Radiant Heat Floors - They're so hot right now

What comes to mind when you hear the word "luxury?" Perhaps you think of a private plane, expensive cars or huge homes in exotic locations? When I think of luxury I tend to focus on the experience rather than the item itself.  Sometimes you can have a wonderfully luxurious experience with a super soft bath towel or while enjoying a delicious meal.

Luxury doesn't have to be super expensive. 

If there was one luxury upgrade I could recommend it would be radiant heat flooring.  The experience of waking up on a chilly morning and stepping out of bed onto a gently warmed floor can be a little touch of heaven. For clients who are planning a bathroom or kitchen renovation, it's an easy way to overcome the biggest negative of using tile on the floor. No one likes to step onto a freezing cold floor!

Whether you have pets that sleep on the floor, kids that play on the floor or are just looking to make your home a more comfortable oasis, radiant heat flooring can be the touch of luxury you're looking for.  It is an additional expense but the return on investment will pay off with reduced heating bills and the comfort of walking on a surface that hugs your feet with cozy warmth when you need it most.

Heat can be installed under many (but not all) types of flooring. The most common form of radiant heat is using low voltage electricity in a thin mesh that is installed between your sub floor or slab and your finished floor covering. If you want to have every inch of your flooring heated, there are custom mats that can be made to fit the exact dimensions of your space. If you only need specific pathways or locations heated, there are also a variety of standard size mats that can be combined to cover the necessary locations.  Most of these mats can be used under engineered wood, tile, laminate and even vinyl plank floors. *Be sure to check with the flooring manufacturer to see if their warranty will allow them to be installed over radiant heat.


One of my favorite methods of heating tile floors combine the heat element with an anti-fracture membrane that help keep the surface tile from cracking if your subfloor moves or cracks. Not only can you fully customize the locations of the heating element, but the quality of the tile installation will be improved! This method is particularly helpful if your home is on a slab foundation. Temperature is controlled by a thermostat that can be set and adjusted to ensure optimal energy efficiency and comfort. You'll find that the more you use the radiant heat, the less you'll use your old forced air heater!

Pricing can range quite a bit so I recommend getting a quote from your local flooring installer.

Check out Warmly Yours and Schluter DITRA HEAT for more information and to find a local installer.



Keeping it Cool: Induction Cooktop beats Gas in today's Modern Kitchen

One of the most common questions I get from clients who are considering a kitchen remodel is

"What's new in kitchens that I may not even know to ask for?"

There are several ways I could answer this questions, but the go-to reply is always: Induction Cooktops.

Thermadore Induction Cooktop

I must first start with a confession.  I'm a kitchen designer, not a chef. In truth, my husband cooks most of the meals in our home.  I've never found cooking or baking to be particularly enjoyable so I avoid it if possible. That being said, when I do cook I use the cooktop. 

When we purchased our home there was a range (cooktop and oven combo) that was all electric. Before we moved into the home I had a plumber run a gas line to the location so that I could have a dual-fuel range instead of all electric.  My thought at the time was that cooking on a gas cooktop was the "best" and would give me the most accurate temperature control. I'm glad I made the switch from standard electric to gas but if I had things to do over again I would have taken the road less traveled and opted for the third choice in cooking technology.

I was familiar with induction cooktops but felt intimidated by the prospect of having to buy all new pots and pans as well as spending so much more for the appliance itself. "Electric induction cooktops use a magnetic field to heat cookware rather than the cooking surface itself. This magnetic field is harmless and imperceptible -- until you put a metal pan on the burner. When that happens, the magnetic field reacts with iron molecules in the pan, exciting them and generating heat." 1

With the average 30" induction cooktops ranging from $1,200 to $2,000, there is a significant price difference between induction and their more common gas or electric predecessors.

So, what's so great about induction? Here's my top 7 reasons to invest in this technology:

  1. Safety - The cooktop surface doesn't get hot in the same way an electric or gas cooktop does.  I once saw a demonstration where the salesman boiled a pot of water on an induction cooktop and when he moved the pot he put his hand directly on the surface where the pot had been.  If you have children, pets or any other people in your home who are occasionally careless with where they place flammable items or body parts...induction will save you from potential injury.
  2. Energy Efficient - Since the energy generated to heat the pot is put directly into the pot itself rather than heating the air under and around the pot, there is no heat loss.
  3. Doesn't add Heat to the room - Have you ever refused to use your cooktop on a warm summer day because you can't stand the thought of introducing more heat into the house? With induction there is almost no ambient heat introduced into a space. Your energy bill will thank you all summer long!
  4. Speed - Induction cooktops will actually boil water FASTER than gas so you will spend less time waiting to cook and the task of preparing a meal will be accelerated so you can get on with more important and enjoyable things! Just be careful to adjust your cooking times so you don't burn dinner.
  5. Control - Taking a soup from a boil to a simmer is instantaneous with induction. This was always the biggest problem with standard electric cooktops as it took quite a while for the heating elements to cool down.  With induction the response time is similar to cooking on gas. When you turn down the temperature, you'll see the results immediately in the pan.
  6. Easy to keep Clean - This is a big one. The glass surface of an induction cooktop is easy to keep clean because it doesn't burn any bits of sauce or food that spills over the edge. Since the surface doesn't get hot in the same way as an electric cooktop, the spills are MUCH easier to wipe up when you're done cooking.  Also, since it doesn't have the metal grates of a gas cooktop, the process of cleaning it is as easy as wiping off the countertop.
  7. Space Saver - Let's be honest, you aren't always cooking while in the kitchen. Sometimes your unloading groceries, hosting a party, helping kids with homework or any one of a million other things that take place in modern kitchens. Wouldn't an additional 30" of counter space come in handy? Induction cooktops are flat and smooth to integrate into the counter space around them. Who wouldn't love that?

Most cities have higher end showrooms that will allow you to demo an induction cooktop to see the product in action.  I highly recommend making an appointment with your local showroom to see if this technology would be a good fit in your new kitchen!


1- consumersearch.com