Build a Smart Kitchen

The kitchen is often called the “heart of the home” but it can also be the brains. A smart kitchen features devices that are connected via Internet technology, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They can be controlled remotely with a mobile app or a voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa. Smart products make cooking more fun, easy, precise and safe. You don’t need a total renovation to create a smart kitchen. Consider a refrigerator that streams music and video, features a touchscreen, adds to a shopping list with voice commands, and has cameras to see inside. A smart dishwasher can be controlled remotely. A touch faucet can pour specific amounts and warm up water with voice commands.  A smart stove connected by Wi-Fi to a mobile app can send get alerts when burners are left on. You can even remotely operate your stove - preheating the oven before you arrive home or shutting it off when cooking is complete. Cabinets play a major role in smart kitchens. Custom cabinets must be designed to work with tech gadgets for maximum efficiency. Having a lot of electrical outlets and a few USB ports right where you need them can make all the difference so they can be installed directly into cabinetry. A beverage station provides extra storage for water, wine, and juice items while keeping your fridge free for more important tasks. A microwave with a recessed control panel built into the kitchen island can make quick snacks accessible for the whole family. A heavy-duty lift that turns a shelf into extra countertop space can be great for infrequently used smaller smart appliances like...

Guide to a Timeless Kitchen

It’s not as easy to switch styles after a kitchen renovation as it is to donate an out-of-fashion jacket to charity. Decorating fads come and go, but consider kitchen elements proven to stand the test of time. Painted cabinetry has been popular for several years and isn’t going away anytime soon. While the appeal of kitchen cabinets painted grey or blue is definitely strong, for longevity, white is the winner. White cabinets go with any design style and appeal to a wide variety of home buyers at resale. Complete the look with white appliances which are easier to keep clean than stainless. Glass front cabinets are a staple in traditional kitchens but have been appearing in transitional or modern kitchens too. They are great for displaying interesting serving pieces, decorative accessories and heirlooms. Glass front cabinets usually line the uppers, which makes the kitchen look more open, but a few closed cabinets are more functional to hide everyday items. LED lighting can be creatively installed along toe kicks as nightlights, on the inside of cabinet doors to show off china, and concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light. LEDs are energy efficient and emit virtually no heat so you can keep them on forever without burning cabinets or walls. Quartz countertops require less upkeep than granite or marble and offer lasting appeal. Plus the shimmering surface is less dominant than other materials so you’re unlikely to tire of it. Ideas that used to be great but are on their way out include a microwave installed over the range and a hanging pot rack.  An updated trend is...

Beautiful Bathroom Vanity Ideas

The bathroom vanity is where you primp and pamper yourself, or just wash your hands quickly. It can be massive or understated, modern or traditional, decorative or just plain practical. The bathroom vanity can be made up of one cabinet or several cabinets used to make a large vanity with plenty of storage options. When designing a bathroom vanity, you must first decide if you want one sink or two. If it is a small space, a single sink is all that can usually fit. However, you can incorporate an eye-catching vessel sink and a wall-mounted faucet to inject some style into a small unit. For dual sink areas, consider separating them with a tall storage tower to make a clean, clutter-free space. Create a rustic bathroom with rough wood cabinetry filled with natural knots in neutral colors. Substitute baskets on open shelving for drawers. A contemporary, ultra-trendy idea is the asymmetrical half floating vanity which attracts attention and features open plumbing. Floating vanities, in general, always give the illusion of a larger room and contribute to a minimalist vibe. Feel like royalty with mirrored cabinetry, a marble countertop, graceful carved legs under the vanity or ornate gold hardware. Consider a retro 60s vanity by adding a splash of bold color on the drawers or using sleek plastic laminate cabinetry with no hardware. Vanities don’t even have to be near a wall anymore either.  They can be an island near a free-standing tub or used to create a separate dressing space anywhere in the bathroom. Mixing styles is also a hot concept. Old materials, such as a weathered wooden...