How to make your kitchen cozy

Posted by admin on October 16, 2014 with No Comments

When you shape the kitchen interior, the greatest problems are connected with drawbacks of planning and lack of space. Appropriately chosen kitchen furniture can resolve this situation, even more so that variety of models gives such an opportunity. The main thing is to imagine how your own kitchen “acts out”, i.e. even on the stage of planning you are to foresee conformity of all objects and their sizes. Believe us, this will greatly facilitate the whole process, up to setting the last shelf in the dresser.

So, you have already made up the list of all kitchen equipment with indication of its size. Now pay attention to technical details, such as dimensions and location of the ventilation, pipes, wiring, sockets, flexible (gas, water-supply) hoses etc. Enter all necessary “stuffing” in your list – and you can set off for the shop to make your choice. If you are going to buy all elements of kitchen interior separately, don’t forget that the standard depth of household appliances is 600 mm, so check in advance the parameters of the things you need.

The dominant is high storage cabinets for storing foodstuffs and high cabinets for storing inventory (brushes, brooms etc). It is necessary to remember that they should not break off the work surface and they should not be located on the “outskirts” of your kitchen field. If you prefer an inbuilt grill or oven, it is the high storage cabinet that will accommodate them without breaking the uniformity. Besides you can pick up the height of their location, so that it is convenient for you.

Now let’s touch upon on-floor cabinets. They are the basis of your workspace, their height directly affects the extent of your hands’ fatigue after cooking food, a great amount of drawers on rollers can help simplify reaching out for any object of kitchen interior that you need at the moment. We advise that you plan the space of on-floor cabinets in such a way, that the most frequently used objects could be easily accessed (pullout rotating shelves), while the rarely used dishware can be placed on the ordinary shelves.

A detail: trays and baking sheets can be conveniently settled in the plinth case under the on-floor table, which in fact, can have any width, depending on your requirements. If the height of the on-floor cabinet (preparation table) is not convenient for you, the plinth will add several centimeters, necessary for your accommodation and will relieve your hands and back of overstrain. Important: it is extremely comfortable to work while sitting, so if you decided to bring in something new to the interior and give yourself a treat, plan a pullout shelf under one of cabinets of work surface or get a high (bar) stool.

Overhead cabinets are to be located not less than 450 mm from the work surface, it is necessary, in order to accommodate freely all used electrical appliances (a food processor, a coffee-machine, a toaster etc). The height of standard cabinets is 600 mm, perforce you can buy 900-mm cabinets. They will exactly reach the ceiling in typical flats. Even if after all this, there are some things left and there is some vacant space on top, we finish the composition by entresol shelves up to the ceiling (open or closed ones) or a cornice with inbuilt lamps. Corner wall-mounted cabinets have either open shelves, or a folding door, which makes all the contents visible; the rotating shelf is remarkable for its capacity and convenience.

The distance between the work surface and overhead cabinets is called the apron. With regard to the work surface the main thing for the apron is to be in harmony with it as to colour and texture. For instance, a glossy table top and glazed tiles, mat colour of the work surface and mat apron (covered with mat washable wallpapers or imitation of tiles).

Such attention to the image of the apron is connected with the fact that it should protect the wall from dirtying, for example, from grease that can be easily washed off. The work surface is often overloaded with objects and their abundance induces the feeling of discomfort. We will free it with the help of the apron. Let’s fix the microwave oven on brackets, arrange the parade of species on the miniature shelves and place the small metal items and knives on the magnetic panel. One more nuance: the decorative nook (plinth), made of water-resistant materials, will protect the back surfaces of on-floor cabinets from ingress of moisture.

When you place standard furniture, there may be narrow gaps between separate elements or between the furniture and the wall. Use them – put a narrow shelf or a table in this gap. For example, a movable table will increase the active surface and will be used as a serving table.

A narrow socle will prove useful for storing preparation plates, towels, bottles. Select the same materials for these inbuilt constructions as those used for main furniture. Kitchen furniture made from natural hard wood (oak, cherry, beech, nut-tree) and work surface from granite and marble look impressive and respectable.

Ultramodern directions of finishing are represented by metal surfaces (stainless steel, aluminum) and heat-resistant glass. Inexpensive surfaces can be made of laminated plastic, ceramic tiles, plastic. All these materials are rather practical and differ in the ways of installation and operation: laminated plastics is deformed by high temperatures, the tiles can crack as a result of unsuccessful landing of a heavy pan, plastic is vulnerable to scratches, but in contrast to laminated plastic it withstands high temperature almost without deformation. No kitchen can do without silent assistants, such as a gas cooker, refrigerator, sink. Selection of equipment depends only on you. When the kitchen is small, the equipment and sink are to be compact.

There are sinks of various shapes and dimensions; in our opinion, it is better to select a round sink made from stainless steel. It is smaller than the square one, yet everyone, who has ever used a round sink, will agree that it is more convenient for washing and cleaning, and besides it has a more aesthetic look.

It is very convenient, if the sink has additional ribbed trays for drying dishware, the water then does not spill on the surface of the table top and gradually trickles down to the sink. There are models, where the sink is combined with a drying apparatus, but if you have a dishwasher, you can do without a drying apparatus. Instead, choose a sink with two additional compartments for wetting cutlery and rinsing washed dishware. The drawback of the combined multisection sink is that it takes up too much space. If you have some room, buy a wider 800-mm table top instead of a standard 600-mm one. Then the part of the table top that adjoins the wall can be lifted for 15-20 mm – and you will have a convenient shelf. Besides under the table top you can have a special cavity 20 cm deep that will allow you to conceal drainage equipment. As a result, we get additional space under the sink, where you can put a dishwasher and arrange shelves for cleaners on the remaining space.

The main principle of placing the sink is convenience. It should not be located far from the gas cooker and be connected with it via a common work surface. If the kitchen is small and you planned it as a single line (please refer to the previous article), place the sink in the center, and refrigerator and the gas cooker on each side. A sink in the corner looks good in a big kitchen. The main advantage is economy of space. It is possible to plan a “kitchen island”; in this case the sink perfectly fits into the center of the composition.

One more “must” of the kitchen interior is the gas cooker. Modern cookers with burners and an oven have the same height as the furniture, that is why there are no problems with breaking off the sole horizontal work surface. Nevertheless, if the cooker does not match this parameter, it is preferable to choose models with a flap that closes the burners, when food has been cooked.

Inbuilt kitchen equipment is more expensive, yet more convenient. You can use any combination of equipment at your discretion. This principle is called “domino”. The basic modules are gas and electric burners, an oven, a cooking panel. Delicatessen-lovers will install a grill, a deep-fryer, a steamer, a brazier. You are absolutely free in the flight of your fancy and can endlessly enrich your arsenal of kitchen innovations. Work with inbuilt models is practical, because you use minimum dishware and have maximum pleasure from cooking. Also important is the fact that cooker hoods are inbuilt as well, they absorb smoke and soot in the horizontal, but not vertical direction. A substantial drawback that prevents many people from buying inbuilt equipment is its high price.

A small fridge, as well as the washing machine, can be put under the work surface. If you need a big fridge, don’t forget about the law of non-breaking off the work surface, when you place it.

So, you have taken care about all kitchen components, and in conclusion add to the interior some personal charm, because its “face” should reflect the traits of your personality.

Your imagination will prompt what elements of decor are relevant in your interior, these can be flowers, paintings, porcelain collections or just cute trifles. The designers of the best repair and construction companies will help you orientate in the endless variety of kitchen furniture and household appliances. With their help your kitchen will be not only convenient and cozy, but will also become a unique reflection of your personality.

This article was submitted to us by Contractor Match, who specializes in matching homeowners with kitchen remodeling contractors.

Kitchen Countertop Materials

Posted by admin on September 10, 2014 with No Comments

I was helping my daughter having her kitchen remodeled recently. She was having problems trying to decide on a new countertop material. Walking through the counters area in Home Depot gave her a few ideas, but she was still undecided when the time came to choose a month later. I decided to write out a quick comparison of all the materials and costs for her and when I was done I thought other people might find it useful as well, so here goes.

Most people are familiar with laminate countertops. (Formica is one brand name.) They’re a thin surface of high-pressure laminate applied to a thicker base of plywood or particleboard. Pluses: The standby, available in literally hundreds of patterns and colors, laminates are the least expensive (next to tile) and durable, requiring less upkeep than tile. Minuses: Easy to scorch with hot cookware, the use of layers in their construction makes it tricky to repair chips, show scratches, especially lighter colors, so not usable as a cutting surface. Less durable than natural stone or solid surface; use with under mount sinks is not recommended. Cost:  $25 to $50 foot

Solid surfacing, (brand names Corian, Fountainhead, Avonite and Surrell) a newer countertop material, is durable and mimics the appearance of natural stone materials like marble or granite. Pluses: Gives seamless surfaces, easy to care for. High impact resistance, easily repaired, nonporous and seamless, so won’t trap dirt, collect bacteria or stain; easily. Minuses: May melt from hot pot; looks non-natural in some color schemes, licensed contractor required for installation and repair work. Cost: $60 to $110 per foot.

Natural woods. Used in butcher-block style arrangement. Maple, oak and other hardwoods, make durable and elegant countertops. Pluses: Good surface for cutting foods; scratches easily repaired by sanding; easy match with wood cabinets and floors. Minuses: Requires a finish to preserve appearance, may scorch with hot cookware, allows bacterial growth, so needs regular cleaning. Not practical for entire countertop – good for small sections. Cost: $50 to $75 per foot

Granite. Popular for their elegant and rich look, natural stone countertops will last longer than most kitchens. Pluses: Adds to value of home, hard durable surface, very heat resistant. Minuses: very expensive, requires care since it is porous and must be sealed periodically, grease will stain. Cost: 60 to $200 per foot for granite $60 to $130 per foot for marble (stains easily and not recommended for food prep countertop)

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: This is the countertop material my daughter was replacing. While the counters were in pretty bad shape, refurbishing was an option. Tile has a comforting, classic look and is inexpensive..  Pluses: Easy to clean up after a mess. More heat resistant than laminates solid surfaces, inexpensive, unless you are thinking about custom or hand-painted tiles. Minuses: Can chip and crack easily; needs regular maintenance to keep bacteria out of grout. Scrubbing grout. Cost: $10 to $25 per foot.

So, what countertop material did she choose in the end? For it’s reasonable cost and reparability, Corian got the nod for the new kitchen. We found a color that was very close to a granite look and we also liked the ten year warranty.

How to Plan for a Kitchen Remodeling or Renovation Project

Posted by admin on September 10, 2014 with No Comments

Deciding to remodel your kitchen is one of the best investments you can make. The kitchen is where people spend most of their waking hours while at home. It is where they cook, eat, and gather with the family. It is also where they talk and share ideas about the latest trends and fashions. Consequently, it is not surprising that the kitchen would be on the top of the list of home improvement projects. Having an up to date, modern kitchen, allows people not only to function better with new cabinets and appliances, but also enables them to feel that they are indeed living in modern society.

Kitchen remodeling however can be a very messy and disruptive home improvement project. And the length of the disruption can take as long as a month or more, even when well planned out.

To mitigate the disruption of a kitchen renovation project, planning is absolutely essential. The first item to consider is whether you will do it yourself, or hire a general contractor. Regardless of what route, a homeowner needs to first sketch out some kitchen remodeling ideas to ensure the kitchen design and costs will meet their targeted functional requirements and budget. If a general contractor is to be hired these initial sketches will be helpful in communicating your kitchen remodeling plans and ideas.

During the planning phase, the homeowner should identify the main objectives of the future kitchen. They should research the latest products on the market including: cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring. If the kitchen is more than 5 years old, there are a lot of new products to choose from. For example, Silestone is quickly surpassing Granite and Corian, as the premier countertop surface as it is extremely hard, elegant in appearance, and comes in many colors. For cabinets, the trend appears to be towards lighter colors as they help the appearance of lightening and enlarging a room. In regards to appliances, the Stainless Steel look appears to be in. And for flooring, vinyl or wood is the trend. Tile looks nice, however, it can be unforgiving in a room where things tend to get dropped. In addition, if there is no radiant heating planned for the floor, tile has the tendency to feel cold on the feet.

It is also important to consider any structural changes to the existing kitchen area. Is a new kitchen island desired, or will walls or doorways need to be moved or installed?

When developing your kitchen remodeling plan, it is important to note that professional kitchen designers like to think of a triangle when starting a new kitchen design. The three points of the triangle include the Sink, Refrigerator, and Stove. Make sure your sketches consider this, as it will ensure a good functional kitchen. Also, consider adequate walking areas and space for an eating area, such as a table or center island, with applicable space included for chairs. I would suggest that the walking areas be wide enough for two people to walk through at the same time.

The sketches should also include dimensions, as these will be needed when meeting with the general contractor or kitchen designer. Finally, consider where the existing outlets and power for the stove are, and assess if additional outlets will be needed or old outlets relocated.

 

Arming Your Kitchen With Basic Cooking Utensils

Posted by admin on September 10, 2014 with No Comments

There’s no doubt that having the right tools for the job makes any task easier, and there’s no better place to illustrate this than in the kitchen, where having the right cooking utensils can be the difference between creating good meals and great meals.

Many cooks think about major appliances such as the stove and refrigerator when planning to equip their kitchens, but to be a success in the kitchen, you need to have a good selection of cooking utensils in addition to the bigger items. And don’t forget, cooking utensils means more than just spoons; there’s a host of small cooking utensils ranging from cutting devices, juicers, graters and more.

Think about what you do in a kitchen and about how different cooking utensils come into play for each task:

• Washing and drying fresh produce – always easy to accomplish with a strainer and salad spinner. A vegetable peeler is also an important addition to your cooking utensils closet.

• Slicing, chopping and dicing all kinds of food and garnishes – a food processor makes short work of vegetables, but mandolins, knives and graters are also helpful cooking utensils to have on hand.

• Measuring – cooking and baking can be a form of art and recipes should be followed as precisely as possible so measuring dishes, cups (both wet and dry measures) and measuring spoons are invaluable cooking utensils.

• Weighing – depending on what you like to cook, you may want to add a food scale to your shopping list of cooking utensils. Such a tool can be excellent for portioning meat and other products that have cooking times affected by weight.

• Temperature – as important as measures are temperatures, which can affect the success of your kitchen endeavors. An oven or meat thermometer is key to having properly cooked meat that is safe to eat, and should be included in your pantry of cooking utensils.

• Mixing – no kitchen would be complete without a cadre of mixing bowls in its cooking utensils cupboard. Having a selection of bowls in assorted sizes is essential to fast, efficient cooking.

• Manipulating, poking, prodding, lifting and stirring – perhaps what most often comes to mind when you think of cooking utensils are implements used to move food: spoons, forks, knives, spatulas, wire whisks, pastry blenders, tongs, salad lifters, slotted spoons, wooden spoons, serving spoons and more.

By imagining the tasks you do every day in the kitchen, you will get a better idea of the cooking utensils you should consider purchasing. Think about every stage of the food preparation process, from storage and cleaning, to cooking and presenting.

Other useful cooking utensils: pastry brush, kitchen shears, rolling pin, salt shaker, pepper mill, cutting board, ramekins, flour sifter, rotary beater, ladles, juicer and a can opener. Cooking utensils come in a range of prices, quality and materials such as wood, metal, rubber and silicone. Regardless of how much you pay, always make sure any cooking utensils that have multiple pieces, fit together securely.