Jul 082011
 
NKBATieredApproach300 The Latest Scoop: Kitchen & Bath Design Trends

This kitchen, designed by Tia Moras, illustrates the concept of tiered proportions.

The winning projects of the 2011 National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Design Competition were announced last month.

The award winners typically reflect common design themes.  This year, many of the projects used natural elements in design, strong colors, a variety of textures, and detailed ceilings to create a well-designed space.  Chocolate and espresso were popular hues for cabinetry.  Also, there seems to be a trend toward tiered proportions through overlapping heights in island surfaces, countertops, and cabinets (See photo to the right).

Read on for more photos of some of the design winners! Continue reading »

May 262011
 

I wrote a post awhile back on Top iPhone Apps for Home Improvement Professionals; but since not everyone is an iPhone owner, I decided to delve into the Android market to find the most useful apps out there for home improvement professionals and DIY-ers alike.

It turns out there are quite a few valuable tools on the Android market for all kinds of projects!  This post features the top three out of everything I reviewed. Please let me know in the comments of any great apps I missed.

Screenshots from each app are at the bottom of the post.

Bubble Level by Ben Zibble, Free

Take advantage of your phone’s accelerometer for a free level.  Just hold any of the phone’s four sides against an object to test (or lay it down on a flat surface for a 360° level).  You can change the settings to enable voice so that the app actually “speaks” the angle to you – a very nice feature. You can also set up the phone to vibrate, beep, or buzz when level. Continue reading »

Mar 102011
 

Shaker Style Kitchen 300x202 Top 7 Kitchen Trends for 2011Every year, designers from the National Kitchen & Bath Association gather to report the trends they are seeing in current projects and predict styles for the rest of the year.

It’s essentially a forecast for the remodeling industry!  Here are the kitchen trends straight from the NKBA survey:

  1. Dark natural finishes in countertops, cabinets, etc.
  2. “Shaker style” kitchens. Named after the religious sect known for their prominence in New England in the late 1700s, Shaker kitchens are based on the premise of simplicity.  Cabinets look clean, simple, and sturdy; and are typically recessed panel doors accented with simple hardware.  Shaker kitchens have a good deal of storage space to minimize clutter on countertops.Wood floors with rustic grains/color variations also create the old-fashioned look.  The move back to Shaker-style kitchens indicates that ornate looks (think Tuscan, French country styles) are fading away.  Why?  Designers say this stems from a desire to think about resale value.  Apparently, the simple look is more marketable to future buyers. Continue reading »
Dec 212010
 

1. The Chandelier Made from Pens:

biro chandelier 5 Lights That Will Wow You At first glance, this may look like a standard chandelier.  Look closer.  It’s actually constructed from 347 recycled Bic Cristal pens and 347 paper clips.  Talk about what you wouldn’t expect a light to be made of!  This one has got to be in the same category as the chandelier made from 3000 ping pong balls.

2. Better Defined as “Sculpture”:

lighting ceiling sculpture 5 Lights That Will Wow You This piece of light art was designed by Marcus Tremonto.  Its super-thin structure cascades from the ceiling to create a truly stunning effect.  Check out more of Tremonto’s work, you won’t be disappointed.  He blends style and function in a captivating way that makes you think twice about convention.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on December 21, 2010 at 10:13 am
Nov 242010
 

1. Under Cabinet Lighting:

xenon thin undercabinet light 5 Lighting Trends That Will Never Go Out of Style

Often cited as a top remodeling project in terms of high return on investment, installing under cabinet lights is always a great decision.  It provides task lighting to make cooking and cleaning easier and accent lighting to highlight a beautiful backsplash or countertop.  At night, the glow from an under cabinet light is particularly alluring.  Check out our post on How to Choose Under Cabinet Lighting.

2. Energy Efficient Lighting:

Everyone loves lowering their monthly energy bill.  Whether you’re switching out those old incandescent bulbs for CFLs, trying super-efficient LED cabinet lighting, or using fluorescent light fixtures for a closet or display case, energy efficiency is the way to go.  Besides, today’s incandescent bulbs will no longer be available for sale in the US by 2014 due to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  Go green! Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Oct 072010
 

Sold How to Make Your Home Seller Ready1. De-personalize

You want buyers to be able to picture themselves in their home, and that’s not going to happen if your family photos are prominently displayed in the living room.  Remove any personal items or unusual decorations.  It’s impossible to predict a potential buyer’s taste, so try to make your home neutral, yet inviting.

2. Create open space

Buyers don’t need to see every single room in the house filled with furniture.  Rent a storage space and reevaluate what you’re showing.  It’s best to leave a few functional pieces in each room and leave the rest for potential buyers to imagine.  Remove bookshelves, unnecessary chairs/couches, extra leaves in your dining room table, and out-of-season clothing in your closet.  Your home will seem larger and will be more likely to attract buyers. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 7, 2010 at 10:00 am
Sep 282010
 

Recessed Lighting Layout How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy StepsWe received a question on Twitter recently about how to layout recessed lighting and I realized we don’t have any blog posts on that topic!

If you’re using recessed lights (aka cans, high hats, pot lights, or downlights) to provide the general lighting in a room, follow these tips to create the ideal level of brightness:

1. Ready your sketchbook.

Use a blueprint of the room to pencil in exactly where you want the recessed lights to go.  Before you start, take measurements of any furniture in the room and create paper shapes that are correctly scaled for the blueprint.   This way, you’ll be able to see where the light will fall. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 28, 2010 at 8:58 am
Sep 272010
 

We have received great feedback about our Lighting Library iPhone App, which was released in April.  (If you haven’t already checked it out, you can download it here).  Since so many people found the Lighting Library app helpful, we decided to compile a list of the most useful, intuitive, and cost-effective iPhone apps for home improvement professionals.

There’s something for everyone: the interior designer whose client needs help selecting a paint color, the contractor who is trying to keep track of projects while on-the-go, or even the handyman who could use a lighter toolbox.  Screenshots for each app are at the bottom of the post.  Happy reading!  Leave a comment if you think of any we missed. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 27, 2010 at 9:35 am
Sep 152010
 

corner over cabinet 250 Small Kitchens, Be Gone!Homeowners approach kitchen designers all the time with those three familiar words: “it’s too small.”  Since it’s not always in the budget to knock out the walls, cut the living room square footage in half, and create a massive dream kitchen from scratch, designers usually have to come up with a few other ideas.

Listed below are solutions for tackling that too-small kitchen.  Let me know if I missed any in the comments!

Paint Lightly: Rooms painted with a lighter color will feel more open.  Try to gravitate toward colors like light blue, white, yellow, or beige.  This applies not only to walls but also to cabinets, countertops, and appliances.  Dark colors have a way of visually closing in your space. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am
Jun 072010
 

Moritz Waldemeyer is a famous designer who incorporates innovative applications of LED and laser lighting to fashion, furniture, music, and performance.  He has created some truly captivating pieces – Imogen Heap’s “Twitter Dress” at the Grammys in January, Bono’s laser jacket during the U2 360 tour, a ‘Wall Flower’ exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, an interactive LED chandelier in the JFK New York airport… the list goes on and on.

He recently designed an innovative light installation for Audi at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan.  It featured a cascade of 2,000 lights that formed abstract patterns and revealed an interactive text display.  Here’s a video about the event and Moritz Waldemeyer’s design:

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