Here are some of the pros and cons of these popular kitchen countertop materials from Houzz. I still love granite, unless you want a perfectly white countertop. I did use it in my bathrooms when I recently remodeled and it looks great, but it shows every little spot. My gorgeous granite on the other hand in my kitchen adds life and warmth and hides things so well, I have to have sunlight to catch every spot. Here is what the experts say:
If you’ve recently shopped for new kitchen countertops, you know firsthand how many options there are today. Houzz research says that for most people, the choices often boil down to granite or quartz. Two out of five homeowners choose one of these two surfaces, often for durability and easy cleaning, according to a 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. If you have whittled it down to granite or quartz, here’s a quick way to learn all about their pros and cons.
Pro: It has longevity. Quartz may be the relatively new kid on the block, but granite has had staying power. It is time-tested and has universal appeal. Sure, certain colors may look dated in a decade, but you generally can’t go wrong with granite as a long-term investment. It almost always helps sell homes.
Pro: It’s available in wide slabs. Though granite comes in all shapes and sizes, it’s common to find slabs more than 70 inches wide.For comparison, quartz slabs are seldom larger than 65 inches wide and are most often about 56. Wide slabs are a huge benefit for kitchens with sprawling angles since they usually mean fewer seams. Some kitchens may need only one slab, which can cut costs.
Pro: It costs less. If you’ve ever purchased an exotic granite, you’re probably chuckling at this one. But it’s true that granite has more bank account-friendly options than quartz does. Entry-level granite can run from $35 to $55 per square foot installed, which is significantly less than most quartz options. This price difference really adds up with larger kitchen spaces.
Pro: It’s a natural beauty. Jaw-dropping granite countertops don’t come from a factory. Granite is natural, and with that comes all sorts of intangibles a man-made product like quartz can never have, namely one-of-a-kind patterns and textures that you won’t see anywhere else. Every slab is unique, which really lets you personalize your kitchen.
Con: It’s porous. Like other stones, granite isn’t naturally resistant to moisture. It’s best not to let spills and water rings sit too long since they can stain your granite. An engineered product like quartz can better handle long-term exposure to moisture, and most spills won’t require immediate attention.
Con: It requires more maintenance. Granite isn’t necessarily a high-maintenance material, it just requires more care than quartz does. It’s important to be mindful of the detergents you use to clean it, as certain soaps can stain the stone. Because it’s porous, you need to seal it regularly, a task that can become a nuisance for some homeowners. Depending on the product you use, it’s best to reseal your granite countertops every two to five years.
Con: There aren’t many “clean” styles. Granite has a lot of movement in it, from veins and swirls to spots and speckles. While this is definitely one of granite’s stronger assets, it’s also a drawback for homeowners who don’t want busy countertops. It’s almost impossible to find a clean, simple style without much patterning. If you’re looking for counters without much hoopla, quartz is likely the better option for you.
Con: It’s brittle. Granite is strong, no doubt. However, it breaks far more easily than quartz does. Breaks can occur in larger pieces with angles and turns during installation. Though most professionals offer to patch up the cracks or cover the costs of a new slab, it’s an extra headache that can set your remodeling project back several days to several weeks. Plus, no one wants to see an investment of several thousand dollars get split in half.
Pro: It’s low-maintenance. Quartz is well-equipped to handle most kinds of detergents, and all it takes is soap and water to remove most spills and stains. It doesn’t require sealing.
Quartz does react poorly with certain chemicals, so always make sure to check your countertop manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance guide before you use a particular product.
Pro: It’s stronger than natural stone. Quartz isn’t totally immune to scuffs and stains, but it’s about as scratch- and stain-resistant as countertops get. As an engineered product, it’s nonporous so coffee, citrus juice, cooking oil and other common kitchen ingredients won’t stain it. The resins and polymers used during the manufacturing process form strong bonds that aren’t easy to break. You won’t have to worry as much about it cracking during installation.
Pro: It’s in high demand. Whether it’s interior design’s shift toward clean lines or a desire for less daily upkeep, quartz is hot right now. It’s a huge selling point for home buyers, so it’s worth taking a look at for house flippers and soon-to-be sellers. If the quartz’s price is right, you could get a larger return on investment in the near future.
Pro: It offers consistent, clean styles. Solid, consistent coloring is quartz’s claim to fame. This makes it a natural fit in modern and contemporary spaces that emphasize form and function instead of details. It works well in traditional spaces that need a clean countertop style to mesh well with other detailed features, such as backsplashes, cabinetry, decor and light fixtures.
Con: It’s more expensive. If you’ve already figured out that less maintenance plus greater strength equals a higher price tag, kudos. An entry-level quartz usually costs as much as a level two granite (depending on where you’re located and where you’re buying the material from). While granite styles under $45 per square foot installed are plentiful, it’s difficult to find a quartz under $50 per square foot installed.
Con: It isn’t suitable for outdoor installations. This is one area where granite has the upper hand. While quartz is generally heat-resistant, it won’t perform well outdoors, whether it’s on an accent wall or in an uncovered outdoor kitchen. Its surface can fade and discolor after long-term exposure to sunlight. On the flip side, a natural stone like granite was born to survive sunlight and other weather elements with ease.
Con: Slabs of the same color always look the same. I’ll say it: Quartz is a tad cookie-cutter. Slab designs are predictable (which some homeowners like) and always look the same from slab to slab. In other words, you won’t ever have a truly unique countertop when it comes to quartz. If you’re wanting a one-of-a-kind work surface, it’s best to stick with granite and other types of natural stone surfaces.
Con: It isn’t the real deal. As durable as quartz is and as innovative as manufacturing processes are becoming, it won’t ever be 100 percent natural, and that’s a deal breaker for a lot of homeowners. Granite’s natural beauty, sweeping swirls, and gorgeous veining aren’t easy to replicate, even with today’s advanced machinery.
This is an article I found that is a little “out of the blue”, but interesting. I remember growing up we had to change our sheets every Saturday, but I don’t think most people change them that often. I would love to know the average.
Warm weather may mean more rooftop cocktails and outdoor workouts, but it also means there’s a whole lot more sweat on your body by the time sunset rolls around. So when you get into bed at night in the months from May to October, chances are you’re bringing more dirt and grime than in the cooler months.
We spend 56 hours per week in our sheets that’s a lot of time. There is a natural accumulation of microorganisms in bedding as people constantly shed skin, saliva, and hair. In the spring and summer, heat and humidity provide the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive, which means they’re likely joining you while you sleep. Oh, and since it’s allergy season, pollen from the air can get in there with you, too, which means it’s basically a full-on microscopic mixer every night. So how often should you be washing your sheets in the heat?
Keep scrolling to find out how often you should clean your bedding in the spring and summer.
Pillowcases should be swapped every week, regardless of the season (your face has bacteria that transfer directly to it), and duvet covers should always be washed every other week. As for the oft-overlooked items, which can also be loaded with some of the creepy crawlies, Calleja suggests washing pillows every six weeks and comforter inserts every month.
There are all sorts of things lurking in your sheets, pillows, and comforters that you may not be aware of, and they could pose a threat to your health if cleanliness isn’t maintained, and your bedding properly laundered. All those dust mites, bacteria, fungi, and pollen on dirty sheets can cause nasal congestion, stuffiness, runny nose, scratchy throat, allergies, provoke asthma, and worsen eczema and acne. Yikes.
To wash properly, research shows that hot water is an effective way to kill dust mites and other allergens. Calleja also suggests using gentle hypoallergenic, phosphate-free soaps and chlorine-free whitening powder when necessary. Because TBH, if you’re going to spend 56 hours a week in your sheets which is basically all of your free time, not counting the hours you’ll spend at the beach or sipping rosé on rooftops you may as well keep them as fresh and clean as possible.
If Fido sleeps in your bed with you, there are a few more things you should know about washing your sheets.
If you’re a hooman (as they say on the Internet) to a Fido or Fluffy or if you live with someone who is you’re likely aware of the overwhelming number of health benefits associated with dog ownership. From potentially lowering blood pressure to maybe even increasing your lifespan, pups are basically an immunity booster in a cute furry package.
And so it only makes sense that dog people would want to spend as much QT as possible with their pups, including at bedtime. Studies show that about 40 percent of dog owners sleep with their pets, but is it really safe to co-sleep?
While dogs can actually transmit some 70 diseases to humans, you don’t need to kick your little buddy out of bed in a hurry. The risks for the average population are probably overall low, especially if you do some simple basic things.
How to safely co-sleep with your furry friend
It may sound obvious, but washing your hands often is a top priority,especially if you’ve just touched your dog and are planning to eat a pre-bed snack (but it’s good advice to follow all the time). This is really really important, pointing to a recent outbreak of multi-drug resistant Campylobactertransmitted from puppies to people, which could have been avoided with proper handwashing. And don’t forget to wash your sheets, comforter, and any other dog bedding on the reg. Probably more often than you think you should.
Secondly, and this is likely another obvious one, keep your dog healthy and clean. One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners. (Although, to be fair, this could just be because dog owners tend to spend more time outside.) But you can help keep your bed bug-free by speaking to your vet about the appropriate flea and tick control products, which are now very safe for pets.
One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners.
Keeping a close eye on your dog when it’s on a walk or playing in a park is also important for co-sleepers. Eating rotten garbage or dead animals can cause your pet to become ill, and they may spread their sickness to you. There have even by documented cases of the plague and other serious diseases being transmitted from pet to owner.
Everyday grime and dirt that undoubtedly sticks to your dog’s paws could carry some risks, but they “haven’t necessarily been well-quantified. As long as their paws aren’t overly full of muck and all kinds of other things, then probably especially for the average person, the risk is pretty low. And here’s a tip: Clean your pooch’s paws before bedtime!
Of course, there are certain populations of people who should think twice before cuddling up, including young children under five, elderly people over 65, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised generally those with HIV/AIDS or people with cancer and receiving chemotherapy. These groups are not only more susceptible to the types of diseases dogs can spread, they’re also likely to get more severe cases.
What it really comes down to is: Before you let your dog in your bed, invite him to be part of your nightly self-care hygiene routine. You’ll both be better for it.
Put your corridors to work as storage, seating, or gallery space with these ideas.
Hallways don’t just have to be connective space they can serve a multitude of functions despite the challenges that their long, narrow proportions present. Below, find a practical guide to making hallways that aren’t just for passing through.
Houzzers’ favorite entryways include features such as benches and an indoor contemplative garden
In the first three months of the year, Houzzers saved photos of grand main entry spaces and casual backdoor mudrooms that were full of great ideas. Benches for slipping off shoes, cubbies, and cabinets for storing outerwear and striking design elements such as flame-stitch-patterned wallpaper, an urban landscape mural, and log cabin siding caught our attention. Here are 10 great ideas from the most popular new entry photos uploaded in the first quarter of 2018.
1. Consider sidelights. An entry area behind a solid door may get little to no natural light. These large sidelights cleverly reference two-over-one double-hung windows at a suitable scale for the space and show off the way the log cabin detail on the exterior continues into the house.
2. Don’t ignore the floor in a back entry. The instinct for casual back- and side-entry floors is to go super practical and utilitarian. But durability and high style aren’t mutually exclusive. Slate in a herringbone pattern elevates this room’s design.
And in this popular back entryway, a gray-and-white harlequin floor brings pattern and style to the mudroom.
3. Include a bench. The previous photo shows off how to do a more casual backdoor bench, while this one shows how to incorporate a grander version in a front entry. The benches may serve the same functional purpose, but here the bench manages to be a piece of art as well.
4. Look to far-off lands for inspiration. Did you know you can search by country on Houzz? Click on “Photos” at the top of the page, then scroll down the left side of the screen to “Location” and pick your spot. With so many international Houzz sites, there are scads of places to search for exotic foreign inspiration. This indoor contemplative-garden entry in India made the most-popular list.
5. Plan built-ins thoughtfully. At first glance, these built-ins seem simple, but they are well-thought-out. There are baskets for shoes at the bottom, drawers for devices or gloves above those, cubbies big enough to sit in while putting on shoes, hooks for coats and bags, and baskets in the cubbies above for hats, umbrellas and other smaller accessories.
6. Offer a sneak preview of what’s to come. This Miami home has a lot of whites and neutrals enlivened by brightly colored pieces of art. The rug guests step-on right as they enter foreshadows the colors they’ll see throughout the house.
7. Wow with a mural. In this apartment, visitors are greeted by an urban landscape, hinting at the soft industrial influence the designer used throughout the home’s remodel. Other more practical components include shoe cabinets with a bench on top, hooks for coats and bags, a mirror and a compact laundry niche behind the black doors.
8. Add kapow to a small space. There was minimal room to work within this apartment’s entry, yet it still manages to be grand. The designer went for maximum impact via a showstopping flame-stitch-pattern wallcovering and an 18th-century marble-topped console. A large mirror makes the space feel lighter and larger, and the cobalt door signals that there’s some serious color wowing going on inside.
9. Combine an entry, mudroom, and pantry. This mudroom off the kitchen is a hardworking multifunctional space. The designers extended the style of cabinetry used in the kitchen and included extra pantry space in here. The homeowners can come in from the car with grocery bags and place them on the counter right away for unloading. The sink can serve as a hand-washing station (think muddy kids), bar sink and flower-cutting area. The coat-hook wall provides all the space for outerwear and shoes the homeowners need, as well as a bench.
10. Create function without construction. The best thing about this setup is that you can do it on a tight budget without having to remodel. The shoe racks double as a bench and the mirror and branch-shaped coatrack provide useful decorative touches. A simple basket can serve as a catchall for gloves, hats, and scarves in winter.
Share: What elements are must-haves for your front and back entry? Have you found any great solutions? Please tell us about them in the Comments.
Micro-kitchens, concealed burners, and new oven technologies are some of the surprises for 2018 brought to you in an article by Houzz.
Dream kitchens, live presentations of the latest smart-home appliances and cooking demos by famous chefs greeted visitors to EuroCucina and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the biennial events that took place during the latest installment of the Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan, Italy, from April 17 to 22.
We kept an eye open for signs of how the most lively and innovative space in the house, the kitchen, is evolving. Among the exhibits were increasingly flexible setups, commercial appliances redesigned for the home cook and innovative new technologies. Picking up on the current trend of the integration of kitchen and living spaces, designers also presented kitchen features that either blend seamlessly into their surroundings or disappear altogether. Here are some of the kitchen innovations coming your way in 2018.
EO 01 freestanding kitchen, designed by Elisa Ossino for Sanwa
1. Beautifully designed compact kitchens. These kitchens have everything you need — a sink, cooktop and storage space — all in a mini unit.
SC 01 linear wall-mounted kitchen by Sanwa
Sanwa Company presented compact kitchens that fit well into any space.The floating model pictured here features an extractor hood and has an affordable price tag — compared to other models on the kitchen market of about $1,950 (1,600 euros).
Another compact kitchen on wheels (not pictured) can also be used in outdoor spaces and can accommodate a mini fridge.
AC 01 adjustable compact kitchen by Sanwa, designed by YutoRie
Designed with wheelchair users in mind, Sanwa presented another wall-mounted kitchen that can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button.
It features a panel that can be flipped down to conceal the kitchen appliances and convert the unit into a desk.
Inside System, a customizable walk-in unit, here containing a K-Lab kitchen, both by Ernestomeda
2. Super organized kitchen-bar. When the kitchen invades the living room, everything is exposed, and therefore everything needs to stay tidy. According to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends survey, decluttering kitchen surfaces is a constant worry for the vast majority of respondents other kitchen obsessions, like replacing hand towels or composting, trailed far behind.
Therefore dividers, bottle holders, hangers, glassware racks and other organizers are becoming increasingly incorporated into kitchen designs. Ernestomeda offered a solution with its Inside System, which allows anything including a kitchen to be hidden behind fully retractable doors.
Surf kitchen drawer organizer by Ernestomeda
Natural and Color Trend by Stosa
3. Continuous surfaces. Kitchens that are open toward the living area are starting to look less and less like kitchens: Pantries match living room furniture and kitchen islands are starting to resemble large tables, made of a single material.
For example, Stosa has integrated gas cookers and a flush-mounted steel sink into a slate-grayhigh-pressure-laminate top.
Monolightkitchen prototype, designed by Fabrizio Crisà for Elica
Even more radical was Elica’s Monolight kitchen concept. This integrates the stove directly into the wood or stoneware counter, concealing induction cookers under the 0.2-inch-thick (5-millimeter-thick) surface.
“We are still working on this prototype, to make sure that the wood won’t change color or deform with the heat,” says designer Fabrizio Crisà, manager of Elica’s design center, in a press release. “I imagined a space without boundaries … in which technology merges with design to offer a new way of working in the kitchen. Even when not in use, this kitchen is a wonderful piece of design to look at.”
SapienStone and TPB Top Porzelanik Barcelona showcased their TPB Tech integrated induction cooker countertop.
BlastChiller by Electrolux
4. Commercial appliances for the home. More and more solutions born in restaurant kitchens are making their way into our homes. One example is the blast chiller, which freezes food with reduced crystallization and minimal effect on its taste and texture.
These are now available for the domestic market. Electrolux’s BlastChiller has three settings: soft chilling at 41°F (5°C), hard chilling at 37.4°F (3°C) and shock freezing at -0.4°F (-18°C). These can be activated either manually, by entering the weight of the food to be frozen, or automatically through a thermometer that measures the inside temperature of the food.
The KeepHeat oven by Hoover is another crossover from the world of commercial kitchens. It can bake but also keep food warm and fresh for prolonged periods of time, maintaining a constant temperature of 143.6°F (62°C). A technician at the Hoover booth told us food that has been vacuum-sealed can be safely stored at this temperature for up to two weeks.
The oven is targeted at those who only have time to cook on the weekends and want to have food ready on demand over the next few days, or for hosts who want to keep food fresh for their guests’ arrival.
Dialog oven by Miele
5. High-tech ovens and stoves. Having debuted last September at the IFA in Berlin, the Dialog oven is a completely new approach to making food.
Once the user has selected the type of food to be cooked on the touch-screen, two internal sensors direct electromagnetic waves at changing frequencies. They detect the weight of the food to be cooked, automatically adjust the amount of energy released and distribute the waves as needed through the oven during the cooking process.
This means that, unlike traditional ovens, which cook from the outside in, the Dialog cooks food evenly all the way through, or directs the energy to where it’s needed most. It can, therefore, cook a dish made up of several components, such as a roast surrounded by vegetables, to perfection all at once, saving time and effort.
It is completely different from its cousin, the microwave oven, despite what you might think at first. “The frequency of the waves is different, the effectiveness is different and the operating principle is different,” says Carlo Santeroni, a product and sales trainer at Miele. “The Dialog by Miele ‘converses’ with the food hence the name while a traditional microwave is only a monologue.”
Induction stove with integrated InductionAir extractor hood system by Siemens
Innovations to induction cooktops and stoves were also presented. Siemens, for example, has developed flexMotion, which remembers the cook settings of each element, allowing you to quickly move pots to another part of the stove. They also integrated a powerful extractor with a liquid collection tray for cleaning up spills.
“The vapors produced while cooking are not necessarily sucked away immediately,” says Giuseppe Rago, a training manager at BSH Home Appliances Group. “For example, this could happen when you are using a very high-walled pot. But the high power level of this hood makes it extremely effective. Our integrated ventilation system, in fact, can filter up to 690 cubic meters [2,500 cubic feet] of air per hour and is therefore suitable even for large spaces.”
SmegConnect, the Smeg iOS and Android app for smartphones and tablets
6. Connected kitchens. Internet-enabled kitchens deserve a separate section here, because more and more companies are introducing smart home automation systems, increasingly in more affordable models as well.
Apps already on the market allow you to peek inside your camera-equipped fridge to see what you’ll need before you go shopping, turn the oven on and monitor what is happening inside while on your way home from work and even set your washing machine and dishwasher cycles.
This year, Smeg enhanced its SmegConnect app to work with its wine cooler. The app allows the user to adjust the temperature in the wine cooler remotely, monitor stock and make purchases. It also connects to major Italian food websites, allowing novice wine lovers to learn more about wine storage and pairing. Stay tuned for linkups with international brands.
Last but not least, first-generation web-connected kitchens used smartphones and tablets as an interface; now everything is on a touch-screen that is integrated into the appliance itself. These screens have become increasingly large, intuitive and multicolored, and they now even offer video cooking tutorials.
Candy has even managed to transform the door of the Watch&Touch oven into a 19” internet-enabled touch-screen, on which you can watch video recipes or browse for and enter cooking settings.
Judging by this year’s fair, it won’t be long until the kitchen is fully integrated into our living rooms, our schedules, and our phones.
Raw, fried, creamed, or stuffed: There are so many ways to heart artichokes.
Food and Wine Magazine comes up with some of the most interesting articles. This one about artichokes is great, as artichokes are appearing beautifully in the local grocery markets. I grow my own, but they are so pretty on the plant, I have a hard time wanting to cut them off and eat them.
Though scraping the meat off of an artichoke leaf is both cathartic and delicious (particularly when said leaf has been doused in melted butter), there are so many more ways to eat this tasty thistle. You could stuff the insides with potatoes. You could make a warm, cheesy dip. You could even throw the hearts into a bread pudding. This spring, we vote for trying it all.
Since it’s peak season for artichokes, we asked chefs across the country about their favorite ways to eat ‘em. Here’s what they had to say:
“Artichokes are snacks for me, so I like to blanch the whole entire thing without cleaning them till they’re nice and soft. Then pick the leaves and dip them in Kewpie mayo. The snacky thing where I get to eat with my hands, like pistachios, is something that I love to do.”
“I love cooking artichokes using a technique that Paul Kahan told me about, ‘sott’olio’, which is an Italian technique of holding vegetables in oil. The way I like to cook the artichokes is completely cleaning them of tough outer leaves and woody parts, then gently simmer in a very acidic court bouillon, then to finish, ‘shock’ them in cold oil. They are best after they hang out in the fridge in the cold oil for a few days.”
“Depending on size, for larger globe artichokes I like a traditional barigould (white wine, lemon, thyme, black pepper, and olive oil), for young tender artichokes I like to just split them, dust them with seasoned flour and fry them. Served with a simple dipping sauce like remoulade, they’re a perfect, light spring treat.”
“If I am cooking at home, I like to simply boil the artichokes in chicken stock and lemon. I like to peel off the leaves dip it in melted butter and scrape the meat off of the outer leaves with my teeth.”
“For chokes, I cut in half and then poach in an aromatic broth. Once cooked, I pull out the choke and brush with olive oil and then place on the wood grill. After cooked, simply serve with any spicy aioli or mayo for dipping leaves and eating the heart.”
Artichoke Bread Pudding
Star Ingredient: Quercus Umbriae Giudia Artichokes. If cooks were asked to name the vegetables they find most intimidating and time-consuming to prepare, artichokes would surely top the list. Marinated artichoke hearts from Umbria in central Italy solve the problem: No trimming, cooking or choke removal is required.
One 1-pound loaf sourdough bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large garlic clove, halved
One 1 1/4-pound jar marinated artichokes, drained and thinly sliced, oil reserved
Preheat the oven to 425°. Toast the bread directly on the oven racks until dry and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Rub 1 side of the toast with the cut sides of the garlic clove. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.
Brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the reserved artichoke oil and arrange one-third of the toast in a single layer. Top with half of the artichokes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with one-third of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of toast, artichokes, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining toast and cheese.
In a bowl, mix the milk with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread; cover with plastic wrap. Lay a few cans on the plastic to keep the bread submerged. Let soak until most of the custard is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic.
Place a sheet of oiled parchment paper on top of the pudding and cover with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment; bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the top is golden. Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
The pudding can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.
Look for a full-flavored Chardonnay from Italy or France with only a little oak.
Shaved Artichoke Salad
The thinly sliced, crunchy raw artichokes are the star of this salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Buy the freshest ones you can get your hands on. A true test: The leaves should squeak when you squeeze them.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 pounds baby artichokes (about 8)
One 8-ounce bunch of arugula, stemmed and chopped, or 4 packed cups of baby arugula
1 head of radicchio (6 ounces)—halved, cored and sliced
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup small dill sprigs
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, pull off the tough outer leaves. Using a small knife, slice 1/4 inch off the top of each artichoke, then trim and peel the stems. Very thinly slice each artichoke lengthwise and add to the bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Spread the arugula and radicchio on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, lift the artichokes from the lemon juice and scatter over the greens. Sprinkle with the herbs.
Whisk the olive oil with the remaining lemon juice in the large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad; serve.
Roman Fried Artichokes
Double-frying is the secret to making these super-crispy and addictive fried artichokes from TV chef Andrew Zimmern.
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
12 small salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced (1 tablespoon)
24 baby artichokes (about 3 pounds)
Canola oil, for frying
Maldon sea salt
Lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the fine salt. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil until the aioli is thick and glossy. Whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the lemon juice and the anchovies. Cover and refrigerate.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim the stem. Snap off the leaves until you reach the tender light green inner leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichoke and trim off any tough leaves near the base. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy choke if necessary. Drop the artichoke in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
In a medium, straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 250°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and top with a rack. Drain the artichokes well and pat dry. Fry in 3 batches over moderately high heat until tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to the prepared wire rack to drain.
Heat the oil to 375°. Fry the artichokes again in 3 batches until crispy, about 1 minute per batch. This time, drain on the paper towels. Season generously with sea salt and serve hot with the aioli and lemon wedges.
A regional dish from the Italian province of Parma, these plump spinach gnocchi are excellent sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. A regional dish from the Italian province of Parma, these plump spinach gnocchi are excellent sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
1 lb. russet potatoes, unpeeled
Kosher salt, to taste
4 oz. spinach
1 1⁄4 cups semolina flour, sifted, plus more
2 eggs, beaten
18 tbsp. unsalted butter
16 leaves fresh sage, minced
1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan
Put potatoes into a 4-qt. pot of salted water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 minutes. Drain; let cool. Peel potatoes; pass through medium plate of a food mill into a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and 1 tbsp. of water; cook until wilted. Press on spinach in a sieve to extract liquid. Finely chop spinach; stir together with potatoes and semolina and form a well in the center.
Add eggs and salt and, using a fork, beat eggs into potato mixture.
Transfer dough to a work surface dusted with semolina; knead to combine.
Divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll each portion into a 1⁄2″-thick rope. Cut ropes into 1⁄2″-wide pieces; transfer to a semolina-dusted sheet tray.
Melt 10 tbsp. butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook, swirling, until butter browns, about 6 minutes.
Add sage and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat; set aside.
Working in 4 batches, add 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil to a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add dough pieces and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes.
Transfer to a baking sheet.
Wipe out the skillet and repeat with remaining butter, oil, and dough pieces.
Toss dumplings and brown butter sauce in the skillet until hot.
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
Here is the photo of my version. Served with a lovely red wine!
Would definitely make for friends.
I made the gnocchi about three in the afternoon, and just put them all together right before dinner.
The other day, before I left Kitsap Kitchen and Bath, my last official appointment was with a lovely young couple that purchased the home my late husband and I built almost thirty years ago. Here is a drawing of the lovely 5,000 square foot home.
I wonder how other people feel when they go into a home that you designed, or built or bought and then sold and moved on. It was lovely that they were such a nice young couple and loved the house. It was hard, as over the years, the former owners had made significant changes to the interior and exterior that were very different from my initial vision. The new owners were trying to repair all the things that were left unattended for several years. My heart went out to them, as so many things need work.
Thirty years later my taste has certainly changed with color choices and was glad even back then, other than a pick tub & toilet in the master (now yucky) I had stayed with classic and beautiful choices.
This is the original exterior, but it is now light yellow with black trim, and the arches over the entry and the garage doors are now just a rectangle. The architect was from California and good friend, but the arches and trim had to be repainted every year, as the V in the middle of the arch, opened the grain of the wood, so water got in the wood. The lovely arch over the fireplace in the living room is gone and the antique Sheraton fireplace surround has disappeared that was above the master bedroom fireplace. The trees are grown and beautiful! There is a lot more landscaping that hides the front of the house a bit.
This a photo from the living room looking into the dining room. I had those two Captain’s chairs on the right for several years, but tired of them (still tired of them) and sold them ages ago. The columns are telling of the time it was designed and built, but classic lines are still lovely. The new owners have had the floor refinished with exception of the entry where the last owner put black marble over the wood. (yuck) and the lighter color on the floor is much more up to date. I don’t have any photos of the kitchen, but it was a dream to work in, alone or with a party of people.
I would love to be the one redesigning their bathroom, but they did not contact me personally, so in the proper ethical and business since it is totally up to them. But it does need to be updated, so I am glad they are taking it on. I think it would be a very challenging, but overall fun project and would really add to the house.
How many of you have ventured back into a home you loved and what did you think about the changes? Maybe as a design professional, it is harder for me to accept and love change? How about you?
“One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to home renovation (is that) they try to be cheap when they buy materials. The bottom line is, you’re going to get what you pay for.” “If you’re going to do it, do it. If you can’t afford to do it, wait.”
2. Inaccurate Measurements
An inch or even sometimes a half an inch can make a difference. And if your dimensions are off and it’s not equal and symmetrical, you’re not going to get the full impact and effect that you want. If you’re not sure about how to measure or you can’t follow the directions, don’t hesitate at all to call somebody. Ask them to come over and take the measurement for you.
3. Skipping the Prep Work
Do it the right way, right away. You shouldn’t avoid your prep work. You want to take the time to do it right and right from the beginning.
It’s a horrible, tedious process, and nobody likes it, but it saves so much time later on down the way. And that’s what you’re trying to do: save yourself money and time.
4. Gutting Everything
Make sure you have a well-set plan before you start your renovations because you don’t want to go in there and just clear everything out when you might be able to work around some areas.
People can work themselves into a deep, dark hole that’s very difficult to get out.
5. Excessive Use of Duct Tape
Save the duct tape for decorative purposes only. Duct tape is not a permanent solution. It is merely a temporary fix.
People use duct tape because it’s cheap and it’s quick and it’s easy, but it’s definitely a temporary solution. Don’t leave it up for more than a couple hours, ever.
6. Using the Wrong Tools
There are really three problems with using the wrong tool: You can wreck the tool, you can wreck the project you’re working on and you can wreck yourself.
7. Building a Small Bathroom
If you need a small bathroom, pick the right fixtures. You can buy low-profile toilets and narrower sinks. Don’t try to put full-size fixtures in a tiny, tiny bathroom. It’s just going to be crowded.
Use bold colors and bold prints, because boldness in small spaces actually makes it feel better.
8. Ignoring Lighting
Another mistake that homeowners will often make is not taking into consideration the lighting in their home. The lighting in your home can completely change the colors, the feeling, the ambiance.
There are really three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting, and drama or accent lighting. You need a combination to have a really good end design.
9. Going Too Trendy
People often make the mistake of wanting to be too hip and trendy in their new home by picking the latest, hottest, coolest things. What they don’t take into consideration is that trendy means that its short term.
You want something that’s going to stand the test of time, and you want something that’s going to last for years and years.
10. Building Small Doorways
Make sure you’re looking at the entire floor plan of your home when you’re planning your doorways. Look for, and make sure that every room has multiple exits. If those doorways are in high-traffic areas, make sure they’re wide enough to let multiple people pass through. Make sure you can get what you need through the doors. That is a common mistake.
11. Failure to Anticipate Chaos
It’s important to anticipate the time and the pacing of your renovation. You probably want to do that up front, get it over with and then you can slowly start to piece your life and your home back together.
12. Incorrect Storage of Materials
You should always store materials in a cool, dry place. A roll of plastic will save you a lot of time and a lot of money when it comes to wood and concrete. When it comes to tools and such, keep them inside.
13. Not Using Green Materials
People will often make the mistake of not going green with their home project for two reasons: They don’t know how to, or they think that it costs more money.
If you’re doing your renovation green, you’re really ahead of the market right now, so going green is a very smart investment.
14. Using the Wrong Paint Type
People often make the mistake of picking the wrong paint for whatever particular project they may be working on. You don’t realize that there is paint for just about every surface.
Flat is generally for your ceilings and sometimes for your walls. Whereas your semigloss would be for trim in a bathroom or in a dining room, glossy will give it a more upscale look.
15. Building Narrow Hallways and Staircases
When you’re renovating, bigger is always better when it comes to hallways and stairs. Narrow seems cramped.
16. Choosing the Wrong Windows
Windows are expensive, and a lot of people try to save money on them, but that’s not where you want to save your money.
You can always put more emphasis on the windows in the front of the house that faces the street. That’s one way to save money, but do not skimp on quality.
17. Forgetting About Safety
The most important things you can have on a job site for your own personal safety are goggles to protect your eyes, ear protection to protect your hearing and gloves to protect your hands from splinters, nails and such. A good set of boots because there are nails and sharp objects everywhere. The last thing is, you must have a first-aid kit.
18. Not Doing Your Homework
You need to know what you’re getting into, even if you’re not doing the work yourself, know what to look for, what your contractor is doing. That way you can keep a close eye on the project and know when something’s getting out of hand.
I think it’s really important to do at least some preliminary work. You want to be able to have enough information to know what questions to ask.
19. Forgetting to Update the Electrical System
People sometimes forget about electric when they’ve been renovating because it’s costly and it’s hidden. You want to walk through the house with the electrician before you start to talk about outlets, where they are, where you want new outlets, three-prong outlets. You want to make sure everything’s up to code.
20. Ignoring Your Home’s Style
You bought that Spanish home or that Craftsman home for a reason because you liked that style. Keep your new design and new build projects within that style.
21. Avoiding Permits
If you do perform work without a permit and something serious happens, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it.
22. Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Make sure that the contractor is right for you, because he’s going to be in your home, and you want to make you can work together well, as you will be spending a lot of time together.
When you interview contractors and you check references, the thing you want to find out is, how fast do they return phone calls? A contractor who returns phone calls fast has nothing to hide, and it’s going to reduce your anxiety level.
23. Taking On More Than You Can Handle
When people make the mistake of not knowing their limitations, they often take shortcuts. You really do have to know up front where you’re going and don’t jump into things without a plan.
24. Overbuilding for Your Neighborhood
One of the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to figure what the payback is going to be is they overbuild for their neighborhood. They have a $500,000 house and they put a $500,000 addition on it, so now they have a $1,000,000 house in a $500,000 neighborhood. Do the math, it does not work.
25. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
People often underestimate what it’s going to cost to do a big renovation, and part of that is because they don’t realize the biggest cost in a renovation usually is the labor.
You never know what’s going to happen once you start the demolition process. As soon as you open up a wall, you never know what you’re going to find behind that wall, so you need to pad your budget, and you need to be realistic.
I don’t have open shelving, as I don’t like the look and like really clean lines, but this has some interesting thoughts from Coastal Living Magazine. I don’t know how people get away with NO shelves in the kitchen either, as I love lots and lots of different dishes. Of course, mine are all white, except for Christmas and Limoge.
More than any color, style, or even sink shape, open shelving is arguably the biggest trend in kitchen design right now. In a beautifully designed and styled kitchen, it’s easy to see why. From an appearance perspective, having open shelves allows your kitchen to showcase more personality than wall-to-wall monotone cabinets. Plants, bowls, cookbooks, mugs you name it are shown off, adding color and texture to the space. The shelves themselves can be an accent with material options from raw wood to stainless steel and everything in between. Because of that, open shelving can really fit in with any design style, from minimal and industrial to traditional and eclectic.
When it comes to functionality, the pros and cons of open shelving become a little divisive. On the one hand, floating shelves don’t take up a lot of physical (and therefore visual) space, so in a small or dark kitchen, swapping even three feet of cabinets for shelving can make a kitchen feel larger and brighter. And if you’re a serious cook, keeping your everyday tools, ingredients, and serving dishes within reach (and sight) can be a major plus.
However, there are some potential inconveniences you may run into with open shelving, which should definitely be considered to decide if open shelves will mesh or conflict with your cooking- and lifestyles before fully committing.
Though it may seem obvious, having open shelves means everything you plan to store on them will be out in the open, for all to see. Do all your dishes match? Are your bowls chipped, your pans stained? Do you care? If you think that might bother you, you might feel compelled to invest in a whole new set of dishes ($$$), or display your matching set while you hide the misfits in a lower cabinet, which means you’re using twice as much storage space for one item.
Another major thing to consider is the cleaning and upkeep of what you’re storing on your shelves. If they’re holding your everyday dishes and glasses that get cycled through at least weekly, you shouldn’t have to worry about dust or grime gathering. If you’re displaying items that you use maybe twice a year because they’re pretty and match the rest of your kitchen decor, you’ll likely need to dust regularly and rinse them off before use. For those items whose use is somewhere in between, the regular dusting and additional cleaning might become an annoyance.
If you’re still fully committed to the idea of open shelving, more power to you. They’re an affordable take on kitchen storage that feels at once modern and old-school. And they can totally transform the appearance of a room. But if you’re on the fence or not sure swapping your cabinets for shelves will be compatible with your lifestyle, there’s an easy way to test it out: Remove the doors from a couple of your upper cabinets for a few weeks and see if you like the feel and look of it. You may even decide that look on its own is a good fit for you.