Lowe’s, AARP Collaborate on Aging-in-Place Initiative

Lowe’s, AARP Collaborate on Aging-in-Place Initiative

MOORESVILLE, NC — Lowe’s, the major nationwide chain of home-improvement stores, has announced a multi-year commitment to become “the leading retail destination for aging-in-place and life-change solutions.”

The launch of Lowe’s Livable Home “will offer expertise, services and affordable products, with a range of styles and budgets to meet any ability by creating a one-stop destination for universal design options,” Lowe’s officials said, adding that the Mooresville, NC-based company has developed a unique online and in-store collaboration in customer education with AARP.

“Nearly every family in America at some point faces the important and often intimidating responsibility of preparing a home for life’s changes,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “Lowe’s Livable Home is uniquely positioned to help address customers’ desire for a one-stop destination with trusted resources and affordable solutions they need throughout every step of the journey.”

According to AARP, less than 1% of U.S. homes have particular features needed to support aging in the home, while 77% of people aged 50 years and older would like to stay in their current home as long as possible. In addition, eight in 10 adults aged 50 years or older want to stay where they live, but many lack the expertise or resources to adapt their home.

By visiting Lowes.com/LivableHome visitors can access a virtual library of articles and videos that will be updated regularly. AARP will help create educational online content on the site, focusing on taking age-friendly design action, Lowe’s officials said, adding that AARP will also assist in the training of Lowe’s associates.

In-store enhancements are currently underway in nearly Lowe’s 500 stores, the company said.

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How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

granite countertop Vienna, Virginia


4 Major Mistakes to Avoid During a Kitchen Remodel.

Renovating your kitchen is a significant investment that, if done properly, will improve functionality and increase the overall value of your home. For starters, consider your family’s needs and lifestyle. If you cook often, you may need to dedicate more of your budget to appliances. On the other hand, if the kitchen is a hub for socialization, entertainment, or homework—seating and counter space will be more of a priority. Kitchens are without a doubt, one of the most important rooms in the house, so if you’re planning to renovate, check out our most common remodeling mistakes.


1.Lack of Storage and Counter Space

Take advantage of unused like toe-kick storage located beneath cabinet door. It’s a creative place to store items that aren’t used on a daily basis. Maximize your kitchen’s floor plan to find additional storage that will keep your countertops free of clutter.

Countertops are the largest visual elements in a kitchen, and the right countertop will be a major selling point when you want to relist your home one day. Find ways to make the most of the space you have. Seemingly small add-ons and storage features like drawer dividers, pullout drawers, or a Lazy Susan will increase your kitchen’s storage and overall efficiency.


2.Overwhelming Kitchen Designs

Despite the latest kitchen styles you’ve seen in magazines and on home improvement shows, functionality should always take precedence. With positioning of the sink, stove, and fridge, it’s best to stick to the basic work triangle. While there should be enough space between each so you can flow from one area of the kitchen to the next, the refrigerator, stove, and sink should be near each other. Unique kitchen designs may seem appealing, but you’ll quickly realize the importance of keeping the work triangle intact. Give your kitchen personality but don’t get carried away with multiple marquee items. Functionality is key.


3.Making Impulsive Decisions

Some materials look much more attractive in a showroom than they would in your home. Buying on impulse is a major mistake and an unnecessary expense that will most likely put you over budget. If you have interest in a product (color, counter, cabinets, etc.), take a sample home to make sure it works with your current plan and budget. In the end, renovations should improve the efficiency of your space. Try not to rely on aesthetics alone as a selling point. Every element including your wall color, cabinet style, flooring, and hardware, should be complementary. Take your time to decide what fits best in your space.

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4.Not Considering Electrical Sockets & Space for Openings  

Be practical when deciding where to place electrical outlets for your appliances. It may be possible to hide outlets in an island or in a drawer, but your kitchen should have plenty of evenly placed sockets on nearby walls. Also, keep in mind refrigerators and ovens need clearance space. Assess your existing plan and be sure that doors from cupboards and appliances can open simultaneously. You never want a cramped kitchen, so be mindful of sizes and directions of doors for all appliances and cabinetry.





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Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting

Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting

Have you fallen in love with your kitchen cabinets but still want a fresh look? Explore Kitchens now offers kitchen cabinet repainting!

Table of contents

BackgroundThe ProjectOur ProductsClient ExperienceThe Result


Explore was approached by a homeowner in McLean, VA, who liked the cabinet facings they had installed custom when they built their home. They wanted a more modern look than wood grain with their kitchen remodel.

The cabinets were in good shape! Our team went to work on the plan. We were going to modernize their cabinets and countertops to add tremendous value to their house. Adding also beautiful new backsplash tile, modern decora devices, blinds, faucet, sink, and
wine cooler to replace the trash compactor.

After going through our standard discovery questions, we put together a proposal for the project.

We executed the project during the peak of the holiday season. Explore completed the kitchen remodel before the new year and the bathroom shortly afterward!

Explore Kitchens is dedicated to your home’s success and works to complete projects quickly and efficiently with an eye for quality.


The Project

Typically, Explore Kitchens specializes in brand new cabinetry. However, this was a great start into a unique offering of repainting cabinets with top of the line Benjamin Moore paint.

We didn’t stop at painting cabinets for this kitchen remodel project in McLean, VA. They had some very dated countertops.



Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting


Our Products

Explore Kitchens partnered with MSI Surfaces for new quartz stone countertops; the homeowner selected MSI Calacatta Miraggio.

MSI Calacatta Miraggio Quartz countertop

The counters and island turned out very elegant!

Explore Kitchens partnered with MSI Surfaces for new quartz stone countertops; the homeowner selected MSI Calacatta Miraggio. out very elegant!





One of the biggest challenges with older kitchens is lighting. We always work with our clients to identify their unique lighting needs for their kitchen and bath remodel. That is why Explore partners with the best lighting supplier in McLean, VA: Lamps Unlimited, going through Jon Ghareeb, a great friend of Explore Kitchens owner Jason Kidwell. Installed are new pendant lights bringing extra light to the dining area and new countertop surfaces.

Finally, we installed the very best tile from The Tile Shop in McLean, VA. We used subway tile for the backsplash in the kitchen and porcelain tile for the bathroom floors and bathroom walls.

Tile Shop

Client Experience

This project was one of the best projects we’ve done; the homeowners were terrific and went above and beyond in making sure their home was ready for us. They bought the crews lunch and set out snacks and drinks for our team.

The communication from the clients was terrific.

The Result

Take a look at the results for yourself and reach out the next time you need to repaint your kitchen cabinets.

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Textures in Tile

Textures in Tile

While cabinets, counters, fixtures and appliances often anchor a kitchen or bath, it’s the secondary items like tile and hardware that can add the true decorative flair. Tile can carry a neutral design and add calm to the space, or provide bold color and rugged texture to deliver the wow factor.

Stone, glass, porcelain and ceramic are among the myriad elements that can be used to create tile, and all add their own look and feel to a space. Whether the desire is for a nature-inspired look or a glossy, modern appeal, tile can provide just the right accent.

–Subway tile continues to trend, but the classic look is getting an update with an array of colors and smooth texture that looks handmade.

–Shapes go beyond squares and rectangles, encompassing everything from hexagons to triangles to arabesques to chevrons.

–Three-dimensional tiles continue to garner attention, delivering surfaces that feature irregular patterns and an organic look and feel.

–Cement tiles with painted patterns add drama to backsplashes and showers alike, providing a bold addition to overall designs.

–Pastels and neutrals yield a softer hue, while saturated jewel tones and earth-inspired shades add an organic touch to spaces.

–Matte tile surfaces and textures are currently garnering major attention, complementing weathered woods, raw and patinaed metals and matte finishes on faucets, appliances and hardware.


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Standard vs. Full Backsplash: Which is Right for Your Kitchen?

Standard vs. Full Backsplash: Which is Right for Your Kitchen?

Standard vs. Full-Height Backsplash. Tile or Stone?


A kitchen backsplash, which is situated on the wall between your countertops and cabinets, protects your wall from stains and spills that may occur in your kitchen. Many homeowners prefer to extend their existing countertop material (Granite, Marble, Quartz, etc.) up their wall to create a simple backsplash. In contrast, others cover their wall with as little or as much tile (or other durable material) that they want.

Before you begin searching through which backsplash materials and styles are available, it’s essential that you first decide whether a standard or a full backsplash is right for you and your kitchen design.


Selecting the Height of Your Kitchen Backsplash

On average, a standard backsplash is approximately 4 inches high, starting from your countertop. In many cases, a traditional backsplash is simply a small extension of your existing countertop material. On the other hand, a full backsplash covers the entire wall, starting from your countertops and going up to the bottom of your upper cabinetry.

Both the standard and full backsplash styles can be achieved with pretty much any material, so your decision will primarily stem from personal preference.


Pros of the Standard Kitchen Backsplash

This style is an excellent option for you if you’re completing a budget-conscious kitchen remodel, as the installation of the 4-inch backsplash requires fewer materials and less labor. Therefore, it can be a big money saver for you, especially if your chosen countertop is a lesser expensive material.

It’s important to note here that you shouldn’t be afraid to play around with your design. There is no right or wrong, so feel free to experiment with 6 inches, 8 inches, or any other measurement you wish.



Explore Kitchen Discounts & Coupons


Pros of the Full Kitchen Backsplash

A full backsplash creates a gorgeous, more cohesive transition from your countertops to your upper cabinetry. Many homeowners play around with the backsplash design, adding in pops of color and different textures by utilizing unique tile options. This helps to provide a degree of depth and dimension to their overall kitchen design.

Separate from design, full backsplashes are also practical as they are a source of protection for your kitchen walls. If your kitchen is regularly used for cooking or entertaining, a full backsplash may be best for you – especially behind your stove and sink areas.

Whichever backsplash style or height you choose, our specialist team here at Explore is ready to help you design the best kitchen for your home and lifestyle.

Explore First. Explore recommends a full-height tile backsplash. A 4-inch backsplash is a dated look in the kitchen. Adding the extra tile to the backsplash area will be worth it. Put it into your kitchen remodel budget.


-Jason Kidwell


Read More: 

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Kitchen Island Dimensions – What’s The Best Size for Your Home?

Explore Kitchens Offering Virtual Site Visits

How to choose your kitchen cabinets with 3 easy decisions


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Kitchen Island Dimensions – What’s The Best Size for Your Home?

Kitchen Island Dimensions – What’s The Best Size for Your Home?

MSI Surfaces, Sterling, VA, quartz countertops showroom

Kitchen Island Dimensions – What’s The Best Size for Your Home?

When it comes to transforming your Kitchen of Island, an island is one of the most popular additions to make. A kitchen island is not only highly functional but an aesthetically pleasing addition too. However, how do you know the best dimensions to choose?

Finding the right size kitchen island for your room is crucial. Too big, it will dominate your kitchen. Too small, and it will lose its functionality. It is also important to remember that not all kitchens will be able to accommodate an island.


What size should your kitchen island be?

There is no such thing as a standard kitchen island size. That means finding the right size for your home can be a challenge. This guide will help you find the right height, width, and depth for your home.


Kitchen Island Height

The most common height for a kitchen island is 36 inches. This will give you enough room to stand and prepare your food while cooking. This height will also give you a comfortable space to sit and eat food at. However, if you are primarily using your kitchen island for eating, then increasing the height to 42 inches is recommended.


Kitchen Island Width

The width of your kitchen counter will depend entirely on the size of your kitchen. It will also depend on the appliances you want to include. Most are typically at least three feet in width, but if you’re going to incorporate a sink or cooktop, then you should expand further.


Kitchen Island Depth

In terms of depth, a kitchen island should be at least two feet deep. Whatever the depth, you should ensure you have enough room to move around each side, giving yourself at least three feet of floor space.


Commonly asked questions on kitchen islands

Along with the sizes, some of the other most commonly asked questions about kitchen counters include:


Can kitchen islands be taller than my counters?

This is a very common question, and kitchen islands are often taller than counters. The additional height helps hide clutter and acts as a focal point for any room.


How do kitchen islands differ from a peninsula?

Kitchen islands and peninsulas are often confused as the same item, but they are different. An island is free-standing and can be used on all four sides. A peninsula will have one end attached to a counter or your wall.


What should be included on your kitchen island?

Your kitchen island can be a simple breakfast bar or the central hub of your kitchen. The right solution will depend entirely on how you use your kitchen. It is important, though, to remember to keep it a size that suits your room.


Should a kitchen island match the cabinets?

This is another very common question. While a matching kitchen island can be aesthetically pleasing, it does not need to match. Utilizing a different color can help to create an attractive contrast that draws the attention of visitors.


Looking to install a kitchen cabinet in your home?

Are you looking to install a kitchen cabinet in your home? Here at Explore Kitchens, we can help you discover your dream kitchen. We work across northern Virginia, providing kitchen counters in McLean, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and beyond.

Our highly experienced team can help you transform your kitchen through innovative solutions designed for your home. We know the importance the right kitchen island can play in your property, so get in touch today to find out how our kitchen renovations can help you.


Read More: 

Explore Kitchens Offering Virtual Site Visits

How to choose your kitchen cabinets with 3 easy decisions

How to Measure Your Bathroom Tiles

Blum cabinet door hinges


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Explore Kitchens Offering Virtual Site Visits

Explore Kitchens Offering Virtual Site Visits

Explore Kitchens Offering Virtual Site Visits: We aren’t letting 2020 Slow Your Project Down

McLean kitchen remodel after photos January 2021

We aren’t letting 2020 Slow Your Project Down

You may have been wondering how you can continue your kitchen remodel amidst the pandemic. Good news! Explore Kitchens is now offering Virtual Site Visits.

We believe that home improvement projects shouldn’t be affected by pandemics. That is why our experts now will meet you–virtual face to virtual face. You will guide us through your home as we look at cabinets, countertops, tile, flooring, appliances, and lighting.

What in the world is a virtual site visit?

We want to keep everyone safe; that’s why we post signage for our team to wear masks, shoe booties, and gloves in all of our project sites. We even provide masks for our clients if we need to meet onsite. But when meeting onsite is not ideal, we offer a virtual site visit alternative!

A virtual site visit is a video-based call between you and Explore Kitchens. It is a way for us to meet you face to face and see your home to make your dream come true.

There are some things you need to know before we begin your virtual site visit.

How to make your virtual site visit a success

We will now take you through the pre-flight checklist on the things you need to make your call successful. Though they are nothing like the flight attendant safety demonstrations, your project is about to take off!

Technology you need

You will need a smartphone with a working camera. Please make sure you know the app store password and install the Zoom app before the virtual site visit. Links for the app are available here: Android / Apple

Suppose you would prefer to use a laptop with a built-in webcam, that works as well. Please make sure you have your laptop battery fully charged before the call, as we will be moving throughout the house to get a closer look at your project needs.

The final piece of technology that you need for our virtual site visit is a pad of paper and a pencil to take notes. This is my favorite piece of technology!

Make sure both you and your spouse are present on the call

We will be covering important project information and kitchen remodel design decisions over our virtual site visit. Husbands, that means if you don’t want to have that floral print wallpaper, you better be on the call. And wives, if you don’t want the full cedar paneling style, you best be there to help make the decisions.

Explore Kitchens is not endorsing any particular design, nor do we want to get into a debate on a virtual site visit call. We know that you share your home with others, and we want to make everyone’s dream kitchen come true.

rrive 5 minutes early to test your audio settings

We encourage all of our clients to connect to the Zoom call 5 minutes before the meeting. We hope you could use this time to test your audio settings with Zoom and make sure your camera, microphone, and speakers work correctly. It allows us more time to discuss your project needs during the call.

What to expect with your virtual site visit?

You may be nervous about your first virtual site visit, but there is nothing to be worried about with our team! We make sure all of our clients are taken care of and have the perfect questions to ask you to tease out the information we need to make your project successful.

Be prepared to answer important questions

Every project consists of six main elements: cabinets, tile, countertops, flooring, lighting, and appliances. We will ask critical questions surrounding each of these for your kitchen remodel virtual site visit.


Please be prepared to discuss the current feel of your kitchen cabinetry. How can it improve? What would make it speak more to your style?

Explore Kitchens will ask you about the style, wood type, and finish. We offer traditional, contemporary, modern, transitional, or french country styles, cherry, maple, oak, or laminate wood types, light, medium, dark, or white finishes.


Think about where you would like to see the tile; we will ask you to show us during your virtual site visit. Think about what color, pattern, size of tile that you would like installed.


One of the biggest questions for countertops is: are you looking for the marble alternative in quartz? We recommend this choice as it offers a stunning look without all of the maintenance upkeep of marble.

Be prepared to talk countertop edging. Be aware that Explore Kitchens recommends the eased edge or standard edge. The ogee edges tend to make kitchens look dated. We encourage you to go out to our supplier for countertops and use their Countertop Edge Visualizer Tool to get a feel for what you would like.

Finally, we will ask you if you want heavy veining, a subtle vein, or a feathered look with countertops. The two most popular colors that we sold last year were MSI Calacatta Vincenza and MSA Calacatta Miraggio.


Do some research into what kind of flooring you would like to have in your kitchen. The ones we recommend are:

LVPPorcelainReal marble

No matter what material you pick above, your flooring will look great!

Lighting and Appliances

This category is pretty simple. We need to know if you have pre-existing electrical in place; that way, we know if we need to bring our electrician in on the project.


Read More:

How to choose your kitchen cabinets with 3 easy decisions

How to Measure Your Bathroom Tiles

Blum cabinet door hinges







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Flexible Design in the Kitchen

Flexible Design in the Kitchen

Today’s kitchens are delivering more multi-tasking than ever, as islands and niches now act as places to do homework, bill-paying and game playing in addition to eating breakfast and entertaining. Function remains vital to the way a kitchen is designed, and as lifestyles change, so do the elements of the overall space.

In addition to multifunctionality, trends impacting kitchen design include advancing technology and wellness. Aesthetically, color is upping its presence in appliances, tile and countertops, so cabinets need to provide the right complement – whether that means a striking, bold selection or calm, neutral backdrop.

Key trends impacting the kitchen cabinet segment include:

–The selection of flexible and specialized storage features continues to expand as homeowners try to make use of every inch of space in the kitchen.

–Wood tones are making a comeback, with finishes ranging from pale, natural wood looks to rich, dark grayed browns.

–Texture continues to trend, with weathered woods and soft-touch options among the most popular.

–The interest in color is skyrocketing, with painted and powder-coated finishes now available in an almost endless selection.

–Among the most popular colors trending for cabinets are blues and greens with a hint of gray, as well as black and, of course, white.

–Creative storage for cabinets includes pullouts, peg systems, pull-downs and blind-corner options, while drawers feature dividers and elegant organization for utensils and other items.


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Builder Confidence Steadies as Material, Labor Woes Persist

Builder Confidence Steadies as Material, Labor Woes Persist

WASHINGTON, DC — Builder confidence inched up this month on lower lumber prices and strong housing demand, even as the housing sector continues to grapple with building material supply chain issues and labor challenges, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

According to the latest in a series of monthly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Indexes, released yesterday, builder sentiment in the market for newly built single-family homes edged up one point, to 76, in September, ending a three-month decline, the NAHB said.

“Builder sentiment has been gradually cooling since the HMI hit an all-time high reading of 90 last November,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “The September data show stability as some building material cost challenges ease, particularly for softwood lumber. “However, delivery times remain extended, and the chronic construction labor shortage is expected to persist as the overall labor market recovers.”

“The single-family building market has moved off the unsustainably hot pace of construction of last fall and has reached a still hot but more stable level of activity,” added Robert Dietz, chief economist for the Washington, DC-based NAHB. “While building material challenges persist, the rate of cost growth has eased for some products, but the job openings rate in construction is trending higher.”

The NAHB said it expects housing affordability will be a key demand-side challenge in the coming quarters, given the rapid rate of growth for home prices and construction costs over the last year.

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Salone Showcases Design

Salone Showcases Design

A special, abridged version of Salone del Mobile.Milano took place last week, amid much fanfare at its return and trepidation amid COVID-19 concerns. The safety of visitors was paramount, with all exhibitors and attendees adhering to protocols at all times, and an abbreviated show floor that often resembled an art gallery, with products hung on walls and shown in unique displays to keep visitors moving and at a safe distance.

“supersalone” did not disappoint, with more than 60,000 people attending the six-day show, which opened with an impromptu visit and remarks from Italian President Sergio Mattarella welcoming guests and 425 exhibitors, who showcased everything from opulent tables and chairs to modern cabinetry and lighting.

Up-and-coming trends were seen throughout the space. Kitchen cabinets sheathed in metal and metallic looks and a wide range of wood tones, and included complementary metal and glass shelving units. Disappearing kitchens were also displayed, with sliding countertops that tuck everything neatly away when not in use.

Faucets reflected a range of geometric shapes, and delivered on the desire for customization with changeable handles and a multitude of finishes that went far beyond the metals of the past. And LED lighting is revolutionizing the shape and size of pendants, sconces and chandeliers, delivering intricate shapes and modern vibes. LED lighting are also prominent in kitchen and closet shelving and interiors, and even in faucet spouts and showerheads.

Following are a few of the products that made a statement during the event.

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Did you miss our previous article…