Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Kitchen Designers Challenge

Kitchen Before

  They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what they don’t tell you is so is form and function. It can be a challenge for any REMODELING or DESIGN professional when you take on a new client, go look at the room to be redone and think it’s beautiful! “Why would you want to change this?” we sometimes think to ourselves. What we have to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter what we think of it, or if it would work for our lifestyle. What is important is that it doesn’t work for our client! Take for example this Cobb County KITCHEN. Despite a dated stain on the cabinetry, it could have been the ideal KITCHEN for a young couple, even empty-nesters, but it did not work for this family with three young children who lived there.

Kitchen After
  Though the kitchen had new STAINLESS APPLIANCES, solid surface COUNTERTOPS and a tumbled STONE BACKSPLASH the client’s wished for a more uniform use of high-end materials throughout the space. They had more of a unique DESIGNER look in mind, instead of a production builder style layout. They also absolutely had to have more seating! As the professionals in this situation, we now had a creative challenge. The clients wanted to add more storage, more countertop space and more seating all in the existing space. 
  Our team confronted this challenge by removing a useless wing wall to create a longer, continuous wall of cabinetry. The L-shaped Island was removed to make room for a larger more functional island in the center of the room. A pantry which also served as a support structure was completely removed. LVL beans had to be installed to adequately support the second floor of the home. The removal of the boxy feature really opened up the space and improved the traffic flow from the hall, through the kitchen to the family room. Finally, a window seat was designed out of the perimeter CABINETRY to maximize the full potential for seating in the existing space. A table pushed up to the new window seat gave the client’s the extra seating they wanted.
  Spice pullouts, rollout drawers, and a pantry pullout give the redesigned kitchen the ultimate in function and storage. The new flow of the KITCHEN and the open feel of the space was an astounding change for the clients. The new large ISLAND boasted seating for four and served as the children’s homework central. Books, binders, pens and pencils could all be stored in the shelving alongside the chairs. The very large, single level countertop allowed for more than one chef to work in the KITCHEN at a time. This design decision was very important and very personal for these clients as cooking with the kids was a special family tradition. 

  A challenge? Yes. Impossible? No. It is always a pleasant surprise, even for those of us in the industry, what some literal “outside the box” thinking can do. It always leads to the most fabulous transformations and the most popular!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kitchen Fireplaces & Keeping Rooms

  Fireplaces are obviously not new fixtures in kitchens; as the primary manner of cooking for centuries many people find fire synonymous with kitchens and food preparation. Instead of the large fireplaces serving as a centerpiece of the kitchen, many homeowners have chosen to incorporate a fireplace and other fixtures for gathering in a Keeping Room located just off the kitchen.

  Keeping rooms also date back to colonial times when families would gather close to the kitchen fireplace to keep warm. Nowadays the kitchen is still the heart of the home and often the hub of all activities. Children and parents alike still want a place to gather close to the kitchen, but without children or guest under-feet while the household chefs are cooking! Traditionally these rooms would have brick or stone floors, but now we see wood floors more often with area rugs to soften the space.

  A wall-mounted television, custom built-ins for books and toys, comfortable and functional furniture are just some of the things you would want to plan for your keeping room. A keeping room is meant to be cozy, so dark floors, painted bookcases, neutral rugs and furniture in calming tones are just some ideas for your d├ęcor.

  Keeping rooms are not an emerging trend in Atlanta, but still tend to have a positive influence on a home’s resale value and buyer appeal. Do you have a keeping room? Show us: 
Are you seeing keeping rooms as a trend where you are?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so it may be too late to outfit your kitchen with the top tools to cook the perfect dinner. But it's never too late to create a wish list of what you might want for next year! If a kitchen remodel is in your future, or you just need to update some of your tools or even if you're looking for some holiday gift ideas for the chef on your list...Here is some of what you need to create your dream Thanksgiving kitchen!

- Warming Drawer - The superior air control of the Wolf Warming Drawer helps keep moist foods moist and crisp foods crisp. In addition to stainless steel, an integrated drawer front allows for a custom wood panel and handle hardware. Electronic controls are hidden to allow the unit to become completely integrated with surrounding cabinetry. 

- Oven
- Dual Fuel Range - Named by Good Housekeeping "Dual-Fuel Ranges: Splurge Pick Winner" the Viking VDSC530-4B-AR is considered the ultimate kitchen showpiece. It comes in 24 colors so it makes excellent dinner conversation, while the gas burners simmer steadily and the electric oven heats evenly!

- Built In Oven - The Bosch 500 Series HBL5450UC has received rave reviews. It's 30" Electric Wall Oven with Genuine European Convection, has 16 Cooking Modes, Glass Touch Controls with Ergonomic Retractable Dials and Meat Probe.  

- Dishwasher - TheGE Profile Dishwasher with Smart-Dispense Technology PDWT480RSS may be as close as you can get to having dishes that wash themselves. Its bottom rack is designed so that the soiled sides of plates face the center for better cleaning, and its SmartDispense system lets you prefill detergent for about a month's worth of loads. 

- Potato Ricer - Not your average potato ricer, OXO’s model offers three settings—fine, medium and coarse—that expand the tool's uses far beyond producing light, fluffy mashed potatoes. Just select your desired consistency, place cooked vegetables, fruit, eggs and more in the large hopper and squeeze the handles.
- Roaster -Calphalon Unison Sear Nonstick Roaster with Rack: Heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum with three interlocking nonstick layers provides excellent heat conduction and uniform cooking; exterior won't chip, peel, stain or scratch. Includes nonstick roasting rack that elevates foods to promote fast, even cooking. Dishwasher safe.

- Oven Rack - Three Tiered Oven Rack: When oven space is at a premium, this stacked stainless-steel rack saves the day. Place it on one half of an oven rack and bake several side dishes while the main fare cooks alongside. It also folds flat for convenient storage. Accommodates bakeware up to 4" high.

-Thermometer - The secret to cooking roasts and poultry to perfection is a reliable, leave-in thermometer. A digital version lets you select USDA or chef-recommended temperatures for all types of meat, poultry and fish, and signals when the preferred temperature is reached.   

-Adjustable Ceramic Peeler - Equipped with an ultrasharp ceramic blade, this precision tool by Kyocera shaves outer layers from produce with effortless speed. The blade is made of zirconium oxide ceramic, which is second only to diamond in hardness and stays sharp far longer than steel.
Info From Good Housekeeping & Williams Sonoma! Find these appliances, tools & gadgets on the web.