Gloria Graham, AKBD
Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co.
3685 Investment Lane, West Palm Beach, Florida
Phone (561)254-7736,
kitchensforliving@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE!


Cabinets by Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co.
If you've come to Kitchens for Living looking for some kitchen lovin', you're almost there.   Our current address is www.kitchensforliving.net  Check us out and you can subscribe to have all posts sent to you automatically.  I post about once a week.  I won't fill your inbox. (I'm courteous that way ;).

Friday, July 22, 2011

FIVE LOW COST KITCHEN UPGRADES

I was too freaked out to take a photo of the actual specimen but here's grown up version



You’ve heard of Snakes on a Plane.  Well yesterday we had snakes in a Kitchen Design Studio.  Ok I exaggerate.  It was one snake, a juvenile black snake (according to Trevor’s iphone Googling).  I think he slithered in to tell me it’s high time I write a blog post so here I am with a topic that is especially near and dear to our hearts nowadays, saving money.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ENTER THE MATRIX

Talking hands of Marcello Becchi of Trend Group USA (You know, it's Italiano)


Marcello Becchi sports two full sleeve tats acquired in the South Pacific but more importantly he knows all about engineered stone and LEED certification. Let me “splain”, as Ricky Ricardo would say. I had the pleasure of hearing Marcello speak at Ceramic Matrix in Delray Beach at an NKBA Chapter event last week. Marcello, of the Trend Group USA is a scholar and lecturer within the building materials industry.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

KITCHEN MOVING TIPS

Move your kitchen contents with ease and efficiency so you can enjoy moments like this

One subject we have not delved into at KFL is the dreaded MOVE.  Yes, moving pretty much sucks.  Even if you’re fortunate enough to be “movin’ on up”, the actual moving process is not fun.  In particular, moving the contents of your kitchen can be a real “kitchen nightmare”.  Jeremy, one of my readers from “down-under” just happens to work for a removalist in Sydney that specializes in just such an endeavor and has generously offered to share with us his professional expertise.  It’s always an excellent idea to hire an expert if you can but here are some invaluable tips you can put to use if you are a DIY mover.  Here’s Jeremy!

Your kitchen contains some of the most fragile and difficult to handle things.  Whether it’s your new dinner set or a collection of rare glass bowls, you need to pay extra attention packing the contents of your kitchen when relocating to a new home.  Items such as large serving platters as well as little forks and spoons all need to be wrapped with utter care, particularly if you are moving a great distance.

Before you begin to pack make a list of the things you really don’t want to carry to your new home.  Improvise ideas for getting rid of them well ahead of moving.  You could have a garage sale or donate to the needy.  If an item has seen better days it could make more sense to get rid of it and then replace it after the move. If you are too busy to find the time for packing, a professional moving company can come to the rescue.

If you are doing it without a professional help, here are a few tips for packing the contents of your kitchen.



You laugh but some very efficient packing is involved here.






Make an inventory

Creating an inventory is the first step towards packing your kitchenware successfully, with minimal or no harm. Review everything in your cabinets and drawers, like utensils, containers and cutlery. Make a list of all the items you decide to carry to your new abode. Remember to consider the weight if it is a factor in your moving expenses, for example if you are moving overseas.

Packing kitchen devices

While packing electrical appliances such as coffee makers, juicers or blenders, it is better to pack them in their original cartons if you have them. Clean and dry these items thoroughly before packing as any spillage or residue left can make for an unpleasant surprise at the other end.  Disassembling  the appliances can make packing easier an help prevent breakage.

Packing food items

You can pack dried and canned foods if you are traveling a short distance  but make sure to check their expiration dates, prior to packing. Avoid carrying sauces and liquids that may break open on the way to your new home and spoil rest of the things.

Packing dishes

There are special cartons available for packing  fragile items such as dishes, glasses and other breakables.   Bubble wrap these items carefully. The trick is to fill up all the empty space in your box with newspaper or any other filler to prevent breakage.

Label, label, label

Towards the end of the process it becomes tempting to throw it all in a box but you’ll save a lot of time and confusion on the other end it you pack like items together and always label the boxes with general content description and room location.

If you are moving overseas, look for a trustworthy removal company to help you.  Different countries have varying guidelines you may be unaware of.

About the Author:

Jeremy is a longtime associate of Aussie Man Removals in Sydney, Austrailia which specializes in helping to select the best service provider for a safe and hassle-free move.

Monday, June 20, 2011

MY DESIGN PROCESS: A CASE STUDY

I write about a lot of varied things on this blog.   Today I'm going to open my  mind to you so you can step inside the creative (or whatever you want to call what goes on in there) process, as it pertains to cabinet design.  The thing about designing kitchens and baths is that it  doesn't  only require vision in the aesthetic sense but also in the functional sense.  We have to be creative in terms of the space constraints while being very aware of  function.




Yikes! I prefer to believe they left in a hurry. The pressure's on with all those doll eyes upon me.


WHAT HAVE WE HERE?

This is a nursery equipped to serve the nanny.  She's got an under the counter refrigerator to store bottles, baby food and whatever she wishes for herself.  In addition there is a small sink and a microwave.  There is also storage and counter top work space (underneath all the debris).  That's a lot of function packed into less that six lineal feet!  The lucky owners of this oceanfront abode are away for the summer, as is the custom in Palm Beach.

MY ASSIGNMENT

I have been asked to replace this set up but to keep the same foot print and function.  The cabinets are to be more in keeping for this  traditionally styled beach house.

MY  OBSERVATIONS

The backsplash (area between counter and upper cabinets) is really high, about 22".  Not only does this mean less cabinet space but it's a bit of a stretch unless you're a very tall nanny.  In addition, there is nothing tying the upper cabinets to the lower cabinets and since they do not go wall to wall it looks as if the uppers are just hanging out, hovering over the base cabinets, not a great look.  In general the layout is off kilter.  The microwave requires a deeper cabinet and it sticks out unattractively on the left.

WHERE DO I START?

The appliances are old and will appear even older surrounded by new cabinets.  Remember that if you are investing in a new kitchen it's penny wise and pound foolish to try to build your new cabinets around your older appliances.   I will suggest that we replace the microwave with a small built-in model in stainless steel.   For this I know I must use a minimum of 24" out of the 70" I have available.  The refrigerator is important too.  This one is old and it's an odd size, about 19".  The new one will have to be 24" and I will reccommend that we build it in for a more custom look and to unify the small space.  These types of built-in panel- accepting- under- the- counter refrigerators are either 15" wide or 24" wide.  I certainly can't detract from the function by going smaller so I will give them more refrigerator space by going with 24" wide.  Now that I know what I'm doing with the appliances I will work the cabinet layout around that.

Testing the waters...




Here's phase one showing the larger ref, a built-in micro and an attempt to even things up and connect the uppers to the bases but it's still not quite there yet.  I usually draw a free-hand sketch to work out my initial thoughts.  The final solution (I drew it using Chief Architect) is to use 42" upper side cabinets instead of the existing 30" uppers.  Then since the microwave needs a deeper cabinet (15"), I moved it to the middle and raised it up to create some design interest and to take advantage of the tall ceiling.  I made the side backsplashes 16" high with the center at 19".  I centered the 24" upper microwave over a 21" wide sink cabinet which allows the bigger refrigerator on the right and does not lessen the size of the existing drawers on the left.  I'll need a minimum of 3/4" panel to the right of the ref.  That makes a total of 24 3/4" with ref and panel.  I will duplicate that on the left making the 4 drawer cabinet 24 3/4" wide as well.  This allows the upper side cabinets to be equal at 23 1/4" each.  Last but not least, I am going to suggest using matching wood beadboard above the 4" backsplash to tie the uppers to the lowers and add a small crown moulding on the top to finish it off.
There you have it!


PRODUCTS

Here are the goods and why I picked them:

Kholer faucet K7342 in brushed nickel finish- It's a traditional faucet in a finish that will blend with the stainless steel of the microwave.  The height makes it user friendly yet it will fit perfectly in the space.
If you have your hands full the handles are easy to turn on and off.


Kohler undermount entertainment sink K5848- I love the shape of this sink.  I double checked the size and it fits in our 21" wide cabinet.  It's a more updated undermount model but it's still cast iron.  I'm specifying Biscuit to go with the cabinets but I will also suggest a stainless option which would also work.

SHARP R1214OVER THE COUNTER MICROWAVE- This model fits into our 24" wide space.  It requires a 15" deep cabinet, check.  It has a light below and I happen to know that Sharp makes a kick-ass microwave.



CABINETS BY HOLIDAY KITCHENS- flat panel with applied moulding. Finish, selected by designer, to be Snowdrift paint with Mink Wash.  I chose Holiday cabinets because we have some custom size requirements and I can order Holiday in fractional increments.  They also offer a wide array of finishes and door styles which is important in a higher end application.

Cabinets are something like this.


U-Line Under the counter refrigerator - This model offers an overlay trim kit option which will allow us to apply a door panel to match the cabinets.

What do you think?  You see there's no mystery behind the magic of design.  Those are the steps in a nutshell.  I would love to walk you through the steps of your own potential magic.  It's really a lot of fun when it all comes together, kind of like solving a puzzle AND you get to continue to enjoy it everyday!




wine

Monday, June 13, 2011

RHYTHYM IS GONNA GET YOU AT COSTA D'ESTE






Every once in a while you just have to get away, at least I do.  So when the Treasure Coast Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association announced that they were holding a meeting at the Cost d’Este in Vero Beach it was the perfect excuse for a staycation for me and the hub.  This lush beach resort is a pet project of Gloria and Emilio Estefan.  It was a perfect venue and a successful meeting for our fledgling chapter.  Know what else it’d be good for?  It would be great for folks at their wits end in the midst of a kitchen renovation!  Note to self: Remember to recommend that clients throw a little "somethin- somethin" into that remodeling budget  for a reno-getaway!  When it gets down to the nitty gritty it’s best to leave it to the trusted experts that you hired and recharge your batteries and reset your stressometer to zero!  Makes sense, no?

No, not me, it's the other Gloria and her husband Emilio, owners of Costa d'Este.


This love-child of the Estefans is a lush Miami-style beach resort located directly on the ocean in Vero Beach, about an hour and a half north of West Palm Beach.  If the ever present pounding rhythm of the ocean doesn’t get you the d├ęcor will.  There is not a square inch that hasn’t been designed to the hilt and I loved it all.  It’s just too bad that Costa d’Este is the only thing in Vero.  We tried but we couldn’t find any other signs of life.  If you know otherwise please clue me in.  Luckily this resort is so nice, from the essence of Nag Champa in the lobby to the unexpected visual treats around every corner.  Sad to say my dinner experience at Oriente restaurant was less than inspiring.  Don't get me wrong, my Cuban steak dinner was ok, just not what I would expect, especially considering that the Estefans are accomplished and experienced restaurateurs and cookbook authors.  I grew up in Miami and I know for a fact I can get a Cuban steak, twice as tasty  in the old neighborhood.  Maybe I should've had the paella. Anyway the eye candy is delicious! Check out the following shots by yours truly and enjoy.

These light fixtures grace the halls at Costa d'Este


Our room for two glorious days. There is a shower on the other side of that curvy wall!


 



Across from the bed, notice the carved bowl for the remote control!


 

Our room with a view. We left the slider open to hear the rhythm of the ocean.


 





This is the room where our meeting was held. Love the bubble theme!


We even had the bubble theme in our room!


 



 


Add cabelieve these were Lumicor panels in the elevator. They are architectural resin panels featuring real botanicals.



Escape hatch for errant bamboo.


 






I found this adorable sketch of Frida tucked into a corner of the lobby. It made me :)


 



Where I spent the better part of two days at Costa d'Este



 


The end of a perfect getaway. Adios Costa d'Este!


 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LET'S COP TO GUILTY PLEASURE



I do not think I have ever published two blog posts on the same day (God forbid), even after my long recent pause.  However, a group of my blogging homeys collaborate every two weeks on a Tuesday to sound off about a specific topic.  It’s called “Let’s Blog Off”.  The current discussion is "Guilty pleasures:  what's your favorite show on television?"

Hmmm.  First off,  let me say that enjoyment and education are available on TV.  I believe in watching TV with purpose as opposed to aimlessly channel surfing or leaving it on in the background.   It's OK to turn it off and pick up a book (or a Nook) when your show is over!   That said, my most embarrassing TV confession would be that I love watching Bethenny Ever After on Bravo.  I know.  I can't believe it either.  Here's how it started.  I was captive on a flight from New York to West Palm Beach and wonderful Jet Blue is so awesome with their free-flight-long- cable.  I had finished my book, so you see it was a perfect storm  that brought me to  the wacky world of Bethenny.  I really can't stand her, couldn't be more different but I grudgingly admire her success at self-marketing.  That is a quality I really really admire.  Think Madonna and now Lady Gaga.    Bethenny Frankel has that certain something, be it annoying or not.  The world is her oyster and she made it herself.

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