News

5 Reasons Why Going White in Your Modern Kitchen is Right

One of the most difficult decisions that you may make when it comes to your next kitchen remodel is what color you should go with.  There are so many different designs, color combinations and styles that you can choose from that it can sometimes become difficult deciding which color is right for you. Here are five reasons why choosing to go with white in your next kitchen remodel might be a good idea.

Reason #1. Contrast. One great reason to go with white is that it provides for a great contrast to the colors and materials that you might bring into your kitchen.  From marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and other cabinetry and lighting, the white will help emphasize surfaces.

Reason #2. Create an Illusion. Lighter colors can automatically create the illusion of a larger room, so if you have a smaller kitchen space or want to create the illusion of a larger room, going white is a perfect way to accomplish this.

Reason #3. Easy to Mix-and-Match. White goes with anything!  So, when you get bored with your color scheme, you can easily change it up with a white kitchen by bringing in other colors.

Reason #4. Clean & Sleek. White is clean and can give your next contemporary kitchen remodel a very sanitary and sleek appearance, which can make your guests feel safe and right at home in your kitchen.

Reason #5. Re-sale Value. You may decide down the road to sell your home and if you ask just about any realtor, having a white kitchen will help you sell the home because of all of the reasons above and the clean canvas that it gives a prospective buyer when viewing your home.

Whether you’re thinking about going with a more modern look, or even a traditional feel, white seems to be color choice that you can’t lose!  It’s a win-win for everyone and it will bring a bright, beautiful feel to your home that will make you want to come home, cook at home and even entertain guests—over and over again!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Top 5 Kitchen Island Functions for Today's Modern Kitchen

modern-kitchen-island-designs-berloni-america
modern-kitchen-island-designs-berloni-america

Kitchen islands are a great addition to any new modern kitchen design, provided there’s enough space to add in a kitchen island.  Kitchen islands can serve a number of purposes that can really add value and functionality to the kitchen. Here are some of the more common functions and purposes that kitchen islands serve in most households today.

  1. Added counter space.  Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may be lacking counter space to prepare food.  Kitchen islands are a great way to add additional counter space to prepare food.
  2. Additional storage space.  Whether you need more storage space for items underneath the kitchen island countertop or you want overhead space (even for decoration, like pots, pans, wine glasses or even cabinets with clear cabinet doors to see the contents, kitchen islands are a sure way to double up your kitchen storage space.
  3. Dining table or seating area.  Large farm tables in the kitchen were previously used to add workspace.  Whether you need a breakfast nook, a place for people to gather to socialize or a spot for the kids to do homework while you’re preparing dinner, kitchen islands are a perfect choice!
  4. A second sink.  Having a second sink gives you the option to use one sink for cleaning dishes and one for preparing food.  Or, if you have more than two sets of hands helping prepare food, a second sink on a kitchen island is perfect for not making things to cramped or crowded.
  5. Stove.  If you have a kitchen with a small amount of wall space or counter space, moving your stove to the kitchen island is definitely an option worth considering.  Whether you get a more modern stove (such as a convection range or a 6-burner gas stove), kitchen islands give you the flexibility of space that you need to expand your main kitchen appliance.

These are just some of the more common functions of the kitchen island.  But, whatever function you need for your modern kitchen, you can design your own unique kitchen island to fit your family’s needs and style.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Splish-Splash, What’s So Great About Backsplashes?

One of the most popular designs found in modern and contemporary kitchens today are unique and decorative backsplashes. The concept behind backsplashes was originally for function.  Backsplashes were intended to help protect kitchen walls from any splashes from sink water, cooking oils and other foods behind the stove or sink.  Now, many modern kitchens utilize backsplashes throughout the kitchen for decoration and ambience.  And, frankly, backsplashes can really bring some life to the kitchen!

Backsplashes can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Glass
  • Tile
  • Metal
  • Stainless Steel
  • Mirror
  • Granite
  • Stone
  • Tin
  • And much more!

You can choose to be very subtle in your choice of backsplash, such as adding a simple backsplash behind your sink or stove.  You can also be very dramatic about making the backsplash a focal point of your kitchen, such as adding a mosaic type of pattern and having it take up much of one wall of your kitchen.

Whatever you decide is best for you and fits your personal style, you’re sure to make a “splash” by adding a backsplash to your next kitchen remodel.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Grow Your Own Italian Herb Garden!

CRYSTAL2

italian-herb-garden-modern-kitchen-remodelIf you’re considering stirring up some home cooked meals in your modern kitchen, what better way to do this than by using your own, freshly picked herbs—right from your own Italian herb garden! Italian food has some of the world’s yummiest herbs and some common tasty Italian herbs you may wish to grow include:

  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Sage

Garlic being one of the most common herbs added to Italian cooking, it would be only natural to have garlic as a part of your Italian herb garden.  Garlic is very low maintenance and can be planted in just about any garden and then be frozen to use at a later time.  Rosemary is an herb that actually has added benefits to being a part of your herb garden, as it grows into a large shrub that sprouts small blue flowers that attract bees.  Rosemary is sensitive to the colder weather though, so make sure that your garden environment is capable of supporting rosemary.  Basil is another commonly used herb found in many Italian recipes and also has advantages to other vegetables you may grow in your garden, such as peppers or tomatoes, as it can enhance flavors if grown next to each other.  Basil is also known to help keep flies away.

Whatever herbs you decide to add to your Italian Herb Garden, between the enhanced natural flavors of the herbs added to your cooking to the fresh aroma the herbs will add to any room and the overall look and feel of your kitchen, you are certain to fall in love with your garden!

For more information about incorporating an Italian herb garden in your next contemporary kitchen remodel, contact EuroAmerica Design and speak with a consultant to help you not only design your dream kitchen, but the dream garden to go with it!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Simon Howden via freedigitalphotos.net

Tips for Maximizing Your Small Kitchen Space

CRYSTAL1

small-modern-kitchen-remodeling-designs-berloni-americaNot all homes have a large kitchen and if you’ve ever had a small kitchen space, you probably have found yourself feeling frustrated and limited.  Whether you’re looking to do an entire remodel to your new kitchen or simply find some ways to upgrade your kitchen space to look bigger, here are some tips for maximizing your small kitchen space to get the most out of the space you have!

Tip #1. Go White. Lighter colors will always make a room feel larger than it is, so white may be the way to go.  If not white, then at least go light.  Look for lighter colors and you can tie in other kinds of colors into your kitchen with a variety of accessories and artwork.

Tip #2. Smart Storage. Whenever you’re working with small spaces, you need to be smart and creative about using as much space as possible. There are many ways that you can maximize the cabinet, drawer and even overhead storage space to take make sure you using as much space as possible. Be creative and remember that any open space in drawers or above your head may be an opportunity to get more out of the space you already have.

Tip #3. Lights, Lights, Lights…Did We Say Lights? Not only does white (or light) colors help make a space appear larger, but adding in lighting will as well.  Try to use as much natural light available in your home to light up your kitchen.  From larger windows that can bring in natural light, skylights and other lighting ideas in your kitchen, the brighter your space is (from lights and the colors you choose), the larger the space will feel.

Tip #4. Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall. Mirrors are a great way to make smaller spaces appear larger, because they reflect the image of the room giving the illusion of much larger space or even a second part of the room.  Try being creative with the use of mirrors and/or reflective materials to help give off the reflection of more kitchen space.

Tip #5. Dual Purpose. Find ways in your kitchen to utilize space for multiple purposes.  For example, if you’ve always wanted an island but can’t seem to figure out how that’ll work out and still allow you enough room for dining space, perhaps you’ll build an island that also serves as an eating area with bar stools or chairs.  Islands can also serve as additional storage space, ovens, stove tops, sinks and other functions.  Find out what’s right for you and what needs you have and make that island work for you—multiple times!

Your space limitations don’t have to limit all that you can do in order to have your dream kitchen.  There are so many design options and remodeling techniques available to make even the smallest workspace workable for you and your family.  Contact the kitchen remodeling and design experts at EuroAmerica Design today for more information!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Turn Your Modern Kitchen “Green”

CRYSTAL

environmentally-friendly-modern-kitchen-design-tipsIn today’s day and age, more and more consumers and businesses are starting to understand the benefits of “going green”.  Whether you are looking to remodel your kitchen into a newly designed modern kitchen or you are just looking for ways to do your part to contribute to taking care of Mother Nature, the good folks at Berloni America have some tips on how to be more “green” around your home to help save the environment (and possibly even some money).

Going Green Tip #1: Use Water-Smart Plumbing.  Between tankless water heaters to faucets that reduce the amount of water dispensed, find plumbing that can save your home from needlessly wasting water.  You will find your water and gas bill reduced and you will be saving some much-needed water at a time when much of the country is suffering from drought.

Going Green Tip #2: Use Natural Light.  From windows to skylights, use natural light wherever possible to reduce the need for lights during the day.  And when you do need to use lights, use energy-saving light bulbs to cut down on your energy bill.

Going Green Tip #3: Minimize Your Space.  Reduce the size of your kitchen space.  The kitchen can be one of the most energy-hogging rooms in your home.  While you don’t have to miss out on the other luxuries offered in your kitchen, you can still reduce the amount of space and energy that is used to keep your kitchen operating.

Going Green Tip #4: Buy from Local Farmers Markets.  Buy fruits, vegetables and other groceries from your local farmers markets.  This will help support your local commerce and farmers, but it also helps ensure that your foods are without harsh chemicals and other preservatives needed to ship from outside of the area to your major grocery chains.

Going Green Tip #5: Fix Your Plumbing.  This one is very simple.  If you have a leak, fix it.  Even one faucet from one home leaking at one drop per minute will waste an estimated 34 gallons of water per year.  If you add more faucets or a faster dripping faucet, you can do the math.  That’s a lot of needlessly wasted water each year and unnecessary money spent on your water bills.

Going Green Tip #6: Recycle-Reduce-Reuse.  Dedicate an area in your home that will be used to recycle paper and plastic.  Use re-usable bags whenever possible and find ways to use re-usable dishes, glassware and other containers that will do not need to be tossed away after one use. You will be saving the environment and saving on having to buy replacement items.

Going Green Tip #7: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products.  If you have ever picked up one of your cleaning supply bottles and looked at the ingredients, you might have noticed the warning about swallowing the hazardous materials or calling your local poison control center if ingested.  Just reading the ingredients to the materials, you will be rendered unable to pronounce much of them and they are harsh chemicals used to disinfect, clean and loosen up dirt and oil.  When you use these products to clean your home, you have to also remember that you may rinse off these chemicals and that water will end up somewhere—a place where animals may dwell and people may be.  Find eco-friendly cleaning products that are safe for the environment. 

Going Green Tip #8: Proper Ventilation.  Having proper ventilation in your kitchen will help ensure better air quality and will help keep your energy bill down.  Having proper ventilation in the bathroom will help keep things dry and avoid mildew and mold buildup.

Going Green Tip #9: Filter Your Water.  Whenever possible, filter your water for cooking and drinking water.  Many people purchase plastic water bottles, but with an estimated 1,500 plastic water bottles every second being consumed in America, you can do the math and figure that 80% of those bottles end up in a landfill somewhere.  Eliminate your plastic footprint by simply choosing to get a water filtration system, whether you choose to get one that attaches directly to your tap or a portable system like Brita water filters.

In addition to these great tips for eco-friendly habits around your house, you can also use products and actually build your kitchen with these environmentally friendly goals in mind by picking a company that makes preserving the environment a priority.  The good folks at Berloni have committed themselves and their efforts to taking care of the environment by ensuring eco-friendly products that meet the strictest of European environmental standards.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top 6 Tips for Keeping Your Modern Kitchen Organized

CRYSTAL FOR AD

organization-tips-for-modern-kitchen-berloni-americaOne of the key components that make up modern and contemporary kitchen designs is that it typically involves an organized, clutter-free kitchen space.  Maintaining an organized kitchen not only allows for better functionality while preparing food and hosting guests, but it gives you an incentive and desire to want to show off your kitchen space and have people over to entertain. Thanks to the folks at EuroAmerica Design,  here are some tips for keeping your modern kitchen organized.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #1: Maximize Your Cabinet Space.  Your cabinet space is your friend and the more that you can maximize your cabinet space, the better.  This means in your design phase, using all of the vertical space in your kitchen for installing cabinets to hold all of the plates, bowls, cups, serving dishes, cookware, etc.  The more you can tuck away neatly into a cabinet, the more you will keep the clutter out of view from inside your kitchen. This doesn’t mean to just throw everything in a cabinet.  Be strategic about where you place dinnerware, cookware and cups.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #2: Purge the Pantry.  As you do an inventory of your pantry to determine what to may need to buy, use that as an opportunity to purge the pantry.  Inventory which foods have an expiration date coming up, determine which foods might be good to donate and find an organization system to your pantry that makes it easier to locate items.  For example, you might keep all of the pastas together, along with all of the pasta sauces and spices together.  You might keep soups together.  You might organize foods on the kind of meal, such as all of the breakfast items, all of the lunch items, all of the dinner items, all of the snacks and all of the miscellaneous pantry items.  Whatever system works best for you, find that system and put into place.  Then, find time each month to organize and purge the pantry to avoid wasting food and to maintain organization and neatness.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #3: Let Lazy Susan Do the Work.  Lazy Susans are spinning trays or turntables that not only allow you to use up all of your cabinet and counter space by utilizing precious vertical space that is often times under-utilized and wasted, but it also lets you maximize spaces that you might not otherwise use because it’s too difficult to reach or access—such as the corner space in a cabinet.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #4: Curb Your Container Enthusiasm.  There’s an obsession around collecting plastic containers, whether it’s plastic containers that foods are packaged in or a collection of plastic containers you can get at the grocery store for storing and easily transporting foods.  What often happens is it leaves kitchen drawers cluttered with a vast array of plastic containers and mismatched lids.  Consider investing in a set of higher quality containers that you can also use as serving dishes and that you can easily organize and store by size and shape.  Limit yourself to a dedicated drawer for containers and when you start to notice you’re filling up, recycle old containers and take the time to organize the container drawer.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #5: Routinely Clean the Refrigerator.  The refrigerator is probably one of the dirtiest areas of your kitchen.  The refrigerator is not safe from mold, mildew, food spills, and spoiled food.  Make sure that you routinely clean your refrigerator, which not only includes going through its contents to make sure to check the expiration dates of food and the quality of produce, but also to wipe down any spills with an antibacterial wipe, which will help kill bacteria and keep you and your family safe from getting ill due to unintended contamination.

Modern Kitchen Organization Tip #6: Use Islands to Your Advantage.  Last, but not least, space permitting, use an island to take advantage of space that might not otherwise be used for storage and organization.  Kitchen islands can add a significant amount of under-counter storage as well as overhead storage.

These are just a few organization ideas for your modern Italian kitchen.  There are thousands—if not millions—of other organization options.  The next time you’re looking to remodel or upgrade your kitchen, contact EuroAmerica Design, the leading experts in modern kitchen remodeling. 

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on FacebookHouzz and Pinterest. 

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Kitchen Remodeling Budgeting Tips

GREENFIELD

modern-kitchen-remodeling-budget-tips-berloni-americaLooking to remodel your kitchen, but aren’t quite sure where to start with your remodeling budget?  No problem.  According to this article on HGTV.com, here are some tips for planning out your kitchen remodeling budget. Tip #1.  Determine How Much You Want to Spend…and Stick to It! Setting a budget for your kitchen remodel is one thing, but sticking to your budget is much harder than you may think.  When planning how much you want to spend on your kitchen remodel, there are three factors to consider: 1) how much you can afford to spend, 2) how long do you plan to stay in your house, and 3) what kind of neighborhood you are located in.  If you intend to sell your home within five years, your kitchen renovation should be considered a real estate improvement and your budget should be based on what you think you would be able to make back on it. If you plan on living in your home longer than five years, you should budget a kitchen remodel that will make you and your family the most comfortable and fit your family’s needs.

Tip #2.  Know How the Costs Break Down. On average, you can expect the labor costs for remodeling can consume anywhere from 20 to 35% of your total budget.  Understanding how much the other costs will make up the total project will help when setting out your budget.  Here is the average break down for the rest of a kitchen remodel: Cabinets – 35%; Appliances – 20%; Windows – 10%; Fixtures – 5%; Fittings – 3%; Other – 7%.

Tip #3.  Expect the Unexpected. With any remodeling project, you are going to encounter several unexpected costs and repairs.  There can be all kind of surprise lurking behind the walls and under the floor.  From wiring problems, busted plumbing, mold, termites and all kinds of repairs or work that you did not expect, you should have a 20% buffer in your budget to account for the unexpected.  This is especially important if you’re in an older home where the chances of running into these kinds of unexpected, but necessary, repairs are much higher.

Tip #4.  Prioritize Your Remodeling Project. There are a lot of steps involved in a kitchen remodel.  Decide what is most important to you so that if you have any unexpected costs that hit your budget, you can determine which things are most important to you so you can adjust accordingly based on this priority list.  Also, if your budget buffer (as suggested in Tip #3) allows for some extras, you can figure out where you might be able to bump up your budget on the things that mean the most to you, whether it’s cabinets, lighting fixtures, appliances, or whatever fancy luxuries that you may be wanting to add.

Tip #5.  Factor in the Cost of Eating Out. While your kitchen is being remodeled, you will need to find somewhere else to eat, which means another cost to factor in is the cost of eating out.  You also may decide that it is a better idea for you and your family to stay somewhere else while your kitchen is being remodeled.  That is fine, but similarly, you will need to factor in the cost of lodging, storage fees, moving costs, etc.

Tip #6.  Monitor Your Budget. It is important to monitor your budget and regularly check in on your budget to make sure that you’re sticking with your plan.  Put your estimated budget and your actual costs on a spreadsheet so that you can recognize when you need to make adjustments when necessary.

Tip #7.  Avoid Unplanned Extras Mid-Project. You may be tempted to stray from your budget mid-project and you might even catch yourself saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if we added (insert fabulous kitchen feature) here…”  Beware of this, because this is how budgets get blown!  Go back to your remodeling budget and, if necessary, adjust your priorities.  It’s okay to want some extras, but as with most things in life, you might need to make some adjustments or choose to live without.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at EuroAmerica Design.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen, bath or wardrobe remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook, Houzz and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Fall Contemporary Kitchen Design Ideas

As you gear up for the fall season, you might be considering a new kitchen remodel to prepare for the festivities that the holiday season brings. Here are some popular contemporary kitchen ideas for the fall.

The Media-Ready KitchenIt’s 2013 and what is more fitting than a kitchen space for entertaining guests and family.  As much as we can encourage loved ones to turn off those electronics and enjoy some quality family time in the kitchen, sometimes you simply cannot change your family’s traditions and culture.  Don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with the under-cabinet television in a dingy kitchen though or TV trays in the living room.  Here are a couple of contemporary kitchen designs with the media-loving family in mind!

fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-television

The Ambient Kitchen                  Kitchen lighting can make a huge difference for how the room looks and feel.  It can make small rooms seem small and it can turn the kitchen from functionality to relaxation and romance with the flip of a switch—literally.  Here is one modern kitchen design that carefully combines task lighting with ambient lighting.

fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-ambient-lighting
fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-ambient-lighting

The Bold Kitchen Space with Dining Room This kitchen design tied in the bold color of an adjacent dining area in with the kitchen, with a nice contract of dark and bold color. 

fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-bold
fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-bold

The Dine-In Experience Not all homes are equipped with a separate room specifically for dining.  This doesn’t have to mean that your family has to get stuck eating off TV trays, eating meals in separate rooms or squished on a small breakfast nook-like table in the kitchen.  Here are some neat designs for the contemporary kitchen that brings the dining room into the design as well.

fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-bar-seating
fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-bar-seating
fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-dining-area
fall-contemporary-kitchen-ideas-berloni-america-dining-area

These are just a few contemporary kitchen ideas for this fall.  You can see how your next kitchen design can be personal to your family’s lifestyle and tastes (no pun intended).  The designers at Berloni America can work with you to help you design your next kitchen with your personality and your family’s lifestyle in mind, along with some of these fall modern kitchen design ideas!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America—leaders in modern Italian kitchen remodeling.  The designers at Berloni America can help you design your next kitchen with a combination of its high quality materials, chic designs and your personal touch. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credits: HGTV.com and architectsforlife.com

Light the Way: Contemporary Kitchen Lighting Tips

contemporary-kitchen-lighting-designs-berloni-americaThe lighting in any room can make a big difference in the overall look, feel, and design of the room.  This holds true even more for the kitchen, which typically—anything from the floors, counter tops, appliances, and cabinets—has a number of reflective surfaces for light to bounce off and create an entirely unique look. Here are some lighting tips for your next contemporary kitchen.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #1: The Perfect Blend There are four layers of lighting that has been noted to be the most effective for the kitchen.  This includes task lighting, ambient lighting, accent lighting and decorative lighting.  Combining and blending these four layers of lighting results in a warm and inviting room that not only makes it practical to work and cook in, but also a place to host events and entertain guests.  The most common mistake that in the kitchen is lighting their entire kitchen with a single light fixture centered in the ceiling.  It is too overpowering and typically does not allow enough light once fixtures, decorations and appliances are put into place.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #2: Focus on Location, Location, Location! When it comes to lighting, location is everything—especially when you’re looking to blend the four types of lighting into one room.  Task lighting is typically used for an area designated for food preparation.  So, typically, task lighting would make the most sense underneath overhead cabinets and over an island, as well as underneath a stove hood.  Another location for task lighting is inside the pantry.  This focused lighting will make working and finding things you need easier.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #3: Don’t Overlook Ambient Lighting Ambient lighting is an important layer for the kitchen that is typically overlooked.  Ambient lighting is indirect lighting that is known for softening lines and shadows on people’s faces and creates a warm and inviting glow in the room.  With the kitchen now becoming the go-to room for entertaining, this is a key layer of lighting you won’t want to miss. Ambient lighting fixtures typically include flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, pendant lights hanging over the island or even adjustable track lighting.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #4: Add Accents Accent lightning is the least common layer used in the kitchen, but it is becoming more common since the kitchen has become the more popular room for entertaining.  Types of accent lighting include track lighting, up-lighters, directional lights that draw attention to a fixture or piece of artwork, wall scones and much more.  You can use hang your favorite piece of art along the wall or behind a table and use accent lighting to draw attention to these pieces.  Accent lighting is also used in combination with tile backsplashes and in glass cabinets to illuminate vases, china and other glassware.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #5: Decorative Lighting to Add Zing to Your Kitchen! Decorative light are things like chandeliers, hanging pendants and other eye-catching type of light fixtures that are more for decoration than anything else.  However, be careful.  Decorative lighting should be used in proportion to the size of your kitchen.  If you have a small kitchen space, a chandelier may not be practical or advised, so be sure that you scale the fixtures to fit the kitchen space that you’re working with.

Kitchen Lighting Tip #6: Use Technology to Make the Layers Work Together The best way to layer these four lighting designs is to have the flexibility to vary the amount of light of each item based on the task and function going on in the kitchen.  You don’t want one simple flip of the light switch to turn on all of these lights all at once at their brightest levels, so invest in different dimmers and switches for each kind of light to ensure the best coordination between the levels.  There are even systems that you can set a variety of scenes, pre-set lighting levels for different functions such as “Breakfast”, “Daytime”, “Food Prep”, “Dinner” and “Evening Hosting”.

So, as you can see, choosing the lighting for your kitchen may not be quite as simple as picking out that ceiling fan or centered light fixture to light up the entire kitchen.  If you’re going to take the time and expense to upgrade and remodel your kitchen, don’t cut out the time and expense involved to properly light your new kitchen.  Proper lighting of your kitchen can make a big difference at the end of the day.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America—leaders in modern Italian kitchen remodeling.  The designers at Berloni America can help you design your next kitchen with storage and organization in mind. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: B50 via BerloniAmerica.com

Labor Day Weekend Recipe: Seven-Layered Bean Dip

italian-contemporary-kitchen-recipes-berloni-americaSummer is officially coming to an end and Labor Day weekend is here, which means that the last final BBQ and get-together with family and friends is here as we gear up for the holiday season.  What better way to celebrate the Labor Day Holiday in your contemporary kitchen with a fun, party favorite recipe! This is one of our staff member's recipes for a layered bean dip, which has been a party favorite for years!

Ingredients:

  • 24oz refried beans
  • 16oz thick n’ chunky salsa
  • 16oz sour cream
  • 16oz block of Colby Jack cheese
  • 4 avocados
  • 2 packs of guacamole mix
  • Sliced olives
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 stalks of green onions
  • Sliced jalapenos (optional)
  • Tortilla chips, celery sticks, pita bread or Italian baguette slices

Directions: 

  • Warm up a 24oz can of refried beans. You can make them homemade if you have time, but to save time you can use canned refried beans.
  • Slice open and gut 4 avocados and place in a large bowl.  Throw in 2 packs of guacamole seasoning mix and stir in until seasoning is thoroughly blended in and avocados are blended evenly. Again, this is something you can make from scratch if desired and time permitting.
  • Using a grader, take a block of Colby Jack cheese and shred cheese on medium thickness.  You can purchase packet of pre-shredded cheese, however the shredded cheese gives a different texture and flavor to the dip.
  • Spread refried beans evenly at the bottom of a either an aluminum pan or casserole dish with a spoon or spatula.
  • Spread guacamole mix evenly over refried beans.
  • Take jar of salsa (the thicker the salsa, the better as watery salsas can make your dip watery) and spread evenly over the guacamole.  You can get mild, medium or hot salsa depending on the flavor you’re going for.  With all of the mixed ingredients in this dip, you can opt for a hot or medium salsa without it being too overwhelming for most guests.  You can also split the recipe and opt for a milder option for one.
  • Using a spoon, mix a 16oz container of sour cream and then spread sour cream evenly over the salsa.
  • Sprinkle a thick layer of shredded cheese over sour cream.
  • Chop up 2 Roma tomatoes and sprinkle over shredded cheese.
  • Chop up 2 stalks of green onions and sprinkle over top.
  • Open up small can of sliced olives and sprinkle over top.
  • For added flavor, you can sprinkle sliced (pickled) jalapenos.  Again, if you’d like to make one spicy dip option and another mild option, this might be advisable if you’re unsure of the preferences of your guests.
  • Other toppings or ingredients that can be added or used: cilantro, black beans instead of refried beans, corn, tortilla strips, queso cheese, chopped lettuce.

Grab some tortilla, celery, pita bread or Italian baguette bread slices and enjoy this wonderful party favorite in your contemporary kitchen!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America—leaders in modern Italian kitchen remodeling.  The designers at Berloni America can help you design your next kitchen with storage and organization in mind. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Kristina Schneider

Top 6 Kitchen Design Mistakes People Make

modern-kitchen-design-mistakes-berloni-americaThere’s a reason why the kitchen has become a focal point and the center of much attention for most homes—it’s where the activity happens.  For many busy families, it’s where they meet in the morning, it’s where they meet after work and school and it’s where guests are entertained on the weekends.  Given this very fact, this is one of the reasons why the kitchen has to be designed with a great deal of thought and deliberation when designing or remodeling the kitchen area. However, as with most things in life, there are a number of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to kitchen design.  Thanks to the kitchen designing experts, Berloni America, here are the top six kitchen designing mistakes that people make when remodeling and designing their new kitchen space.

Design Mistake #1: Boring, boring, boring. If the kitchen is the center of attention in the house, then find a way to attract people to it other than just the food.  There are so many design trends to integrate into your kitchen design that there is simply no excuse to be boring in your design.  From back splashes, kitchen islands, cabinets, sinks, appliances, lighting—there’s simply too many elements and designing opportunities to take advantage of!

Design Mistake #2: Forgetting about seating. Even if you have a dining area in your home, forgetting about seating in your kitchen area is a big mistake.  In most kitchen these days, there is a lot of entertaining, chatting and socializing that takes place in the kitchen itself.  It’s no longer just the place to prepare the food.  Between bar seating, kitchen islands and even small breakfast nooks, don’t forget about seating to entertain in your new kitchen.

Design Mistake #3: Don’t waste valuable storage space.  Storage space is a must in any kitchen.  From storing dishes, cookware, spices, utensils, pantry foods, small appliances and other items for the kitchen, utilize as much space as possible (floor to ceiling, under the sink, kitchen islands, etc.) for storage.

Design Mistake #4: Poor lighting. Lighting is really important in the kitchen, particularly since it’s now a huge part of entertaining guests.  Whenever possible, natural light is always a plus.  However, having right functional lighting for kitchen tasks balanced out with ambient light for creating an environment that welcomes people in to come in and socialize is a must.

Design Mistake #5: Wrong kitchen island. Finding the right kitchen island for you is important.  Whether you need a kitchen island for a second sink, additional seating, overhead storage, added counter space, a place for the kids to do homework while supervised, etc.  Whatever the need may be for your home, make sure that you find the right kitchen island to fit your family’s needs.

Design Mistake #6: Not hiring professionals. Last, but certainly not least, one major mistake made in kitchen design is not hiring professionals to help you—both in design and in the remodeling of your kitchen.  The kitchen involves a number of integrated pieces of hardware, including plumbing, electronics and appliances.  It is important that these items are installed correctly and properly so that you don’t have to deal with the headaches (and costs) involved in the do-it-yourself disasters that ensue on construction projects gone bad.  Professional designers can also help you identify various designs that fit your needs and personal style.

The next time you are considering remodeling or upgrading your kitchen, consider contacting the professional designers at Berloni America - - the leaders in modern kitchen design.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America—leaders in modern Italian kitchen remodeling.  Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Berloni America

Top 5 Kitchen Cleaning Do’s & Don’ts for Your Contemporary Kitchen

contemporary-kitchen-designs-2013-berloni-america-mediterraneaNow that you’ve upgraded your kitchen either with a makeover or an entire remodel, there are always general maintenance and upkeep that everyone should do to keep that kitchen as appealing as possible to you and your guests, especially given that the kitchen can be one of the dirtiest rooms in your home. Thanks to the folks at Berloni America, here are the Top 5 Cleaning “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for your contemporary kitchen.

TOP 5 KITCHEN CLEANING DO’S

  1. DO a thorough cleaning at least once every week. Beyond just general maintenance that you can and should do after using your kitchen, this is a thorough cleaning which involves cleaning up the floor, stovetop, oven, refrigerator doors, countertops, sinks, etc.
  2. DO invest in antibacterial wipes. Antibacterial wipes are a far better option for general maintenance and cleaning up and provide additional cleaning power over just water. And since they’re disposable, you can help guarantee no additional re-contamination.
  3. DO use protective gloves while cleaning and doing the dishes.  Some people don’t like wearing gloves, but gloves serve 2 purposes.  First, they protect your hands and skin from cleaning products.  Second, they allow you to get the water hot enough to help ward off any bacteria.  Just make sure to replace your protective gloves regularly.
  4. DO regularly throw away that sponge.  Sponges are bacteria magnets and should be replaced at a minimum of once every week (to every other week).  You can retain the life of your sponges by boiling them in hot water, but ultimately replacing with a brand new one is your safest bet.
  5. DO look at the labels on your cleaning agents.  Some cleaning products are intended for the kitchen, around surfaces and other areas that may come into contact with food and other items for consumption.  Make sure that you’re not using cleaning products that are too harsh or harmful for your kitchen.

TOP 5 KITCHEN CLEANING DON’TS

  1. DON’T forget to wash your towels.  Towels in the kitchen (including oven mitts and hot pads) are often overlooked when it’s time to do laundry.  Be sure to regularly wash any towels you may keep around the kitchen.
  2. DON’T let the trash bin linger.  If you throw away any kind of food that may spoil easily or smell after being left out for some time, you will want to immediately throw your trash away, even if it’s not full.  You may also wish to invest in either a trash compactor or a trash can that supplies a lid.
  3. DON’T neglect your dishwasher.  If you have a dishwasher, USE IT!  You may be one of those people that prefer to wash your dishes by hand. This is fine, but one of the advantages of using your dishwasher is the ability to give your dishes a hot wash and dry that can help disinfect your dishes before use again.
  4. DON’T overlook cabinet and drawer liners.  Cabinet and drawer liners can help with cleanup, depending on the kind of cabinets and drawers you have.  It can make it easier for cleaning by allowing for an easily cleanable surface or can be easily replaced.
  5. DON’T forget the little things.  There are many things in your kitchen that you may neglect to think needs replacing beside the obvious.  One is your dish drain, which can very easily and quickly build up dust, dirt, bacteria and mildew.  Another is that baking soda box in your refrigerator.  Go through your kitchen and take a look at different tools, accessories and other items that may require your attention—either a cleaning or replacement.

Everyone has their own idea of best practices for cleaning and maintaining their kitchen.  These are some helpful tips about how to maintain its sanitary state and beautiful makeover and/or remodel.  No matter what practices you choose to do, just remember that remodeling your kitchen or updating its look requires ongoing maintenance and cleaning, particularly given that it’s the place you cook, prepare meals you consume and is often a gathering place in your home for people (and their germs!).  You will want to impress and show off your new kitchen to your friends, family and guests—so don’t forget to clean and maintain it!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America—leaders in modern Italian kitchen remodeling.  The designers at Berloni America can help you design your next kitchen with storage and organization in mind. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you with your next kitchen remodel.  We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: MEDITERRANEA via Berloni America

Kitchen Remodel Survival Tips

Perhaps you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen and now have the design plan, final budget and a licensed contractor.   But wait!  The renovation process won’t be easy, especially if you’ll be living in your home during the remodeling process.  Here are some steps you can take to minimize dust, stress and family quarrels:

  1. Mind over matter- Above all, explain to your family that the remodeling process may be stressful and you’ll need everyone’s cooperation, but that the end result will be well worth it.  You can expect a few bumps on the road including delays, unanticipated costs and decisions you hadn’t planned on having to make.  When you want to scream, take a deep breath and remember your end goal and vision of a new, fabulous kitchen.
  2. Create a substitute kitchen- When we gutted our kitchen, I set up a small kitchenette in our laundry room with a small toaster oven, mini fridge, microwave, George Foreman grill and essential cooking and dining supplies.  The substitute kitchen should be set up away from dust such as a finished basement or unused bedroom.
  3. Store and purchase necessary supplies- If you are replacing all of your cabinets, set aside enough time to pack all of your dishes, pots, pans, vases, linens, pantry items, art, anything on display, etc.  My husband and I started accumulating large boxes in advance of the ‘breaking ground’ date, packed on the weekends and stored everything in our garage during the renovation.

As an environmentalist, I never used paper plates or plastic utensils…until my kitchen remodel began.   Since you and your family must eat and you more than likely will not have a dishwasher set up during your kitchen renovation, I believe it is perfectly acceptable to use paper plates, styrofoam cups and bowls, and plastic utensils during that time.

  1. Eat out/Take out- Weather permitting, use your outdoor grill to prepare meals so you aren’t relegated to restaurants for most lunches and dinners.  If possible, place a cooler with ice on the back porch or deck to keep soft drinks cold and to avoid running out constantly for ice.  Plan on spending a larger portion of your disposable income on take-out meals and at dine-in restaurants than you normally spend.   Purchasing individual servings of frozen meals and healthy snacks like fruit, granola bars, cheese and crackers, etc.  will help defray costs if you will have access to a microwave during the renovation.
  2. Everything but the kitchen sink!  Instruct your contractor to remove your old sink last, so you have access to running water in a large sink up until the absolute last minute.  Often times, the delivery of cabinetry, flooring, tiles and other supplies can be delayed, so it’s important not to remove the kitchen sink too soon.
  3. Take cover- Place plastic sheeting over all appliances, unless they are being replaced, in order to minimize the dirt during the day.  This way, you’ll have access to them so you can resume meal preparation during the evenings. Cover the doorways with plastic sheeting to minimize the spread of dust to the rest of the house.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America. We would love to connect with you on Facebook. 

 

Simple Ways to Save for the Kitchen of Your Dreams

Have you documented your 2012 goals?  If not, fear not: Statistics show that only 2% of Americans actually document their goals.  They do not realize that goals not written down are just dreams! If your goal is to remodel your kitchen in the New Year, here are some easy tips to cut spending so you can reallocate saved dollars and build the kitchen of your dreams.  These are just a few of many money-saving secrets I’ll reveal over the next few weeks:

Brown Bag It

You can cut your food budget by taking your lunch to work.  Instead, pack leftovers or buy pre-packaged meals in bulk at your warehouse club of choice.  The same goes for snacks: prepare them at home for as little as $.25 a serving instead of wasting a full dollar or more in the vending machine at your place of employment.

BONUS- You’ll cut calories too by selecting healthier ingredients when preparing your lunches.  If you choose to buy pre-packaged or prepared foods, you can easily see the nutritional information to select the healthiest option.  You’ll also save money by staying onsite, especially since gasoline prices are higher than ever.

If you truly value the socialization aspects of dining out for lunch with friends, colleagues, etc. consider a food-prepare and share program.  I’ve done this in the past and found that it’s best to:

  1. Select four friends or colleagues you enjoying catching up with.
  2. Once they’ve agreed to the program, determine each person’s preferred day to bring lunch each week.
  3. Set a date, preferably a Monday, on which to kick-start the new program.
  4. Gather at a community area at work or dine al fresco at a park convenient to everyone.
  5. Bon appetito!

You’ll save at least $3,000 annually- more than likely even more!  Here’s how: the average cost of a lunch meal is $10 - $15 including tax and tip while a brown-bagged lunch costs a couple of dollars.  By saving $12 every weekday for 52 weeks each year, you’ll save $3,120 per year!  Save even more with the food-prepare and share program since you’ll save by buying larger quantities only once per week.

Note: As long as none of the participating people have dietary restrictions- for health or religious reasons, this is a great way to save money and time because you’ll only have to prepare one large meal, one night, per week.

The same logic applies to your children’s lunches unless you receive assistance and/or the school’s cafeteria meals are subsidized.

Extra BONUS- If you deposit the average monthly savings of $240 for twelve months  into an interest bearing account  (assuming a 6.5% interest rate compounded daily), you’ll have almost $10,000 by the end of three years!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Berloni America. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.