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Friday, May 22, 2015

Key Residential Featured on Houzz | Key Residential

One of the things we love most about Houzz are all the great articles and blogs that are posted daily. And we consider it a great honor when one of our projects is used in a post. This week on article about "10 Ideas to Make Your Outdoor Kitchen Sizzle," was posted, and one of our outdoor living remodels was featured. Check out the article for some great ideas on how to best take advantage of an outdoor kitchen.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thinking About a Kitchen Remodel? | Key Residential

When it comes to remodeling, the kitchen tends to be one of the most popular rooms to receive a facelift. Whether you are just replacing countertops, upgrading your appliances, refinishing your cabinets, or gutting the whole thing and starting over from scratch, the possibilities for a kitchen remodel are endless. And it can be easy to get lost or even know where to start. So to help keep your mind on track, or give you some ideas you haven't yet considered, here are some things to think about as you prepare to remodel your kitchen.


In this kitchen the work triangle is spread out with the refrigerator built
into the far wall's cabinets, the sink in the island, and the stove built in to
the other wall cabinets.
The kitchen work triangle is based on the idea that the placement of the three most used areas in the kitchen (the refrigerator, stove and/or oven, and sink) will have a direct effect on the efficiency of a kitchen. But don't think that there is a single perfect work triangle. Rather the style of the kitchen (galley, u-shape, l-shape, island, etc) and your intended uses for the room will determine the most effective design. Do you prefer cooking quick and easy meals or meals that will use a plethora of ingredients and dishes to prepare? Are you the only cook who will be using the kitchen, or is it likely that multiple people will be using it at one time? Figure out your answers to these questions and build your ideal work triangle from there.


This island can serve as both a work station and an informal dining table.
The most important purpose of the kitchen would understandably be as a place to prepare food. However, this could range from preparing gourmet meals to simply reheating food in the oven or microwave. Know where you fall within that spectrum and plan your kitchen accordingly. Bu the purpose of a kitchen could span far beyond just a place to prepare food. One of the emerging trends with kitchens is that they are the center of the house. If you have children then it my be important for you to have an informal breakfast area that could also serve as the place to finish homework. If you enjoy hosting parties then you may want to think about an island that your guests can gather around to socialize while you finish any food preparation. Your kitchen should serve your needs. Why go through all the time and effort of a remodel to end up with something that doesn't work well for you?


The countertop material used in this kitchen is also used as the backsplash
between the upper and lower cabinets.
The possibilities for countertops seem endless. From granite, quartz, marble, wood, laminate, concrete, solid surface, to something else entirely, it can be hard to figure out which is right for you. While appearance is an easy factor to consider, it would be to your benefit to research the pros and cons of your desired material to make sure it is right for you. For example, if you really detest cleaning then you don't want to accidentally pick a high maintenance material because it looked pretty. If you have no idea where to even start with countertop materials, then check out this Houzz quiz to get an idea of what will work best for you.


A high end stove and built in refrigerator and freezer with doors
matching the cabinet design are just a few of the appliances that
made up this remodel.
This kitchen has a built in wine
refrigerator and wine rack.
Appliances are good at eating up your budget, especially if you have your eye on something high end. It would be good to start your search by deciding how much of your budget you want to go towards appliances. Again, consider how you will be using your kitchen and then determine which appliances to get. If you're not that big on cooking then maybe you don't need that large, restaurant quality range, whereas you may want to consider it if you're an avid cook. Or perhaps you would benefit from not pouring too much of your budget into the major appliances so that you can also invest in a few specialty ones like a wine fridge or pull a out warming drawer.


This kitchen mixes white cabinets and walls with black countertops and
dark wood flooring. The use of neutral colors allows things like the red
mixer and bowl of oranges to really stand out.
Color is the area where you will have the most freedom, as there isn't really a consensus as to the best choice. All white, all black, or a mix of the two are a classic choice and rarely go out of style. Plus, those colors give you the option of adding color accents with items that are less expensive to replace in case that color goes way out of style. If you want something more colorful, tribal colors (think earth tones or dirty versions of primary colors) are currently on trend. However, be warned that colorful trends tend to go in and out of style quickly and depending on where you use those colors it could be costly to change when the trending style changes. And don't forget about everything you have to consider when it comes to color: the walls, floors, cabinets, countertops, appliances, and special accents.
In this kitchen, the more expensive items (cabinets, flooring, appliances) are neutral in color. Color is brought in with the decorative pieces that
will be easier to replace should the homeowners want something different.


In addition to natural light from windows and the overhead light, this kitchen 
also uses task lighting installed on the upper cabinets to illuminate the 
countertop. Accent lighting is also used in the cabinets with the glass doors.
A common mistake in kitchen remodeling is leaving lighting to be planned last. This can result in a small lighting budget and less than ideal lighting used, such as a single overhead light. Optimal lighting can make all the difference in the world when using your kitchen. If you are lucky to have windows in your kitchen then try to cover them up as little as possible to let the sun shine through. Next, consider ambient lighting, light that fills the room, to fill in voids missed by natural light or for when there is no natural light available. Task lighting is also good to consider as it allows you to better illuminate the areas you will be working in the most. Underneath upper cabinets is a great area to add task lighting as it will provide direct light to your countertops, an area that will probably receive a lot of use.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sheltering From Storms in Style | Key Residential

Would you think on first glance that this stylish bathroom was also
a secure and safe storm shelter?
Living near Dallas, Texas, we here at Key Residential have experienced our fair share of crazy weather, especially during tornado season. If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes then you know that when the sirens start going off, it's time to take shelter as quickly as possible. However, many homes in this area do not have a space specifically designed for storm shelter. And unlike up North, few homes down here have a basement. As such, there has been a lot of focus in recent years of equipping homes with a storm shelter or safe room when severe weather hits. And while many people think of basements or an underground shelter in their yard, why not consider equipping a room withing your home as a storm shelter?

In one of our recent new home builds we were tasked with creating a multipurpose room that would serve as both a powder bath and safe room. When constructing a safe room, there are two important aspects that must be addressed regarding the construction of the room: ensuring the room is properly anchored to the ground to prevent it from tipping over during a storm and reinforcing the walls to withstand strong winds and flying debris.

To address the first aspect, a tubing system anchor was created and bolted into the concrete piers that were set fourteen feet into the ground. To reinforce the walls, overlapping steel plates were screwed into the framing. Plywood was then added over the metal followed by sheetrock. A door that was just over two inches thick seals the room from the rest of the house, creating a secure and reinforced storm shelter. Finishing touches to the room included a TV outlet and telephone landline so that weather conditions could be monitored with the room.

(Clockwise starting in upper left) 1. Steel straps tied to steel tubing. 2. Overlapping steel beneath wood framing. 3. Plywood screwed into
steel walls. 4. 18 gallon steel walls and ceiling.

In keeping with the higher end finishes of the rest of the home, the powder bath was finished off with beautiful shell mosaic wallpaper and red oak hardwood floors with a dark ebony stain. Without inside knowledge, it would be near impossible upon first glance to know that this room was anything but a powder bath. The finished product is a beautiful and secure room that will protect this family from the crazy and temperamental weather in Texas.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Key Residential is a DHome Best Builder | 2015

If you've flipped through the pages of the latest issue of DHome Magazine then you may have noticed that Key Residential has once again been named a Best Builder in Dallas. The Best Builder list is generated from a peer based survey that is sent out annually to other top builders in the Dallas area. We are excited and honored to be a part of this fantastic group once again.