Houzzers on Houzz.com Say

Houzzers on Houzz.com Say: Dream Kitchen Must-Haves


by Becky Harris

Houzzers on Houzz.com Say


The kitchen above one among many must have for kitchens. This kitchen features a Pot filler. This handy faucet means no more having to schlep a heavy pasta pot full of water from the sink to the stove-top.

Bianco Antico: Granite

Bianco Antico: Granite used in kitchen above

The Granite counter top featured in this display is called Bianco Antico and isoffered in our Jackson Stoneworks Stoneyard, located on 1111 SW 22nd Ave, Gainesville, FL.



Hidden knife storageThe Kitchen below features a Hidden knife storage. These boxes pop up from the counter. Similar systems exist for storing other items, like herbs and even iPod devices.

Big cabinet drawers. Houzzers want to make the most of every square inch of storage space. Big drawers, especially those with dish racks and other inserts, maximize bottom cabinets’ storage potential.

Kitchen and Bath

Kitchen Remodel Costs: The Mid- to-Upper-Range Kitchen Remodel

by Bud Dietrich, Houzz.com contributor 

Kitchen and BathSeems that whenever I meet a potential new client, the first question is, “How much will this project cost?” I then try to explain that this is like asking, “How long is a piece of string?”

You see, there are just too many things that will influence a project’s cost. From basic construction issues, such as repairing what may need repairs, to client selections for cabinets, appliances and everything else, to whether or not we plan on moving things around or adding space, there are so many variables that come into play.

What if the existing kitchen layout doesn’t work? Maybe you want more space because you really love to bake and want a place to roll and cut out all those holiday cookies. Or a kitchen island is something you’ve always wanted so that friends and family can sit nearby as you display your culinary skills.

A $40,000 to $75,000 kitchen remodel might include:

 1. A total rework of the space. Everything, including the kitchen sink, may need to be moved, which means new plumbing, electrical, air ducts and so on. 

2. Professional-style appliances. From the 48-inch built-in stainless steel refrigerator to the 48-inch cooktop with grille and griddle to the 30-inch double convection ovens, this kitchen is all about creating wonderful meals.

3. Custom island. And if you want an island, why not make it like some large piece of furniture with legs and beadboard? It’s a perfect place for the kids to sit and do homework while the evening meal is being prepared.


4. Custom cabinetry. Beaded, inset doors of clear alder with a custom stain and glaze in nonstandard sizes with all the accessories make for a beautiful and functional kitchen at a cost.

5. Designer hardware. Forget about using big-box knobs and handles. Take the time to find the pieces that are special. After all, you will be using these things constantly.

6. Wood flooring. Wood or porcelain tile or a stone floor will be more costly than a vinyl tile or sheet.


7. Stone counters and a glass tile backsplash. A quartz or natural stone material such as granite will certainly be more costly than a laminate top. For some, the look and feel of these materials is worth the extra cost. And while laminate may start to look used and nicked up in a few years, stone will be fresh and new looking for years, even decades, after first being installed.


8. Custom storage. With custom cabinets, you don’t have to settle for what’s stocked. So if you want a cabinet designed to handle small appliances with drop-down doors that become extra counter space, custom is the only way to go. 

Summer Tips for a Healthy Heart

Summer Tips for a Healthy Heart

The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Follow these tips this summer to keep your whole family happy and healthy:

Staying active in the summer months

The arrival of spring and summer means days at the pool, family picnics, baseball and other outdoor activities. Here are some tips to keep your family physically active in the warmer months:

  • Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. For low-calorie flavor, add slices of your favorite fruits such as melon, oranges, berries or even cucumber or mint to a pitcher of water and refrigerate for two hours.
  • Protect your family from the sun: wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  • Heat safety: avoid intense activities between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Dress for the heat: wear lightweight, light colored clothing, choose light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Head indoors: when the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.


Heart-Healthy Cookout Ideas

  • Go fish! Fish, especially oily fish like tuna and salmon have great nutritional benefits including omega-3 fatty acids. Rub a fillet with lemon juice and parsley or rosemary for enhanced flavor.
  • Make a better burger: if you’re grilling burgers, be sure to buy lean or extra lean beef, drain off the excess fat after cooking and avoid making huge patties – remember that a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards (3 oz). Add finely chopped green pepper to your beef to get in some veggies.
  • Baked fries: Slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, pepper and paprika and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Veggie kabobs: load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies. Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and grill until slightly blackened.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob: leave the husks on, and grill for about 30 minutes over medium flame, rotating occasionally. Remove from grill, let cool for about 5 minutes, remove husks and enjoy!


Health Road Trip

Road trips can take a toll on everyone – here are some ideas to keep things healthier while on the open road:

  • Make “rest breaks” active: pick a road stop or park and get the family out of the car to take a brisk 10-minute walk and move around. Not only will it burn off some energy, but it can also help the driver feel rejuvenated and more alert.
  • Pack healthy snacks: finding healthier snacks at road stops can be difficult. Pack apples, grapes, raisins, whole grain fiber-rich crackers or another favorite low fat, low sodium healthy snack to take with you.
  • Pack to play: plan to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine while you’re away from home. Pack a football, soccer ball, Frisbee, or paddle balls so that you can be physically active throughout your downtime.
  • Reach for water: sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda, which has extra calories and added sugar. Pack water (flavored or regular), fat free or lowfat (1%) milk and small portions of 100% juice to quench your thirst.


Summer Snack Ideas

Try some fun and refreshing summer snacks that the entire family can enjoy:

  • Fruit pops: Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put them in paper cups, insert a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!
  • Cool and crisp: keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy for   a refreshing treat – baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are just a few ideas.
  • Fruit smoothies: blend your favorite fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink or freeze and eat with a spoon like a frozen ice chill.
  • Mix it up: make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted, oil free nuts, seeds and dried fruits (just be sure to keep your servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup).
  • Just slice and serve: summer months are peek season for most fruits, just slice and serve – the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made ‘em!

8 Creative Lighting Solutions for Food Prep

by Christine Tusher, Houzz Contributor

Lightingg can be a real doozy when you’re assembling your dream kitchen. Not only do you need to make sure that key food prep and cooking areas are well lit, but you also have to create a balance between the fluorescents and LEDs so many planning boards require and the softer light sources you desire.They key to finding this balance often lies in choosing fixtures that not only brighten your prep spaces but also draw the eye away from can lights, fluorescents and LEDs. Here are eight creative ideas for lighting your prep space, no matter what your style.
 fluorescents and LEDs
Oversize pendants with solid shades direct light directly onto this island, offering plenty of light for slicing and dicing. By directing light toward the center of the island, this cluster also softens and diffuses the focus on the eating area, making it ideal for both ways this space needs to function.
hanging pots
Can’t see the fixture? Look again. It’s cleverly mounted in the center of the pot rack just below the level of the rack itself, ensuring that hanging pots won’t block the light when this home chef takes advantage of the island’s butcher block.
traditional kitchen
A mix of lighting sources anchors multiple prep spaces in this traditional kitchen. Traditional sconces break up a majestic oversize backsplash and light the counter below, while lantern-style pendants help anchor the island and light the second sink.
high-traffic kitchen
The family who owns this home has six hungry boys, making the kitchen a high-traffic area. They worked with The Home Depot’s design team to create a kitchen with plenty of snack-making space lit by a long row of pendants from Blue Moon Trading Co.
Granite for the Kitchen
In the same home, the soft light diffused by the pendants’ wire shades does double duty on the other side of the island, where a breakfast bar provides additional seating for this large family.
modern decor
This huge dome pendant provides ample soft lighting for this prep-space-meets-seating-area. It suits this home’s minimalist, modern decor perfectly, creating a simple focal point by contrasting the countertops’ sharp edges.
built-in lighting
An elongated vent hood with built-in lighting makes this ultramodern space shine. Placing nonfluorescent downlighting lower than ceiling level helps to diffuse and soften the light while still keeping the prep space bright.
Southern California home
An angled roof created a particular lighting challenge in this Southern California home. The solution: midcentury-inspired Pele pendant lights hung over the kitchen island …
eye track lighting
… which create a focal point to draw the eye away from the track lighting that’s doing the heavy lifting.
UF's Green building program

UF’s Green Building Program Paying Off

By Jeff Schweers
The Gainesville Sun Staff writer

UF's Green building program

UF’s Green Building Program is showing some green.

The University of Florida announced last week that it had received $37,000 under a special tax benefit program for businesses, architects and contractors that build new buildings or retrofit existing ones to be more energy efficient.

“UF has secured more than $135,000 of savings, including (the) announcement, and we expect additional savings to be announced in the coming months,” Curtis Reynolds, vice president of business affairs at UF, said about the tax benefit.

UF has made energy savings one of its top priorities, Reynolds said. Under its Green Building Program, it has designed many of its newer buildings and recent renovations of existing buildings with the goal of saving energy and getting LEED certified.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act created the 179D deduction, which allows a tax rebate on each new or retrofitted energy-efficient building put in use between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2013. The business can apply for a rebate of 60 cents per square foot for each of the following categories: HVAC, electrical and envelope (windows, roof, insulation) — up to $1.80 per square foot if all three components are included.

“If you do a green building, you get the benefit for all three … they automatically follow that category because they are doing all three elements,” said Bahar Armaghani, assistant director of building, design and construction at UF and director of its Green Building Program.

She credited Reynolds with supporting her effort to lead the 179D program and make it a reality.

Government entities like UF don’t pay taxes, but under a special rule they can designate the benefit to a tax-paying “designer” and receive savings in return for the allocation, Armaghani said.

“The rule actually says a federal, state or public entity that is tax exempt can get those benefits through the designer and contractor who designs and builds these buildings and does these retrofits for you,” she said.

Once the building or renovation is completed, the designer has an independent contractor inspect and verify the building, the system and the energy model, compare its energy use to the prior system, and report that information to the IRS.

The designer submits the application to the IRS, and when it sends the refund, the designer splits it with UF 50/50, Armaghani said.

The tax rebate is an incentive for the designer, and UF is essentially getting a rebate on the project, based on the energy efficiencies integrated into the building.

“It is a process we have to go through, but it’s worth it in terms of the benefit you get from it,” Armaghani said.

The $37,000 refund was for the Biomedical Sciences Building, designed by Affiliated Engineering Inc., she said. Other projects AEI or other contractors worked on as “designers” to get a tax savings for UF include the Institute on Aging Clinical and Translational Research Building, which netted a $40,000 savings for UF; the Lake Nona Research and Conference Center for a $39,000 tax savings; and Hough Hall, which netted UF an additional $18,788.

“We have more projects in the pipe for saving between $100,000 to $200,000 in the next few months,” she said, but declined to give an exact number until the third party verification for those buildings was completed.

UF hired Efficiency Energy LLC, a tax consultant out of Denver, in 2013 to help administer its 179D program to claim any savings it can get. Even though the program has expired, it still applies to projects completed between 2010 and 2013.

The U.S. Senate is considering extending the program to projects completed in 2014 and 2015 and increasing the tax credit to $1 per square foot per category, or up to $3 a square foot total, Armaghani said.

Current projects that could benefit if the program is extended include the renovation of the Reitz Union and the construction of Heavener Hall and Cypress Hall.

“As a matter of fact, we have integrated this into our contracts, meaning that every project will benefit,” Armaghani said.

Also, UF has integrated this feature into several Energy Service Company contracts. ESCOs are business enterprises that develop, install and finance projects designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce operations and maintenance costs for its customers’ facilities, she said.

5 Steps to Loving Exercise

5 Steps to Loving Exercise … Or At Least Not Hating It

5 Steps to Loving Exercise

We all know the benefits of regular physical activity – increased energy, better cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and looking more svelte.

But about 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, and, according to a recent American Heart Association website survey, 14 percent say they don’t like exercise.

So how do you overcome an exercise aversion? Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, has some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life – and maybe even learn to like it.

  1. Exercise That Suits You
    Find an exercise that best fits your personality, Dr. Carnethon said. If you are social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group exercise class, join a kickball team or walk with a group of friends. Or, if you prefer having time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit for you. MyWalkingClub.org is the perfect way to connect with others who share your goals, lifestyles, schedules and hobbies.Try some of these ideas to help you get moving – at home, at work or at play.
  2. Make it a Habit
    It takes about three weeks for something to become a habit, so give yourself the time to create a regular routine. One way is to try to exercise around the same time each day.
    “Exercise can become addictive in a positive way,” said Dr. Carnethon, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing something.”
  3. Build Exercise Into Your Lifestyle
    Be honest with yourself. If you don’t live close to a gym, it’s not going to become a habit for you. Likewise, if you are not a morning person, don’t plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.“The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive,” Dr. Carnethon said.There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to make a big financial investment.

    You can borrow exercise videos from the library or DVR an exercise program. Do weight or resistance training with items around your home (for example, use canned goods as light weights).  Walking is great option, as well. The only investment is a good pair of shoes.

  4. Do Bouts of Exercise
    It’s OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments, Dr. Carnethon said. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions.You could do a quick calisthenics routine when you wake up, take a brief walk after lunch at work and, if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  5. Keep Going
    If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. Everybody struggles once in a while. Just make sure you get back at it the next day.“It doesn’t take too long to get back on track,” Dr. Carnethon said. “It’s easy to make something a habit again. You will see same benefits before. Any little bit you can fit in will show benefits.”

What Goes With Granite Counters?

Laura Gaskill
Houzz Contributor
They are classy and hard wearing and come in a range of shades — is it any wonder granite counters are still so popular? Whether you are planning a new kitchen or want a fresh look that works with your existing granite counters, here are eight ideas to get you started.
Kitchen and Bath
1. Whitewashed wood and watery blue. Granite counters with cool, gray tones work well with beach-inspired hues like silvery blue, whitewashed wood and white sand. Try stainless steel appliances, white cabinets, blue-gray glass tiles and whitewashed woodwork.
Granite Counter Tops
2. Duck-egg green and warm gray. Because granite is a natural stone, it makes sense that it would work well with other hues from the natural world. Try it with other rock and mineral colors, like duck-egg green and warm stone gray.
Granite countertopIn this kitchen the island cabinets are painted duck-egg green, while the rest of the cabinets are left crisp white. The warm gray wall color picks up the gray of the granite, and ties in with the stainless steel sink and appliances.
Counters: Persia Pearl Granite
Kitchen and Bath Design
3. Taupe and cappuccino. Granite counters with a warm tone look beautiful surrounded by other rich, warm hues like taupe and cappuccino. Making some of the cabinetry white keeps the space from feeling too dark and heavy.
white kitchen
4. Crisp white paint and gray glass tile. For a fresh, modern look, try accenting gray granite counters with all-white cabinets, ceilings and walls. The flooring shown here is a light gray tile; dark wood would add a welcome touch of warmth to a cool gray scheme like this.
Black Granite
5. ‘Greige’ and white. Honed black granite counters like the ones shown here look sleek and stunning when paired with white cabinetry, wood floors and warm greige walls.
 black granite counters
6. Black, gray and white. Another option for black granite counters is to go a bit darker with graphite or charcoal walls and pure white cabinets. A chalkboard wall would also work well in a kitchen like this.
Alaska White granite counters
7. Warm white. Alaska White granite counters look a bit like marble — enhance the richness by painting cabinets and walls the same warm off-white hue. Pristine white ceilings keep the space feeling open, and pendant lights add to the elegant feel.
Sea salt and bottle green
8. Sea salt and bottle green. Using two shades of a similar hue is a great way to bring depth and interest to your space. A soft mineral green covers the walls in the space shown here, while a deep bottle green brings the island and range hood into focus. Warm wood floors keep the space feeling welcoming and relaxed.

Harn Museum of Art at UF, Enriching Audiences through Culture

by gainesvillechamber

Born and raised in a college town in Georgia, Dr. Rebecca Nagy has become quite comfortable living out her childhood fantasy of a life based on art.

Rebecca-Nagy-217x300Nagy’s love affair with the arts can be traced back to her childhood where she said her biggest influencers were her teachers. Years later, she found herself on the staff at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Today, Nagy heads the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“I had a really good impression of the Harn before I started working here,” Nagy said. “When I traveled to visit Gainesville, my husband and I fell in love with the city. When I was offered the position with the Harn my husband and I were both very happy.”

“We both love the college town environment,” Nagy added.

Nagy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia Southern University where she majored in art and later earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She credits her career in the arts to her early travels.

“Traveling really fueled my interest in art,” Nagy said. “I always liked traveling and going to museums, from the time I was a kid.”

The Harn is a 112,800-square-foot facility that houses more than 9,000 works of art in the collection. The collection areas are Asia, Africa, modern art, contemporary art and photography. Nagy joined the Harn staff in 2002 and led the facility through its first major constructions since its opening in 1990.

There are six collections curators at the Harn who develop exhibits; Nagy emphasized the teamwork that is involved in each of the exhibit’s selection and execution.

“We try to provide a variety of exhibits that will be interesting and enriching to all of the different audiences we serve,” Nagy said.

Nagy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia Southern University where she majored in art and later earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She credits her career in the arts to her early travels.

“Traveling really fueled my interest in art,” Nagy said. “I always liked traveling and going to museums, from the time I was a kid.”

The Harn is a 112,800-square-foot facility that houses more than 9,000 works of art in the collection. The collection areas are Asia, Africa, modern art, contemporary art and photography. Nagy joined the Harn staff in 2002 and led the facility through its first major constructions since its opening in 1990.

There are six collections curators at the Harn who develop exhibits; Nagy emphasized the teamwork that is involved in each of the exhibit’s selection and execution.

“We try to provide a variety of exhibits that will be interesting and enriching to all of the different audiences we serve,” Nagy said.


This audience is made up of art lovers, college students and faculty, Gainesville residents, and students of all ages in the Gainesville area and beyond. When choosing new exhibits, the museum keeps their audience in the forefront of their mind.

In 2005, the addition of the Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion, which features a contemporary art display and a café, created an increase in attendance and excitement for the museum. The excitement and rise in attendance was mirrored in the opening of the Cofrin Asian Art Wing in 2012.

“With each of these additions, we saw an excitement from our public because there was something new and exciting to see,” Nagy said. “We were able to enhance the integration of the architecture, the art, and nature.”

This integration mimics the atmosphere of the Gainesville community. Nagy and her husband enjoy the many cultural amenities that Gainesville has to offer. As residents of the downtown community they enjoy being able to walk to many cultural destinations like the Matheson Museum, the Hippodrome, and the Thomas Center, to name a few.

“Gainesville is always getting better,” Nagy said.

As a member of the Chamber board, Nagy has a chance to experience and be a part of the changes and improvements in the Gainesville area. The museum plays a role in the intellectual atmosphere in Gainesville and is eager to integrate more technology into their museum experience.

“We’ve been working with Kinwa, a startup company in Gainesville, on an app called Bubble, which gives you information about select art pieces as you walk through the museum,” Nagy said.

In addition to incorporating more technology into their museum experience, the Harn (and Nagy) is committed to keeping interesting, up-to-date exhibits rotating throughout the facility. Current exhibits include “String of Pearls: Traditional Indian Painting” and “Life is a Highway: Prints of Japan’s Tokaido Road” among many others.

Last July, the Harn released its five-year strategic plan, in which the mission statement was revised and four goals were clearly defined, one of which is “Innovation through Technology.” This goal is being met through ideas like the Bubble app. The Harn is also currently redesigning the website to be more interactive and user-friendly. The new website is set to launch this fall.

In the meantime, visit harn.ufl.edu for exhibit and other museum information.

Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Healthy HeartOK, so you’re not much into running? Or maybe you’ve had an injury and can’t run. Then just walk — every step you take is part of your journey to good heart health.

In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a new study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkley, Calif. All three conditions are risk factors for heart disease and stroke — and you can do something about them.

Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate- intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years. Read more about the study highlights.
The more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased.

“The findings don’t surprise me at all,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. “The findings are consistent with the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity in adults that we need 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to derive benefits.”

On Your Mark, Get Set … Walk!
Maybe you’ve been sedentary for a while. No problem.

“Just get started,” Pate said, “even if it’s a few additional minutes per day.”

It’s not all or nothing; it’s step by step. So set a reachable goal just for today. Then you can work toward your overall goal of 30 minutes a day by increasing your time as you get in better shape.

“Just find an approach that you find enjoyable,” said Pate, who is also a volunteer for the American Heart Association. “It may be the setting, doing it with someone or walking alone because you appreciate the solitude.”

And if you’re busy — like most of us — you can split up your walks into 10-15 minutes each. You can also work in walking when you:

  • Take the dog out for a stroll through the neighborhood.
  • Spend quality time with the family at the park.
  • Park farther from your workplace and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Window shop at the mall.
  • There’s lots of ways to engage in it,” Pate said.

It’s So Easy — and It Works
All you have to do is lace up with a good pair of sneakers — and walk. It’s that easy. It’s also safe, the least expensive and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise.

“It’s not a skill-dependent form of activity,” Pate said. “It’s the most accessible form of physical activity. You can do it almost anywhere. And it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.”

Before you know it, brisk walking can become a part of your daily routine. And you’ll reap plenty of benefits:

  • For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours.
  • Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day improves your heart health.

“Clearly, walking is an important form of physical activity,” Pate said.

Roca W+W

Meet the New Super Toilets

Indoor plumbing is arguably the greatest invention in the history of humankind (with the possible exception of Peeps sushi). And the porcelain and chrome toilets that grace most bathrooms in the industrialized world work fine. While most people think, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” some gadget-happy companies — especially in Japan — say, “Why not?”

Fancy electric high-tech toilets, which the Japanese call super toilets, can be found in more than 72 percent of Japanese households. At minimum they include a bidet feature and often a seat warmer.

High-tech features vary, but most of the toilets use electricity to provide warming, automation and bidet functions.

Numi SquarishThe Kohler Numi’s squarish, angled shape, subtle buttons and strange automatic lid make it look like it’s anything but a toilet.

It has a motion-activated lid that automatically opens when anyone stands in front of it and what Kohler calls “advanced bidet functionality,” which is an integrated air dryer.

The appliance, however, goes beyond the normal functions of a toilet and adds atmosphere. It has a heated seat and even a subtle air vent that warms the floor in front of the fixture.

It even has an atmosphere light and a music player. A touch-panel remote, which attaches to the toilet with a magnetic docking station, lets you customize all the settings.


Japan super toiletThe leading super toilet maker in Japan is a company called Toto. And if you’ve ever visited a nice hotel in Japan with a Toto toilet, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Toto’s most advanced toilets are sold only in Japan, with controls labeled only in Japanese. The most advanced Toto toilet you can buy in the United States is the Washlet S300.

It has a heated seat, a remote-controlled bidet feature with air drying and the option of an oscillating bidet stream of water.

Roca W+WRoca W+W, which stands for “washbasin plus water closet,” uses advanced technology to help the environment.

The water appliance saves, filters and chemically treats the sink water you use to wash your hands and brush your teeth, then reuses that water for flushing the toilet.

The net effect is that you use the same amount of water in the sink but zero extra water for the toilet.

Recognizing Roadblocks in Weight Loss

Health TipKeeping extra weight off can be as challenging as losing it. You may be tempted to go back to your old habits. It takes commitment to stick to your new, healthy lifestyle. Yet when you do, you may notice that you have greater self control with food, feel stronger, have better eating habits and are in better overall shape!

A couple days of tracking your calories with our food diary can help figure out how to dodge the food traps.

Decide ahead of time how you will deal with your habits and temptations to veer off course. If there are mental or emotional barriers that have previously kept you from losing weight, find ways to deal with them so that you don’t sabotage your weight loss efforts.


Here are some common roadblocks and solutions.

Roadblock Solution
I get hungry between meals and end up buying snacks out of the machine at work or the convenience store. Always keep low-calorie heart-healthy foods around. Use a shopping list, and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Learn healthy substitutions for high-calorie foods.
If I go to a buffet, I just can’t control how much I eat. Take one minute at a time while you are in front of the buffet table and remind yourself how hard you are working to lose weight. Put a small portion on your plate and don’t go back for seconds. Believe that you can do it and you will!
I usually grab something on the way home from work because I am so tired, I don’t feel like cooking. Plan your meals a week at a time over the weekends and cook partial meals then so that you have most of your meal prepared and only need to heat it up and add finishing touches. Check out some of our recipes. For those with cardiovascular conditions, try some of our low-cholesterol, low-sodium and diabetes-friendly recipes.
I can’t seem to resist my cravings for sweets and salty foods. When you start having a craving, drink a tall glass of water. Fooling your stomach into thinking it’s full can guide you past the craving.
I love dessert. I can’t give it up! When you crave a high-calorie food, eat a small amount and forget about it, instead of resisting until you give in and gorge on it. If you don’t trust yourself with just a little, don’t eat any at all. You can also find some smart substitutions and trade-offs with our list of ways you can save calories.
I don’t like working out. It’s boring. Stay active! Don’t give up on your physical activity plan. Find an exercise partner or exercise class to help you stay interested. Visit our Physical Activity website and START! Website to learn how to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Get tips for long-term success.

Lapsing and Relapsing

A lapse is a small mistake or return to old habits. This can happen when you have a bad day and overeat or skip exercise.

A relapse is when you go back to old habits for several days or weeks.

Remember that having a lapse or relapse is not failing. You can get back on track. Think about whether you feel hunger (gnawing in your stomach) or urges (mental cravings for food). When you feel an urge, set a timer for 15 minutes and wait, or do something else before eating. This will teach you to be in control of your desire for food. Try to use other ways to respond to life’s stresses besides eating. Take a brisk walk, start a new hobby or calm yourself with advice from our Stress Management website.


Classic Finish: Once and Always Chrome

by Paul Anater
Houzz.com contributor

Other kitchen and bath finishes come and go (remember antique brass?), but chrome never goes out of style. Chrome remains my go-to finish when I want a design to come across as clean, bright and tailored.

Chrome is one of the more common elements on the earth. Chromium ore, also known as chromite, comes from a few sites around the world and is an important resource in South Africa, Turkey, Russia and India. Most people know chrome from its distinctive shine, but chrome almost never occurs in nature that way. Rather, it’s combined with other elements to form compounds that do everything from give rubies their red color to allow human beings to metabolize sugar.

Chrome was an important pigment long before it became a faucet finish. Here’s a fun chrome fact: The yellow color of a school bus is actually chrome yellow, a paint derived from chromium ore.

It wasn’t until the early 1920s that somebody figured out how to electroplate base metals with chrome. It was in that same period that the chrome faucet made its debut. The corrosion-resistance and luster of chrome plating made it an instant hit. It’s been the most common faucet finish sold ever since.

These days, chrome competes for attention against brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and others. Something tells me, though, that it’s chrome that will have the staying power. What about you?

chrome bridge faucet

The combination of a chrome bridge faucet, a chrome sprayer and glass knobs on the cabinetry take the shine of the stainless steel refrigerator and spread it throughout this whole kitchen, though with an appealing subtlety.

vanity top
A vanity such as this one is what I meant when I described chrome as “tailored.” The chrome wall-mounted faucet, chrome sconces and chrome hardware on the vanity itself are as pulled together as a Chanel suit.
nickel cabinet handles
The chrome faucets, nickel cabinet handles, stainless steel sinks and red enamel Aga range combine to make an even and pleasant range of metal finishes in this kitchen.
chrome escutcheon
A chrome knob, a chrome escutcheon and a white cabinet door is an enduring classic that comes as close to being “timeless” as anything I can imagine.
mirror-like shine
The mirror-like shine of chrome hardware makes a brilliant counterpoint to the honed marble and dark cabinetry in this bathroom.
chrome fixtures
This bath design takes a page from the tail end of the Arts and Crafts movement, and its chrome fixtures are period-perfect. Despite the modern flourish of the frameless shower enclosure, this bathroom reads as if it were 90 years old.
chrome fixtures
The chrome fixtures in this warm and spa-like bathroom show that shine needn’t be cold.
island  kitchen
The chrome pendant lights over this island take this kitchen’s Rule of Three symmetry into the stratosphere.
galvanized steel bar stools
The chrome faucets, galvanized steel bar stools, black enamel lights, chrome strap hinges and stainless steel refrigerator add up to a cornucopia of metal finishes. This combination shows once again that purposefully mismatched metals can be a winning approach to the design in any room.
kitchen's complex design
This kitchen’s complex design is masquerading as simplicity, and the chrome flourishes are an important part of the act. The twinkle of chrome lifts the eye up and draws attention to the handsome shapes of the windows.
shin, marble counters tops
The warmth is in the wood int his kitchen. It’s in the wood and only the wood. The chrome legs on the stools combine with the shine on those counters, and together they make the walnut cabinetry appear to be even softer than it would otherwise.