What You Should Know About Kitchen Island Designs

Planning a kitchen remodel project? Sure, it’s long overdue, and I’m certain you have worked out a laundry list of things to do –cabinets with intricate wood work, granite countertops, a glass tile backsplash, contemporary maple furniture for that small and cozy breakfast nook, faultless electrical connections and lighting for that perfect ambience.

But your plans of creating spunk and sizzle in that stark, dispassionate space are sure to remain incomplete if you do not make kitchen island designs an essential part of these plans. There are limitless designs available at different prices and different shapes and sizes that you can either buy or build, both to enhance your work space and attenuate all your storage related concerns.

Simple Construction; Big Impact

It could be kitchen center island designs that promise to elevate your kitchen’s inherent beauty to another level, sturdy and stylish stainless steel mobile kitchen islands, movable kitchen carts or a portable table fitted with wheels – each one of these represents the perfect amalgam between function and fashion.

They can be used in a wide variety of ways – for basic chores like cutting and chopping, to eat and to even do homework and pay bills. They assist, rather admirably, in the storage of kitchen tools, cutlery and utensils. Needless to say, their presence gives the efficient functioning of your kitchen a much-desired shot-in-the-arm.

It is their ability to make contemporary kitchens more efficient and organized that has made these islands an intrinsic part of every modern kitchen. Therefore, the innumerable innovative kitchen island ideas that are conceptualized every day do not come as a surprise. These breathtaking ideas unite high quality materials with new-age designs. Regardless of the size of your kitchen, you are sure to find an island design that would be completely in sync with your needs and desires.

It is probably this amazing ability to transform a dull and dreary space into a comfortable, spacious and tidy workplace that has sent their popularity soaring through the stratosphere.

Important Considerations

Just a fleeting glance at the dizzying array of designs, styles, shapes and materials, and you are sure to kind of lose the plot. How does one know which design to choose? Which material will match the overall theme of the space? Should there be more emphasis on the style factor, or should comfort and practicality top your list of priorities? How will the other accessories in the kitchen be placed with regard to the kitchen island?

If you too seem to heading nowhere with regard to your kitchen island plans, here are a few pointers that would ensure that you make the perfect choice:

  • Size of the kitchen: One does not really require great powers of imagination to figure out the importance of the size of the kitchen. If you are keen on an island in the centre, make sure your kitchen is large enough to accommodate it. U, G or L-shaped kitchens can manage this with ease. But if you are not fortunate enough to have a large space, a portable butcher’s block or food cart is sure to do the trick. Simplicity is the mantra for small spaces, and there are several innovations in design that will enable you to utilize the available space with efficiency.
  • Storage concerns: A kitchen island must also provide some respite from all your storage related concerns. If the lack of adequate workspace is your constant gripe, then make sure the island you choose has enough countertop space on either side. Small spaces are sure to benefit big time from a portable work table. Mobile kitchen islands put all space and storage related issues on the backburner. If the one you choose is equipped with racks, shelves and cabinets, it will enable you to strike the right balance between style and effective space utilization. It always makes sense to determine every aspect of the kitchen island – from the top to the kitchen island legs.
  • Shape: There are several shapes that one can choose from. While round, square and rectangle are most popular, there has been a sudden increase in the demand for the triangle shape as well. Whatever you choose, make sure it suits the primary set-up of your kitchen.
  • Portability: Fixed kitchen islands add to the aura of a large kitchen. Mobile kitchen islands fixed on wheels are ideal for medium and smaller sized kitchens. If you use your kitchen island occasionally or have a constricted space, then you must invest in a folding kitchen island.
  • Versatility: The design you choose must fulfill all your requirements completely. Whether the preparation of food, rolling dough, cooking, cleaning or storing utensils and cook books, your design should never let you down.
  • Style quotient: Contemporary, French-country or antique – make sure the style of the kitchen island complements the overall theme of the space. Analyze the different kinds of materials – bead board, granite, marble, laminate, wood, metal – and choose the one that can bear the brunt of all the chores.
  • Other accessories: If you opt for a kitchen island that holds a cooktop, make sure you invest in an overhead ventilation hood to prevent the onslaught of smoke, steam and strong odors. If it holds a kitchen sink, all the other accessories like the dishwasher and recycle bins must be kept close by. If you have large pots and pans, you will require a fairly deep kitchen sink within the island.
  • Budget: This is, by far, the most important consideration, particularly in these gloomy financial times. It is the amount of money that will decide not only the island design, but also, the material, finish and the additional features. It will also determine if you customize an island with help from kitchen island kits, or let a ready-to-use kitchen island from a reputed furniture store make waves in the space.

Finally, your quotidian jousts with limited space are a thing of the past.


Kitchen Design: Tips You’ll Want To See …

Kitchen design encompasses a whole lot more than just installing custom kitchen cabinets or painting them

A friend of mine was all gung-ho about shifting to her new home. When I met her recently, I found her immersed headlong into making her swanky new kitchen look absolutely flawless. It was a bit of a revelation for me, someone who was under the impression (a completely wrong one, I’ve realized of late) that kitchen design was only restricted to installing custom kitchen cabinets or just painting them with some wild, whacky colors.

People like me are content with sticking to conventional ideas, but I guess times are changing. More and more homeowners are looking for a reprieve from the traditional and are breaking new ground with some really innovative, highly creative kitchen design ideas. Well, its time to ring in the new.

Kitchens have a whole new meaning today  

Lets all take a trip down memory lane. Remember the kitchen in the homes that we spent our formative years? More often than not, it was just a service area where Mom slogged it out all on her own, while the rest of the household continued to be immersed in their respective fields of interest. But today’s new-age Moms are certainly a departure from their 70’s counterparts. So it’s no surprise that kitchens today are more than just a place where tantalizing delicious meals get prepared. It’s about interaction with friends and family alike. So whether it is Mom giving final touches to her presentation, settling pending bills, feeding the equally famished pets or even helping kids with their home work, its all done in today’s modern kitchens. And yes, it is also used to prepared meals. The kitchen is arguably the most important part of every home. For the uninitiated like me, there’s more to kitchen design or remodeling than just a few deft strokes used in painting custom kitchen cabinets or installing brand new ones. There are innumerable ways in which you can infuse life in to your kitchen and make it an extension of your vibrant personality and character.

It’s a great deal of brainstorming

If you thought kitchen design or remodeling was just about plush interiors with some crazy colors thrown in for good measure, then think again. There are scores of facets that need to be worked out thoroughly before you can have a successful and long-lasting kitchen design on hand. Just like while designing your dream bathroom , every minute detail from the tiles to the shower faucet get highlighted, similarly, in the kitchen design or remodeling project, you just cannot afford to leave anything to chance. From the kitchen flooring, kitchen lighting, kitchen backsplash, kitchen countertops, kitchen cabinets, custom kitchen islands to even the kitchen furniture, inclusive of the rather insignificant looking kitchen chair cushions and kitchen chair pads, need comprehensive planning and consideration. Even easy to ignore aspects like a bronze kitchen faucet or copper kitchen faucet, something that we all take for granted, need to be highlighted. Before you give a concrete definition to your ideas, make sure your goals are well-defined, costs are well within limits and all the dimensions are worked out correctly. This apart, there are other considerations as well that need to be looked in to before work begins on the kitchen of your dreams:

  • Space considerations: Since you certainly don’t want people bumping in to each other and need to permit free movement, make sure you opt for fitted kitchens that occupy less space.
  • Family lifestyle: If it is a kitchen to be frequented by just one person, it is sure to be rarely used. But that’s not going to be the case with a large family for whom it will be more of an activity hub with lots of space for groceries, crockery, cutlery, kitchen equipment and area for seating.
  • Seating area: This really depends on the dimensions of the kitchen space. If it’s a small kitchen, you may just be able to manage to squeeze in a small breakfast bar. But there’s more than just the conventional dining table that a large kitchen can hold.
  • Fitting the refrigerator: It does not require great powers of imagination to understand that the refrigerator needs to be placed such that it allows free access by one and all.
  • Shaping the future: The shape of the kitchen will go a long way in determining the future of the space. You can opt for either a U or L-shaped kitchen,  2 way gallery or even a gallery kitchen
  • Lest we forget: Ventilation, skylights, service points for water and electricity are also equally important when it comes designing the kitchen.

Kitchens that will stun the world

If you’re looking beyond the realms of stainless steel kitchen cabinets, stunning colors or kitchen chair cushions and kitchen chair pads that revel in the unconventional, then it’s about time that you grabbed that hot cup of coffee and checked out some of these styles that are sure to allow your innate persona to take centre stage:

  • Contemporary: For those who prefer their designs without any fuss, this style of kitchen is quite something. The emphasis is on clean, minimalistic horizontal lines with hardly any ornamentation. The profound impact of man-made materials is unmistakable, be it stainless steel, frosted glass, concrete or laminate. The styles from European heavyweights like Italy and Germany are extremely enchanting.
  • Country: One look at the bright, vivid colors that are an inherent part of the country kitchen, and you know you’re captivated for life. These kitchen styles are replete with painted and glazed cabinets, metal and wire inserts, woven baskets and floral motifs. Your guests are sure to be floored by the decorative shelves and moldings. French and English country or Tuscan kitchens are a rage with those looking to create that homespun look in their kitchens.
  • Old World: If you’re keen to trace your roots back to pre-17th century Europe, then make sure your kitchen echoes with the European kitchen design that flourished in the Tuscan, Mediterranean, Medieval and Normandy areas. With stone floors, brick walls, copper or pewter accents, your trip down memory lane is complete.
  • Rustic: If your heart swells with pride when you think of your Native American roots, then check out this kitchen style that has a 100% regular American flair, be it Southwestern or Pacific Northwest. The rich texture of the pine or alder wood cabinets looks as stunning as the warm shades like green, brown, yellow and red.
  • Traditional: There’s more to the Victorian and Edwardian era than just the stiff upper lip. The extremely elegant kitchen styles that were prevalent in the 18th, 19th and the early part of the 20th century, get a whole new definition. Feast your eyes on the cabinets in cherry, walnut and mahogany. The antique fixtures and appliances are more than just great accessories.
  • Transitional: This style is perfect for those that want the best of both worlds. It is the ideal amalgamation of the modern and traditional. On one hand, you have bamboo flooring but at the same time, there’s no hesitation in displaying the kitchen appliances. The understated ornamentation of the fixtures and moldings is a perfect foil for the lighter color palette.

In addition to these awe-inspiring kitchen styles, there are several ways to raise the bar, so to speak. Eye candy addicts can make a bold and dramatic statement with kitchen cabinets that not only look fetching, but are also equipped with drawers without handles. This coupled with potfillers (faucets used exclusively for filling pots in the kitchen, for the uninitiated) and eco-friendly knife holders, are sure to convert your guests in to hyperventilating, dazed masses.

Show me the money

Whether it is a kitchen remodel project that involves installing or even painting custom kitchen cabinets or the creation of a completely new kitchen, it is absolutely incorrect to think that it’s going to leave your bankrupt. Believe it or not, a kitchen makeover can be done with consummate ease in $1000 too, all this despite the spiraling kitchen cabinet prices and kitchen remodeling costs. But to figure all that out, there’s lots of help at hand. The Internet is one place that is loaded with millions of time-tested, innovative and refreshingly creative ideas on kitchen design. From measuring dimensions to designing your countertops, from selecting the right color schemes for your kitchen chair cushions and kitchen chair pads to evaluating the materials for the counter top, navigating through these sections can be a pretty insightful experience. What’s more, there are sections on faucet repair and selection too. For the creatively inclined, the free kitchen design software is quite a handy tool. Your creative instincts are sure to work overtime.

Whether you decide to design the kitchen on your own or hire the services of a designer, kitchen designing and remodeling is certainly not as simple as changing a leaky shower faucet. But it is no rocket science either. All that is required is a little bit of patience and determination to create a kitchen of your dreams that is the perfect getaway for your friends and family. After all, there’s nothing like a sumptuous dinner with your kids in a kitchen that redefines luxury and style.


A Floral Mosaic Backsplash Certainly Adds A Great Deal Of Color And Charisma To The Kitchen Decor

Regardless of your creative instincts, it’s always that much harder to describe something of unparalleled beauty. Like this condo I saw on the Internet a few days ago. It was just not another emblem of luxury and affluence. Its sheer magnificence celebrated external beauty and charm like never before.

Wouldn’t you love to know what this ultra-urban condo encompassed? For starters, the stately hardwood flooring coupled with the simply exquisite European furniture etched fabulous patterns in my mind.  The layout of the spacious master bedroom in exotic colors suffused my face with a warm glow.

Everything in the fabulous bathroom, from the impeccable tiling designs on the wall to the humongous glass sink, was like an artistic masterpiece. If you think my attempt to air-brush reality is getting a wee bit too synthetic, wait till you read my animated description of the incredibly stylish kitchen.

The majestic wood cabinetry, super-sleek stainless steel appliances, elegant travertine counter tops and loads of unique decorative ideas made it amply clear that this space refused to be shackled by any barriers.

But somewhere in this masterpiece of a condo, there was a small gem of a space that made me sit up and take notice. It was a rather miniscule area that one would relegate to the background, leave alone appreciate and moon over. No fancy white marble, custom-designed hand-painted ceramic murals, shimmering metal accents or eye-catching terracotta or porcelain artifacts here. It was just the banal kitchen wall accented by an antique floral mosaic backsplash.

I know I’ve taken you completely by surprise, but that’s exactly the raison d’etre of a floral mosaic backsplash. There are many more mosaic tile backsplashes that follow in the footsteps of their floral counterparts. Not just homeowners, these tiles are every professional remodeler’s delight too.

No fuss kitchen remodeling

A kitchen remodeling project on the anvil? Well, better steel yourself to spend a great deal of time and money. And you certainly cannot discount the fact that this ambitious venture will be an uphill climb right from the word go. Really?

Why is kitchen remodeling invariably associated with the installation of expensive natural stone floors or countertops, like granite or slate? Do the dozens of hand painted Mexican tiles really have to form part of your scheme of things? Your obsession with gorgeous Italian creations (Carla Bruni included!), need not make a special appearance to enliven your kitchen space.

With basic stuff like grout and adhesive and some beautiful decorative tiles, you can alter the mood and ambience in your kitchen dramatically. Welcome to the refreshing world of floral mosaic backsplash.

A garden full of fresh flowers

Considering the hopeless romantic that I am, it’s no surprise that my world is inundated with blithe images of flowers, breathtaking landscapes and eclectic colors. If you belong to this bandwidth, why not flood your real world with generous doses of your vivid imagination. The easiest way around this seemingly impractical task would be to bring in a unique design tile on the kitchen backsplash. How about a floral mosaic backsplash to bring in the freshness of flowers into your vapid kitchen?

But it’s not only a floral mosaic backsplash that can be instrumental in creating diametrically different kitchens. The three-dimensional, multi-colored splendor of a Venetian glass waterfall mosaic backsplash, with a couple of glazed ceramic tiles thrown in for good measure, is sure to be a feast for sore eyes.

A design for every kitchen

If yours is a glorious kitchen with fabulous stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, elegant faucets and striking feature wall treatments, then a metallic mosaic tile backsplash will only make this personal space even more sensational.

But if you’re the kind that likes no frills attached to your relationships and spaces, then your kitchen is almost certain to bear clean uncomplicated lines. You’re sure to greet a stainless steel mosaic base with unconstrained glee.

For first timers that are sticklers for rules, a ceramic tile cooktop backsplash design is the perfect confluence of form and function. An art-savvy person however, can create magic with some rare yet distinct designs. Let your creativity rein supreme with an Armenian floral design tile or a backsplash Herringbone design tile.

The specific beauty needs of your kitchen backsplash are addressed with gusto with custom-designed glass mosaic tiles in incredible patterns and colors. The enchanting designs of transparent glass mosaic, marbleized and iridescent glass mosaic tiles can help you display your creative zest, a la Armani or Versace.

Make a choice in right earnest    

The immense popularity of a mosaic kitchen backsplash is buttressed by the fact that it is easiest way to bring together style and substance on one plane. But how do you make a choice when you have so much on offer? There’s the staid conventionality of ceramic tiles, ultra-glam glass mosaic tiles, functional stainless steel mosaics and soulful marble mosaic tiles. To add to your consternation, there’s an infinite array of colors and patterns to choose from.

Here are a few tips that would help you overcome this unenviable task:

  • Complete or partial renovation: Is it just the backsplash that is getting a facelift or are the cabinets, countertops, walls and flooring also being salvaged? Any future plans of a change in the flooring or painting will also influence the backsplash design.
  • Themes that inspire: If your remodel project is inspired by a 1950’s retro style, then an old world cooktop backsplash design would be perfectly in order.
  • A color for a thousand words: The importance of color selection cannot be undermined, especially in kitchen backsplash design. The colors in your much-feted floral mosaic backsplash must compliment the other hues in the kitchen décor. So if the kitchen cabinets and countertops make a potent statement in dark shades, a backsplash design in muted tones will certainly not be a spoilsport. Cabinets and countertops in light, breezy colors are sure to come alive with adequate support from bright vibrant backsplash designs. The easiest way to hide flaws in the kitchen flooring or permanent fixtures is by the uninhibited use of bold vivacious colors in the mosaic backsplash.
  • Joints and cuts: By cutting tiles in to different sizes you can create interesting borders. Laying tiles with straight or brick joints creates a tremendous focal point.
  • Patterns unlimited: A basket weave mosaic pattern on the backsplash is just one of the unlimited ways to spice up things in the kitchen. Combine it with mixed metals and black accents, and the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ will continue unabated. Different sized tiles can be used to demarcate different areas and create eye catching patterns with the same design.
  • Textured to perfection: A unique, hard-to-believe appeal can be created with the use of assorted textures. Inserting a medallion or stone is another prize-winning way to construct a focal point.  

A floral mosaic backsplash is the best bet when you want to create a look-at-me-now work of art. Rest assured, your guests will find it hard to take their eyes off the backsplash. Above all, its flowery appeal will add a great deal of extravagance to your kitchen and your life.


Advice About Copper Vessel Sinks

Hand-hammered Mexican copper vessel sinks may have all the trappings of a priceless, decorative antique, but their charm and appeal is very much modern and new-age. The manner in which pristine white ceramic oval sinks, glass under-mount sinks, square granite pedestal sinks or even custom designed, small sinks with gleaming brushed nickel fixtures and faucets have been almost completely drowned by the competition from  their copper counterpart is proof of its rising popularity among homeowners and home renovation enthusiasts.

Timeless In Every way

Before copper made a grand entry into the crowded world of vessel sinks, it was actually an integral part of ancient Mexican and Indian culture. They were created, with immense passion and precision, with the old world tradition of hammering a single sheet of copper into the desired shape. Little-known but gifted artisans worked tirelessly in small fabrications shops in Mexico and India. Both these countries were valued the world over for their copper-rich lands.

Mankind has been associated with sinks of this metal even before the advent of plumbing. In fact, even before these sinks created a place for themselves in plumbing history, people from early civilizations used them to fetch water for cleaning. Their immense functional properties even impressed members of the royal household, and soon copper acquired a regal dimension to its use. Paintings and pictures of the bygone era illustrate the eternal beauty of the copper vessel with effortless ease.

Today, these beautifully designed, impeccably crafted and amazingly functional works of art, with a rich and glorious heritage passed on from generation to generation, have become the object of universal awe and fascination. The manner in which these sinks have captured the imagination of both artists and homeowners alike is a sterling tribute to the talent, skill and dedication of the craftsmen. If fact, copper has become so closely intertwined with modern plumbing designs that it is hard to imagine the decor of a home without this absolutely stunning addition.

Unique In Every Way

If you believe that glass sinks are both dazzling and delightful, then you must let your eyes feast on a unique, Mexican-inspired, handmade, 17″ round copper vessel sink with stunning silver overlay or even an impressive copper mosaic glass vessel sink and faucet set. Needless to say, your fascination for glass sinks will be shattered in no time at all. That is the astounding impact that this metal can have, which is why discerning homeowners that have renovation high on their priority list rely heavily on its beauty, elegance and originality to make an iconic style statement. Just imagine the sensational impact when you team this one-of-a-kind sink with decorative artwork and accessories. Simply put, these vessel sinks have taken style and substance to a completely new level.

But these sinks are not only about sizzle and sparkle. The unique method of fire processing gives every piece a very distinct texture and color, in addition to the ability to age elegantly. The ‘living-weathered’ finish comes into effect because the metal constantly reacts with the environment, more specifically with the elements, namely air and water. Commonly referred to as the patina, this means that the hand-engraved and hand finished, lacquered sink – whether a copper kitchen sink, a copper bar, bathroom, farmhouse or apron sink – will give off a rich, elegant and much-cherished antique glow as time passes. This also means that onlookers will continue to remain mesmerized with its breathtaking appeal for generations to come. Since the metal is very malleable, beautiful scenes can be pressed on to them for eternity. Truly, it is an uncontaminated spectacle that remains untainted by the elements.

The unique antibacterial advantage also helps these sinks rise up the popularity charts as compared to other metals and materials. Research has proved that since bacteria can live only for a few hours on a sink made from copper, it is actually a more hygienic and practical choice as compared to stainless steel and stone.

Original and Artistic

Even though copper sinks are crafted in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, each piece remains an original work of art. In fact, you could find a sink that compliments your sense of style. A drop-in copper basin is ideal if your home is steeped in tradition, while if you want to let you contemporary panache speak for itself, then just let a copper bar sink do all the talking.

The different variations in copper sinks are:

  • Size: Sinks are available in different sizes; your choice will depend on the space available in your home.
  • With or without apron: While some sinks look like a bowl, you could add an apron to give it a more closed look.
  • Shape: When it comes to the shape of the sink, you are actually spoilt for choice – square, rectangle, round, oval, canoe, double wall, recessed and even sinks with floral designs impress the connoisseur in you.

Care and Maintenance

Just like all beautiful things have be preserved and protected, the copper vessel sink is no different. Most experts recommend that one must follow the instructions mentioned in maintenance guide for the most personalized form of cleaning. But there are other options as well. If you are keen to maintain the sheen of the metal, then Wright’s copper cream polish, a copper wax solution or sealant, will prevent any change in color and ensure that it looks as good as new. The cleaning routine can include mild dish soap accompanied with water and a sponge and soft cloth. Make sure you keep away harsh chemicals, abrasive materials and rough cleaning cloth, as they could ruin the texture and finish of the sink.

Copper vessel sinks have had a timeless association with mankind, and the reasons are not too hard to find. So when are you planning to seal your bond with this awe-inspiring work of art?    



Slate backsplash: Multihued wonder

Stone is an extremely popular material for the kitchen backsplash. Granite, marble and travertine are some of the common finishes for the kitchen backsplash design. But there is yet another natural stone that is widely used for floors, walls and above all, the kitchen backsplash. Slate, owning to several remarkable features, is regarded as one of the best natural stones available for the creation of the backsplash in kitchens.

Salient features of slate tiles

The slate tile is made from a natural, oily stone that is both organic and textured and offers several natural variations in color. That is because slate itself is composed of several layers that are colored different from each other. With so many hues to offer, the slate backsplash pattern is truly unique and very distinct. The slate backsplash has a naturally textured surface making it non-slip and thus an excellent exterior for not just backsplashes but also floors, fireplaces and walls.

There are drawbacks, though…

Despite the variety of advantages, there are several problems with the slate backsplash. To begin with, at times slate tends to be extremely soft and so not really the kind of material for a wet area. Also slate is highly prone to streaks, white marks, stains, discoloration, scratches and even flaking at times. To overcome these problems, make sure you pay heed to the following points at the time of installation:

* Never use a thinset or mastic as an adhesive but only a thinset with acrylic addictive while fixing the tiles.

* Since slate is an oily natural stone, the oil will come to the fore after a certain point in time. So is there a solution? Make sure the sealer you use is meant specifically for slate only and not for all natural stones.

At a price of $2.50 per square foot, slate is as good as any other natural stone. Its appeal lies in the way you use it.

Increase your home’s market value

Now, while we are discussing this, we would also want to touch upon an important topic.  Choosing a particular kind of backsplash material should not be done at random. With every home decorating choice you make, you should really be seeking to significantly enhance the value of your home. Especially if you are planning to sell it after a while.

Some choices tend to increase the value of your house while others tend to decrease it. That’s right. It’s actually possible to invest money and effort and end up decreasing how much your home is really worth! Why would anyone want to do that? Maybe because they simply do not know.

Luckily, having a really nice slate backsplash in your kitchen can add to the value of your home.

All about creating gorgeous kitchens!