Gadgets make cooking easier
Too many cooks in your kitchen? Install a few state-of-the-art, newfangled gadgets to keep them busy!
Often the most popular room in the house for gathering and conversation and — oh yes — cooking, kitchens can come with many modern gadgets that make life easier and more convenient. Whether it is a renovated space or a brand new structure, a kitchen has limitless potential when it comes to the “bells and whistles,” the amenities above and beyond standard appliances.
Stu Dettelbach of SD Kitchens offers his clients a myriad of options and choices when it comes to the items that make a real difference in the way a kitchen functions, from built-in coffeemakers that make just coffee and ones that make both espressos and lattes to under-counter microwaves, instant hot water faucets, audio video systems, and on and on.
“Built-in appliances,” comments Dettelbach, “enable you to keep the countertops clear because counter space is priceless.” Other gadgets which maximize the available counter space are mixer lifts which pop up from within a base cabinet and provide a shelf on which a large mixer can sit while being utilized, an under-counter microwave drawer and under-cabinet televisions and computer screens that drop down from beneath the bottom of the cabinet.
“More and more people are composting,” notes kitchen designer at SD Kitchens Ilene Silberg, “and some kitchens are being designed with a hole in the countertop and composting pail beneath which allows for easy disposal of waste that can be composted. Although that idea has been in existence for a while, it has become more popular of late with the ‘green’ movement.”
Appliances now are available with a wide range of gadgets and options that go far beyond some of the more standard choices like ice makers and water dispensers. Sub Zero refrigerators have the option of an air filtration system which removes bacteria, odors and other contaminants so air is refreshed every twenty minutes, which reduces food spoilage. Some dishwashers have an extra shelf maximizing the volume of cookware that can be cleaned at one time, allowing for knives and smaller utensils to get cleaned more efficiently.
Amy Stampfer recently renovated her Pikesville kitchen and incorporated several gadgets and conveniences into her new space. A chilled, filtered water faucet, next to the more standard Insta-Hot at her kitchen sink, gets frequent use by her whole family. A large island in the kitchen with ample storage space, a pull-out spice rack with adjustable height drawers for taller items, a warming drawer and three different kinds of lighting all make her kitchen more functional. “I do a lot of entertaining for friends and out-of-town family who often stay with us, so we wanted a space that could easily accommodate a lot of people comfortably.”
Carolyn Bakaev, a kitchen designer with SD Kitchens, recently designed her own kitchen. Since she keeps kosher, Bakaev considered function before design to accommodate a large refrigerator and freezer, two dishwashers, two sinks and a granite counter which can be koshered. These features “make things a million times easier,” notes Bakaev, who regularly entertains with often 15 people around her dining room table. She referred to the Star K Web site for a listing of Shabbat-compliant appliances, those which have devices to turn on and shut off the appliance for the duration of Shabbat.
Harborview resident Laurie Bertner designed her kitchen to maximize the functional space in her city condominium. Recessed and under-cabinet lighting give Bertner lighting options and sleek power strips tucked under the cabinets allow her to plug in small appliances, as needed, without loosing valuable counter space and opens up the floor plan. “The kitchen is pretty perfect,” says Bertner.
Kitchen Renovation on a Budget
With the economic forecast looking grim, a new kitchen may be out of your financial reach. However, there are several ways to give your kitchen an updated look and not spend a fortune, according to Stu Dettelbach of SD Kitchens.
• The least expensive option is to install new cabinet hardware throughout your kitchen. These can be found at a variety of stores including Expo, Home Depot and decorative plumbing showrooms.
• Paint your kitchen a new color. Rich, deeper colors are the current trend. Pull a dramatic color from your window treatments and change the feel of the room. Faux painting is also an option.
• Make your kitchen feel bigger by changing the light fixtures and the impact of the lighting.
• Add a ceramic tile backsplash.
• Update your countertops to granite or marble to give your kitchen a richer look. This is the most costly project, but will have the most visual impact.