Monthly Archives: October 2014

Creating a Luxury Kitchen Design

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and as such, it’s becoming more like a living room than an enclosed space to prepare food. The kitchen is a seat of togetherness, where families talk during the day and during meals. It’s also a space for entertainment.

There’s a world of difference between a poorly designed kitchen and a well-designed kitchen. A luxury kitchen design is made up of many components that come together to create a unique and special space for an individual home. These components include appliances like range hoods, ovens and refrigerators, and interior décor like cabinetry, paint, countertops, lighting and back splashes.

Continue reading to learn more about each component that makes up a luxury residential kitchen.

Appliances for the Kitchen

Every modern kitchen needs up-to-date appliances that offer the latest technology, whether they are concealed in the kitchen or not. The following goes over some of the trends in modern kitchen appliances popping up in contemporary home kitchens.

Ideally, every new appliance should be easy to clean and have a long life. They should also be compatible with the person using them. Someone who does not cook often may not need the latest, state-of-the-art oven.

One trend is to have more than one oven on hand for clutter-free cooking and reheating. The latest ovens use convection steam, which allows for faster preheating; faster cooking; and capabilities for sautéing, simmering, boiling, baking and roasting in the oven.

MES301HP MasterpieceTM Steam and Convection Oven

MES301HP MasterpieceTM Steam and Convection Oven

The refrigerator emerges with a double-door and drawers that look like cabinetry. High-end models include smart features. A serious home cook may choose to install a walk-in fridge.

Samsung 4-Door Refrigerator with 8” Wi-Fi Enabled LCD

Samsung 4-Door Refrigerator with 8” Wi-Fi Enabled LCD

The range hood, which often becomes the focal point of a kitchen design, can vary in very simple and highly decorative styles. The mounting styles include wall mount range hoods, under cabinet range hoods or island range hoods.

Cavaliere-Euro SV218B2-30 30” Wall Mount Range Hood

Cavaliere-Euro SV218B2-30 30” Wall Mount Range Hood.

Dishwashers are becoming larger, and kitchens often feature more than one. Like cooling drawers, there are also dishwashers that look like drawers that blend in with the cabinetry and make the kitchen look seamless.

The kitchen range is becoming larger with multiple burners. Ranges that are 48” to 60” wide are becoming more common, and more ranges are being installed on the kitchen island. The range on the kitchen island takes the home cook away from the wall and allows him or her to socialize with the rest of the family. This is especially true if the kitchen has an open layout; the cook can face the living room and possibly a television that the rest of the family is enjoying. If the range is on the kitchen island, an island range hood will have to be installed.

48” Wolf Gas Range

48” Wolf Gas Range

False drawers hold convenient microwaves, cooling drawers or heating drawers. These streamline the kitchen and make it look more seamless by hiding these convenient tools. The warming drawers are perfect for keeping food for a large meal (like Thanksgiving dinner) warm. Some warming drawers come with trays that double as serving trays.

Microwave Drawer from SHARP

Microwave Drawer from SHARP

Other popular luxury kitchen appliances include wine dispensers, built-in cappuccino makers and wine refrigeration. Additionally, appliances are more likely to include smart capabilities that are controlled via cell phones and tablets.

Interior Décor for the Kitchen

We alluded to it earlier in the section about kitchen islands, but the kitchen is becoming an open space that becomes one with the rest of the home. The kitchen is no longer closed off from the other rooms and areas, and people working in the kitchen can interact with other people in the home. As a result, kitchens are becoming almost as luxurious as living rooms. The kitchen is also a seat of entertainment, and thus, people expect finely designed kitchens to match these needs.

In kitchen design, custom cabinets that reach to the ceiling create an elegant aesthetic. Kitchen countertops are often constructed out of natural stone, including granite and marble. More affordable choices include formica. Other popular choices include soap stone, stainless steel, wood, quartz and concrete.

In addition to looking good, the kitchen should also have ample storage space for equipment and groceries. A hanging kitchen pot rack can become the center piece of the room. Some families request larger pantries, and/or walk-in pantries, for stocking supplies.

Tuscan Kitchen

The above Tuscan kitchen design includes an excellent example of a kitchen backsplash. This one-of-a-kind back splash features a painting above the range of a vineyard. The back splash underneath the cabinets features a nice design of brown, green and white tile that subtly pops against the coffee colored paint on the walls.

Other trending choices for constructing back splashes include tile, metal, glass tile, wood, limestone, marble, chalkboard paint, river rock and recycled glass. Contractors may create a unique back splash above the range with a piece of leftover marble from the construction of the countertops. In the tile category, many back splashes are made out of mosaics, handmade tile or subway tile arranged in a herringbone pattern.

The Tuscan kitchen above also features a large fluted front apron sink. The white sink matches the back splash and blends into the kitchen. Large, apron front sinks are very popular in kitchen design. Stainless steel sinks are durable and affordable. Other home owners may choose a porcelain or cast iron sink. The home owner may also decide on a multiple bowl sink if it is needed in his or her cooking routine.

Kitchen Lighting Example

Interior designers know that lighting in the kitchen is of the utmost importance. Lighting can change the entire look of the room, including the color of the kitchen cabinets to the eye. Task lighting and multiple layers of lighting are also important for the kitchen. It’s important that the home cook be able to see what they’re doing in different areas of the kitchen and at different stations. Note the recessed lighting in the ceiling of the kitchen pictured above. Also note the hanging light fixtures above the kitchen island and the accent lighting above the range.

Kitchen Island Example

The kitchen island in the contemporary kitchen above has multiple drawers along the side that add to the kitchen storage. These drawers also have long handles that double as towel racks. This unique kitchen island opens up to create more counter space. The stainless steel countertops and island range hood create a clean and professorial look. The playful green paint on the ceiling helps make this space feel like a part of the rest of the home. Note the double ovens on the wall in the back and the hidden cabinet behind the sink. There is also an adjacent dining area for the use of a family meal or for entertaining guests.

Chalkboard Kitchen Example

The modern kitchen above is stylish and fashionable. The green/blue cabinets and the chalkboard cabinet doors invite a creative element into the space as well. Chalkboard paint can be used to make a back splash interactive or cover an entire refrigerator. It can also be used to paint an entire wall adjacent to the dining area for sketches, doodles, calendars, recipes and notes. The dining area in this kitchen is inside of the kitchen itself, which encourages families to spend time with each other as they prepare food in the kitchen. Oftentimes, an interior designer will place a couch next to the kitchen for a nearby area for relaxation. Other luxurious features in this interior design include a large fridge, oversized lighting and a kitchen cart on the right-hand side. The kitchen cart adds more convenient counter space and storage space.

White Kitchen Example

The majority of luxury kitchens are all-white. Recently, designers have begun to create darker colored kitchens, but white remains the most popular color choice. Note the multiple faucets located on the kitchen island in the kitchen pictured above. These decorative plumbing fixtures have a single handle. Chrome is the most popular material for faucets, followed by polished nickel, bronze finish, brushed nickel and pewter. Other faucet features in luxury kitchens include motion-less technology for ease of use and hygiene, spray arms, pasta arms, hot water dispensers and built-in water filters.

Black Kitchen Example

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, interior designers are creating more dark colored kitchens, which feature blacks, browns and grays. These colors create dramatic effects, which are quite glamorous in a luxury kitchen. The black cabinets, which cover the entire wall, with silver door handles, create a big impact and are the focal point of this interior design. This kitchen is also outfitted with a Viking fridge and two ovens. The kitchen island includes a sink with a beautiful faucet and stools for a spot to sit and eat. The adjacent dining table has matching black chairs with a unique design and a table runner printed with fun zebra pattern.

We hope this close look at the components of a luxury kitchen design has inspired you in your own home remodeling projects, whether you are completely renovating your kitchen or simply thinking about upgrading your appliances.

How to Organize your Kitchen Fridge

The fridge can be one of the scariest areas in a kitchen. Without proper cleaning, the mess begins to add up. A part of keeping a kitchen organized, which we went over in Tips for Organizing a Small Kitchen, is keeping the fridge clean.

Besides being a nightmare, your fridge won’t work as well if there’s too much food in it. Throw out expired items and condiments you never use. Always throw out spoiled leftover and old takeout containers. Write the date you bought it on the container to remind you when it’s too old to keep.

For optimal food storage, keep your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though there’s one temperature setting for your fridge, remember that different areas of the fridge vary in temperature. That’s why you should never keep milk or eggs in the fridge door, which is the warmest area. The bottom of the fridge is the coldest; keep meat, seafood and eggs near the bottom. Foods to keep at the top of the fridge include precooked food and leftovers.

Keep raw meat separate and isolated from other foods to avoid spreading bacteria. Make sure to keep raw meat on top of plates because it could drip onto the fridge shelf.

Also keep fruits and vegetables separated in the fruit and veggie drawers. As fruits ripen, they release ethylene, which causes vegetables to spoil more quickly. Therefore, don’t put them together. Additionally, don’t wash fruits and vegetables before storing in the fridge unless you’re going to dry them. The moisture makes them spoil faster. To make herbs last longer, kepe them upright in a jar with water. Cover the jar with a plastic bag.

Don’t store these foods in the fridge:

  • Tomatoes – Keep these on your counter.
  • Pumpkins
  • Basil
  • Potatoes – Keep these in a cool, dark place.
  • Honey – Leaving it in the fridge will cause it to crystallize.
  • Coffee
  • Bread – Putting bread in the fridge will dry it out.
  • Garlic
  • Avocado – Unless it’s ripe, don’t put it in the fridge.
  • Onions – Keep these in a cool, dark place.

Do put these foods in the fridge:

  • Nuts
  • Whole-Grain Flours
  • Safflower Oil
  • Canola Oil

Lastly, keep your freezer organized by putting food in containers and stacking them, and don’t store food on the top of the fridge. The top of the fridge is warm from the condenser pumping out warm air. Good luck keeping the fridge cleaner with these tips!

Hacks on Keeping Your Fridge Organized | Lifehacker

Green Renovations for the Kitchen

This guest post is written by Jason Fowler, Pre-Construction Manager at Sea Island Builders.

A green kitchen is no longer a luxury that you can only fantasize about; with a wide variety of earth-friendly products now available, it is easy and affordable to have the eco-conscious kitchen you crave. No matter your style or budget, consider these tips below to inspire a green kitchen renovation that will leave your conscience and your sense of style satisfied.

Sea Island Builders Guest Blog 1

1. Choose sustainable kitchen cabinets. It’s easy to choose kitchen cabinets that are good for the environment, as well as your health. Simply select cabinets that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. These are all produced using sustainable forest management practices. They also feature formaldehyde-free glues, as well as finishes with low volatile organic compounds. These benefit your home environment, on top of the global one, by giving off little to no toxic fumes.

Sea Island Builders Guest Blog 2

2. Keep your countertops green. There are wide varieties of surfaces available to keep your kitchen both sustainable and stylish. Many manufacturers make countertops that are made from recycled or sustainable materials, ranging from recycled paper, to renewable bamboo fiber, reclaimed wood from older buildings, or recycled glass. These countertops are also safer for your family, as they use low toxicity binders, such as water-based resin glue.

3. Look for Energy-Star rated appliances. The Energy-Star rating is only given to the most energy-efficient model of a given appliance category, making your search for green appliances a breeze. It’s possible to save more than $120 a year on just your refrigerator if you replace a twenty-year old one with a new Energy-Star rated one. In addition to the energy savings, many states and regional utilities will offer rebates for purchasing Energy-Star rated appliances.

4. Use an under-the-counter water purifier. With ten times the filtering capacity of a faucet-mounted purifier, an under-the-counter water purifier is the smart way to provide healthy water for your home. A carbon filter can remove heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, unwanted tastes, and bad odors. The amount you save on water bottles and pre-packaged drinks will add up more quickly than you could believe.
Sea Island Builders Guest Blog 3

5. Consider energy-efficient and natural lighting. Replacing your incandescent lighting can have a massive impact on your kitchen’s energy usage; fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights can use up to 90% less energy. LED lighting and energy efficient halogens are also unique, useful options – especially when lighting an area commonly used for detailed tasks. Also, work with the natural lighting options your home’s layout will allow. A few additional windows can flood your kitchen with sunlight, reducing your need for electric lighting all-around.

With these five simple ideas, you can begin to design a green renovation for your kitchen that will save you money, as well as save the environment. You no longer have to sacrifice style, originality, or your budget to set up your kitchen to be sustainable, renewable, and non-toxic. The vibrancy of a green kitchen is sure to inspire health, wellness, and simplicity in other areas of your home and life as well.


Jason Fowler is Pre-Construction Manager at Sea Island Builders, Charleston’s premier custom home builder and contractor. The company is dedicated to renovating and building custom homes that are energy-efficient and support the health and wellness of the client, the community, and our environment. Sea Island Builders is a partner of ENERGY STAR, the Indoor airPLUS program, and the EPA’s WaterSense Program, and a Lead-Safe Epa Certified firm. Learn more at or connect with us on Houzz, Facebook, or Instagram.


Tips for Organizing a Small Kitchen

More often than not, many of us wish we had a bigger kitchen. Cooking in a small or cluttered kitchen can be difficult. It’s hard to move around and find what you need. We previously talked about kitchen organization in our post DIY Kitchen Storage. In this post, we’ll share some pointers for organizing your kitchen. Organizing a small kitchen can really help open up some space and make cooking easier.

The inside of the cabinet door is your new best friend. There’s wasted real estate in your kitchen in the form of the back of cabinet doors and pantry doors. You can add hooks on the back of cabinet doors and use them for hanging small utensils and measuring cups. You can even create a cute display by placing a list of measuring equivalents above your measuring cups. Alternatively, add small shelves to the backside of doors if they fit.

Cut veggies on top of the sink. Use an over the counter cutting board. It will help you take up less counter space while prepping your food.

Give fake drawers a real purpose. Use fake drawers for paper towel storage or modify them to hold items. To make a paper towel holder, remove the front of the fake drawer and install a paper towel rod. Why have fake drawers when you can have real ones, especially when you need more space in the kitchen?

Install a DIY pegboard. Create more storage space using a pegboard. Did you know Julia Child used this method to store her large collection of pots and pans? This method frees up cabinet space by keeping items on the wall. The items on your pegboard will also be easy to reach and take down, and with a pegboard, you don’t have to stack pots and pans.

Say goodbye to wasted space. Add shelves to unused wall space. Adding more cabinetry may be impossible or too costly, but it’s easy to add shelves and hooks. Hang items like pots and pans and hang utensils on the sides of cabinets.

Get to corners. Say hello to the Lazy Susan. These storage devices can turn and make the space in corners more accessible. With a Lazy Susan, you can fit more into the space.

Use magnetic forces to your advantage. Put a magnetic strip on the wall for holding kitchen knives. This saves counter space and drawer space and keeps knives high up and away from small hands.

You can also use magnets to move your spice rack to the front or side of your fridge. Just put your spices in small jars with magnets on the back. This frees up counter space and cupboard space .

Roll-out storage is easier to reach. Add roll-out shelves to your cabinets, pantry and the under the sink space. This helps you store more in those hard to reach areas. Don’t let any space go unused!

Invest in a storage cart. Storage carts are an inexpensive and easy way to add additional storage to a small kitchen.

What storage tips and tricks have helped you get by in a small kitchen? Check out Living Large in a Small Space by Zircon for more ideas.

17 Life Hacks to Upsize Your Tiny Kitchen | Diply

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Greek Yogurt Makers

For our last tech post, we reviewed a smart crock pot in Kitchen Tech Tuesday: Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker. Today, we’re looking at Greek yogurt makers. Greek yogurt is a popular health food item right now.

What is Greek yogurt? It’s basically the strained version of regular yogurt. You can make Greek yogurt by straining normal yogurt with a cheese cloth or fine colander. Liquid, whey, lactose and sugar is strained out of the yogurt.

Greek yogurt is a healthy food choice because it contains more proteins, less sugar and fewer carbohydrates than the normal version. It’s also a vegetarian food.

Buying containers of yogurt at the grocery store can become expensive over time, which is why people like to make homemade yogurt. However, making your own yogurt at home can take a lot of effort. You have to keep the yogurt mixture at 108 degrees for four to twelve hours in your oven. Forget that! (That’s what yogurt makers are for.)

Dash Greek Yogurt Maker – This yogurt maker has a low price tag of $22 on Amazon, or at $37.99 for the white unit. To use the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker, scald five cups of milk and add one third cup of a starter yogurt. Remember to include any flavors you’d like and to preheat the yogurt maker. Pour the milk mixture into the yogurt maker and set the timer. When the timer goes off, strain the yogurt until you have Greek yogurt.

Cuisinart CYM-100 Electric Yogurt Maker – This is a more expensive appliance with a price tag of $114.41 on Amazon. It holds up to 50 ounces of yogurt. The user puts the milk, cultures and the flavoring into the unit and presses start. It takes only six to eight hours and will automatically begin chilling the yogurt when it’s done. This is a huge convenience because you don’t have to be home to move the yogurt into the fridge when it’s done. This appliance also looks sleek and is made of stainless steel.

EuroCuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt Maker – This product is more of a yogurt strainer than a yogurt maker. For $25, this yogurt maker holds up to two quarts of yogurt. The yogurt is poured into the strainer and the whey runs off into the plastic container. This EuroCuisine product is BPA free. Be careful while washing it, because the mesh is very delicate. This unit does save you from having to clean a colander or cheese cloth each time you make Greek yogurt.

Is a Greek yogurt maker worth it? It depends on how often you make yogurt at home, how much yogurt you eat and how much yogurt you use in your cooking. If you use a lot of yogurt, then you may save money by making your own at home. Using a yogurt maker can make the process much more convenient.