Showing posts with label kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kitchen. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

French Twist

A distant cousin to the roasted, plastic-encased chicken you find in the supermarket, home-cooked poultry is superior thanks to your quality control: the poultry you select, seasonings that have less sodium and homemade care. Imagine adding the convenience and healthful benefits of rotisserie cooking in your own kitchen.

La Cornue, the French artisan company that’s produced handmade ranges for more than 100 years, has designed the first built-in gas rotisserie approved for use inside the home. A striking addition to the kitchen and a showpiece for entertaining, the Flamberge measures only 32 square inches and 15 inches deep and cooks meat, poultry or fish to moist, self-basted perfection. It can roast three small chickens at a time, or two larger ones, and up to a 12-pound turkey. You control the speed, so if guests are running late, slow it down and dinner won’t be affected. When they arrive, your guests will be drawn to the sight and aroma of an anticipated feast. An added touch: an ID plate can be engraved with a family name or a special inscription for display on your new investment.

By Hillary Black

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Style your Home with Haute Herbs

Grow your kitchen garden indoors with these clever—and cute—ways to keep your fresh herbs contained.

1. Reuse a Kitchen Collectible

Don’t throw out that rusty colander—upcycle it into a charming herb pot. Line the bottom with foil and plant as usual for a pot that fits right in.

Photograph by Jickie Torres

2. Create an Herb Centerpiece
Perfect if you haven’t got a green thumb…

Use a large basket or tray to corral several herbs in their containers straight from the garden store. Simply wrap the plastic pots in foil, parchment or wax paper. There’s no need for repotting, and you can simply change out the herbs once they’ve seen better days.

Photograph by Jickie Torres
3. Match, Set, Plant!
Perfect if you’ve got a sunny window

Find a set of matching pots, jars or tins and give your view a boost with an herb garden in a window. If you haven’t got a matching set, paint a few different pots the same color for
a similar and no-less charming effect.
Photograph by Mark Tanner

4. Create Delicious Wall Art
Perfect if you’re low on counterspace.

Breathe new life into your walls—literally! Use a planter created specifically for your walls to grow a vertical indoor garden. Or, if you’re feeling handy, affix a few pots to a wood board with a band clamp (found an any home-improvement store). Paint the wood and clamp in the color of your choice for a custom hanging-pot wall. Just be sure to choose pots without drainage holes.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sunny Side Up - Kitchen Decor

It’s no revelation: The kitchen is the most important room in the house—the heart of the home.

More than merely where the meals are cooked, it’s where coveted family recipes are passed down from one generation to the next, and the command center where we leave notes on the fridge regarding where we’ll be and what we need. It’s often where the homework is done and friends and family gravitate when they should be in the dining room or relaxing on the couch.

The kitchen plays a big role in our lives but also for the planet. Here, we become more in tune with how we interact with nature by choosing which foods we eat and what trash we throw away or hopefully recycle or, better yet, compost. It’s where the appliances we choose either save or spend energy. And, speaking of spending, the kitchen is one of the biggest selling points for the home and where we are most concerned about using our budgets wisely.

On our website, we have addressed the many facets of a kitchen: the practical side, where form must follow function; the flamboyant side, where professional cook top could make us drool more than a Death by Chocolate cake; and there’s the Eco-conscious side, where we prefer the sustainable bamboo flooring; and—perhaps the most fun—the artistic side, where vintage linens and a bold stroke of paint will always keep the cheer going and the sunny side up. 

With that in mind, I hope you find in our posts a wealth of ideas, information, resources and products that your kitchen deserves. After all, with the meals, notes, lessons and indulgences the kitchen affords us every day, it should be the brightest spot in the home.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cottage Kitchens: A Great Starter

Cottages Kitchen
 In 1976, they were a young couple looking for a starter house. What Ginette and David Williams found was a 900-square-foot 1950s tract house. They figured it would be fine for a while. And 34 years later they’re still there.

“We have always loved it here. My husband and I grew up in this neighborhood, and my parents, who are now 88 and 90 years old, live four blocks away. I am so glad that we’re nearby,” Ginette says.
Located in a sun-drenched neighborhood, shaded by mature trees and just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, there’s a lot to love about the house. “Originally, the houses around here all looked the same,” Ginette says. “But over the years people have added on and altered them so much that you can’t tell.”
Kitchen table
When they bought it, the Williams home had two bedrooms, a bath, a small kitchen and a living room. In a twist on typical ‘50s ranch architecture, the kitchen area was recessed, and the resulting roof extension created a front porch. It provided an outdoor living space that the family enjoyed. As their two sons were growing up, the couple thought about moving, but they couldn’t give up the convenient location, their garden, neighborhood and the schools, so they opted to stay and add on to the house.

Designing in Stages
Their first addition was a master bedroom and another bathroom at the back of the house. Next, they added a deck and a bay window, which enlarged the dining area in the kitchen. Finally, years later, they decided to expand the kitchen further to create more work space. Of course there was a lot of planning that needed to occur before any building could be done, but Ginette experienced a moment of realization that gave her a clear vision.

Sun pours through the kitchen’s bay window. Ginette has commemorated her love of the light with a motto from Wall Words.

 “I was visiting a friend who lives in a great big house in Georgia,” Ginette says. “It is so beautiful, but I thought to myself, ‘My house is a little cottage. It’s never going to grow up to be a big house like this.’ I remember that moment because I realized that all the things I liked are cottage style: white, pastels and lots of sunshine with sheer curtains. I’d always wanted a beach cottage, and even though we are five miles from the ocean, that was how I decided to decorate.”

Beach motifs lend the feeling of the seaside to Ginette’s kitchen.

A Kitchen Come to Life
Ginette and David knew they would need help in turning her vision into a functioning kitchen, so they attended a free kitchen-planning seminar. “It was the most expensive free seminar I ever went to,” David says with a laugh. There were a number of designers speaking, but Ginette sought out an assistant and asked which designer would be the right fit. After some conversation, the assistant recommended Monica Ledesma from Friedman’s Appliance Center. “Monica just ‘got’ me right away,” Ginette says.
 “When I visited David and Ginette’s home, I immediately knew that the bay window had to be the focal point of the kitchen,” Ledesma says. “Apparently, Ginette had met with a few other designers who wanted to rip out the window. We knew right away that we understood each other.” The space that Ledesma designed pushed the front of the house out four feet where it had been recessed before. “We brought the walls out to be even with the roof-line,” Ledesma says. Although it wasn’t a huge addition, the difference it made in the kitchen layout was enormous.

The bay window not only floods the space with sunlight but also provides a cozy seat and handy storage. The floors were finished with an engineered hardwood for easy care.

 “It was a galley kitchen before,” she says. “Now there is room for a center island and terrific traffic flow.” Although she didn’t alter the bay window, Ledesma replaced its cubby-hole doors and hardware. She added new windows on the side and over the sink, and replaced the back door, spreading even more sunshine through the room.

Cottages Room
Before: The William’s kitchen was much darker and smaller.

The kitchen now has room for a center island.

Ledesma designed the layout of the custom cabinets with white-stained beadboard lower doors, a double-stacked crown molding and ogee feet to lend a furniture-like feeling to the pieces. Upper cabinets are fitted with crackled-glass doors that help to maintain the airy feel of the room. Most of the countertops are made of Santa Cecelia granite in a soft oatmeal shade, except for the work island, which was finished with a walnut top created by David. He built the dining table too. “In a small house, space is everything,” Ginette says. “I wanted a table long enough for six people, but not too wide. David worked it out to fit our space.” David also crafted the stained glass panels for the transoms in the bay window.

Before: The kitchen nook was weighed down by darker wood shelves and furniture. Fresh paint and new windows brightened it up.

To finish the room, Ginette and Ledesma included beachy touches such as starfish, shells and even a little mermaid sculpture, to add visual interest to the soft butter-yellow, cream and light-blue color scheme.

Never Done
Where many people recall their home-renovation stories like tales of Gothic horror, Ginette’s sunny disposition relates only the bright side. “The project was so enjoyable. My builders were wonderful! They came in whistling every day and were so nice. I look back and say ‘that was fun,’” she says. So much fun, that the couple is presently working with Ledesma to renovate the master bathroom, which is 25 years old. It may have been a starter home, but Ginette and David aren’t finished yet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What to Expect From a Kitchen Expo

Kitchen expositions can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never attended one before. What can you expect? Most kitchen expos offer everything including the kitchen sink, which can make choosing one that best fits your needs challenging.

The first thing to know is that there are a few different types of expos. There are the weekend shows, which can be cross-country or local, and expo showrooms that have a permanent retail location.

Typically, weekend shows have the latest and greatest products, and offer a one-stop shopping experience. And, because you are working directly with the manufacturer at the weekend shows, you may be able to get a lower price on products and services because retailer overhead is eliminated.

Expo showrooms offer a coordinated buying experience, allowing consumers to work with just a few vendors and/or service providers, rather than a different one for each part of your kitchen project. Moreover, the showrooms often buy in bulk, and thus can pass along the savings.

To make a decision on which is right for you, recognize what your needs are, what designs you’d like to see in person, and what questions you have. Next, do a little prospecting: Check out some Web sites and take a look at a list of vendors that will be showing at the event/showroom, and which professionals will be available to answer your questions as well as any other services they may provide.

What to expect from a kitchen expo:

  • Trade professionals to answer your questions
  • New product releases and innovations
  • Hands-on experience (vendors will have tile samples, color swatches, etc.)
  • Free seminars
  • First peek at kitchen trends
  • A forum to meet and share information/contacts with other consumers

All of these services are available for you to get ideas and buy products for your own home. Consult the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s Web site ( to find an expo near you, and you’ll have a chance to see samples of products such as the newest in counter tops and cabinets to transform y our home and add to its appeal. View displays of kitchens, windows, appliances, furnishings and more. Come with ideas, photos and an open mind. At the very least, you’ll leave with inspiration.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Craftsman Kitchen

Sue Abbe Kaplan fell hard for the coastal charm of Venice, California. She loved the gardens in its neighborhoods and its one-of-a-kind walk streets, the sections where homes on opposite sides of the street are separated by pedestrian walkways instead of roads with garage access through the alleyways.

The energy and diversity of the city appealed to her. Venice “felt right,” but it took 12 years before she made the move from Westwood and apartment living.When Kaplan bought her 1,200-square-foot, 1913 bungalow in 1998, she didn’t know much about Craftsman architecture. It was her desire to transform the all-white, cottage-styled bungalow to a home with personality that motivated her study of the Craftsman era.

“My goal was to bring back the feel of the house,” Kaplan says. “It has beautiful flow.”  The comfortable ambience she’s achieved may look casual but it’s actually the product of a good eye and the right combination of furnishings, textiles and fixtures in concert with the talents of interior designer Dayle Zukor. Kaplan and Zukor’s collaboration is smart, sophisticated and subtle.

Kitchen Redux

kitchen design
As a new homeowner, the kitchen was the first project that Kaplan tackled. She converted an all-white room with generic cabinets to Craftsman splendor with all modern appliances. As it worked out, the kitchen was renovated twice. The first time, she installed upper cabinets made of light maple with glass and wood doors. The bottom cabinets were refaced to match. Ritson built her a stunning island with drawers and a cutting board that can slide for use in two directions and a marble top for baking. She installed a compact wine cellar and new wooden floors.
In 2007, Kaplan grew tired of the glass-door cabinets that required dishes be stacked neatly all the time. She installed new drawer and door faces with a darker wood color and slag glass for the cabinet doors. She replaced the original cook top with a modern one.

A Bit of Notoriety

Kaplan is known as an active leader in the Venice Walk Streets Neighborhood Association, and her bungalow was part of the annual Venice Garden and Home Tour in 2007. A book titled Cottages in the Sun, The Bungalows of Venice, California is due out this spring that will feature Kaplan’s home along with 27 other distinct architectural and decorating styles in the neighborhood (see page 58).
What started out as a labor of love has brought Kaplan a slice of architectural immortality and that is a good thing.