Light or Dark: Designing your Dream Kitchen

Kitchen 2 Design Center 052 (1)When you start designing your dream kitchen, the first choice you make is your cabinets. Do you want light wood or even painted cabinets, or darker stained wood? Each has advantages and disadvantages. \

If your kitchen has limited natural light, the painted cabinets bring a natural brightness into the space. They also work well with stained wood floors. One choice that adds interest to this particular kitchen is using dark cabinets on the island. This allows it to serve as a focal point in the kitchen and adds a nice contrast to the ivory.

Kitchen 1Dark cabinets, on the other hand, provide richness to the kitchen and really play up the lighting. The light countertops provide a strong counterpoint to the dark wood, making it seem to glow. Darker cabinets are also less likely to show fingerprints from little smudgy fingers if you have children helping themselves to cabinet items.

Both kitchens contain stainless steel appliances, which gives you a good idea of how stainless works with the two types of cabinets.

Painted cabinets have a more old-fashioned feel, because they were popular in the old-style farmhouse kitchens of the past. Some of today’s choices, however, such as glazes and more non-traditional colors and styles, can shift those cabinets to work well in a contemporary home also.

Which do you prefer? You can see both these kitchen vignettes close-up during the Fulton Design Center browse night coming up on Thursday March 5th, 2015. We hope to see you there.


Kitchen Island Lighting Choices

Legacy Models 030You can take several approaches to lighting your kitchen island. The simplest and least noticeable is a collection of ceiling lights, distributed to provide even light for working. But with that choice you lose an opportunity to create a special style moment when people walk toward your kitchen.

Design Center pendant lightsPendant lights are one option that has grown in appeal over the years, with the opportunity to add a touch of style and color to your kitchen’s lighting. The photo to the right shows a number of pendants for your kitchen available through the Fulton Design Center.

The light in the photo above at Legacy takes a different approach from the more standard pendants to offer a shaded piece that provides even lighting on the surface of the island. This intriguing transitional piece suits this kitchen with the shade complementing the tile on the wall and island.

Models 086More unusual, these large long hanging glass pendants in the photo to the right, shown at Legacy, are lit inside by Edison bulbs which provide a unique yet classic touch. This island is large enough to support three of these pendant lights.

The clear glass allows you to connect immediately with the entire kitchen, yet the dramatic style brings these pendants to the forefront of your vision. This is quite a daring choice for island lighting.

What kind of lighting do you want over your kitchen island? We invite you to visit the model homes at Legacy and the Fulton Design Center to see a rich variety of choices in person.


Your Entertainment Wall

Legacy Models 071 (1)Designing an entertainment wall involves balancing design and function. You want a good place for the large HD TV while still keeping the screen itself low-key when it’s not turned on. These suggestions can help you think about what will work in your home.

Use color wisely: Dark grey-purple on the focal wall in this photo from Legacy draws the eye while reducing the footprint of the screen. The shelves and cabinet bring in lighter tones and the space is large and flexible enough to make changes in the future.

Models 065Incorporate an additional focal point: By adding the fireplace under the niche holding the television in the photo to the left, also from Legacy, the space feels nicely orchestrated. The screen becomes another dark rectangle, adding depth and balance to the light stone face. Once again dark purple draws the eye, with free-floating shelves providing opportunities to display accessories and carry the light tones out to the sides.

Consider seating: Positioning seating toward the entertainment area makes it more comfortable to watch programs, but you may want to place some seating facing toward the conversation area rather than aiming everything at your entertainment wall. This encourages discussion when you have guests, and the chair or chairs can easily be turned if they are needed for viewing a particular event or program.

Create flexible lighting options: A lighting arrangement that works well for a gathering may not serve your needs while watching your screen. Make sure you plan for both situations when setting up your lighting. A few ceiling spots may be all you need for television viewing, or consider a dimmer switch to provide enough ambient light while avoiding a glare on the screen.

Your family room can be flexible enough to meet all of your entertainment needs, whether you’re spending the evening chatting with friends or enjoying a DVD of a favorite film. Take the time to create a space that works for you and your family –in terms of both style and function.


The Pleasure of Water

Legacy Models 053Many thousands of years ago, desert dwellers knew that the presence, sight, sound and feel of water moving helped people cope with the hot dry desert. Today in the Southwest, commercial and residential landscape designs improve when you add water.

The Fulton Homes’ models at Legacy take full advantage of water’s power to soothe and create an inviting ambience. Positioning a fountain in the front courtyard like this one at Legacy draws the summer back a bit and allows visitors to refresh themselves even before entering your home.

Legacy Models 104If you want water to contribute to the comfort of your landscape, the following tips can help you make the best choice for your home.

Stop and look: Does the water’s spray catch the light? Is there a natural place to dip your hand in to catch a bit of moisture? Is the fountain visually appealing? Choose a fountain that you will enjoy looking at every day.

Listen: Make sure you have a chance to hear how your fountain will sound. Does the water sound musical? Is it an inviting background to conversation or quiet time? If your yard experiences traffic noise, a fountain provides a great way to mask and distract the ear. Make sure you choose one that has the right sound for your needs.

Integrate it in the space” Does the fountain match the look and style of your home? Can you incorporate some of the same materials that you already have in your landscape to make a stronger connection? Consider adding rocks, plants, tile and any other elements that will make your fountain seem like an organic part of your yard, not an afterthought.

Follow these suggestions and you will discover the water feature that helps make your desert landscape bloom winter and summer.


Flooring that stands out

DSC_0086Flooring often serves a passive role in decorating, as the background for other, more exciting things. But take a look at what happens when you give flooring top billing. These two examples from Fulton Home’s models at Legacy demonstrate the power of bringing flooring to the foreground.

The picture above shows the floor extending out from an entryway. Immediately your eyes are drawn down the hall and into the home. This combination of stone and wood provides a path and a promise that this is no ordinary place. The diagonal setting makes that point stronger and adds a dynamic feel. It pays to consider placing flooring on the diagonal. It can create a feeling of added space and energy. In this instance, the strong contrast also provides interest.

DSC_0108Small spaces provide another place to experiment with unusual flooring choices. This basic bathroom becomes intriguing with the addition of flooring in an ascending block pattern. Three shades of tile make up the drama here, capturing the eye. One of our Facebook fans suggested adding Escher prints on the walls to make this bathroom a statement space.

There’s no denying that these floors are a design risk, but why not take a few chances in your home? If these are too far out of your comfort zone, how about adding a border or some sort of contrast in your flooring. Remember that your floor and ceiling are the fifth and sixth walls in your home, so why should the first four have all the fun?


Pops of Color

Legacy Models 057Neutrals always feel safer when you’re decorating, but staying safe keeps you from enjoying the power of color in your home. If more vivid colors seem overwhelming or just too risky, consider taking a chance with a few pops of color. Here are a few ways to let color help bring your home to life.

A strong accent wall: Paint, wallpaper or fabric can turn one wall into a natural focal point with a strong color choice. And the option is relatively easy to eliminate if you aren’t happy with the result. Take a look at this entertainment area in the family room of the O’Connor model at Legacy. The deep purple has enough gray in it to soften the impact on the wall, and neutral furniture, shelves and accessories keep the overall feeling rather low-key.

Contrasting accessories: Adding the yellow glass bowl on the right side of this console helps the space to really pop. Yellow is the complementary color to purple, which means that they are on opposite sides of the color wheel. By adding just a small touch of yellow, the purple becomes more purposeful in the space. The other complementary colors are blue and orange and red and green. If your colors seem drab, adding just a spot of the color on the other side of the wheel will add a spark.Legacy Models 027 (2)

Let color infuse your focal point. This Bertazzoni Range in rich dark red creates a new energy in this kitchen. Other neutrals start to feel like the background elements, allowing this retro range to stand out. (Photo from the Fulton Model at Legacy.)

So jump into color – starting small or with a big push – and let your home’s décor pop!


Accessorizing your Outdoor Areas

Legacy Models 065 (1)When designing a backyard pool space, often your focus is on the pool itself to the detriment of the rest of the area. This yard, from the O’Connor model at Legacy, shows how some careful attention to the furniture and features of your pool space can turn your yard into an appealing haven for family and friends.

Throughout this yard, clean lines and a contemporary style combine to make this yard clearly the result of a designed approach. The rectangular pool is echoed by the choice of rectangular stones for the hard surfaces. By continuing this same stone at the back of the pool with the raised area that holds the fountains, this yard maintains an inviting consistency.

Legacy Models 060 (1)Take a look at the lounge chairs surrounding the pool. Built for comfort, the blue cushions also add style by mirroring the color of the pool in a darker shade.

The planter shown in the photo to the right combines the sharp lines of every element of this yard with some height and color to break up the generous pool deck. Notice also the dark square next to the furthest lounge chair. Pieces such as these can be moved into various locations as needed, recruited to hold drinks or snacks around the pool.

Altogether, this minimalist approach with its clean lines and limited color palette lends itself to a contemporary approach to your yard. By taking this angle, the outdoor space for this home has the same design aesthetic as the rooms in the home itself. This yard demonstrates that design doesn’t need to stop at the back door.


Think Outside the Box with Lighting

DSC_0020 (1)With the generous amount of wall space and raised ceilings available at the Fulton Homes Legacy community, it pays to think outside the box with your lighting plans. This photo shows several ways lighting adds appeal to a generously-sized space.

DSC_0019This shot, taken from the entryway of the Basha model at Legacy, shows a number of lighting choices. The sconces in the foreground are part of the foyer lighting plan, combined with the dramatic ceiling light shown in the photo to the right. By sticking with the same bronze finish and curved elements, the sconces echo the feel of this large-scale ceiling fixture to create a lighting plan that takes full advantage of the turret-style space.

It would have been easy to use spots on the ceiling of the hall extending from the foyer, but instead three dramatic bowl lights carry the foyer’s focus into the home. In a smaller space these fixtures might grace a dining room, but here the scale is large enough to use them as hall lights.

Legacy Models 115So what type of scale is needed to do justice to the generous dining area provided in this home? Take a look. This photo on the left showcases the powerful impact of a chandelier that fills the space perfectly. The size is impressive, but the graceful lines and use of negative space keeps this light from dominating. Two sconces provide additional light and interest.

Combined, the lighting of this home is designed to pull you into the home from the time you first enter it. Lighting is a powerful tool when decorating your home, as this model demonstrates. Use your lighting choices to welcome people into your home.


Using and Accessorizing your Kitchen Island

Models 081 (1)A large island such as this one from the Fulton Homes’ Legacy community provides the opportunity to accessorize and still have space for functional uses. Let’s look at two versions of this island to see several approaches.

In this first photo, the yellow accessories combine with the green plants to add color to a neutral kitchen. The yellow pops against the dark kitchen cabinets and adds warmth to the view.

Notice that several collections of accessories are positioned on trays. Each tray contains several smaller objects which gives them more importance from a design perspective. More importantly, trays can be easily moved to allow the island to serve as a breakfast bar or buffet for a party or family gathering.

Legacy Models 118In the photo to the right, the accessories bring a darker tone into the light kitchen, linking the island with the backsplash and above-cabinet tiles and anchoring the island in the space. In this case the positioning of accessories provides plenty of room to use the front area as an eating or snacking area without having to move anything.

Both of these islands have a powerful presence in their respective kitchens. By breaking up the surface with carefully-chosen accessories, you can take full advantage of the space while using the area to add interest and charm. Notice that each island’s accessories vary in height and heft. This helps create balance.

You can also use this space to incorporate personal items that make the kitchen your own. If you have heirlooms from a family member or favorite kitchen accessories, islands such as these provide the perfect place to showcase them. And don’t forget these islands’ primary functional purpose – to add much appreciated counter space for food preparation!


Lovely Lighting

Legacy Models 044With the steady increase in higher ceilings and open floor plans, lighting designers have finally started to think bigger with residential chandeliers, with dramatic results.

Take a look at this breathtaking example from the Fulton model home at Legacy. The chandelier inside has some traditional elements such as the candle-shaped lights and display of crystals. But add the surrounding bronze hoops and you suddenly have a daring transitional light that captures the eye and sets the tone for the entire room.

It takes a certain amount of design daring to flash this type of lighting fixture in your home. You can’t take it easy with the rest of the décor. Your other choices will have to live up to this. And you could never get away with it without the space to set it off properly. A high ceiling, plenty of space to showcase its drama, and other architectural details to complement it provide the proper setting.

259 (1)Take a look at its position in the room to the right. It takes two of these chandeliers to make this space work. Adding a second one just contributes to the impact. And the ceiling provides just the right frame for this exciting choice.

The normally-recommended height for hanging a chandelier wouldn’t work here. Too low and these pieces would take over the table, compromising the entire feel of the room. Instead they are positioned half-way from ceiling to table, allowing guests to take in the entire picture when walking into the room.

Is this chandelier the light of your dreams? Visit our models at Legacy and see for yourself. Enjoy this and other lights that are designed to capture your interest and imagination.