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Going from cookie cutter to custom

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Going from cookie cutter to custom

Cool countertops and custom faucets can help perform a simple kitchen remodel.

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POSTED March 19, 2011 2:07 a.m.
A new home: It’s your chance to personalize your living space with details that suit your taste and personality. Or, so you think. Many builders only allow you to choose colors; and offer limited options beyond their builders’ grade materials. Or, if you’ve purchased a previously owned home, it too is most likely equipped with many basic options.

Luckily, it’s easy to bust out of builder basics and add a few easy and inexpensive updates to make your cookie-cutter home stand out from the rest. And what better place to start than the heart of your home - the kitchen?

“A minor kitchen remodel is really one of the easiest ways you can make the most of your home - while also giving it your own personal style,” says Danny Lipford, renowned home improvement expert and host of the nationally syndicated TV show, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. “Plus, according to Remodeling magazine, it’s one of the top five projects that will recoup your investment when it comes time to sell.”

Not sure where to start? Lipford recommends these five projects:

Cool countertops. If your kitchen is like most, you probably have laminate countertops, since they are available in a variety of colors and patterns and are relatively inexpensive ($10 - $30 per square foot). However, they lack style and scratch and buckle easily. To give your kitchen a high-end look, consider updating your countertops with a more resistant surface, such as solid surface, a molded resin that is stain-resistant and mimics the look of concrete ($35 - 80 per square foot); marble, which in addition to its natural beauty is heat-resistant ($40 - $100 per square foot); or engineered stone, which is a mix of quartz and resins to create an extremely durable and fashionable surface ($45 -$90 per square foot).

Fabulous faucets. Does your faucet have a pullout spout with a beautiful finish that coordinates with the rest of your decor? If not, it’s time for an upgrade. For less than $200, you can easily swap your no-frills faucet for one that adds functionality and fashion. Moen offers a variety of stylish high-arc pullout kitchen faucets with new innovative finishes, such as the Neva pullout faucet. Available at Lowe’s, Neva features Moen’s two newest finishes - Soft Grip and Spot Resist. Soft Grip is a stylish, black finish that is soft to the touch for a comfortable and sturdy feel in your hand - yet is durable in design for everyday use; while Spot Resist Stainless does just what it says - resist fingerprints and water spots - virtually eliminating the need for daily cleaning while maintaining a beautiful, brilliant finish.

Luxurious lighting. Fluorescent lighting in the kitchen is a staple for many builders since it’s functional and inexpensive. However, it’s not very aesthetically pleasing. Luckily, replacing fluorescent lighting is a simple project that will instantly make a style statement in your kitchen. Try one of these options: Track lighting, which is a fixture that sits close to the ceiling, but features multiple decorative lamps in a row; pendant lamps, which extend down from the ceiling like a chandelier; or mini pendant lamps, which offer a smaller version of a pendant and are available in a variety of styles and designs; are all ideal and easy-to-install options.

Wonderful walls. Are your walls still white or beige, plain slabs? Adding color and texture is an easy way to make a dramatic difference. Painting is the simplest tactic - and by using a high-quality paint, in a semi-gloss or eggshell finish, you can additionally make your walls easier to clean. However, don’t stop there. Adding textures with updates, such as wainscoting, crown molding or even a tile backsplash are easy enough for a DIYer - and can be cost effective as well.

Fabulous floors. As the foundation of the room, you want your kitchen floor to sweep you off your feet - not send you packing. So, if yours is more “blah” than “beautiful,” it’s time for an update. Luckily, there are many choices available - from high-end choices, such as hardwood or natural stone; to more affordable options, such as ceramic tile and laminate. And, with the wide array of colors, designs and textures available with each, you can create a dramatic update that fits your budget and your unique design style.

With a few simple updates the only thing cookie-cutter about your kitchen is what you’re baking.
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