Posts Tagged ‘fridge’

Sneak Peek: My Kitchen Selections

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This month in Traditional Home, I’m giving readers an inside look at how I redesigned my new kitchen, including the best tips for planning that space. And my number-one tip is to think about how you use a kitchen before you jump in to the design. As you know, I love to cook and bake – it’s really my stress reliever. So I knew that my appliances needed to have a lot of functionality and smarts.

Because I’m a Thermador brand ambassador, I have been able to really test a lot of their product line while visiting their Experience & Design Center in Irvine, CA. So when it was time for me to start buying my appliances, I knew just where to start! Let’s take a look at some of my purchases!

For the range, I chose Thermador’s 48″ Professional Series Pro Range Grand Commercial Depth Range. The key for this great appliance for me was that it is duel fuel. I like for my cooktop to be gas because the amazing Star Burners give me a lot of flexibility in the heat source, from an extra-low simmer to a quick and fast boil. But I love an electric oven because I find that I get a more even bake with it. For the range top, I also purchased the grill insert that switches out with the griddle for all the times that it’s not outdoor grilling weather. And I had a local metal worker create a custom hood with a Thermador ventilation insert and blower to perfectly vent my new commercial grade range. You’ll be able to see that – along with my entire kitchen design – when it’s unveiled in Traditional Home later this year!

I love love love the Thermador steam oven, and I gave it a workout at Easter – it’s large enough to cook several vegetable dishes on separate racks at one time, or to cook a big ham. And it can roast a 14-pound turkey in just 2 hours! That will really take the holiday pressure off when Thanksgiving rolls back around.

For refrigeration, I love the flexibility of Thermador’s Freedom Collection. It allows me to select refrigeration columns based on how my family eats and cooks. I use a lot of fresh ingredients and I wanted the fridge section to be bigger, so I chose the 30-inch Fresh Food Column, combined with a 24-inch Freezer Column.

And for our wine storage, I bought the 18-inch wine preservation column. All 3 of these pieces fit perfectly in a row. I can’t decide if I am more excited about my refrigerator or wine column!

I also purchased a 30-inch convection panel-front warming drawer for the island, and Thermador‘s built-in MicroDrawer Microwave. And I have Thermador’s brand new under-counter refrigerator drawers that allow me to store drinks and other food in an easy-to-access place. And for quick clean up, I chose 2 (yes 2!) of Thermador’s amazing Star Sapphire dishwashers. Yep, we use a lot of dishes and cookware when my family and I fix meals and I hate to have dishes in the sink. This dishwasher can do a full clean cycle in only 20 minutes, which is incredible! And with 2 of them running at once, we should never have a dirty dish for long.

I’m so thrilled to be in my kitchen and baking away! If you want to see the finished project, check out my monthly column in Traditional Home. Every month I’m writing about a different room or area of the house, and at the end of the year you’ll see the BIG reveal. Stay tuned!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

New House Diary: The Kitchen Appliances

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New House Diary

I’m only two weeks from move-in day! I am so excited to soon be back in my house – and the room I can’t wait to get into is the kitchen. It is coming together even better than I imagined it could be! I’m ready to jump right in there and learn how to use everything including my new steam oven! Baking and cooking are stress relievers for me, and I’m in my happy place when I’m with my daughter creating fun and fabulous treats for the family.

So selecting appliances was like being a kid in a candy store for me! I’m lucky enough to be the brand ambassador for Thermador and I’ve learned a lot about their fabulous products and their company over the last year. When it came time to make my selections, I knew I would be purchasing Thermador without question. The hard part was deciding which of their products would be best for me.

Pro Series Range

For the range, I chose Thermador’s 48″ Professional Series Pro Range Grand Commercial Depth Range. The key for this great appliance for me was that it is duel fuel. I like to for my cooktop to be gas because the amazing Star Burners give me a lot of flexibility in the heat source, from an extra-low simmer to a quick and fast boil. But I love an electric oven because I find that I get a more even bake with it. For the range top, I also purchased the grill insert that switches out with the griddle for all the times that it’s not outdoor grilling weather. And I had a local metal worker create a custom hood with a Thermador ventilation insert and blower to perfectly vent my new commercial grade range no matter if I am using the star burners, griddle, or grill. It’s not only functional but gorgeous, too!  I can’t wait to show you the finished look!

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In addition to the 2 ovens under my range, I am also installing a steam oven in a wall cabinet. I’m so excited about the steam oven – it’s going to be perfect for everything from healthy steamed dishes to creating perfect crusty bread!

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I also selected a 30-inch convection panel-front warming drawer for the island, and Thermador‘s new built-in MicroDrawer Microwave. I can fit a 13×9 pan into this fabulous microwave and it has 10 cooking modes. I love how it sits flush into my cabinetry and will give me even more space on my counters since I don’t have to have a freestanding microwave sitting out on them or taking up valuable upper cabinet space.

fridge

For refrigeration, I love the flexibility of Thermador’s Freedom Collection. It allows me to select refrigeration columns based on how my family eats and cooks. I use a lot of fresh ingredients and I wanted the fridge section to be bigger, so I chose the 30-inch Fresh Food Column, combined with a 24-inch Freezer Column. They’ll have panels that match the cabinetry in the kitchen, which I love for a seamless and chic look. And for our wine storage, I chose the 18-inch wine preservation column. All 3 of these pieces will fit perfectly in a row. I can’t decide if I am more excited about my refrigerator or wine column!

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In the island, I’ll also have Thermador’s brand new under-counter refrigerator drawers that will allow me to store drinks and other food in an easy-to-access place. Thankfully my project took a few months to complete and in that time period, Thermador launched their under-counter refrigeration. It was a category that I was reluctantly going to have to purchase from another vendor but Thermador came to my rescue just in the nick of time!

StarWash

For quick clean up, I chose 2 of Thermador’s amazing Star Sapphire dishwashers, which will also have a panel front that matches the cabinetry. Yep, we use a lot of dishes and cookware when my family and I fix meals and I hate to have dishes in the sink. This dishwasher can do a full clean cycle in only 20 minutes, which is incredible! And with 2 of them running at once, we should never have a dirty dish for long. The Star Sapphire dishwasher also has the largest capacity for wine glasses that you can find out there today, a “time remaining” power beam, and a flexible third drawer that can be adjusted to fit whatever you need to clean.

Wow! Now you can see why I’m SO thrilled to be getting into this fabulous new kitchen with all of the hard-working appliances that I’ve chosen! I may go into a frenzy of baking for a few weeks, so keep your eye out for my kitchen creations on Instagram starting in May. And watch this space as I reveal more of my new house selections in the coming weeks. It will take me a couple of months to finish my decor but my kitchen will be hard at work even when all my interiors aren’t quite complete.

Happy cooking!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

Before and After: An Organized Kitchen

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The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house, especially if you have young kids. It’s the dumping ground for mail and backpacks, the central cooking and eating center, the gathering spot, and often a major spill zone.

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One of my favorite kitchen renovations was definitely that hub for a young family. The kitchen was too small and didn’t have enough storage so, like most homes, it was cluttered and sometimes chaotic. It was also dated, with old light fixtures and cabinetry.

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My number-one goal for the space was to lighten it up and to make it really function for this family, with lots of storage and seating areas. First we expanded the footprint of the kitchen, giving it much-needed extra space by taking in the back porch.

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I also lightened everything up, allowing the natural light to flood in, and giving the kitchen a beautiful palette that is inspired by the seashore (a favorite destination for the family).

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I expanded the windows, making them wider to allow even more light into the room. And I gave the ceiling the illusion of more height by adding the beams and painting the whole thing a gorgeous white.

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I also rearranged the footprint so each appliance was in a more functional zone, all within easy reach of a central cooking spot for the person preparing the meal.

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Adding a ton more storage was the real key! The cabinets go straight up to the ceiling, taking advantage of every square inch and helping to eliminate the clutter that can accumulate in the kitchen.

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Those baskets tucked into the island give the kids a place to drop their papers, bags, and toys so they won’t be dumped on the counter. It’s a great way to hide the clutter when guests come over, too.

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And I also added a built-in banquette in the breakfast area that has storage under the seat, making this a super-organized and high-functioning kitchen for a busy family.

What do you think of this kitchen makeover? Do you have enough storage in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

New House Diary: How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

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New House Diary

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I am right in the middle of a major kitchen remodel on my new house, which is both wonderful and scary. As a designer, I know better than most what can go right and wrong during a renovation, so I thought I would share my best tips for how to start, and survive, a kitchen remodel.

Tobi in hard hat

First, you have to have the right contractor. This is going to be a person that you’ll be with through thick and thin for days on end, so it better be someone you trust, and that you like. Ask for referrals if you don’t know someone, particularly from people who have kitchens that have been renovated recently. And yes, it’s okay to interview any contractor! You need to feel that you have a good rapport with this person. To me, that’s as important as the cost of their estimate. In fact, my contractor is a good friend of mine, but we are able to maintain a professional relationship which is the best of both worlds!

Tobis kitchen

You also have to budget wisely. Most renovations cost more than you think they will, and there are often things that come up that you weren’t expecting. I always know exactly where I need to splurge and where I need to save, and I made sure there was a cushion in my budget for any contingencies. In general, it’s smart to put your money where you’ll get the most for it, and some of those important areas are definitely appliances, cabinets, and flooring.

A good rule of thumb is that a budget around $5,000 will get you some small cosmetic changes; $15,000-25,000 will let you pull out old appliances (or a few of them) and maybe slightly change your floor plan, but it won’t let you move plumbing or electrical. At $25,000-45,000, you’re able to take out a wall and to upgrade to better fixtures and cabinets if your kitchen isn’t too large. And at $50,000 or more, you’re probably going to get closer to your dream kitchen, with custom cabinetry and professional-grade appliances. But keep in mind, many people would need $65,000-$100,000 to really get the kitchen of their dreams. Be honest with your contractor about what you can and cannot afford so you can set priorities for what you want and need now and what you may be able to phase in later.

Tobis wish list

My priority? Definitely the appliances! I am a cook and baker at heart, so I definitely need to have the right tools for my new kitchen. In fact, the most fun I’ve had in this whole process is dreaming over my Thermador catalog! The fabulous range above is just about the one thing I built my whole kitchen around!

Once you have the perfect contractor and your budget in place, then comes a scary decision: to stay or to leave! If you can, it’s better (and faster) if you can move out. I am having more than just my kitchen gutted, so staying in the home just wasn’t an option. If staying in a rental or long-term hotel doesn’t work for you, see if you and your family can bunk with a family member or friend. As hard as that can be, it really will make the kitchen remodel go faster at least during some of the messiest and most dangerous (electrical upgrades) and smelliest parts (think paint fumes). Plus, it’s just safer if you have kids and pets!

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(my kitchen with the sheetrock up!)

If you just can’t swing that, consider where you can set up a “kitchen outpost,” as I like to call it. It’s where you can at least have some dishes, a microwave, your coffee pot, a slow cooker, and any other small appliances you might need like a toaster or a can opener. Be sure the outpost is away from the dust and clutter that’s going to come out of your kitchen. You’re going to want to use this station mostly in the morning as you get everyone out the door. And then you’re going to want to get the number of every takeout joint near you! That’s just the name of surviving this remodeling game, so figure that into your budget, too.

If you’re remodeling during the right time of year, unlike me, you could also set up an outdoor kitchen around your grill and have plenty of fabulous dinners al fresco. Another great idea is to have snacks like microwave popcorn, trail mix, cereal bars, and raisins. If you have kids, you know they’re going to be hungry at inopportune times, so be ready. And also consider a dorm-sized fridge for drinks and water. You also want to only use disposable plates and utensils, because who wants to do dishes in the bathroom sink or the tub? Yuck!

Realistically, it can take months to complete a kitchen remodel. Often, the cabinetry alone will take at least 8 weeks for cabinets to be built and be installed, so think carefully about how long you can live without your kitchen. I am so excited because my cabinets are going in this week!

Now is also a great time to consider what you can live without so you can organize as a bonus to moving out. Those scarred baking pans you keep meaning to throw out need to hit the road. Don’t let junky stuff go back into your gorgeous new kitchen!

Finally, the best thing you can do to keep your sanity is put up a pinboard somewhere in the middle of your house where you can’t miss it. And pin up every single gorgeous kitchen inspiration photo you’ve ever torn out of a magazine. Then you can stare longingly at it to remind you of why you started this project in the first place. It’s all worth it!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

PS – Want a fabulous guide to get you through your kitchen remodel? Check out my friend Kathleen DiPaolo’s amazing Return on Interiors system, with tools, tips, and worksheets that will help you finish your project on time and on budget!

New House Diary: The Wet Bar

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New House Diary

There was a time not that long ago when everyone gathered before dinner for the cocktail hour. Neighbors visited each other’s homes, people invited their officemates over, or parties were planned for weekend evenings.

hampton's showhouse

In modern day interiors, wet bars are anywhere and everywhere, like this pretty one in my bedroom design for the Master Suite of the Hampton’s Designer Showhouse.

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On a not-so-pretty note, the house I’m renovating had a hold0ver from the 1960’s, with an old school wet bar (see the above view from the living room), complete with slatted shutters that opened, offering a pass-through that made it easy to hand drinks off to guests.

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And speaking of hold-overs, we found several layers of wallpaper when we were doing the demolition of the bar including this funny “Harem” print. Can you imagine pouring your cocktails each evening for guests or your spouse looking at this? Ha!

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So while the design of the existing bar was dated, I do love the idea of having a wet bar for entertaining guests. I love to host friends for drinks and dinner. I think the idea of bringing back the cocktail hour is definitely one that needs to be revived! So I’m renovating the wet bar to fit a more modern lifestyle, while still giving us a functional space for entertaining.

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Originally the entry to the bar was from a side hallway with a cute but VERY dated dutch door. There was lovely (dated) paneling and bad 1990’s tile flooring. The bar had hardly any storage, only a bit of cabinetry on the end wall under the pass through to the living room. There was also a second pass-through on the side wall to the main hallway that runs from the kitchen to the living room and my now study (the previous owner’s dining room).

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In the renovation, I’m eliminating both pass-throughs because I can take advantage of valuable wall space for upper cabinets and add lots of storage. And I am creating a larger opening from the hall so that the space feels less cramped.

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Here you can see that I have opened up the new “front” of the bar from the main hallway and closed the location of the dutch door. And if you are wondering, no, I’m not keeping that fabulous linoleum that we also unearthed.

With this framing change, I am able to create something a bit more like a butler’s pantry, complete with fabulous storage for barware, cutting boards, glassware, and more. In fact due to some issues with our construction and venting the hood over my fantastic new Thermador Range from the kitchen, it’s helpful that I moved the entry to the bar because that side hallway has been lost all together as a hallway since there is now a large piece of ductwork that runs through it. Oh the joys of renovating, right? The good news is that since the hallway isn’t available to walk through any more, it allows me to have a walk-in pantry to the right of the wet bar in what was the hall. But that’s a different discussion for another New House Diary day!

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As part of my framing and layout changes to the foorplan, I also relocated the entrance to the study and instead of a small door at one end, we now have a great double width opening into the hallway centered on the study wall. So as you can see in this photo, the new bar layout has perfect access from the study which my husband will love, especially on game days.

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There really is quite a lot of floorspace is now available in the bar for use with the new layout. And if anything is a priority in this house for me that’s storage. I have more than quadrupled the amount of storage the one tiny cabinet gave the bar previously and I have added an icemaker and a beverage refrigerator. All very exciting!

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The elevation above really gives you an idea of the new design looking from the new larger entrance. I want to have great wine storage – both refrigerated and not and I have a fabulous full-height Thermador Wine Column going in the kitchen. But in the bar, I also have a small beverage center/wine cooler and I envision it holding beer, some wine or champagne, mixers, garnishes–anything involved with cocktails that needs refrigeration. There will also be room for mixers and bottles in the lower cabinets and lots of room for glassware and pretty things in the glass-front upper cabinetry.

Plus I have a fun Kohler Poise sink with a coordinating cutting board that fits right in the top of it so the sink becomes a cutting surface. At one point, I thought the cutting board slid side to side under my new Dekton countertop from Cosentino, but that’s not the case, it just lifts right out for storage and cleaning.

And of course I’m going to do some fabulous things with the decor in the bar including bold paint choices, new wallpaper (No Harem ladies for me!) and beautiful counters and backsplash. So stay tuned for those selections soon. In fact sheetrock starts going up today. Hooray for Progress!

So what do you think of my modern update for the cocktail hour? Do you have a bar, or even a bar cart, in your home? Let me know in the comments section below and if you have a bar, what are your favorite features, appliances and details for your cocktail space.

Cheers!

Tobi-Signature