Tag Archives: Lighting

LAYERING | A Well-Lit Kitchen

When making plans for that new kitchen, it’s important to think about how you’ll be using the space and where specific light sources will be needed.  A well though out lighting plan has many layers to it.  Let’s explore those layers to help you create a cohesive and functional kitchen.

A M B I E N T | Lights for Navigating

Delafield Kitchen Remodel

Recessed cans, chandeliers, wall sconces, flush mount fixtures, even natural light – ambient lighting is your foundation, a general “blanket” of light for your kitchen.  It helps you navigate your space (without running into things), and it’s really the first step to your lighting plan, serving as the base for all other layers.

T A S K | Lights for Doing

Hartford Kitchen Remodel

Task lighting may arguably be the most important layer.  It helps you complete specific jobs, like meal prep and cooking, in the kitchen.  Under cabinet lights over the countertop, pendants above the island, lights at the range – it’s important to see what you’re doing especially when working with sharp knives and other potentially dangerous tools.

A C C E N T | Lights for Feeling

Herringbone Tile Layout

Accent lighting sets the tone for your kitchen, creating a warm and inviting space.  It’s often known as the decorative layer.  It can also be considered task lighting, but it demands a bit more attention – in-cabinet lights to display dishes or collectibles, beautiful pendants, and other fixtures to highlight a unique aspect of the space.  They round off the room to make it feel complete, and with so many options, it’s a great opportunity to really show off your personality.

M O O D | Lights for Changing

Wauwatosa Kitchen Remodel

Throughout the day, your lighting needs change.  During the day, natural light is often sufficient, but as the day progresses you’ll need help from your fixtures to illuminate the space for cooking and cleaning.  Entertaining?  You’ll want to set the mood.  That’s where dimmers come into play.  Dimmers can be incorporated into all layers of lighting, so you can adjust the light for your specific needs.  For instance, they’re a great option at night or in the early morning when you’re not quite ready for bright lights.

Now that you’re familiar with the various layers of light, it’s important to note that you don’t have to use separate fixtures for each layer.  There’s often a lot of overlap.

Happy light planning!

12 Days of Entertaining Spaces (and Recipes)

12 Days of Entertaining Spaces

We’re sharing some of our favorite entertaining spaces with a holiday recipe to whip up at home!

Day 1

The Space

Elm Grove Kitchen Remodel

This kitchen is ideal for entertaining, featuring double islands, ample storage, layers of lighting, and high-end appliances.  It is a mix of rustic and refined design elements – a cozy spot for the holidays.

The Recipe

Fanciful Raspberry Ribbons Recipe

These little cookies look beautiful on a platter full of holiday treats.  They’re sure to be a crowd pleaser, too!

Day 2

The Space

Oconomowoc Lower Level Remodel

This lower level bar is the perfect spot to host a holiday shindig!  It features leather-textured granite, a stacked stone backsplash, two beverage refrigerators, and custom cabinetry.

The Recipe

Cheese Fondue Recipe

This year, one fun appetizer we’re having at our family holiday gathering is fondue!  Here is a yummy recipe based on the popular beer cheese dip served at The Melting Pot.

Day 3

The Space

Wauwatosa Family Room Remodel

This family room is flooded with natural light and features a coffered ceiling, gas fireplace, oak hardwood flooring, and a wet bar equipped with wine and beverage refrigerators.

The Recipe

Whipped Cream Fudge Recipe

This fudge recipe is incredibly simple and quite delicious!  It’s the perfect treat to bring to a party or to give as a gift.

Day 4

The Space

Fox Point Butler's Pantry

This butler’s pantry/wet bar is well-equipped, featuring wine and beverage refrigerators, an ice maker, glass storage, and a bar sink (it’s also important to point out the goldleaf tiles and gold ceiling).

The Recipe

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini Recipe

This festive holiday drink is sure to be a hit at your next gathering!

Day 5

The Space

Oconomowoc Dining Room

This dining room is the perfect spot to host family and friends.  It features a custom-built corner cabinet and a buffet with glass storage and a beverage refrigerator (the ideal spot for your holiday spread)!

The Recipe

Egg Casserole Recipe

This is probably one of the best egg bakes out there!  It’s the perfect breakfast to feed a crowd for a holiday brunch (although the recipe can be halved easily), and you can whip the ingredients together the evening before.

Day 6

The Space

Hartford Sunroom Addition

This sunroom addition is a balanced mix of rustic and refined details – reclaimed barn beams, fieldstone, a coffered ceiling, and an elegant light fixture.  The large windows also showcase the pastoral views (note the red barn)!

The Recipe

Baked Brie Bites Recipe

These brie bites are easy to pop in your mouth, and they always go quickly at parties!

Day 7

The Space

Delafield Kitchen Remodel

This kitchen features custom quarter-sawn oak cabinetry, green soapstone and granite countertops, a subway tile backsplash, and a painted island with plenty of seating for guests!

The Recipe

Amish Sugar Cookies Recipe

These cookies are beautiful (they can really be customized for any season with the addition of sprinkles), and they melt in your mouth!

Day 8

The Space

Muskego Lower Level Remodel

This lower level is a spot that the whole family can enjoy.  It features engineered hickory flooring, a bold chandelier, and room for a large table (perfect for games or meals).  The space also includes a wet bar with marble subway tile, leather-textured granite, and custom cabinetry.

The Recipe

Chocolate Caramel Fondue Recipe

We already shared a cheese fondue recipe.  Now, it’s time for something sweet!  This is a simple, delicious recipe.  The fun part?  There are endless dipper options!

Day 9

The Space

Oconomowoc Screen Porch Addition

This screen porch off the lower level showcases the home’s beautiful backdrop.  It features a stained concrete floor, cedar, and reclaimed brick.

The Recipe

Hot Ham and Cheese Party Rolls Recipe

This appetizer is a crowd pleaser, and it’s perfect for a party because it can be assembled the night before!

Day 10

The Space

Oconomowoc Lower Level Remodel

This bar is ideal for entertaining!  It’s cozy, featuring a copper top, a Lannon stone wall and fireplace, stained beams, and a travertine floor.

The Recipe

Brandy Slush Recipe

This is a bit of a throwback!  Brandy slush is a refreshing drink throughout the year.  And it can be served with brunch or dinner – very versatile!

Day 11

The Space

Hartford Greeting Room

This is the perfect spot to retire to after a holiday feast.  It features reclaimed barn beams, a tongue and groove ceiling, a gas fireplace, and a slate floor.

The Recipe

Kringle Recipe

Make it for breakfast or serve as a dessert with coffee.  This homemade Kringle is delicious!

Day 12

The Space

Oconomowoc Kitchen Remodel

With plenty of island seating for guests and lots of counter space for meal prep, who wouldn’t want to entertain in this kitchen?  It features Chocolate Bordeaux granite, custom white cabinetry, a stained island, and high-end appliances.

The Recipe

Pork Tenderloin Recipe

This pork tenderloin is a balanced mix of sweet, savory, and tart.  It also looks pretty on your plate!

From Basement to Lower Level

As the cool weather moves in, families tend to spend more time indoors.  Perhaps, you’re starting to feel cramped or can’t seem to agree on a television program to watch together.  Maybe the kids are looking for a place to hang out with friends.  A finished basement, or lower level, is the perfect opportunity to extend your living space.

The Essentials

Whether you’re transforming the basement into an entertaining hub, guest area, or hobby space, there are certain elements that remain important to create an inviting, practical lower level.

LightingOconomowoc Finished Basement

Like other areas of your home, it’s important to layer the light.  Recessed lights provide ambient lighting while pendants over a bar or table offer task and decorative lighting.  Sconces, floor lamps, and under-cabinet lighting are other options for your lower level.

Storage

Although you are creating a new living space, it’s important that the basement continues to serve one of its main functions: storage.  About one quarter of the basement is often left unfinished, to keep space for mechanicals and shelves to store holiday décor, leftover paint cans, unused clothing or toys, and other miscellaneous items.  In the finished portion of the basement, it’s important to consider storage, as well.  Incorporate closets and cabinetry into your new space to keep your lower level clutter-free.

Muskego Finished BasementCeiling

It’s vital to consider the ceiling height of your finished basement.  Typically, 50 percent of the finished area must be at least seven feet tall.  This is dictated by local building codes.  Pipes and ductwork can affect the ceiling height.  In many cases, they can be hidden within your basement design in a standard drywall ceiling or in a tray or coffered ceiling.  In other situations, it may make more sense to relocate pipes and ductwork.  When considering your ceiling options, it’s also important to think about access to mechanicals and plumbing.  Acoustic ceiling tiles or access panels are sometimes the best option.

Sound Insulation

You don’t want your lower level to become a source of “noise pollution,” especially if you have a home theater, so sound insulation can be installed at the joists between the lower and main levels to alleviate this.

Flooring

Tile, stained concrete, engineered wood, and high-end vinyl tile are popular options in the lower level for their durability and low maintenance.  Carpeting is also put into many lower levels to add warmth.

Exit

There should be easy, safe exit routes in case of emergency.  An egress window is large enough for a person to exit through it, a viable option for the basement and a necessity for a lower level bedroom (the egress window must be in the bedroom it’s serving).  Not only does it provide an extra avenue to exit the basement, but it also offers natural light.

Endless OptionsMuskego Finished Basement

The lower level can be transformed to serve your family’s specific needs.  Here are some roles that a finished basement often fulfills:

  • Bar area
  • Game room
  • Family room
  • Home theater
  • Fitness room
  • Craft area
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Home office
  • Playroom