Category Archives: Kitchen Sinks

Featured Product: Under Mount Double Bowl Square Kitchen Sink

oct. 26

This under mount double bowl square kitchen sink is the perfect do-it-all kitchen helper.

Think about how much thought you really give your kitchen sink. Probably not very much, right? Well, you won’t need to give this one much thought either. Because it’s installed under the countertop, it looks clean and integrated into the kitchen decor. The double bowl offers more functionality than a regular sink without taking up too much more counter space.

Unlike nearly any other sink material, like stone, stainless steel is super easy to clean. It won’t show scratches and certainly won’t crack (under normal use, of course!). The brushed steel works with both traditional and modern kitchen decor.

Wondering if this is the right sink for your kitchen? Give us a call! We love hearing from you.

 

Monthly Pick – Stone Sinks

Photo: Sonoma Cast Stone

So, you’ve bought a gorgeous range hood, added stylish chandeliers, and the right kitchen flooring for your needs. What’s left? How about really kicking up the style temperature by opting for something truly unique?

Photo: Signature Hardware

Most kitchen sinks are made from stainless steel. But, there’s a growing trend toward natural stone. Marble and granite have been around for awhile. And they still are as gorgeous and as popular as ever. But, other types of stone have entered the market now.

Photo: Vigo

Look for petrified wood, soapstone, limestone, or travertine. The key is to reinforce the kitchen cabinets and countertops before installing the stone sink. These fixtures can weight up to 300 lbs! Maintenance will be an ongoing task, too. You’ll have to reseal your stone sink every 3 months or so. The biggest benefit of a stone sink, beyond its wow factor, is that it will last hundreds of years if cared for properly.

All About Stainless Steel Range Hoods

july 10

For the longest time, stainless steel was relegated to restaurant kitchens. Long, stainless steel countertops punctuated by stainless steel stoves, refrigerators, and range hoods took whatever the chefs could throw at it. Scratches and dents were hardly visible. The cool, shiny surface remained sanitary and spotless.

The fact that stainless steel is hardworking, durable, and beautiful did not escape the eye of designers for long. Soon, stainless steel kitchen appliances were the trend. That was more than a decade ago, and the trend is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Beauty and strength, together…

The majority of range hoods that are manufactured are made using stainless steel. Take a walk through any store that sells range hoods and you’ll see that it is definitely the material of choice.

All stainless steels contain iron and a minimum of 10.5% chromium oxide (“CrO”) (other elements used to make stainless steel include nickel, nitrogen and molybdenum). The chromium in the steel is combined with oxygen to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide. This layer is only a few atoms thick due partially to the ability of the chromium atoms and oxide atoms to pack together tightly. This layer protects the steel underneath and has a unique self-healing ability. Should the layer become scratched or cut, the newly exposed steel will form another protective area with oxygen in the air. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)

Another boon? Stainless steel won’t rust … ever! It’s super easy to sanitize and clean, which is why restaurants love it. Their industry depends on preparing and serving food that’s fit for consumption. Why shouldn’t your own meals benefit from that extra level of clean?

Don’t worry if you drop coffee or blueberry juice onto the surface. Although stainless steel isn’t stain resistant, it does stain less than other types of steel. Remember, it’s very easy to clean. So, a quick wipe up is all you really need to do. Concerned about the environmental impact of the materials you use in your kitchen? Then you’ll love stainless steel. It’s earth friendly. It can be melted down, recycled and made into something else. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable.

Over 50% of new stainless steel is made from melted scrap metal, rendering it an eco-friendly material. It is important when purchasing any item that claims to be made of stainless steel to ask if the steel is completely stainless or if it is just top-level plating with a cheaper steel or metal underneath. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)

What type of stainless steel?

Although all stainless steel looks the same, there can actually be differences in its make-up that will effect how durable and long-lasting it will be.

A commonly used grade of stainless steel for range hoods and sinks is Type 430 (S43000). The basic alloy contains 11% chromium and 1% manganese. Grade 304 is the most common grade of stainless steel used in our industry. It has a minimum of 18% chromium and 8% nickel, combined with a maximum of 0.08% carbon. Grade 200 stainless steel alloy contains 17% chromium, 4% nickel and 7% manganese. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)

What does the gauge mean?

Gauge (or gage) sizes are numbers that indicate the thickness of a piece of sheet metal, with a higher number referring to a thinner sheet. The equivalent thicknesses differ for each gauge size standard, which were developed based on the weight of the sheet for a given material.

If you’re looking at a range hood, and you’re not sure of the quality of stainless steel, give us a call. We’ll help you figure it out.

 

Summer 2017 Kitchen Trends

june 6

The kitchen is such an amazing place. It has evolved so much in the last 200 years alone. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the heart of the home has come full circle.

I’m thinking of the old farmhouse kitchen of more than a century ago. In it, a whole family would have cooked their meals, mended their clothes, enjoyed conversations, and kept warm by the fire. With the rise of cities and smaller homes through the last century, families necessarily had to move out of their kitchens. Moms worked alone to prepare the meals. But, other than that ongoing task, every other chore or family time was spent in some other part of the house.

Well, here we are again. It’s 2017, and the kitchen has returned to its status as the heart of the home. Most of us, even if our kitchens are small, try to maximize the space so that it’s multi-functional. Looking forward to the summer of 2017, kitchen design trends seem to be reinforcing that way of thinking.

Maximize the work space.

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Nowadays, we think nothing of knocking down a few walls and expanding the kitchen. Add in an island or extra long counter space and what was once small and cramped is now an expansive work space. Keep an eye out for super efficient technology for the kitchen, too. Whether it’s an extra faucet near the stove or a smart fridge, the trend toward work spaces that make better use of time are on their way.

Task lighting.

june 6-3

The old central light fixture placed somewhere in the ceiling of the kitchen is long gone. But, kitchen lighting is till evolving. For a while, we had track lighting set in rows along the ceiling. Then, track lighting morphed into pot lights. It was the same kind of thing … without the tracks. Pot lights have a cleaner look, and they can be directed to wherever you want to light to shine. We’ve moved even further along though. We still love our pot lights for overall brightness. But, now we’re adding task lighting. Sometimes that’s a simple chandelier over the eating area. Sometimes it’s a series of pendant lights over an island. We’re also seeing lighting under the cabinets meant to direct the right amount of light onto the countertop.

I have that sinking feeling.

june 6-4

The sink is the thing! We can still find lots of stainless steel sinks. But, that once neglected area of the kitchen is coming into its own. Now, you can choose between ceramic sinks, concrete sinks, copper sinks … there are probably sinks made from nearly any material. Even plain old stainless steel sinks are no longer plain and simple. They come with different sized receptacles, covers, and accessories of all kinds.

What trend would you like to see continue? Want to know what trends are coming for the rest of the kitchen? Check out: 2017 Kitchen Appliance Trends.

Got questions? Give us a call! We love talking with you.

 

The Curious Case Of The “Just In Cases”

Photo: House Beautiful

Just take a moment to admire that organized kitchen in the photo above. Is that not the height of art and beauty and stress-free living? Ok, fine. I’m exaggerating … but only a little.

We live in our kitchens. Most of us spend a huge part of our home time in that very room. We’re either feeding ourselves and family, preparing to feed ourselves and family, cleaning, crafting, baking, cooking … maybe even reading or watching a lot of cat videos.

Cats … dogs … pets …rats. Today is National Pack Rat Day! Did you know that was a thing? I admit that I did not. It is, however, appropriate, especially in terms of our kitchens. If you’re anything like me, you collect appliances, gadgets, cookie sheets, plates, coffee mugs, glasses … yeah, you get the idea.

Eventually, everything threatens to topple onto you if you open a cupboard door too quickly. So, today, in honor of National Pack Rat Day, we are going to declutter. Yes, you, too.

Here’s what I realized:

  1. I have a lot more stuff than I think I do.
  2. I have a lot more stuff that I never use than I think I do.
  3. I am through thinking that I should keep things “just in case”!

Once I began decluttering, repurposing, recycling, and discarding that stuff, I found I had so much more room. Good thing, too, because I just picked up a used bread machine!

If your kitchen needs a bit of a refresher, follow these steps. You won’t feel overwhelmed. You will feel happier at the end of it all.

  • Clear the countertops first. Put away anything that needs to be put away. Wash anything that needs to be washed. Then put those items away. You’re free to take a short break now, if you need to.
  • Always. Sometimes. Never. Start at the top of a cabinet and clear out anything you haven’t used in a while. Consider each item. Is it something you used recently? Is it something you can only use periodically (like holiday-themed muffin cups). Get rid of everything else. Keep going until you need a break. It’s ok to treat yourself.
  • Size matters. Cupboards, drawers, fridges, freezers … none of these are stretchable in any way imaginable. So, if you open up any of them and find items piled on top of each other, you’ve got to make a decision. See point above. How many of those items are essential to your everyday or holiday food prep? Anything that hasn’t been used in a while or is damaged should just go.

Have you been bitten by the decluttering bug? Share your tips!

Spring Recipes – Roast Vegetable and Noodle Salad

Mar. 24

Ramen noodles are hugely popular … and not just with university students! They’re quick and easy to prepare, and delicious, too. This healthy noodle salad features fresh, roasted flavors. It’s perfect for a light lunch or even as an appetizer!

Serve with: Sausage-Stuffed Peppers

  • 4 carrots
  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 1 cob corn, husked
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 2 pkgs (85 g each) ramen soup noodles (discard the flavor packets)

Chive and Oregano Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chives, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  1. Brush carrots, mushrooms, and red pepper with oil. Place the vegetables on a tray.
  2. Roast vegetables in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Slice vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, cut kernels off of corn cob. Place kernels in a bowl; add enough water to cover. Bring to boil either on the stovetop or cook until tender in the microwave. Drain well and add to the bowl.
  4. Cook ramen noodles in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add to vegetables and toss.

Chive and Oregano Dressing

  1. Stir together oil, vinegar, and garlic. Add chives, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add dressing to vegetable-ramen mixture. Toss to combine.

Enjoy! Let us know how you have customized this dish.

Monthly Picks – Kitchen Design Pitfalls

shutterstock_136550147

It’s not a cliché to say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Even if your range hood fan is quiet most of the time, the kitchen is still the place where all of us cook and eat. I’ve noticed that kitchens often suffer from poor design regardless if they’re built into an older home or newer construction. I’m not sure if it’s the challenge of making the kitchen both functional and beautiful that causes designers and home builders problems. Whatever the issue is, and if you find yourself re-designing your kitchen, make sure you avoid these pitfalls.

  • Breaking the triangle. Most kitchen fixtures are built according to the triangle … even if the kitchen is a galley or L-shape. The triangle allows you to move efficiently from the sink to the fridge to the stove. If there’s too much space separating those three essentials, food preparation will take longer and feel more tiring. If there isn’t enough space separating them, having more than one person prepping food will feel crowded.
  • Wasting space. Even large kitchens can be guilty of wasting storage space. Install oversize cabinets that reach to the ceiling or extend counter space and built shelves or drawers underneath.
  • Skimping on lighting. Spend the money on an electrician and have him or her install as much lighting as possible. Place a pretty chandelier over the eating area. Place focused lighting along any workspaces.
  • Skipping a range hood. Ventilation is key, and opening the windows really isn’t enough. You need a quality range hood to exhaust all the odor, grease, and steam to the outside. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time scrubbing down the walls and ceiling.

Monthly Pick – The Best Kitchen Layouts

Wed - kitchen shapes

Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. I visited a home once that was fairly large, about 3000 square feet, but the kitchen was about the size of a double bed. Then there are small homes that house kitchens large enough to take up most of the main floor. So, I guess the lesson is never assume the size of a kitchen based on the size of the house.

Kitchen size and shape depends on decisions made by the home builder and designer as well as the home owner. Some people just aren’t interested in turning on the range hood fan very much or spending much time at all in the kitchen. Other people really take to heart the idea that the kitchen is the center of the home.

Regardless of how large or small your kitchen is, determining how you want to use that room is vital. The answer to that question will help you figure out which kitchen shape is best for you.

By kitchen shape I’m talking about the geometric shapes that the cabinets, countertops, and large appliances are often laid out. The classic shape is the triangle. It’s supposed to be the most efficient. With the triangle, you find that if you’re standing facing the sink, you’ll have a large appliance on either side of you, perhaps the stove to your left and the fridge to your right. Someone at some point in time decided that the triangle shape would be the least stressful on whoever’s doing the cooking. The shape allows you to move quickly between a kitchen’s necessary components (like taking a pot full of hot water from the stove to the sink).

The L-shape layout is particularly useful if you don’t like people milling about while you’re trying to cook. You can easily add an island to this layout which would allow everyone whose not cooking or cleaning to sit on the other side of the work area while still being allowed to interact with you.

The U-shape is really quite common. It allows for a maximum of storage since cabinets can be hung along three walls. Sometimes traffic flow can be a problem with this layout unless you can add a table or an island where people who aren’t cooking or cleaning can sit comfortably and interact with you. Once you add a table or an island, the u-shape becomes the G-shape.

What’s you’re favorite kitchen layout shape?

 

Monthly Pick – Inspirational Kitchen Design

european kitchen

Recently, a friend of mine who lives in the Czech Republic sent me a magazine article that featured photos of a beautiful kitchen. It turns out that the kitchen featured in the story was actually hers! She worked with a designer to turn her small kitchen into a large and very modern space decked out with top design elements, like a glass range hood, glossy white cabinets, and natural wood flooring.

European homes can be outfitted with very small kitchens or large ones depending on the size of the home or apartment. So, like North Americans, Europeans need to apply the right design concepts that maximize whatever kitchen space they have.

Europeans love mid-century modern design (which actually got its start in Sweden and its neighboring Nordic countries). So, clean lines and pieces that are both functional and beautiful are essential. European kitchens incorporate a lot of natural colors and elements, like wood and stone.

 

Photo: Maddox Photography

Photo: Maddox Photography

Glossy finishes help make small spaces look large and clean. Notice the ample storage available in the kitchen pictured above. Just because you live with a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t own a lot of kitchenware!

Photo: trendir

Photo: trendir

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: just because you’re designing a kitchen doesn’t mean you have to stick to typical kitchen furniture. Repurposing and reimagining furniture that usually lives in dining rooms or offices will go a long way in personalizing your kitchen space. Don’t discount professional equipment, too. There’s no reason why you can’t put a professional level sink and stove in your kitchen.

Photo: Arendal Kitchen Design

Photo: Arendal Kitchen Design

Sometimes, your kitchen doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with your dream plans. Many homes – old and new – seem to have been built in ways that forces the kitchen into strange size dimensions. Maybe your kitchen isn’t perfectly square or rectangular. Regardless, you can still have what you want with just a few adjustments. Change the size or shape of your counters and cabinetry to accommodate your storage, work, and space needs.

Over to you: what feature do love most about European kitchen design?

 

Vintage Utensils – Functional and Beautiful

shutterstock_65403682

Our modern kitchens, even if they’re designed in a traditional style, are so far removed from vintage kitchens with their lack of dedicated counter space and range hoods, dry sinks and ice boxes. We’ve been so successful at simplifying and modernizing our kitchens that we really don’t need to look backwards.

Yet, there’s something so simple and lovely about vintage kitchen tools, isn’t there. They were made to last, so you know they’re sturdy enough to take the roughest handling. They were also made to do the job right. So, although they didn’t have all the non-stick options we have today, the cooking utensils were crafted to produce food the way it was intended to be produced.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that every utensil was better back then. For instance, I’m a firm believer in the power of the Swissmar vegetable peeler. I don’t know what I’d do if Swissmar ever stopped making them. The combination of metals that now goes into pot and pan production is also phenomenal. We no longer have to worry so much about food not cooking properly because of hot spots.

Some things, though, never change. Vintage colanders, sieves, pots and pans, no matter how dented or stained with burned-on material, still stand the test of time and use. So many vintage utensils are not only functional, but beautiful, too. We don’t often see that any more, do we?

Photo: pinterest.com

The green-handled utensils pictured above were popular from about the 1940s into the 1950s. You’ll find red-handled utensils, too, from the same period. Just before the advent of plastics, wood still reigned supreme, and dying it with the trendy colors of the time was as popular a sales technique as it is today.

ebay.com

Photo: ebay.com

Would you use an old-style egg beater? It may seem more cumbersome than a fork, especially when you’re beating just a few eggs. But, the beauty of it is that more air is incorporated making for really fluffy, well-beaten eggs. No need to haul out the electric blender, either!

Photo: laurelleaffarm.com

Can you guess what those utensils in the picture were used for? I don’t think anyone uses anything close to this today. In fact, I’m guessing that few people do this anymore at home. Those utensils pictured above are crinkle potato cutters. I guess you could use them for carrots, too. We’ve all seen carrots and potatoes cut that way. Now you know that it’s not a new chef-driven invention. Home cooks would have made them, too, with this tool.

Over to you: Do you own any vintage utensils that you still use?