Author Archive

2019 Colors of the Year

Every year the new color trend predictions are announced and every year we think of ways to incorporate these colors into our spaces (or at least I do). This time of year is very exciting to me, much like a color Christmas or more applicable Hanukkah as they announce a new color over days and I dream of our ancient ancestors indigo dye lasting more than 8 bolts of fabric. I revel in these announcements and the ideas and updates they can inspire.

Living Coral 16-1546

Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral

Pantone describes Living Coral “vibrant, yet mellow” and “[it] embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” This coral is a slightly muted richer coral then one may traditionally think of. It is an excellent partner for pink or yellow in small combinations. A compliment to warm taupe or grieges. And classically a beautiful partner for blues and whites Coral is truly an invigorating color however it is one of those “trends” that I would use sparingly with pops of it through various accessories, although I do love a great coral accent wall.

Cavern Clay SW 7701

Sherwin Williams Cavern Clay SW 7701

While Sherwin Williams also leans towards orange with its 2019 color of the year Cavern Clay SW 7701. This color truly struck my eye and stuck with me. This warm, deep, rich yet subtle terracotta has so many applications that I think go beyond trends. This rich warm color would be stunning in a room and will make any space warm and inviting. Pairing with blues, grays, greens, whites, and even griege will make any space cozy. It also highlights a growing trend towards western contemporary.  

Night Watch PPG1145-7

PPG Paints Night Watch PPG1145-7

This lovely green tugs at my heartstrings as I am obsessed with deep rich greens. PPG says “Classic luxury meets the restorative power of nature in this trending deep green paint color.” There is a transformative power to greens that makes it such a versatile color and often eventually the body perceives greens as a neutral due to their omnipresence in nature. Which is why of all the darker colors I am always surprised by people reticence towards green.   As I am biased I would use this color everywhere from an office or study to a bedroom and honestly I have always dreamed of a rich green kitchen.

Blueprint S470-5

Behr Blueprint S470-5

Behr paints offer yet another colorful option with Blueprint S470-5. Behr states “Heralded as “warmer than denim and softer than navy,” [it] promises to deliver “authenticity, confidence and timelessness” in both the interior and exterior of the home.” A beautiful shade that I could see in any dining room, living room, office, or even bedroom. Partnering well with a variety of colors its warmth is unusual for a blue. I am dreaming of painting my dining room this striking elegant color.

Metropolitan AF-690

Benjamin Moore Metropolitan AF-690

Benjamin Moore explains that Metropolitan is “calm, composed, and effortlessly sophisticated [it] exudes glamour, beauty and balance.” At first glance, it may appear in opposition to the colorful offerings above but there is a warm depth to Metropolitan that does very much offer sophistication but also a warmth and coziness. It is an extremely timeless color.

Yet instead of following specific color trends, as in this day there is no need to be on trend just do what you like. But what do I see here this year is a move towards color. Inviting rich but subtle jewel tones of PPG’s Night Watch, Behr’s Blue Print, Pantone’s Living Coral, and Sherwin Williams’ Cavern Clay all speak to a desire for warmth and coziness moving away from the sterility of white and cool greys. The warmth of Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan speaks to this as well. So this year tap into your inner color fiend and embrace warmth and coziness in your space. 

Lighting Your Home Based on Color Temperature

Here is an excellent article about the options for lighting your space.

How to optimize your home lighting design based on color temperature
Christopher Null | @christophernull
Feb 23, 2015 3:00 AMe-mailprint
Light is light, right? Not exactly. The light that comes from the overhead fluorescents at your office is nothing like the light that pours from your favorite chandelier at home or that of the bedside lamp that lets you read your favorite novel to help you fall asleep.

That’s because different light sources produce light with different color temperatures. In the early days of energy conservation, everyone recommended replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs because the latter consumed less electricity. But few people liked the tradeoff because of the quality of light the energy-efficient bulbs produced.

That didn’t stop Congress from mandating the phase-out of incandescent bulbs, but it did prompt the lighting industry to come up with better alternatives. As you think about which type of lighting to use in your home, you should consider how you can use color temperature to optimize your environment. Here’s everything you need to know.

How color temperature works
To understand why color temperature is important, you must first understand what it is. This can be a tricky concept, so let’s break it down to basics.

Imagine a hypothetical black, metal object—say, the filament of an incandescent light bulb. Now begin heating this filament with hypothetical fire. As the filament heats up, it will begin to glow, first red, then yellow, then white, and then various shades of blue as the flame gets hotter and hotter.

Certain temperatures of this flame, measured on the Kelvin temperature scale, correspond to various wavelengths of light from the filament. The bottom end (around 1800 Kelvin, or 1800K) corresponds to the intensely red-orange light from a match or candle. At the high end (15000K and up), the readings correspond to the light observed looking up at a clear, blue sky.

color temperature PHILIPS
The color temperature of your home lighting can have a significant impact.

You’re probably familiar with terms like “cool white” and “warm white” lighting, like those you’ve seen on a standard incandescent or fluorescent light bulb. If you read the fine print on the back of a light-bulb package, you might even find an estimated color temperature denoted in degrees Kelvin.

Most commercial lighting falls between about 2000K and 6000K, but two color temperature levels dominate. Around 2700K is typically denoted as “warm white” or “soft white.” These bulbs are designed to approximate the typical incandescent bulb, offering an orange-tinted, cozy, “warm” light just like at grandma’s house. Warm light is considered a comfortable, homey light most suitable for use in the home.

At about 3500K we enter the realm of “cool white” or “bright white.” Lamps at this color temperature take on a more neutral color and may appear to have a slight blue cast. Standard fluorescent lighting is typically produced at this color temperature, and it’s what you’ll find in most business environments, as light at this wavelength is considered ideal for reading and other detail-oriented task work.

A bulb that emits “cool” light is the best choice for task lighting.

Note that these are all estimates and averages. Different bulbs produced with different materials and with different techniques will vary widely in their color temperature. Professional lighting like that used by photographers and filmmakers can vary well beyond this narrow range and can even mix various colors of lights together in a single device.

The use of the terms “warm” and “cool” is a bit paradoxical because, when examining the Kelvin scale, you’ll see the “cool” light is actually hotter than “warm” light. The terms warm and cool aren’t intended to describe the actual temperature of the flame used to produce the light but rather the aesthetic these lights generate. As well, color temperature ratings aren’t always entirely meaningful on their own. The color temperature of the sun is measured at about 5600K, but the actual sun itself varies in temperature widely (and reaches into the millions of degrees internally). It is only the visible portion of the energy emitted by the sun that we detect as light that approximates its color temperature rating.

Matching color temperature to your environment
If you’ve ever replaced an incandescent light bulb with a fluorescent bulb and remarked about how cold, off-putting, or downright ugly the room looked after your upgrade, you’ve experienced how dramatic an impact color temperature can have.

Everything in a room is impacted by the light source in that room. A wall that is white under a 3200K light source can look green under a 4000K light source. That same wall under a 2500K light source may look yellow. This is why designers advise you to place lighting elements and choose bulbs before you paint and furnish a room. “The color paint you pick under the fluorescent bulbs at a hardware store might look very different when you get it under the light bulbs you have at home,” says Cory Bergeron, an author and video production professional.

color temperature PHILIPS
The only thing different in these four views of the same bedroom is the color temperature the LED light bulbs are emitting.

The appearance of your room aside, the color temperature of your light can have some subtle and not-so-subtle effects on the way you live and work.

Danyelle Kukuk, director of product and category management for Batteries Plus Bulbs, says that bulbs that mimic daylight (in the 5000K to 6500K range) are increasingly popular in a variety of rooms. She notes, “Some customers appreciate having daylight lamps in their bedrooms because the color of the light, mimicking daylight, helps them get moving much quicker in the morning than the warm, cozy soft-white lamps.

Also, many of the reading lights on the market are daylight temperature, as the color provides great contrast between black type on white or off-white paper, making it easier on the eyes to read.” Kukuk also says that daylight bulbs are popular in bathrooms, because they make it easier for women to see what their makeup will look like outdoors.

Some studies suggest that light in the blue portions of the spectrum can help you wake up in the morning, making cool white and daylight bulbs especially suitable for bedrooms. “This ‘upper high-Kelvin’ light can trigger a photoreceptor called melanopsin that helps set your body’s daily cycles and can keep you more attentive and alert—so, for example, you can read and study longer, comprehend better, and make fewer errors,” says Michael Gottsacker, director of marketing for Verilux, which sells light-therapy products.

Cree and GE Link LED light bulbs MICHAEL BROWN
You can find “soft white” connected LED light bulbs on the market for less than $20. Examples from Cree and GE are shown here.

That said, there’s no real need to replace your warm bulbs with daylight bulbs (which will kill the romantic mood in the evening and can make it tough for you to get to sleep). One option is to simply use the screen of your laptop or tablet to mimic this wavelength of light in the morning to get you ready for the day.

No matter what you do to change the light around you, remember that it will impact your mood and your overall health. “Light can even make your immune system work more effectively,” says Sally Augustin, Ph.D., a practicing environmental psychologist.

How to tune color temperature in your home
There are a few popular basic strategies when it comes to choosing bulbs for the home. Perhaps the most popular is to select a color temperature you like—typically in the warm light range—and install these bulbs everywhere. This has the advantage of making your home’s lighting uniform, which makes transitions from one room to the next less jarring.

Alternately, warm bulbs can be used for the primary lighting in areas like the living room, dining room, bedrooms, and hallways; and cool or daylight bulbs can be used where more attention to fine detail is required. Bathrooms, the garage, offices, the kitchen (particularly fixtures directly over work areas), and focused task lights like reading lamps are good candidates for cool white or daylight lighting. There are no hard and fast rules about where to use which type of bulb. Ultimately, you’ll have to experiment to see which looks best to you in each fixture in the house.

But that’s just the beginning. Thanks to the rise of LEDs, which are available in a much wider range of colors than have been available through other technologies, “color tuning” has become an increasingly popular option for consumers looking to really define their homes through lighting design.

Philips’ Hue LED light bulb PHILIPS
Some LED bulbs, such as this Philips Hue, can emit a wide variety of colors

A new breed of LED bulbs lets you switch between cool and warm light with abandon—or set the bulb to any other color under the sun. Products in this rapidly growing space include Philips Hue, Lifx,Taba Lumen, Osram Lightify,Cree,GE Link, and iLumi. Each is designed to replace your existing bulbs, and many can be controlled using a mobile app via a wireless network (not necessarily Wi-Fi). Some allow you to use the app to tweak the color temperature (or choose a wild alternative color to set a fun or festive mood) in addition to turning the bulb on and off and establishing schedules for the same.

The big advantage of adjustable bulbs is that it frees you from having to pick a single bulb for each room in the house. According to Catherine Feliz, a lighting product manager at Philips, the Hue system has four preset “recipes” for color temperature built into its app: relax, reading, concentrate, and energize. “So,” she says, “if the kids are always doing homework in the family room from five to six, you can program Hue to ‘concentrate,’ about 4300K, during that time, then later switch to ‘relax,’ about 2100K, to help your body wind down at the end of the day.”

Designing a Small Kitchen

I recently stayed in an apartment with a small kitchen and it got me thinking about the design details that would make it more efficient.

My first thought was to have an induction cooktop.  I love induction: it is fast, efficient and very controllable.  The thing that makes it great for a small kitchen is that as a smooth top that only heats metal that a magnet can stick to, you can put a cutting board or a serving dish on it and not worry about it burning.  It effectively increases your counter space.


I am not usually a fan of over the range microwaves, but small kitchens are what they were built for.  A single dishwasher drawer would be a good option in an small kitchen.  They are great for singles or couples who can take days to fill a full sized dishwasher.


The next thing I would have is a hot water dispenser.  This saves having to have a electric kettle on the counter.  The tank does take some space in the sink cupboard, but that is an under utilized space anyway (more about that later).


For coffee drinkers, Brew Express fits into the space between the studs.


The backsplash is a space that can be maximized: magnetic knife rack, magnetic spice rack, hanging rail for utensils and spices.  This is also where the under cabinet lighting goes.  Under cabinet lighting transforms the quality of the work space in the kitchen.  It needs to be every kitchen with wall cabinets but especially in kitchens without natural light, which is often the case in small apartment kitchens.





Cabinetry needs to be maximized with organizational hardware and there is a lot out there to make the most of your cabinet space.  Two tier drawer inserts double the cutlery storage. Spice racks on the inside of cabinet doors.  Pull out racks for pots and pans, Vertical dividers in the cabinet above the fridge store baking pans, cookie sheets and serving trays. Toekick drawers are available from many cabinet manufacturers and are a good spot for less frequently used serving platters, etc.  Many of these items can be installed in existing cabinetry, visit to see the range of items available.

two-tier-drawer      Tray-divider      Wood-Mode-Spice-Rack-e1421778298521      toekick-drawers-e1421778452452


The sink base is a relatively large cabinet and can be put to good use.  That is often the space for a pull out trash bin, a pull out towel bar, a rack on the door for cleaning supplies, dividers to hold cutting boards vertically or a roll out drawer box in the base and a u-shaped roll out drawer around the plumbing.  A tilt out tray in front of the sink holds scrubbers and dish brushes.  Many sinks have accessories made just for them, but cutting boards, colanders and dishracks can be found to fit most sinks.

Undersink-Pull-out           sink-accessories-2


Another thing I would consider is a pull out base cabinet that has a butcher block top.  This gives you an instant island  and it can be wheeled into the dining room or living room to be a serving counter.



Small kitchens need good design as much or more than big fancy ones.  Every inch counts and can be maximized to make working in a small space efficient and fun.

Questions to Ask Yourself With Your Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodels take some preparation. There are a lot of things to consider, after all. If you are having a hard time getting started, here are some useful questions to ask yourself.

Do I want a white or colored bathroom suite? Consider the pros and cons to the color scheme of your bathroom. Color will add a dimension to your bathroom, but can also date it quickly if the color goes out of style. (Think 70s brown and orange) White is the safer option. It is ageless, clean and modern.

What type of flooring should I go with? Don’t skimp on the flooring, since bathroom floors need to be very durable and water-resistant. Marble, stone and ceramic are excellent bathroom floor options.

What type of fixtures will improve my bathroom? Instead of choosing boring fixtures that can be found in basically any home, find fixtures that are unique and fun. There are plenty of great fixtures that are stylish and practical that you can choose from.

Do I need a new bathtub? Are you happy with the tub you have or would you like to improve it? Test out different bathtubs and find the perfect one to suit your needs. For example, if you would like a bathtub built for two you wouldn’t want an average tub in your bathroom. Instead, you’d look for a tub that slants comfortably at both ends, is larger, and had a faucet that meets in the middle not on one of the ends. Decide what your needs are and find a bathtub to fit those needs.

What type of mirror would I like in my bathroom? A great way to open up a bathroom is to find a great mirror above your sink or vanity. Mirrors brighten up a bathroom, and are stylish and sleek.

Is the wall art I want on my walls waterproof? Find wall art that won’t be ruined by either water or steam. A good wall hanging for a bathroom would be one that is practical for a bathroom environment.

How can I take advantage of my bathroom space? If you have limited space, think outside the box. If you don’t have room for a standard shower stall in your bathroom, think about installing an open-concept shower that doesn’t use a stall or curtain instead. If you don’t have room for bathroom storage, consider installing cabinets that go into your wall instead. These types of decisions can really improve the practicality of your bathroom with out taking up a chunk of space. 

Top Kitchen Remodeling Tips

Remodeling a kitchen can be overwhelming and stressful. That doesn’t mean it has to be. Here are 7 ways to help you have a more successful kitchen remodel:

1. Do your research. Talk to your partner to see what things you would like to change about your kitchen, and what things you would like to remain the same. Look through home magazines and see what type of layout you like with kitchens, and even the types of colors you would like to use.

2. Ask for others’ opinions. Talk to professionals and have them come over for a consultation to give you their view on what you should and shouldn’t do. You can also ask friends and family members what they think of the type of kitchen you are hoping to design.

3. Get bids on the individual projects of your kitchen renovation, and then bids on the entire kitchen. When you speak with them you may find that individual projects might be cheaper, while other times it could be more affordable to have one professional take care of the entire thing. Calling around and getting price comparisons takes effort and time, but it might be able to substantially lower the price you might have to pay if you just went with the first contractor you called.

4. Creativity Find a contractor that is creative. Finding someone who can design the perfect kitchen for you is just as important, in the long haul, to affordability. Find a contractor who can turn your kitchen in to something useful and attractive, instead of hiring a mediocre one who will save you a few dollars.

5. Time You don’t want to run out of time. Don’t try to rush the planning stage. Take the time to plan by meeting with your contractor a few times so you can come up with any solutions that will crop up from time to time with your designs. This will save you money because you won’t have to deal with expensive fixes later on.

6. Details Remember to look at the details. Find the right materials that you would like for your kitchen. Don’t settle with items that will make your kitchen look commonplace or plain. Instead, look at the unique and beautiful options that are available.

7. Consider doing some of the prep work for your kitchen yourself. Preparation work might be able to save you a substantial amount of money. Talk to your contractor to see what things you can do on your own. These things usually are things such as sanding, priming and painting.

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