Category Archives: Recycling

The Color Of Beauty – Glass Range Hoods

july 26

Range hoods come in a variety of materials. Flipping through magazine images of kitchens, you might think that stainless steel is the only choice. In fact, glass is a very popular alternative to the look of stainless steel.

The glass that’s used to construct range hoods is actually a standard clear color. But it does have a slight green tint to it. It’s a high quality glass, so you don’t have to worry about accidental chips or cracks. The glass is built to withstand the high temperatures that rise up from the stovetop as well as the vibrations caused by the fan.

If your kitchen features a modern design, then glass is as appropriate as stainless steel. Glass is also particularly good in another situation. Most of us are living in homes equipped with small to medium-sized kitchens. A glass range is ideal in a smaller space. The fact that it’s at least partially see-through helps make the room look larger. So, if you’re thinking of renovating your kitchen, or if you’re already in the middle of a remodel, I definitely recommend considering installing a glass range hood.

Give our Support Team a call if you have any other questions. We love hearing from you!

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.

 

Inspiring Outdoor Kitchens!

June 2

Sometimes you just need a little hit of inspiration. Whatever your outdoor entertainment space looks like, admiring what other people have done to turn their backyards or balconies into an extension of their homes is a fabulous use of time.

Who doesn’t love looking at images of beautiful things? And who knows, you might even pick up an idea or two that you can implement in your own outdoor oasis. As you’ll see, some people go all out. They set up an outdoor cooking and eating area complete with stove, range hood, fridge, and countertops. For others, a barbeque and a picnic table are just enough.

Have you already done something amazing with your outdoor entertaining area? Share your pics on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’d love to see them!

In the meantime, enjoy these:

Simple, but gorgeous. This comfortable patio marries the natural elements of the outdoors, like concrete and wood, with the functional elements of an indoor kitchen.

Photo: Rob Karosis

Here’s a little southwest feel with all the cool functionality of a working kitchen.

June 2-2

I love the fresh, open look of this backyard entertaining space. It goes to prove that you don’t need a lot of area to create a functional and beautiful backyard kitchen.

June 2-3

Need tips on setting up your own backyard entertaining oasis? Check out: Design Your Own Outdoor Kitchen.

What elements of backyard kitchens do you love most?

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!

Monthly Pick – Unique Range Hood Designs – Metal

Photo: Creative Steel Work Inc

Metal is such an amazing material! There’s a very good reason why so many range hoods are constructed out of metal whether it’s steel, copper, or iron. Check out these gorgeous examples.

Talk about antique style. The rounded effect of this range hood is stunning. It catches the eye without overwhelming the rest of the kitchen decor.

Photo: stovee.info

How about a jewel-toned steel range hood? If you could customize the shape and color of your range hood, would you?

Photo: prizerhoods.com

Just because it’s metal, doesn’t mean it can’t bend! What do you think of this innovative range hood design.

Photo: Livinator.com

Have you seen a metal range hood that you absolutely love? Send us a pic!

 

Bring Earth Day Into The Kitchen

April 21

With Earth Day just around the corner, I’ve found myself thinking of ways that I could mark the occasion in my kitchen. Believe it or not, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970! Since then so many of us all around the world have recognized the day by changing something small or big (but nevertheless significant!) in our lives. So, if you’re having trouble thinking of something to do this year, I’ve got you covered. If you’re doing something that’s not on this list, please let me know! Let’s share some ideas that can make our earth a better place.

Eat less. Cook less. Most of us can probably stand to cook less food. The issue isn’t about leftovers. I, for one, happen to adore leftovers. As much as I love to cook, I appreciate not doing so every once in a while. No, the issue with cooking too much food is that we end up wasting more than we probably should. Do you ever cook up a little too much thinking that you’ll eat it the next day or the day after that only to forget about it … until you clean out the back of the fridge, of course! Yeah, it happens to me, too. But, no more. From now on, I’m paying close attention to portion sizes.

Compost it. Do you have a composter in your backyard? I do. Some cities collect kitchen waste at the curb and compost it. Get yourself a small container, line it with a paper bag, and fill it with coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable peelings, and anything else you’ve got that is organic and will decompose.

Make stock. Instead of tossing those vegetable discards into the composter, why not toss them into a pot instead? Add water, a few peppercorns, and any herbs you might have on hand. Turn up the heat and turn on the range hood fan. In a couple of hours you should have a flavorful stock that you can use for soup or to flesh out sauces.

Go clean. Kitchens can get pretty grimy, can’t they? Opt for natural cleaners like baking soda and lemon juice. They’ll do away with the grease and dirt while keeping the environment healthy.

Got any tips of your own? Share them!

Go Green!

Fri. 27

Going green isn’t just a fad. Building our homes with natural, non toxic materials and eating fresh food keeps both the environment and our bodies healthy. Sometimes, when you’re in the throes of a kitchen renovation, you might not be thinking of ways to make your new kitchen greener than the old.

But, there are ways to go green without adding too much to your budget.

I’m not in the process of renovating my kitchen right now, but I am looking for ways to reduce my footprint on the environment. Most of the changes I’ve made have been really easy to implement and to stick to. In some cases, like my change of cookware, it’s made cooking much easier and less frustrating.

Have you taken steps to become greener? Share your tips with us! In the meantime, here are my own:

  • Cast iron cookware is built to last. A quick seasoning is all it takes to get it ready for use. My cast iron skillet developed a non stick patina after, literally, two uses. I’ve been so frustrated with so-called non stick cookware that is either coated in some kind of toxic chemical or loses its non stick properties within a few months!
  • Until new, better, and green energy sources are discovered and refined, we will still have to choose between gas and electric powered ranges. My preference has always been gas. I love its versatility. But, if you’ve always loved electric, that’s ok, too. Neither are green fuel sources. Look for stoves that Energy Star rated products. Then switch to buying your gas or electricity to a company that uses green sources.
  • Turn on that range hood fan (using energy from a green source, of course) and strap on an apron. One of the most environmentally steps you can take is to cook for yourself using the most natural and least processed produce.
  • Check the quality of your stove’s fan and exhaust ducting. Make sure all the parts are connected and properly sealed, and that all the fans are operable. Our stoves emit lots of chemical residue, grease, and odors. A good stove fan exhaust system is essential to keeping indoor air quality at its best.

I’m loving these changes. They’re helping my wallet feel heavier at the end of each month, and I’m happy knowing that every little bit helps the environment.

Monthly Pick – Green Kitchen Trends

shutterstock_461162782

If you love those neutral tones that have dominated design for the last few years, you may find that it’s time to make some room for color. Not just any color, either.

Green.

Green is seeing its popularity rise like nothing before … or at least not since the 1950s. I’m not just talking about the paint color. The environmental community has opened the eyes of many designers to the benefits and possibilities of incorporating eco products in kitchen design. Actual greenery makes a fresh and healthy addition to kitchen decor, too. Some strategically placed plants help make the space less sterile. Better yet, consider building an entire living wall.

Living walls feature plants growing all over them. There’s usually a pool of water at the bottom or a waterfall feature behind the plants allowing them to thrive. Living walls have been associated with better health thanks to the oxygen, relaxation thanks to the soothing sound of water, and beauty.

Follow some of these tips to green up your own kitchen.

  • Green paint brightens a kitchen, even if that kitchen is very small. In large kitchens, consider painting an accent wall.
  • Choose wallpaper that features large floral patterns.
  • Install a recycling center in your kitchen design.
  • Use natural materials in building your kitchen, like stone and wood.
  • Install a high-quality range hood to properly ventilate grease, odors, and steam.

How have you used the color green or eco materials in your own kitchen?

Tips On Using Reclaimed Materials In Kitchen Design

fri-

Whether you’re looking to save some money, or you’re looking for that super unique look, using recycled and reclaimed materials to re-design your kitchen makes a lot of sense. Give a lot of thought to which kitchen pieces would work used and which wouldn’t. For instance, I’d probably opt for a brand new range hood that’s built according to the best and latest technology. Other parts of the kitchen, however, can be switched up easily.

Check out salvage shops for these great finds:

  • vintage or unique chandeliers
  • cabinet doors and hardware
  • vintage vinyl or reclaimed wood flooring

Keep in mind that, even if you’re trying to save money by buying used pieces, you shouldn’t just go for cheap. Look instead for inspiring and unique pieces that will make your kitchen stand out. Used, high quality pieces stand the test of time. Unless they’ve been harshly treated, they will still shine. Low quality pieces cost less in the short term, but they won’t necessarily look as fantastic, and they may not hold up under daily use.

Consider these out-of-the-box ideas, too:

  • an old blackboard can be used to cover an entire kitchen wall
  • vintage stoves from the 1940s were often made with built-in storage
  • the wood floor of an old bowling alley would make a great table or kitchen floor

Over to you: Have you considered using recycled and reclaimed materials in your kitchen renovation?

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?