Kohler pledges support for E-Reader Price Books

January 25th, 2011 § Leave a Comment

#6 big spec book

Image by firexbrat via Flickr

The National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals announced that Kohler company has pledged their support to the NAOPSP’s newest endeavor to develop e-reader type price books.

The idea behind this endeavor is to develop an industry standard format for price books which can be accessed on an e-reader, tablet or some other sort of electronic device.

The move towards electronic price books is a smart one that saves time, money and decreases the burden on our environment. Price books become obsolete very quickly once a product design or price correction is added, addendum’s must be sent out to dealers and hopefully the updates make it into all the price books. As one who used to work in a showroom, I made sure my price books were up to date, but invariably, when busy, I would grab for another person’s price book and the updates were not included. This leads to pricing errors and slows down the sales order process.

The value in E-Reader Price Books means that manufacturer’s can send price updates seamlessly with automatic updates and additional collateral sales material for their product.  I look forward to more manufacturers providing E-Reader price books. This kind of sales tool is the wave of the future saving sales associates time and making the sales process more efficient.

  • State of the eBook: 2011 Begins! (geardiary.com)

Critiquing Kitchen Design and Cabinetry

May 6th, 2010 § 8 Comments

From Luxury Home Magazine: Phoenix 

As a blogger who’s primary focus is that of all things kitchen and bath related, I get excited when I see a kitchen or a bath that has been carefully designed and executed with all the right design elements. Well, alright, maybe there are one or two things I would have done differently, but not by much. Overall I give this contemporary kitchen two thumbs up. Quiet elegance is what I call this. 

The home is located in Scottsdale Arizona. The neutral color palette and “tone on tone” scheme fits into it’s overall desert surroundings. What I mean is that the design is not contrived. They did not impose a Tuscan- themed design in a contemporary home. The kitchen is fairly large and the use of two islands is a stroke of ingenuity. They stayed away from the mistake of using one monster sized island and instead divided the space into two islands. The interior island, approx 6 1/2′ x 4′ is the workhorse island and includes the main clean up sink and dishwasher. (I wish they didn’t place that ridiculously over sized plant on the counter that blocks my view of the space). The opposite side of this island with 24″ deep cabinets allows for plenty of storage. This is a dream kitchen for entertaining. Who wouldn’t love this kitchen? 

The outer island is open to the living area and yet has a 42″ pony wall that prevents your eye level view landing directly onto the kitchen counters. Smart idea when company is over. You don’t want your guests focusing on the clutter in the kitchen. I like this, if I can hide clutter from view, I will do it. 

One of the most commonly overlooked elements in kitchen design is the ceiling. This kitchen added the drywall clad beams in the slightly  darker paint color. The addition of the beams adds an important element in the design. It prevents the large room from looking too generic and sterile. The one thing I see that I would have done differently is the placement of the microwave. Most kitchen designers have an opinion or two, or three about the microwave. If you are a tall person, let’s say 6 feet tall or so, placing a microwave 54″ above a finished floor is acceptable if you are this tall. But for the rest of us who are height challenged, 54″ a.f.f. is too high up for comfort. Actually, 54″ is the bottom of the wall cabinet. The bottom of the microwave starts at about 55 1/2″ the center of the microwave winds up at about 60″ tall. If the average height for women is 5′-6″ tall, the center height of a  microwave at 60″ is too high. You should never be pulling hot objects out in the direction of your face and above shoulder height. It is dangerous and can lead to severe burns if the container explodes in your hands as you are pulling it out. Argue with me if you insist, that you do not like a microwave lowered from the rest of the wall cabinets, but in the picture above, you can clearly see this microwave wall cabinet is located between two 24″ deep appliances and could have been lowered 6″ for the sake of comfort of shorter users, kids included. Actually, the microwave is usually a child’s first introduction to helping out in the kitchen, why not make it more convenient for the young set?  

I also like the use of 24″ stone floors. 12″or 13″ tiles would have been the wrong scale for this room. I wish there were more pictures of this kitchen to show the cook top section but sorry, this is it. 

The irregularities in maple wood is more noticeable on medium to dark stains.

Here is another important factor in the design. The cabinets shown here are maple in a medium tone and it looks like they they might be finished with a brown glaze wiped into the surface grooves in the door panels. Maple stained darker becomes more ruddy, more blotchy in appearance. You may look at this sample door shown and reject it for the blotchy appearance on face value alone. I picked apart this kitchen above with red circles the way a homeowner would before giving the cabinets a fair chance before the kitchen is completed. The number one sales call a cabinet sales reps receives has to do with the perception of what a finished cabinet should look like. Avoid over analyzing your cabinets with a clear grid sheet by picking apart the highs and lows in the graining and mineral steaks that are naturally occurring features in wood. This is not the problem of the wood itself but the problem of the sales person not properly explaining to the customer the inherent characteristics found in the wood species they selected. There is nothing wrong with the maple wood shown in this example and it should not  be considered a flaw requiring all the doors to be replaced. My intent with this example is to show  that when the maple is viewed in perspective in a completed design, the ruddiness becomes less of a factor. Look back at the first picture. Your eye is not focusing on the blotchiness of the cabinets, your eye is looking at the overall beauty in this kitchen design. If you look hard enough and close enough, you will find flaws in anything. Anyone who holds a 10x magnifying mirror to their own face can testify to that! Oh lord do I know that! Yikes! 

Mineral streaks found in wood cabinets are beauty marks not flaws. 
The most beautiful women in the world have beauty marks. 

You should never expect perfection in wood graining just as you can never achieve true perfection in your own skin’s pores. Before your cabinets were…”cabinets”, before the lumber from which your cabinets were built, they were once upon a time trees in a forest. How much light the trees received, the natural elements in which the trees grew are a forever reminder that your cabinets were once a living, breathing part of our natural environment. The demarcations on your cabinets tell a story of your cabinets history or pedigree. These natural characteristics cannot be air brushed away, cannot be removed with lasers or bleach lightening agents. What should not be accepted are burn marks from over sanding, thumb prints in the stain, mars in the finish, and rough finishes are not acceptable and should be brought to the attention of your sales person for replacement. Mineral streaks and mineral flecks are naturally occurring in wood and should be considered beauty marks not flaws. If you can not accept this fact, you need to look at thermofoil and plastic laminate that will provide you more consistency and repeat pattern in graining. But then again, if this kitchen was done in either, I would not consider it as beautiful as it is, would you? 

When all is said and done, this kitchen is really a beautiful example in elegant simplicity. 

Sunset Magazine Launches Dream Kitchen Campaign

March 20th, 2009 § 1 Comment


Hoping for a cure for the recession remodel blues?

Sunset Magazine begins a new campaign on Monday, March 23rd, giving design lovers the opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of designing a high-end kitchen -without the risk or expense.

On March 23, Sunset will begin building its Dream Kitchen of the West and we need your votes!
Each week for 10 weeks, you can vote on a stunning selection of:
• Appliances • Cabinets • Floors • Countertops • Sinks • Paint colors and more!

Then watch online as Sunset builds a gorgeous kitchen using the winning selections.

Plus, register daily for the chance to win $10,000 and a day with a Sunset design editor!

Bookmark sunset.com/dreamkitchen and come back March 23 for the first vote: the Floorplan!

Menlo Park, CA –Sunset Magazine (http://www.sunset.com/), the premier guide to life in the West, today announced the launch of the first Dream Kitchen of the West digital design program (www.sunset.com/dreamkitchen), which gives everyone the opportunity to help design the ultimate kitchen by voting online. Each week for ten weeks, new sponsor products, kitchen finishes, features and colors will be presented on the website for an online vote. The completed kitchen, which will incorporate the winners of each vote, will be revealed the week of June 1 on Sunset.com and will be featured in the October issue of Sunset Magazine.

Award-winning New York and San Francisco-based home and restaurant architect and designer, Cass Calder Smith, is spearheading the direction of the Dream Kitchen, providing a selection of floorplans, kitchen features, and design inspiration. The kitchen, which is located in a single-family home in the Rose Garden section of San Jose, CA, will be built by DeMattei Construction.

The Dream Kitchen of the West sponsors include GE Monogram (appliances), Teragren (counters), Kohler (plumbing), Armstrong (flooring), and Benjamin-Moore (paint).

“We wanted to come up with a 21st century take on our original Idea House concept,” said Katie Tamony, Sunset’s editor-in-chief. “The Dream Kitchen of the West is our Idea House 2.0.”

In addition to casting their votes on the Dream Kitchen of the West website, users can visit the site to watch the Dream Kitchen come to life via photos, video, articles and blog posts.

“Whether remodeling this year, or farther down the road, Sunset’s Dream Kitchen gives visitors the opportunity to practice making smart design decisions as they consider all that goes into designing the most important room in the house,” continued Tamony.
Visitors to the Dream Kitchen of the West website can register daily to win $10,000 and one day of on-site consultation from a Sunset style editor. The sweepstakes winner will be announced June 10, 2009.

Sunset magazine is the premier guide to life in the West, covering the newest and best ideas in Western home design and landscaping, food and entertaining, and regional travel in 13 Western states. Sunset and sunset.com are part of the Lifestyle group of magazines and websites published by Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., and a leading publisher in the U.K. and Mexico

Voting schedule:
3/23 Floorplan
3/30 Cabinetry finish

4/06 Appliances
4/13 Countertops
4/20 Sinks + Faucets
4/27 Flooring
5/04 Tile backsplash
5/11 Paint
5/18 Lighting
5/25 Furniture
Week of 6/01, project complete
6/10 Sweepstakes winner announced


December 4th, 2008 § 2 Comments

So I noticed that the set of Teflon frying pans my sister gave me, oh lets say, less than six months ago is showing much wear. You’ve seen it before. Little trails of missing Teflon in the pan. I am very good with my cookware, never use metal utensils, so there is no excuse for a pan to disintegrate so quick. Wear does the Teflon go? I hate to think about it.

My sister loves sales. I on the other hand do not get excited about sales if it is a cheap product to start with. When you buy on price, be prepared to buy twice. It’s not a deal if you have to buy it again. Sorry sis. The frying pans are 86′d from my kitchen. It’s time to place this cheap cookware in my recycling can rather than serving my meals with a sprinkling of Teflon. My mother kept, correction, keeps her cookware for years and years because it is quality. Lord, she still has her Le Creuset frying pan that has been around before I was born. Quality is priceless.

With Christmas around the corner, what a perfect time to give your loved one the gift of quality cookware.

Blue Star, the makers of high performance ranges available in 190 lovely shades, has announced a brand new professional-quality cookware line that is sure to delight any chef or would be chef.

I do believe a cook was behind this line because of some of these important features.
They thought of everything!

Here is what I like about the line:

  • Magnetic stainless steel exterior ideal for any cooking surface.
  • Easy-grip, ergonomic, stainless steel handles stay cool during stove top cooking.
  • Extra-large handles provide increased finger clearance.
  • The stock pot and sauce pans feature helper handles, making it easier to transport when full.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Professional grade 304 stainless steel for optimal durability.
  • Oven safe up to 500 Fahrenheit.

While on the www.bluestarcooking.com/store site, be sure to look for exclusive recipes – great for holiday get-together from long-time enthusiast of BlueStar cooking products, Chef Marcus Samuelsson. A cookbook author and television host, Chef Samuelsson is the Chef and Proprietor of Aquavit, Riingo, and AQ Café, as well as Co-Founder & Chief Creative Director – Townhouse Restaurant Group.

Test II

December 1st, 2008 § Leave a Comment

A Tour of Lisa\’s Kitchen‘ >Lisa Loeb

Summer Daze

June 30th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Ode to summer weekends in Los Angeles. Picture of The iconic Case Study House #22 designed by Pierre Koenig. Link back to Flicker

Gorgeous outdoor fireplace Peck Residence, Here’s a link back to Flicker

Summer Daze

June 30th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Ode to summer weekends in Los Angeles. Picture of The iconic Case Study House #22 designed by Pierre Koenig. Link back to Flicker

Gorgeous outdoor fireplace Peck Residence, Here’s a link back to Flicker

Mark Cutler Design: 5 Books I Love About Architects

June 10th, 2007 § 2 Comments

Mark Cutler Design: 5 Books I Love About Architects
Designers are continually looking for inspiration and fresh ideas to keep current. Part of that process is gleaning from the past. Check out Mark Cutler’s site where he lists some great reading material on talented Architects.
I am an avid bookworm and collect monographs on the works of great architects I admire. Whenever I find my self on work overload, I pull open a book on work of Wallace Neff, Frank Lloyd Right, or Paul Rudolph. Lately I have been reading up on the work of Susan Susanka, an architect who embraces smaller spaces I wish more homeowners in Santa Monica and West LA would have read before building their McMansions.

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