Make the Most Out of Your Tiny Kitchen

Making the most out of a tiny kitchen starts by searching the room for space on the walls, floors, ceiling, countertops, appliances, even the insides and outsides of cabinetry. When you can start seeing the storage potential in everything, you can squeeze every square inch out of it.  Let us share our best tips for making the most of your small kitchen!

Hang It Up
Using your cabinets, ceiling and walls, hang up everything you can!  Anything that you can hang up saves valuable counter space.   While a lot of people think to use the outside of their cabinets to hang items, few think of using the space inside the cabinet doors.  Think of the drawer space you’ll save by using the inside of the cabinet door to hang up your measuring spoons and cups.  Mount a magnetic strip to the inside to hold all of your cutting knives.  Attach a few single wire spice racks to the inside of your doors and save the rest of your cupboard space for your groceries, dishes, and appliances. By installing shelves, rods or pegboard, you can move utensils off the counter and onto the walls.  You could probably rescue entire cupboards by hanging up anything and everything that has a handle attached.

Go Vertical
If your cabinets stop short of the ceiling you’re missing out on valuable storage space so consider adding another foot or two of storage by replacing them with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. That much-needed space will hold those rarely used items perfectly.   If you can’t add to or replace your cabinetry then simply set baskets on top of your cabinets for that additional storage space.

Making sure your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling will help you capitalize on more space. You can also add in glass fronts to make your kitchen seem more light and airy!

Go Horizontal

Gaining another foot or even more counter space is a big victory and can be accomplished with a minor remodel to replace your counter and sink by substituting your dual bowl sink with a beautiful (and compact!) farmhouse sink.  Another trick is to find a simple cutting board wide enough to cover your sink when you’re doing your prep work.

Small Tips and Tricks for Big Impact

  • Add the illusion of more space by using mirrors to replace, or make, your backsplash.  Mirrored backsplashes are interesting, they reflect light, extend the view, really open a space and they’re super easy to clean.
  • Bulky hardware on drawers and cupboards in a tight space is a recipe for bruises, the occasional profanity and wrestling your shirt from a handle’s grip.  To keep your kitchen and children’s innocence safe, choose slim pulls or replace cabinet doors and drawer fronts with inset grips and avoid the hardware completely.  It may seem inconsequential, but the streamlined look of your space will make a difference.
  • If you need a shoe-horn and grease to fit appliances into place, think about replacing them with small-scale versions. Many appliance manufacturers are now offering a variety of compact models designed specifically for small spaces freeing up precious space for other uses.
  • Play with color!  An all-white kitchen can create the illusion of space and vary the textures and shades of white will create not only the impression of space but will also add interest.  Using a high-gloss finish on your cabinetry will reflect more light and brighten up the whole area.  A light, bright room immediately feels more spacious and adding under-cabinet lighting will eliminate those shadowy countertops.’
Adding pops of color help make a tiny kitchen seem bigger.
  • You can also make your tiny kitchen look bigger with glass.  By replacing your solid cabinet doors with glass, you create depth and dimension and the contents provide color, interest, and variety. This will make your small kitchen seem bigger than it really is.
  • Go for a portable rolling cart that can do double duty as a prep area, add extra storage space and even a duty as a buffet area. Simply put it away when not in use and because it’s portable you’ll be saving on the precious square footage.
  • When it comes to storage and space-saving needs, there are a number of stores now who specialize in smart, efficient storage solutions that make the most of any space in the house. Kitchen cabinet manufacturers are now offering space-saving filler cabinets, as narrow as three inches, to help store baking pans, utensils, and smaller items.
  • Your kitchen cabinets may be another way to free up space by replacing them with open shelving.  By comparison, upper cabinets are far bulkier and, more often than not, you have to rummage through them to get to the contents in the back. Once again, the hallmark to creating space is an illusion – your eye isn’t stopping at a solid door.  It’s a streamlined look and everything is easily visible and accessible.It’s easier than you think to give that vertically, horizontally and dimensionally-challenged kitchen of yours the impact of more space with these simple fixes and make your time there much more enjoyable.


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Plumbing Upgrades to Save you Money

custom home construction, new bathroom

Looking to find ways to save money on a custom home build or even your current home? Have you thought of upgrading or replacing plumbing fixtures as a way to add immediate value to your home, save money, provide ease of use, keep the kitchen and bathroom more sanitary, and reduce your impact on the environment? The latest advances in water-saving technologies can do all of this and more.

There is no need to wait for Cal Tech’s award-winning solar-powered toilet design that can “turn human waste into hydrogen, water, and electricity” to come on the market before you can build your new home or retrofit your existing home with innovative plumbing designs that are available today including:

  • Hands-free technology
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Low flow toilets
  • High-efficiency faucets
  • Gray water systems

Hands-free technology
A healthy home can be accomplished in a variety of ways, especially with hands-free fixtures. Hands-free faucets are designed for both bathrooms and kitchens, significantly reduce germ contamination and are very well-loved by parents with children who’ve been known to get distracted while the water’s running.  In the bathroom, the installation of a touchless toilet kit enables the user to wave their hand above the toilet tank to flush it. With some kits, the toilet lid will automatically close without slamming shut.  You can round out your kitchen and bath décor with soap or lotion dispensers that are also hands-free.

Tankless Water Heaters

The Best of 2017: Tankless Water Heaters

More and more homeowners are replacing their hot water storage tanks with the newest tankless water heaters.  Tankless water heaters supply hot water on demand and save the homeowner both the time and expense of storing hot water and constantly reheating it.  Unlike a storage tank with a limited supply of available hot water, the heat exchanger technology can provide you with an endless supply of hot water no matter the number of tasks.

Low Flow Toilets
High-efficiency, low-flow toilets are one of the easiest ways to cut down on household water consumption.  All home improvement stores and plumbing suppliers stock these high-efficiency toilets.  If the toilets in your household were installed before 1994 or if they use more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, there are better options today with toilets using about 1.28 gallons per flush.  Dual Flush toilets using even less water for liquid waste!  A family of four could save more than 15,000 gallons of water per year by replacing an inefficient toilet with a 1.6 gpf (gallon per flush unit) and even more with a toilet rated 1.28 gpf.

High-Efficiency Faucets
To save the average family more than 700 gallons of water year, simply replace old fixtures for new high-efficiency WaterSense labeled fixtures.  High-efficiency faucets and showerheads not only reduce water use but save energy by reducing the demand for water heaters.  WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories reduce water use without reducing performance. They are not the low flow products of a generation ago.  Today’s high-efficiency showerheads combine water savings with high performance.

Gray Water Systems

Not everything requires potable water.  Being able to reuse water is important to not only the environment but your budget and since no one can recall the last time the cost of water ever decreased, reducing water use is even more important.  You can reduce your non-potable water use with the implementation of a gray water system.  The State of Colorado allows water from bathtubs, showers, washing machines, as well as water from bathroom and laundry room sinks to be harvested for gray water systems.   If you are considering a new home, please talk to your Builder about integrating a gray water system into your design and make the most of every drop of water.

What is WaterSense?

The Federal Government EPA’s WaterSense program labels plumbing fixtures for efficiency and performance.  The labels indicate whether low-flow fixtures perform as well or better than similar counterparts.   Their website has tools that allow you to search for WaterSense labeled products.  WaterSense labeled products are certified to meet EPA criteria for water efficiency and performance.  Ask your local plumber or homebuilder about WaterSense labeled products.

WaterSense logos will show up on certified WaterSense products.

Plumbing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about technology and its impact but these innovations can immediately impact your home’s aesthetic and impact and your budget and comfort.  Talk to your local plumber or homebuilder today.  And best of all, updating your plumbing fixtures or building with the latest technology provides you the opportunity to take advantage of multiple rebates that may be available from your local utility companies and local and state government.

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Surviving Your Custom Home Build

Over the years, we’ve built many custom homes and know what a stressful time it is for our clients. Below we’ve compiled a “Do” and “Do Not” list to make surviving your custom home build a little easier. However, we’ve also found that time and again, the best tip is assembling your Dream Team!  Each professional on your Dream Team’s job is to bring their expertise to the table to make your dream of owning a custom-built home in beautiful Durango a gratifying reality.  Each professional is filled with their own tips and tricks specific to every part of your new labor of love.

Your Dream Team:

  • The Real Estate Agent
    If you don’t already have a specific property in mind, your Realtor will prove invaluable in your search for just the right location in and among the many beautiful and diverse areas Durango has to offer. Consider bringing your builder along to give you an idea of the real cost of turning that remote land into a buildable lot.
  • The Architect
    Your architect will show you where to place the house to best take advantage of Durango’s stellar views and the varying sunlight, shadows, natural landscape and more by working through the possibilities of the site. Sharing your budget for the house with your architect will make it easier to discuss whether specific features are worth considering for your price range. Most firms have extensive libraries of floorplans that may already be ideal for your taste, needs, budget, and location. Another option includes investing in a custom home plan uniquely created for you that can fully reflect your dream.
  • The Lawyer
    Get everything in writing! This applies to subcontractors, as well. Building a home is a major investment and a small lawyer fee up front could save you thousands of dollars down the line. An extremely detailed contract will be your best friend: there to protect you, speak for you and intercede on your behalf.  If you’ve talked about it, memorialize it in writing.
  • The Structural Engineer
    A structural engineer is a licensed engineering professional who performs design services and structural evaluations. They have extensive training and can provide a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building and designing. Your Structural Engineer’s job is to ensure a sturdy and stable structure and optimal design to prevent disastrous troubles later on.
  • The Banker/Accountant
    Your banker is a critical piece of the process that can save you thousands of dollars in the beginning as well as thousands of dollars of interest over the lifetime of your mortgage. Your Accountant should not only know that Congress has passed many laws recently that are favorable for homebuyers and homebuilders but they will also know about those tax credits for the new energy-efficient windows, insulation, low-flow toilets, geothermal units and more.
  • The Builder
    A well-established local builder should have plenty of nearby subcontractors, suppliers, and resources meaning no costly delays waiting for out-of-town crews and materials. Also, choose a builder that has enough buying strength to offer you the best prices for materials. Look for a builder that has a trustworthy warranty program. And always, always check references from local vendors and previous clients.

Do and Do Not Tips:


  • Build for Your Future: When planning your home’s layout, think not only about your current lifestyle but also plan for a few years down the road. Will you have children in the home, elderly parents, or special needs? What may be right for you now, may not be right for you in five or even ten years.  And while larger houses may appeal to you now, they are also more expensive and more time-consuming to upkeep, repair, clean and insure.
  • Check References, Licensing and Reputations: Talk to previous clients in detail about how their build went. Visit the final results if you can. Was the job completed on time? On budget?  Were the materials delivered and available for the subcontractors?  Is the homeowner delighted with the design?  Did the Architect meet their needs?  What about the Banker? Or Accountant?  Was the financing in place in time? Are they satisfied with the mortgage? Word-of-mouth references from reliable sources are a good way to measure your Dream Team’s reputations so make sure you ask around.
  • Visit the site … Frequently: Survey the site for progress and assure yourself that you like the way you see things developing. Make the effort to stop by several times each week, preferably daily, to help make decisions.


  • Go with the Very Latest and Greatest: The very latest technology and state of the art amenities are fantastic but may also be obsolete by the next ‘Black Friday’ sale. Save money and buy products that have been on the market for at least a year or two. And avoid obvious trends. Nothing dates a home like a trend… Have you not forgotten avocado shag carpet and orange countertops?  Consider choosing design classics so that your home always looks current.
  • Don’t skimp on the planning process. This is worth repeating: Don’t skimp on the planning process! Anything on paper is easily changed including floor plans, materials, resources, and design elements. Once you start building, deviations can become extravagant especially once the framing begins. Don’t build before you’re ready!

Many people dream of designing and building their perfect home from the ground up and turning that dream into a reality to enjoy for decades.  Choosing the right professionals can make designing and building your dream home one of life’s greatest joys.

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Buena Vista Builders has moved locations – we are now located out by Three Springs and the hospital.


We are so excited and can’t wait to see you. Stop by and see our offices replete with different types of stone countertops and finishings so you can see all the small details before you build your custom home.

Contact us for more information!