Sunday, November 22, 2015

Black Friday Weekend Special: Free Appliances with Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

Some homeowners delight in the details of kitchen remodeling: the floors, the backsplash, the countertops! For some homeowners, however, the devil is in the details.

Whatever your inclination, there's no doubting the challenge of planning a kitchen remodeling project. The sheer diversity of choices can stymie even the most enterprising homeowner. And then there's the challenges of the project itself!

MKBD writes this blog to simplify the process. Please browse our archives for a collection of blogs about bathroom and kitchen remodeling. And if you'd like to suggest a topic for a future blog, please do leave a comment.

Our goal to ease the remodeling experience does not end with this blog. As a full-service professional remodeling company, we strive to make the home remodeling experience fruitful and enjoyable!

Whether you want a strikingly contemporary kitchen, a bathroom fit for a spa, or an entire house remodeling, we can help! We employ designers, suppliers, installers, and contractors to create unparalleled value. We finish our projects on budget and on time.

How do we succeed while so many other remodeling companies fail?

The answer is simple: we value customer service.

Every member of our team is guided by one goal: to provide every customer with a stress-free remodeling experience. We understand your time is precious; your ideas are unique. We want to help you accomplish your remodeling dreams.

For this MKBD project in Fort Washington, PA,  we removed a load-bearing wall in a century-old home. In the hands of MKBD, what might've been a kitchen remodeling nightmare turned into a pleasant dream: today everyone who enters this home is drawn to the kitchen.

A stress-free experience is the inspiration behind our new deal: FREE KITCHEN APPLIANCES with a full kitchen remodeling project!

Just in time for the holidays, we're offering all the appliances you need for a fully-functioning kitchen FREE! Why FREE kitchen appliances, you ask?

 Most kitchen appliances are dramatically overpriced. When homeowners shop for appliances they're subject to mark-ups--mark-ups that MKBD is not subject to. With our extensive industry experience as well as our connections with premier appliance manufacturers and distributors, we've learned how to procure the best appliances at the best prices--and we pass the savings to our clients. 

For this Philadelphia-area MKBD project, our clients specified professional grade appliances to complement the luxury materials: the maple kitchen cabinets, the solid granite countertops, and the natural stone backsplash and floors.
Te true value of a kitchen remodeling project is expert craftsmanship. Appliances are made in industrial factories by nameless workers. Your new kitchen floors, cabinets, and countertops, however, will be built and installed by expert craftsmen familiar with your unique needs. Even then, you can be sure our FREE appliances will exceed your expectations. As the examples above prove, we deal only with quality manufacturers and suppliers. 

Prefer to Source Your Own Appliances?

If you're interested in sourcing your own appliances, we recommend choosing the best appliances for your specific needs. Do not pay for what you do not need--or want! Let us help you find the best appliances for you.

We understand how to match each individual with the most suitable appliances for his/her unique lifestyle. Today, most appliances come with a variety of features. Of course, these features boost the price. We partner with our client's to make sure they're not paying for needless bells and whistles.

For this MKBD project, the family choose their own appliances, including a Wolf range, replete with five burners for some heavy entertaining!

FREE Kitchen Appliances with any Full Kitchen Remodeling Project: The Details

At MKBD, we partner with our customers to provide competitive prices. And now, for a limited time, we’re leveraging our buying power to offer you a tremendous deal: FREE kitchen appliances with a full kitchen remodeling!

To qualify for this offer, you simply have to schedule a FREE, no obligation kitchen design consultation—a value in itself! During our brief consultation, we will help you draft the kitchen design and layout of your dreams. Best yet, all consultations include a FREE, no obligation estimate.

Call now to take advantage of this limited time offer: 215-355-474.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Five Signs You Need to Remodel Your Kitchen

Some homeowners make a decision to remodel or renovate after years of deliberation. For others, the decision is relatively spontaneous. In both cases, a certain event usually inspires the final decision: a windfall of money; a change in lifestyle; or, perhaps, a structural issue that needs immediate attention.

At MKBD, we're happy to educate our clients about all aspects of the remodeling process. (This blog is a perfect example). However, we do appreciate deliberative clients. Whatever the instigating "event," deliberative homeowners often enjoy an easier remodel. In remodeling, of course, studious planning translates to success. 

While "deliberating" is not the same as "planning," homeowners who have thought about remodeling for some time usually come to the design table equipped with knowledge and studious opinions. 

On other hand, some clients come to the design table with problems that need immediate attention. Often, these clients have ignored the slow deterioration of their kitchen--and then, suddenly, the deterioration hits a peak! 

To avoid this unhappy circumstance, we suggest looking out for possible signs that you will want or need a remodeling project soon. 

Five Signs You Need to Remodel 

Old Appliances

Old appliances offer a clue to the general condition of the kitchen. If the appliances are old, the floors, cabinets, and countertops are likely old, too. As a cue, then, old appliances are simply one easy-to-discern sign of an outdated kitchen. 

But outdated appliances don't merely look old; they act old. Do you have an old, noisy refrigerator? Well, noise is the least of your problems. An aging refrigerator wastes excessive energy while providing lackluster service.

The same is true of most outdated appliances, including your oven, dishwasher, and microwave. New, energy-efficient (Energy Star) models can provide substantial savings in energy while offering a new, refreshing level of functionality (no more spoiled veggies).

Ahh, new appliances. In this MKBD project, the new refrigerator and Bosch double oven provided a new level of functionality--and pleasure.

Improperly Grounded Outlets

In older kitchens, improperly grounded outlets pose a safety (and efficiency) concern. Unfortunately, many homeowners are not able to easily discern this potential problem.

To test your outlet, purchase a circuit tester or a multimeter set to an AC voltage appropriate for your outlet. You want to make sure, too, that all wall outlets are equipped with GFCI outlet protection. To ensure safety, you need one GFCI outlet as the first outlet of a branch--the outlet closest to the breaker.

At MKBD, we can easily address any electrical safety concerns. Give us a call: 215-355-4747.

Like old appliances, improperly grounded outlets are clues to the general condition of the kitchen: if they're old, the kitchen is likely old.

Old Floors

Your kitchen floor is the literal and figurative foundation of your kitchen. Cracked tiles or warped floor board will effect not only the function of your kitchen but the aesthetic appeal of the space.

Like improperly grounded outlets, old floors can present safety concerns, like slips and falls. On the other hand, old floors also pose aesthetic concerns; in a word, their ugly.

A new kitchen floor can be one a beautiful and enduring investments. For the kitchen area, especially, new floors provide a new "foundation" to build upon.

In this Bucks County-area project, hardwood floors replaced old cracked tiles--the result is a safe, beautiful, and durable new floor. 

Old Style

While not necessarily a functional concern, old style can compromise your well-being. A frumpy, old kitchen with outdated cabinets and old, dull paint does not necessarily send an enticing welcome. Does our kitchen bore you? Do your elements feel frumpy?

In recent years, manufacturers have developed new, intriguing materials for your countertops. Over time, tastes in paint color change. Old floors might speak of a different era. All of these style problems can be addressed by a remodeling project.

When you update your style, you inject new life into a space.

Old Design

Today's kitchen often function as the center of family activity, a place to meet and eat. Current designs promote this function, opening the space, and often combining dining and cooking areas.

An older design might feel cramped in comparison. If you find yourself avoiding your kitchen, you're probably not simply avoiding of cooking and cleaning--you're avoiding the claustrophobia of your outdated design.

 In this Bucks County MKBD project--the open floor plan created a dynamic space to cook and eat.

FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate!

If you have any questions about your next kitchen remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk budget and more! Call now! 215-355-4747.

Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Make it Modern: Add Space to Your Old, Small Bathroom

Does your bathroom feel like an afterthought? In many older homes, this is precisely the case. Until the 1980s, at least, homeowners wanted spacious bedrooms--often at the expense of the bathroom.

For most of the 20th century, in fact, the bathroom was viewed as a utility room, a minimalist space to do your duty and leave. Many bathrooms were added to home designs only after all other rooms, seemingly crammed into the leftover space.

Today, homeowners favor larger bathrooms with luxurious amenities--and older, smaller bathrooms seem all the more outdated. As this Old House notes: "While new home baths have nearly doubled in size over the past 30 years, old home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet."

If you live in an older home, you might be feeling the crunch, so to speak. Of course, you do have options.

A remodeling company like MKBD can work wonders with a smaller space. A smart design can maximize the efficiency of your space; a few simple tweaks can often change the feeling of a bathroom's size--if not the actual square footage.

Another option, of course, is to borrow space from another room. Unfortunately, many homeowners balk at the idea of a bathroom expansion. The thought of knocking down walls, or sacrificing space from another room, stops many homeowners in their tracks.

In reality, demolition and expansion is a relatively straight-forward remodeling project. Just take a look at the MKBD projects below. Each presented unique challenges, yet each fulfilled the client's dreams of a modern, spacious bathroom.

Borrow Room From Your Bedroom

For many homes, the best option for bathroom expansion is to simply borrow room from an adjacent bedroom--often the master or guest bedroom. In many homes, the guest bedroom is rarely used, so borrowing a little space is often an easy choice. The decision to borrow space from a master bedroom, however, can inspire anxiety. After all, you've likely grown accustomed to the way your master bedroom makes you feel.

Would a smaller space decrease your relaxation? Would you suddenly feel cramped?

These are legitimate questions. In our experience, however, many master bedrooms would not appreciably suffer from a space downsize. Instead of focusing on what you will lose, think about what you will gain: a new, modern bathroom with space for amenities.

In this Ambler area MKBD project, the homeowners sacrificed space from the master bedroom to transform the 3x3 shower into a custom 6x3 shower with beautiful tiles imported from Italy. In our experience, most homeowners do not miss their former bedroom space. A new, spacious bathroom design is well worth the sacrifice. 

Prepare for Surprises (With a Reputable Remodeling Company)

Older homes are often full of surprises; you just never know what you'll uncover once you start demoing walls. This is why it is so crucial to work with an experienced remodeling company, like MKBD. We've seen it all--and we've fixed it all, with efficiency and timeliness.

We are especially proud of the project below, which required the demolition of old walls and leaking pipes to create a new bathroom with modern amenities.

In this Philadelphia area MKBD project, we jettisoned an old, leaking tub to make room for a new shower with a custom bench. Tiled in multi-colored natural stone, the eye-popping design also includes a shower pan of river rock pebbles.  

The key to dealing with surprises is proper planning. What turns a surprise into a mistake is not accounting for potential surprises in your budget. Many projects--like the one above--only yield problems after demolition beings. Behind your walls, you might discover mold or water damage. These problems are often only discovered after the work begins.

What was old is new: these walls presented a few "surprises," but MKBD's astute demolition team identified--and fixed--the problems quickly and efficiently. Happily, the client had planned on the potential surprises, so the budget was not exceeded. 

Borrow Space From a Closet, or Utility Room, or...

Not all remodeling expansions borrow space from the master or guest bedroom. If you get a little creative, you can borrow from other, smaller spaces to add square footage to the bathroom. Closets, especially, offer a great opportunity for bathroom expansion--especially if the closet is in a guest room or otherwise hardly used. In the MKBD project below, we borrowed space from a utility room to create a new master bedroom.

Borrowing space from an adjacent utility room, we added space to a tiny bathroom that had formerly stopped at the sink.
The picture above illustrates how even a little additional space can dramatically change the perception of a bathroom's size. Formerly a vanity, the addition of the shower makes this bathroom a master bedroom with a beautifully-appointed shower. Best of all, even though we downsized the utility room, we actually increased its functionality. The client let us know that the utility room had become a a mere storage place. In demoing the walls, we transformed the utility room into a laundry room. The lesson here is to get creative with space--and borrow, when necessary, where you can!

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Vacation Getaway--to Your Bathroom!

How do you feel about your bathroom design? If your design is outdated, you might feel bored or annoyed. Bored of the dingy lighting, the muted colors. Annoyed by the grimy grout lining your shower, your leaking toilet, your loose tiles. Many homeowners experience these feelings on a daily basis--and yet, change seems unattainable.

After all, a bathroom remodeling project can be expensive. According to the website, Remodeling, in 2015, the average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodeling project is $16,724 (with a resale value of $11,707). The average cost of an upscale remodeling project is $54,115 (with a resale value of $32,385).

With these numbers in mind, many homeowners balk at the idea of a bathroom remodeling project. However, the numbers themselves--specifically the resale value-- also reveal a fundamental truth about remodeling: it's not always about the money.

Of course, these numbers don't tell the whole story. A remodeling project can increase your home's value. A new kitchen, for example, might be the deciding factor that motivates a buyer to bid on your asking price.

If you're planning on living in your home for some time, however, the choice to remodel should not be merely financial. Think of your annoyance. Now imagine a new bathroom with clean grout lines, an efficient toilet, and beautiful new tiles.

A remodeling project can transform your bathroom into the room you never want to leave: a private, vacation-like retreat.

This is the case with the remodeling projects below. In each case, the homeowner came to MKBD with a vision informed by a specific place--a vacation. By recreating the feeling of these spots, we brought the vacation home, to the bathroom.

The Shore at Home

For this project, our clients wanted to re-create the ambiance of the Jersey Shore. More than a mere ambiance, however, this design aimed to duplicate a specific seaside bathroom. From the sand-colored tiles to the coastal accessories--even the additional of a laundry room, this space is faithful to the airy, quirky designs you often find on the Jersey Shore.

Large sand-colored floor tiles were a must for this MKBD-exclusive coastal design, which replicates the muted tones of a certain Jersey Shore bathroom. While blue is a popular coastal color, many seaside bathrooms have a simple palette. 
Another must: coastal accessories. When trying to recreate the ambiance of a certain place, the choice of accessories is often as important as the choice of color.
 The quirky design of many Jersey Shore homes means that you often find odd combinations, like a laundry room in the bathroom!

A French Countryside Bathroom

The French Country design is a popular bathroom theme. For these homeowners, however, the design was meant to be an intimate remembrance of family trips to the South of France. 

In the project below, we did our best to pay homage to our client's family trips. In the end, the old world rusticity and warm color palette transformed the bathroom into a holiday retreat. Now, to visit the South of France, the family merely needs to step into the bathroom!

To capture the look of Southern France we sourced vintage pieces, like this vanity and mirror, which lend this beautiful bathroom a rustic feel. The vanity's marble top complements the backsplash and green walls.
Our client was specific about getting the right shade of hunter green. We love it. The checkered glass tiles, which run around the entire bathroom, add texture (and contrasting color) to the palette. And of course, the clawfoot tub was a must for the French Country.
An Italian-Inspired Bathroom

Traveling is one of the best ways to discover inspiring remodeling ideas. We've had more than a few clients travel to Italy and return with ideas for new bathrooms. The Italian style is, at once, timeless and luxurious, and since its based on a simple aesthetic it can blend seamlessly with today's refined modern sensibilities.

A portico window in this Italian-inspired bathroom beckons the Italian city of Bologna, famous for its portico designs.

Zooming out from the portico, you see a step-in tub from Toto (reminiscent of the Roman baths) buttressed by a Roman column, and exquisite Italian tiles lining the space. Here we see how an Italian design can utilize inspirations from different epochs, old and new. The tub is a modern fixture that is meant to illicit an ancient bathing custom.
A Decora cherry vanity is a timeless piece that blends seamlessly with any style.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why Choose MKBD for Your Next Kitchen Remodeling Project?

If you're planning a kitchen remodeling project, you've likely performed more than a few online searches. This is great. Unbridled browsing can inspire enthusiasm--and more than a few ideas. A site like Pinterest, for example, offers page after page of beautiful images, remodeling tips, and links to quality products.

Yet even for the most industrious browser, the sheer quantity of kitchen remodeling information can prove to be stultifying. Sooner or later, you have to move from inspiration to planning. This is when you want to employ a more tailored approach to your remodeling research.

MKBD has performed successful kitchen remodeling projects since 1983. During that time, we've come to value the knowledge of the famous idiom: too many cooks (spoils the broth). In kitchen remodeling, too many ideas can derail a project.

Once you've exhausted your capacity for inspiration, then, we suggest reaching out to a few reputable home remodeling companies.

To learn more about searching for a home remodeling company, please read: "How to Choose the Best Kitchen Remodeling Company."

If you've landed on this blog, however, we do hope you will consider MKBD, a kitchen remodeling company that services the Greater Philadelphia Area.

To learn more about our company, please read below!

MKBD specializes in kitchen remodeling projects with an emphasis on quality and unique materials and fixtures. We're proud of our results. In this custom kitchen project, everything is new, from the cabinets to the new luxury oven.


When searching for a remodeling company, never discount the value of experience. Longevity itself is often an endorsement. There is a reason businesses stay around. MKBD has been a fixture of the Philadelphia-area remodeling scene for over thirty years.  Family-owned and operated, the business recently transferred from father to son without the slightest hitch.

We owe our longevity to reputation. Word-of-mouth is important in the remodeling industry. Never trust a company who does not enthusiastically supply references. We happily provide references for all projects.

Our experience has also taught us a lot about trends and styles in kitchen remodeling. Rest assured, we can design your kitchen to meet any style, yet we also understand that each and every customer will bring different ideas to the design table. You want a traditional kitchen? No problem. You want a fireplace in the kitchen? Of course! Experience has taught us to work with all sensibilities.

For evidence of the breadth of our work, just take a look at our Kitchen Showroom.

In this MKBD project a fireplace is seamlessly integrated into an otherwise elegant kitchen. For more fantastic projects like this, please visit our Kitchen Showroom.

Attention to Detail

Of course, experience is often not enough. After many years, some businesses become stale or rote. Not MKBD. Our leadership today is just as inspired, industrious, and inventive as the leadership that built the company, in 1983.

Today, our new owner is often found on site, overseeing the intricate details of each project. Beyond the owner, however, each project receives a dedicated project manager from start to finish. It is attention to detail that has distinguished MKBD as a premier kitchen remodeling company.

Do you want a unique fixture or material? We source our supplies from the most reputable brands worldwide, and we're not averse to searching high and low for the right product.

Because we never use subcontractors, you can be sure that we truly take ownership for the success of each and every project. Most of our kitchen remodeling projects include hand-crafted details, from custom-built cabinets to inventive backsplashes.

Working with MKBD, you will feel confident. All of our work is licensed, insured, and warranted in PA, NJ, and DE.

In this MKBD project, the Shaker cabinets reveal the industrious nature of the Shakers themselves: hand-built from scratch, the cabinets are simple, durable, and timeless. 


From the planning stages of your project through demolition and construction, we strive to make sure that you feel comfortable. To facilitate your stress-free experience, we believe open and frequent communication is a must.

Our interior designers will listen a commitment to your ideas.

Our construction team will take care to make your remodeling experience quick and stress free.
All along, our owner is open and available to talk to you about any aspect of your project.

Call MKBD Today!

Many homeowners choose to call a remodeling company at the very beginning of the exploration process. We believe this is the best option--and not simply because we are a remodeling company! A remodeling company can guide you in your exploration, saving you time. A remodeling company can also help you set reasonable parameters for your project.

How long might the project take to complete?

What are the best materials for your lifestyle?

And how about the cost?

At MKBD, we offer a FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next kitchen remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk budget and more! Call now! 215-355-4747.

Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Walk-In Shower: Practical and Luxurious

For many homeowners, the appeal of a bathroom remodeling project is the opportunity to streamline the bathroom design. A streamlined design might include unobstructed floor space, mirrors and shelves built into the wall, or wall-hung fixtures, like the toilet or vanity. One frequent request we see at MKBD is a walk-in shower.

A walk-in shower  can replace both the traditional bath and shower units with a slim, attractive fixture that is, at once, more accessible and easy-to-clean. To many of our clients, this is the essence of streamlining. Indeed, the walk-in shower simplifies life, yet not at the expense of luxury. As the projects below reveal, a walk-in shower can be both efficient and luxurious.

A walk-in shower can save space

Walk-in Showers: Perfect for Tight Spaces

If designed correctly, a walk-in shower can save valuable space. This is why walk-in showers so often occupy a corner space. Unlike a bathtub, which is built without your specific measurements in mind, a remodeling company can build a walk-in from scratch, shifting dimensions to fit your square footage needs.

In the project above, the shower pan--the floor of the shower, designed with a slope to allow the water to run to the drain--was custom-built to exacting dimensions: 5 feet x 4 feet. To facilitate the streamlined design, we also custom-built the frameless glass enclosure. Even then, despite the space limitations, the shower is equipped with a bench for easy storage or sitting (perfect for shaving those legs, ladies!)

Whatever your space requirements, a walk-in can certainly be made to fit the bill. Just make sure you work with a bathroom remodeling company with walk-in experience.

A corner walk-in shower saves space without sacrificing luxury

Glass Enclosed Showers: Streamlined Design

Streamlined design is not merely about saving space. A streamlined design is about the visual feel of a room. A streamlined room, for example, removes barriers between fixtures--or, at least, appears to do so. Most walk-in showers come equipped with glass doors, which create the impression of a seamless environment.

A seamless walk-in shower design

In the project above, space was not an issue, but our clients nevertheless desired a simple, streamlined design. Note how the walk-in shower feels like part of the room. And, of course, the glass shower door provides easy access--just step in and out!

Luxurious Walk-in Shower Features

Walk-in showers are the height of utility, yet they're also the perfect venue for luxurious features like multiple showerheads (including hand-held) or body jets.

For many MKBD clients, the rain showerhead is the height of luxury

At MKBD, we're big fans of the rain shower head: a flat and wide showerhead that duplicates the feeling of a soft wain shower. Rain showers are perfect for those who want to feel immersed in a shower of water. For a more direct approach, however, a hand-held showerhead is the height of utility. Instead of choosing between the two, the client above chose both.

Body jets with temperature controls

We're also big fans of body jets, which we believe to be the next best thing to a professional masseuse--at a fraction of the price. In the project above, the walk-in shower comes equipped with four (usually the limit) jets with temperature controls. Just imagine yourself enveloped in soothing water from all sides.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to Use Mosaic Tiles in the Bathroom

A mosaic tile is a popular choice for a kitchen backsplash, yet many homeowners hesitate to use mosaic for other rooms in the house. Recently, however, MKBD has noticed a remodeling trend: mosaic tiles in new bathroom remodels. We've even installed some beautiful mosaics in a few recent remodeling projects. We have to say: we're quite proud of the results.

Mosaic refers to a design made of many smaller pieces of material--like porcelain or glass. The process can be time-consuming and tedious, yet the results are often sublime. Just take a look at the mosaics from the San Vitale Basilica in Ravenna, Italy. This work dates back to the 6th century, to the Byzantine period.

The extraordinary ceiling mosaic of the San Vitale Basilica 

Traditionally, mosaics were illustrious and bright, yet today's mosaic is often muted--colorful, yet subdued. Even so, we love mosaic for the color and texture. If you're looking for a unique visual contrast to your everyday paint, you can't beat mosaic. For some mosaic inspiration, take a look at our recent projects below.

A Bathroom Backsplash

In the kitchen, mosaic tile is often limited to the kitchen backsplash. In the bathroom, mosaic tile is now being used on walls, floors, and the shower. That said, the "bathroom backsplash" is a perfect place for mosaic. If you're considering mosaic for your bathroom, look to the kitchen for inspiration: start with the backsplash.

A mosaic bathroom backsplash

Just like a kitchen backsplash, the bathroom backsplash helps protect the wall from damage. Generally placed above the sink, the bathroom backsplash shields the wall from the effects of excessive moisture (or toothpaste).

We love the warm color of this mosaic bathroom backsplash
Of course, too, the bathroom backsplash creates an interesting visual contrast to the vanity countertop. In both of the projects above, the appeal of the mosaic tile is how it contrasts with the granite countertops.

Mosaics in the Shower

Traditionally, of course, mosaic tiles were made piece-by-piece (just imagine the construction of the ceiling mosaic above!) Although this method is still used, many of today's mosaics are mounted on sheets. Mosaics can be "face-mounted" (with paper, usually) or clear-film faced (with plastic adhesive) or back-and-edge mounted (with any number of materials).

In the shower, paper-face-mounted or clear-film-faced mosaics are the easiest to align. Installation can be a challenge, but the result is always dramatic.

A stunning shower mosaic

Part of the appeal of mosaics is their flexibility: they can be made to fit nooks and crannies as well as curved or uneven surfaces. Beyond their beauty, mosaics present a practical solution to installing tile on walls and floors.

Shower mosaics on the wall and floor

Visual Contrast

As noted above, a prime value of mosaics is visual contrast. Mosaics add unique color and texture to a bathroom's visual landscape. The intricacy of mosaic design draws the eye. They're a perfect counterpoint to an otherwise simple color palette.

The mosaic tiles here add visual contrast to a simple landscape,
highlighting the elegant bath.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Handy Kitchen Style Primer

In the kitchen remodeling industry, we talk about design in terms of certain "styles." Although these styles are not clearly defined by the industry itself, we nevertheless associate loose themes with each respective style.

Traditionally, kitchens were separated from the rest of the home. The room's purpose was explicit: a place to cook and clean. In today's homes, the kitchen is not merely a place to cook and clean: it is a meeting space, too, an entertainment venue, the center of the action.

To speak about a specific kitchen "style" in this context is to also admit that the kitchen itself can (and often should) simply match the style of the home. That said, it does help to understand a few industry-specific terms.

A Handy Kitchen Style Primer

Traditional styles do not necessarily equate to a country or Old World theme. Instead, a traditional kitchen will likely emphasize warm, down-to-earth elements.

A traditional kitchen design creates a cozy ambiance with ornamentation and detail. Think decorative design and vintage-inspired elements. A traditional kitchen is not necessarily "simple"; on the contrary, a traditional kitchen often utilizes elaborate design features.

In this kitchen, a fireplace is merely one element of a cozy, traditional design. 
Note the warm cabinet color; the ornate woodwork; the vintage pieces (like the copper kettle and vintage plates): all hallmarks of the traditional style.

If the traditional style is not your thing, you might be a candidate for a contemporary style. While a traditional style populates a kitchen with elaborate details, a contemporary kitchen strips away all but the most essential elements.

Think light and airy, like a spa. Think clean lines, a simple color palette. If you prefer a minimalist design, you would do best with a contemporary kitchen. In a contemporary kitchen, uncluttered simplicity is the name of the game.

Clean lines and a simple, two-tone color palette make this Shaker-inspired kitchen "contemporary," although our clients simply desired, "a simple, streamlined space."

As the project above proves, a style can borrow elements from any time period to achieve the desired effect. Shaker-inspired cabinets are anything but "contemporary," yet their simple, timeless appeal works well with the contemporary style. That said, the contemporary style only borrows from elements that match the aesthetic.

If you like to mix and match aesthetics, you might prefer the transitional style, which combines both traditional and contemporary elements. A transitional kitchen streamlines the traditional style. Put another way: it "complicates" the contemporary style with a few, carefully-selected traditional elements.

Most transitional kitchens maintain the clean lines of the contemporary kitchen, yet add certain details to create a more "homey" feel.

In this transitional kitchen, the contemporary elements (the clean lines are black and white palette) are softened by the green accent wall and the traditional elements: the pendant light and glass-paneled cabinets.

The most common kitchen styles are traditional, contemporary, and transitional, but you're also bound to hear any number of other "styles," most notably the modern style which is defined by the hallmarks of modern art: geometric shapes or patterns and neutral colors. A modern design will also take advantage of any number of eclectic fixtures. Modern styles might include artistic elements, like sculptures or paintings, or glass tables, or intriguing cabinetry.

A modern style kitchen can celebrate unique or quirky design--like this custom backsplash.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Top Three Benefits of the Open Floor Plan

In many of today's homes, the kitchen is the central room, the place where the family congregates to talk and relax--and, of course, eat. To accommodate this new role, many homeowners choose to increase the kitchen size by combining the room with a dining room and/or living room.

Traditionally known as the "great room," today this combination is more often called, simply, an "open floor" plan. The open floor plan is a mainstay of today's remodeling industry.

As John Petrie, of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, says, "The kitchen was really a closed-off spot for a long time. Now people want the kitchen to be an active part of the family home." [Source].

Below we offer the top three benefits of the open floor plan.

More Room for the Cook

In its most basic sense, an open floor plan refers to a combination of several rooms, most often achieved by eliminating impeding walls or other obstructions.

The most obvious advantage of an open floor plan is increased space. Many cooks complain about crowding in the kitchen; by opening the space, family and/or guests can hang around the kitchen, in the adjoining dining room, without getting in the way.

An open floor plan also gives you the option of enlarging the kitchen itself, creating more counter space and/or room for additional appliances.

 In this Bucks County MKBD project--the open floor plan created space for the cook. Note the dining room table in the foreground, close enough (but not too close) to the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

More Room to Hang Out 

By creating more room in the kitchen, an open floor plan can accommodate a kitchen island, the perfect spot for hanging out.

Fit your kitchen island with cozy chair for your guests to hang out.
The island can be practical, too. Most notably (for cooks, at least), the kitchen island creates a barrier between the entertainment and cooking areas. Also, the island top can be used for prep work; some cooks even enlist the help of a few industrious helpers.

You likely know the type of antsy mother-in-law who just can't help but ask, "What can I do?" Well, just sit her away from the action, at the kitchen island, and give her a small task: chop the nuts, make the salad dressing, pluck the thyme!

In this Fort Washington MKBD project, the kitchen island separates the kitchen from the dining area. It also creates a space for prep work--for the cook and his helpers! 

The Eat-in Kitchen

Instead of maintaining the relative relation between the kitchen and dining room, some open floor plans combine the two, creating a tremendous kitchen space with eat-in facilities.

The great advantage of an "eat-in" kitchen is the ease of serving and cleaning. The distance from oven to table is reduced; likewise the distance from table to sink.

This Richboro area family really took the idea of "eat-in" to heart. Here the island is really a dining room table right in the middle of the kitchen. Happily the open floor created more than enough space to accommodate the diners and the cook.
In this MKBD remodeling wonder, the dine-in area is an elegant 
addition to a stylish kitchen. 

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Six Key Questions for Your Remodeling Company

When working with a professional remodeling company, communication is the key to a successful project. A good remodeling company knows how to ask the right questions; a good company, too, will set appropriate expectations for each project.

Of course, communication is a two-way street. A homeowner should also ask the right questions; and even before the work begins, a homeowner should state his expectations explicitly.

Bad communication leads to unclear (or unfair) expectations. The distance between a remodeling company's and client's expectations can create scheduling chaos, price disputes, and disappointment about the finished project.

There is a danger in choosing a inexperienced or unproven company. To stick around in this business is a sign of success. By nature, an experienced company will communicate successfully.

MKBD is proud of its experience: we've served the Greater Philadelphia area since 1982. We're proud of our work, too. We refer all potential clients to our previous customers for feedback. We want to make sure a client feels good about hiring our company.

Our formula for success is simple: tedious planning and a studious devotion to detail. If you're thinking about your own kitchen remodeling project, we urge you to embrace this formula. To facilitate a communication that will achieve this goal we suggest asking your remodeling company the following key questions.

This Abington area kitchen remodeling project was a testament to good communication: only by asking the right questions, did MKBD learn that the family desired maple cabinets. For your project, take the initiative: ask the key questions below.

How Will We Communicate Once the Project Starts?

Remodeling companies are usually accessible for clients before the project begins. Unfortunately, many clients complain that this accessibility ends during the project. The trouble is the varying roles at most remodeling companies. The project designer is often not the same person who will visit your house to perform the work each day.

At MKBD, we urge our clients to communicate with the project lead at any stage of the project. Our project lead is the owner of MKBD, who is often part of the work; if not, he is keeping daily tabs on the work. Of course, too, he is easily accessible by phone.

We suggest you ask for the same accessibility from your remodeling company. At the very beginning, ask if your project will have a dedicated project lead from start to finish. And of course, ask about his or her accessibility.

Questions about the work itself: When will the project begin? What are the worker's daily hours?  And what is the estimated completion date? 

A kitchen remodeling project can disrupt your family's routine. It is crucial that you appropriately schedule.

Working with your kitchen remodeling company, schedule a specific date for your project's start date. Also note the worker's daily hours, and, of course, the estimated completion date.
One important caveat here. The completion date is always an estimate; the date might change once the project begins. This is one area where flexibility is crucial.

For this two-tone kitchen, MKBD removed the wall between the dining room and living room. Major changes like this often present unanticipated complications (see below). For this reason, it's best to be flexible about the completion date.

How Can Confirm the Project Will Meet my Expectations?

In some ways, this is the most important question. A bad remodeling company will dodge this question. For a good remodeling company, however, this question is the very essence of the work. From planning to design to the actual remodeling, confirming and meeting expectations is the key to success.

Before your project, your designer should provide you with a layout of your new kitchen. Scrutinize this layout; ask questions. Confirm the details--twice. You want to make sure that your vision matches your designer's vision precisely.

In the end, if you've confirmed all the details, the project should meet your exact expectations. If not, you can return to the original layout and ask, "What happened?"

Do you Expect any Complications?

Complications are a necessary part of all remodeling work. Once you get into the guts of a house, you might begin to discover unforeseen challenges. All good remodeling companies account for potential complications. The goal is not to avoid complications entirely, but to minimize the impact--in time and money-- of any complication.

Again, the key is proper planning and attention to detail!
In this Fort Washington, PA kitchen, MKBD removed the entire kitchen, down to the studs, and built the new kitchen from scratch. Such work can create unforeseen complications. The key to minimizing complications is proper planning!
Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to Preserve the Charm of an Old Kitchen

Older homes have their charms: sturdy construction, vintage details, and original hardwood floors, to name a few. People who buy older homes love these details.For all the vintage allure, however, older homes also present certain remodeling challenges.

The difference between vintage and outdated is subtle, yet important. "Vintage" is timelessly appealing, but "outdated" just feels stodgy and tired. Sadly, the latter is often the case with the kitchens in older homes.

Today the kitchen is the center of the home, a place for the family to meet and eat. In the past, the kitchen was the provenance of the family chef, the space designed for a specific duty: to cook.

Old kitchens are smaller; and without the benefit of any serious remodeling, these kitchens often display outdated materials and appliances. Old kitchens also often share the charm of the home--even if its buried under laminate. A good remodeling project transforms an outdated space to new without losing the vintage charm.

Over the years, MKBD has remodeled more than a few outdated kitchens. For pictures and remodeling tips, read below.

 In this Fort Washington MKBD project, we refinished the original hardwood floors. 

New Floors or Refinish old Floors? 

Some older kitchen benefit from timeless materials; some do not. In the project above, we discovered beautiful hardwood floors--a perfect option for refinishing. Whether to refinish or replace is personal preference, but timeless materials like wood can often be refinished with relatively little hassle.

Beyond wood, most other old materials, like linoleum or tiles, are best replaced. Old linoleum can look stodgy, and most tile floors suffer from cracks. Ceramic tiles are prone to cracking when the floor below has structural movement. For some kitchen updates, then, we recommend replacing the subfloor, too.

A tri-color tile floor, imported from Italy, is a perfect addition to this older kitchen

New Cabinets or Refinish old Cabinets?

Like wood floors, refinishing can be a good option for cabinets, too, which are often made of wood, yet have suffered from wear and tear over the years. Some wood cabinets can look "outdated"; often a simple refacing is all that is needed to revive the vintage appeal.
The timeless simplicity of wood Shaker cabinets, which are an excellent option for refinishing. On the other hand, new Shaker cabinets like these are an investment that will last for decades.
Many older cabinets are actually more durable than today's pre-built cabinets. (At MKBD, we build our cabinets from scratch, so this is not an issue).

In many older kitchens. however, the cabinets are beyond a simple refacing. If you plan on living in your home for more than five years, new wood cabinets will evoke vintage charm yet provide years of durability.

New wood cabinets, like these cherry cabinets, are a great investment. After years of wear and tear, they might be in need of a simple refinishing.

Replace Those old Countertops

Countertops are often the stodgiest part of old kitchens. Standard laminate counters can look worn after years of use, and are good candidates for replacement.

Here's what the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has to say about laminate replacement:

"If your countertops are old and generally worn over a large area, the best repair is to recover them with new laminate. While the job is not particularly difficult, it does require a wide variety of skills new to most homeowners. You'll have to disconnect the plumbing, remove the sink, and cut, apply, and trim the laminate. Then the sink has to be replaced and reconnected, and some trim may be required."

Another option, of course, is replacing the laminate altogether with a durable material like granite.

In this MKBD project, we replaced the old laminate with beautiful granite.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Travertine Bathroom Remodeling Project

In bathroom remodeling, your choice of material should be guided by two factors: the material's visual appeal and durability. Of course, a good bathroom material should match your aesthetic vision, yet it should also withstand the elements--water, soap, and harsh cosmetics--and the daily wear and tear of the family. Porous materials, like soft wood, are not the best choice for a bathroom; ditto an easy-to-stain material, like marble.

Yes, despite its ubiquity, some believe marble is not the best bathroom material. Even so, many homeowners see marble as the best of all bathroom materials--and certainly the most beautiful. This is true. It is also true, marble can be porous. The key is to find a good, durable marble from a reputable supplier. At MKBD, we import most of our marble from Italy.

Another option that rivals marble's beauty, yet is also often cited as a "bad" bathroom material is travertine.  We love this simple, yet elegant stone. As with marble, however, quality matters. Travertine does not have to be porous. Depending on the quality of the finish and installation, travertine can be a perfectly suitable bathroom material.

We recently had the privilege of remodeling a bathroom with travertine floors, showers tiles, and countertops. If anything, this rustic project proves the point: travertine can be beautiful and durable.

Travertine tiles and countertops

Choose the Right Travertine Finish

The right finish protects travertine from the bathroom elements.When sourcing travertine, your best options will be hone-finished or tumble-finished.

Hone-finished creates a flat appearance that dulls the qualities of the stone. For homeowners who prefer uniformity of color, hone-finished travertine is the best option.

For this project, however, the homeowner chose a tumble-finished travertine.

The rustic look of tumble-finished travertine

As you can see in the photo above, tumble-finish enhances travertine's natural colors. This is why tumble-finished travertine is often said to have a rustic appearance--a perfect look for this former farm house.

Choose Experts to Install Travertine  

More than most materials, then, the installation of travertine should be performed by a remodeling expert. Travertine's rough edges can present some installation challenges--especially in the shower. The key is precision. When installing travertine in the shower, it is important, too that the tile is properly sealed.

Travertine tile for the shower walls and floors

In this project, we used travertine tiles of various sizes (yet similar colors) to create textural variation. All tiles were properly sealed and installed with the utmost care. Good news, too: properly sealed and installed travertine is an easy-to-clean shower material; better yet, the material rarely reveals soap spots.

Travertine Countertops

Travertine is a versatile material. In this project, we used tiles for the floors and shower as well as larger slabs for the vanity countertops.

Travertine countertops and brushed nickel faucets

Another view of the luxurious vanity with travertine countertops

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!