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...

The Latest Trends In Bathroom Cabinetry

Believe it or not, your bathroom cabinets are the key to the room’s overall appearance. Just be careful not to let appearance distract you from the ultimate goal of safety and storage. Fortunately today’s cabinets are masters of organization. They include improvements like built-in drawer dividers, cosmetic trays and appliance garages. From hand cream to hair dryers and electric toothbrushes, the goal is to keep everyday items within easy reach and electronic items dry. For bathrooms with enough room, you have options like linen towers and closet-like spaces to hang clothes so they’re ready to put on right after the shower. And under-cabinet lighting is for more than just kitchens. Cabinets with light rails and other forms of built-in illumination keep countertop and floor surfaces evenly lit. This is especially important as bathrooms usually have more wet surfaces than any other room. When it comes to appearance, another trend is cabinetry with a more furniture-like look. This uses more and smaller pieces with bun feet and raised panels. Generally made of wood, the most popular options are dark cherry and walnut. If you opt for painted surfaces - white, ebony and gray are the most popular as they go with virtually all bathroom styles. White makes the space appear larger but if you prefer ebony, consider using a light color or even white countertop. Another new practice is to match the cabinetry in the bathroom with that of the rest of the house to create consistency. Cabinets transform bathrooms from ordinary to relaxing retreats. With good organization and efficient lighting, they save time and keep you safe. Most of...

How Kitchen Islands Are Shaping The Future Of Kitchens

More than just expanding cabinet storage and countertop surfaces, kitchen islands have evolved into a gathering spot where family and guests hang around. Island design and comfort now draws cooks and visitors together to increase functionality, aesthetics and socialization. Along with food preparation and meals, kitchens are more open. Kids do homework and adults take care of paperwork. Additional activities like these promote family time as meals are prepared. For those whose children have moved away from home, this time goes to enjoying a glass of wine with guests before dinner gets to the table. And dinner is more likely to stay at the island with more comfortable seating. Still used for storage and counter space, islands also accommodate appliances like stoves with downward vents. And don’t forget about sinks where approximately 90% of the time is spent. The convenience of doing multiple tasks in one place shortens steps and work time. The ability to socialize more makes everything feel easier. Universal Design further expands function with varying countertop heights. This enables anyone at any height, especially children, to participate in food preparation and other activities without having to climb stools or reach overhead. Incorporating different materials from the rest of the kitchen adds even more appeal. One way is to use fabrics for surrounding stools and chairs. Fabrics contrast well with hard surfaces to soften the overall look. As a result, islands stand out as design objects and look more like furniture that seamlessly blends into the living room. The future will see more variation in island shapes and heights. Seating room will be expanded and rather than...