” area where stage performers apply makeup have the same type of vanity lighting.  The long bar with multiple bulbs (vanity globes) seems to work the best for illuminating the vanity area well without casting shadows. If this style doesn’t fit your bathroom’s style, choosing other styles is an option, but just know that you will need to invest some time in finding a high quality and well rated bathroom light fixture. If you travel a lot, and are thinking about redoing the lighting in your bathroom, check out the lighting stores in other states or countries that you visit, chances are their selection and quality may be better than what you’ll find around town on the Eastside or even Seattle.

We’ve found that most of the lighting fixtures we install need to be custom ordered from lighting stores that we know produce the highest quality fixtures.  Bathroom lighting isn’t something you can just pick out at the local hardware store without doing some research.  Investing some time in finding the right fixture to go with your existing decor and your lighting needs will really pay off in the end.  Good lighting will help you and your bathroom looking your best!

Paint – Don’t Pick off of a Chip!

paint chipsPicking the right paint color for your house exterior or an interior room can be extremely frustrating. Color can change so much based on what it is next to, or even the current lighting in the room or angle of the sun (exterior) can make it look completely different.  There are so many colors to choose from, and while one color may look very similar to another, when they’re up on a big wall or surface they can look like opposites.

The most valuable tip for anyone trying to find the right paint color for their home is to NEVER base your decision solely off of a sample chip.  Sure, you can use paint chips to get an idea for what colors and tones may look good, but do not buy the paint gallons until you’ve tried the actual color on the walls.  Many times the sample chip you pick up at a store isn’t actually the paint color itself, and is just ink from a printer on paper.  When choosing the chip at the store, try and hold it up to something white so that you can see the true color (other colors can throw off the tone).

Fork over the extra $4-$5 for the actual liquid paint sample and try it on a well lit area (preferably next to the trim) in or on your home. Don’t let the extra time to apply the sample and money come between you and the perfect paint color, you may be surprised by what you find. The actual painted sample on the wall beats a paint chip every time.  Many experts can pick a house out on the street that was painted based on a paint chip – don’t let that house be yours!