Your Home is Your Castle by Design

Your Castle is your Confidence

With the homes of friends and family, it can be easy to see the many ways that their design is efficient or not for their lifestyle.  A fresh eye always adds new perspective on any matter, and a home where people live, work and play can be no different.  This year, make it your resolution to accept the input regarding your home from outsiders.  The number one best way to do this is to get the opinion of a professional such as SemBro Designs and Remodeling. Voted Columbus Best Local Construction Company, Best Kitchen and Bath Remodeler and Best Contractor with the Union Tribune for the fourth straight year, SemBro Designs has proven to be a leader in the home improvement sector of Columbus, Ohio area.

a well designed home improvement

With a second opinion on the structural efficiency, general layout and flow as well as the design impression that your home exudes, trust the professional knowledge of SemBro’s award-winning designer.  She has the capability to assess a home based on the myriad of other home designs she has planned and witnessed, and can offer much fresh insight into how new visitors feel about your home.  With the tools SemBro Designs and Remodeling has at their use, no project you can think of is too big or too small to affect an amazing transformation in your treasured home, and SemBro’s designer can get all the pieces into play perfectly.

When considering the efficiency and aesthetic appeal of your own home, kitchen, or bath design, consider some of the following essentials.  There must be appropriate lighting that is not too harsh and also is not too dull or warm that it makes one feel sleepy.  Also, a focal point in any room in question is a must so that the eye does not become overwhelmed with many competing points of interest in the same space.  The materials you employ in the service of your flooring, counters and cabinetry, all tell something about your personality, tastes, passions and goals so choose wisely!  And last but not least, your home design sends a big message to your friends and family about the attitude that is most prevalent in your home and life.  For the most peace-loving, relaxing and calming atmosphere, choose clean-cut lines, appropriate hues and add the personal touches that make the home all your own.

See how SemBro Designs and Remodeling can help transform your home into one you are confident in no matter who comes to call.

Kitchen Stories Inspired by International Women’s Day


March 8th is celebrated as the International Women’s Day, and both women and men around the world are joining together to celebrate economic, political and social achievements of women, as well as to draw attention to the continuing fight for women’s causes. In honor of this day we have gathered a few kitchen stories to give you some inspiration for the women in your life.

International Women’s Day also recognizes the incredible progress and accomplishments of females around the world. CNN called attention to an amazing 15-year-old Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history, by risking her life for the cause of girls’ education. The Huffington Post highlighted some of the many women who have helped bring computer science education into the next generation, in a world where only three percent of tech startups are led by women. There is certainly no shortage of ground-breaking ladies to celebrate and honor this day. So here it goes…


The Woman Who Invented the Kitchen. (She couldn’t cook and had 12 kids)

The idea that housework is work now seems like a commonplace. We contract it out to housekeepers, laundromats, cleaning services, takeout places. We divvy it up: You cooked dinner, I’ll do the dishes. We count it as a second shift, as well as primary employment. But it wasn’t until the early part of the 20th century that first a literature, and then a science, developed about the best way to cook and clean. The results of this research shape the way we treat housework today, and created a template for the kitchen that remains conceptually unchanged from the 1920s. And the woman who made the kitchen better? She couldn’t cook…
Read more @ Slate


Why Kitchens aren’t designed for Real Women

Before women were all hunched over screens, applying filters and tapping out hashtags to food photos, we were hunched over sinks, sudsing dishes and keeping an eye on the stove. Today’s kitchens may have more machines, but they remain abuzz with structured and artificial femininity, from aprons to pink KitchenAids. Everything matches, even the woman, whose body the kitchen has been designed to fit—albeit inaccurately—since almost a century ago, when engineers measured thousands of women to try to make housework more comfortable…
Read more @ Quartz


Women who inspired me to get in the kitchen

Today is a day to honor women and all they do. It’s a day to inspire girls to realize they can do anything. As a girl, cooking wasn’t my thing. If you had told me that one day I’d love being in my kitchen cooking meals every night, that chopping vegetables would be one of my favorite activities, that I’d be someone who writes about food, I wouldn’t have believed you.
But International Women’s Day is a day to believe that anything is possible, and when I look at how my life and career have turned out, I do believe it. Along the way from being that girl who was not interested in being in the kitchen to this woman who happily spends the majority of the day in the kitchen and thinking about food, there have been some women who have been inspirational. I thought I’d honor a few of them today…
Read more @ Mother Nature Network

So now we will leave you with these questions.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

How are you supporting other women?

What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day? Comment below!

Share with your #OneDayIWill to celebrate International Women’s Day

Why Men Cooking in the Kitchen are Better Fathers!

Handsome Man Cooking at Home fathers Cooking in the Kitchen Columbus Ohio

The modern father and gentleman is an adventure-seeking man — one who values hospitality, generosity, intellectual curiosity, and yes, chivalry. Of course, these attributes are not exclusive to those of the fatherly rite. Gentlemen the world over should seek to incorporate these traits into their lives.

To take it a step further, I believe all of these characteristics can be found, honed, and showcased in the most unlikely of places: The Kitchen.

Cooking should be viewed much more as an adventure than a task. Whether you are fishing, hunting, or simply acquiring goods at the local market — much of the thrill that comes from cooking starts miles away from any kitchen.

Cooking and sharing food with others allows you to perfect this centuries-old practice. Inviting others into your home to sit and enjoy a meal cooked by hand is one of the most simple, yet fulfilling forms of hospitality. The kitchen table serves as an open invitation to friends, family, and strangers — it’s a place where we’ve celebrated the joy of friendship, the miracle of new kiddos, and sometimes the sting of loss, or the settling of differences. Breaking bread with others is one of life’s most primal instincts. It fosters tradition and community, and creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your remodeled Home.

Generosity is contagious, and I believe fathers and men everywhere can help build stronger families and communities if we generously and kindly share parts of ourselves, and our work, with others — without of course, expecting anything in return.

Intellectual Curiosity
It’s that intellectually curious attitude that keeps me exploring and learning in the kitchen. Cooking offers an autonomous and never-ending challenge to continue to study and evolve. New ingredients, types of cuisine, techniques, and equipment create opportunities for each of us to challenge ourselves.

Good behavior and social practices remind us to open doors, to offer up your seat on the bus or train, and to stand when a lady enters the room. We all know these things, but how often do we put them into practice? Still, these are only the outward actions of being a good gentleman. To truly practice chivalry, one must pursue, understand (or try to, at least!), and fulfill the heart of a woman. I believe we men must take on a bit of adventure and risk to pursue said heart.

Beautiful woman looking at her husband who is cooking in the kitchen

Of course you see where I’m going — you can do this in the kitchen! One of the simplest ways to express your love and care to your gal is by serving her food prepared by your own two hands — a routine that I live out in our home in Columbus. A home cooked meal is just one of the many ways that I can let her know I’ve been thinking of her and that I care about her. And yes, from time to time I want to show off a bit of skill in the kitchen! Women love a man who can cook.

Read more about How Cooking Can Make You a Better Man in this cool story from the Art of Manliness.

Another interesting story comes from an interview with Mr. Kreisberg, a busy father who cooks for his family.


Describing that perennial working parents’ quandary he is constantly thinking, “What will I cook for the family tonight?” “I’m thinking about the ingredients. I’m thinking about what I have in the fridge.”
He hops on the subway back home to Long Island City, Queens, around 5 p.m., dashes to the day care center to pick up his 7-month-old son, Harrison, and often squeezes in a run to the grocery store. Finally, he gets into the kitchen. Soon, he is roasting a chicken stuffed with rosemary, thyme and onion, or seasoning some fresh salmon or frying up eggplant for parmigiana.

Mr. Kreisberg is a freelance copy writer, a husband and a father. He is also a member of what he and other men describe as an often overlooked portion of the population: the growing number of working dads who cook.
“We do a lot more than barbecue,” Mr. Kreisberg said wryly.

Read the full story from the New York Times.

Here is another father making a mess in the kitchen with his kids.

Malcolm Seawell is cooking Quinoa vegetable salad with his sons Cole and Will, at their house in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.

Malcolm Seawell works as a criminal defense attorney in Denver, which means after a long day in the law office or courtroom he is ready to spend an evening catching up with his three young sons. His favorite place to do that: the kitchen in their Cherry Hills Village home.

“I’ve been the cook in the family for as long as I’ve had the family,” says Seawell, who married Nicole Elias in 1999. “My wife doesn’t care to cook, but I really enjoy it. It’s a great way to spend time with my kids and bond with them, although it’s also something that simply needs to be done.”

Read the news article from the Denver Post to find out how he does it.

Also, here are some recipes to get you some ideas for Father Day.


The Food Network presents It’s Dad’s Day with Rachael Ray.
Rachael Ray is honoring dads with a delicious Steak and Eggs Burrito. See the special segment called The Kitchen Toolbox, where the guys bring their power tools into the kitchen for some fun cooking shortcuts and Rachael shares a few of her own.



This story from Creative Family Recipes should definitely inspire you to get back in the Kitchen and be more creative.

This father moved his family and started a new life living in a small town in Ohio. This town had a nice, cozy sit-down restaurant in their very small, historic down-town. Despite having energetic children, he would take them out every week to eat there. They got to know everybody in that restaurant, including the owner and his family. He also got to know their menu very well! This dad’s creativity was always on full gear. He would try to recreate his favorite dishes from the restaurant and bring it back to their family kitchen.

Find more creative recipes that fathers have made throughout their lifetime and shared here at Creative Family Recipes.


With Father’s Day approaching on Sunday, it’s time to tip a toque to the men who wear the apron in the family. Some take on the task simply because they find it fulfilling or relaxing. Others do it by necessity, when their spouse’s work schedule is such that it prevents them from taking on the job.

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10 Tips to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

SembrodesignsSignature Pearl 10

A kitchen remodel can be one of the most rewarding home improvement projects and also the most frustrating to endure. Family life tends to center around the kitchen and functioning without one disrupts all aspects of life. Tearing out the heart of your home requires a plan of how to survive the weeks to months of construction ahead.
The duration of time for a kitchen renovation depends on the scope of the project. Is it a simple tear out with the same basic footprint or a major redesign? If it is a basic tear-out, plan on four to six weeks without much access to the kitchen. If it’s a significant renovation, expect at least three months of disorder.
You need a plan of how you will deal with the life details as well.

1. Set up a separate, temporary kitchen.

If at all possible, move your current refrigerator to another room in the house, where you can still access it. Otherwise, get a small college fridge to keep the essentials. A spare microwave is also a critical appliance.
Nadia S., a kitchen designer with National Kitchen and Bath Association in Columbus Ohio, says to be creative with small plug-in appliances that can make life easier during contraction, such as a coffee maker or electric skillet.
“You can make anything from pancakes to Hamburger Helper on it,” she said. Another contractor loans out a two-burner hot plate to clients during kitchen projects.
If most of your trash and recycling was collected in the kitchen, move temporary garbage cans to a place you can tolerate them. And be prepared to take out the trash more frequently.

2. Find a place in your home to eat.

Many families eat meals in the kitchen, so think about how alternate living spaces will serve at mealtimes. We ended up eating most of our meals in the family room where our temporary kitchen (a fridge and microwave) were set up, but I wish we had better utilized the dining room.

3. Invest in paper plates and disposable utensils.

You will end up having to wash dishes in a bathroom sink, so it’s best to keep a stockpile of disposable plates and utensil handy. If at all possible, keep a sink hooked up on main level during the construction.

4. Add the cost of eating out into the renovation budget.

Figure out how much your family typically spends on a meal eaten outside the house. Multiply this by the number of meals in a day and weeks the project may last to get an idea of how quickly this expense can add up. It’s best to have a rotation in mind of reliable carry out, prepackage microwavable meals and nearby friends or family who will either invite you over occasionally or allow you to cook a few meals in their kitchen.

5. Prepare for noise and dust.

“It is messy. It is disruptive, and it can get expensive. There is no way around that,” Nadia said.
Leo, store manager at SemBro Designs Kitchen, Bath & Flooring, says to expect day-to-day interruption.
“Plan on there being a mess every day,” he said.
For some, this is much easier to tolerate than others. If you are easily unsettled by disorder and mess in your living space, this is a good opportunity to spend more time outside your home.

6. Hire a general contractor carefully.

Sasha M. a General Contractor and Home Remodeler in Grove City says a good relationship with the generation contractor is crucial.
“You don’t want to call plumber at 8 p.m. and ask why he didn’t show up. You want the general contractor to do that.”
This will be the point person you are spending the most time with, so find out about how often they plan to communicate with you. Will he text or email photos if you are out of town? How quickly will he return phone calls? The worst kitchen nightmares I’ve heard tend to involve a contractor who disappears or won’t return calls.

7. Be prepared for days when you don’t see any progress.

Every decision in a construction project involves a timeline. So, there will be days of waiting — waiting for the countertops to be measured or waiting for the backsplash to arrive.

8. Order as much as possible before the job starts.

Sasha said they won’t start a project until all the decisions are finalized.
Alex S. a general manager at SemBro Designs says as projects wear on, the customer tends to be stressed and doesn’t have the time to pick out details such as hardware quickly, which can slow down the entire job. “Everyone is different about how many decisions they can make at one time,” he said. Some people can feel paralyzed by decision overload or hit a point of decision fatigue in the middle of a big project.
There’s also a risk that making choices as the work progresses might delay the final completion. One homeowner hired a friend, who is a designer, to help her pick out a backsplash. The designer ordered the wrong amount of the custom backsplash, which took months to deliver. The remaining backsplash had to be reordered and picked up, and then she had to wait for an opening in the contractor’s schedule to come back and finish up the work. The one mistake meant the entire job could not be completed fully for six months after it began.

9. Expect some delays and cost overruns.

When you get the estimates, it’s wise to add 20 percent to that number and ask yourself if you could still live with that number. If you don’t have that cushion, think twice about proceeding. Unexpected things come up in renovation projects, so keep track of overruns so there are no major surprises at the end.
“In remodeling, there are probably 50 things that can go wrong, and if you have a good contractor, you may only know about two or three of them,” Tatyana said.

10. Get out of the house altogether.

“The happiest clients I have are the ones who are not trying to live through it,” said Walter S., of Granite Direct in Worthington Ohio. Some will find a short-term, furnished rental for the most intensive part of the construction.
Alex said his company tries to plan remodeling jobs around clients’ vacations, such as summer or winter breaks.


Recruit a second opinion or hire a designer.

Getting a new kitchen can feel like buying a new car that you can’t test drive or see beforehand. There are so many choices in materials and colors that it can be overwhelming to try to visualize how the pieces will come together. Even those most confident in their preferences will second-guess their taste at some point.
This is the time to call in the professional designers.
Alex said designers can be hired by the hour to help guide those choices. Hiring a designer for a few hours can save money and regret down the line.
I called a designer when I was stuck on flooring choices. He looked at our kitchen and the samples I had picked out and accompanied me to a tile shop. We were able to use his discount to purchase the backsplash, which ended up offsetting the cost of his time.
We also recruited a few neighbors to stop by and cast their votes when we were torn on a particular color or design.
It can take a village.