I think most people fantasize about having their “dream” kitchen.  My dream kitchen would be on a yacht.  Here’s a picture of a beautiful Schiffini Galley Kitchen.  I really like the juxtaposition of the shiny black cabinets and the rich wood floor.  The corner sink gives more usable countertop space and the lights with the electrical plugs keeps the stainless backsplash uncluttered.

HGTV Kitchens Abysmal

I decided I had to watch the HGTV Design Star Sunday night since they were making over two kitchens.  The results were not good.  The HGTV website tries to gloss over how bad the rooms are by taking photos from a distance and showcasing other areas like the Dining Room that were more the designers’ fortes.

The kitchen below was not finished.  The designers did not allocate their budget or resources well.  They chose to do a black ceramic tile countertop but they did not purchase enough material and did not even grout the tile they had down.  No amount of accessories is going to fix this room – although they tried.  The judges commented that they liked the old kitchen better.  I’m not sure what the home owners thought, their reactions were not revealed.  Other comments on the HGTV site are just as scathing citing the lack of lighting and bad material choices.

The “winning” kitchen was not much better. A heavy crackle finish was applied to the upper cabinets leaving the lower cabinets with only new hardware.  The time spent faux painting the backsplash should have been devoted to finishing the cabinets.  While the homeowners were pleased with their results, the judges commented that they should have had better.

Their is truth in hiring a Kitchen Designer to get the best results.

Understanding Compact Flourescent Bulbs

I came across a blog written by Peggy Deras, CKD, CID about choosing a compact flourescent bulb that will cast flattering light.  This is referred to as CRI or color rendering index.

You can read her article here Kitchen-exchange: CRI: The Road to True-Color Light Bulbs

Did you know that not all CFLs can be used with a dimmer and that some can not be used in an enclosed lamp?  Peggy links to a wonderful page on the Enviromental Defense website that finds the right bulb for your needs.  This is definitely a page to bookmark.

One last note, CFLs contain mercury (about 5 milligrams) and should not be thrown into your household garbage. To find out what to do first check the Earth 911 website (where you can find disposal options by using your zip code for everything from paint to televisions) or call 1-877-EARTH911 for local disposal options.

If you live near an IKEA, you are in luck, they offer CFL recycling bins in stores across the world. In their fiscal 2006 year, IKEA recycled 156,301 pounds of CFLs.

Bathroom Lighting Tips

Bright Ideas For the Bathroom

If your bathroom is dark or the lighting is unflattering, follow these tips from the American Lighting Association.

  1. Shower Power. Shower lights should be bright enough to help avoid spills while making shaving and shampooing easier. Shower lights also help an enclosed stall feel bigger.
  2. Tub Tips. Tubs, like showers need good general light, which can be provided by a recessed fixture. To avoid glare, aim the light’s beam at the outside edge of the tub.
  3. Night Light. A night light can be created by illuminating the floor in the toe-space below vanities with a linear light system.
  4. Mirror Mirror. A single sconce. Set at eye level, should be located on each side of the mirror to provide even facial illumination necessary for eliminating dark circles and shadows. Look for fixtures that light downward, allowing heat to dissipate more easily from the socket and creating longer bulb life.
  5. Vanity Fair. Adding a recessed halogen light over a vanity provides cross illumination, when used in conjunction with wall sconces, filling in gaps. Layering light is also beneficial in reducing glare.
  6. Table Topper. Table lamps add a soft personal touch to bathrooms. Remember to place them away from water sources
  7. Potty Panache. Focused flood or halogen fixtures over the commode provide good light for water closet reading.
  8. Get Glowing. Bulb selection is as important as choosing and placing the right fixture. Colored and coated bulbs enhance facial features. Avoid clear bulbs and fixtures with exposed bulbs.
  9. Twice as Nice. As we age we need more light to see well. By 55 years old, people need twice as much light to see as well as they did when they were 20.
  10. In Control. Don’t be afraid of having too much light. You can easily install dimmer controls to adjust lighting levels and create moods.
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