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Stearns Design Build:            10 Kitchen Trends for 2020

Stearns Design Build: 10 Kitchen Trends for 2020

New decade, new trends! From countertops to cabinets, here is our prediction for the top 10 kitchen trends that will dominate designs in 2020! Get ready to start planning your dream kitchen.

Upper cabinets are not ideal since they are hard to reach and they tend to make a kitchen feel smaller. We imagine that we’ll be removing more upper cabinets than installing new ones and in their place, we will be adding open shelving.

There are a few downsides to open shelving, depending on personal preference. 

There is typically added dust accumulating on your dishes,  which requires extra cleaning. Another option is to mix the two and only replace your corner cabinets with open shelves for things such as cookbooks or décor.

Now, that you’ve chosen the countertops, paint, and flooring; there is one more essential element for your dream kitchen. Kitchen wall tiles both protect + personalize the hardest working room in the house. Available in every colorway and a huge range of patterned, textured or simple designs.

We were excited to see that we were ahead of this trend last year with this blue kitchen pictured above that was featured in Insite Magazine. We will be seeing a plethora of colored cabinets in 2020.

Say goodbye to the heavy + broach raised panel cabinet doors of the past. Simple shaker or even smooth cabinets doors that are easier to clean and match the elegance of a 2020 kitchen.

The accessories in your kitchen are an essential +  important component in the design, especially with hardware. When you change something as simple as hardware, it can change the design of the space. Along with the other simple lines in the kitchen, will be simpler minimal knobs and pulls.

Quartz will continue to be the preferred material & homeowners are in search of more character in their countertops. As they have improved the art of veining these tops, we will see more of these dramatically veined counters.

When space can be found, we expect to add large functional pantries to make the kitchen more efficient. Who doesn’t love a well-organized pantry?!

Of course, this has always been a trend with us as it is part of our Transition approach to design. With the upper cabinets gone, we can now enlarge that window providing more natural light + connection to the beautiful outdoors.

Who wants to bend down and reach to the back of a lower cabinet? No one! A new kitchen will bring the convenience of customized drawer organizers with pull-outs for pots + pans and other kitchen tools.

Your ceiling does not need to be boring. A little color on the ceiling can cast a glow and brighten the mood of the kitchen, especially when eliminated with sleek LED lights.

Want to learn more about kitchen design + remodeling?

Join us at our kitchen seminar on March 7th, 2020! Sign up below!

Best of Houzz 2020!

Best of Houzz 2020!

The Annual People’s Choice Award from the Houzz Community Highlights Home Remodeling and Design Professionals with Most Popular Designs and Top Ratings.

Stearns Design Build of Bryan/College Station has won a “Best Of Houzz” award for Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design.

The 27-year old design-build firm was chosen by their clients and the international Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2019.

A “Best Of Houzz 2020” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“It is always gratifying to win an award, but it is especially humbling when we win customer service awards, such as this award from Houzz and the Guild Master award from GuildQuality,” said company founder Hugh Stearns.  “Our industry typically works on a job site, but our work is performed in our client’s homes. We work hard to make that distinction clear and meaningful. A family’s home is their sanctuary. We understand that. And of course, great design and craftsmanship are also important.” 

“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home remodeling and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the U.S. and around the world.”

About Stearns Design Build:

We Design and Build Happiness!

Stearns Design-Build is a home remodeling firm that has been serving College Station, Bryan, and the Brazos Valley since 1993. As a full-service firm, Stearns Design-Build does a wide range of residential projects. We bring building science to the art of design to produce custom kitchens, baths, additions, and whole-house remodeling projects.


What is Stearns Home-Care?

What is Stearns Home-Care?

We would like to introduce Stearns Home-Care, a subsidiary of Stearns Design Build, now provides an annual subscription service that provides regular home maintenance.

It includes a multitude of things such as cleaning gutters, maintaining fixtures and appliances, changing light bulbs and batteries, and checking and repairing weather stripping. A full spectrum of service is provided over six visits annually.

Watch the video below to learn more!

Sign up today for a FREE home consultation!

New Year = New Home

New Year = New Home

Here we are, at the tail end of the first month in a new decade and a New Year!

Every new year, so many of us make resolutions to change or adjust our habits and most importantly, vision the goals that we’d like to accomplish in this new year.

But, how often do we sit down and make resolutions for our homes?  Maybe there’s a dream kitchen remodel you’ve wanted and dreamed of, but never had the nerve to start planning. 

Do you have a storage issue that leaves your house feeling cluttered all the time? Is your bathroom outdated or a safety hazard? You’ve left this on the back burner, due to a multitude of things- busy lives, budget constraints, etc.

Maybe 2020 is the year! The year to improve + renovate your home.

You can begin by making a list of spaces in your home that you’re most unhappy with or that could benefit from adjustment or change. 

Now, imagine how you and your family will feel when you start taking tiny steps to change the current spaces in your home and the pleasure + joy it will bring. 

Try your best not to think too much into numbers + budget at this stage. The minute you begin envisioning and imagining your dream space; your creative juices will begin flowing. When you look at the world through creative eyes, whether it’s your home or other dreams and goals,  it invites in the potential transformation that you will experience. 

Doing this kind of dreaming will guide you in your decisions and goals for the year and throughout the next decade!

Typical Goals for home remodeling:

  • Adding space: The family room you always wanted
  • Repurposing an existing room: guest bedroom, mudroom
  • Creating a new room: hobby room, office
  • Creating outdoor space: kitchen, porch
  • Updating for style + energy efficiency.

Did you know that all of our remodeling projects start with an energy assessment? 

Not only do we want to ensure that our company is a leader in the best practices of green building, but also we want to increase the return on investment of your home.

We’d love to sit down with you and hear about your goals, dreams and the transformation you envision. Are you ready? Is this the year for you to begin the creation of your dream home?

Call us today for a free consultation! We can’t wait to hear from you.

Sense of Place: Lighter + Brighter Homes

Sense of Place: Lighter + Brighter Homes

Your home is a special place. It should be your sanctuary, where you feel content & safe.

Creating that happy space requires careful planning. It takes an understanding of how a home’s design affects our emotional state and how to maximize the positive effects. Neuroscientists + psychologists have joined forces with architects + interior designers in concluding that certain aesthetic qualities increase a sense of emotional well being.

What is one of the most influential qualities in creating this space?

The incorporation of natural light!

Let the Sunshine In

Natural light exposure can influence how we feel at home, both consciously and subconsciously. It’s an easy way to create a brighter, happier home. You can increase natural light in your home by:

  • Adding windows facing east to let in the sunshine without letting in too much heat. Strategically positioning west-facing windows under eaves or with trees partially shading them can also provide a nice sunset view without sending the temperature inside your home skyrocketing.
  • Looking at your window treatments and removing any heavy drapery. Shutters or blinds can help control the natural light without blocking it.
  • Using the natural tone of wood or light colors to help light reflect into darker spaces. Mirrors or metallic surfaces are also great at bouncing light around.
  • Removing or rearranging furniture that blocks windows. Smaller pieces can be positioned near windows.
  • When remodeling, add pocket or double doors between rooms to allow for privacy and an acoustic barrier when necessary but facilitate unfettered airflow and light.
  • Replacing internal walls with windows to allow borrowing of light. Today’s glazing practices create sturdy, translucent surfaces that open up a home.

Sleep Better = Feel Better

The advantages of building designs that maximize natural light are well known. Sunlight from the east has been proven to positively impact your body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm. Natural light exposure offers many physiological benefits, including helping you sleep longer and enjoy better quality sleep.

Letting the outside into your home through natural light + exposure to the outdoors creates a brighter home and a happier you!

Invest in Your Home Part 2: Daily Savings + Aging in Place

Invest in Your Home Part 2: Daily Savings + Aging in Place

Your home is a great source of joy. It brings you warmth + safety and allows for self-expression. For many of us,  it is also one of our most significant investments and ongoing costs in our lifetime.

By paying close attention to short-term maintenance costs and planning for the long-term potential to remain in your home, you will reap the benefits of your home even more.

Here are a few tips for how to save money every day, safeguard your home’s value, and prepare to age in place.

Do It Right: The Cost to Maintain

Most people have a mortgage, but there are also other ongoing costs associated with owning your home that you may not think about as much as your mortgage payment. These costs include such things as insurance, utility costs, and maintenance. By reducing these costs, it will save you money every month and be just as beneficial as refinancing that mortgage at a lower interest rate.

  • Schedule an energy audit: Investing in an energy audit can save you money. Many fixes can pay off in as little as two years.  Some other repairs will take longer but once the investment is paid off, it is money in the bank every month thereafter.
  • Purchase higher quality fixtures and appliances: If you have heard the expression “builder grade”,  it simply means the lowest cost option. Builders are motivated to use builder-grade fixtures and appliances because it lowers the cost per square foot of a home. Price per square foot is the primary measure that most homebuyers use to evaluate a home purchase. This might be the worst way to calculate the value of a home. To get the cost per square foot down, the quality is typically compromised. 
  • Consider your climate: The approach to home building should be largely dictated by the environment your in.  There have been many costly mistakes made by well-meaning builders who applied building techniques meant for a cold, dry climate to a hot, humid climate.  As an example, here in College Station & Bryan we avoid using wood on the exterior of our homes. It just does not endure well, nor does it hold paint well. Luckily, there are great alternatives such as fiber content that work very well for our climate.

Make It Last: Aging in Place

Seniors are staying in their homes longer, otherwise known as aging in place. The longer a person can stay out of assisted living, the better their quality of life and the more savings they will retain either for unexpected expenses. 

Staying at home allows seniors a higher level of independence, while also reducing the stress of having to relocate. As you can imagine, a sense of connection to personal space becomes heightened as we all age. Here are a few aspects of aging in place to consider in a new home or a home remolding project:

  • Remove stairs and steps: One of the first things that we notice as we age is how much more difficult stairs become.  If you can find a single-story home with very few or no steps, you will be better prepared to age in place.
  • Create the framework for an accessible bathroom: Having difficulty bathing often necessitate a move to assisted living.  Even if a person is not in a wheelchair, a roll-in shower without a curb is much easier to navigate. Also, placing blocks in the walls of showers and baths can make the installation of grab bars easier. With a little planning, using the facilities as we age can be made much safer. 
  • Prepare to install wider doors: Narrow doors, especially in bathrooms, are a barrier to wheelchairs + walkers and an impediment to aging in place.  If possible, request framing for large doors, even if a smaller door is preferred. The small door can be removed later and with a slight modification, a larger door can be installed.
  • Improve the lighting: Unfortunately, our vision degrades as we age.  Luckily, there is a lot that we can do with light to improve our ability to age in place.  Light is a very important factor in aging. When remodeling, request a lighting study for each room. Contrast is also a big factor in assisting aging vision and is particularly important in kitchen remodels. When countertops are of a hue that contrasts with the flooring, orientation, and vision are greatly aided.

Your home is more than just where you eat and sleep. It is also a significant investment. With just a little care, that investment can be wisely managed + maximized and bring you joy for a lifetime.