Healthy Living Series: Hydration

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a breakfast event “Self-Defense & Healthy Eating 101,” in the hopes that we could educate community members about two vital components of a healthy lifestyle. I spoke briefly about some basic techniques that might help in volatile situations, and Roy Domangue of Wooden Creations, Inc. was kind enough to share his story.

Roy is battling cancer and is focused on maintaining a healthy diet. The top priority of that diet is proper hydration and maintaining a balanced pH level in the body.

We learn from an early age that our bodies comprise mostly of water.

Staying hydrated should be a priority for everyone. A common question is, “How much water should I drink per day?”. The amount of water in ounces is equal to your weight in pounds divided by two.

Be careful not to exceed 100 ounces unless under intense heat. It’s also important to remember when consuming caffeinated beverages, you should drink more water to help neutralize the acidic effects.

In terms of digestion, try not to drink anything in the minutes leading up to and after a meal. During a meal, drink only four ounces of water. Chew in small bites. To further aid in digestion and hydration, eat unprocessed goods with high water content.

Different food and drink also affect the pH level in your body. Maintaining a balanced pH is vital for your immune and digestive systems to function properly. The next blog post in this series will focus on how healthy eating can help you keep a balanced pH.

This post is the first in the “Healthy Living Series”. Special thanks to Roy Domangue for sharing his story and the information shown here.

Tis the Season: For Outdoor Sittin’

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With this weather, it’s hard to stay indoors. It is essential for our physical and mental well being that we stay connected with the outdoors. And these days, the outdoor living space is becoming just as essential as the indoor living space. An out door living space may be limited to just include a comfortable spot in the back yard with a place to sit and possibly an overhang for cover, but it can also be as inclusive as a full kitchen and living space. There are some things to keep in mind when designing an outdoor space.

Ourso Designs

The first thing is to consider where the sun rises and sets, more importantly where the sun sets, because we tend to spend more time in our outdoor spaces in the evening. Is your overhang low enough to protect from direct sun? Or do you have the proper shading partitions in place?

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Another consideration is the direction of wind and blowing rains. Like, shading from the sun, you must also consider buffering from wind and rain. Closing in one side of your space or the use of shudders can help.

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Materials used in the space are important too. They must be able to hold up to the elements. Some manufactured stones (quartz) will fade in the sun.

Ourso Designs

There are 3 key areas to an inclusive outdoor living space. The cooking area, the dining area, and the seating area. There are many different types of cooking to incorporate into your kitchen; a charcoal grill, a gas grill, an egg, etc. You will also want to incorporate a sink and a fridge.

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There are a few different options for cabinet/storage material. Masonry, stucco, wood, or manufactured cabinet made from a weatherproof resin. With masonry and stucco you can incorporate stainless steel inserts. This is one of your more durable options, but not the most efficient. Wood cabinets are the most efficient, but are not as weather resistant. The resin cabinets, are efficient and durable, but may not have the “natural” look and feel you are looking for.

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Depending on your roof type, you have to consider air circulation. Is the hot air able to escape? Ceiling fans can help. Also a pergola is good way to release trapped hot air as it rises.

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Typically your outdoor space will include a fireplace or some type of fire pit for warmth in the colder months.

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The details are important to make your space the most comfortable and enjoyable it can be!

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Trend Alert: Going Global

Color, decoration, and functionality are all essential aspects of good home design. However lighting might be the most important factor when it comes to home interiors. Lighting can powerfully and immediately impact the way we perceive a space. It can draw attention toward one spot and away from another. It can go from dazzling to dark at the simple flick of a switch. Your lighting fixtures, therefore, are just as important as the light itself.

Lighting fixtures vary depending on their intended purpose. Pendant lights for bars and island tables. Vanity lights for bathrooms, closets and dressing rooms. Under-cabinet lights for kitchen counters and bedside lamps for, well, bedtime. One would expect that the design of these fixtures would vary according to their functions, and in most cases that’s true. However one design that we keep seeing used everywhere is the globe light.

(from one of our recent kitchen remodels)
It’s not hard to see why people love this design. It’s minimalist, somehow modern and retro at the same time. It’s familiar because we see this shape every day in the sun, moon and stars. Our number one favorite thing about this design? It’s versatile. 
Placed alone, the globe light acts as a statement. A single lightbulb. A timeless symbol for inspiration. In pairs and rows, they invoke feelings of harmony and order. In clusters, they resemble atoms or galaxies: chaotic, natural, and full of potential. 
Of course the classic glass orbs can get old, even after you start combining them in new and creative ways. If you want to add a little variety into the mix, add some color. Tinting the glass or bulb unlocks the potential to alter the ambiance or simply add a bit of diversity. 
Beyond that of course, people are always finding new ways to alter and enhance this classic design. Whether by using different materials, patterns or placements, designers are still finding ways to wow us. For that reason, we can expect to see these around for decades to come.

Kitchen Hoods: Make it a Venti

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Hoods. You gotta’ have it, so you must love it! The kitchen hood does an important job. They should supply the proper ventilation to remove steam, smoke, grease, and more from the air to make your kitchen comfortable and clean. And of course, it has to look good while doing it.

According to Vent-A-Hood, there are three major components to an effective kitchen ventilation system:

a. Hood Canopy

Your holding capacity, overlap, and projection must be considered when sizing your canopy.
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  • Hoods do not pull or draw, they only collect. Holding Capacity is needed to collect cooking vapors so the blower units can exhaust them to the outside.
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  • Whenever possible, the hood should overlap the cooking equipment by 3″ on each side.
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  • The hood should project out to the front edge of the front burners in order to properly capture cooking vapors.

b. Blower System

While the canopy captures the vapors, the blower system moves them out of the house. You must consider what kind of cooking area you have to figure out what kind of blower system you need and the appropriate amount of CFMs you will need. According to Today’s Homeowner, the basic rule of thumb when determining the fan size, is that it should move a minimum of 100 CFM of air for every 12″ of stove width. So if you have a 30″ wide stove, you need a fan that moves at least 250 CFM of air. But, you will need more if it is a gas stove.
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c. Ducting

Never restrict the duct size. A single blower unit requires at least 6″ round duct or equivalent, and a dual blower needs at least 8″ round duct or equivalent. And it is important to make the duct run as short and as straight as possible with as few turns as possible. 
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Now when it comes to the style and design of the hood, you can either have it blend in with the cabinetry or you make it stand out! Here is a great selection of hood styles that are trending today.

a. Blend It With the Cabinets

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b. Make It Stand Alone

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c. Box It In

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d. Put Some Wood On It

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e. Make It All Wood

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f. Just Keep It Simple – Match Your Stainless

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g. Get Custom With The Metal

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Trend Alert: Smart Lights

The “smart home” is a quick term to describe something that’s quite complex. Smart home systems allow you more control, comfort and security from your home appliances. You can see who rang your doorbell, dim your lights, or control the speakers in every room simultaneously.

This is overwhelming at first, and you might be reluctant to allow a phone app complete control over your home’s security functions. It’s a good idea to start small. Super small. Lightbulb small.

Smart lights are a great way to start upgrading your home into a smart home. Most products allow you complete control over the color and intensity of your light fixtures, while more advanced products allow you to sync your lights up with your music or video. 
Perhaps the most advanced smart lights available are from Nanoleaf, who manufacture highly customizable lighting panels, giving you creative freedom over your design. They can also sync up with your music. On the other hand, starter-level bulbs are great if you just want to dim or change colors. Just as an example, these bulbs can be installed in any compatible lamp or hanging light. 
While it may not seem like a big deal at first, control over your lighting is a simple and cheap way to improve your health and comfort significantly. Ketra manufactures lights that can replicate the natural progression of the sun indoors, better for sleep patterns and keeping track of time. 
So if you’re looking to make your home a little more smart, look to the lights. It’s a great first step into the world of smart home technology. Just by changing one lightbulb, you can change the way you live. 

Raising the Bar: Home Bars

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Home design is, firstly, all about how the user operates their space on a daily basis. Secondly, home design is all about how the user operates their space when they entertain. The home bar has steadily become a standard component found in homes today.

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Features often found in a home bar include: an under counter fridge for wine and beverages, an ice maker, a small sink, lockable liquor drawers, and visible shelving.

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Hospitality, especially in the south, is valuable as well as influential. And having a space that caters to this is imperative. Secondary spaces, like the home bar, keeps your kitchen reserved for cooking, while guests can mingle in other areas reserved for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. 

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Home bars don’t have to be very big, and have been known to be retrofitted from closets and even under the stairs. They can always be visible or close off when not in use. They also create more storage for glasses and dishes.

We are raising the bar on home standards everyday!

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Trend Alert: Waterfall Island Countertops

A traditional countertop design extends the lip of the countertop just a few inches beyond the edge of the actual counter. A waterfall countertop continues the past the edge of the counter, vertically down to the floor, extending the material to all sides of the island.

What seemed like a temporary trend at first is becoming a staple in modern kitchens. By far the most popular material used is stone, but we are also seeing wood and concrete countertops getting the waterfall treatment. 
As with most concept and trends, people are finding ways to challenge the classic method. We are seeing partial, offset and live edge waterfalls becoming more common as well.

New Year, New Colors

A new year means out with the old and in with the new color. With 2019’s announcement of these leading design companies color of the year reports, its time to get painting! Pantone’s “Living Coral”, Benjamin Moore’s “Metropolitan”, and Sherwin William’s “Cavern Clay” will bring warmth and vibrancy to any drab space.

1. Pantone

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Living Coral

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.
In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.
Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”
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1. Benjamin Moore

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Metropolitan

“Calm, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2019, Metropolitan AF-690, exudes glamour, beauty and balance.”
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3. Sherwin Williams

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Cavern Clay

“A warm terracotta color with ancient, elemental roots, Cavern Clay SW 7701, is our 2019 Color of the Year. Cavern Clay is a nod to midcentury modern style, but with the soul of the American Southwest, which together creates a desert modern aesthetic.
This warm, earthy hue is both casual and refined. It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone and sculptural greenery. Complementary materials include leather, simple woodgrains and indigenous cacti in contemporary, sleek gardening planters.
Cavern Clay is an easy way to bring the warmth of the outdoors in. Envision beaches, canyons and deserts, and sun-washed late summer afternoons—all of this embodied in one color.”
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Trend Alert: Monochrome

One of the first design concepts you learn is contrast. Complementary colors are located on opposing sides of the color wheel. Finding colors that go together but create contrast is a key step in designing a space. Therefore it may seem counterintuitive to do it with only one color. However, we are seeing more and more rooms that play on variations of a single color. These spaces are immersive, moody and shocking.

Monochromatic rooms set the mood immediately and without question. That mood, depending on the color, can range anywhere from bright and whimsical to sleek ultramodern. Monochrome also brings the added benefit of allowing your accents and fixtures to stand out where they might otherwise go unnoticed.

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Your Countertop Guide: Butcher Block

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Last month, it was stone. This month, we’re back, taking you through the ins and outs of butcher block countertops. These naturally beautiful wood countertops have a lot going for them: they are eco-friendly, anti-microbial, and even citrus resistant (unlike granite and some stone countertops). It’s easy to see why these countertops are so popular.

What are Butcher Block Countertops? 

Butcher block is one of the oldest materials used for countertops. Its use evolved very naturally; kitchen chefs would use thick slabs of wood as for cutting and chopping in their kitchens. Eventually, instead of just having a slab, kitchen designers thought to use long, thick planks of wood as countertop material.
Today’s butcher block countertops are made of long, thin pieces of wood fused together. This method gives you, the consumer, more control over the configuration of your countertop, as well as better quality material. You don’t have to follow the natural grain of the wood or include imperfections in your design. 

The four most popular types of butcher block countertops are made from maple, oak, bamboo, and antique pine. Each type of wood has its own pros and cons. Learning about each will help you make a more informed decision when you are thinking about adding butcher block countertops to your next new build, renovation, or remodeling project.

Maple Countertops

This most popular butcher block material today is maple. This hardwood is a natural choice for a couple of reasons. First, this wood has a simple, straight grain, which gives off an overall appearance of elegance. It also a beautiful blond to light-brown coloration, which goes well with many styles. Staining tends to bring out the spectrum of this wood’s coloration, making it an eye-catcher in any setting. 

These maple countertops from Lumber Liquidators would be perfect in our laundry room and the desk area we'll build in the kitchen.

Oak Countertops

My DIY kitchen oak cabinets painted Annie Sloan pure white chalk paint, ikea domsjo farm sink, butcherblock countertops sealed with waterlox, and white matte subway tile with oyster grey grout.

Oak countertops aren’t quite as durable as maple, but they do have their own perks. Oak gives you the greatest range of color variation, thanks to the numerous species of oak that can be used. You can have from rich dark honey tones of a red oak all the way to the subtle corn and hay tones in a white oak.

Bamboo Countertops

How to Create a Custom Bamboo Countertop in a Bathroom : How-To : DIY Network

You might have heard that wood countertops are impossible to sanitize. This is a myth. Most wood countertops naturally kill bacteria. Germs like salmonella and listeria need water to grow; wood binds up water, making it difficult for bacteria to grow. Wood consistently outperforms materials like plastic when it comes to controlling the spread of bacteria.And of the wood countertops, bamboo countertops are the most bacteria resistant.

 Eco-friendly Kitchen Countertops - Sunset.com endgrain bamboo counter

Bamboo is also a great choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly wood option. Bamboo takes only a few years to reach full maturity, making it a sustainable resource.

Antique Pine Countertops

Last but not least are antique pine countertops. These countertops have a unique look, thanks to their 100+ years of maturation. This gives the wood a close-grained texture and a super hard, durable surface. It also makes the wood more stable than young woods. The color will not change over the years as dramatically as with  other woods.

Reclaimed White Pine Kitchen Island Counter - yes please! In love! Not super fond of the white though.

Antique pine countertops are easy to clean and maintain.