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One Bachelor’s Kitchen Makeover

So you need a new kitchen. Let the dreams commence! We read all about the ubiquitous “dream kitchen”. The gorgeous kitchen above may be found on Houzz.com and features cabinets by Holiday Kitchens. Sorry if you thought it was the after shot. Sadly, it is not but I think you’ll agree that we made a huge improvement. To be sure the heart of the home is the most expensive room in the house to remodel so how much do you need to do? Do you need to reinvent the wheel to be happy? I say no. Read more

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Tip #3: Where can I save money and what items are worth the splurge?

Many of our clients begin kitchen remodeling projects in the summer.  Kids are out of school and our commitments tend to be less (for some of us) in the summer months.  Today’s client query is one that I hear a lot.  Naturally we all want to get the most for our money in all our investments but where can you save money in a kitchen remodel and what items are worth the splurge?

The answer to that is largely subjective as we all have differing needs and priorities.  That said, there are some principles that should never be compromised and those include efficient use of space, safety and the best quality you can afford.

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FIVE NEW ALTERNATIVES TO STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES

Slate appliances by G.E.

As you know, I’m always on the prowl for the latest in the kitchen and bath industry.  You may have noticed all the articles lately about the decline of stainless steel as the “go to” finish for kitchen appliances.  Everyone from the Wall Street Journal to The Daily Beast  is touting the hunt for THE new finish that will supposedly unseat stainless.  Yes, stainless steel does have a reputation, and rightly so, for being fingerprint prone and hard to clean.

Tip:  Never clean your stainless with any product containing ammonia or chloride.  For best results use mild soap and water and dry with a dry cloth.  For tougher jobs you can also use find stainless steel wipes at your local grocers.  Never use steel wool as it will scratch the finish.

This said, there have been lots of improvements and attempts to address these issues with special coatings and claims of “finger print resistance”. True or not, we’re ready for a change and several major manufacturers are taking a stab at what will be the next big thing.  Personally, I think stainless will continue to be a predominant option but I also believe we’re going to continue to see many new choices.  Here is what 5 major players are doing:

G.E. Slate is one of my favorites.  I like it because it’s fresh and different yet not SO different that it will clash with existing stainless steel.  Brushed metal touch points can also tie a new appliance into the mix  in case you’re not in the market for a complete suite.  They also claim the Slate finish is fingerprint resistant and easy to clean.

Slate Fridge by G.E.

This neutral “slate” color plays well with other finishes.

SubZero Wolf– The Mercedes Benz of appliance brands introduced the “Black Glass E Series Ovens” a year ago. Clearly not the best choice for households with children!  Built in ovens are available in 30” standard or flush inset application, the Black Glass model comes adorned with a black glass tubular handle and, wait for it, a COBALT BLUE interior!

Black Glass by Wolf

In addition  to the oven, Wolf also offers black glass trim kits for Warming Drawers and 30” Convection and Standard Microwaves. Glass may be print-prone but it’s also one of the easiest surfaces to clean. No word on if this finish has been popular enough for them to offer refrigerators in Black Glass.

White Ice by Whirlpool

Whirlpool White Ice is hot.  It’s the new white.  I think in general, people are taking another look at white which is also hugely popular as a cabinet finish.  Just think how seamlessly it would integrate with white cabinetry. On the other hand a contrast highlights the best of both worlds.  I must spill the beans, however, White Ice isn’t really glass, it’s just metal that looks like it. If you want real glass Jenn-Air makes the “Floating Glass” collection & does offer a choice of white or black glass fronts to them. They no longer offer the contrasting stainless tubular handles however. The handles are now a euro curved powder coated finish (that won’t discolor like plastic)

Durable and colorful glass front refrigerators by Bosch haven’t yet made it to our shores.

Last but not least, my fave appliance maker Bosch featured a line of UBER glass finished appliances  just a few months ago at IFA,   the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances in Berlin.  This is strictly a European offering so far and I don’t believe we’ll be seeing it here anytime soon.  A kitchen designer can dream though.  Bosch has applied their good old German practicality and efficiency to create a seemingly indestructible and beautiful product. Here’s video filmed on location at IFA

 

Check out this line up, also as seen at IFA this year in Berlin.  Can you imagine a purple refrigerator?  I hear they also deduct calories, just kidding…

Haier foursome at IFC photo by refrigeratorinfo.com

 

 

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G.E. HELPS YOU FIND YOUR DREAM KITCHEN

This modern kitchen features G.E. Profile appliances.

As a kitchen designer and writer,  my inbox is always filled with news of all the latest products, websites and all manner of things to do with our favorite room, the kitchen.  G.E. has always been known as the bread- and- butter of the appliance world.  Not only have they been around forever but they have evolved with the times.  Today they still offer the basic affordable options as well as higher end appliance packages under the names G.E. Profile,  Monogram and the new Cafe’ Series. These offer a wider variety of functions and integrated modern styling.

Early days (Note dangerous placement of stove! Sliding in between cabinets would have been better!)

Another thing that really makes them a 21st century contender is their state of the art website.  There is a wealth of information here whether you aim to use their products or not.  Of course they hope you’ll be seduced once you have entered their “web”, so to speak.

Play with this design on the G.E. site. They left room for art. I love it!

One of my favorite features on the site is the kitchen design function.  Simply choose a kitchen which is similar to your own space.  Then simply click on the various color choices.  It’s a lot of fun and a great way to start to narrow your choices and make the big decisions like dark vs. white cabinets, black vs. stainless appliances.  You get the picture (literally).  You’ll also find lighting ideas, safety tips and even recipes.  Oh, and the “must have’ G.E. product in my book is the Advantium Microwave Oven. My clients love it.  You can use it as a regular oven or as a microwave, so it’s like two ovens in one!

This bachelor client opted for TWO Advantiums, one built-in to the pantry and one over the range!

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KIDS COUNT

The needs of children can be easy to overlook when designing a new kitchen. If you are contemplating a remodel and you have small children or grandchildren you should think about ease of maintenance, user friendliness and above all safety.

Beware of sharp points. Soften sharp corners on countertops with angles or curves. Remember, if it’s at your hip level, it’s at a child’s head level.
Don’t place glass doors below the counter, where small ones can break the glass. Even if you use glass door inserts for upper cabinets be sure to use tempered glass which will cost a little more but won’t shatter in the event of breakage.
Also avoid open display shelves below the counter. It’s an invitation to curious toddlers,making them more trouble than they’re worth (the shelves, that is).

Vinyl or wood flooring are kinder on the chef’s legs and feet—and on falling children.
Select finishes that are easy to clean. Stainless steel is not kid-friendly, as it easily shows the little ones’ fingerprints and smudges. However if this is the look you want consider using a model such as the GE CleanSteel which has a stainless-steel look that, unlike true stainless, resists fingerprints and accepts magnets. Kenmore, Whirlpool and LG also make similar models.

A lower cabinet devoted to storing plastic cups, bowls, lunch boxes, snacks or other items that your children need to get to on their own is a great kid-user idea. A lightweight stool that is easily accessible can make all the difference when it’s time to reach the counter. You can even install a step stool in the toekick space under a cabinet. However, if bending to access your stool doesn’t appeal to you check out the Ultraslim Aluminum Step Stool from Williams-Sonoma. It is lightweight, has plastic feet to protect floors and opens with a fingertip push. Best of all it folds to a mere 1 ¾” deep for easy storage.

Last but not least don’t forget you can install locks on cabinets that are off limits as well as safety covers on electrical outlets. Next post: English charm in Palm Beach

Photo from PLUS IT! Family Activities for Kids: Promote Learning, Family Literacy






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