Home Design: Designing Outside the Box

Many of our clients have areas in their home that could be improved for better functional use. Some want to add on, however, we think it’s important to start “thinking outside the box” when it comes to your existing space.

Take a look around and see if you could re-purpose a room that you never use, or bring it back to life by making a few design changes.

Below we explore why most people want to add-on, ways to evaluate your current space and give a few examples of what we’ve done for our customers.

Reasons Most People Add-on

The main reason our clients want an addition is for better functional use of their space. The primary function may vary quite a bit, but in the end there’s a reason you may be considering an addition.

Here are a few common reasons more space is desired:

  • Preparing for an additional person to live in your home, whether a new baby, adding your parents, or sharing your space for a time.
  • Need a workspace that is private from the rest of your home but may not want to lose the guest bedroom.
  • Would like more storage (who doesn’t?)
  • The current space just isn’t functional
  • Want a craft area, AKA “Woman Cave”
  • Well, you just want more space, period.

There are many reasons people want to add on to their home, so be sure to make your reasons clear before looking at your own home.

Clear Your Clutter

Before you can evaluate your home, you will need to clean it! It’s so easy to accumulate “stuff” over the years, so take the time to sort through it and organize. Once you get your home cleared out, you can truly assess if you can re-purposes potions of your home, or should add on.

Evaluate Your Space

Now that your house is cleaned up, it’s time to assess your entire home. Go to each room and consider how often you use each room and the reasons why you may not use certain rooms as much. You can also look at the rooms you use most often, like the bathroom or kitchen, and write down what you don’t like about them. Many times, this could be functional issues or even outdated products.

Not it’s time to use your imagination.

Think Outside the Box

Now that you’ve done your walkthrough, take a second look at the room that you may not use as much. Imagine what other ways you could use these rooms or make them multi-functional. Consider the surrounding rooms and what could be re-arranged.

Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Tear down this wall in your kitchen and make your space open concept, so that you’re not separated from your family while preparing meals.
  • Make your guest bedroom multi-functional by making it your office with a daybed instead of a full bed.
  • Enlarge your tiny shower by using the extra space in your room, so that you’re more comfortable and safe in your bathing environment.

You may need help imagining what could be done in your space, which is why we always pair our customers with a professional designer so you can draw from their experiences and ideas.


Once you have evaluated your space and imagined the possibilities, you can assess if you truly need to add on, or if you can re-purpose a portion of your home for what you need it for. Just remember that aesthetics will follow your function…in other words, you can always make your space” pretty” once you decide it’s function.

To give you inspiration, we will share a few case studies from our own customers.

Kitchen Swapped with Dining Room

Our client had a small kitchen and large dining space. After talking with the couple about what they desired, our designer threw out the idea of swapping rooms. Although this was mind-blowing at first, everyone agreed that this would be a more functional space and fulfill their desires.

In the end, the client had a stunning kitchen with a large multi-functional island, added storage space, and even converted the window to a double French door for access to their outdoor living space. By swapping out rooms, the designer capitalized all the areas the owners wanted to achieve in the kitchen—coffee bar, wet bar, baking station, multi-purpose island and more.

Revived Dining Room

This particular client wanted to upgrade their kitchen. After having an appointment in their home, we noticed that their dining room was largely untouched. We asked why and were told that since there was white carpet, they were afraid of getting it dirty so they avoided using it. They had a gorgeous dining table that was never used and ate in the den!

Since the dining room was adjacent to the kitchen, we knocked down the wall and enlarged the size of the kitchen area, added new flooring throughout the home, and a wet bar, a large island, and a wonderful place for their table (not on carpet). Now the dining room has come back to life with room for entertaining and everyday enjoyment.

From Closed to Open Concept Design

In this client’s home, there were 4 separate rooms for the common living spaces: living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. The client wanted an open concept space without losing the function of each room.

Our designer was given creative control and exceeded our client’s expectations. She tore down all the walls, updated the look, and created a stunning design upon entry for any guest. Instead of having 4 confined areas, the new design merged all the areas for a clean open concept design. The multi-purpose island gave function for all activities in their home, from cooking to entertaining, added storage, and great design.

Master Bathroom Re-Design

Our client had a large master bathroom space, but a tiny shower, separate closets and separate vanities in a jack and jill layout, plus the toilet was facing the shower (how awkward).

By thinking outside the box, our design team was able to gut out the space and reconfigure the entire layout. We enlarged the shower, merged the double vanities in a better layout, moved the toilet, and consolidate the closet spaces to make a luxurious walk-in closet. By making these changes, we enhanced our client’s enjoyment of their living space while also increasing the value of their home.

More Functional Kitchen

This client had a small u-shaped kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room in 3 separate rooms. The husband loved to grill, however the access to the backyard was indirect. The wife loved to bake, but there really wasn’t enough counterspace to do everything she needed, especially if her husband was in the kitchen at the same time (can you relate?).

To solve these functional problems, we made the 3 rooms one great room with a large island with seating, access to the backdoor was direct, and even added an office area. They were able to enjoy each other’s company while they made dinner without any nuances of running right into each other.


Re-thinking your space may be all that you need to do in order to “add on” to your home. By taking the steps above, you can evaluate your family’s needs within your current space and decide which direction you can go.

If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a Free Design Consultation to explore the possibilities with a professional designer!

Remodeling for Accessibility in the Kitchen

Remodeling with the future in mind is an important aspect to consider when making any of your design and product decisions. Creating a safe environment in your kitchen and bathroom is essential for all age groups, but especially for those approaching their golden years or need a functional and accessible space for their needs.

As we see many of our clients staying in their homes longer, creating a stylish and functional space that is safe is a priority. Remodeling should always incorporate safety but will become a key focus when considering the future and present demands.

The kitchen design should give residents the best use of their space and keep them independent by making a few simple design changes.

Pull Out Drawers in the Kitchen

Having lower pull out drawers in the kitchen is a great way to make your space safer for the elderly and convenient for those with limited mobility. Instead of storing your dishes in an upper cabinet where you’d have to reach overhead or use a stool, consider changing the location to a lower oversized cabinet drawer. This makes it easily accessible and gives independence for simple tasks of using and storing dishes.

We recommend using oversized pullout drawers for storing your dishes, as well as your pots and pans. You can also use pull out cabinets for storing pantry items, or lazy susans for those hard to reach spots in the back of your cabinets.

Use Pull Handles

Make sure you use easy-to-grab pull handles for your cabinets instead of nobs. This is especially important for those with arthritis, where having a firm grasp can be hard. Keep function and ease of use top of mind when choosing your cabinet hardware. Additionally, pull handles will give a more balanced glide and maintains the lifespan of your drawers.

Mixer Lift

If you love your kitchen aide, installing a mixer lift is an easy way to store and use your kitchen accessory while maintaining clear countertops. A mixer lift is typically installed in a lower cabinet with an outlet and will lift to countertop height for your convenience. No need to worry about lifting your appliance to the countertop as well.

Change Your Microwave Location

In some homes, the microwave is installed above the stove and doubles as a range hood. When remodeling though, consider a location that won’t be above a hot surface if you need to use the countertop for extra stability. Consider moving your “on-demand” appliance to an upper or lower cabinet location, depending on your specific needs.

Easy Maintenance Countertops

Hygienically sound countertops are a must for an easy maintenance kitchen. Opt for quartz or solid surface countertops which are nonporous and stain-resistant. There are a variety of colors and styles available. See more about countertop options here.

Lower Height of Countertops

Courtesy of Blanco

For a complete ADA kitchen, we would discuss with our client about lowering the countertop height to accommodate wheelchair use in the kitchen or create multi-level heights. With this adjustment, it is also important to have areas with no cabinetry, or what we call “barrier-free”. This is most useful for directly under the sink and stovetop.

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen

Delta Touch2O Technology

For added convenience add smart home technology to your kitchen. You can command your faucet to fill the dog bowl, or simply touch the faucet to turn it on or off. Read more about the updates you can make in our Smart Home blog here.


There are many design and product decisions to consider when remodeling for aging in place or with accessibility in mind. We covered the basics changes that could be made in the kitchen, and have several thoughts on updating your bathroom for safer use for all needs, click here to read.

Ready to Remodel?

Click below to get started with a Free Design Consultation!

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen and Bathroom

With technology growing at a rapid pace, it is no surprise that technology is advancing in your kitchen and bathroom as well! While there are hundreds of innovations—doorbells, lighting, TV, watches, cellphones, vacuums, and more—we would like to focus on the kitchen and bathroom features that are “smart”.


U by Moen

Faucets have many new features that make it convenient for everyday life, and those with disabilities!

Innovation for shower faucets now makes it possible to voice command your water, set temperature, and the intensity of the spray—all from your app, or your home assistant (Siri, Alexis, or Google Assistant). Plus, the shower can play your favorite tunes—would you expect anything less?

Out of the shower, you can command your sink faucet to go on or off, or simply touch the faucet’s spout or handle to turn on and off the water flow. You can always manually use the faucet—but why do that when it’s smart?

Delta Touch2O Technology

In your kitchen, you can also command your sink faucet to turn on or off, and even fill your pot to an exact amount of water—all without touching your faucet! Who needs a sous chef when your smart kitchen is helping you out? Of course, we know that nothing can replace an actual assistant you can boss around, but if you’re going solo, your faucet’s got your back on the water!

Some great brands that we recommend for faucet smart technology are Delta and Moen.

Vanity Medicine Cabinet

Mirror, mirror on the wall—play my favorite song of them all!

So your makeup LED-lit medicine cabinet might not take commands in Disney lingo, but with a built-in assistant, it will play your favorite songs while you get ready for the day. These smart mirrors function for extra storage in your space, with the added benefits of smart technologies.

Many models have Bluetooth and audio capabilities, defoggers, and a few versions even come with a built-in screen so you can watch your favorite shows.

Smart Refrigerator


How smart is your fridge? Does it open for you on command? Or automatically close it’s drawers when you’re finished? Well, welcome to the world of smart fridges!

Other models have the family hub, which is a large LED screen on your French door. You can mirror your cell phone, or use the default hub, which includes music, video apps, and even a place to post photos, notes, and recipes for your family.

There are even versions of this smart appliance that have a live video feed of what’s inside your fridge. So if you’re out shopping and aren’t sure if you need more of a particular item, you can just take a peek inside– remotely!

A few popular brands for this technology are LG, Samsung, Bosch, and Thermador.

The Smart Hub

GE Appliances

The smart hub is very similar to the family hub described above, but it can control all of your smart devices in one place. This typically looks like a microwave but is a video screen that doubles as a cabinet and allows you to stream video or voice command anything “smart” in your kitchen. Feeling bossy? Tell your smart hub (not your hubby 😉), to clean the dishes or fill the dog’s water bowl.

Examples of use would be, commanding your dishwasher to start a cycle, while simultaneously fill your cooking pot with water all the while you’re just food prepping your veggies and meat for dinner. Multi-tasking is a voice command away!

Smart Ventilation

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Always forget to turn on your ventilator for your steaming stovetop dinners, amidst everything else you’re doing for dinner and family? The smart ventilation system senses the stove’s temperature and automatically turns on to ventilate your room at the appropriate fan speed. When your stove has lowered temperatures, your vent will automatically make temperature accommodations.

It’s a small customized touch to your cooking experience, but it really makes it more enjoyable.

Smart Oven

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Smart oven technology helps the on-the-go family stay ahead of the game. You can start your dinner as you leave work by pre-heating your oven from your smartphone! Decide to get take-out instead? Pop it in a warm oven to heat up when you get home, or simply turn off your oven remotely. Many smart ovens can follow the recipes connected from supported apps or QR codes, taking expanding their culinary skills!

In Conclusion…

Smart technology in the home can be incorporated in your current home or upcoming remodel. If you’re tech-savvy, this may be your area to splurge in your home and “get smart.”

Ready to remodel? Schedule your Free design consultation below!

Pantry Design Hacks

Many of us have been stocking up on staple items for our families as we spend more time in our homes. It’s important to keep organized when adding items to your space, so you and anyone else can easily find what they’re looking for.

Below are a few tips to organizing your pantry, and space-saving design techniques that we utilize for our customers.

Poulin Pantry Pledge

First thing’s first—take the pantry pledge: I pledge to keep my pantry clean and vow that everything has it’s place. I won’t be lazy and put it on the wrong shelf, or stuff it into a place with an open space.

All fun aside, organizing your pantry is an ongoing process, especially if you live with anyone other than yourself! Realize that this is not a one- time fix, but actually a lifestyle change for better ongoing organization.

Now that you’re sworn and committed, let’s get to business.

Basic Organization

Here are a few basics of what to do when organizing your pantry.

First, get rid of expired foods and donate the food you won’t eat. Clean the shelves and decide where you would like your pantry goods to be placed and how they will be displayed.

Next, decide how you’d like to store your staple foods. There are many options including jars, baskets, pullout trays, lazy susans, spice racks, can dispensers and more! Having the same type of containers will give you a uniformed look making your pantry user-friendly.

As a general rule of thumb, place your goods with similar items, such as having a place for canned goods, snacks, and spices. You can even subdivide your sections by prioritizing your most used items, or even from “healthy” snacks to “junk” food. Then date and label accordingly to help maintain organization- chalkboard, decals, label maker, dry erase labels, or whatever your creative mind comes up with!

Add Drawers

To maximize your space and to make good use on items “in the back” of the pantry, install drawer slides. These are very convenient and super functional for a smaller space.

Tip: when storing spices or jars with drawers, label the tops on the containers, so you can easily identify the item you’re looking for.

Check out this slideshow to be inspired by what can be done in your pantry.

Photo: Omega Cabinetry

Pantry Pull-Out Cabinet 

Pantries come in many shapes and sizes, including a PULL-OUT CABINET! By pulling it out, you make your space more functional with easy access to all your goodies. You can even install specific adds one to hold your jars or other necessities. Save yourself a backache with this style of pantry.

Photo: Bellmont Cabinets

Add a Countertop

This is the latest trend for a closet style or open pantry. Consider adding a coffee or smoothie bar to this area since you will have quick access to all your goods. If this is your style, be sure to have a plug installed in your pantry to experience the full benefit.

Photo: design.jackzoo.

Jars Away

Many dried goods will last longer and be protected from pantry pests. This is where you can go “jar” crazy and organize your heart out—if only to preserve those foods you purchased. The foods you’ll want protect are flours, cereals, cake mixes, spaghetti, beans, spices and other dried goods.

It is also good practice to clean up after any spills in your pantry to ensure you won’t attract any of those unwanted pests.

Photo: Katrina Lee Chambers

Sliding Barn Door

This is all the rage right now, and can be added to nearly any application, given the right amount of space. You can add a barn door for your closet, bathroom, entertainment center…AND even your pantry! This will add a focal point in your space as well as “secretly” hide your closet pantry.

Photo: Thistlewood Farms


Depending what your pantry space, consider storing a few appliances—either to pull out for later, or install your wine fridge or an extra freezer. storage looks like in your kitchen, consider if storing a few appliances in your pantry makes sense.

Photo: Parc de Amato

Store Behind Your Door

Let’s not forget the use of space behind your pantry door. This is so useful in a smaller pantry, and can give you easy access to spices, drinks or your favorite snacks.

Photo: Jay Wilde

Organizational Add-Ons

Add a few lazy Susans—double stacked or single, a stackable track, canned goods organizer, plastic drawers, baskets, or whatever other container that fits your fancy!

Photo: @azhouseoforder

Get Ready, Get Set, Organize That Pantry!

We hope that you have been INSPIRED to organize your pantry and keep it organized, per the Poulin Pantry Pledge.

Happy organizing!

Kitchen Island New Mexico

This year many of us are planning “staycations” but we wanted to make your staycation a fun time at your Kitchen Island! Having this feature in your home is highly desired among our customers, and for good reason—it’s great for entertaining, adds storage to your space and is a must for cooks and bakers. Plus, it adds a strong design element in your home as a focal point.

In New Mexico, we live in the land of open spaces, so translating this to our homes is natural! Combining the kitchen space with your living space in your home is an open concept design—which is popular right now.

In this article, we will cover how to Plan your Kitchen Island ‘Staycation’, Key Functions of your Island, and Designer Tips, all curated by our team at the Poulin Design Center.

Plan your Kitchen Island Staycation

The real estate in your kitchen will determine if you can have a kitchen island (or peninsula), or if you will need to modify your space to add an island. Sometimes adding an island to your kitchen may result in eliminating your dining room table or another feature. Consider what your priorities are in the space you have now.

To help you with these decisions, you can consult with a professional designer to envision the possibilities of your kitchen—removing walls for expansion, changing the function of your kitchen for cooking or baking, or even adding/modifying your prized kitchen island.

Decide on the FUNCTION of your Kitchen Island

What would you like to use your kitchen island? Below are the most popular reasons our customers opt for a kitchen island, PLUS what features would complement these uses:

Cooking/Baking/Food Prep

Many of our customers need extra space to prepare their food, making this their top priority when designing their kitchen island.


  • Add a second sink to your kitchen—a prep sink on the island will give your helpers more space to work alongside you with you running into each other. Many times, this will add a second work triangle in your kitchen as well. See more about the work triangle under Designer Tips.
  • Many of our customers add a cooktop on their island which can help design constraints.
  • Consider changing the location of your dishwasher to the island—only if it makes sense! Make sure the flow of your kitchen is fluid with a professional designer.


Many people open their homes for get-togethers from small to large, so making sure their kitchen is suited for their guests will be higher on their list.


    • When you incorporate an overhang on your kitchen island countertop, you have just made your island multi-functional. Add seats for your guests or take them away for a better traffic flow to use the space for serving.
    • Create a beverage station that can incorporate a wine cooler. This is a nice feature when you entertain frequently.
    • Adding a kitchen island will give you additional serving space, giving you the option to present your food for your guests.


A kitchen island will offer this to you regardless if you prepare cooking, entertaining, or both. So first determine how you would like to use your storage. Below are common ways kitchen island storage is used.


    • Place your larger countertop appliances in your island in tall cabinets with pull out trays. You can even store a Kitchen Aide mixer with a lift for easy access.
    • Store your cookbooks in open shelving on the end cap of your island
    • A decorative element of your island could be used to feature your wine in wine cubbies.
    • Have a second place to store your beverages for your family and guests with easy access to a beverage cooler.

Designer Tips for your Kitchen Island

Design with the Work Triangle in mind

This connects the stove, to the sink to the refrigerator where most of the traffic in your kitchen exists. When designed properly, this will give a good flow of traffic and food prep when cooking or entertaining in your kitchen. Working with a professional designer will address these basic design principles.

Two-Tone Cabinetry or Two-Tone Countertops

Consider design features like two-tone cabinetry and/or two-tone countertops. This is a trending style right now and allows you to pick complimentary colors of your kitchen countertops and cabinets. Sometimes you can accent your cabinets by making your island a focal point by changing the color. This is a great design feature to make your kitchen stand out but selecting the right colors can be tricky—be sure to work with a professional when finalizing your decisions.

Multi-Level Countertops

Create tiered levels of your kitchen island which will add a design element with dimension. The benefit of a two-tiered countertop is to maximize the space on your island. This option will provide you with a multi-level serving option, great for entertaining.

Waterfall Edge Design Element

A popular style of a kitchen island is a waterfall edge. This is a unique way to feature your kitchen island, giving it a continuous look that connects your colors from floor to ceiling. To up the design of this style, add a second level for a double waterfall edge! You’ll have a ‘wow’ factor plus the extra countertop space to still prep and entertain your guests.

Storage: Drawers VS Cabinets

Decide on the use of your storage spacedrawers vs cabinets. Since your storage space is now expanded, take inventory of what you would like to store in this area. Do you have more countertop appliances you’d like to tuck away? Then add more cabinets. Maybe you’d love to store your extra plates—then oversized drawers may be the best option. Don’t forget to add to your convenient pull out drawers, it’ll save your back a few aches! Many times, your storage space will be a combination of the two—but consider your needs BEFORE you finalize the design of your storage.

Open Shelving

Add open shelving to your kitchen island. This is typically done on the end caps and is an excellent place to store your cookbooks or other decorative items.

Animal Feeding Station

If your furry friends love hanging out with you in the kitchen, think about incorporating an animal feeding station. This ensures your pets have their own space in the heart of your home and is a lovely touch at the endcap of your island.

Arrived: Kitchen Island Staycation

As you can see there are many possibilities of what could be done just with your kitchen island.

Making your kitchen functional for your needs is important and should be a top priority when designing your space. After all, home is where the heart is, and the heart is in the kitchen!

Take a cruise of the islands 🏝️ of the Poulin Design Center

Click below to see our gallery of 45 photos for your inspiration!

Need help with your kitchen island?

If you need help with your upcoming remodel, feel free to schedule a Free Design Consultation with one of our Professional Designers!

Countertops 101

There is a lot of chatter about which countertop is best for you! There are a variety of choices to make when choosing the right countertop for your home and lifestyle. Learn about the materials, finishes, and edge profiles to make the right decisions on which tops are good for your home.


Although there are more countertops materials available to purchase, below are our top 3 recommendations due to their long-lasting qualities. We are confident in the following material choices to recommend to any of our customers.

  • Quartz is a man-made composite of 95% quartzite and 5% polymer resin. By combining the two materials, this is a very strong material that is nonporous making it scratch and stain-resistant. It has a higher resistance to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect your countertop. Quartz countertops require no maintenance except for regular cleaning. This means you don’t have to worry about sealing, polishing, or reconditioning the surface to maintain the natural luster. From a design perspective, there are many colors of quartz, but the look is generally consistent but can have movement. This is a popular choice among our customers since it is stylish and great for a busy lifestyle with no maintenance.
  • Solid Surface by Corian is also a man-made product that is seamless. You can seamlessly integrate your sink and/or backsplash into your design. It is hygienically sound and you will oftentimes see this product in hotels, restaurants, and hospitals. It is also nonporous and stain-resistant. If you do happen to damage this countertop, it easy to repair, unlike other materials. One of the characteristics of solid surface is being able to form mold to create custom shapes. It is a go-to material to use in various applications including countertops and showers. To top it off it is sustainably made and has a GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification.
  • Granite is a naturally occurring stone from the earth that is harvested in rock quarries throughout the world. Since it is stone from the earth it is more porous which means it can be stained. It is best to clean your countertop promptly after any spills, especially from wine. It is also best practice to seal your granite once a year, especially around high use areas like the stove and sink. It is tolerable to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect the countertop. This countertop material is known for the wonderous unique movement in each individual slabs. This stone, along with quartz are slabs you can pick out from the manufacturer with your designer, making quite a unique experience… you get to pick the exact slab for your countertops from slabs available across the globe!


Once you decide what countertop material is right for you, you still have a few more decisions to make, including your finish!

  • Polished– this is the standard high-gloss finish that is most popular in homes today. It is reflective and can add a glamorous feel to your space. Be sure to keep this surface clean since stains will be more noticeable.
  • Honed– this is a matte finish that is accomplished by sanding the manufacturer’s polished surface. It is smooth to the touch and still offers a lesser degree of reflection to the top that is soft. This style is becoming more popular in the industry.
  • Leathered– this finish offers a rustic touch to your space. It is non-reflective and has a textured characteristic to the surface. Since it isn’t reflective, this is perfect for camouflaging stains for high use areas and a busy lifestyle, depending on the color.

Edge Profiles

Once you have the countertop material and finish you just need to figure out which edge profile you would like. Depending on the color and type of materials chosen, the edge profile can add the final touch of your design. See the image below to see the basic cuts for the edging of your countertops!


The cost of the above materials varies in each category. There are different levels of granite, quartz, and solid surface that determines the cost. For example, granite can cost more depending on where it is sourced and how far away it is. Other factors could simply be the color choice and amount of movement within the design. However, you can find these materials in any budget for a remodel.

Final Thoughts

Countertops are an integral part of your home design and we highly recommend using quartz, solid surface, or granite for the various reasons listing above. If you have an island, consider making your countertops “two-tone” by having contrasting tops in your space, or the sleek design of a waterfall look (seen in first picture above that features a double waterfall countertop).

Have fun picking out your countertops!

Kitchen Remodel Survival Guide

Remodeling your home can improve your space in many ways, making it more FUNCTIONAL, expanding your STORAGE, and UPDATING your area among other improvements. However, with the pleasure of a remodel comes the inconvenience of not having that specific space for a short period of time. How do you live in your house without a kitchen while it’s being remodeled?

To help you and many of our customers, we have created this guide to give you the basics of how to best PREPARE for your remodel.

Step 1. Decide where your food station will be during your remodel

You can set up a food station complete with your fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and paper goods. Select a part of your home that is out of the way of your remodel, has electricity, and preferably a water source. Examples include the laundry room, bathroom, garage, and backyard.

The key to the location of your food station is being out of the way during the remodel. This ensures that you won’t have to move it halfway through. Be sure to consult with your remodeler about what areas of your home to keep clear during construction.

Step 2. Plan your meals during the remodel

Not having a kitchen is an obvious concern and throws a wrench into your normal meal routine. With some planning, eating at home doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Plan meals that don’t need a stovetop, including:

  • Blender for Smoothies
  • Crockpot/Instantpot meals
  • Grill your proteins and veggies
  • Cook on an induction hot plate
  • Toaster oven or convection oven
  • Prepare salads and opt for fresh veggies
  • Prep meals and freeze them for the week, use the microwave to reheat
  • Plan to eat take out 1-2 times a week
  • Go to a friend or family member’s house for dinner

Now that you have an idea of the types of meals you’ll be preparing, it’s time to move out of your kitchen!

Step 3. Move out of your kitchen

Your plans for your remodel are set and now your install date is coming up. It’s time to “move out” of your kitchen and set up camp in your designated food station.

Prep your boxes to sort through your current kitchen supplies. You can use moving boxes, plastic storage bins, or foldable storage crates. Be sure to have labeling supplies so you don’t lose your everyday items.

We suggest having 3-4 boxes to sort your goods by:

  • Your everyday items- sorted by cabinet
  • Items you never use that you’d like to donate
  • Items that are worn out that you can trash
  • Pantry goods

Clearly label what each box contains and keep any boxes that you’ll use more often easily accessible.

Pro tip: Since your new kitchen is set up for better function and organization, consult with your designer on the best use of storage spaces. You can sort your boxes accordingly and label them for your new cabinet layout.

Step 4. Prepare your mindset

Your kitchen is now ready for your remodel now… but are you mentally prepared? Here are a few tips to prepare your mind for a positive experience:

  • Make sure you’re in good communication with your contractor. If you have any questions or concerns before or during the remodel, know who to contact and have their information handy.
  • Remember why you’re having your remodel done in the first place. In just a short period of time, your kitchen will be complete, and you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood! You can even pin up a photo of your virtual render to remind you of the beautiful space that is being transformed. Patience is a virtue.
  • Be flexible with your contractor. There are many factors that go to completing a remodel and making sure your home is structurally sound as well as up to code. Although there are many meetings and hours preparing for a remodel, sometimes there’s a problem that doesn’t arise until the remodel starts… you never know what’s behind walls until they’re removed or uncovered. There’s always speed bumps along the road during a remodel, so be flexible with your contractor—they will work through it with you.
  • Visualize your new kitchen and enjoy the remodeling process. You’ve had many memories in your kitchen, and now you’re re-making your space for more memories to be had. Take photos of your progress and talk to your installer about what they’re doing. Good installers will give you a daily update so you can follow along in the progress.
  • Take a break from your everyday dusting and cleaning in your house—you’re on a CLEANING VACATION! Use this extra time for yourself and do something fun during your remodel—take a nice walk, read a book, take a bubble bath, do an art project, spend quality time with your family, or just have “me” time. Your kitchen is being remodeled and you can remodel your time as well to rejuvenate.

Closing Thoughts

Remodeling your space is a journey and with the right preparation, it can go smoothly and help you be ready for anything that may happen. Like our Design Center Manager, Laurene Johnson likes to say, “Prior proper planning makes all projects go smoother.”

If you’ve already remodeled your kitchen and need helping moving back in, see our Kitchen Organization Guide here.

Refinish, Reface or Replace your Cabinets

Changing out your cabinets can give you a fresh, new look to your kitchen and create a more functional space. There are many ways to update your kitchen cabinets and choosing the right method for you could make or break your experience. That is why we have outlined the 3 most popular methods people consider when updating their cabinets.

Be sure to read before choosing the method you’d like to go with.

Refinish Your Existing Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • You have the right type of cabinet material
  • Cabinets are in great shape—no water or structural damage
  • You are not changing the layout of your kitchen
  • You are not changing out your countertops
  • Don’t mind spending some extra time on this project, since it is time-intensive
  • Budget-friendly, if you have all of the above

Things you need to know BEFORE you refinish your cabinets…

  •  What is the material of your existing cabinets? If you have laminate, thermal form, or painted cabinets, this is not the best option to update your cabinets. It is best to use a solid, good quality wood cabinet material to refinish, that preferably hasn’t been painted.
  • Be sure to use a finish that allows your completed cabinets to be easily cleaned. Since there are many finishes for your cabinets, consult your local paint expert for the best option for your cabinets.
  • Handles and knobs can be an easy update but keep in mind that your existing hole locations and sizes will determine what options are available for your update.
  • Drawer hardware, such as soft glides and soft closed doors/drawers, will be much harder to install due to industry upgrades in standard drawer dimensions.
  • This is a time-intensive project, so make sure you have an ample amount of time and are ready for the disruption in your everyday life.

Our advice…

If you have the right door material, don’t want to change your kitchen layout, and have the time for this project, this is a great option that will give your kitchen a fresh new look! This is a labor-intensive project, so be sure to do your research before starting since there are many factors that will determine your success.

Reface Your Existing Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • Cabinets are in great shape—no water or structural damage
  • You are not changing the layout of your kitchen
  • You are not changing out your countertops
  • Want a new door style and color
  • Want to update your handles and/or knobs
  • Want to update your drawer hardware, such as soft glides and soft closed doors/drawers

Things you need to know BEFORE you reface your cabinets…

  • Your cabinet doors and drawers will be replaced, but your cabinet and drawer boxes will stay structurally the same
  • You may need to re-do your drawer sizes since the standard sizes have evolved and new drawers may not fit your existing drawer with the new hardware.
  • Not all cabinets are refaceable, so seek the guidance of a professional since there can be many complications.
  • Warranties will vary according to cabinets manufacturer and the professional you choose
  • This option generally saves you 25% of the cost of new cabinets. However, there are many factors that will determine your cost savings, if any over replacing your cabinets.

Our Advice…

If your cabinets are in great shape, and you want a new, updated look, this may be the right option for you. However, you will need to crunch the numbers to decide if this will be more cost-effective over completely replacing your cabinet for your kitchen.

Replace Your Kitchen Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • Your existing cabinets are damaged
  • You want to do a complete remodel of your kitchen including layout, countertops, backsplash, flooring, appliances, etc.
  • Need a more functional space
  • The cost of refacing your cabinets is about the same as replacing

Things you need to know BEFORE you replace your cabinets…

  • Consult with a professional to discuss your project goals in updating your cabinets and/or kitchen, and decide if replacing your cabinets is the right option.
  • Keep in mind, when replacing your cabinets, your flooring footprint will change and so will your countertops. If you don’t want to replace your flooring or countertops, be sure to talk with your professional on what can be done in your situation.
  • Many times upgrades to your home will be needed to get it up to code
  • Any structural changes, such as removing a wall, will need to be checked by a construction expert
  • Talk with a professional designer to guide you through the many design and product decisions to get the most out of your project
  • Consider your timeline for completion, and what is realistic for the scope of your project—whether replacing just your cabinets or completely remodeling your kitchen
  • If you are changing the layout of your kitchen, consider your appliance needs and if they need to be updated at this time.
  • To ensure you made the right product and design decisions for your remodel, use a company that utilizes Virtual Reality technology so you can see your remodel before it’s finished. See examples of Virtual Remodels here.

Our advice…

If you’re contemplating an update to your kitchen or need a more functional space, this is a great option. Be sure to consult with your remodeling professional to learn more about what an update in your space would require.

There are many consideration when updating your kitchen cabinets, so be sure to do the proper research for your space and reach out to your local remodeler to learn what your best options are.

If you’re ready to get started on your kitchen update, start here:

Use our Kitchen Visualizer to start designing your VIRTUAL KITCHEN with various layouts and products

Set up a Free Design Consultation with one of our PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS

EXPLORE our Virtual Remodels here

SEE what our Customers Experienced with their kitchen remodel

Remodeling with Pets in Mind

Many of our furry friends are extensions of our family. When preparing for a remodel, consider a few designs that incorporate your pet’s needs in your space. Below are a few ways that you can better organize your space with your animals in mind.

Kitchen Island Feeding Station

Make a place for your animal’s feeding spot at the end of your kitchen island. Your kitchen is the heart of your home, so it's a great place for you and your pet to enjoy a tasty treat. Photo: Brevin Blach

Pet Food Storage in Kitchen

Although storing dog food is not always done in the kitchen, you can utilize a bin in your pull-out drawer. If you are feeding your animals in the kitchen, this will give you a convenient place to store bulk pet food, as well as help control the feeding times for your pets. Photo: Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry

Mud Room Feeding Station

Instead of the laundry room or kitchen as a place to feed your pets, your mud room is a great alternative. Photo: Dovetail Construction

Built-in Crate for Laundry Room or Master Suite

Having a bed time spot for your pets helps them both build a routine and ownership of their special spot. Photo: Wesley Wayne Interiors

Pet Cleaning Station

Having a dedicated cleaning station is great and can be added to your laundry room or bathroom. This can be your utility wash station for your pets, and other items that get dirty. Photo:Oliver Designs

Built-In Bed Under Stairwell

Do you have stairs with unused space underneath them? How about adding a pet apartment underneath your stairwell, complete with a feeding station! Photo: San Francisco Showhouse

"Oops" Proof Flooring

"Oops" proof flooring such as Luxury Vinyl Tile is an excellent option when designing with your pets in mind. It is waterproof, easy-to-clean, durable and even reduces the noise level when walked on compared to other flooring. Photo: Coretec

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is also an excellent choice for pets. They are highly durable and easy to clean.

Built-In Cat Litter Box

Let’s not forget our beloved cats. Consider having a built-in litter box and scratching post for a purr-fect hangout spot for your furry friend. Photo: DIY Network

Outdoor Access

If you’re pets have indoor and outdoor rights, don’t forget about access to the outdoors. Add your typical doggie door or spruce it up like this one.

Want to update with your pets in mind?

Click below to get started

Organize Kitchen Cabinets for More Functional Space

How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets for a More FUNCTIONAL Space

Many of our customers ask us how to organize their cabinets after their remodel. Where to put their spices, dishes, pots, pans, utensils, pantry items…you name it! And we have spent a lot of time thinking of the most functional design with each customer’s layout and unique needs in mind!

Below are our TOP TIPS to organizing your kitchen according to your appliances for the best use of your space.

CLEAN Out the Clutter.

Before you start organizing, you need to take out everything that you are not using. This could include utensils for cooking that you may have had for 30 years and have never used! Or a pineapple corer, but you hate pineapples. Take an inventory of your items, and throw away the ones that need to be thrown and add a pile of items in good condition that you can donate or put in a garage sale.

Now that you have downsized you can start the organization process.

Organize Your Cabinets Around Your APPLIANCES

Storing your kitchen items in a way that makes it more convenient for you can help make your space more functional! We suggest that you store items surrounding your appliances so that when you’re in your kitchen, it makes sense.

  • Kitchen Sink– Store items that you use most when around the sink include a small trash can or compost bin for easy access for rinsing and chopping veggies and fruits, cutting boards and knives. It’s also good to have your cleaners under the sink for easy access, as well as kitchen towels nearby to clean up messes.
  • Dishwasher- Do you store your plates, cups and utensils in a cabinet far away from your dishwasher? Save yourself the extra trouble and start placing your everyday items in a cabinet or drawer right by your dishwasher.
  • Stove & Oven– It is most convenient to have storage of your pots and pans, baking sheets, cooking utensils and oven mitts nearby. This would also be an excellent area for your spices, whether you have a pull-out spice drawer or use an upper cabinet for storage.
  • Refrigerator- It is best to keep your fridge nearby a countertop so it’s easy to place any food on top. This is useful in everyday use and when hosting a party.

First bonus tip— we suggest having your pantry goods out of the way of your baking and cooking stations. This can help you have a better traffic flow by not interfering with others working in the same space.

Second bonus tip—if you are a Coffee or Tea drinker, consider having a drink station that has everything you need for your daily dose of caffeine. Your coffee maker, tea bags, sugar, cream, mugs, etc. You know what you like, so make space for your everyday items.

Third bonus tip—if you have a small kitchen or have limited storage, consider installing aftermarket pull-out drawers and drawer organizers. These will maximize your storage space so you can have easier access and better organization. Think about how many times you’ve had to sit on the floor to find your pots and pans, or a lid to your Tupperware—such a backache.

Create the RULES of your Kitchen

“A place for everything, everything in its place.”—Benjamin Franklin

Now that your kitchen is organized in a systematic way, it is time to get your family on board. Take them on a tour of your hard work and explain the new locations of your kitchen storage. For instance, “Our dishes are now stored above the dishwasher so you can easily put them away after they’re clean,” OR, “With our new coffee station, you have everything you need for a great cup of coffee in the morning.”

Getting everyone on board will be KEY to maintaining an organized kitchen. In time, you’ll get used to the new system and enjoy the benefits of a more functional storage space for your needs.

Happy Organizing!

Design Center

Founded 38 years ago by Tom Poulin CGR, Poulin Design Remodeling, Inc., has become a mainstay of Albuquerque home renovation.

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