design matters

Our inspiration for this blog is to create a hub of ideas and resources for our clients, friends and remodeling enthusiasts. The blog content will include our work, as well as other unique and clever solutions that we feel worthy of sharing. Our blog is organized by key words, and is easily searchable. Please enjoy, interact, and give us your feedback.

-Jef Forward


Jan 20, 2014

Recycle With ReStore

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world. 

We are recycling building materials on almost every single project.  Although we don't purchase refurbished materials, we take pride in making quality donations and supporting Habitat for Humanity.  We contribute everything from cabinets, electrical fixtures and even hardware to ReStore.  The Ann Arbor ReStore location then sells these items, and the profits go towards building quality homes for Habitat for Humanity.

 Here the ReStore workers load up a client's cabinets to be donated.  To see a complete list of all of the remodeling materials that ReStore accepts and sells, visit here.

Jan 10, 2014

Recycled Hardwood

"If you love the richness and warmth of wood floors but are concerned about depleting the environment, try reclaiming a bit of history to get those beautiful and truly unique floors without ravaging nature in the process. Using salvaged wood is the ultimate in recycling, and it's a growing trend that's not only eco-friendly but stylish, too.
Reclaimed wood was harvested anywhere from 100 to 300 years ago and was used to build railroad trestles, old barns, industrial warehouses and other structures. Wood salvaged from the demolition of these structures can have a new lease on life in your kitchen floor as well as its walls, ceilings, cabinets and countertops. Sustainability isn't this wood's only advantage; reclaimed wood is denser, more stable, adds instant history to your home and is the only source for such bygone species as heart pine and chestnut." - Jenny Nash 



In utilizing your reclaimed wood, you are able to merge with a new hardwood to create gorgeous variation and show the true character of your flooring.  Aside from flooring, you can utilize former hardwoods to create headboards, wall details and so much more.  There are so many products available these days, that the options of your finished product are limitless.  We will be utilizing reclaimed wood from demolition of our mid-century whole house remodel to create a beautiful pre-finished wood flooring.  Keep up with progress on our reclaimed wood here.

Dec 26, 2013

2014 Upcoming Trends

With the new year approaching quickly we wanted to share with you some predictions compliments of Houzz online.

Color Off Your Walls and On Your Furniture

Interior Rock Design, Not Just For Your Fireplace

Elaborate Lighting Fixtures

Dec 10, 2013

Eco Friendly Home Heating

With temperatures dropping fast, the struggle to heat your home efficiently is underway.  We've researched some great environmentally friendly products that can drastically cut down your heating costs by offering advanced green technology.

Wall Mounted Panel Heaters

This product by EHeat offers low wattage, circulated heat without a fan, and can reduce your heating bill by up to 50%!  Resource:

Bio-fuel Fireplaces

Bio-fuel fireplaces are one of the greenest options on the market today.  Bio-fuel is a clean burning, sustainable fuel produced by fermenting the sugars in agricultural crops. The result is a denatured alcohol called ethanol, which is an ideal supplemental heating source.  Resource:

Modern Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves may be a thing of the past, but these newly innovated designs are ideal for heating your home without any health hazards.  Emissions from the pellets are virtually nonexistent.  Resource: 

Oct 17, 2013

Custom Kitchen Trends

In case you missed our custom kitchen workshop, Jef discussed some great kitchen trends that are up and coming.  Here is just a glimpse into what you missed and what is setting the design tone for 2014.

Built In Coffee Makers

By: Lisa Mende Design

Double Sided Cabinets

By: studio hw

Illuminated Glass Islands

By: CBD Glass Studios

Custom Tile Inserts

By: Arts and Crafts Homes

Circular  Soffits

By: Tim Scott

Jun 28, 2013

Book Report - June

Over the years, we've acquired and read a pretty large pile of books on architecture and design. These are a few that we think you should check out yourself.

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton is a facinating look at how our built environment can affect us. Botton, a non-architect, is a great writer about subjects that range from Proust, Religion, and Travel. This is a must-read for anyone interested in changing/improving their environment.

Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream chronicles the work of Joseph Eichler, a developer that defied conventional wisdom by hiring progressive architects to design houses for the growing mid-century middle class. Fifty years later, Eichler's homes are much sought after and many features that were first seen in Eichler homes are common. This is a beautiful book for anyone interested in  design, and can serve as a good "ideabook" for one's own home.

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built describes in fascinating detail the lifeline of buildings. This book starts out with the point that architects and builders spend much more time modifying and extending existing buildings than creating new ones. Good buildings can be changed gracefully; bad ones resist change. Brand shows us many examples of each. In many cases, "vernacular" architecture -- rather plain structures that wouldn't earn a place in an architect's resume -- prove the most suited to change.

Arcadian Architecture: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-12 Houses is an inspiring look at 12 houses from one of the nations best architecture firms. If you like buildings that are rustic, contemporary, and integrated with their landscape. Best known for designing the Seattle home of Bill Gates, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson have designed houses nationwide in their refined style.

May 24, 2013

Copper Sinks

Copper has a long history in the kitchen; it has been used as a material for kitchen sinks and cookware for centuries. As a result, its advantages and disadvantage are well established and agreed upon. This beautiful metal makes an instant statement when used for kitchen sinks, and it garners a unique patina over time due to its reactive nature.

Labels: ,