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A LOOK AT LOOX BY HAFELE

 

Let there be light by Loox

Hafele is one of my favorite resources for kitchen hardware and functional, fun accessories.  Known for quality and efficient German engineering it seems they are always coming out with something “wow-worthy”.  Our ever faithful local rep, Pat Flatley, keeps me in the loop on their latest products.  I just found out about this one which I’m dying to share with you.  It’s call Loox.  Does it sound like a Dr. Seus character?  Sure.  Is it a seriously kick-ass lighting option for your home?  Definitely.   Whether it’s task lighting or just an ambient after glow you’re looking for, Loox has the answer.  Loox is a low-voltage LED lighting system.  You can read about the technical details here.

Light turns on when you open the drawer

Shelf lighting, all photos by Hafele

What I love is the great functionality of having a light inside a drawer or in the nooks and crannies of the closet.  Check out this handy Loox Room Configurator.  Simply click on the type of room you want to view and you can turn on and off all the various light fixtures that illuminate the room.  Hours of fun!  (Ok maybe not hours)  When you’re a kitchen designer it’s the little things that come together to make a fantastic whole!

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DESIGN AND THE MODERN KITCHEN

 

I made it! Here at last.

Granted I’m biased, but I have to say that Counter Space:   Design and the Modern Kitchen is the most engaging exhibit I have had the pleasure of attending.  It opened at the Museum of Modern Art September 15th and closes on March 11th.  The thing about this show is that we can all identify and connect with the topic of kitchens.  They are an integral part of how we live but we seldom give thought to exactly how they came about.  You can find just about all there is to know right here. Read more

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SPACES FOR SPICES

In my last post we began to look at the challenge of creating an organized kitchen to cut down on stress and save time.  Now that we have the pot ;)/pots organized let’s look at some creative ways to store your spices.  I love to experiment with cooking Indian food (lots of spices) and there is nothing more frustrating than digging in the back of a cabinet for the garam masala!

SPICES should be stored away from heat and moisture, so right over your cooking surface may not be the best option.  A spice rack behind the door of an a cabinet close to your food prep area or stove is a good choice.

Back of door spice rack by Rev-A-Shelf

I like the ones with adjustable shelves.  If you are adding one to an existing kitchen make sure that the shelves inside the cabinet are not going to get in the way when you shut the door.  Hopefully, if your shelves are adjustable, you can work your way around that.  Incidentally I also love to use these types of spice racks for storing over-the-counter and prescription medicines in the kitchen or bathroom.

Another way to utilize the back of a cabinet or pantry door for spice storage is to use a simple shoe rack!

Yes, it's a shoe rack!

My absolute FAVORITE way to store spices is the magnetic spice rack preferably on the back of a door as well.  Containers are not very deep so they shouldn’t interfere with cabinet shelves.  You can see everything clearly and you can even make one yourself!  Click here to find out how to make one. Is this cool or what?!

Next up, sorting out the tupperware nightmare,  making your utensils behave and your chance to win a “kitchen enhancing” accessory!

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STEP ONE, ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN

Happy new year!  Thank you for showing up here at Kitchens for Living where my new year’s resolution is to continue to bring you the latest in products, trends and  kitchen related (mostly) tidbits as they cross  my path as a professional kitchen designer.  Whether you are planning a new kitchen, thinking about planning a new kitchen (someday) or just want to make the one you have better you’re in the right place.  I am here to help as little or as much as you want!

Do you feel like these babies? Quite often we come to the conclusion that we need help when we realize how powerless and out of control our lives have become.  Well, guess what?  This happens in the kitchen too.  Do you want to have more time, less stress?  Organizing what you have in your kitchen is definitely a step in the right direction.  Here’s how you can start.

DOWNSIZE

One of the number one trends for 2011 is downsizing in all aspects.  This includes not only your waistline but your schedule, your closet and yes, your kitchen.  Gone are the “McMansion” days.  Today we are learning about living smaller with quality instead of quantity.  The smaller the space the more each element counts and the more organization matters.  The Intuitive Kitchen philosophy agrees with 19th century creative William Morris who said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”


The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka

One of my favorite books about downsizing, prioritizing and organizing your life is Susan Susanka’s The Not so Big Life.  She uses the metaphor of a house and its architecture and interior to show us a different way of looking at how we live.  She’s actually written a whole series on this theme but this is the one I know.

SITUATE WHAT YOU HAVE

Now that you’re down to the nitty gritty, the point is to store it so we can see it.  This is necessary for the items we use on a daily basis.  There is also what I call remote storage, or the hard to reach or up high areas which are ideal for storing seasonal items.  The biggest organizational day to day kitchen challenges are pots and pans, especially the lids, (according to my clients), spices, tupperware and cutlery.  Today we’ll start with  solutions for pots and pans.

POTS & PANS

First of all don't Google "POT STORAGE". I did. It serves me right.



Seriously, you can easily get into a fight with your kitchen cabinets over pots.  I like to store mine in a deep drawer.  I keep the flat pans under the range but I love tray dividers or vertical partitions for storing cookie sheets, pizza pans, cutting boards and serving platters.  This type of cabinet can be located over a wall oven or better yet it’s the best solution for a small base cabinet.




Wasted space becomes practical and beautiful pot & pan storage.

If you thought the space over your windows was wasted, think again.  An over-the window-hanging-pot-rack can be convenient adding visual interest at the same time.

A Blind Corner Base sees the light with a LeMans storage system by Hafele USA used for pots!

Now a word about those lids.  They do make door racks to hold them but my favorite solution is this nifty chrome rack that fits in an upper cabinet or in a deep drawer.  It’s great for the lids or other items and you can get one at  organize-it.com for $9.99

Lid storage and more from organize-it.com

So now you have some idea how to stash your pot pots for easy access.  Next post we’ll organize your herb spices and cutlery.  ALSO COMING UP IS A GIVEAWAY! Yes Kitchens for Living is going to give one lucky winner some kitchen love!!  (I’m not really a pot head.  It was just funny so I had to run with it.)

 

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PEACE IN SIMPLICITY

From sushi to soduko Asian is all the rage.
Look at any design magazine and you’ll discover that the west is looking to the east for design inspiration.  Kitchens and baths have found new expression and streamlined function through the clean lines of Zen design.  (Think sushi bar?). the simplicity and organic features of zen design are at the forefront of kitchen design today.  The newest appliances are integrated in dark rich woods and exotic wood veneers such as Wenge and Zebra Wood.with Asian details including metal and shapes reminiscent of the pagoda.  An emphasis on natural materials such as stone and bamboo, exotic woods and simple symmetry are the order of the day.
Ken Charbonneau, a color marketing consultant whose clients include Benjamin Moore Paint says, “More people are looking to create Zen-like spaces.  To achieve this means to use carefully edited color palettes, pare down the excess and use the color to bring out the true essence of a room instead of letting it dominate a space.” There is another added benefit to paring down and that is saving money.  If you have a place for everything it’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable to leave a little open space. 
The Japanese architectural aesthetic is one of straight lines, no muss, no fuss.  It’s pure, simple and elegant.  But can a zen kitchen work in your Mediterranean-style home or a Lake Worth cottage-style?  The good news is no matter what your style you can incorporate the simplicity, organization and organic finishes that make zen design so appealing today.    If your house is a Mizner showpiece you can still pare down in the kitchen.  The trick to making it work is to include a common element.  For example you could keep the same palette but just simplify the details for a more uncluttered feeling of simplicity.  De-cluttering is something we can all do to reap the benefits of the  Zen aesthetic in the kitchen.  Organize it.  Put it away with state of the art cabinet accessories that pull out divide and categorize for convenience and high function.


This kitchen by Holiday Kitchens, Inc. exemplifies the zen principles of simplicity and straight line.
High art and function coexist with the peaceful ambiance of Zen design. Next post: Quickies for your kitchen
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