Category Archives: Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchens That Offer Sizzling Summer Style

Before you know it, summer will be here—and you know what that means when you live on the Chesapeake Bay—letting the good times roll outside and enjoying sun, fun, family and friends!  We’ll bet you cannot wait for fresh-caught Maryland Crabs and BBQs! While your appetite may well be ready for your first crab feast, can you say your outdoor space is? Fundamental to good Maryland living is enjoyment of outdoor living and entertaining.

While outdoor design trends may have started with a simple charcoal grill and a beverage cooler, outdoor living spaces evolved in the mid-2000s as a most-wanted home feature, with many new home builds featuring outdoor kitchens integrated into patio and deck floorplans. Today’s outdoor kitchens are “next level” offering even more options with new materials, appliances and aesthetics to rival even our most urbane interior kitchen floorplans.

In other words, grab your biggest crab pot and get ready for your next summer on the Chesapeake with these outdoor kitchen innovations.

crabs
(Photo ©2017 Lisa J Gotto)

Material Maneuvers

While granite remains widely popular when it comes to indoor countertops, and stone is a wise choice for outdoor surfaces due to its durability, an innovative material that blends the glamour of the former with the weather-resistant qualities of the latter is now available in the composite category. This outdoor-rated composite is called DEKTON and is known for its strength and style. DEKTON withstands high temperatures, and resists stains and dinging from heavy utensil use. It provides the long-term durability aspect that is a necessity for enduring outdoor use.

Dekton-Outdoor-Kitchen
(Photo Courtesy of DEKTON)

Those first-generation outdoor kitchens rarely strayed from using stainless steel when it came to outdoor cabinetry, and with good reason. Like stone, it is one of few options that is both weather- and termite-proof. But manufacturers have added marinegrade polymers and teak options to the mix.

The marine-grade polymers are durable, easy to clean and come in variety of colors for customization and the use of teak can bring the woodsy warmth so many homeowners desire in a kitchen—even an outdoor kitchen.

brownjordan3
(Photo Courtesy of Brown Jordan)

Appliance Advancements

What is the biggest must-have item in the outdoor kitchen marketplace right now? The pizza oven! More than just a way to accomplish a quick meal, the pizza oven is giving families a unique, new way to connect and create fun quality time. Outdoor pizza ovens come in a variety of materials and sizes, free-standing and built-in, and in every type of style from modern to rustic. Other items that families are asking for and are available now are smokers, flat cook tops, and better storage options. Industry leaders predict the next big trend will be outdoor heaters; a great item to have for those cooler Bay breezes and to extend outdoor kitchen use beyond the summer season. The objective is to provide more options that appear less obtrusive and blend better with our outdoor kitchen surroundings.

Best-outdoor-pizza-oven-2016
(Photo Courtesy of Kalamazoo)

Appetizing Aesthetics

Creating a seamless transition from the inside of your home to your outside property is the priority in aesthetics today. Design and build options are available that open up a space so much that you can walk through the front door of a home and see a vista of the outdoors uninterrupted by drywall. Imagine your Bay area home providing that type of view.

To achieve uninterrupted site lines between indoor and outdoor spaces, 314 Design Studio experts recommend level floors with seamless room transitions and utilizing flooring materials suitable for indoor or outdoor spaces.

marca-corona-externo-1
(Photo courtesy of marca-corona)

Today’s porcelain floor tile options that mimic wood and stone provide the option for opulence because they look just as beautiful indoors as they look outdoors. Both wood and stone-look options are available in many varieties to complement any décor and help create the wow factor of the seamless look.

pool house
(Photo courtesy of Curtis Martin Photography for Lundberg Builders)

This four-season, 500 square foot Cape Cod style pool house was designed by architectural designer, Bob Moreland and built by Lundberg Builders. The exterior mixes a stone front facade and vinyl siding to match the original home, a custom-built cedar outdoor shower and attached storage area. The interior includes a cozy wood burning fireplace with a stone tile chimney facade, a limed-oak ceiling, porcelain ceramic tile flooring for durability, and a LaCantina folding wall system. The folding wall system is a fantastic way to connect indoor spaces to your outdoor living space. 

Do you have an idea for an outdoor kitchen and living space you would like to discuss with our designers? Our talented team of certified designers can help you assess your needs and then combine them with just the right materials, appliances and creature comforts to create a space that not only maximizes function and form but also blends substance with your unique sense of style. Call us today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience; we are open 8 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday.

 

 

5 Kitchen Design “Must Haves” for Holiday Entertaining

We asked some of the region’s best hosts for their favorite kitchen design ideas for holiday entertaining.  Significant planning is required for flawless, memorable parties for guests and hosts alike. Having a kitchen that is designed to support guest interaction, food prep, storage and serving top the list.

1) Practical Design Layout – Open floor plan concepts offer sight lines that connect the kitchen to dining and serving areas so hosts can still enjoy their guests while preparing foods.

Open floor plan kitchen
Open floor plan kitchen

2) Ample Work Areas – Have you ever noticed how everyone wants to gather in the kitchen? A large island is a host’s work-horse that adds essential space for food prep and serving. Island stools offer guests seating while keeping them away from kitchen traffic and congestion and the danger of hot dishes and pans coming out of the oven.

Kitchen island with seating
Kitchen island with seating

3) Attractive Built-Ins– Buffets, sideboards and strategically placed cabinetry can be built-in to offer room for laying out a spread of utensils, plates, appetizers and desserts with plenty of room for decorations and the personal touches that make a space inviting. Glass fronted cabinetry offers a pretty place to display china.

Custom cabinetry
Custom cabinetry

4) Themed Organization –Design your kitchen to create serving “stations” such as a coffee station, breakfast bar, or cocktail bar that corral items by theme – specific utensils, serving ware, stemware, barware, small appliances and ingredients for convenient all-in-one access. Below is a whole room designed for a client who loves to enjoy their impressive collection of wines with their guests.

Wine cellar
Wine cellar

5) Butler’s Pantry – A butler’s pantry keeps the mess out of sight and allows hosts more room to store larger sheet pans, serving trays, or seasonal china instead of having to pack it up and haul it out for each use. It’s also a great place to store canned goods and other pantry staples and provides more utility space for mixers and other large appliances. Budget permitting you could even include a second dishwasher and/or a utility sink to wash dishes and prepare cut floral arrangements!

Butlers Pantry
Butlers Pantry

With virtually endless options, designing a kitchen can be a daunting process to undertake on your own. With years of experience and hundreds of happy clients served, our certified kitchen and bath designers can help you bring your ideas to life with less stress. Whether you are looking for the latest top-of-the-line trends and features or you need value engineered options, from concept to build, we will guide you in selecting the right countertops, cabinetry, appliances, and finishes to create a practical and beautiful kitchen. Call us today to schedule a no-cost consultation (410) 643-4040, or feel free to drop-in at your convenience – we are open 8:00 am -4pm Monday- Friday.

Tips for Designing the Best Outdoor Kitchen

11949438_910185912379855_6409190968605643571_nThe most efficient outdoor kitchens are ones that are just as functional as indoor kitchens. Some outdoor kitchens can be very simple; only having the essentials.

However, some outdoor kitchens require a professional designer for assistance in design and installation. Regardless if you choose to hire a professional or not, here are things to keep in mind when designing your outdoor kitchen.

  1. Select low-maintenance materials and equipment
    Be sure the materials you choose are designed to withstand the elements (extreme heat, snow, heavy rain and wind) and are easy to clean and maintain. Known for its durability, high quality stainless steel is a popular choice because it is easy to clean, corrosion-resistant and durable. The products you choose will need to be able to withstand temperature changes, as well as be waterproof.
  2. Extend your living space
    Installing an outdoor kitchens provides you with a place to cook and entertain your family and friends. Be sure to plan for shade and shelter in case of rain, as well as to make things more comfortable in the hot summer months. You can incorporate an umbrella in seating areas or a pergola to provide more shade. Many homeowners are even installing outdoor ceiling fans to provide more comfort during the hot days of summer. Also consider incorporating a fire pit to create a warm spot for the cooler evenings and months.
  3. Add well placed lighting
    Adding outdoor lighting can help your outdoor space be more inviting for your guests, truly making this retreat an extension of your living space. It will also help make food prep and cooking easier and much safer. If you have incorporated a pergola in your design, a light can be installed from the ceiling. You can also consider installing light fixtures behind the work space or incorporating pole lights. Lighting not only extends your time outside, but provides safety for walkways, cooking areas and staircases.
  4. Choose your location wisely
    There are several factors that need to be considered when choosing a location for your outdoor kitchen. You’ll want to assure smoke from the grill doesn’t go back into your home. With this in mind be sure to put the grill in a place that is a proper distance from your home. Another consideration is whether or not the view from inside your home is important to you and your family. If so, consider putting the outside kitchen at an angle so the view isn’t blocked. It’s also imperative to consider the other areas of your yard that are already established. Do you have children or pets? The hot grill shouldn’t be placed next to children’s play equipment or an area your pet is prone to play in. Finally, consider placing the outdoor kitchen in close proximity to your indoor kitchen. Sometimes there are occasions when you may need to use both kitchens simultaneously. It also makes hauling everything from the indoor kitchen outside, and back inside again much easier.
  5. Choose reliable appliances
    The appliances you choose to have outside will need to be even more durable than the ones that are normally used for inside kitchens. Stainless steel and ceramic appliances are durable and require low maintenance.

By choosing the right appliances and materials, considering the location of your outdoor kitchen and your families needs, you can extend your living space and provide an all inclusive spot to entertain. Depending on the size of the space that you have available, it may be best to call in a professional for advice and suggestions.

Your Guide to the most Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

Get details and costs on top counter materials to help you narrow down the choices for your kitchen

Choosing  a kitchen counter is no easy task with so many available choices. Since this surface area takes up a large amount of the kitchen, it ends up having an impact on many of the other choices you have to make when remodeling or designing a kitchen.

Below are some of the most popular counter top materials, and the pros and cons of each.

Clark-18Soapstone Kitchen Counters
This material is resistant to stains, chemicals and bacteria, and is a durable and natural choice for a kitchen. Although it is considered to be on the expensive side at $80 to $100 per square foot, it is considered to be a lifetime investment.

Granite Kitchen Counters
Granite has always been one of the most popular choices for kitchen counters. With plenty of character, including unique grains, colors and customizable finishes, it is also considered to be extremely durable. It  can cost as low as $50 per square foot but prices can go up quickly with more exotic slabs and difficult installations.

Copper Kitchen Counters
Although it is not a common choice it is surprisingly easy to clean and maintain. This is considered  a “living” surface, as it reacts to different substances, creating a blend of matte reds, browns and greens. It costs at a minimum $100-per-square-foot.

Engineered Quartz Kitchen CountersDSC00338
Engineered quartz comes in just about every shade possible, so it is perfect for anyone who wants a unique or custom look. This product combines ground quartz, resin and pigments for a very durable result. It is pricey at $95 to $105 per square foot.

Tile Kitchen Counters
This is one of the more affordable choices starting at $30 per square foot. Available in stone or ceramic, it is extremely durable and is one of the few choices that is completely DIY.  Maintenance can be difficult, but choosing a darker grout can ease this burden.

Zinc Kitchen Counters
Although not a popular choice in modern times, this metal has a warmth that has made it stick around for many years. The tone of this metal darkens with time, adding patina. Its antimicrobial properties make it a smart choice for a cooking space. This material starts at $100 per square foot.

Houzz.com
Houzz.com

Recycled Paper-Based Counters
This ecofriendly choice has surprising durability considering it is made entirely of paper.  It is typically mixed with resins and pigments and looks very similar to soapstone, and averages between $40-80 per square foot.

Plastic Laminate Kitchen Counters
This option can work with most designs because it has so many customizable edges and finishes. One of the cheaper options it ranges from $8-20 per square foot. It’s one downfall is that it is not very durable and may need to be touched up or replaced more often then some of the other choices.

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houzz.com

Recycled Glass and Cement Kitchen Counters
One of the more pricey options starts at $100 per square foot, but is growing in popularity because of the unique combination of glass and cement.  This option is ecofriendly, durable and customizable.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Counters
This choice is nonstaining, heat resistant and easy to clean, and is a top choice for chefs. Starting at $80 to $90 per square foot installed means it’s more affordable than most stone counters, too.

Solid-Surface Kitchen Counters
Although not very popular, this miracle material has the ability to imitate just about any look without the same maintenance or price tag. Prices range from $50 to $100 per square foot, depending on the manufacturer.

Wood Kitchen Counters
A personal favorite, this option offers a unique, warm and long lasting countertop. The cost varies depending on the type of wood you choose, but one of the most popular choices, a butcher block, tend to range from $30 to $85 per square foot.

NEW HOUSE
314designstudio.com

Marble Kitchen Counters
Marble counters are always in style offering a classic look however it tends to scratch and stain easily. Marble is known more for the patina it develops, than for its durability. The cost typically ranges from $70 to $100 per square foot.

Concrete Kitchen Counters
Pigments, stains and dyes can create concrete counters with color and visual texture, making them fairly easy to customize . With the right sealer, a concrete counter can be well worth its cost — averaging between $100 to $150.

Source Houzz.com

13 steps to deep clean your kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home in most households. It’s the place where we meet up for conversations, whip up sweet treats or a yummy breakfast or share wine with friends. Unfortunately, because of this it is also notorious for being the messiest.

Women prepare to clean house on wood table

Most of us spot-clean our kitchens on a regular basis, but we very rarely take the time to give them a good deep clean. Our kitchen may end up looking nice at the end of our mini cleaning spree, but this quick method of cleaning can still leave residue and germs lingering in places we least expect.  If you’re looking for some clever ways to spruce up your kitchen, consider these things you can do to give it a deep clean.

Quick run thru before you begin

The kitchen can easily become the place where everyone dumps their stuff. Take a few minutes to clear away items that do not belong. Put any items from the counters into their proper place. Wash, dry and put any dishes away.

The Surfacesoriginal_erinn-valencich-kitchen-backsplash-step5_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960

Wipe down all of your kitchen surfaces.  For granite and other countertops without grout, start with a squeegee to quickly and easily sweep any crumbs away. Spray all surfaces and the stove top with a multi-surface cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it down with a scrubber sponge. Letting it sit will help break down grease and grime, and soften any food or spills. Don’t forget the backsplash, walls, range hood, stove and exteriors of the cupboards.

Clean & Organize  the Cupboards

OrganizedSpiceCabinetCreate a fresh start by removing all items from the cabinets. Wipe down shelves with soapy water or kitchen cleaner. Use clean, labeled, airtight containers to store baking & cooking staples such as flour and sugar. Put items back in the cabinet, making sure the most frequently used containers and pans are easily accessible towards the front.

 

Clean & Organize Refrigerator & Freezer

Check labels & toss items that are expired, moldy or empty. Wipe down shelves with soapy water or cleaner. Remove produce drawers & wash well. Wipe down the exterior.

Under and Behind Refrigerator

To clean this area, begin by pulling the refrigerator away from the wall to give yourself space to work. Unplug the refrigerator and turn off the water supply. Clean the coils of dust. Vacuum away any leftover dust and wipe down the wall behind the refrigerator.

Clean Floors

Boy (5-7) polishing floor with paper towel under hands and feet

Sweep entire floor well and be sure to remove any movable furniture. Spot clean any sticky or dirty areas. Mop floor with heavy duty floor cleaner and be sure to wash any throw rugs

Clean Garbage Disposal

Gather baking soda, vinegar and a few pieces of fruit peel (lemon, orange or lime). Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. This will fizz up like crazy so it’s very exciting to have the little ones help! After five minutes, flush out the mixture with hot water. Drop the fruit peels down the drain and run the garbage disposal for a few seconds to further deodorize. 

Under the Sink

First pull everything out and dispose of any leaking or burst containers. Clean out the area thoroughly and replace items in an organized fashion.

Oven Cleaning in Kitchen

Clean Your Oven With Baking Soda

Make a paste using a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water, and spread it all over the oven. Let it sit for an hour, and then wipe down. You can use this on your range hood as well to remove built up gunk.

Wipe Down Your Microwave

Put some lemon or lime slices in a bowl of water and microwave them for five minutes. Let the bowl sit for an additional five minutes so the steam can soften up anything stuck on the walls. Carefully remove the bowl of lemons, and wipe up the sides with a cloth.

clean-room-light-fixtures-chandelier_53a47b2f22cd02aed400f6c59503203eWipe down all light fixtures

Dust and clean the exteriors and interiors. Replace any bulbs that need changing.

 

Tops of Cabinets

If your cabinets do not go all the way up to the ceiling, the tops are probably in need of a good cleaning. Using  a hand held vacuum or duster,  dust the tops of the cabinets to remove all dust and other loose particles.  Spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down.

Windows

Wash any window treatments and dust the blinds. Clean your windows with a window cleaner. Don’t forget about opening the window as well and cleaning the window tracks.

 

Our Holiday Checklist

 

holiday checklist header

Getting your home ready for the holidays only weeks after Thanksgiving can be a bit overwhelming. Focusing on one area at a time and creating a plan of what can be prepared in advance can make things much more manageable. Check out our list below for some things you can do to make the next few weeks go by a little more smoothly.

Update Your Emergency Kit

We’re not just talking band aids, gauze and antiseptic (although it’s important to restock these as well!). But assure that you have these items in stock and ready to go in case of any little accidents:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Good for wine stains. (Blot the spill with a paper towel, then combine one teaspoon of dish soap with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it halfway dry, then gently blot the stain. Continue until the stain lifts. After that, sponge the stained area with warm water)
  • CLR toilet and sink de-clogger
  • An Extra Place Setting: It’s always a good idea to plan for an extra seat.

In the Kitchen

traditional-kitchen

  • Take the time now to organize your pantry to save you the headache of pulling out all of the cans searching for something you’re sure you bought
  • If you’ll be serving the holiday meal make sure you know what you’ll be cooking and what family members will be bringing. Start a master shopping list. Try to do your shopping before the 20th when the stores get even more hectic
  •  Go ahead and set the table a week or so before. Make it even easier by putting a sticky note on each platter that states what dish you plan to serve on it
  • Clean the fridge out as much as possible several days before Christmas.
  • Make a few meals ahead of time and put them in the freezer. The week before Christmas is always hectic. No matter how much you plan ahead, things come up. and you still need to have dinner.  Save yourself a lot of stress and cleanup by having meals all ready to pop in the oven.

Bed & Bath

  • To make any overnight guests feel welcome put together a basket of towels, wash clothes and extra toothbrushes before your guests arrive. This will also save you the stress of scrambling around last minute
  • Keep sets of clean sheets all together by slipping them inside the pillowcase
  • Track down extra blankets and have them handy.

An Inviting Entry

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  • Make an inviting entry while also helping keep mud at bay with a cheery mat outside the front door. Be sure to check the lights along the front walkway.
  • Establish a place to collect all warm weather apparel, including boots. Add extra hangers to your coat closet or designate a room to collect these.
  • You should also consider adding an extra doormat for wet boots. If you plan for this ahead of time your entrance won’t become a cluttered mess upon everyone’s arrival.

Extra Extra

  • Consider putting together some fun things for the younger visitors that you will have. A box of assorted Legos, a stack of colored paper and a box of colored pencils are all simple but can help to keep them busy.
  • Don’t forget to buy batteries for any toys or electronic gifts.
  • Recharge the batteries on your camera or video recorder.

It may not seem like you’re accomplishing 314-holidaya lot in the grand scheme of this holiday season when there is always so much to do.  By checking off some of these smaller tasks in the weeks before  it can allow you more relaxation and less stress on the big day, We hope you & your families have a wonderful holiday!

How to properly clean your washing machine

 

If your washing machine is smelling worse than your gym clothes, it may be time to give it a thorough cleaning. Believe it or not even washing machines get dirty and need to be cleaned. The easiest test to determine if your washer needs to be washed is to, well….stick your head in and smell the inside.

Soils from laundry, detergents and hard water minerals can build up in areas that are hard to see which can develop an odor over time. Mold, grime and mildew in the washer lid and the door are another problem area.  It’s recommended that you try these steps below every six months to keep your washer in tip-top shape.

Top loading washers

Set your washer on the highest level, as well as the hottest setting. Add 4 cups of white vinegar to the wash cycle. After the cycle starts, pause the machine and allow it to sit for an hour. During this time, wipe down the top of the washer with a cloth dipped in the hot vinegar water. Use an old toothbrush to clean the fabric softener and bleach dispensers as well. After an hour, continue the wash cycle.

Next, run another wash cycle using one cup of baking soda. At the end of the cycle, wipe the top inside of the washer tub to remove any scum.

Front loading washers

The rubber gasket at the front of the washer accumulates water, dirt, mildew and other grime. Before cleaning the washer drum, clean the gasket by spraying it with white vinegar and wiping with a damp cloth.

Set the washer to the highest level and the hottest water temperature. Add two cups of white cleaning vinegar to detergent dispenser. Run it through a complete cycle.

Run another cycle on the highest level and at the hottest water temperature, this time adding one-half cup of baking soda to the drum. When cycle is done, wipe inside drum of washer with a damp cloth.

Bonus Tip: Help to subdue mildew and mold by leaving the lid or door open when not in use.