How to Add Ambiance (And Safety) to Your Kitchen

Universal Design is an interior design that adapts homes to homeowners, not the other way around. The goal is to make the entire home safe and easy to use. When it comes to kitchens, here’s one design tip that adapts your kitchen to your needs plus transforms it into a dining area with ambiance. You’ll be amazed to see how one small addition to your cabinetry can make such a difference. When it comes to base cabinets, most manufacturers include an indentation to make room for your feet called the toe kick space. Typically 3 inches deep and about 3 1/2 inches high, this space allows people to stand closer to the countertop so they don’t have to lean forward. Standing closer puts less strain on the back, shoulders and arms and minimizes discomfort, posture issues and chronic pain. The addition of light to this space adds both safety and ambiance. Here’s how. First, it clearly defines the break from floor to cabinets.  Especially advantageous at night, you minimize the possibility of bumping into things. This definition also aids early morning and evening meal preparation. Another advantage is that lighting placed within the toe kick can’t cause a glare. One goal of Universal Design is to balance lighting. It doesn’t matter if you have 20/20 vision, wear glasses or have a family member with sight issues; too much light is just as dangerous as too little. Foot level lighting balances overhead lighting and the combination eliminates shadows. Finally, toe kick lighting sets the ambiance of a kitchen. The soft glow creates an atmosphere that makes your meal more relaxed…...

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...