Kitchen Layout Ideas

Since we are expert luxury home builders, we at Ence know a thing or two about home interior design as well. Since the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, we decided this week that we would focus on this week.

One-wall

Kitchen_FittingThis kitchen layout is great for smaller homes because it requires a minimal amount of space while maximizing convenience. For example, the sink is usually positioned between the stove and the refrigerator to make cleanup easy. You can even put sliding doors in place to hide kitchen clutter in a studio style apartment. One of the drawbacks, however, to a one-wall kitchen is the minimal amount of counter top space. This can make it difficult when preparing multiple dishes or having multiple cooks work at the same time. If there is room, you can add an island to provide more counter space to work with.

Galley

Galley-Kitchens-Designs-Galley-style kitchens are great for efficiency in cooking. Many commercial or restaurant kitchens are designed like a galley in order to facilitate large-scale food production. While this efficiency can be great, there are also drawbacks. Galley kitchens don’t leave room for a dining area which limits the interaction you can have with your guests or family while cooking. A possible solution for this might be to turn one of the walls of cabinetry into an island to make the kitchen area more conversation-friendly.

 U-shape

U-shaped-kitchenThe U-shaped kitchen is essentially a galley kitchen with one end closed off. This arrangement can help keep others out of the main area of the kitchen while still keeping the area open to other rooms and allow the passing of traffic. One of the downsides to a U-shaped kitchen is that it can be difficult to make room for a table and chairs. It can also sometimes be impossible to fit the dishwasher adjacent to the sink.

U-shaped with Island

traditional-kitchen-with-painted-wood-floors- If you add an island to a U-shaped kitchen layout, the space can become both more functional and more interactive and social. An island allows the cook to face out of the kitchen while working, which makes it easier to interact with others. It also opens up room for others to help out in the kitchen. The island does, however, provide a slight obstacle to transporting food out of the kitchen.

G-Shape

GshapeThis is a rendition on the U-shaped layout that maximizes space and is a great option if you don’t have the room for a U-shaped kitchen with an island. In this layout, a fourth leg is connected to one side of the U forming a right angle or in some cases an obtuse angle. This additional does not usually have a floor to ceiling wall because that would close off the kitchen space from the rest of the home too much. The addition should not be so long that it makes entering and exiting the kitchen difficult, but should also not be so short that it cannot function as a seating area or home for an appliance.

L-Shape

L-Form-Küche-Holz-ModernThis has become a popular format since the decline of formal dining rooms and the rise of open floor plans. The L-shaped layout is formed by two adjacent and perpendicular walls and can be either small or large. It is perfect for entertaining guests and creating a mingling atmosphere. Without an island, however, the cook is still facing away from the rest of the gathered group. But instead of adding an island, you might consider just bringing in a table and chairs to form an eat-in kitchen. The table can be used in food preparation and also allow for easier interaction while eating than an island can.

How to Pack Quickly and Efficiently

suitcaseSometimes packing can be a real PAIN

 

If you’ve ever moved before, then you know how much of a hassle it can be. Here are some tips and ideas to make moving day go more smoothly:

1. Gather supplies ahead of time

Isn’t it the worst when you’re all ready to start packing… and you realize you don’t have any packing tape? Avoid hitting snags like this by making sure you have all the necessary supplies before you get started. Supplies to have on hand might include boxes, tape, bubble wrap, newspaper, and markers. For moving large appliances or stacks of boxes you can rent dollies from a home improvement store or truck rental company.

2. Get rid of things to lighten the load

Before packing, it may be a good idea to go through your possessions and see what items you can get rid of. Things that are broken or you no longer use are good candidates for the trash bin and will help simplify the moving process.

3. Start early

Packing can be a huge undertaking and more often than not will take longer than you expect so it’s always a good idea to get started early – much earlier than seems necessary. Two to three weeks before moving day will be ideal in most cases, though this will vary depending on the size of your home and amount of possessions.

4. Get help

Making things easier on yourself might be as simple as asking those around you for help. Ask friends and family to pitch in and lower the pressure on you to get everything done yourself.

5. Pack strategically

Sometimes, in the haste to get everything packed, we just throw things in boxes, toss them in the truck, and then leave ourselves more of a burden when we get to the new house. Make the unpacking process as painless as possible by labeling all your boxes and denoting which are the most important things you’ll want to have unpacked first. Make sure to put the things you’ll need immediately – change of clothes, toothbrush, etc – in an easily accessible place.

6. Get used boxes

Keep the cost of your move down by getting used boxes. In an effort to go green, U-Haul has started a box recycling program where you can get used boxes for your move and then return them when you’re done. Moving can get expensive and this is just one way to ease the financial burden.

7. Manage your weight

Pack more efficiently by paying attention to weight. Make sure to pack heavy items such as books in small boxes and light items such as sheets and pillows in large boxes to keep things from getting too heavy to lift and transport.

8. Fill nooks and crannies

Make use of all available packing space. Don’t empty out dresser drawers – use them for packing. This will help you conserve space on the truck or in your transportable storage units. Otherwise, you’re packing air.

9. Don’t just use boxes – use bags as well

You don’t have to limit yourself to boxes – use large garbage bags as well to pack non-fragile items such as towels or clothes. This will also help you make the most of your truck space as bags can be stuffed in places that a box couldn’t.

10. Use blankets and towels as padding

Don’t just pack up your blankets and towels, put them to good use as padding on fragile items to help save on packing supplies.

 

Looking for more moving tips? Check out this week by week moving checklist from Good Housekeeping to help you get started.

FURNITURE 101

Buying furniture for a new home can seem like an daunting challenge. Deciding on the style, pieces, and expense you are willing to pay to furnish your home can seem overwhelming. If you have a two-year old prone to draw on anything, having a leather settee with a cherry coffee table will probably not work. Finding the best furniture to complement your lifestyle will help your new custom house feel more like a home.

Assembly,Types, & Quality
couchCushions and general build can determine what quality level the furniture is. Cushions that are just  foam are not good quality and will shift and lose shape over time.  Furniture that is heavy and made with natural wood will last longer. Color is important as well. While lighter colors calm a room they tend to get dirty quickly if not properly maintained and if a piece will be used more, darker colors fare better over time of wear and tear. If kids and pets are in the picture, stain resistant fabric can handle the daily situations of wear and tear. You don’t have to have shapeless unflattering pieces, but don’t buy it if it is not comfortable. Look at the legs of the furniture and see if they are screwed in not just simply glued, stapled or nailed. Check for springs to make sure they aren’t rubbing up against the frame. A sofa without springs will just be flimsy and wear out very soon. Wool and leather are strong and durable and a good investment when properly cared for, but can be very expensive. Don’t place leather furniture next to heat sources overtime it will cause them to dry and crack. Don’t place furniture in direct sunlight. This will cause the furniture to fade and look older.

Wood
It is important to know wood types, the difference between hard and soft wood. Hard wood comes from Deciduous trees and softwood comes from Coniferous trees. Softwood is a lot cheaper than hardwood and can tend to warp and bend over a short amount of time.

Sales
Consider the time you are buying, new furniture will usually hit the market in February and August so typically January and July are a good time to find a killer deal. During major holidays like 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Black Friday are also great times to get more deals. Salespeople will rave about the different features the furniture has double check the warranty make sure that all the details are in writing. If you decide to finance a piece of furniture make sure that you are able to pay if off completely in the given amount of time. Don’t forget to look and shop online. Sometimes stores can have exclusive deals for online purchases only. Garage sales can work for cheaper purchases, it just depends if your taste is similar to the person who is selling.  Flea markets and furniture swaps can give you a jumpstart to DIY projects.

DIY
There are so many different websites, blogs, and Pinterest to help brainstorm ideas and compare the cost of the project. Repainting a chair or resurfacing a table top can make a huge difference in a simple way. When refurbishing items double check the finish so no bubbles or brush streaks are visible. Reupholstering old cushions can give a pop to a room that could be overlooked. Even just washing the cushion covers can make a big difference.

A good selection of furniture can make a house feel like a home. As Cache, Davis, and Weber county specialists in custom home design and building we are here to help your dream become a reality.

6 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

colorIt’s only a matter of time before the colors in your Utah luxury home
begin to get a little boring and you decide to switch things up.
St. George has some great custom paint stores to help you, but
there’s a few things you need to know before taking the plunge.

Mistake #1: Painting a ceiling flat white.

The ceiling, that one wall no one ever thinks of. If you want to add a little flair to a boring white ceiling, don’t paint it white. All white paint has some gray in it, which will take the room down. Try a shade of cream instead.

 

Mistake #2: Going too “matchy”.

Going all “matchy-matchy” seems like a good idea, but wait. You never want your walls to match the color in one of your fabrics because it comes off too strong. Rather, find a grayed-out version of the color.

 

Mistake #3: Playing it too “safe.”

A palette of JUST neutrals gets boring fast. One of the biggest mistakes people make with neutrals is not using enough contrast. Don’t be afraid to add some elements that give personality.

 

Mistake #4: Not following a common theme

The rooms throughout a home must feel connected. A “relaxed, coastal chic” room probably shouldn’t have a “elegant country-style” bathroom. Every room must follow the overall theme of the home.

 

Mistake #5: Forgetting the importance of a finish.

Darker colors will be very flat after they dry, so use a high-luster finish. For example, an eggshell finish can really kill a rich hue. Do your homework to understand what you’re working with.

 

Mistake #6: Selecting a one-dimensional hue.

When adding some stronger colors to your palette, remember to find ones with depth. A color lacking depth will jump out at you rather than pull you in. What might be “Decisive Yellow” could end up looking like “Schoolbus Yellow.” No one wants that!

Countertop Guide

Countertop Guide

counter-top
Getting to design your own kitchen can be a very rewarding experience, but the amount of decisions you have to make can be overwhelming. With so many options, it can difficult to know which direction to go. One decision you’ll be facing is what type of counter top material you want. This pros and cons list will help you get acquainted with the most popular options and help you select the ideal material that will compliment your kitchen design. For further questions feel free to contact us here.

Granite

Pros

  • Beautiful, naturally-formed design
  • Each piece is unique
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Can withstand heat and knives very well

Cons

  • Can become easily stained, will require sealing to avoid damage
  • Very heavy, must be paired with strong cabinet boxes

Butcher Block

Pros

  • Great for country or cottage style kitchens
  • Creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere
  • Comes in a variety of tones
  • Has beautiful natural graining patterns
  • Natural wear and tear can add charm and personality but can also be sanded away if desired

Cons

  • Can warp because of water damage, will need to be oiled frequently to prevent this
  • Can absorb bacteria and will need to be disinfected regularly

Solid Surfacing

Pros

  • Great for modern style kitchens
  • Very low maintenance, no sealing required
  • Damage can be easily sanded away
  • Very wide range of color options including vibrant hues not found in nature

Cons

  • Artificial man-made look may not appeal to everyone
  • Can be just as expensive as granite or other natural materials

Marble

Pros

  • Very classy and elegant
  • Has a strong defense against heat

Cons

  • Has a weak defense against staining, scratching and chipping
  • May not be sensible to use throughout whole Kitchen because of price and potential for damage

Quartz Surfacing

Pros

  • Simple to maintain
  • Great at imitating natural beauty of stone
  • Comes in wide variety of color options
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Can imitate stone, but isn’t quite as good as the real thing
  • Can be just as, if not more expensive than stone

Tile

Pros

  • Works well in country or old world style kitchens
  • Comes in a variety of color options
  • Stands up well against staining, heat and knives
  • Individual tiles can easily be replaced if chipped

Cons

  • Modular aspect makes for an uneven surface that can be difficult for cutting boards or when rolling dough straight onto the counter
  • Grout between tiles can attract bacteria or become stained if not sealed

Laminate

Pros

  • Getting better and better at mimicking more expensive materials
  • Great for designing on a budget
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be paired with any cabinet base because of its light weight

Cons

  • The layers in the material can peel over time
  • Susceptible to stains, scratches and burns
  • Excessive damage can be difficult to repair

Concrete

Pros

  • Works well with industrial chic designs
  • Can be tinted to any shade you want and can be inlaid with shells or other interesting materials
  • Very durable
  • Can withstand heavy use

Cons

  • Stains easily so must be sealed frequently
  • Can crack if exposed to high levels of heat
  • Very heavy and will require strong cabinet base

6 Spring Candles to Vivify your Home

candle1With spring upon us, your St. George home needs freshened up with a luxury candle or two. Here are some of our favorites:

Artist Series Candle x Ben Fiess

When this candle burns out, you can use the adorable ceramic vessel as a vase for fresh flowers or a cup for pens. Three delicious scents are available: Santal, Spruce, and Fleur.
To buy: $38, leifshop.com.

Tuscan Cypress + Figcandle2

Do you daydream of relaxing in the warm sand of an enchanting Mediterranean beach? Forget booking a plane ticket, this all-natural soy candle will bring the sublime sensations and smells to you.
To buy: $25, tampasoy.com.

candle3Grapefruit Oleander Melrose Jar

Within this custom mercury glass vessel is a sweet nectarous that when lit, will burn for almost 75 hours. Stronger notes of citrus and delicately balances out with subtle hints of sandalwood, cedarwood, and patchouli.
To buy: $33, illumecandles.com.

Crème de Orangecandle4

The exquisite Valencian orange and creamy vanilla aroma this double-wick candle exudes is simply delightful.
To buy: $30, sydneyhaleco.com.

candle5White Flowers 3-Wick Gilt Candle

Within this deep blue, gold dipped vessel is a fine white wax that fills your home with the aroma of a fresh springtime flower garden.
To buy: $26, paddywax.com.

candle6

Geode Candle

Richly scented with island pineapple, fresh mango, coconut and Tahitian vanilla, this geometric candle is perfect next to your bathroom sink.
To buy: $14, shopterrain.com.

5 Brilliant Tips from Leading Design Books

Refresh your St. George home with some of these design tips and give it that custom touch.

shelfArrange Objects by Shape

The “Rule of Threes” is a great trick to style your coffee table or dresser, but objects of similar size can compete with each other and look muddled. Instead, use this rule: something vertical, horizontal, and sculptural can create a sense of order.


Put Something Eye-Catching on Display

Your entryway needs a focal point; something that catches the eyes of your guests when they walk through your door. A mirror, tall plant, fun piece of furniture, or some artwork can all serve as a perfect focal point. If it catches the eye, it distracts attention away from clutter.

white-couchEmbrace White

There’s a common misconception that you must stay away from all things white if you have kids in the house. But the thing is, there’s nothing easier to clean than white. A little bleach and a hot rinse with water will do wonders for a stained white couch cushion.


Setup a Catchall Space

Attempting to keep your home 100% free of clutter might literally drive you insane. Instead, dedicate a space like a cabinet or closet for all the random things you need to pull out from time to time. Try a little basket on your dresser for loose change and buttons, or a junk drawer for tape and stamps. These “catchall spaces” will save you the headache of finding a place for miscellaneous items. Remember to go through them every once in awhile to prevent overflowing.

Equip Your Entry

An entryway is the first line of defense against clutter permeating deep into your luxury home and its purpose is to process everything you carry in. For your entryway to best serve you, set it up correctly. An umbrella stand, charging station for smartphones, heavy-duty rug, hooks and cubbies, shoe tray, hamper for dirty sports gear, and a message board are your battle weapons.

4 Ideas for a Valentine’s Day to Remember

manAh, Valentine’s Day. It floods the entire month of February with a wave of hearts, red rose bouquets, and delicious boxes of chocolates. If coming up with a memorable way to spend Valentine’s day in St. George with your lover  is stressing you out, just relax. We’ve done the thinking for you.

Dine in Candlelight

Avoid the crowded restaurant and enjoy a romantic dinner at home. Now’s your chance to pull out the fine china and tablecloth you’ve had tucked away for far too long. Set the

mood with the warming glow of a candle and a dreamy Spotify playlist. Did we mention wine?

Be pampered at the Spa

Unwind in tranquility with a couples spa treatment. 90 minutes of bliss will melt your stress away and set you and your partner on course for a pleasant evening.

Get Cultured

Attend the annual Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show and Sale. Recognized as one of the biggest art events in the state of Utah, it surely won’t disappoint.

Check into a hotel

Even if it’s just for the night, the much needed alone time can rekindle that old flame. Sleep in and treat yourselves to breakfast in bed.

Ence Homes Is Recognized With A 2011 High Performance Homes Leadership In Housing Award

Ence Homes earns award for building new homes that protect
the environment through energy efficiency
St. George, Utah – Ence Homes is pleased to announce that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2011 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the important contribution Ence Homes has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection by building more than 100 ENERGY STAR qualified homes last year. Collectively, these homes will save our customers approximately $44,700 on utility bills each year.

The environmental benefits of these ENERGY STAR qualified homes are equal to the equivalent of:

  • Eliminating the emissions from 49 vehicles;
  • Saving 296,400 lbs of coal;
  • Planting 81 acres of trees; or
  • Saving the environment 581,300 pounds of CO2 per year.

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 20% more efficient than standard new homes built today.

“Every year home buyers become more energy conscious and in today’s market you can never save too much money. Since partnering with ENERGY STAR in 1999, we have helped our buyers save energy and money by lowering their utilities’” said Troy Ence.

ENERGY STAR qualified homes offer homebuyers all the features they want in a new home, plus energy-saving features like effective insulation systems, high performance windows, tight construction and ducts, properly-sized and installed efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient products, and third-party verification of energy performance.

“While other builders may claim to build energy-efficient homes, ENERGY STAR builder partners back it up,” said Jonathan Passe, Acting Manager for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Residential Branch. “Their houses undergo a rigorous independent inspection and testing process to ensure that they deliver real efficiency, comfort, durability, and value for homebuyers.”

Last year alone, with the help of ENERGY STAR and partners, Americans saved about $18 billion on their utility bills and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 33 million vehicles. Nearly 1.2 million ENERGY STAR homes have been built in the United States since the program first began labeling homes in 1995.

About ENCE HOMES Since 1957, Ence Homes has been designing and building quality, innovative, and energy efficient new homes in conveniently located neighborhoods throughout the Southern Utah. For more information about Ence Homes, visit encehomes.comor call 435-628-0936.

About ENERGY STAR ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 126,000 new homes were constructed to meet ENERGY STAR guidelines in 2010, by partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, buildings and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

What Guests Really Notice in Your Home

Our St. George luxury homes attract attention. If you’re hosting an open house or just a get together with friends, here’s some nice touches your guests will appreciate.

candleScent

Decor isn’t the first thing a guest notices when walking through your door. It’s the smell. Your nose has acclimatized to the lingering smell of fish from last night’s dinner, but it will punch your guests in the nose like a Mike Tyson left jab. Light a candle or simmer a pot of citrus peels and cinnamon sticks.

orchidsFresh Flowers

Fresh flowers add life to your custom home and can serve as the focal point of any room. Some minimalist designers will even argue they’re the only decoration your house really needs. Buy some potted flowers like orchids. With a little tender loving care, they’ll last a month or longer.

living-room

 

 

Lack of Clutter

A tidy space puts the mind at ease. You don’t need a deep clean, just organize some of that clutter. A coffee table tray or lidded box will help you hide away those keys or stray books.

 

towelA Tidy Bathroom

This is big one. Make sure you have some clean hand towels ready and for an added touch, light a candle.

 

 

 

shoes

 

 

An Organized Entryway

A coat rack and a place to sit while taking shoes off is extremely underrated.