Monday, April 30, 2012

Dream Kitchen Must-Haves

Tricked-out cabinets, clean countertops and convenience top the list
By Becky Harris (Courtesy of Houzz)

Here’s a look at must-have features for your dream kitchen; some are time-proven standbys, and some are on the cutting edge. Having a place for everything and everything in its place (hiding clutter, from sponges to electric outlets), maximizing cabinet storage and including elements are what make kitchen activities easier.

 

Pot filler. This handy faucet means no more having to schlep a heavy pasta pot full of water from the sink to the stovetop.




Walk-in pantry. A good spot to store food, appliances, cookbooks, seldom-used platters and fancy china has always been handy to have.



Hidden sponge storage in front of the sink. Sponges are unsightly; why clutter up sink-side space with them? This use of the often wasted space in front of the sink is very clever.

Built-in dishtowel hamper. Sponges aren't the only items you don't want to look at. Today's sleek kitchens have dedicated spots for dishtowels, both dirty and clean.

 


All kinds of appliances. Double ovens, warming drawers, convection ovens and wine refrigerators are on the wish lists. Creating a wall for these hardworking units is a contemporary and convenient way to arrange the kitchen.


Advanced waterworks. Include a second sink in the kitchen as well as a hot faucet at the main sink. This kitchen has both.





  
Two dishwashers. Sinks are not the only elements to see two of; two dishwashers in a kitchen provides convenience. You can even take clean dishes straight from dishwasher to table, a luxury that you have when you don't need to empty the dishwasher in order to refill it with dirty dishes.

 
Hidden outlets. The island in the previous image has a well-placed kitchen outlet. Homeowners are tired of the required outlets breaking up their beautiful backsplashes, and who can blame them? Under-cabinet outlets are one smart solution.

More ways to hide the outlets
This system helps hide the outlets in such a smart way; the core of outlets pushes down into the counter, leaving only a pull tab visible on the surface. 


Hidden knife storage. These boxes pop up from the counter. Similar systems exist for storing other items, like herbs and even iPod devices.


Big cabinet drawers. Homeowners want to make the most of every square inch of storage space. Big drawers, especially those with dish racks and other inserts, maximize bottom cabinets' storage potential.


 
 
 Roll-outs. If you like the look of cabinet doors, you can still get drawer function behind your door fronts.


Upper cabinets for countertop appliances. In the quest for clear counters, Homeowners want cabinets to conceal these smaller applianes.


 
Ice maker in the pantry. No one wants to schlep to the gas station before a party for leaky bags of ice.

 

Induction cooktops. These energy-efficient appliances have finally made their way stateside from Europe.




A cutting board over the garbage disposal. This is a perfect example of a clever design solution that saves time and effort.
Cabinet-S-Top can assist you in selecting the features that are on your kitchen must-have list.  Stop by our showroom at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, we'd be glad to help!













Monday, April 23, 2012

Adopt Sustainable Practices

Courtesy of Pfister Faucets


In celebration of Earth Day, we encourage homeowners everywhere to help our planet by adopting sustainable practices such as water and energy conservation.   


By fully adopting water-efficient products and practices, the average household can save approximately 30,000 gallons of water annually. 
                                                                                                                       


What's more, if just one of every 100 homes in the U.S. installed new energy saving fixtures, we could reduce our electricity consumption by 100 million kilowatts. That's equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off the road for a year. So take an easy first step towards conservation with eco-friendly fixtures.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Home Water Conservation Tips

With a few small changes, you can make a big difference. Here are some simple tips to conserve water in the home. By adopting just one of these tips, you could save hundreds of gallons of water per month, reduce the water bill, protect the environment, and sustain water for future generations.

*       Twisting on an aerator can save up to 500 gallons per year

*       Installing water efficient faucets can save 500 gallons per year

*       Installing water efficient showerheads can save 500-800 gallons per month

*       Fixing leaky faucets or plumbing joints can save 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped

*       Shortening showers can save 700 gallons per month for every minute

*       Turning off water while brushing your teeth can save 3 gallons each day

*       Washing dishes by hand or using a spray device instead of letting the water run can save 200-500 gallons a month

*       Running only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher can save 300-800 gallons per month

*       Washing fruits and vegetables in a pot of water and reusing water for plants can save 150-250 gallons per month

*       Disposing of hazardous material properly prevents contamination that can waste thousands of gallons of water (a quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water)

*       Throwing waste into the garbage instead of the garbage disposal can save 50 -150 gallons a month

*       Adding mulch to your garden conserves moisture and reduces the need for frequent watering, which can save 750-1,500 gallons a month

*       Planning a low-water-use garden (also known as a xeriscape) by planting native flora and drought resistant perennials can save 750-1,500 gallons a month.

If you're looking for eco-friendly fixtures, Cabinet-S-Top can help.  Stop by our showroom to see our selection.  We are located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina.  330-239-3630.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kitchen Countertops 101: Choosing a Surface Material

By:  Lisa Frederick (Courtesy of Houzz)

Explore the pros and cons of 11 kitchen countertop materials. The options may surprise you.

Whether you're remodeling a kitchen, building one from scratch or just ready to give yours a face-lift, countertops are a central part of the look. And you may be daunted by the wealth of options on the market; countertop surfaces range from well-known butcher block to less common materials such as glass and terrazzo. We've chosen 11 of the most popular to get you started. Read on to find the one that's right for you.

Granite

Pros:
Granite's beautiful mottling and the host of colors and patterns found in nature make each piece one of a kind. It stands up well to splashes, knife nicks, heat and other wear and tear.

Cons: Like most stone, granite must be sealed every so often to avoid stains. And its heaviness means you'll need very sturdy cabinet boxes to support the weight.

Solid Surfacing

Made primarily from acrylic and polyester, solid surfacing first was sold under the brand name Corian. Today, it's made by a host of manufacturers and has enjoyed steady popularity over the years.

Pros: Because solid surfacing is nonporous, it's virtually maintenance free — no sealing or special cleaning required. Although it can be susceptible to scratches and burns, those are easy to sand out. Color and pattern options are extensive, and because you're not trying for the look of a natural material, you can experiment with vibrant hues such as turquoise or tomato red. Seamless installation means there are no cracks to trap dirt and debris.

Cons: Solid surfacing can have a patently artificial look and feel, yet can approach the price of natural stone. As mentioned above, it doesn't stand up to hot pans or sharp knives as well as other materials.

Quartz Surfacing

Crafted of resin and quartz chips tinted with color, quartz surfacing (also called engineered quartz or engineered stone) is a good compromise between the beauty of stone and the easy care of solid surfacing.

Pros: Quartz surfacing has the same advantages as solid surfacing with regard to maintenance. As an engineered product, it's available in a far greater range of colors and patterns than natural stone.

Cons: This material doesn't have the natural variegation of granite, so it may be evident that it's an engineered product. It's relatively pricey, although its durability can make it a worthwhile investment.

Marble

Is there anything that looks and feels more glamorous than a marble countertop? Peerless in terms of its luminescence and distinctive veining, it's an ultratraditional choice.

Pros: Nothing beats marble for sheer elegance. It stands up to heat well, and because it remains perennially cool, it's a traditional choice for pastry and baking stations (Dough won't get too soft).

Cons: Marble is very susceptible to stains, even with sealing. For that reason, it's not often used throughout an entire kitchen — most homeowners limit it to one or two small areas. It can also scratch and chip.
Tile

Modular and inexpensive, ceramic and porcelain tile offers nearly limitless options for colors and designs. Tile works with almost any kitchen style, from country to majestic Old World.

Pros: It holds its own against heat and sharp blades, and resists stains. If one or two tiles chip or crack, they're fairly easy to replace.

Cons: Tile's uneven surface can make it difficult to balance a cutting board or roll out a pie crust. Unsealed grout is prone to staining; standing moisture can damage it and contribute to bacterial growth.
Laminate

Made of paper blended with resins and fused to particle board, laminate has been a kitchen mainstay for decades. In the past, it hasn't always had a reputation as stylish, but that's changing: The latest designs on the market mimic stone, butcher block and other pricier surfaces.

Pros: Laminate is one of the most affordable countertop materials, so it's a good choice if your budget is tight. It's low maintenance and easy to clean. Its light weight doesn't require the support of a thick cabinet base.

Cons: Laminate is prone to scratching, burns and, in some cases, staining. With wear and moisture exposure, the layers can peel. Because of the raw particle board core, you can't use laminate with undermount sinks, and it's also difficult to repair if it gets damaged.

Soapstone

Although it's in no danger of overtaking granite, soapstone has come into its own as a countertop material. It offers subtle, nuanced beauty yet feels humbler than granite or marble.

Pros: Soapstone has a natural softness and depth that fits very well with older and cottage-style homes. Although it usually starts out light to medium gray, it darkens with time. (Most people enjoy the acquired patina, but you may consider this a con.)

Cons: Soapstone needs polishing with oil to keep it in top shape. It can crack over time, and it can't handle knife scratches and nicks as well as some other types of stone. The natural roughness of its surface can scuff glassware and china.

Stainless Steel

Once found mostly in commercial kitchens, stainless steel has slipped into vogue within the past two decades. These countertops are custom made to fit your kitchen, so you're guaranteed a tailored look.

Pros: There's a reason stainless steel is used in restaurants and other high-traffic kitchens: It's nearly indestructible, and it resists heat and bacteria. It also provides a very distinctive look that feels appropriate in contemporary and industrial-style kitchens.

Cons: Fingerprints show and must be wiped off frequently, and stainless steel can also dent. It can be loud as pots, pans and dishware clang against the surface. Chemicals can affect its color and cause unwanted etching. Stainless steel is extremely expensive due to the custom fabrication.

Concrete
Think concrete is just for floors? Think again. Slightly edgier than other materials, concrete countertops have an industrial chic that fits right into a loft or adds interest to an otherwise traditional space.

Pros: Concrete is extremely versatile: It can be cast in any shape and custom tinted any shade you wish. You easily can add unique inlays, such as glass fragments, rocks and shells. Concrete stands up well to heavy use, although it isn't as heat resistant as some other surfaces.

Cons: Because it's porous, concrete will stain without frequent sealing. With time and settling, small cracks can develop. Concrete is extremely heavy and will need strong support beneath. Like stainless steel, its custom creation ups the price tag.
Butcher Block

Butcher block has a classic appeal and always looks fresh. It's especially fitting for traditional, country and cottage-style kitchens.

Pros: Many homeowners like butcher block's warm, natural appearance and variegated wood tones. Although knives scratch it, many people like the shopworn look it develops — after all, it's what chopping blocks have been made of for years. But you can also sand scratches down with ease.

Cons: Wood swells and contracts with moisture exposure, and butcher block is no exception. It harbors bacteria and needs frequent disinfecting. Oiling is a must to fill in scratches and protect the surface.
Paper Composite

Paper countertops? You read it right. Created from paper fibers mixed with resin, this surface is ecofriendly and a whole lot more durable than it sounds.

Pros: Paper composite evokes the look of solid surfacing or laminate but with a warmer sensibility. It's surprisingly hardy and can withstand heat and water admirably. It's also a great deal lighter than natural stone or concrete.

Cons: The material isn't scratchproof and is susceptible to chemical damage. It needs an occasional rubdown with mineral oil, and even sanding, to refresh it. Although it sounds as though it would be a lower-budget option, it isn't.


 
Are you shopping for countertops?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top (located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina 330-239-3630) and check out our wide selection to choose from.  We can help you make the right decision for your kitchen countertop.

Monday, April 9, 2012

So Your Style is: Traditional

By: Lisa Frederick (Courtesy of Houzz)

Smitten with classic home design?

What it is: From antique furnishings to floral-print fabrics, traditional style sometimes gets a bad rap as fusty and outdated. But that's missing the point. While it's true that this look takes its inspiration from the past, it's really about comfort. Every element feels familiar, properly placed and predictable — in a good way.

Why it works: There's a reason that traditional decorating has thrived for so long. It promises warmth and welcome, and it delivers. Refined furnishings, mannerly textiles, dignified colors and a sense of order make this beloved style easy to live with. What's more appealing than that?

You'll love it if... Chaos makes you queasy. Your favorite movies are untouched by Technicolor. You've vacationed in the same spot since you were 12. You swoon over Blue Willow and Wedgwood. Your ideal day involves a bookshelf full of classics and a tumbler of Scotch. You own anything tartan.

If you're thinking Yes! Totally me!, read on for a breakdown of what traditional style is all about, plus tactics for keeping it current.

Style Secret: Symmetry

The traditional look is all about balance, from architecture to furniture placement. Furnishings tend to be grouped in formal arrangements that invite conversation, and positioned along the axis of a room. Your pieces don't all have to match, but this isn't the style for you if you're drawn to an offbeat, eclectic mix.

Make it fresh: Although you don't want to stray too far from symmetrical placement, there are subtle ways to keep a room from feeling static. Prop a tall mirror against one wall, hang art in a grouping that creates a sense of motion, or angle a cocktail table next to an armchair. Here, the irregular shape of the rug loosens the room just enough to give it energy.

Style Secret: Soft Edges

No sharp angles here — traditional rooms emphasize curves and sink-right-in comfort. Skirted pieces feel cozy and genteel and counterbalance leggy tables and chairs. Cushions are plump; pillows are plentiful.

Make it fresh: Keep skirts tailored to avoid a dated look, and choose neutral, textural fabrics to make an old-fashioned sofa or chair feel of the moment. And refrain from cramming lots of tufted furniture into a single room, or you risk looking too Victorian.

Style Secret: Conservative Color

 In a traditional space, color doesn't shout — it's laid-back and mellow. Neutrals such as
cream, beige, taupe and tan prevail, but deeper browns, reds, greens and blues (think about a paneled library) look fab in traditional interiors as well.

Make it fresh: Neutrals are always in good taste, but if you don't want to play it too safe, think beyond the basics. Pale blue, lavender, spring green, chamois or even soft red can work in this way.

Keeping colors tone-on-tone is the key to making them sit down. Bright shades, such as lemon yellow, fuchsia or turquoise, feel newer, but to keep the style planted in traditional territory, balance them with more restrained hues — and stick with conventional positioning, architecture and accessories.


Style Secret: Rich Wood Tones

Walnut, cherry, mahogany, oak — darker wood tones rule traditional style (leave the bamboo and blond maple to another house).

From walnut railings on a white staircase to cedar beams across the ceiling, it provides the warmth and coziness so essential to this look.

Make it fresh: Let hardwood floors shine: don't leave them completely bare, but don't obscure them with a rug that's too big. Layer in wood furnishings that are in the same color family for a collected, yet still pulled-together, look.


Style Secret: Statement Molding and Trim

Traditional rooms are known for their beautiful finishing touches. Often, millwork and plasterwork bears strong detailing, including venerable motifs such as egg-and-dart or Greek key, and is painted crisp white or ivory. Although traditional trim doesn't have to be ornate, it does need to add visual weight; skimpy moldings or a floating mantel won't seem at home.

Make it fresh: Give an elaborately carved fireplace surround an updated spin by keeping the mantel arrangement simple and clean. Let wainscoting blend into the wall. Eschew elaborate columns and finials in favor of cleaner — but still classic — lines.


Style Secret: Exotic Rugs

Kilims, Persian carpets and Oriental rugs never go out of style (good thing, because after you spend the cash for a top-quality floor covering, you won't want to hide it away). And they're like fine jewelry: You can make them work with anything. They have a way of blending into the background, yet their presence always anchors the room.

Make it fresh: Frankly, this is one element that's better as-is. But if you want to try something different, you could
layer an Oriental rug on top of a sisal or seagrass one (not, we beg you, the other way around). Or play with scale: a small rug next to a larger one, or three narrow rugs in a row.

  Style Secret: Gentle Shine, Showy Sparkle

Skip the chrome — you want metals with soft, warm undertones. Think brass, bronze and copper for lighting and plumbing fixtures. Gilt-framed mirrors and artwork are always on point. Crystal chandeliers and sconces complement traditional elegance nicely.

Make it fresh: First: No '80s-era shiny brass. Instead, choose metals with some tarnish, patina or texture. Oil-rubbed bronze looks updated but blends well with classic d├ęcor. Or try pewter — it worked for the Colonists.

Style Secret: Pretty Patterns

Plaids, stripes, florals, toile and more — each has a place in traditional style (sometimes, all in the same room). Feel free to mix and match, but stay in the same tight palette, and don't go too bold or splashy.

Make it fresh: No matter what, patterns in a traditional room should have that fundamental sense of symmetry. But you can update them by choosing an oversize scale and upbeat color. The damask fabric on the dining chair here adds punch without straying too far from its traditional roots.


Style Secret: Refined Window Treatments

Sweeping silhouettes, luxe fabrics and embellishments such as tassels draw attention to traditional draperies. Panels — either straight or pleated, and with or without finials or tiebacks — and valances are old standbys. Simple plantation shutters work well too.

Make it fresh: Don't let draperies puddle, which feels tired. Layer simple curtain panels over a rattan or bamboo shade instead of sheers. If you're a fan of streamlined styles, choose Roman shades. Just be careful about matching curtain fabric to furniture fabric; too much of the same print can feel cloying and overwrought.


Style Secret: Artful Accessories
Just as a good host blanches at the thought of seeing guests underfed, a traditionalist can't stomach cold, blank walls or sparsely populated shelves, which defeat the all-important air of welcome. Collections are massed together or fanned out in a logical way: china, figurines, plants, books, boxes, globes.

If it's not mounted over the mantel, art usually follows the hang-it-at-eye-level rule; a group of similar pieces often sport identical frames and are arranged in a tidy grid. Plates and platters look right at home on the walls. Mirrors tend to be grand and gracious (think sunburst, bull's-eye or Venetian).

Make it fresh: Austere paintings and sculpture will strike an off note in a traditional space, but you don't have to stick with Renoir reproductions and hunting scenes, either. Lots of modern art feels soft and graceful enough to fit in, and, of course, black-and-white photography is timeless and versatile. Leaving canvases frameless can make them feel less formal.

Unless you're into fern bars, pass up frilly plants in favor of more sculptural foliage. Consider simple ironstone, Delft or creamware instead of porcelain; balance elaborately patterned pieces with clean white ones.
Confused on how to put all of these style secrets together for your remodeling project? Call Cabinet-S-Top 330-239-3630 to set up an appointment to meet with one of our designers.  Or just stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina and let us assist you in bringing together the best of the traditional look to your kitchen or bath.