Your Farmhouse Sink Faucet

Once you’ve decided a Farmhouse Sink fits your kitchen style, you now have a number of options to customize this critical area.    Previously in our article - “Farmhouse sinks gain popularity”; we discussed the characteristics that differentiate Farmhouse Sinks from modern ones. We included additional features to consider before you purchase. “Different materials customize Farmhouse sinks.” reviews a number of options of materials to choose from – including the pros and cons of each. Now let’s look at the options for placing hardware:  Is there a best location? The three ways to mount hardware are on the sink itself, the surrounding deck, and on the wall. As the name suggests, sink mounted hardware has holes drilled into the sink itself. The type of hardware, either single or double handed, determines the number of holes needed. Single handed faucets with the water temperature and pressure in one assembly only require one hole. Double handed faucets with the water controls separated from the faucet need three. If you add an additional faucet (maybe one for filtered water) it can go up to four. But suppose you fall in love with a collector’s sink that already has holes? Or want to change the faucet style in the future without giving up the sink? If your change requires fewer holes, you can use an escutcheon plate (deck plate at the base) to cover the one(s) you no longer need. Deck-mounted faucets put the hardware in the countertop surrounding the sink - a style well suited to contemporary kitchens. With this option, be careful of how water, dirt, and grime accumulate between the...

The Kitchen Triangle

Developed in the early 1900s, the kitchen triangle places three traditional work areas: the sink, the refrigerator and the stove in a triangular configuration. The suggested distance between each leg of the triangle measures between four and nine feet. The sum total of all three should be between 13 and 26 feet. By placing these three elements relatively close to each other, the design gives the cook easy access to each appliance and makes meal preparation more efficient. Not everyone agrees. First, they say the kitchen is no longer limited to three key appliances. For example, the microwave is a standard appliance that often substitutes for the oven which in turn may be separate from the range. Second, it’s not unusual these days for the kitchen to be used by multiple cooks attending to individual dietary needs. Along with that, kitchens are often where social gatherings take place, kids do homework, and adults attend to home office needs. There’s no arguing that the triangle is effective in limiting the amount of steps needed to prepare a meal. However, if you’re looking to remodel your kitchen to accommodate more than one cook or to use as a multi-use room, review the placement of your major appliances first. Before you remodel, let Cornerstone help you determine the optimum design for your family’s...

Light Up Your Kitchen With Universal Design

When we think about lighting, both inside and outside our homes, usually the goal is to use lighting that makes everything look good. What’s more important is to make it even. Since the kitchen tends to be a busy area where much socialization takes place, even lighting is particularly important. Universal Design seeks to eliminate shadows and glare, both of which tend to interfere with sight and can put you a little off balance. It does this by incorporating three kinds of lighting. Direct lighting is the overhead lights that illuminate large areas. Task lighting is found beneath cabinets and is very specific. Accent lighting is in various locations and the most subtle of the three. Depending on how you use your lights means you can make your kitchen daylight bright, soft and romantic…or some combination in between. The goal is to avoid shadows that hide an open cabinet door or countertop that sticks out. Just like shadows, glare is just as dangerous because it also overwhelms the eye and impairs vision. Even lighting is the best way to create the atmosphere you want and still be safe. For direct lighting you’ll need overhead lights like pendants and/or recessed ceiling lights. Task lighting includes lights mounted under the counter to fully illuminate food preparation. Accent lighting comes from either wall sconces or the rising popularity of cabinet toe-kick lighting - both of which complement the other two. Toe-kick lights also delineate the juncture of cabinets to the floor. Dimmer switches are the best way to adjust the amount of lighting for different activities. While toe-kick lighting is usually on...

Does “Lazy” Susan Do Justice To This Kitchen Accessory?

When it comes to corner-placed cabinetry, the best way to maximize your storage capacity is to install Lazy Susans. Not taking advantage of them will waste precious space and force you to search through the items in front to get what you want which is stored behind.  Lazy Susans make access to foods and kitchen utensils safer by bringing the items you need more often within easy reach. Consider them the smart spin on cabinet storage. You can customize your Lazy Susans by choosing one, two and three shelf configurations. They can also be ordered in various diameters to hold small to large appliances. Even small items like spice bottles are easier to separate and organize. No longer just plastic, the selection of materials varies from wood to polystyrene to wire chrome.  The next consideration is to choose from the configurations that range from full circle and D-shaped to half-moon and kidney shapes. It depends on what fits best for each cabinet configuration. Deciding how much you want to spend and how visible you want them to be will guide your selection also. Obviously Lazy Susans aren’t lazy, but if being able to reach whatever we need easily makes us “lazy” - so be it. Lazy Susans make kitchen tasks safer and allow us to indulge in all the kitchen gadgets we want without the guilt of where to store...

Color Your Best Kitchen Ever With Universal Design

As kitchens continue to evolve to more than just the place for food preparation, there’s another way to enhance the social experience. It’s how you use color to set the atmosphere. “Why Universal Design should be incorporated into your kitchen” introduced the advantages of lever-handled faucets and appliance placements. These features make it easier to perform tasks and still interact with others in the room. Ease of use plus colors that resonate with you and your family create that environment that keeps family and friends hanging around. Color makes objects easier to see. Sight-challenged people are defined as those who need glasses or contacts, no matter how young or old they are. Dim lighting challenges even those with perfect vision. Color blocking is a technique that distinguishes one object from another. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as placing red against blue.  It means using colors and their tones to show contour. This increases the ability to easily distinguish floor to walls, walls to cabinets, cabinets to countertops and so on. Color blocking also aids anyone who’s busy preparing food and drinks. Along with safety, color blocking is another tool you can use to reflect your taste and personality. This is where Universal Design really upgrades your kitchen by giving it that customized look that really speaks about you. It sounds easy, but one thing about color is that it’s complicated. Colors have undertones that make them bright or muddy. Ever notice how many shades of white or black are available? Pairing the wrong shades can ruin an entire project. One way to get the best color scheme...

Beach and Mediterranean Style Kitchens – Do They Fit In Arizona?

For the most part, home owners choose kitchen styles that fit with the local geography. Here in the Southwest, it’s not uncommon to see farmhouse and rustic as a throw-back to territorial days. Modern and contemporary are also popular but they fit in anywhere. Around Arizona, you really can’t go wrong with any of these styles. But what if you love a style normally found by the sea? Homes located by large bodies of water tend to reflect a nautical theme which includes beach and Mediterranean style kitchens. They do have distinct differences but you might be surprised at how many features they share with farmhouse, rustic and contemporary kitchens. For example: Reclaimed wood is a feature of rustic, farmhouse and Mediterranean kitchens. Rustic is the most rough and worn while farmhouse is characterized by distressed wood. Mediterranean also uses wood, usually a dark rich wood such as walnut. The differences come with how much texture and color the woods display. What distinguishes Mediterranean from the others are colorful tiles, curving arches and natural fibers that include leather. It also incorporates materials with patina such as brick, stone and reclaimed wood. Both contemporary and modern kitchens use a lot of white. As defined in “What distinguishes modern from contemporary kitchens?,” both feature clean, smooth appearances with minimal detail and adornment. Some of the same applies to beach which is also a bright, open style.  What differentiates beach are the natural textures like jute, sea grass and rattan; plus nautical themes for lighting. In today’s customized world, home owners bring the style they prefer to wherever they live. Since so...

What Distinguishes Modern From Contemporary Kitchens?

When it comes to choosing between a modern and contemporary kitchen, it’s easy to confuse the two. Both feature clean, smooth appearances with minimal detail and adornment. Unlike farmhouse and rustic, both modern and contemporary are defined by sleek lines in predominately white and black. But these kitchens don’t preclude color. Color is used to accessorize or accentuate small or minor features. The difference is how each style incorporates it. Here’s what differentiates the two: Contemporary kitchens embrace the latest in technology, materials and trends to create an “of the moment” look. Modern has more emphasis on form and structure by installing smooth surfaces like concrete and steel. You’ll see strong horizontal lines with lots of open space and a strong architecture.  Key features to look for in contemporary are: Under mount sinks with minimalist faucets Cutting-edge appliances that include smart kitchen technology Flat-panel cabinetry and creative backsplashes Innovative island designs and waterfall counters Dramatic lighting While modern kitchens are similar, here you’ll find: Concrete for flooring, countertop surfaces and even on the walls Glass sheet or stone slab backsplashes that run continuously Recessed and integrated lighting and if using pendant lights, ones with clean lines Frameless cabinets with flat-panel doors Minimalists faucets in polished nickel, chrome and matte black White is a popular choice for both but is used differently. For example, a contemporary kitchen will have crisp white walls with colorful cabinetry or an eye-catching backsplash. Modern may use the same white but is more likely to include subtle neutrals and black. Here brighter colors usually show up in the form of accessories. Both styles emphasize a...

What You Need To Know About Under-Cabinet Lighting

With 2018 proving to be the year of “personalization,” home owners are turning to placing lights beneath their cabinets for more atmosphere. If you decide to go that route, here are a few things to keep in mind to get the best effect without creating problems. LEDs are the best option for under-cabinet lighting for a number of reasons. They produce the least amount of heat, provide good lighting for activities and come in a variety of colors. Traditionally more expensive, costs have come down considerably recently. This, along with their long life makes LEDs a good choice for the long term. Fluorescent lights are almost as energy efficient as LEDs but they do produce more heat.  Another option is Xenon lights that emit some heat but they can be dimmed to create an attractive, warm glow. Halogen lights are still possible but the heat they throw off can affect food or drinks stored above them. When selecting lights to go under your cabinets, determine what kind of effect you want but keep in mind what you plan to store in each of those...

Customized Cabinetry For The Home Office

Most often when we think of cabinets, kitchens and bathrooms are first to come to mind. Now that home offices are included in most home designs, the ability to organize and store important items like documents, laptops and iPods is more critical than ever. Whether an official place of work… the room where household tasks such as bill paying take place… or the location where kids do homework… office cabinetry influences both the appearance and function of whatever activity is performed. In spite of how much we do electronically these days; items like pens, paper, paper clips, staplers and staples, scotch tape and stamps still need to be handy. Knee drawers that fit below the desk surface are the ideal place for these accessories. Take it a step farther by adding dividers. Depending on how many files you have to have on hand, you have a choice of cabinets with single or double width drawers. For those who have less paperwork, a single door file drawer with a knee drawer on top may suffice. When it comes to a place to store a brief case or attaché, cabinets with pull-out drawers are ideal plus give you easy access.  Built-in dividers allow for multiple items and if papers within are sensitive, the addition of a lock increases privacy and protection. And don’t forget cabinet hardware. Depending on how cozy or formal you want your office to be, knobs and cups versus handles make a difference. Homey offices are made casual with cup drawer pulls or knobs where it’s easy to add a little bling or whimsy. Formal offices might call...

Cabinets & The Minimalist Trend

Recently, “less is better” has taken interior design by storm. As a simple, streamlined style it creates a sense of order and calm, especially to hard-working rooms like kitchens. It’s also adaptable to a wide range of decorative styles when it comes to cabinetry. Usually shaker cabinets come to mind and the materials you choose can range from industrial chic to mid-century modern. Currently one of the strongest trends is to work with luxury woods and finishes. Whichever way you go, complete your kitchen by selecting high quality appliances, lighting and hardware. The bare-bones look of minimalism shines a spotlight on every component of the space. That’s why it’s critical to make sure each element can withstand the scrutiny. It may require more thought and planning than other decorative styles and we’re here to help! Renovation projects offer the best opportunity to create a minimalist design that reveals the intrinsic beauty of spaces, materials and furnishing, by stripping away unessential elements. We design kitchens that function best while preserving the cool and serene atmosphere that people desire these days.    ...