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June 14, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan

Kitchens 101 - Choosing Your Appliances (Part 3)

Thank you for following along on our Kitchens 101 series! This post is our third installation in this series with some great tips and suggestions from our designers in choosing appliances for your kitchen.

We will always ask you about how you use your kitchen, which will play into appliance choices. If you entertain larger groups, love to bake, have young children or other potential safety concerns; these are all considerations that will help us to assist you in the decision making process. It's also worth going to some appliance stores and asking lots of questions. They will be able to provide you with more detailed information and educate you on the latest products available. This will be a great way to gather information so you can decide what will work best for you and your kitchen.

Another consideration to keep in mind when shopping for appliances is energy efficiency. Even though huge strides have been made with more efficient appliances, they are still some of the highest users of energy in our homes. By being aware of energy usage of the individual appliances in your home you can not only be kind to the environment, but can also save on your monthly electrical bills as well. This information on how to use the Energy Guide Label is super helpful.

When it come to finishes, most of our clients choose stainless steel for their appliance finishes. With stainless steel, be sure to talk to the appliance store about ones that are less likely to show fingerprints and are easier to keep clean. Higher end kitchens will often choose a fully integrated panel system, which gives a matching finish to the cabinets for the fridge and dishwasher. This is a great way to give a clean and streamlined look to your kitchen (see photo below!)

Now on to some tips and suggestions for choosing your appliances from Leslie and Vanessa:

Stoves and Ovens:

There are so many choices available when it comes to cooking surfaces, and your cooking lifestyle will be a determining factor in what you choose. Things to consider are some of the extras that can be integrated into the cooking surface such as: built-in griddles, fryers and grills. These are all potential options that are dependent on how and what you cook.

Gas is really the standard for stoves, especially if you like to cook! People often choose gas over electric as it provides instant heat, and generally higher heat as well (which is especially important for some styles of cooking, ie: wok cooking). However, for ovens, most people choose electric as they are considered to have more consistent heat, particularly for baking. Keep in mind the plumbing and electrical requirements, especially if you are choosing dual fuel appliances! 

Induction stoves are becoming quite popular as well. One thing to keep in mind for induction cooktops is that your current cookware may not work (Tip: To test, see if a magnet sticks!). The induction cooktop surface does not heat up in the same way as other conventional cooktops, as the heat conducts through the cookware and doesn't create a super hot surface. It's a safer alternative that reduces the likelihood of accidental burns, especially with little ones, elderly people, or roaming pets around.

We are receiving less requests for double wall ovens and instead are seeing more clients looking at alternative cooking options like convection microwave ovens and steam ovens. However, if you bake often or host holiday gatherings, a second oven can be very helpful. Also, wall ovens are more easily accessible for inserting and removing items which some homeowners love.

Designer Tip: Consider putting your microwave below your countertop or in a tall cabinet. A drawer style microwave is a great choice if you're placing it below countertop level as it is easier to access and helps to streamline your upper cabinets. The island tends to be a popular spot for microwaves.

Fridges:

One of the most important aspect of choosing a fridge, even more so than selecting the door type for your new fridge, is choosing whether to do counter-depth or standard-depth. Choosing a counter-depth fridge tends to look nicer as it's more streamlined, gives you more placement options within your kitchen, and because it's shallower it generally makes your fridge items more accessible. A standard-depth fridge typically has more space, and if you're designing your kitchen from scratch, we can work with you to create cabinets that will accomodate the extra depth.


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French doors, side-by-side, or full door fridge and freezer are all going to come down to personal preference. Just be sure that you will have sufficient space in your kitchen to open the doors fully so that you will have room to extend the fridge drawers (sometimes wall placement can impact the doors fully opening, which in turn affects whether the drawers can open).

Designer Tip: If you want a water and/or ice dispenser, you will need to ensure that sufficient space is planned for the plumbing, as it can take several inches to accommodate.

Hood Fans:

These are a necessary part of every kitchen, and there are many options for virtually any design aesthetic. The most common choices from our clients are the stainless chimney style hood, particularly for a modern kitchen. For more of a traditional or transitional style kitchen, the popular choice is an enclosed hood with a cabinetry surround.

While you can also choose a downdraft type of fan (mostly used for islands), keep in mind that they take up a lot of cabinet space and are less powerful and effective than a hood fan mounted above your stove. In small kitchens, a microwave hood fan is a great multi-purpose item that is also an efficient use of space.

Dishwashers:

We consider noise levels to be one of the most important consideration when choosing your dishwasher. Nothing can be more distracting than a loud dishwasher, especially in a small space. 

If you're not running your dishwasher regularly (ie you don't eat at home often, or it's just one or two of you) you might want to consider a dishwasher with an eco-function, or a smaller drawer-style dishwasher.

If you entertain regularly, or have a larger family, having a second dishwasher in the pantry is a great way to tackle the extra dishes. You will likely also want to look at dishwashers that have a high capacity and an efficient interior layout to fit the maximum amount of dishes.

Some additional features to do your research on are options like temperature controls, adjustable racks, cutlery racks, air-drying options, soil sensors, rinse/hold cycles, wash zones, cycle progress indicators, filters and more! The more options usually mean a higher price point, so knowing what features are and aren't important for you in advance will help as you compare in store.

In-sink Garbage Disposal

We occasionally receive requests for these, but keep in mind that more and more jurisdictions are not allowing these and instead require composting. Also, they aren't always a fit with septic fields, so be sure to do your research prior to installing! 

 

We hope you enjoyed and found this post on appliances informative and helpful. Thanks for following along with us for this series. We will have more information and tips from our designers soon, stay tuned!

 

May 31, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan

Kitchens 101 - Kitchen Style (Part Two)

This is Part Two of our Kitchens 101 series with a focus on the style of your kitchen. Thanks again to our Design Leads, Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan for some great information to help you determine the style and finishes of your kitchen.

Choosing the finished look of the kitchen is a very important aspect for most home owners. Kitchens are often the hub of the home and as such, it not only needs to be a functional space, it should look fabulous too. There are so many choices in terms of finishes, it can be hard to narrow down your choices: cabinets, counter-tops and fixtures, there are so many choices!

Like we mentioned in Part One of this series, it's important for you to think about how you will use this space and what fits your style and needs today and long-term.  Here are a few suggestions from Leslie and Vanessa to aid you in your decision making process.

Cabinets: White, Wood or Painted?

- White is classic, fresh and clean, and is what we are seeing everywhere around us in the design world. However, we are also seeing more mid-toned wood finishes, as well as painted cabinets (light grey or blue are popular) or a combination of the above. A white kitchen with some wood floating shelves, or dark lower cabinets with light upper cabinets or adding a wood island with white cabinetry. The options are truly endless!

- The most popular cabinet door styles we are seeing is a shaker style or a flat panel door. These are classic and will stand the test of time!

Designer tip: With a shaker style cabinet door, choosing a small interior bevel helps reduce dust buildup and makes it easier to keep them clean while still maintaining the door style you're looking for.

Countertops:

- Quartz is certainly the new standard for most new higher-end kitchens. The modern look and the non-porous surface makes them both popular and low maintenance. They are a great option that will stand the test of time when it comes to style and durability. For a modern look, consider a waterfall finish on your island!

- Butcher block counters are another option that we continue to see. Often it's used on a smaller counter space, like an island. They can add a nice, warm and natural look to your space. Keep in mind that there is maintanence that needs to be done to keep these looking their best: How to care for a butcher block countertop.
- Granite was the standard for a number of years, but the colors and patterns are a bit more limiting. Because it's a natural material, it does have more variations and inconsistencies. It will require some resealing and maintenance. Here's a handy article on how to choose a timeless granite: The Most Timeless Granite

Designer Tip: One thing to keep in mind as you design your kitchen, is the maximum lengths available for your countertop surface. If you want to avoid seams in your island for instance, the size of your island may be determined by the size of slabs available.

Backsplash

The backsplash is an area where you can bring some personality into the kitchen by adding a splash of color, texture or pattern. However, if you're looking for something that is versatile and time-proven, we will almost always recommend white subway tile. Even within the subway tile category there are quite a few options such as matte, glossy or textured. 

- One trend that our homeowners are requesting more often, is an integrated quartz backsplash (see image below). While they are not inexpensive, it does create a clean and streamlined look that is easy to maintain, and it looks amazing!

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Fixture Finishes:

- For many years a chrome or brushed finish was the standard for kitchen fixtures and cabinetry handles. While they are probably still the most timeless choice, there are many great options in brass or matte black finishes as well to give a more modern and trendy look to your kitchen. Traditionally, it was recommended to match your faucets to your cabinet handles and pulls to keep your space consistent. Today, mixing and matching style and color is definitely considered acceptable.

This hardware finish guide gives some great detailed information on many of the options available: Hardware finishes

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Designer Tip: Cabinetry handles aren't as difficult to change as some other aspects of your kitchen, so it is a place you might choose to go a little more trendy in either finish or style, knowing that down the road that you might want to update.

We hope this information was helpful and gives you some direction if you're starting the design process for your kitchen! Stay tuned for Part Three of this series about kitchen appliances coming next week.

 

May 17, 2017  |  by Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan

Kitchens 101 - Planning Your Space (Part One)

Planning on renovating your kitchen, or building a new one and don't know where to start? We've gleaned some great information from our Design Leads, Leslie Teague and Vanessa Palframan on everything from kitchen layout to appliance suggestions, fixtures, trends and more! We have divided this post into three parts (Planning Your Space, Kitchen Style and Kitchen Appliances). Read on for some great information on planning and designing your kitchen to make it a functional space that fits your needs!

At Kenorah, as we work with our clients to plan their new kitchen space, whether it's a renovation or a brand new kitchen, we start with the question of: "How do you use your kitchen?". This is truly the key to planning a space that will be most suitable for you and how you intend to use your kitchen. Do you cook a lot, or are you looking for more of a display kitchen? Do you entertain regularly? Do you cook flavorful/spicy cuisine that might benefit from a spice/wok kitchen? What stage of life are you in? (ie young children, teenagers, multi-generational living?). We will also ask you about your style and discuss your long term decisions for your space. Are you looking for trendy and modern or would you prefer to create a space that is more classic and has some staying power?

All of these factors will play into the design of your kitchen, appliance choices, storage, and more and we work closely with our clients to help them the create the best space for their requirements.

Kitchen Layout:

The next step is going to be looking at the space you have and how to use that efficiently and effectively. Obviously there will be more choices if you're building a new house rather than renovating. However, even with renovating there are often more choices than you think! If you're gutting your kitchen, moving walls or windows and changing plumbing locations can open up a lot of options when it comes to a kitchen renovation. Sometimes your space will dictate your layout; perhaps you will need to stay with a galley kitchen, or the island you're dreaming about might need to be a peninsula instead, but we do our best to help you achieve your dream kitchen.

We are often asked about the 'kitchen triangle', however we like to think more in terms of 'kitchen zones'. We prefer to look at your space in terms of how you are going to be using it and look to incorporate various zones into your kitchen which could include: a prep zone, a cooking zone. a beverage/entertaining zone and/or a multi-purpose zone (ie a study/work space), etc. We do consider the kitchen triangle in the planning process, however, it's often not the forefront of the plan, but rather a consideration throughout the process for efficiency.

Kitchen Storage:

A key consideration in planning your kitchen is storage. While open shelving is all the rage, do you have enough cabinet space to have all your not-so-pretty kitchen necessities out of sight? 

- Pantries: A walk-in pantry or a large pantry cupboard is a great way to create storage for small appliances, serving dishes, dry goods, etc and is often seen as a necessity for families! Walk-in pantries can also be a great spot for a second fridge or dishwasher if your space allows.

- Appliance garages were popular a few years ago, but they aren't always as efficient as one would hope, as they tend to take up a fair bit of counter space. If you choose one of these, consider how the doors will open and will it be easily accessible and not block key areas of your kitchen?

- Garbage and recycling pull-outs are a little touch that add a lot convenience!

- Spice drawers seem like a good idea, but aren't always a flexible fit for different types and sizes of spice containers. It helps your kitchen designer to know what type(s) of spice containers you typically use so we can find the right solution that will fit your spices.


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We will be back with Part Two - Kitchen Style, next week. Stay tuned!