Posted in Bistro Chairs, French Cafe, Kitchen Seating, Old World European, Pot Racks, Pub Chairs, Thomas W. Newman

Howard Kaplan Designs: A new classic

In a time where conspicuous spending is beginning to fade, and consumers are purchasing classic designs rather than trends, Howard Kaplan Designs will be at the forefront of this shift. Visit www.howardkaplandesigns.com to learn more about Kaplan’s refined design aesthetic and unique pieces.

With a love for Parisian bistros, European kitchens, and New York inspired lighting, Howard Kaplan Designs not only add function to today’s homes, but act as focal points and pieces to spark conversation among guests.

Here are a few of my favorite furniture pieces. Be sure to view the full collection on line at howardkaplandesigns.com

Europa Pot Rack
The Architect Base Table
Beautiful details. As shown: In Tiger Maple with Light Tiger Maple Finish; as the optional “Flip Top”; opens from a console 19 1/2″ x 72″ to a 39″ x 72″ dining table seating 8. The addition of the two end leaves makes it a 39″ x 96″ seating 10. It is perfect for a foyer, dining room, or behind a sofa.Available as a plank top table, with center leaves available.

Bistro chairs are so very french cafe.

With so many weave options available, you can create your own one of a kind chair or bar stool to match your style.

I love this pub table. Absolutely beautiful craftsmanship. Nautical details.

Howard Kaplan’s favorite activity in England, France, or anywhere in Europe is sitting in a pub and having a drink. His inspirational “Pub collection” will give you the same pleasure. The best bar in Paris is at the Ritz Hotel, where the rich and famous gather. The quality of craftsmanship of this collection is only rivaled by the quality of the drinks at the Ritz.

These Pub stools are typical of old- world bars in Europe.

Finishes Available: Polished Brass, Satin Brass, Antiqued Brass, Polished Nickel, Satin Nickel, Antiqued Nickel, Oiled Bronze, Copper, Chrome.

Quaker Base Table

Thomas W. Neuman Tables.

Howard Kaplan says “Thomas and I have worked together for 30 years creating this line of custom tables. Tom likes to say he is creating “heirlooms of the future.” Each table is created from a single tree chosen and cut by Tom. These unique pieces express the love of wood I have experienced throughout my career as an antique dealer, decorator and designer.”

More about Howard Kaplan.
For more than 30 years, Howard Kaplan has been designing home furnishings and accessories. With a keen eye for original and inspirational pieces, Kaplan has introduced many interior styles to the U.S., most notably the French Country design aesthetic. His work has been featured in countless interior design and lifestyle publications, and he has decorated the homes of many prominent society figures. Kaplan’s mission is to bring the many styles that transverse the worlds of interior design into the homes across America. The textures, details, and superior craftsmanship are what makes a Howard Kaplan Design truly unique. It is why, when people speak of a “Howard Kaplan,” they speak about an effortless sophistication that is instantly recognizable – a treasured heirloom from the moment you see it.

Posted in Banquettes, Designing with pets in mind, Kitchen Seating, Projects, Slab Foudations, Small Kitchens, Windows

Updating a 60’s kitchen

This year one of my projects was a kitchen remodel in a 1961 ranch style home.
Poorly planned, and then updated once in the ’70’s, this kitchen was stuck in a time warp.

Sink and cook top location in tight quarters.

A peninsula partition, anchored between a double oven and a desk cuts the kitchen in half.

An energy efficient refrigerator will replace this one.

Booth seating remodel from the 70’s. Homeowner added seating in the kitchen in place of the washer and dryer. Everything about this kitchen was cramped.

The jog in the wall behind the bench seating is the water heater room.

View of the kitchen window, exterior door to side yard, and water heater room. Budget was cost prohibitive to expand the kitchen footprint out another 6 ft. Next best plan was to frame out the bay window.

One of the goals of the project was to make this kitchen pet friendly. The design changed slightly from the original concept to include a doggy door direct to the side yard for the family dog, Angel. Another feature added to the project was the inclusion of a desk and a doggy diner. The water heater was jettisoned to the garage to gain a desk.

Selection of the new cabinet color is discussed. None of these colors were selected. Cherry wood in Nutmeg stain by Dynasty by Omega in the Brookside door was ultimately selected.

The slabs are selected and the deposit is paid.

View into the kitchen. This door will be closed off in order to get a better floor plan. The doggy door access was included again in a new door.

Demolition begins. The water heater accessed from the outside will be relocated to the garage.

Water heater gone. The footprint for the water heater closet now part of kitchen. Sheer wall framed. Electrical wiring underway.

The bay window wall framing begins. Gas meter relocated. Framing for side door in place.

Door to garage is framed.

Red flag up on mail box. Message from Lead Carpenter to Homeowner.

Bay window in framing.

Renewal by Anderson Windows are in.

The kitchen was very small, apartment sized, due to the peninsula wall holding the double oven and awkward counter space.

Arched opening enhanced with double wall framing.

Peninsula gone, drywall in, kitchen beginning to take shape. Temporary sink left on site for homeowner’s convenience.

Cabinets are being installed.

The cabinets are measured for granite and the fabrication of the counters begins by All Natural Stone Design.

The completed kitchen. Cabinets from Dynasty by Omega in Brookside Raised, Cherry Nutmeg. GE Appliances from Warehouse Discount Center.


Furniture selection, upholstery and window coverings by Interior Designer Holly Higbee Jansen, of Higbee Jansen Design.


The exterior door to side yard and to the garage is in place. Notice the clever repetition shown in the detail of the window curtain duplicating the arch of the adjacent door. Your eye is distracted from the rectangular shape of the glass insert. A creative way of handling obstacles.

Client’s wishes accomplished: Desk, Banquette, Dog Diner, Dog door, Island, Double ovens, 36″ cook top.

Project complete.

Posted in Banquettes, Kitchen Seating, Quirky Design Details

Pillow Talk


Now that spring is before us, we look around our homes for a fresh approach.
Short on cash and big on ideas does not mean you are limited for a fresh look.

Human beings have an innate desire for change. We want to try out the newest restaurants, see the latest movies, we change our clothes to fit the season, we change our hairstyle to lift our spirits and remain current, why not freshen up our furnishings to welcome the new seasons?

Fresh flowers are temporary, paint is a weekend project, slipcovers are costly.
Pillows are the answer. Pillows are one of the few items you can count on that is easy on the budget and delightful in your space to bring in a fresh design statement. Pillows in the kitchen? Well, but of course!

Feel free to try something new. Do you have a banquette that could use a little more comfort? Add two or three toss pillows for cushy back support.

Has anyone been able to sit in a Ladder Back or Windsor chair and can say without wincing that they are comfortable for more than 15 minutes? A little back support goes a long way on a Sunday morning while reading The Sunday Times from cover to cover. I added a new toss pillow for my desk chair at home last month and love the extra comfort level and like looking at a cheerful new pattern. Will I keep that pillow forever? No! They are so inexpensive, I bought mine for under $20. I will toss when I am tired of the look and select another.

The pillows shown here are from a lovely web store called Pillow Decor. I am impressed with the multitude of colors, patterns and shapes. Great store. Have a visit and see for yourself.
Cheers!



Posted in Banquettes, Kitchen Seating, Quirky Design Details

Pillow Talk


Now that spring is before us, we look around our homes for a fresh approach.
Short on cash and big on ideas does not mean you are limited for a fresh look.

Human beings have an innate desire for change. We want to try out the newest restaurants, see the latest movies, we change our clothes to fit the season, we change our hairstyle to lift our spirits and remain current, why not freshen up our furnishings to welcome the new seasons?

Fresh flowers are temporary, paint is a weekend project, slipcovers are costly.
Pillows are the answer. Pillows are one of the few items you can count on that is easy on the budget and delightful in your space to bring in a fresh design statement. Pillows in the kitchen? Well, but of course!

Feel free to try something new. Do you have a banquette that could use a little more comfort? Add two or three toss pillows for cushy back support.

Has anyone been able to sit in a Ladder Back or Windsor chair and can say without wincing that they are comfortable for more than 15 minutes? A little back support goes a long way on a Sunday morning while reading The Sunday Times from cover to cover. I added a new toss pillow for my desk chair at home last month and love the extra comfort level and like looking at a cheerful new pattern. Will I keep that pillow forever? No! They are so inexpensive, I bought mine for under $20. I will toss when I am tired of the look and select another.

The pillows shown here are from a lovely web store called Pillow Decor. I am impressed with the multitude of colors, patterns and shapes. Great store. Have a visit and see for yourself.
Cheers!



Posted in Banquettes, Kitchen Seating, Kitchen Storage

Seating Arrangements in the Kitchen

When personalizing a kitchen, the seating area is the area to make a statement.
Embellish,
Streamline,
Simplify,
Colorize.
Expand.

Take a kitchen from functional to fabulous.
Here are some of my favorites.

SO INVITING…

At the far end of the kitchen, an 18th-century French farm table is lit by a three-bulb version of the pendants over the kitchen island.
The reproduction Thonet dining chairs came from Paris. Notice the dark wood hutch, a family heirloom, with gleaming white ceramic and ironstone pieces the homeowner collects.
As seen in House Beautiful.

CLARITY…
Modern dining room featured in House Beautiful December 2006 issue.

COLOR + TEXTURE = A+

AND MORE COLOR…

On the cabinets, high-gloss paint–Benjamin Moore’s White Dove–easily wipes clean and is set off by custom-colored grass-green walls.
The 48-inch gas range is by Wolf. The Country Kitchen sink is paired with the Amarilis Heritage faucet, both by American Standard. Click here for House Beautiful article.

MINIMALISTIC = MAXIMUM IMPACT

Bruck Rainbow LED lights hang over the island. The Onda stools are from Design Within Reach. The white stacking vases are by Pascal Mourgue, from Ligne Roset.
Featured in House Beautiful April 2007 issue.

MONOCHROMATIC MINIMALISM CAN BE COZY

New traditional kitchen featured in March 2006 House Beautiful issue.

WHERE LESS IS MORE

Modern open-plan kitchen featured in House Beautiful April 2006 issue. For link click here.

A CASUAL GREAT ROOM WHERE THE KITCHEN BLENDS IN

It’s easy to live in designer Eldon Wong’s kitchen because it blends so seamlessly with the family room. For more information, click here.

PARTY OF SIX? PONY UP TO THE SNACK BAR!

The client’s love for Swedish style inspired the cabinetry, custom-made by Kevin Ritter. The 5-burner Diva de Provence induction cooktop delivers over 89,000 BTUs. The 36-inch dual convection oven is by Wolf. Wilt pendant lights from LBL Lighting. As seen in House Beautiful.

FORMALLY ATTIRED AND NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.

Seating with the added feature of storage is the added bonus.
This from Better Homes and Gardens where you may view some 50 plus styles of banquettes and seating areas.

WHERE INNOVATION IS THE MOTHER OF REINVENTION.
This is Susan Serra’s kitchen. Cozy!
Great place for luxuriating over the Sunday paper. Love it!

Posted in Banquettes, Kitchen Seating, Kitchen Storage

Seating Arrangements in the Kitchen

When personalizing a kitchen, the seating area is the area to make a statement.
Embellish,
Streamline,
Simplify,
Colorize.
Expand.

Take a kitchen from functional to fabulous.
Here are some of my favorites.

SO INVITING…

At the far end of the kitchen, an 18th-century French farm table is lit by a three-bulb version of the pendants over the kitchen island.
The reproduction Thonet dining chairs came from Paris. Notice the dark wood hutch, a family heirloom, with gleaming white ceramic and ironstone pieces the homeowner collects.
As seen in House Beautiful.

CLARITY…
Modern dining room featured in House Beautiful December 2006 issue.

COLOR + TEXTURE = A+

AND MORE COLOR…

On the cabinets, high-gloss paint–Benjamin Moore’s White Dove–easily wipes clean and is set off by custom-colored grass-green walls.
The 48-inch gas range is by Wolf. The Country Kitchen sink is paired with the Amarilis Heritage faucet, both by American Standard. Click here for House Beautiful article.

MINIMALISTIC = MAXIMUM IMPACT

Bruck Rainbow LED lights hang over the island. The Onda stools are from Design Within Reach. The white stacking vases are by Pascal Mourgue, from Ligne Roset.
Featured in House Beautiful April 2007 issue.

MONOCHROMATIC MINIMALISM CAN BE COZY

New traditional kitchen featured in March 2006 House Beautiful issue.

WHERE LESS IS MORE

Modern open-plan kitchen featured in House Beautiful April 2006 issue. For link click here.

A CASUAL GREAT ROOM WHERE THE KITCHEN BLENDS IN

It’s easy to live in designer Eldon Wong’s kitchen because it blends so seamlessly with the family room. For more information, click here.

PARTY OF SIX? PONY UP TO THE SNACK BAR!

The client’s love for Swedish style inspired the cabinetry, custom-made by Kevin Ritter. The 5-burner Diva de Provence induction cooktop delivers over 89,000 BTUs. The 36-inch dual convection oven is by Wolf. Wilt pendant lights from LBL Lighting. As seen in House Beautiful.

FORMALLY ATTIRED AND NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.

Seating with the added feature of storage is the added bonus.
This from Better Homes and Gardens where you may view some 50 plus styles of banquettes and seating areas.

WHERE INNOVATION IS THE MOTHER OF REINVENTION.
This is Susan Serra’s kitchen. Cozy!
Great place for luxuriating over the Sunday paper. Love it!

Posted in Counter tops, Kitchen Seating, My top 10 Must Haves

I would love to have a Butcher Block but…

…I am afraid of the maintenance. So say many clients who love the look but not the maintenance. Well, the truth about wood is that periodic maintenance is required. But the benefits soon out weigh the drawbacks if you are a cook.

Personal Chef Sally Cameron selected butcher block as a key element designed into her island.

“I wanted a big chopping block because it gives me a lot of work space. My large (57-by-18-inch) cutting board is made of end-cut, solid black walnut from a company called Spekva. We had the bottom routed out so it would drop in a stay in place, yet I can lift it out to turn it around to spread the wear, or have it sanded if needed in a few years. All I do is oil it once a week. It takes a lot of abuse.”

For full article and design info, click on OC Register Link here.
For a full walk thru of Chef Sally’s kitchen, click on the Video link.

A dark wood butcher block island acts as a counterbalance to the classic white cabinetry and dark stained wide plank wood floors.

Wood radiates warmth and is an ideal surface not only for chopping, but also as a dining surface. What better place to rest your hands on while enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. Sure beats the chill of granite!

A good tip before you order your butcher block is to know the difference in finishes available for your wood top. The one shown in this picture has a lacquer finish and should never be used for chopping. Also key words to watch for: semi-gloss and varnique will be a tip off to watch out for. A penetrating oil finish is what you need if you want to chop on your wood top.

Additional tips from Boos Blocks in selecting your wood top:

SELECTION OF FINISH

John Boos & Co. offers two unique finishes. One is perfect for your application.

Penetrating Oil: If you wish to use your butcher block top as a cutting surface, this is the only finish to purchase. Just like cutting boards and butcher blocks, the natural wood surface is protected by oil, which is actually absorbed into the fibers. It is advisable to periodically re-oil your butcher block tops to preserve their beauty and durability. If, after heavy usage, you wish to remove cut marks, just sand off the top and re-oil. It will look like new.

Varnique: This beautiful semi-gloss finish is virtually maintenance free. It is impervious to most household chemicals. Cleans up easily with mild soap and water. The fine furniture look makes it the choice for kitchen island bars and eating counters. Cuts into the finish should be resealed immediately to prevent the exposed wood from absorbing moisture. John Boos EZ-DO a wipe on poly gel is recommended for use.

A smart idea in leveled work surfaces. Chopping Block surface installed 30″ – 32″.

Conceptual Design of an Unfitted Boos Block set at one of an island.

For small space design consider a smaller butcher block that can be routed into the counter top and easy to remove for cleaning. Photo courtesy of http://www.smallbone.co.uk/

Clever installation shown here. The Peninsula is wrapped on the seating side with wood counters and is expertly seamed into the granite on the sink side.

Butcher Block can add whimsy to your kitchen too!
This is Maple Hardwood and Wenge Checker Board.
Photo courtesy of
http://www.craft-art.com

Craft-Art’s eight new green counter top offerings: wood reclaimed from old barns, mills, river bottoms, swamps and even pickle vats. Species include quarter-sawn antique heart pine (shown here), sinker cypress, antique white oak, pickle vat redwood, barn red oak, barn white oak, American chestnut and tobacco barn beech.

THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN LENGTHEN THE LIFE OF A MEAT BLOCK 5-10 YEARS THROUGH OBSERVING THE FOLLOWING RULES IN ITS CARE.

Periodically (once every several weeks, depending upon the use and household conditions), apply an even coat of mineral oil or Boos Mystery Oil to the work surface of your butcher block. Sponge on with a rag!

  1. DO NOT allow moisture of any type to stand on the block for long periods of time. Don’t let fresh, wet meats lay on the block longer than necessary. Brine, water and blood contain much moisture, which soaks into the wood, causing the block to expand, the wood to soften, and affects the strength, of the glued joints.

  2. Use a good steel scraper or spatula several times a day, as necessary, to keep the cutting surface clean and sanitary. Do not use a steel brush on the cutting surface of your block.

  3. DO NOT cut fish or fowl on the work surface of your butcher block, unless you have thoroughly followed the instructions in step #1…as the moisture barrier must be intact prior to cutting any type of fish, seafood, or fowl on the work surface of your butcher block. ALWAYS CLEAN THE BLOCK THOROUGHLY AFTER CUTTING FISH OR FOWL ON THE WORK SURFACE.

  4. Be sure NEVER to cut continuously in the same place on the top of your block. Distribute your cutting over the entire work surface so that it will wear evenly. DON’T use a razor-edged cleaver. It will chip or splinter the wood and produce soft spots. Your cleaver should have dull sharpened edge for best results.

  5. NEVER wash your block with harsh detergents of any type. DON’T wash your butcher’s tools on your block.

  6. At the conclusion of a day’s work preparing meat or food on your butcher block, scraping the block will remove 75% of the moisture. After scraping, immediately dry thoroughly with an absorbent towel. This assures an odorless, clean cutting surface for the next day, and prevents premature quick deterioration of the work surface.

  7. Maintain the same bevel on the edge of your block, as it had when you bought it. This prevents splitting or chipping of outside boards.

  8. Your block, should be turned over periodically to allow even usage to both work surfaces.

Note: Butcher Block cutting boards are not dishwasher compatible.

Resources:
SPEKVA
BUTCHER BLOCK SPECIALIST

BUTCHER BLOCK COMPANY
BOOS BLOCKS

CRAFT ART