October 11, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Kitchens

Posted in decorating style, Design Ideas, Design inspiration, Design Inspirations, Houston decoration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Kitchen design, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Uncategorized at 8:34 am by luxuryforthehome

by Ali Adams

As the holiday season starts peaking around the corner I tend to think of all of the holiday gatherings.  As we all know the party always ends up in the kitchen.  The ideal kitchen is different for everyone, but here are a few that have some wonderful entertaining and styling ideas.

1. Zen and Compact: This zen space is compact while still feeling roomy enough to entertain.  I love the large island and breakfast bar because they allow for plenty of gathering space. Can’t you imagine throwing a party here??

 

A Zen Kitchen by Marguerite Rodgers

A Zen Kitchen by Marguerite Rodgers

 

2. Clean and Modern: This is a large kitchen with an elegant feel.  I love the streamlined marble counter tops that contrast with the dark wood table. I dream of lazy Saturday mornings at this breakfast table.

 

A Modern Oak Wood Kitchen in Los Angeles

 

3.  White and Bright: If I could keep it clean this would be my bright white kitchen.  It just feels subtly glamorous.  I love the idea of a breakfast table built off of the island, it is such a great use of space.

 

New House, New Kitchen Traditional Home

 

4.  Classic and Modern: This kitchen is so clean and neat with a pop.  I love the way the blue island stands out creating an interesting focal point as well as gathering space.

 

A Fresh Florida Kitchen

 

 

October is National Kitchen & Bath Month, call Luxury For The Home to begin the kitchen of your dreams.

281-701-2461

September 15, 2010

Living Green: Chill Out and Get Clean

Posted in Houston Interior Designer, Kitchen Appliances, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Luxury for the home at 7:30 am by luxuryforthehome

“Living Green” is a growing interest and topic that seems to be on everyone’s list.  I have an interest in it and I am currently working toward a ReGreen Remodeling Certificate.  There is a lot of confusion around what is green, but I’ve found a fair amount of it to be common sense, especially when remodeling or updating your home’s interiors are concerned.

One of the easiest choices to make comes with the upgrading of appliances when they need it, or when redesigning the space.  Above all, strive to purchase an Energy Star appliance.  Not sure which one’s qualify?  Check out this link from the Energy Star – there are 40 categories of products just for your home!

The Main Appliances…

Dishwasher – I have to tell you, that I think there is only one dishwasher to have. There are so many options out there and many of them are fantastic. However, as you can read in my previous blog post, I had an affinity for a particular model in my clients’ kitchens.  After living with it in my own house, I can’t say enough about it.  We are so happy with it, we show it off to our guests. The ASKO dishwashers rate well for energy usage, capacity and water usage.

Refrigerator/Freezer – The kitchen appliance with the largest visual impact is your refrigerator, so be mindful about finishes and style when you are selecting this piece. While we do want consistency of finish and handles on our appliances, many refrigerators have a panel ready option, should your choice of refrigeration clash with other appliances. I am a firm believer in the Sub Zero refrigerators, primarily because they just do a really outstanding job of refrigeration (and freezing of course) and they last for a really long time. Previous blog post But there are many other products coming on the market that offer some interesting innovations.

Innovation in Refrigeration:

Norcool Freestanding Corner Refrigerator

Usually small kitchens had some limitations, but this model really tries to give a big bang for the buck.  Also, since this is a bit different for many people, it does have the option of being fully integrated, or panel ready.

GE Custom Cool

Refrigeration that allows for customization is a great energy saver for you.  I love this full extension drawer from GE that has Express Chill, Express Thaw and Select Temperature settings.  I know that would come in handy for our kitchen.

Miele Super Cool

Miele’s Super Cool feature efficiently cools the internal temperature  after the door has been open.  All these innovations and more can give you some luxurious for today, while still reducing your impact on resources.

Making your kitchen work for your today and tomorrow requires the expertise of knowing your options.  At Luxury For The Home, we bring that expertise to you. Saving you time, so that all you need to do is enjoy your kitchen.  Call us  at 281-701-2461 to bring our expertise to you.

July 12, 2010

The Luxury of Remodeling

Posted in Children's Room, choosing paint for ceilings, Great Rooms, Guest Rooms, Houston, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, remodeling, Uncategorized at 8:14 am by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

The economic situation of the past couple of years has created a culture where we pay more attention to what we spend and where we spend it. Personally, I practice what I preach here. For the home, I believe in investing in quality pieces that will last.  I’d rather have a few great pieces versus lots of “stuff” that will fall apart within the year.

But the recent times has also created a bit more nesting in us – staying home and enjoying what we have, as well as clearing out what we don’t use.

While all of this staying home may be enjoyable, it also reminds us more of what doesn’t work very well in our homes – an awkward kitchen, a bathroom that’s too small or a poorly designed closet. Rather than move, it’s a great time to invest in remodeling.

While you are spending money on an interior designer (we hope you consider calling us) and the remodel, the investment will pay off in dividends. Not only will you add to the value of your home should you want to sell it, you will receive greater value from the remodeled spaces every day. That is worth every penny that you invest in the project!

With that – here are the top 10 areas/items that you should consider improving in your home

1.   Kitchen – This is still the heart of the home, the room remembered the most by your friends and family.  Simple improvements in design and technologies can change this room from a room where you work, to a room that works for you.

BEFORE

AFTER

2.   Flooring – While you should be maintaining your floors at least once a year.  Consider renovating them through re-finishing and replacing at least once every 7-10 years.  Remember stained carpet isn’t exactly welcoming.

3.   Walls – Many people move in to a home, only to never repaint the interior to the home over the years.  Enamels yellow and walls become marred with time.  Painting your home is an instant makeover.  Love your furnishings, but feel the need to freshen it up?  Painting is the first step.

4. Master Bathroom – Let’s face it, life isn’t becoming any less demanding between work, family and extracurricular activities.  Shouldn’t you have at least one room that helps you to relax and retreat from the outside world?

BEFORE

AFTER


5.   Entertainment Rooms – Do you happen to have one of those rooms where the cords from the Wii hang out everywhere, 10 remotes for the electronic equipment and never enough space to play a game?  Consider the improvement that an entertainment room can have on your home and your family.

6.   Home Office – The complexity of our lives and the flexibility of work today means that the desk in the kitchen just isn’t going to cut it anymore.  The luxury of the home office helps to provide solitude to work and a central hub to all of your homes and families activities, finances and schedules.

7.   Outdoor Entertaining – My husband and I laugh at our parties. They are very rarely small, with people everywhere.  As we continue to entertain our friends and family, the outdoor arena is increasingly more important for seating, play and cooking.  It is also a great way to increase the livable square footage of your home.

8.   Window Treatments – The sub-tropical climate of Houston sends our power bills skyrocketing every summer.  The sun’s rays also create havoc on the fabric of our drapery treatments, whether through fading or through fiber erosion.  Invest in drapery treatments to act as a barrier between your power bill and the heat of the summer.  Simple renovations are panel rotations and regular cleaning of the drapery treatments.

9.   Kid’s Bedrooms – Always a popular project, help your child’s room grow and reflect their personality and needs as they themselves grow.

10. Master Bedrooms – Usually the last project for most people, it can be one of the most beneficial to your sanity and even your marriage!

If you are in the Houston area, we’d love to talk with you about areas in your home that need some attention. Whether you use us or not, we would love it if you could share your before and after pictures from your remodel. We all love inspiration from others!

Luxury For The Home believes that true luxury is not about ostentation or expense.  It is about simplicity. Sanctuary. Comfort.  It’s the beauty that happens when everything, including you, has its own ideal space.

Are you ready to bring luxury into your home?  For more ideas sign up for our newsletter, or to schedule a consultation, please call me at 281-701-2461.

April 14, 2010

The Luxury of New Technologies

Posted in Houston, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Kitchen design, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Luxury interior design tagged at 1:56 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

Well we’ve been busy and where last year our clients were interested in improving their bathrooms, it seems the hot project this year is improving their kitchens.  We’ve just finished a quick cosmetic makeover of a kitchen and are set to start a bit larger of a makeover in the next few weeks.

When we begin working for a client, we research materials and products that really meet the need of that individual client. This client had laminate countertops to begin with, wanted to improve the look of her kitchen, but plans on moving within 3 years.   That’s how we came to install the product I am going to share with you.  For our project, the product easily came in 40-60% the cost of granite.  The product is a granite-look laminate from Formica (www.formica.com) called Formica 180FX . This product is fairly new, I believed that it was launched within the last six months.

Formica 180 FX - Blue Storm

Simply put, Formica has taken high definition photographs of 9 granite slabs.  The photography is reproduced in “slab” sized laminate (4′ x 8′) so that each 8′ run has one repeat, before, the repeats would run about 18″ or so.  There is also a top finish that mimics the polish of granite slabs.  They have also thinned out the thickness of the materials so that you can get more “granite-like” edges, such as an Ogee edge.

Now, the product does have some limitations, you can only get the formed edge on 2 sides, so installations such as islands will have some choices to make.  Also because the material is thinner, you won’t be able to wrap a cove up for a backsplash, The material just doesn’t have the stability to not crack in that situation.  But really that’s the least of my concerns.  I’d want to mask the fact that it is a laminate as much as possible.  For the backsplash, you can laminate a 1″ x 4″ to create a 4″ backsplash or lay the material flat, butting the countertop.

Formica 180fx - Golden Mascarello

So who is this material for?  Really it is for everyone.  For a minor remodel where the countertops are already laminate – this is a great lower cost option for a lot of look; for a commercial business – imagine the look this could give to your office breakroom; For higher end homes or new construction – well, we all know that if choices are going to be made to lose granite in a craft room or utility room – this is a great option.

Formica 180FX - Red Montana

If your kitchen needs a face lift or even a complete makeover, Luxury For The Home will create a kitchen of your dreams.

Luxury For The Home believes that true luxury is not about ostentation or expense.  It is about simplicity. Sanctuary. Comfort.  It’s the beauty that happens when everything, including you, has its own ideal space.

Are you ready to bring luxury into your home?  For more ideas sign up for our newsletter, or to schedule a consultation, please call me at 281-701-2461.

March 12, 2010

The Luxury In Reducing

Posted in Design Inspirations, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Kitchen Appliances, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Uncategorized at 11:35 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

You know when I think of reducing, I’m usually thinking about the reading on the scale.  Or some of those bills I hate to pay.  But today let’s just talk about reducing in the terms of energy.

The four parts of your home that consume the most energy are going to be heating/cooling, kitchen, bathrooms and laundry.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve done the basics of an automated thermostat, and yes my husband sets it higher/lower than I do.  And yes, since I’m female, I do feel entitled to bump it up or down according to my temperature at the moment.

So barring a new system, we’ve already replaced 25 windows in our home and have planned for new insulation in our 30 year + home.  But what I’m really planning for is the kitchen.  It is the heart of our home.  It opens to the living room and breakfast area.  I can see the boys playing outside, it is where everyone congregates, it is where we cook and we do cook.  We bake bread, make homemade pasta (nothing occupies two little boys like cranking the pasta machine), we sauté, we experiment, we contemplate working our way through Julia Child’s cookbooks.  But do you know what? Our kitchen stinks! Stinks to high heavens!

We have the original 1970’s cabinets; we don’t even have the clearance under the cabinets to push the pro-style Kitchen Aid mixer under the cabinet.  And yeah sure, the pantry is “extra-deep”, but why does that matter when the shelves are only 12” wide.  But do you want to know what the bane of my existence is in this kitchen?  The dishwasher.

As we have grown as a family, different things have become important to me.  Right now, I want to stuff it full, I don’t want to have to scrub or pre-rinse and I only want to do 1 load a day for goodness sakes.

But this is March, our focus on going “Green”.  So can we find a dishwasher that is a workhorse, looks good, and is energy and resource efficient?   I do believe we can.

By definition, an efficient dishwasher is going to be energy-efficient and use water sparingly.  It will offer you capacity (think tall tubs & XXL tall tubs) and it will offer you the world in customization.  Washing China? No Problem.  Only washing a ½ load? (As if) No Problem.  Want to air dry? No Problem.

So welcome, I’ve done some of the research for you.  And looking at the models and the ratings they receive from the Energy Star website, along with my personal opinion, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 models – 2 are ASKO & 1 is a BOSCH.

The higher ranking really goes to the ASKO D5893XXLHS.  It has 12 cycles, uses 187 KW/yr, and 3.8 gallons/cycle.  It has 3 racks with a ton of ability to adjust, holding 17 place settings.

Asko Dishwasher, D5893XXL

The Bosch, holds 15 place settings, but has a bit better energy efficiency (180 KW/yr), uses a bit less water and has 6 settings.  It is quiet and it has three internal trays. Bosch didn’t have an image of the inside of the dishwasher for me to share with you.

Bosch SHX68E05

But my favorite is the ASKO D 5253, a bit of both worlds.  It has the energy efficiency of the 5893.  It only has 6 settings, but still can hold 17 place settings and can be found for about the same cost as the Bosch.  This is the one that will make it into my new kitchen.  In fact, it may make it into my kitchen before the rest of the “new kitchen.”

Asko D5253XXL

Asko D5253XXL

So what is your checklist for a new dishwasher?

Energy Efficiency

Water Consumption

Tub/ Place Setting Capacity

# of Cycles

Price

And really, price should be one of the least considerations.  The dishwasher does not represent the major investment for your kitchen, but it is the one of the most used appliances in your kitchen.  So think about it, make the investment that will save you money and time at every use.

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The luxury of reducing

By Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

You know when I think of reducing, I’m usually thinking about the reading on the scale.  Or some of those bills I hate to pay.  But today let’s just talk about reducing in the terms of energy.

The four parts of your home that consume the most energy are going to be heating/cooling, kitchen, bathrooms and laundry.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve done the basics of an automated thermostat, and yes my husband sets it higher/lower than I do.  And yes, since I’m female, I do feel entitled to bump it up or down according to my temperature at the moment.

So barring a new system, we’ve already replaced 25 windows in our homes and have been planning for new insulation in our 30 year + home.  But what I’m really planning for is the kitchen.  It is the heart of our home.  It opens to the living room and breakfast area.  I can see the boys playing outside, it is where everyone congregates, it is where we cook…and we do cook.  We bake bread, make homemade pasta (nothing occupies two little boys like cranking the pasta machine), we sauté, we experiment, we contemplate working our way through Julia Child’s cookbooks.  But do you know what? Our kitchen stinks! Stinks to high heavens!

We have the original 1970’s cabinets; we don’t even have the clearance under the cabinets to push the pro-style Kitchen Aid mixer under the cabinet.  And yeah sure, the pantry is “extra-deep”, but why does that matter when the shelves are only 12” wide.  But do you want to know what the bane of my existence is in this kitchen?  The dishwasher.

Let me be clear. As a child, my job was the dishes.  I have a theory – that which you were made to do as a child, you detest as an adult. I HATE dishes.  So, we are in our third dishwasher in this house, our third in 5 years.  As we have grown as a family, you know, different things have become important to me.  Right now, I want to stuff it full, I don’t want to have to scrub or pre-rinse and I only want to do 1 load a day for goodness sakes.

But this is March, our focus on going “Green”.  So can we find a dishwasher that is a workhorse, looks good, and is energy and resource efficient?   I do believe we can.

By definition, an efficient dishwasher is going to be energy efficient and use water sparingly.  It will offer you capacity (think tall tubs & XXL tall tubs) and it will offer you the world in customization.  Washing China? No Problem.  Only washing a ½ load? (As if) No Problem.  Want to air dry? No Problem.

So welcome, I’ve done some of the research for you.  And looking at the models and the ratings they receive from the XXX, along with my personal opinion, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 models – 2 are ASKO & 1 is a BOSCH.

The higher ranking really goes to the ASKO D5893XXLHS.  It has 12 cycles, uses 187 KW/yr, and 3.8 gallons/cycle.  It has 3 racks with a ton of adjustability, holding 17 place settings.

The bosch, holds 15 place settings, but has a bit better energy efficiency, uses a bit less water and has XX settings

But my favorite is the ASKO D 5253, a bit of both worlds.  It has the energy efficency of the 5893.  It only has 6 settings, but still can hold 17 place settings and can be found for about the same as the bosch.  This is the one that will make it into my new kitchen.  In fact, it may make it into my kitchen before the rest of the “new kitchen.”

So what is your checklist for a new dishwasher?

Energy Efficiency

Water Consumption

Tub/ Place Setting Capacity

# of Cycles

Price

And really, price should be one of the least considerations.  The dishwasher does not represent the major investment for your kitchen, but it is the one of the most used appliances in your kitchen.  So think about it,

August 26, 2009

Kitchen Luxury: Jewelry For Your Cabinets

Posted in Cabinets, Design inspiration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Kitchen design, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Luxury for the home, luxury homes, Luxury interior design, Uncategorized at 2:01 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler –  Allied Member, ASID; AKBD

I’m known to say, “Every girl deserves a little sparkle.”  Well I also believe that every cabinet needs its jewelry too.  Most cabinets can benefit from the addition of pulls and knobs, helping to complete the overall effect.  There are also areas that call for extra special hardware.  These are some of the luxuries you can find for your cabinets.

Schuab & Co - Estate Dover Tiger Penshell with Yellow Mother of Pearl

Schaub & Co - Estate Dover Tiger Penshell with Yellow Mother of Pearl

Schaub & Company Symphony series plays with semi-precious stones that make me think of my grandmother’s jewelry.  Lucky for them, I like antique jewelry.  These pieces have intricacy and would be beautful on cabinetry in a woman’s dressing area.

Sherle Wagner Molecult Pull

Sherle Wagner - Molecule Knob

 

This one is just pure fun!  I must admit, I still hold a girlish fascination with bubbles. This one speaks to me, but it is also has a contemporary feel to it.

Atlas Homewares - Primitive Collection

Atlas Homewares - Primitive Collection

Atlas Homewares has a great line of hardware that has a wonderful variety to it.  This piece has an animal print feel, but is still extremely masculine in its design.

Amerock - Revitalize Pull

Amerock - Revitalize Pull

With the popularity of brands such as Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware.  This cabinet pull from Amerock, would blend seamlessly.  The styling is simple and yet the rib detail keeps it from being boring.  I especially like the depth, enabling easy use for people with larger hands.

Spectra Decor, Variation Series - Eco-resin & Lead free Pewter

Spectra Decor, Variation Series - Eco-resin & Lead-free Pewter

 

Having a green kitchen, gets easier by each day.  The line from Spectra Decor is made using Eco-Resin and Lead-free Pewter.  I especially love the airy graphic quality to the variation series.

Sherle Wagner - Aurora

Sherle Wagner - Aurora

I saved the best one for last.  This one is my favorite of all that I have here for you.  It is simply beautiful in its design and styling.  The added benefit is the quality of Sherle Wagner hardware last.  This is one of those designs that will transcend the years and the trends.

For more information on how we can help you define your Kitchen Luxury, go to: www.luxuryforthehome.com.

August 20, 2009

Kitchen Luxury: The Entertainment Sink

Posted in defining your luxury, Design Ideas, Design inspiration, Houston, Houston decoration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Kitchen design, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Luxury for the home, Luxury interior design at 1:05 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler, Allied ASID, AKBD – NKBA

With the kitchen being one of the most used rooms in the home, it is no wonder that we talk so much about it.  The purposes of the kitchen transcend meal prep and cooking to a gathering and entertaining area where guests and family naturally gather.  Outside of work zones and work triangles, there are LUXURIES that need to be built in to the modern kitchen.  One such luxury is the entertainment/bar sink.  This sink is in addition to the main sink.  Usually 16″ or smaller, this sink serves as an station to wash veggies, fill pots or even chill beverages.  There is even the added benefit of freeing up the main sink for clean up. Many of the sinks available come or have available accessories such as cutting boards and basin racks.  These accessories serve to give you the most use of your sink and help to protect the sink finish.

I encourage you to indulge your fancies and creative side by looking at more decorative sinks.  Take a look at some of these beauties for traditional, transistional and contemporary homes.
Barcelona Entertainment Sink from Purple Sage Collections - A Perfect Option for Traditional Kitchen Designs.
Barcelona Entertainment Sink from Purple Sage Collections – A Perfect Option for Traditional Kitchen Designs.

The Poise (Kohler), shown here in the mirror finish is modern luxury at its finest.  The sink comes with a bamboo cutting board and bottom basin rack, but that's not the most stunning feature.  This sink also features SilentShield, a technology that dampens the sounds created by disposals, dishwashers and running water.

The Poise (Kohler), shown here in the mirror finish is modern luxury at its finest. The sink comes with a bamboo cutting board and bottom basin rack, but that's not the most stunning feature. This sink also features SilentShield, a technology that dampens the sounds created by disposals, dishwashers and running water.


This Luna sink from Native Trails as a curved design which brings fun to the entertainment sink. This sink, also available in a Nickel finish would work in a transitional or contemporary kitchen design.

This Luna sink from Native Trails as a curved design which brings fun to the entertainment sink. This sink, also available in a Nickel finish would work in a transitional or contemporary kitchen design.


This Lager Sink from the Hammerwerks series would shine in any rustic kitchen design.

This Lager Sink from the Hammerwerks series would shine in any rustic kitchen design.

 

If your planning a Kitchen redesign for your home, I would love to help you.  Please feel free to email @ leslie@luxuryforthehome.com or call at 281-701-2461.

March 12, 2009

How to Choose Your Kitchen Appliances

Posted in apples, ethylene, Kitchen Appliances, Kitchen design, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, refrigerators, remodeling, Sub Zero at 12:56 pm by luxuryforthehome

When we start a project, the first run at the budget generally represents an “ideal” situation. From there, we work together with our clients to come to a more “realistic” budget. But, hey, that is why they call it planning.

One area that I do push my clients on is appliances. I believe that if you are going through the process to improve your kitchen, you really need to purchase the best technology out there. Let’s face it, most of us don’t remodel the kitchen every 5 or 10 years, so you really need to put the money in to making sure that the appliances you purchase today will not be dinosaurs in 10 years. Let’s talk about one of my favorites for refrigeration – Sub Zero.
There are some products I believe that you pay for the name, but then there are some that you are paying (up front at least) for the technology. Sub Zero’s refrigeration is pretty amazing, for many reasons. If you want to know more go to http://www.subzero.com/.

The air purification system, my favorite, helps to purify the internal compartment of various items such as ethylene. What is ethylene you may ask? It is the off gas from fruits and vegetable that promotes ripening. One of the worst producers is apples. Do you have an apple in your refrigerator? Well it is helping all the other fruits and veggies to ripen along with it.
It today’s climate, I hate when I have to toss fruit or veggies due to over-ripening. Sub Zeros air purification system slows all of that down, extending the life of your produce. Don’t believe me? My friend, Cathie has a 600 series Sub Zero. She says she just threw out a bunch of celery this week. But she bought the celery in the beginning of December. Hmm, that is 3 months. Think of how much you could save on your grocery budget with a Sub Zero in your house. I have two boys & a grown man in mine – I’m always looking for ways to do that!

Sub Zeros also last FOREVER! I’m sure there are cases where they don’t, but I can’t tell you how many kitchens were we update the Sub Zero not because it doesn’t work, but because it is over 20 years old and just needs to be updated to fit with the rest of the kitchen. For most people it is a fight to get them to update them because they love the one they have.

Sub Zero is also making several new product and design introductions over the next couple of years. So when it is your turn to remodel your kitchen, think hard about your appliances. Buy the best you can and you’ll be glad you did down the road.