Archive for the ‘Fun Facts’ Category
Switching cities is a major shift of gears– from one extreme to the other, and equally wonderful!
Leaving from Paris-Bercy train station, in the midst of the Fashion Week arena, I felt the pulse of Paris all the way to Nevers for the transfer. The train was fully equipped with wifi and charging ports, seats were assigned and far nicer than trains at home (and I was in second class!) When they announced my transfer in French, and only French, I realized that I had reached the countryside. No escalators or elevators to change between tracks so it’s best not to need assistance. The train to Cosne sur Loire was 1/4 the length and virtually empty. I was the last stop with 5 other people at this tiny town station. I had practiced my question: “ou sont les taxis?” but the signs were easy to follow. It was more concerning that there was not a taxi in sight. The Uber app gave me slight hope that this service might exist in this town, but it only served to indicate that my hotel was 24 miles away and a driver couldn’t be located. I don’t know why my heart didn’t start to race, and those general feelings of anxiety did not start to creep in, but I was calm. It wasn’t dark yet.
I do believe I have a guardian angel that steps in at times, and she sent me a lovely French couple, with whom I could NOT communicate, who used her phone to call me a taxi. “Bien, bien” she assured me as they loaded me into the front seat with a young driver, also non-English speaking. We didn’t have much natural communication during the 40 minute drive, but I google-translated sentences including “that nice woman helped me” and “I’m going to French school.” These practiced lines help to pass a little time, until I blurted out “je t’adore.” I meant to say “j’adore Paris” but he smiled at my exclamation that I was in love with him. We parted ways after 46 euros, a few mercis, and “I’ll call you for my ride on Friday!” The proprietor of my hotel will need to call him to make this reservation, unless my French is dramatically improved.
Through the double carriage doors, painted bright red, but not an obvious sign that read “Le Cep en Sancerrois,” I quickly realized that my “hotel” was actually a Bed & Breakfast and I am the only guest. In this large antique home, I was guided through several living spaces to reach my private room up the tricky winding stairs. With high ceilings reflecting the steeply pitched roof, the amazing exposed beams dating back to the 18th century, and views out both sides over the Sancerre countryside, it is definitely a unique and special space. And the proprietors, Giselle and Phillipe could not have been more welcoming. As I was given the quick tour of the bedroom space behind the curtain, the desk area to set up my laptop, and the little kitchen (I will never use), I quickly appreciated my short stature of 5’3″. My head barely clears the dropped beams in the main room and the height at the end of the tub is even lower!
Ready to take advantage of the remaining daylight hours, and locate my school for the morning, Philippe sent me out with a local map and instructions to follow the red line on the streets. I really wanted to cover as much territory as possible, as well as stretch my legs after the 3 hour train ride, so I wondered up and down every main and side street. Amazing views over the Sancerre vineyards, and the charming old buildings lining the narrow streets, gave me lots of great photo ops along the way. The end of the red line landed at a gorgeous sunset spot for a glass of Sancerre blanc overlooking the countryside.
As dusk settled on this quiet Sunday night, and my morning yogurt was no longer holding off my appetite, I entered the empty restaurant on the corner of my block. Totally empty. I waited a few minutes to inquire about a table, without a soul in sight, and decided this was not a good choice for my first night. Fortunately, my guardian angel directed my through a few more winding streets and a livelier tavern caught my eye. I was seated next to a table for 3 speaking 1/2 French and 1/2 English, a felt a little relief. They turned to introduce themselves and turned out to be 3 of my new classmates who were already finished their first week and were starting second week of classes. “Courage” was the word of advice they offered for the start of my French immersion!
Starting my second day of classes after a morning tour of a 12th century chateau. Gotta run or this will never get posted. Thanks for reading!
It’s hard to believe it’s been a week since leaving JFK. From my first post feeling lost and homeless, Paris now feels like a different place.
Location, location, location
Staying in the 5th arrondissement has located me in excellent proximity for walking to everything. 15 minutes to Jardin du Luxembourg and Pont des Artes, 20 minutes to the Louvre and Tuilleries, and 3 minutes to Maubert marche for this weeks’ painting spots with Atelier Alupi. Despite the fact that Google maps has started me in the wrong direction EVERY time I walk out my front door, the extra few blocks help to work off the morning croissant. Now that I have firmly oriented myself with the Seine River and Notre Dame, I can ignore my phone, look up as I confidently strut down the Paris streets, and smile at strangers. Bonjour! This would not be common for a Parisian or a New Yorker, but I just can’t get the happy grin off my face! (And I like the reaction I get in return.)
Menu du Jour
Paris makes it easy. There’s no pressure when looking for a great lunch to dine alone– just look for a sunny spot facing a busy street and there are bound to be friendly faces. Once I translate a few key words on the standing menu board (i.e. gigot d’agneau and salade de maison) 12 euros is a bargain for my main meal of the day. Being adventurous with the “plat du jour” has consistently been a good choice. Salmon, veal, lamb and a few mystery ingredients have not disappointed. The menu today at the local crepe cafe listed “galette with traditional Breton-style with andouille sausage.” Anything wrapped in a pancake is good– right? Seriously inaccurate translation. Fortunately the waiter questioned my choice of ordering “intestines” and directed me to the other special with salmon and spinach.
Maubert Marche inspires paintings and meals
After exploring the beautiful fresh markets on Sunday and Wednesday, overwhelmed by the amazing selection of fruits, cheeses and everything else (that Rob would love to buy), I had visions of preparing simple, yet gourmet meals, in my apartment when I didn’t feel like eating out. After spending a painting class morning, perched on an empty vegetable cart for 3 hours, trying to capture the emotion of that produce, while passerby peered over my shoulder to view my painting progress, I had a realization. Nah, I don’t want to shop or cook. Instead of adding groceries to my bag full of brushes, paper, paints, and my messy paint apron, it was an easy decision to walk past the luscious strawberries to an quaint bistro on the corner with my new painting friends.
Not a JWH Kitchen
I’m not the cook in the family, even with all the kitchens I’ve designed for our family and others. Although this Paris Airbnb would not be the key to my cooking inspiration, I’m amazed what can be condensed into 8 linear feet! After figuring out how to turn on the strip of countertop outlets (after 2 days), the electric team kettle and coffee maker were easily put into action. The undercounter refrigerator nicely holds a bottle of wine and a few yogurts. The induction cooktop mounted directly above the dishwasher is an interesting design that would allow a quick meal and easy clean up, but I’ve ignored both appliances. The undercounter washer/dryer combo unit, taking only 24″ of space next to the dishwasher, was definitely worth trying with a trip this long. This one-step machine promises to take your clothes from dirty, to clean, and dry– in theory. After identifying which box contained laundry detergent packets versus dishwasher tablets, the 15 minute express cycle was the most clear instruction on the machine. Attempting to program the load directly thru the dry cycle, I only managed to wash everything again, this time without soap. Taking my chances again, I pushed the button named “seche” and waited 2 hours and 40 minutes for it to unlock my jeans and pajamas. While making a ton of noise for the cycle, it literally did nothing. With clothes now hanging on chairs and door knobs, I won’t be recommending this space-saver to clients.
Train to Sancerre
The painting classes finished today, and now I’m packing up for Sancerre. The big-ass suitcase which almost killed me on the first day, will not make this train ride to the Loire Valley. My acrylic supplies that weigh A LOT more than my watercolor palette are staying in Paris, along with the odd assortment of “wrong” items packed for this 2 week trip. (For example, any shoe with a heel is NOT comfortable in Paris.) This mega suitcase will be dragged the 6 blocks back to City Locker tomorrow morning, through the same empty Sunday morning streets as last week. With a lighter load, a lighter mood, and excitement for this next step, the train leaves tomorrow for French classes.
#Au revoir! Jennifer (Thanks for reading!)
An adventure in Paris as a full-time business owner, traveling solo, studying painting and language, is not the typical trip for a 52 year old mother of 5 and grandmother of 1. Mid-life crisis or making up for the missed college year abroad program? Either one, it is time to regroup and refuel the creative fires. With another 20 years to work, and to continue to LOVE the work I do, I realized it was time to take some time for myself.
Taking a solo trip, anywhere, has never been something I’ve particularly enjoyed. Business trips that involve a flight alone, hotel room alone, and an occasional meal alone, are relished by some of my business friends. Mindlessly flipping through magazines on a flight and spreading out in the entire king-size hotel bed don’t do it for me. I like to fall asleep the minute I board the plane, curled in my window seat. And I still stay on my side of the hotel bed, leaving the other two-thirds untouched. Add a few meals alone, trying to make conversation without looking like a pick-up move, makes me even more eager to get back to the craziness of work and my family. So why have I now booked myself to travel 7 hours to France–alone? And for how long?
It all started in a conversation with my daughter, Caroline, about her upcoming semester abroad in Madrid. After she had spent a year at Tulane and another year at Georgetown, she was still managing to come home far more often than my older boys ever did– combined. “Caroline, you don’t even like to be gone from home for long. How will you make it 4 months in Spain?” I asked. In her typical confident manner, without a moment’s hesitation, she responded “That’s easy. You will have an apartment in Paris.”
This quick retort last March quickly germinated into an idea that I couldn’t release from my mind. As outrageous and ridiculous as that idea sounded, something inside grabbed hold of my daily (and nightly) thoughts for the next 2 weeks. As the words came out of my mouth to share this plan with my husband, Rob looked at me in a supportive, yet unbelieving way. Was a full semester a little dramatic? Maybe 3 months, leaving after the busy work month of September and returning in December. “2 months?” he countered. I hesitated and responded, “Maybe 1 month will be enough?” Yes, a month I could handle and the planning began.
Work or Pleasure?
First practical question: How could I manage a month away from the office? Well, working on JWH projects is a given. Skype, email and my remote access computer would let me continue design work from anywhere. Maybe not as efficient on a small laptop keyboard, as compared to my 2 large side-by-side screens on my desk, but I’ve done it on shorter vacations so I could certainly set up a work routine for this longer trip. We’ve laughed about setting up a blow up doll in my office chair, and propping a pair of expensive heels on my window sill, and passerbys would believe I am working away in Rye, NY.
A quick post on Facebook asking for recommendations on where to stay helped to focus on the “arrondissements” that would keep me safe and centrally located. Adding “laptop friendly workspace” to the search criteria on Airbnb helped to further narrow down the number of possible flats. There weren’t a lot of other filters I required. Blow dryer–optional. Wifi– critical. It seemed like 5-story “older” buildings without a lift best fit in my housing budget.
As luck would have it, the perfect studio jumped out at me. The private courtyard for the building, 2nd floor location, and tiny square footage seemed to guarantee I could make myself feel cozy. The well-known jazz bar across the street, which closes at the mandatory time of 10 pm, sounds like it was set up for my exciting nightlife. And the amazing murals on the studio walls would be my inspiration to start every day in a creative mode. And the bonus: blow dryer included.
Making the most of each day:
So now that I figured out how I would work efficiently every day from Paris, the question remained, what will I do with the rest of my time? I will be awake on a different time zone and my office has not yet come to life? (And then I will be winding down with a glass (or 2) of French chardonnay, and the office will be calling with technical questions.) Brushing up on my French–of course. A great way to meet other people while reviving my 5 years of honors French, not-so-eloquently last spoken 34 years ago at Rye High School. I envisioned ordering my cafe-au-lait with utmost confidence, asking the price on a fashionable outfit and understanding that the answer is not in my price range, and striking up casual conversations with strangers while sitting at the bustling sidewalk cafes. The reality of the latter part is that native Parisians won’t want to start up random conversations with a solo middle aged mom from NY. At least I’m pretty sure the waitstaff or other English-speaking tourists won’t snub me. Fully thinking through this scenario, which is one of my strengths (and weaknesses), reveals that I will STILL have too much time on my hands. Enter the suggestion from my beloved little sister, Molly.
Past or present life:
“Jenny, you’ve always fashioned yourself as an artist. And I know you believe there might have been a previous life as an architect, why don’t you explore this passion in Paris?” Brilliant Molly, who sometimes knows me better than I know myself. Now we are adding structure to my day, and filling lots of time in a creative way. Again, I can picture it clearly: setting up my easel along the Seine, dressed as a Parisian artist with interested onlookers, capturing the architecture on canvas with my paints and brush. The reality? First, I have trouble getting my right hand to relay what I see in my mind so the representation of these historical landmarks will be more impressionist, not to insult my beloved Monet. Second, I’m a messy painter. A full smock was the recommended protective gear to wear over my clothes, as only a BFF could suggest. But I can’t resist the challenge or the experience, I sign up for the 6 day outdoor class, and I realize that I will come home with paint on my clothes.
Housing, work and ideal activities for the trip are “planned”, but far from being executed. Life (and travel planning) always throws some funny curve balls. Please follow along to see how things develop…
Today’s Top Kitchen Island Styles
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.
- 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
- 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
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
Ready to make some quick kitchen updates, but not quite ready to commit to a full remodel? It’s not as daunting as it seems: Small changes can add up to big results. Whether you’re looking to add style, function or a boost of energy to your eating space, these 5 ideas will inspire you to make changes that will have maximum impact on your kitchen.
Open Things Up
Make a small kitchen feel bigger by opting for open shelving instead of upper cabinets. If you’re not ready to ditch the cabinets, remove cabinet doors to make a display for pretty plates and keep your most used cookware handy. If you choose this option, you’ll have to work a little extra to make sure you keep your goods organized. Group together similar colors, shapes, and sizes to create a streamlined and purposeful look.
Replacing cabinet knobs and drawer pulls remains one of the easiest and affordable ways to bring new life to your kitchen. If you’re looking for a sleek and modern look go with a polished nickel finish. Satin or antique brass has made a re-entry into design, so this could be fun to try. With all the kitchen hardware choices out there, you’ll find that an upgrade is a simple and efficient way to breathe life into a ho-hum kitchen. Click “Update Hardware” to see the wide variety of choices from Top Knobs, available through JWH.
Ceilings are an unexpected place to add dimension to your kitchen. Add a quick pop of rich color with a fresh coat of paint or install new recessed lighting in various sizes. Instead of using the same old pendant lamps, opt for oversized trendy commercial-grade fixtures for an industrial look. Add some sophistication to a traditional coffered ceiling. For maximum impact, tin-ceiling tiles can be painted to fit your current color scheme.
A classic white subway tile backsplash is an inexpensive way to add pizazz to kitchens. For a more exotic look, add a brightly colored Moroccan tile backsplash or iridescent glass in a herringbone pattern. For a dazzling effect, extend the backsplash all the way up to the ceiling. This small but potent change may be just what you need to transform your kitchen in a pinch. Artistic Tile has plenty of ideas to spark your imagination!
From installing faux bois floors to slapping on a fresh coat of paint to laying porcelain tile, sprucing up your kitchen floors is a surefire way to give your space a facelift. For a low-maintenance option select engineered flooring; it’s available in a wide variety of styles and is one of the most affordable options when it comes to installing new floors. Bamboo remains a more eco-friendly and ergonomic flooring choice, while a cork kitchen floor adds a unique texture and a padded feel.
Need help? 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!
Pro Photos to Match Professional Home Design
It is so exciting to finally get professional photographs of our Clients’ homes when they are “done.” Capturing the results of careful planning, creative designing, and hard work in the finishing is very satisfying. And not just to me as the Designer, but the entire JWH Team. Great photos have been captured by photographer, Mick Hales, and have been uploaded to our JWH website. These professional photos capture the professional home design perfectly!
Here is the link to a fabulous Kitchen as part of a whole house transformation, including the Master and Kids’ Baths. Our JWH Team was brought in before these Client’s evens signed contracts on this home. In much need of a total overhaul, Jennifer Howard and the JWH Team designed architectural changes that would improve the flow, function, and aesthetics of this fabulous family home.
The second project has been a work in progress for 5 years. It started with the Master Bath and then moved onto Living and Mudroom. Finally, we ended the project with culminating in the Kitchen; all the while with plenty of time in between each project. We love our loyal JWH Clients!