Easy Greening for your Kitchen

October 31st, 2007 § 3 Comments

I am guilty of two things:
1). one is making enough time in my day to work out. I know I should get up earlier to make time to walk 30 minutes or work out after work. Oh, the excuses. First excuse: I need to use my quiet time in the morning to focus on writing purchase orders before the phone starts ringing and the distractions start. 2nd excuse: I am too exhausted at the end of the day to work out.

2.) the second thing I am guilty of is not writing in my blog often enough. I admit, this is a fun addiction, but like working out, it is something I have to make time for in my day.

With all the information coming at us everyday, I have to limit what I can put on my “to do list” everyday. If I can do something to simplify my life, I am all for it, that includes what I buy.

One thing I do well is watching out for what I buy and my efforts to “keep green” where I can.
I want to share with you some great tips I read at Green Living . The article, written by Melissa Breyer, is called Kitchen Plastic: Easy Greening. Did you know there are easy things you can do to “get going with Green”? She shows you how to protect yourself from “toxic” plastic. Then she offers some great alternatives to plastic.

With all the “identifiers” for plastics to determine which are toxic and which are not,
you almost need to carry a cheat sheet with you when shopping at the grocery store! Actually, if you print her tips and fold it in your wallet, it tucks away nicely! It’s really a good idea to know about safer options. We do all we can to eat healthy and exercise to keep our minds and body in top shape, but don’t forget that how we accept our food packaging and how we dispose of it is just as important. Did you know that plastic packaging can last a 1000 years in a landfill?

The next time you go grocery shopping, think about the packaging. Tell the grocery store manager you want alternative packaging methods to plastic. Hand them Melissa Breyer’s article. Cutting plastic out of our lives will take some weaning at first but we can do it! Admittingly, despite keeping at least half a dozen canvas shopping bags in my trunk, on occasion I forget to bring them with me into the market. So back to Guilty Item # 1, next time I forget my canvas shopping bags in my car, I can accomplish two tasks on my to do list by running back to my car to get my canvas bags!
Happy shopping!
Laurie

Easy Greening for your Kitchen

October 31st, 2007 § 3 Comments

I am guilty of two things:
1). one is making enough time in my day to work out. I know I should get up earlier to make time to walk 30 minutes or work out after work. Oh, the excuses. First excuse: I need to use my quiet time in the morning to focus on writing purchase orders before the phone starts ringing and the distractions start. 2nd excuse: I am too exhausted at the end of the day to work out.

2.) the second thing I am guilty of is not writing in my blog often enough. I admit, this is a fun addiction, but like working out, it is something I have to make time for in my day.

With all the information coming at us everyday, I have to limit what I can put on my “to do list” everyday. If I can do something to simplify my life, I am all for it, that includes what I buy.

One thing I do well is watching out for what I buy and my efforts to “keep green” where I can.
I want to share with you some great tips I read at Green Living . The article, written by Melissa Breyer, is called Kitchen Plastic: Easy Greening. Did you know there are easy things you can do to “get going with Green”? She shows you how to protect yourself from “toxic” plastic. Then she offers some great alternatives to plastic.

With all the “identifiers” for plastics to determine which are toxic and which are not,
you almost need to carry a cheat sheet with you when shopping at the grocery store! Actually, if you print her tips and fold it in your wallet, it tucks away nicely! It’s really a good idea to know about safer options. We do all we can to eat healthy and exercise to keep our minds and body in top shape, but don’t forget that how we accept our food packaging and how we dispose of it is just as important. Did you know that plastic packaging can last a 1000 years in a landfill?

The next time you go grocery shopping, think about the packaging. Tell the grocery store manager you want alternative packaging methods to plastic. Hand them Melissa Breyer’s article. Cutting plastic out of our lives will take some weaning at first but we can do it! Admittingly, despite keeping at least half a dozen canvas shopping bags in my trunk, on occasion I forget to bring them with me into the market. So back to Guilty Item # 1, next time I forget my canvas shopping bags in my car, I can accomplish two tasks on my to do list by running back to my car to get my canvas bags!
Happy shopping!
Laurie

A Little Rough Around the Edges

October 18th, 2007 § 2 Comments


I came across this photo at Design Sponge and stopped to inspect it closely.
I think it is a charming photo giving us a glimpse of a small kitchen space done very inexpensively but “oh so cute” in the details. So you don’t have a ton of money to redo your space? With a little innovation you can turn anything into charming with a little “do-it-your-self work” that costs barely anything.
What works:

  1. The cinder block wall is painted a dark chocolate brown that sets off the white cabinets. Hides flaws, your eye won’t focus there but on the cute collections on the shelf.
  2. They painted the exposed electrical conduit the same color as the walls. Great way of hiding flaws.
  3. Open stainless steel shelves with white plates works great as a inexpensive alternative to cabinets. Keeps the space from being weighed down with top heavy cabinets that make a space look smaller.
  4. No doors on the white cabinet. If cabinet doors are ugly, take them off. A fresh coat of paint hides all sins.
  5. Wall mounted utensil holder serves two purposes, additional storage space + it hides the coldness of the cinderblock wall.
  6. It’s edited. Bowls, cups, plates, glasses are shown as bare minimum. Only one small appliance on the counter. Buying too much and having it all hang out creates chaos.
  7. Left of the sink, The counter is tiled in an interesting tile pattern. The cabinet doors are removed there as well, and a black and white fabric installed in place.
  8. The stainless steel sink and counter look prefab with a very inexpensive faucet but still looks tre’ chic because the homeowner designed the space with a great color combination. This is black and white at it’s finest on a tight budget! My only idea would be to change the knobs on the cabinet to a stainless pull or a little larger white knob.

This kitchen is located in a Brownstone in Brooklyn. Samira Gagne, lives here with her husband Kapono Chung. Read more on what else they did in this space. They really did a fine job with “found objects”, infusing their own creativity in the space. Creative! What a happy space!

A Little Rough Around the Edges

October 18th, 2007 § 2 Comments


I came across this photo at Design Sponge and stopped to inspect it closely.
I think it is a charming photo giving us a glimpse of a small kitchen space done very inexpensively but “oh so cute” in the details. So you don’t have a ton of money to redo your space? With a little innovation you can turn anything into charming with a little “do-it-your-self work” that costs barely anything.
What works:

  1. The cinder block wall is painted a dark chocolate brown that sets off the white cabinets. Hides flaws, your eye won’t focus there but on the cute collections on the shelf.
  2. They painted the exposed electrical conduit the same color as the walls. Great way of hiding flaws.
  3. Open stainless steel shelves with white plates works great as a inexpensive alternative to cabinets. Keeps the space from being weighed down with top heavy cabinets that make a space look smaller.
  4. No doors on the white cabinet. If cabinet doors are ugly, take them off. A fresh coat of paint hides all sins.
  5. Wall mounted utensil holder serves two purposes, additional storage space + it hides the coldness of the cinderblock wall.
  6. It’s edited. Bowls, cups, plates, glasses are shown as bare minimum. Only one small appliance on the counter. Buying too much and having it all hang out creates chaos.
  7. Left of the sink, The counter is tiled in an interesting tile pattern. The cabinet doors are removed there as well, and a black and white fabric installed in place.
  8. The stainless steel sink and counter look prefab with a very inexpensive faucet but still looks tre’ chic because the homeowner designed the space with a great color combination. This is black and white at it’s finest on a tight budget! My only idea would be to change the knobs on the cabinet to a stainless pull or a little larger white knob.

This kitchen is located in a Brownstone in Brooklyn. Samira Gagne, lives here with her husband Kapono Chung. Read more on what else they did in this space. They really did a fine job with “found objects”, infusing their own creativity in the space. Creative! What a happy space!

More Talk Around the Blogs on What Else? Color in the Kitchen

October 17th, 2007 § 1 Comment


Have we gone so neutral that we are starved for color? Kitchens never have to be bland. Ok, so the ranges above are a bit wild and may not sell in Iowa, but the point is we have freedom of choice to add color where ever we want in appliances, paint on the walls, choice of artwork, tile splashes, textures and colors for counters, cabinets and hardware means that you can personalize your kitchen with color in any form you desire. Me? Color me happy with anything other than white walls. I tend to shudder when clients want white walls and white ceilings. Give me white appliances, white cabinets and white sinks, but I would really rather eat paste than paint my walls white. Wild pattern on appliances , I am not so inclined to take the plunge preferring muted color pallets instead, but colored LED lighting my water is groovy!

Here is what is going on in the world of design: Over at Design Undercover, the talk is about Cookers in Britain (that’s a “range” to you and me in America), coloring up in new shades. The Cooker as Couture? Inspired from the Catwalks of London, Paris and Milan to Britannia’s new line of Couture Ranges. Leave it to the Europeans. Ooh, la, la!

Britannia says: “Get your inspiration from anywhere and we’ll match it!You’re free to take your colour inspiration from absolutely anywhere and it can be as outrageous or subtle a colour as you like.”

Over at Trendir the news is on Italian new colored Temperautra Colorata Faucet by Guglielmi.

Within this modern form, the Guglielmi Kitchen faucet features an integrated LED light which reveals the water’s temperature through the use of color. Cool water appears brilliant blue, warm water a vibrant violet, while hot is a fiery red. A wonderful faucet for children, the simple use of color adds both a safety feature and a modern glamour. A clever and dynamic design, the Temperatura Colorata faucet by Guglielmi uses LED technology to create an innovative kitchen fixture.

Back in the States: the statement in color for 2007 is more subdued: The newest colors introduced this year: Jenn-Air introduced Oiled Bronze appliances at the 2007 Kitchen and Bath Show.

Jenn-Air combines the traditionalism of bronze sculpture with the polished look of stainless steel accents to create a unique, enduring Oiled Bronze finish for kitchen appliances.

The depth of bronze hues, coupled with the stainless steel handles and hardware, allows the Oiled Bronze kitchen suite to balance with other design features in the kitchen. This versatility allows consumers to outfit a full kitchen of Oiled Bronze appliances or add an Oiled Bronze offering to soften kitchens with stainless steel or black appliances.

The Oiled Bronze finish is available on refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, cook tops and hoods.

Perlick also introduced Amethyst and Copper into their line up of under counter refrigeration systems. Amethyst? Yes, This isn’t the first appearance of tints and shades from the purple family of colors. We’ve seen AGA’s Aubergine and Heather and Caesarstone’s Mulberry Mist.

Not sure how to integrate color into your kitchen? Take a look at these sources for some additional help.

Christopher Lowell has a magnificent talent for coordinating color. Go to the Room Designer page, to help you visualize what the coordinated colors will look like in a room,

“we’ve developed our Room Designer feature. We’ll show you how the colors of the walls, ceiling and trim look together. It’s easy to use. Just roll over the wall color below and watch the room change. Is this cool or what?”

Dunn Edwards offers a Palette Previewer that lets you upload photos of your room and try out a multitude of color combinations on the walls and trim moldings. Fabulous!

Download Benjamin Moore’s Ensemble Winter 2007 catalog for inspiring room combinations.

###

More Talk Around the Blogs on What Else? Color in the Kitchen

October 17th, 2007 § 1 Comment


Have we gone so neutral that we are starved for color? Kitchens never have to be bland. Ok, so the ranges above are a bit wild and may not sell in Iowa, but the point is we have freedom of choice to add color where ever we want in appliances, paint on the walls, choice of artwork, tile splashes, textures and colors for counters, cabinets and hardware means that you can personalize your kitchen with color in any form you desire. Me? Color me happy with anything other than white walls. I tend to shudder when clients want white walls and white ceilings. Give me white appliances, white cabinets and white sinks, but I would really rather eat paste than paint my walls white. Wild pattern on appliances , I am not so inclined to take the plunge preferring muted color pallets instead, but colored LED lighting my water is groovy!

Here is what is going on in the world of design: Over at Design Undercover, the talk is about Cookers in Britain (that’s a “range” to you and me in America), coloring up in new shades. The Cooker as Couture? Inspired from the Catwalks of London, Paris and Milan to Britannia’s new line of Couture Ranges. Leave it to the Europeans. Ooh, la, la!

Britannia says: “Get your inspiration from anywhere and we’ll match it!You’re free to take your colour inspiration from absolutely anywhere and it can be as outrageous or subtle a colour as you like.”

Over at Trendir the news is on Italian new colored Temperautra Colorata Faucet by Guglielmi.

Within this modern form, the Guglielmi Kitchen faucet features an integrated LED light which reveals the water’s temperature through the use of color. Cool water appears brilliant blue, warm water a vibrant violet, while hot is a fiery red. A wonderful faucet for children, the simple use of color adds both a safety feature and a modern glamour. A clever and dynamic design, the Temperatura Colorata faucet by Guglielmi uses LED technology to create an innovative kitchen fixture.

Back in the States: the statement in color for 2007 is more subdued: The newest colors introduced this year: Jenn-Air introduced Oiled Bronze appliances at the 2007 Kitchen and Bath Show.

Jenn-Air combines the traditionalism of bronze sculpture with the polished look of stainless steel accents to create a unique, enduring Oiled Bronze finish for kitchen appliances.

The depth of bronze hues, coupled with the stainless steel handles and hardware, allows the Oiled Bronze kitchen suite to balance with other design features in the kitchen. This versatility allows consumers to outfit a full kitchen of Oiled Bronze appliances or add an Oiled Bronze offering to soften kitchens with stainless steel or black appliances.

The Oiled Bronze finish is available on refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, cook tops and hoods.

Perlick also introduced Amethyst and Copper into their line up of under counter refrigeration systems. Amethyst? Yes, This isn’t the first appearance of tints and shades from the purple family of colors. We’ve seen AGA’s Aubergine and Heather and Caesarstone’s Mulberry Mist.

Not sure how to integrate color into your kitchen? Take a look at these sources for some additional help.

Christopher Lowell has a magnificent talent for coordinating color. Go to the Room Designer page, to help you visualize what the coordinated colors will look like in a room,

“we’ve developed our Room Designer feature. We’ll show you how the colors of the walls, ceiling and trim look together. It’s easy to use. Just roll over the wall color below and watch the room change. Is this cool or what?”

Dunn Edwards offers a Palette Previewer that lets you upload photos of your room and try out a multitude of color combinations on the walls and trim moldings. Fabulous!

Download Benjamin Moore’s Ensemble Winter 2007 catalog for inspiring room combinations.

###

Woods to avoid and Alternatves

October 15th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

I am settling into my Town House I moved into this past August. One project I look forward to planning is my garden. Eager to make a Zen garden, I am ready to dig in and start sourcing materials. Of course, researching comes naturally to me and I wanted to learn about all types of benches for outdoor longevity.

I came across a lovely 48″ wood garden bench made out of solid Nyatoh wood. I have never heard of it and looked it up. Unfortunately, I read Dozens of Retailers are Selling Outdoor Furniture Logged from Endangered Forests, Nyatoh being one of them.

The demand for nyatoh, balau, kapur and other woods used in outdoor furniture is causing tropical forest destruction and illegal intrusions on indigenous peoples’ lands in Southeast Asia, mostly in Indonesia. Indigenous cultures and native wildlife are being gravely harmed as their forest homelands are ruined by logging.

Not in my backyard!
I wanted a bench for respite and relaxation. A place to go for quiet solitude and meditation. How can I get that knowing the bench I am relaxing upon is causing a negative impact on other parts of this earth and contributing to tropical forest destruction? Do I sit on my duff and ignore what I know or do I search for eco-friendly alternatives? Who knew my little backyard plot of ground would be part of a larger ecological fallout? My soon to be created zen garden is now causing me anxiety! I will never be able to relax in my zen space if I didn’t use ecologically sound materials. The answer is easy. Search for alternative sources.

Now what?
As a Designer, I feel a duty to be informed and to pass on information to my clients on what to avoid. As consumers, we have to be so aware of our purchases and the consequences they have on our health, everything from grout sealers to garden benches all have an impact on our health and our environment.

Fortunately, the lines of cabinets I sell, have earned their Certification in the Environmental Stewardship Program administered by the KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association).

I am excerpting here a paragraph on Woods to Avoid from Guidelines for
Avoiding Wood from Endangered Forests published by Rainforest Relief.Org.

Do not buy from companies that sell or trade woods originating from
endangered forests or does not use in construction or remodeling off all its facilities woods originating from endangered forests .
“Endangered forests” are defined to include the following (additional areas may become threatened in the future and be added to future guidelines):
  • tropical forests (excluding plantations);
  • old growth or over harvested temperate forests;
  • old growth boreal forests.

Acceptable Woods:

  • reused (such as antique furniture),
  • reclaimed (coming from non-living submerged forests, deconstructed buildings or a secondary product made from production remains),
  • recycled(such as medium density fiberboard made from waste wood) or
  • carry independent certification by an organization accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council*

So my search for a bench shall continue. Hopefully, I can come across an ecologically safe alternative.

Here is an idea I like:
Recycled Poly-Lumber Furniture!
Polywood is simply an HDPE plastic that is made from recycled plastic particularly from milk jugs and bottles. The recycled plastic is then shaped into various wood profiles you would find in a traditional wood product, two by fours, one by sixes, and the like.


Polywood is not the only manufacturer of recycled plastic lumber furniture. Permo-Wood,

Eco Lumber, Enviro-Lumber and EnviroWood are just a few others that are jumping on the band wagon, so to speak, and providing the consumer with green choices for furnishing our outdoor environments with class and style and ease of caring for our furniture as well as caring for the earth we all live on.

For more Eco-Friendly information please check out these helpful websites:
The Green Guide
At Home With Kim Vallee
Rainforest Relief.Org
Tree Hugger.Com
KBB Green

Woods to avoid and Alternatves

October 15th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

I am settling into my Town House I moved into this past August. One project I look forward to planning is my garden. Eager to make a Zen garden, I am ready to dig in and start sourcing materials. Of course, researching comes naturally to me and I wanted to learn about all types of benches for outdoor longevity.

I came across a lovely 48″ wood garden bench made out of solid Nyatoh wood. I have never heard of it and looked it up. Unfortunately, I read Dozens of Retailers are Selling Outdoor Furniture Logged from Endangered Forests, Nyatoh being one of them.

The demand for nyatoh, balau, kapur and other woods used in outdoor furniture is causing tropical forest destruction and illegal intrusions on indigenous peoples’ lands in Southeast Asia, mostly in Indonesia. Indigenous cultures and native wildlife are being gravely harmed as their forest homelands are ruined by logging.

Not in my backyard!
I wanted a bench for respite and relaxation. A place to go for quiet solitude and meditation. How can I get that knowing the bench I am relaxing upon is causing a negative impact on other parts of this earth and contributing to tropical forest destruction? Do I sit on my duff and ignore what I know or do I search for eco-friendly alternatives? Who knew my little backyard plot of ground would be part of a larger ecological fallout? My soon to be created zen garden is now causing me anxiety! I will never be able to relax in my zen space if I didn’t use ecologically sound materials. The answer is easy. Search for alternative sources.

Now what?
As a Designer, I feel a duty to be informed and to pass on information to my clients on what to avoid. As consumers, we have to be so aware of our purchases and the consequences they have on our health, everything from grout sealers to garden benches all have an impact on our health and our environment.

Fortunately, the lines of cabinets I sell, have earned their Certification in the Environmental Stewardship Program administered by the KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association).

I am excerpting here a paragraph on Woods to Avoid from Guidelines for
Avoiding Wood from Endangered Forests published by Rainforest Relief.Org.

Do not buy from companies that sell or trade woods originating from
endangered forests or does not use in construction or remodeling off all its facilities woods originating from endangered forests .
“Endangered forests” are defined to include the following (additional areas may become threatened in the future and be added to future guidelines):
  • tropical forests (excluding plantations);
  • old growth or over harvested temperate forests;
  • old growth boreal forests.

Acceptable Woods:

  • reused (such as antique furniture),
  • reclaimed (coming from non-living submerged forests, deconstructed buildings or a secondary product made from production remains),
  • recycled(such as medium density fiberboard made from waste wood) or
  • carry independent certification by an organization accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council*

So my search for a bench shall continue. Hopefully, I can come across an ecologically safe alternative.

Here is an idea I like:
Recycled Poly-Lumber Furniture!
Polywood is simply an HDPE plastic that is made from recycled plastic particularly from milk jugs and bottles. The recycled plastic is then shaped into various wood profiles you would find in a traditional wood product, two by fours, one by sixes, and the like.


Polywood is not the only manufacturer of recycled plastic lumber furniture. Permo-Wood,

Eco Lumber, Enviro-Lumber and EnviroWood are just a few others that are jumping on the band wagon, so to speak, and providing the consumer with green choices for furnishing our outdoor environments with class and style and ease of caring for our furniture as well as caring for the earth we all live on.

For more Eco-Friendly information please check out these helpful websites:
The Green Guide
At Home With Kim Vallee
Rainforest Relief.Org
Tree Hugger.Com
KBB Green

Another Product Warning

October 14th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Oh God, here we go again, more products to watch out for. Please click on the link above to follow the link to LA Times: Pardon Our Dust: Southern Calif. Remodeling Tales by Kathy Price.

Also just released: Florescent Ceiling Fixtures Sold exclusively at Home Depot recalled by Lithonia Lighting due to Shock Hazard

Even my beloved Pier 1 Import store has a recall listed in the updates.

Sorry to be the bearer of gloom and doom.
Bookmark this link and check in at least once a month to see what else turns up.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Another Product Warning

October 14th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Oh God, here we go again, more products to watch out for. Please click on the link above to follow the link to LA Times: Pardon Our Dust: Southern Calif. Remodeling Tales by Kathy Price.

Also just released: Florescent Ceiling Fixtures Sold exclusively at Home Depot recalled by Lithonia Lighting due to Shock Hazard

Even my beloved Pier 1 Import store has a recall listed in the updates.

Sorry to be the bearer of gloom and doom.
Bookmark this link and check in at least once a month to see what else turns up.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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