Smart Appliances for the Kitchen

Professional grade appliances and smart refrigeratorThe kitchen of the future is here. While robots in aprons have yet to materialize, smart appliances are a part of our homes and our experience in the kitchen can be improved by these modern wonders.

Just what is a smart appliance? According to Normandy Designer John Long, “It’s an extra level of flexibility, which comes from being connected to the internet and to other devices.”

Smart appliances can do amazing things with that connection like text you when your food has reached the correct temperature or suggest a dinner recipe using what you have on hand in your refrigerator. If you don’t like the options suggested, and feel you’d like to shop for more options, it can help send a grocery list right to your phone or your online grocery cart.

range flanked by upper and lower cabinets and metal hood

Some smart appliances can be your best sous chef. Remote ready ovens from Wolf use a probe to tell you when the roast has reached its perfect internal temperature. No more guessing, you just respond to the message on your phone. Similarly, steam ovens with pre-determined settings help you put chef-quality vegetables, cheesecake and other delectable favorites on the table with the touch of an app.

John says, “Smart appliances give people increased flexibility with their schedules, which is especially helpful for families with busy sports and performing arts schedules.”

If you’ve been using a personal home assistant like Amazon’s Alexa for some time and have reached a level of comfort with giving instructions to the device, you can go beyond the app and into the world of voice commands. Sinks and ovens can turn on or off with just a few words from you, adding to that feeling of living in the future and also increasing your ability to multi-task in the kitchen.


Programmable steam ovenWith so many features, it’s important to get the best recommendations on which smart appliances will work best for your family’s needs. Normandy Designers partner with the experts at Abt Electronics to make sure you’ll be delighted by your smart appliances.

If you’re thinking of remodeling, you can set up a time to talk to John about all the possibilities of a kitchen with integrated smart appliances. If you are just starting to think about a remodeling project, you are welcome to join us at an upcoming virtual webinar to learn more. There’s inspiration to be found in the Normandy Remodeling photo galleries. We share design ideas and inspiration on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Follow along for tips and thought starters.


Skylights Or Solatubes For Letting The Light Shine In

Grouping of four skylights

Ah, natural light, a holy grail of homes. There’s nothing quite like the beauty of sunlight illuminating your rooms. How can you add mood-boosting, home value bolstering light to your rooms? Look to the sky, or at least the ceiling, and consider adding skylights or Solatubes.

Skylights are essentially windows installed in the roof of the home. Skylights increase the natural light in a room and offer a view of the sky. “People want light, and when you add on you can actually wind up darkening your new room. Maybe you take away a a large window or sliding glass door that was a good source of light. Skylights bring that natural light back into the room.” says Normandy Designer Vince Weber.

Primary bathroom with stained cabinetry, freestanding bathtub, and skylight

“For good light day or night, pay close attention to how you space out the skylights and alternate them with artificial lights, “Vince advises.

The customization options available for skylights have increased over the years. These days you can choose fixed skylights or skylights that open either manually or with a remote control. “There are lots of features available. You’ll find skylights that are motorized, ventilated and close automatically,” says Vince.

Be open to where you use skylights. Your designer might have some unexpected ideas. “Skylights are great above the tub,” Vince offers as an example.

It all sounds blissful, but are there potential downsides to skylights? Yes. If you go too large with them, skylights can lessen the energy efficiency of a room.

Natural and artificial light in the kitchenA Solatube is a clear plastic dome attached to the roof and connected to a metal tube with mirrored interiors that run from the roof to the ceiling. Sunlight passes through the dome, bounces off the mirrored surfaces and filters into the room below.

“Solatubes bring natural light into an interior room. I like to use them in walk-in closets where it’s important to see the real colors and tones of clothes and accessories. Really though, any interior space without a window and with roof above it is a good place for a Solatube,” says Vince.

Bright sitting room with windows and skylights

Solatubes are suitable for truss roofs, can be more energy efficient and are usually more affordable than skylights. They do not, however, provide that lovely view of the sky. “Wherever you place them, consider adding a single light upgrade kit that makes them look like a can light at night. It’s an inexpensive solution that makes a lot of sense,” Vince explains.

Adding a light source from above as part of a home remodeling project is one of the smart and satisfying choice your designer can help you with. If you’re considering adding on or remodeling, let’s set up a time to talk about the possibilities. We offer virtual webinars that are a good option for those who are just starting to think about remodeling. Find good ideas in the Normandy Remodeling photo galleries. We share inspiration and tips on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Follow along if you’re on any, or all, of those social networks.

Vaulted ceiling with shiplap and contrasting beams

Two skylights that open


Primary bathroom with bay window and skylight for natural lightPainted cream cabinets with stained island and stained window trim

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