Sinks are one of the most important and used appliances in your kitchen. When you want to get the right sink the first time there are 6 things you should consider when choosing one.
1. Sink Material
The material that you choose for your sink not only determines the aesthetic but also the durability. There are many different materials that can be used and some are more durable and easily cleaned than others. Stainless steel and fireclay are by far the most common as well as most durable and easy to clean. Materials like copper, quartz or other natural materials are popular with those who like to make a statement but can come with other traits like needing to be sealed and maintained due to oxidation or refinished due to the porosity.
2. Sink Configuration
When determining how you want your sink to be configured you really have to consider your lifestyle. How many sinks do you need? With your sink, how many different areas would you like to have? Did you know there are sinks available with three separate areas that are made for people who prefer hand washing their dishes? There are many things to consider when figuring out this step.
3. Type Of Installation
Now that you have figured out how you want your sink to be configured, you need to determine how it’s going to be installed into your kitchen. There are undermounts, drop-in, integral, and apron-front sinks (commonly referred to as Farmhouse). The various options have different benefits and different costs. Drop in sinks are the most budget friendly due to having an easy install and working well with budget friendly counter materials. While on the high end of the price range would be the integral sink which is fabricated from the same materials at the surrounding counters and appears seamless. We usually suggest an under-mount or Farmhouse sink depending on the client's aesthetic.
4. Sink Depth
How deep your sink is relates directly to how much under the sink storage room you have. That usable space changes again when adding in a garbage disposal. These are all things to keep in mind so you’re not surprised later down the road.
5. Sink Size
The next thing to consider before you’re finished picking out your sink is how wide you’d like it to be. The typical dimensions range from 24 inches to 36 inches. With this step you should consider the area it’s going in as well as how it works spatially with the rest of your kitchen.
6. Location, Location, Location.
When placing your sink you want to think about how it interacts with your kitchen. You want it to be in a place that is next to the dishwasher if you have one, with ample foot traffic room, and ideally with a nice view of the things happening whether it be into your living room or yard. A good designer can make suggestions based on the way you and your family live.
So now that you have picked out the sink for your new kitchen, what about the rest of the house? Do you need an interior designer? Contact us at Thomas Designs where we create comfortable, Eco-conscience interiors, remodels & additions that inspire you to live your best life!
We often have our clients tell us the various ways our services are beneficial to them so what better way to convince you too!
1. Scale is wrong/ buying without measuring
Sofa too small for the room? Does the area rug have the wrong dimensions? Did the lamp look great at the store but seem out of place and too bulky in your home? Measuring items or even having digital mockups created for your space can be incredibly useful when designing your home. Having spacial awareness and the ability to pick the right items for your home is something interior designers practice all the time and will help guarantee everything fits perfectly.
2. Choosing Paint First
Insider tip– choosing paint should be one of the last things that you do. Once you have found the core fabrics and textures for your decor, then you choose a paint that marries them all together. Interior designers will put together visual presentations of everything together for you so you can see how it all looks before you purchase.
3. Shopping From One Store
As appealing as it sounds to go to one store and buy the full bedroom set, we don’t recommend it if you're wanting an eclectic space. Sourcing things from different manufacturers brings in a more curated feeling to your space. This is something interior designers are incredible at! It is our passion to know about different collections from different designers and brands to help aid in creating the home of your dreams.
4. Playing It Safe
When decorating without an interior designer, it can be intimidating to purchase a big bold expensive piece without having a full picture of how everything will look. When you avoid going bold, you miss opportunities to be creative and truly show your style and run the risk of looking like every other house on the block. Talk with your interior designer about colors or textures that inspire you and they can start the hunt for your perfect pieces.
5. Making Too Many Bold Choices
With that being said, the choice to only make bold selections can create a chaotic energy within your home that might make it a bit hard to unwind. If you’re wanting a bold home, work with an interior designer to guide you in doing it tastefully.
6. Not Letting Go Of the Past
This one is hard for all of us at Thomas Designs because we are very eco conscious. It can be hard to let go of a perfectly good sofa when it doesn’t align with your design beliefs anymore but there are ways to go about it that can help with that. Reupholstering soft items with new fabrics not only breathes new life into your items but also usually employs a small business which is always something we love doing.
Wooden items can be refinished or painted to match new designs. If it’s an item that just doesn’t go with the house anymore because of shape rather than color, donating to places like women's shelters to help them create new homes after escaping bad situations or giving things for free or reduced prices to college kids starting out can make those big changes a bit easier because it will fill your heart!
We love getting to know you and figuring out what is best for your specific needs. Home should be where you feel most comfortable so we commend everyone out there trying to make that happen for themselves! But if you ever need any help, you know there is an interior designer out there waiting for your call.
Also read benefits of hiring an interior designer here.
With everything happening in the last few years, the request for updated alfresco dining areas has skyrocketed. These spaces are being created to be an extension of the home. Bringing the comfort of indoors to the outdoors. We put together a list of 10 beautiful ways you can add to or refresh your outdoor space.
2. Make It Cozy
Adding heaters to your outdoor area makes it more comfortable for more time during the year. Outdoor dining doesn’t have to stop when fall comes around.
3. Outdoor Entertainment
Adding speakers and or a projector can turn your house into THE hangout spot in any season. Watching a fun movie under a starry sky sounds like perfection.
5. Herb Garden
Limited space? Plant a vertical herb garden to bring some green in the area but also a fun summer project. Add the herbs you grow to your summer barbecues for an upgrade on that too.
6. Fire Features
7. Privacy Screens
Want your backyard to feel a bit more private? Privacy screens are an incredible addition that can help you achieve that. With a ton of incredible options to choose from, turn your outdoor space private AND fabulous.
8. Table Decor
Whether you have a full dining table to set up or a smaller one, dress it up. Put beautiful potted plants, unique statues or art pieces to display in order to add some interest to the area.
9. BBQ Bar
A little rug can go a long way. Use outdoor rugs that are water and stain resistant to protect your porch and gussy up the area.
It is part of our mission to promote and use the most efficient home products as possible. Today we’re going to discuss High Efficiency or HE washers and dryers and the pros and cons to upgrading
Keep in mind, these are general statements about the technology and are not brand specific.
The pros to a HE washer and dryer is that they are better for the environment than typical washer and dryers. They use less water, less energy, and less detergent and the reason is because the drum spins slower than a typical washer. All these things add up to cleaner clothing and less dirty water to process.
There aren't really cons to the argument but there are things that must be noted. Due to the spin being slower, it takes a bit longer to wash and dry. Due to the slower spin, you actually need to purchase a specialized laundry detergent but these pods are better for the environment and use less soap. Beyond that, they typically cost a bit more than a run of the mill washer but the long term investment of helping out the planet while washing clothes we think is worth every penny.
After looking at different sites listed below, our opinion is that they are worth the hype. Personally we use HE washers and dryers and love them!
Uses Less Water
Less energy (by spinning slower)
Less suds = better cleanliness
Same cost per load
Takes longer to dry items
Cannot dry certain things like water proof items
Must use special detergent
Initially more money than traditional washers but better investment in the long term
Home is not just where the heart is but it’s also our sanctuary. With busy lives filled with work, travel and other life events, coming home to a house that feels chaotic adds undue stress. The TD team got together and came up with a few of our favorite ways to make your dwelling feel like a peaceful home.
1. Clear All Surfaces Daily.
If this one sounds near impossible, the following points can help you, but we put this first just to say, when you have all of your different projects or chores out in the open, it is near impossible to relax with them in your face taunting you to do them. The truth about chores is they are never truly done and even if they are, the next day there will be something new to do. So how can we get all of our chores out of our face at home? Let's see the next point!
2. Invest in Organizational Systems.
Small investment = problem solved. What are your home's biggest problem areas? Is it where the mail falls, your (fill in the blank) collection, or pantry? Or is it clothes piles in the bedroom and insufferable bathroom clutter? Be honest with yourself about where the pitfalls of your routine are and get serious about it. It can be as simple as needing more shoe storage and a catchall basket or maybe it means an addition or remodel.
Less is more. It is okay to move on from old decor, books, trinkets. Sometimes releasing the clutter of your life into the world where someone else can actually enjoy it is not only beneficial to you but also the other person! Items bring joy or frustration but not happiness. Ask yourself if the joy outweighs the frustration of too much clutter and see if you are able to let go.
4) Get Help If You Need It
So, did you land on needing to upgrade your kitchen cabinets with more functional storage or perhaps you’ve decided you really need a professional organizer. No one is an expert at everything and we are not perfect. We often use the motto –Progress not perfection and sometimes we just need to call in the pros to help guide us through.
Check out our blog on the benefits of hiring an interior designer here. If you don’t have time to read through the points I’ll share the main one: Hiring a professional sounds expensive but it is always less expensive not only with money but time if you do it right in the first place.
5. Bring the Elements In to Your Home
6. Clear Your Floors
7. Use Softer Lighting
This is one of our favorite tips! Overhead lighting can be so bright and unflattering, especially if you're in an office all day. Be caring to your senses when you come home and opt for a softer and warmer light. Use lamps/ candles or open windows and use natural light to brighten your days. Or you can add dimmers to your overhead lights so you are in control of how bright your room gets.
8. Use Natural Scents
If you are a fan of scented candles, you may know that a lot of candles have toxins in them that are not all that great for you. Make sure the candles you’re purchasing are organic and have natural scents that come from nature. If you’re not a fan of candles you can use an essential oil diffuser which can have air humidifying benefits as well as making your home smell great. Or get creative and try boiling some of your favorite scents on the stove. A pot with an apple and cinnamon sticks boiled on low for a few hours will make your home cozy, while boiling lemons and lavender will make it fresh and feel bright!
These are just a few of our favorite ways to create a more peaceful home. Keep it open, keep it bright, keep it clear, and ask for help if you need it. If you have any more suggestions let us know in the comments below.
Updating the bathrooms in your home can be an expensive endeavor. Sometimes you are put in a position where the budget is not unlimited and you need to make some hard decisions on what to move forward with. The TD team put together a list of the upgrades that will not only improve but add value in the long term!
1. Custom Cabinets
Custom cabinetry is something that is worth the cost because you are having something tailor made to your unique bathroom space. This can result in more storage and better usability all around– not to mention how beautiful they can be!
2. Integrated Outlets
This is one of our favorite upgrades because you can never have too many outlets in your bathroom, especially if your sharing the space. While your custom cabinets are being designed, be sure to discuss places to put integrated outlets within your drawers. HOT TIP: Make sure you tell your electrician about it early on so they can plan accordingly.
3. Exhaust Fan
This upgrade doesn’t sound too fun but boy oh boy can it make a huge difference in the function of your bathroom. If you don’t have an exhaust fan installed, consider putting one in. It will make post-shower time so much nicer as well as keep your bathroom dry and less susceptible to mold and mildew.
4. Large Mirrored Storage Cabinets
I think we are all familiar with the small narrow mirror (“medicine”) cabinets of years past, but even those have been upgraded. Large Mirror Cabinets are not only so beautiful but functional and helpful in hiding little bathroom clutter.
5 .Skylights or Solar Tube
If you are not a fan of having a big window in your bathroom, consider a skylight or Solar Tube. Not only do you get amazing spa like natural light, you remove the stress of having to deal with anyone being able to see you. If you live in warmer climates you can also have motorized shades installed just in case you need to close it up.
Bathrooms should be serene and tailored to your space. These upgrades help with personalization but also add to the resale value. One thing is for sure–Everyone loves a nice bright well organized great bathroom!
Since the first modern landfill was opened in California in 1937, the United States has changed the way we deal with trash and unwanted household items. However, there is a better way. Instead of being part of the problem, you can be part of the solution by going green in your home decluttering efforts. Through small actions, such as using green cleaners and setting up neighborhood swaps, you can make a big difference in your home and community.
Forget Retail: Sale and Swap
Every American creates, on average, 4.5 pounds each of trash every day. Much of this waste is made up of perfectly usable items, such as clothing, furniture, and appliances. When you have a house full stuff you no longer need, consider setting up a neighborhood swap or hosting a yard sale. A neighborhood swap shop, according to PlanetPals.com, is an excellent way to repurpose tools, food, office and school supplies, and sporting goods. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors and proves that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Similarly, hosting a garage sale is an excellent way for you to turn your belongings into cash. Money Crashers’ offers advice on organizing a successful garage sale.
In addition to your overall decluttering efforts, you can keep chemicals and nonbiodegradable plastics to a minimum by utilizing green cleaning techniques. Homemade cleaners, such as these from Good Housekeeping, are non-toxic and utilize common kitchen staples, including vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. A maid service, which costs between $117 and $225 in the San Francisco area, can help you tackle the initial interior cleaning. Discuss with your preferred service provider ahead of time your insistence on natural products.
When You Can’t Reuse, Recycle
There are untold billions of pounds of perfectly recyclable goods clogging up both landfills and the ocean right now. Aside from metal, plastic, and glass, you can recycle paper and cardboard, lightbulbs, batteries, and electronics. Waste Management reports that 29 percent of waste in the US comes from paper products. Invest in a photo scanner for pictures and documents and store these online, which will not only free up space but will reduce your environmental footprint.
If you run a business or have an unusually large collection of electronics, contact your local green disposal company for options. Green Citizen in the Bay Area is one such company that accepts electronic waste and either dismantles and disposes of these items responsibly or refurbishes them for later use. By keeping electronics out of landfills, you not only eliminate mass but also reduce the number of harmful chemicals that leach into the surrounding terrain. Components of our smart devices and computers contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, that can have a long-lasting and far-reaching negative effect on the environment.
It’s not always feasible or desirable to get rid of everything. If you’re moving to a larger home or have a collection of heirlooms you would like to pass down to your children or grandchildren, a self-storage unit can help you keep your living space clean without giving up the things you love. However, make sure your storage unit is environmentally friendly by choosing an insulated facility and packing your possessions in sturdy, biodegradable cardboard containers.
We only have one world. It is up to us to ensure that it remains beautiful throughout our lifetimes and for generations to come. Start at home by reusing and recycling where possible and maintaining your commitment to environmental sustainability when it’s not. Simple actions can make a big difference, and your good choices may create a ripple effect within your community.
Image via Pixabay
As summer approaches the Thomas Designs team has been taking the time to get their homes prepared for fire season. Since 1972, California’s annual burned area has increased more than fivefold. Over the past five decades, these summertime forest fires have increased in size by roughly 800 percent. (MEYER)
As overwhelming as that information feels, we wanted to put together a general checklist of things you can do to protect your home, family, and community during fire season.
- Contact your local planning or zoning office to see if your area is at high risk for wildfires or if you are not sure if these items apply to you.
- Routinely clear dead leaves during the spring and summer from gutters, roofs, and porches.
- Routinely remove dead vegetation within a 10 foot radius of your home.
- Prune trees so the branches are 6-10 feet away from the ground.
- Install exterior mesh on all exterior vents. This can keep embers out of your home.
- Have a grab bag of essentials packed in a closet for each person and pet in the home. - Have a wireless or crank powered radio so you can stay up to date on news.
- Plan on a safe location where you can meet up with your loved ones if people are unable to contact each other.
- Develop an emergency evacuation plan for both your home and neighborhood and put it into practice.
- Reach out to your neighbors to make connections and share contact information.
- Develop an emergency evacuation plan for both your home and neighborhood and put it into practice.
What To Do During an Active Wildfire but Have Not Been Asked To Evacuate
- Keep emergency grab bags packed in the car.
- Move all outside furnishings inside your home or garage as soon as possible including all houseplants and door mats.
- Fill the pool, hot tub, trash cans, tubs, any open vessel with water. Fire Fighters have been known to need to pump water from these places to put out rooftop fires.
-Leave ASAP to a no risk area even before you are advised to evacuate. Once the evacuation orders are released, everyone will be trying to do the same.
We are passionate about educating and advocating for community safety during all times of the year but especially during fire season. These tips are also applicable during other emergencies as well.
So, you’ve decided that your home needs a remodel or some new furniture. And that’s about it. You’re not sure who you’re supposed to call, how much it will cost, how long it will take or which products or colors to pick. You’ve never hired a designer before and are not entirely sure what they do.
We’ve put together the top 5 reasons you should hire an Interior Designer to help you with your home design and renovation projects:
1. You're going to save money
You may ask yourself, how is hiring another person to be involved in this project going to save me money? We ask–Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that looked so good in the store, but was too big once you got it home? Ever selected three or four different tiles trying to find the right color palette? It may seem like like an oxymoron because you’re going to have to pay a designer’s fee, but the truth is that hiring a designer can help you avoid costly mistakes and help you make design decisions that will increase the value of your home. And if you’re on a tight budget, a designer is going to know how to get the best value out of what you can spend.
2. You're going to save time
Save time, save money. That’s always true! Time is something you can’t get back and managing multiple trades providing different services in your home is literally a full time job, takes a lot of organizational skills and more. So hire the people whose job it is to manage it. It will make the process so much easier.
3. You're going to have better resources and contacts
This is one of the biggest money savers– knowing who to hire, the materials to buy, and where to buy them. Interior designers know who the best craftspeople and contractors are because they have worked with them for many years. They know the quality of their work so you don’t have to be worried. They also have a vast knowledge of different materials and what works best for whatever project you need completed.
4. You're going to have a qualified liaison
Interior designers have qualifications, certifications, and the experience to communicate with everyone involved. Speaking the language of contractors, fabricators, manufacturers or installers is vital when you’re trying to get the job done right. Most have the skills to manage the project from inception to completion, from designing to ordering tile, to tracking and then making sure it arrives undamaged and so on.
5. Professional eye for design
Interior designers are trained to think creatively and spatially and learn to see an overall picture in an interior space that clients often cannot. Thinking outside of the box when it comes to home decor and remodeling is what designers do on a regular basis. Not only will you get a good design sense, but you’ll also get an attention to detail from proper lighting and furniture placement to fabric choices/ color palette and material options. A professional interior designer will listen to your needs and turn them into a beautiful reality.
Most interior designers are project managers and designers. They help you pick out things as well as keep things moving forward and on time. Now that you know more about what an interior designer does, would you ever consider hiring one?