When You’re Ready To Remodel – Think Universal Design

Although not a new concept, Universal Design has been slow to go main stream. But that’s changing for two reasons. First is our aging population – often referred to as the “Silver Tsunami.” Second is the acknowledgement of residents who don’t fit the profile of the “average guy.” Traditionally homes were, and still are, designed for a 5’ 10” tall male between the ages of 20 and 40. This profile eliminates the overwhelming majority of home residents and forces people to adapt to these specs. These days, our aging population is pressing for homes that adapt to their needs. A recent edition of the AARP magazine features the Property Brothers. The article includes a cartoon section where the brothers explain the benefits of Universal Design to their parents. They point out features like sensor-style touch faucets, raised dishwashers and organized storage in cabinets and drawers.  And Universal Design is not just for aging.  The same advantages apply to all ages. Think about a child working on a coloring book or other project at the kitchen island.  Do you want them perched on a bar stool where their feet can’t reach the floor? Some countertop heights can be lower to keep them grounded. It’s not only safer for everyone, it encourages family interaction. People mistake Universal Design as a concept that applies only to older people and those with special needs and think of it as institutional. Not true. Done right, safety features can be seamlessly incorporated into the décor and create beautiful, updated rooms. Whether you desire to Age-in-Place, make your home safer or simply update your look; talk...

How to Draw More Natural Light Into Your Kitchen

When it comes to making a room cheerful, nothing lightens the mood better than sunshine. Happily in Arizona we have lots of it and one way to get your share is to install floor to ceiling cabinets. If you find that surprising, you’re not alone - yet it could be the change you’re looking for. Depending on where they’re placed, not only do they add light, they make kitchens more efficient and can create a unique style. Here’s how. When it comes to storage, floor to ceiling cabinets supply the most space by concentrating storage along one wall. As a result, overhead cabinets placed along exterior walls can be eliminated - giving you the option to add more windows. It’s even possible to place floor to ceiling cabinets on walls with windows, but, you need to plan carefully. Either leave enough of a gap beside the window so you don’t lose light you already have, or add a corner shelf to transition from cabinet to window without wasting space. And there’s no reason why you can’t have some fun with function and style. Vary shelf widths and heights to accommodate anything from canned goods to brooms and mops. Incorporate appliances such as wall ovens and microwaves at heights that suit your needs. Or make room for a niche to prepare drinks and quick meals away from the main food preparation area. This allows multiple cooks to work in the kitchen without bumping into each other.  For style, cut out some of the middle cabinets to create a space partially filled with open shelves or wine glass racks. Now you...

The Future Of Kitchens – Will They Be Open Or Closed?

We know some things in kitchens never change. Appliances may be sleeker, materials improved and color palettes may be broader. But let’s face it, the kitchen continues to be the heart of the home where most of the hard work takes place. Probably the biggest change we’ve seen over the years is to open the kitchen up to the rest of the house. And for good reason… After all, who wants to be isolated from company or the rest of the family while preparing food? Now the question is whether or not open kitchens are here to stay. According to Sam Cochran of Architectural Digest, “Kitchens will continue to be the gathering spaces, with dining nooks and multipurpose work surfaces where you can both roll your dough or type on your laptop. But it’s no longer a universal truth that a dream kitchen must be an open kitchen. “ In fact, many high-end homeowners are adding a second kitchen to serve as a working kitchen. It’s especially popular with those who entertain a lot. Second kitchens or “backstage workhorse kitchens” allow the “social” kitchen to serve as the gathering space.  This way the kitchen continues to be the place to hang out without getting in the way of food preparation. For those who have the space, two kitchens provide room for unhindered food preparation while maintaining the social kitchen we’ve come to...

The Smart Kitchen Trend – What Will Your Dream Look Like?

With the trend in adding a “work” kitchen to the “social” kitchen, let’s look at where kitchen appearance and function is headed. Last February, the Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas showcased a plethora of new views. Many kitchen designers now incorporate fashion-forward features like glass fronts and LED lights on refrigerators. Appliances and cabinetry have chic leather and metal hardware. Back-splashes now feature unusual finishes like shagreen, metal, raw wood and artful murals. Tech is also the buzz and smart kitchens are definitely going digital. Currently Smart-touch faucets turn on and off with just a tap. Refrigerators feature integrated cameras that allow people to check their groceries from both inside and outside the home. Induction cook tops save energy with technology that changes heat settings instantaneously. Now think of dishwashers responding to voice commands and appliances that could communicate with each other to create shopping lists, meal recommendations and cooking instructions. Not only futuristic, these features dovetail with the trend towards Universal Design – the approach that makes living at home easier for everyone at every age. This is why experts believe innovations for the sake of technology alone will be weeded out. They see the market moving towards technology that not only looks sexy, but improves kitchen function and ease of food...

Cabinetry Throughout Your Home

Custom cabinets are not just for kitchens anymore! They can provide a polished look and efficient storage in any room.  You can choose to keep the cabinetry consistent with the kitchen or mix complementary styles in each space.  Since open floor plans are on trend, dining rooms are often an extension of the kitchen. Use cabinets with glass panels in the dining room to display fine china and collectibles. Create a buffet by joining several cabinets together or use frameless cabinets for a floating buffet. Matching cabinetry to your dining room set adds a refined touch.  Consider installing a wet bar in your living area for entertaining. A mix of open shelving and cabinetry is best. Large cabinets can store anything from ice buckets to beer kegs, and glass racks keep all types of glassware handy. Cabinet doors can be used to cover the wine cooler and microwave for a flawless profile. Cabinets can help control the clutter in your home office, too. Add a custom bookshelf or build in a desk to finish the space. The playroom is another space that can benefit from the neat appearance of built-in cabinets. Floor to ceiling cabinets are not only stylish, but are best for optimizing wall space. Adding drawers, shelving and baskets make for easy toy access and cleanup. Since adults keep their “toys” outside, similar cabinets can also keep supplies and tools neat and tidy in woodshops and garages. Old-fashioned entertainment hutches are bulky and often do not accommodate large screen TVs and updated electronics. Build a state-of-the-art entertainment center in your family room with custom cabinetry instead. Be...