Color your kitchen safe (and beautiful)!

Back in January, you read about the Great White Kitchen and how white stands the test of time. Whether you opt for white or choose another color, the fact is - color not only enhances the beauty of your kitchen…it makes it safer to use. Here’s why. The percentage of our population with eyesight challenges is probably much higher than most of us realize. Think about this - you don’t have to be blind or have cataracts to be sight challenged. Anyone with glasses, contacts…even corrective procedures like Lasik can leave you with less than perfect vision. This is where color comes in. Color creates contrast. Done properly, color separates objects which help you move around your kitchen with ease.  Last month we talked about how lighting adds ambiance along with safety. The same principle applies to color. It distinguishes where floors end and walls begin. It outlines doors and delineates how far cabinets stand out. Good color blocking minimizes the potential to bump into objects when you’re in a hurry to get food on the table! Whether you have perfect vision or even minimal vision correction, paying attention to the nuances of color makes time in the kitchen more enjoyable for everyone who uses it. If you’re not sure how to use white (or whatever color you choose), consider a color consultation with a professional designer.  You’ll be amazed at how any color used wisely brings out the best in your...

Laundry Room Ideas That Aren’t “All Wet”

The laundry room is often small and supposed to be entirely functional, but doing laundry doesn’t have to feel like a chore in a beautiful, organized space. Laundry rooms are now an extension of a home’s living area, so they often have windows, furniture, and pendant lighting to make them more appealing. Cabinetry is more thoughtful as well. Laundry sinks differ from other sinks due to their wide, deep basins that are perfect for hand-washing delicate clothing, bathing small pets, and cleaning large household tools. Around them, it’s best to have a combination of closed cabinets and open shelving… and maybe a few long bars for hanging wet items. Open shelving over the sink, with or without trendy storage baskets, are great for easy access to soaps, disinfectants, sponges, and containers. Closed overhead cabinets work well for keeping cleaning agents out of the reach of children. Long storage cabinets near the room’s corner can hold brooms, vacuums, and an ironing board. Open shelving underneath the sink can accommodate laundry baskets and buckets. Some laundry rooms also have built-in pet stations with a low pull out drawer for food and water bowls, higher cabinets for pet food storage, and shelving for pet toys (A countertop can even be extended to make room for a cozy pet bed or crate underneath). For all cabinetry, choose simple, functional hardware. Whether you prefer cups, knobs, or handles- larger, easy-to-grasp hardware makes tasks faster when your hands are wet or soapy. Any style of cabinetry can work well in the laundry room and be sure to consider bold colors for a fresh look. Cornerstone...

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…...