Your housing needs speak to us, and we listen.

We follow trends. And we know they change faster than you can say “homeownership,” as they’ve become more in sync with what’s happening in the fashion world. We also know:

  • Prices for materials and labor continue to escalate.
  • Housing inventory has shrunk or isn’t budging. Some say it’s frozen. Blame the Boomers who don’t know where to go in many cases.
  • In many markets, prices still are climbing and offers may represent overbids. That’s right. Covid-19 inflation is still with us in the housing world.


It’s frustrating, and we empathize. But we can help ease your anxiety. Invite us into your homes and we will offer imaginative yet sensible suggestions. Think of it as having us in for a cup of coffee or glass of wine as we converse as friends about:

  • How rooms can be laid out.
  • What surfaces should be used where.
  • The most prudent places to invest your dollars.
  • Where to limit expenditures based on your home’s size, price, interests, how long you plan to stay and other benchmarks.
  • What you should know from the advice of long-time design and remodeling experts.

To kick wrap up the year, we’re going to guide you through a kitchen rehab scenario: The existing kitchen in the home you’ve just purchased or lived in for years doesn’t work for your needs. Its storage may be lacking. Its layout doesn’t cater to how you cook, eat and entertain. The equipment is dated. The palette is all wrong. You wonder: What were the former owners thinking? Were they thinking? It’s time to make changes. Most importantly, the redesign must work for you, your family’s needs, the style and vintage of the house, your budget and all your dreams. Key to any kitchen redo is personalization—it’s your kitchen for you. Don’t worry so much about resale.

Most kitchens are worth an investment of time, money and effort, some even sweat equity if you’re handy. According to the latest “Cost vs. Value” report from Remodeling magazine’s 2023 statistics, the average midrange kitchen rehab of almost $78,000 offers a strong payback of 42 percent; an upscale redo of $154,000 provides a 32 percent return, still a good number. Those are in line with what we’ve calculated for clients who come to us with long wish lists. Our average full kitchen redo runs anywhere from $85,000 to $115,000.

Yes, these are big numbers, but you may tackle this undertaking perhaps only once while in your home. And there are plenty of ways to scale back if you must in the choice of cabinetry, appliances, countertops, flooring, lighting, tapware and backsplashes.

We’ve learned that many clients have fancy taste but on beer budgets. That’s fine. We can offer cost-saving alternatives that can deliver a high-end look. You can mix and match items at different price points as you might do with high and low-end fashion choices. We can explain how to steer clear of flash in the pan trends such as black framed windows and faucets—the modern farmhouse aesthetic, which already is dead and dying, according to our crystal balls.

A good kitchen project requires research and patience. We advise 6-8 weeks to plan and 8-10 weeks to complete the renovation.


To get started, we’re sharing 10 popular, enduring looks. Some are relatively easy to switch out if you get tired of them; some are more permanent such as equipment and cabinetry.

  • Plaster range hoods that are clean and unadorned but offer a focal point. Paint it the same color as your ceiling, walls and trim—all in the same hue though in different finishes.
  • Big stone veneer slabs for backsplashes that go up at least 18 inches high and are capped with a small shelf constructed from marble or quartzite to rest items on. Too much stuff can become cluttered and a visual distraction.
  • Sconces on either side of a range in satin brass for a dressy accent and small focal point.
  • Cabinetry built to conceal small appliances whether air fryers, toaster ovens, standing mixers, blenders, anything you love to cook with but don’t use daily.
  • Countertops of quartz in white, gray and other light hues. The material is durable, stain resistant and won’t scratch. We prefer it over quartzite, marble, soapstone, granite, butcherblock, laminates and concrete. In other words, it’s our “it” product. Since it’s manmade, it’s readily available so no need to import it.
  • Wood floors in narrow or wide boards and colorizations that match other floors in your house; they’re good for standing on for long periods, can be easily cleaned, will show the graceful patina of age and improve over time.
  • Midrange appliances do the trick but buy them with a stainless front for wide appeal. Go with induction for energy efficiency, invest in the right cookware and buy an appliance package from the same line for possible savings. We like the GE Café line for its dependability. It’s readily available with most likely good service available in your area.
  • Islands remain the most desired feature but be sure you have the right amount of space, at least 3 feet by 5 feet or there’s no point. You want it big enough to set out food, sit and eat, work, gather around. Have its base constructed from wood in white oak and do the perimeter cabinets in a white or cream tone. Top with quartz. And if you don’t have room, don’t panic. You can have a peninsula built somewhere on the perimeter.
  • A back of the house or scullery pantry or a butler’s pantry is smart, if you have room to store extra glassware and dishes, canned goods, all those giant-sized Costco items you now buy. Maybe, add an extra dishwasher or beverage center for entertainment needs.
  • An open floor plan continues its appeal for many who like the idea of one big open space for cooking, eating, sitting and conversing. But a wall must come down in many cases. Remember not all houses lend themselves to this arrangement, sometimes structurally, or you may simply prefer having separate rooms.