Category Archives: Home Design

Utility + Beauty: Next-Level Kitchen Sinks

Utility. It sounds like such a stiff word, but the truth is, utility can lead to flexibility. Utility and flexibility are two highly desirable attributes when it comes to kitchens, especially when it comes to your kitchen sink. Now, if that has you thinking about overwhelming stainless steel boxes with clunky faucets, think again. Today’s next-level kitchen sinks have solved the utility vs. beauty conundrum with models that are highly efficient and look great. (Photo courtesy of faucetmag.com)

Basin Basics

Design has evolved significantly from just having a basic porcelain rectangular hole and a standard tap in the kitchen counter. Everyday life today demands a lot from your kitchen. Luckily, we have so many conveniences that help expedite meal planning and prep time. We even have a variety of ways to make meals in 30-minutes or less, but what good is that if the mess takes an hour to clean up? Un-think your sink by remembering it does more than wash dishes and hands. Keeping prep confined to the sink area makes clean-up of leftover meal ingredients much easier and streamlines washing of non-dishwasher items such as steak knives and specialty glassware.

one sink two functions
One sink; numerous functions. Prolific sink series photo courtesy of KOHLER.

More Is More

If you have ever felt limited by a sink you chose for style underestimating what you would actually need it for, you are not alone. And sometimes even a standard double-bowl sink has its drawbacks. So if you are building or planning a re-model, take some time to assess what you need from your sink. If you’re the family that does most of the big dinner/holiday hosting, you may wish to consider a model that offers more.

double sink by Bocchi
This fireclay kitchen sink offers a colander add-on for easy rinsing and draining of food and a custom cutting board that offers a convenient surface for prep and cleanup. Photo courtesy of Bocchi.

While many current kitchen plans do boast an additional sink in an island across from the main sink area, you may wish to reconsider how placement affects the utility and efficiency of this area. The option above locates that extra sink right next to the main sink, but does so beautifully so the area does not look overwhelming but functional; clean and well organized. Being able to hide dirty dishes from guests under the covered sink portion is also an enormous benefit!

Specialty & Lifestyle Options

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The stainless steel sink above provides a washing, rinsing and drying area; especially practical for after-party cocktail and wine glass clean up. Photo courtesy of FRANKE.

Innovations have allowed homeowners to choose from a variety of accessories that turn what once was a place to just wash dishes into a total meal prep, clean up, and entertaining center.

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Enhanced sink workstations are available for the most discerning of home chefs. These smart designs can then be re-configured for the entertaining portion of your evening. Photos courtesy of FRANKE.

Your kitchen design professional can provide the latest news on kitchen sink and workstation innovations. Call 314 Design Studio today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience. Visit us online at www.314designstudio.com

4 Thanksgiving Challenges Solved Through Great Kitchen Design

If yours is the home that everyone visits for Thanksgiving dinner, you are well aware it’s going to be a long day filled with cooking, serving and cleaning. Imagine a Thanksgiving that affords more time for conversing, socializing and bonding with your loved ones. Through innovation and smart kitchen design, you don’t have to just imagine…because smart design can help you save precious time from prep to clean-up!

314 blog opener Nov 2018

 

Challenge #1: Finding it all

Get smart about storage. Consider carefully not only how much cabinetry you have, but how it will be configured—the ratio of that all-important lower cabinet space, with upper and vertical spaces. In other words, ask your design specialist about the latest innovations in storage that go beyond just having lots of drawers and cabinets. Using various spices to create all your special holiday recipes? Searching through a carousel can be tedious. Find them faster with a spice drawer inset kit that keeps them at your fingertips and placed so they are easy to read and grab. Smart design can also help out in those Thanksgiving moments when your hands are too full or wet and you can’t easily open a drawer or cabinet. The latest in auto-open technology allows you to open cabinets and drawers with just a gentle nudge and then close them with just a slight touch. You may also want to consider this feature for cabinets in those hard to reach places; like where that heavy-duty, but seldom used, roasting pan is stored.

Finding It All

Challenge #2: Timing is everything

Get double the lovin’ from a second oven—and have everything warm and ready to be served at the same time. No easy feat when you have a single oven, unfortunately, and when you consider that big juicy bird is already taking up all the room. And you can forget about adding side dishes or dishes that require different cooking temperatures. Who hasn’t had this holiday hosting problem? Having that second oven is a sensible solution that could come in handy throughout the year. Think about how nice it would be at Christmas cookie baking time, or when you’re really getting your Julia Child on and trying your hand at a soufflé and a rack of lamb simultaneously. And if you have more than one cook in your kitchen, this option actually becomes more of a necessity.

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Challenge #3: The cocktail hour

Consider a two-tier or dual level kitchen island so you can be still be in all-out prep mode while your island is pulling double-duty by providing serving and/or buffet space for cocktails and those all-important pre-meal appetizers. And while the lower level is serving, the upper level provides visual relief from the whirl of activity going on at countertop level. Entertaining aficionados may even wish to consider keeping guests from your kitchen’s hustle and bustle by planning a separate area within your kitchen space to include a dedicated cocktail serving and gathering station, complete with a wet bar, wine fridge, multi-level counters and convenient seating. If the party’s always at your house, why not consider this first-class hosting option?

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Challenge #4Large roaster pan vs. small sink

Once waged, this battle is seldom won without porcelain scratches and the spillage of wayward rinse water. Fortunately, beautiful and functional larger sink options abound and have become increasingly popular. From farmhouse-style sinks to sleek, 32-inch long by 17-inch deep inset stainless styles with apron front detailing, there are larger options to complement any kitchen design. Another wise choice is to add a second smaller or prep sink with a garbage disposal to your kitchen island for ease of workflow and quicker clean-ups. You can also place that second sink in a butler’s pantry (more info coming in our monthly newsletter) or in that separate cocktail area mentioned above.

big sinks

Are you up for a kitchen remodeling challenge? Call 314 Design Studios today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience.

 

 

 

 

Rub a Dub Dub… Got Pups in Your Tub?

No doubt if this is your situation, you have had more than your fair share of sandy or muddy dog paws to contend with. Fortunately, with a few enhancements and tips, your bathroom can be ready for any dirty dog that comes its way. (Photo courtesy of Consumer Affairs.)

Dog_in_bath_Consumer affairscom

Here are 3 ideas to help make bath time for “Bowzer” more of a breeze!

1. If you’re building a new home or are already considering a bathroom, laundry or mudroom remodel, you might want to use the opportunity to install a dedicated dog wash station. Your designer will work with a plumber to install the proper basin or shower pan, drain and fixtures. A tile professional can help create a practical yet polished surround for your pet’s bathing area.

One of the first things you will want to consider when creating your plan is the size of your dog. If you have a large dog, a step-in shower is your best option. If you are a small dog lover, you will want to have a more tub-like design that you either lift your pet into or build steps or a ramp to help them easily access the tub. (Photos courtesy of The Bark, Home Channel TV, Pets Best and Houzz.)

dog bathIf you go the step-in shower route, it should be outfitted with at least a curb to keep water from splashing out. If you have a very well behaved dog you may be able to skip installing a glass or other type of panel to control splashes, but experts generally recommend adding a short shower curtain or glass wall.

Talk to your home designer about incorporating storage aspects into the design above and aside the shower area so everything you need can be easily accessible.

2. To make your pet’s bath time a safe and happy shared experience make sure to include a rubber mat in the bathing area and a non-slip rug for those wet paws, as dogs tend to be fearful of slippery surfaces. (Photo courtesy of The Dogington Post.)

bath_mat by The Doginton Post3. To make your existing tub more pet friendly you can affix a clip to the wall to help tether and keep your dog more stable during bathing. You can also install a flexible hand-held shower head or an adjustable height sliding shower head. Some sliding versions adjust low enough for your dog to feel like he has his own personal shower. (Photo courtesy of Total Living Concepts.)

dog-shower by Total Living Concepts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to make your bathroom more pet-friendly? We’re here to discuss your ideas. Call 314 Design Studios today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience; we are located at 314 Main Street in Stevensville, MD 21666, and open from 8 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

The Islands Have It! Form, Function … and Fun New Lines & Designs

It’s no secret that the kitchens that evoke the most convivial environments have at least one thing in common, a stylish island that offers both panache and purpose.

Today’s islands, indeed, offer all that and more. However, the earliest versions of kitchen islands were actually just work stations in the form of long narrow tables that were all about purpose and utility. With the appliances and plumbing fixtures of the day needing to be tethered to walls, the only place to situate them was in the middle of the room. They did the job of providing extra prep space, but that was long before our open floor plan living concepts created the need for work stations to have a makeover. (Photo above is from 314 Design Studio’s gallery of home projects.)

While some more pleasing attempts at “island living” were introduced in the ‘60s and ‘70s, today’s kitchen islands have their roots in those larger rectangular structures that took center stage in America’s kitchens in the ‘80s and ‘90s. And back then, in the land of the big, bigger and biggest, one might argue the primary purpose of an island was to help fill or connect space in the late 20thcentury’s largest kitchens.

It’s a beautiful thing now that we have come full circle and have figured out how to better use this wonderful device for productivity and gathering in a way that’s totally 21stcentury.

Customization Comes Home

Beyond being breakfast and homework central, islands have evolved in how they are laid out, what they are made of, how they are styled and constructed, and how they are situated within the kitchen space.

314island5Standard rectangular islands are still extremely prized and popular for the way they can accommodate a sink, a stovetop, a seating area and how they can provide a ton of extra prep and storage space, especially for those large countertop appliances and cooking accessories. (Photo above is from 314 Design Studio’s gallery of home projects.)

However, non-standard islands are making their mark on kitchen culture and making their way into spaces you wouldn’t necessary think would work for an island. These three newer trends do, however, because they were well planned for and well executed. So talk to your qualified design team if you’re planning a new home or just a new kitchen.

Shape Shifters

Playing with shape is the primary way islands are changing the kitchen landscape. Consider this Pentagon-shaped version. (Photo below is courtesy of Houzz Magazine.)

photo credit houzz magazineBy adding a triangle-shaped portion of marble to a rectangle portion, you create a more interesting aspect of design to the kitchen. In addition to the extra seating this approach provides, it adds a wow-factor to the room’s aesthetic that a rectangle alone just can’t do.

Talk about conversation starters, the room below with its angled island and contrasting color combo, creates great flow for foot traffic and appeals to the eye as it surveys the layout of the room. (Photo below courtesy of convencionviahispania.org.)

islandviaconvencionhispanaorgThis design makes the most of the existing space without sacrificing flow or style. Indeed, both wine and appetizers are all that are needed to get a party started when you have a sensibly styled showpiece like this one.

There is also something to say for subtlety in design. We love the way the island below curves and moves so well within a limited space, making the room’s layout all the better for it. (Photo below is from 314 Design Studio’s gallery of home projects.)

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It’s also a winner when it comes to extra storage, entertaining space and a dual-level approach to the countertop allowing for simultaneous prepping, conversation and noshing to be going on. Exactly what you want and need your kitchen to do!

Excited to get started? Call us today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience; we are open 8 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.314 Design Studio is located at 314 Main Street, Stevensville.

 

 

Three Reasons To Create an Outdoor Shower Oasis

Days out on the boat, fishing dockside with the kiddos, and afternoons by the pool are wonderful Chesapeake endeavors that are best followed up with a refreshing shower once back on dry land. Here are three reasons why you may want to re-think where you are taking that shower.

  1. IT’S PRETTY PRACTICAL

With all the attention being paid to our alfresco living spaces, it is only logical—and at times, more practical, to have that facility incorporated into your outdoor living scheme. Not to mention, all the sand and other land particles that WON’T make it into your house, if they’re washed off outside first. #lessmess!

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(Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2IT HAS ZEN PROPERTIES

Beyond convenience, installing an open-air shower as a complement to your adjacent outdoor living areas provides another chance to feel more in harmony with nature and enhance your sense of well-being with its inherent spa-like vibe.

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(Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. IT ENHANCES VALUE

Creating an outdoor shower experience on your property, can also give you an opportunity to flex those creative bones and style a space that adds to the overall aesthetic and enhances your property’s amenities and value.

outdoor whole bath
(Image courtesy of House Beautiful)

NEED MORE INSPIRATION?

With the variety of materials including treated real woods, stacked stone and amazing composite products that mimic the look of natural materials, you will have many options when it comes to designing the space.

From rustic, to moody, to modern there are many ways to provide for both the privacy you will want to have with the aesthetic you find most pleasing.

showers

Want to discuss your ideas for an outdoor shower project with an expert? Our talented team of certified designers can help you assess your needs and then combine them with the right materials, fixtures, and creature comforts specifically designed for outdoor living spaces. Call us today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience; we are open 8 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

Outdoor Kitchens That Offer Sizzling Summer Style

Before you know it, summer will be here—and you know what that means when you live on the Chesapeake Bay—letting the good times roll outside and enjoying sun, fun, family and friends!  We’ll bet you cannot wait for fresh-caught Maryland Crabs and BBQs! While your appetite may well be ready for your first crab feast, can you say your outdoor space is? Fundamental to good Maryland living is enjoyment of outdoor living and entertaining.

While outdoor design trends may have started with a simple charcoal grill and a beverage cooler, outdoor living spaces evolved in the mid-2000s as a most-wanted home feature, with many new home builds featuring outdoor kitchens integrated into patio and deck floorplans. Today’s outdoor kitchens are “next level” offering even more options with new materials, appliances and aesthetics to rival even our most urbane interior kitchen floorplans.

In other words, grab your biggest crab pot and get ready for your next summer on the Chesapeake with these outdoor kitchen innovations.

crabs
(Photo ©2017 Lisa J Gotto)

Material Maneuvers

While granite remains widely popular when it comes to indoor countertops, and stone is a wise choice for outdoor surfaces due to its durability, an innovative material that blends the glamour of the former with the weather-resistant qualities of the latter is now available in the composite category. This outdoor-rated composite is called DEKTON and is known for its strength and style. DEKTON withstands high temperatures, and resists stains and dinging from heavy utensil use. It provides the long-term durability aspect that is a necessity for enduring outdoor use.

Dekton-Outdoor-Kitchen
(Photo Courtesy of DEKTON)

Those first-generation outdoor kitchens rarely strayed from using stainless steel when it came to outdoor cabinetry, and with good reason. Like stone, it is one of few options that is both weather- and termite-proof. But manufacturers have added marinegrade polymers and teak options to the mix.

The marine-grade polymers are durable, easy to clean and come in variety of colors for customization and the use of teak can bring the woodsy warmth so many homeowners desire in a kitchen—even an outdoor kitchen.

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(Photo Courtesy of Brown Jordan)

Appliance Advancements

What is the biggest must-have item in the outdoor kitchen marketplace right now? The pizza oven! More than just a way to accomplish a quick meal, the pizza oven is giving families a unique, new way to connect and create fun quality time. Outdoor pizza ovens come in a variety of materials and sizes, free-standing and built-in, and in every type of style from modern to rustic. Other items that families are asking for and are available now are smokers, flat cook tops, and better storage options. Industry leaders predict the next big trend will be outdoor heaters; a great item to have for those cooler Bay breezes and to extend outdoor kitchen use beyond the summer season. The objective is to provide more options that appear less obtrusive and blend better with our outdoor kitchen surroundings.

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(Photo Courtesy of Kalamazoo)

Appetizing Aesthetics

Creating a seamless transition from the inside of your home to your outside property is the priority in aesthetics today. Design and build options are available that open up a space so much that you can walk through the front door of a home and see a vista of the outdoors uninterrupted by drywall. Imagine your Bay area home providing that type of view.

To achieve uninterrupted site lines between indoor and outdoor spaces, 314 Design Studio experts recommend level floors with seamless room transitions and utilizing flooring materials suitable for indoor or outdoor spaces.

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(Photo courtesy of marca-corona)

Today’s porcelain floor tile options that mimic wood and stone provide the option for opulence because they look just as beautiful indoors as they look outdoors. Both wood and stone-look options are available in many varieties to complement any décor and help create the wow factor of the seamless look.

pool house
(Photo courtesy of Curtis Martin Photography for Lundberg Builders)

This four-season, 500 square foot Cape Cod style pool house was designed by architectural designer, Bob Moreland and built by Lundberg Builders. The exterior mixes a stone front facade and vinyl siding to match the original home, a custom-built cedar outdoor shower and attached storage area. The interior includes a cozy wood burning fireplace with a stone tile chimney facade, a limed-oak ceiling, porcelain ceramic tile flooring for durability, and a LaCantina folding wall system. The folding wall system is a fantastic way to connect indoor spaces to your outdoor living space. 

Do you have an idea for an outdoor kitchen and living space you would like to discuss with our designers? Our talented team of certified designers can help you assess your needs and then combine them with just the right materials, appliances and creature comforts to create a space that not only maximizes function and form but also blends substance with your unique sense of style. Call us today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience; we are open 8 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

 

 

How to properly clean your washing machine

 

If your washing machine is smelling worse than your gym clothes, it may be time to give it a thorough cleaning. Believe it or not even washing machines get dirty and need to be cleaned. The easiest test to determine if your washer needs to be washed is to, well….stick your head in and smell the inside.

Soils from laundry, detergents and hard water minerals can build up in areas that are hard to see which can develop an odor over time. Mold, grime and mildew in the washer lid and the door are another problem area.  It’s recommended that you try these steps below every six months to keep your washer in tip-top shape.

Top loading washers

Set your washer on the highest level, as well as the hottest setting. Add 4 cups of white vinegar to the wash cycle. After the cycle starts, pause the machine and allow it to sit for an hour. During this time, wipe down the top of the washer with a cloth dipped in the hot vinegar water. Use an old toothbrush to clean the fabric softener and bleach dispensers as well. After an hour, continue the wash cycle.

Next, run another wash cycle using one cup of baking soda. At the end of the cycle, wipe the top inside of the washer tub to remove any scum.

Front loading washers

The rubber gasket at the front of the washer accumulates water, dirt, mildew and other grime. Before cleaning the washer drum, clean the gasket by spraying it with white vinegar and wiping with a damp cloth.

Set the washer to the highest level and the hottest water temperature. Add two cups of white cleaning vinegar to detergent dispenser. Run it through a complete cycle.

Run another cycle on the highest level and at the hottest water temperature, this time adding one-half cup of baking soda to the drum. When cycle is done, wipe inside drum of washer with a damp cloth.

Bonus Tip: Help to subdue mildew and mold by leaving the lid or door open when not in use.

Monday Blues: The Good Kind

The color blue offers a stunning versatility that makes it an ideal complement when paired with different colors, textures and styles. Universally some shade of the color blue is a favorite among men & woman. This versatile color has the ability to be friendly, demanding, powerful, peaceful and even trustworthy. Check out these images below to see how homeowners incorporated it’s many different shades into their kitchen & baths.

This traditional kitchen pairs pastel blue & white for a fresh & clean look

Blue, yellow, and red define this formal kitchen giving it a rustic but fun look.

One of my personal favorites, southwestern with a touch of rustic charm.

French blue-painted cabinets paired with stainless steel appliances give this kitchen a traditional but modern feel. Coming together for something that is extremely charming and beautiful.

Azure blue walls provide a stunning backdrop for this neutral cabinetry in shades of white and charcoal gray.

                           How gorgeous is this Cobalt Blue Mosaic tile?!

                                              The  indigo wall pairs beautifully with this iridescent tile.

Aqua paired with natural oak gave this custom built pool house (Lundbergbuilders.com) a beachy vibe.

 

Aging in Place: Make your home a home for a lifetime!

The phrase “Aging In Place” means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of your age or ability level.To age in place it is necessary to modify your house as you mature to increase access and maneuverability. By planning ahead during construction or renovation you give yourself the opportunity to  plan accordingly so that your home has the ability to grow with and remain as functional as possible. A lot of these modifications can be incorporated into a new construction plan or during renovations. These adaptions are functional for normal everyday use so incorporating them early will not reduce your current quality of life. The changes can be as major as adding a bedroom or bathroom to the main level of your home to as modest as adding grab bars in the bathroom. 78% of those aged 50-64 have said they want to live in their own residence as long as possible. Staying in your own home as you age takes planning and help, but the rewards are many. Whether you live alone or with a spouse, aging in place keeps you closer to family, maintains your independence and connects you to your community. And, it costs less in the long run. Read on to find out some ways to help you improve your quality in life as you age.

  • Accessibility – Ramps and stairlifts make homes easier to stay in as mobility declines. Also, add grab bars to stairs, tubs and showers.
  • Bathroom Upgrade – Getting in and out of a bathtub and shower combination can be dangerous as seniors’ agility declines. Tub Cut is an affordable option for converting a tub to a shower. Curbless showers for wheelchair access are also an option. Both of these options are designed to help you maintain your independence.
  • Energy Efficiency – Many seniors rely completely on a fixed income and every dollar counts. Save money on electricity and gas, and stay comfortable, when you upgrade to energy-efficient heating and cooling systems as well as appliances. Check attic insulation and upgrade windows with energy efficient replacement windows. The energy cost savings will continue to add up, and if the upgrades/replacements are done before December 31, 2013, you’ll also qualify for a substantial tax credit.
  • Floors – Prevent falls (the leading cause of disability in older people) by removing throw rugs, relocating furniture, securing loose wires, using non-skid spray on tile and linoleum floors and maintaining a wide area for movement in hallways and pathways in other rooms. Also, consider whether your hallways and rooms are clear enough for a wheelchair to get through easily.
  • Lighting – Dimly lit areas present another fall hazard. As eyesight declines, it’s important to address lighting issues throughout the house, taking extra care that light fixtures have at least two bulbs in vital areas such as the entryway, bathrooms and kitchen. This way, when one bulb burns out, you still have light in that area. Make sure light switches are low enough to easily reach from a wheelchair.
  • Alarm System – Elderly people are often targeted by burglars and a security system can not only help thwart criminals, but provide peace of mind and often make it easier to get emergency services.
  • Door knobs and Cabinets – Arthritis and other conditions make it harder to open doors and cabinets. Replace door knobs and cabinet hardware with levers, which are much easier to grasp.
  • Risers – Getting out of bed or standing up from a sitting position gets harder as we age. The lower the furniture, the harder it is. Installing bed risers, using power seat uplift assists and rising recliners make it easier to get up and down.
  • Door Entry Intercoms – Answering the door can be difficult for those who can’t get up from a sitting position easily, but an intercom allows you to communicate with the person outside the door, and even press a button to let them in, all from where you are sitting.
  • Personal Response System – A lifesaver for seniors who live alone, a personal emergency response system is a lightweight, battery-powered “help” button that is carried by the user. It transmits to a console connected to the user’s telephone. When emergency help is needed, such as medical, fire, or police, the user can press the transmitter’s “help” button, sending a radio signal to the console which then automatically dials one or more emergency telephone numbers.

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Aging in place is a choice. Making these choices gives you control over your independence, quality of life and dignity.Currently, the majority of seniors aged 65 and older are living either with a spouse or alone in their own home. Many of these elderly people already struggle with fulfilling everyday tasks. As Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS), Lundberg Builders has the answers to your questions. We have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically enriching, barrier-free environments. For more information, please call us at (410) 643-3334.