What Type of Kitchen Layout Do I Have?

You spend every day in your kitchen, but do you know what shape it is?  Do you know what it’s labeled?  Do you know what shape you want it after your kitchen remodel?  Here is a quick guide to understand your kitchen better before you meet with a professional about your upcoming kitchen remodel.

L-Shaped Kitchens

White Kitchen Cabinets

L-shaped kitchens are probably the most popular layout seen in kitchens. L-Shaped kitchens usually have a sink on one side and stove on the others. Most homeowners will expand their kitchen to add an island and keep the L-Shape design but give it an updated look, and like the picture above the sink can be relocated to the island to allow more countertop space in the L Shape.

I-Shaped Kitchen

Bright Modern Galley Kitchen







This simple kitchen layout is one you see in smaller spaces like lofts or open apartments. This kitchen is a single galley kitchen or single wall kitchen. This is a simple design that works well in the smallest of spaces and it looks very modern.  This is a budget friendly kitchen because there is less cabinetry to be used and less countertop area.

U-Shaped (C-Shaped) Kitchens 

U Shaped Kitchen






This kitchen layout creates the perfect work triangle between the stove, sink and refrigerator. This is the kitchen best for those busy chefs of the home. The U-Shaped kitchen at times even offers a peninsula area for guest to sit and watch the magic happen. In other U-Shaped kitchens the peninsula may not be present but can be a wall of cabinets or other appliances may be on that wall. If an entertainment space is desired, an island can be created within the U-shape.

Galley Kitchen








Galley kitchens seem to have been the norm in older homes. The simple pattern of having a set of cabinets run down a narrow area of the home can be boring if you let it. Galley’s can be modernized to look more inviting by adding modern cabinets and hardware. Another way homeowners are adding some variety to their design is by knocking out one of the walls to the galley and opening the space and making that wall an eating bar keeping the galley shape but making the kitchen more accessible.

Island or Peninsula

Dark wood cabinets with white countertops







Adding an island or peninsula to your kitchen remodel can be a fun project because you are creating a space for entertaining.  Some homeowners like to have their family members sit at the peninsula to visit while they cook or so their children can finish homework while the parents prepare meals.

After viewing the layouts above, you may decide you want to completely gut your kitchen and create a new layout.  Most homes have the space to allow for a complete layout reconfiguration, which layout would you pick?

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements, a San Diego based remodeling contractor, offers design build services to homeowners in San Diego and Temecula.


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Open Versus Closed Kitchen Remodel

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, there is no specific book you can read that tells you exactly what you are supposed to do with the space in your home. Every home is unique and so are the occupants inside them.   Only you can truly decide on what is comfortable and how a space can be most functional for your family.

If you are planning on remodeling your kitchen and trying to decide if you should create an open concept space or keep your current closed kitchen, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to lead you down the path that best suits you and your family.

  1. Why are you considering an open concept?

    Is it because you saw a beautiful kitchen in a magazine or on an HGTV sitcom?  Don’t forget that your entertaining and cooking style may differ from anyone else you know.  Unless you are planning your kitchen remodel to sell to your sister or neighbor – plan your space so that it suits your specific cooking and entertaining needs.

  1. Is your kitchen dark or does it feel closed off and gloomy?

Are you considering an open kitchen floorplan because you feel like your kitchen is dark?  You can lighten up your kitchen by adding canned lights, a skylight, or by raising your ceiling.  Perceived darkness should not be a leading decision-maker for opening up your kitchen.  There are plenty of ways to be creative in remodeling your closed kitchen.

  1. Are you organized?

    Galley Kitchen White Cabinets






Some homeowners like to entertain but they are not organized and they would prefer to keep their disorganization behind closed areas which means a closed kitchen is probably preferable to an open one.

  1. Do you like (or need) help when preparing food?

If you are an entertainer who likes to throw potlucks or who has a big family who comes over often for meals, you may prefer to have an open kitchen which allows multiple people in the kitchen without stepping all over each other.  We like to ask the question:  How many butts are in your kitchen?

  1. How do you want to allocate your budget?

Some homeowners would rather invest their kitchen remodel budget into higher end cabinets or deluxe appliances rather than invest in reworking the layout which can be expensive when dealing with tearing out walls.

Everyone’s needs are different.  When we ask homeowners what they are looking for in a design, we have some who need an open concept so they can keep an eye on their young children.  Other homeowners say they like to keep their food preparation separate from their entertaining and would prefer everyone stay out of their kitchen.  Your lifestyle will dictate what the best design is for you.  If you need help determining what that style is, invest in some free design consultations with local San Diego contractors.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor offering kitchen remodeling services to homeowners in San Diego and Temecula.  Their showroom is located in Escondido, CA and is by appointment only.

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Updating Outdated Master Bathrooms to a Modern Style

In the 80s’ tile countertops and tile surrounds for drop in master bathtubs were incredibly popular for high end homes.  Classic Home Improvements gets phone calls daily with requests to update their outdated master bathrooms to a more modern bathroom style.

Unfortunately many homeowners need assistance with trying to accomplish the bathroom remodel idea that they have in their head.  They know they want a modern space, but they are not quire sure how to pull the look together.  Or they feel like they do not have the design ability to pull off the look they desire.

If this was your master bathroom -how would you update the space?  If you aren’t sure where to start – one of the best things you can do is request a free consultations from San Diego remodeling contractors.


After contemplating what her goals were for this space, the homeowner of this San Diego bathroom contacted Classic Home Improvements for a free in-home consultation to remodel the space.  The solution was to create a modern space with the addition of a steam shower. Her newly renovated bathroom included a beautiful light fixture and a modern dark wood Starmark cabinetry vanity  with two beautiful rectangular vessel sinks.

Master Bathroom Remodel Poway Contractor


When you are ready to reach out to San Diego remodeling contractors to re-design your bathroom, Classic Home Improvements should be at the top of your list.  As an “A” rated remodeling contractor, this team has worked together for over 10 years in construction and remodeling and the President has over 25 years experience.

There is an exclusive feel when you work with this San Diego home improvement team when you visit their design center in Escondido to review your written estimate and 3D renderings after your initial consultation.  The 3D renderings allow you to see what you have designed together during your initial consultation with the kitchen and bathroom designer.

Homeowners like to ask the team what the bath remodel cost per square foot is.  The answer to that is, “we need to meet with you.”  Unfortunately there is not a quick answer for the cost per square foot question.  The reason is, there are too many variables!  Take the above remodel as an example.  If we had provided a cost per square foot, we would have been off base by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars because a cost per square foot would not have included a steam shower or a free-standing roman tub.  If you are looking to budget for a bathroom remodel, the only way you can do that accurately is to meet with a licensed general contractor to review your goals.  Bathroom remodels, especially custom ones, can not be priced on a rough per square foot over the telephone.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a San Diego home remodeling contractor located in Escondido, CA.  This bathroom remodel company offers bathroom remodeling services to San Diego and Temecula homeowners.  Consultations are free with no-obligation.  Bathroom remodels with this home improvement contractor start at $10,000 for a small hall bathroom.



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10 Tips for Managing Stress Levels During a Remodel

Home remodeling is fun.  You get to reinvent your home and create a space that is customized to your style.  You get the opportunity to design a room that is functional for your family.  Best of all, you will have a renewed love of your home.

With all that in mind, you must understand that remodeling is stressful!

Think about it….remodeling has all the components that couples inevitably argue over.  Money, decision-making, time, priorities, and family communication.  Any weaknesses in communication and conflict management will be exposed during remodeling.

Let’s explore some of the stresses you and your family will endure during your remodel and tips for how to avoid anxiety, stress, and even anger during your remodel.


You will not only need to determine who your contractor will be, you will also need to decide on a final budget for your project,  Then there are many conversations that will take place regarding design.  After you come to a decision about design aspects you will need to select your finish products. Finish products alone could be upwards of 10 separate decisions (all of which need to coordinate with one another). Conflicts arise when you are not willing to compromise with one another.

Tip:   Pick your battles and remember that you are blending your styles to create the perfect space for both of you. Another way to manage the battle of decisions is to divvy up decisions, one person selects appliances and the other is responsible for the color of the cabinets, as an example.

Transparency regarding budgets

Remodeling is an expensive luxury.  Not being transparent with your significant other and with your contractor is asking for problems.

Tip:  Discuss and decide what your budget is and allow an extra 5-10%  percentage in the budget for contingencies.  Once you have your firm budget in place, do not deviate from it.  Be transparent with your contractor about your budget, as well as your contingencies so your contractor can assist in guiding you in the event there is an unforeseen problem when construction begins.

Clear expectations about project timelines

hourglassIf you have a hard deadline for your project to be completed by that is an important factor which needs to be discussed before signing contracts.  If something comes up during your remodel and your project completion date needs to be pushed up (or back) – that is also important to communicate.

Tip:  Ask your contractor for a rough timeline of the project.   It is important for you to understand that any delays you have in making decisions (such as selecting product) will directly affect completion dates.  Allowing access (or not allowing access) to the home is also a factor that could delay completion dates.

Another topic of discussion with your contractor is any potential holiday time off or weekend schedules so expectations about completion dates can be set early.

Making too many design changes

                          Changes in design happen as you progress in planning your new space, but the best time to make those changes are during the planning and budgeting stage.  Most contractors will have a final drawing for you to sign off on before construction begins.

Tip:   Once that final drawing document is signed and construction has started, do not make any more changes to your design.  If you do make changes, do not be surprised if there is a cost  associated that your contractor will not be wiling to absorb (sometimes quite significant).

Time consumption

time-consuming-remodelingMake no mistake about it, remodeling is time consuming.  This goes back to the decision-making conversation.  You will be making decisions and second-guessing them.  You will be nervous about colors, style, and schedules.   You will be doing all this in “all your spare time” between managing family engagements, work, and day-to-day life.  There is a good chance you will scream and/or cry at least once out of pure emotion from being overwhelmed with the time that is being consumed.

Tip:  Take a breathe.  Post a photo of your “before” space next to your rendering or layout of your “new” space.  Go to a movie.  Just stop and breathe.  Do something that has absolutely nothing to do with remodeling for one day with your significant other.


talk-listenMiscommunication is bound to happen at least once during your remodel.  Either between you and your spouse or you and your contractor.  In remodeling it is important for everyone to be extremely deliberate and avoid assumptions.

Tip:   If a miscommunication occurs, focus on the solution and not the blame.  To avoid miscommunication be very clear and do not make assumptions.  If you are not sure if your contractor understands what you are asking for, ask your contractor to repeat your request to verify you are on the same page.

Project delays

delay-in-constructionFrom waiting for permits to be obtained, materials to be delivered, and finding unexpected problems during demolition, project delays can be incredibly frustrating.

Tip:  There are many components to a remodel so talk with your contractor to find out what work can be done while you are waiting for the delayed item to be completed.  Many times, especially during a major remodel, time can be “made up” in a different section of the home.

Not understanding sequence of construction

tile_settersWith the advancement of Technology many consumers spend a considerable amount of time doing research online as well as watching HGTV.  Unfortunately this means that many consumers believe they understand construction more than they actually do and it causes them to try to manage their own project.

Tip:  Trust your contractor. You hired your contractor because you believed that individual was a professional in the industry.  Specifically towards the end of a remodel the finish items seem to feel like they are taking forever to complete. The best way to handle the stress of feeling like your project is dragging on would be to ask your contractor what the next steps are so that you understand what is happening.

Space constraints during the remodel

construction-image-demo-kitchenMajor remodels take a considerable amount of time so if you have a kitchen that is not operable or a bathroom that is not usable stress can mount after a few weeks.

Tip:  If possible, go on a mini vacation during your home renovation.  Your contractor will thank you, the work will probably be done quicker, and you will avoid having to live in a home without operable space.  If this is not possible, try spending more time outdoors.  Having barbecues is a great way to enjoy meals that are home cooked when you do not have an operable kitchen.  Sending the kids to stay with family and friends can be helpful when you are down a bathroom.

Construction is dirty

remodel-dust-containmentRemodels are stunning when completed but do not forget that before it is pretty, it is messy! Dust will be everywhere.  Even if your contractor cleans up daily and wipes things down, dust will be in the air and will settle at the end of everyday.  If you like things neat and tidy, this will drive you crazy.

Tip:  Put a sheet over anything you want to protect and expect the dust.  There is no way around it.  Ask your contractor how they will contain the dust particles to just the remodeled space.  When your remodel is complete, treat yourself with a full service clean by a professional and throw a party to show all your friends and family your stunning new remodeled home!


Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.




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Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Vanities and Sinks

There are a variety of different vanities and sinks to choose from when remodeling your bathroom.  Below is a list of your options when it comes time to select the vanity and sinks for your bathroom remodel:

Pedestal Sinks


Pedestal sinks are great for small spaces that do not allow for cabinets as well as for powder baths which are designed to meet the needs of daily visitors.  Pedestal sinks are also sometimes used to create a turn of the century look for homeowners who like a symmetrical look.


Free Standing Vanities

free-standing-vanityIt is easy to maintain an elegant look in your bathroom while incorporating plenty of storage space with a free-standing vanity.  The majority of these units are integrated  which means they will come with your counter-top and faucet.  While this makes product selection a little easier, when it comes time to make a change to the top, sink, or faucet later down the line, the change may not be so easy to make without tearing out the entire unit.

Wall Mounted Vanities

Zen Bathroom Remodel General ContractorHomeowners who have a small space but would like to have cabinet space may opt for a wall mounted sink.  Many homeowners also like that the wall-mounted sink allows for extra floor space.  Similar to free-standing vanities, many wall-mounted sinks generally do not require additional purchases of the sink and faucet because they are integrated units.  Wall mounted sinks are ideal for a stylish small bathroom and can be mounted at just about any height.


Vanity Cabinets without Tops

vanity-without-top-cabinetryVanity cabinets are much like kitchen cabinets and reach the floor on all four sides.  Vanity cabinets will require toe-kicks are a recess so you can get close to the counter-top without losing your balance.  In addition to purchasing the cabinet, you will need to select the counter-top, sink, and faucet all separately.  This allows for a much more customizeable bathroom.  If you put a lot of wear and tear on your counter-tops, sinks, or faucet it is much easier to switch out in the future than with integral units.

Vessel Sinks

Glass vessel sinkVessel sinks are imaginative and stylish and becoming more and more common in San Diego.   Vesel sinks are more often than not bowl-shaped but they are also available in rectangular shapes as well as many other sculpture-like shapes.  Some vessel sinks can be found connected to a free-standing vanity if you search long enough.  There are literally 1000’s of styles of bathroom vessel sink options.  This is a great way to make your bathroom unique when combining with a vanity cabinet without a top.  Vessel sinks are more often than not installed above the counter-top, but they can be partially recessed, as well.  Vessel sinks may be the easiest to install because they do not require any cutouts in your counter-tops (with the exception of a small hole to accommodate the drain).

Under-mounted Sinks

Relaxing master bathroomUnder-mount sinks are lovely in my opinion because there is no lip, which makes clean up of the counter-top much easier and really allows for more counter-top space.  Laminate or tile counter-tops are not well-paired with the under-mount sink.  Marble, quartz, granite, and concrete options are the best when electing to install an under-mount sink.  You can install under-mount sinks under laminate and time but we do not recommend this because both these tops have too many weak points along the seams and grout lines to support the weight of the sink.


Self rimming sinks (Drop-in sinks)

Large-Master-Bath-RemodelDrop-in sinks can be simple or decorative, depending on what your goal is for your bathroom remodel.  Most drop in sinks allow for the faucet to be installed directly into the sink, rather than the counter-top. Drop-in sinks take up more counter-top space but the installation is much easier than with an under-mount sink. Self-rimming sinks can be installed into any counter-top material including laminates, tile, and solid surface.

Integral Counter-top with Sink

Zen Bathroom Remodel San DiegoIntegral countertops are a seamless countertop with sink that can be installed on your cabinet.   Many times the integral countetop has an integral backsplash as well.  Having an integral unit allows your faucet to be the focal point of your cabinet.  Cleaning the countertop and sink is a breeze in this configuration.  Unfortunately if you damage the top you will need to replace the piece in its entirety.




Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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3 Types of San Diego Home Remodeling Contractors

When considering a major home renovation many homeowners will ask friends and family for a referral or they will look to the internet for recommendations on who to invite out to their home to provide them with an estimate.  The problem is, many consumers do not really know what type of remodeling contractor they need.  There are essentially 3 types of San Diego home remodeling contractors.  Here is a cheat sheet to help you understand what type of remodeling company you should be reaching out to:

Specialized trade contractor –

Special trade contractors may work as a subcontractor, performing only part of the work covered by a general contract, or they may work directly for the homeowner for only the trade for which they are licensed (ie:  plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, etc).

General Contractor (No Employees, sometimes referred to as a remodeling contractor) –

Someone who has the ability and license to tackle a lot of different aspects of a remodel.  Most of these type of general contractors are good at what they do, however they are not specialists in any aspects of the remodel.  This type of general contractor might be referred to as or “jack of all trades” (although, if licensed, insured, and highly experienced, is likely more than just that).  A remodeling contractor may work by himself and not carry workers compensation insurance.  If he/she does have employees then the license holder is required by law to carry worker’s compensation insurance.  A remodeling contractor who works solo is responsible for everything related to the business including accounting, sales, gathering materials, installing materials, scheduling, warranty, so and and so forth.

General Contractor (Corporation/Organization) –

A General Contractor who is the license holder for a corporation has all the skills of the general contractor listed but will typically be hired for more complicated projects such as a home addition, kitchen remodel, exterior renovations, or custom home, and should have a higher level of sophistication and business acumen.  Typically general contracting companies offer better and longer warranties.  A general contracting company often hires sub-contractors or employs in-house specialized tradespeople (sometimes both!) to perform each individual trade within the remodel.  This type of general contractor not only manages the schedule and the tradespeople, this contractor also has employees to assist homeowners with design, space planning, product selection, and manage product tracking and delivery.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general contracting corporation (the general building license holder is John Crocker).   The company offers services to homeowners in San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA and has a kitchen and bathroom showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

If you are still a little confused about what type of remodeling contractor you need for your home remodeling project, the best place to look for information is the Contractors State Licensing Board (www.cslb.ca.gov).

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