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Archive for April, 2018

Wood with Character: A Key to Kitchen Design

04-27-18

 

The Natural Look

Each piece of natural wood has its own distinct features—its own face—its own unique character. It’s no wonder that natural wood finishes have adopted their common reference: character wood.

People have been using natural wood in their homes since the dawn of civilization. It warms our insides, dazzles our eyes, and brings us closer to nature. To top it off, it acts as a powerful and sturdy building material that keeps our homes living on, well into the centuries.

There are dozens of character woods to chose from. However, with dozens of styles comes an infinitude of design possibilities. From the complexity of chestnut cabinets to the boldness of a knotty pine backsplash, character wood exceeds merely furniture and floors. A delicate French oak or a burly walnut makes for a great addition to any kitchen’s character!

The 4 Faces of Character Wood

There are four main different parts of a tree from where character wood derives. Each part of the tree provides its own customized aesthetic quality and accommodation in the designing process. However, if one looks deeper into the many waves and grains of character wood, one will dive into much more than just unique aesthetic value; they will delve into the natural wood’s unique story.

Burly 

The natural burl in pine.

Have you ever pondered at a tree and noticed eye-like features running up its rustic trunk? Those are called burls. They are extremely condensed knots that a tree exhibits after a period of stress; drought, a storm, or maybe the relocation of a domesticated tree.

Correlative to their dense strength, burls or “knots” can be difficult to work with. They are commonly incorporated into custom-crafted furniture or accessories.  The JWH Design & Cabinetry Team has taken on the challenge of building custom “knotty pine” cabinets in this wooded, lakefront home in upstate NY.  The right amount of warmth and durability make this an ideal material to add character to the kitchen and baths in this special vacation spot.

Crossroads

The point where a tree’s trunk splits into two—or more—directions is called the crotch of the tree. Crotch wood is a heartily brawn gorgeous display. It is challenging to incorporate this form of character wood into a kitchen design. The finger-like figures are reluctant to be manipulated in shape or size. The pure natural essence of crotch wood, however, is enough to make anyone want to take on the tedious task. character wood island top

Character wood coffee tables are frequently seen because they are smaller and easier to craft. Nonetheless, some designers take it a step further and incorporate these wood into hardworking surfaces like island tops. It doesn’t matter what shade the wood is, or what color scheme surrounds the space. One thing will be for certain: the natural beauty of a wood countertop is an astounding site, indeed!

Spalting Out Color 

Have you ever found yourself lost in a mesmerizing daze when peering into the dark black grooves flowing through a piece of character wood? This deep and vivid color comes from a process in the wood called spalting.

When a tree is alive, it is prone to becoming infested with fungi. This fungus transforms the color of the grain in the tree’s lumber. Sometimes transformations manifest as luminous streaks throughout the wood’s texture, while other times it blackens the grain to an exquisite char.  Each piece should be appreciated for its individuality.

Figure it to be Curly

Another form of character wood shines in the texture—especially cherry maple. When the texture of the wood proves to be inconsistent or has a curly figure character, many home design opportunities arise. The touch to the skin is one special part of the curly figure experience, but what catches the eye is the inconsistency of light. Since curly figure character wood has a bumpy, canyon-like surface—although slight in size—when one moves about the room, the light will shift and mutate in with the surface’s many grooves.

Character wood adds even more impact when repeated within the space.  The contrast of a lighter stone floor and limestone countertop keeps the room feeling light and inviting.

Character Wood the JWH Way

The JWH Design & Cabinetry Team loves incorporating character wood into cabinetry designs, decorative beams, countertops and even custom furniture.  Our Millshop in central PA has access to many species of reclaimed woods, often being rescued from local barns. Whether it be sleek countertops or a daringly rustic backsplash, we can customize any piece of wood to your specific liking.

Currently, our Millshop “Sample of the Month” is a breathtaking character chestnut that will compliment any room’s setting. Kitchens, libraries, even bedroom cabinetry takes on a whole new look when incorporating character wood. If you can quite imagine your spaces looking so great, check out these fabulous spaces from House Beautiful.

Kitchen Remodel Trade-Offs: What Best Serves You & the Ones You Love?

04-04-18

Sub Zero Gallery

Inspired kitchen design ideas featured at Sub Zero/Wolf  Matthew Quinn

 

What’s Your Ideal Kitchen Experience?

Remodeling your kitchen may seem like an intimidating journey. However, like the beginning of accomplishing any great feat, you must take it step by step. Before you delve into such a project, consider the aesthetic facets and the functions of your kitchen that mean most to you. This is when some good old fashion reflection comes into play.

What in particular did you love about your old kitchen? How often do you host parties? Or cook dinner? Do you require more counter space or storage space? In shorter words, how do you use your kitchen the most? These many queries may begin to overwhelm, but there is an easy way to restore order to such wild running considerations.

Grab a piece of paper and jot down some kitchen features that prove to be of great importance to you. It may be what utensils you use most, or where you would like pots and pans to reside. Maybe it’s space for group cooking or sanctuary for a secluded haven. Take into regard important features that you absolutely need to encounter your version of the best kitchen experience. Each and every time you step foot into your kitchen should exceed pleasant encounter. In fact, it should exceed amazing!

Now that your thoughts have found order, it’s time to take the next step to solidify that kitchen dream into tangibility. These kitchen remodel trade-offs to consider are just what you will need to get the job done.

What’s Your Every Day Activity to Special Gathering Ratio?

Before entering a kitchen remodel, you must take a moment to consider how often you host guests. Is it just you and your husband 364 days a year, while merely one day is dedicated to hosting friends or family? If so, constructing a gargantuan kitchen may not be wise. Maybe considering an efficient, well-oiled kitchen-machine is the path to take. A kitchen that isn’t over the top for everyday use, but is ready for battle when that special occasion presents large numbers.

However, if you are known to host several or more annual gatherings—perhaps weekly or monthly—then focusing on a heavy-duty, multi-functional, large kitchen will be a significant kitchen remodel trade-off to consider.

JWH kitchen cabinet project

This JWH Renovation maximizes the flow and function of the Kitchen and Dining Room for their active family.

Sit Down With Your Future for a Chat

Have you ever sat down with your future for a chat? Well, if a kitchen remodel is on your mind, now is the time to do so. Although our future is overall unpredictable, having a conversation with our future paints a pretty solid picture of what to expect.

Are the kids taking off their diapers, or are they putting on their graduation gown? Is this kitchen going to be your last? Or in other words, is this culinary space going to be the kitchen of your forever home? How many people will your kitchen be serving twenty-years from now? Taking into account these future scenarios will greatly be involved in the kitchen remodeling process. Maintaining a delicate balance of appropriate space and efficient functionality that stands the test of time is key.

What is Financially Viable?

When exploring kitchen remodel trade-offs, another large aspect that needs to cross the mind is financial efficiency. Make sure you keep in thought what is going to benefit your kitchen experience and your property value. Two basic questions can achieve a solution to this predicament:

-Is this feature going to save me time, thus, money?

-Is this feature going to advocate a property value increase?

Take some time to monitor your kitchen activity. Does a large family induce large amounts of dishes every night, concluding in hours of you scrubbing plates and pans? If so, investing in an eco-friendly dishwasher may be a good route to go. Such an investment will not only free up your time, but it will increase the value of your home.

Energy Star for Eco Friendly

Add an eco-friendly dishwasher (and rebates).  Just look for the Energy Star label!

Show or Go?

Although in a perfect world the dream kitchen offers exquisite form and innovative function. However, a perfect a world coincides with the impossible. Cash is usually limited, so comparing aesthetic visuals to effective performance is dire. Sometimes you can’t have both, so considering these trade-offs proves essential.

What will resonate most in your ideal kitchen experience? Do have a large family? A larger, maybe a bot intrusive, stove top would be the best option. Functionality to feed the whole family outweighs aesthetics any day. On the contrary, is it just you and your partner? In the latter case, you have the wiggle room to invest in a more aesthetically pleasing alternative.

Time’s Face Off with Patience

Remodeling your kitchen is a very exciting event. Many people may find themselves actually blinded by this excitement. Rushing into a kitchen remodel without thinking about important factors is not a sight uncommonly seen.

Think about your schedule. Work, kids, or hobbies. Does work fly you all around the globe on a consistent basis? Will a long remodel process really affect your life in this scenario? Probably not. The same would be true for someone who is retired. Although home more, a homeowner who is retired is generally more relaxed. Watching the remodel process may even become a fun learning experience. We’ve seen the latter countless times.

But what if you do not fit in any of the above? What if work is turbulently busy all the time? Dealing with a kitchen remodel when you require relaxation after a long day may be a little much. One would want to trade-off sanity for time and get the job done quicker.

Kitchen Remodel Trade-Offs? Check!

Now that you have systematically achieved what is most important to you in your kitchen, you’re ready to embark on a marvelous journey; you are ready for a kitchen remodel! To get the ball rolling, contact the JWH Design and Cabinetry Team. We can make your kitchen transform from “blah” to “awe.”