Category: Kitchen


Genius! Remix Your Backsplash with Old CDs

Transform your backsplash on a budget—and declutter your entertainment center at the same time! See how a stack of unused CDs upgraded this boring, builder-grade kitchen.

Cheap Backsplash with Old CDs

Photo: instructables.com

Remember when your biggest problem was keeping your favorite CD from skipping? Times were simpler before iPhones, Netflix, and high-speed Internet conquered the world. Thanks to digital libraries, almost no one is worried about the state of their CD collection anymore. But other quandaries—like what to do with all those old CDs now that we’ve moved on—hang around for years. Instructables author Illona solved the dilemma of an unloved collection by crafting this one-of-a-kind kitchen backsplash using discs, scissors, grout, and very little planning. While relieving the environment of a little extra tech trash, her reflective backsplash brightened up the whole kitchen without the addition of a mirror or task lamps!

Piecing it together requires very little as far as specific tools go—only a sharp, strong pair of scissors or one designed to cut plastic. To better preserve the holographic film that creates the mirror effect, first brush a layer white glue over the printed side of the CD and let it dry completely. Cut up your discs, then glue the larger pieces up first and fill in gaps with smaller cuts later. Once you’ve arranged all of the pieces, apply grout to your mosaic. Illona opted for a light grey over white grout to make cleaning easier; the color requires less scrubbing, preventing possible future scratches and preserving the rainbow effect of the holographic film.

Even through Ilona ended up scratching some CDs in the trial-and-error process and dulling the project’s shine ever so slightly, any nicks are quickly lost against full effect of the mosaic. It’s practically impossible to mess up this DIY! With a backsplash this beautiful, it will feel like trading in your old flip phone for a smarter model.

FOR MORE: Instructables

Cheap Backsplash with Old CDs - Detail in Process
Photo: instructables.com

IKEA Wants You to Help Design Tomorrow’s Kitchen

IKEA believes that there's no such thing as a bad idea. The innovative Swedish brand has called for a global brainstorm to explore the way we use the kitchen and, ultimately, to discover the future of kitchen design.

IKEAtemporary - Concept Kitchen

Photo: IKEA

Too little storage, not enough chairs? For any sort of home furnishings conundrum, IKEA has the answers. But when it comes to homes of the future, IKEA has only questions—and lots of them. In 20 years, how are people going to be cooking, and in what type of kitchen? And if family dinners are so hard to schedule in 2015, what’s it going to be like in 2036? To explore such questions, the company has launched #IKEAtemporary, a six-month workshop that includes dozens of events, online and off. Whether it’s a pop-up expo in Milan, a streaming video cook-along, or a live Twitter dialogue, #IKEAtemporary wants to get people talking.

IKEAtemporary - HACKA

Photo: IKEA

This isn’t the first time that the Swedish retailer has delved deep to better understand the kitchen, not to mention cooking and eating and the role of both in everyday life at home. Earlier this year, IKEA teamed up with design students to create Concept Kitchen 2025, an experiment showing how technology could be not an obstacle, but a bridge that enables us all to enjoy healthier, more rewarding relationships with food and each other. And then, of course, there’s IKEA HACKA, a new modular kitchen system that makes it possible to customize a solution that perfectly responds to your individual needs. For the first time, you can combine IKEA products with what you’ve already got to create something totally unique.

Paola Navone, Thomas Sandell, Matali Crasset, and other acclaimed designers are joining the kitchen-focused conversation, and you can too! Voice your thoughts across social media—on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—using the hashtag #IKEAtemporary. As the company’s design manager Marcus Engman says: “Even more brainpower can only be a good thing. We want your thoughts, opinions, and feedback on what we can improve. We believe it’s much better when you tell us how you want to live—not the other way around. You could say that IKEA has the ingredients, but you have the recipes.”

 

 

This post has been brought to you by IKEA. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


5 Reasons to Quit Washing Dishes by Hand

If you've held off purchasing a dishwasher, now's the time to go out and pick one up. To make your decision easier, we've got five good reasons to abandon hand washing.

How to Wash Dishes - Quit Washing Dishes By Hand

Photo: fotosearch.com

Gone are the days of loud, inefficient dishwashers that leave your dishes only partially clean. The new generation of dishwashers has been designed to be quiet, environmentally friendly, and so strategic in their cleaning ability you don’t even need a prerinse. As if those reasons aren’t enough, we’ve got five more that should seal the deal. Add these to your argument for why you want—no, need—a dishwasher right this very minute.

How to Wash Dishes - Wash Dishes In A Dishwasher

Photo: fotosearch.com

1. Hand washing won’t make dishes cleaner.
Sure, you can try to turn your faucet’s knob all the way so the water that pours out is almost scalding hot. (Be sure to wear your rubber gloves!) But these high temperatures still won’t be enough to get your dishes really clean. Water needs to reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill germs, and most hot water heaters aren’t set that high—and for good reason. Such a high setting would cost you more money on your energy bill and would be dangerous in households with kids who might not yet be pros at regulating water temperatures.

2. Sponges are gross.
They can also be downright dangerous, carrying food-borne illnesses, bacteria, and cold and flu germs. Studies at the University of Arizona found that every square inch of your dish sponge contains approximately 10 million bacteria—that’s way more disgusting than even your toilet seat, and you wouldn’t bring that into contact with the dishes that hold your food. While there are temporary fixes to clean or disinfect sponges, no one can do them every single day. And why risk it?

3. You’ll save money every month using an energy-efficient dishwasher.
So, maybe you’re not using your dishwasher because it’s old, loud, and costly when it comes to utilities. But when you swap out a pre-1994 diswhasher for an Energy Star-certified replacement, you’ll start saving up to $35 dollars per year on your electric bill! And compared with simply washing by hand, the energy-efficient washer will save you more than $40 a year on utilities. Which leads us to our next point….

4. You’re wasting a ton of water.
Except when you’re actively rinsing something, the ongoing stream of water from your sink faucet goes mostly unused. As Jonah Schein, the technical coordinator for homes and buildings in the EPA’s WaterSense program, explained in an interview with The Washington Post: “In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size [energy-efficient] dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes.” Yikes! While we’ve been known to speed clean from time to time, we’re not that good.

5. You could be doing something else.
Finally, more than simply wasting just water, hand washing dishes is a chore that eats up valuable time. Think about how long you spend each day washing your dishes by hand. An hour? And you’re not even getting them completely clean. We can think of plenty of other around-the-house DIY projects we’d rather be doing instead—and which we’d be free to pursue after loading up the dishwasher and starting a cycle. Just some food for thought.


Before & After: ’70s Kitchen Remodel Puts Every Inch to Work

A tiny, outdated kitchen gets a 21st century update—complete with extra storage, increased natural light, and more room to breathe. Read on for more of the story and photos of this beautiful before-and-after.

70s Kitchen Makeover

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

For Mat and Anna Nicholson, husband and wife with three houses’ worth of DIY renovation under their belts, a tiny kitchen in a not-so-dream home posed a creative challenge. First off, its tired style felt stuck in 1974. More concerning was its serious lack of space to cook, store supplies, eat in, and entertain. “The old layout left a lot of space underused,” Anna explained. “As it’s not a huge house, we wanted to make the most of what we had.” Together, she and Mat transformed the initially awkward room into a livable design by tearing down walls to open into a dining area, bricking over existing doors, and expanding windows into larger glass doors to invite in extra light. Floating shelves, a final addition, make even the most awkward corner useful and open up the tight space. Impressed by the work, we invited Anna to discuss behind-the-scenes details about designing her favorite project to date. Read on for her experience of making the best of a tiny kitchen!

How would you describe the kitchen before the makeover?
The main problem was the size—the kitchen was very small. And the layout of the downstairs was old-fashioned, with one living/dining room going from the front to back of the house and a separate kitchen, complete with 1970s serving hatch. There was also a pantry in the kitchen that took up a lot of space, which we removed in the end, and a door that we bricked up for more wall space.

What did you envision for this space?
We wanted the room to feel light, bright, and open. The layout needed to fit in with modern family life—a dining kitchen, somewhere comfortable and pleasant to cook and spend time.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Use of Space

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

You tore down walls, ripped out flooring, installed new cabinetry and subway tile—really, the finished space is barely recognizable! What was most challenging?
The biggest challenge was probably living without a proper kitchen for six months! As we did nearly all of the work ourselves alongside working full time, the process took longer. The biggest and scariest challenges were probably the structural changes—knocking down a wall and replacing a window with double doors—but they were worth it because they’ve made the biggest difference.

Do you have any helpful advice for someone embarking on a kitchen remodel?
Just make sure you get your measurements right and spend time thinking about and planning the layout of your cupboards and appliances.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Wall Removal

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

Which part of the new design are you most proud of?
We just love the overall look, and the fact that we’ve managed to get all the appliances and cupboards we need in a relatively small space!

How do you make the small kitchen feel more cozy and less cluttered?
We’ve added open shelving in awkward corners, which I think looks great and serves a practical purpose—keeping the worktop free of clutter.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Extra Storage

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

Finally, how does this makeover change how you use the space?
It’s a much bigger, brighter, and more sociable space. Now, cooking is enjoyable and it’s a room where we spend time after work preparing and eating food and chatting. Just after it was finished, we hosted a Christmas dinner for 10; seeing everyone sitting together in the room enjoying the meal was a really proud moment. The old kitchen could barely fit two people in at the same time!

See more photos of the transformation at Angel in the North.


Streamline Kitchen Renovation with Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets

Kitchen renovation just got faster and more convenient, thanks to high-quality preassembled cabinets that are waiting for you now at The Home Depot.

Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot

Photo: thehomedepot.com

Overseeing a renovation job is similar in many ways to conducting an orchestra. If one section of the ensemble isn’t there to play its part, the show simply can’t go on. That’s why contractors appreciate the importance of setting—and keeping—work schedules. Besides the obvious inconvenience, even minor delays can end up being quite expensive. Ultimately, for the job to get done on budget and on time, all parties involved must uphold the initial project plan.

If you’ve ever worked on a kitchen remodel, you know that stock cabinets can take weeks to be delivered, with custom work taking as long as six months. The variability here can be especially problematic because, in many kitchens, the cabinets must be delivered, built, and installed before a slew of other jobs can get under way—sink plumbing, for instance, or appliance installation. Coordinating a satisfactory timeline can therefore be, to put it mildly, a real challenge.

To the rescue comes The Home Depot, which now enables you to sidestep the hassles cabinets so often introduce to kitchen remodeling. The Home Depot now stocks a wide variety of high-quality preassembled cabinetry. That means you no longer need to wait weeks for your cabinetry; on the contrary, those cabinets are now waiting for you at the nearest location. Do you prefer delivery? Products ship within as few as seven days.

The Home Depot ships directly to the job site within a maximum of only 10 days.

Once the cabinets arrive on-site, you can immediately begin installation without having to spend time scratching your head over the manufacturer’s instructions and proprietary tools or fasteners. Along with quick-ship availability, the time-saving convenience of preassembly means that cabinetwork no longer has to be a big question mark in your project plan. You know what to expect and may schedule accordingly. Kitchen remodeling has changed!

Quick-ship assembled cabinets from The Home Depot come in a broad mix of styles, ranging from classic to ultracontemporary. Finish options abound, although if you wish to handle the staining or painting yourself, there are unfinished cabinets too. At $55 per linear foot (with large orders eligible for discounts), the price may be as appealing as the designs. Scroll down to see only a few of the attractive cabinetry lines that are available right now.

 

HAMPTON BAY SATIN WHITE

Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Hampton

Photo: thehomedepot.com

Low-cost and high-quality, the Hampton Bay line boasts classic raised-panel doors and a furniture-quality satin-white finish that lends a clean, crisp, and refined look to any kitchen. Three quarters of an inch thick, the interior shelves are robust and sturdy, and they’re also fully adjustable, allowing the homeowner to maximize, customize, and easily reconfigure storage space. Fully assembled, Hampton Bay cabinets come with a limited lifetime warranty.

 

HOME DECORATORS COLLECTION HARGROVE CINNAMON

Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Hargrove

Photo: thehomedepot.com

Inspired by timeless Shaker design, Hargrove cabinets offer a geometric flat-panel appeal balanced by an earthy cinnamon-color finish. With practicality to match its good looks, the line’s solid-wood doors open to reveal integral shelves and optional roll-out trays or wastebasket pullouts. With half-inch-thick plywood backings, Hargrove cabinets are rigid in construction and built to last. Perhaps best of all, like others from The Home Depot, these cabinets arrive fully assembled.

 

HOME DECORATORS COLLECTION KINGSBRIDGE CABERNET

Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Kingsbridge

Photo: thehomedepot.com

With a reddish-brown cabernet finish, Kingsbridge cabinets and drawers feature durable all-plywood construction. Their full overlay doors, meanwhile, include three-inch-wide solid birch frames that surround recessed panels of birch-veneer medium density fiberboard (MDF). Enhanced by soft-close technology, those doors will provide smooth, quiet operation for years. In fact, the line carries a limited lifetime warranty—and yes, the cabinets arrive fully assembled!

 

Restore reliable scheduling to your kitchen remodeling projects—and save valuable time on installation—by choosing from among the many lines of quick-ship assembled cabinets at The Home Depot. For more information, visit your local store or shop The Home Depot online for its full range of products.

 

This post has been brought to you by The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Quick Tip: Rescue Scorched Cookware

Though you may doubt the scorched bottom of your cookware can even be cleaned, it's not only possible but can actually be done with a minimum of labor-instensive scouring. Here's what to do.

How to Clean a Burnt Pot

Photo: fotosearch.com

Fear not: Cleaning blackened, burned cookware doesn’t have to mean an arm-wearying afternoon of intensive scouring. It doesn’t have to mean the use of harsh, toxic chemicals, either. You probably already own everything you need to save a scorched pot or pan from the clutches of charred food. So if and when your usual let-it-soak-and-wait method ultimately meets with failure, try one of these tried-and-true strategies for restoring scorched cookware to its original, shiny state.

How to Clean a Burnt Pot - Scrub Detail

Photo: fotosearch.com

Light Duty
Fill the burned pot with enough water to cover the charred area completely. Bring the water to a boil on the stove and let it continue boiling for two or three minutes. Next, remove the pot from the stove and set it aside to cool down. Pour out the water only once the water has returned to room temperature.

Now that the char in the pot has softened considerably, sprinkle in a generous amount of baking soda and proceed to scrub. With luck, you should find that the black residue comes off much more easily, particularly with the potent abrasive combination of baking soda and a rough-textured scouring pad.

Heavy Duty
If the technique described above ended up helping but not enough, call in more firepower—that is, white vinegar. Pour enough of the stuff into the pot to cover the charred area completely (here, vinegar substitutes for the water used in the first method.) Once finished, add in about one cup of baking soda. Once the fizzing dies down, pour the liquid out of the pot and proceed to scrub the burned area clean.

In the most extreme cases, try this alternative method: Fill the pot with enough vinegar to cover the charred area, then bring the vinegar to a boil. Let it simmer on the stove. (As the vinegar simmers, you might even see blackened bits breaking away from the bottom and sides of the pot.) After a few minutes, set the pot aside and add baking soda. Once the fizzing has stopped, pour out the liquid and scrub.

Even gourmet chefs scorch cookware occasionally, so there’s no telling when you might face the problem again. But now you know not to dispose of a burned pot or pan. Though it may seem impossible at first, black and bristly char can indeed be removed, and often without a great deal of effort. You only need to know what staples to pull out of your pantry and precisely how to employ them to get results.


Induction Cooktops 101

With many compelling benefits, as well as some real drawbacks, induction cooktops are an intriguing alternative to the traditional gas or electric range.

Photo: geappliances.com

Picture this: You put a large pot of water on the stove and within only a few minutes, the water has rolled to a boil. That’s the magic of an induction cooktop. Compared with conventional gas and electric ranges, induction cooktops boast enhanced, even revolutionary, speed. But it’s not just about power; induction cooktops also offer a high level of precision. In other words, there’s no delay when you turn the dial up or down; the technology responds immediately to your adjustment and holds, without deviation, the desired temperature. Though induction cooking has existed for decades, it’s really started to gain traction in the last few years, having become a viable alternative to the conventional heating appliances we all grew up with. Even so, induction cooktops account for less than 10 percent of the market in the United States, and a great deal of confusion remains as to how the technology works and what it offers the home cook.

The Science
Unlike any range you’re likely to have used before, an induction cooktop does not give off heat. Rather, its burners are essentially electromagnets that transfer energy to the cookware. That energy, in turn, causes the cookware—and the food within it—to heat. So even when a pot of water is boiling vigorously, the cooktop itself stays relatively cool. If it warms at all, it’s only because the hot pot has sat right over the induction cooktop surface for a prolonged period of time.

Photo: geappliances.com

Benefits
Induction cooking is fast, responsive, and precise, and for these reasons many professional cooks have adopted the technology. But even for the average homeowner, there are at least a few benefits to consider beyond the bounds of meal preparation. For instance, because there are no hot surfaces (except those directly under active pots and pans), induction cooktops are a safe option in homes with children. As well, the smooth glass-ceramic surface of an induction cooktop is very easy to clean, with no grates, drip pans, or awkward gaps to collect crumbs or splatters. And because the cooktop does not get hot, spills do not burn and become caked on—they come right off, with no need for scrubbing.

Energy Efficiency
According to the Department of Energy, a conventional electric or gas stove fails to transfer about 60 percent of the energy it consumes. Induction cooktops are nearly twice as efficient. While it’s certainly true that—compared with, say, heating and cooling—cooking accounts for only a small amount of the energy used in the average home, many like the fact that induction cooktops save energy by cooking faster and that they waste a minimum of energy in the process of doing so.

Cons
Induction cooking takes some getting used to, and some cooking methods simply may not translate. Any technique that requires an open flame—grilling, for example, or even toasting—is not possible with induction cooking. There’s also the possibility that you would need to replace some or even all of your nonmagnetic cookware. Cast iron, enamel, and stainless steel are often suitable, but copper, glass, ceramic, and aluminum are not. When in doubt, touch a magnet to the bottom of the pot or pan in question. If it sticks, then you’re in business. If not, the cookware unfortunately won’t work.

One final drawback: Although induction cooktops have recently come down in price, they can still be pretty expensive (though budget options are out there). Then again, for those entranced by the magic of induction cooking, cost may be secondary to the many performance and lifestyle benefits.


How To: Clean a Refrigerator

While you may cringe upon opening the door to a dirty fridge, even more upsetting is how the appliance may be affecting your electric bill. Clean your refrigerator today, not only for cosmetic and health reasons, but for financial reasons as well.

How To Clean A Refrigerator

Photo: shutterstock.com

As the only home appliance to host a rotating population of mess-making foods, it’s no wonder the refrigerator ranks as the quickest of all to get seriously grimy. Within only a week, splatters and drips, leakage and smells take hold and compromise, not only the appearance of your fridge (and your mood upon opening it), but also its energy efficiency. That means a fridge you haven’t cleaned is a fridge that’s costing you more than it should on your month-to-month energy bills. So if you were looking for a reason to clean the refrigerator, you’ve finally got one—money! To do a thorough job it, follow the simple series of steps detailed below.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Coil brush
- Vacuum with attachments
- Soft cloths
- Rubbing alcohol
- Vinegar
- Dishwashing detergent
- Warm water
- Sponge
- Toothbrush
- Baking soda

STEP 1
Start by unplugging the fridge. Next, locate the condenser coils; these may be on the back of the unit or on its bottom side. If the coils are on the back, pull the unit away from the wall and then use a coil brush (a tool well worth its low cost) to free whatever dust and dirt has accumulated there. If the coils are on the bottom of the fridge, you need not go through the trouble of moving the appliance, but you do have to hunker down so as to manipulate the coil brush toward the target area. In either case, sweep up or vacuum all the stuff your brushing has brought to light—there may be quite a bit, if you haven’t cleaned the coils before.

STEP 2
Empty the refrigerator of all contents and put them aside. In the process of doing so, take the opportunity to purge any items that are past their expiration date. When it comes to choosing a cleaning solution, you may prefer something store-bought, but the following homemade version works well, too. Mix 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and warm water into a spray bottle. Add in a few drops of dish detergent, then shake it up. While the alcohol and vinegar cut through tough stains, the detergent works to eliminate grease and disinfect. It’s a potent cleaning cocktail, to be sure, but using it won’t make you want to retch.

“]How To Clean a Refrigerator - Compartment

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 3
Take out any shelves or drawers that are removable, place them on the counter, and clean them one by one in the sink. Spray each with your cleaning cocktail, then scrub with a sponge. Once you’ve cleaned one, rinse it off and move to the next. As they all air-dry, proceed to cleaning the inside of the fridge.

STEP 4
Start at the top and work your way down, spraying the back and side walls along with any fixed-in-place shelving. Use the sponge to scrub any areas with stubborn food residue, and follow up with a paper towel to clean up the excess spray. Where crevices have collected crumbs, use an old toothbrush or a similar tool. Pay special attention to where the drawers sit, and don’t forget to address the pocket panels on the door. Finish by tackling the door edges as well as the door seal (go gentle on the latter).

STEP 5
Now it’s time to clean the refrigerator exterior. Spray and wipe it down on all sides; go over the door handles more than once, as they are likely to harbor both finger smudges and germs. Note that if yours is a stainless steel appliance, special cleaning techniques apply. Do not use any product that contains bleach, and shy away from any abrasive scrubbing pads that might leave scratches behind. Opt instead for a damp, soapy washcloth. For extra firepower, mix together baking soda and liquid dish soap, then apply the paste with a nylon scrubbie. As a last step, wipe away all remaining suds with a damp towel.

STEP 6
Plug the refrigerator back in and refill it. Your appliance is now in tip-top shape!

Additional Notes
It’s best to clean the refrigerator coils every few months, even if the visible parts of the refrigerator look more or less clean. If you find the refrigerator isn’t getting cold enough, dirty coils are likely to blame.


Before & After: A Massive Makeover for a Minuscule Kitchen

One cramped kitchen sees new life, thanks to the husband-and-wife team behind The Grit and Polish.

Kitchen Before and After

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

Cathy Poshusta says, “My husband and I are a couple of old-house renovation junkies.” Together, she and Garrett renovate one after another residence in the Seattle, WA, area, temporarily living within the walls of the project house before moving on to their next adventure. Right now, the couple lives in a 1926 Tudor they’ve dubbed the Ravenna House. Here, one major area of focus has been the kitchen, which at the outset was woefully outdated and inconveniently closed off from the rest of the home. The plan? Transform the space into the sort of heart-of-the-home kitchen that modern families have grown accustomed to enjoying. The result? Stunning. Though Cathy documents her challenges and triumphs over on The Grit and Polish, we tracked her down to find out more details about the design decision-making and do-it-yourself feats that went into achieving a kitchen before-and-after of such jaw-dropping style and persuasive substance.

Kitchen Before and After - Full View

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

What was the kitchen like before?
When we bought the house, the kitchen had 1920s cabinets, an original cast-iron sink, and a wall-mounted faucet. It was also the smallest kitchen I had ever seen and completely closed off from the rest of house. It all added up to a space that no one wanted to be in. Our renovation goal was to open up the space and create a room that people actually wanted to gather in.

Where did you look for inspiration?
I have a pretty robust “kitchen” board on Pinterest, where I keep all my inspiration. Once I saw a kitchen with a marble herringbone backsplash, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. In the last two kitchens we remodeled, I installed a white subway tile backsplash. This time, I wanted to try something new.

Kitchen Before and After - Herringbone Backsplash

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

What did you learn from installing the tile yourself?
My husband and I learned a lot from that DIY tile installation, mainly that laying tile in a herringbone pattern is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of custom-cuts and sore thumbs involved. We probably won’t attempt herringbone again.

Kitchen Before and After - In Progress Work

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

What was the biggest challenge? Any compromises along the way?
Like many old houses, nothing in the Ravenna House is square or plumb. That proved tedious, particularly when it came to hanging cabinets and installing molding. The ceilings were a real construction challenge as well. After taking out the wall between the kitchen and living room, we had varying ceiling heights. The simplest solution to hide the imperfections, we decided, would be to install a faux beam and beadboard ceiling. In the end, those details are two of my favorite features. We did have to compromise on counter and cabinet space in order to fit in a dining table. An island would have added workspace and storage, but I just couldn’t stomach the idea of not having a table, since our family gathers there every night.

Small Kitchen Makeover

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

As someone who’s renovated a few different houses, do you have any tips for our readers?
If all else fails, shim it and caulk it, and everything will look just fine. That’s a mantra my husband and I find ourselves repeating during every renovation. I’ve also learned to take my time and do the job right. It’s natural to want to rush through a project… but doing that second measurement and checking the level one more time will ultimately save you time and money. Having to redo a project that you or a previous homeowner has already done is beyond frustrating. Just check out the tile floor we had to rip up and redo in our basement shower!

Kitchen Window Seat

Photo: thegritandpolish.com

Now that you’ve lived with the new kitchen, how do you think it’s changed the way you use the space?
The new kitchen is way more open. It is a small space but well laid out and really efficient. It’s now a gathering place for our family and friends (instead of a closed-off room that could only fit one person). And we use the space every day for every meal and often sit at the table to do coloring or reading with our 1-year-old son. This kitchen is now truly the heart of our home.

 

See even more photos of this kitchen before-and-after over at The Grit and Polish.


Big Chill’s Cutting-Edge, Retro-Styled Appliances

A Colorado manufacturer unites the playful colors, sinuous forms, and sparking chrome of 1950s appliances with the advanced engineering of today.

Big Chill Appliances - Blue Suite

Photo: bigchill.com

How did Big Chill end up manufacturing cutting-edge new kitchen appliances that look, in the best way possible, 60 years old? The idea came to company founder Thom Vernon when, in the process of designing a home for himself and his family, he encountered a dilemma. The other rooms of the house would have both a vintage look and modern conveniences, but this same balance wouldn’t be possible in the kitchen. Even if he could find the right antique appliances, either at auction or through a specialty dealer, his feared these midcentury originals would be too small for his modern family’s needs. Energy efficiency was another worry, because the appliances that best suited his aesthetic vision had been engineered well before most people ever thought of such things.

Big Chill Appliances - Lime Green Fridge

Photo: bigchill.com

That’s when Vernon sought out his nephew, Orion Creamer, who had trained as a product designer. The two started a business with a novel concept: They would produce kitchen appliances that were brand-new in everything but their outer shell, which would recall the distinctive design of the 1950s. After studying countless vintage appliances, the team launched their first product, a professional-quality refrigerator clad in a retro-styled housing. They called it the Big Chill.

Since then, the company has gone on to develop a full line of appliances that includes dishwashers, microwaves, stoves, range hoods, and wall ovens. All boast the benefits of modern technology, all are Energy Star-rated, and all adhere to the same classic aesthetic. Each comes in eight standard colors, such as Beach Blue and Jadeite Green, with more than 200 custom colors available on request. Most orders are assembled at the company headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.

Big Chill Appliances - Pastel Blue Stove

brucon.com

According to its Web site, the company continues to grow and plans to open a division in France, where there’s a high demand for vintage American appliances.

For more information, visit Big Chill Appliances.