March 27, 2012

Bathroom Accessories

Bathroom Accessories

We are always looking for elegant bathroom accessories.  A tissue box and wastebasket are standard accessories for most powder rooms and bathrooms.  Here is one that has caught our eye.  We found this like at Dallas Market a few years back and have been please with the quality and sophisticated look.

Baroque Silver

Here is where we used them.....

As you can see, these accessories are elegant and useful.   

March 19, 2012

The Kitchen is the Hearth

The kitchen is still the hearth and heart of the home.  It is the main room in the house in which all members of the household interact on a daily basis.  The kitchen is the place guests frequently gather to converse and watch the host(s) prepare food and drinks.  This is the room in which parents and children most often interact one to three times a day.

Today the kitchen is an even more important design element in the home then ever before.  Therefore, the cabinets have become more sophisticated, the lights more flexible and the finishes more interesting.  The appliance options are numerous and perform most any function desired in the kitchen.  In construction costs, more money is spent per square foot in the kitchen than in any other spaces in the house. 

With the kitchen open to the great room (family room) we frequently design a secondary kitchen.  This can be anything from a sink, refrigerator and oven in the utility area, to a separate kitchen space with all of the major appliances.  This secondary kitchen is sometimes called “the dirty kitchen”.  This second kitchen is perfect for formal entertaining as well as for catering and for cooking the turkey or standing rib roast for the holidays.  Also, when cooking foods that have a strong odor such as shellfish or curries, this dirty kitchen is the perfect solution for keeping these odors out of the rest of the house.  To insure venting these odors to the outdoors, I specify motors with 1500 CFM, as well as, I specify that this space have an air supply and return independent of the surrounding areas. 

Lighting is one of the most important elements of the kitchen design.  In order for today’s kitchen to satisfy all of the functions performed in this space, a layering of light is needed.  General and ambient lighting is needed for back dropping the task and accent lighting.  A lighting system, which is set at different levels for different occasions, makes lighting infallible for those persons who do not understand the importance of lighting.  Task lighting for food preparation needs to be included in the lighting design and for counter top lighting I recommend zenon fixtures.  Accent lighting can be used on artwork, and collections, lighting above cabinets adds interest, lights under toe kicks and bar tops can highlight finished materials, and cabinet lighting can be used for displays of pottery, crystal, etc.  Lighting can add drama, excitement, and interest to the overall kitchen design. 

With the selection of the finishes the personality and design style of the kitchen are developed!  I frequently select the countertop first since the color can influence the selection of the cabinet finish, as well as, the natural countertop options are more limited in color.  Countertops come in many colors and materials; they can be made of one material or a combination of materials.  Some of the granites available today have a lot of color and movement---many look like an artist’s painting.  With the selection of the counter top, the color and finish of the cabinets can be selected which will complement the selected countertop material.  Next is the design of the backsplash, which can be a combination of the countertop material or a contrast in color, texture, and material to surface.  Other finish selections to be made are the glass style for glass cabinet doors, material for facing the island(s), ceiling treatments, hood material, room crown, trim, flooring material and design.   

Designing the ultimate kitchen involves developing a functional space plan, selecting the desired appliances and plumbing fixtures, integrating a flexible lighting system and specifying cabinet design and finishes---all of this to reflect the personalities of the owners.