Things Your Dishwasher Could Do

Here, several household items you can wash in your dishwasher that you may not have considered before.

Sanitize Kid and Pet Toys

The two creatures may walk differently and eat different things, but their toys can be hotbeds for germs and dirt. Plastic toys can be washed easily in a normal dishwasher cycle. For small toys (think: building blocks), consider putting the toys in a mesh bag first. And don’t try to wash pet toys that have rope, hide, or fabric. They likely won’t sustain the wash well.

Steam Vegetables and Fish

I’m not saying this is an optimal way to cook dinner, but if you find yourself without an oven (or just feel up to a fun challenge), you can actually make dinner in your dishwasher. Tightly wrap quick-cooking vegetables like asparagus, squash, and carrots in aluminum foil with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Wash in a hot cycle without soap. The heat and steam will tenderize the food.

You can do the same for packets of fish like salmon or halibut, en papillote-style. Thinner cuts will cook more evenly than thick pieces like cod or grouper. The hot temperature and water help to steam the fish inside the packets.

Rinse Your Garden Haul

After a trip to your garden or local farmers market, you may come back with a bounty of fruit and vegetables that need to be washed before cooking or storing. You can stand over the sink and wash each piece by hand, or you can load up the trays of your dishwasher for a quick cold-water cycle.

Place delicate things like tomatoes or berries on the top shelf or away from spinning arms. Hardy foods like root vegetables and potatoes can sustain the pressure of the bottom shelf.

You don’t need to use any soap, though feel free to use food-safe produce washes. Even a touch of vinegar in the detergent cap is OK for the rinse.

Keep Food Warm

When you need to keep cooked food warm but find yourself short on oven space (or without those warming drawers I’ve heard so much about), consider putting food in your dishwasher to keep it warm. Your dishwasher is essentially a large hot box if you think about its construction. It’s meant to keep the heat of hot water and drying mechanisms contained inside the machine so you can use that thermal capacity to your benefit.

If you need extra heat, you can run a drying cycle (no water) to heat up the food and dishwasher. Just be sure a rinse cycle won’t run before the drying cycle begins. No one likes a water-logged casserole.

Make Household Items Like New

Sticky vent fans, dusty flowers, dingy light fixture bulbs—all of these items can be easily washed in your dishwasher. The thick layer of dust that often settles on these out-of-sight-out-of-mind items needs to be rinsed away, but hand washing can be time-consuming. Use your dishwasher’s cleaning powers for good.

Be careful to not put thin glass items, heirlooms, or antiques in the dishwasher. Those should still be washed by hand.

Anything else should make it through a typical dishwasher cycle with no problem. If you have a lot of glass, consider using the gentle cycle so the shaking and rattling don’t cause any of the fixtures to bump into one another and crack.

Sanitize Kitchen Sponges

The thing you use to clean your kitchen needs to be cleaned, too. Instead of microwaving your sponge (which you can do for 60 seconds on high), just place the sponge in your next load that will end in a sanitizing cycle. The hot water and temps will kill lingering bacteria and make the sponge safe to use again.

If the sponge is small or the openings in your dishwasher trays are large, consider putting it in the silverware basket for safe keeping.

Make Dirty Shoes Shine

Rubber shoes like flip-flops, rain boots, and water shoes can be easily washed in your dishwasher. Canvas-topped sneakers with rubber soles can be safely washed in there, too. For added odor-busting measure, sprinkle the inside with a bit of baking soda the night before you plan to wash. Turn the shoe upside down over the garbage before you wash to remove any remaining residue.

To prevent water pooling, place these shoes horizontal to the dishwasher’s spraying arms. Be sure to remove any liners or orthopedic inserts. Don’t run the drying cycle. Put the shoes in a warm place to dry. It may take several days, but they’ll be like new again—or at least almost.

Things Your Dishwasher Could Do

50 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

Your ideal pantry should feel like a wonderland of endless recipe options. Are those shelves currently looking a little bare? These are the 50 essential staples you should always keep on hand

Dried or Canned Beans

DRIED OR CANNED BEANS

Pound-for-pound, dried beans are one of the best values on the shelf. No time to soak? Canned beans ain’t bad either. If you’re craving a cool dip for chips, a bowl of spicy chili or stick-to-your-ribs comfort, beans are your new best buddy:

Dried Pasta

DRIED PASTA

Whether long, twisted or tied in a bow, pasta is the ultimate vessel for homemade sauces. Tired of spaghetti with sweetened, canned ragu? The opportunities for combination and customization are endless. Try south-of-the-border flavors, a cool pasta salad or an umami-rich red sauce:

 

Canned Tuna

CANNED TUNA

Fancy sushi-grade ahi ain’t got nothing on this last-minute lunch staple. Whether we’re craving salad or melty cheese sandwiches, we’re not ashamed to open a can, mix it with mayo and enjoy for any meal of the day:

 

Olive Oil

OLIVE OIL

Olive oil is available in all prices. Use the cheap bottles for cooking and the more expensive oils for fresh sauces, dressings, and infusions. Real extra-virgin olive oil will burn slightly at the back of your throat, and will be smooth, not viscous or sticky on the tongue:

Tortillas

TORTILLAS

Taco Tuesday is over and you have leftover tortillas. Yes, you could use them to wrap up a burrito or some sliced turkey. But did you consider a macaroni and cheese quesadilla? Or that you could fry them up and make your own chips? Go forth and tortilla:

Chicken Stock

CHICKEN STOCK

Every kitchen should include some good stock, especially since it can replace water in almost any savory recipe and add a ton of flavor (ever tried boiling pasta in it?). It’s ideal for soups and stews and can turn any pan drippings into a sauce in no time.  I make my own and store it in the extra freezer in my garage.

Peanut Butter

PEANUT BUTTER

Yes, you can slather some peanut butter and jelly on bread and call it a day. But why not try your hand at Chinese-takeout-style peanut butter noodles or sweet-and-savory desserts? But for some reason, I always keep mine in the refrigerator.

Rice

RICE

You’ll find rice on the plates of the majority of human beings around the world. Whether you boil it, steam it, simmer it or fry it, rice is a staple food worth experimenting.  The question is: “How many types of rice do you keep in your pantry?”

 

Milk

MILK

If the gallon is on its last few days, don’t toss it! You can use the last of it in sauces and gravies, as well as to make fresh mozzarella and milkshakes. Ok, so this in the frig, not the pantry, unless you have a refrigerated pantry.

Lemons

LEMONS

You should have lemons on hand for both a beautiful kitchen centerpiece and to brighten up dishes like fish and chicken. Try them in this Greek lemon soup, rice or any yellow baked good.

Eggs

EGGS

Having eggs in the fridge is a no-brainer. They’re essential if you’re baking or making breakfast at home, but can also be utilized for easy sandwiches, quiche and more.

Tomato Sauce & Paste

TOMATO SAUCE & PASTE

You might look at a can of tomato sauce and only see pasta, but don’t sell its potential short! Sure, it’s necessary for staples like chicken parm and pizza, but what about as a topping for stuffed vegetables or as a base for your sloppy Joes?

Soy Sauce

SOY SAUCE

Sure, soy sauce is an obvious choice on top of your Chinese takeout, but what about as part of a sweet and salty glaze for chicken? Keep it in the pantry to use in any number of sauces, or just to flavor steamed rice whenever you forget to order fried:

Brown Sugar

BROWN SUGAR

Plain granulated ain’t got nothing on brown. An essential for baked goods, you can also sprinkle it on bacon for a sweet-savory-bacony twist on breakfast or dessert. Your box is hard as a rock? Microwave to soften.

Parmesan Cheese

PARMESAN CHEESE

It’s salty, it’s nutty, it’s cheese a trifecta of deliciousness! Consider keeping extra in the fridge so you can transform almost protein into a parm. Plus, if you don’t have it, what are you putting on top of your pasta? I buy Reggiano Parmesano and freeze it when there is a sale.

Breadcrumbs

BREADCRUMBS

Breadcrumbs provide an unreal softness and lightness when mixed into meatballs, and Japanese-style panko is best for adding a crispy crunch to baked or fried foods.

Onions

ONIONS

Keep your onions in a dry, cool and dark place (away from the potatoes!) and they’ll last for months. Months during which you can caramelize them, fry them or serve them fresh:

Honey

HONEY

Great for sauces or as a sweetener for tea, oatmeal, yogurt, lemonade and more, this buzz-worthy liquid is the bee’s knees.

Vanilla Extract

VANILLA EXTRACT

There’s no knowing why vanilla became synonymous with bland. The extract from this ancient Mesoamerican bean is complex and fragrant, and is perfect when baked into creme brulee or broiled on grapefruits.

Balsamic Vinegar

BALSAMIC VINEGAR

If you’ve ever made your own salad dressing, you’re probably familiar with this Italian condiment. Balsamic vinegar is a perfect complement to fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, works magic in marinades and can be reduced to a syrup and used as a garnish.

Lentils

LENTILS

Is that box of lentils languishing in the back of your cabinet? Time to pull it out. Lentils are the perfect legumes for making protein-rich soups, salads and cookies.

Barbecue Sauce

BARBECUE SAUCE

In addition to being the one condiment you must have for grilling season, barbecue sauce is an easy out when you need lots of flavor without lots of work. Some of our favorite things to slather it on include pizza, chicken wings, and even savory muffins.

Greek Yogurt

GREEK YOGURT

Besides being a healthy staple for breakfast or a snack, Greek yogurt can also be used up in a marinade for chicken, as a creamy addition in soup or even in pancake batter. And don’t forget about tzatziki!

Cocoa Powder

COCOA POWDER

Cocoa powder might be the perfect chocolate boost for brownies and cakes, but try it in Mexican food to bring it back to its roots. Mole sauces and spicy Mexican hot chocolate are some traditional options.

Maple Syrup

MAPLE SYRUP

Don’t have a maple tree tapped in your backyard? Good thing you’ve got Canada (and Vermont) to pick up the slack. Use this sweet nectar to flavor everything from scones to French fries to roasted meats.

Potatoes

POTATOES

This humble Peruvian tuber is a staple in most all of the world’s cuisines. It can be prepared in every way imaginable and will last for months if stored in a dark, cool place (away from the onions!).

 

CURRY PASTE & POWDER

Whether you’re using paste or powder, curry is a great flavoring agent for sauces, soups and marinades. Looking for the ultimate quick fix? Curry + coconut milk = instant awesome:

FROZEN PEAS

Finish off almost any pasta with frozen peas, add them into a pot pie, or toss them into a salad. Any way you slice it, your freezer should definitely have a few bags of these at all times.

CANNED SALSA

Unlock the potential of salsa by piling it on top of your burgers, adding it in with slow-cooked meats and even mixing it into your rice. Bonus: it doesn’t take up fridge space until you’ve opened it.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Not many ingredients are as versatile as Worcestershire. It adds a salty, garlicky flavor to meat, so it’s ideal for marinades and sauces.

FROZEN SHRIMP

Shrimp is one of the quickest-cooking proteins out there, so when you’re short on time, tap into its amazingness by sauteeing it and serving over rice. And don’t forget about shrimp when you’re entertaining—they’re often at their best when served cold.

PIZZA DOUGH

Pizza dough is just for pizza, right? Wrong. You can use it to make cinnamon rolls, one-bite appetizers or just some cheesy breadsticks. Plus, it keeps in the freezer for at least a few months.

JAM & PRESERVES

Supplies for emergency PB&Js should always be in your pantry, but the buck doesn’t stop there when it comes to jams, jellies and preserves. You can easily amp-up any dessert with them, or even use them in a sweet and savory sauce for meatballs.

GRAINS

We all love our rices and our pastas, but sometimes we like to move into uncharted territory with starches. Have an adventure with farro, couscous, and quinoa in these grain salads.

MUSTARD

If you haven’t explored the mustard world lately, you’re really missing out. There are tons of different varieties and you can use them to add a tanginess to almost any meat, not to mention roasted veggie and sandwich possibilities.

DRIED FRUIT

Sucking the water out of fruit not only makes for highly concentrated flavors, it also renders fruits shelf-stable. Store them in the cupboard and use to sweeten baked goods, veggie dishes, grain salads, and stews.

CANNED TOMATOES

Odds are you’ve got your own ideas about what to do with a can of tomatoes. When it comes to using this pantry essential the options may be endless, but here are some of our favorites.

CORNBREAD MIX

Did you think cornbread mix was just for making cornbread? Silly goose. You’ve been missing out on some revelatory casseroles and biscuits! Oh, and don’t forget about the hot dogs and sausages you could have been dipping. I just keep cornmeal, as I make my own cornbread – so easy!

BACON

It’s a proven fact that bacon makes everything better (we’ve studied it), so you should definitely keep some in the fridge for testing that thesis. You can even add it to desserts for a salty twist, like this bacon brittle. I don’t use it often enough to keep in the refrigerator, so I freeze it.

CANNED ARTICHOKE HEARTS

Didn’t make as much artichoke dip as you expected? Try baking artichoke hearts into a casserole, spreading them over bread with some cheese or just sauteing them with chicken.

MAYO

Mayo is the base of so many delicious things that it’s almost impossible to not have some in the fridge. What would the world be without chipotle mayo or chicken salad?

PICKLES

Still, have the same jar of pickles from last summer’s barbecue season in the back of your fridge? Pull them out and get to work on some party snacks, dips or even just fried pickle chips.

HOT SAUCE

Firstly, if you can keep a bottle of hot sauce for more than a month without using it, congrats you’re stronger than we are. But if you do find that bottle lingering, fear not, because you can buffalo just about anything (chicken, pizza, fries, your whole life).

COCONUT MILK

You want to whip up a boxed cake but you want it to taste homemade good thing you’ve got coconut milk in the pantry. Use it in place of the liquids to give any baked good extra flavor, or to amp-up stir-fries and seafood.

FROZEN BERRIES

It’s impossible to keep yourself stocked with fresh berries all the time, so head for the frozen variety. Did you know freezing the fruit actually locks in its nutrients? Use berries for frozen drinks, pies and even homemade sorbet.

POPCORN

Goodbye, movie theater butter, you’re old news. Spice up your life with spiced popcorn or try something crazy and bake those fluffy popped kernels into cookies. I love grated parmesan cheese with my popcorn.

NUTS

Protein-packed and ready to eat, nuts are a staple in any pantry. If you’re not into them as a snack on their own, try crusting fish with them, or trying your hand at making peanut butter.  I store these in the freezer, so they do not go rancid.

OATS

Rich with essential nutrients, versatile in their uses and easy to prepare, oats make for an ideal breakfast. Eat them as a porridge, cooked into pancakes or blended into a smoothie:

PUFF PASTRY

Puff pastry is like the blank canvas of foods that you can transform completely with the addition of almost anything. Wrap it around chicken and asparagus for a new take on the chicken roll, or use it as a base for inventive pastries.

Most of all, have fun in the kitchen with what you can store in your pantry or refrigerator or in my case, your extra freezer.

 

50 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

A trick to Opening a Bottle of Champagne

NTK: The Easiest Way to Open a Bottle of Champagne Video

Don’t be that person at the New Year’s party popping a bottle of bubbly somebody’s face. We’re all for free-flowing Champagne, but we’d also like to see out of both eyes come to the New Year. Here’s the right way to open that bottle and avoid a party foul:

① Remove the foil wrapper. Some slide off with a twist, and others require a little knife work.

② Untwist the wire cage and remove it from the bottle.

③ Twist the bottle, not the cork. The pressure in the bottle will start pushing the cork out.

Put your other hand or a towel over the cork to stop it from shooting out with a bang.

④ Keep your hand in place to prevent the cork from flying.

Watch the video for a full demonstration. It’s so easy you’ll start volunteering your bottle-opening services at every party. Plus, it’s a good way to make sure you get the first pour. Cheers!

A trick to Opening a Bottle of Champagne

Save Your Soup?

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Don’t pour your too-salty soup, stew, or sauce down the drain fix it by trying these clever tricks instead.

Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re making a batch of homemade chicken soup for dinner. The recipe calls for two teaspoons of salt but all of a sudden, the salt shaker gets away from you. You realize you’ve added way more than the recipe actually needs. Crossing your fingers no one will notice, you give the soup a taste.

Yuck. Too salty.   

No! You don’t have to throw in the towel just yet. Luckily, there’s more than one way to fix a batch of too-salty soup, chili, chowder, stew, pasta sauce, and more. However, some methods work better than others and some don’t really work at all. Below, find several ways you may have heard for fixing over-salted food, and which ones work the best.

Increase the amount of non-salty ingredients.

This solution is labor-intensive, but it’s also the most effective way to diminish an overly salty flavor from a dish. By increasing the quantity of your main non-salty ingredients, the concentration or flavor of the salt will diminish.

So you’re making a creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup, increasing the number of carrots and ginger should help tame all of that saltiness. However, keep in mind that you’re basically re-making the entire dish again, which is a bit of work.

Add salt-free stock or water.

If you’re dealing with a salty soup or sauce, adding salt-free stock or water is the quickest way to fix it. Make sure to choose an appropriately flavored stock (i.e. don’t use beef stock in a chicken soup) so you don’t completely alter the recipe.

Or, if it is a chunky soup, drain and discard about half of the salty broth, leaving the vegetables and meat. Replace the discarded broth with new stock or water. Additionally, you can further decrease the concentration of salt by adding more vegetables and/or meat to your doctored soup.

Mask the saltiness with an acidic or sweet ingredient.

Depending on how oversalted the dish actually is, you may be able to use other strong flavors to bring down the perception of the saltiness. Adding an acidic or sweet ingredient may help downplay the saltiness, but you’ll likely create a completely new dish in the process. Here are a few ideas:

Acidic: Lemon, vinegar, lemon or lime zest, tomatoes

Sweet: Fruit, carrots, honey, sugar

If you have the time and flexibility, this experiment is worth a try, but bear mind that it may or may not save you from tossing the entire thing.

Add a whole potato—or not.

Sorry when you want to fix a dish that’s too salty, adding a potato just won’t do the trick. Believe what you want, but potatoes are not magical‚ and certainly not capable of selectively sucking the salt out of your soup.

In his wonderful book on food science, What Einstein Told His Cook, Robert Wolke actually proves scientifically that adding a potato does not alter the concentration of salt in the water. (Give it a read it to find out exactly how he does it!) So save your precious potatoes and make the Perfect Baked Potato or these Silky-Smooth Mashed Potatoes instead.

 

Save Your Soup?

 Useful Things I Learned in the Kitchen

There are definitely cooking “rules”. But there are lots of things that were drilled into me in school and later in restaurants that I still swear by to this day, and use in my kitchen at home.

The time, money, and commitment of culinary school aren’t worth it for everyone, but there are certain culinary school tips and techniques that anyone can put into practice at home without spending a single day in (or dime on!) a white chef’s coat. Here are the most useful things I learned.

1. Sharpen your knives.

The first thing we did in culinary school was learning how to chop carrots and onions. The second thing? Learn how to properly sharpen a knife. It’s important to realize that a sharp knife makes chopping so much faster and easier. (Plus, you don’t need to use as much force when your knife is sharp, which means it’s safer, too.) Plenty of kitchen specialty stores, like Sur La Table, will sharpen your knives for a reasonable price — so it’s worth bringing them in when they’re getting dull.

2. Use the right peeler for the job.

If peeling vegetables feels like it takes forever, it’s probably because you’re using the wrong peeler. My advice? Throw away the rusty swivel one that’s been sitting in your drawer for years and order a three-pack of these Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers. They’re a culinary school favorite for a reason: The Y-shape makes them more comfortable to handle, and a sharp peeler makes food prep way easier. They’re also cheap enough so that when one gets dull, you can switch it out for a new one.

3. Embrace the practice of mise en place.

The French term translates to “putting in place,” and it refers to getting all of your ingredients out, measured, and prepped before you start cooking. This is how restaurant kitchens get food out so quickly and efficiently. And while you don’t need to be quite so exacting at home, it’s much easier to follow a recipe when your ingredients are all ready to go in advance.

4. Dry meat and fish with paper towels before you cook it for extra-crispy skin.

In fact, you should be drying meat and fish with paper towels before you cook it no matter what. For skin to crisp, you need to get rid of as much moisture as possible — because moisture and steam kill any chance of crisping and browning. This will also prevent the meat and skin from sticking to the pan as it cooks, which is the absolute worst.

5. Don’t default to always cranking up the heat.

Even if you want food in a hurry, ramping up the heat to high isn’t always the best way. Slowly sautéing aromatics like onions, shallots, or garlic in oil over medium-low heat will bring out more flavor and will keep them from burning and getting bitter. Cooking meat or veggies over medium heat will give them time to cook all the way through without burning on the outside. Simmering soups or braises instead of boiling them will cook the ingredients and meld the flavors without making meat tough, or breaking veggies apart.

6. Put some thought into how you cut your vegetables.

Those fancy vegetable cuts you see in nice restaurants? There’s a reasoning behind them besides just looking impressive. Smaller cuts will cook quicker than big ones, so using a mix of both can vary the texture of a dish. And veggies cut on a diagonal will be al dente on the thicker end and soft on the thinner end, which can make them more satisfying to eat.

7. Give yourself enough space to prep, even in cramped kitchens.

Space is tight in restaurant kitchens especially.  Give yourself enough space by clearing the countertop of everything you’re not using appliances, flower vases, mail you put down and forgot about before you start.

8. Clean as you go.

You’ve heard this before, but a clean station is so much easier to work in. Wipe down your cutting board after you finish prepping each ingredient. Put pots, pans, and utensils in the sink or dishwasher as soon as you’re done using them. And wash your hands often.

9. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Food can’t caramelize or brown in a crowded pan. A handful of sliced mushrooms cooked in a hot pan with a layer of oil will come out brown, crisp, and deeply flavored. A whole pint of sliced mushrooms cooked in the same pan and the same oil will come out pale, gray, soggy, and far less flavorful. Same goes for roasted vegetables on a sheet pan, or browned meat in a cast iron skillet. Piling ingredients on top of each other create moisture that gets trapped which means your food will steam instead of crisping or browning.

 

10. Get yourself a bench scraper.

I often see beginner cooks use their knife to scrape whatever they’ve finished chopping across their cutting board and into a bowl. Don’t do that! Not only is it a bit dangerous, but it’ll also quickly dull your blade. Instead, invest in a $4 bench scraper and use it to scoop up food scraps and transfer things from your cutting board to pots and pans.

11. Know your fats — and what each can (and can’t) do.

Butter is delicious, and we used a lot of it at my French-based culinary school. But butter can’t stand up to high heat since the milk solids in it (which make it delicious) can burn. All oils aren’t created equal, either. Neutral oils, like canola or vegetable oil, don’t add any flavor but are perfect for high-heat methods like roasting, frying, and pan-searing because they can stand up to high temperatures without burning. Flavorful oils like high-quality olive oil, avocado oil, and pumpkin seed oil are less suited for high heat and are better used in salad dressings, or for finishing dishes once they’re cooked.

12. Baste fish to keep it moist as it cooks.

Basting pan-seared fish is one fancy trick I swear by. When your fish is almost cooked, add a big pat of butter to the pan and let it melt. Turn the heat down and gently spoon the melted butter over the fish. The hot butter will cook the top of the fish without drying it out, and it’ll add a ton of flavor.

13. Never toss leftover bones or veggie scraps.

When it comes to making stock, leftover bones and scraps are kitchen gold. You can make chicken stock with nothing but bones if you want. You can also make beef stock with beef bones, fish stock with fish bones and scraps, and so on. Not only is it cheaper than buying stock, but it’s also often tastier, and lets you cut down on waste. These days, I collect bones and vegetable scraps in a sealed gallon bag in my freezer, then make a few quarts of stock every time the bag fills up. You should, too!

14. When in doubt, add salt.

You know you like salt, but did you ever stop to think about why? Salt brings out the flavor, which means well-salted food tastes more like itself than under-salted food. To really maximize all the flavors in a recipe, season with a bit of salt every time you add a new ingredient.

15. And if you added too much salt? Add acid.

If something tastes too rich or heavy, a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can liven it up. Acid also cuts through salt, so if you’ve accidentally over-salted something just a little bit (which, to be honest, happens often in culinary school), you can usually save it by adding acid.

Your turn! What’s your most useful all-purpose tip for the kitchen?

 Useful Things I Learned in the Kitchen

Oh No, I Can Do It All Myself!

I was recently asked to write an article on why you should hire a professional interior designer.  Hope you enjoy the article.

“The Devil is in the Detail”.  Ever heard that phrase and wondered exactly what it meant?  In short, something may seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected.  HGTV design shows are a great example of this, as they make it all seem so simple, but what you don’t see are the people behind the scenes making everything happen and making it look simple and easy.  They are the ones that know all the details.  Designing a space looks so simple till you actually start designing it. Making a space look beautiful and actually be functional are one in the same and two very different things.

 

A qualified interior designer will listen carefully to what you hope to accomplish in a space and will work with you to get the look you want, in the budget you want, and, in the end, it will function how you wanted it to all along. Designers do this every day, so they have “great resources”.  Even the term is now archaic. I used to tell my interior design college students to pull together your million-dollar Rolodex.  Now It would be your “Million Dollar Contact List”, but you get the idea; designers have a lot more resources than you do.  They have worked for a long time to pull together an extensive network that gets the job done for you in the best way possible.

 

Oh no, but interior designers charge you for their time.  Let’s see, do you complain about paying your lawyer, accountant, doctor or even your gardener?  They all help to make your life easier and simpler. They are knowledgeable and in the long run, save you time and money. Using a professional interior designer does exactly the same thing.  You tell them what you like, and they find just the perfect finishes and people to get the job done.  You might have paid a little money, but you have not been running all over trying to find sources for what you need to be done.

 

The internet is fabulous for finding new and interesting products, but you have not seen or touched them so you might be in for a surprise when they actually arrive.  Your designer has worked with the materials and fabricator and knows how to get them at a better price. They will save you money in the long run.  There is no promise that a mistake will “never” be made, but the chances become slimmer with the experience of the designer.

 

People get caught up in trends. Designers will help you access what trends are classic and will be around for a long time versus the here today and gone tomorrow ones. They will help you have a chic space that will look wonderful for a long time. They will share with you what can work in your environment and what may not. In other words, put the polka dots where the polka dots look good, and that might be in a closet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love polka dots, just not in my living room.

 

Professional interior designers work with you to have a solid plan of action and know how to get it done in an efficient manner. They can bridge the gap that may come up with you and your architect or builder if you are building a new home or remodeling an older home. They know the language and can work to get everything in the right place.  It is not just furniture, but the lighting and so much more, even down to proper outlet placement. They can see the space in different creative eyes and bring it all together, so it works for you. They know that you are the one going to live there, so it should work for you more than for your builder and/or architect. Interior designers work with you to give you a home that meets your criteria, looks wonderful and at the same time functions exactly as you hope it would.

 

Interior Design is an interesting form of art. Some say that interior designers have to phycologists in addition to being designers. Part of what makes the best designer is the ability to listen and really hear what the client wants even when the client may not truly know what they want.  It is the magic of taking an education in the principles of design, the history of design styles both historical and modern and pulling everything together seamlessly to create your perfect environment. Designing a beautiful living space takes skill and vision is so much more difficult than many people think.

 

How many times in your life have you gone into a space that was either overcrowded with furniture, all the furniture was matchy-matchy, or the space just did not feel inviting? If you could not figure out what to do in that space, then going forward you should hire a qualified interior designer.

by Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley ASID. IIDA. NCIDQ certified. NKBA

Oh No, I Can Do It All Myself!

Add a little character to your kitchen

60 Kitchen Island Ideas That Serve Up Style and Functionality
These images of our favorite kitchen island ideas are sure to stir up design inspiration with fun, functional features around seating, storage, and more.

Kitchen islands are critical components in any kitchen. A multipurpose surface, they allow prep work, cooking, eating, working, and entertaining. For that reason, they’re also one of the most requested features in homes, both in purchases and renovations, but kitchen islands can vary tremendously in size and style, and aren’t right for every home.

Kitchen and White Cabinet The idea for Simon Pillard and Philippe Rossetti’s Lego kitchen island in Paris sprouted when Pillard put 500 blocks and a day’s worth of work into building a Lego-legged chair. They covered their kitchen island—a simple wooden block—with 20,000 Lego pieces.
I am not this big a fan of Legos, but someone might be….

If you’re considering a new kitchen or renovation, it’s important to think about how you envision using the island, given other factors that might be at play in the kitchen. For example, a kitchen island typically requires about 36″ between the edge of the island and the edge of the countertop, so an island is unlikely to work well in a very long, narrow kitchen. If you’re planning on having multiple people working in the kitchen at once, then 42″ to 48″ should be your goal. This also goes for spaces around appliances like a sink, stove, or dishwasher, so if you’d like to integrate a sink into the island, you’ll want to plan accordingly.

In terms of the width of an island, that also depends on how you’re planning on using it, and what utilities you may want to incorporate. A typical countertop is 24″ deep, and this goes for a basic kitchen island with no seating as well. However, if you’re incorporating appliances like a cooktop into the island, you should add a minimum of 8″ to this depth; most designers usually assume about 36″ to 42″ in depth for an island, but this can vary based on the size of the kitchen and planned use. In terms of length, the average size of a kitchen island is about 3’ by 6.5’, but this can always vary.

Here are lots of ideas with just photos!  Have fun looking and getting ideas.

 

60 Kitchen Island Ideas That Serve Up Style and Functionality - Photo 2 of 62 -

If your dream kitchen incorporates an island, and you’re worried you just don’t have room, think of other options, like a mobile island on castor wheels that can be moved about the space, or an island that’s only 18″ deep and a bit shorter than most.

Still not sure what exactly you’re looking for in your own kitchen island, or looking for ideas and inspiration? Read on to see 60 stylish kitchens with islands, each addressing the needs and spaces of each home—everything from wheels to sinks, and cooktops to book storage. We’ll take a look at islands that demonstrate these ideas:

  • Add creative seating
  •  Incorporate a sink
  •  Include a built-in stove for cooking
  •  Offer a bar or wine rack/fridge for entertaining
  • Gain space with clever storage

Dining Room, Bar, Stools, Pendant Lighting, and Light Hardwood Floor Jean-Christophe Aumas’ multihued Paris apartment houses both the highly sought artistic director and the stunning assemblage of furniture he’s brought back from his travels. Aumas designed the kitchen island, which is covered in marble tiles from Carrelages du Marais—the geometric floor tiles are from the same place—and strung the matrix of lights up above it. The barstools by Charlotte Perriand were discovered in a vintage store in Antwerp, Belgium. The green wall is covered in paint from Emery & Cie.

Kitchen, Stone Counter, Wood Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Cooktops, and Undermount Sink When architect Jaspar Jansen and his colleagues at i29 Interior Architects were commissioned to renovate a former garage in the central part of town, he sought to bring the outdoors in with natural finishes and colors. The kitchen features custom cabinetry and a large sliding door, both made from oak, that provides recessed storage space. A Foscarini Gregg Pendant hangs above the kitchen table and another over the island, which is made of oak with a thin, black stone countertop.

Kitchen, Glass Tile Backsplashe, Pendant Lighting, Granite Counter, Track Lighting, and Undermount Sink In New York about two hours north of New York City, architecture and interiors firm BarlisWedlick created an eclectic compound designed to suit a client with an idiosyncratic wish list. In the kitchen, a custom Stickbulb LED lamp hangs above a kitchen island topped by concrete from Get Real Surfaces. The cabinets and island feature a modern version of a traditional board and batten siding that are given an even more contemporary feel with the concrete countertop.

Kitchen, Track Lighting, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Concrete Floor, Wood Cabinet, Undermount Sink, and Pendant Lighting At a home about half an hour from Lake Tahoe, architect Jack Hawkins and interior designer Cheryl Chenault built a house that would support their clients’ unique requirements in a home that would be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. In the kitchen, two islands, one in the shape of an L and the other a smaller rectangular island, are layered table over one portion create generous space to spread out. Norman Cherner barstools from Design Within Reach line the island in the kitchen, which is crowned by an open loft office. The faucets are from Dornbracht; the countertops are Caesarstone. Hawkins integrated a steel-clad casual eating nook, at left.

 

Kitchen and Wood Cabinet In Roanoke Park, a neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, architect Matthew Hufft designed a home for his family that drew on the surrounding traditional homes. In the kitchen, Bertoia barstools are tucked under a custom honed-granite two-level kitchen island by a local company, Carthage Stoneworks. Hufft’s team designed and built the larch cabinets. The appliances are by Thermador.

 

Kitchen, White Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Range Hood, Range, and Drop In Sink The updated kitchen features a bright white palette. The countertop is Caesarstone's Blizzard surface and the stools are Crate and Barrel. The range hood is Futuro, the refrigerator is LG, and the dishwasher is Bosch.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Open Cabinet, Range, Range Hood, Refrigerator, and Dark Hardwood The firm opened up the closed off kitchen, orienting it in the center of the living space.

Kitchen, Marble Counter, Marble Backsplashe, Range Hood, Range, and Open Cabinet Custom kitchen cabinets designed by Pulltab and fabricated by Maciek Winiarczyk hold mostly vintage ironstone that Geiger has found at flea markets and estate sales over the past 20 years. "I love white," she says, "because I think food always looks better on it." She also collects vintage wooden cutting boards, shown resting against the marble tile backsplash from Stone Source.

White on white

Kitchen, Undermount Sink, Range Hood, Range, Wood Cabinet, Light Hardwood Floor, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Recessed Lighting, and Wood Counter Movable and space-saving design elements define this creative family home in the Mission District. The kitchen was given an economical revamp by adding new drawer and door fronts to the existing cabinet boxes. Countertops were replaced with custom fabricated white oak butcher block surfaces, and a complementary white oak kitchen island was installed. A Wolf range, Vent-a-Hood hood, Franke stainless steel sink, and Bosch dishwasher complete the space.

Kitchen, Stone Counter, White Cabinet, and Dark Hardwood For a 1,500-square-foot condo in the Meatpacking District, Reddymade Design reconfigured the space to merge the kitchen, dining room, and living room into an open-plan arrangement. In the kitchen, the island unit is a modular piece by USM with a Vermont Black slate countertop. The Harry Bertoia stools are from Design Within Reach. The backsplash features Delft tiles, and the stove and range is Bertazzoni.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, and Ceiling Lighting With three sons in the family, the kitchen gets a lot of use. Hee barstools by Hee Welling for Hay slide up to a multi-functioning island where the family gathers to eat, study and play.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Recessed Lighting, Metal Cabinet, and Metal Backsplashe In this kitchen and dining room, architect Bergendy Cooke rethought traditional wood panelling using black pigment-stained veneer. The kitchen has expansive surfaces, including a long, wood-topped kitchen island where the couple cook and entertain, and where the children eat and play. "All of the materials were selected for their integrity and longevity," says Bergendy.

Kitchen, Range Hood, Marble Counter, Pendant Lighting, Range, White Cabinet, Undermount Sink, Medium Hardwood Floor, Marble Backsplashe, and Recessed Lighting The renovation of a 2,000-square-foot property updates a century-old design for a family of four. "We placed the kitchen at the center of the house to link with the dining room and the outdoor space," Moreau says. In the kitchen, a Wolf oven brings out the silver details in Coit’s Bianco Cararra backsplash and island. Hee bar stools by Hay are lined under the island.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, Wood Cabinet, Range Hood, and Range By eliminating walls and incorporating a series of interior gardens, architect José Roberto Paredes creates an eclectic and inspired El Salvador beach house. In the kitchen, rough-hewn materials like a eucalyptus-log-and-thatch roof offset the monolithic concrete island and glossy subway tile backsplash. Claudia & Harry Washington built the vivid wooden sliding walls, which are inspired by the palm leaves that change color and create diagonal patterns in trees near the house. The bar stools were a street market discovery.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, and White Cabinet A new kitchen at the front of the house completes the trifecta of reworked rooms on the main level. It fits nicely into the notion of balancing new and old elements throughout the house, with oak detailing married to exposed brick, offset by strip lamps. The Hee bar stools are by HAY, the Caravaggio P3 pendants are by Light Years, and the range oven is from Britannia.

Kitchen, Refrigerator, Cooktops, Wood Cabinet, Concrete Counter, White Cabinet, Dark Hardwood, Recessed Lighting, Wall Oven, and Undermount Sink Australian expats Carla and Paul Tucker tasked designer Dan Gayfer with expanding their Melbourne bungalow without adding any square footage. In the kitchen, a soft palette of wood, laminate, and tile created cohesion, impressive considering the clients didn’t see a single finish, color, or material in person prior to their homecoming. The kitchen cabinets were clad in Russian birch plywood, and the countertops were concrete.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Medium Hardwood Floor, White Cabinet, Range Hood, Range, Vessel Sink, Pendant Lighting, and Recessed Lighting A couple takes a minimalist approach to their Brooklyn apartment, focusing on supple materials, subtle gradations of color, and custom finishes by local craftsmen. The Mandayam–Vohra family gathers under one of Workstead’s signature three-arm chandeliers, shown here in its horizontal configuration. Bartenschlager designed the white cabinets and is responsible for the walnut counters both on the kitchen island and near the stove.

Kitchen, White Cabinet, Range Hood, Wall Oven, and Cooktops Painters accomplished the high-gloss finish on the cabinets of a kitchen in San Francisco by applying a coat of paint, polishing it with very high-grit sandpaper, repeating the process for each layer, then topping it with three coats of clear varnish. "It’s like an auto body," says builder Jeff King. "It’s incredibly beautiful." The island provides shelving space and storage as well as a second sink, an is topped with pietra grigio marble.

Kitchen, Metal Counter, Metal Cabinet, Drop In Sink, Range Hood, Wall Oven, Open Cabinet, Table Lighting, and Range The acclaimed Italian designers Ludovica+Roberto Palomba carved a serene retreat out of a 17th-century oil mill in Salento, Italy, filling it with custom creations and their greatest hits. In their minimalist kitchen: sleek steel cabinet systems and the Kono range hood from Elmar. The multi-functional stainless steel island measures 20" deep and was designed by the couple for Elmar.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, Refrigerator, and Colorful Cabinet Guess used inexpensive graded pine plywood so that he would get heavy grain patterns on the surfaces. One of the main goals in the kitchen was simplicity. To that end, he opted for a poured-in-place concrete island. "We didn’t know if we could afford to do that, but we found a great subcontractor [Nate Francis of Countertop Creations] here who had never really built anything like that," Guess says. "Because he was interested in giving it a shot and adding it to his portfolio, he didn’t charge an exorbitant amount of money because it was sort of an experiment for him as well." The kitchen features a GE Profile refrigerator and KitchenAid range, microwave, and dishwasher. The sink and faucet are from Kohler. The project's builder was Joe Doherty with Custom Homecrafters of Austin.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, White Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Range, Terrazzo Floor, Wall Oven, Refrigerator, and Drop In Sink The dining room is delineated from the kitchen by a long kitchen island with a higher partition between the two spaces. The island provides storage along its length, with exposed shelving at the ends. The drum lighting pendants by Axiom were also made using local timber.

Kitchen and Marble Counter For the kitchen, American cherry wood was used to create cabinets that establish a warm and sturdy tone. Each piece of lumber was purchased at auction by the Brillharts and stored in New Hampshire, before being shipped to Miami and milled on site. The wood island is painted black to provide a point of visual contrast. Himalayan marble countertops and stainless steel appliances lend moments of clean modernism to the kitchen, which is flooded with bright light thanks to patio windows that open to the yard.

Kitchen, Marble Counter, White Cabinet, Concrete Floor, Wood Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Undermount Sink, Recessed Lighting, and Cooktops The entire living and dining space features tough polished concrete floors. The architects intentionally contrasted the darker concrete and veneered pantry against the neutral white walls and marble. This color play runs through the renovated areas.

Kitchen, Metal Counter, Plywood, and Pendant Lighting Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera, co-founders of interdisciplinary design firm MARK + VIVI, happily took on the challenge of building their dream home in a transitioning Montreal neighborhood. The couple's kitchen is an exercise in both sustainability and creativity. The island is wrapped with reclaimed scrap wood uncovered from the house during demolition. Chalkboard walls provide a whimsical canvas for graphic images and notes. Stainless steel was selected for the kitchen countertops, and the pair relied on a local industrial sheet metal fabricator to help them prepare the material for residential application. The mix of warm and cool adds depth and dimension to the space.

Kitchen In this kitchen in Australia, a freestanding island is lit by a skylight and track lighting, while the texture and color of the siding of the island provide a marked contrast to the dark cabinetry of the rest of the kitchen. An oversized sink makes the island an ideal prep space.

Kitchen Two sinks with angular faucets make this white and wood kitchen island the main prep area in this California kitchen. A long kitchen table protrudes out from the island in a contrasting dark stone with polished nickel legs for a strong visual demarcation between the island and the table, although the two are physically connected.

Kitchen, Light Hardwood Floor, Pendant Lighting, Wood Cabinet, Cooktops, and Metal Counter Twin daughters Merle and Anine join their parents in the family’s kitchen, designed by Jensen for Vipp. He explains that his role as chief designer at Vipp is to "work with their DNA" by refining the company’s trademark materials: stainless steel, painted metal, and rubber. For the utilitarian kitchen, "we wanted to get the feeling of a tool," he says. "It’s nice to have a space where you can actually work." The gas stovetop is by ABK and the refrigerator is by Smeg; Le Perroquet spotlights are from iGuzzini.

Kitchen, Ceiling Lighting, Undermount Sink, Quartzite Counter, White Cabinet, Refrigerator, Laminate, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Range Sitting on a spot that provides a commanding view of the ocean and hills beyond, this California home underwent a major renovation of the kitchen after the homeowners purchased it in foreclosure. A new entry space was created out of an unused hallway and the glazed door and side panels let in even more light, and the all-white kitchen with white countertops and cabinets features an oversized sink.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, Cooktops, and Wall Oven At a seaside New Zealand house, the simple kitchen has strandboard cabinetry and an MDF island that conceals a fireplace at one end. The bright green cabinetry of the island are a happy pop of color that references the native greenery outside.

Kitchen, Engineered Quartz Counter, Cooktops, and Undermount Sink With clever storage and a retractable skylight, a London apartment designed by metalworker and owner Simone ten Hompel and Roger Hynam of Rogeroger Design Solutions feels larger than its 576 square feet. The team worked in a uniquely collaborative way, with Ullmayer Sylvester planning the space, Hynam creating the built-in storage and the kitchen island, and ten Hompel making models and scrawling on the wall to better envision their proposals. The kitchen island features a compact cooktop by Whirlpool and an integrated drainboard incised into the countertop for easy cleaning.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Concrete Floor, Cooktops, Ceiling Lighting, and Drop In Sink The House of Earth + Light had been featured in the pages of the New York Times and on the cover of Dwell’s premiere issue, and was revisited years later. In the kitchen, an elegant palette of materials defines the open space. The rear counter is sanded stainless steel; the island counter is Purpleheart (an exotic hardwood) with a range by Dacor.

 

Kitchen In an apartment renovation in Tel Aviv by Maya Sheinberger, a white and black kitchen comes together in a white island with black base and black bar stools by infiniti.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Cooktops, and Range Hood A green laminate countertop by Abet Laminati is surrounded by Norman Foster’s Emeco 20-06 counter stools at the island in the kitchen, which has an integrated Frigidaire induction range, Faber Cylindra Isola range hood, Blomberg dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel fridge, and flat-grain fir plywood cabinets by Portland craftsman Doug Chamblin. A Louis Poulsen PH 5 pendant illuminates a Modernica Tenon Table and Eames Molded Plastic chairs with Eiffel bases. A George Nelson Ball Clock hangs nearby.

Kitchen In Chicago’s Lower West Side, editorial director Chelsea Jackson and and her chef husband Arthur renovated their fourth-floor condominium to include a custom Bulthaup kitchen. "We wanted to find a kitchen island that would be light enough to make the room seem large while still standing up to heavy-duty cooking," Chelsea notes. Calls to kitchen retailers were fruitless until Arthur reached the Bulthaup showroom, where the staff suggested he come check out a floor model of the discontinued System 20 kitchen. The stainless steel island, with its precise profile and gas cooktop, was exactly what the couple was after, and they bought it on the spot. A full Bulthaup kitchen—completed with components from the B3 range—would soon become the centerpiece of their new home.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Recessed Lighting, Refrigerator, Light Hardwood Floor, Ceiling Lighting, Range, Wall Oven, Range Hood, and Drop In Sink In the kitchen, an island countertop serves as a mixed-use area for cooking, storage, and seating for up to five people. The room opens up to an outdoor dining area.

Kitchen, White Cabinet, and Metal Counter A Boston loft in a former textile factory receives a minimal, efficient kitchen at the hands of Bunker Workshop. In the kitchen, the island features a stainless steel countertop with a gas cooktop, oven, and a brick half wall.

Kitchen, Granite Counter, Range Hood, Range, and Wood Cabinet A pair of environmentally attuned architects combined adjoining properties in a Los Angeles canyon to house their modernist menagerie. With exposed industrial materials for finishes, the interior includes hand-troweled, waxed concrete floors, Douglas fir beams, and sealed-plywood ceilings. The open kitchen’s island, topped with soapstone, doubles as a bookcase for the living room.

Kitchen, Dark Hardwood, Wood Cabinet, Marble Counter, and Pendant Lighting A movable island, set on stainless steel casters, sits in the center of the kitchen. The Panasonic microwave is built into the cabinetry and the August pendant lights illuminating the island are by Uberhaus.

Kitchen, Granite Counter, White Cabinet, Range, and Range Hood Avid cooks, Jinhee and John spend part of every day around their custom-built kitchen island, surrounded by Compasso d’Oro barstools. The island is on castors, so it easily moves around the kitchen as needed. An edamame plant on their patio occasionally provides leaves for Korean dishes.

Kitchen, Ceiling Lighting, and Pendant Lighting A barrier-free house enables a family to come together amid the vineyards in Northern California. The kitchen is fully accessible and yet not institutional, with room for both extended family and a caregiver, and the ability to move between indoors and out without having to negotiate a single barrier. The island contains a micro kitchen for the family’s daughter, who is in a wheelchair, with a sink, refrigerator, and warming drawers within easy reach. The pendant is from Global Lighting.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, and Metal Counter Who says kitchen islands can’t work in small spaces too? A design-minded pair ensures that their tiny seaside getaway in Hampshire, England, is shipshape. At 538 square feet, this home is efficiently designed, with an interior that was influenced by the compact housing that you see in Japan. The kitchen and island have been sized to fit the small space, but the island’s minimal finishings keep it feeling appropriate. 

Kitchen At this home in Sun Valley, the clients wanted a modern house that would feel authentic to the high desert mountain landscape, in a style dubbed "mountain industrial." Everything that touches the earth is stone and board-formed concrete, and everything that projects out is steel and glass, down to the kitchen island, which features two levels, an integrated sink, custom cabinetry, and polished nickel hardware.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, and Recessed Lighting Smitten from the start with a 1970s concrete villa in rural Belgium, a resident and her designer embark on a sensitive renovation that excises the bad (carpeted walls, dark rooms) and highlights the good (idyllic setting, statement architecture). Owner Nathalie Vandemoortele worked with designer Renaud de Poorter on the interior renovations, which included opening up the heavy structure with the help of new windows and doors to the outside. A concrete bi-level island keeps the Brutalist vibe on the interior, but is open and light enough to feel balanced.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Slate, and Ceiling Lighting A short wall on the kitchen island hides clutter and keeps the straight lines of the design unmarred. Almost every lighting fixture, including the overhead Artemide Tolomeo light, is movable. The refrigerator and oven are from Fisher and Paykel.

 

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Medium Hardwood Floor, Wall Oven, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, and Pendant Lighting Aaron and Yuka Ruell transformed a 1950s Portland ranch house into a retro-inspired family home with plenty of spaces for their four children to roam. In the kitchen, interior designer Emily Knudsen Leland replaced purple laminate cabinets with flat-sawn eastern walnut, and added PentalQuartz countertops in polished Super White for contrast. The kitchen island is clad with original red tiles, and hanging cabinets above it were removed to maximize light and family-room views.

Kitchen A generously sized kitchen in a prefabricated home in Texas features crisp white cabinetry, contrasting with textured stone walls and a dark stone countertop. The kitchen features two islands that work together to form an L and a smaller rectangular island with castors sitting inside the L for additional prep space and mobility.

Kitchen At this home renovation in England, the architects kept the interiors minimal and stripped back, allowing for extra space to be used by the family as they pleased. A kitchen island with exposed plywood on the interior but painted on the exterior doubles up as a breakfast bar, and holds storage space for three Magis swivel beech barstools to be tucked away when not in use.

 

Kitchen At a home in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico that was designed as a collaboration between Gilberto L. Rodríguez, of GLR Arquitectos, and Alberto Campo Baeza, of Estudio Campo Baeza, the architects sought to pay homage to Mexican architect Luis Barragán. A strong presence of light and color are at play throughout the house, including the kitchen, where a clean white kitchen island covers bright neon yellow storage. The cabinets are translucent, seeming to glow from within, and provide a focal point in the otherwise white and black kitchen.

Kitchen Taking inspiration from barns, warehouses, Case Study Houses, and Japanese residential architecture, architect Marcus Lee and his wife, Rachel Hart—an architectural model maker—created a unique timber-framed home in Hackney, London. In the kitchen, the Corian kitchen island unit acts as a real hub with a television tucked away under the worktop. However, the kids sit at the island for breakfast and other meals, and when guests come, they end up sitting there and talking while the owners are cooking.

Kitchen On a sought after an idyllic island in the center of Amsterdam an old warehouse, formerly in use as a pillow factory and a garage has been converted to a warm and eclectic family home. The kitchen features a mixture of green tiles, green painted mullions, and exposed wood beams for a warm, soft feeling that contrast sharply with the more industrial stainless steel island. The kitchen island incorporates a stove top and storage, and benefits from natural light from the skylight overhead.

Kitchen, Laminate, Ceramic Tile Floor, Marble Backsplashe, and Pendant Lighting In a mountain retreat in the Czech Republic near the border with Germany, Martina Schultes designed a kitchen that brings the outside in, with wood plank paneling used on the walls and the kitchen island. The island and countertops are topped with black laminate, and the backsplash is a green marble.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, Rug, and Pendant Lighting By using color, wood, and polished concrete floors, this apartment in Berlin is full of personality. In the kitchen, polished statuario marble covers both the island's countertop and the backsplash in the custom kitchen cabinet block. PSLAB designed the light fixtures, and the island has open shelving incorporated into it for easy access to cookbooks and other reading material.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Marble Counter, Wood Cabinet, White Cabinet, Wall Oven, Range Hood, Refrigerator, Concrete Floor, Open Cabinet, Undermount Sink, Recessed Lighting, Range, and Subway Tile Backsplashe Architect Kevin Alter integrated wood from the original bungalow into the kitchen and covered the island in Carrara marble, with an interior clad in wood. A long table extends from the side of the island, and wine storage is integrated into one end of the island. New appliances include a Wolf range, a Broan hood, and a Miele oven and refrigerator. The Fucsia pendant lights are by Achille Castiglioni for Flos.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, and Pendant Lighting For a Toronto couple with a love of minimalist Japanese architecture, a sleek, storage-packed kitchen was the first priority in their home's renovation. In the kitchen, white oak used for the cabinets, kitchen island, and dining table is finished with double-boiled linseed oil, which can be reapplied by the homeowners as the wood mellows and patinas. The custom beveled edge for the island's "Blizzard" white Caesarstone countertop forgoes the standard one-inch countertop overhang to save on space and maintain a sleek feel. A Vola faucet is used with a sink by Mekal.

Kitchen, Refrigerator, Medium Hardwood Floor, Wall Oven, Ceiling Lighting, Quartzite Counter, and Pendant Lighting This apartment, overlooking the beautiful beach and the urban views of Tel Aviv, was built in the late 1990s and hadn't been renovated since, until designer Maya Sheinberger came in. The kitchen cabinets were chosen in a grey color with a matte finish and for the countertops, the designer chose a bright Dekton with marble texture. Above the kitchen island, which is used for cooking and for light family meals, are three wooden lighting fixtures by Israeli designer Ohad Benit. 

Tucked away in the woods of Denmark, furniture design company Kobenhavens Mobelsnedkeri designed this vacation retreat that boats a striking pitch-black kitchen island. The home features a restrained color palette complemented with natural touches; the floor is a delicate pale oak, which contrasts with the bold statement of the dark cabinets and island. 

Viola Park ranks high on the list of great, modern kitchen systems and offers a range of kitchen islands. Among the features in their islands is the Pivot Storage System, shown here. Mounted below the counter to preserve counter space, the wood bins can be outfitted as knife block, utensil holder, or garbage bin. The system conveniently keeps your utensils where you need them, without taking up much-valued counter space.

In Auckland, New Zealand, architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum braved a miniscule budget, withering looks from friends, and nasty nail-gun injuries to design and build their perfectly proportioned family home. The reflectivity of the brass kitchen island makes it seem to dematerialize.

Kitchen A young Vancouver family asked Falken Reynolds Interiors to convert their waterfront vacation home on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast into their primary residence. To facilitate livability for the foursome, an enlarged kitchen, complete with a large white island with wood hardware, was a major part of the renovation. 

Add a little character to your kitchen

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

soup.jpg I love making and eating soup when the weather turns cold.  Every year I just keep trying new ones.  When I am at the grocery store, I just look at all the different ingredients, grab a few and always find a recipe online that works.  It is kind of a fun challenge.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter ( I only had peanut butter with nuts, but just put it in the blender with the soup and it was great)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large Roma (plum) tomato, seeded and diced  (I only had cherry, so chopped fine and deseeded by wiping with a paper towel)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and lime zest. Set aside in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add sweet potatoes, and chicken stock. Season with cumin, chili flakes, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender. If using a countertop blender, puree in small batches, filling the blender just a bit past halfway to avoid spillage. Whisk peanut butter into the soup, (I added in the blender) and heat through. Stir in lime juice, and salt.
  4. Ladle into warm bowls, and top with a dollop of the reserved sour cream, a few pieces of diced tomato, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Serve with a salad or nice piece of French Bread and it is a lunch or dinner for kings. Oh, and don’t forget to add a nice glass of wine.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Bierocks

Birocks .jpg

Made these the other night.  They are basically German Hamburgers, or as my youngest son used to say:  “Hammaburgers”.

So when I made them, I had lots of left-over hamburger filling.  I added some potatoes and mushroom, covered with grated potatoes a good amount of cheddar cheese, threw in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and had a second dinner.

Well, that was all fine and good, but there was still left over, so I put it in a pot, added chicken stock, half & half and there is the third dinner.  None of them taste the same.  How about three cheap dinners.

Ingredients

  1. Prepare dough: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in sugar, margarine, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour. Beat until smooth; add remaining flour until dough pulls together. Place in oiled bowl. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, OR let it rise for 1 hour.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, brown meat. Add onion, cabbage, salt and simmer 30 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Punch down dough and divide into 20 pieces. Spread each piece of dough out on an un-floured surface and fill with approximately 2 tablespoons filling. fold dough over and seal edges. Place on prepared cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with butter and serve.

 

Bierocks