Kitchen Remodeling: Where to Splurge

Kitchen Remodeling: Where to SplurgeThe kitchen is typically the most expensive room in the house to remodel, so it’s very easy to go over budget if you’re not careful. While it’s a good idea to be conservative when it comes to purchasing appliances and putting in a backsplash, there are certain times during kitchen remodeling that it’s okay to splurge. Here are our top picks.


As the most noticeable feature of your kitchen, you want your kitchen cabinets to be beautiful and eye-catching, but it’s equally as important that they be functional. Kitchens with inadequate storage space and prep areas are a nightmare to work in, as well as keep clean, so it makes sense to invest in high-quality cabinets that will best help you utilize your space, while also providing unique storage solutions. Kitchen cabinets see a lot of use and abuse over the years, and durable, well-built cabinets will show their worth over time. Ten years down the road, when your neighbors are replacing their less expensive contractor-grade cabinets while yours are still as solid as ever, you’ll be glad you spent the extra money.


There’s a reason that countertops made of stone, like granite and quartz, have reigned supreme in kitchens for years. Discerning homeowners understand that, as another highly visual feature of a kitchen, countertops should stand out – and stone countertops certainly do. These types of materials cost substantially more than laminate or acrylic, but if you want your counters to be the focal point of your kitchen, it’s okay to splurge to get the stunning look you desire. Plus, countertops aren’t easy to switch out, so it’s better spend the money on what you really want now, rather than have to deal with the hassle and added expense of changing them out later.


While pendants and inexpensive ceiling-mounted light fixtures will certainly do the job, if you have the budget and want a more high-end look, consider upgrading your lighting. Instead of the usual pendant lights over the island, install a few small chandeliers. Utilize under-cabinet lighting to highlight glossy countertops and provide additional illumination for food prep. If you have a collection of dishes you’d like to display, consider using lighted display cabinets. And last but not least, throw in a few recessed lights or even a couple walls sconces to ensure you have plenty of lighting for whatever kitchen task you may be doing.

Whether you need help with a kitchen redesign or are in desperate need of help with bathroom remodeling, Callen Construction can help. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585 and get started by setting up your FREE consultation.



Lighting Techniques for the Kitchen

When designing a kitchen, much attention is given to the countertops, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. But just as important is the lighting. Without the right types of lighting, a kitchen can look dull, dark, and dated.

“No single light source can provide all the necessary light for a kitchen. A well-lit kitchen layers and blends different types of light,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer with Callen. “When planning kitchen lighting, we incorporate three main types: ambient, task, and accent. Every kitchen is different, so what works for one may not be appropriate for another, but here are some general guidelines.”

Lighting Techniques for the Kitchen

Ambient lighting provides the basic illumination of the kitchen, allowing you to see and move about safely. Typically this lighting is recessed in the ceiling (can lights) or flush mounted. Recessed lighting is best placed around the perimeter of the room. Ambient lighting can also be accomplished with a central, decorative chandelier, or wall mounted fixtures. Lighting above cabinets that do not reach all the way to the ceiling is another choice for ambient light.

Task lighting focuses directly on work surfaces such as food prep area, stoves, sinks or islands. Over an island, pendant lighting is a workable solution; on perimeter countertops, undercabinet lighting works well. Ideally, task lighting comes between a person’s head and the work surface, which makes lighting located below the upper cabinets so effective. Many times, a pendant light can also work over a sink in addition to the island, but this depends on the size of the kitchen.

Accent lighting is the finishing touch used to highlight an architectural feature or decorative items or collections. Accent lights can also be put into glass cabinets or above open cabinets with a high ceiling, in toe kick spaces, or even under island overhangs to create drama.

If the kitchen has a traditional eating area outside of the island, lighting there is critical too. Either a decorative pendant or a chandelier that fits the style of your kitchen are options.

“We also recommend dimmer switches for the times you don’t want an abundance of light. Dimmers on all your light switches will help you create the mood you want,” Paulette said.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.






LED Lighting Outshines the Competition

Today’s manufacturers are designing LED light bulbs that have the ability to last for decades. When combined with their decreasing retail costs, it’s clear why LED lighting is becoming a popular and affordable option.

Doreen Schofield, CR, a designer with Callen, said technology alone hasn’t sparked these trends. “Newly enacted efficiency standards are also responsible for removing incandescent bulbs from the market in favor of environmentally friendly alternatives.”

LED lighting is the most energy efficient option, it ranks high in performance, and has an extended life. “When it comes to energy efficiency, LED lighting outperforms incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent bulbs,” Doreen said. “They convert almost all of the electricity they use into light instead of heat, unlike other bulbs. The unique design of LEDs makes them 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, which can significantly reduce annual energy bills.”

Like incandescent and halogen bulbs, LEDs produce bright light, instantly reach full power, and can be dimmed. They can even be repeatedly switched on and off, with no affect on the lifespan of the bulb. LED lights also come in an array of color options from yellows to blues, greens, reds and a number of other colors.

Finally, and perhaps most impressive, is the exceptionally long lifespan of LED bulbs; they shine bright for years and even decades beyond traditional light sources. “LEDs can survive up to three times longer than compact fluorescent, eight times longer than halogen, and 25 times longer than incandescent,” Doreen said. As a result, maintenance is kept to a minimum with LEDs because bulb replacement is virtually eliminated.

“On our first consultation with a homeowner, we talk a lot about lighting, its benefits, and the various types,” she said. “LED lights are typically the light of choice for under cabinet lighting, but they can also be used in can lights and appliance interiors. They are dimmable and very cool so that they won’t heat up the insides of cabinets or emit a lot of heat downward as some can lights do.”

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

LED lighting benefits



Kitchen Upgrade Ideas

By Paulette Sodemann

Kitchens are where home-cooked meals are shared and memories are made, meaning they should be bright, welcoming, and well-maintained to mesh with the style trends that continuously pop up.

Kitchen Upgrades

Paulette Sodemann, designer with Callen, suggests some ways in which you can upgrade your kitchen. “You don’t have to be extravagant to have a fabulous kitchen,” she said. “Sometimes all you need to upgrade your kitchen is a fresh coat of paint and new accessories to add a pop of color.”

Lighting: “Kitchens should be bright with the combination of natural and overhead lighting,” said Paulette. Adding a pendant light will stylishly illuminate your entire kitchen. The addition of under cabinet lighting will also bathe your countertop in bright light to find your recipes and make it easier to see everything you’re slicing and dicing.

Hardware: “Adding new knobs and pulls to cabinets and drawers is one of the simplest upgrades you can make,” said Paulette. There are countless styles to choose from that will allow you to modernize your kitchen with a simple swap.

Rugs: Most kitchens are adorned with a worn kitchen mat that no one takes a second look at. “Put a twist on the average kitchen mat and add a stylish runner or area rug to your kitchen instead,” she said. “It will add a stylish flare to the floor and feel nice on your bare feet.”

Faucet: Instead of getting a whole new sink, simply change out the faucet. “A new faucet is an easy installation and a fun way to jazz up a kitchen,” Paulette said. Replace an old dripping faucet with a sleek pull-down faucet to transform your kitchen from dingy to dashing.

Cabinetry: “As long as the frames and doors of your cabinets are structurally sound, you can spice them up with some strong cleaner and a new coat of paint,” she said. Whether you decide to paint your kitchen cabinets the same color or a whole new color, it’ll add a new clean look to your kitchen.

Bright Accessories: For a finishing touch, enhance your new upgrades with matching accessories. “New, bright dishtowels, decorative bowls, fresh flowers, new drapes, or fun plates and utensils are easy ways to brighten your kitchen for spring and create a welcoming area for your family and guests,” Paulette said.

Callen’s design specialists have plenty of ideas on how to enhance your kitchen space. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, for inspiration on how to get started.