Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bathroom Workbook: 8 Elements of Traditional Style

by Mitchell Parker

Good things can last forever. That’s why traditional-style decor, some of which has its roots in 18th-century England, is one of the most popular styles found in homes today. But defining what constitutes it is somewhat tricky. For example, most people aren’t going to outfit their bathroom with furniture pieces built in the 1700s, or pay through the nose for antique French faucets. Instead, designers try to use pieces that are manufactured today, but still pay homage to that particular time period, without crossing the fine line into the clean lines of contemporary bathroom style.

“You try to get that feel,” says Jill Breed, a project coordinator at David Sharff Architect, a firm that’s spearheaded countless traditional projects in places like Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. “So we use painted, furniture-like cabinetry, traditional faucet styles with cross handles and avoid things like modern or sleek fixtures, rectangular sinks and contemporary materials like Caesarstone that would make more of a transitional style.”

Here are eight ways designers add traditional style to a bath.

“I like to keep it simple and visually pleasing,” says Floriana Petersen of the traditional-style bathroom in this French cafĂ©–inspired apartment in San Francisco. She used classic wainscoting, soft whites and blues, and antiques, like the folding chair used as a towel holder. “This style is for anybody who likes traditions, simplicity and coziness,” she adds.

1. Antique-style lighting. The fixtures are ornamental and unique. Think curvy antique sconces rather than tubular or streamlined fixtures.

2. Cabinets with character. Rounded legs, carved door faces and ornate knobs define cabinets and vanities in traditional spaces. “Vanities look more like pieces of furniture,” says Breed.

3. Calming colors. You probably won’t find a lot of bright orange in a bathroom that’s leaning traditional. Instead, pale blues and greens are the often the norm, and neutrals like white, black, gray and brown take center stage.

4. Plenty of molding. Keeping in line with a detailed space, no area is spared when it comes to molding; it is prevalent on ceilings, armoires and cabinets. Wainscoting, bold wallpaper and detailed millwork are also common.

5. Lots of detail. One of the hallmarks of traditional spaces is the attention to detail. Tilework, millwork and cabinetry all bear extra ornament in traditional settings, like the bathroom pictured here, which blends traditional details with contemporary updates, such as the glassed-in shower. “It’s not something you’re going to become sick of or will grow old on you. It’s refreshing,” says Breed.

6. Unique tilework. You’ll see lighter veining and colors in traditional bathroom tile, which runs the gamut but typically is something classic, like Calacatta or Carrara marble. You’ll see more tile play and mosaics and unique patterning, like the golden onyx and slanted tiles seen here.

7. Stand-alone storage cabinets. In traditional settings, function is usually hidden and artistry is showcased. You’ll quite often see separate armoires or vertical cabinets used as linen closets.

8. Lusterless finishes. You’ll see a lot of brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze rather than shiny new polished chrome, says Sasha Idris, a design associate at Diane Durocher Interiors.

At Cabinet-S-Top, we can help you design the traditional bathroom you want for your home.  Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~  www,cabinet-s-top.com

Monday, May 19, 2014

7-Day Plan: Get a Spotless, Beautifully Organized Laundry Room

by Laura Gaskill

Whistle while you work, knowing that your laundry

area is as neat and clean as your freshly stacked clothes

Laundry is a chore you likely have to tackle often — and when the laundry room is cluttered and grungy, that task can quickly become something to dread. Whether your washer and dryer are in a spacious room of their own or at the bottom of a rickety flight of stairs in an unfinished basement, this weeklong plan is here to help your laundry area be the best it can be.

Make a plan of attack. A fairly tidy laundry room in the main part of the house will require far less time and effort to spiff up than a dark, dusty corner of the basement that you usually spend as little time in as possible. Read over the entire plan before you begin and tailor it to meet your needs. Aim to get the toughest jobs done on a day off when you can devote several hours to them. The rest can be done in smaller chunks on weeknights.

Day 1: Deep clean the washer and dryer.

Cleaning tasks: Today is the day to get your appliances clean inside and out, so they will work more efficiently and get your clothes cleaner.

Cleaning the washer:

  • Use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to clean the exterior and inside the lid of your washer, paying special attention to rubber seals.
  •  If your washer has a lint trap or removable detergent dispensers, take them out and clean them with warm, soapy water in the sink. If not, use cotton swabs to get the gunk and grime from the corners.
  • Pour a cup or two of white vinegar in the washer and run it on the hottest setting, without any clothes in it.

Cleaning the dryer:

  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the dryer with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. 
  • Remove the lint filter and use a narrow vacuum attachment to remove built-up lint from inside the space where the lint filter goes.
  • Unfasten the dryer hose from the back of the machine (check the owner’s manual if you are not sure how to do this) and use a vacuum attachment to remove lint from the hose and the duct.

Day 2: Declutter and Get Rid of Grime

Cleaning tasks: You know those lint balls, empty detergent containers, used dryer sheets and random things from pockets lying all over the place? Now is the time to give them the boot. Once the obvious junk is gone, move on to these tasks:

  • Vacuum the space from top to bottom. Get under and behind appliances and furniture as best you can.
  •  Launder or spot clean any rugs and soft furnishings.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner to get counters, shelves and doors fresh and clean.
  •   Mop the floor, paying special attention to corners and around the bases of appliances, where dirt and grime tend to build up.

Decluttering tasks: Do you know what all of those bottles on your laundry room shelves contain? If you’re not sure, take a few moments to look over each product and keep only those you actually use. Open up small containers to check that the product is still good.

Day 3: Get organized.

Decluttering tasks: With your laundry room clean and decluttered, it should be much easier to get organized.

  • Sort products into two categories: daily use and stain fighting or specialty products. If you have a choice, store the products you use daily (like detergent) closest to the washer and less frequently used items on a higher shelf.
  •  If you do hand washing at a sink in the laundry room, put the soap and any other supplies you use beside the sink.
  • Open baskets and trays are quite useful for corralling groups of products — not only do they look attractive, but they make it easier to grab exactly what you need (for example, the stain-fighting kit) because you won’t have to rummage around on a crowded shelf.
  • Make a dedicated place for stuff that comes out of pockets, like a small bowl placed atop the dryer.
  • Be sure you have a small wastebasket at hand for lint balls and dryer sheets.

Day 4: Gather resources.

Decluttering tasks:
 Now is the time to check your inventory of supplies and fill in any gaps. In addition to your usual detergent and dryer sheets, consider including these things:

  • A clipboard or small corkboard. Hung on the wall, this makes the perfect place to display a helpful stain-removal chart and washing instructions.
  • A small mending kit. So you can quickly take care of minor holes and loose buttons as soon as you notice them.
  • A bottle of white vinegar. Great for removing stains naturally and cleaning the washing machine.
  • Hangers. Being able to hang delicate items promptly upon removing them from the dryer will save some ironing time.
  • A folding drying rack. For items washed by hand.

Day 5: Add some style.

Decluttering tasks: A vase of fresh flowers on a shelf above the washer, a pretty new laundry bag, a row of shiny new hooks on the wall and a framed photograph or art print are all great ways to personalize the laundry room. There’s no need to go overboard on decor — this is at heart a functional space — but even a small hit of color or pattern will be most welcome. 

Tips for basement laundries. When your washer and dryer don’t have a room (or even a closet) of their own, and are, in fact, surrounded by boxes of old stuff, exposed ducts and concrete, it’s easy to want to completely give up on making the area a nice place. If this is your situation, here are four things that can make your space feel more inviting:

  • Proper lighting. A table lamp or wall sconce is so much more pleasant than a bare-bulb shop light!
  • An outdoor rug. A colorful outdoor rug will add some much-needed softness and color and is tough enough for a basement.
  • Shelving. When everything around the washer and dryer looks too grungy for your clean laundry to touch, dedicated shelving and a folding surface are what you need.
  • Pretty baskets. The space will look instantly more finished and organized.

Day 6: Make a wish list for the future.

Get out a pen and paper and list the things you would most like to change or add to your laundry room. New flooring, fancy fold-down drying racks or a farmhouse-style sink? Figuring out exactly what you want is the first step toward making it happen.

Day 7 and beyond: Set up a laundry routine that works.

Stay on top of laundry and keep your laundry room fresh long after this week is over with a few new habits.

  • Sort your laundry before it gets to the laundry room and avoid the dreaded piles-on-the-floor sorting method.
  •  Keep hand washables in a laundry bag on a hook rather than in the basket with everything else, to avoid confusion.
  •  Leave the washer door open between loads to avoid moisture buildup that leads to mildew and funky smells. If you can’t leave it open (because of curious cats or little ones), at least try to leave it open for 10 minutes while you are around to let the warmth and moisture dissipate.
  •  Clean out the lint filter in the dryer before running each load.
  • Schedule a regular time to clean out the dryer hose and duct — keeping it free of lint will help prevent fires.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256
 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wine Storage for the Rest of Us

By Becky Dietrich

No room or budget for a wine cellar? Borrow from these simpler decorative storage ideas

Before the wine police throttle me, let me concede that wine cannot really be successfully stored in less-than-perfectly-controlled conditions. Of course, that assumes you are a connoisseur buying high-end wine for either investment or long-term maturing.

But what about the rest of us poor folks who buy our wine at the 5-cent sales at BevMo! and drink it before its feelings are hurt? What do we have to consider when we want our wine both accessible and decorative?

I talked with Mike Schiller at Sonoma Enoteca (a boutique wine-tasting room in Sonoma, California) about storing wine in the kitchen. According to Schiller, here are the no-nos: Wine does not like heat or vibration. This makes storing wine above the refrigerator a really bad idea, no matter how appealing that space might seem. 

In fact, Schiller tells me, wine refrigerators differ from standard refrigerators in that they have no vibration. A couple of hundred dollars can get you a wine fridge if you have the space and are so inclined.

If you prefer a more decorative approach, here are a few other hints from Schiller. Sunlight pouring in the window is surely good for people, but it’s not good for wine. In fact, direct sunlight is wine’s enemy — especially a white wine in a clear bottle. Leaving a sauvignon blanc in direct sunlight for only 30 minutes can drastically alter its taste — and not for the better.

Which is why planning for wine storage in a protected area of your kitchen island is such a good idea. Building it into the cabinet will keep light at a minimum.

Just be sure that your island experiences no fluctuations in temperature. Yup, you guessed it: Wine doesn’t like those, either. This would also mean that storing wine above or around your stovetop is not a good idea.

Another creative way to store your wine is to make use of the space between the studs in your wall. But make sure your rack is built with a lip to keep the wine from rolling off the edge.

Here is another ingenious use of stud space. The way the bottles are recessed into the wall prevents the wine from getting direct light.

Turning a column or small room divider into wine storage is brilliant. 

But freestanding wine racks are still one of my favorite decorating solutions...

… as are hutches that accommodate both wine bottles and glassware.

A small decorative wine rack like this one nestled in the corner under the cupboards is a perfect solution for the everyday wine drinker. Because, honestly, the best way to keep your wine at its best is to drink it, not store it!

At Cabinet-S-Top we can help you create the perfect solution for your wine storage. Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.236.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Cook’s 6 Tips for Buying Kitchen Appliances

by Christine Tusher

An avid home chef answers tricky questions aboutchoosing the right oven, stovetop, vent hood and more

With my French and Italian ancestry, a love of cooking is in my blood. In fact, some of my fondest memories are of helping my mom slice apples for a tarte Tatin, and of working between my aunt and my grandmother on the Thanksgiving dinner assembly line.
So when I finally had the opportunity to remodel my own kitchen, the appliance selection process was the most time-consuming part. After all, there’s no point in spending hours brining and searing a roast if your oven won’t cook it properly. Along the way there were six questions that were especially tough to solve. But I eventually found the answers.

1. Does more expensive really mean better?

In general, yes. I found that more expensive dishwashers had better settings and service plans, and luxury-brand ranges had higher BTUs and a wider range of flame settings.

But there was one appliance that stymied me: the oven. During the renovation process, we stayed in two rental homes. One had a high-end oven that lost so much heat that it turned the kitchen into a sauna. The other had a midrange oven that functioned perfectly.

The secret: the door. While it’s true that fancy convection settings will go a long way toward cooking your food properly, nothing impacts the cooking process more than the heat itself.

So when shopping for an oven, spend extra time in the showroom opening and closing the oven doors. Look at how they seal and ask the salesperson about the differences between seals and springs.

When in doubt, you’re likely to be happier with a less expensive oven with a proper door than with one that has a lot of bells and whistles but a mediocre seal.

2. What’s a good guideline for BTUs?

This is another case where more is not necessarily better. Unlike restaurant chefs, who require a lot of power on every burner for plenty of high-heat cooking, you’re more likely 
to want a wide variety of heat options for cooking all the different components of your meal.

Pay attention to the range of BTUs among all the burners. You’ll want some burners that get down to a low simmer of about 3,000 BTUs and perhaps one burner that gets all the way up to 12,000 for boiling a large pot of pasta or stock.

3. Do I really need a double oven?

If you like to bake or entertain, then yes, a double oven is a worthwhile investment. But if you have a small family and don’t have people over very often, you can likely make do with a single oven and a microwave convection oven.

4. Will I ever use a warming drawer?

Does the sun rise in the east? Yes, you will use a warming drawer! You’ll use it to warm plates before serving family-style sides. You’ll use it to keep the kids’ omelets hot when they take forever to shower in the morning.

In our house, however, space was a challenge, and a warming drawer didn’t make sense. I solved the problem by choosing a large microwave with a keep-warm function. So I can still keep a dish of lasagna hot without burning the cheese even when both my ovens are hard at work.

5. How high should my vent hood be?

This one took a while to figure out. Although the fan we chose was powerful, we felt the low end of where our manufacturer suggested placing the hood was too low, and I was wary of placing it on the high side, because I sear meat often.

In the end we were able to place it at the maximum height for two reasons: 1. Our fan had a high CFM (cubic feet per minute) number in proportion to our stove’s BTU, and 2. Our vent hood was wider than our range. 

Chris Riddle of Riddle Construction and Design explains: “In an ideal situation the hood should be 6 inches wider than the size of the cooktop/range for maximum efficiency. 

Meaning a 30-inch range has a 36-inch-wide hood, a 36-inch range has a 42-inch hood and so forth.”

6. Help! I don’t have enough space for a side-by-side fridge.

I love to prepare large meals ahead of time and freeze them, so I nearly had a heart attack when I discovered that our space wouldn’t accommodate the side-by-side fridge I’d been dreaming of.

Our solution came in the form of a pair of freezer drawers in our kitchen island. They aren’t as deep as the drawer on a bottom-mounted freezer-refrigerator unit, but pairing them up means that I have ample space for all of my gallon bags of homemade chicken broth and giant balls of cookie dough.

Are you ready to remodel your kitchen?  Drop by and browse our beautiful showroom. Cabinet-S-Top is located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com