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Kitchens Over The Last 100 Years

There was a time when kitchens weren’t the special spot in the house. It didn’t really have a social atmosphere for people to congregate to. They were purely used for servants and women of the house to prep food and that was it. Usually small unless it was the rich and then it was big because of all the servants who needed to prepare meals for everyone. Things have changed dramatically over the last 100 years.  Kitchens are now a place for the whole family to relax, work and socialize as well as cook. Modern kitchens spill out into the living room, garden area or patio to emphasize on entertaining family and friends. Below, we take a glance at how far and how much change has the everyday kitchen evolved into what it is today.

 

Before 1940

This was the era before kitchens were more than just a prepping area. Kitchens mostly consisted of wood. Kitchens started to take a turn in 1920 when the electric dishwasher was built but it wasn’t easy. Magazines would have to encourage husbands that he’d have a happier life if he had a happier wife. Women didn’t have the upper hand in buying things for the household so to free themselves from the curse of dish-washing, advertising companies had to convince the husband that it was a good investment. Some women reported washing 200+ pieces a day back then.

   

 

1940’s-1950’s

This was the era of appliances. Waffles irons, toasters, and percolators were some of the first to take popularity. Kitchens started to become more decorated with built-ins and pops of color especially in appliances like the fridge and stove. It was the age of fancy for the kitchen trend through the 60’s. Minimizing work was very important to the housewife and easy cleaning was a must so metal cabinets, stainless steel counters, and linoleum floors started to become the trend. The washing machine and wringer made its debut during this time and back then laundry rooms were non-existent so it was set up in the kitchen. Refrigerators stepped up their game and offered glass shelves, indoor compartments, crisper drawers, and freezers which made daily grocery shopping a thing of the past. The electric oven also became a household need instead of the original wood, coal or gas stoves. During this time is when kitchens started to become more inviting to friends and family trying to include the cook with the rest of the household. 

   

1960’s-1970’s

This was the decade for colors! This is where the harvest gold and avocado green were born. Kitchens started to become more opened up to include the eating area which created the work triangle and the U-shaped kitchen. It still gave kitchens the feeling of intimacy without completely enclosing the walls but also providing an open feel to it. Creating extra space for cooking and storage as well. Storage was huge in the 60’s and 70’s because of all the gadgets that were being invented so design ideas that helped with storage were a growing factor. Kitchen pegboards were one design that seemed to take off. It added a convenient way to keep pans within arms reach while adding an unexpected decorative element to space. Another boundary-breaking design that hit kitchens in this era was busy prints, especially in wallpaper. A few devices that were popular in the kitchen were microwaves, which changed how cooking was done from here on out. Fridges even stepped up their game and added more features like water and ice dispensers from the door. The phone also became a household item and usually was found in the kitchen. 

 

 

1980’s-1990’s

This is the era we are all running away from now. Oak cabinets, frilly window treatments and color palettes that are now heavy-handed. Bright colors and busy patterns started to fade from kitchen decor and neutrals started to make its way into the kitchen. Pastels and bright hues were still popular but it tended to be more in the accents. Natural light, open shelving, and islands were trendy now that the kitchen started to become a place for socializing. The 80’s brought the home computer and a new fad was eat-in kitchens. After the 90’s, Linoleum floors and Formica counters faded into tile floors and granite counters to make kitchens look more timeless.

   

Modern Day

One style that is sticking around since the 80’s and 90 ’s is natural light, open shelving, and islands. 2000 kitchens differ greatly from 2018 kitchens and will also continue to change by 2030 but the design goal with kitchens of the 21st century is to reach an aesthetically pleasing and functional kitchen that is timeless. Kitchens today are all about the amenities and unique storage options. While modern minimalist designs are popular so is the old-fashioned farmhouse look with a modern touch. Kitchens have become the center of the home bringing families closer together. Appliances have become smarter than the average joe, from remote access to automated encyclopedia by voice activation, the wave of the future has changed the way we do things. With both parents working full-time careers, the kitchen has become less for prepping and more for gathering.

 Kitchen  

Kitchens have definitely changed a lot over the last 100 years and will continue to change in the next 100 years to come. One thing to remember when renovating your kitchen is choosing a contractor to listen to your wants or needs and communicating with you every step of the way. Need a free estimate give us a call and we will make your dream kitchen come to life.

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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The “NEW” Vinyl Flooring

The History of Vinyl Flooring

Although vinyl is the most widespread type of industrial flooring, it has just recently gained popularity in the residential flooring market. The material has been around since 1926, so it has had time to evolve. All of its industrial-grade characteristics (water, scuff, stain, and scratch resistance) are why more and more people choose it over hardwood and laminate flooring. With an increasing number of manufacturers focusing more on the luxury vinyl tiles that imitate the texture and colors of natural materials such as wood and stone, this type of flooring is bound to dominate the residential market soon. Vinyl is durable and practical but does have some flaws. 

Pros

  1. Variety of Styles and Colors- Due to the customization-ability of the manufacturing process the design styles and colors are endless. The tiles are made by turning colored PVC chips into solid sheets of different thickness, which allows for a pretty wide variety of colors and patterns that can’t be achieved with other flooring types. There is even now the option of an extra layer of polyurethane, which can be made to resemble texture and feel like stone, wood, and even clay tiles. This technology makes it very hard to tell the printed vinyl tiles from the real floors.
  2. Different Types of Flooring- Tiles tend to be the most popular residential flooring but there are other shapes and types of vinyl. It can be either rolled out in sheets or cut into tiles or planks. Sheets of vinyl are usually 6 or 12 feet wide, kept in rolls and sold by length. Using vinyl sheets makes the surface look consistent and gives it a clean look. Vinyl tiles have a standard size of 12×12 inches, but can be made bigger or smaller to fit your needs. It can also come in the form of planks. This can vary in length but are usually 4 ½ or 6 inches wide. All these different types can significantly minimize the amount of waste that’s left after installing.
  3. Softness- Vinyl floors do have a layer of foam added during the manufacturing process that’s used to cushion the sound more. It makes for a surface that’s much softer than wood or laminate.
  4. Easy Maintenance- Floor maintenance with vinyl floors requires very little effort. They are water and stain resistant so they are perfect for households with kids and pets. When installed properly, vinyl planks are perfectly flat with no cracks or dents, which makes sweeping and vacuuming much easier.
  5. Easy Installation- This is one of the biggest benefits of vinyl plank floors is that they are fast and easy to install. Most are made to click and lock into one another and depending on their backing can be installed without adhesive. When installing, the surface rarely needs to be perfectly flat and allows for minor inconsistencies.
  6. Extreme Durability- A lot of the vinyl flooring manufacturers offer 25-year or lifetime warranty to residential areas. They are produced in a way that makes them water, stain, scratch and scuff resistant, which makes for a very durable floor that takes a lot of time to wear out.

Cons

  1. VOC Emissions-This stands for volatile organic compounds which are organic chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and release dangerous emissions indoors. These compounds aren’t acutely toxic, but a prolonged exposure may lead to health problems such as asthma, eye and skin irritations, etc. Since 2010, many manufacturers reduced the amount of PVC used in the production of vinyl tiles, but low-end products often come with a high concentration of VOC.
  2. Prone to Gouging- Although this is a problem mainly associated with vinyl sheets, vinyl planks can also suffer from this kind of damage. Planks have a much harder surface than sheets of vinyl, but the polyurethane top layer that luxury vinyl tiles have is still easy to dent. Thanks to shock-absorbing ability, a glass is more likely not to break when it hits the vinyl floor but a dropped knife will leave a pretty visible, irreparable cut.
  3. Requires Skill and Experience- The interlocking mechanism found with vinyl planks might make them seem like a dream DIY product, but installing vinyl planks requires a little more experience than beginner’s level. Preparing the surface, applying a flattening mass, cutting and adjusting the shape of the plank are all things for which you might want to hire a qualified contractor to install.
  4. Marginal Effect on Resale Value- Vinyl planks are the least expensive flooring option but can be the biggest expense when renovating because of the prep work that goes into it, especially with the rollout vinyl. So, investing in vinyl plank floor won’t increase the value of the property because most home buyers prefer premium floors such as wood or stone.

 

Types of Vinyl Flooring

Self Adhesive: This type of flooring has an adhesive film on the back that you remove. This is a cheaper version of vinyl flooring but still popular due to their appearance and ease of installation.

Glue-down: Depending on the type of vinyl, those using glue-down methods will typically see more PVC and multiple layers due to there adhesive natural needed. There is a special adhesive that is needed that is waterproof.

Interlocking: This type of vinyl flooring is a locking technique used with a hammer to connect them together. No other extra adhesives are needed, it’s like a large jigsaw puzzle.

Loose Lay: This is a newer technique that creates a barrier to eliminate the possibility of moisture above the flooring. With this installation method, you can clean up any spills you have without worrying about the subfloor becoming wet. Without any adhesive, if there is a spill that has been there awhile then you can pull them up instantly. You don’t need gap expanders, and these tiles won’t contract or expand because of their clippings to the wall.

 

How to Find a High-Quality Vinyl Plank Floor

When you’re looking for vinyl planks on the price spectrum tend to look equally good, and their real-life characteristics can’t be easily distinguishable. There are a few things you should look for in vinyl planks that can help you determine its quality, and avoid buying an overpriced or a substandard product. The most important trait of vinyl planks is their thickness, which also determines their price. So mid to high range planks would be 5-6.5mm thick, while the cheapest is usually 1.5 or 2mm thick.

Another thing to look for in a vinyl plank is a thick wear layer. A thick wear layer means more polyurethane, which is a lot harder than PVC and offers better protection from scratching and gouging.

Luxury vinyl planks are more expensive than the plain variety because they have a texture almost exactly like real wood or stone. The deeper and more detailed the embossing, the better it is. Always try to pick a few random planks and check the quality of the texture with your fingers.

Although the vinyl itself is pretty durable, the entire plank can easily wear and tear if not made properly. The cheapest vinyl planks usually come with the shortest warranty and vice versa. It’s recommended you always choose a product at the top of your budget to ensure the best value for your money.

 

Cleaning and Maintenance

Use a lightweight vacuum or broom to remove fine dirt and debris that builds-up on the flooring. Depending on how much traffic your flooring endures, will determine how often you will need to sweep. Everyday dish soap and warm water work great with a damp mop. If your mop has a scrub brush on it, that is fine to use for harder grime just make sure it is plastic bristles and not wired or super stiff ones, it can damage it if it’s too abrasive. Be sure to rinse with a clean bucket of warm water after cleaning. If you feel like it needs more of a deep cleaning then use white vinegar and warm water or combine dish soap and vinegar.Try to avoid strong abrasive cleaners as it can damage the vinyl over time. Maintenance over time is almost non-existent but you could coat it with polish every year or so to protect against wear and tear and brighten it up a little bit. Most luxury vinyl flooring has a 25-year warranty or longer.

 

       

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Celebrating July Fourth with Retro Pro!

History of Independence Day!

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the Fourth of July or how the Fourth of July holiday came about? Many people think we celebrate the Fourth of July because it is the day we received our Independence from England. While those people are thinking along the right track that is not the entire reason that we celebrate the Fourth of July, nor is it the reason that the Fourth of July holiday came about.

Way back in the 18th century, the United States was not considered the United States. In fact, what we now call states were actually called colonies. The United States was actually an extension of England. People traveled from England aboard ships to settle in America, but eventually, differences in life, in thought, and in interests began to develop which caused a rift between Britain and America.

When the colonies were first settled they were allowed to pretty much develop freely without hardly any interface from Britain, but things abruptly changed in 1763. Britain suddenly decided that they needed to take more control over the colonies. Britain decided that the colonies needed to return revenue to the mother country and they needed to pay for the colonies defense, which was being provided by Britain. But the colonies did not agree with these new rules at all. They felt that since they were not represented in Parliament that they shouldn’t have to pay any kinds of taxes to the mother country, hence the saying “no taxation without representation.” When Britain continued to tax, the colonies formed the First Continental Congress to persuade the British government to recognize their rights. When this didn’t work a war was declared, which is known as the American Revolution.

After the First Continental Congress failed to persuade Britain to recognize the colonies’ rights, and war was declared, things began to heat up. Many people who were both considered moderates and radicals had decided that enough was enough and that any kind of taxation without representation was considered tyranny. People such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Ben Franklin, as well as a group called the Sons of Liberty decided that it was time to unite all of the colonies and to stand together against Britain.

During the course of the American Revolution, a second Continental Congress was formed. It is this group that adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was drafted by John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. After the first draft was written by Thomas Jefferson, it was revised by Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson before it was sent to Congress for approval. All thirteen colonies stood behind the Declaration of Independence and adopted it in full on July 4, 1776.

This is where the Fourth of July holiday comes in. The Fourth of July is known as Independence Day because that is the day that the Second Continental Congress adopted the full and formal Declaration of Independence. Even though we had declared that we were independent, the American Revolution was still being fought, which meant that we were still not independent. Regardless of the ongoing war the following year, people in Philadelphia celebrated a muted Fourth of July.

While celebrations on July 4th during the American Revolution were modest, after the war ended in 1783 the Fourth of July became a holiday in many places. The celebrations included speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks. To this day the Fourth of July is the most patriotic holiday celebrated in the United States.

 

Recipes

Star Marshmallow Pops

Ingredients:

  • Kraft Square S’more Marshmallows
  • Star Cookie Cutter (about 2″ wide)
  • Red Sugar Crystals
  • Blue Sugar Crystals
  • Paper Straws-patriotic colors
  • water

Directions:

Start off by laying out some wax paper to avoid a sticky mess. Grab your cookie cutter and press it into as many marshmallows as you think you’ll want for star pops. Push the paper straws into the middle (sticky part) of the marshmallow stars and set them back down on the wax paper. When you ready to start decorating, put another piece of wax paper on the counter. Press the marshmallow into a cup of water-turning it over to coat both sides with water. Then press the “wet with water” sides into the sugar crystals coating the marshmallow with the sugar crystals. Set the coated marshmallow pops onto the wax paper sheet to dry-it will probably take about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then once they have had a chance to dry place them in a mason jar with rice at the bottom to hold them in place looking like a bouquet. Store in an airtight container if you want to keep them for a couple of days.

 

 

 

Red, White, and Blue Frozen Bananas

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate melting wafers or chocolate chips: red, white, blue
  • Lollipop Sticks
  • Red, white, & Blue sprinkles

Directions:

Peel the bananas and then cut them in half. Place each banana piece on a lollipop stick. Freeze the bananas for at least two hours. Melt the Ghirardelli chocolates in the microwave and then use a spoon to cover the frozen banana with the melted chocolate. If you are going to decorate your red, white and blue frozen bananas with sprinkles, add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. If you want to drizzle on the candy melts, place the chocolate covered frozen bananas back in the freezer until the chocolate is completely hardened. For the candy drizzle, place 15 Wilton blue, red and white candy melts in a Ziploc bags. Place the plastic bags in the microwave.  We started at 40 seconds increments until the candy melts were fully melted. Once the candy melts are melted, cut the tip off the bag and drizzle the candy over the frozen bananas. Place the decorated red, white and blue frozen bananas back in the freezer until you are ready to serve them.

 

DIY Projects

4th of July Fireworks Decor

Supplies:

  • Variety of sticks
  • Flat spray paint Red, white & blue
  • 3 Mason jars
  • A ribbon that is red, white & blue or themed for Independence day

 

Directions:

Spread out a bundle of sticks in pile of three. Spray each pile with red, white, and blue paint. Let dry and reapply if you see any missed sections. Take the mason jars and wrap the themed ribbon around the top. Place the sticks in the jar and display as a centerpiece or mantel decoration.

 

 

Firecracker Poppers

Supplies:

  • A stapler
  • Scissors
  • Craft or needlework needle
  • Fun craft punches for making your own confetti
  • Hole Puncher
  • Toilet paper (to make the rocket shape)
  • Colored construction paper
  • Red and Blue tissue paper
  • String
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Beads (these will not show so it doesn’t matter what they look like)
  • Ribbon for the streamers (red, white, & blue)

Directions:

Cut a small square of tissue paper that will be big enough to cover the bottom of your cardboard tube (about 3” across). Cut a small disc out of a sheet of construction paper that will fit just within the radius of the cardboard tube. With some glue attach this disc to the center of the tissue paper. Let it dry a few minutes. Thread about an arm’s length of string onto your craft needle and tie a bead to the end for a knot. With this, puncture the center of your disc that is attached to the tissue paper. This will be the trap door.

Next, you will need to glue this tissue paper trap door to your cardboard tube with a small line of glue around the bottom of the tube. Make sure you attach it with the bead side inside the tube and the string side hanging outside of your tube. You can add a pull tab to your long dangling fuse or just let it hang. We added stars to some of ours. Let dry. Cover the toilet paper with decorative paper so you don’t know that it is toilet paper. The length is roughly 6.5×4.25. Attaching the ribbons to the bottom inside of the decorative covering will keep it looking more professional. Roll your paper around the tube and staple the top for strength. You can’t staple the bottom because your tissue paper trap door keeps the stapler from getting inside but I found that a couple of pieces of tape did the trick. Now you can fill your tube with confetti. We just put in a few handfuls but feel free to load this sucker up. Just think about how much confetti you want to clean up later. Attaching the cone to the top of your rocket can be a bit tedious. It’s purely aesthetic so if you opt out of this part that’s fine.

Cut a circle about 3.25 inches wide across, then cut one snip all the way to the center of the disc like you see above. Take the edges of your cut and pull them together, probably about a half an inch or more. When your cone has reached a desirable height, staple it at the base. Attaching the cone to your rocket can be a little tricky. The important thing is creating a strong holder that you can use to hang your rocket from. Since these rockets will be tugged upon, you don’t want it to fall apart before it explodes. Putting a weight-bearing string through two holes punched in the top of the rocket body works best.  

Then string the two sides of the string through the center bead and up through the center of the cone so that it comes out of the point at the top of the cone. The cone itself can’t really hold the rocket together so taping it wouldn’t work. An easy way to string the cone is to open up the stapled cut from the inside of your cone and pull your string through the gap.

 

       

Here’s a Scientific Diagram 

I found that I needed to “prime” some of the rockets to ensure maximum explosiveness. You can do this by simply poking some small holes (or cutting with a sharp blade) around the bottom of the trap door. Just make sure you don’t cut it completely out because the ripping sound of that trap door being yanked out is probably the biggest part of the fun.

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Modern Farmhouse VS. Country Farmhouse Styles

Do you like a modern farmhouse style or a country/rustic farmhouse style? The styles vary slightly but the look changes everything. 

Long before Fixer Upper on HGTV became a hit, the farmhouse style always had something about its character and rustic beauty. Nowadays, you can mix that farmhouse style with clean and modern lines that create a whole new style in our modern day.

Modern Farmhouse Style

 It’s not often that the term modern and farmhouse are heard together but the combination of design styles has become quite popular amongst homeowners. A contemporary farmhouse evokes feelings of warmth and comfort but stays classic and timeless. Not too cluttered with old stuff but more of a mix of new adding a touch of rustic woods and rusted metals. It’s a balance between comfortable furniture and decor with a hint of salvaged materials like reclaimed wood or old antiques. Everything is tactile and tangible.

 

Country Farmhouse Style

Country Farmhouse style is more casual with less sophistication. It lies heavily on accessories of old stuff than a minimal standpoint. This type of style feels more original and carries true elements of vintage throughout. The furniture and appliances are true to the style but sometimes a laminate is laid over the top of new appliances to match the cabinets. It creates more of a homey feel than a clean feel like the modern farmhouse style. Antiques and old decor flourish in this style. Everything is eclectic and comfortable. 

 

For your bathroom you could add these:

  • Refurbished old dresser for a vanity
  • Brushed metal handles (bronze or black)
  • Antique touches or knick knacks
  • Natural textures
  • Distressed wooden framed mirror
  • An old footed tub or copper colored tub
  • Barn wood accent walls

 

For Your Kitchen you could add these:

  • Farmhouse Sink
  • White cabinets
  • Beadboard
  • Shiplack
  • Rustic Table
  • Mason jars or large glass jars as accents
  • Rustic touches
  • Plank wood floors
  • Barn wood accents or door
  • Half door
  • Open shelving
  • Plate racks
  • Old photos framed
  • Old windows used as wall hangings
  • Mixing wood and metals together with furniture
  • White subway tile as a backsplash

 

 

                    

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Dreaming of a Spa Bathroom

To Dream Or Not To Dream

Inspired by dream magazines and 5-star resorts, homeowners are willing to spend the money to make their bathroom look and feel like a luxury, relaxing spa oasis. Bringing the experience to your personal bathroom is no easy task and definitely not cheap but here are 10 spa bathroom ideas you can use that will take you right to your favorite vacation spot.

 

Go Minimalist

One thing that makes resort spas so relaxing is lack of clutter. It gives you a piece of mind and room to relax forgetting about the rest of everyday life. Start with your cabinets and drawers throwing away anything you do not need. Put everything away and out of site.

 

Let in Natural Light

Natural light is the number one to getting the mind to relax. It also triggers the release of happiness-inducing hormones. It can be a large window on one wall or medium sized window next to the bathtub. If your view isn’t very relaxing you can purchase a film to place on the window to add privacy and a soft look.

Use White

Most spas are light and bright. They love to use white so use white as much as possible and accent with a pop of color to bring it all together. The lights should also complement the bathroom decor as well. If you are worried about cleaning more with white use more durable and maintenance free products in your bathroom.

Create Some Privacy

Privacy adds the true spa-like feel when you want to escape from the world and its troubles. A curtain, plants or even a divider will add depth and give it a calming and relaxed feel. It will also keep your privacy in the room if you share it with your spouse.

   

Style up the Artificial Lighting

Stylish lamps in various areas of the bathroom with create a more uniformed lighting than just a fixed overhead light. You can also make use of dimmers to lower the brightness when you want to relax and adds drama. Candles are still relazxing so be sure to place them spratically around the room for when it is time to relax.

Add Some Music

The greatest part about relaxing is involving all of the senses. Our ears are one of the senses we forget when creating a relaxing atmosphere so incorporate sound into your bathroom. Use soft music or nature sounds to create a pleasant auditory experience. There are plenty of different kinds of ways to have this: going full out or just something small and portable.

      

Keep Everything Neat

Disorganization has been proven to create stress. Decluttering your space is very important to have a zen feeling. Don’t leave a towel lying around or clutter of toothbrushes and knick-knacks all over the countertops. If you find it is a challenge, start with the first tip of going minimalists.

Pamper Yourself With Softness

Adding texture and softness to your bathroom adds coziness. Soft fluffy towels, a thick bath mat are a few things to add comfort to the space. The texture on the walls or accents can be a great way to break up the softness but still keep it cozy and spa-like.

 

Add a Piece of Art

Hanging some paintings or one large painting warms up the space and makes it more than just a bathroom. It makes its another space in the home to relax and enjoy. This is where color should play a role if you choose to have a white bathroom. It will be the center of the room, so make it stand out. If you don’t want to have a painting choose a sculpture and place it in a spot where it grabs your attention.

      

Use Plants

Plants, real or fake always warm and brighten up any room. It creates a natural relaxing feel. Some plants that do well in bathrooms are Bamboo, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp (mother’s tongue), Peace Lily, Philodendron, Aloe Plant, and Succulents.

      

Some other ideas to create a spa-like bathroom:

  • Use earthy paint colors
  • Install dimmers
  • Add faux wood tiles
  • Add a fluffy rug
  • Add a tub tray to your tub
  • Install a massage shower head
  • Add a steam shower with aromatherapy
  • Heat your towels
  • Add oil diffusers and candles

 

 

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Feng Shui For Your Kitchen

In Feng Shui, kitchens are one of the most important rooms. They represent the heart and home, a place where friends and family gather to connect. Using feng shui to organize and calm a kitchen can increase health and happiness.

The Meaning Of Feng Shui

It’s an ancient Chinese science of creating happiness and abundance by altering or modifying the movement of chi energy and by balancing the effect of elements and directions. However, as per now, just understand that it’s the science that creates positivity and suppresses negativity.

A kitchen is a place where healthy, nutritious and yummy food are cooked; the same food once consumed gives you and your family the energy and stamina for day-to-day chores. Furthermore, a kitchen has a lot of fire element involved and it’s always better to keep the “fire element” under control. This is why you must make it feng shui compliant.

When you combine Kitchen and Feng Shui you get a kitchen that can and has all the ability in the world to ward off any or all negativity while, simultaneously, enhancing positive energy in your home. The same positive energy then spreads into your home making you and your family happier, healthier, optimistic and everything good that you can think of.

 

    

 

Tips For Adding Feng Shui:

  • Mirrors are good if you position them to reflect the stove burners; doubling the burners is believed to boost finances.
  • Copper attracts positive chi. This could be decorations or copper pots.
  • Potted plants or herbs bring prosperity but be sure to place them along the south and east walls of the kitchen.
  • Fruits and vegetables indicate prosperity also and using pictures will increase the sensation of abundance.
  • If the laundry room is in or beside the kitchen then don’t allow dirty clothes to pile up.
  • Keep pantry doors closed at all times.
  • Don’t leave brooms and mops out, store them in a closet to keep clutter minimal.
  • Don’t place the oven or range in the northwest sector known as “Heaven’s Gate.” Good luck energy resides in the northwest direction.
  • Don’t let dirty dishes pile up.
  • Don’t hang a dish towel over the oven handle.
  • Keep entries clear and uncluttered to invite opportunity in.

Feng Shui Color and Their Meanings:

Keep the following in mind as a guide, but always remember to tap into your own mind, body, spirit needs and goals, as well as your own visceral reaction to each color.

Red- Acts as a stimulator.

Orange- Uplifting color that promotes happiness.

Yellow/Gold- Symbolizes power, stimulates health, patience and wisdom.

Pink- Represents love, romance, and partnership.

Green- Represents growth and new beginnings, as well as healing and freshness.

Blue/Greens- Represents youth, new beginnings, and inspires confidence.

Deeper Blues- Infuses wisdom and introspection.

Purple- Inspires spirituality, adventure, and prosperity.

Black- Contemplative color that encourages reflection and mystery.

White- Cultivates clarity, precision, and communication.

Gray- Invites helpfulness and represents a harmonious union of black and white.

Brown- Offers stability and security.

 

Important Considerations For Feng Shui Kitchens

There are several key feng shui elements to which you need to pay close attention when working with your kitchen layout. Placement of your appliances needs to follow feng shui principles of fire versus water and hot versus cold. The placement of your appliances is sometimes more important than the actual direction. If you are remodeling your kitchen and starting fresh then here are some tips you can follow to make your kitchen Feng Shui.

  1. Try to place the kitchen towards the back door of the home.
  2. Keep the kitchen clean and uncluttered at all times.
  3. Keep the kitchen well lit and ventilated.
  4. Face east while cooking in the kitchen.
  5. You can have windows in the east or west walls of the kitchen.
  6. Make sure to keep lightweight things in east and north of kitchen.
  7. You can have a sink in north or north-east of the kitchen.
  8. Keep the gas stove/burner a few inches away from the wall.
  9. Keep at least 1-2 feet distance between stove/burner and the kitchen sink. If there is no option then place small plants/herbs or green decorative glass panel stove and sink. You can also place a green color decorative glass panel between the stove and sink.
  10. Above also applies to refrigerators too; you must keep 1-2 feet distance between stove and refrigerator in the kitchen.
  11. Repair all leaking taps and faucets in the kitchen that is an indication of draining away all money and wealth from the house.
  12. You can place a dining table in the north-west or west of the kitchen.
  13. Try to use yellow, orange, rose, chocolate or red as floor and wall colors for the kitchen.

 

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Feng Shui For Your Bathroom

When the ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui was developed there was no indoor plumbing so there really is no good placement for a bathroom when it comes to true Feng Shui. Your Feng Shui bathroom should be a peaceful, beautiful space. Displaying symbols of beauty and abundance always helps us manifest these things in our life. Creating a spa-like effect in your bathroom will bring you lots of happiness and tranquility.

 

Here are some basic principles to follow:

  • If practical, keep the bathroom door closed in order to contain the qi/chi energy in the bathroom and not lose it to the rest of the home. This also keeps the germs and negative chi in the bathroom and not circulating in the rest of the home.  
  • Keep the toilet seat down at all times when not in use. The toilet is the largest drain in the house and each time it is flushed it drains the bad chi as well as the good chi. Close the lid when you flush the toilet so the germs don’t spray around the room. This will also stop good chi from being flushed away.   
  • A toilet that is partitioned is best, but it may not be practical for most homes. The partition can be done with a curtain or beads. But this works best in large bathrooms. If you’re having a home built, consider having a toilet closet built to house the toilet and include a window if possible.  
  • If the toilet is not working properly, it’s best to get it fixed since anything broken could have a lower vibration to it.
  • If you have a window in the bathroom, keep it open as much as possible in order to clear out the bad chi, keeping the air clean and pure. If there is no window, then have an air purifier in the room. Fresh plants can help to keep the air clean.
  • Keep the mirrors and any windows clean in order to avoid distortion.
  • Keep all drains closed when not in use. If need be, you can purchase a rubber drain cover in many department stores to cover the sink and shower/tub drains. This will keep the good chi from going down the drain.
  • Keep your feng shui bathroom clean and uncluttered at all times.
  • It’s best to not have a wastebasket in the bathroom. Take your trash out of the bathroom with you as you leave. Do not let it accumulate in a wastebasket.
  • Keep the bathroom appealing to the eye.
  • Natural sunlight is best for the bathroom if you’re lucky enough to have a window in your bathroom. Fluorescent lighting is bad for the nervous system, so please avoid this in your feng shui Bathroom.
  • Burn sage in your bathroom to remove stagnant qi/chi energy.
  • Never have the toilet reflecting in a mirror as this will double the effects of the toilet drain. Place something in front of the mirror so the toilet doesn’t reflect in the mirror. This could be a plant, vase, statue or whatever works for you.
  • Starting with your towels, be sure they are thick, rich, beautiful and in great condition. 
  • Essential oils in your bathroom will clean and improve the quality of air. The oils will also bring tranquility and make you feel pampered and wealthy.
  • Since the bathroom is for cleansing, display quality soaps along with some candles. Be sure to use the soaps and don’t just display them. Indulge in yourself so the Universe knows that you think you are worth it. It will know your heart and will bring you what you expect.
  • Hang soothing artwork is important too. Go online to take a look at what is usually found in a spa as far as decoration and begin to duplicate the look. Better yet, visit a spa and get a great treatment for yourself and bring away with you the image that you would like to have in your spa-like bathroom.
  • Consider having a dimmer switch put in the bathroom so you can have soft lighting when it’s appropriate like when you are bathing.
  • Stalks of bamboo bring good luck, abundance and wealth. Bunches of eight are best. Place it in front of the mirror to double the effect.
  • If your bathroom is in the center of the home, know that energy from the center of the home spreads out to the entire home, so keep the bathroom clean and sanitized and the door shut at all times.

 

Special Attention Needed

If your home is multi-levels, you want to direct chi downstairs. You can achieve this with rugs on the floor of the room above the bathroom. Other things that will help direct chi are listed below:

  • A ceiling light fixture
  • A crystal chandelier
  • A faceted crystal hung from the center of the ceiling
  • Tall lamps that kept turn on
  • A tall mirror
  • Wallpaper with a vertical pattern is positive chi
  • Placing earth objects in the corners of the downstairs room
  • An image of a bird flying up
  • A tall tree to lift the chi
  • Plants that grow straight up like bamboo and mothers-in-law tongue which happens to be a plant which thrives with minimal care.
  • Use your imagination and bring in an element that goes up, like a tall vase or stature.

 

 

If you live in an apartment or high rise building, find out where the bathroom is above you and below you and be sure to apply the proper cure.

   

 

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Remodeling during Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving and remodeling there is never enough time to prepare everything in time no matter how much planning goes on prior. There is always something that comes up or delayed or taken off the list completely. We found that having a new warm environment in your home helps reduce Thanksgiving stresses because everyone’s too busy admiring your newly remodeled space to care if there is no cranberry sauce because you forgot to pick it up earlier in the week and now they are sold out. The planning, organizing, and the patience that goes behind remodeling can also increase stress so here we are going to give you a head start to preparing for a newly remodel space during the busiest time of the year.

And when it’s all said and done, you will have a more efficient space with a variety of storage options for all those Thanksgiving goodies. It will create more functionality for not only you and your family but also your guests.

 

Here are some tips to help stay stress-free during remodeling

Organize

Just like planning a vacation or a wedding you don’t want to just go with the flow. It is important to start a binder or folder where you can put anything and everything about your remodel.

Be Patient

This is a long process so I would start the patience right away. You have to research, pick out ideas, check referrals, not to mention demo day and then the anticipation of seeing little by little done each day. When you are among the chaos it seems to drag on forever but if you start with patience it will be easier to get to your end result with little or no stress. Remember it mind over matter.

Plan Ahead

There will always be setbacks, delays, or even the opposite everything going better than planned just keep an open mind and remember anything can happen and just be prepared.

Set ground rules but be flexible

Setting ground rules in the beginning will help keep your contractor on schedule and also keep you organized but remember flexibility is really what will get the project done faster.

Don’t get discouraged

Getting discouraged is the worst way to go about a remodel project but especially during the holidays you want to stay sane for all those guests who will be amazed at your new remodeled kitchen or bath.

Ways to prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving during renovation

The best way to plan is to just set up a temporary kitchen in a different area of the house. Ideally someplace with a sink near by. A couple of great ideas is to take a couple of old cabinets and set them up in your makeshift kitchen to help you prep. Think of it like camping but better; it’s indoors and you still have electricity. Plus you’re not in the wilderness. Maybe a folding table and some chairs to make a dinner table will help it feel more inviting for the family. Get some clear storage containers and keep your most used kitchen items inside labeled to help you find it when you need it. Making some big meals ahead of time and freezing them in small portions will help. Some other ideas to help with the weekly menu is clipping coupons for take out and making different sandwiches for dinner to reduce cooking.

 

Recipes


 

 

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Maximize your Kitchen Space and Functionality!

Whether you are doing a professional remodel or just looking to get more space and functionality out of your kitchen, or a Do-It-Yourselfer, we have lined up some great ideas to help with both. Maximize your storage space and find helpful gadgets to make the most of your kitchen space. One of the most important things in a kitchen is functionality and space. Whether it’s a small kitchen or a large one, these ideas can be utilized in every size and shape! From cabinet layouts, to utilizing the wall for storage, we have listed several ideas to help you along.

 

Cabinet Pull-Outs:

Pull-outs can greatly increase usable space in cabinets. How many time have you lost spices, or a can of beans in the back of the cabinet black hole! Instead of digging through piles of items trying to find something towards the back, add a cabinet pull out. This maximizes your space with a multi-level cabinet and easy organization. Any cabinet in your kitchen can be converted to a pull-out, however they are more functional if you have deeper cabinets opposed to shallow ones. These can be utilized for a spice rack, pantry items, drink storage, and much more!

 

Cabinet Dividers:

Another way to increase organization is adding dividers in your cabinets for tall and thin items like cutting boards, baking pans, cooling racks, and even lids. If you have tall cabinets you can have full length dividers and stand up the taller items on end, or for shorter cabinets you can add the shorter half-dividers and use them as lean-to’s. Dividers can be permanently built into the cabinets, or can be removable wire or metal inserts. If you are having your kitchen remodeled, the permanent dividers are the way to go. If you are just looking to maximize space and functionality yourself, then the removable dividers are the way to go and be purchased at many retail stores including, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes.

 

Tip-Out Trays:

These are handy little spaces that are located in front of the sink and above the cabinet doors. It offers a nice space to store sponges, soap bars and any other smaller items you would normally find in or around the sink area. Keeps the sink area clutter free, but allows quick and convenient access to the things you use on a daily basis. Although these are generally located in front of the sink, they can also be utilized in other areas of the kitchen.

 

Corner Cabinet Storage:

We all know the dreaded corner cabinet dead space. They are nice large areas, but trying to reach items pushed way in the back is a daunting task, not to mention everything in front of it that you have to pull out, then put back again! But alas, there is a solution to this! Make that space functional and frustration free with some handy cabinet gadgets.

Half Lazy susan shelves, these are like the lazy susan shelves we are all familiar with but with a twist, they are cut in half and swing in and around the corner of the cabinet utilizing that deep space and making access to the items in there a breeze!

Magic corner is a handy 2-tier shelf that is on hinges, and as you pull on the handle to pull out the front shelves, it in turn is attached to a second section of 2-tier shelving and pulls those out as well. Once again, utilizing the space in those corner cabinets, and making the items easily accessible.

 

Vertical Wall Storage:

Utilize that wall space! Get creative and find ways to use the open wall space in your kitchen, install extra shelving for spices, or to get counter top appliances off the counter top. Use towel bars with small bins to hang utensils or hooks for pots and pans. Drill holes in wood cutting boards and hang them on the wall or the side of a cabinet with hooks or knobs for easy access. Use a magnetic metal strip to stick knives too and open up that drawer space.

 

Kitchen Islands:

Islands can add quite a bit of useable space to a kitchen. This could be a permanent/stationary island or even a small or large rolling butcher block with cabinets that can be utilized as an island. Islands add counter space, storage space, and can double as a breakfast nook or seating area for extra seating in certain kitchens. If you have a built-in island you can add a microwave, oven, dishwasher, stove top or even a wine cooler! Islands can be utilized to open up other cabinet space, or just for convenience of location for certain items or appliances.

Best options with illuminating your home

windows

 

One of the most important features that enhance the look of a remodel is lighting. Any photographer will tell you that lighting makes all the difference in a photograph. The same is true with the features in your home. Whether it’s a kitchen, bathroom, or media wall, choosing the right lighting makes the difference between things look plain and ordinary, or really making them look amazing. We will discuss the different types available as well as where and how to use them including recessed can, under cabinet, and accent lighting.

 

LED


LED’s are the most popular form of lighting available. New LED’s have excellent C.R.I (Color Rendering Index) scores, which is another way of saying that colors look the way they are supposed to look. Fluorescents often have poor C.R.I scores which means colors look really off. LED’s are also available in every type of bulb commonly used, and their costs have come down dramatically. They last from several thousand hours to tens of thousands of hours, greatly outlasting any other type of bulb. In many cases they are fully dim-able. Because of the fact that they use a fraction of the power of standard incandescent bulbs and last many times longer than either incandescent (regular bulbs) or fluorescent (spiral bulbs), they will typically pay for themselves during their lifetime. Except for certain cases where accent lighting is not available in LED form, we will assume the use of high quality LED’s in the areas we discuss below.

 

 

Kitchen Illumination


Kitchens are an area where proper lighting is extremely important but is rarely utilized properly. We are all familiar with the terrible long fluorescent bulbs and drop ceilings of homes in the 70s and 80s. The color of the light was awful and they often made the kitchen look dark and dingy. But with good bright LED’s even those types of kitchens can look bright and open. Large kitchens are often the worst culprits of poor lighting. With their tall ceilings and large space they need lots of illumination to keep them bright and show off the kitchen details. But often there are just a small number of under-powered bulbs for the entire kitchen. By adding a few more fixtures and changing out the bulbs to high power LED’s, the kitchen can be transformed into a bright and cheerful space. LED under cabinet strip lighting is another feature that adds brightness and character to a kitchen. This is used to improve the brightness of the counter-top work space and make the back splash pop with texture or color. They can also be used above the cabinets to provide soft mood lighting for the kitchen. The last touch is pendant lighting. These lights are typically used over cabinet islands or peninsulas and provide a unique decorative accent to the kitchen as well as providing additional brightness to the area when needed. Choosing the right combination of these options will enhance the look of your new kitchen and really make it stand out above the rest.

 

 


Bathroom Illumination


Bathrooms are another area where lighting can really improve the look of the space. Most bathrooms include vanity lighting in the sink area which is good when you are at the sink, but is insufficient for most bathrooms to really show them off. This is especially true for sconces installed to the sides of mirrors which, while very attractive, are not very bright for an entire bathroom. New recessed can LED’s over tubs and showers gives up to 5 times the lighting of typical wet area recessed can lights. So with recessed can LEDs in place your new tub or shower will be shown off like the pieces of beautiful artwork that they are. Additionally, recessed can LED’s in the center of the bathroom or in a toilet area provides excellent overall illumination for the space.

 


Living Space


Designing and building media walls has become an industry all in itself. With so many design options and materials to use the combinations are nearly endless. New media walls are designed to be a showpiece, not just a place to put your TV and a few book or decorations. Media walls include features such as lighted niches and shelves, cubbies for media equipment, fireplaces, stone or tile facades, and of course the TV area. While being functional, these spaces are designed to really make a statement and set the mood for the whole room. And a big part of that mood comes with the lighting. The niches can take on a character of their own depending on whether the lighting comes from the front, the back, the top or the bottom, as each location gives a unique look and feel to the niche. Stone or tile facades can also be a real showpiece. Typically lighting comes from the ceiling and shines down on the stone, washing gently over the surface of the stone to really enhancing the texture of the stone. This can also be done from below as well and gives more of an outdoor landscaping look to the stone. It is important not to shine anything directly on the TV as this will wash out the color on the TV during watching. But LED back-lighting for the TV can be a modern and eye catching feature. You will want to be able to turn off or dim the lighting of the media wall when you are watching as well. Dimming is the preferred option as you can still watch the TV and keep the look of the media wall, so be sure you have a dimming option available when you are designing your media wall.

Having designed hundreds of remodels including kitchens, bathrooms and media walls, we at Retro Pro have seen over and over the huge impact that the right lighting can have for the space. In the overall project it is a relatively small cost, yet the impact can be huge. So be sure to find a re-modeler who take the time to plan the right fixtures for your space when you are designing your remodel, because it’s one of the most important overlooked details we see in the kitchen and bath remodeling industry.