Category Archives: Sustainability

Featured Product: Island Range Hoods

nov. 3

So many condo units and detached homes are designed with features like extra tall ceilings and open concept living spaces. The lack of walls lends the space an airy and spacious feeling. Cooking in a kitchen that’s not enclosed makes entertaining so much easier. No longer will you find yourself alone in the kitchen while guests have a good time without you. Better yet, no longer will you be trying to cook in your kitchen while guests crowd in to be with you!

Open concept kitchen design means that more of us have the luxury of cooking at, and sitting around, an island. Some islands feature stoves. That makes entertaining even easier, doesn’t it? You won’t ever need to turn your back on your guests.

But, if you’re going to install a stove in the island, you will need to also install an island range hood. Hung from the ceiling, the island range hood are not only functional. They’re often also a focal point in the kitchen. Look for range hoods that are stylish, unique, and fit well into your home’s decor.

If the kitchen ceiling is extra high, you can still opt for an island range hood. Many of these units come equipped with chimney extensions that reach upwards of 10 feet. If the unit you’ve selected doesn’t have an added extension, you can still purchase one separately.

Talk to one of our expert Support Team members to make sure you’re choosing the right range hood.

Monthly Pick – Wall-Mounted Range Hoods

nov. 1

Take a walk down the aisle of any kitchen hardware store and you can be easily overwhelmed by the array of choice you have when it comes to range hoods. Do you choose an island range hood, a wall mounted one, or an under-the-cabinet model?

Unless you’re working with very specific kitchen measurements, you could really go with any. Every range hood is designed to draw up smoke, fumes, grease, and odors and exhaust them outside. If you’re kitchen doesn’t allow for an island or an island range hood, then a wall mounted unit is a great choice.

All wall mounted range hoods come in a variety of sizes and styles. They’re made from brushed stainless steel so they won’t show fingerprints! Stainless steel is very easy to keep clean and will last a very, very long time. If your kitchen features an extra tall ceiling, you’ll be able to purchase a chimney extension. Some range hood styles even come with an extension as part of the whole package.

Just check with our Support Team to make sure you’ve chosen the right one for your kitchen.

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.

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?

Blueberry Crumble Pie

may 29

Raise your hand if you can’t wait to head out berry picking! All those fresh fruits that are available at local farms are just waiting to be poured into pies, right? So, go to it! Remember to fire up your range hood fan so the whole neighborhood can smell the yummy aromas wafting from this delectable dessert!

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Filling

  • 5 cups blueberries
  • lemon juice squeezed from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour

Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. For the crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a 9-inch pie plate. Stir in oil, vanilla, and milk. Use your fingers or a fork to press the mixture together until it forms a moist dough. Remove 1/4 cup of the dough and set aside.
  3. Press remaining dough evenly into the pie plate. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Bake crust until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven; set aside.
  4. For the filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well and set aside.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
  6. For the crumble, stir together flour, both sugars, and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a fork to blend the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Add vanilla and the reserved pie crust dough. Blend together well with your fingers.
  7. Pour blueberries mixture into pie crust. Crumble topping overtop blueberries. Place pie on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 375°F for about 25 minutes more, until pie is golden. Cool completely.

Enjoy a slice of this blueberry crumble pie with a fun cocktail: Cocktail Recipes from Movies and TV Shows.

The Best Non-Stick Cookware

Photo: foodal.com

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s spent piles of money over the years on non-stick cookware only to toss it out six months after I’ve bought it. One way or another – and no matter how careful I am cleaning it – my non-stick cookware becomes extensively sticky cookware.

That’s the part that really gets to me. Losing its non-stickiness is one thing. I could just deal with that. The problem is that the once non-stick pan becomes so “sticky” that even adding a whole lot of oil or butter to the pan doesn’t keep the food from sticking. Continuing to use it results in a smoke-filled kitchen as the food in the pan burns, or dishevelled-looking food as I try to flip the food over and over again to prevent it from sticking.

So, to that end, I decided to do a little research into a few of the non-stick cookware products available for purchase, and let you in on which are worth the cost and which aren’t.

Photo: GreenPan

Photo: GreenPan

GreenPan coats their pots and pans with Thermolon technology which is heat resistant. It can be heated to 850°F without releasing toxic fumes or resulting in any damage to the cooking surface.

Photo: GreenEarth

Photo: GreenEarth

The Ozeri Green Pan is made in Germany and is completely free of toxic chemicals. It’s coated with a non-stick ceramic surface. It’s even oven safe to 300°F, which means it’s best used on the stovetop and kept out of the oven except for low temperature situations.

Photo: Cuisinart GreenGourmet

Photo: Cuisinart GreenGourmet

Cuisinart has created this non-stick pan that is free of toxic chemicals. It’s one of the less expensive non-stick products available on the market today, and it may not last as long as the other two, but it’s a great one to get started with.

Over to you: What’s your experience with non-stick cookware been like? Let us know!

 

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The Latest Kitchen Countertop Design Trends

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Kitchen countertops have come a long way since the days of formica, various kinds of plastics or even particleboard! Now, natural materials have become the materials of choice – granite, marble and wood. I’d be very surprised if any of those go out of style soon. Consumers like the fact that natural products are often renewable resources, environmentally friendly and beautiful to look at.

Care, however, can be an issue. Natural stone and wood surfaces must be treated and oiled at least once per year. Beware of hot pots, sharp knives or food splatters. Any of those can cause irreparable damage in a moment of distraction. Despite the dangers, though, many people opt for these countertops, and they’re often installed automatically in newly-built homes. Stone surfaces, especially, can be expensive. But, with proper care, they will last a lifetime and always look as beautiful as the day they were first installed.

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Do you love natural countertops but are put off by the cost? Then you’ll be very happy to know that there’s a less expensive way to own stone counters. Instead of purchasing a counter that is made completely from stone, you can choose a thin layer of stone that can be laid directly on top of your existing countertop.

Hybrid, or engineered, kitchen counters have become increasingly popular. These countertops are made by mixing polymers with glass, stone or plastic. Color and veining are added to match your kitchen design and preferences. Made to be nonporous (so stains won’t sink in!), hygienic and impact-resistant, this kind of countertop is less expensive than natural stone or wood, but can be much easier to care for.

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Finally, just as popular this year as stone, wood and hybrid countertop materials is stainless steel. The concept of the professional kitchen in the home has not faded. Stainless steel looks clean, is hygienic and will not scratch or dent easily. Some people do complain that stainless steel makes the kitchen look cold, clinical and uninviting. But, with the right accent materials, like warm wooden cabinets and a natural stone backsplash, stainless steel will look stunning.

There are so many choices in countertops available today. Better yet, there’s really no right or wrong answer to the design choice you make. The ultimate trend is to build your kitchen space according to the materials and colors that make you happy.

So, which countertop material is your favorite?