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Archive for the ‘Design Tips’ Category

How Does Light in the Bedroom Change The Way You Sleep?


JWH Master Bedroom

Creating the right atmosphere for day and night.

Good sleep depends on many factors, not the least of which is exposure to light. When your bedroom is too bright, you may struggle to fall asleep or even be disturbed in your sleep at night. Understanding how your circadian rhythm responds to light and learning how to manage light in your bedroom can help you sleep better at night.

How Light Influences Your Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm tells your body and brain when it’s time to start feeling tired and fall asleep, and likewise, when it’s time to wake up and be alert. This rhythm isn’t arbitrary; it depends on cues from your environment and behaviors, including light, sound, and when you eat.

When you’re exposed to light, your circadian rhythm gets the signal that it’s daytime. And during daytime, you should be awake. Although sunlight may more or less follow when you should be sleeping, artificial light can throw a wrench into sending the proper signal. Exposure to artificial light at night can tell your circadian rhythm that it’s daytime, even when it’s night.

Artificial light can come in the form of overhead lights or lamps, your television, or mobile phone. It can even be street lights or car headlights shining through your window. Moonlight, though natural light, can also send a confusing signal to your circadian rhythm if it’s particularly bright.

Any kind of light exposure at night can have a negative influence on your circadian rhythm. Light exposure may make you feel too alert to go to sleep, especially if you’re exposed to bright light just before bed. And yes, that does include your mobile phone screen or TV. Bright lights that are on while you’re sleeping may even be disruptive enough to wake you up while you’re sleeping.

How You Can Manage Light in Your Bedroom

Ideally, your bedroom should be as dark as possible at night. Of course, that’s not quite practical, because you can’t get ready for bed and lay down on your mattress in pitch black darkness. After all, an injury from falling over furniture on your way to bed might disturb your sleep more than exposure to light would. But you can limit your exposure to light at night, and especially in your bedroom. Here are a few ways to do it effectively:

  • Design bedroom lighting with sleep in mind. Bright, overhead lights are common in bedrooms, and while they can be helpful during the day or early evening, they’re bad news for sleep at night. Turn off the overhead lights at night and instead use lamps pointed down below eye level to light the way once the sun goes down.
  • Use dimmers. If you still want to use an overhead light, but want to turn it down, consider installing a dimmer switch. That way, you can avoid bright light and just have a lower level of brightness at night.
  • Block out window light. Moonlight, street lamps, headlights and other outdoor light sources can come in through your window and disturb your sleep. Consider using blackout curtains so you can effectively block out light at night, then open them up during the day to get light exposure.
  • Limit or eliminate electronics in your bedroom. Your mobile phone, TV, or laptop can be especially problematic for sleep when you use them at night. Checking your phone, watching TV, or even worse, working in bed – can keep you up at night. The blue wave light emitted from electronic screens is particularly stimulating and confusing for your circadian rhythm. Watch TV or work at night away from your bedroom, and never bring your mobile phone to bed. It’s best to put an end to screen time at least one hour before bed.
  • Make sure you’re exposed to daytime light. Exposure to light at the right time of day is just as important as avoiding it at night. Daytime light exposure can reinforce the timing of daytime alertness so your time to be sleepy at night is on track, too. Open your window coverings in the morning for exposure to bright light and make sure you spend some time outdoors during the daytime every day.

Though it can sometimes be difficult to avoid light exposure at night, managing light in your bedroom typically has simple solutions. Do your best to avoid bright lights at night and shut down electronics well before bedtime to reinforce the right cues for your circadian rhythm and natural sleep schedule.

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.

Tips for Working with a Kitchen Designer


appliances and cabinetry decisions

A Kitchen Designer will help “right-size” the appliances as part of the overall cabinet layout.

A kitchen designer can be the most valuable team player in a renovation.  The right person will identify challenges, offer creative solutions, and guide you through the multitude of decisions.  Ready to get started and make the most of your new partnership?

Pick your partner:

Picking the right kitchen designer to bring your vision to reality is the first critical step in the design process.   Maybe a specific kitchen project has caught your attention in a magazine, or you love a friend’s new kitchen.  Or perhaps you find yourself grabbing online images from a particular designer’s social media page.  Once you’ve narrowed down your choices your homework begins: a call to the designer’s office should be met with interest and enthusiasm.  An openness to share basic facts over the phone can make a big difference.  Types of cabinetry, general price points, timeliness of drawings, and estimated lead time for the cabinetry order, are all valid questions.  These are easy opening questions to establish if you’re in the right ballpark for your project.

Visit the Kitchen Designer Showroom

Visit the Designer’s Showroom

Face to Face:

Although there is heavy reliance on texts, emails, and calls for most communication these days, a face-to-face consultation is the next step.  This is the best way to determine if a working relationship is going to be a good fit.   You’re about to embark on a big project and it has to be a comfortable partnership from the start.  Meeting in the kitchen designer’s office or showroom gives an accurate glimpse into their business model and work style.  How does this meeting flow– from being greeted at the door, to conducting an informative presentation worthy of your time.  Do you feel heard and understood when discussing your vision?  Do you like their examples of other projects that should include a range of style and creative ideas?   The most important question: can you have an honest and open partnership with this professional to achieve the best possible outcome?  If any of the above are “no”—keep looking.

Make your vision clear:

Communicating your overall vision for the project, as well as any must-have wish-list items, is always a fun topic.  Since you might not know the correct terminology to describe your desired features, a picture is worth 1000 words!  Online resources, like Pinterest and Houzz, make it easy to compile images that have caught your eye.   Noting your likes (and dislikes) about each of the photos is an excellent way to convey your aesthetic preferences.  The designer should be able to easily assess common threads, as well as the disparate details.

Don’t hide from the bottom line:

Discussing your investment expectations (aka budget) is not the easiest conversation to start.  If you have done initial appliance shopping, this is the best time to reveal the brands that appeal to you.  Top brands like Sub Zero and Wolf signify the need for a healthy appliance budget.  The remaining budget for cabinets, countertops, other finishes and construction will add up quickly.   It is important to align everyone’s expectations from the start.  If there is a drop-dead project limit, share this fact.  If there is flexibility within your budget range, share this important point too.   There are creative design options at every price range and you want to start exploring the best options right from the start.  Your kitchen designer is key to helping make these critical decisions based on your priorities.

Listen to the Expert:

Creative corner desk solution

Kitchen Designer’s Creative Corner

You’ve made the leap of faith and selected the designer to help bring your renovation dreams to reality.  The next step is to see your transformed spaces conveyed clearly on layouts, elevations, or ideally 3-D perspective views.  Some of the images may look just like you envisioned, while other design options may look like they came out of left field.   Keep an open mind.  Remember, exploring all the options on paper, before the hammer ever hits the nail, keeps later changes (or regrets) to a minimum. Are these unique layout options accompanied by a clear vision and explanation of good logic?  Ask all the questions you need. Your original idea may have needed modification based on structural limitations or maybe it didn’t make sense functionally.   Or even better–perhaps your designer came up with a creative, out-of-the-box solution based on years of practical experience!

No Need to Rush:

As much as you are anxious to get your cabinets designed, “signed off” and scheduled into production, this is the time to make sure you’ve considered all your layout options.  Options 1, 2, and 3 may have turned into Options 4 and 5.  But as long as there is forward progress (and not going in circles), this interactive problem-solving process should be worth it.   Once the interior architectural details, cabinetry, and appliances layouts are set, the rest of the functional and aesthetic cabinetry details follow naturally.  The kitchen designer wants your flow and function to be the best possible, and working with custom cabinetry allows the best utilization of space.

Be Open to Compromise:

Wish as we might, some design ideas are simply not achievable.  The 2-tier cabinetry details you adored in a Houzz photo may not work with your 8’ ceilings. Hopefully you will have discussed these challenges and alternate design direction early in the process.  The designer’s creative interpretation should make YOUR space the best it can be.  Working within the limitations of budget, timing, and/or physical obstructions can require compromise.  But compromise doesn’t not mean “settle.”

Be patient — It will be worth it:

Although the less-than-reality shows show miraculous kitchen transformations within days, real construction is a long process. Custom cabinets have lead times of 8-12 weeks, plus another week to install.  You may be anxious for the delivery of your cabinets, since this generally signals the approaching completion of a project.  But your custom cabinets should be one of the last items to arrive.  Beautifully finished cabinetry should be installed toward the end of the project.  Ideally, most of the major construction work is completed.   You definitely want to avoid trades walking through your kitchen space with tool belts and ladders,  Your kitchen designer knows the value of delaying delivery to protect your cabinets, but your contractor might need a little persuasion.

The end result of your new kitchen is even better than expected?

Congratulations– you made the right choice of kitchen designer!jennifer howard headshot

Thanks for visiting our JWH blog. I hope you learned something new today. Please contact us to discuss your project. We would love to help you achieve your dream kitchen.

— Jennifer Howard, owner & chief designer, JWH Design & Cabinetry

Designing a kitchen work triangle that serves well into your golden years


In our last post, we covered 3 makeover moves that will ensure your kitchen improves with your age. In this follow up post, we want to address the kitchen work triangle: sink, oven, and refrigerator. You don’t need a degree in geometry to design a kitchen work triangle, but thinking ahead now will deliver long-term convenience, usability, and safety as you age.

kitchen work triangle

A good, well thought out work triangle makes kitchen tasks easier and more efficient. When designing an aging in place kitchen, the oven, sink, and refrigerator should be as close together as possible. If necessary, have a secondary sink installed. Try to keep these three appliances/fixtures on the same level for ease of transfer of food, pots, baking pans, etc. Always choose appliances that are easy to use, easy to read, and have nice large buttons.

As we grow older our chances of sustaining serious burns increases. Fortunately, companies are hard at work designing appliances and faucets that can greatly diminish the chances of injury. One of the most hazardous appliances in the kitchen is the oven. But three companies—GE, Viking, and Bosch—now have French door or side door wall ovens to greatly enhance safety in the kitchen.

Wall ovens, microwaves, and cooktops

wall oven side by side bosch

Side by side: Photo: Bosch

Wall ovens should always be placed at a comfortable height. For some, that’s in a base cabinet. For others, it’s about waist high.  Side by side is the safest configuration. A landing space beside or across from an oven is mandatory according to building codes. But one of the best designs for an aging in place kitchen—or any kitchen– is a pullout shelf right under the wall oven, just low enough to allow closing of the oven. It’s these small things that can make a big difference.

A cooktop is usually a much safer option than a range. In general,

heston cooktop

Cooktop: Photo: Heston

electric cooktops are considered more senior-friendly than gas options. An open flame is never a good idea in an aging in place kitchen.  One of the very best gas alternatives is an induction cooktop, which heats the pan but not the cooktop itself. These are far less likely to cause burns. Always choose one with front mounted controls—no reaching over the cooktop. Also, choose a model that makes it easy to see if it is on or off.

Placement of the microwave can also spell the difference between a safe kitchen and one that may cause a serious accident. Microwaves should be about counter height whether they are built-in or not. One type of microwave that comes highly recommended for the elderly is the microwave drawer. Some companies who sell these are Sharp, Jenn-air, and KitchenAid. Although they are usually installed a little lower than counter height they are easier to use at this height than the door style.

Safety tip: Protecting against scald burns

Scald injuries are common among the elderly. While 42% are due to hot food, a significant percentage—32%– are due to hot water. Here are two simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of scald burns.

  1. Have a sink located very close to the cooktop. And install a pot filler at the cooktop. Also use the large pasta type pots with a lift out strainer in the pot.
  2. Turn down the hot water heater. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the setting should be no higher than 120 degrees fahrenheit


The most recommended faucet for aging in place kitchens are the hands-free type. Touch faucets are very easy on arthritic hands. An anti-scald device should be on all faucets used by the elderly. When planning your kitchen design, request that the faucet placement is located on the side of your sinks, rather than the traditional center location. Reaching over a hot pan or getting too close to the hot water spray can be dangerous.

Refrigerators and other modifications

Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers are the easiest to use for seniors. Look for storage in the door, especially for large items, like milk jugs. Also look for sturdy, easy to use pull out shelves for smaller items. These make it much easier to find what you need.

Other modifications include under counter lighting, countertops with rounded edges, and non-slip flooring. Everything in the kitchen should be chosen with an eye toward easy cleaning and upkeep. Improving your kitchen’s functionality can be done all at once or little by little. The final takeaway will be a beautiful kitchen that is a joy to work in now and functional for the future when motor skills, balance, mobility, sight, and other physical functions become more limited.jennifer howard headshot

I hope you learned some useful design applications that will help add exquisite form and innovative function to your renovation plans. Please contact us if you have questions about an upcoming renovation project that relates to adaptive kitchen designs or other projects you’re contemplating.

— Jennifer Howard, owner + chief designer, JWH Design & Cabinetry

3 makeover moves for a kitchen that improves with (your) age


jennifer howard kitchensHomeowners contemplating a kitchen renovation are often triggered by a living space that no longer accommodates their family’s needs or preferences. The kitchen may be excessively outdated, lack sufficient cabinet and/or counter space or the room may not be optimally configured to maximize space. These are all sound reasons to plan a kitchen renovation, but before you get seduced by “all the pretty colors” and a virtually limitless list of options from captivating cabinet styles and configurations to tony tiles and backsplashes, take your foot out of the showroom and put your future goggles on.

Gen Xers and Baby Boomers Plan on Staying Home

If you are among the 43% of 45- to 65-year-olds that anticipate remaining in their current residence throughout their retirement (source: USA Today), you may want to make some additional nips and tucks to your kitchen renovation blueprint. Here are three key elements to take into account to ensure your kitchen retains its functionality and usability as your physical abilities moderate over time. Remodeling with an eye to the future can not only provide you with peace of mind and a beautiful kitchen now, but a future that is safe and comfortable.

1. Custom cabinets with removable fronts

slide out cabinet storage

Photo: Hill Farm Furniture Ltd.

Cabinets that are universal design capable are no longer ugly or institutional. Beautiful custom cabinets with stunning finishes and fashion conscience door styles can be designed with a view on the horizon and the physical limitations the future may bring.

Custom cabinets could be designed with removable fronts to become wheelchair or scooter -friendly. island cabinets can be designed to use sitting down. Eating counters should be table height with chairs or low stools. Counter height stools can be dangerous for seniors—both feet on the floor is the safest way to go.  Some cabinets, such as dishwasher cabinets, can be raised to make loading and unloading easier on the back.

2. Keep it safe and within arm’s reach

The safest place to store anything in the kitchen is in base cabinets. Falls from step

pull out drawer for dish storage

Photo: Hill Farm Furniture Ltd.

stools are a major hazard in the kitchen and pulling items down on top of oneself presents another risk. Tall pullout pantries are a good place to store dry goods, but the pantry cabinet should be no taller than the user.

Dish and glassware drawers eliminate the need for hard-to-reach wall cabinets and can open up a wall for more

windows to provide natural light and a nice view. Studies prove that bright sunny rooms prevent depression and improve mood overall– a real plus for aging in place design. A bright sunny kitchen also cuts down on the electric bill and helps those with low vision.

3. Minimizing frustration with open and pullout shelving

pullout drawers for pots and pans storage

Photo: Kitchen Planners

Open shelving in islands or base cabinets is another way to keep dishes and glassware within reach.

Frustration and impatience are two common complaints of the elderly and inability to find things is a number one cause of frustration, so organization in drawers and cabinets is vital. Pull-out shelves can help find items that would be otherwise lost in a dark and not easily assessable cabinet.

Anything heavy should be on a pull-out shelf such as the mixer, blender, slow cooker, bread machine, etc. This type of shelf protects your back and maximizes storage space. Even your kitchen garbage pail and recycling bins can be equipped with a pullout system. Anything that makes life easier, safer, and less frustrating will be worth it in the years to come.

jennifer howard headshot

I hope these tips inspired you. Come back for part two of this series where I’ll cover other aspects of the kitchen, particularly the “work triangle”, appliances, and other clever construction design applications that will both beautify and add comfort and safety to your kitchen long into the future.

— Jennifer Howard, owner + chief designer, JWH Designs & Cabinetry 

To panel or not to panel… that is the question


Stainless steel Bosch Dishwasher

Reusing existing stainless steel dishwashers in a classic white kitchen

Appliance Panel or Stainless Steel?

Deciding where to add an appliance panel in a Kitchen or leave as exposed stainless steel? The visual effect can make a big difference in the overall style and feel of the space.  Are you going for a streamlined look of cabinetry with matching finishes and hardware?  Or does the punch of stainless make you feel like you are a chef in a commercial Kitchen?  (This can be a good or bad feeling, depending on your love-hate relationship with cooking.)

Some Guidelines

There are a few key guidelines we explain to our Clients in helping them make these key decisions.  The first one is painfully obvious:  a stainless dishwasher doesn’t look great most of the time.  After being touched by wet hands loading dishes, and the endless parade of kid fingerprints, a stainless dishwasher can become an unwanted focal point.  The cost of adding a custom appliance panel is close in price to paying for the upgraded stainless steel.  But if you are re-using an existing dishwasher—not a big deal—just keep the can of Stainless Magic on hand.  But if you have the option at the time of your renovation, or when then the existing unit runs its natural life, buy the panel-ready dishwasher that can be fully concealed for custom, streamlined look.

refrigerator appliance panel

Thermador unit with custom appliance panel

The bigger decision is the refrigerator/freezer, in terms of cost and aesthetic result.  The high-end units like Sub Zero, Thermador, Monogram and Viking all take panels beautifully.  They fit flush with the side panels, hide most of the metal, and accept matching hardware pulls. You may still prefer the look of a stainless model, but in this price range, at least you have the option of adding custom panels for a finished look.

The next tier appliances like Kitchen Aid and Jenn Air offer lower prices, deeper projections, more exposed metal and hardware and they just don’t look great with a panel attached to the front. A quote I shared at my last Client meeting:  “a bad appliance panel looks like lipstick on a pig”– not the desired look in  your new Kitchen!

Hope this helps!  Jennifer & the JWH Team

The Importance of Accessories


custom living room

Soothing shapes and color offer a pleasing centerpiece

Home Accessories that Pop

While staging a recent photo shoot in a Client’s newly constructed home, we were faced with the challenge of accessorizing the expanses of countertops, table surfaces, and comfy couches. Choosing the right accessories is the last step of the project and overlooking it is not seldom.  Perhaps this challenge seems daunting and the choices are endless. Or the Client just needs a breather after a long project… all of the above are reasons to postpone. Nonetheless, the effort is worth it. The right home accessories make the biggest difference in a room’s appearance, and once they are properly in place, they become part of the overall look and need no more attention.

Take Time to Chose

When choosing the right accessories it is important to keep in mind the style of the room you are decorating as well as color schemes and scale. The goal is to find pieces that complement the room without overpowering it and making it feel cluttered. describes a designer’s definition of a vignette as a “pleasing picture formed by grouping several objects — think of it as a pocket-size table arrangement that tells a story about you and your home.” The rules for designing a vignette are similar to those of accessorizing an entire room.

Entry table with accessories

Taller focal point in the center

The first step is to choose an anchor or a statement piece. These are typically larger accessories and the most important to the homeowner; the rest of the accessorizing is tailored to the anchoring piece.  The formation of the rest of the accessories is the trickier step. Coordinating pieces should have complimenting elements of each other without appearing too similar. Elements to keep in mind are color, size and texture. While the size of the accessories should vary, be careful of the placement of different pieces that are not the same size. For example, when accessorizing a table, height should be matched on either end to prevent the vignette from looking lopsided.

Looking through the lens of a camera quickly identifies areas in need.  Professional photography for magazines and websites offer great visual solutions.  Choose the right designer to guide you in these finishing details or start experimenting by trial-and-error.  And don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your accessories!

Jennifer & the JWH Team


Wood with Character: A Key to Kitchen Design



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.


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.


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.

Brass’s Big Comeback: JWH Chats with Washington Post


brass makes a comeback

Brass fixtures selected by Carrie Parker Interiors

The Resurgence of Brass

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reached out to Jennifer Howard of JWH Design & Cabinetry about an emerging—or more specifically, reemerging—kitchen design delicacy. Brass fixtures have significantly grown their presence in the modern kitchen, and for good reason.

“The resurgence of brass in home design is bringing a new level of warmth back to kitchens,” says Howard.  

This article by Megan McDonough presents a selection of “splurge” and “save” design options. Selected by Howard and the JWH Team, these design ideas are coupled with both pricing and sources.  They’re fun ideas for homeowners so that they, too, can add a creative touch of brass to their kitchens.

Stainless steel and chrome fixtures in the kitchen have taken a back seat to another alloy.  In comparison to its two-compound cousins, brass proves to be a more durable option. Brass faucets will resist calcium and soft water corrosion. Their lifespan and functionality will exceed that of the ever popular stainless steel and chrome faucets.

Beauty & The Beast

Alongside anchor-strength, aesthetics plays a large role in the reemergence of brass in kitchens. This is why we are now seeing brass fixtures explode onto different facets of the kitchen; breaking the rule of the many traditional kitchen accessories.

The softness of brass subtly reflects a warm environment back into the kitchen. Brass has a richness that plays beautifully with contrast when paired with other kitchen appliances. With a smooth and sleek posture, brass is a brilliant way to splash bits of visual effect throughout an outdated kitchen. Isn’t it ironic how something that has for so long been associated with antique is now revered as a staple in kitchen modernity?

Whether it be cabinet fixtures, light fixtures, or even flashy drink coasters, brass will grab eyes while offsetting tones of a cooler nature; stainless, white, and grey shades. It is no wonder that brass fixtures are currently exploding in home design. With the alloy’s beastly strength and its luxurious glow, this kitchen design delicacy is truly the kitchen’s new beauty and the beast.

The Heart of the Home: What 2018 Has Cooking for Kitchen Trends


We have all heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.”

But where, exactly, is the heart of the home? What corridor pumps life into this beloved sanctuary? In which room do delicious feasts originate, ready to spread joy and life to eager smiles?  Where do friends and loved ones gather for cherished moments of laughter and great meals?  Home is a place where everyone is family, where love lurks in every crevice. The special place where the days start and end with nourishing meals for hungry souls.  The heart of the home is surely the kitchen.

With each new year, dedicated designers strive to bring art and genius together for an innovative display of the latest design trends. Whether it be color, lighting, or storage, each year brings the opportunity to invigorate and improve the design world.  We are excited to show you what the kitchen’s got cooking for 2018.

Kitchen Trends 2018 x Black and White x JWH Design

The dance between black and white continues in kitchen trends, and one can see it in this Old Greenwich Kitchen by JWH Designs.

Black and White Still Equals Gray

The dance between black and white continues to be a staple in kitchen trends. The bold contrast between the two shades brings both harmony and balance. The two pallets have always been a classic match, and their blended shades continue to thrive as a popular kitchen trend. The wide ranges of grays, updated up with subtle undertones of color, are part of Farrow & Ball’s “new neutrals” collection.  Beautifully coordinated palettes, act as backdrops for contrasting punches of color. As gray evolves into the world of innovation, color trends may have a new king this year.

Storage, Space, and Sanity

Clutter undoubtedly slows us down. It is hard to function efficiently when the gears in your life are clogged. An environment plagued by clutter has been linked to depression, anxiety, and even memory loss! Having a kitchen with inefficient storage or space usage will surely end in a messy nightmare.

No matter the size of the family, or the size of the kitchen, storage is a concern in every kitchen. That’s why it is no surprise that innovative, sleek, and storage efficient multi-tiered drawers continue as a growing kitchen trend. These beautifully crafted designs don’t just capture the eyes, they capture the clutter.

Kitchen Trends 2018 Call for Innovative Storage x JWH Design

Storage is a huge kitchen trend for 2018.  Cabinetry solutions by JWH Designs capture the clutter and restore the sanity.

Clutter does not just come in the form of stuff, but it also walks as general structures (i.e. too many people in your work zone!)  Creative space planning has always been the key to improving flow and function, and will always be in style.

Mix It Up!

One current kitchen trend that we especially love designing is the mixture of different materials for cabinets, countertops, and metals. A sparkling quartz slab brushing up against a textured oak will warm up any kitchen and offers practicality and a touch of bling. Hints of brass cabinetry hardware compliment the clean aesthetics of stainless appliances. The balance of elements makes for inviting partnerships for a unique and personalized result.  The more the merrier.

Contrast a Story

Contrast is everything, and when correlated to light, a story begins to unfold. Abstract shapes that lay stamped on the floor begin to swirl and hypnotize with astonishment, as contemporary wood grain melts from a solid black marble. Traditional methods of brickwork splice majestically with modernism when introduced with a new pattern.  As all are absorbed and reflected off the calming white hues that surround the scene, this kitchen trend could be on Broadway!

Kitchen Trends 2018 x House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year by Matthew Quin

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year featured custom hardware on JWH Cabinetry by the Matthew Quinn Collection.


Cherish Your Heart

As passionate designers, our eyes brim with excitement each year with the coming of new kitchen trends. The innovations in technology and artistic vision are gems that we hold close to our hearts, and such things fuel our dedication to achieve exquisite form and innovative function in each and every custom cabinet.

The kitchen is the home of the heart, so let us cherish it like our own.


Tips from the JWH Team: Wood Hoods


Appliances are always a big decision in any new Kitchen project.  Refrigerators are getting larger, freezers have become separate units, two dishwashers are more common, and of course, there is the fabulous range that wants to be center stage.  So what best compliments that large mass of (expensive) equipment below?  The hood above becomes a more important decision than most people realize.

Finding the right hood for your Kitchen.

The wood hood is a nice compliment to the other Wolf appliances.

Stainless is an easy choice to match the range below, but many people don’t want one more piece of stainless in the Kitchen and find it more visually pleasing to join the side cabinetry with a custom wood hood. Designed to fit the space perfectly and built to accommodate a powerful motor, the wood hood becomes a hardworking, functional and beautiful part of the overall ambiance of the Kitchen.

custom wood hood with open shelves

Designed for function and display.






A Splash of Today & Yesterday

Designed for a vintage home in Rye, NY, this wood hood needed to blend the charm of yesteryear with the function and efficiency of today’s modern kitchens.  Located over a Thermador range, the hidden Thermador insert provides all the power needed to fully vent the space. It also remains disguised in the matching cabinetry style of the room.  Trying to balance the required hood size while minimizing the visual mass, the radius shelves on the sides allow for convenient storage while also creating a softer look.  Side pull-outs next to the range keep the essential spices and spices close at hand for the cook.

For help designing the best look and function for your kitchen, the JWH Team offers expert advice and creative solutions.

Hope this helps!  Jennifer & the JWH Team