Do You Need To Replace Your Lighting To LED?

Darker Countertops Require Good Lighting

Darker Countertops Require Good Lighting

Do you need to replace your bulbs to LED? Not necessarily, but eventually:)

Most of us will still be confused in the lighting aisle, where you can still purchase halogen bulbs because of the low price and  these bulbs “feel” like the old incandescents …. yet halogen bulbs are still only approx. 25 percent more efficient which is just enough to meet the EISA standards set.

LED lights are truly getting better and more exciting. (Can you tell I’m the daughter of a life-long electrician?) Because LED lights are so efficient, they will take a VERY long time before you’ll need to replace. I like that concept! According to Popular Mechanics, “Replacing a 60-watt incandescent with an LED equivalent will save you $130 in energy costs over the new bulb’s lifetime. The average American household could slash $150 from its annual energy bill by replacing all incandescents with LED bulbs.”

Here’s more info:

-LED lights are dimmable

-LED lights are getting “warmer” in color tone (LED’s now have CRI’s in the 80’s….Color Rendering Index)

-LED lights are getting cheaper to buy (manufacturers are more efficient in producing LED’s and demand is high)

Replacing certain kinds of older fixtures and housings take a bit of research and “trying on” lightbulbs can be a chore, but in the end, an updated look is achieved and the energy savings will be realized.

Have a great summer!

Small Kitchen Top 5 Design Tips

Small Kitchen = Elegant Cozy Design

Small Kitchen = Elegant Cozy Design

Here are my top 5 design musts for small kitchens:

1- Opposites attract, so I always recommend selecting either painted cabinets, which will keep your color palette light, or
very dark stained cabinets which will keep your color palette dramatic, but still on the lighter side.

2-Backsplashes are powerful, especially in a smaller kitchen. Usually the 30-inch range prevails, so consider a designed backsplash in lighter tones of color with geometric shapes.

3-Add fabric somewhere. Chair cushions and window coverings are great places in tight spaces to add fabric for warmth and coziness.

4-Wood is king in a tiny space…..as long as it doesn’t overwhelm. I love the wooden table in this photo. If the cabinets were a dark stain, then a painted table and chairs would be my choice. Wood flooring is also an option.

5-Consider angles in a small kitchen. As you can see in this one-wall kitchen photo, the range was turned on a 90-degree angle and custom countertops to follow. This is a great way to take the eye away from the “smallness” of a room and yet in a kitchen provides interesting design detail.

Remodeling a kitchen with too many doorways!

Here's a pantry cabinet added on a short wall between 2 doorways.

Here’s a pantry cabinet added on a short wall between 2 doorways.

Designed kitchen with doorway and hallway entries in mind.

Designed kitchen with doorway and hallway entries in mind.

When faced with openings all around a kitchen, here are some design solutions I’ve seen work in many of these spaces:

1- Design “zones” for various tasks and activities that take place in the kitchen. I like to use “short” walls for placing a base cabinet or two for under-counter additional refrigeration or a possible beverage storage. The additonal countertop space, even if only 24-30-inches, is amazingly useful. A “Coffee/Tea Zone” in this area can look really nice.
Sometimes I may need to adjust the depth of the base, to simply allow easier and wider clearances.

2- Think about the possibility of actually closing up one of the doorways or entryways. For example, I worked on a kitchen several years ago that had two “out” passages from the kitchen that got you to the same room….the front foyer! Wow, all of a sudden we had more space in the kitchen, more counters, and more storage!

3- Open up the wall “in-between” a couple of doorways and get rid of all that stained wood that supposedly trims out all the casings. Make the entrance grand (columns, etc.) or minimize the opening and draw your eye to the kitchen. Headers may need to stay put, but I love using headers for architectural detail and interest.

4- By all means, paint all the woodwork and doors and casings and baseboard. This will minimize all those “rectangles”!

5-Create a seating area in between openings (again, this is another “zone”) that becomes a design feature in the kitchen. What’s great about considering a built-in seat or base cabinets with a stone overhang for chairs or stools is that you can do this first …. while you’re saving money to replace your tired and worn-out cabinets.

Develop your nook eating area

Develop your nook eating area

Remember, new, updated cabinetry and counter surfaces is always the best solution for kitchens with many openings and doorways, along with new painted walls and painted woodwork. Wait, save, and do it right!

Have a great day…. and have fun planning for your kitchen. Call me anytime with questions.

Cool Kitchens…small “splurges” make a big impact!

Getting that first cup of coffee or getting kids their breakfast first thing in the morning often sets the “mood” for your day. Cool kitchen gadgets can help make mornings easier, and they’re fun Christmas gifts to get… but I’d like to tell you about a few small “splurges” you can make in your existing kitchen that can make a big impact on updating your kitchen design.

PURCHASE KITCHEN ISLAND: Actually,  buying a couple base cabinets of drawers and adding post legs or base trim is less expensive than most dining sets of tables and chairs Islands are never trendy and are ever so useful and pretty. Check out Grabill Cabinets’ gallery for ideas.

PURCHASE CROWN MOULDING: By adding a 2 or 3 piece moulding either on top of your existing wall cabinets or around your ceiling in the kitchen, a big visual impact goes a long way. If your floor to ceiling height is shorter, crown mouldings can draw the eye upward when meeting cabinets at the ceiling level. Crown is just outright beautiful! Everything looks finished! You can check out Baird Lumber, a fine moulding source.

PURCHASE NEW CABINET HARDWARE: Check out the drilling size of your existing hardware and then check out the latest in knobs and pulls. You don’t even have to change out all of them….perhaps just a few for visual impact. (Now’s the time to change your kitchen faucet as well) I am enjoying the Art Deco collection from Richelieu Hardware.  Who can resist some of the new metals and finishes out there? There are also glass knobs which I’ve specified for a few jobs recently.

So have fun planning your 2013 kitchen design updates… and have a blessed holiday.

Deb Shababy

Add an island instead of a kitchen table...instant style !

Add an island instead of a kitchen table…instant style !