Tips for a Cost Effective Kitchen Makeover

1. Keep your cabinets! Resurfacing and painting or a new veneer or just new doors can save you a bundle in the long run because new cabinets are the biggest cost in a kitchen remodel. You can also add inexpensive open shelving to add interest to to the space or to go in place of some existing cabinetry.

 Color can go a long way in transforming your kitchen cabinets.

Color can go a long way in transforming your kitchen cabinets.

2. Invest in good countertops! But consider breaking up the space with mixed materials. Granite or stone tops are great but add butcher block or a tile mix to add depth to the space and save on materials.

 Mixing it up adds depth!

Mixing it up adds depth!

 

3. Keep your appliance floor plan! Moving appliances can be expensive as the electrical changes or mechanics may require a professional.

 Keep that floor plan to save!

Keep that floor plan to save!

4. Get creative with an island! A cabinet island is grand but you can also repurpose old furniture with a great countertop and add a lot of interest to the room as well as save bucks. Make sure it's countertop height (36 inches) and remember that in some cases you can add casters for height.

 Chests, tables, desks and vanities can double as kitchen islands.

Chests, tables, desks and vanities can double as kitchen islands.

5. Open up without tearing down! You can open up a kitchen by creating a cost effective cutout in lieu of tearing out walls. You can avoid electrical issues by doing so and still have that breezy floor plan you desire.

 Doors are so '80s! Open up and show off your kitchen.

Doors are so '80s! Open up and show off your kitchen.


Modern - and Southern!

Kitchen trends come and go but clean design never goes out of style. Check out this reno done by our very ownJulia Wood of The Design First. It features Miele, SubZero and Decor appliances and just goes to show that the south can rise to contemporary design! Call it refined rustic or organic modern - but whatever you do, call it beautiful!

 Stainless mixes with opalescent tile and mixed stone and granite countertops to add depth and edge to this sleek kitchen.   

Stainless mixes with opalescent tile and mixed stone and granite countertops to add depth and edge to this sleek kitchen.

 

 Wood goes a long way when it comes to adding warmth to contemporary spaces.   

Wood goes a long way when it comes to adding warmth to contemporary spaces.

 

 Home is where the hearth is!

Home is where the hearth is!

One Stop Shopping at Rocky Tops and The Design First!

Rocky Tops is more than just a supplier of custom crafted stone products – we are a one stop showroom for design, art, custom projects and gorgeous installations for your home or business.

 

We have paired up with The Design First – the bespoke home’s Julia Wood who hangs her shingle in our showroom to offer you top-notch design services should you need them. The Design First specializes in customizing clients’ needs with solid design principles specific to the kitchen and bath.

Established in 2005, Design First represents the highest quality of fine European and Made in America products – some of which are crafted exclusively by local artisans.

 

We also share space with Harris Design Studios’ Scott Harris who specializes in unique expressions in aluminum in painting, sculpture and custom work. His work is featured in galleries throughout the Southeast and many of his sculptures have been commissioned for commercial locations as well as homes.

 

At Rocky Tops, we’re the experts when it comes to granite, marble, soap stone, travertine, limestone, and quartzites as well as all engineered materials such as quartz, geo stone, ice stone, recycled glass materials, paperstone and other eco friendly products. We are custom fabricators and installer and we stay on the leading edge of materials offered in the coverings Industry so that we can bring our customers the latest products in the industry.

And it’s not just about the kitchen and bath! We do outdoor kitchens, outdoor grilling stations, water features, commercial signage and more.

 

We are offering special promotions throughout the Holiday Season if you come see us by December 31st for an estimate on your next project. Whether it’s a gift certificate for a grilling station for your spouse, a bathroom update, an addition to your outdoor room, new countertops, a beautiful piece of aluminum art or some of our products – lazy susans and cheese plates and more – we’ve got you covered this Holiday. Rock solid!

 

 

7015 Cessna Drive

Greensboro, NC 27409

336.665.5990

Translatable Trends from the High Point Market

1. The Graffiti Table from Alden Parkes tags the texture trend with a tactile, sculpted tabletop. You can do the same in your kitchen or bath with stone countertops and custom tile flooring. aldenparkes.com

2. Currey and Company’s gilded chandelier follows the floral trend in ready to wear. Add this to a powder room for a glittering touch. curreycodealers.com

 

 3. Jaxon by Victoria Richter envelops the fur trend with the Gunnison Chair in Himalayan sheep. Jaxonhome.com You can also own a piece of art in pillow form with Jaxon’s Lori Lipton collection. Use throws on kitchen bar stools or a vanity seat for a touch of warmth.


 4.Saba Italia’s reversible chair in orange and grey leather combines smart and art in this clever design duo. This would bring a modern edge to a kitchen. Sabaitalia.it

 5. Indigo is everywhere and this inky trend makes its mark at Kindel Furniture in the form of a chest of drawers with gold detailing. Convert it to sink top or simply use for storage in kitchen or bath! kindelfurniture.com

 6. Plush seating from Eilerson makes cocooning intimately more inviting in modern articulations of velvet.  Or just add this hue to be on trend color-wise! eilerson.eu/

 

7. The red Sculptura outdoor chair from Woodard has a retro feel but can withstand the elements with today’s tough-as-nails techno finishes. It works for kitchen seating or your outdoor kitchen and adds a pop. woodard-furniture.com

 

Powder Room Facelift

Imagine, if you will, a 100 year old house in an Historic Neighborhood with small rooms and myriad renovations over the course of a century's worth of innovations in heating, plumbing, interior design and materials. Now imagine what the bathrooms must have gone through! The floors alone have seen wood, tile, broadloom and more tile upon tile. The last incarnation was a cheap mosaic sheet tile on plywood that featured a large lump from years of shifting.

 Rotting plywood from improper sealing of tile -- and father time -- was just one of the obstacles of this renovation.

Rotting plywood from improper sealing of tile -- and father time -- was just one of the obstacles of this renovation.

The first thing we did was remove the old tile and replace the plywood. The joists were still in excellent shape! We found a slate look tile for the base look and added a lattice-work marble "rug" of tile to center the small room and give it depth. (This is an excellent way to save money while still incorporating marble.)

 

 

 The existing cheap mosaic sheet tile was in bad shape and had created a "hump" in the floor.

The existing cheap mosaic sheet tile was in bad shape and had created a "hump" in the floor.

 Here is the gorgeous marble rug in all its glory!

Here is the gorgeous marble rug in all its glory!

 Topped with a sparkling fixture and toile curtain -- we managed to update an Historic home while still keeping its vintage flavor!

Topped with a sparkling fixture and toile curtain -- we managed to update an Historic home while still keeping its vintage flavor!

A Primer on Lighting

 Bad lighting can ruin the mood of a room, detract from investment materials and make functional rooms like the kitchen and bath dangerous. Today's options are both affordable, environmentally driven and easy. You just have to make a plan and learn the lingo!

Bad lighting can ruin the mood of a room, detract from investment materials and make functional rooms like the kitchen and bath dangerous. Today's options are both affordable, environmentally driven and easy. You just have to make a plan and learn the lingo!

Lumen Output – Higher output fixtures can be spaced further apart and fixture output and spacing can be managed to easily meet light level targets.

 

Optics – To ensure light distribution patterns, narrow, wide and aisle optics are available.

 

Color Temperature – Fixtures are available in different versions dependent upon environment.

 

Occupancy Sensing – Digital Lumen fixtures can provide light exactly when and where needed.

 

Daylignt Harvesting – Integrated daylight sensors check for available ambient light and adjust fixture output to compensate. This conserves energy by decreasing and increasing output based on natural light available.

Let There Be Light - Illuminating Trends in the World of Lighting

 “It takes a lot of work to figure out how to look so good.”

Andy Warhol

  Designer Julia Wood believes that lighting sets the tone for any room and that dimmable LEDs shed the best light on quality materials. Illuminating Technologies President and C.M.O. Gordon Hunt  says that no glare, task lighting and keeping it visually interesting are key ingredients to a well-lit room.

Designer Julia Wood believes that lighting sets the tone for any room and that dimmable LEDs shed the best light on quality materials. Illuminating Technologies President and C.M.O. Gordon Hunt  says that no glare, task lighting and keeping it visually interesting are key ingredients to a well-lit room.

In the era of the selfie and Photoshop, residential and commercial lighting are following suit in an effort to make your home or business look as natural and beautiful as you want it to be. Highlighting points of interest, tasks and materials to bring out the best in these areas is high-tech and has become just as important as material selection and quality when it comes to home or brick-and-mortar store.

“The trend is really about more layers and more controls and going back to a more natural appearance,” says Gordon Hunt, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Illuminating Technologies, a Greensboro, N.C.,-based company offering innovative photonic solutions and energy management.

        The company services retail establishments, warehouses and facilities such as hotels, colleges and museums and builds custom solutions for both new and existing construction. “We are primarily commercial but the same technology and looks apply to residential. There’s a distinct move away from gimmicky ‘green’ trends and towards high tech solutions with environmental impact,” says Hunt, “The bottom line is that today we can be responsible and make it beautiful.”

        Hunt says that people want comfort and warmth when it comes to environment and that lighting is a key factor in providing that. “We understand materials and how lighting has an impact on them,” he says, “certain colors of stone, granite versus solid surfaces all require different lighting. And you’re going to waste a lot of money if you put in expensive materials with the wrong lighting.”

  Hunt says bad lighting robs rooms of their potential and takes away from investment materials and leaves work surfaces improperly lit.

Hunt says bad lighting robs rooms of their potential and takes away from investment materials and leaves work surfaces improperly lit.

 

Julia Wood, owner and chief designer at The Design First, a Greensboro, N.C., kitchen and bath company works with Hunt on design projects. “Gordon knows his stuff,” says Wood, “he knows how to get efficiency without giving up gorgeous lighting. In my business – kitchens and baths – it really shapes everything you see, whether it’s putting on make-up or cooking dinner in a custom kitchen or just plain safety issues!”

 

        Age also plays a factor when it comes to lighting. Hunt says the eye’s ability to shift changes drastically from 30 to 40 to 60 to 75 and both he and Wood take that into account. “I begin with using contrasting work surfaces and cabinetry and then bring in lighting to customize,” says Wood. “It’s even more important in the bath where more accidents happen than any other room.”

        Another trend extending from commercial into residential spaces is outdoor lighting. “You don’t want your yard to look like a dentist’s office,” says Hunt, “but if you can see outside it carries your indoor space outside. Add in the outdoor kitchen trend, security and safety and it’s a win, win, win.”

       Wood says the time to correct lighting issues is anytime but especially at remodel/ pre-construction if possible and that old lighting styles (halogen, xenon and incandescent) produce heat and cost more to operate. “No longer is LED so stark white. The technology has come very far to simulate those warm, rich tones. Premium lighting doesn’t have to cost a small fortune anymore, in the short- or long-term. Operational costs have come down on general lighting sources thanks to technological improvements,” she says. 

        Daylight Harvesting – using solar tubes, skylights and other sources of natural light to augment artificial – is also trending. “And the beauty of it is that all of this is not an expensive thing to do,” says Wood, “you really just have to plan for it!”

Gordon Hunt, LC
Illuminating Technologies
6386 Burnt Poplar Road
Greensboro, NC 27407

Sales@illuminatingtechnologies.com

336-230-1490

A Guide to Countertops

Soapstone Kitchen Counters


Often used in laboratories for its resistance to stains, chemicals and bacteria, soapstone is a durable and natural choice for a kitchen. At $80 to $100 per square foot installed, it might be on the more expensive side, but it can be a lifetime investment.

Granite Kitchen Counters

There are plenty of reasons granite is so popular — this natural stone has plenty of character, with unique grains, colors and customizable finishes. When properly sealed, it's one of the most durable options out there. While it can cost as low as $50 per square foot installed, prices can go up quickly with more exotic slabs and difficult installations. 

Copper Kitchen Counters


It certainly isn't common, but a copper countertop is surprisingly easy to clean and maintain. However, it's not for perfectionists — since it's a "living" surface, it reacts to different substances, creating a blend of matte reds, browns and greens. But for those who love the look, the minimum $100-per-square-foot cost is worth it.

Engineered Quartz Kitchen Counters


Perfect for the customized home, engineered quartz comes in just about every shade imaginable. This engineered product combines ground quartz, resin and pigments for a tough, nonporous material. Great ecofriendly attributes makes it a safe bet for green homes, too. Get ready to pay up, though, since costs range from $95 to $105 per square foot installed.

Tile Kitchen Counters

One of the more affordable counter choices (starting at $30 per square foot installed), ceramic or stone tile is incredibly durable, and one of the few DIY countertop options. Maintenance can be difficult with all that grout, but choosing a durable and dark grout can make things easier.

Ecofriendly Kitchen Counters


A little research is really all that's required today to make your new kitchen ecofriendly. The wide variety of material styles and costs — from salvaged wood to Bio-Glass to bamboo (shown in this photo) — means you can find just the right green countertop material for your home.

Zinc Kitchen Counters

You don't see zinc countertops in many modern kitchens, but this metal has a warmth that has made it popular for centuries. Zinc's tone darkens with time, adding patina. Its antimicrobial properties make it a smart choice for a cooking space. This beautiful material typically costs $100 and up per square foot, installed.

Recycled Paper-Based Kitchen Counters

Recycled paper sounds like the worst possible material for a kitchen countertop, but this ecofriendly choice has surprising durability. When blended with resins and pigments, it has the look and feel of soapstone — but at $40 to $80 per square foot installed, it's a fraction of the cost.

Plastic Laminate Kitchen Counters

Although it's sometimes scoffed at by stone lovers, plastic laminate still has a serious fan base. The wide range of customizable edges and finishes means it can work in any design. At $8 to $20 per square foot installed, its affordable price makes it a winner for many. However, it's not the most durable of countertops, so it may not be best for heavy-duty cooks.

Recycled Glass and Cement Kitchen Counters


Although it's expensive ($100 to $160 per square foot installed), this unique combination of glass and cement is a surefire way to add character to your kitchen. Ecofriendly, durable and customizable, this countertop material is a top choice for a "forever home."

Marble Kitchen Counters

Marble has an unrivaled, classic look that always seems to be in style. For lovers of white kitchens in particular, marble offers more variety than almost any other material. Marble is known more for the patina it develops with use than for its durability. It's a softer stone than granite, and can scratch and stain easily; the cost typically ranges from $70 to $100 per square foot.

Concrete Kitchen Counters


Pigments, stains and dyes can create concrete counters with color and visual texture. With the right sealer, a concrete counter can be well worth its cost — at least $100 to $150 per square foot installed.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Counters

Professional chefs love stainless steel because it's nonstaining, heat resistant and easy to clean. While it certainly makes fingerprints and scratches stand out, it's a great choice for hardworking kitchens that don't need a perfect look. A price tag of $80 to $90 per square foot installed means it's more affordable than most stone counters, too.

Solid-Surface Kitchen Counters

Is it stone, wood or plastic? This miracle material has the ability to emulate just about any look without the same damage risk or maintenance. Prices range from $50 to $100 per square foot, depending on the manufacturer.

Wood Kitchen Counters

For some, wood and countertops just don't seem to mix. But a high-quality wood with the right kind of sealer can make for a beautiful, warm and long-lasting countertop. The price varies substantially depending on the type of wood you choose, but butcher block counters tend to range from $30 to $85 per square foot, for materials only. 

Wood on Wood

Wood flooring has made a hard comeback in kitchens of late -- and the look is not restricted to rustic or traditional designs. Modern cabinetry and sleek hardware pair beautifully with natural hardwoods.