Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
It has been written; the kitchen is the heart of the home. So, when walking through a model or open house, the kitchen is a significant appeal or detractor. Where the kitchen is relative to the rest of the living space is essential. The layout of the workflow can make or break the impression of the house as a whole. Any upgrades and extra convenience features can turn an ordinary kitchen into your culinary dream area. Other architectural choices can affect the ascetics of the property.
Layout and Function
When looking at kitchen layouts, the choices are almost endless. How you use the kitchen will give you direction on what will work for you and your family. The number of people that will use the space at any one time can determine how much floor space in the kitchen you need. If you entertain often or tend to gather in the kitchen, an open concept may be up your alley. An island kitchen is another great idea for people who like to congregate and spend time in and around their kitchen. A raised bar on the island can help hide any messes while still enjoying the open island kitchen concept when entertaining.
Placement of what chefs call the work triangle is an essential element in any kitchen layout. The triangle is made up of the placement of the refrigerator, sink, and oven/stove. In other words, gathering ingredients, prepping, and cooking. Having an optimize work triangle can increase your enjoyment in the kitchen. When touring open or model homes, walk the space as you would use it at home. You could visualize the steps you would take in that space to get your morning cup of coffee. Does the layout make sense concerning how you work in the kitchen?
Upgrades and Add-ons
Many remodeled and new construction homes boast kitchen upgrades that look impressive. A hot water dispenser alongside the sink is convenient, as is an ice cube and water dispenser built into the fridge. Look for those upgrades that lend themselves to helping you make better use of your time. Remember, the more gadgets there are, the more items to maintain. Go ahead and enjoy the undercabinet lighting, so you don’t stub your toes when grabbing that midnight snack. In addition to functional upgrades, some are just there for the overall esthetics; such as crown molding, Italian tile work, or pendant lighting over an island bar. Those can give an otherwise ordinary kitchen a “wow” factor that makes a real impression.
Contact your realtor for more information on locating your dream kitchen.
Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.
You aren’t alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, we’re going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires.
Cooking fire statistics
Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.
In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.
A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you don’t necessarily need one for the cooking that you’re doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.
Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.
Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing aren’t near any burners or open flames.
In case of fire
If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and don’t re-enter the house under any circumstances.
For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.
Understanding cooking fires
Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.
However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.
If you have watched any home search show or any home renovation show on television, you probably know that granite countertops are the hottest thing, right? Maybe, but there’s so many different kinds of materials that make for fantastic countertops. You need to choose the types of countertops that will fit your budget and your lifestyle. There’s a new countertop material that’s taking over.
Quartz refers to engineered stone. This is a manmade surface. This shouldn’t be confused with quartzite, which is the solid stone alternative to granite. Manufactured quartz is actually now the leading countertop material according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
Granite Is Out Quartz Is In
Quartz has many different advantages over granite. This material won’t let stains pass through and can stand strong when faced with acidic foods. Quartz also doesn't require the need to be sealed. As a bonus, quartz is more scratch and chip resistant than granite and many other popular countertop materials.
Quartz is also considered a greener choice when it comes to choosing a countertop. This material doesn’t need to be mined or shipped long distances. Both marble and granite require these carbon intensive processes. Using quartz for your countertops is really good for the environment and your wallet at the same time.
The Downside: Patterns Look Uniform
The downside to quartz is that the patterns look kind of uniform and bland. Quartz manufacturers have actually come up with a way to create patterns in the fabrication process. This is the end of boring quartz in the kitchen.
The Newest themes in home design are all about functionality and low maintenance. Many kitchen showrooms are adjusting accordingly, using marble sparingly in their displays and featuring granite. Every aspect of home design from furniture to tile is now being made with low maintenance materials so that homeowners have it easier time keeping up with their homes.
Other Materials For Countertops
- Solid surface
- Butcher block
- Other kinds of stone
- Other woods
- Stainless steel
As you can see there’s many choices out there as to what to have your countertops made of. There’s a good reason why Quartz has become the number one material for kitchens everywhere.
You could be tempted to choose a countertop based on looks alone, however there’s much more to consider. You’ll need to look at your habits and lifestyle, then consider what you want out of a material. Each type of countertop material provides different benefits to maintenance, durability and cost. If you have kids, for example, white marble may not be the most economical choice for you. You’ll be pretty upset the first time some peanut butter is spilled on the countertop or some finger paints end up there. Knowing how you live will help you to make a countertop choice that you won’t regret.