Monthly Archives: July 2014

Top 5 Crazy Looking Range Hoods Part 2

In Top 5 Crazy Looking Range Hoods we explored range hoods that don’t really look like range hoods. These designer vent hoods look more like sculptures or lighting fixtures than kitchen fans. A new trend in interior design is to make the range hood as beautiful as the rest of the home, and these range hoods definitely accomplish that.

In this blog, we’ll go over five more range hoods that surpass expectations for kitchen aesthetics. It’s obvious the range hood isn’t just for kitchen ventilation and lighting anymore. It can become a focal point of the kitchen and showcase the homeowner’s personality and style.

First on the list is Sun, a wall mount range hood from Best. This range hood may not look like one, but it definitely is. It’s complete with 460 CFM, dishwasher-friendly grease filters and options for ducted or ductless use. This Italian design comes in black or white and the chimney is optional. This range hood will definitely make a statement in the kitchen.

Second is another Elica hood; the 70cc Evoque from Elica looks more like a bread box than a range hood, but it’s surprisingly beautiful. This range hood captures grease from three sides and comes with Perimeter Ventilation Technology, which includes increased efficiency in ventilation power. This range hood has 380 CFM and a stainless steel circular touch control. It is named the 70cc because it is constructed with two “C” shaped pieces, including one made of glass and one made of steel.

Third on the list is another Best range hood known as the Lipstick. We can’t decide if this looks like it should be in a 1950’s diner or a science-fiction spaceship. The Lipstick has 400 CFM, four speeds, delay power shut off, cleaning reminder, Heat Sentry and a whole lot of color. The red and brushed stainless steel will definitely pop on the wall. This hood can also be operated as a ducted or ductless range hood.

View larger image. LIPSTICK - WM33I40R - Red with Brushed Stainless Steel

Wait, is that a lamp, or a range hood? The fourth vent hood on this list is the Grace by Elica. This 20” wide range hood has 300 CFM, your choice of white or black glass and a Magic Wand control. Elica has an extension kit available for this hood and a wall mounting bracket. The more we think about it, the more we think it looks like a hair dryer. However, within the context of a modern kitchen, this range hood looks very elegant.

The last range hood on this week’s list is the DA 289 Designer Wall Hood from Miele. It looks almost like a normal wall mount range hood with a tempered glass canopy, but it puts a spin on the traditional look we know. Like some of the other hoods, this one has the option to be used ducted or ductless, grease filters, a delayed power off feature and a cleaning reminder. This hood also has 625 CFM and the stainless steel design is 36” wide.

There you have it: five unique range hoods to pique your interest and inspire your home decorating creativity.



Kitchen Tech Tuesday: Nest Learning Thermostat

Imagine being able to change your home’s thermostat without leaving the kitchen. It’s possible with the Nest Learning Thermostat, a smart thermostat that saves energy. In fact, it may be possible to control your washing machine, lightbulbs and garage door from a Nest device. Last time, we discussed Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Alima Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor. Today, we’ll look at a gadget that controls the temperature of the air in your home.

Appliances are becoming smarter and smarter as people have begun to expect more from their technology. The Nest Learning Thermostat can be controlled from the smart phone app. This little $250 device is estimated to save families as much as 20% on their energy bills. It is easy to install and can be added to your home in as little as thirty minutes.

The Nest Learning Thermostat creates customized programming for your home heating and cooling by learning your preferences and schedule. It also includes an Auto-Away feature to save energy when no one is home. You can change the temperature remotely via the app on days when your schedule changes unexpectedly and you’ll be home at a different time.

To connect the Nest to your home heating and cooling systems, the device has to be authorized one time via the app. If you need more than one Nest in your home, you can control both thermostats from the app. You’ll no longer have to walk across the house to change both your thermostats.

Nest will create programming that remembers your family’s preferences during different times of the day, night, weekends and while you’re away on vacation. Nest is more effective at saving energy than simpler programming systems. The company claims Nest pays for itself with the savings you’ll earn when your energy bill goes down.

With a new update, Nest will be able to control more than just your home cooling and heating. Nest has been acquired by Google and has started a Developer Program. Under this program, Nest will connect with other devices in your home. For example, Nest will be able to connect with Whirlpool washing machines to determine local energy demand and wash clothes accordingly. (If your cycle starts outside of peak hours, you can save money on your energy bill.)

Other companies/products involved in the program include Mercedes-Benz, Chamberlain’s MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener, Logitech’s Harmony Universal Remote, Google and Jawbone UP24 Wristband.

With the Developer Program, your Mercedes-Benz car can alert Nest when you’re arriving home so it can turn on the heating or cooling for you. You will also be able to control LIFX lightbulbs with Nest, so you can turn lights on or off and make it look like you’re still home. It can also make the lightbulbs pulse red for emergencies.

Nest also offers a smoke and CO detector. Nest’s goal is to make home products simple and helpful. With the evolution of the smart home, it looks like soon we’ll be able to control every aspect of our homes from our phones and tablets! If you would like to compare more smart thermostats for your home, check out this smart thermostat comparison.

Contemporary Kitchen Design Trends

Summer is finally here! You may finally have the time you need to work on the kitchen remodel you’ve been thinking about all year. As you plan your remodel, or the DIY projects you’ll be tackling, we’d like to take this blog post to remind you of contemporary kitchen trends you can exemplify in your kitchen, including installing a large kitchen sink, picking out an oversized light fixture and more.

White is a classic kitchen color, but gray is trending right now in kitchens. In fact, you can play it safe by painting the kitchen a neutral color and installing cabinets that come in a neutral color. Later, you can accessorize with bold colors. Accessorizing with bold colors also gives you the freedom to change out these colors as trends change, because accessories are less costly to replace than larger kitchen items. Other trending colors include black and white schemes and the mixture of light and dark elements.

When it comes to light fixtures, sometimes bigger is better. Interior designers are going with oversized light fixtures to create a statement and a focal point in the kitchen. Large kitchen sinks and apron-front kitchen sinks are also becoming popular. Remember, pots and pans are easier to clean in large sinks. To really spice it up, install a colored kitchen sink.

As for countertops, some designers are mixing materials, such as using natural stone and wood in the same kitchen island. More realistic look-a-likes are also popular, including laminate that looks like granite. Other popular materials include quartz, which comes in a variety of colors, is heat resistant, resists stains and scratches and is nonporous. One more countertop trend includes adding more space for cooking and preparing food.

The last kitchen trend we want to go over in this post is kitchen tech and smart appliances. These are making a big appearance in contemporary kitchen design. Today, more kitchens include motion-activated lights and faucets. The lights save energy and the faucets are hygienic.

What will you be including in your kitchen remodel this summer, and what are your favorite design trends this year? Good luck with your renovations!

17 Top Kitchen Design Trends | HGTV

5 Interior Designers to Follow

Looking for an interior designer? Believe it or not, the best place to look may be on social media. We’ve created a list of interior designers who are active on social and produce beautiful work. Don’t worry, we couldn’t pick just five; we’ll be continuing this post in an upcoming blog series. While you’re thinking about kitchen design, don’t forget to check out Feng Shui in the Kitchen.

The English Room (@theenglishr) – This design firm is quite active in social media. Holly Holingsworth Phillips is the co-owner of The English Room and is known for her signature style and use of color. She works on the East Coast and has a degree in Interior Design from the American College. Greens, oranges and blues can be seen throughout her work. All of these colors come together in her signature style and becomes something playful, yet elegant.

Martha O’Hara Interiors (@OHaraInteriors) – Martha O’Hara Interiors is made up of 16 designers, two design associates and a support staff. This large interior design firm is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The firm offers a wide range of services, including build and remodel, interior design, furniture sales and work for out of state clients. The staff runs fun interior design polls on its Twitter account, which encourages community engagement.

2LG (@2lovelygays)This interior design duois known as 2 Lovely Gays and is made up of Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead. They were at the top of the final #Decorex100 list of 2014 and were nominated by other Twitter users. They believe in, “Making living lovely, one room at a time,” and believe each room should have a voice that speaks about the homeowner. Fun fact: they own St. David Coffee House in London.

Insideology (@insideology) – Annie is from North London and runs the blog Insideology. Her most recent blog posts are a part of Blog Tour NYC (presented by Modenus). Annie is an interior designer that blogs regularly about all topics, including health, traveling, topics like how to dim a table lamp and activities in London. Her blog has a fresh style; keep an eye on this one.

LisaMendeDesign (@LisaMendeDesign) – Lisa Mende is the principal of Lisa Mende Design and a member of ASID. She mixes traditional design with a modern feel. Lisa works with Traci Zeller in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lisa is an ambassador for the La Cienega Legends Design Quarters and has been a panel member of the High Point Market Style Spotter Program. She keeps her blog up-to-date with topics like Pearls of Wisdom, trends at Paris Fashion Week and anniversary ideas.

These designers exemplify style, professionalism, taste and success in social media. Check back for a blog series on top interior designers to follow. You can follow the five listed here; their Twitter usernames are placed next to their names.

Chocolate Recipes

In honor of National Chocolate Day, which fell on Monday, July 7 this year, we are dedicating this week’s recipe blog to chocolate creations. If you feel like some delicious summer recipes, check out our last blog about food: Fourth of July Recipes.

Chocolate goes all the way back to the times of the Aztecs and the Mayans, who popularized a chocolate drink. Chocolate is created from the seeds of the cacao tree. The seeds are fermented, dried and roasted before being ground into what we know as chocolate.

What is it about chocolate that drives us so crazy? Chocolate releases a neurotransmitter, dopamine, which makes us feel good. The feelings chocolate makes us experience are partially traced to the food’s mouth-feel. Chocolate also contains chemicals, like caffeine and theobromine, which make people feel pleasure and more energized. Lastly, in general, chocolate is associated culturally with rewards and with romantic love.

Below are some recipes, which revolve around the wonderful substance known as chocolate:

Chocolate Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe from One Chopping Board by Joel includes sweetened condensed milk, dark chocolate buttons, whipping cream, sweetened cocoa powder and vanilla extract. The ingredients are mixed and frozen over night. You can add any mix-ins you want or eat it as is. Throw it in an ice cream cone or eat it with fruit if you desire.

Recipe from:


Ultimate Brownies

Culinary school graduate Tessa invented this brownie recipe to satisfy all of those cravings and the longing we feeling for the perfect brownie. These are chewy in the middle and have a crunchy top. She used semisweet chocolate chips, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, unsweetened chocolate, eggs, sea salt, vanilla extract and flour. She also recommends using a cake tester to tell when these amazing brownies are done cooking. Tessa really sounds like she knows what she’s talking about.

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Triple Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

Laura, author of Tutti Dolci, shared this recipe for cookies that don’t require multiple trips to the oven. She likes to bake with local ingredients and has been blogging since 2010. She used a tart shell and mixed semisweet chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. You can customize the chocolate in this recipe to your preference. This recipe includes a lot of ingredients, so be sure to read it thoroughly, and don’t forget to save some chocolate chips to put on top of your giant cookie cake.

Recipe from:

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Ali of Gimme Some Oven came up with the idea to mix Nutella into her hot chocolate. Who doesn’t love Nutella, right? Hazelnut chocolate-y goodness is what it’s all about. She mixed Nutella and milk to create her hot chocolate and suggests adding your favorite hot chocolate toppings. Ali shares quick, easy and delicious recipes on her blog.

Recipe from:

We hope these recipes bring you some comfort and that you have fun experimenting with chocolate.

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Alima Smart Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Most houses have the recommended smoke detectors on each floor and the carbon monoxide detector near the garage, just to be safe. Indoor air pollution at home isn’t something we give a lot of thought to until a fire happens or an alarm goes off once in a blue moon. With the Alima from AirBoxLab, indoor air pollution is now something you can track and keep a handle on. If you’d like more information on kitchen technology, read our last blog here: Kitchen Tech Wednesday: iGrill Mini.

The Alima aims to revolutionize the way we think about the air in our homes. It isn’t just a detector; it’s a monitor that allows you to keep charts and graphs of air pollutants and access them from the smart app. Indoor air pollution, although not often talked about, is a serious concern; it’s the reason why every kitchen should have a range hood installed to ventilate air during cooking. Air pollution can contribute to illness, respiratory problems, and in some cases, cancer and premature deaths.

The Alima tracks VOC (total volatile organic compounds), PM (particle matter), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature and RH (relative humidity). VOC includes compounds like formaldehyde, ethylene glycol and benzene. The information is pushed to a Cloud and then to your smart phone and/or tablet, where you can check the levels. It works with iOS (for iPhone) and with Android. The Alima also makes predictions about your home air pollution based on recorded history. It will ping you on your phone and tablet if there’s a problem.

The Alima was funded through an Indiegogo campaign, which ran from January to February 2014. It retails at $299, but some backers of the Indiegogo campaign received it with a $100 rebate.

Our favorite technical feature of the Alima is its ability to crowdsource the data it collects. As a result, users can reference a database and research how much air pollution specific appliances and objects contribute to the home. Hopefully, this will give consumers more purchasing power and help them make decisions about what to buy.

We’re also in love with the design of the Alima. It’s a small, white cylinder with a very futuristic look. Different colored LEDs communicate the pollution readings; the lights show through the small holes that create a design along the cylinder. We love that this monitor is as pretty as it is useful. It won’t stand out too much and should easily compliment home décor.

We’re not sure if consumers will embrace the Alima, given the high price tag, but it’s definitely a great product. It may empower you to be in control of the air in your home. As technology advances and homes become smarter, you’ll no longer be a bystander to the particles that may be making it harder to breathe or function inside your house. Have you tried the Alima? Let us know what you think!