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Make Your Kitchen Stand Out With a Stone Backsplash

Tim Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Today, you have more options than ever to design your kitchen to be uniquely yours.

Whether you like traditional, transitional, modern, rustic, cottage, or craftsman design, a stone backsplash will add a dramatic look that will stop visitors in their tracks. Stone that can be used for a backsplash is now available in many shapes, colors, patterns, and textures. Colors are earth tones ranging from light to dark. You can find stacked, random, and tile patterns and textures ranging from smooth to rough to rustic.

stone backsplashes
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Stone is unique. It is Mother Nature’s artwork and depending on your choice, you could end up with a look that cannot be duplicated. Also, the range of colors allows you to create a smooth subtle look that blends with the cabinets and counter tops, or create a dramatic contrast and texture that makes a remarkable statement.

The types of stone that are commonly used for backsplashes are marble, granite, travertine, and slate. Today’s technology allows fabricators to slice stone into thin layers that before would have been challenging to use as a backsplash because of the thickness.

Stone comes in tile, panels and sectional panels. You can find all types of natural stone in different sizes of tile. Stone tile installs and grouts just like ceramic tile. Some granite, marble, and travertine is available in larger panels. The panels are thin-cut stone that is backed by a lightweight backer, making it possible for one man to carry. A special saw is required to cut the panels. Because of the size of the panels, you may have to buy a lot more than you need, which would drive the cost up. However, the advantage is that it can be installed without grout giving it a seamless appearance. Sectional panels are smaller and are designed to be easier to install and typically do not require grouting.

In addition to natural stone, manufacturers have found methods to make faux stone that looks and feels like the real deal. And even though these products look high-end, they are very affordable. If you are on a budget, you can use floor tile that looks like stone. It is easy to install and really looks like natural stone. Some even come with an adhesive backing so you won’t have to deal with messy glue.

To give your stone backsplash the most impact remove the existing 4” backsplash. If the 4” backsplash is integral, you’ll have to work around it. A 4” splash detracts from the size and look of a beautiful stone backsplash.

stone backsplashes
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If you have a limited budget, install a stone backsplash just at the stove area. This will give an attractive focal point and keep the budget in check.

Want to get the biggest bang for your stone backsplash? Use under-cabinet lighting to showcase the stone splash. It is always easier to install the lighting before installing the backsplash. Also, if you are using stacked stone, you may want to consider moving switches and receptacles under the wall cabinets because the switch and receptacle cover plates will not lay flush on the stacked stone.

Cleaning stone is easy. Just use a mild dishwashing detergent with a soft-bristled brush, rinse, and dry. For ease of cleaning and to prevent staining, it is recommended to seal your stone backsplash as soon as it is installed and as often as the sealant manufacturer recommends.

stone backsplashes
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The cost of a stone backsplash varies greatly depending on the cost of the stone and the difficulty of the installation. You could spend as little as $250 for a do-it-yourself project or as much as $3,000 or more for a high-end professionally installed stone backsplash.

A stone backsplash will give your kitchen personality and style with a look you’ll enjoy and your friends will envy.

The Best Kitchen Cabinet Colors: A Guide

Tim Trends Leave a comment   ,

The Best Kitchen Cabinet Colors: A Guide

Many customers ask us, what is the best color for kitchen cabinets. The answer is there is no correct answer. The answer is different for each person.

Here are some questions that may help steer you in the right kitchen cabinet color direction.

• Do you want a timeless look?
• Are you trying to express your personality?
• Do you want to have a kitchen that shows off the current trend?
• Is resale important?
• Do you want to be able to refresh your kitchen in five to ten years?

Timeless Design

A timeless design means that the kitchen will always be in style. Trends come and go, but a timeless design will always be popular. Timeless design is created with neutral colors. White and off-white work best for creating neutral kitchen cabinet colors. You can also achieve a timeless design with beige, greige, and gray. Greige is a combination of beige and gray. A good example of greige is Benjamin Moore’s Peau de Soie.
kitchen cabinet colors


If you have a color that shouts you, then use it in the kitchen. It can be loud—paint all the cabinets that color—or it can be soft—paint an accent cabinet: an island, a stand-alone wall cabinet, or the trim (crown molding). Many manufacturers offer kitchen cabinets in a wide variety of colors. Keep in mind that at some point you may tire of the color and have to paint the cabinets.


If you Google “kitchen cabinet colors for 2018”, you will see that each expert has his or her take on the most popular color of the year. You will see some commonalities, but there is no one or two colors that all of the experts agree on. Here are the colors that are currently trending: Barn red, sage green, bright red, midnight black, cool gray and orange. So, as you can see, there is no one best color for kitchen cabinets.

kitchen cabinet colors

Mixing colors and mixing colors with stains is trending. You can use different kitchen cabinet colors for the wall and base cabinets or use a different color or stain on the island. For example, use stained cabinets for the bases and white for the wall cabinets, or use stained island cabinets and painted wall and base cabinets. Let your imagination run wild.


If resale is important to you, then stick with a neutral color which will appeal to most potential buyers. White is by far the most universally appealing color. Trendy colors or your personal preferences may turn off potential buyers. If white is not a color you can live with, a good compromise would be to use a neutral color that is trending such as greige.

kitchen cabinet colors


If you get bored with your kitchen cabinet colors after five-plus years and want the ability to freshen-up your kitchen with minimal costs, use a timeless color for the cabinets and use trendy colors for the walls, towels, counter tops accessories, art work, window treatments, and backsplash. Changing these items out will cost far less than replacing the cabinets and countertops.

kitchen cabinet colors

If you select a cabinet that you may have to paint in the future, make the job easier and choose a simple door style that has minimal details. Shaker doors and slab panel doors are much easier to paint that a traditional raised panel door.

As you can see, there is no wrong or right answer when it comes to the best color for kitchen cabinets, but there may be a best color for you depending on your motivation.

To get kitchen cabinet colors and a design that works best for you, call the experts at Kitchen Express for a free in-home design consultation and see how beautiful your kitchen could be.

6 Top Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

Tim Uncategorized 1

6 Top Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

Whether you’re cooking on your stovetop or doing the dishes, there’s no question that a kitchen backsplash can save your walls from splatter. For the past several decades, the backsplash has been an essential part of any kitchen remodel. With the trends and technology available to us today, we can combine functionality with the pinnacle of style. These top kitchen backsplash design ideas will help you create a gorgeous focal point for your kitchen.

kitchen backsplash design ideas

1) Larger Subway Tile

Subway tile is one of the most timeless styles to put in your home. Most subway tiles of yesteryear are 3″x6″, but larger subway tile is on the rise, with standard dimensions of 4″x8″ or even 4″x12″ are leading trends today. One of the obvious benefits are fewer grout lines to clean, but it can also help make smaller kitchens look larger. Especially if you plan to tile to the ceiling, larger subway tiles can help create a look of continuity. If you need contrast, add a pinstripe tile line of black or even an accenting color to draw the eye.

kitchen backsplash design ideas


2) “Smart” Backsplashes

Laying tile vertically can be one of the most challenging tasks in home remodeling. Failing to line up your tile or grout lines can mean ruining your rows or even future leaks. In the rise of the DIY age, more stores are offering prefab backsplashes in all kinds of colors, patterns, and configurations from fishscale to standard square tiles. Many come on mats that help maintain spacing and connect with each other, making it easier to lay out the backsplashes before grouting. Whether you are installing a backsplash yourself or having a remodeler install it for you, its cost effectiveness and diversity makes it a great choice.

kitchen backsplash design ideas

3) Metallic Backsplash Finishes

Once upon a time, sinks, doorknobs, and light fixture plates were the only type of metal finish you could choose for your kitchen. Now, tile comes in various metallic finishes, from stainless steel, copper, bronze, and nickel to gem-like tiles that catch and reflect light. Not only do these types of backsplashes really help accent modern kitchens or wet bar areas, but they also make the most of the light design in your kitchen.

kitchen backsplash design ideas

4) Stone Patterns

Granite, quartz, and marble aren’t just for countertops anymore. Today, you can also find stone pattern tiles in as many styles as you can find in countertops in slabbed, tiled, or modular pieces. You can add thin panels of stone from ceiling to floor or even choose tile patterns to cover your walls. Many people choose a color or stone pattern that accents the color of their countertops.

kitchen backsplash design ideas

5) Tile Finishes

Depending on the style you hope to achieve, you can also choose the finish and texture of your tile to make it appear aged, worn, or natural. You can choose acid washed tile or tumbled tile to help create a slightly more seasoned look that can tie your kitchen together. When paired with barnwood tile floors or rustic decor, this can help contribute to the unity of the design you’ve chosen. Unlike glossy finishes, the way worn or aged tile looks in lighting tends to be more matted and subdued.


kitchen backsplash design ideas


6) Colors & Mixed Media Tile

In defiance of older kitchen styles with muted colors or limited palates that matched a white, black, or chrome set of appliances, kitchens have branched out in many exciting ways. While gray kitchen cabinets are in, colorful appliances and tiles offer beautiful contrast to what used to be a fairly monochrome set of options. You can mix materials like mother of pearl with glass tile for different sheens, colors, and textures. Choose a bright color to pair against your cabinets or countertops. Play with geometry or color for a really bold centerpiece and focal point for the eye.

kitchen backsplash design ideas

Which kitchen backsplash design will you choose? Request a free in-home consultation with one of our design specialists or call us at (336) 895-1110 and see your ideas come to life.

9 Clever Ways to Enhance Functional Kitchen Storage

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9 Clever Ways to Enhance Functional Kitchen Storage

Many of us are overwhelmed by kitchen clutter. Clutter seems to multiply over night by some magical way. Since many people want to reduce clutter and get their kitchens more organized without the expense of a complete kitchen remodel, we thought we’d share some clever and inexpensive ways to enhance functional kitchen storage and kill the clutter:

enhance functional kitchen space


1) Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers keep cooking and eating utensils easy to find and stops them from working their way to the back of the drawer where they can’t be found. Drawer organizers come in all shapes and sizes and many are adjustable to fit your exact drawer size. Installation takes just a few minutes.

2) Vertical Dividers

Vertical dividers can be used in base and wall cabinets. Typically, dividers are installed in narrow base cabinets and deep wall cabinets, like the cabinet over a refrigerator, but you can install them in a wider base cabinet using just a part of the cabinet. You can install the dividers in varying widths to accommodate cutting boards, cookie sheets, pizza pans, and anything that is shallow. Dividers are inexpensive, easy to install, and enhance functional kitchen storage.


enhance functional kitchen storage


3) Utensil Holders

Use a decorative vase or utensil holder to store cooking utensils on the counter top. A decorative piece adds interest to the counter top and keeps the utensils handy. This helps clear up counter or drawer space, makes frequently used items more easy to find, and is a pretty way to maximize your functional kitchen storage.

enhance functional kitchen storage

4) Spice Organizers

Spice organizers come in units that can be installed in a drawer, on the back of a wall cabinet door, or small shelves that you can install in a wall cabinet. The biggest challenge with spice containers is that they come indifferent sizes and shapes. The option that seems to work the best is the shelves that you install in a wall cabinet. The shelves are adjustable and accommodate different sizes and shapes.

5) Rollout Shelves

Rollout shelves can be installed in base cabinets that have a clear opening of 6” or more. Most cabinet manufacturers provide a half shelf in the base cabinet, which is pretty much useless. Two rollout shelves installed in a base cabinet allow full use of the entire space and make it convenient to see and access the contents without crawling on the floor. You can find custom sized rollout shelves online that are reasonably priced and easy to install.


enhance functional kitchen storage


6) Window Shelves

Add a shelf over your window. If you have a window in your kitchen and open space above it, add a shelf for display items, cookware, cookbooks, and anything that you don’t use often. You can find easy to install decorative shelves at most home improvement stores.

7) Optimizing Floor Space

Add a piece of furniture for additional storage. If you have any unused floor space in your kitchen, add a furniture piece instead of ordering a new cabinet. Not only will you increase your storage, but also the furniture piece will add character to your kitchen. You can find small furniture pieces at yard sales, flea markets, and home goods stores.

8) Use Space Above Your Cabinets

Use the space above your wall cabinets. If your wall cabinets don’t go to the ceiling, use the space above for storing large cookware, cookbooks, display items, and anything that you use on rare occasions. It’s an easy way to clear off the counter tops.

enhance functional kitchen storage

9) Designate a Drop Zone

Drop zone. If your kitchen counter tops are used for as a drop zone for keys, wallets, cellphones, etc., keep a small basket on the counter top to keep the clutter in check.

We hope that you can incorporate a few of these ideas into your kitchen to improve the storage and make your kitchen easier to use and fun to cook and entertain in. But, if your kitchen is beyond help, call the experts at Kitchen Express to help you design a new kitchen with lots of storage and accessories that will make your kitchen a joy to use.

Top 5 Smart Kitchen Technology Hits

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Top 5 Smart Kitchen Technology Hits

Technology of all kinds is growing at a break-neck pace and it’s showing up everywhere in our lives including the heart of our homes, the kitchen. As a society, we crave the latest technology because we hope that it will make our everyday chores easier, decrease stress, and make us more productive, which will make us happier. Over the years, the kitchen has evolved from a domestic workstation to a room that is used for food preparation, dining, entertaining friends, homework, a home office, and a family hub for scheduling and sharing our lives. So, it makes sense that as the kitchen evolves and accommodates more activities, kitchen design and function evolves as well. As we spend more time in the kitchen, we long for devices that will allow us to spend less time on chores and more time with our family and guests and technology is the tool that can make that happen. The latest smart kitchen technology will enable us to save time, cook meals to perfection, and even lose weight. Really? Yes, even help us lose weight.

Here are the top 5 smart kitchen technology hits:

1. Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa is the smart home assistant that has many uses in the kitchen. You can ask Alexa to make you a grocery list as you see items you need, convert measurement units, set a timer, find cooking times and temperatures for different foods, count calories for foods (help you lose weight), find a recipe, pair wine with food, and suggest alternative ingredients. These are just a few of the ways Alexa can help you in the kitchen.
smart kitchen technology

Amazon’s newest product, Dash Wand, is a companion to Alexa and can scan barcodes (or enter by voice) and build a grocery and essentials list that will be automatically ordered and delivered by whom else–Amazon.

2. Samsung’s Smart Refrigerator

Samsung’s touts its newest smart refrigerator as a family hub. It has a large touch-screen, which enables family members to integrate their schedules, and send messages and photos to smart phones. Family members can build a grocery list on the screen, or use the cameras inside the refrigerator to see (via your smart phone) what is in your refrigerator while you’re grocery shopping. You can even play your favorite music through the frig. You can set expiration dates on foods to notify you when they expire. And there is a section for wine that has its own temperature setting. Who ever dreamed a refrigerator could be so smart?

smart kitchen technology

3. GeniCan

GeniCan is an attachment that fits on your garbage can and scans items as you throw them away to build a shopping list. You can also add items by voice. The list is viewable on your smart phone. GeniCan will send you coupons and can even have your grocery and essential items delivered by third party services.

smart kitchen technology

You can use GeniCan at work and have your office supplies delivered by Amazon or other services.

4. Smart Meat Thermometer

Nothing is more important in cooking meats and seafood than temperature. It’s easy to under-cook or over-cook protein, but not if you have a smart thermometer. The thermometer has a cable with a transmitter on one end and a probe on the other. The cable is long enough to be used in the grill or the oven with the transmitter outside. Stick the probe in the meat or seafood and connect the transmitter to the app on your smart phone. You can see the temperature on the app and even set an alarm when the protein reaches the programmed temperature. Never serve under-cooked or over-cooked meat or seafood again.
smart kitchen technology

5. SmartPlate TopView

SmartPlate is the world’s first Intelligent Nutrition Platform that uses advanced photo recognition and AI (artificial intelligence) technology to identify, analyze, and track everything you eat in mere seconds. An app identifies the food item through the camera on your smart phone and the SmartPlate base weighs it giving you the portion size and calorie count (helps you lose weight). Say goodbye to manual data entry.

smart kitchen technology

The amazing thing about these new technologies is that they are not outrageously expensive. In time, they may even pay for them selves. Enjoy the smart kitchen technology revolution; get the family involved and save time, make shopping and cooking easier, and even lose weight.


6 Tips to Maximize Kitchen Countertop Space

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Tips to Maximize Kitchen Countertop Space

No matter how much kitchen countertop space your have, it seems that you never have enough. Whether you have a large kitchen or an apartment size kitchen, more countertop space is always welcome. The truth is that most of us have enough countertop space; we just don’t use it efficiently.

Here are six tips that will help you maximize your kitchen countertop space:

Find Another Home

kitchen countertop space
Do you use your countertop space like a parking lot? Do you park your wallet, purse, cell phone, or car keys on your kitchen counter tops? What else do you throw on the countertop that doesn’t belong in the kitchen? Look at everything on your countertop and ask yourself, “When is the last time I used this? Does it really belong here?” If you haven’t used it in a while or it really shouldn’t be there, find another home for it. Clutter is the enemy of a functional kitchen.

Add Cheap Countertop Space

kitchen countertop storage
You don’t have to remodel to add more countertop space. If you have the room, a small island would offer additional counter top space and storage. Many manufacturers offer island cabinetry made to fit in existing kitchen layouts. The finishes are designed to blend, so don’t worry about trying to match your cabinetry. Some pre-made islands have wine racks, open shelving, or cabinetry below for added storage. One island I found had a fold-down leaf for additional seating. For added flexibility, islands can be moved out of the way when not being used.

If you don’t have room for an island, maybe a smaller base cabinet would work. There are a variety of small freestanding cabinets available in different sizes and finishes. Space at the end of a cabinet run or beside an appliance could offer enough room for a small cabinet, which would give added counter top space or room for a microwave and storage below for wine bottles, cookbooks, or small rarely-used appliances.

Any type of cabinet will do; it doesn’t have to be a kitchen cabinet. Think outside the box. How about a tool chest with drawers and a butcher-block top?

Move the Microwave

kitchen countertop space
If you have a microwave on the countertop, free up that counter space by adding a small base cabinet (see above). You could replace your current microwave with a microwave that can be installed under a wall cabinet, or a micro-hood that can be installed over the range or cooktop. Micro-hoods have a task light and built-in exhaust fan. Some microwaves have kits that allow them to be built into either wall or base cabinetry. Install a shelf and put your microwave at a convenient height. Just 18” of wall space will accommodate a nice size microwave.

Add a Shelf

kitchen countertop space
Empty wall space is perfect for a shelf. Shelves are inexpensive and easy to install. A shelf is not only good for setting things on, but is also good to hang cooking utensils, pots and pans, paper towels, and all sorts of kitchen miscellanea. If you have enough height, you can stack a shelf above the first shelf for seldom-used items.

Use the Sink

kitchen countertop space
Make your sink do double duty—buy or make a cutting board designed to fit over the sink. Some boards come with attached colanders making it easy to wash and drain whatever you’re preparing. Cutting boards are available in wood and plastic and reasonably priced. Whether you have a single or double bowl sink, a cutting board that fits over the sink adds inexpensive counter top space.

Save Floor Space

With less than 24” of wall space, you can install a wall-mounted drop-leaf table that takes up two and a half square-feet of space or less. A fold-down table can double as extra counter space and can be folded down and out of the way when not in use. It’s a great way to add cozy seating for two. You can find wall-mounted drop leaf tables online in wood and laminate and they’re reasonably priced.

Hopefully, we’ve given you an idea or two to help reduce clutter and add extra countertop space, which will make your kitchen work easier and more efficient. Best of all, these options are readily available and inexpensive.

But if, after looking at all your options, you still can’t make the kitchen work for you, call the Pros at Kitchen Express and we’ll help design a kitchen that you’ll love.


The Hottest Kitchen Trends 2018

Tim Trends Leave a comment  

Hottest Kitchen Trends in 2018

The kitchen is the heart of the home and so it is the room that most people want designed for function, convenience, style, and entertaining. Trends are trendy- and some trends date kitchens. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “That’s a seventies kitchen.” They can identify the time the kitchen was designed because of the colors and materials. Following trends can date kitchens, which can, eventually, devalue your most important asset.

Some trends escape time. These trends never look dated and always add value to your home. Here are the 2018 hottest kitchen trends that I believe will be timeless and always in style:

kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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Note: you can add elements that give a kitchen a trendy look that can be changed easily and inexpensively when the trend becomes passé. Examples are paint, tile backsplashes, window treatments, and accessories (rugs, towels, artwork, etc.).


kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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This year, gray is the new white. Gray cabinets are soft, understated and sophisticated. Because gray is neutral and will coordinate with any color, I believe it will be timeless. A trend is to combine gray cabinets with white cabinets, which may become a dated trend. The shaker door style will continue to be popular in 2018 and because of its simplicity, will not be dated.

Counter Tops

kitchen remodeling trends 2018
Granite is out and quartz is in. If you are not familiar with quartz, it is a man-made product that is produced from crushed quartz and polymer resin. The finished product is stronger than granite and non-porous, so it is easier to clean and less likely to promote bacterial growth. Quartz manufacturers have been able to copy granite and marble looks giving consumers many more choices than in the past.


kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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Recently, LTV (luxury vinyl tile) has made huge inroads as a desirable and stylish floor for the most discriminating tastes. The LVT manufacturers have done such an incredible job of copying the look of tile, stone, and wood that you have to touch it several times to tell if it’s the real thing and then you still might not know. The LVT wood look is a compliment to any kitchen and will hold up to the wear and tear and water that all kitchens suffer.


kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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While stainless steel is still king, some appliance manufacturers have introduced color. Companies like Big Chill are bringing back the retro look. They offer fridges, ranges, microwaves, and dishwashers in eight standard colors (Beach Blue, Pink Lemonade, Cherry Red, Buttercup Yellow, Jadite Green, Black, White, and Orange). While these colors are eye-catchers and statement makers, they could end up being dated trends. But, on the other hand, if you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time, add personality with color.


Paint manufacturers each have their own color pick for the year. So, there is no universally agreed upon color that will be embraced by interior designers, clothing designers, and furniture manufacturers. Here’s what the color gurus are proclaiming.

Sherwin Williams color of the year is aptly named Oceanside—a rich blue with jewel-toned green.

Glidden’s color of the year is Deep Onyx also know as classic black.

Behr’s color of the year is dubbed In the Moment, which is a compilation of blue gray and green.

Pantone, a company that developed a color matching system, touts Ultra Violet as the color of the year.
pantone kitchen remodeling trends 2018


So you can see, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no universally accepted color of the year. What can we learn from this? Throw caution to the wind, ignore the color of the year, and choose the color that speaks to you and inspires you.


kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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Technology is creeping into the kitchen enhancing cooking, entertaining, and adding convenience.

Touch faucets make using a faucet, which we use more times a day than we realize, much easier.

Refrigerators can make you a grocery list simply by swiping the bar code.

Cooking thermometers connect via Bluetooth to your smart phone and let you know when the item you are cooking gets to the perfect temperature.

Appliance manufacturer Miele is collaborating with IBM to develop a recipe database that will suggest a recipe based on the ingredients you have. It also offers suggested cooking times, temperatures, and calorie counts.

Soon, your refrigerator will talk to a recipe database showing what you have in your refrigerator and your laptop or tablet will show you exactly what recipes you can prepare using what you have.

Technology is changing our kitchens in a big way. It will make preparing food for your family and entertaining a stress less joy.

kitchen remodeling trends 2018

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2018 is the perfect time to design a kitchen with awesome possibilities.

Have fun designing your new kitchen!