The Kitchen Island – How It Defines The Busiest Room In The House

There was a time when “kitchen islands” consisted of sturdy tables set in the center of the room and… only in kitchens large enough to accommodate them. In the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright brought kitchen islands to suburban homes with his “open plan” living space. They have continued to evolve ever since. Currently, the island has literally become the hub of our homes for doing more tasks than just cooking. They’ve become the center for socialization. If you’re looking to modify an island already in place or add one to your kitchen, it’s best to work with a professional to draw up a floor plan. An island should have about three feet of space around it. If it’s too large, the kitchen becomes crowded. Too small and not only does it not look good, it may not fit in with the normal workflow. Bottom line, it shouldn’t be too close to doors or other countertops but you don’t want it to be standing off by itself. The next consideration is how you want to use it. Islands can be strictly functional by providing additional countertop space and storage. But as suggested above, islands are where people interact. While the cook is chopping tomatoes, he can talk to family about their day, help the kids do homework, and just show off a little as guests nibble on appetizers as dinner is prepared.  This brings up the question of how many people do you want to be able to sit around it?  And do you want one level or two? Take a look at our Projects to see what we can...

Bathroom Design Inspiration

“I don’t want my bathroom to look like everyone else’s.”  Find inspiration for a unique interior in unexpected ways. Possibly one of the reasons that you chose your home was its location. Consider integrating your surroundings into your bathroom.  It will make your space feel more expansive and will connect you with the outside world. If you live in an urban environment, choose metallic industrial tile or leave brick exposed on the walls. If you live near a beach, consider cabinetry painted in water tones and a custom wavy counter-top. If you love your backyard, a large glass wall with privacy glass, the coverage of plants and trees outside, or retractable shades can allow you to bathe at one with nature. You can also look inward instead by reflecting your family’s heritage in your bathroom. For example, Asian design features clean lines and simple architecture. Color schemes used in this type of space include black, beige, pale green, white, gray and red. A Scandinavian bathroom would appear minimalist with white and neutral colors. Focus on geometrical shapes and keep the wood cabinets natural. You can find design inspiration in piece of art that holds personal meaning for you and build your bathroom concept around it too. Just be aware that tubs and showers produce a lot of moisture and steam, which is a dangerous environment for matted pieces. It is better to opt for a decoration that doesn’t need to be framed like sculpture, painted canvas or plaster intaglios. Parisian bathroom style is particularly popular with a claw foot tub, a pedestal sink and colors that complement impressionist art...

Design a Green Kitchen

A new kitchen can be an opportunity for your whole family to adopt a “green” lifestyle. It’s economical as well as socially conscious to create a sustainable kitchen because they are inherently durable and minimize the exploitation of the Earth’s resources, you can also learn more about Boulden Brothers and other plumbing contractors and see how they’re able to conserve water in your kitchen plumbing, creating a greener kitchen. The following tips can make a big difference in your planned kitchen’s long-term sustainability: Re-facing cabinets uses less than a single tree’s worth of wood. Your existing cabinets also get reinforced so that they will have stronger, sturdier cupboards. It’s important to know that there are always safer and healthier choices when it comes to selecting your paints and varnishes for your cabinets, so be sure to ask. Consider recycled timber with nail holes, nicks, and other character marks for kitchen doors, benches, shelving, and cladding. Quartz, concrete, and Corian are produced without the mining resources of granite. Furthermore, they don’t require toxic sealants and have no fissures to trap bacteria. Keep on the lookout for recycled glass tiles made of discarded bottles for your decor. Appliances should have the Energy Star symbol to ensure they exceed current EPA guidelines for energy efficiency. Be sure your plumbing fixtures have the WaterSense label as well. Upgrade your faucet to be touch-free so that you minimize water waste with automatic shut off. Install a picture window, aia skylights, and reflective surfaces to cut down on the need for power. Dimmer switches can adjust the wattage of your lights and LED bulbs offer...

Guide to a Timeless Kitchen

It’s not as easy to switch styles after a kitchen renovation as it is to donate an out-of-fashion jacket to charity. Decorating fads come and go, but consider kitchen elements proven to stand the test of time. Painted cabinetry has been popular for several years and isn’t going away anytime soon. While the appeal of kitchen cabinets painted grey or blue is definitely strong, for longevity, white is the winner. White cabinets go with any design style and appeal to a wide variety of home buyers at resale. Complete the look with white appliances which are easier to keep clean than stainless. Glass front cabinets are a staple in traditional kitchens but have been appearing in transitional or modern kitchens too. They are great for displaying interesting serving pieces, decorative accessories and heirlooms. Glass front cabinets usually line the uppers, which makes the kitchen look more open, but a few closed cabinets are more functional to hide everyday items. LED lighting can be creatively installed along toe kicks as nightlights, on the inside of cabinet doors to show off china, and concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light. LEDs are energy efficient and emit virtually no heat so you can keep them on forever without burning cabinets or walls. Quartz countertops require less upkeep than granite or marble and offer lasting appeal. Plus the shimmering surface is less dominant than other materials so you’re unlikely to tire of it. Ideas that used to be great but are on their way out include a microwave installed over the range and a hanging pot rack.  An updated trend is...

Build a Smart Kitchen

The kitchen is often called the “heart of the home” but it can also be the brains. A smart kitchen features devices that are connected via Internet technology, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They can be controlled remotely with a mobile app or a voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa. Smart products make cooking more fun, easy, precise and safe. You don’t need a total renovation to create a smart kitchen. Consider a refrigerator that streams music and video, features a touchscreen, adds to a shopping list with voice commands, and has cameras to see inside. A smart dishwasher can be controlled remotely. A touch faucet can pour specific amounts and warm up water with voice commands.  A smart stove connected by Wi-Fi to a mobile app can send get alerts when burners are left on. You can even remotely operate your stove - preheating the oven before you arrive home or shutting it off when cooking is complete. Cabinets play a major role in smart kitchens. Custom cabinets must be designed to work with tech gadgets for maximum efficiency. Having a lot of electrical outlets and a few USB ports right where you need them can make all the difference so they can be installed directly into cabinetry. A beverage station provides extra storage for water, wine, and juice items while keeping your fridge free for more important tasks. A microwave with a recessed control panel built into the kitchen island can make quick snacks accessible for the whole family. A heavy-duty lift that turns a shelf into extra countertop space can be great for infrequently used smaller smart appliances like...

Open Shelving?

Open shelving may still be trending but when selling your home most people are still looking for good storage. Call Cornerstone today to add those upper cabinets to your kitchen! Click here to read...

The Future Of Kitchens – Will They Be Open Or Closed?

We know some things in kitchens never change. Appliances may be sleeker, materials improved and color palettes may be broader. But let’s face it, the kitchen continues to be the heart of the home where most of the hard work takes place. Probably the biggest change we’ve seen over the years is to open the kitchen up to the rest of the house. And for good reason… After all, who wants to be isolated from company or the rest of the family while preparing food? Now the question is whether or not open kitchens are here to stay. According to Sam Cochran of Architectural Digest, “Kitchens will continue to be the gathering spaces, with dining nooks and multipurpose work surfaces where you can both roll your dough or type on your laptop. But it’s no longer a universal truth that a dream kitchen must be an open kitchen. “ In fact, many high-end homeowners are adding a second kitchen to serve as a working kitchen. It’s especially popular with those who entertain a lot. Second kitchens or “backstage workhorse kitchens” allow the “social” kitchen to serve as the gathering space.  This way the kitchen continues to be the place to hang out without getting in the way of food preparation. For those who have the space, two kitchens provide room for unhindered food preparation while maintaining the social kitchen we’ve come to...