Home Remodeling & Design Blog - Long Island NYC

Read up on the latest trends in our home remodeling, and design blog. Award winning kitchen and bath designs. Elite offers a 6500 sq ft Kitchen & Bath Showroom in Manhasset, NY. .  Express Contracting (sister company to Elite) performs Full Home Renovations including kitchen and bath remodeling. Elite offers (4) brands of custom cabinetry to fit most budgets. Luxury cabinetry and modest cabinetry. Visit our Showroom Gallery in Manhasset, NY. We cater to Long Island and New York City clients. Express Contracting is an experienced home improvement company. All styles of kitchen cabinets available.

2019 Kitchen & Bath Trends

It is always curious how a design, color, style is so popular and suddenly a sign of the past. Several of the predictions for 2019 fall into this category. For instance, gray has been very popular for the last couple years and now is considered out of style. In reviewing several top design sites, these are the stand out features they agree on in their predictions. We will begin with a few "out of style" designs for 2019 and then move on to desirable trends for 2019.

Out of Style

  • Industrial Kitchen & Elements - The more sterile look of industrial including big stainless hoods are out for 2019.

  • Granite and marble continue to be on the out

  • Stainless steel is on the out. Still fairly popular but not the "go to"

  • Over the range microwave (if you can help it!)

  • Everything shiny & glossy in the kitchen.

  • Large tub in the bathroom

  • All white kitchens

  • Minimalism in kitchen design

2019 Design Trends

  • Matte Black - Whether it is matte black stainless appliances, or kitchen fixtures and hardware, black is the new fresh color. Matte black cabinetry is trending as well. You can add jewel colored lighting, wood or brighter colored counter tops to compliment the black features.

  • Two-toned kitchens continue - Whether it is a paint & wood combo on upper and lower cabinetry or a blue or hunter green painted island with a white or walnut perimeter, the two toned kitchens are still the darling in 2019

  • Brass accents continue into 2019 but is now accompanied by black, pewter and copper. Mixed metal finishes is a popular design trend too.

  • Quartz continues to be the counter top material of choice

  • Open shelving in kitchens

  • Concealed small appliances

  • Integrated appliances with matching panels

  • Utilizing stone and other natural materials

  • Textured backsplash

  • Mixing classic and modern elements for an eclectic look & feel

  • Undercounter microwaves

  • Concrete in bathrooms

  • Artwork in bathrooms & kitchens as a statement piece

  • Smart accessories in kitchen & bath

  • Spa like designs for bathrooms

  • Metal framed shower doors

  • Full glass shower enclosures

  • Big showers

  • Floating vanities & floating toilets - Easier to keep clean underneath

  • Marble as an artwork piece - bathroom walls, shower walls.


Art in Business & Life

The beginning of each new season always spurs a renewal of emotions, contemplation and a reflection of our lives. Recently, I have been contemplating how art has helped me transform my life and business. Art can bring a certain kind of excitement to your life. You can enjoy the wonders of paintings, poetry, music, dance.... My wife and I love the ballet and opera. We frequent Lincoln Center and enjoy many forms of dance and music. Sharing these cultural events together keeps our lives connected and fun. I was the President of The New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony for 4 years. I was involved about 12 years total with my wife. We arranged concerts and had a grand time with the board members and musicians. The Board sourced guest violinists and pianists worldwide. We were afforded the honor to appear and have our Chamber Symphony play at the U.N. It was a special time of my life.

Experiencing art in our everyday lives can bring our own creativity to the surface and affect our minds eye view. I don't know why it has this effect, but I do not need to know why. Art has helped me create beautiful homes for our clients. I am able to look at a room such as a kitchen and my mind can envision how to enhance it's beauty and function.

Art keeps history close to us. It allows us to never forget the history of our world, culture and how we have evolved over the years. History through art affords us the opportunity to experience the trials, tribulations and rewards of our past.

Michelangelo's artwork stirs my creativity. Michelangelo is known for his outstanding sculptures and paintings. He created Pietà when he was 24 years old and David when he was 28. Yet, his architecture, such as the Laurentian Library and St. Peter’s Basilica sometimes take a back seat to his other art forms. I included pictures of his architectural achievements so you may appreciate its beauty.

Laurentian Library

Laurentian Library

Laurentian Library 1.jpg
St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

Framed vs. Frameless Cabinetry


Perfectly named, framed cabinets are cabinets with a face frame that covers the front of the cabinet box. Framed cabinetry is used for traditional, transitional and inset cabinetry. There are three main styles. You can choose a full overlay style that covers most of the face frame with a small reveal around the doors. Partial overlay shows more of the frame and is usually a less expensive option. A very popular framed style is called inset. This is when the cabinet doors are recessed within the cabinet frame fully exposing the face frame . There are beaded and non-beaded inset options. Framed cabinetry advantages include a very sturdy box and ease of installation. If you like crown molding, it can be placed right onto the frame. There is however, less storage space (including the drawers) due to the frame. Most framed cabinets have a center stile which limits access as well. Some brands (like Rutt), you can eliminate the center stile up to a certain height cabinet.

Frameless cabinets (also called full access) do not have a face frame nor center stiles. Modern Cabinetry is frameless. Most European cabinetry is frameless. Since there is no frame, there is more storage space (especially in the drawers) and easier access into each cabinet. The box is usually thicker to create more stability. Only full overlay doors are used. The hinges are attached to the side of the box. Frameless cabinets are typically designed with flat, slab doors to create a sleek minimalist look. Many brands build the box with particle board instead of plywood. Things to consider:

  1. Storing heavy items on shelves and bottoms can cause sagging on wide cabinets
  2. If your walls are not straight, installation will be more difficult
  3. Edge banding can peel over time

Before you or your client make a decision, the first consideration is what style you love. Definitely go in person to a showroom to view them side by side. If you have specialty items such as large plates or big pots, bring them. See how they fit and how you want to store and access them optimally.


Care & Maintenance of Kitchen & Bath Products

How to Care & Maintain your Kitchen & Bath Products

We will cover the following materials in your kitchen & bathroom. When in doubt, please check with your manufacturer, fabricator or dealer.

  • Cabinetry - Wood, MDF, Acrylic
  • Wood - Countertops, Floors
  • Marble - Backsplash, Countertops, Floors
  • Solid Surface - Such as Cambria
  • Natural Stone - Granite, Limestone, etc..
  • Ceramic Tile - Floors , Walls, Backsplash
  • Porcelain Tile - Floors, Backsplash
  • Stainless Steel
  • BathTub/Shower

Cabinetry Care & Maintenance:

The information below is about RUTT Handcrafted Cabinetry but the advice can be used for most brands.

To give your cabinetry the good care it deserves requires only minor attention. The instructions listed below are considered normal maintenance for Rutt’s wood stained and painted finishes. 

Wood & Finish Care: Regular maintenance should consist of a weekly dusting with a damp cloth and the daily removal of soil and grease around the cooking area. Use a fresh solution of mild soap and warm water, followed by a clean water rinse. For cleaning and rinsing use a soft cloth that is damp but not dripping wet, so excess water does not accumulate in corners. Use a soft towel to completely dry the surfaces of your cabinetry. Do not use an abrasive sponge, cleaners containing abrasive materials, harsh detergents, ammonia solutions, polishes, oils, waxes or oil soaps. Use of these types of materials and/or cleaners may void the warranty. If a more thorough cleaning is required Rutt recommends Guardsman® Anytime Clean & Polish and Guardsman® Deep Clean Purifying Wood Cleaner to safely and effectively remove kitchen grease, cooking oils, smoke film, and several kinds of stains. These products can be purchased at www.guardsman.com. 

Cutting Board Care: If your cabinetry included a hardwood cutting board or chopping block, it was treated with an environmentally safe, non-toxic, salad bowl finish approved by the Food and Drug Administration. During use, we suggest you rinse it with clean water and occasionally apply a light coat of cooking oil to maintain a moisture barrier to the wood. 

Acrylic Finish Care: Your Rutt cabinetry featuring a high gloss acrylic finish has been finished with one of our products that is the result of the latest technology and our approach to contemporary lifestyle solutions. Cared for properly, this finish will remain beautiful and functional for many years. For everyday cleaning, use a soft cloth slightly dampened with a mild detergent. A more thorough cleaning may be achieved using a soft cloth dampened with a polish that does not contain wax. Never use any strong, abrasive cleaners or stiff paper towels on acrylic gloss finishes, as they will scratch the surface. Ammonia or alcohol based cleaners are not recommended. Use of ammonia-based products and silicone oils may damage the finish if used over a long period of time.


Wood Countertops & Floors

Countertops & Butcher Blocks

Wood is a natural material that responds to changes in temperature and humidity. These changes set up tremendous internal forces in wood countertops. Their shape and dimensions will change slightly with the seasons. Make sure to follow the Wood Countertop Installation when permanently installing a butcher block countertop. Keep your wood countertop dry, away from direct heat, and maintain it according to the directions below. Please click below for care instructions. This info from Grothouse is good advice for most brands.


Wood Floors

How are polyurethane or other surface finishes maintained?

Harsh cleansers can damage the boards. Don’t even mention moving day—improperly moved furniture accounts for plenty of the damage hardwood floors can sustain. Having a regular maintenance routine is key. Keep your wood floors clean by vacuuming them regularly with the hardwood attachments of your vacuum. Eliminating excess dust and dirt will keep you one step ahead. Then, use the mildest cleaning solution recommended for your floor type with a mop or rag that is just barely damp. Remember, water is a wood floor’s worst enemy. Make sure any moisture you apply is dried immediately and completely. Never wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor. Click on the (2) links below for more information.




Caring for Marble

Marble needs to be handled with care to maintain its appearance. For routine cleaning, sponge marble with warm water and a mild, neutral detergent. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Wipe spills promptly; acids in alcohol and fruit juices are particularly damaging. Marble often comes with a protective sealer that helps prevent staining; reapply coating (available at hardware stores) once a year. For tough stains, try a poultice treatment (also available at hardware stores); reseal the stone afterward.



Maintaining Solid Surface such as Cambria is easy. Simply wash with a soft cotton cloth and warm water, and mild soap if desired.

DO NOT expose, in use or otherwise, Cambria to abrasive or strong alkaline or acid or free radicals or oxidizers or the like (whether high, neutral or low pH) cleaners. Various chemicals are corrosive and/or erosive in their ability to attack any structure including Cambria. Be very aware of these potential damages to your surface. Cambria IS NOT heat proof, chemical proof or fracture proof in any form. Be aware of damaging exposure to these potential damaging acts upon your Cambria. Click the link to read more...



Natural Stone - Including Granite

Get to know your stone. The first step in proper stone care & maintenance is to understand your stone's geological classification and composition.

To get the longest life and preserve the beauty of your natural stone, follow these simple tips:

  1. Coasters: Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
  2. Trivets: While many stones can withstand heat, the use of trivets or mats is recommended.
  3. Dust Mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.
  4. Mats/rugs: Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that may scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a slip resistant surface.
  5. Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.
  6. Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don't wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild soap and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.


  • Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water.
  • Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. 

Click below for more information:



22-2 Master bath.jpg

Cleaning Ceramic Tile Floors & Walls & Backsplash

Sweep or vacuum your glazed tile floors regularly to keep them from getting dull. Tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull glazed surfaces. Clean tile with mild detergent and clean water, using a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. The latter pushes dirty water into grout lines and makes them harder to clean. Be sure to change the water frequently while mopping; dirty water equals a cloudy floor.

Get Rid of Tile Residue

If your tiles look hazy, you might be dealing with soapy residue. Remove the film with a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. You could also try a mild acid -- such as fresh lemon juice -- on ceramic tiles (but never on marble). Rinse thoroughly with clean water, and buff dry with a clean lint-free cloth. Be kind to your knees and dry tiles the easy way: by using your foot to slide the cloth over the floor.

Beautiful Looking Grout

The secret to a great looking tile floor is clean grout. Grout is porous and absorbs grease and other products. If you have mildew and stains, avoid harsh products like bleach, which can strip grout of its color. Instead, clean the grout with a paste of baking soda and water. Let it sit overnight. Scrub the stain the next day with a stiff nylon brush (never a metal brush since it will damage the grout). Next, soak a microfiber cloth in a mixture of water and mild dishwashing liquid. Wring out the cloth & wipe down. Apply a silicone-base sealer to the grout to resist future stains.

For more info on how to remove stains, visit the link below:




How To: Clean Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile consistently ranks as a preferred flooring of choice among homeowners, partly due to its beauty—the material comes in a veritable rainbow of hues—and partly due to its stain- and moisture-resistance. Though it loses luster over time, porcelain tile can be easily cleaned and restored to its original shine.

Cleaning Unpolished/Unglazed Porcelain Tile. Cleaning Polished/Glazed Porcelain Tile. Cleaning Textured Porcelain Tile

A beautiful and extremely durable flooring option, porcelain tile will retain its sparkling finish for years—so long as it's cleaned regularly and appropriately. Here's how. 




How to Clean Stainless Steel

Gleaming and shiny, stainless steel brings a bright and polished air to any kitchen. Keeping that brilliant sheen, however, takes a little bit of work… and some very specific cleaning products.

The first thing to consider when you set out to clean stainless steel appliances, sinks, and countertops is what not to do. Some popular cleaning products will damage the finish on stainless steel, and even plain water can leave unsightly marks and spots if not used properly. Despite its name, stainless steel can and does stain. So first and foremost, for clean stainless steel surfaces, these are products and techniques to avoid: Click the links below to learn more from three experts.





Modern bathroom

Reflections on Another Year Gone By

This is the time of year we reflect on all the projects we have completed and the clients we have served. Knowing each family is spending their holidays joyously in their newly renovated homes makes every day we do our job worth it. We just won two 2017 NARI LI/NYC Awards for Contractor of the Year for this Manhattan apartment as well as a stunning home on the North Shore of Long Island. The clients are beyond happy with their new layout & kitchen. We will talk more about this in our next post. We are thankful for our wonderful clients. When we finish a project and our client is thrilled with their new kitchen, or any project we work on, it gives us such great pleasure. We have beautified homes for over 34 years. We look forward to serving our Long Island and NYC communities in 2018. 

Manhattan Apartment Renovation Opens Up Kitcvhen to Gorgeous Manhattan View 

Manhattan Apartment Renovation Opens Up Kitcvhen to Gorgeous Manhattan View 

Priceless View

Priceless View

Amazing Rutt Cabinetry - RUSKIN style. Designed by Elite. 

Amazing Rutt Cabinetry - RUSKIN style. Designed by Elite. 

Does Your Kitchen Date You

How would you know when it is time to remodel your kitchen?

We had a potential client come into our Manhasset showroom a couple months ago and she said she wanted to redo her kitchen because her current kitchen dates her. In our view, this was an emotional decision to remodel. There are so many reasons to remodel your kitchen, bath or any room. We thought it would be a fun topic to explore. Sometimes there are several reasons that propel people to redo their kitchen. Here are just a few we have experienced:


  • Emotional - If your kitchen dates you; Want to keep up with the Joneses; Hate the kitchen in a home you purchased
  • Improve Family Life - Want bigger kitchen, open layout, kitchen island, more attractive kitchen, family gathering space , entertaining kitchen, gourmet kitchen.
  • Practical - The current layout is too small, poor workflow, poor layout, not enough counter space, need more storage
  • Upgrade - Desire newest advancements in cabinetry, technology, accessories, appliances, materials.
  • Health - Want cabinetry with low or no formaldehyde, want all green materials, water filtration system, air purification
  • Improve sale-ability of home - Future thinking
  • New amenities - Accessories can make life in the kitchen easier & more organized
  • Smart home technology - Automatic lighting, auto temperature control, security, electronics , automatic music
  • Energy saving - Appliances, lighting, insulation
  • Modernize - Decided you want a new style
  • Special needs - Wheel chair access, Multi-generational design for cooking, gathering.
  • Worn out Kitchen - Broken kitchen doors/hinges, worn out finishes on low-mid end cabinetry
  • Inspiration - Need inspiration to create great meals & parties

So, does your kitchen date you? Here are a few items to consider:

As with all fashion, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If a client absolutely loves a look, even if we know it is already outdated or about to be, often times we have to give it them. The kitchen (or any room) is being designed for them to live in, create memorable experiences and feel good about. As designers & re-modelers, we always guide our clients on "trends", new products as well as classic looks. But in the end, they have to go home to it every night, not us. Let's take a peak at what will "date you" in the kitchen of 2018....

Cabinetry Color

Cabinetry colors come and go. Certain colors withstand the test of time. Light maples have become less vogue. However, neutrals including shades of white & gray as well as medium to darker wood stains always seem fresh and classic. Gray does seem to be more "in" some years but it stays popular enough not to look outdated. We have been seeing two-toned kitchens more often. Walnut toned, dark blue or gray islands with a white or light gray perimeter have been popular. We have seen paint more popular for the perimeter and wood stain is equally popular to paint for islands. Bleached wood is making its way into the kitchen. A matte sleek look is usually timeless.

We suggest if the color is not a classic, go with it only if you absolutely love it & plan on staying in your home long term. What many people still choose to do is decide on a neutral cabinet color and more bold accessories. The accessories are easier to change out when you grow tired of them or want to sell your house.

Cabinetry Style

The simpler the door the better chance it will stay in style. Of course the Shaker door is one of the most timeless doors you can choose. There are many variations in the stiles & rails that you can play with to create different looks. Modern flat doors are also timeless. The modern acrylics are trending into the suburbs. The suburbs have resisted the more modern look but more and more homeowners are gravitating towards the flat door. The overly ornate kitchens become more outdated than other designs.


Satin & chrome will be around for a long time. Brass is making its way back in 2018. They are easy enough to change unless the hardware is an unusual size.


If you don't have LED lighting, your kitchen is in need of a lighting plan update. Many clients love motion sensors -when you walk into the room, the lights go on; when there is no motion, they turn off. Convenience & safety are two important features of automatic lights in the kitchen.


Granite has become a second choice to Quartz. Quartz is an engineered material created through a manufacturing process of 93-95% ground quartz stone and 5-7% resin plus added colors. They are easier to maintain than granite. There is a great variety of choices to fit just about every style of kitchen. Our lifestyles are gravitating towards wanting more personal time. In this vain, ease of use & clean-ability is a huge selling point of quartz.

Wall Color

The neutrals still win. The light grays & whites seem to always be on top of the list. We have experienced people wanting blues & greens more often. Paint color is an easy thing to change to update any space. So we encourage our clients to choose a color they love.


We have seen a shift towards porcelain tiles in the kitchen. Clients love the porcelain that appears to be a wood floor. Much easier to clean. More durable. And not susceptible to water damage like wood. This fits in with the easier lifestyle. Clients have us install radiant heat under the floors to maintain the warmer feel of wood. However, we still have clients with an allegiance to wood floors. They love the look & feel of wood.


The white subway tile may finally be played out. Clients with the budget to create what they want are choosing water-jet tiles which are quite stunning. There are beautiful yet subtle patterns & colors that will enhance the space for years to come. More clients are also experimenting with more bold colors and patterns. Texture is always great, especially when the client goes with a white kitchen. The back-splash can add a depth to the white kitchen and there are endless possibilities. Still popular too is the counter-top material used for the back-splash for a clean modern look.

Smart Home Products

Phones are not the only technology upgrades in our community. Consumers want panels in one place that control the lighting and/or temperature control of the kitchen and other rooms. These are the most popular upgrades due to the convenience, energy control and good looks of these units. Many people add security features when they are doing a major renovation.

Get Your Home Nice and Toasty in Time for Autumn and Beyond

While fine cabinetry always catches customers’ eyes in the Elite kitchen showroom, Long Island and Manhattan homeowners would also do well to consider new appliances and other technology upgrades to make their homes as comfortable as they are beautiful. This is especially important when autumn is upon us and winter is not far behind – and our team of designers and contractors is here to help. Upon visiting the Elite Kitchen & Bath kitchen showroom, Manhasset, Great Neck and other North Shore Long Island and Manhattan homeowners can find all they need to keep their homes nice and toasty. Keep reading to learn about some new products that maximize comfort while reducing energy usage in your home.


Start with Your Home Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the most important components of a comfortable home throughout the year, particularly when weather hits extremes of hot and cold. A well-functioning thermostat will detect the temperature of important rooms in your home and make necessary adjustments to maintain your chosen level of warmth this autumn and winter. Then, when spring and summer roll around, you can count on your thermostat to keep things as cool as you’d like. One of the latest advances in thermostat technology, Carrier’s Côr 5C and Côr 7C thermostats, are now available to make things even more comfortable. This new range of thermostats offers Wi-Fi-enabled controls, up-to-the-minute savings forecasts based on temperature adjustments, and a Smart Setback feature that uses your home’s thermal characteristics to optimize performance and reduce energy over-usage. It is also compatible with smart home systems such as Apple® HomeKit™ and Amazon Echo.

Take Your Water Heater to the Next Level

From formal dinner parties to casual nights at home with the family, your water heater can make sure you’re continuously able to heat water for cooking, cleaning, bathing and other tasks you can’t do without. Tankless water heaters, which produce hot water out of the tap without the constraints of a cumbersome storage tank, are the leading technology components that ensure a constant heated water supply. Bosch Thermotechnology Corp has added the premium Greentherm 9900i SER model to its line of tankless condensing water heaters, which recently took home the Consumer Technology Association’s 2017 Innovation Award. This is a prime example of how innovations in technology can provide maximum comfort in the home while reducing human impact on the environment.

With a warm and toasty temperature, your home will feel as cozy as can be this autumn and beyond. This is the ultimate accompaniment to any remodeling projects you’ve recently completed or plan on undertaking soon. If you think it’s time to update the heating and other comfort systems in your home, don’t hesitate to stop by Elite’s kitchen showroom. Great Neck, Manhasset and other North Shore Long Island and Greater Manhattan homeowners can take advantage of the guidance and assistance on offer to make the right choices for their homes. Stop by today and see what Elite Kitchen & Bath can do for you.