Published at Thursday, March 14th, 2019 - 05:10:09 AM. Kitchen Room. By Alvarie Schröder.
Light and fire. Low-voltage, energy-efficient illumination for the outdoors is now easy to install, even without an electrician. It can be placed along paths, in grass, water features, and trees to extend garden use past dusk. Lighting also helps homeowners enjoy their gardens from afar by spotlighting different garden focal points so they can be enjoyed during inclement weather or when residents are otherwise unable to venture out. Real flames and light can flicker safely in gas-fired tiki-style torches or a fire pit to expand a gardens use into evening. Fire offers a mental health benefit since it tends to call people together to sit and linger, which is especially helpful for for those feeling isolated. “Theres something almost tribal about being around a fire together,” says Sachs.
Home layouts can also be optimized so animals can comfortably hang out with their human owners. Spring Creek Designs Smutko found that she and her husband were constantly needing to walk around their 60-pound German shepherd, Tess, in the kitchen. When the firm redesigned the room, she requested a larger aisle between the work island and sink. “We wanted Tess to be with us, but without being stepped on,” she says. She selected a hard quarter-sawn floor that would withstand Tesss claws. Technology and internet-enabled products can also help. Smart cameras and lights allow homeowners to keep tabs on pets and ensure theyre comfortable when alone in the house. New electronic collars can activate pet doors so that homes remain secure. Winter Park, Fla., architect, builder, and licensed interior designer Phil Kean incorporated that technology when he designed the New American Home in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders. He also used an artificial turf called K9Grass that is designed specifically for dogs and eliminates the challenge of muddy paws and dead spots on the lawn.
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