Lessons from My Cruise

On a recent Holland America cruise to Alaska, they had a couple of live America’s Test Kitchen on board.  I bought the ONLY America’s Test Kitchen apron that was on the boat.  The sessions were full, but the classes were so very simple, it was a little disappointing and I have to admit most of the people in the classes could not cook very much, as they asked the most inane questions.  Maybe I should do this, but I don’t think I would like the “stateroom” you might get for free.  The one I paid for was a small cave in the dungeon and the last one on the back of the boat.

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Lessons from My Cruise

Kitchen Trends You Should Know for 2018

This is an article from Home Polish that I thought was very interesting.

The Kitchen Trends You Should Know for 2018

Whether your goal is a full makeover or simply sprucing up your space, when it’s time for a kitchen renovation, you want to know what’s in, what’s out, and what’s here to stay. Which is why we’re constantly polling our designers and contractors for the details on what elements are worth the investment.

 

 

Most importantly: what are your goals? Kitchen renovations typically have a 65 to 80% return on investment when you resell—but that too can vary depending on materials, features, and budgets. If this is your dream kitchen, go ahead and try out those custom wood emerald green-painted cabinets, but if you’re focused on resale, remember that what you adore (and what you adore right now) could isolate a potential buyer. That doesn’t mean you can’t create an of-the-moment kitchen, you’ve just got to know which features are best for long-term.

For most homeowners, countertops and brand-name appliances are the biggest splurges. Brand name appliances mean something to people having Sub-Zero or Wolf appliances is similar to having a nice car in your garage. It ultimately depends on the style of the kitchen a person is interested in and what they want to prioritize.

So, what trends and materials are of the moment?

 

 

Goodbye Granite?
According to a recent study by Houzz, granite has been on a three-year decline among homeowners.

The small-scale texture of granite feels more dated than the larger scale texture offered by quartz and marble. People are willing to invest in their kitchens, so they will often choose higher-end materials like marble. Quartz is more durable than marble but looks very similar, so homeowners are able to get that high-end look without having to deal with the expensive upkeep of a material like marble.

Granite countertops stain easily and are not as durable to the everyday wear and tear of a family using their kitchen. So people prefer the less expensive option (quartz) that is also much more durable.”

But plenty of developers are still reaching for the classic, despite its price (depending on where you live and how much is needed.

Calcutta marble continues to be a go-to for high-end developers and clients alike. Its gray veining is quite universally liked and is never too aesthetically controversial for resale purposes.

 

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White Out 
The all-white kitchen, adorn by modernists and minimalists alike, might be taking a backseat. Dana is noticing some people straying to the other end of the spectrum.

White kitchens are always de rigueur, especially in modernist homes, but we are seeing many clients opt for black now too. We recently even did a kitchen that was navy, which looked great.

And it’s no wonder people might be shying away from that all-white look, besides the stain factor, it can also be tricky to achieve.

There are a few downsides to an all-white kitchen. Making all of the whites match each other—from cabinets, tile, paint, and more—is incredibly difficult. The whites need to be complementary and blend well together. Even if all the whites do match perfectly, sometimes this palette can result in a less interesting, flat looking kitchen.

 

 

Hues You Can Use
So what colors are on the rise specifically?

White kitchens will always be popular, but we anticipate we’ll see less of the all-white kitchen this year. We are seeing two-toned kitchens and colors like navy, gray, and hunter green.

The trend of white/dark kitchens will make an adjustment and we will start seeing more colorful kitchens like we see in Europe.

While these bold colors can seem daunting, especially if you have resale in mind, there are plenty of ways to inject color into your space without investing in red tiles or emerald green cabinetry.

There are ways to make a colorful statement without breaking the bank: using accent colors on staple kitchen accessories like teapots, KitchenAid mixers, toasters, and linens can really bring the space to life and add personality.

A fun backsplash always adds pizzazz to any kitchen. Something in the blue family can add punch without being too loud, and patterned mosaics are always an artful option too.

All Matte Everything 
From finishes to hardware to kitchen appliances, you might notice things are sleeker than ever. Enter matte black

Companies like LG and Vipp have released entire lines of matte black stainless steel appliances that can add a layer of sophistication to any kitchen.

It’s all about matte black: kitchen islands, hardware, faucets, and refrigerators.  Paired with a glossed countertop or glazed backsplashes, the matte finish adds a contemporary twist.

 

 

Embrace the Dark Side 
Speaking of dark, while quartz and marble continue to reign supreme among countertop types, expect to see some experimentation.

Marble and brass hardware are not completely out, and for a good reason  The crisp and modern combination continues to elevate drab kitchens, but now designers are playing with higher contrast combinations. Instead of Carrera marble, designers are opting for Nero Marquina.

And this trend of moodier and darker kitchens goes beyond countertops.

Darker countertops, matte black, brass hardware, and deep forest green and navy kitchen cabinets are paving the way.

 

 

Beyond the Farm
While large, farmhouse sinks have been on the rise, our sources are noticing people opt for a more simple approach.

The Farm sink trend will slowly fade away this year and we will go back to under-mount sinks.  The farmhouse sink fade also goes back to convenience.  They look great initially but you’ll get splashed all the time and they don’t wear well at all, grit and grime shows up too much against the white!

However, considering the rise in vibrant shades, your classic steel under-mount sink just won’t do.  We will start seeing the trend of stainless steel sinks fade away. Colors will be big this year, even for sinks.

 

A Better Backsplash
In search of some creative inspiration? Lean into a global, old-world style.

This past year has seen a high number of kitchens using the countertop as the backsplash on the walls.  We will see less of that this year and more Spanish-style tiles in the kitchen and throughout the home. These trends are making a strong come back, and I expect to see a lot more of them this year.

Easy Access
Kitchen design has always been about balancing fashion with functionalism. (What good is a new kitchen if you can’t actually cook in it?) According to a recent study from Houzz, three-quarters of remodelers obsess over decluttering.

One trendy way to reduce counter clutter and achieve organizational bliss: Open cabinetry for spice racks, storage bins that are behind glass cabinets for easy access.

One other idea for a functional space isn’t so new but back in vogue: the pantry cabinet: a full height pantry cabinet can be incredibly useful, even if it means you need to give up a bit of counter space.

 

 

Mix and Match
Beyond bold color choices, designers are also being a bit more playful in they are put it all together.

With the trend of seeing more colors in the kitchen, we will see sharper contrasts than before. For example, making the island cabinets a different color than the kitchen cabinets (which is very common now). Or perhaps extreme contrasts between the cabinets and the appliance colors in order to help incorporate a different look for the kitchen.

We see people experimenting with mixing different types of countertops. For example, perhaps the kitchen island serves as a showpiece and is a high-end material like marble because it is a place of entertainment, but the rest of the kitchen countertops are quartz. The quartz still has a high-end look, but is more durable and better suited for food prep.”

The kitchen island can now act and look like independent pieces of furniture that do not have to perfectly match the surrounding kitchen.  Modern farmhouse islands have transformed into free-standing vintage butcher tables and the marble waterfall island is now the Vipp matte black island.”

A Natural Touch
En Vogue in the ‘90s, wooden cabinetry will likely have its resurgence (much like everything else from that era). Thankfully, it’s not in the way most of us remember.

Wood cabinets are making a comeback but in a much less traditional sense. People are interested in a form that is less detailed and more unfinished looking.  We are seeing this deconstructed premise of wood in many applications beyond cabinets as well, such as reclaimed wood ceilings or open shelving with wood.

As one of the three major investments of a kitchen remodel, cabinetry can have a great resale payoff in the long-run. You can never go wrong with beautiful wooden cabinetry as it endures and the fronts can easily be swapped out or re-painted or stained as needed in the future.

 

 

Finish With Some Drama
One of the most exciting places to experiment: lighting. And our designers encourage you to keep going wild.

Asymmetrical kitchen lighting has started gaining traction in 2017 and will continue to evolve over the next couple years. Instead of falling into the classic double or triple pendants above the kitchen island, designers are creating moments of drama by justifying pendants over to unexpected areas. By redirecting the eye with an asymmetrical pendant, the homeowner has the opportunity to create mini vignettes or highlight their favorite kitchen object.

Kitchen Trends You Should Know for 2018

Ceramic Tile versus Porcelain

This is an interesting article from Houzz
All tile is created equal, right? Not quite. Porcelain and ceramic may belong to the same family, but they’re two slightly different products. One may be more advantageous than the other depending on where you’re installing it. Here we pose five scenarios and explain whether porcelain or ceramic is the better choice.

But before we walk through each scenario, let’s note the key difference between porcelain and ceramic tile. Though they’re manufactured with different types of clay, the Tile Council of North America defines porcelain in terms of water absorption. Specifically, porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5 percent of water. Ceramic and other non-porcelain tiles absorb more than 0.5 percent water.

 

Ceramic Tile versus Porcelain

Here’s a fun one

You Should Keep Toothpaste in Your Laundry Basket—Here’s Why

This is from Apartment Therapy

Laundry isn’t just about washing dirty clothes so you have clean ones to wear. It’s about cleaning and maintaining your wearables and textiles so that they always look their best, whether that means making jewelry sparkle, getting stains out of the lining of a purse, or keeping shoes looking their sharpest. And there’s a simple way to have all those things: A tube of non-gel toothpaste.

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Next time you’re grocery shopping, grab a basic tube of toothpaste and stash it in your laundry room, or with the bag or kit, you take with you to the laundromat. It can do so much more than brushing your pearly whites.

Here are some of our favorite things that you can do with toothpaste:

Clean the rubber off your sneakers. Scrub with an old toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste to get those white rubber edges looking like new.

Get the gunk off your iron. Squeeze some toothpaste onto a rag and scrub your iron with it. Wipe off with another wet rag and dry.

Remove lipstick, ink, and grass stains from clothing. Cover the stain with toothpaste, rub together vigorously, rinse with warm water, and launder as usual.

Remove wine stains from tablecloths. Smear with toothpaste and let sit before laundering as usual.

Address exploding ink stains with toothpaste. Using the same basic method as above, dab toothpaste on the stains, rub together and then rinse.

Make jewelry sparkle. Use an old toothbrush and some toothpaste to scrub everything from gold chains to your rings’ precious stones. Rinse and wear.

Remove errant wads of gum from clothing. Smear the toothpaste over the gum and then flatten the wad with a ruler or something else with a flat, sharp edge. Once the toothpaste dries, the gum should be easier to remove.

Buff scuffed shoes. Dab with toothpaste and rub with a soft cloth.

Here’s a fun one

Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

Talk about easy and way too delicious!   These are the new Rice Krispy Treats.  It’s not that traditional Rice Krispies aren’t good,  they’re just a little boring and safe. These are the opposite. They’re over-the-top and surprising in a way that everyone, including Krispies, treats purists, will love.

And it just does not get any easier….

Ingredients
Cooking spray, for pan
5 tbsp. butter
1 (10-oz.) bag marshmallows
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
Pinch kosher salt
6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
12 Reese’s cups
1/4 c. melted peanut butter, for garnish
1/4 c. melted chocolate, for garnish
Directions
  1. Line a 9”-x-13” pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and salt and stir until mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Immediately add Rice Krispies and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Working quickly, press half of mixture into an even layer in the pan, then top with a layer of Reese’s. Press remaining mixture over Reese’s.
  3. Drizzle with melted chocolate and peanut butter, then refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice into squares and serve.  Maybe that should say slice & eat!
Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

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12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

HOW TRADER JOE’S WINE BECAME CHEAPER THAN BOTTLED WATER

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“CHARLES SHAW WINE USED TO BE GREAT — AND NOBODY DRANK IT. NOW, IT’S TERRIBLE AND IT’S SELLING LIKE GANGBUSTERS.”

“I TRIED TO PUT IT ALL BEHIND ME BUT I NEVER STOPPED THINKING ABOUT WINE.”

Two Buck Chuck

Charles not in charge

Two Buck Chuck
Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor