Posts Tagged ‘Lighting’

Designing a Kitchen that Works for You

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The one room of a house that people ask me about most is the kitchen. Kitchen design is a real art – and function is the most critical part of the equation. Having a kitchen that works for you is even more important at this time of year, when you have holiday dinners to plan and treats to prepare.

You really have to have a kitchen that fits your cooking style, and that can be different for each person. Some people like to entertain, but not necessarily create their own dishes. And still others would prefer to cook and bake all day long. To design a kitchen that’s perfect for YOU, here are a few of my favorite tips:

Function First. Too often people jump right into the color of the cabinets and the type of flooring without really considering the layout and function of the kitchen. You’ve probably heard about the “triangle” that’s suggested for efficient work spaces, and you do need to minimize the length between the stove, sink, and refrigerator so your kitchen really works for you. It’s a classic design layout for a reason!

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Invest Wisely. Kitchens can be incredibly expensive depending on the materials and options that you choose. You should use your budget as wisely as possible to get the most for your money. I always advise my clients to invest in appliances first – they are the workhorses of the kitchen, so get the very best quality you can afford. My partner company Thermador, for example, has outstanding products that offer innovative ideas for real cooks. They are an investment but if you really are going to be using them daily, they are so worth it!

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Cabinetry Counts. The second most important thing to invest in would be your cabinetry so it will stand up to the daily wear-and-tear that comes in a kitchen. One trick that I think is key for a functional kitchen is to be sure the cabinets go all the way up to the the ceiling. You want to take advantage of every square inch of storage, and having an open space between your cabinets and the ceiling does nothing for you but gather dust! A great step stool, or library ladder, will help you reach those top shelves.

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Remember the Details. Too often, those little details can spell big trouble if you don’t consider them at the beginning of the design process. For example, where will you store the garbage cans? Where do you need extra outlets? You should also think about how you use your kitchen and what details would be key for you. You could have a storage drawer for baking essentials, counters near wall ovens for placing hot dishes right out of the oven, or even pull-out baskets for fruits and vegetables. Those details will make all the difference.

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Lighting! This is the one thing that people often don’t plan correctly in the beginning, and then have to try to correct later. Lighting is critical to a great functioning kitchen. Remember to think about where you need task lighting, how many overhead lights you want, and where you may also need under-the-counter lights and if you want any of these on a dimmer.

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Investing in your kitchen is a wise decision! So use these tips and ideas to get the most out of your investment, and to give yourself a gorgeous and functional kitchen for years to come.

xo,

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Tobi TV: The Importance of Lighting

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Lighting is one of the most important things to think about when you’re creating a functional home. You need to consider every task that will happen and the mood you want to create for each room, and then ensure that you have lamps and layers of lighting fixtures that fit all those needs!

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The right light can cast the perfect glow in a room, but the wrong one can drive you crazy. So let’s take a look at a few of my bright ideas for lighting up your home:

Now you can see how lighting can really make a difference! Let’s review those tips one more time:

1. Light is so important in a kitchen, especially over any work surface, like an island. Pendants direct a lot of light, so I love to use them wherever tasks and preparations are critical.

2. In a living area like a family room, light for things like reading and needlework needs to be brighter. But you also need softer lighting for watching TV, talking with friends and family, or to create a quieter mood.

3. Bedside lighting is really important in a bedroom, particularly if you like to read in bed. And be sure that light is within easy reach! I love swing arms lamps for this reason because they can pull over for the perfect placement.

4. In a dining room, I like to provide a chandelier over the table that will light up the table when dining. But don’t forget to put it on a dimmer. And I also love to use lamps on a sideboard for a softer glow.

5. In the bathroom, you want to have plenty of bright light to help with makeup application and getting ready to head out for your day. But be careful not to place a light directly over your head! It’s too harsh and will cast unflattering shadows.

I hope these tips have helped you see the light! This is one time when you really do want to steer clear of the “dark side!”

xo,

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Before and After: A Bright Family Room

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I love working with a client who isn’t afraid of color, and who embraces the idea of bold patterns and color combinations! This client’s family room was already making a strong statement, since it was wrapped in a dramatic red from top to bottom.

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However, the deep red really darkened the room and was too much contrast against the white trim. Another tricky part of about the before (above) was an error that a lot of people make in their rooms, which is that the rug is too small for the space. And a small rug has a way of dictating your furniture placement, so that oftentimes people are only using a small portion of the room. That was definitely the case in this room where two sofas were floating in the middle of the space and seating was VERY limited.

Now we have a sectional, two lounge chairs, a large round ottoman, a wing chair, two banquettes (one with a game table) and some floating ottomans. Talk about a place to entertain friends and family!

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In the After photo above, a lighter and more neutral paint brings fabulous light into the room, and acts as great backdrop for the bold jewel-toned colors of the upholstery and the art. And a fun patterned rug now fills the space nicely!

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Before, the furniture was all either sitting in the center of the room as I mentioned, or was pushed to the corners and walls. It didn’t use the space well and it actually made the room seem smaller. And the clients are avid art collectors and their pieces didn’t show up at all in the dark red room. Now the art is what really brings this space to life!

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The reworked room seems much bigger with the new furniture layout, and I added two fabulous banquettes flanking the fireplace to create a great reading nook on the left and a dining or game area with a table on the right. In the finished design, my clients still had the color and “wow factor” that they wanted, but in a lighter and more cohesive look!

So what do you think of this colorful before-and-after? Let me know in the comments section below! Isn’t that acid yellow ceiling a kick? I love how it draws the eye up!

Look for more before-and-afters in the coming weeks!

xo,

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Tobi TV: Comfort and Style

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Creating spaces that are full of style, but are also comfortable, can be a challenge for designers. If your home has kids and pets, that makes it doubly difficult. So what if you want style and design, but you want your family to feel at home and like they can relax and really put their feet up?

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That’s a dilemma, right?  Should you choose comfort over style, or style over comfort? Neither! In the video below, I gave my client the best of both worlds with fabulous color and overall comfort. Let’s take a look at how you can do that, too:

Who wouldn’t want to hang out in that family room? Let’s recap those tips for combining comfort and style:

1. Use warm colors like a rich red to create warmth and comfort, and trendy colors like turquoise to give you high style.

2. Tie it all together with a fabric or pattern that has both colors.

3. Lighting is essential to creating a comfortable space. Natural light and overhead lighting are great but a lamp with a dimmer switch will adjust to whatever you need for your comfort!

4. If you must have a TV (and let’s be honest, most of us must!), incorporate it into the design so it feels like a part of your comfortable and stylish space.

Try using some of these tips to design your perfect family room or any room of the house! Leave me a comment and let me know which of these tips really resonate with you!

xo,

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Tobi TV: Double Duty Rooms

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I always remind my clients that function is just as important as form when it comes to home design! Of course you want your home to be beautiful, but it has to really WORK for you, too, right? And sometimes you need a space to serve more than one purpose. Those double-duty spaces, as I call them, can be a challenge to decorate to fit both functions.

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Whether it’s a guest room that doubles as an office, or a teenager’s room that doubles as a guest room when he’s away at school, there are ways to help your room play both sides. In fact, I designed the new Sheridan daybed (above) for my CR Laine furniture collection to help transition a room from an office or den to a guest room in sophisticated style!

There are several ways you can use color and design to create a double duty room, too. Let’s take a look!

Those tips really have me seeing double…duty, that is! Let’s recap:

1. Greek key is a great design for rooms that have to play two roles. It isn’t too masculine or too feminine, so it’s perfect for any member of your family or for out-of-town guests.

2. Think INSIDE the box for double duty rooms. Boxy geometrics and cool fretwork motifs are great gender-neutral design patterns!

3. Simple furniture keeps your transition room from going too far in one design direction or another.

4. Take your color cues from nature for a multifunctional space. Blues, greens, and browns are perfect “mood setters” for a bedroom or a home office!

5. Use interesting light fixtures to make a double duty room pop! Everyone – family and friends – will enjoy seeing the light when it looks this good!

Consider these fabulous tips as you design your multifunctional rooms. Let me know in the comments below how you make your transition spaces work for everyone!

xo,

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