Decor

It's All About The Journey ... Choosing Kitchen Appliances – Consider the Current Cook and Potential Buyers!

What is a kitchen without it's appliances? After all, the primary function of a kitchen is for cooking and preparing meals, (unless you're my mother who once looked at an apartment in NYC and didn't realize there wasn't a kitchen!). Functionally obsolete appliances can turn the joy of cooking into the agony of defeat, they’re also one of the first things a buyer will notice about your kitchen. A little paint can refresh tired looking wood cabinets but there's no hiding that harvest gold range!

If your appliances could use an update, here are some tips on how to choose the right cooktop, fridge and more.

Cooktops – Gas, Electric or Induction

gas cooktop

The choice is personal, but the preferences are fierce! Gas is very popular because there is more control of the temperature settings. With gas you can turn the heat up or down immediately & with more precision, as opposed to electric units which adjust more slowly. When shopping for gas cooktops ask about BTU’s which is an energy measurement and is short for british thermal units, and variable control which addresses how long you can maintain “simmer†without the flame going out. Burner grates made of cast iron or metal allow for better heat transfer from the burner to the pan. Choices for fuel are either natural gas or propane, so if you are not in an area with gas available, propane is the way to go.

electric cooktop

Electric is the most common option - these are flat top models which tend to be the least expensive option and what you will find in most homes.

induction cooktop

Induction heat is a flat cooktop like electric that performs like fast-heating gas stoves and is gaining popularity in todays’ kitchen. With induction cooking you lose the least amount of heat from burner to pan. It’s also a time-saver because you can bring a pan of water to boiling faster than you can on a high performing BTU gas range top.

Range Hood

range hood

Any cooktop demands a proper ventilation system that will usher exhaust out of the kitchen. Recirculating fans may take out some of the cooking steam, but they don’t move out any heat. Exterior blowers and inline blowers provide high-performance ventilation. Noise levels can vary, if you hear the sound of suction (and not the motor running) this is a good thing. No one wants to turn on the range hood and think a Cessna is about to land in their kitchen.

Ovens

double wall oven gas range

Conventional ovens can be gas or electric (there are even dual energy range options where you have a gas cooktop and an electric oven). Styles vary from an all-in-one cooktop/oven range to wall mounted double or single oven units. Interior size is an important factor when shopping - you should make sure the Thanksgiving turkey is going to fit!

Convection ovens are often an option within a conventional oven (or sometimes microwave-we'll get to that later). They circulate heat with a fan to cook food faster and more evenly and will help you get dinner on the table faster than a traditional oven. The downside is you don’t get the standard bake/roast/broil settings.

Refrigerators/Freezers

french door with water in door top freezerbottom freezerside-by-side-fridge-freezer-gorenje-nrs-85557

Freestanding models slide into a space and generally protrude 6 to 7 inches beyond counter depth (a 24 inch depth is standard). Counter-depth units will look more like built-in units but be careful not to sacrifice form for function. Check out the interior cubic feet of storage for each unit.

As for configuration, French-door refrigerators (on top) with freezer drawer (on bottom) are very popular. They allow you to store pizza boxes, sheet cakes, deli trays, etc. that are difficult to fit into a side by side refrigerator. You can also choose the traditional freezer on the top/refrigerator on the bottom or a side-by-side option.

Another consideration is if you want a water/ice in the door dispenser. If you are focused on water purification, there are units that will accomplish this. Otherwise the systems simply pass water through a copper pipe in the unit and out your refrigerator door.

Microwaves

microwave built into cabinet

Microwaves can consume a lot of counter space. Microwaves built into the cabinetry are becoming very popular as well as microwave drawers which nestle among base cabinets and are very handy. Built-in microwaves over the range can also act as a venting mechanism. As mentioned above, there are many models that also have a convection oven cooking feature.

Dishwashers

dishwasherdishwasher drawers

Traditional dishwashers with doors that pull from the top down are the most popular style and they can be paneled to blend with the cabinetry for a seamless look. Drawer dishwashers are another trend on the rise because they are easier to load and can be installed at various heights, based on your needs. Because they can handle smaller loads, they are also more efficient.

This is another appliance where noise levels can vary. If you want to have a conversation while the dishwasher is running, make sure to check out the decibel level on the spec sheet to see how quietly it will operate.

Finishes

stainless appliances smudge-proof-feature.png.w960 black stainless appliances

Now that you’ve considered your appliances, think about finish. Stainless steel is still the most popular but now comes in more varieties than the traditional polished finish. Black stainless has a more muted tone and smudge free has a more brushed appearance. Both eliminate the common “finger prints†complaint when considering stainless steel appliances. Whatever look you prefer, stainless is still the most requested finish among buyers.

Energy Efficiency

energy star rating

Last but certainly not least, consider energy ratings when purchasing appliances. The higher the rating the more you will save on your electric bill and energy consumption. A factor any home owner will appreciate!

What time is dinner?

Comments

  1. Lillian Schaeffer on

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that convection ovens cook things faster and more evenly. My husband and I are going to be renovating our kitchen, so I'm trying to choose new appliances so we can plan around their sizes. I would love to have a convection oven for faster cooking, so I'll definitely look into that. Thanks for the great post!
    • James Bergman on

      I appreciate you going through the different cooktops. I personally think that it is a toss up between gas and induction heated units.They both heat up and cool fast. If anything induction cooktops would have an edge because they would be easier to use for simmering. However, gas does tend to be a little cheaper to use. In the end it all comes down to personal preference and the availability of gas.

      It’s All About The Journey … The Gang’s All Here!

      Family rooms are an integral part of any home whether the living room acts a multi-function space in a small home or apartment, or you have a separate family room in a sprawling abode, these are the spaces where everyone can gather and enjoy each other’s company. There are a few key elements every family room should have: ample and comfortable seating, attractive storage, somewhere to put your feet up - such as an ottoman, (which has a dual purpose for extra seating if space is tight and can provide possible storage) and great lighting - overhead lighting illuminates the space, but you will also need task lighting for reading, playing games, etc.

      The three main categories that will create a warm and welcoming family room are: a successful design plan, inexpensive updates and unique decorating ideas. By incorporating some of these elements into your space, everyone will want to kick their shoes off and stay awhile!

      Designing Your Family Room

      Open Family Room columns family rooms

      • Opening your family room to adjoining spaces so the room is visible, ultimately invites everyone in.

      • Define the open spaces by introducing some architectural elements such as arches, columns or you can use furniture as a divider.

      • Plan your home entertainment system early on in the design phase to ensure that all electrical wiring and any integrated systems meet your needs.

      • Create one major focal point within this space. Whether you install your large screen plasma TV on the fireplace wall or have windows overlooking a pretty outdoor space.

      • The furniture layout should be oriented toward the focal point of the space and feel cozy. Try to ignore the impulse to line your furniture pieces up against the wall thinking it creates more space. It doesn’t.

      • Keep traffic patterns in mind when planning a furniture layout. The ability to walk through the room without navigating through a maze of furniture is essential.

      Easy & Inexpensive Updates for Your Family Room

      winter family room summer family room

      • Swap out throw pillows. Add deep velvet fabric pillows, tapestry and rich colors in fall and winter, then you can swap these out for bright colored, cotton or canvas pillows in spring and summer.

      • Freshen up old furniture by adding cozy, beautiful throws and blankets in colder months. This not only gives color and texture but can hide rips and stains!

      • Let the sun shine in! Clean windows inside and out, add new curtains, swags or drapes. If privacy isn’t an issue, lose the blinds and sheers and let light pour in!

      Clever & Unique Family Room Ideas

      ottoman black frames hanging window rods

      • Get rid of clutter by adding multi-functional storage pieces. Think ottomans with hinged lids, coffee tables with drawers, photo boxes to hold odds and ends, which will fit beautifully in a bookcase.

      • Create the illusion of space and light by grouping a collection of mirrors with decorative frames.

      • Spray paint is your best friend! Take old, mismatched picture frames and give them a new life with a coat of flat black spray paint. The texture of each frame gives dimension while the monochromatic color gives your items the look of a collection, not clutter!

      • Swap out those energy draining bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs that create a soft light from your lamps without breaking your budget.

      • Raise your curtain rods, and extend them well past the windows! The illusion of huge windows is created by adding additional ‘framing’ around the ones you have

        Inviting, comfortable and relaxing!

        No wonder the gang’s all here -

        Is it Super Bowl Sunday already?

      It’s All About The Journey … Powder Rooms - Small Spaces Capable of Making a Big Statement!

      Powder rooms are intimate and private spaces that reflect the style of your home. They are also the great equalizers. No matter how large or small your home is, powder rooms (generally), are approximately the same size. Adding the right embellishments and detail provides another opportunity to show buyers you care about your home.

      Here are some considerations:

      Create a focal point

      powder room vanity

      Bath Before and After

      pedestal sink

      Your goal is to draw attention toward the sink area. One option is to apply a new paint finish to the existing cabinetry. This is usually more cost effective than changing out the whole vanity, sink and fixtures. Adding updated hardware can transform a standard cabinet to look like a custom vanity.

      If the budget allows, a new countertop and sink can update a vanity that is in good shape. A great way to cut costs is to purchase a leftover piece of quartz or stone from a local distributor for a new countertop. They often have popular remnants in neutral colors leftover from bigger projects. The entire installation process can be done for a fraction of the cost of an entirely new custom vanity.

      Adding a new sink – whether it’s a state-of-the-art vessel sink or an under mount sink or molded sink/counter combination can complete the entire design element.

      Pedestal sinks are another cost effective option. Be sure there is adequate storage for additional toiletries nearby.

       

      Flooring

      ceramic floor tile

      Ceramic or porcelain tiles as well as natural stone floors are always popular choices in a bathroom, but if you have existing wood flooring, it’s not necessary to change. A powder room receives less traffic, and a properly treated wood floor can be resistant to moisture penetration and less prone to scratches.

      half bath

      Embellishments

      A decorative framed mirror can serve to further accent the vanity. You can either purchase a new one, or a frame can be built around a wall mounted mirror using trim molding placed around the edges.

      framed mirror in powder room

      Just like any other space, lighting is critical. Changing out the fixture can add both style and mood to this intimate space (especially if you still have the old “Hollywood Lights†screaming 1970’s & 1980’s!). Consider sconces on either side of the mirror, or a light fixture above the mirror. If the only light source is on the ceiling, consider a stylish little chandelier.

      chandelier in powder room hollywood lights

      A fresh coat of paint on the walls goes a long way. Light and brightly colored walls are more reflective, making any space feel open and airy. Additionally, light colors amplify the effect of natural light. (which everyone loves!) The opposite can work as well, deep colors can give a rich and intimate feel to a small space.

      light paint powder room dark paint powder room

       

      Little Amenities Make a Big Impact

      Toilet tissue dispensers can be hung on the wall, but should be up to date. Other options are to place some rolls in a pretty container (like a basket) or a toilet tissue stand near the commode.

      Most people prefer to use hand cleanser out of a dispenser. A decorative dispenser is more sanitary and eliminates the mess of a bar of soap.

      Placing luxurious hand towels nearby, either on a shelf or in a basket on the sink will create a spa like environment.

      powder room accessories

      A pretty rug in front of the vanity, beautiful bath accessories and a special piece of artwork is all that is needed to complete the picture and provide a lasting impression.

      Toilet bowl brushes or plungers are not decorative accessories! Keep this little room clean and free of clutter. Store any necessary tools behind closed doors in an accessible location.

      A waste basket should be convenient but not the center of attention.

       

      A powder room can be a fun project to update! For a small space, it can make a big impact on buyers. Create something that will make you smile!

      It's All About the Journey ... Retreat to the Master Bedroom

      The chaos of the day has ended, all the your chores are finished and you’ve watched just enough TV to put you to sleep. It’s time to retreat to your private sanctuary, the Master Bedroom. Ah, the thought of a perfect, serene haven with everything just so, sounds enticing doesn’t it? You walk down the hall ready to snuggle up in your cozy lair, and the reality smacks you in the face. Where is my serene sanctuary?

      You’re not alone, Master Bedroom updates often take a back seat to other rooms, which becomes evident when it’s time to prepare your home to sell (kitchens and bathrooms usually get the most attention). The fact is buyers scrutinize the Master more so than any of the other bedrooms. “Does the closet have enough storage space? Will it fit my bed? Is there room for my double dressers? etc.â€

      Taking some time to make the most of this space will help create a restful environment your buyers will appreciate.

      Here are some ideas to help get you started:

      Paint the Walls

      gray paint master bedroom creamy master bedroom

      A cool and soothing color palette creates a relaxing atmosphere. Soft blues, greens and creamy whites give the bedroom a fresh and airy feel.

      Add Wall Decor

      wall art master bedroom

      Once you’ve got your walls painted, add some decorative accessories. Things like mirrors, wall accents and photos can add more character to your bedroom.

      Arrange Furniture

      When you walk into a bedroom, especially the Master, the bed should be one of the 1st things you see.

      Start with learning standard bed sizes, and which one will work in your plan. Other bedroom furniture comes in all kinds of sizes. Once you determine your room and bed dimensions, you can make good decisions about dressers, chests, nightstands and so on. Pay attention to scale and avoid over sized furniture that doesn’t fit the space. You want to make the bedroom feel airy and comfortable.

      The ancient Chinese method of Feng Shui helps to balance our homes. Following some simple feng shui strategies can turn your chaotic and uninspiring bedroom into the serene sanctuary of your dreams.

      feng shui bed

      If you have a large Bedroom or a Master Suite

      Benches and/or chairs

      bench at bottom of bed

      Add a bench at the foot of your bed; it’s a perfect spot for putting on your shoes and socks without disturbing a freshly made bed.

      Small, comfortable upholstered chairs provide an added dimension to a bedroom. It is easy to overlook this element, but it shows the bedroom can become a nice retreat from the rest of the household.

      Whatever the size, make sure you don't overcrowd the space - as in all rooms, less is more.

      Lighting

      chandelier in master bedroom

      As with any space, lighting plays an important role in delivering the desired atmosphere. After all, it’s hard to have a romantic environment with a fluorescent light flickering overhead. Consider adding a ceiling fan as well. Despite the fact that some people say ceiling fans are unfashionable, many home buyers appreciate their energy savings.

      Upgraded Electronics

      wall mounted tv

      Wall mounted TV’s are a popular feature, and can help your space to appear larger, especially if your bedroom is on the smaller side.

      Luxury

      luxurious pillows

      A touch of luxury gives the master bedroom refined elegance that can bring a soothing note to the space. Sumptuous bedding, plush pillows and a beautiful chandelier all add luxury, which can be quite serene.

      Combine Masculine and Feminine Details

      clean line master bedroom

      Neutral palettes and clean lines are appealing to all. Stay away from window coverings and bed coverings that scream “I am woman hear me roar†or “It’s a man’s worldâ€! Both individuals need to feel comfortable and that the environment suits them.

      Closets

      organized closet

      A master Bedroom with a walk-in closet is always the most preferred option but organizing a smaller closet can also have a dramatic effect. Good wall closets include: Spaces for long and short hanging items, several open shelves of varying heights, a bank of drawers (optional), a spot for shoes, places to hang ties and belts, and to stow handkerchiefs and scarfs. The most important thing to remember on closets is that your buyer will remember what they see. Try to keep hangers all the same with space in between and floors free of clutter. A general rule is that you should only have shelves filled to approximately 1/3 of their height.

      These tips can transform your Master Bedroom into the oasis you’ve always envisioned and create a retreat buyers will remember.

      Sweet dreams!