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LED recessed cans guide for kitchen ...

posted by: davidtay on 01.30.2012 at 01:27 am in Lighting Forum

A collection of tips/ answers
Since kitchens have higher lighting requirements, I like to use 35 lumen per sq ft as a rule to compute the number of lights. If there are additional sources of light that will be used, the output (lumens not watts) from those sources can be deducted from the total.

Placement/ layout
1. Cans should be > 24 to 30 inches from the wall (on center). Most countertop spaces have upper cabinets (typically ~ 12" deep) + crown molding. The edge of the can may be spaced ~ 12" away from the edge of the crown molding (if present or cabinet if there is no crown molding) making the average distance between 26 to 30 inches.

2. Assuming the need for a fairly uniformly lit space @ 35 lumens per sq ft, the cans may have to be spaced closer together - between 3 - 4 ft apart (if all general lighting is provided by recessed lights). A fairly regular pattern is preferable to a random layout.

3. The actual layout of cans will be impacted by the location of ceiling joists, HVAC ducting, electrical wiring, plumbing, ceiling height, fire suppression sprinklers and other obstructions above the ceiling.

The Cree LR6 series lamps do not dim as well as the later models (CR6, ...). ELV dimmers probably work better with LR6 than incandescent dimmers since the total load of the lights may not meet the minimum load requirement for the incandescent dimmer.

Dimmers such as the Lutron Diva CL dimmers work well. The max output is 95%.

Some Choices (in order of preference) and notes
Cree CR6 or ECO-575 (Home Depot branded CR6)
ECO4-575 (Home Depot branded Cree CR4 4" recessed light)
The above are only available in 2700k light color.

Cree LR6 series - including the LE6.

The Cree CR6 and LR6 lamps will not fit into 5" housings.

The standard LR6 behaves more like a surface mount than a recessed light as the LED emitters are close to the surface and the recess is shallow. Some may not like the amount of light spillage (standard LR6).

There is a higher output version of the LR6 that has a much deeper recess.

To prevent the Cree lamps from falling out, the 3 prongs have to be fully extended and a slight clockwise twist made when push installing. The slight clockwise twist will ensure that the prongs are fully extended.

The Cree lamps are currently the best available today (2012).

Sylvania RT-6, RT-4. The lights could be easier to install than Cree lamps as they utilize the torsion spring mechanism. However, the lights do not look as pleasant as the Cree lamps.

The Cree and Sylvania lamps do outperform 26W CFLs (and incandescents) in a standard recessed can in terms of light spread and output as the standard bulb in a can solution traps a significant amount of light. The Cree and Sylvania recessed lamp solutions referenced above have all the LED elements facing outwards so that the effective light output is higher.

The CRI (Color Rendition Index) of Cree and Sylvania recessed lamps > 80.

There is no warm up time required for Cree recessed lamps, unlike CFL light bulbs.

Most recessed lighting is used with flat ceilings. Sloped ceilings would require special solutions such as the LE6 or some other form of lighting (i.e. -non recessed lighting).

Some common objections to recessed can lights stem from
1. looks and performance of traditional can lights (standard bulb in a can)
2. swiss cheese effect from too many holes.


clipped on: 06.24.2012 at 09:21 pm    last updated on: 06.24.2012 at 09:21 pm

RE: Small things that get forgotten (Follow-Up #59)

posted by: Laura12 on 06.03.2012 at 01:19 pm in Building a Home Forum

All the suggestions posted on this thread have been so valuable, though I'm sure many of you (like myself) find your head spinning with all the ideas, so I just sat down and categorized them all!

Closet & Organization
- Plugs in several closets
- Make sure your closet has enough space for both double hung rods, and singles to accomadate long clothes
- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.
- More closet/linen space than you think you'll need
- Cubbies in mudroom with an outlet in each one
- Motion sensor on pantry and closet lights

- Plug in master toilet closet for night light
- Outlets inside vanity cabinets (upper and lower) in bathroom for dryer etc.
- Heated towels racks
- Don't caulk the bottom of your toilet to the tile to hide potential leaks
- Make use of the pony wall in a bathroom by turning it into storage.
- Vac pans for hair
- Appliance garage on counter

- Run conduit under the driveway for future wiring or plumbing needs
- Prewire speakers both indoor and outdoor
- Ensure you have hose outlets and power on all 4 sides of your house, and on top of any raised areas
- Hot/cold outdoor water is good for washing pets
- Motion sensor pre-wire for selected exterior lights
- Keypad entry on garage door (Keypad entry on front door is great as well)
- Gas line to grill

- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there
- Recess the fridge
- With wide islands put cabinets on the both sides. While they are not easy to get to, they are good for storing seldomly used items.
- Built in paper towel holder
- Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers
- Warming drawer in dining room
- Pantry entrance near both kitchen and garage
- Custom shelves and a place to plug in appliances in pantry
- Plugs above cabinets for Christmas lighting
- Set up for both gas and electric appliances
- Pantry door on swivel
- Pantry light on motion sensor
- Copper tubing for your ice maker from the freezer and until it's out of the kitchen wall
- Drawer microwave
- Knife drawer
- Pull-out garbage/recycling/laundry (for dirty dish towels/napkins/bibs!)
- Paper towel holder in drawer slot
- Drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space)
- Two soap pumps at sink (one for handsoap, one for dish soap)
- Easy-access place to store frequently used appliances
- place to hang hand towels & aprons

Electrical & Plumbing
- Prewire security system & cameras
- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar
- Run a 2" PVC pipe up from the basement to the attic for future wiring needs, some suggested double conduits.
- Seperate 20z circut with outlets at waist height in garage to plug in tools
- Seperate 20z ciructe for TV and a/v equipment
- Identify areas for low voltage can/rack
- Pre-wring for music and speakers, inside and outside
- iPad controllers in the walls to control whole house music systems
- Pre-wire for generator to essential areas
- Carbon monozide unit on the wall upstairs
- Make sure plumbing in bathrooms are done correctly. One commenter's toilet was placed too close to the tub pipes so I couldn't get the deeper tub because they didn't allow room.
- Cast iron pipes for the plumbing drops from the second floor cuts down on noise
- Take pictures of all the walls before Sheetrock went up so you knew where all the wiring was in case you needed to add or change anything.
- Include a 220V to garage (tools, future electric car etc)
- Measure the location of anything under the slab, and various utilities out in the yard.
- Run an electrical line with a few floor outlets, especially since we have very open floor plan and couch sets are not against a wall
- Plumbed for a built-in drinking fountain,

- Light switch to the attic in the hallway (and remember lights in attic in general)
- Solar tubes in areas that don�t get natural sunlight
- In cabinet lights and outside lights on timers
- Make sure you check the cost ratings of ceiling fans
- Check all remotes for ceiling fans prior to construction completion
- 3 way switches where helpful
- Master switch from master that controls all exterior lights
- A master switch at each exit (Front, back or garage), that turns off all of the power to the switches/lights in the house, so that you can turn off all lights without going to each room and/or light switch.

- 4 plug outlets near the bed in the master
- A light switch at the head of your bed so you can turn out the light once you are in bed.

- Plugs under eaves for holiday lights, with a switch inside to turn on and off.
- Enough storage for Christmas decorations
- Seasonal closet with hangers for wreaths, and space for rubbermaid storage boxes.
- Plugs for Christmas lights: over cabinets, in stairway, in porch ceiling, under eaves

Heating, Cooling, and Vacuums
- Central Vac with vac pans, if you have hardwood floors - get a Hideahose
- Plan where furnace vents will go instead of letting the builder decide
- Hepa filtration for allegergy sufferers
- WarmFloors heating

- Read Myron Ferguson has a book out, "Better Houses, Better Living"
- Receptacles for fire extinguishers. Maybe plan some cutouts so they are flush to the wall.
- Where possible pocket doors
- Secondary dryer lint trap
- Soundproofing where needed
- Stairs from garage to basement
- A phone by the door leading into the garage for those pesky calls when you are getting in or out of the car
- An inside button to open and close your garage door for when guests arrive and its raining.
- Additional support during framing on the top side of windows for curtains
- Power outage flashlights and keep in outlets around around house. Recess these into the space with each fire extinguisher.
- Mailbox sensor to alert you whenever your mailbox is opened so that you're not running out of the house checking for mail when it's not there.
- Ensure builders don't "box" off spaces, where storage or shelving could go
- Make copies of manuals prior to installation and give the builder the copies so you can keep the originals.
- Minimal walls, and lots of windows.
- A laundry room. Not just a hall, or closet, a room.
- Spindles and hand rail made that can be removed for moving furniture
- Handicapped accessible.
- Plan an elevator shaft in case you want to install one later, in the meantime it will serve as storage closets.

- Plan a specific place for your dog food,
- Place for the kitty box,
- Place for dogs to be bathed
- place for dog crates
- Exhaust fan in laundry room for litterbox

Regional considerations:
- an ante-room, with coatracks and shoe storage, and a way to keep the heat in.
- An entrance to the basement from outside for salt delivery, repair men etc so they don't track thru your house.
- storm shelter to weather the threats your area faces.
- a mosquito system and
- little covered niche for bear spray at/near each entry.
- Drain in the garage to get rid of the excess water quicker from vehicles after it snows
- Pest line (brand name Taexx) a small tube is run around the perimeter of the home through the framing, and then pest control can spray within it.


clipped on: 06.08.2012 at 10:47 pm    last updated on: 06.08.2012 at 10:47 pm

Floors are stained...

posted by: cbusmomof3 on 05.11.2012 at 10:35 am in Building a Home Forum

Well, I went over to the house to get a peek and they were applying the first coat of satin finish. I LOVE them, especially with the morning sun hitting them! Another big sigh of relief!! Can't wait for this whole thing to be over.

Here's some pictures...1 part jacobean and 1 part midnight mahogany.






4" white oak with one part jacobean and one part midnight mahogany
clipped on: 05.12.2012 at 09:41 am    last updated on: 05.12.2012 at 09:41 am

RE: Organic, healthy, cleaners safe for marble & granite? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: cat_mom on 05.05.2012 at 11:37 am in Kitchens Forum

Alcohol-water in a spray bottle (with or without some essential lavender oil or other essential oil). I mix anywhere from 30-50% alc to water, and enough drops of lavender oil 'til it "smells right" (I go by scent and evaporation "properties" while mixing up or topping off the spray bottle, and adjust quantities as desired).

I use it on my granite, on my SS appliances, and I'll evens spritz it on the White Thassos marble and the travertine in the bathrooms for a quick cleaning. Works great; doesn't leave a haze or film, and disinfects as well.

I love it for my counters, no question about it, but it literally changed my life as far as cleaning SS appliances go, BTW. Smartest change I've ever made with regards to cleaning! :-)


clipped on: 05.06.2012 at 10:15 pm    last updated on: 05.06.2012 at 10:15 pm

RE: Teak vs Tile, Freestanding or Fixed shower bench (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: treasuretheday on 04.16.2012 at 07:37 pm in Bathrooms Forum

As to the best location of the bench, I personally prefer to have the bench perpendicular to the showerhead(s) so the water isn't spraying directly at me (or over my head) when I am sitting down. If you are doing a handheld sprayer, be sure that it's located within a comfortable reach of the bench. We have two showerheads plus a rainhead and did a modified corner seat.


If you do go with a built in bench, I suggest a solid surface top because if it's in the spray zone at all it will get a lot of water on it, even if it's pitched toward the drain.


tile work
clipped on: 04.20.2012 at 08:15 pm    last updated on: 04.20.2012 at 08:15 pm

RE: Ceiling color (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: nini804 on 04.05.2012 at 11:29 am in Building a Home Forum

My ID recommended a 1/2 tint of the wall color, rather than white, to showcase the trimwork. Our wall colors are fairly light to begin with, so the ceilings are light as well...they just provide a tiny bit of contrast with the trim.


clipped on: 04.08.2012 at 04:49 pm    last updated on: 04.08.2012 at 04:49 pm

RE: Exterior Shutters (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: buckheadhillbilly on 01.21.2010 at 02:07 pm in Building a Home Forum

Thanks for posting this, Bob. We are doing shutters, also, so I'll look forward to the responses.

The only shutter wisdom that I can pass on is that for goood design the shutters should be of the correct size to cover the windows if you actually closed them. If you have a window that couldn't be covered (e.g. a triple), then you don't put shutters on it. Others may disagree with this, but since I learned this, I figured out why so many houses with shutters look "off."


clipped on: 09.24.2011 at 03:49 pm    last updated on: 09.24.2011 at 03:50 pm

Our finished DIY kitchen (well over a year later!)

posted by: needsometips08 on 09.21.2011 at 06:01 pm in Kitchens Forum

I don't know if anyone remembers me, it's been a long time! Our kitchen has been finished for I think upwards of 2 years now maybe.

I didn't post because well, honestly my kitchen doesn't have the glamour and prestige that most of the kitchens here have, but I am really enjoying it, loving it, and am so glad we did it. What I love:

1. Function, function, function (thanks so much to Gardenwebbers here, especially Rhome410). It's such a joy to work in. I LOVE the layout.
2. It fits the area we live in (the PNW), and it fits our house and our neighborhood, both of which have a traditional feel.
3. I like all the wood, which goes along with the PNW feel.
4. I like that we did it all ourselves.

The only disappointment is the hutch. The cabinet makers used a primitive rendition of the plans I'd drawn up and they had already ate the cost of it twice before and I was just tired of it and ready to move on.

It's not totally done. Small touches need to be finished: chandelier, rugs, window treatment.

We did everything ourselves except the cabinet fabrication and install and the granite. Everything else - and I am talking EVERYTHING, inside and out - if you see it or don't see it, we did it! Thanks to my wonderful family who donated many hours and my grandpa who donated his lifetime of expertise in all things construction!

Old kitchen:


New kitchen (ignore that white dot, it's the camera, not the kitchen):

My only disappointment (should not have been ceiling height):

Repurposed the old kitchen cabinets:

From open, wire, messy unattractive shelving, to:


love the prep sink in the island.

The cabinets and floor are both birch and I am happy with it. Birch is a soft wood and it's definately beaten up - there are dents everywhere, but the beauty of it is that you really can't see it. It looks great. Only we know where the dents are.

Cabinets = Birch by custom cabinet maker with custom finish. The painted pieces are glazed.
Granite = Golden Beaches
Floor = Birch hardwood
Main sink = Ticor with a Moen faucet
Prep sink = Delta faucet with a sink that I cannot remember the name of. It's the cheap, but recommended one from here. The name is something like 3 letters. And it's just as fabulous as the Ticor.

clipped on: 09.21.2011 at 10:08 pm    last updated on: 09.21.2011 at 10:08 pm

Natural stone primer/ granite 101 by stonegirl

posted by: mary_in_nc on 11.04.2007 at 09:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

Found this through google search- apparently this was a previous thread in KF by Stonegirl. Felt it worth repeating.

Hi folks -

This is a little article I wrote on another forum and in reply to a few questions regarding the selection of natural stone and stone fabricators.

In an industry that has no set standards, there are a lot of unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued or brushed should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab, looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab. Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.

Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This got done at the plant where the slabs were finished and is to add support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.

On cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e. there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure. A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole nother can of worms.

On resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer. Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed does not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but gets resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Now for some pointers on recognizing good craftsmanship and quality fabricators:

Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality and their placement and still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!

A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:

- It should be flat. According to the MIA a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.

- It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)

- The color on either side of the seam should match as close as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.

- Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.

- The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.

- The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)

- The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as close as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try an make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

Seam placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

Among the things the fabricator needs to look at when deciding on the seam placement are:

- The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)

- Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available

- Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will impact seam placement here alone.

- Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some don't. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.

- Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -

- Installability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again a 1001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

With modern glues and seaming methods a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam was done well, there would be - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs, and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece.

Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent, would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e. eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.

Like I said earlier - edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.

A good edge should have the following characteristics:

- Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull or waxy.

- The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.

- The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.

- A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.

- A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanised fabrication (i.e. CNC macines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

We have seen some terrible edges in jobs done by our competitors.

Do your research and look at actual kitchens. Talk to clients and ask them about the fabricator. Most good fabricators will not hesitate to supply the names and numbers of clients willing to provide referrals. Do your homework.



clipped on: 07.17.2011 at 05:26 pm    last updated on: 07.17.2011 at 05:26 pm

led ucl diy

posted by: jem199 on 06.17.2010 at 12:19 am in Lighting Forum

Instructions for LED DIY
1. Measure the inside bottoms of the front width of your cabinets, between the sides (called fences). This assumes that the upper cabinets are completely flat bottomed.
2. Create a box diagram of your pper cabinet layout on paper and include the measurements.
3. Decide how many lighting zones (circuits) youd like (groupings with their own switch or dimmer). Decide if you want dimming in each zone. You will need a transformer and a switch for each zone. Purchase dimmable transformers and switches for the zones that require dimming.
4. If you have lighting levels in your current kitchen you like, determine the lumens (light output) of those lights to be sure you are adding similar brightness. I used the following
Incandescent are typically 14 lumens per watt.
Fluorescents are typically 60 lumens per watt.
The lighting should be determined by a desired lumens per linear ft basis. The type of lighting (xenon, halogen, fluorescent, led, EL) possible could be dictated by conformance to local laws (eg - title24) FWIW, has a claimed output of 83 lumens per watt. Environmental lights has their lumens here:
5. Determine the lengths of lights for each cabinet. You want at least one light every 30". Many have suggested getting the widest you can for each cabinet and then putting them on a dimmer to give you the most flexibility for task and ambient lighting. You can stack two or more lightbars parallel and connect them with jumpers for more lumens over a high-task area, such as a sink.
6. For each zone, add up the volts for the lights in the zone so you can select the appropriate transformer. Add 15% to your total. Here are the conversions I used (This is specific to the environmentallights type light bar)
15 cm = 5.9" = 1.65w
30 cm = 11.8" = 3.3w
60 cm = 23.6" = 6.6w
90 cm = 35.4" = 9.9w
7. Decide where you will place your transformer(s). Transformers should be placed in a wall, but in a cabinet, basement or attic where there is circulation and you can access it, if needed. You need one transformer for each lighting zone. By code, the transformer(s) have to be in an accessible location. One transformer per lighting zone is required if independent control of each zone is required. If multiple transformers are required, you need to ensure that there is adequate electrical branch wiring to the locations where each transformer is located. The necessary switch controls need to be planned for.
8. Add your lights to your box diagram. This will help you determine the accessories needed and where to place the wires. The lights in each zone must connect to each other and each cable must reach the transformer. For new installs, you can pull the wires back through the wallboard. For existing installs, bring the cables over the tops of the cabinets. You need at least 2 mounting clips per light. You may also need seamless connectors and/or right angle cords for tight spaces between the lights and fence where the cord needs to travel to the back of the cabinet. Interconnected zones should be wired in parallel not series so that a problem in one light bar/ zone would not cause all the lights to go out.

Parts List
1. In wall wiring - Ideal brand low voltage wiring (from HD or Lowes).
2. Ideal Plug disconnects (from HD or Lowes).
3. Lights - depends on how much light you want, total length of cabinets.
4. Transformer(s) - depends on cummulative consumption + 15% margin.
5. Inter-connect wiring.
6. Lightbars from Email for pricing sheet.
7. Transformer from
8. Leviton 6613 magnetic dimmers 1 for each circuit/zone. Check with transformer supplier if youd like to use a different one. Incompatible dimmer switches can void your transformer warranty. This particular dimmer reco assumes that low voltage (12V or 24V) LED lighting will be installed and contains many details specific to environmentallights type lightbars. Magnetic dimmers from various vendors could be used, but require some testing first. If you use a different transformer, check with the manufacutuer if there are known problems with certain dimmers. You can Hook up the system prior to installation for a test run if possible - switch(es).Things to look out for
1. There is no buzzing/ humming sound from the transformer when everything is hooked up and powered on.
2. All lights are equally bright, especially at the ends.
3. No flickering
4. No problems when dimming.

Tips specifics to this type of environmental lights type lightbar:
1. Its a waste to buy the long length 3 prong interconnects. Just cut the interconnect wires and attach to a disconnect.
2. Two adjacent prongs are actually connected to the same DC line. The third is connected to the other DC line.
3. The right angle interconnects are probably more useful for connecting bars set at an angle to each other.
4. You could use flat wire under the cabinets as it comes with double side sticky tape. Some DIY work would be necessary with a soldering iron + heat shrink tubing.
The flat wire is useful in situations where you do not like to see standard low voltage wiring.
5. The plug disconnects would be used to connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the lighting power cords which connect the lights. It would also connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the transformer. This way, if you ever decide to change out all the lighting bars to another make, it would be a simple matter of disconnecting from the plug disconnects and perhaps the transformer.

Thanks to davidtay for this information! Be sure to watch both parts of the DIY video below. Its shows how to wire these to household current.

Here is a link that might be useful: UCL Install Video


clipped on: 06.22.2011 at 08:14 pm    last updated on: 06.22.2011 at 08:14 pm

RE: Design Faux Pas to watch for (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: sis3 on 06.07.2011 at 01:44 pm in Building a Home Forum

Too few architects actually consider where air conditioning duct work will have to run. While the a/c contractor is the expert in designing the system, homeowners often have a nasty shock after the house is built when they realize that there is absolutely NO alternative to a chase in their beautiful great room or that a closet intended for other purposes HAS to house the air handler. I would involve the a/c contractor at the planning stage so that he/she can make sure there is provision for those ducts and equipment and that good air flow will be available for maximum comfort.


Note to self - AC design
clipped on: 06.09.2011 at 11:22 pm    last updated on: 06.09.2011 at 11:22 pm

RE: Granite - How to be a smart buyer? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: MCMesprit on 05.30.2011 at 01:24 pm in Kitchens Forum

We also worked with a fabricator. Here's a few things we discussed prior to installation:

1) Sink reveal. We wanted a 1/4 positive reveal (didn't want to clean under the granite or risk breaking dishes -- or chip the granite -- when hand washing). The fabricator had never done a positive reveal before, but he did a great job.

2) Does "templating" include picking out exactly which parts of the slab(s) are used for each counter? We did this with our fabricator and it meant a lot. We were able, for example, to get exactly what we wanted on the Island ledges.

3) Where the seams will go. We discussed this in detail, not only where on the counters but which two pieces of granite would be seamed (to minimize differences in color or movement)

4) If, how, and when to seal the granite. Some granites (usually the blacker ones) don't need any sealing. Ours (light golden in tone) did. The fabricator sealed the granite right after installation. He also recommended a great product that we use to clean the granite about once a week. Our fabricator told us it contains a small amount of sealer and if we use it at least once of month we would never need to seal the granite again. We've been using it for the past few months and it works great.

Hope this helps.


clipped on: 05.30.2011 at 08:36 pm    last updated on: 05.30.2011 at 08:36 pm

RE: Mixing metal finishes-will this work in my space? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lukkiirish on 04.02.2011 at 07:55 am in Home Decorating Forum

I think when it comes to finishes mixing them can work really well and it's more about personal choice than anything. We mixed finishes in our master bath remodel by using brushed nickel, chrome and worn nickel. Also in our downstairs where the finishes are predominately brushed nickel we plan on pulling in some other finishes as well. My personal preference, again not right or wrong, is to stay in the same metal family so we've used all silvers of some sort.

Can you post pictures of the spaces your working with? That would help you get more responses. Also if you post links or photos of the fixtures your considering it helps us to understand your vision better.


clipped on: 05.25.2011 at 10:12 pm    last updated on: 05.25.2011 at 10:12 pm

RE: Windows - who did you go with? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mydreamhome on 04.05.2011 at 11:26 pm in Building a Home Forum

Researched windows for months--until I had made myself crazy. Started out Pella(alum clad), then Jeld-Wen (alum clad), investigated M&W (vinyl & alum clad), Sun (alum clad), Andersen (alum clad), & Windsor (alum clad). Ended up convinced Marvin or Marvin Integrity are the way to go. Here's what I found:

-Pella's aluminum clad windows are roll form aluminum which can dent easily & some question on the durability of the finish. Roll form is applied directly to the wood frame of the window--the wood is basically wrapped in the aluminum cladding. Should water infiltrate the frame of the unit, the design leaves no space for water to escape or drain away from the wood which is why Pella promotes how their wood is specially treated. Plenty of good reviews, plenty of bad reviews. Price was sky high.

-Jeld-Wen Traditions are roll form aluminum so denting is an issue. SiteLine EX series are extruded aluminum clad wood which takes care of the denting, but the cladding is applied using same technique as roll form so no channel for water to escape should water infiltrate. JW also promotes how their wood is specially treated for just this reason. Plenty of good reviews, plenty of bad reviews.

-M&W just not that impressed, recently merged with Ply-Gem so not reassured on how business will progress in future as far as quality & warranty. Vinyl clad line has wood frame wrapped in vinyl with no space between so potential water issue and no mention of wood being treated to help protect against rot. Did like the look of their aluminum clad line though. Plenty of good reviews, plenty of bad reviews.

-Sun-Couldn't find enough reviews and information, but liked the look.

-Andersen-Seemed like practically everyone we talked to prior to researching the windows said stay away from Andersen. When asked why, the response was virtually identical each time--product not durable. Andersen stands behind their warranty but do you really want to have to be dealing with Andersen for the next 20 years on fixing warranty issues. We did price the Andersen 400s and the price was sky high. No personal experience with the product, but their windows sure did look nice. Plenty of good reviews, plenty of bad reviews.

-Windsor-liked them, but not enough distributors in our area and the one we were dealing with seemed to always leave significant quantities of windows or the more expensive windows (arches, etc) off our quote. We're guessing they did this to make the bottom line look more attractive. So no faith in the supplier.

-Marvin-beautiful windows. Ultimates are extruded aluminum clad with the space left between the wood and the cladding for water to escape. Reviews were primarily positive with only a few negatives (and they tended to be on older windows). Customer service and warranty reviews were excellent as well. Ultimately, the Ultimates are out of our price range. However, the Marvin Integrity windows did fall in our price range & they are also very nice windows in my opinion. They are a fiberglass window 8 times stronger than vinyl with no fading or chalking of the finish. They are available as wood clad with channels for water to escape or as an all fiberglass unit. Good U-Values & SHGC Values. Plus you have Marvin backing up the warranty should anything happen. So that's where we're at--Marvin Integrity is the window for us.

Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marvin Integrity Site


clipped on: 05.01.2011 at 04:59 pm    last updated on: 05.01.2011 at 04:59 pm

RE: Please Help with Mudroom Plan (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: SummerfieldDesigns on 12.18.2010 at 07:58 pm in Building a Home Forum

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


four sections not five, but this exact layout
clipped on: 04.29.2011 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2011 at 10:08 pm

RE: Drawers over pull outs in Cabinets (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: lisaslists2000 on 03.02.2010 at 06:03 am in Kitchens Forum

I love my drawers. I don't stack things in them, except same things. For example off not stacking see below - I keep all my bowls - little custard ones we use for icecream, cereal, small serving, etc. in a drawer which I don't have time to take a pic of right now. Love the drawers.

behind the door baking

behind the door cooking


clipped on: 04.13.2011 at 11:00 pm    last updated on: 04.13.2011 at 11:00 pm

RE: Drawers over pull outs in Cabinets (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: desertsteph on 03.02.2010 at 12:55 am in Kitchens Forum

with either you'll be pulling something out... with drawers you skip the opening and closing of 2 doors. i'm having all drawers except the sink cab.

some drawer options (all gw drawers I think):

my favorite

another option -


option for lid storage on the shallow pullout part. or shallow glass baking dishes. or skillets. or some combo of them.


option to put dividers in front to back for lid storage -
or in a deeper drawer for skillet slots.


option to put a divider in across the width of a drawer for lid storage -



clipped on: 04.13.2011 at 10:58 pm    last updated on: 04.13.2011 at 10:58 pm

New kitchen photos, custom cherry cabs

posted by: bjwright1 on 04.05.2011 at 10:44 am in Kitchens Forum

Here is a picture of my new kitchen with the details below.

We took down the wall to our dining room, bought a new table that extends as large as our old dining room table so we can use it for holidays but now we use it for everyday dinners, and replaced our kitchen table with an island with 4 barstools that gets used every day for breakfast, lunch, homework, hanging out, etc.

Custom, inset cherry cabinets with a cinnamon stain and coffee glaze, full extension glides with soft close drawers and hinges (Blume) - local cabinet maker Mike Santa

Knobs and drawer pulls by Top knobs

Seeded glass door inserts from Emerald Glass in Pittsburgh

Granite - St. Cecelia from Blum’s

Floor - Distressed Maple in Butterscotch color from Ark

Backsplash - 4x4 durango limestone with driftwood grout, ½” pencil molding and basket weave pattern above range top.

Under cabinet outlet strips (maybe it’s plugmould) and xenon lights - to allow for an uninterrupted backsplash

Appliances -
Wolf 36”gas range top
Independent brand range hood
Sharp microwave drawer
Miele Dishwasher
Kitchen Aid standard depth refrigerator KFIS27 (recessed to look cabinet depth)
Kitchen Aid double convection oven
Kitchen Aid garbage disposal and air switch
Franke Sink
Delta touch faucet

Custom made, distressed, wood-topped island - made by local cabinet maker, Jim Haugh, Haugh Woodworking

Tigerwood island top from Grothouse Lumber

Niche with computer monitor/tv screen, pull-out keyboard tray with wireless keyboard & mouse, drawer for laptop and charging station

Window seat with cushion

Table, chairs and hutch - Canadel

Barstools - sawhorse style, much larger seat area than saddle seat, only came in brown stain, repainted by Jim Haugh who made the island

Chandelier - Restoration Hardware

Light switches - maestro

Glass pocket doors to separate living room from kitchen

Appliance garage with doors that recess

Window treatment - would like to put something up on the double window by the table

Area rug - from Target

Favorite things about the kitchen - computer screen recessed into wall to save space on 18” deep counter, love to use the pullout drawer with wireless keyboard & mouse for the computer - it uses the laptop as a tower (laptop can be unplugged and taken elsewhere,) I always pull up a comfy stool from the island, computer screen also can toggle to a tv screen to show what’s on the tv in the adjoining family room, love my vertical storage slots built in above my double ovens, love how my silverware tray from the dishwasher and silverware drawer pull out to within 3 inches of each other - I easily can transfer the silverware from dw to drawer, love to cook on my gas range top (used to have smooth-top electric), love our standard depth refrigerator that looks like a cabinet depth due to recessing it just a few inches into the wall and building out adjoining cabinets to give the look of a cabinet depth, love my drawer storage for pots and pans under my range top (instead of getting a range with a large oven below,) love having the drawer micro in the island instead of in the wall across the room where my double oven is located, I love the natural light from the windows.

Here is a link that might be useful: Additional kitchen photos


clipped on: 04.07.2011 at 10:45 pm    last updated on: 04.07.2011 at 10:47 pm

RE: Kraftmaid verses Omega Dynasty pricing (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: lzerarc on 01.01.2011 at 01:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

adding to lower cost cabs always ends up costing as much or more then "nicer" cabinets that are higher priced but include everything to begin with. I would suggest going with the Omega. I have been to the Omega plant several times here in Iowa, as well as seen many showrooms filled with all brands from Omega, KM, birtch, etc. Omega, even the Dynasty, is definately a high end, very nice cabinet. Pricey, but a great, long lasting cabinet with a great warranty and service to back it up.


clipped on: 01.01.2011 at 02:00 pm    last updated on: 01.01.2011 at 02:01 pm

RE: High end price per square foot?? (Follow-Up #60)

posted by: katrinavhh on 12.02.2009 at 08:17 pm in Building a Home Forum

Okay, I could never figure out how to post photos to the site here (I am not savvy) but I think I can embed a link to my account where I have a few stored.

Also- a caveat - I *just* noticed that the original post indicated "high end" which is not our house, so my cost figures are really not comparable. I don't know how I missed that when I first read the posting, sorry all; I hope this reply is still relevant.

The house is 6290 sq ft (porches add another 2410) and the finished space above the garage is 1175. You will see the garage to the left of the house. (You drive around the back of the garage.) Ceilings are 10' on basement and main floor, 9' on second floor. (Garage apt is 10'.)

I thought of a few items I did spend more money on that I was not prepared wood-mould brick (Old Virginia Brick) on the walk-out basement level (not visible in these photos) and the masonry fireplace. My DH wanted three true masonry-built fireplaces (only God knows why they had to be "true," the boxes with masonry surrounds and chimney look great to me), and the labor cost of doing that really blew my mind.

I also thought of a few other "saves" ... Anyone on a tight budget like mine might find these useful, but they are more time-consuming so if I were building a dream house on a dream budget I might pass!

I bought my marble direct from a Ga quarry, because I had my heart set on "Georgia White" which is similar in color to Carrara but is harder and less porous (so better in a kitchen application, though still not perfect) and is from Georgia (Tate). It has been a bit of a PITA because it is no longer quarried, so the only slabs were the ones still in the yard, and the quarry is not really set up for individuals walking in and buying half a dozen slabs. (They are more of an institutional source.) But, I got a beautiful material at $22/sq ft which was far less than similar marbles quoted from fabricators.

For windows, I really wanted true divided lights, and I love casements. But, I restricted myself to casements in the places where I could see really using them (kitchen and master bath) and I put double-hungs everywhere else because they saved $$. Also, I have not accounted for window treatments/drapery in my budget.

I have saved a ton on appliances by shopping at discount stores over a long period of time and so far, I have not made a compromise in what I wanted. For example, higher-end panel-ready units often sit at discount stores because people who shop scratch & dent discount stores are usually not buying custom cabinet panels. So the stainless dishwashers sell quickly but the panel-ready ones sit there and get marked down. I bought my new DW - Kitchen Aid, stainless-tub, panel-ready, hidden controls, etc. for $199. I got a built-in Jenn-Air panel-ready fridge for $1300. I did compromise on my cooktop - I wanted the Viking 36" induction because it has true knobs not touch controls, but I saved $2200 by buying a discontinued Siemens 36" all-induction at 50% off. The icemaker was discount because it had a nick on one side of the door that is hardly noticeable (and won't hold a candle to the havoc my toddler will bestow anyway). I won't buy the ovens discount because I really want the white Viking ovens, one convection and one steam. (A girl can have one perfect appliance, right?)

And, the tile I used in the shower surrounds and kids' & guest bath floors is super-basic white ceramic (3"x6" and penny rounds). For mudroom and utlity rooms, instead of Peacock Pavers (Athensmom, they look great, get samples, they are gorgeous) at $6/sq ft I used gray pavers at $2.25/sq ft for mudroom floors. Savings on the tile all around.

At the outlets (up 400 near Dahlonega), I found amazing deals on hardwired light fixtures. I bought 7 solid brass sconces for the stairwell for $7/ea, which was probably my greatest find. So, I saved enough that I could then go a little overboard with Circa Lighting in the areas that meant the most to me.

Sorry for the very long post! I hope this info is helpful to those of you with budget constraints. Like I said, someday perhaps I will not spend the kind of time that shopping discount requires, but then again, it has been really fun!

I will try to remember to post updated photos. I hope in 6 weeks we are complete, and then I can share the final finishes and interiors. At this point, if we stay on track in these last 6 weeks, the per sq ft construction cost is just under $72, so not in the high end category for sure. I will keep ya'll posted if there is interest.

Here is a link that might be useful: New house photos (mid-October)


clipped on: 12.26.2010 at 01:42 pm    last updated on: 12.26.2010 at 01:42 pm

RE: designing electrical in house (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: sniffdog on 12.20.2010 at 01:17 pm in Building a Home Forum

here are some ideas and example uses that worked for me:

all closets - clothing and utlity (e.g. charging portable vacumn, paper shredder)

utility room cabinets (wireless phone docking station)

below all windows on front of house, first & second floors (for plug in candles)

close to fireplace mantles (xmas lights)

dedicated circuit with switched outlet for indoor xmas tree location

outdoor outlets: top outlet dedicated switched 20A circuit (outdoor Xmas lights), bottom outlet always on with seperate 20 Amp circuit (power tools)

built in cabinets or locations where where TVs, computers, or printers will be placed

dedicated circuit with outlet for garage refrigerator
attic (for extension lights)

dedicated 20 amp circuit with switched outlet in garage for future low voltage ooutdoor lighting

at front gate 600 feet from house (power tools to install gate, future night light)

near each HVAC indoor unit (humidifiers)

inside master bathroom cabinets: 1 his, 1 hers (electric tooth brush charger)

dedicated circuit in cabinet for below butler pantry sink (on demand hot water generator)

locations where a table lamp woud be placed

All of these were in addition to the minimum code requirements.


clipped on: 12.23.2010 at 09:33 pm    last updated on: 12.23.2010 at 09:33 pm

RE: buying 'stuff' online and not from builder/his suppliers (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: bostonpam on 11.30.2010 at 07:43 pm in Kitchens Forum

My contractor wanted us to get our own products . He told me it would probably be cheaper on line than the prices he can get locally and then there won't be a mark up by him since I would be procuring the item. He also didn't have the bandwidth for that work.

It saved us tens of thousands of dollars but it was a lot more work on my side. I also had to educate myself on shower valves, flanges (still screwed it up), etc. My contractor wanted items at the house before he began that portion of construction. He did not want to be waiting for anything. You have to stay on top of things and order items ahead of time. Inspect them when they arrive. I had 2 broken light shades but we didn't install for over 4 months and I didn't see the hairline crack so it was too late to send back.

Other bids I received had a budget for each items (i.e. $10,000 for lighting, $3,000 for tile). You could ask him that you want to supply your own material (and be responsible if it's not complete or up to standards) and to remove those costs and mark ups from the bid. I was missing a part from a grohe fixture (my plumber found this out during install) and grohe overnight it to me. My sink flange didn't fit my vessel sink so I was running around to numerous plumbing distributors to find one. Also running around to find another sink flange. I haven't picked out all my lighting fixtures so I have HD $2.99 bare light bulb fixture until I find the "right one."

Your contractor's suppliers will probably not have everything you want (tell him that) Also tell him you want to order from "your trusted suppliers". You can get many recommendations from others here. From gardenweb I wanted items my plumber, contractor and electrician have never seen before - each with over 20 years in business. This project was a learning experience for all.

If you trust him (and have the money) I don't see why not use his suppliers. You will pay for this service though through his mark ups. From your name (fiveunderfive) you may not have the bandwidth to do all procuring. I did a major home renovation and it was a LOT of work!


clipped on: 11.30.2010 at 08:10 pm    last updated on: 11.30.2010 at 08:10 pm

RE: do you like pre finished hardwoods? (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: hoosiergirl on 11.02.2010 at 04:55 pm in Home Decorating Forum

We have pre-finished because it was much less expensive and took a lot less time than site-finished (and time is money when building). I do prefer the look of most site-finished, but this finish is *very* tough and I don't think site-finished could match that aspect (which is important to me with my rough kids and dog). I'm very happy with it and not at all wishing I'd gone with site-finished. I think it depends on your priorities.

Our floor is by Armstrong, and they do have a pre-finished floor without bevels. We have micro-bevels which are much less apparent than regular bevels.

entry looking into nook



clipped on: 11.20.2010 at 09:34 pm    last updated on: 11.20.2010 at 09:35 pm

RE: penadant lights over island (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: musings on 11.09.2010 at 06:29 pm in Building a Home Forum

There are general guidelines, but they're just guidelines because there are usually many variables at play.

In general, you might consider hanging the kitchen island lights @ 6' above the floor (some say as high as 6'-6"). You don't want them at eye level (may need to adjust if family taller than avg).

For the two-story foyer there are a few thoughts: @ 5' from the ceiling, not below the second floor, or so that it shows through the window.

Hard to tell without being in your space, but hopefully these general guidelines are somewhat helpful. I am usually on site for installation so that I can eyeball any adjustments.


clipped on: 11.09.2010 at 10:07 pm    last updated on: 11.09.2010 at 10:08 pm

RE: Pictures of wood kitchens please! (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: chicagoans on 10.29.2010 at 09:38 am in Kitchens Forum

My cabinets are maple in a stain the cabinet maker called "Pacific Koa" and a light coffee glaze.

After 5 kitchen

After 3 kitchen

After 11 butler


clipped on: 11.03.2010 at 08:17 pm    last updated on: 11.03.2010 at 08:17 pm

RE: Has anyone used Angie�s List? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: doc8404 on 09.29.2009 at 12:51 pm in Building a Home Forum

I've been a member for about 3-4 years in Central Ohio. Although I DIY most everything, the huge jobs I hire out.

Using the list has been a huge timesaver for me. I simply do not have time to contact 5-6 service providers every time I want a bid and then evaluate that bid and all that goes with it.

Loads of providers are represented here in Columbus - I imagine in Pittsburg you'd also have a ton of reviews for a great many providers in all sorts of trades. I don't believe you'd suffer from a lack of reviews.

I've never had a bad experience with a provider I selected by using the list. I never look at a tradesman with a grade of less than 'A'. Why would I want that hassle?

All the guys I have talked to are very sensitive of their rating on the list. They ask how I found out about them and when I tell them they many times offer a small discount on the overall price.

The thing I like most about using the list is you can blister the provider if the service stinks. I ripped an orthodontist that my kids had gone to for years.

The ortho called me later (I gave plenty of detail in the complaint so the Dr. could figure out it was me) and tried to make the situation right. Nope - too late buster.

For me, it's worth the $.


clipped on: 10.23.2010 at 02:51 pm    last updated on: 10.23.2010 at 02:51 pm

RE: show me your whiteboard/blackboard/bulletin board (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: laxsupermom on 09.12.2010 at 07:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

I've posted this before, but here's ours. The mail slots and frame were built from scrap lumber from the garage, the marker holder is fluted case molding, the cork is leftover tiles from our floor, the white board calendars are from Target, and the magnetic chalkboard is painted onto the wall.

command center


clipped on: 09.17.2010 at 09:09 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2010 at 09:09 pm

Pics of our finished house

posted by: mitri89 on 08.20.2010 at 05:42 pm in Building a Home Forum

Someone asked on another thread if I'd posted pics of our finished house, and I realized I had not.

Pre-landscaping and before the grass turned green. I really need to snap some new ones of after the flower beds were done!





























clipped on: 09.04.2010 at 04:25 pm    last updated on: 09.04.2010 at 04:25 pm

RE: Share your best sites for deals on supplies! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: brickton on 03.13.2010 at 10:36 pm in Building a Home Forum

I was just thinking about writing a post about some of my best finds, but it seemed a little self congratulatory, but since you asked (heh)...

Craigslist and eBay are obvious but I have actually made out like a bandit on these sites. My personal favorite on eBay is the lockset discounters and faucet discounters 'stores' which are actually liquidation channels for the manufacturers of Price Pfister faucets (and hardware) and Kwikset door sets. I bought 1 faucet, 1 shower set and 1 bath drain from the Faucet discounters all for crazy cheap. Shipping is a bit steep ($10) but it's brand new sealed in box stuff that has been discontinued (or is liquidated for another reason).

I bought two Kohler sinks for $45 each of eBay. They were regularly $100 at HD and I have no idea why the guy was selling them cheap, but I got 'em.

I bought cabinet pulls from eBay from YourHomeSupply, and paid about $2.75 for cup pulls which seem to run $3-$5 other places (like

On craigslist, I'm currently trying to finish a sale with a guy for 3 boxes of 6 ea. of recessed lights (these ones) for $25 per 6 pack. I've also gotten an old sink to refinish and an old dresser to turn into a vanity from CL. I found a contractor who is dumping left overs from a job for very little that I keep meaning to go check out but he's 3 hours away and our build is not yet to the point where it makes sense.

In general Google shopping has been one of my best tools for getting deals. I find something I like, pop it in Google and see if I can't beat the price or get free shipping or whatever.

For sinks try:
M R Direct

I just got ORB door knobs for $7 each from True Value (with maybe $10 shipping?) these ones here:
Bronze Privacy Door Knob
I also bought one of the passage ones from them.
For light bulbs, I was at HD the other day and noticed they have really cheap halogen bulbs for recessed lights in contractor packs (not with the usual light bulbs) but I don't know about flood CFL bulbs.

And that's about it. I will definitely be back if I think of something else, but I'm looking forward to what others have found.


clipped on: 08.19.2010 at 10:07 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2010 at 10:07 pm

RE: Pantry photos/ pics of pantries (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: rhome410 on 02.07.2009 at 06:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

Mine is in the .pdf linked above, but here it is again:


Shelf spacing, starting at floor: 19", 15" 14", 10", 10", 14", approx 22" to 9' ceiling.


clipped on: 05.15.2010 at 09:18 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2010 at 09:19 pm

RE: Complete list of items/materials to choose for my new home? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mydreamhome on 04.15.2010 at 11:39 pm in Building a Home Forum

First, Congratulations on building your first home! I don't know of a complete list on the internet, but I can share what we had options on deciding when we built our starter home with a builder:

1. Flooring-type, color, style, grade, brand
2. Appliances-brand, color, style, size
3. Light fixtures/Ceiling fans
4. Cabinets-material, style, color, configuration/layout
5. Countertops, sink, & faucet-material, color, finish effects, configuration/layout
6. Trim
7. Paint
8. Tub-material, color, style, brand
9. Bathroom vanity, sinks, faucets & toilet-material, color, style, brand
10. Outlet/light switch placement
11. Ceiling finishes (i.e. tray, textured, smooth, etc)
12. Interior & exterior doors
13. Interior & entry door knobs
14. Cabinet pulls
15. Alarm system-company, type
16. Hot water heater-size, brand, type (i.e. tankless, gas, etc)
17. Insulation type
18. Siding/shutters-brand, color, style
19. Foundation veneer
20. Porch/Deck-materials & finish
21. Landscaping-shrubs, trees, driveway
22. Windows-brand, type (vinyl, clad, wood, etc), color, grids (GBG, SDL, configuration, etc), style (single hung, double hung, casement, etc), size, shape
23. Roofing- material, life of roof, color, brand
24. Exterior lighting
25. Outdoor water spigots (placement, type, number)
26. 2x4 or 2x6 construction
27. Changes to/Creation of floor plan
28. Doorway, hallway & walkway clearances (30", 32", 36", etc)
29. Attic construction (regular or open truss, floored or not)
30. Basement or crawl space

I know I probably left some things out, but at least it gives you a start! Some of this information will be needed now during planning (i.e. tub size, 2x4 or 2x6 construction, kitchen configuration/size of appliances, etc) and the rest will be needed later (i.e. paint color, floor finishes, landscaping, etc). Good luck with everything! When you get a preliminary set of drawings, post them on the 'Building a Home' forum and ask for feedback. It's unbelievable the things other members catch that you never would have until you moved in!


clipped on: 04.18.2010 at 04:10 pm    last updated on: 04.18.2010 at 04:11 pm

RE: is/has anyone built a frank betz home? (Follow-Up #45)

posted by: vintage1 on 12.12.2007 at 08:01 pm in Building a Home Forum

Me!!! I have pictures of the Kensington Park plan. We just moved in early November and then proceeded to get married and went on a Honeymoon so please excuse the mess/lack of decoration. I've never posted pictures before so let me know if it doesn't work. I would be happy to provide more if there is a certain view you are looking for. I took them tonight so there not the best but here they are!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 04.02.2010 at 09:12 pm    last updated on: 04.02.2010 at 09:12 pm

RE: are there any 'tricks' to hide outdoor outlets for Xmas light (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: liztwo on 02.28.2010 at 07:59 pm in Building a Home Forum

Put outlets under the soffits and put the switch inside the closet in the foyer. Has worked great for 11+ years! My electrician thought I was nuts at the time.


clipped on: 02.28.2010 at 11:18 pm    last updated on: 02.28.2010 at 11:18 pm

RE: Owner-Builders: Pitfalls and Savings (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: twolabs on 02.25.2010 at 12:25 pm in Building a Home Forum

I would direct you to We originally toyed with the idea of owner-building, but eventually decided against it. During our 'thinking about it' phase, we frequented It has a WEALTH of knowledge there, including an extensive survey (over 100 questions I think), that ask just about any question you could think about (including all your questions you asked).

We still visit there often, because it includes several diaries/journals of those who are building their home and talk about their daily struggles with supplies/subs etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Owner Builder Book


clipped on: 02.25.2010 at 02:39 pm    last updated on: 02.25.2010 at 02:39 pm

RE: Spousal issue -- agreeing on a budget (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: kayakboy on 10.20.2009 at 08:27 pm in Building a Home Forum

We dealt with this a couple of different ways.

Ignore square feet - they are what you end up with after figuring our what you really want, not what you want. If you could get all the living functions and space that you wanted and it ended being 3200 sq ft, would you go add more sq ft just "because"?

One - we wrote a narrative on "how we live" - note that is how we live and not "how we want to live". This was really useful in defining what spaces we use, how they should be connected, and what needs to be in them. This was great when we read it after writing it - we killed off a couple of wish list rooms that we realized we would never use.

On top of that we bolted on the additional stuff we wanted and were willing to pay for - a library, small wine cellar, small workshop in the garage.

Next we started thinking about the big dollar items - kitchens and baths. We ended up with more a of "gourmet" kitchen than I expected, but we did cook a lot in our previous house, so this is something that we will use a lot. I didn't really need the 48" Wolf rangetop, but it was important to my spouse. I got a large, walk-in shower. On the other hand, the master bath isn't huge, the rest of the kitchen has largely more mundane appliances, and the granite is moderate in price.

We reduced the size of the master bedroom and bath in favor of a really big walk-in closet - we keep a pretty sparse bedroom, but need more space to store stuff out of sight.

And we compromised a lot - the house isn't as modern as I would like nor as Tuscan as DW would like, but it is ending up being a Prairie style house in an area where slightly different sells. (Most everything else around is "Texas Tuscan - yeah, you don't want to know.) It has the flow and function we want and is ending up smaller than our first iterations by about 1000 aq ft.

We also found that working through the book "Designing Your Dream Home" by Susan Lang was a good inventory of wants and provided a base to start from.

We also compromised on a lot of fit and finish issues - what worked best seemed to be to pick a fairly wide range of options and take turns throwing out the ones we didn't like. In many cases, we ended up with a set that was easy to pick the one we both liked from, in other cases, I lost :).

Yes, this is going to be really, really stressful - but it will also be very fun and you should end up with something that fits your lifestyle - if you don't, why are you going through this process - just buy a spec house!


clipped on: 02.22.2010 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2010 at 10:04 pm

RE: is/has anyone built a frank betz home? (Follow-Up #51)

posted by: bebetokids on 12.15.2007 at 12:31 pm in Building a Home Forum

homeagain-colors-these are Sherwin Williams colors-a local decorator has formulated her own colors that SW carries and are available worldwide according to her.

Body-SW Baltic Sage LL011
Trim-SW Cameo Lace LL002
Window trim (regular SW color)-Rookwood Dark Red SW2801

I wanted red windows but DH was too chicken so I got red trim!

vintage-your house looks great! I love all of your choices and so much fun to see someone else's house that looks like mine.

cmorganshields-we floored in the great room to create another room upstairs as a loft type. We also added a screened porch off the kitchen and swapped a few things around there. We added another bath upstairs over the master bedroom and swapped around rooms upstairs. I will try to get some pics of that later for you.

I would definitely try to add sq ft to the garage/laundry room area. We just didnt have the $$ to but I would have loved to extend that side to make garage/laundry longer. We did bump out the garage for width but it needs length also. The great room is fine for me!

Here are a few pics-my camera is the worst-and I have no pics hung. Still need to add hooks at the back enterance and decorate!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 11.19.2009 at 10:07 pm    last updated on: 11.19.2009 at 10:14 pm

RE: is/has anyone built a frank betz home? (Follow-Up #43)

posted by: bebetokids on 12.11.2007 at 08:08 pm in Building a Home Forum

Craig-we built the Kensington Park and moved in in August. I have never gotten around to posting interior pics here but maybe I can get a few in the next few days and put them on for you. I do love the floor plan although we made a few changes.

Here are a couple of exterior pics:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 11.19.2009 at 10:03 pm    last updated on: 11.19.2009 at 10:03 pm

RE: how and where did you save $$ on your build? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: bigkahuna on 11.15.2009 at 09:15 pm in Building a Home Forum

Shop ebay and general internet for many things. Got Ge Monogram oven and advantium at 1/2 price. 16 Ga stainless steel sinks much less than local dealers. Insinkerator 1 HP online about $100 less than local. Lights, hardware, toilets, plumbing fixtures IPE decking all online at 5%-20% less in most cases sometimes more. The trick with ebay is having lots of time to research and find what you like then watch for it on ebay for instance. Dont worry the first time you dont win etc as there is usually another one coming around soon. If building /acting as GC well thats a huge savings and its easier to buy the other stuff online and not go through the builder. Not everyone do this or has time or skill or patience to do so. If buying your own flooring etc. Get to know the variious stories look for remnants, ask about when sales usually are or if any coming up. If you get cash back on credit cards buy with it instead of paying cash. Or ask if paying cash saves $$. Try local building/ home building /remodeling shows. Some items may be on sale during those shows. Use this site to research appliances etc especially because if you buy something and hate it afterwards It sucks even if you saved money. Make sure your money is well spent! If upgrading during construction. Upgrade insulation, better windows furnace etc that also save money by efficiency . This saves money for years. You can always add granite, hardwood floors, crown moulding etc. Its hard to upgrade insulation or windows later.


clipped on: 11.18.2009 at 07:37 am    last updated on: 11.18.2009 at 07:38 am

RE: how and where did you save $$ on your build? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bus_driver on 11.15.2009 at 08:19 pm in Building a Home Forum

On the parts I did myself. I shopped at salvage stores. Often they sell lots of new stuff, too. Bought my prefinished oak flooring, about 1800 square feet, from them at substantial discount because they picked up the stuff at the factory and we moved it from their truck to mine. It was never in their building. Bought the ceramic tile from two different surplus places, 3 tile patterns and very limited supply of each but enough for my job. $.79-$.89 per square foot. Bought cabinet knobs on Internet for half the price at Lowes and HD.


clipped on: 11.18.2009 at 07:33 am    last updated on: 11.18.2009 at 07:35 am

RE: Our Almost Finished $64 PSF House w/ Pics!!! (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: persnicketydesign on 12.31.2008 at 09:24 pm in Building a Home Forum

Thank you!

bto24...we got our granite at Atlanta Intown Granite. At the time they were running a special on Uba Tuba for $29.95 PSF installed(including the cut outs), but if you bought a sink from them too it was only $24.95 PSF. We didn't need the sink, but we did need over 100 SF of stone, so it was well worth it to us. It was such a good deal we upgraded to the ogee edge which I had wanted, but didn't think I'd be able to get. We worked with Jamie & Jessie who were both wonderful. If you're anywhere in the Southeast they're definitely worth getting in touch with. They have a huge service area. There's a link to AIG below. Keep checking their website, because they run some really awesome deals if you catch them at the right time.

Jason...that price doesn't include the land. We bought it 1 1/2 years before we started building. Our permits were $433. We're on county water & sewer and did have to pay a tap-in fee of $1067. There were no charges for the gas and power. The $64 figure does include all the labor, but we didn't include anything for ourselves. Apparently I'm worthless. :o)

Right after we bought the property I started researching products and picking out the things that I wanted to use in the house. Then I started watching for those things on eBay. I saved a ton of $$$. For example the faucets & related plumbing items that I chose priced out at $9872 locally, but I spent $1817 by price shopping. I bought everything from the housewrap ($60 for 6 rolls of Typar) and Dupont Flexwrap for the windows ($75 for a case) right down to the tub for the master bath that I stored in DH's workshop. I had almost everything for the house purchased before we ever broke ground.'s so hard to believe that you've been in for 10 months! I remember waiting for your posts so that I could see your progress. :o) I've strategically placed my sewing machines in areas of the house so that they are in everyone's way. Eventually they'll get the hint and stop using my sewing room as the storage room!

Here is a link that might be useful: Atlanta Intown Granite


How to save - Ebay!
clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 10:22 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 10:23 pm

RE: Things you couldn't live without or wish you had added (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: teach2007 on 05.19.2008 at 09:38 am in Building a Home Forum

Hands down, something I would not want to do without is our screened-in back porch. We have meals out there, sit and talk, watch the kids jump on the trampoline. A back porch is a MUST... something that you will never regret having, but may always regret not having!!!


clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 09:23 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 09:23 pm

RE: Intercom system (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: david_cary on 10.23.2009 at 05:07 am in Building a Home Forum

I am giving up medicine and going in to the low voltage rip-off scam. I'll be ready to wire up your house soon.

$20 baby monitors work pretty well. The advantage with wireless is that you can put the speaker in your pocket and be on the deck (or sometimes at the neighbors).

I prewired the bedrooms with extra cat-5 to maybe listen in but I may never hook it up.

Another option to wireless is a phone system with built in intercom. These are far cheaper and don't add to wall clutter and make more sense since the phone can be placed at a desk they are working at or on a nightstand etc.

My house is wired up (security, HDTV feeds, speakers, even some prewire for automated lighting) but I didn't do the intercom thing. The wife didn't want it but sometimes it would be nice since the house is big and has a basement.

Go check out the phones and put the $2800 back in your pocket.


clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 09:17 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 09:18 pm

RE: How can I find estimated cost per sqft to build a home (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: terry_t on 10.26.2009 at 02:36 pm in Building a Home Forum

RS Means is a very good source but you should also confirm what level of finish your insurance co. is basing their assessment on. Are they basing their value on your specific house or on an average builder grade house? $$$/sq ft is a nebulous concept as it all depends on your finish products. Higher end products such as granite vs countertops, stone tile, 3/4" hardwood flooring, pro appliances, masonry fireplace, and so on, all contribute to raising the sq foot costs.


clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 08:47 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 08:48 pm

RE: outlets in pantry (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mairin on 10.30.2009 at 01:57 pm in Building a Home Forum

we've got outlets on 2 of the walls in our walk-in pantry. We are currently only using one of them - located closer to floor - for the charging station of the upright/handvac. The cost to put them in now is minimal and worth it IMO!!


clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 07:20 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 07:20 pm

RE: How did you keep organized during your build? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: alabamanicole on 11.07.2009 at 11:46 am in Building a Home Forum

I'm still in the pre-construction phase, but I have a large 3-ring binder with zipper, add'l pockets and handle on the spine that's my construction bible. It has big pockets on the outside for pens, a calculator and odd items I pick up like samples. Inside, I have large file pockets to hold odd items like folded-up plans. In the binder section, right on top is a business card holder and contact sheet. Then, individual tabs for major items like "plumbing," "lighting," "legal," etc. I keep everything from docs to spec sheets to bids to renderings to key inspiration pics I need to show to the more artistic subs like the trim carpenter.

Electronically, I keep all the emails sorted and I can access them from any computer or on my blackberry. I also have a spreadsheet which is my spec list. It's divided up much like the notebook -- by TYPE of item. After all, I don't bid a room, I bid a type of product. The plumbing house isn't going to bid my kitchen cabinets. So for example, on the plumbing page I have all plumbing-related stuff, sorted by floor and room, and then all the items I will need to buy or spec out. Each line item contains a description, specification, model number, source, and estimated cost. It goes on to include cost, tax, and total cost for those items I have already purchased, and is subtotaled at the bottom. A final spreadsheet tab contains misc. items I have purchased for the transaction, like software, money paid to have plans drawn and so forth.

If there were two of me directly involved in the build, I'd only make two smaller notebooks with duplicates of important items (like the legal papers and any "hot" topics.) Then divvy up items by responsibility. Maybe one party is in charge of the kitchen, bath and utility and the other is on charge of windows, doors and landscaping.

Although I'm a computer programmer, I personally am more comfortable with having a paper based notebook for this kind of thing. There's something creatively visceral about being able to flip back and forth to look at items. But, if it were essential to have two parties with access to ALL information, I'd buy two netbooks and configure a central repository like Google Docs that you both access concurrently to avoid sync issues. Keeping two paper notebooks sync'd could be very difficult, especially if one party is not as organized or as invested in the notebooks as the other.

By the way, all parties involved seem a little taken aback that I can grab a tab and flip the book open to the current topic. Except my GC, who seems delighted.


clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 07:11 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 07:12 pm

RE: a dining room doorway question (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: jimandanne_mi on 11.12.2009 at 03:48 pm in Building a Home Forum

The dining room in our new home opens off of the foyer. It has a double set of pocket doors in this location, as well as between the DR and the LR. We LOVE being able to close off this room occasionally.



clipped on: 11.14.2009 at 07:04 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2009 at 07:04 pm