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We can emulate the moods of natural light in our kitchen environments.

One of the most important components of  your kitchen design is lighting, both in terms of how you see the overall picture and how you will function within it. Today I would like to introduce and welcome Guest Blogger and lighting expert Marcia Excelrud.  I asked her how to begin when considering lighting for the heart of the home.

 “ Lighting is part of our every day life. It creates a mood and determines how we see the world around us.  The best way to begin thinking about lighting is by looking at nature. I took some pictures at the park near-by, showing how the position of the clouds and sun affect how we visualize the colors and shapes of our environment. Glare  and reflections play a big part. We can create the same effects at night or indoors depending on the lamps, fixtures and accessories we use as seen in the kitchen photo above. I will stop by Kitchens for Living now and again to share with you the best products and techniques to show your kitchen in the best light.”

Marcia Exelrud is the founder and CEO for the company Bright Light Designs, Inc. Ms. Exelrud has 20 years of well-rounded experience in the architectural, lighting and interior design industries and is a memver of the International Association of Lighting Designers.  She can be contacted through her website




One thing you can bet on is that there’s always a home for white cabinets in Florida.  Here’s a job I recently completed using cabinets by Holiday Kitchens.  After living with brown oak cabinets and pink laminate tops (see before photo in center), this client was looking to update and brighten his kitchen.  There were three main things that transformed it into a space that caters to this homeowner’s specific needs.  First of all we partially removed the wall between the dining room and kitchen with a dramatic result.  We saved enough wall to use for cabinetry.  Corner cabinets both above and below now make full use of this hard-to-reach area.  This homeowner was so in love with his G.E.Advantium convection microwave oven, he wanted another one!  The solution was to incorporate a built-in version in his new pantry which is equipped with roll outs below and shelves and can racks above.  Last but not least we added a small peninsula which not only yields much needed extra storage and counter space but also serves to define the kitchen space which is otherwise open to the family room.  To see more click on the link in the upper right to visit our photo album on Flickr.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



This couple was looking to transform a spare bedroom into a comfortable inviting place to work at home.  A warm stain and glaze over maple with a high degree of attention to detail transformed this room into a delightful and functional retreat.  I think Brendan and Trevor have certainly worked their magic here!



Have you ever wondered what you can do with a little bit of leftover space in your home?  This client had an L- shaped space approximately 7′ X 8′.  This is not such a small space, you may say, however when the request is for an English Pub Bar it’s not so much!  In addition, this home owner wanted the option of being able to see the large screened TV on the opposite wall of the adjacent family room.  My design solution was to use a lot of paneling and mouldings to create the proper feeling.  I paneled the back wall and inserted a large mirror which would reflect the  TV so that you could see it while sitting at the bar.  We added a bar sink in the corner which was easy as the kitchen sink, and therefore the plumbing,  was right on the other side of the wall.  We wanted an upper cabinet to store glasses but were unable to utilize the wall space to its left because of the kitchen pass through.  The solution was to add another mirror over the sink which gave us good balance and lightness in the midst of all the wood.  An ice maker, beverage refrigerator and built-in “kegerator” were also included.  I am pleased to say our clients are thrilled with the design, craftsmanship and function of their new English Pub Bar!  Next post: Wood You??



Since the current financial climate has most of us staying in our current homes for the time being, 2010 might just be the year to bite the bullet and create the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of.  Prices have never been as competitive and choices have never been as abundant as they are now.
Planning a new kitchen involves a mine field of details.  A mine field because some of those details can make or break the project.  How do you get from start to finish?  It can certainly be an overwhelming prospect, especially if it’s your first time.  The secret is to break it down in small chunks.  The steps are measuring, creating a plan on paper, ordering, demolition and installation.
Begin by measuring the space you have to work with.  Then, if you are currently living in the home think about what you like and what you’d rather not live with anymore.  Collect ideas.  Use magazines and books. Look around your house for clues that will tell you what style and color palette will be right for you.  Before a working plan can be developed you will also have to decide what appliances you’ll be using.  Some are standard sizes but refrigerators vary as do microwaves, wall ovens and cook tops. If you want to really explore the variety and pricing available in cabinets it can be worth your while to hire a professional kitchen designer to draw detailed plans with elevations. That way it will be easier for you to obtain pricing that will be comparable from one line to another.
When ordering your cabinets make sure to read your contract carefully.  Your kitchen dealer should take all the time necessary to outline every detail of each cabinet.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions not only about the product you’re ordering but also about the process and scheduling of the job.
Don’t remove your old cabinets until your new cabinets are on hand.  Remember disposal of old cabinets must be addressed.  Sometimes your old cabinets can be recycled for use in the garage.  Talk to your installer to see if this is a feasible option in your particular situation.
Installation of new cabinets generally won’t take more than a few days.  Usually base, or lower, cabinets are installed first so that the counter tops may be templated.  You’ll want to get this done as soon as possible as once your tops are installed you will actually be able to use your new kitchen.
Always bear in mind that with so many details something is sure to go at least a little awry.  Maybe a finished end on a cabinet is missed or someone among the large number of people you count on to make your kitchen a reality could, heaven forbid, make a mistake!  Relax it happens and there is always a solution.  For this reason it is a good idea to pad your budget to help compensate for these unanticipated occurrences and when you have to wait a few extra days remember it’s small in the scheme of things.  You will have your beautiful kitchen just the way you want it for years to come.  The important thing is that it’s done right. This stunning kitchen by Holiday Kitchens features lots of natural light, great storage with cabinets extending to the counter top and a multi-functional island. Next post: East meets West…
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