Kitchen island by Ayr Custom Cabinetry in kitchen addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Kitchen Islands

This week’s KBtribechat was focused on kitchen islands.  We at Martin Brothers’ consider the island one of the most integral parts of the kitchen. The kitchen island serves as a prep space, a cooking area, storage space, a social hub and may even strategically separate or connect other spaces. We have been super busy with new project starts, and have been unable to participate in chats recently, so we thought we would take a few minutes to answer the questions posed this week by KBtribechat.

  1. What materials, finishes and details are currently popular for kitchen island cabinetry and hardware? Painted wood cabinetry and islands of a contrasting color are the most popular choice. Our client’s tend to upgrade on the countertop selection for the island whether that be natural stone or hardwood. Decorative hardware tends to be high-end and very stylized.Kitchen island in home addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
  2. Do you like to match the kitchen island to the perimeter? Why or why not? We do not influence the selection of cabinetry since we are strictly a custom home builder/remodeler. This is left to the client and the client’s designer and/or custom cabinet supplier.The selection of the island cabinetry depends on the look and feel the client is wanting to achieve. We would say that contrasting islands are more the norm.Kitchen island in addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen
  3. Are waterfall counters still popular?  What is trending for island countertop materials and edge details? Our client’s tend to be more traditional, so we have not seen waterfall countertops in our homes/remodel projects. Natural stone tops with a honed finish are very popular with our clients. Quartz is definitely a popular choice as well. The sky is the limit as far as edge detail. Everything from inset tile to corbels on the edge.Kitchen island by Ayr Custom Cabinetry; kitchen remodel by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
  4. Island countertops with an overhang for seating are popular. What design solutions do you like to add style to the eating bar side of an island?  Decorative door panels, furniture styling, corbels and hidden storage underneath the seating area. Kitchen island in kitchen remodeled by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
  5. What are the pros and cons on designing in a sink and dishwasher or cook top on the island? Pros are obvious: extra sink; extra storage; duplicate appliances or freeing up of perimeter cabinets for storage; extra serving space; ability to prep food while visiting with family and friends. Con it takes up valuable prep space if the island is small; cook tops too close to seating can be a danger to small children. Providing plumbing and electrical to a kitchen island in a new home is a breeze. However, if you are remodeling, and never had a sink or appliances in your island, there will be added cost to provide utilities to the island. Depending on the size of the island/kitchen the client may want to use it strictly for prep space.Kitchen island by Bremtown Cabinetry; kitchen remodel by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
  6. What features are nice to have or useful on a kitchen island? Share pictures! Specialty sinks, specialty storage, built-in appliances, deep drawers, seating, shelves.
    Mixer stand; kitchen island in kitchen remodeled by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
    Roll-out storage; kitchen remodel by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
    Kitchen island in home remodeled by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
    Kitchen island in home addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

If you are in the Michiana area and in need of a kitchen remodel, please contact Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. at 574-862-2142.

Great room addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

Secluded Beauty

This 470 sq. ft. great room addition opened up the home to a view of a beautiful wooded glen. The addition allowed for a storage garage below, yet preserved the exit to the lower level patio. The old deck was removed and a modern stamped concrete patio with octagon shaped gas fire pit were built for family entertainment. Included in the patio update was a new brick gas grill cooking area with a granite top.

To view more of the before and after photos, please visit The Great Room Addition on our Facebook page.


Great room addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

New patio area; addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

New grill cooking area with granite cooktop

Interior of great room addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

To view more of the before and after photos, please visit The Great Room Addition on our Facebook page.

With every remodeling project we complete, Martin Brothers considers it a privilege to work closely with our homeowners. We understand that a remodeling project is sometimes a stressful venture and we strive to provide our clients with a stress-free experience. We have a top-notch project management team in place to oversee the activity of a project and trained carpenters provide the attention to detail needed to turn every vision into reality. From design to completion of a project, we are committed to providing our clients with a personalized, five-star experience. We invite you call us at 574-862-2142 or 877-862-2142 to discuss the Martin Brothers difference.


Amenity Packed Kitchen

It’s Martin Brothers’ Monday & we bring you the transitional kitchen in the  1,568 sq. ft. addition to the Italianate home along the St. Joseph River.  The painted, birch, full-overlay, custom kitchen by Ayr Custom Cabinetry  features luxury appliances, dolomite tops and backsplash, luxury lighting, wet bar, walk-in pantry and built-in storage upgrades. Red oak hardwood floors were installed by Hoosier Hardwood Floors. Super white dolomite tops and backsplash by Z Stone Creations.






Architectural design by Helman Sechrist Architecture; interior design by Jill Henner; general contracting by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.; photography by Marie Kinney.

To see additional photos of this project, please visit our Facebook page.

St. Joe River Addition

Today we are featuring a 1,568 sq. ft. addition and renovation of  an Italianate home tucked into a beautiful park-like setting along the St. Joseph River.  Addition included a new 235 sq. ft. pool house, outdoor dining area, outdoor grilling area, porch, renovation of the garage and extensive hardscaping on the exterior. Interior addition included new kitchen, powder room, laundry, great room, master suite, fitness room, child’s bath, study, sitting room, renovated powder room, renovated dining room, and renovated foyer entry.

Today (9/12/16) we are sharing exterior photography. We will share interior photos at a later date.

Architectural design by Helman Sechrist Architecture; interior design by Jill Henner; general contracting by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.; photography by Marie ‘Martin’ Kinney

To see more photos of this project, please visit our Facebook page.



Riverfront view before the addition
Riverfront view after the addiiton
New poolhouse
New pool and patio
Renovated front entrance



Jobsite fire extinguishers used by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

Fire Extinguishers In Your Home

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. had our fire extinguishers inspected this week by Koorsen. We keep a fire extinguisher in all Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. owned vehicles, on our jobsites and of course in all of the Martin Brothers buildings.  Fire safety is an important part of our safety program. Keeping our jobsites safe is a priority. Well run, safe jobsites are important factor to consider, when determining which builder to hire for your project.

Today we would like to share with you an article written by Kidde, about choosing a fire extinguisher for your home. We thought it was a timely article, since we had our commercial fire extinguishers inspected this week.

Choosing a Fire Extinguisher for Your Home

At home, place the power to put out small fires in your hands and within your reach. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), someone in the United States dies in a house fire every three hours, averaging approximately 3,000 deaths each year. Arm yourself with the right equipment to help prevent a small self-contained fire from spreading out of control.

Kidde is world-renowned for our expertise in manufacturing reliable, high-quality fire safety products, including fire extinguishers. In fact, with a history spanning nearly 100 years, we’ve been making them for longer than any other company. Here we’ll give you some tips on how to choose them – and how to use them.

Choosing a fire extinguisher

Below are minimum recommendations for the home from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Step 1: Choose primary extinguishers for your home. These include solutions for your living area and garage or workshop, and they’re pieces of equipment that you absolutely must have according to the NFPA.
  • Living area – For your main home protection, install a 2-A: 10-B: C rated living area unit on every level of your home. No more than 40 feet apart. Class A-B-C
  • Garage/Workshop – Due to volumes of flammable liquids in the garage, you should install a higher rated unit such as the 3-A: 40B-C Garage/Workshop unit. Class A-B-C
  • Step 2: Choose supplementary extinguishers for your kitchen and areas with a higher likelihood of electrical equipment fires. These are not required, but are highly recommended.
  • Kitchen – The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire. Protect your home with a 711A extinguisher in the kitchen area.
  • Electrical – Ideal for tackling fires involving energized electrical equipment with a rating of 1-A: 10-B:C. Class B-C

(Rule of thumb is that you should have a fire extinguisher for every 2,500 square feet, Martin Brothers recommends that a home of over 10,000 sq. ft. be equipped with a fire suppression system.)

How to use fire extinguishers

Stand 5 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step PASS procedure recommended by the National Fire Protection Association:

  • P – Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
  • A – Aim low at the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to discharge the extinguishing agent. (When the agent first hits the fire, the fire may briefly flare up. This should be expected.
  • S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire.

When to use fire extinguishers

It’s important to remember that fire extinguishers are only one element of a complete fire survival plan. Only use your extinguisher after making sure:

  • All residents of the home have been evacuated to safety
  • The fire department has been notified (call 911)
  • There is a clear exit behind the person using the extinguisher

Use your extinguisher only to keep a small self-contained fire from growing, only when the room is not filled with smoke, or to create a safe pathway out of the home. Be sure to read the instructions and become familiar with your fire extinguisher’s parts and operation before a fire breaks out.

Continue reading “Fire Extinguishers In Your Home”

Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Your Bathroom Vanity

An exceptional vanity design requires careful planning and attention to detail. There are plenty of decisions to be made, from the layout and style to the types of sinks and countertops. This six-step process gives you a game plan to follow as you’re designing your new vanity space. Read the entire article by Sam Ferris, Houzz Contributor, below.

1. Determine the Bath Layout.

blue cabinets

2. Determine the Number of Sinks.


3. Choose the Vanity Style.


4. Find the Right Countertop.

Bath in remodeled home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

5. Determine the Type of Sink


6. Select the Fixtures. Select your cabinet hardware, faucets, lighting and mirror.


For your bath remodel or to talk to someone about building an upscale custom home, call 574-862-2142 or visit our website at


Best Home Builder of Elkhart County 2016

Best of Elkhart County-2016

The Elkhart Truth announced today that Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. has been selected the BEST HOME BUILDER and FAVORITE HOME REMODELER/DECORATOR. We wish to thank all those that took the time to vote for The Best of Elkhart County! We appreciate the support our clients, friends and family have shown us. Our success is not possible without your support. Thank you so much!

Best of Houzz 2016

Custom home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN


Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana

Awarded Best of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

BOH_Service_cmyk_cropmarksGoshen, Indiana February 4, 2016 – Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana has won “Best of Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 51 year old custom home builder and remodeler was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Martin Brothers is excited to have won Best of Houzz four years in a row. Not only are we proud to showcase our projects on Houzz, we find that the articles on the Houzz site are a great tool for helping educate our followers about the building and remodeling process.”

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., voted one of our “Best of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

To Follow Martin Bros. Contracting on Houzz

About Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana, is known throughout Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan for offering outstanding quality and service. Our award-winning custom built homes are built by the finest carpenters in Michiana using quality products and time-honored building practices.

 About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

4 Amazing Kitchen Banquettes

BanquetteBanquette seating in a kitchen saves space, brings pattern and color to the room through upholstery and creates a cozy spot for meals. But it’s important to consider the functional aspects.

The Booth. This cozy little booth, with it’s amazing view, is a charming spot for meals. It can accommodate four diners, possibly five if you pull up a tall chair. This is the best style of banquette to use if space is at a premium.

Multi-Function Banquettes

BanquetteThe banquette in this pool house has multiple uses. The long table not only provides seating for many diners, but the  bench along the wall extends beyond the table to provide additional seating for entertaining. The table and bench may be moved to another spot in the pool house and the upholstered bench may be used as a sofa. In addition, since there are two portable benches, the table may be moved outside to provide picnic type seating.

BanquetteThe Corner. This corner arrangement makes good use of the space in this lake home. It is a functional shape for eight diners —four on the banquette — with the possibility of one more squeezed in. The custom banquette with it’s industrial styling is a modern take on the corner booth.

BanquetteCurved. This rounded banquette is a great way to accommodate a lot of diners in a smaller space; there is no wasted corner. Notice it’s wood seat, while not as comfortable as an upholstered seat, is very easy to maintain and easy to slide along. This might be a great option if you have children.

Looking for design ideas for your kitchen? Call Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., at 877-862-2142.

The Simple Transitional Kitchen

Today we are going to discuss a trend we have seen emerging for quite some time…the transitional-style kitchen. The NKBA states that the transitional-style kitchen has taken over as the most popular style of kitchen in American homes.

full kitchen-wpYou may ask, what is a transitional-style kitchen? It’s a kitchen filled with the warmth and feel of traditional design but with the clean and simple lines of contemporary. Think of a transitional kitchen as the middle ground between traditional and contemporary, a blending of old with the new. Because transitional style kitchens offer a great deal of flexibility, they’re a great choice for homeowners who don’t want to confine themselves to a single style or wish to be bit more creative.

Cabinetry. Cabinets in a transitional kitchen have a simplified profile that fall just short of modern. The cabinets are most often made of wood and have simple paneled doors and sleek hardware. To add flair, think about using a chalkboard panel on a refrigerator door or glass panels on a few doors.

Natural Materials. Granite, marble, limestone, concrete, soapstone and other natural countertop and flooring materials are versatile enough to fit into either traditional or contemporary style. So they are perfect materials to use in a transitional kitchen. Elaborate edge profiles are reserved for traditional kitchens, so stick with something simple.

Backsplash-wpBacksplashes. Think about using traditional tile in a very untraditional way (such as stacking the tile) for a backsplash. Simple is key, so other materials may be used such as chalkboard, stainless steel or natural stone.

Monochromatic Colors. Transitional rooms rarely have strong color palettes. Some designers suggest that you stick with black or white. You may, however, choose any neutral color and layer it for a clean and monochromatic, yet warm effect. A dash of bold color here and there isn’t forbidden, but should be kept to a minimum.

Embellishment-wpEmbellishments. Part of what separates transitional kitchens from contemporary is that they allow for just a hint of decorative embellishment. Millwork, corbels, windows and furnishings are there to add flair. Choose wisely, too much will cross over to a more traditional style.

Using Man-Made Materials. Mixing organic and man-made materials is a cornerstone of transitional design. Consider installing a stainless-steel farmhouse sink that has a contemporary finish or a stainless-steel and glass range hood.

The key to a transitional kitchen is to think simplicity with a little bit of spark.

Looking for more examples of transitional kitchens? Visit Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. on our website or Houzz to see our kitchens! Want to know all the details about this kitchen visit the Stylish Kitchen Remodel.