Remodeling Tips from the Pros – Orlando Sentinel
Give your home fresh appeal with innovative color palettes, mixed metals and fixtures fit to bejewel any room
Long before the hype of HGTV, Keith Vellequette was flipping houses as a hobby. In fact, he had such a knack for it that friends — and friends of friends — started hiring him. Before long, he had his own business.
Today, KBF Design Gallery, with a showroom in Altamonte Springs, is a turnkey remodeling service. “People tend to get overwhelmed when they are remodeling a home with all the choices and decisions they have to make. That’s where we come in,” Keith says.
And by “we,” he means his whole family, from his wife, Melissa Vellequette, who does the books to his two adult children. They’re all actively involved. “I was working here while I was in college and the rest happened organically,” says his daughter Ashley Sheaffer. “I started chipping tile with the tile guys, following around the cabinet installers, and emptying trash cans,” Keith’s son, Adam Vellequette, says.
The close-knit team works in tandem in the showroom where clients can sort through a bevy of samples representing a range of styles. Tiles, backsplashes, bathroom fixtures and faucets are all on display to help jumpstart the remodeling thought process.
THE FOUNDATION FACTOR
One of the best places to start when you’ve decided to remodel is with your floor. “The floor is the main driver of a home’s look,” Keith points out. “Having cohesive flooring is one of the most valuable things you can put in a home.”
From floor to ceiling and from kitchen to bath, the floor is the foundation of any design. At the start of a project, the type of flooring recommended is based on the preference of a warm or cold floor temperature. For those wanting a cooler feel, porcelain that mimics wood is popular. For a warmer touch, rectified wood porcelain tiles, installed close together with monochromatic grout, deliver a look that resembles a natural wood finish. It’s all about creating a seamless design.
That seamless look also flows into the kitchen, where open floor plans have become the backbone for design. “We’ll open up major walls to create an open floor plan. It’s a look that will always be in style,” says KBF designer Melissa Obar.
Another popular feature, the kitchen island, which serves as a centerpiece, is getting even more attention these days. “The island can be designed as a statement piece of furniture,” Adam says. “That makes the kitchen feel more custom and less like a cookie-cutter design.”
When it comes to updating cabinets, long gone is the concept that everything has to be uniform. Neutral tones are introduced with texture, and clean lines are created using shaker and slab cabinetry. Backsplashes are getting ramped up with pops of color that coordinate with the cabinets instead of matching them.
Details like warm lighting, which can change the ambience of a room, and the use of mixed metals are influencing today’s kitchen designs.“Everything is going toward a more clean, midcentury modern look, and there is also an emphasis on gray and white palettes,” says Obar. “We always strive for a timeless look.”
Gray and white are also appealing color schemes for bathrooms. And since everyone can appreciate a bigger bathroom, the KBF Design team has mastered the art of designing so that every space is used to its fullest potential.
“Frosted glass is a great way to add a separate identity to an area without putting up a wall,” Obar says. “If you don’t have a private water closet, we can add a panel with frosted glass so it has a more private feel.”
Then there’s the tub vs. shower conversation. “In master bath remodels, we often remove unused tubs and install spacious and more functional showers,” Keith adds.
Whether a homeowner prefers a modern style, with a more industrial look of mixed metals and a colder color palette, or a warmer organic design, with earthy aspects of bamboo or wood, gold seems to be the perfect accent. It shows up in fixtures that complement just about any color scheme and style, and pull the room together.
“Today’s golds aren’t brassy and can work with a variety of warm and coolcolors,” Obar says. “We’re finding golds that are soft and aged. Some gold fixtures are designed to look a little more industrial which can also look really pretty.”
When looking at the bathroom as a whole, “The fixtures and hardware are the jewelry of the room. They add that final touch,” Obar says.
When a client is ready to start a home remodeling project, the team at KBF Design Gallery meets with the client for a complimentary consultation. Going forward they collaborate on every step from CAD design to client presentation and the final installation.
“The relationship we have with our client is the most important thing to us. If there’s something they don’t like, I pretty much have everything at my fingertips right here in the showroom,” Obar says about all the samples and design displays.
What began as a hobby has grown into a successful business — 30 years and counting — for Keith and his family. Updating your home can be a challenge, but with the right talent and resources, the results are worth it.
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