Tag Archives: Countertop

Basic Tips to Design a Kitchen Remodel

3D interior design of a kitchen

3D interior design of a kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you thinking about a kitchen remodel?  Perhaps  you are able to design a breathtaking, unique kitchen by yourself, but you can also be interested to hire an expert to help you with this kind of project. In relation to assistance for your home design, there are various advantages of looking for help from a professional decorator. An expert can come with many creative ideas and present to you new products while staying true to the spirit of your original design vision. Whether you choose to do all the design work yourself, or maybe hire an expert, there tend to be a few things to consider that will definitely get you launched on the right track for your kitchen remodel.

“Form follows function”, said once the great architect Louis Sullivan and while most of us no doubt start our dreams of a new design for our kitchen with visions of a specific look in mind, space planning is equally important. A correctly planned kitchen remodeling project will contain all of these functions: storage, food cooking and cleanup.

The kitchen is also the family gathering place. Many of us undoubtedly consider the kitchen the main focus of the home. You may regularly lounge with a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper, or feed the family breakfast before they dash away.  Your children may choose to do the homework while you prepare dinner, or perhaps you and other member of the family share cooking duties.  Perhaps  you frequently organize big gatherings, or maybe cook for intimate dinner parties. Some of these different activities will determine your kitchen design, and it is important to pay more attention to them as you begin planning.  Also, as you plot your design don’t forget about the storage space.  Is frequently hard for you to find space for all your pots and pans? Do you consider that there is enough room for each member of your family to sit around the nook?  Notice all these things and maybe you will also decide to talk to each member of the family and see what their concerns about using space are.

Once you’ve got an idea of what to correct in your new plan, the fun part of kitchen remodel design begins, as you make choices about cabinetry, countertops, flooring and lighting. These design details work together to develop an ordered design, but that’s not difficult to accomplish with the huge variety of products available today.

There are a lot of cabinet designs, for example: made of wood or laminate.  If wood is your choice, you have to see what kind will be: oak or cherry or birch?  And then there are door styles-plain, curved, recessed panel, arched?  With flooring you need to consider not only looks but durability and ease of cleaning. With the variety of natural and synthetic choices today, countertops can get their sturdy and durable features. This is just one method of how your design can pair beauty with easy maintenance.  Lightning must also be considered in your new design. Are there places in your current kitchen where you need more light?  Is the preparation area currently too dark?  Perhaps you want recessed or track lighting to increase the brightness, or maybe you prefer an elegant chandelier.

Begin with these considerations of space and use as you wish your kitchen design and the rest will naturally walk into place.  Then you’ll see how the kitchen is not only a thing of beauty, but it is also a practical space.

 

Cleaning Granite Countertops

China granite countertops

Homeowners who are seeking to increase value to their homes enjoy the durability and easy maintenance when upgrading to granite countertops.

Homeowners who are seeking to increase value to their homes enjoy the durability and easy maintenance when upgrading to granite countertops. Granite is the most durable of all stones, second only to diamonds. Granite, being created from molten rock, can withstand the heat from a hot pot without a trivet. The hardness of the surface is excellent for handling dough and confectionery. While durable and low maintenance, however, they are not impervious to damage.

Properly installed granite countertops should last a lifetime, one justification for the higher costs associated with the material and installation. The granite suppler should provide personalized instructions for care with each slab, since all granite is made up of many different minerals. Even if two different stone slabs come from the same part of the world, there will be variances in the granite that require different kinds of attention.

Proper care ensures the longevity and beauty expected from this premium product. In addition to the polished finish, it’s possible to get a “honed” or flat finish. Although a honed finish can be very attractive, it is not recommended for kitchen use. Over time, everyday use will tend to lend a polish to some areas, and the additional necessary sealers will distract from the beauty of the surface. A polished finish is easiest to maintain with regular care that includes proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent staining.

Care for a polished finish begins with daily attention to what is placed on the surface. Granite countertops are hard and can withstand a falling can of soup, but the polished surface is a bit more delicate. Never use the granite as a cutting surface, always use a cutting board. Avoid allowing acidic foods such as lemon juice, vinegar and soft drinks to be left on the surface for any amount of time, as they can etch the surface. Another thing that removes the polished shine are harsh cleaning products or abrasive cleansers (liquid or powder). To clean the surface without leaving streaks, use only a small amount of warm water with a ph balanced dishwashing liquid.

Although granite is extremely hard, some of the minerals in it may be very soft. The existence of different minerals is what makes the granite easy to scratch, be chipped or break along the grain. In order to protect the surface, it is recommended to avoid dragging pots, pans or appliances across the stone. Scooting something across the countertop that has even a grain of sugar under it will scratch the polished surface. Scratches allow stains to mar an otherwise beautiful surface.

Once a year, a penetrating sealant should be applied. Regular polishing will keep the finish gleaming. Use a penetrating sealant recommended by the supplier or the home builder. Avoid using a stone sealer that will not penetrate the stone, as it will create a cloudy surface that will have to be removed by stripping the entire countertop, using harsh solvents. Remember, the glossy shine isn’t caused by a coating on the surface, but by expert polishing using diamond polishing tools.

If there is minor damage to a granite countertop, it can be resolved by the homeowner. If a pot or pan leaves a grey or black mark on the surface, it can be polished out using fine steel wool. If a glue-like substance is stuck on the countertop, it is possible to scrape it off with a credit card or single sided razor blade. Small marks made during the removal can be polished out with a fine steel wool. If the granite is chipped or cracked, a professional should be called in to perform invisible repairs.

In addition to its strength, granite is a very beautiful stone that adds color and warmth to any kitchen. With just a little care to protect their beauty and utility, granite countertops will last a lifetime.

Countertop Needed by a Refrigerator

Countertop Needed by a Refrigerator.

Countertop Needed by a Microwave

For microwaves and ovens, provide at least fifteen inches of counter space nearby, at least sixteen inches deep. With hot food coming out there will be times that you won’t want to go far before you can set it down.

Different Counter Heights are Useful

Modern kitchen

Modern kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cherry butcher block counter top.

Cherry butcher block counter top. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For versatility, plan for work counters of different heights; between twenty eight and thirty six inches off the floor (easier for chopping and seated-use access). A kitchen table is often positioned in a smaller kitchen where it may be used for the lower work surface. A higher counter between thirty six and forty six inches may also be considered  for general tasks (higher counters accommodate taller cooks).