Archive for the ‘Kitchens’ Category

“Like” Merrick Design and Build on Facebook and be Entered for a Chance to Win!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

We’re heading into the homestretch for the first ever Merrick Social Media Challenge! We’d like to stay connected with our clients and friends and local homeowners on Facebook.

Plus, we’re offering a special incentive to like us on Facebook: Once you click “Like,” you’ll be entered to win a complimentary kitchen design to use in your own home or share with a friend who’s thinking about renovating their kitchen.*

Don’t delay, the contest ends on 6/21/2013, so like us today!

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


* Contest open to homeowners in Maryland and Washington, DC. Certain restrictions apply. Contest ends on 6/21/2013.

Renovate Your Outdoor Spaces

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This may come as a shock to you, but Merrick Design and Build can assist homeowners in the DC metro area in renovating their outdoor spaces. I know, I know, you may be thinking, “But you’re always talking about kitchens and bathrooms and additions.” We do work with many clients on these core types of remodeling projects, yet clients also come to us to change the look, feel and functions of their outdoor spaces.

Clients work with Merrick when they need to change their homes – inside and out. They want to feel better in the spaces they already own and enjoy more effective living.

How do we assist with outdoor space renovations? For starters, we step outside and walk the property with a homeowner. We listen to their needs and brainstorm on the possibilities. Then, if it makes sense, we talk about the next steps, which include a design agreement and a discussion on their “build.”

What kinds of projects do homeowners hire us for? Clients in Maryland and DC work with us on decks, front porches and patios, outdoor kitchens and other modifications to and around the exteriors of their homes. And, in some cases, we work alongside a landscape contractor to bring projects to life.

Are you considering changes to your outdoor spaces? We’d be happy to chat with you about your needs and mutually determine if we may be the right fit for your project.

Spring’s almost here, so reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


Generations in the Kitchen

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Merrick Design and Build - Mother and Child Cooking in the KitchenIt’s been said that the kitchen is the ‘new’ or ‘real’ living room, and this has been especially true during the past decade. For the last 10 years, families have been spending more time together in the kitchen during weekday mornings and evenings, weekends and special events.


When the Merrick team renovates a kitchen, homeowners often share a strong need of to add more square footage to this high-traffic, high-functioning space. There are also needs of the various generations who live in or visit the home that include features and special elements that will make the kitchen space more useful and comfortable.



For the young (under 10 crowd), many homeowners are opting to create “kid-friendly zones” (away from the stove) with space for:

  • Child-friendly cooking
  • A desk-like environment for computer work or homework
  • Two prep areas


For the Millenials (age 18-34), “wish lists” center around technological advances that include:

  • A microwave that allows swiping a package bar code, which triggers cooking using the exact directions
  • A TV screen that’s built into a kitchen wall or an appliance
  • Technology that allows heating an oven using a cell phone or computer


Baby Boomers (age 45-64) have specific “wish lists,”which often enhance entertaining and can include:

  • A cooktop with special features like a built-in grill, wok or rotisserie attachment
  • Commercial or professional-grade appliances
  • A built-in coffee pot that’s directly connected to the water supply
  • Ovens that dramatically reduce cooking times


A newly renovated kitchen can easily meet the needs of residents and guests of all ages and stages, improving the experience and enjoyment of this central and important space.

As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Contact me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


Source Note: This blog post was developed using data and information from a press release entitled “Moen Uncovers Top Trend in Kitchen Remodeling.

Aging in Place – Part Two: Changes to Consider

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A kitchen with ample maneuverable space and storage

If you’re considering aging in place modifications in your home, it’s important to examine all of your home’s major spaces including entry ways, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and even your yard. Here’s a quick reference list to use as you review the rooms and spaces in your home:









Entry Ways

The entry to your home is your connection to the rest of the world: it’s where you receive guests, bring in groceries, and head out for appointments and social events. It should be safe and convenient no matter the weather, time of day or your physical condition. Barrier-free entryways make it easier for family members or friends who use wheelchairs or for others with special needs.

No-Step Entries

The walkway leading from the sidewalk or driveway to the front entrance can have no steps and very little, if any, slope to accommodate those in wheelchairs or who have trouble climbing steps. A ramp is another type of no-step entry.

No-Step Thresholds

Entryways leading into your home or passages into other rooms are not divided by a threshold, eliminating a common tripping hazard.


Garage Lifts

Garage lifts enables enable those in wheelchairs, or who have problems climbing steps, to gain access from the garage to the inside of the home.



There’s no space in your home more personal than your bathroom. You use it countless times every day; it should be comfortable, attractive and safe. To increase safety and accessibility in your bathroom, consider the following modifications:

  • Build a roll-in shower with multiple showerheads
  • Lower your bathroom sink, ensuring there’s proper knee clearance
  • Instal an elevated toilet
  • Instal grab bars



A comfortable and welcoming bedroom provides respite from the world and helps create an environment for proper rest after long long works days and fun activities:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering clearance
  • Build a walk-in closet with storage at varying heights
  • Install rocker light switches, which are easier to turn on compared to the more common flip switch
  • Install light fixtures in closets and passageways



If you love to cook, but find it difficult to bend or have a height limitation, there are numerous steps you can take to modify your kitchen, making more ‘user-friendly’:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering space
  • Vary the height of countertops
  • Instal a sink with knee clearance
  • Instal a raised dishwasher
  • Lower cooking surfaces
  • Mount a wall oven and/or microwave at reachable heights
  • Create an abundance of reachable storage space
  • Provide a desk/work area with knee clearance



Lighting sets the mood, so controlling natural light and electric light when you need it makes your home personal, convenient and safe.

One way to reduce accidents in your home is to have proper lighting installed. Outdoor areas, stairways, the kitchen area, the living room and other spaces are just a few examples where proper lighting is helpful. We recommend using rocker-type light switches wherever possible, which you can turn them on and off with the touch of an elbow when your hands are full. Additionally, well-placed skylights and ceiling lights are just a two examples of the type of lighting to consider adding to your home.



If you maintain a flower or vegetable garden in your yard, consider raising your beds at some point. Raising your beds can help reduce fatigue and the stress on your body when gardening for extended periods of time.


As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Contact me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

The Entertaining Kitchen

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Merrick Design and Build has completed multiple kitchen remodeling projects over the years and one of the most memorable was for an “empty nester” couple living in the DC metro area. Their main focus for their kitchen was entertaining and their remodel occurred after the couple had made the conscious decision to, more often than not, stay home rather than eating out and hire a professional chef to cook for them and their guests.

Nancy, the Merrick Design and Build kitchen and bath designer, shares insight on this “entertaining kitchen” project:


Tell us about the residents in the home: They were a retired couple who entertained friends and other contacts quite often.


What prompted them to remodel? They wanted a space that would easily and graciously host their friends and provide the necessary items the professional chef would employ during his “main event” cooking at their dinner parties. They also wanted countertop space that would be used to set out and serve food.


What lifestyle changes or improvements did they hope to bring about through their project? This couple wanted to create a space where they could eat and entertain in style in lieu of going to restaurants or the country club.


How long had they been considering their remodel? They had been considering the remodel for several years and decided to make it happen after doing research on products and other contractors. They also obtained ideas from the chef who would be cooking for them regarding his needs in preparing gourmet meals.


Prior to their remodel, did they see friends’ homes where their type of project had been completed? To my knowledge, this was their own vision.


What were some of the challenges they faced during their project? It was a pretty smooth job. The existing structure was an eat-in kitchen and laundry room that was merged to create the new kitchen and the laundry room was recreated in part of the garage.


What did they like about remodeling? The really loved seeing island, the two sinks and the lighting. They were also happy to see the daily progress unfold as their new kitchen came to life.


What was their happiest moment regarding their project? Picking all of the appliances: there were two Sub-Zeros, two freezers, a wine captain, a warming drawer, a six burner cooktop and a freestanding ice maker, just to name a few!


If you have questions about your upcoming kitchen remodel, contact me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

The Many Shades of “Green”

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past five years, you’ve heard about being green: it’s in the news, magazines and books and on t-shirts, water bottles and the web. A green market has blossomed offering a host of green products and services; you’ll now find recycling bins in homes, businesses and many stores and, happily, you now have an abundance of options and choices if you’re undergoing a green home remodel.


Yet, for each home remodel, whether it’s officially deemed “green” or not, there’s some good news: “sexy” products aren’t the only contributing factor that will make your project green. By default, the vast majority of all remodels bring environmental benefits, including:


  • ALL new kitchen appliances will be more efficient than there fifteen year-old counterparts. New appliances have been improved to meet higher standards and support lower energy usage.
  • ALL new toilets use less water than they did five years ago.  The new duel flush toilets use only .o8 gallons per flush (versus 6 gallons per flush) and provide huge improvements over a twelve year-old toilet.
  • ALL insulation products have seen improvements and show increases in the “R” values, where the “R” stands for Resistance. To understand what “R” value is, consider the analogy of “R” values to the miles per gallon model. Insulation with an R-38 value will be more efficient than insulation with a R-30 value, just as a car getting 38mpg will be more efficient than a car getting 30mpg.
  • ALL bath fans are more efficient and a greater number are being installed in home remodels.
  • MANY paints, carpets and solvents now release fewer VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) as they “off gas”. Also, paints, carpets and solvents are now being manufactured in more environmentally-friendly ways.



Additionally, all new shower heads are more efficient and use less water. Yet, unfortunately, this improvement may bring the biggest disappointment to homeowners when they remodel a bathroom.  Most will miss their old, powerful showerheads, but the new products have eliminated the option of allowing water to come out with dramatic force. Water conservation and management are the largest, global environmental issues we face.


Another matter to consider in the practical “greening” of home remodels is how contractors handle construction waste. Many contractors now remove old cabinets, sinks and countertops that are in usable condition and donate them to not-for-profit organizations like ReStore and Community Forklift, who resell these pieces. The water and energy saved in manufacturing new items is truly significant; hence reusing large, previously owned items can make a clear environmental impact.


Green remodels and green living comes in many shades and materialize in a lot of ways. Practical, considered decisions are at the heart of all green choices, and several green outcomes will likely manifest just by undertaking a remodel and altering or replacing items in a space.


Feedback or comments? Contact us anytime at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Case Study: Making More Space for a Modern Kitchen

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Our clients in Kensington Heights were ready to renovate their kitchen in their 1940′s home. With two young children, the area seemed to grow smaller and smaller and wasn’t meeting the family’s needs. When they came to us, we saw that their project was both both interesting and challenging.

Prior to contacting Merrick, the homeowners interviewed several local remodelers and purchased designs from a few. After our first meeting, they researched our company, checked our references and decided to move forward. Once their design agreement was enacted, we created four designs. During the reviews, they selected a design and we listened to their needs to make sure we’d build a project they’d love. We also occasionally acted as mediators when decisions seemed challenging for the husband and wife team.

(See the before photo to the left)






  • To fully expand the space and create an eat-in kitchen with an island.
  • To also create a foyer in the space where the front door opened into the living room. The living room lacked privacy and the homeowners wanted to integrate their new kitchen with the rest of the house via changes to the overall flow.



  • To build within an existing space, which included a screened porch.
  • To improve the existing design, which restricted the circulation in the house.
  • To fit a kitchen closet in a space that was limited by stairs to the basement that could not be moved.
  • To install the heat and AC into this new space.


Solutions and Special Features:

  • Bumping out the kitchen into the screened porch space and using a flat roof.
  • Installing detailed panels underneath the windows on the exterior.
  • Adding a french door that opens to the backyard.
  • Installing special light fixtures over the island.
  • Installing a farmhouse sink with special details.
  • Using high-end appliances and creating a built-in around a standard fridge.
  • Recessing a radiator into the wall.


The homeowners, their family and friends are fully enjoying the new kitchen and renovated spaces. The final project integrates with the rest of the home and the rest of the neighborhood. (See the finished kitchen below.)










Questions? Comments? Reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Your Grill Could Be REALLY Useful During Your Kitchen Remodel

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Steak on the GrillI was recently interviewed for a blog article on the Washington Post about homeowners’ reliance on their grills during kitchen remodels. The story details how one of our clients got really creative with her grill during her total kitchen remodel and also describes my grilling days during my own kitchen remodel.

Smoke Signals: Grill to the rescue!

Comments? Great grilling ideas? Reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Complimentary Design Consultation

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Thinking about remodeling? We know the feeling!

Here’s a limited-time offer to enjoy:

Get a complimentary design consultation for your kitchen, bath, addition or other home remodeling project. The consultation includes measurements of your home, two hours of consulting in our office with one of our designers and a preliminary design to keep. This consultation is valued at $300 dollars and is offered at no charge for a limited time.*

So, if you’d like to take part, don’t delay. Contact me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


* Offer expires on 12/31/2011. Valid only for readers. Please mention the website where you viewed our ad. Not valid on existing contracts or with any other offers. Certain restrictions apply.

What Changes Might I Notice in My Newly Remodeled Spaces?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

After your remodeling project is complete, you may feel relief, excitement and renewed pride in your renovated home. And, after the dust has settled (literally) and you begin to live your remodeled space, you may notice some of the following items. Many of these changes occur due to seasonal changes, fluctuations in your home’s temperature and the materials’ response to the environment (natural elements like wood can swell with moisture). Many of these items occur in most remodeling jobs, so Merrick offers “tune ups” to ensure your project continues to look and feel its best.


Some of the changes you may notice include:

Settlement Cracks and Nail Pops – You may notice small cracks in the drywall, which often appear in the corners of the room. Cracks may appear within a few months or within a year because of temperature and humidity changes. Nail pops can occur anywhere, but happen most often in ceilings.


Small Separations and Paint Lines – With crown molding and painted panel doors, you may observe small separations and paint lines due to changes in the seasons and humidity.


Loose Cabinet Doors and Door Knobs – For your cabinet doors and door knobs that get a lot of use, loosening and changes in alignment may occur.


Color Changes and Minor Cracking in Grout – New grout in kitchens and bathrooms may change color due to wear and tear. Signs of aging and minor cracking may appear where tile meets another surface (sometimes, the adherence of grout to materials other than tile can be inconsistent).


For more information or to discuss scheduling a tune up, please contact us today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick