Elements Of Design: Contemporary Shelving

In the dining area of this contemporary kitchen built by Greenbelt Homes in Austin, TX, the wine glasses are stored in a wall nook that places them within easy reach – and looks good doing it. A deceptively simple change to the traditional shelf layout results in an exciting, updated look that adds to the modernist appeal of this kitchen design.

Instead of running the shelves across the full width of the storage niche, they’re cut off before reaching the opposite wall, in alternate rows, producing a neat effect.

Contemporary Kitchen - Wineglass Storage

Contemporary Kitchen – Wineglass Storage

“Ethridge” project in Austin, TX, by Greenbelt Homes. View more projects & see contact information on Greenbelt’s Houzz profile.


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New Photos – Professional-Style “Master” Range Hood

The “Master” professional-style designer range hood model from the Italian manufacturer Futuro Futuro is a high-performance kitchen ventilation solution. The dual filters panels (1 horizontal + 1 vertical) create an extended capture area that’s perfect for high-volume cooking.

Like all other Futuro Futuro kitchen range hoods, the “Master” series hoods are made from highest-grade AISI 304 stainless steel, and feature advanced ventilation technology. The powerful yet quiet blower is mounted in the patented Futuro Futuro sound-absorbing chamber, which reduces vibration and noise. Multifunction electronic control panel provides access to convenient features such as delayed shut-off, filter cleaning reminder, and electronic reset. The integrated kitchen tool/towel rack adds to the convenience factor.

Cleaning and maintenance is easy, thanks to the high-grade stainless steel surfaces and lifetime grease filters that are dishwasher-safe.

The “Master” series wall-mount vent hoods are available in 36″ and 48″ widths, with optional 24-dish capacity matching dish rack (with independent lighting) to create a complete gourmet workstation.

“Master” series range hoods are available in the following versions:

Professional style range hood "Master"

Professional style range hood “Master”

The "Master" range hood is easily integrated into cabinetry

The “Master” range hood is easily integrated into cabinetry



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Fiber Cement could be your home’s new favorite siding

When it comes to picking the correct siding finish for your house it’s not always easy to get the correct balance between style, durability, maintenance and most of all affordability. When you pick materials such as wood, stone, brick, vinyl or stucco, then you may end up with only a few of the above options. The only way to achieve all four of these is to go with fiber cement, which is a mix of wood pulp and Portland cement that requires minimal upkeep. It is also rot-, fire- and termite-proof, unaffected by wind or cold, and has the option of a painted look resembling wood clapboards, shingles, stone or brick.

Fiber cement consists of four ingredients: wood pulp which improves the flexibility as well as the resilience, fly ash which acts as a filler, Portland cement which binds the ingredients that contain clay, iron, limestone and last but not least water which dissolves the wood pulp and activates as well as hardens the cement. On average the fiber cement will run you about $1.70 a square foot, which also will depend on the finish, overall size and where you purchased it. However, don’t think of this as an opportunity to do it yourself. It may weigh only about 2.5 pounds per square foot, but due to possible mishandling, it has a tendency to crack – not to mention the specialized tools you would need to cut it as well as nail it, therefore it would be best left to a professional.



This type of material is very durable and outperforms many of its competitors in a vast range of climates. It is very popular in the western U.S. and areas that are prone to wildfires as insurance companies offer a discount for homes that use fiber cement because of its noncombustible nature, as well as it not being affected by the strong UV radiation if your home is set at a higher altitude. In the South, especially lowland places like New Orleans, termites and fungi may try to invade the dark, moist nooks and crannies of the house – but they will get no nourishment from fiber cement as opposed to other materials! On the East Coast it’s very humid, filled with salty air and accompanied by the bright sunlight. These are the constant challenges of the environment but these challenges have no effect on this particular siding. If it is attached correctly it can withstand wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. A little further north, in New England climates, fiber cement doesn’t become brittle in the cold weather, it easily withstands below-zero temperatures. There’s no need to worry about repairing cracks in the siding after each winter season – fiber cement lowers maintenance costs all year round, but especially in winter.

Fiber Cement siding is available in a stunning variety of textures, finishes, and colors. It can masquerade as wood shingles, complete with minute fiber textures and authentic color, or pretend to be classy stucco with subtle color variations, or imitate aluminum siding, right down to the groove styles. Here are just a few of the many available options:

Fiber Cement Varieties (from ConsolidatedGypsum.ca)

Fiber Cement Varieties (from ConsolidatedGypsum.ca)

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Making the most use out of your basement

When it comes to our basement the thoughts usually point towards storage and a boiler room right? These rooms are usually out of sight as well as out of our minds until we need to tend to them. However if you put in a bit of tender love and care, a refurbished basement could potentially provide a great way for some homeowners to not only add extra square footage to their property but also utilize that space when it would otherwise be empty and used mainly for clutter.

The big question starts on “Where do I begin?” and to do that you need to understand and plan out what you want this space to become. Before starting any renovations you will need to consider what you would like this space to be as it is crucial to know beforehand what your potential finished project will become, whether it will be your man cave, a media room, a gym or workout area, a home office or maybe even a spare bedroom for guests. Different rooms will need different materials and lighting so plan ahead to save yourself some money as well as your time. An exercise room will require some simple lighting, a few electrical outlets and adequate space for equipment while a spare bedroom may need some new walls to trap heat, new flooring for comfortable walking and other touches to make it livable and enjoyable.

After you have went through all the boxes and storage items you’ve probably realized that half the things you have there you don’t really need and the rest you can position around the house on shelves, cabinets or maybe make use of some half empty closets. Remember to inspect your basement closely now that it’s been rid of the clutter and keep an eye out for any water showing on the concrete walls, cracks in the foundation and any broken plumbing. To make this easier you may consider hiring a contractor or home inspector to take a look at your space before starting any renovations as any problems found should be fixed before you can move on.



Finally once everything is cleaned out and the area has been inspected, browse through some magazines to find any inspiration you may need as well as any remodels to see the possibilities. It’s always good to have pictures in case you aren’t doing all the work yourself to help explain to the contractor what you would like the space to potentially look like once it’s finished. Upon converting your space don’t forget that basements tend to be a little cold if they are underground so ensure that there is proper heating as well as ventilation and that both the electrical and plumbing meet all the requirements. This extra room will give your family more flexibility to enjoy themselves not to mention a higher return if you decide to sell your establishment.


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Futuro Futuro “Streamline W” Island Range Hood

The “Streamline” model range hood offers an ultra-sleek design with a unique “accent light” feature.

Turning on the work light also illuminates the “accent light” strip on the side, making the hood look even thinner, and adding a cool visual effect.

Check out this designer hood installed in a customer’s kitchen:



Image courtesy of Appliance World. With locations in Huntington and Oyster Bay, Appliance World is the premier source for Long Islanders looking to update their kitchen with modern appliances.

One of the 200+ designer range hood models offered by Futuro Futuro, the “Streamline” hood is available in multiple sizes & versions:



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