It’s Family Day weekend and we hope you’re enjoying every opportunity to appreciate and cherish the loved ones in your life. But while it is special to have a day set aside to celebrate family, we’re confident you will agree that family is something to be celebrated and kept top of mind throughout the year – including in the way your design and decorate your home. The good news is that style and function are not enemies – in fact, the interior design world is always coming up with new ways of creating spaces that are chic and on-trend without losing their functional, practical benefits.
In honour of family day, we met with one of our Sales team members, Marie, to get her insights on how to design your home with your family in mind. Here are some of her tips:
The kitchen is the primary gathering place of most homes – whether intentional or not, it tends to be a place where conversation, community, and even homework are done, not just meal prep. But kitchens can also be a nerve wracking place for parents of young children, or adult children living with their elderly parents. So how do we keep the kitchen stylish and safe at the same time? Try these ideas on for size:
- Consider switching to an induction cooktop or stovetop. Induction cooking, through magnetic draw, cooks food faster than the traditional electric and more evenly than gas, but has the added benefit of cooling off much faster than any other type of cooktop, meaning less risk of accidental burns when you aren’t looking.
- If you choose to go with a gas stove, never install a microwave above it. While technically allowed, this design choice leaves space for all sorts of risks, should you be using the stove and microwave at the same time – as you reach up over your stove to the microwave, there is the danger of your clothing (or skin!) getting caught in the flame.
- Take advantage of the new trend for concealed countertop storage. Keep your electric appliances, like your blender, mixer, or coffee maker, out of sight and out of reach.
- Choose an appropriate height for your microwave and oven. If you are installing these appliances within your wall unit, take the time to ensure they sit at an appropriate height for you personally. Cabinetry can be highly customized to ensure you are never reaching above your head with hot food, or bending too low to get things in and out of the oven. This is important for burn prevention as well as overall ergonomics. Consider who will be using which appliances, and raise or lower the appliances appropriately, to ensure they can (or maybe can’t) reach each one.
Note: Pull-out microwaves are a more costly, but convenient option to consider. They hide away an appliance we aren’t always thrilled to highlight, are easy to clean, and still feature safety lock features.
- If you’re looking for durable, you’re looking for Quartz. Cambria is the leading producer of engineered quartz in North America (and our primary supplier of countertops). Quartz is extremely hardy and unlikely to chip or crack, while being stunningly gorgeous – easily the statement piece in your kitchen or bathroom, if you want it to be. It is also easily cleaned with just soap and water, and non-porous, so it won’t absorb the bad bacteria that all countertops are exposed to.
- Both gloss and matte finishes have their place when it comes to countertops – they make unique statements and have different effects in the way they accent or tie together a room. But if you’re going for a tidy look in a busy house, a matte countertop is less likely to show smears, smudges, and finger prints.
- If you know this isn’t your forever home, and your priority right now is to economize, you may consider buying a laminate countertop. While not as durable or ornate as the various stone options, laminate is a cost-effective option for a growing family.
Standing by Your Storage Options…
When planning your entryway or mudroom, there are a multitude of storage options available that are perfect for busy families (pets and all). These are some of our top recommendations that our clients have loved:
- Install benches around the outside walls, or within the cabinetry itself. Not only are these extremely helpful for those who struggle with balance (for putting shoes on, for instance), but they leave ample storage room for baskets or shoe racks beneath them.
- Have 2 levels of hooks – 1 low row of hooks, so kids can be realistically expected to put their own coats and bags away, and 1 higher row for the adults. As your children grow, they can begin to use the upper hooks for their coats and bags, but still have the lower hooks available for smaller or lesser used items.
- Install drawers lower down in your wall unit, and use baskets up above. The lower drawers are easy for everyone to access and keep everything organized and out of sight (in theory), while the baskets are a great option for parents to quickly and easily access their own items, or more seasonal items, without needing to reach too far in on the top shelf, or have their items accessible to little hands.
- If you have a 4-legged member of your family, why not make their own special spot that coordinates with your home? This client is thrilled with their combined dog crate and island:
When You’re Starting to Finish…
We pride ourselves in offering high quality finishes on all our cabinetry, but still there are some finishes and materials that are easier to maintain than others. If you are looking for a beautiful finish that requires minimal maintenance, come check out our maple, walnut, or painted wood cabinet options – these are all easily cleaned with dish soap and water, and nicks can be easily repaired, so you don’t have to worry when the dog gets excited or your child slams the cabinet door one too many times. Glazed finishes, however, can be difficult to repair, and harder still are Thermafoil cabinets. These can be statement options, but if your kitchen is a high traffic area with potentially unreliable cabinet treatment, you may want to consider a wood or painted option, to avoid needing to replace your doors entirely.
We hope these tips are helpful to you and your family! Want to come in and discuss more of how these ideas could fit in your home? Call or email our showroom and we’d love to see how we can work together to create a dream home for your family.