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The Open Kitchen Concept: The Beginning Backlash

Look around any new home or one that went through home improvement and you’re likely to see one thing they all have in common: the open kitchen. The trend has been overwhelmingly embraced by homeowners across the country, along with architects, designers and folks on every home makeover TV show. The open kitchen is probably the single largest and most widely embraced home design change over the past 50 years. However, some architecture aficionados and homeowners are opening up about their total disgust with the open kitchen design. Even home improvement magazines and online DIY project sites are now slamming the open concept in an anti-open kitchen campaign called “Close Your Open-Concept Kitchen.”

They call the trend a “baneful scourge” that has spread through American homes like “black mold through a flooded basement.” The bottom line always echoed through the anti-open-kitchen movement is that we have walls and doors for a reason. While open-kitchen lovers champion the ease of multitasking cooking and entertainment and appreciate how the cook can keep an eye on the kids or an eye on a favorite TV show, the haters reply that open kitchens do neither effectively. Instead, open kitchens leave guests with an eyeful of kitchen mess, distract cooks, and leaves parents with no place to hide from their noisy brood. In short, the open kitchen destroys coveted privacy.

With an open-kitchen design, there’s no way to get away from what other people in the family are doing. In the old days before the open kitchen concept, children were care for properly away from the kitchen. When the kids grew older, the parents could escape to the kitchen while the kids watched teen TV shows. A kitchen that is constantly on display could cause more stress. When you see a kitchen, you can’t relax. The impulse is to keep cleaning the kitchen even if it’s already clean.  Still, open kitchens are winning over a majority of the population. Even those with closed kitchens are converting. A whopping 77 percent of home remodelers are grabbing a sledgehammer and knocking down the walls. Open kitchens have gained such momentum because the kitchen is often the heart of family existence and a central gathering point.

The idea that the kitchen and dining room are separate and a woman magically brings food out on a platter is a thing of the past. When designing a kitchen, people should go back and think about the kitchen they grew up in. It’s also important to consider colors, configuration, and lighting to create the kitchen based on their highest positive associations with that place. Sometimes, it’s helpful to consider the family personality over aesthetics. If the kitchen is for a family of extroverts that is more informal or likes to entertain, an open kitchen might work. If the kitchen is for a family of introverts who like a smaller, self-contained, cozier room, there’s nothing wrong with a closed kitchen.

Are You Afraid of Home Improvements or Home Remodeling?

Home remodeling is an option nowadays especially for homes that have aged a bit. Yet people tend to avoid these projects because of the complexities involved. Every project does have its pros and cons. You just need to take care of a few things that may look quite difficult for you, but will always have a solution.

Finding the Right Contractor

It seems quite difficult to select the perfect contractor when the market is flourishing with them. There are many home remodeling contractors in the market and it becomes really difficult to select the one of them that performs the task efficiently, as home remodeling involves a lot of complexities. Consider these factors in selecting the right contractor for you:

Experience

It is obvious that a contractor who is experienced will be able to deal with all the complexities of home improvements. A really experienced contractor will formulate a good plan and execute it well up to your expectations and in the end leave you satisfied. Job execution is done efficiently.

Expertise

The home remodeling contractor should be well known and popular because of expertise in the market. Check the market value of the contract. This is important for this factor. Check the track record of the contractor, count the number of projects handled previously, and check the satisfaction rate of the customers. Check customer reviews and testimonials. Ask the contractor to give you customer references.

Equipment

A professional and well known contractor will always have the latest and best state-of-the-art equipment. Also, the workmen are all highly trained. You cannot and should not make a compromise on these things because it plays a significant role for efficiency.

Warranties

Good and true service providers will never back out from providing you the warranties. The contractors who are good and confident about their work will never hesitate to take responsibility for their work. Make sure the contractor will provide you with a warranty.

Cost Matters

The industry is flourishing with home remodeling contractors. Because of high competition in the market the contractor has to provide their services at a very reasonable rate. Therefore, it’s not tough to find a good contractor at an affordable price. Ask the contractors for quotes and select the ones best suitable for you. Aside from the contractors, also inquire about the material suppliers too. The materials needed for remodeling should be available at very reasonable rates and this should make the total cost of the project reasonable.

For Better Home Improvement: Affordable and Easy Measures Against Burglars

If you think you’re not at risk of being a victim of burglary, think again. If there’s an opportunity to invade your home, no matter who you are or where you live, burglars will take the chance. Burglaries are considered “crimes of opportunity” because the criminal is looking for the easy way to get into your home. Fortunately, there are practical security measures you can take to make it so difficult for burglars that they’ll go somewhere else.

Secured Doors and Windows

The first line of defense in your home’s security is having solid core exterior doors with high quality grade 1 or 2 deadbolt locks. French doors can be secured with a quality deadbolt lock and a slide bolt penetrating the upper or lower doorframe. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable if they do not have proper locks. A snug-fitting dowel, a piece of cylindrical wood similar to a broom handle, in the lower track of the door will also prevent it from being opened. Install eyebolts in the frames of sliding windows to allow for ventilation without leaving enough room for an intruder.

A Loud Dog

Dogs are a burglar’s worst enemy. Most burglars avoid houses with dogs. Burglars don’t want to be seen or caught and they also want to avoid pain. Dogs that bark, even small, noisy dogs, can be an effective deterrent. While you might feel safer with a large dog that could do bodily harm, like a German Shepherd, the most important aspect is having a dog that sounds an alarm with its bark.

Home Security System

If you want something that not only makes noise when there’s an intruder, but also calls for help, consider installing a home security system. These systems detect when someone breaks into your house, sets off an alarm, and also notifies authorities of an invasion. If you are away from home for long stretches, a home security system could be a good option. Do some online research and check with local alarm system companies to find the best system for your needs.

Motion Sensor Lights

Installing sensor lights that turn on when they detect motion is a great way to illuminate portions of your property only when needed. Sensor lights will come on as soon as someone enters under cover of darkness. Outside lighting is one of the cheapest and most effective deterrents to crime.

Surveillance Cameras

A video surveillance system can be a bit costly, but it could help you sleep better at night. Installing a video security system can give you peace of mind and act as a deterrent to burglars, especially when you’re on vacation.

However, if you don’t want to go the full route of installing a system, think about putting up a “dummy” camera or two to give the illusion of protection.

A Trimmed and Tidy Yard

Untrimmed trees and shrubs provide good hiding places for burglars and can obscure their entry into your home. Trim tree branches up to six feet from the ground and shrubs down to below window sills.

The Appearance That Someone Is Home

Burglars know your routine, and when there’s a break in that routine it’s a signal that your home is clear for a break-in. The goal when you’re gone is for your home to appear lived in. Use motion-sensor lights and timers on your radio and TV to simulate occupancy and create the illusion that you’re home. Anything you can do to make your home look occupied while you’re away is a good thing, and timed electronics are great for that.

Helpful Neighbors

You can enlist help and the best recruits can be your neighbors. Whenever you’re away ask your neighbors to get your mail and newspapers, and check for any deliveries. You can even ask a trusted neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway occasionally while you’re out of town.