nice kitchen

High End Home Kitchens


chefWhen I think of the characteristics of a high-end home, I imagine walking through the entire place; through the entry door, into the living room, the bathrooms, dining room, and then into the kitchen. I’m a chef at chop house in Richmond VA and cooking is my life so my imaginary walk through usually stops here at the kitchen. If I were designing a high-end home, I would put the majority of my focus in here because I would most likely be spending most of my time here.


A luxurious kitchen should have top of the line appliances, gadgets, & tools, the finest granite countertops, a great ventilation system, and a very extensive lighting system. One of my favorite stores to shop at is Williams-Sonoma for all of my helpful gadgetry. They have everything from a Paderno Spiralizer to Rosle’s Collapsible Colanders. For all of my cutlery, I have nothing but Shun brand knives. They are made of Japanese steel, with the highest of quality standards.


Kitchen Appliances

8 burner gas grillAll of my cooking appliances would be top of the line starting with my oven and stove. I would need two double wide stoves that could be automated from my phone and a gas, open-flamed stove with eight burners. When I cook, I do it up! I would also need a commercial dishwasher to get a quick and efficient clean. My sinks would be huge so I would have plenty of room to work with my food preparation. I would also imagine great big chopping block so I could butcher all my meats with the greatest of ease. A kitchen would also not be complete without a Vitamix, the best blender and emulsifier out there.


Granite Countertops

I would have nothing but granite countertops within my kitchen. This stone is great for cooking preparation because it is very easy to clean, allowing contaminates like bacteria and mold to easily be wiped away and sanitized. Granite countertops are also very heat resistant, meaning that if I were to set a hot pan on them I wouldn’t have to worry about it ruining my surfaces. There are many options of stone to pick from and that would probably be the hardest part to decide on. I know I would like a light colored granite, maybe with a simple design. Some selections that I had checked were Pegasus White, Vetrazzo Bretagne Blue, Zodiaq Coarse Carrara, zodiq papyrus, and Andromeda White.


drop lighting ripLighting Systems


My lighting system would be comprised of many fixtures that will provide the best light for food preparation. This is a must if you want to thoroughly examine your foods and efficiently work with them. Placement is key. Having the fixtures above all workspaces will make the work easier so drop down lighting across all islands, rope lighting beneath cabinets, and properly angled track lighting is a must.




When you cook, there will be smoke and oils that escape into the air. To prevent the carbons & oils from getting all over your walls, cabinets, appliances, and your lungs, a powerful ventilation system is needed above your stove unit. Having a wide hood can help capture all of the smoke so it can be sucked up and sent outside so not to contaminate your home.


These are just a few of many options for designing your dream kitchen, but I feel these are the essentials. When building out your high-end home, make sure to fulfill all of your personal needs and wants.




50 Shades of Tint

nice modern roomA high end home doesn’t come cheap. It takes careful planning and a keen eye to detail. Before any renovation, you must first try and visualize your new improvement. Is this a spontaneous decision or is this something that you will enjoy for a lifetime. I love my home, especially the view I have of Colorado Springs’s lovely mountain range. Through careful consideration, I have decided to purchase an upgrade that will not only enhance my already wonderful view, but save me lots of money on my energy bills. This wonderful product is home window tint. I was first introduced to this great stuff when I was browsing through 3M’s website. I scrolled through their many window film options and gave myself much time for research.


Another great benefit that window tint will provide is its ability to block out harmful U.V. rays. Most people don’t realize that the sun can still be harmful when you are inside your home. By blocking the U.V. rays, you can reduce your risk of certain skin cancers.


window kitchen tintSome may also have security and safety in mind when purchasing window tinting for their home. 3M makes a security film that adds an extra layer of support in the event that the window pane is struck. When it is hit the window fragments are held together, making it hard for an intruder to break in. This allows more time for police enforcement to arrive to scene and may help in deterring the robber. This is also great in the safety aspect in which someone may accidently drop or throw something into the window. This way no glass will fall on the floor and the hazard of cutting your foot is no longer a problem.


Decorative and privacy purposes are yet another benefit that certain models of window tinting can add to a home. Let’s say you have glass shower doors in your bathrooms. You can apply the frosted window tint to them, providing a privacy screen so no one can look in. You can even put this stuff on windows in which you want light to come in but still block out luring eyes. In terms of decorative purposes, you can buy or customize themed tinting that can project a floral theme or even a business logo if you plan on advertising your company.


There are so many reasons to get home window tinting. What’s holding you back?

Protect Your Home From Disaster

DryerDryer vents get clogged up quickly and that can present serious problems to you and your family. Keep in mind; a clogged dryer means that your dryer is not operating as it should and it also could be a safety risk when it comes to a fire.


Professional dryer vent cleaning can remove the buildup of lint, improve the efficiency of your dryer and protect your family from a potential fire. Of course, cleaning the lint trap in your dryer is good; however, it is not enough to prevent a fire from starting in your dryer vent. Some may not know it; but when the venting system in your dryer can’t exhaust as it should, it overheats. If you choose, you can clean the dryer vent system yourself, but if you are unsure how to do this, ask a professional dryer vent cleaning service for help and they will do the job for you.


There are certain signs and signals that it’s time to clean your dryer vent such as: your clothes not getting completely dry after a normal drying cycle, noticing a musty odor after the drying cycle is over, clothes being unusually hot after the drying cycle, excessive heat in the room where the dryer is located and excessive odor from dryer sheets that are used in the drying cycle.


Another sign that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned is if your dryer gets hot on the top. If your dryer gets hot on the top of the cabinet during a drying cycle it usually means that the air flow which helps keep the dryer cool is restricted.


Professional dryer vent cleaning companies say that the dryer vent should be cleaned at least once every two years; sooner if you notice a buildup inside the dryer. (This, of course, depends on your laundry habits.) In addition, there are tips that will decrease the buildup in your dryer vents such as:


  • Limiting the use of dryer sheets when drying clothing
  • Only operating clothing dryers for no longer than 40 minutes per batch of laundry
  • Hanging heavy pillows, bedding and other large articles

outside to dry in the sunlight


Another preventative measure is to use a vacuum to clean the inside of the dryer; especially around the lint trap.


There are several benefits in cleaning your dryer vent besides preventing a fire such as: lowering your energy bill, preventing unnecessary repairs to your dryer, clothes drying quicker, less lint on your clothes and not overheating your dryer. Most importantly, dryer vents that become clogged prevent carbon monoxide from ventilating as it should. This is critical because carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. In addition, the buildup of lint can also lead to the growth of harmful mold. Mold and mildew grows quickly in warm and moist environments.


To conclude, lint can quickly build up inside a dryer vent and cause fires and other health concerns; however, to prevent this from happening, have a professional dryer vent cleaner come and clean out your dryer vent. Having this done once every two years will keep you and your family healthy and may prevent a fire from occurring in your home. Dryer vent cleaning is essential for many reasons and is an easy thing to do. Talk with a dryer vent professional today!

Beautiful Living room

Make Your Home Look High-End

You don’t need to spend a fortune to make your home look like a high-end home.  All it really takes is a clean home and a good eye for design.  My old Brentwood TN home used to look bland, dirty, and just plain sad.  Tired of that look, I set out to create a more elegant and beautiful home.

Below are some things that you can do to make your home look like a million bucks!

New Carpets

If your home has old and worn out carpets, go ahead and replace them.  Your flooring is one of the most noticeable aspects of your home, and it can set the tone for the appearance of everything else in the house.  Replacing your old carpets will make your home feel newer and cleaner.  If you don’t have the budget for a full carpet replacement, consider a professional carpet cleaning.  I trust a local Brentwood carpet cleaning service whenever I need to freshen up my home’s flooring.

Add Art Work to the Walls

bedroom-artHaving a large piece of art to add as the centerpiece of your home can add to your home’s wow factor.  However, large pieces of art are typically very expensive.  One way around this is to search for a free piece of art on the internet and have it printed at a local print shop.  You can then use an inexpensive frame to hang it where you see fit.  This is one of the best ways to make your home look high-end for cheap.

Clear the Clutter

Clutter in your home can make your home seem messy and unfinished.  I recommend getting rid of any and all knickknacks that don’t add anything to your home.  Adding a minimal style with a few personality pieces is a wonderful way to make your home seem stylish and well put together.

Make Your Space Look Larger

Small rooms don’t have to feel small.  You can make a space feel larger by adding one large mirror or a collection of smaller mirrors to a wall.  Also, by placing a large rug in the middle of the floor you can make the room feel larger than it actually is.

Keep it Clean

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  Keep that phrase in mind when you’re revamping your home.  Having an overall clean home can make your home look and feel more expensive than it really is.  You’ll always love the way a clean home looks over a filthy one and you’ll always wow any guests that come into your home.

Revamp Your Home

Transforming your home, no matter your budget, can be a difficult task.  Regardless of how much you’re looking to spend, it can be a tough task putting a mental image together of what you want your room to look like and following through.  For some of us, design comes more naturally than others.  Below I’ll share with you a few of my favorite quick and easy home transformations.


Window Treatments


window-treatmentMany homeowners are quick to throw up any window treatment, just so long as it can block out light when it needs too.  Many homeowners are quick to overlook how the right window treatment can set the tone for the entire room.  This is why adding a stylish window treatment is always the first thing on my to-do list when revamping a room.


Depending on what look you’re going for, there are many options for you to choose from.  Even switching from boring old aluminum blinds to elegant wood blinds can make a world of difference in the way your home looks.  However, if you’re really looking for a new style, there are many different types of shades and blinds for you to choose from.  My favorite place to grab high-quality window treatments is at a local shop here in Richmond, Mann Kidwell.  They have a great selection and beautiful pieces that will look great in any home.


Art Work


bedroom-artI always say that a beautiful piece of artwork can make the difference between a good room and a great room as far as style goes.  One style that you can never go wrong with is having a large piece of artwork to serve as the focal piece for a room.  When adding a piece like this, it’s always good to keep in mind that the more negative space the better – meaning that you don’t want to clutter your walls with other pieces or needless decorations.


A Paint Job


Repainting a room is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to change the way a room looks.  Whether you’re just touching up a fading color or going with a new color altogether, a fresh paint job is sure to make your room feel new.


I aim to repaint my walls ever two years, but that’s just me.  I’m a fan of change and I’m always switching up how my home looks.  This is a little extreme for most people, but if you’re like me and love freshness,  I definitely recommend giving it a try!




My Newly Remodeled Home

Our new open kitchen and living room floor plan.Well, tomorrow is the last day of our home renovation.  Thank goodness! It’s been a long, stressful, project.  We’ve had contractors in and out of the house now for weeks.  Most of our appliances have been unusable and there’s been dust everywhere…but it’s almost finished!


We’ve owned this house for 20 years and have always wanted to change some things about it.  We eventually decided it was the right time and went ahead and started.  What we’ve done is we had the entire downstairs remodeled.  This includes the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, and the powder room.


Our home had just felt small and cluttered, so we decided we wanted to do something about it.  One of the first things we did was knock out part of the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, which really helped to open up the space.  Previously, the two rooms have had different flooring – carpeting in the living room and tile in the kitchen – but we decided it would be best to give it all the same flooring.  We went with a medium colored hardwood, and I must say it looks fantastic!


We also went ahead and repainted all of the walls a heavy cream color.  This really helped to bring out the color of the flooring and is a great contrast to our brand new silver furniture.  I’m so excited for this project to be ending tomorrow.  I can’t wait to finally sit and enjoy my new renovated home.  The only thing that’s left is that the electricians need to finish up some work.  After that, it’ll be home sweet home.


To celebrate the monuments event, I’m treating myself to a spa day.  I’ll be at my favorite Richmond massage spot all day, hopefully relieving all the stress from months of planning and having to deal with contractors.   I’m going to make sure today is a relaxing day.  I know, however, I’ll hardly be able to contain my excitement though.  I’ve been waiting a long time to finally have the home I desire.  Maybe next year we’ll go ahead and remodel the upstairs!

Fancy Family Fencing

childeren playin in sprinklerIf you’re like me, you enjoy spending much of your time outside.  There is nothing I love more than playing with my children and our 2 dogs in our backyard. I own a house on the outskirts of Richmond VA, near the Mechanicsville side, with a half an acre of yard in the back. The house is near a busy road so I thought that it would be nice to have a fenced in back yard. My children are still young and our dogs love to run off at anything that hits their eye so putting up a privacy fence might be of great benefit to my family. I want to ensure a safe atmosphere so I called up the folks at Good Neighbor Fence to come by to give me a quote and my options on different styles.

They had a certified fence expert swing by the following week and he ran me through a few of my possible choices. They offered wood, vinyl, chain-link, and aluminum fencing. Their wood fences were made of pressure treated pine which came in different levels of quality, color options, styles, and sizes. Our technician said wood is great but if we wanted something that would have less maintenance and a longer life span then we should think about their other product lines. Vinyl is very popular and some even come with a limited life time warranty. These hold low maintenance and will last you a long time. Aluminum fencing will also last you a long time with very little maintenance and it comes in many options. This also comes with a limited life time warranty. The last is chain-link privacy fencefencing which has a long life but I knew right away this wasn’t going to work for me due to aesthetic reasons.

After running through some samples that our technician brought, I decided to go with the vinyl privacy fencing in a white finish. It would complement my current outdoor setting while providing me with the safety and privacy that I desired for my family to enjoy. Good Neighbor really helped in getting exactly what I wanted and they provided me with an investment that would increase the value of my home. If there is ever  a time that I need any fencing I will be calling them first.

Does Your Home Need a Window Upgrade?

replacement-home-windowsKnowing when the best time to replace your windows can be difficult.  You may have a few windows that have some wear and tear and others that seem perfectly fine.  As a general rule, windows will last around 15 to 20 years.  So if you’ve had your windows replaced within that timespan then you’re probably fine.  However, if you know your home has had the same windows for longer than that or you are unsure of when you windows were last replaced, then it may be time for you to begin planning their replacement.

Below are a few tell-tale signs that may indicate aging windows that are ready for replacement.


Do you have a hard time carrying on a conversation or hearing your TV due to outside noise?  If so, this may indicate poor window quality.  As windows age, their quality degrades with them, meaning they allow more and more noise to seep their way into your home, making your living space much louder than it should be.

Replacement-widnowDifficult To Operate

Over time, some of the moving parts on our windows begin to rust or begin sticking.  To open and close them may become more and more difficult as they age.  A high-quality window will glide when operating and seem effortless.  If opening your windows to allow fresh air has turned into a workout, then it may be time to consider a window replacement.


An outdated window may be cramping your home’s style.  As our window get older, a simple wash and fresh set of paint just won’t bring out its best like it used to.  New replacement windows can really help improve the look and style of your home.  And if you’re looking to sell, they can also help add several thousand dollars onto its value.

High Energy Costs

Have you noticed your home energy costs rising throughout the years?  If you have and are just baffled as to why, then your aging windows may be to blame.  Old windows just aren’t able to provide the insulation like their younger selves.  Of course window replacement can often time be expensive, however, old windows may be costing you thousands of dollars a year on poor energy efficiency.  A high-quality replacement will save you money for years to come.

Window replacement can be a scary feat sometimes.  It can be hard to know the best place to find high-quality windows as well as a good contractor.  For my Chesterfield home, I used Renewal by Andersen of Richmond.  From start to finish, they were able to take the measurements of my home and install beautiful custom made windows.  However, regardless of the route you take, make sure you always search for reviews on the quality of service you’re receiving.



Elegant Style with Senior Accessibility

wheel chair and helperAs I got older I found it harder and harder to get around. My knees were slowly failing me and my back would constantly give me troubles. It wasn’t long before I needed a wheel chair and reliable in home senior care. It was a challenging time but I, like many others, learned to cope. After all, we’re not created to live forever. As these new mobility challenges hindered my life, I needed to adapt.  I decided that I was going to modify my home in Lakewood CO to be more wheel chair friend yet hold a very regal setting like it has always done. I have a fancy style and I didn’t want my disability to hide that.

The first thing I wanted to add to my home was a top of the line stair lift so I can get up and down the stairs with no problem. These generally run anywhere from $1500 to $10,000 but I decided to upgrade and incorporate an IKAT pattern on the seating and backing cushions on a silk fabric. The metal on the tracks was all brass which gave a nice sheen to it. This chair lift would make it so I didn’t need to contact my senior care helper every time I needed to get up the stairs.

The next project we worked on was installing a ramp at the front entry door and the back patio door. I designed a long entry ramp that had cast iron railings on each side. To mask the incline I decided to incorporate lots of plant life. I had some wisteria planted by my senior care aid which I had intended to grow down the railing. I also had roses put in right in front of the incline. There should be some great colors and beautiful smells coming my way by next spring and summer. To accent the walk way at night I had small stairlantern light fixtures installed all the way to the entry door. The patio had a similar wheel chair ramp that led down to the pool.

My last addition was a hoisting arm lift that would help assist me into the pool. I had it put in right between the pool and the hot tub so I could use it to get in both of them. This was a hard one to make pretty but I ended up have the medical looking machine air brushed with sea foam green. I also made all the straps pink, which is my favorite color. Don’t let your disabilities discourage you from expressing your lifestyle. Take hold of life and show off your style!

Installing Granite and Marble

Price aside, it can be difficult to choose between granite and marble accents in your home. Our solution? Usually granite is a more practical choice in the kitchen, and marble is better to use in bathrooms. However, you can use both in either area of the house if you have a strong preference towards one over the other. NEKA is a popular granite and marble dealer in Northern VA with the technology to finish your stone however you like. Look for local businesses for the most support with installing granite countertops and other fixtures.


Although granite has some porosity because it is a natural stone, it typically does not stain when sealed properly. Wine, spaghetti sauce, and other dark or acidic substances can leave a mark if left sitting for long period of time. If you wipe down your countertops regularly, you should not run into any issues.

In comparison to marble, granite is shinier and more vibrant. Brighter colors with distinct speckled patterns comprise the stones, giving them an extra pop.


Marble is slightly more sensitive and prone to staining than marble. However, if sealed correctly, it becomes fairly resistant to colored liquids, acidic substances, and heat. White marble is especially prone to marks from dark spills.

Marble is a great material to use in large spaces, like floors and bathrooms, because of its sprawling veining pattern. It’s slightly duller than granite and generally comes in more subtle colors.

No matter which material you chose, make sure that you find a company that both fabricates (cuts, polishes, finishes, and seals) the stone. Huge manufacturers typically do not provide these services, and a third party will not do the best job possible.

Make sure you choose a strong, durable seal. Marble and granite are both porous material, but the right outer layer can provide extra protection. When it comes to maintenance, wipe the stone down each night with a gentle solution to remove any liquids that could cause build up or staining if left sitting for too long.