Kitchen Evolution: Work Zones Replace the Triangle

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When I began studying kitchen design many (many!) years ago, I learned all about the much-venerated kitchen work triangle — in which the refrigerator, range and sink are placed 4 to 9 feet apart, forming a roughly equilateral triangle. This design principle was developed back when most people had smaller, closed-off kitchens, where only one person prepared and cleaned up meals. It’s an efficient way to lay out appliances and the sink in a small closed or semiclosed kitchen. 

The work triangle is still useful today, but with kitchens that now run the gamut from tiny single-wall galleys up to large open-plan kitchens, it’s more useful to think in terms of work zones instead.

Work zones are really just the natural evolution of the kitchen work triangle. As kitchens grew in size and opened up to other rooms in the house, it became more of a challenge to place appliances in a neat triangular layout. We also have more appliances than ever before — dishwashers, extra sinks, microwaves, separate cooktops and wall ovens — not to mention more people working and socializing in the space. By sectioning off your kitchen into work zones, you’ll maximize efficiency in a larger space; more cooks, as well as their guests, will be better accommodated.

Group appliances and fixtures according to use.To set up work zones in your kitchen, think of the tasks you perform regularly: storing food, prep, cooking, baking, serving, eating, cleaning, making coffee, chilling wine etc. A work zone contains everything you use to perform each task. 

For instance, you should place your dishwasher next to your sink, with a compost bin and a garbage bin nearby to streamline kitchen cleanup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Store what you need where you need it most. In addition to grouping appliances and fixtures according to use, give yourself enough storage in each zone for what you need to perform the task. 

This wood-topped baking zone is perfect for kneading bread or rolling out pizza dough. All the bread-making and baking tools can be stored in the cabinets below. Someone can easily work at this station while another person prepares food in another part of the kitchen.

Provide landing areas next to major appliances.For safety and efficiency, consider placing a countertop landing area next to your major kitchen appliances, especially the range, cooktop, microwave and wall ovens. 

You want to be able to quickly set down something hot without having to trek halfway across your kitchen. This will also give you a cooking work zone; you can store items like knives, cutting boards and pots and pans in the cabinets and use the countertops for chopping and cooking prep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a kids’ zone. If you have children and a good-size space, set up an area in the kitchen where the kids can hang out, do homework and eat snacks. This will allow you to all be in the kitchen together without the little ones getting underfoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider a zone for guests. If you have an open kitchen and like to entertain often, you know how important it is to have an area where guests can hang out and chat while you prepare food and drinks. A large island or peninsula works well for this, since it can act as a barrier that keeps visitors from getting in your way while also giving them a place to perch while you work. Again, think about the items you use for serving and entertaining, and store them in the cabinets below so you can easily access them.

Widen the aisles. Whether you opt for the traditional work triangle or to break up your kitchen into work zones, pay attention to your kitchen’s aisle widths. The recommended minimum aisle width is 42 inches, but I prefer 48 inches, especially in kitchens with multiple cooks. If you cook and entertain often and have the space, you could go as wide as 54 inches. Wider than that, though, and your space will likely become inefficient, as you’ll spend more time walking than cooking. 

Style Up Your Bathroom Storage

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As any professional stylist will tell you, the key to a beautiful room design is in the details. Sure, the main decorative elements of a space are integral to its design success, but overlook the small stuff and the scheme simply won’t hold together as it should. Everyday toiletries, sponges and towels might not necessarily be things of beauty, but when you find ways to display and curate them, they can polish off a room nicely. So don’t let ugly-yet-must-have bits and bobs let down an otherwise chic scheme — try some of these simple tricks to give your bathroom the wow factor it deserves.

Find a flexible friend. A tray table can provide useful, versatile storage in a bathroom to keep everyday items close at hand, and is easy to fold up or move when not required. This can work particularly well when guests are staying over, offering them a temporary surface on which to place their own toiletries.

Decant for a chic display. Garish packaging can cheapen the look of a bathroom. Minimize the labels by scouring thrift stores for vintage glass bottles you can decant bubble bath or bath salts into. They’ll be ready for use and keep the room looking pretty at the same time. And why not decorate jam jars to create cute vases to hold a pretty sprig or two to complete the look?

Fake some luxe. Decant everyday items, such as shower gel and shampoo, into high-end glass bottles. Simply buy products with gorgeous packaging as a one-off (or put them on your holiday wish list), and then, when they run out, refill them with cheaper products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill up sweet jars. Make a display out of cotton balls or a collection of soaps by storing them in pretty glass bonbon jars. As well as their looking lovely, you’ll be able to easily see at a glance when anything needs replenishing.

Try out a tin. Retro metal tins can provide useful storage in a bathroom. A design like this red tin is an obvious choice for storing first-aid items, but a selection of vintage cake tins could work equally well stacked up, storing myriad items as well as adding a touch of character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose handy baskets. Rattan woven baskets are a classic bathroom choice, as they cope well with a humid environment. Pastel-colored designs give a modern twist to baskets’ usual dark looks. A handy recess like this could easily store multiple baskets. For a vintage feel, tie a luggage tag around the top of each basket and use some letter stamps to make a note of the contents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prettify everyday essentials. Jumbo packs of toilet paper rolls on display can lower the look of a space. Instead, store individual rolls in a basket to keep them looking good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play up your towels. Make a feature of your towels by storing them in a glass-fronted cabinet rather than tucking them away. Ditch any dodgy old ones and start fresh with a new set of crisp white ones, or start a collection of mismatched pretty ones, allowing you to easily add to your bath linen collection as funds allow.

Use baskets and bags. We all have toiletry bags for traveling, but with so many pretty designs on the market, they needn’t be used solely for that. Invest in a few designs that are smart enough to keep out on show to store bottles and lotions, keeping items organized yet out of sight. Larger baskets or totes can be hung on hooks to store bigger items, such as washcloths or toilet paper.

Embrace natural style. Whether you’re going for a beachy bathroom look or simply want to soften the aesthetic of a space, embracing some natural elements can pay dividends. Even a simple touch, such as using a sculptural scallop shell to hold a bar of soap, can create a really interesting break in an otherwise neutral scheme.

10 Tricks to Help Your Bathroom Sell Your House

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Buyers love the allure of a fresh, beautiful bathroom that reminds them of luxury hotels or soothing spas they have enjoyed. And, most important, buyers want to envision themselves enjoying this luxury every day in their new home. 

However, the reality is that most of us do not have the perfect bathroom. And we know that, in most instances, it is not a wise investment to do a full, costly renovation just for a home sale. It simply doesn’t translate into profit. 

A better strategy is to maximize what you already have, on a budget. You want to transform your real-life, everyday bathroom into a five-star hotel experience that prospective buyers will love, without overcapitalizing. Here are simple ways to create havens with a wow factor.

1. Clear off the counters to create a blank canvas.Remove all of your everyday toiletries and bathroom supplies. This includes soaps, toothbrushes, cotton balls — everything. (And don’t forget the products in the shower.) Buyers do not want to see your personal hygiene products. In fact, this can make them feel as though they are intruding on your personal space, which can be distracting and a little awkward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Get rid of cleaning products. Remove all items that imply housework and maintenance, such as toilet brushes, wastepaper baskets, sponges, cleaning products, bath mats — even spare toilet rolls. These are a necessary part of everyday living, but they do not create a beautiful spa-like experience for your buyers.

Tip: Remove the bathroom scale, too. Remember, your buyers want a luxurious bathroom experience, not a reminder of those extra pounds they are trying to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Maximize your storage. Storage space sells. Your buyers will be looking inside your bathroom cupboards to see how much space they offer. Make sure they are only half to two-thirds full and well organized. Store the little things you use every day (hair elastics, lip gloss) in a pretty box or basket with a lid to avoid a tidal wave of trinkets on the shelves.

Tip: If you’re running out of space to store your toiletries, keep the overflow in simple wicker baskets. When buyers are coming to inspect your home, just grab the baskets and stash them somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Make minor upgrades. Rather than spending many thousands completely renovating your bathroom, it’s much smarter to spend your money only where it will show and to make small, inexpensive upgrades that will create a large impact. As a general rule, improvements that can’t easily be seen don’t translate into a higher sale price.

The best bang-for-your-buck bathroom upgrades are: repainting the walls, replacing leaking and worn taps, updating the cabinet hardware, installing new light fittings and updating towel bars.

Note: In some bathrooms it’s also worth considering changing the tiles (large white tiles always make a bathroom feel more spacious and contemporary), replacing shower screens and investing in new cabinetry and countertops. This is often warranted in a higher-priced property, where buyers are looking for (and expecting) a higher level of bathroom luxury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Clean thoroughly. Clean everything to within an inch of its life. No, it’s certainly not exciting, but it’s super important. Buyers will pay a premium for new, so your aim is to create a new feel. Everything must be immaculate, as this creates the impression that your home has been well maintained and well loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Hang luxurious towels. Any bathroom can be instantly transformed by adding beautiful, soft towels. New is best (once towels have been washed, they never look quite the same). So it’s a great idea to keep your new towels just for display only. Pack them away between buyer inspections and reinstate them just before the prospective buyers arrive.

Tip: If there is a lot of extra counter space, you can also place a neatly folded pile of two or three matching towels on the vanity or side of the bath for extra luxury.

Thick, white, luxurious towels always work well, and there are some beautiful textured options. Funky, brightly colored towels are popular at the moment too; for a more dramatic effect, you could consider adding a splash of bold color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Stick with neutrals. If you are going to repaint your walls, upgrade your tiles or invest in new cabinetry, it’s always a good idea to keep to a neutral palette for these larger elements, as it will appeal to more buyers. If you want to add some fresh color, use towels and accessories.

8. Beautify with accessories. Now that you have cleared away your personal bathroom products, bring in a few well-chosen accessories to add a layer of warmth, elegance and luxury. Think about creating a spa-like experience with accessories in tranquil, soft colors. Include fragrant soaps, bath oils, natural loofahs and candles. 

It’s important to display these products as groupings rather than scattering them around the room; scattered products can look like clutter. Less is better. Think simplicity. You may want to consider using a wooden tray as a base and groupitems together in odd numbers. Vary the height of candles and jars, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Use flowers for impact. Fresh flowers and plants make any space come alive, and the bathroom is no exception. They make a dramatic impact, adding instant color and texture. Orchids are always a favorite in bathrooms; however, here’s no need to always buy huge bouquets. In a smaller room, a single stem of your favorite bloom, a small planter or even a branch with beautiful leaves placed in a jar will look understated and elegant.

10. Add a stool or an ottoman. To create the ultimate private-hotel-suite look for your buyers, add a beautiful decor piece that is functional as well. Put a stool beside the bathtub and add neatly folded face and hand towels, soap, a candle, potted plants or even a good book. You could also use other beautiful occasional pieces of furniture, such as a marble side table, a long ottoman stacked with fresh towels or a bamboo ladder, to add extra style and take your room to another level.


9 Ways to Spice Up Your Kitchen Cabinetry

Article by: Jo Leevers

Freestanding cupboards, mix-and-match colors, contrasting textures, individual drawer pulls — kitchens can be as creative as their owners. If sleek, clean-cut units don’t get you excited, take inspiration from these nine ways to get a more varied look in the kitchen.


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1. Mix cabinet styles. This kitchen’s cabinets are all the same trendy gray, but they sidestep predictable symmetry because two pieces are different styles. They work together, but their drawers have different depths and storage options. A rail for pots and pans creates more variety.


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2. Feature a key piece. To keep things interesting in a kitchen with matching cabinets, add a standout storage unit. It could be a plate rack or a bright or weathered dresser. It will break up the rigidity of a single-finish kitchen and let your personality shine through.


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3. Work in an island. For impact in a large kitchen, an island needs to be a “hero” piece that can carry the space. This weathered central island doesn’t conform to any norms. Along with the industrial storage on wheels, it adds just the right amount of character.


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4. Try an urban loft style. A strong dose of industrial style livens up this slim kitchen. Wood, metal, gray paint and ceramic surfaces mix easily, thanks to similar tones. Then there are the contrasts: Bare bricks are mirrored by glossy metro tiles, waist-level units by a taller cabinet. Matching kitchen pieces in this space could have looked too uniform; these look freed up and innovative.


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5. Go two-tone. A blend of two shades — palest green and natural bare timber — brings a breath of fresh air to this kitchen. Tongue and groove cabinets and two types of handles are extra custom twists.


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6. Compare and contrast. A creative kitchen doesn’t have to be off-the-charts unusual. Simply combining two tones, two surfaces and two heights does the job. Carefully crafted finishes give the space a quality feel.


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7. Cast it in monochromes. The dark-on-light color scheme here adds visual interest, and the contrast of raw, waxy timber and smooth marble creates a look that’s unique.


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8. Add your own handles. This kitchen works its magic with off-the-shelf Ikea units with tactile leather handles. They handles are eye catching and pleasant to hold — significant, when you consider how often they’ll be used. Open shelving on top combines with a stainless steel countertop that wouldn’t be out of place in a chef’s kitchen.


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9. Pare it back. This converted industrial warehouse is a dramatic space, so the designer wisely didn’t try to make the kitchen steal the show. Zinc-colored doors inside pale frames, metallic tones and a pared-back 1960s vibe for the furnishings help this kitchen work in its setting — proof that statements don’t always have to be shouts.

Pet-Friendly Design: Making Room for the Dog Dish

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When I say there is nothing quite so unpleasant as stepping in a dog’s water dish, I speak from experience (no thanks, Augie). Like a good pet owner, I keep my pup’s water bowl filled with fresh water. It’s located in the kitchen, where I inevitably get busy and distracted and step in the drink. It has happened a lot, which goes to show you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When I next remodel, I’m going to plan for this condition, using the clever ideas from these fellow pet owners as inspiration.

In this project, by Buckenmeyer Architecture, finding a space for the dog dishes was a key design consideration. “A recess at one end of the island keeps the bowls out of the way,” says Marty Buckenmeyer.

Judging from the gray around his or her muzzle, I’m guessing this sweet dog is a little long in the tooth. I’m sure the elevated bowls are appreciated.

The designers at Haddad Hakansson employed a similar strategy in this kitchen, but they placed the bowls at the end of a cabinet run as opposed to an island. It’s a smart move in a kitchen that has the room. “One of the highlights of this space is the custom dog dishes,” the designers write. They are “inset into a small slab of white quartzite. The cabinet above has a tilt-out tray for dog treats.”

Perhaps the feature helped the space win first place in the 2014 NKBA northern New England kitchen design competition. And, as you can tell by the blur running toward the eating area, it clearly has won the popular canine vote too.

In this kitchen, by Shannon Ggem, the lucky dog can pretend he or she is eating in the wild, thanks to a dining niche lined with artificial turf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A closer look reveals the other features. Not only does the space have bowls printed with a grass image, but it has a faucet with an above-counter control. As the designer says: “No bending!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With built-in bowls and the same material treatment as the kitchen island, this dog eating area, by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design, is almost undercover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This niche, by Plain & Fancy by Dandamudi’s, is outfitted with a pullout drawer and an easy-to-clean stone surface.

Some smart and space-endowed homeowners take the dog dishes farther from the kitchen triangle. In this project, by Kathleen Donohue, Neil Kelly, the eating area is under the command center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this project, by Anthony Wilder Design/Build, an eating and storage area for the dog is tucked into the end of a wall. Below are the bowls; above are dog accessories and treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This mudroom, by Dreamstructure DesignBuild, is outfitted for everyone — four-legged and two. Due to the recessed and elevated nature of the bowls, you’d be unlikely to step in them — but if you did, you might be wearing your boots.

10 Upgrades for a Touch of Kitchen Elegance

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“Elegant” “sophisticated,” “simply beautiful” — are these words you would use to describe your dream kitchen? Even just adding a coat of paint, new lighting and carefully chosen decorative details can bring your current kitchen a bit closer to that dream. Here are 10 upgrades to consider.

1. Roman shades. Covering the window with a classic Roman shade gives the kitchen a finished look. Go with a color and a pattern that coordinate with your cabinet and wall color, or stick with natural linen, which goes with everything.

2. Topiary. A pair of topiaries flanking the sink is an elegant finishing touch. Use a vintage champagne bucket as a cachepot, or wrap a simple pot in burlap and tie on a velvet bow. If your kitchen gets a good amount of natural light, by all means get real plants — but if not, there’s no shame in picking up a couple of high-quality fakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pendant lighting. Swapping out a plain ceiling light fixture for something with more style can be done quickly — and your new pendant light can become the focal point of the room. Don’t be afraid to go big; even in a small kitchen like the one shown here, a sizable pendant looks striking, not overpowering.

4. A rich cabinet color. Whether you paint your cabinets or stain them a natural wood tone, a rich color is a high-impact, low cost way to change the look of your kitchen. Try a saturated hue like the blue-green shown here, or a chic gray or slate on just the lower cabinets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Wall paint. If you don’t want to repaint or restain your cabinets, another way to bring in color is by painting the walls. With all of the appliances and cabinetry, kitchen wall space is often fairly limited — which means not only is it quicker to paint, but the color is less likely to overwhelm than in, say, the living room. Try a smoky blue, rich “greige” or warm mocha.

6. Upscale counter stools. There are so many options when it comes to kitchen counter seating that there’s no reason to stick with plain bar stools, unless you want to. Try classic bistro stools (like the ones shown here), sculptural wooden stools or sleek Lucite ones.

Also notice the pendant lights in this kitchen — if you have a long counter, placing a row of three large-scale pendant lights above is a great way to bring focus to the space. Glass pendants like the ones shown here are elegant and maximize light.

7. Glass cabinet fronts. Update old cabinets by having several of the doors replaced with glass fronts. This costs far less than replacing full cabinets and can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. Remember, whatever is in the new glass-front cabinets will be visible at all times, so choose just a few cabinet fronts to replace and commit to keeping the interiors orderly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. A chic rug. If you’ve shied away from using a rug in the kitchen for fear of spills and stains, try a chic indoor-outdoor version. These rugs come in beautiful colors and patterns now, and no one has to know about the stain-fighting powers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re not frightened of spills, lay down a beautiful (but not priceless) Oriental carpet. Rugs made from wool and other natural materials are quite forgiving when it comes to stain removal, as long as you act promptly.

9. Branches in a tall vase. Branches last far longer than cut flowers — but more than that, they exude elegance. An armful of seasonal branches plunked in a tall vessel is an easy way to instantly boost the ambience in your kitchen.

10. Decorative details. Framed artwork on the wall — and not just “kitchen” art but art you could just as easily hang in another room — can add polish to any kitchen.

Mirrors are unexpected in the kitchen, and just like in other spaces, they can be a wonderful way to boost light. A small table lamp tucked onto the counter brings a warm glow that makes a kitchen feel more welcoming.

Bathroom Workbook: 7 Natural Stones With Enduring Beauty

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There’s no other material quite like natural stone. No two pieces are exactly alike, and nothing else adds the same organic warmth and texture to a bathroom. Not to mention the longevity. If they’re well maintained, your stone surfaces can last a lifetime. 

Marble, of course, has been a popular stone choice for luxurious interiors for centuries based on its inherent beauty. But while Carrara and Calacatta remain classics, they have their downsides, and they aren’t your only options. Here are seven other natural stone varieties, each with its own unique characteristics and strengths, worth considering for your bathroom floors, countertops and walls.

The price of natural stones can vary greatly, so do your research. But don’t let a high price deter you from incorporating a stone you absolutely love. Larger-format tiles are usually less expensive than smaller tiles, and you can try to find remnant slabs at your local stone yard. Also, consider using natural stone for just one wall or a small niche area to work it into your budget.

Soapstone. Surprisingly underused in bathrooms, soapstone is actually a great option because it’s so low maintenance. No sealers are necessary; just periodically rub a little mineral oil on the surface. Over time this stone oxidizes and gets darker and richer in color. 

Cost: Comparable to marble; you’ll find slabs from $90 to $200 per square foot. But take a look at this pretty soapstone countertop paired with a gray vanity and you might be like, “Marble who?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limestone. In its natural state, this stone is highly porous and needs to be sealed to avoid stains. But it’s a popular choice for its soft and uniform look and warm, neutral color. It lends itself to both traditional designs and modern ones, like this vast bathroom covered top to bottom in the material.

Cost: Limestone tile starts at around $5 per square foot.

Travertine. This is actually a type of limestone with natural markings in a range of warm hues. The deep pores in the stone are often filled with a similar-colored grout or epoxy to create a smoother surface. 

Cost: Travertine tile starts at around $5 per square foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belgian bluestone. This is also a limestone, but with a dark gray or black background and gray, white and tan markings. It looks especially great with a contrasting grout, like in this photo. This material will get lightly scratched over time, but the patina makes it even more beautiful. And a little olive oil will bring back its sheen. 

Cost: Similar to soapstone ($90 to $200 per square foot), but to save a little cash, consider using 12-inch by 12-inch bluestone tiles on your counter instead of a slab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onyx. This stone has a unique look with striations in a wide range of colors. Since it has a translucent quality, designers often backlight surfaces or walls to showcase the veining and make the space glow. It’s important to know that this stone is delicate and needs to be sealed. 

Cost: Because large slabs like the gorgeous one featured here are rarer, they can set you back $200 to $500 per square foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slate. This stone is usually associated with rustic interiors, but it can work in any space. This photo depicts a mosaic of slate tiles in a rainbow of hues, including blue, green, red and purple. Slate is especially great for floors, because it is naturally slip resistant. To clean slate, just use a mild cleanser that isn’t abrasive. 

Cost: You can find tiles that cost less than $10 per square foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandstone. Created by layers of densely packed sand, the material has a wavy desert-landscape-like appearance and comes in a variety of colors. It’s essential to seal it regularly (like twice a year), because the highly porous surface will soak up water or any other liquids, causing stains or potentially even warping. 

Cost: Similar to limestone and travertine, around $5 per square foot.

8 Little Remodeling Touches That Make a Big Difference

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When we did our remodel, our contractor suggested a thousand things I had never really thought about. They weren’t necessarily design considerations; they were more quality-of-life considerations — just little things you didn’t know you were missing until you had them. 

Here are eight little touches I didn’t know I couldn’t live without until I lived with them. What are yours?

1. A built-in dish soap dispenser. Because I don’t care how nice the bottle is; it’s just one more thing cluttering up your countertop.

2. Soft-close hinges. It is impossible to slam a drawer or cabinet in my kitchen. Each closes with a small whisper. It’s calming somehow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Large kitchen drawers. Looking down into a well-lit space is much better than looking deep into a dark cabinet. In this kitchen large drawers have completely replaced cabinets. Just make sure they are all soft close.

4. Undercabinet lighting. I know this seems like no-brainer, but before I had it I never knew how useful it could be for task lighting and mood lighting. But spring for LEDs. We opted for fluorescent to save money, and we regret it.

5. Dimmer switches. Because there are a thousand stops between on and off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. A garage keypad. You will never be locked out of your house again.

7. A motion-activated porch light. You will never fumble in the dark for your keys again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. An automatic drip system. People told us, they did. But we didn’t listen, and because of that we killed a lot of plants over 12 years. Last year we finally had an irrigation system put in. The yard is nicer, the plants are healthier and life is easier.

Not a Big Cook? These Fun Kitchen Ideas Are for You

Kitchen design tends to be centered around the presumption that you will be spending loads of time in your kitchen cooking. Not so earth shattering, right? But the fact is, not everyone loves to cook. Not everyonecould really use a supersize fridge, dual ovens and an enormous island. So what do you do when it’s time to think about a kitchen design, when all you’ve used your oven for is storage? While it makes sense for certain basics to be in place (sink, stove, dishwasher) even if you rarely cook, there is plenty of room for creativity. From wine storage to a library wall, here are a few ideas to consider.


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Wine storage. If you don’t have a large collection of cookware to house, it makes sense to shift some of that storage space to something you do use. 

Oenophiles may want to add a temperature-controlled wine cellar cabinet for bottles that need to be aged, in addition to open shelving for ready-to-drink bottles.


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You could even create your own home wine bar experience with wall-mounted bottle storage, paired with a “tasting bar” attached to the wall.


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Fancy coffee station. Love your morning latte or cappuccino? Splurge on a top-notch espresso maker so you can whip up your morning beverage of choice at home. Since you’re not spending as much on fancy knives and cookware, why not?


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When less work is what you want, look into a fully automatic coffeemaker. With the push of a button, you can have a cup of delicious coffee or even an espresso drink, depending on the model you choose.


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Library wall. If books are one of your great loves, consider dedicating a kitchen wall to bookshelves. You can house a good portion of those books that seem to multiply when you’re not looking, while keeping kitchen storage options flexible. As long as the shelves are large enough, a future owner could just as easily use them to store dishes, cookware or cookbooks.


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Cover (but rethink) the basics. Even those who rarely cook should include a few basic appliances in the kitchen. You never know if you may one day decide to cook at home more often, and even if you don’t enjoy cooking frequently, most people occasionally need a kitchen stocked with the basics. 

A fridge and freezer, a stovetop, an oven, a sink, a dishwasher, a toaster and a microwave are the bare bones for most kitchens. That said, these pieces do not need to be massive to get the job done. In fact, going overboard on appliances may just make cooking in your kitchen seem more intimidating.


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If your kitchen is small and you rarely cook, one alternative to the classic big oven is a separate cooktop paired with a compact oven, or even a convection toaster oven, for cooking (or warming) food.


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And if you really have no use for a giant fridge and freezer, consider instead a few handy fridge and freezer drawers. They can be tucked into small nooks and don’t overwhelm a space like a full-size fridge can.


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Delightful seating area. When you don’t need to worry about maximizing cabinet space, some fun possibilities open up; a lovely little seating area in the kitchen is one great option. After all, even if you don’t spend hours cooking, you likely do want to be able to sit down in a comfortable space and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, or a simple supper (even if it’s takeout) after a long day.

To-Dos: Your October Home Checklist

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With the air turning crisp, leaves falling and farmer’s markets overflowing with squash, gourds, apples and potatoes, October is a time to celebrate the harvest — and button up the home and garden for the winter ahead. From raking leaves to sharpening knives, see which of these 13 to-dos make your list this month.

1. Rake leaves. Clearing away leaves from lawns is hard work, so be sure to choose a rake that feels good to you. Plastic rakes don’t last as long, but they are lightweight — which helps if you get fatigued easily (or have a lot of leaves to contend with). Instead of bagging all of the leaves you collect, try chopping some with your mower and using them as mulch in flower beds, or add them to a compost pile.

2. Clean gutters and downspouts. Schedule rain-gutter cleaning for after most of the leaves have fallen. Inspect gutters and downspouts for cracks and loose parts, and make repairs as needed.

3. Put up storm windows and doors. If you use storm windows or doors and haven’t put them up yet, now is the time.

4. Decorate outdoor spaces. Fall flowers, pumpkins and gourds are versatile enough to work throughout the season. If you enjoy decorating for Halloween, get out that frightful decor.

5. Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses for winter. Disconnect, drain and roll hoses before storing them indoors for the winter. Shut off the water supply to exterior faucets to prevent frozen pipes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Sharpen knives. The holidays are around the corner — be sure your knives are ready to take on all of that cooking by having them professionally sharpened now.

7. Launder and iron holiday linens. Get ahead of the holiday crunch and prep your linens — roll up the freshly laundered and ironed linens on old wrapping paper tubes to prevent wrinkles.

8. Decorate with layers of warmth. Get toasty indoors with cozy throws, thicker curtains and soft rugs. If you haven’t done so yet, swap out your bedding for thicker blankets and fluffy duvets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Check safety devices. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house, and replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on the kitchen fire extinguisher and replace it if needed.

10. Swap seasonal clothes.
 Depending on where you live, September can be a fickle month — but now that October has arrived, it’s time to settle into more predictable fall weather. Gather up stray sandals and lightweight clothing that you don’t plan to wear again until spring, and pack it away. Also look over your fall and winter clothes, and note anything you will need to replace this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Start an art wall for all of those school projects. Corral those stacks of paper coming home from school with a dedicated space for display. A large bulletin board or magnet board makes hanging art and papers easy. Or you could try art wire with bulldog clips, or simply tape art to the wall with colorful masking tape.

12. Start planning or making holiday gifts. I know it seems like the holidays are still a long way off, but that’s exactly why it’s smart to start thinking about gifts now. Especially if you have hopes of making anything by hand! At the very least, start a gift list that you can add to as you think up ideas.

13. Savor your favorite fall traditions. Is there a local harvest festival you’d love to attend, a favorite pumpkin patch or apple orchard to visit? Mark some dates on your calendar so you don’t miss out.