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What should we call this door?

Brendan has done it again!  One of our favorite clients has been exploring exotic wood veneers as a way to add unique beauty to their new dream kitchen. (See previous post about wood veneers here).  They chose Olive Ash  Burl veneer and here are the doors we’ve come up with.  The first is a dark stained cherry frame around a natural Olive Ash Burl veneer center panel.

Up close look at the burl center panel

The swirls of the burl are stunning.  They stimulate the imagination.  With every glance a new shape emerges.  Maybe this would be a good tool for psychlogists! Keep in mind that a little goes a long way here.   I probably wouldn’t use these for every single door in your kitchen.  Use them as a focal point.  Not only will it have just the right amount of impact but you’ll save money by mixing it up with a basic.

Door #2. Any ideas?

The second door is slab-styled with a dark stained Olive Ash Burl veneer face.  The edge banding is a smooth dark stained cherry to match.  They are going to become part of our standard offering here at Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co. and shall be named!  Any good ideas?  I’m open to suggestions.  Oh and by the way, this veneer comes from various parts of Europe, in case that influences your decision.

Don’t forget to check out the Tip of the Day at Blanco by Design as we count down to Earth Day.  You can find mine featured today!




Here's where they make 'em

If the kitchen is the “heart of the home” then certainly the sink is the heart of the kitchen.  Think of how many things happen in and around your kitchen sink.  We wash dishes, we clean and prep veggies, we wash hands and even tiny babies in our sinks.  One of the best kept secrets in the “sink world” is the Silgranit sink by Blanco.  The use of granite as a sink material is not a new one and was used hundreds of years ago.  Silgranit, however,  is a new breed and is a mixture of 20% acrylic (yes just like the fake finger nail material) and 80% ground up granite.

This is where the acrylic action takes place


This is the granite sand that gets mixed with the acrylic

On my recent trip to Toronto I had the pleasure of visiting the only plant in North America manufacturing granite composite sinks.  Blanco, a privately owned firm based in Germany is the leader in this technology possessing 6 of 7 patents on the process.  Our gracious hosts at Blanco walked us through the process from mixing the acrylic with granite sand, forming and heat setting the mixture on nickel sink molds.    The result is a Silgranit sink that is indestructable.  I kid you not.

These stains had been setting for 48 hours

Same sink moments later

We were taken into a quality control lab where they had a WHITE Silgrant sink stained with tea, ketchup, mustard, red juice and red wine, all the worst offenders, right?  One wipe of the sponge (no soap) and rinse with water and the sink was once again pristine! The sink could not be scratched either.  A couple of us went at it rather vigorously with a fork.  The metal shavings of the fork were left on the surface and were easily wiped off with a sponge.  How about dents, you ask?  No dents either, a steel ball dropped into the sink had no effect.    Hot pots won’t burn the surface either.  These sinks also come in 7 different colors.  Anthracite black is the most popular followed by my favorite, Cafe Brown.  Blanco unveiled their newest color offering, Truffle, at the Interior Design Show 2011.


Truffle anyone?

It’s a taupe-grey color and they made sure we wouldn’t forget that by supplying us with a matching EYE SHADOW!  How cool is that?  Are there any downsides to this Silgranit stuff?  My research tells me that grout and maybe hard water could create a film, just as on any surface.  There are solutions ranging from vinegar and baking soda to the handy dandy Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  I can hear you thinking “so how much is this magical space age sink gonna set me back?”   Most models are available in the $500-$1,000 range from plumbing retailers such as Next Plumbing (See listing on LOCAL RESOURCES page) in West Palm Beach. has them available in the $300-$400 range.

Don’t forget to enter your chance to win a free Orgaline drawer organizer by leaving a comment on any post between now and February 15th! Click here to read January 14th post for details




The new Culina kitchen faucet by Blanco. The sink (also Blanco) is a polished stainless steel.

Now that I’m back and basking in the sun once again, I’m busy creating a whole new Flickr site with all those photos I took to share with you.  Here are just a few to get you warmed up.

Polished chrome faucets by Canadian firm Riobel will be available in the US this year.

Look for the link right here at Kitchens for Living where you can view all the photos and commentary.  As soon as I post you’ll be the first to know.   Just to get us started I thought I’d show you some of the faucet fashion at IDS11.   Incidentally this is the 13th IDS show and it’s Canada’s largest contemporary design show.  This year’s event featured 300 exhibitors.  As an American designer, it was interesting to see the differences not only in taste but in product offerings just over the border.  Products and styling appear more progressive.  When I question why so many of these products are not available to us here in the USA I am told that it is not our market.  I hope they are wrong.  If we can’t get it we can’t buy it.  Right?


This stylish Moen 90 degree faucet is also available in stainless. Photo courtesy of Moen.

Plumbing faucet manufacturers from Moen to Riobel to Brizo showed a dazzling array of faucets of all types with one thing in common, a polished chrome finish. Fellow bloggers who had the opportunity to visit Cologne, Germany last week for the “Living Kitchen” event tell me that polished chrome is the choice in Europe as well.


This stunning Siderna faucet by Brizo is simple yet elegant and I LOVE the glass detail on the handles!

Next post: The Sink of the future is here today!

Don’t forget to enter your chance to win a free Orgaline drawer organizer by leaving a comment on any post between now and February 15th! Click here to read January 14th post for details


Toronto Day 2

The "Womb" of wine at Via Allegro

The white is growing on me.  I can’t stop staring at the snow drifts.  I know by now this is getting tedious for my northern readers so I will refrain from any more comments about “the white”.  For some reason 30F in Toronto feels like 50F in Florida.  Today the group met up and we were taken by limo to Via Allegro Ristorante, world famous for their amazing wine cellar known as “the womb”.  The priciest bottle in this room, kept at a constant 57F, goes for $65,000!

Our gracious host, Blanco Canada President Flavio Bergamin, presided over a four course lunch in the true Italian custom including a not-to-be-missed Napa cabernet/shiraz blend by the name of Duel.  Kudos to restaurant manager Joseph for his great service and enthusiasm.  After lunch it was on to the Blanco Silgranit Plant.

Silgranit is a composite sink made of 80% granite and 20% acrylic resins.  Believe me when I tell you it is indestructible.  We witnessed two-day-old stains of tea, wine, mustard, ketchup and juice wipe right off a light colored sink with just a sponge and water.  After trying diligently none of us were able to scratch or dent the surface either.  Blanco is currently the only company manufacturing granite composite sinks in the US and they own 6 of 7 patents on the product.  If you are tired of stainless, which can scratch, this is a great option.  The most popular color is Anthracite Black followed by my favorite Café Brown.  The seven colors offered coordinate with quartz countertops as well as granite.

Anthracite Black is the #1 color for Silgranit Sinks

One of the perks of an adventure like this is you get to cross paths with all kinds of interesting people in the world of kitchen design.  Today I had the pleasure of meeting a group of people ranging from design bloggers and writers to radio and TV personalities.  Here’s the line up:

Joseph Freenor writes about cabinet & furniture trends and information

Paul Anater is someone you probably already know.  He writes about design and anything else along the way.

Cindy Dole is host of KFWB radio talk show Home Wizards

Vicki Payne CEO of Cutters Productions

Susan Palmer is the Decorating Diva

Last but not least our hosts Flavio and Marc Presidents of Blanco Canada and Blanco America.

Tonight is the opening reception for the Interior Design Show!  More pix to come.  The concierge is digging in the basement through thousands of left-behind cords to find one that will fit my camera.  Did I mention how nice Canadians are?



Yes, it’s true.  I’m off again on another great adventure this time courtesy of  Blanco.  As you’ll remember, last September I had the pleasure of attending design week as a guest of the uber edgy Brizo Faucets.  Click here.  Now I will be able to give you the low down the on  Blanco sinks you can pair with the amazing products at Brizo.

The Precision sink by Blanco is all about clean square geometric shapes.

This Blanco press release says it best.

“Morning, noon, and night, the sink is the most frequently used area in the kitchen. From early morning, through a hectic day, an evening meal, and the solitude of late night, the sink serves as both hard working companion and fashionable focal point.

For more than 80 years, BLANCO has been a world leader in quality, innovative design and unsurpassed attention to detail. The company pioneered the use of stainless steel for kitchen sinks and was the first company to introduce hard composite materials such as Silgranit®.

Today, BLANCO has the most extensive line of premium quality kitchen sinks offered in North America, continuing to lead the evolution of the kitchen sink area with functional concepts, striking good looks, and innovative solutions, sure to personalize the most frequently used area of the kitchen.”

The Blanco signature Silgranit Sink is 80% granite!

…And that’s not all.  I will also have the pleasure of touring IDS11, Canada’s largest contemporary design fair.  My press release will take me who knows where and you can join me here at Kitchens for Living.  The fun starts January 26th.  The countdown begins now!

Don’t forget to enter your chance to win a free Orgaline drawer organizer by leaving a comment between now and February 15th! Click here to read January 14th post for details.

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