As many of you know, the Kitchen and Bath masses gathered in Las Vegas February 4-6 for their annual pilgrimage to KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. This year the event was part of Design & Construction Week, a new concept, merging KBIS with IBS, the International Builder’s Show. As a result, it was bigger and better than ever. Let’s hope that what happened there does NOT stay there ! Read more
It’s been whirlwind of activity since my great NOLA adventure! Installations are underway, new designs are being created and the busy summer season is ramping up! I’m meeting so many new prospective kitchen clients and although they are all unique, many of them have the same questions. Based on the very real inquiries of my clientele, I will be dishing out my answers and perspectives on five biggies that will give you a head start if you’re beginning to plan your own dream kitchen.
1) What kind of lights should I use for under cabinet lighting? I love to use strip, or rope, lighting to illuminate the area between upper cabinets and counter tops. This type of LED lighting casts an even glow without the need to worry about placement of individual lights. Because they are LED, you do have to locate a transformer inside or above the cabinets. They are energy efficient and long lasting allowing you to see what you’re doing on the counter or simply providing ambient, or mood, lighting. I like to place them under the front of the upper cabinet either tucked behind the face frame or perhaps concealed with molding. This position will cast light on the center of your counter top. As you can see in the photo above, they are also a perfect option for illuminating the toekick area between cabinet and floor. Not only does this look very stylish but doing this is also a great option for safety and aging in place design. There are many brands on the market with some easier to install than others. I like the Loox line by Hafele. In addition to the rope lights they offer all kinds of stylish, functional and efficient options for lighting the inner recesses of your kitchen.
Some of the newest ways to use rope lighting is to illuminate the interiors of cabinets. Seems so logical!
2) Some of my cabinets are still really good, can I save money and just get more to match?
You’ve heard me talk about glass before and it’s place as a progressive material used in all sorts of innovative ways in the 21st century kitchen. The following is a press release I recently received for a company called Think Glass.
“One of the coolest products just unveiled at the National Kitchen Bath Show in Las Vegas was a stunning 4-inch glass countertop that looked like the luminescent ocean and actually glowed from within. The powerful LED lights embedded inside gave the glass countertop a radiance. ThinkGlass offers a variety of light colors and even the ability to create a “light show” via remote control with special effects such as flashing and fading lights to create an ambiance.
ThinkGlass has quickly become a leader in the thermoforming industry by pioneering a versatile technique that allows the creation of new or repetitive textures at a very low molding cost. This process allows the creation of glass slabs without thickness constraints opening the door to all kinds of design possibilities that far exceed anything that can be accomplished with stone, granite or marble.”
This truly is a revolutionary break through. Previously the thickest counter top any sane glass expert would offer is 3/4″. When glass reaches a thickness of 1.4″ it becomes hard as stone and it is naturally antibacterial because of its totally nonporous nature.
ThinkGlass has been around for about 11 years and here’s how they do it. The process begins with 8′ by 11′ sheets of 1/2″ glass which is cut to size according to project specs. The glass is stacked and placed on a bed of sand in an oven. Any desired texture or design is drawn into the sand before the glass is placed on it. The glass is then baked for one day for every 1/2″ of thickness. The finished product is then polished by hand. Pretty cool, huh? The sand is even reused so there is no waste.
The addition of LED lighting for illumination really takes glass to the next level and is sure to deliver lots of “wows”. Glass is easy to clean and the addition of a texture is a crafty way to hide finger prints.
If you’d like just a little wow that’s good too and can be enough. How about a raised glass top on your island? If you go this route make sure to employ a qualified professional who will know the best way to install and secure your top. Last but not least, don’t forget that if you are a follower of Feng Shui, glass is a great way to add the water element to your kitchen. The element of water is said to attract wealth and health!
Our annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show known as KBIS was held last month in Las Vegas. I’m hearing that attendance was much improved over the anemic showing of the last couple years. This show is traditionally where new products and design trends for the kitchen and bath are introduced to the world at large. Here are some of my new faves from the show!
One of the most exciting debuts this year is Bornholm Cabinets, conceived of and created by fellow blogger Susan Serra and her daughter. They are a couple of smart cookies who know what’s both hot now as well as basic and unique enough to be timeless. The line is Scandanavian inspired but American made. Simple yet elegant and designed to blend into and enhance any environment. I think we’ll be seeing more of this. You can see more here.
I also love this beautiful bit of black.
Yes it’s a toilet! When it comes to commodes the Japanese have definitely got it going on and this example is no exception. We all know what a “smart” phone is, well meet the “smart” toilet! The REGIO by Inax features a sound system, heated seat, double power deodorizing, automatic seat and flushing, and dual nozzle bidet. Geez, what more could you want? Oh, yeah it’s also environmentally responsible. Check it out here
Here’s a new fun way to add a little glow to that backsplash area between your cabinets and counter top.
The °eluma RGB DecoSplash illuminated backsplash is the first fully customizeable color changing LED backsplash. You can change your color as you change your mood from fuschia to lime green! This LED light is dimmable and you even have your choice of decorative inserts. Find out more here.
Dark rich wood finishes continue to be a popular choice. I just love the Asian vibe (of course!) of this kitchen by Wellborn Cabinets.
Click here to see the rest of The Best of KBIS!
Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of sipping a Starbucks pumpkin spice soy latte while chatting with my favorite local lighting expert Marcia (that’s MAR-see-uh) Exelrud . (Click here for previous guest post by Marcia.) As we discussed how to save the world from poor kitchen design and bad lighting , I asked her to come up with a list of the TOP 5 Lighting Fixes for your kitchen. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Replace trims and bulbs in existing recessed fixtures. New trim will give you a fresh updated look. Replace bulbs so that they are all the same type for uniform and even lighting. Remember that the most up to date fixtures and bulbs will usually also be more energy efficient. The initial investment is greater but they more than pay for themselves and save you time and aggravation in the long run.
2. Move or add fixtures to add direct light where you need it. Take a moment to study your kitchen both during the day and at night with the lights on. Does your current arrangement work or do you need to make some changes?
3. Add cove lighting with an LED or xenon strip light fixture. Do you have space above your cabinets? This is a perfect opportunity for cove lighting. LED or Xenon strips are perfect for this area.
4. Remove unsightly dropped ceilings. You know what I’m talking about, those plastic squares set into a metal grid concealing fluorescent tubes. Yeah that’s them. Remove them and you instantly create an open feeling! Replace those tube lights with some recessed high hats for better light. Welcome to 2010! A word of caution, if you have a concrete ceiling you may have to lower it just enough to recess lights. If that’s not in the budget consider a surface mounted fixture.
5. Install lighting under the upper cabinets and above islands.. Never install open fixtures such as pendants, spot lights or recessed lights witout lenses directly over cooking areas.
If you have questions about any type of lighting you can contact Marcia at
You can also find her listed under LOCAL RESOURCES at Kitchens for Living