Author Archives: Kathryn Powell

How To Create A Designer Kitchen

How do you create an attention-grabbing, designer kitchen on a reasonable budget? How do builders and remodelers design kitchens that sizzle? They’ve figured out the secret to creating kitchens that sell. They hire a kitchen designer! So, if builders think kitchen design is a smart idea, do you think it might be worth the investment?

Today’s remodeled kitchen can easily cost $25,000 – $50,000 or more. If you are going make a sizeable investment upgrading your kitchen, you may want to allocate a portion of your budget to kitchen design. Why? Because a good designer comes up with great ideas. You pay for a trained eye to see what you can’t see. A good designer suggests design elements that won’t blow the budget. They know which details are relatively inexpensive, but add significant “punch” to your project.

Once you’ve budgeted money for design (generally 3-5{9a5576f6c15837344cb65118fe0625bfeb4efbef8e09ec9553d8019457d9eb64}), now what do you do? Well, before looking for a kitchen designer, start thinking about what want in your kitchen. A kitchen designer will ask you what you have in mind so they can narrow the focus of your design. Is there a specific appliance that you want to make the focal point of your kitchen? Do you like exotic wood cabinets? Or do you just want a kitchen where everything coordinates and flows together?

Before you contact a kitchen designer, you may also want to visit a kitchen appliance dealer. A designer vent hood or an oversized range can serve as a great focal point for your new kitchen. Then you may want to start looking in design magazines, a great source for design ideas. Find the kitchen or the design elements you like in a magazine and simply replicate those ideas that appeal to you. Finally, after you’ve gathered some general ideas of what you want in your kitchen, start looking for a kitchen designer.

Where do you find a good kitchen designer? And once you’ve settled on a designer and come up with a design, how do you know what your design will cost to build? How do you avoid designing a kitchen you can’t afford? Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had some guidance throughout the design process to determine construction costs?

That’s where a “design-build” firm can help. Design-build remodelers offer both design and construction services. When working with a design-build contractor, the designer creates the beauty (the floor plan, the cabinet elevations, the finished material selections, etc.) and the contractor creates the estimate. There’s no more guesswork. When you hire a design-build contractor you know exactly what the design will cost.

Today, there are number of professional remodelers offering design services. Some design-build remodelers provide in-house design services. Other contractors outsource design to kitchen-designer, business partners. The best design-build contractors couple top design talent with professional construction services.

So how do you create a designer kitchen? Since they appreciate the value of good design, you may want to start by looking for a good design-build contractor. Check their work, check their trade associations, look at their project pictures and talk to their designers. A reputable design-build remodeler can be a valuable partner for creating your new designer kitchen!

Kitchen Design

A home is never complete without a kitchen, and nothing is more important than a well-kept, fully equipped and strategically designed kitchen cook delicious meals and let a family sit and share their day’s activities. The elaborate designs and modern kitchen utensils and appliances show us how much the kitchen environment has evolved throughout the years. Modern kitchen these days do not look anything like how we used to see in our grandmothers home.

The design of a kitchen, the settings and the appliances vary from one person or family to another. The design will depend on how large the family is, the size of the kitchen, the lifestyle of the family and how much time is spent in the kitchen. Another important thing to consider when designing your kitchen is how much walking or moving space is needed.

Gone are the days when all that mattered about a kitchen was whether a decent meal could be prepared. Today’s modern kitchen demands everything be in sync and up to date. The kitchen floor tiles and color need to match those of the cabinets and other built-ins. The colors of the kitchen cabinets need to match the furniture, and all appliances should preferably be of same color, or at least of the same look and feel, so that they will look as ‘one’.

All appliances and built-ins should be given due consideration before purchasing. These include cabinets, walls, refrigerators, hoods and vents, countertops, ovens, sinks and faucets, ranges, dishwashers and other accessories. Kitchen cabinets and fittings can either be custom-made, or you can get one of those that are readily available in the market where they bring it in and fix it in your kitchen.

Design Ideas for the Traditional Country Style Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen compared to other rooms and some would refer to it as the heart of the home. Years ago, the kitchen or cooking room was always the busiest and deemed the most important and we still hold on to that concept today. The minimalist, clean uncluttered kitchen was the fashion many home owners preferred but over recent times the traditional country kitchens look and feel is becoming more popular again with homeowners.

The general idea of traditional farmhouse kitchens is that they are only suited to larger rooms but this is no longer the case, the farmhouse, cosy kitchen feel can be achieved even in smaller rooms. In this type of kitchen design, the kitchen floor is normally tiled and some of the options are quarry tiles or Natural stone flooring. There are many options when thinking about Natural stone and there are many colours in which to choose from. The advantages of Quarry tiles and Natural tiles is that they are very durable and ideal for a busy room such as the kitchen. Quarry or Natural tiles also give that traditional cottage kitchen feel and will blend in with the surrounding decor.

Many people go for lighter shaded tiles such as crèmes of whites on the walls and opt for darker shades on the floor. This look gives a real traditional feel for a country cottage kitchen, ceramic tiles are a great addition to any kitchen and come in a wide variety of colours and styles. Patterned designs can also be used in traditional kitchens and a decorative backsplash design will add a real focal point in a traditional kitchen.

Traditional kitchens are places where real design statements can be made and traditional natural floor can be dressed up with cottage style rugs. Lighting is another area where you can add different mood tones and smaller spot lights can be added to the units to add different mood changes. Traditional cottage style furniture can be added with a central cottage style table in the centre of the room.

Cottage style kitchens are now more popular than ever for the warm and welcoming feel they offer and as more of us spend longer doing our own DIY, there are many options and design ideas out there to give you inspirational design ideas. Making a sketch of the kitchen area and the design styles you like will help you make the right choices for your kitchen.

Stove Safety

How many times has it happened to you, or have you heard of it happening to someone. You’ve got supper on the go and the something happens to distract you, the phone rings, the kids get into something or a surprise visitor pops in. Next thing you know suppers burnt, the pots boiled dry or in extreme circumstances you have a real kitchen fire on your hands.

Now imagine that you are elderly, perhaps even with early onset Alzheimer’s. Becoming distracted and forgetting what you are doing with even the slightest distraction becomes a very real possibility. Ever year preventable kitchen fires are started with thousands of dollars in damage being caused from the smoke alone. There are a few steps you can take to greatly lessen the chances of a disastrous kitchen fire happening to you.

1. This may seem almost to obvious, but it is an incredibly common cause of kitchen fires. DON’T LEAVE THE KITCHEN. If you remain in the kitchen the odds of you forgetting the stove is on are much less than if you are in another room. Also if something does start to go wrong you are right there to stop it immediately. If you have to leave the kitchen make sure to turn the stove and burners off when you do.

2. Oil fires are nasty, there’s no two ways about it. If you are cooking with oil make sure before you even turn the oven that you have the tools to put out an oil fire should one start. Remember, water is the last thing to splash on an oil fire. Either have a properly fitting lid nearby to smother any fire should it start or an appropriate fire extinguisher for grease fires.

3. Purchase a device to monitor your stove and help control it. If you own an electric range style stove the Stove Guard is an incredibly easy system to install. You mount the included motion sensor in the kitchen and plug its power control into the outlet where your stove currently plugs in. Than plug your stove back into the power control box. You simply program the “brain” of the unit to monitor motion in the kitchen, when it does not detect motion for your specified time period it will shut off the power flow through its’ power control box instantly turning off your stove and oven.

4. If a fire has started know your limits, call for help the instant you think it may be beyond a fire you can easily suppress. That is what neighbors and the fire department are there for.

Building Outdoor Kitchens: The Hottest Trend In Cool Entertainment

Building outdoor kitchens is all the rage and if you haven’t already built one, I’m sure you’ve got an outdoor kitchen plan for your home. And why not upgrade your backyard to be the hot spot on the block for entertaining and relaxing.

Outdoor kitchens increase your living space adding tremendous value and appeal to your home. That’s why building outdoor kitchens is the second most popular remodeling project after indoor kitchens.

However, building a great outdoor kitchen is a complex project.

You can certainly enjoy your backyard and grill up some tasty BBQ on any charcoal or gas grill, but to truly bring your kitchen outdoors requires significant planning, skill and expertise. This project is not a do-it-yourselfer.

Here’s what you’ll need to consider:

Your basic outdoor kitchen set-up will include a built-in barbeque grill, countertop, sink, refrigerator, outdoor kitchen cabinets and cozy outdoor furniture or barstools for yourself and all your guests to kick back.

The barbecue grills on the market today offer so many bells and whistles shop around to determine how much grill you want.

Next, the type of countertop surface is a crucial decision when building outdoor kitchens. Options include tile, quartz, solid surface, granite and other natural stones. Choosing the right countertop will ensure years of enjoyment and admiration. The wrong one …years of hassles and headaches.

Additional Luxuries

For the ultimate in luxury, you may also consider installing pergolas, stereos, ceiling fans, fire pits and more. Even TVs are moving outside.

Comfort & Flow

Comfort is key to enjoying your outdoor kitchen and entertainment space. But before you empty your wallet on that imported teak dining set with bar stools, take a look at the space you have available and decide how it’s going to “flow.”

Everyone needs a little space so, make sure your outdoor kitchen plan accounts for some basic and standard construction measurements to allow plenty of room to sit and move about.

Also keep in mind protection from the sun, rain and wind.

Outdoor Kitchen Location

Easy access to your primary kitchen is still important for overall convenience. And building outdoor kitchens requires access to water, electricity and gas, which means this project will almost certainly require a permit. You’ll have many discussions with your contractor about all of these items, but this should get the juices flowing on your great outdoor kitchen plan.

Wholesale Kitchen Sinks

To cut costs in buying kitchen sinks, it would be wise to find stores that sell kitchen sinks at wholesale prices.

Nowadays, the definition of wholesale in most industries, such as the kitchen fixture industry has been redefined. While there are still stores that offer big discounts for buyers who purchase a large number of items, there are also some stores that offer products at wholesale prices without requiring the consumer to make bulk purchases.

In the U.S., kitchen sinks are being sold at wholesale prices because of strong market competition. The concept of selling kitchen sinks at wholesale prices came with the advent of the Internet. The new technology made it easier for manufacturers to advertise their product. Not long after, mere 5{9a5576f6c15837344cb65118fe0625bfeb4efbef8e09ec9553d8019457d9eb64}-10{9a5576f6c15837344cb65118fe0625bfeb4efbef8e09ec9553d8019457d9eb64} discounts did not suffice anymore to attract shoppers. Manufacturers then resorted to offering kitchen sinks at wholesale prices.

Among the most common types of kitchen sinks sold at wholesale prices are those used in the food industries. In most countries, especially in the West, aluminum sinks are preferred. The thickness of the gauge of aluminum sinks makes it appropriate for frequent usage. Because the materials used in such sinks are readily available, manufacturers find it easy to sell the products at wholesale prices.

Other types of kitchen sinks can also be bought at wholesale prices. However, there are some that are really expensive, such as engineered sinks. The scarcity of materials used in these sinks, such as copper, porcelain and swanstone, puts a limit on the amount of price deductions manufactures can offer buyers.

However, owners are advised not to solely direct their attention in getting kitchen sinks at wholesale prices. They should still give the utmost attention to the quality of their purchases. The specifications of the product should be ensured, especially the thickness of the sink because this plays a big role in determining its life span.

How to Clean Carbon Steel Knives

Carbon steel knives are popular with professional cooks because of their durability and capacity for maintaining a sharp edge. Keeping the knife blade sharp is one of the best ways to fine tune the most important tool in your kitchen. After sharpening, keeping your carbon steel blade clean and rust-free is the second most important component of a proper maintenance strategy.

1. Rinse your knife with hot water and apply a small amount of dish soap to the blade. Scrub the blade and handle with the soap and rinse well. Dry the handle and blade immediately.

2. Spread several drops of mineral oil onto the surface of the carbon steel blade and rub in with a chamois, cloth or paper towel. Over time, this practice will create a protective coating on the blade and will prevent rust and discoloration from marring the blade.

3. Hang your carbon steel knife in a dry area, away from the stove and sink areas to help prevent rusting.

4. Wash and dry your carbon steel knife immediately after use. Do not leave carbon steel knives on the cutting board while you complete another task–carbon steel will begin to discolor if left sitting wet or when used to cut acidic foods such as tomatoes. Wipe the blade frequently with a dry cotton cloth.

The Four Basics in Kitchen Interior Design

If you are considering remodeling, decorating or redoing your kitchen layout, there are several things you must consider before you shell out thousands of your hard earned money. It is no wonder you want to redo the interior design layout for your kitchen. Often a remodeled kitchen can return 2 times the cost of its investment when the house sells.

And with this decorating and kitchen layout remodel, you not only make money in the future but also you greatly improve your standard of living while you are still in your home. But getting to the point where your kitchen has been successfully redone can be a big undertaking. While sketching out and working on an interior design layout is not rocket science, it’s also not for the faint of heart.

Kitchen Interior Design Planning

The kitchen is the center of almost every home. It is the one place where you gather with family and friends, prepare and eat meals plus handle family business or personal finances. So any prolonged construction work or project will eventually have a negative ripple effect through the whole family.

This is why having a decent decorating and kitchen layout is so important. The better your kitchen interior design plans the smoother and faster things can be completed by your team of installers, electricians and plumbers.

There are only 4 basic kitchen layouts or: “Fab Four”: the one-wall or single-wall plan, the “L-Shape”, the “U-Shape” and the increasingly popular “Island” layout. All of these layouts are based on the classic “kitchen triangle” of sink, stove and refrigerator.

Your budget along with the current floor plan and placement of plumbing and electrical features can restrict how creative you can be with any of the above layouts, but homeowners are often surprised how much flexibility they have when they choose the right interior design layout for their kitchen.

Interior Design Layout # 1 – The easiest to implement of these basic kitchen layouts is the “one-wall” or “single-wall ” design. This layout is based on placing the sink, stove and refrigerator with any counter tops against a single wall. This type of layout is very flexible and you can setup workstations in any arrangement you like. The only requirement is that the wall you use must be at least 8 feet in order setup all the equipment in place unless you use miniaturized appliances.

Interior Design Layout # 2 – This next one is very popular many homes with medium sized kitchens is the “L-Shape” layout. With this decorating or kitchen layout, can set up the appliances or equipment in the “L’s” corner while spreading out the countertop workspace on both legs.

Interior Design Layout # 3 – Another popular kitchen layouts is the “U-Shape”. This is an excellent kitchen interior design for a larger floor plan. Here all the appliances and sink be can be wrapped around the “U” with each leg home for a triangle point: the stove, sink or freezer. This design allows for lots of counter space and prep area between each section.

Interior Design Layout # 4 – the final of this “fab four” is the “Island”. Here you basically take a standard “U-Shape” layout and expand it out with a separate workspace or “island” in the center. This layout is best for a kitchen that has enough floor space to workstations from becoming blocked or congested from too much traffic.

New Kitchen Renovation Ideas

Considering a new kitchen renovation? The kitchen began as a place to cook, serve dinner and eat. It was a room in the house that served a purpose, much like a bedroom to sleep in or a bathroom to get dressed in. But with today’s new open floor plans in homes across the country, family and friends often mingle in our kitchens. Renovation ideas should begin with that in mind. As one of the more popular renovations in home improvement, there is a lot that goes into making your kitchen shine.

Whether your kitchen flows into the living room or stands alone, items such as couches, flat screen televisions, computers and more are great accessories in kitchens. Renovation is not just refurbishing your existing kitchen. With a new kitchen renovation, the opportunities are endless. You can add the before mentioned items, build a kitchen island with stools for extra seating, add a panoramic window, a slider and deck, or closed in porch.

The first place to start with a new kitchen renovation is with the cabinets, floors, countertops and appliances. These set the mood in the room with color and texture. Granite, marble and limestone countertops are all popular in today’s new designs and can match the color scheme of your cabinets and flooring. Wood flooring comes in many styles and colors from dark oak to light bamboo, or you can match your tile flooring to your countertop backsplash tile.

Cabinet finishes come in many great styles as well from light to dark wood, to color laminates and stainless steel. Mixing and matching is great, but make sure to stay in the same color scheme or complimenting color schemes to create a warm and inviting kitchens. Renovation can also include new placement of your appliances such as moving the stove to a more convenient location, maybe closer to the refrigerator and cooking counter. Keep in mind the flow of your workstation when preparing meals.

When choosing your appliances consider the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Stainless steel is very popular as are wood finishes. Color laminates such as red are making a big comeback reminiscent of the 70’s when kitchens often displayed orange, green or gold appliances with matching color countertops. Every room in your home should reflect your own personal style and the kitchen is no exception.

Go bold if you have a bold personality, subdued if you are more conservative. Consider your family size, the types of guests that frequent your home and the type of atmosphere you would like to create. A great new kitchen renovation always benefits from some research. Start by search the internet or looking through some magazines on current trend in kitchens.

Renovation ideas for kitchens are important in increasing the value of your home. Put together a game plan with your contractor. Some companies actually allow you to lay out the design on a computer or with actual miniature materials similar to a model. Whatever you decide upon will most certainly turn out great!

How to Clean Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Most people take a long time to notice that their wood kitchen cabinets are in desperate need of a good scrubbing. This is because dust and other materials take so long to build up that we do not usually notice that it is happening until we’re standing in the middle of our kitchen and saying “why does it look like we have cherry cabinets? I thought we bough oak kitchen cabinets when we moved in!” The simple truth is that buildup happens at the microscopic level and it isn’t until it has formed a deep coating on something that we notice it is there. It can take weeks, months or even years to notice that something is amiss because we grow used to the different appearances of our cabinets.

Thankfully, giving your wood kitchen cabinets, whether they are oak kitchen cabinets or cherry kitchen cabinets or even maple or spruce, does not have to be difficult. It will likely be time consuming (good and thorough cleanings always are) but in the end you will be surprised at how new and shiny your cabinets look!

First you should take everything out of your cabinets-especially the items that you rarely use. Run everything through the dishwasher to rid the items of their grime build up. While each load is running attack your wood cabinets with gusto! If you have any shelf paper in place, take it out and prepare to replace it after you are done cleaning. The goal is to look new remember?

The easiest cleansers to use on wood kitchen cabinets (again, it doesn’t matter whether they are oak kitchen cabinets or cherry cabinets or some other wood altogether) are Murphy’s Oil Soap or Lysol All Purpose Cleaner. These cleansers can be expensive though so, if you are so inclined, you can also make your own cleaner out of one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil.

Use a soft rag to rub the cleaner into the cabinetry and, while you are working the soap into the wood’s surface, try to rub out any scratches, nicks or scrapes. Buff out any blemishes. You will want to say away from hard or scratchy sponges but you can use your fingernail to clean out any crevices or cracks (or to scratch out any blemishes) as you go along.

When the soap has been gently but thoroughly worked into the surface of your wood kitchen cabinets, dip the rag into hot and clean water and rinse the soap from the surface of the wood. You do not want to scrub too hard-this can damage the wood-but be firm as you push the clean water over the soap and wipe everything off of the cabinetry.

Take your time and be as thorough as you can. When you have finished cleaning, replace the shelf paper (if applicable) and put everything back into the cabinets. You will be surprised by how new and polished your kitchen looks even after only cleaning it!