Haddad Hakansson is ‘Best of Houzz’ Again: Thanks Clients!

For the third consecutive year, we have been honored with a “Best of Houzz” award!

badge_13_8Haddad Hakansson was named Best of Houzz 2014 in the Customer Service category. We previously won for Customer Service (2013) and Design (2012). Fewer than 1 percent of all interior designers with professional profiles on Houzz.com have won “Best of Houzz” awards all three years they have been given.

Customer Satisfaction awards are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received on Houzz in 2013. We could not have done it without the kind words of our wonderful clients!

badge_8_8“Customer Service is the cornerstone of our success,” Kurt Hakansson said.  “We are passionate about making the design and remodeling experience enjoyable for our clients, and the feedback we get reflects that.”


badge_1_8Mark Haddad agreed, adding: “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our fabulous client base. We are so grateful to our clients for recommending us on Houzz, which has so much influence worldwide.”

According to Houzz, 16 million monthly users saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal “ideabooks” in 2013. The site claims the largest residential design database in the world.

Professionals who win “Best of Houzz” awards are identified with badges on their Houzz profiles. (You can follow us on Houzz by clicking here. )

“We’re delighted to recognize Haddad Hakansson among our ‘Best Of’ professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz.

Mark & Kurt Put Rugs In Their Place on the NECN Morning Show!

Mark and Kurt made another appearance this week on the NECN Morning Show – this time as part of the informative segment “Does It Work?”

NECN’s Leslie Gaydos wanted to know: Do Ruggies work? You know Ruggies, the as-seen-on-TV doodads that claim to hold an rug down even without help from a pad or heavy furniture. Find out if they really work by watching here:


Thanks to Leslie and NECN for inviting us back to the show!

Great Ways to Use the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year in Your Home

Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year is “Radiant Orchid” – as bold a choice as any from the world’s experts on color.  It’s a vibrant purple with red undertones – great for clothing on some complexions, but perhaps harder to incorporate into home decor (with the exception of, you know, actual orchids).


Pantone says Radiant Orchid “emanates great joy, love and health.”

“(It) blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple … a captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.”

It’s also really, really purple … and not for everyone. But if you love this color and are looking for ways to bring it home, it can be done.

In fact, it’s the star in the exterior color scheme we developed for the makeover of this once-dowdy St. Thomas villa, a project that was featured last summer in Maco Carribean Living:

We also found some great examples of the use of this color on Houzz. Remember – color can go anywhere, if you love it and want to use it!

Let’s start with – no surprise – the gutsy New York designer Amanda Nisbet. Love this pink and purple modern girls room in the city:

Speaking of gutsy, this girl’s bedroom wins the “go big or go home” award hands down. What a creative use of color and shape!

Meanwhile, this designer paired the Color of the Year with coral and accents of green – with gorgeous results in what looks like a cozy guest room:

Radiant Orchid looks phenomenal with grays, gold and blacks, especially when used as an accent. It’s seen here in the orchids on the table, in a pair of silk pillows and in the beautiful artwork.

Here again it’s used as an accent in this eclectic, warm home office. The pillow adds just the right finshing touch:

If you love it, don’t hesitate to use it in public spaces. This bold living room combines sunny yellow with its compliment, Radiant Orchid, on the sofa and chandelier. Surprising choices, but they work!

Happy New Year! May your 2014 be colorful and bright.  

Instant Drama: Painting Your Ceilings Black

An article this weekend on Houzz.com listed 11 reasons to paint your celing black. Reader feedback was somewhat mixed (“Love the photos but I am not that brave” was one of the top comments) but we love the look!

And we’ve done it ourselves:

Powder Room with Black Ceiling

In this client’s powder room, we paired a black ceiling with ivory and white Graham and Brown wallpaper (Pattern: Vintage Flock). The crystal petite chandelier positively sparkles against the Benjamin Moore Twilight Zone ceiling.

The black ceiling works for a number of reasons.

Most importantly, the client loves this look and has many black and white accents in the nearby kitchen. In addition, the wallpaper and ceiling add a bit of unexpected drama to a room with beautiful but neutral finish choices.

The black ceiling connects the wallpaper with the rest of the room and makes the design feel finished. The tall creamy wainscoting keeps the combination from feeling oppressive. A bold choice yes, but one that makes a lot of sense!

Here are a few of our favorite examples from the Houzz article:

Reason No. 2: To Emphasize Trim.  Stunning!

Reason No. 3: To Make a Ceiling Look Lower. This room would look completely different with a plain ceiling.

Reason No. 5: To add drama. The tall curtains and black ceiling make up for too-low windows and boring architecture.

Reason No. 9: To define an area. What an ingenious way to add visual interest to an open floor plan.

LEDs As Accent Lighting – The Fun Stuff!

We at Haddad Hakansson have had a great time sharing with you (almost) everything you need to know about current LED lighting technology.

Thanks to Lucy Dearborn at Lucía Lighting and Design in Lynn, MA, we feel fully informed about types of LED lighting, how to choose recessed lighting and ways to light in and around your kitchen cabinets.

Now it’s time for a little fun.

One of the great things about LED lighting is you can safely put it almost anywhere to highlight anything you want, from an architectural feature to a special molding or just to set a different mood with color.

Going forward, the No. 1 use for LEDs as accent lighting might well be to display artwork.

“There’s no ultraviolet rays in LED, so it’s great for art,” Lucy Dearborn said.

In the bathroom, LEDs are lovely for soft lighting around the mirror, as you can see in these photos from Lucía :

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

LED Accent F

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

Lighting with color is now easy with LED technology, whether you are looking for a specific hue to complement your scheme …

… or the ability to change colors according to your mood:

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

LEDs have, of course, many practical uses. A great example is how they can be used to light up a stairway for safety (while still looking snazzy!):

LED Accent A

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

LED Accent C

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design



And it’s always a pleasure to add lighting just because you can:

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the latest in lighting. We’ll be back with more as the technology evolves.

How to Use LEDs to Light Up, Under, and Inside Your Cabinets

One of the most exciting advances in kitchen and bath design in recent years is the way LED lighting can be used in and around cabinetry.

LEDs are perfect for undercabinet lighting, which has become a necessity in new kitchens. But with advance planning - more on that below – it’s now easy to incorporate useful, eco-friendly lighting inside a pantry or drawer cabinet; in a cabinet interior; or even above the cabinetry for a beautiful ambient glow (sometimes in colors!).

Three characteristics of LED make this practical: LED Undercab B

  • Quality LEDs have very long lives. In general they won’t need to be changed out during the life of your new kitchen. Which makes the idea of squeezing a light into a hard-to-access corner very appealing.
  • LEDs run cool. Like fluorescent lighting, they give off little to no heat so they can be tucked into all kinds of small spaces.
  • The energy savings makes it worth it. LEDs use very little energy compared to standard incandescents. Look for Energy Star-rated fixtures, which must use at least 75 percent less energy (sometimes up to 90 percent!) than a typical household bulb.

We recently completed our first all-LED kitchen with the help of Lucía Lighting and Design in Lynn. In guest appearances on this blog, Lucía owner Lucy Dearborn has taught us about LED technology and LED recessed lights. Now it’s on to specific task lighting.

Undercabinet Lighting

LED lighting has outclassed all other entries in this category (halogen, fluorescent and less-used xenon lights). LEDs are now warmer-toned (look for 2700K or at most 3000K color temperature), cool to the touch and last seemingly forever. They come in strips or pucks to accommodate your needs.

Lucy Dearborn cautioned that undercabinet strips should have lenses on them to avoid the “row of lights” effect. Even when hidden under cabinets, LED strips that look like a strip of neon lights reflect unattractively off shiny counters, especially darker ones. Lensing gives you the diffused yet clear light that you want.

LED Undercab C

Photo courtesy of Lucía Lighting and Design

LED strips also can be routed into the underside of a cabinet over a desk area for excellent task lighting.


Uplighting is light reflected off the ceiling, easily produced by strips of LEDs on top of the cabinets. They create instant ambiance.

“When you have high ceilings but not a lot of natural light, uplight is great,” Lucy said.

 In-cabinet lighting

Light the inside of your pantry with LED strips: Have it turn on when you open the door. The same goes for any drawers or pullouts where you might need a bit of extra illumination.

Light the inside of your glass-fronted cabinetry: LED strips can be attached to the face frame of framed cabinets,  routed into the sides of frameless cabinet interiors, or routed into the shelves. We recently completed a kitchen with Pennville Custom Cabinetry where the LED strips were routed into the shelves, giving a nice, even light throughout.

A very dramatic use of LED strips, especially in a more modern space: Recess them into a wall or the back of a cabinet, Lucy said, directly behind clear glass shelves. It makes the front of the glass shelving literally glow! An example from Houzz:

The most important step – plan, plan, plan!

Why plan? High-tech LED fixtures require not only the LED lights but also separate “drivers” or “transformers” to power them up. The power source(s) must be hidden somewhere – preferably somewhere you can access in case of problems, Lucy said.

“We like to have the power supply all in one place,” Lucy said, such as a basement or in a closet.

While the kitchen plan is being developed, discuss your goals with your designer early and meet with a lighting specialist to choose and test the best options.

Discuss your plans in detail with your electrician and cabinetmaker. With custom cabinetry, your order probably can be shipped with slots already routed out for your specific LED strips. We do this all the time with Pennville cabinetry.


The cost of LED fixtures is declining, but can vary depending on your choices.

For our client with the all LED-kitchen, we priced out undercabinet lighting fixtures that started at around $150 (for 7 inch) and went up to $300 (for 30 inch). Installation, cables and boxes are extra.

Lucy Dearborn says when specifying LED lighting for a kitchen, a guideline is 2 to 5 percent of your total project cost, not including the cost of sconces or chandeliers.

“I believe at every price point, there is something valuable for somebody,” she said.

Next: LEDs as Accent Lighting

News from the Home Office

We are pleased to note that Jaye Gordon, who has been an intern with us this year, has joined Haddad Hakansson as a design associate.  Jaye, who is finishing her studies at Boston Architectural College, has been a valuable addition to our team. We are thrilled to have her!