Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top Kitchen Trends - Banq on it!

Banquettes are one of the hottest trends in kitchens today. 
Homeowners are trying to squeeze 
more people and function into their kitchens. 

ADD SEATING: Banquettes are a great way to provide additional seating in or adjacent to the kitchen without eating up the prime real estate required by a free standing table and chairs. With banquette seating, at least one side of the seating is against a wall, sometimes even against two or three walls. This means no additional space is required for chairs to be pulled in and out or for people to pass behind. And they can generally accommodate more people than can fit at an average island.


ADD STORAGE: Cabinetry used to create the seating area provides extra storage. The space under the bench seating is put to good use for storage of seasonal items,place mats, tablecloths and other table dressing items. If you have kids, consider putting craft items here, or their own plastic plates and cups to facilitate independence.

ADD SOFTNESS:Banquettes provide an opportunity to introduce soft materials into kitchens that tend to be mostly hard surfaces. They also provide opportunity for displaying art or collections. Bookcases make a great addition. All of these things create visual interest and impart personality and individuality on the room.

ADD STYLE: Stylistically, banquettes can be appropriate in any setting. They work great in large and small kitchens, formal and informal, traditional to contemporary. Banquettes are limited only by what the imagination can conceive. Feast your eyes on the gorgeous examples I've included. Which one tickles your fancy?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ultimate Shower Flexibilty- Grohe Freehander

The Grohe Freehander is a true one size fits all shower solution. I haven't seen this much flexibility since Cirque Du Soleil.  Because it can pivot 180 degrees, it can be adjusted up or down to accommodate bathers of all heights.

As a mother of two boys, I loved this fixture because it worked great for when they were smaller and showered together. They each had their own spray of hot water and the entire unit could be lowered into horizontal position to better fit their shorter heights.

More and more of my clients are asking to have their shower heads moved to a higher location in the wall. This fixture provides added height without having to pay the expense of changing the plumbing. 

The two shower discs can also be used together (as shown) or individually. The spray discs have multi function spraysl - shower or jet. By simply pulling the fixture into the down position, the discs rotate and become perfect body sprays. Who wouldn't want the option of a gentle (or powerful) massage without having to leave home or pay for all the additional plumbing and spray heads. This is especially true for people who want to utilize this type of feature only some of the time.

The Grohe Freehander retails in the $400-500 range and requires no plumbing alterations. That makes it an amazing value. 

Check out this stylish bathroom remodel from modernemama featuring the Grohe Freehander.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kitchen Sink Placement

According to the NKBA 70% of time spent in a kitchen is at the sink. Think about it. Therefore, the location of the sink is REALLY important. If you are the type that likes to socialize with family members or guests, or your kitchen opens up to a great room full of activity - the center island or peninsula is a great place to locate your main sink. I often refer to this location as the helm or command center. The person at the sink stays visually and conversationally connected.

If you are lucky enough to have amazing views, you may want to locate your main sink under a large bank of windows. Beware the exposure of the window if this is your choice. A sink on a western exposure wall will leave you hot and blind - or force you to cover your view which totally defeats the purpose.