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Archive for May, 2018

The Classic White Kitchen

05-17-18

Kitchen design trends come and go –harvest gold and avocado, RIP—but one thing remains:  a white kitchen. Whether it’s sleek and modern, clean contemporary, elegant traditional, or charming farmhouse, white cabinets take center stage in any kitchen and will stand the test of time.

Most kitchen colors and finishes have their season in the sun, and if they don’t disappear altogether, they take a backseat. The exception is the white kitchen.

At one time in our history, white was the only cabinet color. White continued to be the main color of kitchen cabinets throughout the 1940’s. And although the 1950’s saw an explosion of color in the kitchen, a white kitchen was still the preferred choice.

While white lost its top billing in new kitchens during the 1960’s and 1970’s in favor of wood finishes, painted cabinetry began making a slow comeback by the end of the 20th century.  The 21st century welcomed a new age of spacious and beautiful new kitchens filled with stunning door styles, exquisite stone countertops, and delightfully soft cabinet colors with a white kitchen taking its ‘most popular’ status once again.

White is clean and bright

White hangs onto its top billing because it’s clean and fresh. The look for kitchens today–regardless of style– is bright, cheerful, and inviting. White brightens the kitchen because light reflects off white surfaces. And if doors with glass inserts are added, which is very popular in white kitchens, they brighten the room even more.  White has been shown to also brighten your mood!

combined kitchen and family with glass cabinets

A white kitchen gives the feeling of expanded space. By JWH Designs.

White enlarges the kitchen

Okay, it may not actually add square feet to your kitchen, but another reason white is so popular is because it can make even a small kitchen look more spacious. A white kitchen will ‘’open’’ any size kitchen and make it look airy and expansive.  This JWH Kitchen won “Best Use of Small Space” by Westchester  Home Magazine.

White is “omnicompetent”

White is universal, it works well for any kitchen style. And it has the uncanny ability to do all things well. It has the clean simplicity that exemplifies the contemporary style and the sleekness of modern. A white kitchen exudes elegance and it’s classic so it’s the perfect color to compliment the traditional style. White is light, bright, and casual which also describes the cottage style—what could be more perfect for that summer at the beach feeling?  It’s charming, inviting, and ideal for the farmhouse style. It’s crisp, it’s cool, it’s coastal! Any and every style can be made better with a JWH white kitchen!

White is the perfect neutral

White cabinetry is the perfect neutral to use in virtually any color scheme. It enhances any color it’s teamed with and brightens rooms with dark walls or floor colors. If you would love to add a dramatic black or navy-blue island but don’t want to darken the kitchen, pair it with white cabinetry to open up the room and accentuate your dark island.  The dark gray or black cabinet colors are stunning, but they do tend to darken a room if you don’t have abundant natural light.  Team them with a white island, countertops and backsplash. Perfect!

White cabinets also look great with any appliance color.  Black and white is a classic. Stainless steel and white will brighten and create spaciousness in the kitchen. White is a must for a monochromatic white kitchen. White appliances are making a comeback—most designers will tell you they never really left.

Dark mahogany island top featured in this white kitchen

The perfect neutral to transition to other spaces. By JWH Designs

White adds resale value to your home

If you want to add value to your home keep your kitchen bright, light, and white. If it comes time to sell your home, it will sell faster, and perspective buyers are attracted to elegant kitchens with white cabinets.

White makes economic sense

And lastly, with major remodeling projects reaching into the tens of thousands—serious cash.  You don’t want to make major changes more than once or twice in your home’s lifetime.  When your kitchen needs some new color, a white kitchen will make it very easy to change your color scheme.  New countertops or backsplash, or just add a quick and painless coat of paint to your walls. Need some inspiration?

Timeless, classic white cabinetry is somewhat a jack-of-all-trades.  It adds class and sophistication, or elegance and charm, and it can make kitchens look expansive.  White tones down bright colors and brightens dark colors.  It makes us feel good, and  adds value to the home. Is it any wonder it’s the most popular color in kitchen today?

Today’s Kitchen Island Styles

05-11-18

Today’s Top Kitchen Island Styles

Traditional Island Style

No one can deny that the kitchen island has become one of the most functional parts of today’s kitchen. In fact, many may argue this facet is the most functional part of the modern kitchen. It can be used for cooking, food prep, clean up, serving, baking, eating, homework, chatting with guests, and sometimes a combination of all of the above. With glistening hardware, finishes that rival that of high-end furniture, and rich stone countertops, today’s kitchen island styles are as beautiful as they are functional.

There are many variables that go into the design of a kitchen island. An island must be the right size and the right shape for the kitchen. Furthermore, it must have a clear-cut job—or jobs– to do, and it must define the style of the kitchen; be that Traditional, Contemporary, Old World, etc.

Basically, there are three styles Traditional, Contemporary, and Transitional. The latter is a combination of Traditional and Contemporary. However, of the three, many exciting sub-styles sprang from the Traditional style such as the very popular Farmhouse style.

Traditional Island Features

In the race to win first place in popularity, Traditional runs neck in neck with Contemporary. Some years Traditional wins by a nose, and some years the popular vote goes to Contemporary. But regardless of the official race score, Traditional will always win the heart of America. Its graceful door styles, charming turned millwork, and beautiful finishes help create captivating kitchen islands. Traditional style islands can be almost any finish and certainly do not have to match that of the other cabinetry.

White is currently very popular and always will be. New colors are coming out continuously, often enhanced with rich glazes like coffee or olive. Gray is a big color for Traditional islands. Wood finishes are also seen.

Traditional islands often boast tons of storage space behind their elegant doors and drawer fronts, but they also pack some heat: dishwashers and dishwasher drawers, steam, conventional and microwave ovens, cook or rangetops are common additions. Usually, an extra sink or possibly the main sink is located on the island. Apron sinks are very popular in Traditional style islands. Bookshelves and eating counters are also popular.

Traditional Characteristics Include:

  • Raised and recessed panel doors and drawer fronts
  • Beaded and plain inset cabinet construction, often with exposed hinges
  • Turned table legs, corner posts, carved corbels, turned feet, legs and decorative end panels
  • Glass display doors
  • Painted finishes with or without glazes
  • Rich wood finishes
  • Bookshelves
  • Impressive ogee and stepped countertop edges

Although the island is the workhorse of the kitchen, don’t attempt to pack too much into one island. If necessary, and you have enough room, include two islands. Limit any appliances to the side where your main work triangle is located and use the other side or sides for eating and/or storage. You don’t want to run circles around the island when preparing dinner! As far as Traditional countertops, stone takes it usually in the form of granite or marble. These are not only elegant but durable. Other countertops for Traditional islands include rich teak wood countertops and quartz.

Contemporary Island Features

Simple cabinet and countertop lines

Contemporary islands have clean lines and an uncomplicated appearance. Contemporary is a simple elegance born of natural materials, colors and textures–rich earth tone shades of brown, tan, cream, sage, rust, and gold and innovative materials like recycled and ‘’green’’ products. Natural finished wood, often exotic, stone and rock, gleaming metals—usually chrome, nickel or stainless steel—and sleek simple hardware, lighting and faucet design. Polished metals are beginning to take a backseat to brushed or satin. As far as decorative features, it’s the opposite of Traditional but unlike Modern, the Contemporary style is not devoid of décor. It is never cold but, in fact, very comfortable and inviting.

Rather than the gracefully paneled cabinet doors of a Traditional style island, Contemporary islands feature classic Shaker or slab door styles and drawer fronts, open shelving, simple stools—often backless, sleek state-of-the-art appliances, and sophisticated countertops with neat, unpretentious edge styling. Countertop materials run the gauntlet from wood to stone to innovative forms of solid surface. Pro-style and stainless steel appliances are almost textbook in Contemporary style kitchens.  Range tops and ranges, under counter refrigeration and dishwashers, are usually stainless steel.

Contemporary Characteristics Include:

  • Frameless, European style cabinet construction
  • Full overlay doors in a simple Shaker-style or as a plain slab
  • Stone, wood, or solid surface with simple edge styles
  • Natural materials with clean lines
  • Floating shelves
  • Brushed stainless, nickel, or chrome metals

Transitional Island Styles

The Transitional style is a marriage of Traditional and Contemporary, combining elements of both its parents. Transitional islands are often more elegant and decorative than Contemporary but less detailed than Traditional. The cabinet doors include elements of Traditional in styling with framed inset construction, matching end panels, and a mix of stainless steel and paneled appliances.  Hardware can be simple and sleek or oversized for an extra punch. Metals run the gauntlet from chrome to nickel, bronze to copper, with emphasis on mixing metals for added visual interest.

Transitional Characteristics Include:

  • Framed and frameless (European) cabinetry construction is often mixed
  • Door styles are always recessed panel, with a varying degree of detail on the framing bead
  • Hardware can be more decorative but not too decorative
  • Stainless steel as well as paneled appliances, most often the dishwasher
  • Millwork includes simples
  • Countertops are stone or wood with simple edge styles
  • Neutral paint colors, light wood finishes, often exotic

There’s a mix of natural and man-made in Transitional kitchen islands. Cabinet finishes are often neutral paint, mixed with unique wood finishes and exotic woods. Islands are masterpieces of both new and old, natural and manmade, luxurious and simple. You won’t see elaborate cabinet feet or turned legs but squared end posts, feet, and island legs abound. Countertops are granite, marble, and sometimes wood or quartz.

Farmhouse Island Styles

American Country has largely been replaced by the Farmhouse style which made #1 most popular kitchen style for 2018 defeating both Traditional and Contemporary in a stunning upset the likes of which we haven’t seen in many years. But it’s easy to see why America loves the Farmhouse kitchen. They’re bright and sunny, cheerful and comfortable, charming and welcoming. The materials used in this historical kitchen design are, again, natural—rich wood finishes, paint with lots of glaze, either distressed or clean white, ceramic tile, stone, and bronze, copper, pewter, nickel or black metals. The style is decorative, in fact, a controlled clutter is part of the style.

Cabinetry for the Farmhouse Island is simply framed often with corner posts and simple corbels. The cabinet feet and island legs are prevalent but often not quite as elegantly styled as the Traditional style—they tend to be a little heavier and more substantial. The Farmhouse style is attractive to the eye but more solid than the elegant Traditional with a welcoming down-to-earth practical look and feel. Like French Country, the Farmhouse style is flexible and can be very rustic or more traditional in style to suit the owner without damaging the design.

Farmhouse Characteristics Include:

  • Simple framed cabinet doors and drawer fronts, sometimes with glass inserts
  • Hardware is less decorative than Traditional but more so than Contemporary
  • Metals are copper, bronze, pewter, nickel, or black
  • Lighting is simple pendants or iron chandeliers
  • Countertops are granite, marble, slate, soapstone or wood with simple edges
  • Sinks are bronze, copper (often hammered) granite, ceramic, fireclay
  • Faucets are Victorian styled
  • Undercounter appliances are often hidden behind cabinet panels
  • Millwork such as turned island legs, cabinet feet, simple corbels, corner posts

The Farmhouse Island is usually a blend of island and the traditional farmhouse table. These tables in historical farmhouses were massive and used for any number of kitchen chores and large enough to seat a crowd. Island bookcases, bead board, stone or wood countertops with simple countertop edge styles are the order of the day. Farm sinks are almost mandatory and often even a secondary sink will be in the farm style and always with wonderfully graceful Victorian faucet styles. Appliances are often hidden behind cabinet panels and dishwasher and refrigerated drawers are very popular in the Farmhouse Island. Undercounter wine coolers or full-sized dishwashers can also be hidden with matching panels or made to blend in with framed glass doors.

The kitchen island is the centerpiece of your kitchen; prep, serving, gathering, and eating. While style is important, it is nothing without functionality. Make sure your island isn’t just a pretty face, however. Make sure your island gets that job done.

The Future of Lighting is Here: Why LED is Taking Over & How to Incorporate them into Your Home

05-04-18

Energy Efficiency Paves the Way for Incandescent Extinction

It has been nearly a century and a half since Thomas Edison introduced the incandescent light bulb to the American public. Although he did not invent the light bulb, he did create a prototype that effectively and economically gave American consumers the opportunity to bring electric light into their homes. However, over the past six decades, the incandescent light bulb grows closer and closer to archaism. The future of home lighting has begun to formulate as the new light-bulb sheriff is in town: the Light Emitting Diodes Bulb (LED).

Good reason correlates to the massive shift from incandescent to LED. Firstly, incandescent bulbs are only available with Warm Light, which results in a yellowish hue that is not suitable for every room. With LEDs, you have the choice of using Warm Light, Cool Light, and Daylight—but we will cover more of that later in this article. The biggest reason for the growing number of LED lighting in American homes is the mass advocacy of energy efficient appliances. Not only does the latter help out our environment, but it helps us save money in energy expenses.

According to Energy.gov, LED lighting towers over incandescent in regard to energy efficiency. This report compares the difference between a 60W incandescent bulb to a 60W LED bulb; the results, staggering! Switching from an incandescent bulb to LED can save you 75%-80% in energy usage and cost. Furthermore, the LED has a lifespan of 25,000 hours, while the incandescent typically stays lit for merely 1,000 hours. One does not need to look far to see why the switch from incandescent to LED has become widely prevalent.

LED Lighting: Three Temperatures = Three Different Light

However, with innovation comes great challenge. Most people are not aware of the different qualities shed by LED lights. Measured in Kelvins (K), LED lighting provides a vast spectrum of light color and brightness. The lower the number of Kelvins, the warmer the light. A Soft White (warm light) bulb shines at about 2700 K, producing a yellower light for a warmer environment. The next option is a Cool White bulb (cool light)—typically 3000-4100 K—which produces a brighter white hue in the room. Finally, there is the Day Light Bulb, which clocks in at the highest amount of K (5,000-6,500 K). This light creates a bluish glow in the room, giving the room a “daylight” or even dreamy atmosphere.

With so many choices, how does one know which LED lighting is right for which room? What kind of light is appropriate for a kitchen—a bathroom—a bedroom? This wide variety of light choice can come as a complicated issue. That’s where the JWH Design and Cabinetry Team comes in!

Which Rooms Best Basks in Warm Light

As mentioned before, Warm Light emits a yellower hue into a room’s atmosphere. The latter concludes in a warmer environment, specifically one that is great for unwinding from the day. For a place like a kitchen—a room whose space is dedicated to preparing meals—a warm light proves to be inefficient. You do not want to be slicing and dicing in a room with a soft yellow tint for light; this is a recipe for an accident. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there is no place for warm light in your home.

Bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, and bathrooms—depending on your preference—are all places where warm light can exist efficiently. When you come home from a hard day’s work, you do not want to try and relax in a brightly lit room. Unwinding comes best with a warmer environment. Furthermore, places like hallways only use light at night, so a warm light is recommended for illuminating these passageways. In summary, anywhere in your home that is dedicated to relaxing or is associated with nighttime should incorporate the usage of warm light.

Cool Light for a Brighter White

Cool light luminescence correlates to a brighter environment. This type of LED lighting is perfect for the kitchen or a bathroom—bathrooms can use any light, it is really up to your preference. As we explored earlier with Warm Light, no one wants to prepare meals in a sleepy environment. That is why bright white Cool Lights are essential. These LED lights will efficiently aid in cutting, cooking, and hosting events.

The kitchen is the liveliest room in the house; dinner and cocktail parties, social gatherings, family dinners. A kitchen is a place for sharing food and good times with one another. You would not want people dozing off during dinner, or yawning in the middle of a social gathering. The liveliest room in your home deserves the liveliest of light.

Inviting Day Light into Your Home

Day Light is commonly used in professional environments. However, there are various possibilities of incorporating Day Light LEDs into your home. Out of all the LED lighting types—although all three work for this particular room—Day Light is most recommended for bathrooms. As many of you begin the day in this room, it should be able to wake you up; a room that embodies alertness. Nonetheless, incorporating both Warm Light and Day Light into your bathroom may better suit your needs.

Another room that Day Light can shine in is the kitchen. Houzz recently featured this stunning LED lighting project by Mal Corboy Design. A mixture of the bright white Cool Light and the bluish dreaminess of the Day Light causes a euphoria to float around the kitchen. Not only does the design allow for kitchen use efficiency, it embodies a certain magic that would make anyone tingle with visual astonishment.  How this light affects your color selection for cabinets, countertops and paint needs to be a critical part of the equation.

LEDs Lighting the Way to Our Future

Besides the vastness of design opportunities, LED lighting also provides a homeowner with the honor of living green. With such a savings in energy, LEDs are the leading bulb in energy conservation.  Not only does this mean a better future, but it means more money in your pocket.

With the growing abundance of LED lighting in American homes, it is important to know the difference between the different types of light emitted from LEDs. Warm Light is best used in areas of your home that are used for relaxing, or nighttime activities that require a winding down. Cool Light is perfect for kitchens or any lively room—such as the laundry or mudroom—in your home. Finally, Day Light is best incorporated in rooms that should wake you up—such as a bathroom or a kitchen.

The possibilities of fixtures and bulb combinations are endless. With such great environmental qualities and financial saving, it is no surprise that LED lighting will illuminate the path into our future. A brighter light for a bright day.