Archive for August, 2017
4 Eco-Friendly Kitchen Updates
Are you looking to update your kitchen to a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly space? Look no further! Going green with your remodeling project means you’re trading up your current design for a healthier, energy-conserving, and ecologically responsible model. Here are a few ways to incorporate eco-friendly elements into your kitchen design.
Sure, we all want to reduce energy consumption and save on utility costs. Choosing Energy Star products is one surefire way to get energy-efficient models that both test and rate for efficiency. To have an Energy Star model, appliances must be 25% more efficient than the federal standards for energy consumption. Some states offer rebates for purchasing Energy Star appliances. The two price tags on every appliance are the purchase price and the operation cost. However, the results have a ripple effect where the consumer saves money on operating costs by reducing energy use without compromising the performance of the appliance. Two examples of this win-win situation:
- Replacing an old refrigerator with an updated Energy Star refrigerator could save you up to $260 in energy costs over the next 5 years.
- An Energy Star dishwasher will save you dollars and about 3870 gallons of water over its lifetime!
Green countertops come in a plethora of designs, but always share the core values of being an eco-friendly manufacturing process while maintaining sustainable content and high durability. A recycled paper countertop is made of 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper and petroleum-free resin and pigment. Nonetheless, the latter gives a soapstone look with a superior heat-resistant quality. Salvaged wood can add a historic flavor and character, making for a great island centerpiece. Butcher block can make great use of repurposed materials since it is composed of smaller bits of wood. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource, and it’s a very hard and strong wood. Thus, bamboo is an ideal choice for counter spaces.
Because of it’s one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, there is always a surplus of bamboo, thus, making this option ecologically friendly. This flooring is relatively easy to maintain because it’s water resistant and extremely durable. Cork flooring has unparalleled thermal and acoustical qualities. It is warm to the touch and cushiony to walk on. Thus, cork adds to that an earthy visual texture and the insulating qualities of carpet. It’s no wonder cork is becoming a go-to choice for eco-friendly flooring.
Green cabinetry used to be limited to modernized bamboo boxes. However, these days, there are a variety of eco-friendly cabinet options available. Sustainable kitchen cabinets feature formaldehyde-free glues and finishes with low volatile, organic compounds that give off low or no toxic fumes. Work closely with your designer to find a cabinet that offers sustainable manufacturing methods and that uses environmentally responsible products.
If you’re ready to make the switch to a healthier, energy conserving and eco-friendly space, JWH Design has the expertise and knowledge to help your kitchen live up to its true potential, adding value to your home and the environment.
5 Kitchen Layouts worth Considering for your new Kitchen
The kitchen is, without a doubt, the most used room in our homes. Over the years, this area has evolved from the utilitarian place made to whip up dinners into a warm, social hub where families congregate for fellowship. Kitchens come in all shapes in sizes, from the classic galley style, expanded U-shape, to the out-of-the-box modern curvaceous layouts.
The kitchen work triangle is used to determine the efficiency of a kitchen’s layout. The primary tasks in a kitchen are performed between the cooktop, the refrigerator, and the sink. When these three elements are in close proximity (but not too close and not too far!), the kitchen will perform optimally. Here are the five most popular layouts for today’s kitchen.
When short on space, this style is a cut above the rest. Two parallel counters make all work points easily accessible, while the narrow walking space provides cozier quarters. A sink on one side and a range on the other make for easy food preparation. A galley-style kitchen makes the best use of every square inch of space. If the walkway between the counters is tight (36”-48”), this becomes a challenge for more than 1 person to work in the space. On the contrary, if the space gets too wide (7’+), which is still too tight to add an island, there will be a lot of carrying across the middle. (A rolling cart can be the solution in this case.) 60”- 78” in the middle is the sweet spot for ample workspace and traffic flow.
An L-shaped layout takes advantage of 2 adjoining walls. Typically used in small to medium spaces, this design comes standard with a main wall of cabinets with the sink or range and a short grouping of cabinets in an L-type configuration. Incorporating an island is also an option for added storage and food preparation area, and keeping guests out of the work zone.
A U-shaped layout maximizes the cabinetry and countertops but utilizing all 3 walls. If the room is large enough to accommodate an island in the center, while maintaining 42”-48” walkways on all sides, this becomes a central landing spot between the major functions. A prep sink sometimes finds a practical home on this center island. Word of caution: if the major appliances end up on opposite sides of the room, the island can also become a walk-around obstacle!
A beefed-up version of the U-shaped layout, this design is best suited for those who want to maximize every square inch of the kitchen, but don’t have space for the clearance required around an island (mentioned above). The G-shaped floor plan ideally includes a peninsula to keep the space feeling open, and to keep guests/kids out of the work zone. This layout can feel cramped, especially if the cook ends up trapped, and the many cabinet corners in the layout can be difficult and expensive to accessorize for the best access.
Generally found in lofts or studio spaces, the one-wall kitchen, or “Pullman kitchen,” maximizes the efficiency of the main interior wall. Including an island with the main sink opposite is ideal, but often a narrow table might have to serve as a central landing, prep and serving point. This may also sound like a simple layout, but great design is needed to pull off the function, visual balance, and overall aesthetics of this one-wall kitchen.
Still not sure of the best layout for your new kitchen? Space planning by a professional is the first critical step. This is truly the passion and expertise of our JWH Team. Check out our new Before and After Photos to see the dramatic results of our “out-of-the-box” creative thinking. Then give us a call at 914-967-6020, and let’s explore the possibilities together!
Small Kitchen Updates With Maximum Impact
Do you love your kitchen, yet long for a more updated space? We understand why you want it to look its best! When a total kitchen reboot is not a possibility, a few of these modest updates are just enough to bring your kitchen to the next level.
It is easy to jump on the latest color trends without making an all-in commitment. A coat of paint on the walls, the inside of a glass cabinet, and even colorful accessories can keep your style looking current and fresh. A quick trip to HomeGoods could be just the pick-me-up your kitchen needs.
Update the Lighting
Lighting is always a focal point, whether intended or not. If the lighting in your kitchen is subpar or outdated, do something to change it! Replacing an overhead light fixture is much easier than you may think. Online sources are endless for a contemporary chandelier, colorful pendants, and even industrial-style track lighting. Size and scale are important, so it is important to verify these details before ordering. Fixtures cannot be returned after being installed, and even before installation, the return costs can be startling. But the addition of new lighting will add ambiance, warmth, and character to your kitchen—go for it!
Put a Rug on It
While the kitchen isn’t the first place you think to add a rug, that does not mean they don’t come with plenty of advantages. If your kitchen is predominantly neutral, a brightly patterned rug could be all you need to add a pop of color to an otherwise lackluster space. If you have a sleek and modern kitchen, adding a textured rug can add much-needed warmth and visual dimension. In front of the sink, an easily washable rug adds some cushion and catches water which protects both your feet and your floors. In other areas, a good vacuum should be enough to keep an area rug in shape. Houzz often has well-priced rugs with free shipping. It’s worth a try!
It’s all in the details. Swapping out something as seemingly insignificant as cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can create a huge impact. If your cabinets are adorned with ho-hum contractor grade pulls, now may be a great time to upgrade to something a little more modern and unique to your style. When replacing single knobs on doors, you may have the option of adding a second hole for a pull. If you are replacing pulls, it is important to measure the “center-to-center” distance of the screw heads on the back side. (Filling and re-drilling holes will take some of the fun out of this otherwise-quick upgrade.)
Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Nothing says “update” like a fresh, new paint job. Whether you’re sticking with the same color or trying out an out-of-the-box bright, painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to instantly transform your cooking space. A bay leaf green is great for most neutral spaces, while a cool, sea-breeze color brings the beach indoors. Paint an accent wall in an unexpected hue or use wallpaper with a bold print to add a spark to an otherwise neutral setup. Checking out the Pantone or Benjamin Moore Color of the Year could give you trendy inspiration. And the new ColorSnap app by Sherwin-Williams makes it fun to try out different color options without investing in the sample jars.
Cabinetry painting is a little trickier, and best left for the professionals to avoid a chipping mess. But if you have good quality wood cabinets, this is a route worth exploring for a total update to your kitchen.
Looking to take on a larger project? The JWH Design & Cabinetry Team comes armed with creative design expertise to improve layout, function, flow and long-term value of your kitchen remodel project. Designing with high-quality custom cabinetry, we can fully execute our creative “out-of-the-box” space planning, interior design and kitchen cabinetry solutions. Contact us today and find out how we can help you realize your kitchen remodeling dreams!
A Safe Home for the Visually Impaired
A common disability among seniors is failing vision. If you have a senior loved one coming to live with you, you may feel overwhelmed by all the upcoming changes. However, there is good news!
There are many simple accommodations that can be made to ensure that a person with a vision issue will be safe and comfortable in your home. Start with the small things and work your way up.
The first step is to sit down and work out what your loved one’s daily activities will be within the home. Take a look at each room carefully and identify things that might become tripping hazards. For example, a turned-up corner of a throw rug or the spindly leg of a chair. Think about lighting, organization, and how to find important items with ease.
The following enlighten some of the best ways to get started.
Don’t forget the exterior
When you think about making modifications to your home for a visual impairment, you might be thinking solely of the interior. However, the outside of your house may need some work, too. If there are steps, they need to be marked with reflectors or painted with a bright color for easy navigation. Your address should be easily visible from the street or brightly painted on the mailbox. Small, solar-powered lights should be added to walkways and around steps.
Check out your lighting
The lighting in your home should be functional as well as help provide safety. Add floor lamps, wall fixtures, and battery-operated lights to closets, dark hallways, stairways, and any other areas that don’t get much natural light. Keep windows open as much as possible or get sheer curtains to let in natural light. The latter is preferable for many individuals living with a vision impairment.
Think about flooring
While hardwood or laminate flooring is preferable for individuals with a disability, it may not be feasible for everyone. Nonetheless, carpeting should be in good shape, and throw rugs should be replaced or tacked down well to the floor. Rugs should never be placed near stairs.
In the bathroom
The bathroom is one of those places where the most accidents can occur. This is why it’s very important to make it as safe as possible. Grab bars should be installed in the shower, and non-slip mats should be placed in the bathtub and on the bathroom floor.
It’s also a good idea to paint the walls a contrasting color behind the sink and toilet to make them easier to see. Many bathrooms are equipped with white-on-white fixtures, so having a dark color behind them will help your loved one navigate more easily.
Each room in your home should be free of clutter, especially walkways and hallways. Push furniture back against the wall and refrain from keeping things on the floor unless absolutely necessary. Let your family know that they’ll need to be responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Leaving items on the floor or on the stairs is a huge NO-NO.
Author: Jackie Waters (Hyper-Tidy.com)