Top Design Trends for Custom Homes in Wisconsin

As a custom home builder in Wisconsin, we are always on the lookout for the latest design trends to incorporate into our projects. We believe that custom home design is all about creating a unique and personal space that reflects the tastes and lifestyles of our clients. From modern design to sustainable materials and smart home technology, there are so many exciting trends to explore in the world of custom home design.

In this post, we will share the top design trends for custom homes in Wisconsin that are gaining popularity among homeowners and design professionals. Whether you are building your first custom home or looking to renovate and refresh your current space, we hope that this post will provide you with valuable insights and inspiration.

Modern Design: Sleek and Contemporary

Modern design is characterized by clean lines, minimalism, and a focus on functionality. This trend is gaining popularity in Wisconsin, where homeowners are looking to create a sleek and contemporary look in their custom homes. Modern design can be incorporated into a variety of styles, from minimalist and industrial to mid-century modern and contemporary. By using simple and natural materials, such as wood, glass, and concrete, and by incorporating geometric shapes and bold colors, modern design can create a sophisticated and timeless look in your custom home.

Modern home design is also known for its focus on functionality, which can make your custom home more efficient and comfortable. For example, by incorporating large windows and open floor plans, modern design can maximize natural light and ventilation, creating a brighter and more comfortable living environment. Overall, modern design is a popular and versatile trend in custom home design in Wisconsin and can provide a wide range of benefits and possibilities for custom homeowners.

Sustainable Materials: Creating a Green Home

More and more Wisconsin homeowners are looking for ways to incorporate sustainable materials and practices into their custom homes. This can include using recycled or locally-sourced materials, incorporating energy-efficient features, and designing the home to maximize natural light and ventilation. By using sustainable materials, you can not only create a healthier and more comfortable living environment but also reduce your impact on the environment and save on energy costs in the long run.

As the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources notes in its guide on sustainable building materials, “using sustainable materials in your home can provide a number of benefits, including improved indoor air quality, reduced energy costs, and a smaller environmental footprint.”

Open Floor Plans: Flexibility and Flow

Open floor plans, where the kitchen, living, and dining areas flow seamlessly together, are becoming increasingly popular in Wisconsin custom homes. This trend allows for more flexibility and socializing within the home, and can make the space feel larger and more open. By removing walls and barriers between these areas, you can create a more cohesive and inviting living space that is perfect for entertaining and family gatherings. Open floor plans can allow for better natural light and ventilation, creating a brighter and more comfortable living environment.

One of the key benefits of open floor plans is their flexibility and adaptability. With an open floor plan, you can easily rearrange furniture and change the layout of your living space to suit your changing needs and preferences. This can be especially useful for homeowners with growing families or changing lifestyles, as an open floor plan can accommodate a wide range of activities and uses.

Additionally, open floor plans can be great for entertaining, as they allow for easy movement and conversation between different areas of the home. By choosing an open floor plan for your custom home in Wisconsin, you can create a space that is flexible, versatile, and perfect for your unique needs and lifestyle.

Smart Home Technology: Convenience and Control

Another exciting trend in custom home design is the integration of smart home technology. With smart home technology, you can control and monitor your home’s systems and appliances from a single device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This can include everything from lighting and thermostats to security systems and entertainment systems. By using smart home technology, you can create a more convenient and efficient living environment that can save you time and energy.

For example, you can use a smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your schedule and preferences, or use a smart security system to monitor your home while you are away. With the rapid advancement of technology, the possibilities for smart home technology are virtually limitless, and custom homeowners in Wisconsin are starting to take advantage of these exciting new possibilities.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Extending Your Home’s Living Space

One of the biggest advantages of living in Wisconsin is the beautiful natural scenery. By designing your custom home with outdoor living spaces in mind, you can create a seamless transition between the indoors and outdoors and enjoy the best ofboth worlds.

Some popular outdoor living features for custom homes in Wisconsin include screened-in porches, outdoor fireplaces, built-in grills, swimming pools, hot tubs, and seating areas. These features can provide a comfortable and inviting space for entertaining and relaxation and can add value and enjoyment to your custom home. 

Creating Your Dream Custom Home in Wisconsin

The latest design trends for custom homes in Wisconsin are all about creating a unique and personal space that reflects your tastes and lifestyle. By incorporating modern design, sustainable materials, open floor plans, smart home technology, and outdoor living spaces, you can create a custom home that is stylish, functional, and comfortable.

At Ware Design Build, we are dedicated to helping Wisconsin homeowners create their dream custom homes. With years of experience and a passion for design, we can help you navigate the custom home-building process and create a space that is truly unique and personal. Our team is continuously learning about the latest design trends and technologies to better help you create a custom home that is cutting-edge and of the highest quality.

Thank you for reading our blog post on the latest design trends for custom homes in Wisconsin.

We hope that this post has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration for your own custom home design. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing about your plans for your dream custom home in Wisconsin.

Renovating Your Existing Home vs. Building a New Custom Home: Which Is Right for You?

Should I remodel my existing home or build a new custom home? This is a question we get asked often from homeowners looking to upgrade their living space. The answer, of course, is that it depends on your specific needs and situation.

How attached are you to your current home and location? How far off is your existing home from your dream? Are you in this situation because you need more square footage to accommodate a growing family? The important thing is to understand the difference between the two paths and determine what makes the most sense for you and your family.

There are numerous pros and cons to both a home renovation and building new. A lot of it will depend on the condition of your existing home, as well as your budget. At the end of the day, there is no wrong choice, however, there might be a better choice for your individual circumstances.

You may begin by considering renovating, only to discover that it isn’t feasible given the state of your existing home. On the other hand, you may start down the path of building new, but ultimately find that your current home can provide everything you need, it just needs a little TLC.

In this post, we will break down what to expect from both renovating your existing home and building a new home, the pros and drawbacks of each, and key considerations to take into account. By the end, you should have a much better understanding of which option is best for your specific circumstances.

Renovation and New Construction – An Overview

The first thing you need to do when deciding whether to renovate or build is to understand the difference between the two options. Renovation is defined as “the process of making changes or repairs to a property.” This can include anything from cosmetic changes to major structural changes. New construction, on the other hand, is defined as “the process of building a new home from the ground up.” This option gives you the opportunity to start with a blank slate and completely customize your new home to your exact specifications.

Usually, when people are contemplating whether to renovate their existing home or build a brand new home, this means they are planning to make major changes or additions to their property. Perhaps they want to add bedrooms or bathrooms, expand the kitchen or garage, or completely gut the home and start from scratch. In this case, it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of both major renovations and new construction before making a decision.

Renovation Of Your Existing Home

If you decide to renovate your existing home, you’ll need to work with what you have. This means that you may have to make some compromises in terms of the layout and finishes. For example, if you’re renovating an older home, you may have to work around existing structural elements. You may also have to deal with hidden damage or repairs that need to be made.

That being said, there are some major advantages to renovating your existing home. One of the biggest benefits is that you won’t have to go through the hassle and expense of building a new home from scratch. You’ll also be able to keep your existing home’s character and charm, which is something that’s hard to replicate in a new construction home.

Benefits of Renovating Your Existing Home

There are a few key advantages to renovating your existing home instead of building a new one:

  • You can update your home without having to move: If you love your current home and location but you’re ready for a change, renovating is a great option. You can update your home to better suit your needs without having to deal with the hassle and expense of moving.
  • You can stay in the neighborhood you love: If you’re attached to your current neighborhood, renovating is a great way to stay put. You’ll be able to keep the same neighbors and school district, which can be a big plus if you have kids.
  • You can add value to your home: If you plan to sell your home in the future, renovating it can be a great way to increase its value. Even smaller scale renovations can make a big difference in the resale value of your home.
  • You can save money: Depending on the scope of your renovation, it may be less expensive to renovate your existing home than it would be to build a new one. This is especially true if you’re not making any major changes to the layout or structural elements of your home.
  • You can make your home more energy efficient: Older homes are often less energy efficient than newer ones. If you’re looking to save money on your energy bills, you can add better insulation, upgrade your windows and doors, and make other energy-saving improvements.
  • You can avoid the stress of building a new home: Building a new custom home can be a very stressful process. If you’re not up for the challenge, renovating your existing home may be a better option.

Considerations for Renovating Your Existing Home

There are also a few major things to keep in mind if you’re considering renovating your existing home:

  • You may not be able to make all the changes you want: If you’re planning to make major changes to your home, you may be limited to some extent by the existing structure.
  • You may have to deal with unforeseen problems: When you renovate an existing home, there’s always a chance you may run into unexpected surprises that can end up costing you more money.
  • Your home may be disrupted: If you’re planning to stay in your home during construction, you may have to deal with a lot of disruptions. The noise, dust, and workers coming in and out can make it difficult and stressful to live in your home during a renovation.
  • You may need to temporarily move out of your home: If you’re planning to do a major renovation and don’t want to deal with the disruptions, you may need to find a temporary place to stay during construction. This can add significant expense to your project.

The best place to start is to get in touch with a design-build firm or home renovation contractor and learn everything there is to know about the history of your house. Go into as much detail as possible about the structural integrity and identify any potential problem areas. If you find the foundation is damaged or the house’s frame is broken, it might not be worth your time or money to renovate. Depending on the type and extent of damage, as well as your plans for your renovation, removing the old house and rebuilding it may be a better option.

Also, ask yourself: what is the intended purpose of your home that motivates you to renovate it? Do you want a complete makeover without changing locations? Are you looking to increase your home’s livable space to accommodate your growing family? Do you want to make it more energy efficient or accessible? If you’re planning to sell the property after the work is completed, research comparable properties in the area to get an idea of how much value your renovations will add to the home. If you’re planning to stay in the house, make sure that your renovations will suit the needs of you and your family for years to come.

Building a New Custom Home

If you’re not happy with your existing home or you’re ready for a change of scenery, building a new custom home may be the right choice for you. When you make the decision to build a new custom home, you and your home-building partner will collaborate closely to design a home that perfectly suits your needs. You’ll have the opportunity to choose every detail, from the layout of the rooms to the type of finishes and fixtures that are incorporated. Every element of your new home will be designed specifically for your family, which means you won’t have to make any compromises.

One of the biggest advantages of building a new home is that you can start from scratch with a blank canvas. This means you won’t have to work around existing structural elements or deal with the potential problems that come with an older home. You’ll also have more control over the construction process and you can be sure that your new home will be built to the highest standards.

Benefits of Building a New Custom Home

There are a lot of decisions and planning that go into building a new custom home, but in the end, it will be worth it. Some of the major benefits of building a new home include:

  • You can get exactly what you want: When you build a new custom home, you can have everything you’ve ever wanted in a home. You’ll get to choose the layout, floor plan, finishes, fixtures, and everything else.
  • You can avoid many common problems: If you renovate your existing home, there’s always a chance that there could be hidden damage that you’re not aware of. Starting from scratch eliminates any hidden damage or repairs that may be needed. This includes things like drafty windows, outdated wiring, structural or foundation issues, and problematic plumbing.
  • You can choose a location that’s perfect for you: Building a new home means you can choose the perfect location for your family. You can find a location that’s close to good schools, parks, and other amenities that are important to you.
  • You have a wider range of design possibilities: You don’t have to try to fit your ideas into an existing layout or structure. Instead, you can design a home that’s specifically tailored to the way you want to live.
  • You can take advantage of new technology: When you build a new home, you can take advantage of all the latest building techniques and technologies. This can result in a more energy-efficient and sustainable home.
  • You can enjoy peace of mind: One of the biggest benefits of building a new home is that you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything is new and covered by warranty. This means your upkeep and repairs should be minimal.

Considerations for Building a New Custom Home

Of course, building a new home is a big undertaking, so it’s important to be aware of all the potential challenges before you get started. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • It’s a big investment: Building a new home is a major investment, so you need to be sure you’re ready for the financial commitment.
  • It takes time: It’s important to be patient when you’re building a new home. The process can take several months, so you need to be prepared for the long haul.
  • You need to find the right team: Building a new home requires a team of experienced professionals, so you need to take the time to find the right builder, architect, and other contractors. Or, you can work with a design-build firm, who will take care of everything for you.
  • The process can be stressful: There’s no denying that the process of building a new home can be stressful. But if you work with a great team and stay organized, everything will go more smoothly.

Perhaps you’re building new because you want or need more space. Maybe you want to move to a different location and the perfect home doesn’t exist yet. Or maybe you’ve decided to tear down your existing home and start from scratch on your own lot. Whatever your reasons, building a new home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Begin by consulting with a custom home builder and discussing the location in which you want to build, your budget, and your wish list.

  • What are the local building codes & regulations?
  • How will the land affect the construction of your home? What is the soil like?
  • Is there any neighborhood regulation, such as a requirement for a specific architectural style, roof type, or color scheme?
  • What are the availability and pricing of materials and contract labor?

Put together your team (architect, builder, and interior designer) to help you answer these questions. Each member has a unique set of talents, knowledge, and vision to contribute. They can assist you in creating a perfect future house that is ideal for you and your family. For an all-in-one solution that will make the build process much easier, consider working with a design-build firm.

Design-build firms offer a comprehensive approach to building your new home. Their in-house team of architects, designers, and construction managers will work together to create a custom home that meets your specific needs and budget. The design-build firm will handle all the details, from acquiring the necessary permits to overseeing the construction process. This turnkey solution takes the stress out of building a new home and allows you to enjoy the experience.

When planning and designing your home, consider your current and future needs. If you have young children, you may want to plan for a playroom or a first-floor bedroom. If you entertain often, you may want to design an open floor plan or a large kitchen. If you want to age in place, you may need to design for accessibility. And if you love the outdoors, you may want to include a patio, deck, or pool in your plans.

It’s time to get your creative juices flowing. If you have a specific vision, now is the time to bring it out. If you need some inspiration, look through home design magazines, tour model homes, or look online. Once you have an idea of what you want your home to look like, start planning the details with your team. The more specific you can be about your wants and needs, the better they can help you bring your vision to life. Finally, as this is a new house, prepare to make a lot of choices. Don’t be overwhelmed, though. Your design-build team will be there to help you through every step of the process.

A new house is more likely to take longer than a renovation because it requires more planning, coordination, and, of course, construction time. Complex renovations might take months, but new house building needs time for approvals and permits, site preparation, and all phases of construction.

Comparing Renovation to New Home Construction

As discussed, there are several key differences between renovating and building new, which hopefully will help you decide which option is right for you.

One of the most significant differences is the amount of control you’ll have over the final product. When you renovate, you’re limited to working within the existing footprint and framework of your home. This means that you might not be able to get everything on your wishlist, and you may have to compromise on your design.

On the other hand, when you build a new home, you have complete control over every aspect of the design and construction. You can choose the lot, the layout, the materials, and all the other details. This allows you to create a completely custom home that is perfect for your needs.

Another important consideration is the cost. It’s often cheaper to renovate than to build new, but this is not always the case. It depends on the scope of the project, the quality of materials, and the labor costs in your area.

Lastly, keep in mind that timelines differ for these two projects. A typical home renovation can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the scope of the project. A new custom home build will usually take longer, typically around six to twelve months. With a renovation, there will likely be no weather delays if all of the construction is completed indoors.

Making the Final Decision

Ultimately, the decision to build a new house or remodel your existing house comes down to a few key factors. These include:

  • How much time and money you’re willing to invest
  • The current state of your existing home
  • How much change do you want or need
  • Your level of attachment to your current home and location

Your requirements, situation, and budget all will influence your final decision. If you’ve fallen in love with your existing home and community but are ready for an upgrade, a renovation might be the best option. If you’re looking for a complete location change, need more space, or can’t find a home that meets your needs, consider building a new custom home.

Not sure which option is best for you? We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with our team. We’ll help you assess your current situation, and your needs, and work with you to determine the best way to move forward.

8 Steps To Plan A Kitchen Remodel

Do you want to renovate your kitchen? If that’s the case, read on! This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to plan and create your new kitchen renovation. We’ll go over a number of topics in this post, including style, flooring, cabinets, countertops, and much more!

Designing and remodeling your kitchen is a process that takes time, effort, and patience. It’s not just about picking out the perfect cabinets or flooring— there are many other decisions to be made along the way. Here is a list of things you need to consider:

  1. Style: What overall style do you want for your kitchen? Traditional, contemporary, modern, farmhouse, rustic, etc.?
  2. Layout: How do you want your kitchen to be laid out? Peninsula, galley, L-shaped, U-shaped?
  3. Cabinets: Material and finish, paint color, style (modern or traditional), recessed or flat paneling, handle styles, etc.
  4. Flooring: Tile, hardwood, laminate? Keep the existing flooring or install new floors?
  5. Countertops: Choose material from quartz, marble, granite, quartzite, etc.
  6. Backsplash: Which type of backsplash will work best with your countertop material?
  7. Lighting: Perhaps the most critical element in any kitchen. Type of lighting, fixtures, and where to place it.
  8. Fixtures: Pulls, knobs, hinges, handles. Take note of brand, color, and finish. (chrome, gold, black, bronze, etc.)

Now that you have an idea of some of the things you need to think about and make decisions on, let’s dig into the 8 steps to planning a kitchen remodeling.

Choose A Kitchen Design Style That Suits Your Home

The first step is to choose the style of your kitchen. The style you choose should suit your personal taste while also complementing the overall style of your home. Let’s overview the most popular kitchen design styles so you can get a feel for what might work in your home.

Modern: Modern kitchen design typically features stainless steel appliances, aluminum, marble countertops, tempered glass, and flat-panel cabinets. The colors are usually stark (black, white, or gray), and the overall look is sleek and clean.

Traditional: Traditional kitchens are classic, timeless, and focus more on function than aesthetics. They usually feature raised or recessed cabinetry, natural flooring (tile, stained hardwood, or patterned stone), white or lighter-colored marble countertops, and classic stains/colors.

Farmhouse: Farmhouse kitchens are becoming increasingly popular. The key elements of a cozy farmhouse-style kitchen are open shelving, classic flooring, contrast countertops, and of course, an apron-front sink.

Contemporary: Contemporary kitchens often blend aspects of both modern and traditional styles to create an updated look. Clean lines, crisp color schemes, open floor plans, cutting-edge appliances, and natural materials are all common features of a contemporary kitchen.

Transitional: Transitional kitchen design is a thoughtful mix of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. The design, colors, and textures all work together to create a cohesive style that is both warm and modern.

Rustic: Rustic kitchens embrace nature-inspired elements like unstained wood beams and cabinets, stone countertops, rugged flooring, and organic materials. The overall look is earthy and cozy, with a focus on functionality.

Keep in mind these are just a few key elements of each style. As you begin your kitchen design journey, you’ll likely find that you’re drawn to elements of multiple styles. That’s perfectly ok! Use these styles as a starting point and then mix and match the elements that you love to create your own unique kitchen style. There are endless possibilities when it comes to designing your kitchen, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Think About the Layout of Your Kitchen

The layout of your kitchen is important for both function and aesthetics. You want to make sure you have a layout that works well for the way you cook and use your kitchen. But you also want a layout that looks good and flows well with the rest of your home.

Some common kitchen layouts are:


The L-shaped kitchen is one of the most popular layouts because it is efficient and versatile. An L-shaped layout includes two runs of cabinets or appliances placed in a 90-degree configuration, creating two workable surfaces. This layout is often used in small to medium-sized kitchens because it makes the most of limited space. It can also be adapted to larger kitchens by adding an island or peninsula. An L-shaped layout is a great option for those who want an efficient and versatile kitchen.


Another kitchen layout is the u-shaped style. This type of kitchen features three walls of cabinetry and counter space, creating a generous work triangle that is well-suited for multiple cooks. The u-shaped layout also offers ample storage options, as well as the opportunity to incorporate a dining area or breakfast nook. Of course, the u-shaped kitchen is not without its challenges. This layout can feel cramped, particularly in smaller homes. In addition, it can be difficult to create an open and airy feel in a u-shaped kitchen. As a result, homeowners considering this layout should carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

Galley Style:

The galley kitchen offers homeowners an incredibly efficient use of space. In a typical galley kitchen, two parallel rows of cabinets and countertops face each other, with a narrow walkway in between. This configuration allows for quick and easy movement between the different workstations, making meal preparation a breeze. Additionally, the close proximity of the cabinets and appliances makes it easy to reach everything you need while cooking. While the galley kitchen may not be suitable for large families or entertaining guests, it is perfect for those who want to make the most of their available space.

Open Concept:

The open concept kitchen is becoming increasingly popular in today’s homes. This layout removes the walls and barriers that traditionally separate the kitchen from the rest of the home, creating a more open and inviting space. An open-concept kitchen is ideal for those who enjoy entertaining or spending time with family while cooking. It is also a great option for those who want to create the illusion of a larger space. When planning an open concept kitchen, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Beams & low-bearing walls: In order to create an open-concept layout, you’ll need to remove any low-bearing walls that separate the kitchen from the living area. Condo residents need a special permit as well as approval from their building’s architect before considering any load-bearing wall removal. If you live in a single-family home, you’ll need to consult with a local design-build firm, builder, or general contractor to determine if the wall you want to remove is load-bearing.
  • Plumbing and electrical: Removing a wall can also affect the layout of your plumbing and electrical systems. Are there any outlets on the wall you want to remove? How will this affect your refrigerator, stove, or dishwasher placement? You’ll need to consult with a licensed professional to ensure that your kitchen’s plumbing and electrical can be safely rerouted.
  • Storage: When designing an open-concept kitchen and removing a wall, you also lose any storage that was contained in that space. If you’re short on kitchen storage, adding a spacious island with extra cabinet space or installing floating shelves is a must.
River Hills Residence

Cabinet Selection For The Right Look and Function

Cabinets are a key eye-catching element in any kitchen, and the right selection can make or break your design. When choosing cabinets, there are many different things to consider: material and finish, door style, hardware, and storage options. With so many choices & style combinations, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right cabinets for your kitchen:

Material and finish:

The first step in choosing cabinets is to decide on the right material and finish. Do you want wood cabinets? If so, what kind of wood – oak, maple, cherry? Would you prefer a painted finish or a natural stain? What about laminate or thermofoil? One benefit of wood cabinets is that they can be stained or painted to match any décor. Wood is also a classic material that will never go out of style. For a more modern look, laminate or thermofoil cabinets may be the way to go. These materials are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, making it easy to create the perfect look for your kitchen.

Door style: 

The next thing to consider is the door style. The most popular styles are flat door, raised door, and shaker-style cabinets. Flat doors have a clean, simple look that works well in any kitchen. Raised doors add a bit of dimension and can be used to create a more traditional or transitional look. Shaker-style cabinets are a timeless choice that work well in both traditional and contemporary kitchens.


When selecting cabinets, it’s important to think about storage. Are you looking for cabinets with lots of storage space, or do you prefer a more streamlined look? If you have a small kitchen, you’ll need to be especially mindful of your storage needs. Adding a spice rack, utensil drawer, or pull-out trash can be a great way to add extra storage to your kitchen.

Flooring Considerations For Your Kitchen Remodel

The type of flooring you choose for your kitchen is a very important decision. If you’re after a dramatic kitchen transformation, consider installing new flooring. The most popular kitchen flooring options we install at Ware Design Build are hardwood, laminate, natural stone, and tile. When considering flooring options for your new kitchen, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Durability: The kitchen is a high-traffic area, so it’s important to choose a flooring material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Hardwood, laminate, stone, and tile are all good choices for durable kitchen flooring.
  • Water resistance: Kitchens are prone to spills, so it’s important to choose a flooring material that can withstand spills and splashes.
  • Ease of maintenance: You’ll want to choose a flooring material that is easy to clean and maintain. Hardwood and tile floors can be swept and mopped, but they may require more upkeep than laminate or vinyl floors.
  • Cost: Finally, you’ll need to consider cost when choosing kitchen flooring. Hardwood, stone, and tile floors are more expensive than laminate or vinyl, but they can also add more value to your home.

Next, let’s take a look at each of the most popular kitchen flooring options in more detail:

Hardwood Flooring:

Hardwood floors are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their beauty and durability. However, hardwood floors can also be a bit more expensive than other options such as laminate or tile. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider other flooring options for your kitchen remodel. But if you can swing it, hardwood floors are definitely worth the investment. Not only will they add value to your home, but they’ll also give your kitchen an elegant and timeless look that will never go out of style.

Laminate Floors:

Laminate flooring is made from a composite of wood and plastic, which makes it very durable. It is also resistant to staining and fading, making it an ideal choice for busy kitchens. In addition, laminate flooring is available in a wide range of colors and styles, so you can easily find a look that fits your personal taste. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option that will still give your kitchen a high-end look, laminate flooring may be the perfect choice for your next remodel.

Ceramic Tile Flooring:

Ceramic tile is a popular choice for many homeowners because it is durable and easy to maintain. Tile floors are also very stylish, and they can give your kitchen an upscale look. Another advantage of ceramic tile is that it’s relatively affordable compared to other flooring materials. This makes it a good option for budget-minded homeowners who are remodeling their kitchens. If you’re looking for an affordable flooring option that will stand up to spills and heavy foot traffic, ceramic tile is a great choice.

Natural Stone Flooring:

If you’re looking for something that is durable, timeless, and will add some extra glamour to your kitchen, then natural stone is a great option. There are many different types of natural stone flooring to choose from, some of the most popular options being: marble, slate, and travertine. Natural stone flooring is a great choice for your kitchen remodel because it can withstand everyday wear and tear, as well as spills and messes. It also lasts for years, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon. Plus, natural stone flooring adds a touch of luxury to any kitchen. It can really elevate the look of your space and make it feel more elegant and sophisticated.

Countertop Decisions:

There are a few types of countertop materials that you should consider when selecting your countertops, but by far, the most popular those days to go with transitional or modern style cabinets is quartz. Quartz is a manufactured material that is formed when sand and other minerals are fused together with heat and pressure. It is a very hard surface that is non-porous, so it doesn’t require sealing and is resistant to scratches and staining. Quartz comes in many colors and designs, so you can find one that will perfectly match your cabinets and décor.

Another popular countertop material for kitchens is granite. Granite is a natural stone that is quarried from the earth. It has a unique appearance because each piece of granite is different, with its own mix of colors and markings. Granite is also very hard and durable, but it does require periodic sealing to protect it from staining.

In addition to granite and quartz, there are other natural stone options such as marble, limestone, and quartzite. For more information on kitchen countertop selections, visit our blog post about the best kitchen countertop material.

Upland Ridge New Berlin

Kitchen Backsplash: One of the finest details

The backsplash is the strip of material that goes between the countertops and the cabinets. Its purpose is both functional and aesthetic, as it protects your walls from spills and splatters, while also adding a bit of style to your kitchen. There are many different materials and styles to choose from, so consider your budget, the look you’re going for, and how much upkeep you’re willing to do.

Tile is a popular choice for kitchen backsplashes because it’s durable and easy to clean. You can choose from a variety of colors and textures, and there are many different patterns to choose from. Subway tile is a classic choice that will never go out of style, or you could opt for something more unique, like mosaic tile. If you don’t want to tile the entire backsplash, you can use tile as an accent and use a different material for the main part of the backsplash.

We’ve also installed kitchen backsplash made of glass, stone, metal, and wood. The most important thing to consider when choosing the design of your backsplash is how it will compliment the look of your countertops, cabinets, and floor. At the end of the day, a backsplash is a great way to add style and personality to your kitchen, no matter which material you choose.

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Choosing The Perfect Kitchen Lighting

One of the most important aspects of any kitchen remodeling project is choosing the perfect lighting. There are a few things to consider when making this decision.

The first thing to think about is the amount of light you need. Consider how much natural light the kitchen currently gets and whether you want to add more artificial light. If you want to maximize natural light, choose light fixtures that won’t block any windows or doors.

The second thing to think about is style. Do you want a traditional or contemporary look? There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to kitchen lighting, so you can find the perfect style to match your remodel.

Finally, you’ll need to think about function. Make sure the lights are placed in areas where they will be most useful. For instance, if you do a lot of cooking, you’ll want to place lights above the stove and sink.

When choosing kitchen lighting, keep these things in mind and you can’t go wrong!

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Hardware: Adding The Finishing Touches To Your Remodeled Kitchen

After you’ve selected your cabinets, countertops, backsplash, and lighting, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your kitchen with hardware.

Hardware is the term used to describe all of the small details in a kitchen, such as cabinet pulls, knobs, hinges, handles, and more. These details might seem small, but they can actually have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen.

When choosing hardware, it’s important to think about both style and function. For instance, if you have small children, you might want to choose cabinet pulls that are easy for them to grip. Or, if you want a more modern look, you might opt for sleek, stainless steel hardware.

Whatever style you choose, make sure the hardware is durable and easy to clean. After all, it’s going to be used a lot!

These are just a few things to keep in mind when selecting hardware for your kitchen. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the perfect style to match your new kitchen.

Ready To Get Started On Your Kitchen Remodel Journey? Schedule A Complimentary Consultation With Our Award-Winning Team Today.

This was our guide on the 8 steps to plan a kitchen remodeling. We hope this guide will be useful to you as it gives you a baseline of things to think about before starting your kitchen remodeling project. Of course, the most important thing is to have fun with it and enjoy the process! The finished product will be all the more satisfying if you do.

If you have any questions or would like for us to be involved, we would love to hear from you! Our team of experts are ready to help you plan your kitchen remodel from start to finish. We’ll work with you to come up with a design that fits your lifestyle and budget, and we’ll be there every step of the way to ensure that your vision becomes a reality.

To get started on your kitchen remodeling project in the Milwaukee area, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation today. Thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing from you soon!


10 Outdoor Tech Features to Enhance Your Home’s Outdoor Space

Adding smart technology to your home’s outdoor space can add a lot of convenience and fun. From adding speakers for music enjoyment to installing a TV for outdoor entertainment, there are many ways to enhance your outdoor living space. Here are ten of our top outdoor tech features for outdoor living spaces to get you started:

Outdoor TV’s

There’s nothing like spending a lazy summer day in your backyard, soaking up the sun and enjoying the fresh air. With outdoor TVs, you can turn your backyard into your own private oasis. Whether you’re watching the big game or your favorite movie, outdoor TVs are the perfect way to enjoy your backyard living space.

Outdoor televisions are designed to withstand any type of weather or climate, so you don’t have to worry about rain or sun damage. We do however recommend investing in a cover for added protection when it’s not in use. Also, an anti-glare outdoor TV, to ensure you’ll be able to see the screen clearly, even in direct sunlight.

Your outdoor TV will be just as smart as the one inside your house. You can connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network and stream all your favorite shows and movies. Take advantage of the fresh air while catching up on the news; stream a workout video while you get some sun; or make any night a family movie night.

Outdoor Theater Systems / Projectors

If you’re looking for a truly unique outdoor entertainment experience, then an outdoor theater system is for you. An outdoor theater system will transform your backyard into your own private movie theater. You can set up a projector and screen, or even use your home’s exterior as the screen.

Some homeowners we work with are installing remote-controlled screens that attach to the side of their homes. Simply push a button and the screen will unfurl. These screens fit seamlessly into your home’s design and are practically unnoticeable when not in use.

Whether you’re watching a classic film or the latest blockbuster, an outdoor theater system will take your family movie nights to the next level. And with surround sound, you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.

Audio Systems

Outdoor entertaining is not complete without music. A great sound system is an absolute must! Stream your favorite tunes wirelessly from your phone or tablet, and create the perfect ambiance for any occasion. For a truly unique audio experience, try using outdoor rock speakers. These speaker systems blend in with your landscaping and provide high-quality sound that will have you feeling like you’re at a concert in your own backyard.

You can choose from standalone speakers or create a more immersive experience with surround sound. In addition, these setups are 100% weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about rain or snow damage.

With your new outdoor speaker system, the perfect soundtrack will be just a few taps away, no matter if you’re just hanging in the backyard or hosting a party.

Smart Fridge 

A fridge is a necessity for any outdoor entertaining space. If you don’t have the space or budget for a full outdoor kitchen, an outdoor fridge can still be a great addition to your backyard. Instead of running back and forth to the house every time you need a drink or snack, you can just head straight to your outdoor fridge.

Many of today’s outdoor fridges are even equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can control them from your phone. With a smart fridge, you can keep track of what’s inside and get alerts when you’re running low on supplies, or when something inside is about to expire. Also, if you need to free up some space in your indoor fridge, an outdoor fridge is a great place to store extra food and drinks.

Entertain your guests with ease and keep your backyard party going all night long with a new outdoor fridge.

Automatic Pool Covers

For most homeowners, installing a backyard pool is the ultimate dream. But with a pool comes responsibility. Pool safety is always a top priority, and one of the best ways to keep your pool safe is to install an automatic pool cover.

An automatic pool cover is a motorized cover that automatically opens and closes. Simply tap on your smartphone or remote control and sit back and relax while the cover does all the work. When you’re finished using the pool, pull out your phone again and close it up for the night.

With an automatic pool cover, you’ll never have to worry about any children or pets accidentally falling in. They’re also great for keeping your pool clean, as they prevent leaves and debris from getting into the water.

In addition to safety, an automatic pool cover also saves you money on heating and chemicals, as the cover helps to keep the water warm and reduces evaporation. With an automatic pool cover, you can enjoy your backyard pool worry-free.

Automatic Roller Shades

Another great way to enjoy your outdoor living space is to install automatic roller shades. With the push of a button, you can block out the sun’s harsh rays, lower the temperature, and create instant privacy. Automatic roller shades can also help reduce your energy bills by keeping your home cooler in the summer. And when you’re not using them, they can roll up and out of the way, so you can enjoy your view.

From simple, manual systems to fully automated solutions, there’s an outdoor shade system to fit any need. Roller shades with automatic settings are also perfect for bad weather, as you can roll them down to keep your patio or deck protected from the wind and rain. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you’ll be sure to find an option to match your home’s exterior.

Whether you’re looking for sun protection, privacy, or both, automatic roller shades are a great addition to any home.

Remote-Controlled Fireplaces

A fire pit is a perfect addition to any backyard living space for those cool summer nights.  But if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, then a remote-controlled fireplace is the way to go.

With the push of a button, you can enjoy the ambiance of a real fire, without any of the hassles. Just pull out your smartphone or remote control to turn the fire pit on or off. You can also control the temperature, adjust the flame height, and even set a timer to keep your guests comfortable all night long.

Remote-controlled fireplaces come in a variety of styles, from traditional wood-burning models to modern, gas-powered versions. And with the wide range of sizes and designs available, you’re sure to find one that fits your space perfectly.

If you’re tired of waiting for the wood to burn, or dealing with smoky clothes, a remote-start backyard fire is the perfect solution for your seating area.

Smart Landscape Lighting Features

When it comes to making your backyard a safe and inviting space, smart outdoor lighting is a must-have. Not only do they provide the perfect ambiance for entertaining or relaxing, but they can also help to deter criminals. LED floodlights are a great option for providing ample light coverage, and you can even set them on timers so that they turn on and off automatically.

If you have steps or other hazards in your backyard, motion-activated lights can be a lifesaver. Smart lights are also ideal for deck lighting, as you can create a custom lighting scheme that’s perfect for any occasion. And with the ability to control your lights from your smartphone or tablet, you can easily change the mood of your space without ever having to leave your seat.

For added security, consider installing cameras that connect to your smart lights. That way, you can keep an eye on your property day and night. With the right lighting, your backyard can be both beautiful and safe.

Smart Water Features

If you’re looking for a unique way to spruce up your backyard, consider adding a remote-controlled water feature. Water features can add a soothing ambiance to any space. From simple birdbaths to elaborate fountains, there are plenty of options to choose from.

With smart water features, you can turn them on or off, change the flow rate, and even set a schedule, all from your smartphone or voice control. So if you’re looking for a way to add a little bit of luxury to your backyard, consider adding a remote-controlled water feature. You won’t be disappointed.

Other Heating Options

Living in Wisconsin, we know a thing or two about the cold. And when the temperatures start to drop, the last thing you want is to be stuck inside. But with a little bit of planning, you can keep the party going on cold summer nights and extend your outdoor season well into the fall and even winter.

One way to do that is by investing in a good patio heater.  Patio heaters come in a variety of styles and can run on either propane or natural gas. If you have a large patio or deck, you may want to consider a standing patio heater. For homeowners with pergolas or gazebos, you can install a ceiling-mounted patio heater that will provide heat without taking up any floor space.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, consider radiant floor heating. This type of heating is invisible and can be installed under any type of flooring, from concrete to wood. With radiant floor heating, your feet will be warm and cozy all night long.

All of these options come equipped with smart technology that allows you to control the temperature, set timers, and even schedule heating times from your smartphone or tablet. Extend your outdoor season and keep your guests comfortable with one of these amazing heating options.

In Conclusion

There you have it! These are just a few of the many outdoor tech features that can enhance your home’s outdoor space. Whether you’re looking for ways to improve your home’s security, save money on energy bills, or just add a little bit of luxury to your backyard, outdoor tech can help. If you have any questions about adding outdoor smart technology features to your home, we’d be happy to help.

What are some of your favorite outdoor tech features? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more great ideas. Thanks for reading!

11 Benefits Of Building A Custom Home

Your new house is more than just another property. It’s a symbol of your journey through life. It shows off your style, your taste, and your values. It’s a place where you’ll raise a family, entertain friends, and create a lifetime of memories.

When it comes time to start thinking about building your own home, there are a lot of things to consider. But one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to build a custom home or buy a pre-existing one. The following 11 benefits will help you understand the perks of building a custom home and why it’s the best way to get the house of your dreams.

  1. A Unique and Personal Space

    When you build a custom home, it is your vision. You have the opportunity to design every detail – from the layout to the finishes, and everything in between. This means that your home will be a reflection of your unique personal style and needs. Maybe you want a gourmet kitchen or a big backyard deck. Perhaps you want a home theater or a fitness room. Do you love natural light? How about having skylights installed in every room! Whatever you can dream up, you can make it happen when you build a custom home.

  2. Flexible Floor Plans

    When you work with a custom home builder, you are not limited to a handful of floor plans like you would be if you worked with a production builder. You can take an existing floor plan and customize it to better suit your needs, or you can start with a blank canvas and design a brand-new floor plan that is perfect for the way you want to live. This flexibility means that you can get exactly the home you want, without having to make any compromises. You have the freedom to get creative with the layout and design of each individual room. The possibilities are endless when you choose to design your own floor plan.

  3. Tailored to Your Lifestyle

    Building a custom home means you have the opportunity to design a space that is tailored specifically to your lifestyle. When working with an architect or interior designer, you can ensure that you’re crafting a home that is literally the “home of your dreams.” Maybe you work from home and need a dedicated home office space. Or, perhaps you want a mudroom to help keep your home clean and organized. If you have children, you can choose child-friendly features such as a game room or a backyard sports court. And if you love to entertain, you can include an outdoor kitchen or a basement that’s perfect for game nights. No matter how you want to live, a custom-built home can be designed to make it happen.

  4. Higher-Quality Materials and Workmanship

    When you build a custom home, you get to choose all the materials used in the construction. In other words, you can select higher-quality materials than you get with a pre-made home, which uses lower-quality materials to cut costs. With a custom home, you can choose eco-friendly materials, durable materials, and beautiful finishes that will make your home not only better for the environment but more comfortable and longer-lasting. A reputable builder works directly with trusted suppliers and vendors to get the best materials for your home. You’ll rest assured knowing your dream home is constructed with the best products, materials, and brands on the market.

  5. Energy-Efficient Designs

    A custom home builder should always be up-to-date on the latest energy-efficient building practices and materials. This means that your custom home will be designed to minimize energy waste and keep utility bills low. You can choose to add extra features including solar panels, tankless water heaters, or energy-efficient appliances/windows to make your home even more eco-friendly. In addition, many custom home builders are now constructing “smart homes” that can be controlled via a smartphone or other device. This technology can help you save even more on energy costs by allowing you to control your home’s temperature, lighting, and security system remotely.

  6. Increased Home Value

    Custom homes are typically valued higher than pre-made homes, due to the higher quality materials, energy efficiency, and unique design. This means that if you decide to sell your home, you will likely get a higher return on investment than you would with a pre-made home. A custom-built home also typically sells faster than a pre-existing home, meaning you won’t have to wait as long to find a buyer.

  7. Lot Choice and Privacy

    When you build a custom home, you’ll also be choosing the perfect lot for your home. This means you can pick a location that’s close to schools, parks, shopping, and other amenities that are important to you. And, if you want a little extra privacy, you can find a lot that’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you want to live on a quiet cul-de-sac or in a wooded setting, you’ll have the flexibility to find the perfect location for your future forever home and make it truly your own.

  8. Budget Flexibility

    One of the biggest benefits of custom-built homes is that they offer budget control. You’ll work with your builder to create a home that fits your budget, so you can get the special features and amenities that are important to you without overspending. This is in contrast to production homes, which often come with a set price tag that doesn’t allow for much customization. Plus, when you work with a design-build firm, you’ll benefit from upfront pricing, so there are no surprise costs along the way.

  9. Improved Quality Control

    The quality of your finished product will be much higher than it would be with a production home or semi-custom home. That’s because custom homes are built to order, so the builder can pay close attention to detail and ensure that everything is done right. In contrast, production homes are built on an “assembly line,” so the quality control is not as rigorous. This can lead to problems with the finished product, such as poor craftsmanship, shoddy materials, and subpar construction. If you want to be sure that your home is built with the highest level of quality, a custom home is the way to go. You’ll be involved in every step of the process, so you can be confident that your home is being built the way you want it.

  10. A Personalized Homebuilding Experience

    When you build a custom home, you’ll have a much more personal experience than you would if you bought a pre-made home. You’ll work directly with your custom building partner to select every aspect of your home. This means you’ll have a say in every detail of your home and the opportunity to make it truly unique. You won’t have to settle for a home that was designed for someone else’s dream – you can create a space that’s perfect for the way YOU want to live.

  11. A Deeper Sense of Satisfaction

    At the end of the day, there’s simply no substitute for a home that’s been built just for you. When you walk through the front door of your new custom home, you’ll know that it was designed and built with your specific needs, wants, and tastes in mind. This can give you a deeper sense of satisfaction and pride of ownership than you would have with a production home. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is one of a kind and built to last.

The Bottom Line
Building a custom home offers many benefits over buying a production or existing homes. You’ll have more control over the design of your home, the quality of materials used, and the budget. Plus, you’ll enjoy a more personalized homebuilding experience and a deeper sense of satisfaction when it’s all done. If you’re considering building a new home, working with a custom builder or a design-build firm is a great way to get exactly what you want.

Do you have a specific vision for your forever home? Are you looking for a home builder in Southeastern Wisconsin you can trust to turn that vision into reality? Reach out to us today to learn more about our custom home building process. We’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure you end up with a home that’s perfect for you and your family. Contact Ware Design Build today to get started.

What is Your Design Style?

When we say transitional, what do you think that means? We are going to break down some common design styles to help you get started.

Here are some elements you typically see in each style:


  • Wrought iron vertical spindles
  • Ornate chandeliers
  • Open foyers
  • Loft spaces


  • Bright whites
  • Glossy surfaces
  • Crystal chandeliers
  • Chrome fixtures
  • Wall treatments


  • A combination of traditional and modern-the best of both worlds!
  • Focus on luxury and comfort
  • Mostly neutral colors, dark colors used as accents only
  • Symmetry and clean lines


  • A front porch or wrap-around porch whenever possible
  • Steep roof
  • Horizontal siding/shutters
  • Farm-inspired lighting
  • Horizontal lines
  • Farmhouse sinks
  • Shiplap/wainscotting
  • Floating shelves


  • Clean, streamline
  • Minimalist
  • Polished surfaces
  • Geometric shapes

Do any of these sound like your style? Are you having a hard time selecting your style? Our designers are here to help assist you! That is one of the many reasons why a design-build firm is an excellent way to build your home. We will spot patterns in your preferences and help assist you to determine the style home that will best suite your needs!

How Can We Build in Function?

When we say we build each home from a blank slate, we mean it. This means building in function to fit your lifestyle and needs. Not sure what that means? Here are some of the kinds of items that others have found useful. Let this list be a start for your project, think about how you use your spaces and how we can customize your home for you.

Building function into your kitchen cabinets – how do you cook or bake? Do you like clutter-free countertops and a place for everything within your cabinetry? We work direct with a custom cabinet company to make the most out of your space. We can add things like in-cabinet knife blocks, KitchenAid Stand Mixer lifts, spice drawers, custom utensil dividers, K-Cup holders, the possibilities are endless.

How about your laundry room? This is a chore no one seems to like, but if the space is functional, laundry does not seem so bad. We have incorporated built-in ironing boards, clothes rack drying systems, laundry chutes, sinks, and folding stations. Some clients would like to take this a step further and create a command center. Would this be useful to you? You can have a pet shower/boot washing station, folding space, desk space, mudroom combination in order to keep the mess contained and away from the main living space. This is a great area to store an extra refrigerator or freezer too!

Another big request is multi-purpose rooms. Maybe it is an office and guest bedroom. How do we create a space for both? Using built-ins can help! We can install a murphy bed, built-in shelves, even a built-in desk space. Or, built-in bunk beds for kids! This can be a fun room!

Slide the divider to view the bed functionality.
Architecture and Interior Design services provided by Deep River Partners.

Sometimes function for a family is not what is in the home, but what they have access to. Right now lots of live/work/play developments are popping up. Condos are being built over shops and restaurants so that you can walk out of your building and have all you need. Ware Design Build also specializes in condo build-outs, making that condo space just what you need, while keeping your amazing location.

Reach out today and let us know how we can make an existing space functional through our remodel services or how we can create a new home to suit your needs.

How you can have the Ultimate Home Office

These days, a lot of people are working from home. Some just a day or two a week, others every day.

If you recently made the switch to working at home, you’ll need a home office that can help your productivity. After all, just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with distractions.

If you’re thinking about renovating your home to include the Ultimate Home Office, there are a few things you should consider. Depending on your situation, you may not be able to get everything on this list, but it will help you prioritize what’s most important to you.

Distraction-Free Area
At home, there are plenty of distractions, including kids, TV, the kitchen, and household chores, to name just a few.

You can minimize these distractions by locating your office as far away from the action as possible. Think about your basement, bonus room, or even your garage.

If you have a space in your home that doesn’t get used much, it could be turned into an office. Or, if you have the land, you could build a separate garage with an upstairs office suite.

Having your home office in the furthest corners of your home will re-create the feeling of “going to work,” but without the commute.

Nearby Bathroom
The flip side of sequestering your home office from the rest of the home is it can make bathroom breaks more of a distraction than they need to be.

So be sure to choose a room that’s close to a bathroom. Or if you’re building an addition to accommodate your home office, be sure to include one in your plans. This will help ensure you stay productive by replicating the office experience as much as possible.

Natural Light
The drawback of working in a basement or attic office with no windows is that you may not see the sun all day. Natural light can make you feel more energetic and productive, so it’s important that your office has windows, skylights, or both.

This also allows you to have a couple plants in your office, which can boost your indoor air quality and help you feel calmer.

Sound Design
If your office is in the main structure of your home, noise could become an issue. You need a quiet space to work, especially if you have kids and other family members coming in and out of the house all day.

The good news is you can soundproof your home office. We can install special insulation and acoustic panels to minimize sound transmission in and out of your office.

Break Room
Now we’re talking serious home office luxury. A break room, complete with a small kitchen, can do wonders for maximizing your productivity.

While you’re working, you need a place to stretch your legs and grab a cup of coffee, have your lunch, or just give yourself a mental break. Having a dedicated break room depends on your available space, but it’s well worth it.

If you think you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, even if it’s just a day or two a week, a well-designed home office is well worth the investment. Contact us and we’ll help you get started.

What is the Best Kitchen Countertop Material?

When it comes to designing a kitchen, there are a lot of choices to be made, from appliances, to cabinets to flooring. One choice that has a big impact on the look and function of the kitchen is the countertop material.

It’s one of the first things you see in a kitchen, and you interact with it every day. Countertops come in all kinds of colors and styles, but there is more to them than looks.

To help you choose what’s best for your kitchen, here are some of the more popular countertop materials.


Quartz countertops are manufactured slabs. They come in a huge variety of colors, including red, blue and green, as well as patterns that resemble granite or marble. The patterns that mimic stone are very popular as unlike stone, the color and design of the slab is always consistent. You can get the look of real stone, without the maintenance.

Quartz is very durable and requires zero maintenance. However, it is susceptible to extreme heat, so don’t put hot pots and pans directly on it.


Granite is a natural stone countertop, since it is an all-natural product, each slab is different. That can be a pro or con, depending on the look you are aiming to achieve. Granite can take all kinds of everyday kitchen punishment, from spills to extreme heat, and look just as good as the day you installed it. This durability makes granite a great choice.

It doesn’t require much maintenance. However, since it is a natural stone, you will need to seal your countertops and take care not to stain them.


Few materials offer the elegant look of marble. It’s a popular material for bathroom countertops, and it has made its way into the kitchen, as well. Carrara marble, in particular, offers a luxurious look that’s almost unmatched, while being unmatched.

While it is durable, marble countertops do have some maintenance requirements. It’s a highly porous material, meaning it soaks up liquid. That makes it susceptible to stains from spilled wine or other household liquids. To avoid this, you’ll need to seal the marble frequently, and even then you’ll have to be diligent with how you clean up spills.

Marble also shows scratches, which can be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. A softer material than granite, it will show wear over time, which gives it an old-world charm. You’ll also want to avoid prolonged exposure to acids, such as lemon juice, which can remove the polish and make the marble more prone to scratches.

Perhaps not the best material for a growing family, but marble sure looks amazing.


Not to be confused with quartz, quartzite countertops are growing in popularity. It’s similar to granite in that it’s a natural, quarried stone, and it offers distinct veining and variations that give it unique character.

Quartzite is actually harder than granite, and therefore extremely durable. It will last basically forever, showing no scratches or damage, and requires virtually no maintenance.

Like every other design element in your kitchen, the countertops come down to personal choice. We can help you measure the pros and cons of each and choose a countertop that fits your kitchen and your lifestyle.

Wood vs. Gas: The Fireplace Showdown

When you live in a place with cold winters, like Wisconsin, having a fireplace is almost a necessity. But which is better? Gas or natural wood?

People love fireplaces because not only do they warm up your home, but they make your home feel warmer. There’s just a sense of coziness and comfort that comes with having a fire burning in the fireplace.

The question of gas versus wood has been around since gas fireplaces were invented. If you’re having a hard time deciding, we’ve dissected the pros and cons of each to help you decide.


Efficient Heating

Gas fireplaces are hands down the more efficient choice. They are designed to pump a lot of heat into your home while using minimal energy.

Wood-burning fireplaces are surprisingly inefficient. Unless you live near a forest and are willing to chop, split and dry the wood yourself, a gas fireplace will cost much less to run.


Cost of Installation

Gas wins again, unless you already have a fireplace and chimney in place. Gas fireplaces can be installed in just about any home and just require a simple vent.

Wood fireplaces require a lot more materials and labor to build. If you already have a wood fireplace and chimney in your home, modernizing it might be relatively easy. But if you’re starting from scratch, a gas fireplace is much less expensive.



Once more, gas wins.

Wood fireplaces require much more maintenance and cleaning to keep them in safe working condition. There is ash and soot that needs to be cleaned, and the chimney needs to swept to prevent creosote build-up.

Gas just needs to be inspected and cleaned every year, but they don’t come with the daily headaches that wood fireplaces do.



Safety is an issue with every fireplace, especially if you have small children or pets in the home.

Most modern gas fireplaces are designed to eliminate hot surfaces that can burn curious fingers.

With wood fireplaces, you have to be diligent to make sure sparks don’t fly onto your rug or smoke doesn’t build up inside your home.



With all factors coming down in favor of gas fireplaces, why would anyone want a wood fireplace?

But there’s nothing like cozying up in front of a crackling wood fire, watching it slowly burn out as your evening goes on. The smell of the wood, the warm glow of the coals. Gas fireplaces can’t do that.

Sometimes, the practical reasons for gas can’t make up for the ambiance a wood fireplace provides. And if you’re up to the task of maintaining them, wood fireplaces are perfectly safe and functional.

If you’re still not sure which is best for your home, give us a call and we’ll help you think through the options.