Friday, December 16, 2011

The beauty of Quartz

Material Composition
Quartz  is an engineered product which combines 90% natural quartz and silica sands along with a precise ratio of color pigments and resins and is then vibro-compacted under 90 tons of pressure to remove any air.  The material is then compressed into a formed slab and which is then placed in a curing oven at 190 degrees for 7 hours and is then polished to a sheen with a diamond polisher.

Uses and Colors
A quartz countertop is a predictable material.  Because it is an engineered product, the material is fissure free, which makes cracking a slab virtually impossible.  Natural materials like granite and marble sometimes have hidden fissures which may cause a slab to eventually crack under adverse conditions.  And unlike granite or marble which vary from slab to slab in terms in regards to their figuration, color and patterning, quartz slabs are identical from one to the other.   Thus there are no surprises when choosing a quartz slab for your kitchen countertop surface. Quartz also offers the consumer the ability to opt for a stone surface in a nearly solid color with little color or figure demarcations which is nearly impossible  with a natural material such as granite or marble.  Quartz also offers the consumer several color options for a countertop made with 25% post consumer recycled materials. 

Stain resistant
Quartz is a smooth, nonporous surface which resists even the toughest spills.  A highly durable material it resists scuffs and scratches and will retain its luster for many years without the need for sealants or waxes.  Quartz countertops can be cut and fit to meet exacting requirements, allowing you a wide range of design options and typically come with a ten-year limited warranty.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

 A granite countertop is one of the most durable surfaces; only a diamond can scratch it. However, acidic substances such as lemon, vinegar, or wine can damage it. The good news about cleaning granite is that it can be done easily and naturally.  A soft cloth and warm water are good for daily cleaning. To prevent staining or absorption, the granite should be immediately wiped with a dry towel. For more stubborn stains or a deeper cleaning, use a pH neutral or eco-friendly dishwashing soap. Be sure to rinse and dry immediately. A dull or streaky look on dry granite indicates that soapsuds are still present.  When stains are present, a mixture of a cup of flour, one or two tablespoons of dishwashing soap, and warm water can be made into a thick paste that sits on the stain overnight. Covering the mixture with plastic wrap will increase the effectiveness of the mixture. The next morning, scrape away the paste with a wooden utensil, rinse, and dry.

To keep your granite looking like new, wipe up spills immediately, keep it properly sealed using a non-toxic sealer and avoid harsh chemical cleaners. Following these simple steps will preserve the life and elegance of your granite.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honed Granite Countertops

Honed Granite Countertops
A honed granite countertop is “softer” in appearance than that of a polished granite surface.  Polished granite countertops have high gloss finish which reveal the depth and color of the stone. The finish itself seals the stone's surface pores, which helps to repel moisture, making it highly resistant to damage and or staining. Honing on the other hand, is a method of finishing a stone surface that stops the polishing process just before the granite surface achieves a high gloss finish. The result is a granite surface with a matte finish with minimal reflection, giving the stone a smooth and soft look.  Traditionally, honed granite has been used for stairs and floors as it is naturally less slippery than polished granite, but it has become an increasingly popular look for kitchen countertops. It is important for the consumer to know that because a honed slab is more porous, it absorbs liquid more easily than a polished slab and reveals more prominently stains and usage patterns.  Oils from foods or even your hands may be more visible than on a polished granite surface and darker honed materials may be more apt to show scratches or “traffic” patterns.  With a honed slab, re-sealing the slab frequently is necessary in order to prevent and reduce staining. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lighting your Kitchen

Lighting your kitchen
Making sure your kitchen is efficiently and properly lit is very important. It is absolutely necessary that you have excellent lighting in your kitchen in order to see what you are cooking and preparing. It is recommended that you light your kitchen based on worst-case conditions. This means you should make your decision based on nighttime conditions with no natural light. Here are some key rules to follow:
·        Recessed lighting. It is not decorative, but certainly effective.
·        Light your island! The island should have a pendant light above it. This is also an opportunity to add some creative flair to your space. As an island is a key focal point in a kitchen you can set the tone for how you want your kitchen to feel.
·        Lots of light above the oven, cooktop and prep areas. It is considered bad feng shui to cook and prepare your meals in a poorly lit area. An exceptional amount of light will not only allow for a tastier meal, but a happier you!
Important Areas to Light
·        The range or cook top
·        The sink
·        The island
·        Under the cabinets
·        Kitchen counter
·        Breakfast/dining area

Types of Lighting to Consider
·        Task Lighting
This type of lighting focuses on the specific areas where tasks are being performed. Some examples include the pantry, storage areas, the sink, and under cabinet lighting.
·        Ambient
This type of lighting is used to fill the room with background lighting.  This will set the mood of the space. Sources of this kind of lighting can be either recessed or surface-mounted fixtures.
·        Accent
Accent lighting provides the most dramatic lighting of any featured here. Similar to task lighting, this type of illumination draws attention to specific areas in your kitchen. Unlike task lighting it centers on the kitchen’s aesthetic. Decide on a few features of the kitchen that would benefit from accent lighting, like sentimental objects, pictures, or sculptures, for example. Accent lighting can even be inside your cabinets, shining through glass doors.

·        Decorative
While your accent lighting is drawing attention to other objects you may want to showcase. Decorative lighting is there to show off itself. It is simply there to decorate. This is an opportunity to choose fun pendants over your island or a chandelier over your dining table.

Lighting to avoid
Fluorescent lights do not promote good health.  The constant flickering is not only annoying, but it affects the eyes and nervous system, and can cause hypertension, eyestrain and headaches. They do however provide bright light at a low cost. If you decide that you do need fluorescent lights in your kitchen, use full-spectrum bulbs.

Below are some pictures showing the various types of lighting you can use in your kitchen…

This picture shows some fun decorative pendant lighting over the island. Your eye is immediately drawn to the lights. They are effective because they not only decorate the space, but they set a mood.

This picture is an excellent example of all the different types of lighting you can have in your kitchen. You can see a large, decorative pendant over the island. Accent lighting is placed in the alcove in the ceiling to draw your attention to this architectural detail. The ambient lighting is the recessed lights in the ceiling. Lastly, task lighting is used under the cabinets and on the pantry area.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Kitchen Work Triangle

How do you design a functional kitchen?

One of the most common questions asked when designing a kitchen is, how do you know where to lay everything out? Well there is a concept called the “Kitchen Work Triangle”. The key to an efficient and functional kitchen is the work triangle.  This is the most used concept for kitchen design.
The concept involves spacing apart your 3 main work areas at a reasonable distance. These 3 areas include the sink (prep site), refrigerator (cold food storage) and oven (cooking site).  If you space these work areas too far apart you will subsequently be taking too many extra steps and it can make cooking in the kitchen unpleasant and frustrating.

Here are the basic rules to follow:
·         The distance from one area to the next should be between 4 and 9 feet.
·          The total perimeter of your work triangle ideally should be between 12 and 22 feet and this will vary depending on the size of your kitchen.
·         There should also not be any obstructions in the way of the triangle including islands, cabinets etc.
·         The flow of traffic should not flow through the work triangle. However, with a galley kitchen, unfortunately this is unavoidable.

Other helpful tips…
·         The addition of an island can be helpful in some kitchen layouts as it can minimize the distance of your triangle by adding either the oven or sink to it.
·         You should have a minimum of 3 feet between each side of the island although 4 feet is ideal.
·         Traditionally you should have your sink against a window as this creates a view while you are prepping food. However, this may not be an option so some sinks are placed in an island or countertop that may over look an open space such as a great room.
Here is an example of a successful work triangle. The sink is against the window and there is an appropriate distance between the refrigerator, oven and sink. In this case they have placed the oven in the island to produce a more efficient work triangle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Kitchen Concepts?


Welcome to the Kitchen Concepts Blog! Let me start by introducing us and telling you about what we do. We are a kitchen design and cabinetry company in Hadley, MA. We specialize in semi-custom to full-custom cabinetry, countertops and vanities. We have free design services and estimiates available to you.

Are you thinking about a new kitchen? We can come to your house, take measurements, schedule an appointment, sit down with you and design a new kitchen layout, provide you with an estimate, deliver and install!

Cabinetry Lines
Wellborn Forest
Woodland Cabinetry
JSI Cabinetry
Contractor's Choice
Apple Valley Woodworks


About the Blog
Now that we've given you a brief overview of who we are and what we do, let me tell you about our blog. This blog will provide you with new trend ideas, product information and special promotions. You could be interested in a new kitchen or just want to hear some new ideas. Whatever the reason, we hope you enjoy what we have to say! Feel free to call, email or stop by our showroom!

Kitchen Concepts
117 Russell St
Hadley, MA 01035
T: 413-586-3506
Showroom hours: Mon-Tue 9-4  Wed 9-5  Thurs-Fri 9-7  Sat 10-3