Remodel Like a Pro

While some things are often described as having a “timeless” quality, it is more often than not that the description only holds weight for so long. Trends have a shelf life and there are few items/looks that can escape that fate. With the change being inevitable, it’s time to remodel. This can easily become an overwhelming process, especially from a financial standpoint. We’re going to go through a few ways that you can save money when you decide those trends have worn their welcome. Continue reading

Remodeling Projects for Spring and Summer

We are entering the time of year where all of us will walk outside again and re-introduce ourselves to our neighbors and enjoy some of the warmth that greets us with spring. It’s also a great time to do a few household remodeling projects you might have been putting off. We can help you with a few of those projects. Continue reading

Home Improvement in 2017

Custom WoodworkAs we wrap up 2016, the trend analysts are already looking at what changes homeowners are considering for 2017. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) predicts continued growth in home renovation and repair spending for 2017 before tapering off near the end of the year. While popular trends are looked at based on what majorities of people are buying and changing in their homes, we here at Brunsell know that our clients have their own styles and desires and some even buck the trends. Despite that, here’s what analysts say 2017 will look like for home improvement. Continue reading

Built-Ins: Embracing Your Home’s Midwestern Heritage

The Midwest encompasses about a fifth of our nation—ten states full of farmlands and industry. People make a lot of generalizations about us, no matter how big our footprint. Mention Midwestern food, and people think of hot dishes, supper clubs, and the Friday night fish fry. Ask your non-Midwestern friends what the word Midwestern makes them think: Either they’ll bring up folk with funny accents and ear-flap hats, or they’re just being nice.

Photo Credit: The Daily Herald

Photo Credit: The Daily Herald

Many supposedly “Midwestern” things aren’t just Midwestern—tornadoes, casseroles… But Prairie Style architecture isn’t one of them. The style has been borrowed all over the place, but it was born right here on Midwestern soil. It’s decidedly ours. If you live here and don’t own a Prairie Style home, you probably know someone who does.

The Prairie Style home is near and dear to us at Brunsell, because original Prairie Style homes were built during the golden age of millwork. They were born amid a backlash against mass production, when people longed again for handcrafted work. Prairie Style homes also generally tended toward natural materials, which meant a lot of wood (floors, built-in cabinetry, wood casement windows, moldings, etc.).

We believe that a great way to upgrade a Prairie Style home while preserving its design integrity is to add built-ins—a bookcase under a stairway, for example, or a wall unit for your home media items. Built-ins are already a solid part of the established style. And, hey, the world didn’t have TVs, DVD players, and stereo systems at the turn of the 19th century, so it’s your job now to prairie-stylize the way you store and display these modern-day items!

Of course, it’s vitally important that your built-in be designed and crafted true to authentic Prairie Style, including details found carried over from the trim and the molding. No cowboying allowed because harmony of elements is a central idea to the Prairie Style. The minute you add a built-in that isn’t true to the style, you detract from the look and value of your home.

Speaking of which, built-ins done right can really appreciate your home’s value, because they stay with it and add functionality. They also reduce the amount of freestanding furniture needed, which creates an actual or perceived increase in usable square footage.

What would make your Prairie Style home more comfortable or functional? More multimedia storage? Better display space for your dishes? Come talk with us about how we can custom create for you a built-in based update that embraces your Midwestern home’s heritage!

In Praise of Curves

Roundness seems to be a universal human pleasure.”

–Eric Jaffe, for Fastcodesign.com

Marilyn Monroe, Corvettes, the Guggenheim—gentle curves have serious appeal, but so often homeowners don’t think to feature them in the permanent structures in their homes. Think about the woodwork in most homes. From mantels to crown molding and from cabinetry to closet designs, there tends to be a glut of corners and hard angles, more miter-saw work than jigsaw-work. Continue reading

Bright, White, and Out of Sight: The Latest Trends in Kitchen and Bath Design

Photo credit: Andrea Rugg, for Building Design & Construction

Photo credit: Andrea Rugg, for Building Design & Construction

It’s been three months since the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) issued its annual Kitchen & Bath Design trends report. Based on trend predictions from member-designers who answer a survey, the thing is practically a crystal ball most of the time.

We think it’s nice to see if a trend grows real legs, has staying power, gains traction, sticks—whatever you want to call it—before shining a spotlight on it. (Otherwise, everyone runs out and impulsively spends a quarter of their annual income on dusty-rose bath fixtures and avocado-green kitchen appliances, only to spend the next 40 years wondering what the heck they were thinking.) Continue reading

A Better Kind of Sink

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Sink. It’s a heavy word. Think of the Titanic, of the earth suddenly opening up to swallow a home, or of hearts dropping in disappointment. Yeah, it has some bad connotations. But in kitchen and bath designs? A sink can be gorgeous. It can even serve as a statement piece. Right now, the queen of them all is the undermount sink. Continue reading