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/

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!

7 Ways to Add Color in Kitchens

Putting colorful accent bowls all over your kitchen for color!

Putting colorful accent bowls all over your kitchen for color!

New Tiled Backsplash in a herringbone pattern adds fresh color to the cooking wall in the kitchen.

New Tiled Backsplash in a herringbone pattern adds fresh color to the cooking wall in the kitchen.

Stenciled flooring for tone on tone textured hardwood floor in the kitchen.

Glass doors are perfect to view colorful dishware.

Glass doors are perfect to view colorful dishware.

A new granite stone countertop choice!

A new granite stone countertop choice!

 

Accent rug for pop of color to a neutral floor

Accent rug for pop of color to a neutral floor

 

Bold colors can offset stainless...and creates interest with a neutral kitchen

Bold colors can offset stainless…and creates interest with a neutral kitchen

These are some of the interesting things you can do (other than painting a bold color on the walls) for adding some additional color and texture in your kitchen. Brighten up your kitchen with color and interesting design details.
Have a bright summer!

Deb

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.

Crazy for Granite

Granite island and perimeter surfaces

Granite island and perimeter surfaces

Frequent questions:
Q: How do I select the type of stone or granite that’s best for my kitchen?
A: Each and every natural stone has very unique characteristics. Maintaining your choice of granite could be the key. If you have a busy house with many people using the kitchen, I would steer you away from really dark stone. Every smudge, waterspot and crumb will show up on a dark surface and constant maintenance would need to happen. There are also gorgeous granite slabs that simply have more natural fissures, and that could also be an issue for certain applications.

Q: Why are some granites much more expensive than others?
A: Prices of granite are based on its’ availability. If it is a rare color, the price is always higher. More common granites have actually come down in cost.

Q: Are more expensive granites better?
A: The price of granite depends on the capacity of the quarry and the quarry’s production volume. So the higher the production, the less expensive the cost.

Q: Will I see seams?
A: Yes, unless you have an island that is one level, less than 9.5 ft. long and less than 3 ft. deep. The common standard in the natural stone industry is a seam width of 1/16 inch.

Q: Can I cut on my granite countertop?
A: My personal opinion is that you should always use a cutting board, although the industry rates the hardness of granite between 6-9 (10 being the hardest) and therefore is very resistant to scratching. A kitchen knife ranks at 5.5 and so I always tell homeowners the knife will get dull really quickly if they cut directly  on the granite top.

Q: Will granite stain?
A: Most granites are resin treated at the quarry. When hiring a fabricator for your granite, make sure they include sealing the granite. I’ve rarely seen a stone that stains …. if it does, it can be removed. You can always check with a qualified stone fabricator for more information.

Enjoy your granite tops …. it’s a great investment, and you’ll enjoy the beauty excellent function of natural stone. By all means, include natural stone in your kitchen remodel.

Deb.

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