Friday, 29 January 2016

Getting Organised in the Kitchen

IT is a real pleasure to cook in a kitchen that is well organised with everything neat and tidy and easy to lay your hands on.

The secret is to have a place for everything, to keep everything in its place and to make sure that items that are used frequently are easily accessible.

Some people want to create the feeling of a bustling, family-friendly kitchen. They like to have lots of items on display. Others want a calmer space with clear worktops and everything out of sight. For the former, open shelves and plate racks can hold herbs and spices or a decorative crockery set. Saucepans can be hung from the ceiling.

You can display your spices and dried herbs in a smart rack or hide them away in a cupboard. This smart chrome spice and herb rack is one solution. This rack can be either hung inside a cupboard door or fixed to the wall.

You may want something more "country kitchen" than a chrome spice rack so take a look at this stylish wooden rack.

If you prefer your kitchen more minimalist, plenty of drawers and cupboard space are a priority. Carousel fittings for the corner units or pull-out shelves in a larder unit mean that nothing gets lost at the back.

A pull-out ironing board and pull-out tea towel rails are also space-saving and ensure a clean, uncluttered look.

Rev-A-Shelf CIB-16CR VIB Series Pull Out Closet Depth Ironing Board, Chrome by Rev-A-Shelf

Space saving products, a pull out ironing board and pull out tea towel rail

Looking for a new kitchen? Take a look at these lovely pictures.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Kitchen Signs

WHAT better way to brighten up a kitchen than a kitchen sign. Here is a selection - some to make you laugh and some to make you think.

These made me laugh!

Here are some lovely retro signs for the kitchen.


These are inspirational:


Friday, 22 January 2016

Kitchen Flooring

Is There More to a Kitchen Floor than Vinyl and Tile? 

by Jennie Wills

You may think that the most used component of the kitchen would be an appliance however in fact it is your kitchen floor! Choosing the right kitchen floor depends on several factors all of which need to be considered in order to find the perfect flooring material for your space.

It is wise to start by answering a few key questions:

How busy is your kitchen? Is there a lot of traffic?

How much do you want to spend?

What flooring products are available for kitchens?

What is the durability of each product?

What designs are available? What are your flooring measurements and how much material will be required?

When designing your kitchen, it is vital to include appropriate flooring materials that keep durability, style and re-sale in mind. Whether you are designing, remodeling or re-designing your kitchen research on kitchen flooring plays an enormous role as there are several materials to choose from. Unfortunately some of the hottest flooring products today are often overlooked as an option for kitchens.

There are a variety of hardwearing practical solutions, including slate, stone and laminate, but here are three more unusual options:

Bamboo Flooring
Beautiful and exotic this renewable product is very comparable to hardwood in style, feel and strength making bamboo a fantastic surface to be considered in your kitchen.
Cleaning is relatively simple requiring light mopping and sweeping. Beware that sweeping is very important as these floors can scratch. Dirt, sand, and other granular particles under foot can make good opportunity for damage. Bamboo is an extremely strong and versatile plant that is actually classified as a grass. It grows rapidly where shoots reach maturity in 5-7 years. At that time the plant actually benefits from the harvesting of those shoots.
If you are concerned about harvestation and its effect on wild life, Panda bears actually feed from of a different strain of bamboo which is located at a much higher altitude than that of bamboo used for flooring products.

Cork Flooring
This marvellous material does not end with bottle stoppers. Cork is a fabulous flooring material that even your kitchen will love. The cellular structure of cork is comprised of millions of air sacs essentially meaning that 50% of this flooring material consists of air!
Cork is another excellent consideration for your kitchen space. Depending on the type of finish you have chosen for your floor maintenance will vary. Wax finishes generally require waxing at least once a year certainly something to maintain. Polyurethane will scratch if those floors aren’t swept. So keep those floors clean with regular sweeping and dry mopping and the results will be less wear of your finish.
Unlike other natural wood flooring products, cork is obtained from the bark of oak trees generally located in the Mediterranean. The cork oak tree is remarkable as its bark can be harvested every 9 years without cause of any damage to its existence or that of its environment. The best cork is reserved for our other partner in the kitchen as our beloved wine bottles require stoppers. Bottle stoppers account for 60% of the cork market but where there is demand for perfect corks there must be waist. Cork flooring is made from that unwanted material making this flooring product another fabulously environmentally conscious choice for your kitchen floor.
Cork also holds many benefits with respect to a healthy environment in any home. Suberin, the waxy, natural substance found in cork also plays a role in cork’s resistance to mould and mildew. Cork flooring is antimicrobial and has been proven to be insect resistant as well.
The cellular structure of cork also makes this flooring material an excellent choice for people who suffer from back problems or injury.

Linoleum Flooring
Unfortunately linoleum seems not to be the product that comes to mind when remodelling or designing a kitchen as it brings with it old memories of sterile hospital and school hallways. So many new and exciting modifications have been made to more commonly used flooring materials that linoleum is often overlooked. In fact this 100 year old flooring material still has what it takes and is making a huge come back. Here’s why.
Creative arrangements and various tile hues make linoleum a designer’s dream. Great designs and patterns can be achieved with linoleum where your floors can truly become a personalized work of art.
Maintenance - Sweeping and light mopping makes linoleum extremely easy to clean.
Another area in which linoleum excels as a material for your kitchen floor is in the health department. Linseed oil is a natural ingredient found in linoleum flooring. Its presence allows for linoleum to succeed as being a naturally antimicrobial floor. As linseed oil oxidises it prevents bacteria such as salmonella typhimurium, and staphylococus aureus from breeding and multiplying. Other flooring receives chemical agents in order to achieve the same affect however these agents will wear off over time. No matter the age of linoleum or the finishing that it may receive, this product will always remains antimicrobial. It also repels dust, and dirt which is why this product is commonly used in hospitals and schools.

So when it comes to choosing the right material for your kitchen floor, why limit yourself to traditional choices. Do your research and select a floor that best suits your needs and your style!

  • See a selection of handmade quality kitchens by Country Kitchens of Devon HERE.

Turn Your Kitchen Into The Heart Of The Home

The kitchen is the heart of the home and should be the place where the whole family can sit, chat, and eat. To ensure your kitchen is family friendly, make a note of these tips:

An open kitchen design helps you to socialise while in the kitchen. If there isn't room for a table, link the kitchen to the dining or sitting room so you don't feel apart from the family and isolated while you cook. The kitchen island above is ideal for family get-togethers.

Make sure you have enough places to sit to encourage family members and guests to chat to you as you cook. Stools at the countertops encourage children to help out - ideal for teaching them to cook. A kitchen island is perfect - or fit in a small table where the kids can do their homework while you are busy.

Keep yours organised and you will save time in the long run. See-through containers are handy because you can immediately see when you are running low of stocks. Neat rows of tins with the labels looking outwards also make life easier.

Chalkboard wall
These are great for busy families. Children love them and they are very handy for jotting down menus, shopping lists or making notes and reminders. It's fairly easy to turn a small wall or section of a wall into a chalkboard.  Have a look HERE for how to create a chalkboard wall.

  • See a selection of handmade quality kitchens by Country Kitchens of Devon HERE.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Slow Cooker

SLOW cooking is one of the healthiest and most cost effective methods of cooking a meal for the whole family. The Morphy Richards 460004 Accents Slow Cooker - Brushed Steel features a hob-proof cooking pot, meaning you can sear and slow cook from start to finish in one cooking pot. Although, be warned, it is not suitable for induction hobs.

It is really quick and easy to create a nutritious family meal from scratch. Then you can go out for the day and have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home.

  • Easy to use digital interface allows the customer to plan dinner with food cooked perfectly to be ready when they are
  • 3 settings - High/Low/Auto Keep warm, auto keep warm automatically starts after cooking time.
  • Separate hob-proof cooking pot allows you to sear your meat in the same pan on the hob first to maximise on flavour .
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Shatterproof cooking pot for peace of mind

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Dream Kitchen

THE decision has been made - you're going to have that kitchen of your dreams.

Everyone has a different idea of their ideal kitchen but there are a few principles that are common to all great kitchens.

You will need a focal point, somewhere that draws everyone's eye. It could be a magnificent island unit, a range or Aga, or a stunning kitchen table to which all the family gravitates.

If you have a large kitchen and the family tends to get involved in food preparation, consider installing an island. It should be close enough to the sink and appliances to facilitate the moving around of pots and pans but have enough space around it so that more than one person at a time can work in the kitchen.

Make sure you have enough kitchen cupboards to house all your foodstuffs and equipment, both at floor level and on the wall. Corner cupboards should have carousel units so that the deepest reaches are accessible.

If you're a keen cook, buy the best stove you can afford. There's so much choice these days, from electric ranges to gas ovens and solid fuel Agas and Rayburns.

You might want to make room for one of those magnificent American fridges and a practical dishwasher.

The choice and position of appliances is very important. You need to take into account the kitchen’s flow before making a final decision.

The sink will, obviously, be a well-used area. Take a look at all the different types of taps/faucets and the material it will be made of. Do you want ultra-modern stainless steel, a traditional Belfast sink, ceramic or with wooden draining boards? A corner sink might be practical or a double or even triple sink.

For many people the kitchen is the hub of the home and they will want room for a kitchen table. If space is limited a table with corner bench might be practical. A beautiful solid wood country table would add the finishing touch to a rustic or traditional kitchen, or an elegant smoked and etched glass topped table for a modern kitchen, or a period design table and chairs for a classical kitchen.
These are just a few of the things to think about when you make that first decision.

  • See a selection of handmade quality kitchens by Country Kitchens of Devon HERE.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Kitchen Lighting

I WROTE recently about the benefits of kitchen islands.

The popularity of the kitchen island has been a good indication of how modern and up-to-date a home is. And estate agents/realtors will tell you that a well-done kitchen island in a smart kitchen is a big asset when it comes to selling your home.

The person primarily responsible for preparing the meals, finds a separate area with adequate counter space that is designed exclusively for creating meals, an attractive feature when considering the kitchen and dining area layout. However, while the kitchen island is appealing, a poorly lit island can make it next to useless.

Keep in mind that preparing a meal involves multi-tasking, detailed work and cleanliness. Without the right kind of lighting these tasks can be very difficult if not impossible.

If you buy a home with a kitchen island you may need to consider some renovations, particularly in the area of effective lighting.

The best kitchen island lighting will incorporate both functional light as well as aesthetic light. This means that kitchen island lighting should have appropriate task lighting and ambient lighting.
These two principles apply to basically every interior space of your home. For most kitchen islands, multiple pendant configurations are the most popular and the most effective in providing full, adequate lighting for the food preparation area. Generally, these multiple pendants are available in three, four, six and eight pendant sets.

Most kitchen islands are laid out in a rectangular pattern, which makes them appropriate for one of the multiple pendant configurations, listed above.

Another option is a large Tiffany style pendant fixture, which would be centred over the island. While Tiffany lighting is definitely an option to consider, the vast majority of kitchen islands use multiple pendants with soft, diffused lighting to avoid spotlighting and glare.
Most lighting for kitchen islands would be considered task lighting.

This type of lighting should provide bright, but not harsh lighting and as mentioned above, the entire food preparation area should be evenly lit with no shadows or “dead” spots. Dimmer switches are frequently installed and allow brighter lighting when preparing meals and more subdued lighting when serving and eating.

Some homeowners opt for track lighting, which offers multi-purpose lighting, which is more hidden than the other two options previously mentioned. LED track lighting, which can become somewhat expensive, offers the option of changing lighting to alter the mood and create just the right ambience. In the long run, LEDs provide maximum energy savings, long lamp life and are easily adaptable to different lighting schemes.

Given the right layout, fluorescent tube lights can serve as another option because of their ability to provide bright lighting to large areas. The old standby of incandescent lighting is a possibility, particularly if you have ceiling mounts. Incandescent lighting can be made more energy efficient with the use of low-voltage bulbs to reduce glare.

Finally, recessed lighting is also a viable option though not nearly as popular as the other types of lighting mentioned earlier in this article. Recessed lighting usually takes somewhat more planning and labor to install, but they can provide a very desirable effect.

In today’s market, the homeowner has the advantage of being able to select from a wide variety of styles. Consider the basic style and d├ęcor of your home and then decide if you want your kitchen lighting to be modern or have a rich or even ornate look. Again, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Finally, don’t forget accent lighting to highlight objects in the room that you would like to draw attention to but be careful not to overdo it.