Getting into Essential Oils

I’m going to try a few…especially heard about Thieves which sounds funny, but works well. Thanks for this post.

Ethan & Emilie

When I don’t sleep enough, I get headaches.  If I don’t drink enough water, I get headaches. When I’m stressed, I get headaches.  When I worry about getting a headache, I get a headache.

I’ve had a couple migraines in my life, and now that I know I get them, I fear them.  A headache will bring the possibility of a migraine, and I just don’t want to chance it.  However, I don’t want to pop pills at the earliest onset of a headache every time.  That is a lot of pills!  But I do not want to let it slip from a mild headache to a pounding, sight reducing, nauseating migraine… so I started looking into these essential oils.

Several of my friends have been using oils with great success for numerous things from acne to pms, cleaning to sleeping, indigestion to colds.  So I did a little…

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10 Healthy Kitchen Remodeling Decisions

Cleaning the Air shown is a GE Monogram Hood w/blower

Cleaning the Air shown is a GE Monogram Hood w/blower

1-CLEAN UP YOUR INDOOR AIR. You’d be surprised by the amount of air pollution in the home. When you remodel the kitchen, please choose to ventilate. Hire an experienced tradesman to run and route the venting to the outside. Check the power and specs for the hood or vent that you select. One of the brands I’ve had experience with through the years is Best by Broan. Here is what their site indicates “

2-ELECTRIC COOKTOPS. Both electric and gas cooking offers pros and cons. I prefer electric cooking for a healtheir kitchen environment. Gas burners can add up to 30% indoor nitrogen dioxide concentrations, depending on how cooking usage. It seems a better idea to me not to have an open flame. However, I am an electric cooktop “fan” of the higher end brands such as Wolf electric or induction because of the responsiveness and the flatness and dispersion of heat to the cooking vessel.

3-HEALTHY CABINETS. Yes, there really is such a thing …. but only in the last 10 years have manufacturers made it a priority to build cabinets with no added urea formaldehyde, which is now a known carcinogen. These manufacturers have complied with the newer CARB laws and you will find little “off-gassing” or odors of the new cabinets.Some of the brands that I like are Medallion, Mouser, and Neff Kitchen cabinets.

4-PAINT WALLS WITH A LOW VOC PAINT. What you are after, for a healthier home, is NO formaldehydes or toxic materials. All the better paint brands have a plethora of paint and stain products. Check out Sherwin-Williams

5-INSTALL A SANITARY COUNTERTOP. Or at least do some research …. since there is no “perfect” countertop as yet, some of my choices for non-porous, acid-resistant surfaces include engineered quartz (ie.Cambria, Dupont’s, Caesarstone,) and soapstone as a natural surface that resists acids and alkalis and does not require chemical sealing

6-INSTALL THE LATEST CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS. In the kitchen area and according to your city’s code. The brand First Alert has a good selection, some with detection for all types of gasses including methane and propane. I’m planning on installing a new detector in my own kitchen with the digital readout.

7-GET A RADON TEST. Since radon is a known carcinogen, and it’s easy to get a certified radon inspection …. this is a “no-brainer” for a homeowner who wants a healthier environment in their kitchen and entire home. Read more about radon in this website

8-CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN SAFELY. What I can control, is the cleaning products that I use in my kitchen …. and basically recommend anything WITHOUT an odor, that is non-toxic and non-flammable. Currently, I’m using the Vivesan brand of natural cleaning products which are 100% plant-based, odorless, carcinogen-free and made in the USA.

9-HANDS-FREE PRODUCTS. Not spreading germs and bacteria is on everyone’s mind lately, and cooking with raw foods is a day-to-day routine, so the new faucets that have motion sensors are great for those of us who like to cook. Check out Moen faucets new line at Another area of bacteria is the trash, and itouchless hands-free trashcans with carbon-filter technology are great product choices for germ control in the kitchen.

10-MICROBAN TECHNOLOGY CHOICES. From appliances to grout, this is an antimicrobial that works at the cellular lever and according to their website ( inhibits bacteria, mold and mildew. Appliance housings may look clean and shiny, but they can have bacteria build-up. Many refrigerators now offer Microban technology. Grout is famous for bacteria and mold build-up … look for grouts with added Microban technology. Prevention is key.

All of this sounds a bit overwhelming, even to me! You can’t always control what comes into your kitchen, but making healthier decisions when updating your kitchen or remodeling your kitchen can help to provide some peace of mind.


Lighting Up The Kitchen

Someone recently asked me if it was important to center each and every new light in the kitchen. I replied that I am first concerned about functionality of lighting (make sure you have enough lights!) and then take into account the focal point of your space. That’s usually the island, where hanging pendants or new cans should be centered.

I Love Kitchens

Lighting that is "layered" for tasks in the kitchen Lighting that is “layered” for tasks in the kitchen

Here’s the latest on lights for your kitchen.

Don’t hesitate to use LED lighting as you update your home’s lighting, especially in the kitchen. I am always pleasantly surprised how rooms are beautifully illuminated. (and you won’t need to keep changing out the bulbs!)

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New house …. what could be wrong?

I’m a huge fan of home inspections, even for new houses! You never know, and you’ll want to be fully informed.

All Points Inspection

Looks great ... right? Looks great … right?

What an absolutely spectacular steam shower!
A recent client was purchasing a completely furnished home from a builder. When I saw this beautiful shower enclosure with a steam unit/controller located in it, I began to test it. The unit did not function and I initially thought the power had simply been turned off. The multi-function shower valve was flawless and the unit was draining properly. Once fully investigated, I realized that the steam generator wasn’t even present in the basement, nor was the power connected inside the main electrical panel.

This buyer was very pleased to have paid for an inspection when assuming it wasn’t necessary to begin with …(after all, new home….what could possibly be wrong?) His home inspection fee was money well spent since the builder fully supplied a steam generator and labor to make this beautiful shower functional before transfer.

Note to self:…

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Remodeling the Kitchen in Stages

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens....nice!

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens….nice!

I used to tell homeowners that they couldn’t remodel their kitchen in stages… but I’ve expanded my view of this option, with caution. Here are 5 possible steps to remodeling over time, keeping in mind that the entire process shouldn’t be dragged out over years of time. Lets make this a 2-3 year plan (at the most!) okay?

1-DO THE PLAN. Most people now understand, through the plethora of homeowners education TV programs, online forums and digital media (along with following their favorite celebrity designer!) that a detailed floor plan and design board can always be accomplished first. This IS the no.1 stage for your kitchen remodel. Get a professional to help you… or simply start with your own journal of notes and decorating samples.

2-BUY YOUR APPLIANCES. Usually a homeowner is “forced into high gear” when one of their appliances breaksdown. You can live with old countertops and cabinets for a while longer, but you can’t operate without your main appliances. Go ahead and purchase the main ones, even if it’s just your fridge that went kaput. Most appliance manufacturers have a better deal when purchasing more than one. Even high-end makers (ie. Subzero and Wolf) have rebates when you purchase more than one. Oh…and don’t stress about which finish to choose. Choose STAINLESS please! or a finish that mimics the stainless look. I just don’t want to see you “outdate” yourself from the start!

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

3-PAINT THE WALLS. I know, I know…normally that’s the last step. But I find that homeowners are energized when they can paint in a fresh, updated color. It helps to finish, at least mentally, what the rest of the kitchen’s colors and patterns will be. It’s a great atmosphere and very inspiring to live for awhile in your kitchen, while saving bucks for the big items.

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

4-REPLACE CABINETS. Now if you think your existing cabinets are worthy of stone tops, and IF your existing cabinets are less than 6 years old, this 4th step could be my no. 5 stage below. Being logical, if you intend to get a new floor, you really can’t do that until the final stage, simply because it’s most likely going to RAISE your floor to finished ceiling height. So since you have your floor plan done (that was no. 1 above) get some quotes in the finishes and doorstyle that is current, appealing from a design point of view, AND functional. That means the latest closures and drawer systems. Don’t skimp because even very basic “stock” lines of cabinets (ie.Medallion Silverline)offer the latest in hardware and glides. Be looking at flooring at this point …. at least select your main items on your design board.

4.5-ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR EXISTING FLOOR? or replacing it? If you are going to keep a wood floor, for example, set up an appointment with a flooring refinisher that can do this AFTER step 5. If you need new flooring, specify the height, and make sure to shim the cabinet installation accordingly …. then you’ll be able to put the flooring in last, since your main appliances sit on top of it.

5-NEW COUNTERTOPS & SINK (possibly faucet unless you can safely reuse your existing). Please don’t do this step on old, outdated cabinetry. There’s no temporary approach for great surfaces on great looking cabinets. You’ll need to get the plumbing updated at this stage, since your new sink will mostly likely be undermounted and drain location may change slightly. NOTE TO HOMEOWNER: please don’t purchase laminate tops as you will outdate yourself immediately, and eliminate much of the value of the kitchen remodel, okay? I write this from my 20 years of experience…

Stay tuned for my 2014 Favorite Kitchen Products, and a closer look at the new lighting available.

Call me for help in setting up your kitchen remodel budget.

I know what things cost these days 🙂

Deb S.