Posted in Kitchen Storage, Small Kitchens

Top Five Features Every New Kitchen Should Have

Here is my five top five features every kitchen should have.

1) Interior Cabinet Lighting loox-led-in-drawerLight up your most used drawers, corner storage and tall pantry cabinets with lights controlled on a sensor that engage when the drawer or door opens and closes.

2) CabMat 

Save your sink base from water leaks with a protective thick rubber mat that can hold up to a liter of liquid from seeping into your cabinet and damaging your sink base floor. A very functional kitchen accessory that should be a mandatory item with every kitchen cabinet order. Also an easy add on for existing cabinets. It comes in various sizes including 21″ depth for vanity sink base sizes.

CABMAT from Masterbrand
CABMAT from Masterbrand

3.) 12″ Base Pull out Cabinets

The most awkward cabinets are narrow 12″ width base cabinets with a single top drawer and a door with a shelf below. Make a narrow space more functional with a pull out drawer dedicated to a specific use.  12″ has never been more functional for storing kitchen utensils next to the cook top or in the bathroom for curling irons & hair dryers.

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Base Cabinet Pullout Knife/Utensil Base Organizer Blumotion Soft-Close Sink & Base Accessories
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Cabinet Pullout Grooming Organizer for Bathroom/Vanity

4. Toe Kick Drawer

Small Space + Touch Latch Hardware + Toe kick drawers = Storage Love! Townhouse kitchens, small kitchens with minimal drawer space can really benefit from found space in your 4 1/2″ toe kick area. Locate these wonderful toe kick drawers underneath your sink base or any base cabinet for more storage. I can think of a million ways to use my toe kick storage! A place for dog leashes and cat toys. Long barbecue utensils I don’t want to take up prime real estate in my top drawers, large platters and serving trays, extra canned goods, foils and plastic wrap, extra gadgets that I need near by but don’t want in my top drawers.

Toe Kick Drawer No decorative hardware provides a cleaner look. Open with just a tap.

5. Drawers, Drawers, Drawers!

My favorite item in a kitchen is drawers! There are so many options today for larger storage up to 48″ wide. Sink base drawers, cook top deep drawer storage. The possibilities are endless.

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One system: Internal Drawer Box or Single Drawer Box Transform MOOVIT into an internal drawer box by adding internal drawer accessories.
One system: Internal Drawer Box or Single Drawer Box
Transform MOOVIT into an internal drawer box by adding internal drawer accessories.
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Cook top deep drawers
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Modified scooped sink drawer
Posted in Accessable Design, Blum, cabinet hardware, Designing with pets in mind, Home Automation, Humor in the Kitchen, Kitchen Organization, Kitchen Storage, Kitchen Trends, Men in the Kitchen

Kitchens should be fun! It’s so easy, dance if you want to.

The quest for the most efficiently built cabinets never ends. Here is a Merillat ad from the sixties, (maybe someone from Merillat can confirm the year of this ad for us),  that shows modern convenience back then, to the new video from Blum showing us the latest technology and convenience today.

Ok, so a little more news on base cabinets today. Yesterday we looked at corners in action, today we are going to look at a real cute guy in action. (Grin). This video deserves a post all on it’s own. A man who dances and cooks. I LOVE THIS! Servo drive has been around for a few years, but this video was just created in May ’09. Think of the uses, even if you limit the Servo drive to just one of your hardest working drawers, imagine the convenience! With a tap from a knee or a push from the hip, no more water drips on the cabinets near the sink. No more chicken hands on your drawers or cabinet pulls.

The product is showing the new Blum Servo Drive for drawers. Drawers open automatically using an electrical drive.   Sorry, cute guy not included.

If you are having trouble viewing the U Tube Video, click here:

Posted in Kitchen Storage, Small Kitchens, Small Space Design

Small Space Spice Solution

If you have a small kitchen you are familiar with a big problem.

  • Lack of cabinet space.
  • Lack of counter space.
  • Lack of drawer space.

Spices are the odd men out in small kitchens and shoved around from here to there to make way for more storage. You’ve moved the spices to the drawer to gain glass or plate storage. You moved the spices out of the drawer and shoved them in the pantry to gain storage space for the utensils. Then you wind up with a spice spinner that takes up valuable real estate on the counter. Here is a great little solution for spices that frees up precious storage space needed for other kitchen essentials.

Try this set of 24 magnetic spice jars to fit on your fridge. Hexagonal shape fits together creating a spice-colored honeycomb pattern on your fridge. Strong neodymium magnets will keep jars from sliding. Caps are die stamped with spice names. Gold plastisol lids form an airtight lock, keeping spices fresh.

Follow the link to contact GneissSpice at ETSY.

1.5 oz. jars accommodate more than enough spices. However, when you buy spices from the grocery store–they are often more than 1.5 oz, so be sure to buy the smaller containers or buy from a bulk store and save packaging! (Or, purchase the 4 oz. jars). Smaller amounts of spices stay fresher as they are replaced more often.

Buy just enough and never buy spices in “Restaurant Size” unless you are cooking in restaurant size quantities. Nothing ruins a meal quicker than old, stale spices.

Design Solutions: Don’t want to clutter your refrigerator? Do you have wooden panels on your refrigerator with no magnetic space for attaching? Or are you just a die hard cook that would not dream of storing spices in natural light? Buy a magnetic/dry erase board that fits the inside of a wall cabinet door or pantry. Arrange the spices so they do not interfere with the fixed shelves in the cabinet or if your shelves adjust, raise or lower a shelf so that the spices clear when closing the door.

Posted in Architects, Builders, Kitchen Storage, Kitchen Trends, Natural Lighting, Small Kitchens, Style Notes, Sustainable Design, Windows

Throw out what you know about the kitchen window

Feel constrained by your kitchen window? Lack of privacy? Do you have a sun baked kitchen in summer? Have a less than attractive view of your neighbor? Tired of conventional kitchen plans? Challenge yourself to think with a new view. You could pick up better storage, more task lighting, increased energy efficient windows, and a better view.

Start by throwing out what you know about your kitchen window. The sink does not need to be centered at the middle of the window. Once you allow yourself to throw convention “out the window”, a whole new window of possibilities for a better kitchen plan can be yours for the asking.

Here are some fabulous kitchens presented by Remodeling Magazine, one of my favorite trade publications. Follow the hyperlink to the article by Nina Patel, Back Lighting: narrow backsplash windows bring natural light to the kitchen while maintaining privacy.

And by the way, enjoy the view!

John Rogers, Rogers & Labarthe Architects

Both photos above and below: Phil Rossington, Rossington Architecture

Phil Rossington, Rossington Architecture

Alison Rainey, Merz Project

Both pictures: exterior and interior shots.
Iris Harrell, Harrell Remodeling

Click HERE to be directed to the slide show that provides written commentary by either the responsible architect, designer or builder on the project. Once there, click on the slide commentary to be directed to each company web site.

Posted in Kitchen Storage, Kitchens Don'ts, Oenophile, Who Knew

Storage Needs 101 for the Average Wine Drinker

Can anyone see a problem here? ;-o

There are two things at a minimum you will want to avoid when storing wines: Temperature Fluctuations and Sunlight. Poor storage of wine will have a lasting affect on the wine’s flavor and/or bouquet. But some of you may say, no problem, your wine buying habit is for immediate consumption. Wine won’t stay in storage long enough for you to worry about it, right?

If this sounds like you, there is a short article you may want to check out:
Storage Needs of the Average Wine Drinker
Here are 4 minimum points to remember.
• away from direct sunlight,
• temperatures between of 4ºC and 18ºC (40ºF and 65ºF),
• temperature does not fluctuate more than 2-3ºC (5ºF) once annually, and
• humidity levels are greater than 50%.

For more information on wines contact The Fine Wine Reserve.

Posted in Kitchen Storage, Kitchens Don'ts, Oenophile, Who Knew

Storage Needs 101 for the Average Wine Drinker

Can anyone see a problem here? ;-o

There are two things at a minimum you will want to avoid when storing wines: Temperature Fluctuations and Sunlight. Poor storage of wine will have a lasting affect on the wine’s flavor and/or bouquet. But some of you may say, no problem, your wine buying habit is for immediate consumption. Wine won’t stay in storage long enough for you to worry about it, right?

If this sounds like you, there is a short article you may want to check out:
Storage Needs of the Average Wine Drinker
Here are 4 minimum points to remember.
• away from direct sunlight,
• temperatures between of 4ºC and 18ºC (40ºF and 65ºF),
• temperature does not fluctuate more than 2-3ºC (5ºF) once annually, and
• humidity levels are greater than 50%.

For more information on wines contact The Fine Wine Reserve.

Posted in Kitchen Sociology, Kitchen Storage, Modern Kitchens, Planning, Small Kitchens, Style Notes, Ventilation

At a moment’s notice entertaining: dinner for twenty or thirty people…

I find some people absolutely fascinating for their ability to be so well organized. I revel at the idea of a well organized, well stocked kitchen and pantry. Oh, that’s right, I am a kitchen designer, it goes with the territory, call me crazy but I happen to love this stuff. The ability to pull off your holiday entertaining and make it look “effortless” is not by accident.

As the holiday’s approach, I do not want to be running around “last minute” and neither should you. Large or small kitchens, everyone can benefit from knowing how to organize their kitchen space. For some inspiration, who else to turn to but legendary entertaining expert Colin Cowie. I pulled my copy off the shelf, “Colin Cowie Chic: The Guide to Life As It Should Be”.

His video is just as inspiring. See the side bar at the left to play. In the video, “The Efficient Kitchen”, Colin explains with grace and confidence, “literally at a moments notice I can have dinner for twenty or thirty people. That’s the way I like it.”

Talk to me baby, talk to me. How cool is that! Did you see his video? Imagine your freezer flush with several particular types of ice cubes ready to pair with the drinks being served. If you are as organized as Colin, then you know about Couture Cubes. Scotch on the rocks? Reach for the wonderful big round ice ball to keep your drink from watering down. A dark and stormy? Freeze your ice in tall Popsicle shaped ice cubes. Tequila? Nothing else will do but the tall shards of ice served in a champagne flute. Are you looking at last summer’s stale ice cubes and wondering where you went wrong? Don’t despair, there is hope yet for my ice cubed challenged friends. See page 145 of his book. A tip from the book: make your own “couture” ice cubes this holiday season. Look for star shapes, jewels, and flowers for mixed drinks. This is not just for alcoholic beverages, more ideas abound for the designated driver refreshments. Use ziploc bags to keep your ice cube shapes from shattering and picking up freezer odors.

Whether planning for a holiday party or planning to remodel your kitchen, make a true assessment of your space. Think about your lifestyle and design your kitchen around you and your family. An entertainers kitchen, a family kitchen, whatever it is, build in features that make your space special to you and your family. Clear out items that make no sense to hold onto.

My top ten favorite features in Colin’s contemporary kitchen and beyond:

  1. The under cabinet lighting is concealed without a light rail for a contemporary elegant detail. The bottom of the wall cabinet is recessed to achieve this attractive detail. No clunky light rail.
  2. The return of the oak cabinet but in a very modern way. The cabinets are gray. Colin’s reason for this is that he wants the food to be the center stage in his kitchen. Color pops with the accent of all white dinnerware and color from the stemware.
  3. The everyday dinnerware is located directly above the dishwasher for ease of access.
  4. The silverware drawer is built deeper, “as it should be”to allow several sets of silverware to be stacked one above the other. I don’t know why more face frame cabinet manufacturers won’t give us this option without going to great lengths to customize. This should be a basic feature. If you order frame-less cabinets you can pick up more space with the absence of the face frame, but still not as much as it should be.
    One of my tricks I will share with you: instead of a drawer, order a base cabinet with a full height door and add several deeper roll out trays for cutlery. You can store much more in the same cubic space in stead of a standard door/drawer combo.
  5. The storage: a well stocked freezer with chickens, racks of lamb, frozen soups, chicken and beef stocks. If your kitchen is small like Colin’s, plan for a freezer in your garage to stock up on all the necessities.
  6. Organize your spices alphabetically with the labels facing out, (I know it is a little reminiscent of the eerie move, “Sleeping with the Enemy”, but to be ready to entertain, you want to see everything at once in a well organized spice cabinet or drawer. as for spice storage, I avoid designing with swing out spice racks in wall cabinets, because I don’t like small jars falling off the rack. I find most of my clients feel the same. I prefer a wide drawer with all the spices at easy viewing. Again, this is where slightly deeper drawers would come in handy. Or utilize the pull out wall cabinets that are so handy for seeing all your spices. Warning about decorative wall mount spice racks above a stove: spices should be kept in the dark and away from heat to preserve the freshness. Also watch the expiration dates. Use them or loose the flavors in your next meal. Buying Costco sized spices? Are you really going to benefit from that much? Unless you are serving 1000 people a day, the best bet with spices is to buy smaller quantities to enjoy the freshness.
  7. Zoning: keep all the foils, wraps, plastic, wax paper in a drawer close to the refrigerator for ease of wrapping up left overs.
  8. Music. I love to have music piped in to my kitchen as I prepare a meal. It can be as simple as a shelf mini stereo or when planning your kitchen, factor in a place to hold a reciever and install built in speakers from the ceiling. My client in the Hollywood Hills had a very small kitchen and we found the perfect spot in the wall cabinet over the refrigerator to house his small Bose system. The doors were removed for ventilation and to access with a remote. CD changing was not a problem as he kept his top 5 in there and changed them out at random. Music equipement needs air circulation. Be sure to factor that in your design.
  9. Shop for fresh produce. Get out to your local farmers market. It is cheaper than buying frozen and tastes so much better.
  10. Enjoy your holidays!

Laurie

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