Friday, July 29, 2016

Style Your Open Kitchen Shelving Like a Pro

by Laura Gaskill

Sloppy, haphazard open shelves? Not a chance when

you follow these dos and don'ts for arranging items


We've all admired pictures of perfectly styled open kitchen shelving — those neat stacks of dishes are so appealing, and going without upper cabinets promises to bring an airy feel to small spaces. But how practical are open shelves to maintain? What are you supposed to put on them? And where do you put everything else? If you would love to try open shelving in your own kitchen but are not sure where to start, here's help. We've got all of the dos and don'ts about styling beautiful and practical open shelving.

 Do: Start on empty. It is simply impossible to see what you are doing if you try to style your shelves when stuff is already on them. Yes, it's a project to completely empty shelves, but it will be worth it. And if it seems overwhelming, just work on one shelf at a time. Remove everything and wipe down the shelf before you go on. 

Do: Borrow goods from the pantry for graphic appeal. Anything with a cool label (like the San Pellegrino bottles shown here) can work as a decorative element in a group — think cans of imported tomatoes, pretty tea tins and jars of jam. These items are ideal for stashing on upper shelves, because you won't need to access them that often.

Do: Think about what you use daily. As for the lower shelves, be practical about what you choose to place there. This is a good spot for favorite coffee mugs, everyday plates and bowls, and basic water glasses and wineglasses. If you find that not all of your everyday stuff fits on your shelves, put some away. Do you really use 30 mugs or wineglasses daily?

Don't: Put extremely heavy items on top shelves. Even if you rarely use that big, heavy pot or casserole dish, think twice before hoisting it onto the highest shelf. Lifting and lowering heavy items from high places can be unsafe, and even if your shelving is strong, open shelves in general are not meant to hold as much weight as regular cabinetry. Be on the safe side and stow your biggest pots down low.

Do: Look for serendipitous color connections. Pay attention to color in the kitchen — can you find a thread of a certain hue running through it? The colors of cookbook spines, teacups, food packaging and fruits and veggies can all become part of an intentional scheme.


Do: Edit what you put on display.Ideally you will have a mix of open shelves and closed cabinets, so not everything you own will need to be on display. Remember that as you are filling those shelves.

Stick with a matched set of dishes and glassware, or at least keep your choices to coordinating colors. Remove one-offs that look out of place, freebie cups, cluttered-looking kitchen tools and anything with dangling cords — those things should go into cupboards and drawers, not be out in the open.

Don't: Overstuff a small kitchen.Open shelving can be a godsend in a small space, making your room appear significantly larger than the actual square footage.

Although it may be tempting to cram shelves full, overstuffed shelves defeat the space-enhancing effects. In a small space, you must be extra vigilant about editing the items on those shelves. Stick with one color (you can't go wrong with white) and pare back to only the essentials.


Do: Make stations. Consider kitchen tasks, like baking or making coffee, when filling your open shelves and group items accordingly. It's convenient to have all of the necessary items in one spot, and grouping things this way usually works well visually, too. For instance, stack cake stands, pie dishes, ramekins and mixing bowls on the shelf above where you store your mixer.


Do: Stack 'em up. Keep your arrangements visually interesting by stacking and piling small items together. Teacups and saucers look more appealing in slightly tipsy stacks than in regimented rows. Stack bowls atop plates, and smaller platters on large; stick utensils upright in a glass or vase.

There are no hard and fast rules to styling; just play around and see what looks right to you.

Do: Focus on one or two materials. Wood, ceramics, glass, metal — too many materials in one arrangement can look cluttered and unfocused. Stick with mainly one or two for a sleek, chic look.

Don't: Set out glass if you live in earthquake country! If you live in California or another region where earthquakes can be an issue, lots of glass on open shelving can be a recipe for disaster.

Keep your glassware behind closed cabinet doors, preferably ones with magnets or another safety system that will prevent the doors from flying open in an earthquake. On open shelves consider installing a small lip to keep items in place during small quakes.

Do: Seek out pretty storage containers. It can be quite handy to have frequently used dry goods within reach on open shelves, but original packaging is hardly ever attractive and is often messy.

Neaten things up and help your supplies stay fresh longer by decanting ingredients into sturdy, airtight glass containers. Even basics like oats, flour and rice look sort of artsy in simple glass jars lining a shelf.


Do: Consider proximity. Shelves near the dishwasher? Use them to store your everyday dishes, and you won't have to make a big trip to put them away. Shelves near the stove? Stock them with frequently used cooking tools and spices. Keeping what you need at hand will make cooking and washing up an easier, more pleasant experience.

Don't: Neglect to dust. It's a fact: Open shelves collect dust and even grease if they are near the stove. Storing frequently used items on open shelves will eliminate some of the need to dust and clean, since you will be regularly using and washing these things anyway. But higher shelves and less-used pieces will get grimy over time. The best approach is to try to stay on top of it by dusting and wiping down surfaces regularly.

Do: Use decorative details judiciously. Open shelves are a natural place for injecting some personality into your kitchen; just don't go overboard. A few framed art prints tucked behind the dishes as seen here, a plant (fresh herbs would be most welcome) and perhaps one or two decorative objects are all you need.

Not sure if you've gone too far? Use this rule of thumb: If you cannot easily get to something you need because your decor is in the way, it's too much.

Don't: Worry about filling the highest shelf. In kitchens with a superhigh top shelf, it can be hard to know what on earth to put up there. I say don't worry about it — just leave it bare. Sure, you could put plants there (but they'd be hard to water), fake plants (but they might look tacky), cookbooks (how would you reach them easily?) or decorations (which would only gather dust), but why? An empty shelf is easy to clean, makes ceilings look higher and makes a room look less cluttered.

Do you have open shelving in your kitchen? How do you feel about it?

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




Monday, July 11, 2016

A Guide to 6 Island Styles

by Sam Ferris

L-shaped, galley, rolling or curved?
See 
what kind of kitchen island might be right for you

If you stay up to date on kitchen trends, you already know that islands are a hot commodity right now. We could list all the reasons why, but we’ll keep it short and sweet: Homeowners love the extra storage, seating and workspace. Learn which style is the perfect ingredient for your kitchen with this guide to six popular designs.


1. L-Shaped

This type of island can ebb and flow with the shape of your kitchen or fill in the blank space with more storage and prep space.

Pros. L-shaped islands tend to be large with correspondingly generous storage. Their sprawling design ensures that workspace isn’t crowded, a huge perk for households with avid chefs or more than one cook. You won’t have an issue finding room for bar-style seating. If you aren’t a fan of clean lines, L-shaped islands bring some intrigue to the table.

Cons. While L-shaped islands may be larger and provide more prep space, they aren’t exactly open-concept. They can chop up your kitchen design, which can hamper efficiency during meal prep. The shape may be too spread out for some homeowners, and it doesn’t always maximize storage space since corners tend to decrease accessibility.
2. U-Shaped

U-shaped islands may be a chef’s dream. Three walls of cabinetry and appliances are enough to increase the efficiency of any kitchen.

Pros. Both highly functional and uber-spacious, U-shaped islands are perhaps the largest and most accommodating. Extra storage space? Check. More workspace? You got it. Room for seating? There’s even that too. They can house more than one appliance if they’re big enough. You may not have to leave your island when you’re prepping food.


Cons. 
Their sheer size can also be the U-shaped islands’ biggest downfall. Some homeowners may find cooking and cleaning less efficient, and may hate going the distance from one side to the other. These islands are bulky and can close off your kitchen from the rest of your home. The double corners will sacrifice accessible storage space unless they feature a Lazy Susan or swing-out device.
3. Galley

With fewer frills and a straightforward design, galley islands are built to be workhorses. They can be a good fit for any type of kitchen layout, assuming that there’s enough space for one.

Pros. Often considered the quintessential island design for open-concept kitchens, galley islands ensure that your space has flow and remains efficient with their streamlined design. They usually maximize storage space because there aren’t any corners or curves. Appliances and stored items are always accessible. The design also favors bar-style seating.


Cons. Yes, galley islands are simple and efficient, but some homeowners may think they’re boring. They certainly won’t wow the eye unless they’re larger than life or have an intricate exterior. Sometimes they’re too small to comfortably fit an appliance, which can create problems with your layout.
4. Circular

If you’re looking to add personality to your kitchen layout, a circular island may be for you. The design can go full circle or feature a half-moon.

Pros. Circular islands add an interesting visual dynamic to kitchens. They’re a go-to option if you don’t want a run-of-the-mill island design. Like L-shaped islands, they’re packed with prep space. There’s more than enough room to operate during meal prep. Circular designs can incorporate expansive seating areas that leave enough room for four-plus guests to comfortably eat and socialize.


Cons. Prep and storage space aren’t always efficient with circular islands. Your counter is spread out and curved, which can limit the way you cook. Storage units can be harder to access in some designs (they may be underneath a countertop overhang, for instance). Plan on wasted storage space unless your cabinets are customized to include creative options.
5. Rolling

No room for a built-in island? No problem. Rolling islands are a convenient alternative. You can whisk them around as you roam your kitchen and then tuck them neatly aside when you’re finished cooking.

Pros. Rolling islands are the crème de la crème in versatility. A godsend for smaller kitchens that lack adequate prep space, they can function as a worktop, food tray or a spare surface to place your ingredients. Depending on their size, they’re easy to stow and move. Best of all, they’re extremely affordable compared with cabinetry.

Cons. Whipping up meals on wheels isn’t for everyone. Rolling islands are small and compact, which simply won’t work for some homeowners, even ones who are short on space. They can be a hassle to roll out during meals or to store. Bigger designs may be hard to move for some homeowners. They offer little to no storage.


6. Furniture-Style 

A unconventional choice, furniture islands can make your kitchen feel like your home’s premier hangout spot. Wide-ranging options include an antique chest of drawers and a custom piece designed by a local carpenter.

Pros. It doesn’t matter if it’s custom-built, an age-old heirloom or store-bought — a furniture piece adds character to your kitchen. It’s one way to put your personal touch on your space and make it your own. The detail and decorative nature of the furniture will catch the eye of guests. These pieces usually aren’t bulky and fit seamlessly within your kitchen. Open-style designs can create fine displays for your decor.


Cons. Furniture pieces weren’t always built for storage, so that antique you had to have may not hold much of your cookware. There’s also the issue of durability. Older pieces may not last in the hustle and bustle of a modern kitchen. Wear and tear can take its toll. Furniture tops can’t take a beating the way granite or quartz can.

Need help deciding on the fit and function of an island for your kitchen?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top's designer showroom and meet with one of our expert designers to get started.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~  www.cabinet-s-top.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

10 Principles of Organizing That Work in Every Room

by Laura Gaskill

Feeling overwhelmed by your stuff? Here’s how to
make your things more findable and easier to put away

Getting your home organized is a great feeling, but figuring out where to start can be overwhelming. Keep the process simple by zeroing in on these 10 principles of organizing, which can be applied to any space, anytime.


1. Get to know active vs. passive zones. Active zones are the spots in your home that you pass or touch daily (usually multiple times a day), and include the entryway, top drawers and eye-level shelves and cabinets.

Passive zones are the less frequently used spaces in your home, including the guest room, garage or basement, very high and very low shelves, and nooks deep within closets.

A common organizing mistake is to clutter your prime active zones with items you don’t frequently need. For example: Don’t keep your spare lightbulbs in the top drawer in the kitchen when you only need to grab one every few months!

2. Make open storage beautiful. Every home can use a combination of open and closed (i.e., hidden) storage. But what you choose to store on your open shelving should be visually pleasing. In the living room, this is a good place for books (arranged by color if you’re feeling artsy) and pretty objects, not beaten-up board games and stacks of video games. Likewise in the kitchen, open shelving is the place to put your matching sets of clear drinking glasses or favorite teacups, not the plastic food storage containers.

3. Keep things findable. Out of sight, out of mind is an especially apt expression when it comes to organizing. Clear containers are ideal when you want to be able to see the contents at a glance, and open baskets can corral loose items while still letting you look inside.

If you use containers that aren’t transparent, be sure to label them clearly — or take it a step further and label each with a photo of the objects inside. (Instant cameras are ideal for this.)

4. Make it easy to put away. This is most important when it comes to kid stuff, but we can all benefit from this rule.

When you need to go get something, you’ll get it out — it doesn’t really matter where it is— but when it’s time to clean up, we all get a little lazy.

To increase the likelihood of stuff being put back in its place, use easy-to-access bins, baskets and hampers, simple filing systems, and wall hooks for frequently used items.

5. Group by task. I think of this as the first-aid kit phenomenon: When you need a Band-Aid, you may also need some antibiotic ointment, maybe some tweezers to remove a splinter, and a gauze pad; in a first-aid kit, everything you need to complete the task of caring for your injury is conveniently located in one place.

When you’re organizing your stuff, remember this and group everything you need to complete a task in the same place.

For example, you could make one box for medications, another for spare office supplies, one for holiday cookie cutters and sprinkles, and so on. Labeled shoebox-size boxes (like the ones shown here) work well for grouping small items together.

6. Create a way station for items in transit. We all have a certain amount of stuff that’s constantly in transit: library books waiting to be returned, our bag and keys, the dog’s leash, the casserole dish a friend left after your last party.

Instead of allowing these random items to pile up, create a dedicated space that can handle them and keep them neat.

If you have room by the main entrance to your home, this is the most logical spot — a few baskets on a shelf and some wall hooks should do the trick.

7. Subdivide and conquer. Wide-open drawers are an invitation to clutter. Anytime you have a drawer where you’ll be storing small items, use a drawer organizer. Use them for cutlery in the kitchen, office supplies in your desk, small and useful household items in your junk drawer, and daily essentials (sunglasses, keys) in a drawer near the entry.

8. Go vertical. What happens when you go for something at the bottom of a pile? That’s right, it topples.

Avoid this organizing nightmare and go vertical instead. Use shelf risers to increase cabinet capacity, store sheet pans and trays in a vertical holder, and use wall-mounted holders to store brooms and mops so they won’t tip over.

9. Choose the right container for the job. It can be heartbreaking to find that some of your most precious items — old family photographs, Grandma’s wedding gown — have been ruined thanks to improper storage.

Take preventative measures by choosing the right storage container for the job. Photographs and paper memorabilia should be stored in acid-free containers or albums, and textiles should be kept in breathable storage boxes or bags designed for that purpose.

10. Store heavy items down low.You should never have to balance on a stepladder while trying to lift something heavy.

Keep heavy items at or below waist height, including boxes, kitchen equipment (those dutch ovens and stand mixers weigh a ton!) and anything else that takes some real effort to lift.

And if you live in earthquake country, this is doubly important: You don’t want heavy items falling out of high cupboards and landing on someone’s head.

Need storage ideas for your projects?  Cabinet-S-Top can assist you with that.  Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 to get started.  330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com