Get Organized: Our Top 4 Kitchen Tips

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Many of us consider our kitchen the heart of our home, the place where our families gather to make memories, enjoy meals together, and keep tabs on each other's lives. From weekday breakfasts on the go to relaxed weekend pizza nights, kitchens need to built to handle a wide variety of family life. 

Fighting with a poorly designed floor plan is always stressful, but few things are more frustrating than a disorganized kitchen. Do you need some fresh motivation and ideas for your chaotic kitchen? Read below for our four top tips for getting the center of your home in good order! 

1. Cut Out the Clutter
The first step for beginning any kitchen clean out is eliminating the clutter. We all know how our homes collect unnecessary items over the years, and kitchens are often the worst offenders. From unused wedding gifts to once-trendy cooking gadgets, get rid of the unnecessary items taking up precious storage and prep space!

2. Arranges Items in Zones
Phase two of your kitchen overhaul should include some strategy and location shuffling. Think about arranging your cooking space with different purposes and activities in mind. Group food items, prep tools, and small appliances by zones. For example, you might have a zone for baking, chopping, dishes, display, serving, or even coffee making. Try to establish your different kitchen areas where they make the most sense, such as your dishes storage spot should probably be near the sink and dishwasher. 

3. Create a Command Center
Because floor plans have become so open, and kitchens so multi-purpose, many of us are making room for more than just cookware in our cabinets. From cell phones to tablets to laptops to school permission slips - there's an endless stream of stuff that ends up living in the kitchen. We recommend designating specific spots for storing devices, cords, and those stacks of paper. Then they're not only out of sight but also out of the way. Bonus? Everyone will know where to put their phones during technology-free dinners, so you can actually talk to each other; score!

4. Add New Systems
Finally, once you've done some cleaning and thinking, it's time to add any new systems to help maintain your newly found order! There are countless drawer organizers, movable carts, open shelves, hooks, and baskets available at every major home store nowadays; find what works for you. If you get to the end of this process and still find your space lacking, then it's probably time to call in some professional help. Reach out to a trusted contractor or remodeler (ahem: like us!) and get their suggestions for how to improve your kitchen's workiblity and flow. 

Design Trends: Open Concept Living

When it comes to contemporary interior trends, few seem to possess the same staying power as the open-concept floor plan. Found everywhere from TV to blogs to Instagram, open-concept living has ascended rapidly in popularity in recent decades. 

More and more of our clients are gravitating towards this flowing, informal design style. Want the scoop on the advantages and drawbacks of this remodeling trend? Read on below to see why you may want to start knocking down walls in your home! 

Out of the Box. 
Perhaps the greatest strength of open-concept living is the welcoming and casual feel that it conveys. Classic, traditional floor plans separate different rooms by function and formality; whereas open-concept homes reflect a more harmonious, family-centered mindset. Instead of designating rooms for specific purposes, open homes are all about creating spaces that multitask and work with your lifestyle.

Larger Spaces. 
Another major benefit of open floor plans is that they create the illusion of space. Even if you're in the smallest room, fewer walls, high ceilings, natural light, and open sight lines make places feel spacious. No one enjoys being in a crowded environment. While it's certainly not the case for everyone, some people are stifled and even anxious in more formal or closed-off living situations. Open spaces do wonders for the mental well-being of some homeowners!

Time Together. 
We already alluded to this idea, but it bears repeating, open-concept homes offer more opportunities for connection. It's simply easier to miss each other, hideout, or retreat to your separate spaces in traditional layouts. Sure, an open floor plan might require a bit more cooperation and compromise, but it also helps facilitate greater amounts of family time and memorable moments.

Meet Our Partners: The Cabinet Store

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At Shaeffer Contracting we pride ourselves in offering our clients top-notch contracting services and the most quality materials. An important piece of this puzzle is collaborating with other established and respected local businesses. Which is why we wanted to introduce one of our favorite partners today on our blog, The Cabinet Store 

Located in Apple Valley, Minnesota, The Cabinet Store was founded by Luke and Scot Prettyman. With a staff-wide combined 150 years of experience in the cabinet and remodeling industries, Luke, Scot, and their team are consummate pros. Time and again, we gladly take their call when new projects arise. 

Beyond their commitment to creating exemplary spaces, we also appreciate The Cabinet Store's focus on providing a seamless and straightforward experience for their clients. Additionally, The Cabinet Store keeps it simple; they only sell cabinets, countertops, and related hardware or accessories. 

Through countless kitchens, basements, and bathroom remodels, we have grown to deeply appreciate the dedication, high standards, and passionate craftsmanship of The Cabinet Store team. We look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come!

Project Feature: Family-Friendly Kitchen

One room we help our clients remodel often? The kitchen! Busy hubs of family activity and daily life; kitchens have become the heart of the modern home. Along with the rising popularity of open floor plans and the increase of more informal hosting styles, people are spending more and more time in their kitchens. It makes complete sense then that kitchen design has taken center stage in a lot of remodeling plans! 

A typical 90's kitchen that was lacking a little personality, these clients were ready to give their Apple Valley abode some style. Over eight weeks our crew partnered with the fantastic team at The Cabinet Store to give this space a modern update. We set to work installing new cabinets, tile, quartz and granite countertops, and a living room mantel.

Sticking with more current design trends, the client's chose two-toned cabinet finishes; the soft cream paint on top and cherry coffee stain on the bottom provides a nice contrast in the space. Cambria quartz's Torquay design is on the perimeter countertops, and the natural granite slab covers the center island. 

We loved helping these homeowners transform their kitchen into a place where they enjoy spending time together as a family. The bright, open space feels so welcoming and warm! Our highlight, though, was hearing them say that their home finally reflects their unique taste and personality, instead of feeling like another cookie-cutter 90's build. 

Preparing for Your Remodel

Many people describe a long-awaited remodel as their dream project. We've all heard it before, right? "I'm finally going to get my dream kitchen!" "We can't wait for it to be finished - it's our dream master suite!" "I've been dreaming of - fill in the blank - for years!" 

It's understandable to consider renovating a fantasy come to life. However, we can't help but think that this mindset might set unrealistic expectations. Remodeling is certainly exciting and eventful, but it's also construction, which often makes life more complicated.

Yes, your finished kitchen may be a dream come true, even so, getting there might be less than a picnic at times. A few bumps in the road are normal for most remodels; an expert contractor can help you navigate them. Honestly, the real trick is adjusting your expectations at the outset. Read our top tips for maintaining perspective below!

1. Create a Sanctuary. Before you even get started, designate a construction-free retreat. Locate a space in your home that will be far from the noise and chaos of remodeling, and seek respite there when you need a slice of normalcy! 

2. Prepare for Highs and Lows. As we stated above, renovating is filled with peaks and valleys. Prepare for amazing, dream-come-true, mountaintop moments, and a few stressful surprises. Just remember, your building crew is on your team, they'll do their best to see your project through any storms that arise.

3. Make a Decision Game Plan. Beyond the unexpected, be ready to make a lot of decisions during your remodel. If that sounds overwhelming to you, be sure to go in with a game plan. Divide up decision-making areas between you and your spouse. Or if you're flying solo, divide decisions into smaller, more manageable, increments. 

4. Practice Flexibility. Above all, make flexibility your mantra. Tell yourself over and over again that it's okay if things don't always go according to plan. Building materials might not arrive on time or weather could delay construction. Things happen, keep your cool and go with the flow. Don't stress yourself with the little details; your contractor is looking out for your best interest!

Project Feature: Holiday-Ready Kitchen

Remodeling improves a home's everyday usability, but our favorite bonus? New spaces make hosting infinitely more appealing. We love helping people create homes that they want to share and show off! With the holidays only being a few weeks away, we wanted to feature one of favorite Christmas dinner ready client kitchens. 

This open and flowing space is perfect for hosting a big family feast! We all know guests are inevitably drawn to the kitchen (maybe it's all the delicious smelling food?), so why not plan for them? These cunning clients did just that! Instead of sidestepping traffic jams, a cook could easily prep dinner and chat with guests at the spacious countertop peninsula. Tasks are also separated easily by different kitchen stations. Someone could start on dishes without even interfering with the cook at the stovetop! 

Explore more of this timeless traditional kitchen below. It's the perfect balance of tasteful style paired with fresh, modern finishes!