Using Natural Light in Your Design

One of the greatest gifts a designer can leverage is natural light sources.  Understanding the natural light opportunities in a room can guide material selections and what types of artificial lighting is added.  Here in Arizona, S Interior Design likes to incorporate SolaTubes and strategically placed clerestory windows in homes and offices so our clients can enjoy the abundant natural sun shine without loosing heat and privacy controls.    Below is  a guest post about windows, natural light and window covering options to consider.

Using your window space to the best effect

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While the structural architecture and design of a room can have an effect on its atmosphere and mood, it is the lighting that truly brings it to life, enhancing the room’s design and décor, as well as creating the mood. Lighting patterns, colors and targeted illumination can create a variety of moods, from cool, restful and relaxing, to warm, active and cheerful. Both artificial and natural lighting can be used creatively to bring out the best features of a room and distract attention away from more negative areas.

 

Artificial lighting is an part of interior design, but natural lighting, courtesy of windows, is often overlooked or seen as something to work around. Natural lighting, however, is not only better for the eyes; it is also the best light to see accurately, see colors and tones and is a natural mood-enhancer. Choosing the right window coverings and treatments to allow natural light in to the best effect is an important step in truly finishing a room.

Window decorating and natural lighting

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There are a variety of different types of window coverings and treatments to choose from. Selecting exactly which to use depends on the room that the windows are in and the lighting effect required.

 

Window treatments in the bedroom need to be functional in some way, whether it is blinds that can be adjusted or shades that can be easily raised or lowered. Drapes and curtains are also frequently used in bedrooms; many being made from the same fabrics and trims as the bed linens. Room darkening and heat and sound insulating, these types of window coverings have the added benefit of creating a romantic and relaxing mood, particularly when made from luxurious fabrics and materials, such as sheers, brocades or velvet.

 

In the main living areas of the home, letting in natural light while maintaining a measure of privacy is the key. Covering only a portion of the window is an ideal way of admitting natural sunlight while maintaining privacy. Plantation shutters, along with other styles of window shutter, are a great way to accomplish this lighting effect. Covering only the lower pane or portion of the window, plantation shutters may be opened as desired to let in even more light. Even when closed they allow plenty to come through while keeping the room’s occupants screened from the outside world. Shutters fit in with almost any interior design, in particular country styles and Victorian design, as well as modern and eclectic looks.

Kitchens frequently do not have large windows or have windows with unusual shapes, so finding suitable coverings and treatments that are stylish, yet functional, may prove difficult. In addition to shutters, which also work well here, café curtains are a very popular window covering. Functioning in a similar way to the shutters, café curtains leave the upper part of the window nearly bare, allowing plenty of natural light to come through, while also ensuring a degree of privacy. Café curtains are available in a variety of styles and fabrics.

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Bathroom Design Trends

S Interior Design loves remodeling bathrooms for their clients.  When we were asked to host this guest blog post on Bathroom Trends, we said YES!  Fun, contemporary design ideas to inspire you.

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Bathroom Trends: Glass Mosaic Tile (via)

Bathroom trends to me start with the tile work. In this case, one of my favorite examples is the Copper Color Bisazza Glass Mosaic Tile. It gives you that contemporary look and serene feeling to your bathroom. Other trendy styles of tile you should consider for your bathroom redesign project are natural stone, pebble tile, stone mosaic tile and stainless steel tile. If you’re doing budget-conscious remodeling, use designer tile sparingly in the form of cut-out tile accents, to give you that designer tile design cue.

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Turquoise Painted Glass Vessel Sink (via)

Vessel sinks are very much trendy these days. Walk into any high-end restaurant’s bathroom, and you’ll likely see a vessel sink. Depending on the style, they can also be very affordable. Personally, I like the above vessel sink made of glass, and painted turquoise.

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Trendy Shower Doors: Neo-Angle Frameless Shower Enclosures and Glass BathTub Screens

If you couldn’t tell from the glass vessel sinks and the glass mosaic tile recommendations, glass is in style when it comes to the bathroom. One of the reasons for that is because glass allows for the passage of light. That means a lot of glass, opens up an otherwise small looking bathroom, and makes it look more spacious. Also, if you have fancy tile work in your bathroom, there’s no better way to show off that tile work than with beautiful low-iron glass (in which the green hue has been reduced by taking out the iron content).

Nothing looks drabber than cheap, toxic, vinyl shower curtains. In these examples, the neo-angle shower enclosure is the trendiest and most expensive shower enclosure on the market. It’s frameless, so the metal hardware is barely visible.

On the other side, is the glass bathtub screen. These are very trendy in Europe, and are starting to make their way over into the United States. In Europe, people aren’t afraid of a little bit of water splashing out of their tubs. At the end of the day, both a full shower enclosure and a glass bathtub screen are great options for a trendy bathroom.

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Granite Countertop (via)

Granite countertops are a popular décor trend both in the bathroom and the kitchen. They provide the perfect backdrop for the aforementioned glass vessel sinks. And if you’re going to spend the “dough-re-mi” for a solid-slab granite countertop, utilizing clear glass vessel sinks might be a good idea in order to better showcase the granite. If you’re looking to save money, you can also do a DIY project and use a granite tile kit, which is a third of the price of buying the solid slab of granite, as seen above. They both provide that trendy, natural, solid-stone look for one’s bathroom.

About the Author

Shahab Shokouhi is a glass design expert at www.dullesglassandmirror.com, an innovative manufacturer of glass table tops, glass shelves, and all other glass and mirror products. Follow Dulles Glass and Mirror on Pinterest or on YouTube to see how they’re changing the way glass products are manufactured, customized and delivered.

LED Lighting– Good to Know

An article from HOUZZ describing the benefits of LED lights and showing some of the most common applications.  As  designer, I am specifying LED lighting for all of my remodel projects.

Create A Personal Space to Nest

It’s Good to be GREEN

No, I am not talking about green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, or green eggs and ham, but green in terms of selection of eco-friendly materials to complete  your home remodel.   Below is a guest post that describes some good ideas about how you can ‘think green’.

Making your home remodel as green as possible

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When remodelling a home you have to make environmental concerns a priority now, not just because of government regulations and stipulations, but also because we have a duty to build buildings and homes that use as few resources as possible, will operate without depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis, and will stand the test of time and be durable and liveable for many years to come. This might sound like a challenge if you’re remodelling a home, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t mean your remodelled home has to be a complete off-the-grid tepee without electricity or running water, it just means that you should use approved green products and appliances when doing your constructions. Information about green solutions is readily available; just browse design and construction firms like Unique Design. Green design doesn’t have to affect the appearance of your remodel either, just the mechanics of it. Here are some pictures of green remodelled homes:

It is now very easy to power your kitchen or bathroom by using solar energy, so if you are doing works on your plumbing or light fittings you should think about this. Solar energy will also attract generous rebates from the government, meaning that your energy bill will dramatically decrease.

Plumbing fixtures are good place to focus your attention as well, as faulty or inadequate fixtures are responsible for huge amounts of leaking and water wastage. A good thing to do when in the midst of a remodel is to get an energy audit, which will show you exactly how and where your energy consumption is going. It might be a revelation to find out exactly how energy is used in your home, and then you’ll know what the big consumers are and how you can save on energy expenses. Most people find that energy is used for a few hours in the evening, across two rooms, the kitchen and the bathroom. As a general rule, good quality products are better for the environment because they use energy more efficiently and last longer, meaning that they stay out of our landfill for longer.

Pine Kitchen Cabinetry

I was intrigued.  I had not thought of using Pine as a wood species for kitchen cabinets before this request for  a guest post crossed my desk.  Because Pine is a softer wood, specific care needs to be taken to preserve it’s intended look.   Pine is a less expensive wood and in the right setting can be a great option to consider for your kitchen cabinetry.  Summer cabin up in Flagstaff, AZ need a face lift in the kitchen?  Consider Pine wood.

I’ve Got Pine Kitchen Cabinets. Anything I Should Know?
Pine cabinets can be a stunning addition to any home decor, and this is especially true when you are going for a rustic home design. Log cabin furniture and cabinets that are made from pine give the home a more authentic log cabin feel. Pine cabinets require different care than other wood cabinets though.

pine kitchen 1 Image Courtesy of http://www.woodworkersshoppe.com

Pine

Each piece of pine has unique irregularities that give pine its character. This gives pine a unique and beautiful texture as well. The beauty of pine is in its quality, and each piece is different from any other. Those knots and burls of wood make treatment and care of pine cabinets and  log cabin furniture different from other wood pieces.

Pine wood is naturally soft and susceptible to climate changes. Temperature and the elements will affect the wood which will cause it to expand and contract. Water and humidity will cause the wood to expand. Heat and direct sunlight will cause the wood to shrink causing cracking. Pine wood cabinets will expand if subjected to water in any form not just humidity. This makes them especially delicate in the kitchen where water would need to be cleaned off the cabinets immediately, or damage could occur. Spills, spatters and the effects of daily use need to be cleaned off pine cabinets instantly.

Hot or cold items shouldn’t be placed directly on pine since they can mar the surface of the wood. Most cabinets will be covered with a counter top, but for those pieces that are stand-alone be especially conscious of using a place mat or potholder under hot plates.

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Image Courtesy of refacingkitchencabinetscost.org

Care and Cleaning

Pine cabinets cannot be cleaned with detergents or soap. General everyday cleaning requires a duster to keep the cabinets free of dust or dirt. For more in-depth cleaning, a damp cloth may be used, but any moisture needs to be wiped away with a dry cloth immediately.   The finish on pine cabinets is normally glossy and will not react well to harsh cleaners and polishes. Any polishing products should be made especially for pine wood. Aerosol sprays and polishes are not optimal for the care and treatment of pine, and silicon should be avoided at all costs.

The softness of pine and the effects of shrinking and expanding could make the hardware loose. Tighten the screws flush with the cabinets. Do not over-tighten them because it could split the wood, make it loose and eventually strip the screw holes. This need for tightening may happen periodically. It’s normal for pine and shouldn’t be a concern.

Lifelong treatment

Pine will need to be re-treated every few months to maintain the surface of the wood. This can be done with a block wax that is not filled with heavy perfumes. Apply the wax to the entire surface both front and back as well as inside the cabinets. Pay particular attention to the surfaces that will see daily use. Those are the parts where the sheen will wear out faster.

With proper care, pine cabinets will last a lifetime and will be continue to be a spectacular showpiece in any rustic interior home design.

 

About the company:
JHE’s Log Furniture Place is a leading manufacturer and retailer of rustic log furniture. This company has a huge online store offering indoor and outdoor log furniture, as well as rustic décor and accessories. Its furniture is proudly made in the USA and the company has excellent customer service.

Kitchen Flooring Options To Consider

The guest post below high-lights the usual options discussed with one that might be a bit of a surprise.  A hint  it is used in commercial settings, been around for decades, might be found in laundry or mud rooms.  When embarking upon a kitchen remodel, choosing the flooring is one of the biggest decisions along with selection of the cabinets and counter tops and of course the appliances.  You need to consider the overall look and feel you are hoping to achieve, the maintainance of the material, and of course the cost when making your flooring choice.  I would like to add CORK to the list of options to consider as well.  Cork is soft underfoot and comfortable to stand on while working in a kitchen, easy to care for and eco-friendly.  My personal kitchen has cork flooring and I absolutely love it!

Guest Post:

Choosing the best flooring option for your new kitchen construction, remodel project or home renovation is not a concern that should be left to chance. The impact that the right flooring has on your interior environment and décor can be considerable; homeowners who choose their options with a bit more care may be rewarded with an end result that is able to suite their individual tastes far more effectively. Finding a tile flooring pattern to match your décor or choosing the hardwood flooring option that will provide just the right addition to your walls and cabinets will ensure that the kitchen of your dreams can be turned into a reality, one that will provide you with a more enjoyable and satisfying interior décor and atmosphere.

Hardwood flooring and other natural materials may allow you to create a cozier and welcoming environment. Different natural and hardwoods may offer you a wide range of color and tone options that may be perfect for creating a more rustic and comfortable atmosphere. Hardwood flooring can offer you a quality flooring solution that will make a wonderful complement for stained walls or cabinetry that features and unfinished appearance. Warmer than tile and more sturdy and substantial than laminate flooring, hardwood may be the material option that you have been searching for to complete the perfect kitchen.

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The low-cost and superior durability of vinyl flooring has made it a very popular choice for home and apartment construction. The wide range of patterns, textures and styles that may be found for your floor will ensure that you have plenty of cost-effective options to select from. For home and property owners who are more concerned with an affordable and durable material, vinyl and laminate flooring options would be worth considering. Such materials can provide you with a way to reduce the overall costs of your renovation efforts.

vinyl flooring

Creating a more elegant and traditional kitchen environment may be possible with the use of tile flooring options. Tile has long been the material of choice for those whose tastes center on more traditional and classical aesthetics. Choosing the right tile for your renovation may provide you with a stunning way to accent your kitchen fixtures and overall design scheme, ensuring that you are able to create a more dramatic space. If vinyl flooring or laminate building materials are unable to provide you with the results you seek, tile flooring may offer you an option that will be far more appealing.

tile flooring use this one

From vinyl flooring that will be able to provide a more affordable and cost-effective option for your building materials to the timeless elegance that the right tile selection may be able to provide, homeowners who are interested in creating the kitchen of their dreams will have plenty of options to choose from. Working with the right materials will ensure that your renovation efforts or new home construction will provide you with a more enjoyable environment and kitchen décor. Material selections that will allow you to more successfully express your taste and personal style will ensure that the time and expense you invest will provide you with a more enjoyable home and kitchen atmosphere.

 

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