Category Archives: Kitchen Renovations

Outdoor Kitchen & BBQ Essentials

The design of outdoor kitchens can be one of the trickiest elements of a backyard or outdoor living space. Outdoor kitchens not only have to be functional, but they need to be cosmetically appealing and fit well into the design of your outdoor living space. They require the additional planning of infrastructure such as hot and cold water, power and drainage for the kitchen sink. It is very important when designing an outdoor kitchen to not only consider the finishes, (countertops, cabinet styles, flooring), but also the location as it needs to serve the outdoor dining and lounging areas as well and have a good flow path to the main kitchen in the home. Functionally, an outdoor kitchen shares many of the same design components that an indoor kitchen does. One must consider the proximity of the refrigerator and sink to the main cooking bbq, as well as lighting, storage and power connection points. Special consideration must also be given to the roof system depending on whether the kitchen is being designed to be exposed to the elements or protected from them. A good design build company will ensure you will receive a quality design and enjoyment from your outdoor living space.

2.Propane or Natural Gas BBQ
Weber. Nobody knows how to pronounce the name, but this only adds revere to the brand. A propane or natural gas bbq is a mandatory component of outdoor kitchen areas. If you have natural gas, you should consider purchasing a natural gas bbq for your outside bbq area. This way, you will always have fuel for your bbq and won’t need to lug propane tanks to and from the fill up centre. One bbq brand that our clients have had success with is Weber. One bbq that caught our interest is the Weber Genesis II E-335. It comes equipped with a sear station, side burner and a 10-year warranty. The Genesis II also has a warming rack, tool hooks, stainless flavorizer bars, and is iGrill 3 ready. The iGrill 3 is an app-connected thermometer that mounts directly into your Genesis II gas grill. It allows you to use your smart phone to monitor the doneness of whatever you’re cooking on the grill. The app will notify you via your smart phone as soon as the food has reached the optimal temperature.

*As with all manufactured products, it is hard to know if the quality of a brand will continue after it has been bought out by another company. Digital image. Genesis II E-335 Gas Grill(Natural Gas), 03 December 2020,

3.Outdoor Countertops
An outdoor kitchen and bbq area is not complete without countertops. Quartzite is the most commonly used countertop material for outside kitchens. There are a huge number of color choices in quartzite and many different manufacturers who produce it. This material mirrors the natural look of granite but does not require the maintenance that granite demands. Stainless steel another option. A third option that has gained some popularity in recent years is poured concrete. Poured concrete provides a different look, but is not as durable as quartzite. – talk about DIY version. Mention design build company. Your design build company will help you choose the countertop that best suits your location and the design of your cabinetry. Custom cabinetry is designed by the design build company and is designed around your outdoor kitchen. Digital image. Built in countertop, 03 December 2020,

4.Outdoor Cabinetry.
Cabinetry in your outdoor kitchen is an absolute must.Cabinetry allows you to store your bbq utensils near your bbq – where they belong. You may also store outdoor plates, glasses and cutlery in the cabinets. A built-in garbage container may be hidden behind a cabinet door to ensure your prepping and entertaining area is neat and tidy. Additional bbq accessories may be tucked away in a cabinet such as skewers, a rotisseries, grill baskets, seasoned wood planks and steak seasoning spices.

There are generally three options when selecting outdoor cabinetry. First, and typically a do it yourself option, is a pre-built, modular component cabinetry set. The major disadvantage to this is that you generally cannot choose your countertop color or cabinetry finish style and you are locked into whatever options the manufacturer gives you. Also, your countertop will not be continuous but will have breaks where each component joins. You may purchase these at local big box building stores such as Lowes. You buy the pre-built modular components and then bolt them together. If you only want to have a bbq, sink and refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen, the modular component route may be your best bet as you can simply buy only what you need.


The next two options allow for much greater customization of finishes and styles. The design build company works with you to design the layout of the stainless steel cabinets and then has them fabricated to suit your needs. They also work with you to select the appliances that will fit in with the cabinetry and to select the countertop style and color.

The third option is similar to the second option, but uses a stainless steel frame with stainless steel drawer and door fronts. The frame is covered with hardifibre cement board, and there are drawer and door units that fit into holes in the frame and the cement board. A natural stone veneer or tile finish is then placed on top of the hardiboard to fill in the spaces between the door and drawer units and appliances. Your design build company will work with you to tie everything together and make sure that the door and drawer units and appliances all fit in to the finished cabinetry. Digital image. Outdoor cabinetry. Digital image. 03 December 2020,

5.Outdoor Refrigerator
The benefits of an outdoor refrigerator in your cooking and entertaining area outside are endless. Your marinating steaks and thawing kabobs will be nice and close to your bbq, which means fewer trips to and from your house collecting food for the grill. Drinks can be kept in the outside refrigerator so when you offer a guest a refreshment, you don’t need to run inside the house to check your inventory. All you need to do is open your outdoor refrigerator door, look inside and rhyme off the choices. The outdoor refrigerator, below, has a stainless steel door that locks so you can be certain that a hungry raccoon or a bold neighbor cannot help themselves to your goods. This refrigerator comes with an automatic defrost system for carefree maintenance, three adjustable glass shelves and LED lighting. The refrigerator is front-venting so it may be used in a built in cabinet system or free-standing elsewhere. It is 100% CFC free and has a scalloped bottom for holding wine and champagne bottles to toast the end of the Covid-10 era. Digital image. Summit 24” 4.6 Cu. Ft. Outdoor Rated Compact Refrigerator. 03 December 2020,

6.Outdoor Sink
The pièce de résistance of any exterior kitchen is the outdoor sink. Having the ability to rinse food and dishes right next to your bbq is spectacular. At this point in time, having an outdoor sink to wash your hands in and reduce the number of germs – and people – who enter your home is priceless. When installing an outdoor sink, you must give consideration for the sink drainage. Where does the water drain to? Some minor or moderate plumbing may be required to install your outdoor sink. The Sonoma Series 21” drop in sink, below, is a great choice. It comes with a built-in soap dispenser, which is becoming more and more standard on outdoor sinks these days. It has a large drain that fits most garbage disposal units and contains a catch basket to prevent food from getting into your plumbing. We especially like that it comes with a cover so that whenever you need to use it, it is just as you left it. Digital image. SBbq Guys Sonoma Series 21” Outdoor Rated Drop In Sink. 03 December 2020,

7. Outdoor Heater
Unless the cold never bothered you anyway, a patio heater may be just the thing for chilly evenings. Outdoor heaters come in electric, natural gas, and propane powered options. Electric outdoor heaters are great for covered areas such as cabanas and gazebos where wiring can be both hidden and kept safe from the elements. If you power a patio heater with propane, you will have to continually refill a propane tank that you lug to and from the filling station. However, a natural gas heater can be connected directly to your natural gas line. It will never need refilling and will take the nip out of the air on those chilly days. Outdoor heaters come in two main styles: the pedestal style that sits on top of the ground or on a table, or the style of heater that is mounted above your head on the wall or ceiling. Although a natural gas heater will likely initially cost more to install, it will be cheaper to operate in the long run than both the electric and propane heaters. Natural gas generally produces more heat than electric heaters produce. Elsa wouldn’t need a heater, but Ana would adore one!

  • Digital image. AZ Patio Heater with Table, 03 December 2020,

  • Digital image. Ceiling Mounted Natural Gas Heater, 03 December 2020,

8.Wood Pellet SmokerImagine if all the highschool “smoke areas” were filled with the aroma of wood pellet smokers instead of teenagers smoking things they shouldn’t. Wood pellet smokers have a beautiful aroma and are perfect for the smoked meat connoisseur. They add something very special to anyone’s outdoor kitchen and bbq area. Does anything taste as heavenly as slow smoked back ribs or fresh beef brisket? Other things that are delicious when smoked include: turkey, chicken, prime rib, lobster tails, macaroni and cheese and corn on the cob. The only concern, depending on how you see it, is that your neighbor’s food won’t taste as good as yours smells. Digital image. Pit Boss 3-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker, 03 December 2020,

9.Pizza Oven
If you’ve always wanted the taste of wood fired pizza fresh from the oven, an outdoor pizza oven is must-have component for your outdoor kitchen and bbq area. This stainless steel oven has a maximum temperature of 900°F! It’s fueled with wood pellets which come in many different flavours. Wow your family and friends with fresh, gourmet pizza you bake outside in your oven. Is your mouth watering yet? Digital image. Fremont wood fired pizza oven, 03 December 2020,

10.BBQ Rotisserie.
When you think of meals to cook on your bbq are the only things that come to mind burgers, hotdogs and steak? Your bbq was designed to cook so much more than you likely realize. All you need is the right tools and accessories to unlock your bbq’s potential. If you do not own a bbq rotisserie, buy one. Now. Not only will a rotisserie help you bbq the most delicious roasted chicken you’ve ever made, but you can roast all sorts of food on a rotisserie. Shrimp, ribs, prime rib, pork roast, cobs of corn, peppers and even a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey can be perfectly cooked on a rotisserie. A rotisserie may do for you what the Instant Pot has done for thousands of college students. Unlock its power today. Digital image. Electric Rotisserie for Genesis II 2 and 3 Burner Gas Grill, 03 December 2020,

Tight Space_01

Kitchen Organization for Next Level Neatness

1. Tight Space Kitchen Pantry. You’ve renovated your kitchen or perhaps the house you moved into has a small space between the refrigerator and the cabinetry. Either way, you have a gap to fill, which is the perfect opportunity to install a slim-line spice rack. This pull out pantry is absolutely perfect for spices or slim container storage. Depending on the width, it could be perfect for canned soup, cupcake/muffin liners or salt and pepper mills. If you make your own jam, this could be the perfect place for the jars. Some people use this for onions or potato storage. After all, when the pantry is closed, the contents being stored will be in a cool and dark place. To us it seems like the perfect place to hide a chocolate bar that you don’t want your kids finding and devouring!

Tight Space Kitchen Pantry  Digital image. 10 November 2020,

2. Mobile Ironing Board Laundry Station. When your kitchen has to serve double duty as a laundry room, this tidy mobile ironing board laundry station cart may save the day. Pull it out when you need to iron or fold laundry, and simply slide it away when you’re done. It has shelves to hold laundry cleaning supplies and folded items, drawers for dryer sheets, stain remover pens and utility scissors, and even a small hanging rack! The top of the cart is an ironing board. Prop up the tapered end to iron sleeves and pant legs or leave it down for quick and easy steaming of items. Fair warning: your kids may try to use it as a go kart. “Mom, it has wheels. What did you think it was for?”

Mobile Ironing Board Laundry Station.Digital image. 10 November, 2020,

3. Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove. If every inch of your kitchen space is accounted for you may be delighted to find a way to add a little more room. This magnetic shelf just sits on top of your stove and is designed for flat or curved stovetops. It comes with a 1.5” backsplash to prevent items from falling behind the stove. When it needs to be cleaned just wipe it or simply remove it to clean it, then place it back on the top of the stove. Simple! One of the best features of the shelf is its magnetism – so you can put items with magnetic bottoms on this shelf and they will stay put. The display options are endless! Either way, this magnetic shelf is the gateway to a little more storage area in your kitchen.

StoveShelf Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove.Digital image. 10 November, 2020,

4. Undershelf Stemware Holder. Free up valuable cupboard space and show off your crystal stemware with an undershelf stemware holder. Let’s be honest; stemware does not belong inside a cabinet. It’s often bulky, breakable and when not used regularly it is hard to locate! Show off your stemware and free up premium cupboard space by installing one or more undershelf stemware holders. Put your crystal stemware on display but neatly tucked away under your cupboards.

Undershelf Stemware Holder.Digital image. 10 November, 2020,

5. 6-Piece Refrigerator Storage Container Bins. This may skew to the
A-type personality, but no-one can criticize someone’s desire to have a spotless refrigerator. How much time do you waste trying to locate the tiny jar of relish in the back of your refrigerator? Eventually, you give up and go buy a new jar of relish only to find 3 jars of relish in your fridge when you do your spring cleaning. Add a set of refrigerator containers to organize your cars, cans, eggs, fruit, and yogurt – anything you want. The way we see it, the only other surefire way to keep track of your relish is to put a GPS tracker on it and that just seems a tad excessive. The next time your teenager opens your refrigerator door and yells: “There’s nothing to eat in the fridge!”, rest assured that they will be telling the truth. Better yet, stock your refrigerator with organized, easy to find, healthy food that your kids will see the moment they open the fridge door.

SortWise 6-Piece Acrylic Refrigerator Storage Container Bins and Freezer Organizer Stackable Storage Containers.Digital image. 10 November, 2020

6. YouCopia StoraLid Container Lid Organizer. We have no idea how your container lids are being stored, but we bet they don’t look as neat and tidy as the ones in this picture. This storage container lid organizer is absolute genius. It features adjustable, removable dividers so you can customize the unit for any size and shape of lids.

YouCopia StoraLid Large Food Container Lid Organizer.Digital image. 10 November 2020,

7. Expandable Cookware Organizer. There’s no great place for frying pans and lids unless you have a hanging pot rack over your island…at least there wasn’t until now. Finally! There’s no need to stack your pans with tea towels in between them to prevent surface damage. Just plop one of these expandable cookware organizers into your cabinet, add your plans and lids, and use your tea towels for what they were made for.

Storemore Expandable Cookware Rack Digital image. 10 November 2020,

8. Pull-Out Cabinet Drawers. Under counter cabinets are generally difficult to access. They are the cupboards of no return. You store an item in the back of one of those cabinets and unless you get right down on the floor to root through everything inside, you never find what you’re looking for. However, what if you could turn those cabinets into drawers? Wouldn’t that make your life so much easier? You can! These after-market, pull-out cabinet drawers come in a variety of sizes and are easily installed in your kitchen. They are very handy to store small kitchen appliances on, pantry items, or even cleaning supplies. The sky is limit. Reach for it, but don’t kneel.

Real Solutions Double Tier Pull-Out Multi-Use Basket Cabinet Organizer.Digital image. 10 November 2020,

9. Super Susan. The tried and true corner cabinet kitchen organizer. Whoever called this workhorse lazy should be ashamed of themselves! Super Susans are fantastic space saving solutions for hard to reach, corner areas in your kitchen. Store baking supplies, spices, jam, soup, flour, sugar – you name it – and simply spin this around until you find what you’re looking for. The only name for this is, well, super.

Lazy Susan.Digital image. 10 November 2020,

10. Magic Corner. Arguably the best kitchen organization feature of any new kitchen. While more expensive than a Super Susan, a magic corner may be your new best friend. It makes ample use of all the space in those hard to reach corners and it is incredibly accessible. It pulls all the way out instead of just spinning and spinning. This means that you can easily see and access all of the items in the Magic Corner. We think that’s, well, magical.

Magic corner.Digital image. The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.,10 November 2020

11.Pull-Down Shelf. For the coolest kitchen on the block. Those ceiling height cabinets sure looked great when you bought the house. If only you were a professional basketball player and could reach the shelves. Never fear, the pull-down shelf is here. These absolutely brilliant shelves come in several widths and depths and can be easily installed in almost any cupboard. Now you can store everyday items on the highest shelves without needing a step ladder to reach them. The only problem you’ll have with these pull-down shelves is dealing with your addiction to pulling them down and putting them back up all day long. This is a fidget spinner for mom. Dad, put it on the Christmas list.

Pull-down Shelf.Digital image., 10 November 2020

10 Kitchen Tools Every Home Cook Should Have

1. Instant Pot. It seems like everyone you know has an Instant Pot and you really don’t understand what all the hoopla is about. There are several cooking shows, hundreds of cook books and thousands of recipes based on this one-pot wonder. It sautés, steams, roasts, boils and even bakes. While cooking French fries in an Instant Pot is not recommended, once you’ve baked a New York Cheesecake in one you will never go the oven route again. Perfectly cooked and not a crack to be seen, bakers around the world rejoice over instant pot cheesecake. Another area this kitchen rock star excels at is making soups, stews and stock. You will cut your time in half – at least – if you make your stock in an Instant Pot instead of on the stove. At Christmas and other holidays where the oven is fully occupado, this multi-cooker will save the day.


Instant Pot Duo 60.  Digital image. Instant Brands. 30 September 2020,


2. Cast iron pots. Almost everyone has stainless steel pots and pans, but having at least one cast iron frying pan gives you more options when cooking classic comfort food. They heat evenly and keep food warmer for a much longer time than a stainless steel pot does. They can go right into the oven just like a casserole dish can. We’re also quite sure these practically unbreakable pans would come in very handy in a hailstorm.



Cast iron pots set of 3. Digital image. Williams Sonoma. 30 September, 2020,


3. Soda Stream. This handy kitchen tool takes boring, tap-water and transforms it into delicious, fizzy water in mere seconds. Create your own flavored sodas and wow your guests at your holiday party. Amazingly, the Soda Stream needs no electricity or batteries to run. It takes up little space on your counter and blends in with most kitchen décor thanks to its sleek design. What are you waiting for? Get fizzy with it.



SodaStream. Digital image. 30 September, 2020,

4. Crème Brûlée Torch. Any crème Brûlée lover should have a pastry torch in their pantry. This torch is easy to use and can roast marshmallows and light birthday candles in a pinch. We do not recommend roasting marshmallows and lighting birthday candles with your crème Brûlée torch, mainly because if you have a torch you should be eating crème Brûlée, not marshmallows and cake. Full stop.



Culinary Torch. Digital image. 30 September, 2020,

5. Automatic pan stirrer with handle. A device that stirs the pot while you chop vegetables, sauté onions or put your feet up. There’s another name for this tool – Mom’s Best Friend. How many times have you been frazzled and stressed because you cannot stop stirring your roux so you may put something in the oven, find something in the refrigerator, or make a cup of tea? Just imagine the thought of your pasta never sticking to the bottom of the pot again. Better yet, imagine the look on your friends’ faces when you pretend the pan stirrer is powered by magic?



Auto Stirrer. Digital image. Lee 30 September, 2020

6. June Oven. A better name for this high tech appliance would be the Jetson Oven, because this smart oven is futuristic in many ways. First of all, this appliance can replace your convection oven, air fryer, toaster, slow cooker, dehydrator and warming drawer. It comes equipped with an internal HD camera that scans what you put in the oven and then configures an automatic cook program tailored to the type and amount of food. A built in thermometer continually sends temperature readings to the oven and based on the readings will switch cook modes, adjust the temperature and let you know when your meal is done. You can cook just about anything in a June oven – even a roast turkey. Its counter footprint is modest at less than 20” wide and deep, and just over 12” high. University students and newlyweds will have this oven on the top of their wish lists for many years to come.



June Oven. Digital image. 30 September 2020,

7. Raclette Grill. Also known as a party grill, a raclette is an entertainer’s dream. Raclette is a traditional Swiss cheese dish prepared on a heated grill. Semi-hard cheese is cut into thick slices and grilled or melted in coupelles, (small pans), which sit under the grill. Meat, potatoes and vegetables are cooked on top of the grill. Slice loaves of French bread, spread garlic butter on the slices, then melt the cheese on top of the bread. Delicious! Better yet, top the garlic buttered-bread with meat and vegetables and then top with melted cheese. Your guests will be so enthralled with cooking their gourmet supper that nobody will be able to dominate the conversation. And just so you know, the conversation will undoubtedly be about how delicious the meal is.


Heritage Rock 8 Person Party Grill. Digital image. Canadian Tire. 30 September 2020,


8. Taco Holders. Taco holders may not be the most ingenious food invention ever made, but if you’ve ever had the issue of needing to set a taco down to take a drink of water, a taco holder may be your new best friend. These plastic microwave and dishwasher safe taco holders securely hold taco shells and help keep them from breaking. If you’re making tacos, you are likely expecting to get a little messy. However, utilizing these nifty taco holders may have you using fewer napkins. For that reason, we consider them to be environmentally beneficial.


Taco Proper Taco Holder Set. Digital image. 30 September 2020,

9. Kitchen strainer. This nifty, silicone strainer comes in several sizes and clips onto your pot or pan for quick and easy straining. It is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and folds up for storage. It is perfect for cooks who need to use both hands to lift a pot full of water or for busy families who cannot set a colander in their overflowing sink in order to strain pasta with two hands. It’s incredibly easy to clean and a pleasure to strain with.



Kitchen Gizmo Snap Strain. Digital image. 30 September 2020,

10. Frywall Splatter Guard. Splatter screens are helpful, but you have to remove them in order to stir or flip the food in the pan. The Frywall Splatter Guard appeared on Shark Tank in early 2018 and brought in over $800,000 in sales in its first year. Use the Frywall once and you’ll see why it’s so popular. Never splatter your kitchen walls and oven with spaghetti sauce again! The Frywall will keep the food in the pot where it belongs. It is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and rolls up for easy storage. It comes in several sizes and colors for the discerning home cook.



Frywall. Digital image. 30 September 2020,

If you want to really deck out your kitchen for the holiday season, the items on this list are must-haves. They’re also great gift ideas for the loved one on your list who “has everything” or for turning you into the loved one who “has everything”. Choose wisely!

White Kitchen Space

8 Killer Accessories to Design Into or Add to Your Kitchen

  1. Magic Lazy Susan. The Lazy Susan finally has a comparable option called the “Magic Corner”. As most people know, Lazy Susans are circular and you have to rotate the dish to access the item you need. While Magic Corners are more like a sliding L-shaped drawer that completely slides out so you can access everything in it. The main functional difference between a Magic Corner and a Lazy Susan is that you have to crouch down and reach in to get the item you want. Whereas the Magic Corner is more like a drawer where you just pull it out and pick out the item you want. The primary difference between a good quality Lazy Susan that doesn’t wobble or tilt and a Magic Corner is price. Lazy Susans are generally between $250 and $300, while Magic Corners start at $800 and go up from there.

Curved Magic Corner
Curved Magic Corner. Digital image. Woodworker Express. 30 September 2020,

  1. Google Nest Hub with display and voice recognition. Smart hubs will allow you to get things done with voice recognition while having sticky fingers from cooking. Google, Facebook and Amazon all offer products that will work in your kitchen. However, for the purposes of this article, we will simply talk about what we consider the leader: Google Nest Hub. Imagine your hands are covered in cookie dough and you need to read an email or check the weather. All you have to do is say, “Hey Google, show me the weather, or “hey, Google, read me the last email.” Or, if you’re stuck and need a recipe, just ask Google for one. “Hey, Google, what’s the recipe for chocolate chip cookies?” This wonderfully amazing product takes up very little space on your countertop, connects with your Hello Google Doorbell to show you who’s at the door and your Nest Yale Lock to allow you to unlock the door when your kids get home from school.

Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub. Digital image. Staples. 30 September, 2020,

  1. Barstools Those who have them often take them for granted. Those who do not have them often pine for them, (no pun intended). Barstools have multiple uses. They can give you a place to sit in your kitchen when you’re tired but need to keep an eye on those cookies in the oven. Two stools in the kitchen can turn a counter into a breakfast bar or homework centre. It’s especially handy to have barstools in your kitchen if you often help your children with homework. These moveable, often stackable and even spin-able seats enable you to multitask. Barstools are also great for friends to sit at while you visit with them in the kitchen. They come in a huge variety of colors, shapes and sizes. There are table height, counter height and bar height stools. They can be made with nearly every type of wood or metal. Choose stools in a contrasting color that pops against the background of your kitchen, or in a complimenting color that blends in and makes your kitchen feel incredibly warm and cozy. The options are limitless.
    Kitchen Renovations
    Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovation, 2020.
  1. An integrated work station/colander set that fits into your kitchen sink.These lovely workstations are incredibly functional and are becoming more popular as news of their versatility spreads. We are happy to design one of these new, modern sinks into your kitchen. Both the colander and the sink have to be manufactured by the same company and be compatible. Imagine being able to chop and lay out all of the ingredients for your favorite chutney in a stunning custom colander tray that sits in your sink? No more moving veggies, wet from rinsing them in the sink, all the way over to your counter, leaving a trail of water on your kitchen floor. No more overflowing cutting board holding a variety of veggies you’ve chopped up. No more onion juice spoiling the flavor of the other veggies sitting on your cutting board. This will save you time and look great, too! One of our favorites is the Krause Workstation Accessory Set.
    Kraus Workstation Kitchen Sink

Kraus Workstation Kitchen Sink Serving Board Set with Stainless Steel Bowls. Digital image. J.Keats. 30 September, 2020,

  1. Command Centre. The importance of being organized has never held more truth than it does today. Rapidly changing schedules, bills, letters, homework, grocery lists, etc. Having all of those things in one place saves a great deal of time and energy. Although some smart refrigerators offer a digital command centre, many families find there is just no substitute for silly notes and photos with magnets, and the quick and easy flexibility that a magnetic or white board provides. You are the captain of your command centre. Your wish is its…you know.

Wood Home Organizer Magnetic Wall
Wood Home Organizer Magnetic Wall Mounted Dry Erase Board. Digital image. 30 September, 2020,

  1. Built in desk for paying bills and organizing recipes. Along the same lines of a command centre, having a built in nook in your kitchen to help you stay organized is an upscale idea. One step further than a command centre would be a desk and chair with a drawer for filing bills and a shelf for storing cookbooks and knick knacks. Complete this with a pegboard for posting notes and pictures on, as well as file folders to store school forms and completed tests in, and you have an incredibly functional area to enjoy. If you have children, keeping all of the forms that come home from school will save you time and frustration. Can’t remember what time the field trip bus is dropping your kids off? It’s on the form you filed away, you smart cookie. Can’t remember your kids’ teacher’s email address? It’s on a form you filed away during the first week of school. Your high schooler cannot find his or her volunteer hours records. No problem – this, too, is filed away!

White Kitchen Space
White Kitchen Space Turned Into Desk. Digital image. Home 30 September, 2020,

  1. Smart refrigerator. We are not quite at the technology level of the Jetsons, but we’re getting close! Smart refrigerators are connected to your phone through the internet. Not all smart refrigerators offer the same features. Some of these advanced appliances allow you to see what’s inside the refrigerator so you know if you’re out of milk or eggs. You may have the ability to send and receive short messages to and from a smart screen on the fridge. Some of these appliances will send an alert to your phone if your family has left the fridge door open. One of the most useful features, however, is the ability to search up things on the internet, such as, recipes. Some smart refrigerators work with IFTTT, Google Assistant and Alexa so you can ask for status updates about your refrigerator from wherever you are. “Alexa, more ice, ice, baby!”
    Family Hub Smart Refrigerator
    Family Hub Smart Refrigerator. Digital image. Home 30 September, 2020,
  2. Rolling kitchen cart. How many times have you wished for just a tiny bit more counter space? Perhaps you don’t really need more counter space day-to-day, but during holidays and around birthdays having extra table space would save your bacon – literally. We regularly design a space for a rolling cart to sit when not in demand as part of our kitchen plans. Rolling carts can have a granite top for chopping fruits and vegetables, a built in wine rack, a drawer to store spices or barbeque utensils, or may be designed and equipped to your exact specifications.

Haviland Kitchen Cart

Haviland Kitchen Cart with Stainless Steel Top. Digital image. 30 September, 2020,

Have these eight, fantastic accessories to add to or build into your kitchen made you drool? We understand! That’s why they are such wonderful accessories to have in your kitchen. The ones that make your life easier and reduce the stress and mess are always worth the investment.

Kitchen Renovations – 10 Tips You Need to Know Before You Start

You’ve binged watched dozens of home renovation programs. You’ve read several home repair and maintenance books. You’re handy with tools and love DIY projects. Naturally, the next step is for you to undertake a kitchen renovation, right? Before you plan a kitchen demo day, there are several things you should be aware of.

1. Are you doing this yourself or are you hiring a professional design build company?

Fair warning: if you try to do this kitchen renovation yourself, YOU will be the general contractor. This means that it will be you who is responsible for ordering materials and products and ensuring they arrive on site in time for each of the trades to do their portion of the work.

Not only that, you will be responsible for quality control, which means you’ll be firing the trades people if and whentheir work is not up to standards. You will be the one returning and rejecting any defective products or building materials that you have had to accept delivery for.

Scheduling and organization will be your new best friend as you’ll also be responsible for coordinating the overall schedule of the job and staying ahead of the steps in the project. There is an order that the trades must be completed in. The electrical and plumbing work needs to be done before the cabinets go on the wall and the drywall is installed and finished and so on.

You may safely assume that more storage space, a larger food preparation area, and an eat-in island are needs for your kitchen. Do you need quartz countertops? How about a magic corner instead of a Lazy Susan? Would an industrial range hood be the difference between delicious, home cooked meals and TV dinner fare? Well, we’ll leave that to you and your spouse to decide. There are countless options to consider when you renovate your kitchen. This is where a design build company will come in very handy, as they will lay out the options for you based on your input and help you make good decisions.

Like a general contractor, when something goes wrong, when something is delayed, or when someone makes an excuse, it will be your responsibility to fix the problem while keeping the train on the tracks.

When managing or acting as a general contractor for your own kitchen renovation, expect to budget an hour or two of your day to the management, scheduling and trade oversight of your project. Not to mention some time for communication with your designer. So, if you’re already working an 8 hour job, managing your own kitchen renovation means you’re probably working 10 hours a day for the next four months and on weekends. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Keep in mind that because you are not actually a general contractor with connections in the industry, you may not get the priority on your job with trades that a full time general contractor gets.

Finally, unless you have a really large home or unrented secondary suite,you probably only have one kitchen for you and your family to use. It’s easy to go without one bathroom for a few months while you renovate the other one. It’s easy to take your time redoing a bedroom. What is not easy is cooking in a kitchen that is a construction zone. The cost you spend on eating out during the kitchen renovation that takes longer than it should take could add up. Not to mention the fact that your family will be putting pressure on you to hurry up and get it done. It can be very stressful to be caught between your family and the suppliers and trades people who are not complyingto your schedule.

For these reasons, if you can hire a professional design build company to renovate your kitchen, by all means, do so!

2. What are the needs of your new kitchen and what are the wants?

Are you a home chef? Is there no room in your kitchen to prepare food? Are your cabinets and appliances outdated? Separating the wants and the needs of a new kitchen is very tricky.


You may safely assume that more storage space, a larger food preparation area, and an eat-in island are needs for your kitchen. Do you need quartz countertops? How about a magic corner instead of a Lazy Susan? Would an industrial range hood be the difference between delicious, home cooked meals and TV dinner fare? Well, we’ll leave that to you and your spouse to decide. There are countless options to consider when you renovate your kitchen. This is where a design build company will come in very handy, as they will lay out the options for you based on your input and help you make good decisions.

3. What is your budget?

A typical kitchen renovation in BC is going to start at $50,000 and go up from there. The average price will be between $75,000 and $100,000.This will vary greatly depending on the type of materials you use in your renovation. Before you start looking at show room kitchens for inspiration for your renovation, have an honest conversation with your spouse to determine what your budget is. Knowing your budget ahead of time will help you make decisions with your head and not your heart. Be forewarned, as you go through the process with your design build kitchen company you may have to make some tough choices such as cutting some of the items on your “wants” list to keep your project within budget.

4. Are you replacing your appliances?

40 years ago, practically every kitchen appliance on the market was the exact same size. One size of refrigerator, but it comes in two colors: white and olive! Flash forward to present day and not only can you buy your appliances in many different colors, but some of them come in a huge variety of different sizes. The dimensional choices of refrigerators have gone up exponentially. What that means is if you are redesigning your kitchen, you will almost certainly need to purchase new appliances.

Let’s be honest: you want new appliances anyway. When you install brand new, sparkling, beautiful cabinets and countertops, your tried and true, old appliances will stand out like a sore thumb. We wish it wasn’t so, but it is.

If you are replacing your appliances, spare a moment to consider what type of refrigerator you will purchase. Firstly, will it be a standard depth refrigerator or a counter depth one? Standard depth refrigerators typically measure 30 to 34 inches deep, whereas counter depth refrigerators typically measure between 23 and 27 inches deep. A standard depth refrigerator will generally have more square feet of food storage than a counter depth one. However, a standard depth unit will also jut out further into your kitchen than a streamlined counter depth one. A counter depth refrigerator is more costly than a standard one is, however, you will have a little more floor space in your kitchen with the counter depth size.

Let’s not forget the ice and water features of modern day refrigerators! Approximately half of all new refrigerators have a built in ice maker. Many others also have a built in water dispenser as well. You will need a plumber to run a water line to the back of your refrigerator to access all of the bells whistles. It is most certainly worth it. The joy of never having to fill the ice cube tray again is paradise on earth.

5. Are you redesigning the entire kitchen, or just updating it?

A kitchen update is more economical than a kitchen redesign. With an update, all of the cabinets and appliances stay in roughly the same place give or take a few inches so you won’t have to do any major plumbing or electrical work. Significantly moving the location of appliances often requires the costly process of removing and reinstalling drywall, concrete and other finishes.

A good design build company should be able to get much more out of your existing kitchen layout than a regular contractor would. A redesign costs more but may be required to get the design that you’ve always wanted. Permits and inspections are needed in the event of a kitchen redesign. They take more planning and more time to complete. In British Columbia once you touch one electrical circuit in the kitchen, you must upgrade the entire kitchen to meet current electrical code. You’ll have to add more plugs and appliance circuits to the kitchen, which will require you to run new wire back to the main electrical panel in your basement or garage, which will necessitate the opening of drywall and then the re-installation of the drywall.

If you’re happy with the current layout of your kitchen, there are savings to be had. You can install new cabinets and get more drawers and have a better overall kitchen design while still keeping your appliances in relatively the same place. Appliances can often be moved a few inches one way or the other to make room for a larger fridge or pantry without requiring significant additional plumbing and/or electrical work.You may replace lower cabinets with drawers. You can replace your countertop with quartz and retile the sink backsplash with a new pattern and/or color. Replacing the lighting in your kitchen may also be affordable and can change the entire look of the area. It is definitely worth considering an update versus a redesign when it comes to your kitchen.

6. Are you renovating any other rooms in your house? You want the kitchen to fit in with your house, not stand out and put the rest of the house to shame.

Ifyou’re renovating your kitchen, you should consider renovating the main floor of your home as well. This way, you’ll have a consistent theme throughout your home with finishes that match in quality and newness. It is cheaper to undertake two renovations at the same time than to spread them out. Not to mention the benefit of having your home exactly the way you want it – all of your home, at the same time.

A kitchen renovation takes an average of four months to complete. During those four months an entire renovation of your whole main floor can be done at the same time. The demo would be done at the same time. The electrical, flooring, drywall, and painting would be done at the same time. Installing kitchen flooring typically takes one day. Installing new flooring in the rest of your house typically takes 3 days. That means you can have the flooring done in your whole house or an entire floor in just 4 days’ time. While the kitchen cabinets are being installed the finishing carpenters can be installing the baseboards and mouldings in the rest of the home. The plumber can be working in the bathroom while he does work in your kitchen, saving him an extra trip and saving you money. Cabinets must be installed prior to measuring quartz or granite countertops. You have to wait for them to be measured and then wait another two weeks for the countertops to be fabricated. In those 2 weeks a lot of work can be done to the rest of the home. It’s worth considering. There are other instances like this that can be taken advantage of.

7. Cabinets vs. Drawers

Gone are the days of lower cabinets with doors. If you have lower cabinets with doors you are only using about half of the available space. You have to bend down and reach in to get at whatever is buried at the back of that cabinet. However, with drawers you are using about 90% of the space. This is because you can slide out a drawer and see everything that is in there. You can also easily organize everything inside the drawer and access it whenever you need to. Consider the wear and tear on your knees after years of crouching down on the floor to track down that elusive rice cooker or electric knife.

Drawers are more expensive than doors, yes, it’s true. It is understandable that you would be tempted to cut costs here and just install cabinets with doors. I beg you – don’t do it. The cost of difference between door units and multi drawer units is not that great when considering the overall cost of the renovation. It is certainly not an enormous cost to gain the ease of use and maximization of space.

Corner cabinets present the unique challenge of using the space effectively while keeping the space accessible. Although Lazy Susans were unreliable and wobbly in the past, they have now become a very solid, dependable part of any kitchen storage solution. While magic corners, the other main choice for corner cabinets, offer greater accessibility for items, their mechanical mechanism requires the sacrifice of the additional storage space a Lazy Susan provides. Like anything, there are better and poorer versions of Lazy Susans and magic corners on the market.It’s worth taking the time to figure out which one is best for you.

Like many kitchen renovation and design decisions, a good design build company will lay out all of the options and help you make the right choices.

8. Maximize the space

A good design build kitchen renovation company will listen to your needs and desires and then present kitchen designs, options and choices that meet those needs. For example, someone who loves to cook soups, stews and broths will have different kitchen design needs than someone who primarily uses the oven to bake meals. This will require different layouts.

If your kitchen is primarily used to prepare food strictly for your family, your kitchen needs will be different from those of someone who loves to host dinner parties. If you entertain, you need to store more dishes, utensils, serving plates, platters etc.

If you regularly have house guests, you’ll want to own a 4 slice toaster versus a 2 slice one. You’ll want to own a big coffee maker such as a Keurig and you’ll likely want to have a good selection of Keurig cups on hand. These are all more things to store in your kitchen, so be mindful of not only the need and purpose of these items, but the storage needs of them as well. You will likely need a larger refrigerator to store more food if you are a super host. Instead of a 30” width refrigerator, you probably would desire a 33” + width one.

9. Colors, layouts – decisions, decisions.

You’ve been itching to reach this one, haven’t you? And who could blame you! This is the fun part. Firstly, what type of layout will you have for your kitchen? There are basically 6 different ones.

  • Galley: If you don’t like Lazy Susans or magic corners, this kitchen’s for you. A galley kitchen is a svelte, highly-efficient use of space. If you do not have a great deal of square footage to work with or there is only one cook in your family, this layout should be at the top of your list. There are no corners in a galley kitchen, therefore, there is no need for a Lazy Susan or a magic corner. These types of kitchen are clean looking cost effective.
  • Peninsula: A peninsula kitchen layout is what I like to call the “Almost Island” kitchen. In essence, an island is connected to the rest of the kitchen. This is a space saving design for a room that does not have enough square footage to host an island. Peninsulas may have both upper and lower cabinets oronly lower cabinets. Many peninsulas have an extended ledge on one side to serve as a breakfast nook.
  • Horseshoe: This type of layout features three walls of cabinets, shelves and appliances.A horseshoe kitchen may also contain an island that acts as one of the three walls. The horseshoe layout of kitchen has a very cozy feel as it feels like its own room.
  • One Wall: A one wall kitchen is the most cost effective layout type. All of the cabinets and appliances are on one wall. These types of kitchens are frequently seen in lofts and studios and often have a minimalist feel to them.
  • Island: The kitchen layout of many home chefs’ dreams. The island layout is wildly popular and incredibly functional. The island portion of the kitchen may or may not have a sink, stove, dishwasher, wine cooler or more. It may have an overhang with stools to be used as a breakfast nook. If you are lucky enough to have the square footage to have an island kitchen, you are truly blessed.
  • Two Island: The family that cooks together…eats together? Two islands is double the space of one and double the options! With two islands, you have an extra food preparation area and extra storage as well. This type of kitchen can be as extravagant as you wish. You may have one island for eating and one island with a stove top for cooking. Or you may have a kids’ island and an adults’ island. The options are nearly endless if you have a very large amount of space to work with and a matching budget.

Look for a solid design build company at the very beginning so you know you can afford to build what you have paid to have designed. Having one designer and then another builder means you may have a gorgeous kitchen design that you have fallen in love with but that is too expensive for any builder to create. A quality design build companywill design and build a beautiful, functional kitchen that is in your price range. They will coordinate all of the details of the project and take the stress of the renovation off of your shoulders.

10. Faucets & Finishes

Quality is king when it comes to faucets. Choose quality faucets and fixtures as defective products may take five years to show up. Cheap sliders may break, low cost hinges may tarnish and affordable cabinets may not have enough varnish on them and chip or fade.

Kitchens are more mechanical in nature than other areas of your home. For this reason you should seriously consider hiring a quality design build firm that listens to you and your spouse. Your needs and desires should be heard and suggestions should be made based on those needs and desires.

Look for a solid design build company at the very beginning so you know you can afford to build what you have paid to have designed. Having one designer and then another builder means you may have a gorgeous kitchen design that you have fallen in love with but that is too expensive for any builder to create. A quality design build company will design and build a beautiful, functional kitchen that is in your price range. They will coordinate all of the details of the project and take the stress of the renovation off of your shoulders.