8 Things Every Kitchen Design Needs

8 Things Every Kitchen Design Needs

By Barbara Pronin

It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of your home – a friendly gathering point, a place for sustenance, a spot where the family can work together to create a memorable meal.

“It is important for a kitchen to provide the space, the ambience, and the necessary amenities to make all these things more enjoyable,” said kitchen designer Mick De Giulio, who has designed more than 3,000 beautiful and practical kitchens since he began his career at the age of 19.

Whether you are shopping for a home or preparing to remodel the kitchen you have, De Giulio offers his seven top tips for what every great kitchen should have:

  • Natural light – Look for more ways to maximize light, from creating bigger windows to adding a skylight to using more reflective surfaces, such as glass and stainless steel.
  • Comfort – It’s nice to have some soft seating in the ktichen, a small TV, and – if you have or can create the space – a fireplace.
  • Visual texture – Include a mix of woods, countertop materials, and finishes that create warmth, personality, and mood.
  • An island – If space allows, an island becomes the social center of the kitchen as well as an expanded work space.
  • High performance appliances – Today’s high-efficiency burners, and ovens with convection and self-cleaning features are indispensable for the dedicated cook.
  • Integrated refrigeration – Creating cabinet facades to hide refrigeration units provides a tremendous amount of design freedom. Eliminating the traditional large, boxy element makes a kitchen feel more room-like.
  • A hook – Every great kitchen needs a visual ‘hook’ – that one unique element that just pulls you in, like a distinctive range hood, a well-stocked pot rack, or a really lovely floor design or backsplash.
  • Ice cream – Without it, De Giulio said, no kitchen is complete.

Home Staging for a Modern World

Tangerine Tango (Paint with a palette knife)
 (Photo credit: Hailey E. Herrera Art Journey)

By John Voket, RISMedia Consumer Confidant

A recent visit to the Academy of Home Staging (theacademyofhomestaging.com) revealed some of the latest home-staging trends and how they could translate into selling your home faster.

The academy blog about 2012 design trends reveals a couple of key points about color and accessories.

According to the site, 2012 interior design trends regarding furnishings will favor seating that is much lower to the ground. Home furniture manufactures are debuting chairs and sofas that offer lower seating arrangements than standard products.

There is also a growing trend to incorporate the industrial look into furnishings, not just kitchen and bathroom spaces. With all shades of grey remaining favorable within interior design, it can be expected to see more yellow integrated into furniture to enhance this color pairing.

Also, rustic wooden furnishings will be popular this year, the academy advises.

We touched on this earlier this year, but it bears repeating – the accent color of 2012 is bright, bold and orange. The Pantone Color Institute recommends the reddish orange Tangerine Tango to replace last year’s pink Honeysuckle.

The Academy of Home Staging explains that this color has a lot of depth, being dramatic and simultaneously seductive and sophisticated. It’s important to be conservative in the use of a vibrant color, however, otherwise it can overpower the surroundings.

Selecting patterned trimmings that incorporate this color will give an edge to pillows, bedspreads, or tabletop accessories. For a more bold approach, painting an accent wall in a hallway, kitchen or entrance can create a dynamic burst of energy, the academy advises.

Finally, never as well overlook ‘dynamizing’ – giving the room in your house that special look. Make sure that each room clearly conveys its function and purpose.

For the bathrooms or toilets, the academy advises displaying fresh towels and toiletries like they do in hotels. For the living room, put a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table.

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Paying Your Kitchen & Bath Contractor

With the stabilizing of the real estate market, more homeowners are spending money on remodeling projects. If they are not careful, homeowners can end up paying more than they ever expected. Duane Wilson, owner of Cornerstone Design & Remodel–a San Diego-based Kitchen & Bath Contractor–provides valuable tips on how to avoid 3 of the most common pitfalls.

A homeowner makes a large deposit, then gets no work done

This is one of the most common scams among unscrupulous contractors. They ask for a big deposit or to pay for all of the materials upfront, then the homeowner never hears from them again. To avoid this pitfall, homeowners should not pay for work or materials upfront and should avoid any large deposits.

In California, it is against the law for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent or $1000 (whichever is less) for a down payment. They cannot legally ask for upfront payment for materials or work. The one exception is if the contractor is ordering customer-requested custom materials. In that case, they can ask for payment upfront.

Suppliers or subcontractors come after the homeowner for payment

Homeowners are responsible for suppliers and subcontractors who do not get paid on their job. They can even put a lien against the home where they did the work. To avoid this pitfall, there are several strategies a homeowner can use:

Pay the supplier or subcontractor directly

Issue joint checks to the contractor and supplier/subcontractor

Get an unconditional lien release from suppliers/subcontractors

Homeowner is liable for an injury on the job, including lost wages

If the general contractor does not have valid insurance, the homeowner is liable for any injuries on the job. This includes paying lost wages, if someone gets hurt and cannot work for a period of time. To avoid this pitfall, check that the general contractor has valid liability and workman’s comp insurance.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid these and other potential pitfalls is to work with a reputable contractor who has a history of paying suppliers and subcontractors on time. Happy remodeling!

Source: Cornerstone Design & Remodel

A Guide to Small Bathroom Solutions

English: Vanity sink Deutsch: Badezimmer-Wasch...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While dealing with special issues can be a challenge in any room of the home, finding a way to make a small bathroom livable is one of the biggest design challenges homeowners will face. Unlike many other rooms, in a small bathroom there isn’t a whole lot of room to skimp on furniture or fixtures. To make a small bathroom work, one needs to know exactly where to pare down and do it intelligently.

One of the most obvious ways to save space is to get a smaller bathroom vanity. But bathroom vanities that are merely small can present a whole host of their own problems, especially when it comes to storage.

The number one problem with small bathroom vanities is that no matter how much the physical space it takes up is pared down, some portion of what’s left still has to be devoted to the plumbing for the sink. So if the vanity has to be very narrow, look for a model with an easily accessible upper cabinet, where space is not wasted, and the stuff can still be stored around the drain pipe, an open shelf adds some extra storage as well.

One of the smartest solutions to the plumbing problem with small bathroom vanities is to slightly offset the sink to one side. That means the plumbing is offset, too, leaving one side of the vanity clear for storage where it would ordinarily be blocked off by the drain pipe. The vanity will end up being a little wider, but it’ll easily save from having to buy a secondary storage unit, which ultimately opens up more floor space.

Despite adding a few extra inches to the vanity, drawers – especially ones that start at counter level – will make the access to small items much easier. No more bending leaning stashing or searching in a single poorly organized cabinet. Neat, well sorted drawers are great for all the small stuff so a separate storage cabinet for the bigger items is not necessary.

Although large cabinets offer more storage space, they are usually hard to organize, and to lose stuff in if they’re deep and don’t have enough shelves. That’s why wall mounted vanities are much more space efficient. They cut down the size of the cabinets and raise them up to waist level, making them easier to access and navigate, while leaving lots of room for much more useful drawer space as well.

Shelves and cabinets built into the mirror are also a great add-on. While medicine cabinets make great small bathroom solutions, having to open the mirror all the way can be a problem in a tight space. Instead, vanities that are pre-paired with matching mirrors with built in shelves or smaller storage cabinets are recommended.

For those in the market for a small bathroom vanity it is important to remember – smart design is much more important to usability than anything a measuring tape can tell.

Source: HomeThangs.com

Kitchen Knives 101: Choose the Right Knife

English: Diagram of different kitchen knives

Good knives are an essential part of any cook’s kitchen. But having a nice set of kitchen knives isn’t enough — you need to know how to use them properly.

Using the right knife for each task helps you prepare ingredients more efficiently, gives your food the appropriate texture, and lets you work more safely. The wrong knife can not only make food prep slower, but messier.

Choosing the right knife, using it safely, and holding it correctly will give you superior control when cutting your ingredients, and give you more confidence in the kitchen.

Types of Knives

These are the basic types of kitchen knives home cooks should have on hand:

Chef – An essential knife for every kitchen. Chop, slice and dice all fruits, vegetables and meat.

Utility – An all-purpose, mid-size knife for chopping and cutting larger fruits and vegetables. A serrated edge is ideal for tomatoes.

Slicer – Cut clean, even slices of meat with the long blade and pointed tip.

Bread – The serrated, scalloped edge is perfect for cutting loaves of bread with hard crusts.

Boning/Filet – Used to trim and carve meats.

Parer – A small knife that gives you control to trim and slice small fruits and vegetables.

Knife Basics

Keep it sharp – Dull blades can slip and cause you to cut yourself. Be sure your knives are properly sharpened at all times.

Get a grip – For maximum control, pinch the blade near the bolster with your thumb and curled index finger and wrap your three back fingers around the handle.

Use it mindfully – In the hustle of preparing a meal, it’s easy to get a little careless. After handling a knife, lay it down in a cleared area with the blade away from the body and at safe distance from the edge of the cutting area. Don’t reach blindly for a knife; reach deliberately for the handle. And remember; never try to catch a falling knife.

Source: www.chicagocutlery.com.