everyone hangs out in the kitchen

 it seems no matter how small your kitchen is or how hard you try and keep people out, when you have friends over, they always end up in the kitchen. it’s inevitable. i must admit, i’ve even tried to leave the kitchen a little dirty, maybe even leave a few dishes in the sink before having people over for the sole purpose of keeping them out of the kitchen ( it never works by the way, and i end up washing dishes with one hand and flipping  mushrooms in the other in front of an amused audience). so i decided to not only accomodate people in the westbourne kitchen, but really create a kitchen that will be sure to be the center of the party, that embraces the gathering and celebration of good food and great friends. from family gatherings to cocktail parties, this is one kitchen that will see a lot of smiling faces.
kitchen-plan1
floor plan

 

we created an open kitchen that features a large sliding window system by nanawall that will allow for great cocktail parties as the outside/inside line merge to become one. we’ll also be building a countertop on the outside side of the nanawall window system. the countertops will be caeserstone, a product made from crushed quartz and extremely durable. the drawing below is the floor plan of the kitchen (layout);

Elevation looking at cabinetry, sliding window system
elevation looking at cabinetry, sliding window system

 

the drawing to the right is an elevation (as if you were standing in the kitchen looking out) of the cabinetry and sliding window system. the windows will all slide to the left allowing a gracious 10′-0 opening;

 

  

elevation of cabinetry and 4'-0" range
elevation of cabinetry and 4'-0" wide range

 

the drawing to the right is an elevation looking at the 4′-0″ wide range and cabinetry. notice we’re not installing uppers along the back wall which we’ll keep a nice open feel in the kitchen (we have plenty of storage).

 

 

elevation showing refrigerator and upper cabinets
elevation showing refrigerator and upper cabinets

 

the drawing to the right shows the upper cabinets and refrigerator wall elevation. the cabinets will be made from FSC, forest stewardship council, rift cut white oak. the cabinet construction will be 100% formaldehyde free.

cool product of the month

Each month I’m going to be writing a blurb about a cool product that I have either used or plan on using for an upcoming project. it’ll be something as simple as a place that sells reusable canvas bags, ah that’s an idea right there, to more construction related fare such as a modern sliding door system. without further adieu, here’s the unveiling of december’s COOL product of the month;

naturemill’s automatic indoor composter.  it’s a nifty contraption that sells for $299 and can compost a majority of the food waste that is produced in your home. instead of sending it to the garbage disposal or trash, i.e. landfill, put it in the composter and let it work its magic. you can use the compost in your garden, or for you city dwellers, give the compost to a neighbor or the neighborhood community garden. disclaimer: I have not yet used this composter, or any composter for that matter, but I’ve spent plenty of time on the website researching the product. the naturemill website has a video demo as well which gives you a good idea of how the product works.

at 20″ high the composter is compact in size and may be able to fit in one of your kitchen cabinets providing  there is a pull out shelf as you will need to access the composter on a regular basis. the other option would be to locate it in a pantry or even the garage. the composter does require power, so you’ll want an electrical outlet nearby.

I’ll be purchasing one of these units for the westbourne project and at the same time will be ordering one for our family as well. one word of caution; it’s not quite plug and play, as you’re going to want to spend some time with the instruction manual as there are specific instructions for first time use as well as a list of items that are not meant to be used in the composter. there is also a “balance of chemistry” of food waste and sawdust pellets that should be maintained to reduce odors.

I think this product will take a little getting used to but I think it is well worth the time investment. I think of the valuable lesson my son jake will learn as he proudly empties the last of his untouched asparagus into the composter… the reward of not eating his asparagus, because da da, composting is fun!

puleaze, take your shoes off at the door

i remember growing up as a kid in new hampshire and playing in all kinds of dirt piles, sandboxes, and mudholes. i remember the pile of shoes in our den that seemed to stay there year round, however i never remember being told to take our shoes off in the house except in the winter. looking back now,  the pile  of shoes were probably all of our winter boots collecting dust in the summertime. we also had the long shag carpet in our rooms too. so imagine a mix of dirt and crud from our shoes and the shag carpet in our home. as kids, we never thought anything of it.

nowadays, i make it a point to take off my shoes when going into our home and try to remember to do the same when going into someone else’s home. the main reason for a “shoes off” policy in our house now is because it’s just plain cleaner and healthier in our house as a result (that and i have two young boys who would lick ice cream off the floor if they were allowed). shoes track in all kinds of dirt and debris. if you can leave all of that literally at the door, you’re on the way to a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.

you can put a small shoe rack or bench by your door or, if you’re renovating, you can install a recessed niche or a built in bench with storage for your shoes. the leed for homes program gives one full point of credit for implementing such a measure and, i might add, the program does not hand out points like candy. it’s further proof that more people are recognizing the benefits of such a simple idea. in fact, it’s such a simple idea, it’s almost not even worth writing about…almost.