Monday, April 27, 2015

The Case for Hidden Storage

by Laura Gaskill

Imagine how much more peaceful your home would feel withcleared surfaces. And that’s just one reason to stow your supplies



It’s easy to fall in love with beautifully styled open shelves, and to feel swayed by the convenience of keeping frequently used items sitting on the kitchen counter, bathroom sink and desk — but are these methods of storing your belongings really helpful? While there’s certainly nothing wrong with keeping things out in the open, I’ve recently been discovering that making fuller use of hidden storage makes for a cleaner, neater, more peaceful and easier-to-maintain space. Read on and see if you become convinced to give the surfaces in your home a clean sweep.


Gain more useful, usable space. It seems innocent enough at first with a simple canister of wooden spoons beside the stove, a knife rack, an attractive cutting board — after all, isn’t it nice to have things within reach? But when the coffeepot, teakettle, mixer, blender, toaster and dish drying rack are all vying for space, it can be hard to carve out enough room to prepare much more than a bowl of cereal. Imagine how luxurious it would feel to start dinner prep with the counters wide open and clear.

Tip: Store knives and cooking utensils in a narrow drawer beside the stove.


Keep items dust free. Open shelves (when carefully maintained) can be gorgeous, but they also collect dust, and in the kitchen, this is made worse by the addition of cooking oil spattering from the stovetop. If you have open shelving that you don’t plan to change, try keeping a small number of everyday dishes on the shelves, and protect the rest of your kitchen items behind closed doors.

Have less to hide when company is on the way. I recently discovered that by simply cleaning out the medicine cabinet and adjusting the shelving so it could fit some taller items inside, I can easily contain all of the toiletries and toothbrushes behind closed doors instead of on the sink. With only a pretty container of soap and vase of flowers at the sink, a quick swipe with a cloth is often all that needs to be done to get the bathroom party-ready.

Tip: Store larger quantities of extra items (toilet paper, soap) in a hall closet instead of in the bathroom to free up space.





Make cleaning quicker and easier. With countertops and surfaces clear, dusting and cleaning take far less time and effort than when those same surfaces are filled with items that need to be cleared off, then returned. Floors free of clutter are ready for a quick sweep or vacuuming, and you’re more likely to get into every corner when nothing is blocking the way.



Make it simpler to avoid accumulating more clutter. When piling stuff on any available surface is the storage method, there is almost no limit to the amount of stuff you can add to the teetering towers of laundry, books and papers. But when putting away is the rule, and you’ve gotten into the habit of keeping surfaces clean and clear, it’s actually easier to maintain a clutter-free home.

Find a place for everything and put everything in its place. If you come home and toss things onto the kitchen table or pile up to-dos on your desk, the clusters of items quickly run into one another, making it harder to find what you need when you need it. By dedicating a certain drawer (or section of a drawer) to each thing you own, you’ll know exactly where to get it and where to put it back when you’re done.

Tip: There’s no need to invest a lot in drawer organizers unless you want to. Shoe boxes and small gift boxes make excellent homes for office supplies and other small goods.




Tame the chaos. You know those perfectly styled photos of busy family mudrooms with cute little backpacks on hooks and rain boots lined up by the door? The reality is often much less attractive. Think muck-covered soccer cleats tossed unceremoniously in the middle of the hall, bags with their contents spilling out and hooks overflowing with all manner of rain gear and sweatshirts. Hide all of this behind neat closet and cupboard doors, and you can at least gain a visual rest from the mess.



Enjoy a more peaceful feeling at home. Even if you choose to clear off only one area in your home — your bedside table, kitchen counter, desk or bathroom sink — the head-clearing, peaceful effect might surprise you. Waking up and coming home each day to a perfectly cleared area is calming and pleasant, and makes everyday tasks and routines easier to handle.

Are you convinced you would like to create hidden storage in your home?  Let Cabinet-S-Top assist you in designing the perfect kitchen or bath with adequate storage.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com





Monday, April 20, 2015

Kitchen Ideas: How to Choose the Perfect Backsplash

by Sophie Baylis


Backsplashes not only protect your walls, they also add color,pattern and texture.  Find out which material is right for you

The humble backsplash has come a long way. Once upon a time, its purpose was purely functional: a tiled area behind the stove and sink to protect kitchen walls from stains and splashes. Today the availability of all manner of materials in a wide array of finishes means your backsplash can make more of a statement. To help you decide which material would work best for you, we offer expert advice on the 10 most popular backsplash materials.

Stainless Steel

Get an industrial vibe with a stainless steel backsplash. The material comes in sheets of flat steel that can be fixed directly to the wall with either glue or screws.

“You should only ever clean it using warm water and an e-cloth
,” advises Conrad Hendrick of LWK Kitchens London. “Over time, the chemicals in common cleaning agents can create a buildup on the steel’s surface. This will make watermarks and fingerprints show much more prominently, leaving your stainless steel not quite so stainless.”

Pros: Stainless steel is not only affordable; it’s known for its heat-resistant and hard-wearing properties. It’s also easy to clean.

Cons: Although easy to clean, stainless steel can be difficult to keep looking pristine. It is not scratch resistant — although minor scratches enhance the look over time — and can dent.


Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Tiled backsplashes are a popular choice, as they offer versatility, practicality and style. Thanks to advances in printing technology, ceramic and porcelain tiles can be produced to resemble natural wood and stone, but with none of the associated performance challenges. The tiles are resistant to scratches, heat and water, and should be reasonably cheap and easy to install. And while they are durable, should a tile become chipped or damaged, you simply need to remove it and lay another.

Pros: While tiles are easier to clean than most other materials, and therefore lend themselves perfectly to a backsplash, this is not the only reason they are ideal for the job. “With such a range of shapes, sizes, colors and patterns now available, tiles give you the freedom to put your own creative stamp on your room without compromising on practicality,” says Robin Auld of Topps Tiles.

Cons: The sheer volume of styles and finishes can be overwhelming. “Consider exactly how the space will be used to ensure your choice works with your lifestyle,” Auld says. “While pristine white tiles and matching grout may look perfect in a modern, low-use kitchen, they are not the most practical choice for a busy family space.” Darker-colored grouts are definitely worth investigating.



Glass

For those wanting a sleek, streamlined kitchen look, glass is a popular choice, because it can be fitted in large, seamless panels. “You should always ask for tempered glass, which is harder than ordinary glass and will be far less likely to scratch,” advises Siobhan Casey of Casey & Fox. “Also ask for polished edges, so there’s less chance of scratching the surrounding furniture on installation.”

The beauty of a glass backsplash is that you can choose anything from a custom piece of artwork screen-printed and mounted on the back of the glass, to a digital image or a painted finish. “I would always recommend that a professional takes care of the painting,” Casey says. “It could be a costly mistake to attempt this yourself without the experience and knowledge of a professional.”

Pros: Strong and durable, glass is also easy to clean and install, being either screwed or glued to the wall. While glass backsplashes used to be expensive, the good news is that prices have decreased dramatically in recent years.

Cons: Make sure you choose a color you and your family are happy with. “While changing this after installation is not impossible,” Casey says, “it’s not an easy job.”

Engineered Stone

Also referred to as quartz composite, engineered stone is made of crushed quartz mixed with resin. “Look out for leading brands, such as Silestone and Caesarstone, that make their engineered stone using the lowest percentage of resin,” advises Andrew Macintosh of Andrew Macintosh Kitchens. High-performing engineered stones are heat and scratch resistant as well as extremely tough.

To keep costs under control, Macintosh suggests teaming an engineered stone backsplash with matching countertops. “If you do this, the templating and fitting charges are much lower than using a different material and supplier,” he says.

Pros: Engineered stone is durable, scratch resistant and nonporous, meaning it won’t stain. It’s easily cleaned with warm, soapy water and comes in a wide range of different colors to suit all tastes. It’s supplied in large panels, resulting in fewer or no seams on a larger wall run.

Cons: Installation of an engineered stone backsplash must be done by a specialist. “It is certainly not a DIY job,” Macintosh says. 


Granite

Granite is still a favorite for backsplashes, working equally well in traditional and contemporary settings. What’s more, no two slabs of natural stone will ever look exactly the same, so you are guaranteed a unique look.

“One of the main factors that will determine the appearance of your granite backsplash is whether you opt for a honed or polished granite,” says Hendrick. “Shiny polished granite is popular for traditional and country-style kitchens. Alternatively, honed granite has a matte finish that’s much more textured yet understated, so it’s the ideal choice for a contemporary kitchen.”

If you choose honed granite, test some samples with water and oil, as certain variations of the stone can show wet marks longer.

Pros: Granite is easy to clean, very hard wearing and available in a range of different colors.

Cons: Among the costlier backsplash options, granite is porous, so it needs sealing to prevent staining.

Polished Plaster

There are many reasons to choose a polished plaster backsplash, not least because it can be specified in almost any color. “Texturally, it can range from highly polished and smooth to rough and weathered,” says Charlie Borthwick of Cue & Co of London. “It also doesn’t have to be one flat color; veining can be introduced to add depth and interest.”

Pros: It’s easy to maintain and needs minimal care once installed — simply wipe it down.

Cons: Although polished plaster is fairly hard wearing, accidental chips cannot be repaired. “If this is a concern, use your worktop material to create an upstand — a small skirting around the edge of the worktop — to help protect the plaster,” Borthwick says.

Composite

Composite (or solid-surface) materials, such as Corian and Hi-Macs, are usually made from a blend of one-third resin and two-thirds natural mineral. Available in a diverse color range, they also offer extraordinary design flexibility and can be seamlessly molded into angles and curves, so there’s no seam between the countertop and backsplash. This makes them easy to keep clean and hygienic, because there are no seams where dirt can gather.

Pros: Composites are nonporous, easy to care for, hygienic and durable. Joints are inconspicuous, providing a seamless surface.

Cons: Composite materials such as Corian can be scratched, but very often scratches can be sanded out. Also, “Corian is not heat resistant, so you can’t install it behind a gas [cooktop],” Hendrick says.


Laminate

If your budget won’t stretch to a natural stone backsplash, consider laminate. It is not only affordable, but it comes in numerous colors and finishes designed to look like real wood or stone. Although laminates don’t offer the same sense of luxury, high-definition printing and textural innovation mean they can look and feel increasingly realistic.

Pros: Easy to keep clean and water resistant, laminate is a hard-wearing and affordable choice for a kitchen backsplash. “Match it to other finishes in your kitchen so it becomes part of the whole color scheme rather than just a statement feature,” says Diane Berry of Diane Berry Kitchens.

Cons: Laminate is not suitable for use behind a gas range because of the open flames, and Berry also recommends a gap of at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) between a laminate backsplash and any other kind of stove. “You also need to make sure it’s installed well, particularly around wet areas, to stop water soaking into any joints, just as you would a laminate worktop,” she says.



Mirrored Glass

A mirrored glass backsplash suits all styles of kitchen, often adding a contemporary twist to a more traditional look. Its reflective surface bounces light around, making the space feel bright and often larger than it really is. “If you want mirrored backsplash in your kitchen, then general safety regulations dictate that you must have toughened or tempered glass,” Hendrick says.

Pros: Toughened so it’s strong and durable, mirrored glass is also easy to clean. And because panels are available in lengths up to around 10 feet (3 meters), it’s possible to create a seamless look.

Cons: Mirror can’t be used behind a gas range, because continuous expansion and contraction of tempered glass created by an open flame can, over time, cause visible cracks to form behind the glass, Hendrick says. “Although easy to clean, mirrored glass needs a regular polish, because marks show up easily,” he adds. 

Marble

Nothing beats the natural beauty of a marble backsplash, which never fails to bring a luxurious look to a kitchen. It’s important to be aware, however, that marble is porous, so it needs sealing and periodic resealing to prevent staining. It also gets scratched more easily than other materials.

Pros: Graham Barnard of Matrix Kitchens describes marble slabs as “naturally occurring pieces of art,” because no two slabs look exactly the same. “Choosing which marble to use is immense fun,” he adds. “A trip to the stone yard is always an adventure for the designer and the client.”

Cons: Cost can be an issue, depending on the marble you source. What’s more, marble can get stained easily. “You have to accept marble for what it is,” Barnard says. “It’s beautiful, but not maintenance free. However, lots of marbles have wonderful streaks and patterns that tend to help hide any areas of staining.”


Need help in choosing your countertop?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top and one of our experienced designers will help you create the look you desire.  Cabinet-S-Top is located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com



Monday, April 13, 2015

12 Stylish Kitchen Counters That Seem to Float in Space

by Natasha Saroca


Take your culinary zone to new heights with a cantilevered

countertop that’s visually appealing and practical


Want your kitchen countertop to be the hero of your new cooking zone rather than relegated to the background? One way to do that is to look beyond the basic block-like counter and incorporate a cantilevered, or floating, countertop into your kitchen design instead. Here are 12 cantilevered counters that not only offer show stopping style but also enhance functionality and create the illusion of more space.


1. Suspended reality. This may look like an optical illusion, but there was no hocus-pocus involved when this striking, impressively long floating counter was built — that we know of, anyway. Its gravity-defying design is just one reason this cantilevered countertop commands attention. Its luxe, chunky look and sleek black color (which boldly contrasts the vibrant red cabinetry opposite) also ensure that the suspended structure exudes jaw-dropping appeal.

The expansive bar provides plenty of room for several people to sit and enjoy a drink or meal, while the open area beneath ensures that spills and crumbs can be cleaned up with ease, making this an ideal setup indoors or outdoors.

Tip: If your countertop is thick, opt for minimalist stools with a slim profile so the design doesn’t appear too heavy.

2. Natural wonder. If you want to infuse your kitchen with warmth, subtle sophistication and an air of luxury, consider a cantilevered-counter combo of natural stone and timber. Here the suspended style showcases the quiet beauty of the travertine top, while the wood cabinetry below softens the look and complements the stone’s neutral tones.

But style isn’t all this counter has to offer. The cantilevered top also provides additional workspace (which helps offset the area taken up by the double sink and stovetop farther down the island) and room for extra chairs, which comes in handy when entertaining.

Tip: When choosing wood to pair with your stone countertop, look for one that’s free of prominent knots or patterns that could clash with the veining of the natural stone. 


3. Minimalist chic. Although this cantilevered surface is a dedicated work zone, it also succeeds in injecting this modern rustic kitchen with a hearty dash of visual interest. The clever floating contraption is anchored to the wall by way of steel tabs that protrude from the metal surface and double as decorative elements that transform the vertical surface into an accent wall. Crisp white was a smart color choice for the surface, as it cuts through the room’s moody palette, while the thickness gives the space a clean, contemporary feel.

4. Cool and clean. If you hate being on cleanup duty after a family barbecue, a floating concrete counter like this one will make the chore a little easier to bear. Thanks to its suspended design, crumbs and spills can be swept or hosed away quickly. Polished cement also is durable, stain resistant and easy to clean, so it doesn’t require much effort to make the surface look as good as new after entertaining.

Also, note how the cool gray surface adds an industrial edge to the contemporary outdoor kitchen and entertaining area, while the countertop’s bold lines and streamlined look complement the sleek style of the space.


5. On the side. Now here’s a chic cantilevered counter with a twist. Rather than extending a section of the thin, neutral-toned countertop past the end of the island, designer Darren James placed a separate slab of stone (in a contrasting tone and thickness) on top and rotated it to sit across the width of the workspace. This not only helps define the cooking zone and visually separate it from the surrounding open-plan area, but also makes the space feel more communal, as the seating faces inward, fostering a sense of togetherness.

As you can see, the contrasting look and unique configuration of both counters also succeed in transforming a basic island top into a statement-making design feature.

Island top: 12-mm solid surface in Sanded Chestnut, Staron; cantilevered counter: 80-mm quartz stone with Jaipur undulated finish in Thyme, Stone Italiana

6. See-through style. Don’t be too hasty to say, “Nuh-uh; no way” to a floating glass countertop. Sure, they’re not for everyone (like those with young kids), but they can work for some in the right space.

Here an eye-catching glass countertop appears to jut out from the corner of a taller wood prep zone. It’s stabilized by a metal bracket that supports the see-through surface. The material was selected to enhance the airy, spacious feel of the kitchen, and coupled with the suspended design, it successfully does just that. Although it’s an unconventional choice for a kitchen countertop, the structure here was designed to be a eating area, rather than a food-prep space, so the material should hold up fine.


7. Family friendly. One design trend we’ve seen is the integrated kitchen counter–dining table. This elegant transitional-style cooking and eating area shows how this concept takes shape with the help of a cantilevered countertop.

Here the floating counter has been lowered so that it stands at table height, rather than matching the height of the adjacent concrete counter. This allows for more comfortable and ergonomic seating (unlike bar stools, which can sometimes cause aches and pains in your back and legs after you’ve been perched on one for a while —or does that just happen to short people like me?). This means your family and friends won’t mind sitting around the table for long meals and lengthy catch-up sessions.

The long, cantilevered counter provides loads of visual appeal too. The rustic, reclaimed wood table contrasts beautifully with the contemporary pastel pink cabinetry and industrial-looking cement counter, creating a space that oozes subtle sophistication but still makes a strong style statement. White retro-style dining chairs complete the look and add another layer of interest to the eclectic scheme.

8. Optical illusion. This stunning counter may appear as if it’s floating, but if you look closely, you’ll see that there’s actually a mirror-finish post that supports the stunning granite countertop from below — how sneaky! Even so, this showstopping cantilevered-look counter still deserves a mention, since it achieves the same airy, space-enhancing look as a suspended countertop, albeit with some help from a supportive friend.

Here it’s not just the striking countertop material that makes a dramatic statement. The undercounter lighting and the way the granite appears to be embedded in the white Caesarstone island also take the stylish kitchen counter to new heights. The lowered height of the bench makes this casual dining area more practical and comfortable, too.

Tip: If you’re worried that a natural stone countertop may be too high maintenance for you, choose an engineered stone or a high-quality laminate instead.

Cabinet-S-Top is an award winning design and remodeling company located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com



Monday, April 6, 2015

Cabinet-S-Top Named 2015 Contractor of the Year by NARI Greater Cleveland Chapter

Cabinet-S-Top, in Medina, OH, was a recipient of the 2nd Place CotY Award in the Residential Bath $15,000-$30,000 category and Honorable Mention CotY Award in the Residential Kitchen $15,000-$30,000 category.  The awards are part of an annual competition held by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), Greater Cleveland Chapter, located at 3500 Lorain Ave. #200 in Cleveland.  The "Contractor of the Year" (CotY) Awards are widely considered the premier competition of its kind throughout the remodeling industry.  This competition is a true test for quality workmanship and advance remodeling techniques, and provides the highest professional recognition from industry peers.  Winners were announced at NARI Greater Cleveland's annual Evening of Excellence held March 20th at the Marriott Cleveland Downtown at Key Center.

 

From design to completion, Cabinet-S-Top is an award winning full service interior design and remodeling company that handles everything from the first idea to the final handshake.  Their one-stop showroom simplifies the remodeling process by offering everything you need – all in one location.  Their clients appreciate the time saving, no hassle shopping experience enhanced by their expertise and customer service. .  Serving Northeast Ohio since 1991, Cabinet-S-Top is located at 1977 Medina Road (Route 18) in Medina, OH.

To be considered for a CotY Awad, a company must be a NARI Greater Cleveland member in good standing.  All projects submitted for judging must be an improvement or an addition to an existing structure in order to be considered.  New construction projects are not eligible.  In addition, competing projects must have been completed between July 1, 2013 through November 30, 2014. 


An impartial panel of judges, who are considered experts within the industry and associated fields, selected winners based on each entrant's project description and "before and after" photography.  Judging was based on aesthetic appeal, use of materials, functionality of space, skill and craftsmanship.  Awards are given to those who recognized their client's needs and used the highest level of skill in design, planning and execution to deliver the finished remodeling project.  CotY Award Winners are recognized as top remodeling professionals in the home improvement industry.

Cabinet-S-Top is a member of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  NARI Greater Cleveland is "The Reliable Remodeling Resources for Contractors, Consumers and the Community".  Our mission is to professionalize the home improvement industry while serving as an ally to homeowners in northern Ohio.  Members are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and meet professional requirements including a favorable report from both the Better Business Bureau and Ohio Attorney General's office.  For membership and chapter information, or for more on the CotY Awards, visit NARI Greater Cleveland's website at www.NARIcleveland.com or contact the Cleveland office at 216-631-7764.