Is The Kitchen Work Triangle Effective?

Granite island and perimeter surfaces

Create a snack zone prep area between major appliances. This usually involves a micro & refrigerator nearby. http://studio76kitchens.com

Since most homeowners now admit there is more than one person working in the kitchen, the inefficiency of a basic “work triangle” (sink, fridge, stove) is rather obvious. Where do you put an army of small appliances and still keep adequate counter space? Balancing the choices of large appliances is also a challenge since the goal is to accomplish a floor plan that doesn’t seem “forced”. Here is a small quick list of pet peeves (more politely called design challenges) that I see out there in all different kinds of kitchen spaces. Try to avoid these.

1- A giant microwave over the range or on the counter

2- A dishwasher trapped in the corner/fridge up against wall

3- A refrigerator that is too deep and sticks out into the room

Another negative that you may want to avoid …… anything that cannot be wiped down with a sponge doesn’t belong in a kitchen.

The best kitchen is an uncluttered kitchen, no matter what your style choice is, and creating “work zones” rather than a strict triangle. Here are a few that I like:

A) Snack zone or nook

B) Mail drop

C) Electronic device charging station

D) Two prep zones

E) Medicinal/vitamin separate storage

D) Cooking zone properly scaled for the space

E) Smaller appliances zone created with cabinetry http://customcupboards.com/meaningfulchoices/productlines/heartland/

Do You Need To Replace Your Lighting To LED?

Darker Countertops Require Good Lighting

Darker Countertops Require Good Lighting

Do you need to replace your bulbs to LED? Not necessarily, but eventually:)

Most of us will still be confused in the lighting aisle, where you can still purchase halogen bulbs because of the low price and  these bulbs “feel” like the old incandescents …. yet halogen bulbs are still only approx. 25 percent more efficient which is just enough to meet the EISA standards set.

LED lights are truly getting better and more exciting. (Can you tell I’m the daughter of a life-long electrician?) Because LED lights are so efficient, they will take a VERY long time before you’ll need to replace. I like that concept! According to Popular Mechanics, “Replacing a 60-watt incandescent with an LED equivalent will save you $130 in energy costs over the new bulb’s lifetime. The average American household could slash $150 from its annual energy bill by replacing all incandescents with LED bulbs.”

Here’s more info:

-LED lights are dimmable

-LED lights are getting “warmer” in color tone (LED’s now have CRI’s in the 80’s….Color Rendering Index)

-LED lights are getting cheaper to buy (manufacturers are more efficient in producing LED’s and demand is high)

Replacing certain kinds of older fixtures and housings take a bit of research and “trying on” lightbulbs can be a chore, but in the end, an updated look is achieved and the energy savings will be realized.

Have a great summer!

Four Ways To Update Your Kitchen in 2015

Transitional Style in the Kitchen includes color and eclectic lampshade island lightsing.

  • LED tape lights are the latest to add to highlite just about any place in the kitchen. With up to 50,000 of lifespan and low heat output makes LED tape my choice for lighting underneath wall cabinets, or underneath the toekick space. Applying this “tape” to the sides of cabinets with glass doors or above crown molding to reflect light off the ceiling is easy and modern. This professional modular lighting system features a variety of control options. A few manufacturers of LED tape include JESCO, Juno Lighting and Nora Lighting. They also carry LED puck lights.
  • INDUCTION cooktops have incredible instant response. Induction is the best cooking technology on the market. From instant simmering to a high setting for bringing to boil any liquids to an extremely low “melt” setting on many models makes cooking enjoyable. The worktop surface stays relatively cool since it’s magnetic technology. Induction cooking also eliminates the need to use a powerful hood vent. Heat is transferred only to the cooking vessel.Check out Wolf’s induction cooktop in various sizes with 4 or 5 burners.
  • TRANSITIONAL KITCHEN DESIGN is strong in interior design and with good reason. This style has been made popular by homeowners who are trending toward a simpler way of life, or homeowners who still respect and enjoy the familiar traditional looks in furnishings but desire a fresh take on kitchen design with less clutter, clean lines and modern innovative appliances. It’s easy to respect the architectural style of a house and decorate in a transitional style. In kitchens selections include simple door styles, smooth painted or stained finishes which include new gray colors and more modern styled faucets with stainless, nickel and black finishes. Even a vintage piece or flea-market find can be used in a contemporary updated transitional kitchen. Studio 76 Kitchens and Baths blog includes additional information on this kitchen style.
  • EARTHY COLORS for cabinetry is the approach for updated kitchen design, including mixing white paint or black accented islands or upper wall cabinets for effect.Pops of color in frames of cabinets or colorful walls add the interest in kitchen design. Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer or ColorSnap app are great tools to use for deciding what looks the best when painting kitchen walls. Medallion Cabinetry now offers new stains and paints that lend to current design trends in kitchens. Expand your culinary skills, entertain and enjoy an updated kitchen!

Remodeling the Kitchen in Stages

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens....nice!

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens….nice!

I used to tell homeowners that they couldn’t remodel their kitchen in stages… but I’ve expanded my view of this option, with caution. Here are 5 possible steps to remodeling over time, keeping in mind that the entire process shouldn’t be dragged out over years of time. Lets make this a 2-3 year plan (at the most!) okay?

1-DO THE PLAN. Most people now understand, through the plethora of homeowners education TV programs, online forums and digital media (along with following their favorite celebrity designer!) that a detailed floor plan and design board can always be accomplished first. This IS the no.1 stage for your kitchen remodel. Get a professional to help you… or simply start with your own journal of notes and decorating samples.

2-BUY YOUR APPLIANCES. Usually a homeowner is “forced into high gear” when one of their appliances breaksdown. You can live with old countertops and cabinets for a while longer, but you can’t operate without your main appliances. Go ahead and purchase the main ones, even if it’s just your fridge that went kaput. Most appliance manufacturers have a better deal when purchasing more than one. Even high-end makers (ie. Subzero and Wolf) have rebates when you purchase more than one. Oh…and don’t stress about which finish to choose. Choose STAINLESS please! or a finish that mimics the stainless look. I just don’t want to see you “outdate” yourself from the start!

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

3-PAINT THE WALLS. I know, I know…normally that’s the last step. But I find that homeowners are energized when they can paint in a fresh, updated color. It helps to finish, at least mentally, what the rest of the kitchen’s colors and patterns will be. It’s a great atmosphere and very inspiring to live for awhile in your kitchen, while saving bucks for the big items.

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

4-REPLACE CABINETS. Now if you think your existing cabinets are worthy of stone tops, and IF your existing cabinets are less than 6 years old, this 4th step could be my no. 5 stage below. Being logical, if you intend to get a new floor, you really can’t do that until the final stage, simply because it’s most likely going to RAISE your floor to finished ceiling height. So since you have your floor plan done (that was no. 1 above) get some quotes in the finishes and doorstyle that is current, appealing from a design point of view, AND functional. That means the latest closures and drawer systems. Don’t skimp because even very basic “stock” lines of cabinets (ie.Medallion Silverline)offer the latest in hardware and glides. Be looking at flooring at this point …. at least select your main items on your design board.

4.5-ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR EXISTING FLOOR? or replacing it? If you are going to keep a wood floor, for example, set up an appointment with a flooring refinisher that can do this AFTER step 5. If you need new flooring, specify the height, and make sure to shim the cabinet installation accordingly …. then you’ll be able to put the flooring in last, since your main appliances sit on top of it.

5-NEW COUNTERTOPS & SINK (possibly faucet unless you can safely reuse your existing). Please don’t do this step on old, outdated cabinetry. There’s no temporary approach for great surfaces on great looking cabinets. You’ll need to get the plumbing updated at this stage, since your new sink will mostly likely be undermounted and drain location may change slightly. NOTE TO HOMEOWNER: please don’t purchase laminate tops as you will outdate yourself immediately, and eliminate much of the value of the kitchen remodel, okay? I write this from my 20 years of experience…

Stay tuned for my 2014 Favorite Kitchen Products, and a closer look at the new lighting available.

Call me for help in setting up your kitchen remodel budget.

I know what things cost these days 🙂

Deb S.

White Kitchens

white kitchen cabinets

White… is it a color? The clean and neutral color of white is a safe choice for kitchen cabinetry, especially if you are remodeling your kitchen. Here are 5  quick reasons to select white finishes for your cabinets.

1- Existing or new appliances always blend. That’s good design.

2- Showcasing stone countertops, such as quartz or granite with movement will be amazingly beautiful with a perimeter of white.

3- There is a safety factor with remodeling in neutral cabinet finishes, especially white since it’s never trendy and may appeal to a future home buyer.

4- There are many options including MDF material for cabinet doors that can be painted white, or wood like maple that can be painted white as well as Thermofoil white which is a safe, wipe-able white that will not move around with humidity level changes.

5- Bold accent colors can be used in multiple places in or around your kitchen. I am loving the new pops of yellow and purple against white and stainless steel for 2014.

Before and After Kitchen

Before and After

The Before and After of this kitchen near Cleveland, Ohio, would make any homeowner proud. The value of their home just went up. The clutter is gone. The cabinets are new. The countertops are granite. The appliances are new. The island adds tremendous flexibility. It’s easy to prep and clean-up. The family entertains with ease. Nice seating. Storage galore!

I love “Wow” before-and-after photos!

Can you achieve a renovation of this caliber on a budget? I think so. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when considering a total “gut” kitchen remodel.

1) Where your house is located will have an impact on which projects to tackle. However, an updated kitchen always adds an immediate value, especially after a depressed housing market.

2) Depending on the values of other houses in your neighborhood, a total kitchen remodel (rather than a partial) will most likely set your home apart from them. I just talked to a couple who purchased a house based solely on the fact that the kitchen was totally renovated and updated to an “open floor” plan (walls had been taken out) and they could simply move-in and know that the value already exists.

3) Staying on a budget is important. The material and product choices today afford great flexibility in kitchen remodels. For example, the recent kitchen remodel I’ve posted in this blog had moderate selections in their new appliances, keeping several thousand dollars available for granite counters. That’s just one area where a budget can be maintained. Another is new cabinets. I’m not a big fan of refacing existing cabinets … there’s just too many manufactured cabinet lines out there with all the upgraded and latest hardware and drawer and door construction features at modest prices.

Stay tuned in to my blog as I review current kitchen designs and products.

Deb

Kitchen Designer Notebook

Shown above: Design Craft cabinets which prices out for the moderate budget.

A kitchen with a combination of painted and stained cabinetry http://www.designcraftcabinets.com/estore/en/designcraft.

Do you need some kitchen design tips? Here are a few more for you to “collect” for your own notebook.

A) If you have a “dark” kitchen, a reasonable update would be to paint your walls in a neutral, and then splash the sink wall area with color by adding a fabric valance at the window and glass doors on all the wall cabinets. Call a qualified lighting designer (it’s worth the 40-80$ for an hour of their time!) to give you an effective kitchen lighting scheme. I would also consider replacing your countertops to a lighter color of quartz or high-def surface.

B) Consider new accessory inserts for your cabinet drawers to clean up the clutter on your countertops. Rev-A-Shelf has some custom fitted inserts that are very clever and do the trick. http://www.rev-a-shelf.com/

C) The kitchen sink is really important in a kitchen remodel. I am getting more homeowners asking for something other than stainless steel sinks (but remember, stainless is an extremely sanitary material!) Consider Blanco Silgranite II sinks, made of rock-hard granite.
Available in a palette of seven on-trend colors designed to coordinate with a range of warm and cool toned countertops, SILGRANIT II offers a great option for your kitchen renovation.http://www.blancoamerica.com/c3/blanco_usa/_www/en/pub/customer_service/silgranit_faq.cfm

D) On trend: Combining painted and stained cabinets for those homeowners who have stained woodwork casings and baseboards all over their house. There is always the question with my clients on how far to take the kitchen remodel since the rest of their house has 20 or 30 year-old trim throughout the house. An easy fix is painting all the woodwork white, but another option would be to actually “add” a header to the ceiling to break the kitchen from adjoining rooms visually. This option can let the paint/stain combination stand on its own in the kitchen.

More of my notes will arrive in a future blog. Happy remodeling!