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!

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.

Lighting Up The Kitchen

Lighting that is "layered" for tasks in the kitchen www.studio76kitchens.com

Lighting that is “layered” for tasks in the kitchen http://www.studio76kitchens.com

Here’s the latest on lights for your kitchen.

Don’t hesitate to use LED lighting as you update your home’s lighting, especially in the kitchen. I am always pleasantly surprised how rooms are beautifully illuminated. (and you won’t need to keep changing out the bulbs!)

5 Kitchen Styles – You Decide!

DSC_1138

Continuous hardwood flooring (showing hickory species in photo) can blend rooms, making the space appear larger and open.

Continuous hardwood flooring (showing hickory species in photo) can blend rooms, making the space appear larger and open.

Candice Olsen, Divine Design

An extraordinary kitchen of “contrasts” designed by Candice Olsen

TRANSITIONAL STYLE – This is simple really. Don’t throw away all your things …. mixing the old with the new and creating a cleaner-looking kitchen with more storage is the trick to creating this look in your kitchen. For example, even if you will keep your appliances and flooring, try to select a cabinet style with simple lines and upgrade your countertops to a one-color quartz. You might want to take that old closet out and replace it with tall pantry cabinets to organize better.
RUSTIC AMERICAN STYLE – We used to call this “Tuscan” but here in the states we are really into re-purposing materials! So for a really interesting, laid back and casual approach to this kitchen style, I enjoy searching for old barn posts, or using the vintage details in an old century house to gain tremendous texture and aura. A honed slab of granite or a rugged 2-inch thick piece of limestone, soapstone, or wood can be used for countertops. Slate, distressed hardwood, or textured porcelain large tiles are great for the kitchen floor. By all means, go to the flea markets or small stores that sell vintage accessories. In my area, I recommend a resale shoppe called “Life Is Sweet”. Here’s their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lifeissweetinhudson
NEW AMERICAN COUNTRY – Your life will reflect this timeless style. A long time ago, we used words like colonial, or Georgian, or early American, but life in casual America has never changed really. However, now I need to plan for more modern appliances and a place to charge those techy devices and cell phones! Using colorful fabrics at the kitchen windows and on the barstools has never been more fashionable…..AND we always seem to dine-in the kitchen with this all American style of stained cabinetry (cherry is nice) and granite surfaces and hardwood floors in maple or oak or hickory and cherry. Because the kitchen is “open” to other rooms, all your collectibles can be displayed as well as kids artwork and family photos. The backsplash can be small mosaics or larger subway tiles and adding color to the walls is always in style.
EUROPEAN CONTEMPORARY – Nevermind that it’s clean … and sharp … and high-tech, this look can be designed in several cabinet finishes and surfaces. There are however two ways to go with color. If I was ever to design a city high-rise loft kitchen and it had a window with a gorgeous skyline view somewhere, I’d probably want to stay with neutral colors on the big items and specify a couple spectacular light pendants to mimic the lights in the city. But if a family wanted to have that magazine picture pizazz, why not eliminate some of the upper wall cabinets and display art on open shelves or hide the big appliances such as purchasing “Refrigerator Columns” by Sub-zero. There are so many choices for a modern style.
CLASSIC TRADITIONAL – If you need to remodel your kitchen in a timeless tradional style, this is a great look that’s “safe” even for when you go to sell your home in a few years. White painted cabinets with a possible stained or color-painted island works, as well as stainless appliances and granite with movement and pattern. Small lamps on the counter’s corner and accessories such as decorative storage jars and beautiful serving bowls with colorful placements can jazz up this look as well as a modern runner rug for in front of the kitchen sink. The new gray neutrals also work well (and yes, beige goes with gray!) See Abby M Interiors blog about this style: http://www.abbyminteriorsblog.com/2014/02/designer-favorite-granite-for-your.html