Kitchens made for Entertaining

002 super browseDoes your kitchen become the central location for every party you host? Then why not create a kitchen made for entertaining in your next home? This kitchen, from the Fulton Design Center, demonstrates how a kitchen can come alive during a party.

Use your island as buffet central: With its close proximity to the oven and fridge, you can easily refresh the food as needed. Take advantage of this to provide special piping hot appetizers fresh from the oven and even offer a hot drink such as mulled cider on the stovetop for winter events.

Add height to your buffet display: The open flat counterspace that your island provides makes for a great functional kitchen but it diminishes the punch of a buffet. Find ways to include height to make the display more interesting. Place some food on pedestal stands, and include candles and fresh flowers. Setting up the buffet this way also encourages guests to serve themselves on the side away from the kitchen. This keeps them out from underfoot while you’re working.

003 super browseSet up a drinks area: You can use a corner of the island, as shown in the photo to the right, also from the Fulton Design Center. Provide cups and cocktail napkins and place sodas and other drinks in the refrigerator for easy access, or keep wine chilled in an ice-bucket on one section of the counter.

Plan your lighting: This allows you to create several moods in different parts of your home. Want the kitchen to be the light and bright area? Turn on all of your kitchen lights. On the other hand if you want people to linger around the buffet but not in the main kitchen space, use only the pendant lights and keep all the other kitchen lighting off for the duration of the party. You can turn them back on when it’s time for clean-up.

Check out these and other kitchen vignettes at the Fulton Homes Design Center. Our open browse nights happen from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every first and third Thursday of the month. For more information visit our website at: http://www.fultonhomes.com/design-center

Design Center: Lighting

Lighting at the Fulton Design Center

Lighting at the Fulton Design Center

Most people pay particular attention to the light over their dining room table. Yes, that’s important, but you don’t want to ignore the power of lighting in every room.

With our hot summers, ceiling fans have a place throughout the house. From a cooling breeze over the family room sofa to a breath of fresh air in the kitchen dining area, fans reduce energy bills over the summer by allowing you to feel comfortable at a higher ambient temperature. Bedrooms also benefit from ceiling fans making the nights feel cooler than they really are.

Some lighting options at the Fulton Design Center

Some lighting options at the Fulton Design Center

Above your kitchen island, pendant lights provide both additional task lighting and an opportunity to showcase your style. The Fulton Design Center provides an inviting collection of styles and colors, including traditional looks that complement your dining chandelier. The photo on the right demonstrates how your chandelier can reflect your island pendants. This approach – having the pendant light mirror the dining chandelier but turned upside down – suits the function of each light while maintaining style consistency.

Perhaps you prefer a delightful contemporary glass shade? Fulton offers those at the Design Center in an inviting range of colors and shapes. Whether you would enjoy a vivid pop of red over your island or soft clear amber – these choices and more can be yours. Check the top photo toward the right for a few of your options.

While you’re exploring your kitchen’s lighting, remember to add ceiling spotlights to provide additional ambient light as well as under-counter task lighting to ease meal preparation.

Lighting has an important and often underrated impact on the look and feel of your home. Enjoy the many options available to you at the Fulton Design Center- helping to create a home that is totally yours and completely lovely.

Coordinating an Open Floor Plan – Family Room and Office

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Fulton Homes Starlight Model

An open floor plan makes any home feel more spacious and interesting. Every step opens up a new view of living areas – kitchen, dining, family room and even office.

The office space in this home – the Fulton Homes Starlight model – demonstrates the appeal of an office or den that is open to the family room. the wall openings support a separate living area while still making the office feel part of the greater whole.

Decorating the office and family room to ensure that the spaces are seen as separate but still coordinated requires some planning. Here are some décor choices that make these spaces work well together.

Coordinating color-schemes: Neutrals pair well with black, red and a soft green to build a common theme of colors without too much repetition. The green chair in the office picks up the color of the family room throw pillows while the patterned fabric appears on the office valance and the other sofa throw pillows. Notice that the rug also carries those colors through to the family room.

Lighting: Both rooms have matching ceiling fans, but the real connection comes from the table and floor lamps. The unusual sloping square lampshades in a natural cream tone carry from one room to the next – providing nice focused light while marrying the style of the two rooms together.

Furniture tone: Both rooms feature dark wood – a good choice with the wall and furniture colors. The wood floor mirrors this tone, creating a unified whole. This level of thought and coordination takes full advantage of all the plusses of an open floor plan – maximizing comfort and style.

Brighten Your Home with the Right Lighting

Design Center 038Lighting provides a powerful design statement in a home. Do you like traditional styles, or would you rather have contemporary lighting? Do you want lighting to be front-and-center or subtle?

After you choose your cabinets and countertops, your flooring and doors, make sure you take the time to select lighting that blends well with the design image you’re creating for your home.

Start with the dining room chandelier. This gives the strongest message of any light in your house. Hanging over your dining table, it becomes the focal point for the space and will serve as a beacon for all of your family meals. That selection will help you throughout the house.

Design Center 054Next, consider accent lighting. Notice the selection of pendant lights to the right in the photo below. The Fulton Design Center has a generous selection of pendants, ranging from graceful interpretations of the chandeliers to whimsical colorful modern pendants in a range of colors and shapes.

Remember to take a look at your options in additional lighting such as sconces and recessed lighting. A generous number of spots in your kitchen can make meal preparation easier and more pleasant.

With your lighting selections throughout your home, remember to consider task lighting and ambient lighting as well as standard fixtures. Parties, work and other events are easier to create and decorate for when you build flexibility into the light choices in your home.

Finally, take a minute to look at your exterior lighting. Will you want an extra outdoor spotlight where you plan to put your grill? Would you like a motion-activated light on the path to your front door?

Take the time to make the right decisions now so that you can eliminate the frustrations of not having lights where you need and want them later. And you will find yourself appreciating your efforts every time you flip a switch!

Design Grammar: Verbs

12620942_SIn this series on design grammar, verbs are the things in your home’s design that have some kind of action associated with them. These include lights, electronics, appliances and water features.

Take a look at the lighting choices in this bedroom. There are four light sources in the room, each with an active role in the design. The light showing under the bed adds color and makes the bed appear to be floating. The purple and gold lights shining down the walls provide color and space definition, and the simple lamp by the bed is functional and adds warmth.

13738899_SThis photo has two verbs in it  – light and water. Notice how candlelight provides soft and yet directed light, and adds to the inviting feeling of the space. The water in the background contributes movement and sound. Although this is just a snapshot, it has the feeling of action because your mind can infuse it with motion and sound to match the image.

8969356_SEven when it’s off, an electronic element such as a television provides an action point in a room because of its potential. One reason people like to hide a TV in an armoire or behind doors is so that potential is not part of the everyday living space. Take a look at the photo to the left. You don’t need to see the television to know exactly where it is and what these people are doing. The people are reacting to the main action in the room: whatever is on the invisible television.

When you choose to put verbs in your home, be sure to balance them in the space. A room with too many action items may become overwhelming. On the other hand, no verbs make a room feel static and boring. Take the time to figure out the right verbs to build your story/design with excitement but not to the point of exhaustion!

Kitchen Lighting Four Ways

This kitchen, from the Whitewater model at the Fulton Homes Oasis at Freeman Farms community, offers many advantages to a cook. There’s plenty of counter space, a generous kitchen island, a gas range and stainless appliances. But one feature that any cook – casual or serious – will really appreciate is the generous lighting from four sources.

First, the space is designed to provide plenty of natural light. The window over the sink gives both visibility in the kitchen and a view of the back yard. More light comes from the sliding glass door in the dining area. This saves energy as well as making the kitchen brighter. You may find that you don’t always need additional lighting during the day.

The double light over the island provides directed lighting. This makes the island useful for chopping or baking, as well as after-school homework and snacking. Notice how the light’s style matches the chandelier over the dining table, integrating the space and adding charm as well as functionality.

General lighting comes from an abundant number of ceiling spotlights. These spots wash the kitchen in even, clear lighting. This makes the kitchen nice and bright even in the evening, with no glare or dark spots.

The final lighting source is also the most specific – task lighting running under the cabinets. This is particularly useful for smaller tasks such as reading recipes or instructions. If you have never experienced this type of task lighting, you will soon realize what a difference it can make in a kitchen.

Enjoy the flexibility and functionality of a kitchen with four types of lighting, available because at Fulton Homes, we’re proud to build a home you will enjoy and appreciate.