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Kitchen Hide and Seek Design Tricks and Tips

Hide and Seek may be a child’s game, however, we feel the title warrants use to describe some of the clever kitchen design tricks we have at our disposal. You can be the judge. Hidden Pantry We do not recommend this as a place for a kid to hide, but we cannot say the same for dry goods, canned food and almost anything else one might use to prepare a meal.

There’s no need to have your appliances, Christmas dishes, kitchen cleaning supplies, paper towels and jumbo-sized produce packages from Costco on display in your kitchen. Tuck them all away in a hidden pantry that is right under your guests’ noses. Wow them with this little hideaway that is hidden in plain sight. The storage possibilities in such a pantry are quite endless. And yes, we confess, such a pantry MAY make an ideal hiding place. But let’s give the hide and seekers a sporting chance at least, yes? Pantry Kitchen by Gulick Group Chameleon Refrigerator Refrigerators come in so many different sizes nowadays, and colors. Sometimes when a refrigerator kicks the proverbial bucket, it may be tricky to find a replacement that is the exact same as the original. Not to mention that nobody actually enjoys seeing fingerprints and smudges on a stainless-steel refrigerator door. At least, nobody we have met or would like to meet. Enter the chameleon refrigerator – which does not actually have the ability to change its color to blend in with its surroundings. Rather there are two types of refrigerators that we consider have chameleon-like abilities.

Firstly, there is the overlay panel refrigerator. One may also call this type of appliance a panel-ready refrigerator. This is a built-in refrigerator that has be specifically designed to accept a fitted panel that is the same color and design as your kitchen cabinetry.

Secondly, there is an integrated refrigerator. The difference is that an integrated refrigerator is fully camouflaged and has no compressor vents that are visible. It will sit perfectly in line with the kitchen cabinets and is crafted with an inset door. Thus, when an integrated refrigerator door is closed, it blends right in with the kitchen cabinets. It is one of the most popular features of professionally designed kitchens. However, under no circumstances is any refrigerator to be used as a hiding space for children. Birthday cakes, yes; living things, no. Integrated Overlay Panel Refrigerator Kitchen by Boston Appliance Disappearing Dishwasher Come on, you didn’t really think that refrigerators were going to get to have all the fun in the kitchen, did you? The dishwasher wants to hide, too, and we are happy to grant its wish.

A kitchen with clean lines and a uniform look is absolutely striking. Alas, if only that dishwasher matched – no – blended into the background. Let’s face it: a dishwasher rarely if ever enhances the design of a kitchen. We WANT our dishwasher to blend in. When all the dishes are loaded into the dishwasher and we get to experience the satisfaction of pushing the “on” button – preferably when our spouse is watching us do so – we would like no reminder of said dishes. Well, we are happy to inform you that your wish CAN come true. Much like refrigerators, dishwashers can be built in to be camouflaged with a cabinet that matches the rest of the ones in the kitchen. You may install pulls or knobs on it to further blend the appearance. So, the next time you turn the dishwasher on, it will truly be out of sight and out of mind. Dishwasher Kitchen by Decor Pad Tucked Away Microwave Oven Microwave ovens are a very handy appliance. Quickly softening a stick of butter, reheating leftover food and rapidly cooking frozen vegetables are just a few of the wonderful tricks a microwave can perform. If only they didn’t take up so much space on my counter!

Guess what? They don’t need to! You can have a microwave oven that is built right into the cabinetry design of your kitchen. Imagine the counterspace that you will have with no microwave oven eating it up. One of the coolest features of a built-in microwave oven is that many of them come with a button that makes the oven door slide out. That’s right, no more ducking to avoid the swinging door of the microwave. This one slides straight out so you can reach in and remove your edible item. Life is good! Oven Kitchen by Sharp Appliance Garages Perhaps you make a cup of coffee in the Keurig every morning before leaving for work. So, the coffee maker is there all day, every day, sitting on your counter. The nerve! Taking up that valuable counter space all for 4 minutes of use per day. Can you imagine the inflated sense of importance that appliance must have? We cannot stand for this and neither should you. We give you the appliance garage. The appliance garage is a cabinet that stores your otherwise egotistical appliances out of sight. This frees up your valuable counter space for things like a kettle. Just kidding! The kettle can join the coffee maker in the appliance garage, too. But the freed-up counter space will come in handy for cooking. The appearance of an empty countertop is quite breathtaking for many home owners. Minimalists absolutely adore appliance garages. As they should. Garages Kitchen by Decor Pad Under-Counter Freezer or Refrigerator Yes, it’s true. The hotel industry basically fueled the demand for these appliances. However, that does not mean that homeowners cannot partake in the benefits.

Many homes simply need more freezer space than what is offered in a refrigerator. The need for a large stand-alone freezer one might find in a garage is not as common as the need for just a little more freezer space. Why not build in a mini freezer right into your kitchen? The lower cabinets could not be used for a better purpose, in our humble opinion. Save yourself the trip to your basement or garage when you’re in search of frozen meat to thaw out for dinner. Just take two steps forward, or back, or whichever direction you are coming from in your kitchen and pull that frozen item out.

Perhaps additional freezer space is not what you need. Perhaps your refrigerator is perfectly sized to hold all your frozen and refrigerated goods except for your wine bottle. Sure, if you didn’t have that bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator, your lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc could fit right there. Alas, your ketchup loving children will not give up their favorite condiment. Oh well, I guess you just need to install a built-in wine cooler. Your kids will love you for it – especially when you add a few cans of pop in there for them to enjoy on the weekends. The temperature can be set to the correct temperature for the wine, which is something you cannot do with your refrigerator. Refrigerator food should be stored at a constant temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius, which is too frigid for white wine. Lighter white wines should be served between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius, white wines that have more body are best chilled between 10 and 13 degrees, and sparkling wines should be chilled between 6 and 10 degrees. Essentially, if you keep your wine cooler at 10 degrees, virtually all of your white wine bottles should be a serve-able temperature at all times. And your ketchup will be happy in the main refrigerator, where it belongs. Freezer Kitchen by Kitchenaid Secret Pet Dish Area You didn’t think we’d forgotten about your favorite, four-legged, family member, did you? Never! There are many different types of hidden pet dish options for you to explore.

Your furry friend can break bread – or biscuits – at the same time and in the same place as you and your family do. Oh – but you don’t have room on the floor for a pet food dish and pet water dish, you say? You’d be tripping over it? Let’s just tuck it away then, shall we? Lower cabinets can be fitted with built-in sliding drawers that house pet dishes. Many of them you may just gently ‘kick’ with your foot for the drawer to slide open. When Fluffy is done chowing down, you just gently push the drawer closed with your foot and your kitchen floor is once again clear. Dish Area Kitchen by Contemporist

Honestly, there is almost no limit to the number of things one can hide in their kitchen if one wants to. We are talking about food, appliances and all LEGAL items, here. That being said, some of these hidden spaces could be used to hide Easter eggs or small birthday and Christmas presents if the need arises. You’ll figure that all out and we’ll help you do it.
Ice Cream

9 Easy Kitchen Holiday Hacks for the Season

We normally write about the design, renovation and building of living spaces. However, with Christmas around the corner we thought we’d post something on the lighter side this week. Ice Cream Anti-Cozy It seems like we are always trying to keep things hot. Coffee, tea, appetizers, meals and more. We are not nearly as obsessed on keeping things cold. What would you want to keep frigidly cold, anyway? How about iced cream? We take a tub of delicious mint chip out of the freezer and then the countdown seems to start. We must get that sweet treat back in the freezer PRONTO! But, wait, what if we could buy ourselves an extra 5 or 10 minutes? The luxurious scooping of creamed goodness could be drawn out and cones could be filled with next-level precision. Repeat these two words and never forget them: bubble wrap. Simply wrap the ice cream tub in bubble wrap and it will stay firm for about an extra 30 minutes or more. It could still be out when you decide, as we all do, that one bowl of iced cream will simply not do. You’re welcome.   Ice Cream Kitchen by   Soft Cookies for Days One slice of store purchased white bread will keep your cookies fresh and soft for several days. Slip this slice of bread in an airtight plastic container and add your cookies. Your guests will think you baked cookies just for them when you baked them three days earlier! Don’t worry – we won’t tell anyone. Soft Cookies   Your Oven’s Secret Super Power Some homes are set to temperatures that are just too brisk for homemade bread to rise in. Not to worry, you don’t even need to turn your oven on for this hack. Boil some water and pour it into a pan or casserole dish and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. Slide your dough onto the rack directly above the hot water and close the oven door. The humidity and heat from the hot water will proof your bread in no time! Super Power   Super Speed Wine Chiller Your spouse runs up to you and screams: “The Johnson’s are coming for supper!” You told the Johnson’s about this FABULOUS bottle of white wine you picked up on Sonoma at a vineyard and they are bringing over the perfect cheese appetizer to bring out the hickory and cherry notes of that bottle. Sadly, that white wine is still sitting in the pantry where you left it when it should have been put in the refrigerator the night before to chill. The horror! Well, don’t you worry. We’ve got you covered! Place your bottle of wine in a large pitcher and fill that pitcher with ice water. Fast-forward 20 minutes and your wine will be ready to serve. Wine Chiller   The Label You Never Saw Coming but Cannot Ever Forget You know the thick rubber bands you try to delicately remove from your broccoli heads but end up snipping with scissors because you’re a tiny bit impatient? (We understand – we like broccoli, too.) Here’s a double tip – cut the broccoli stem while the elastics are still on the broccoli. This frees your broccoli quickly, and allows you to save the thick, elastic bands. Now, take an elastic band and wrap it around your jar of homemade jam. Use a permanent marker to write the flavor and best before date of the jam onto the elastic. Now it will be easy to get a good grip on that jar. When the jam is done and you need to wash the mason jar, just pull the elastic band off. No stubborn sticky labels to remove in order to reuse the jar this time! And you can use that elastic band t to keep your Christmas wrapping paper from unrolling. Hey – that’s three tips in one! elastic bands Kitchen by   Mason Jar Spice Shaker Don’t recycle the lid from your parmesean cheese container. That lid fits on a narrow mason jar quite perfectly. Now you have the perfect spice or sprinkle shaker for when you would like a larger sprinkle of flavour. Perhaps you’ll store your coffee in here. Glass jars, such as mason jars, don’t add any unwanted flavours to your food. And you can see exactly what’s inside them. Mason Jar Kitchen by   The Christmas Cooling Rack You Never Knew You Had Christmas is a wonderful time of year. The music, the decorations and the food. The problem is that when you have a house full of family for the holidays and you are baking cookies like there’s. no tomorrow, wherever can you put those baking sheets to cool? Take your ironing board out and set it up in an out of the way spot in your kitchen. Without a cover your metal ironing board makes one pretty big cooling rack. When you’ve cooled all your treats, you may. Use that ironing board as a buffet server. Put a festive table cloth over top and presto! It is at your service. foodhack Kitchen by   End Food Fraternization Tupperware only comes in so many shapes and sizes, but children’s school lunch preferences come in an endless array of variations. What to do, what to do. Cupcake liners to the rescue! Separate your cheese from your crackers by putting the cheese in a liner next to the crackers. Prevent your kids’ cookies from mixing with their brownie by using a fun muffin liner to keep them in their corners. Make school lunches great again! Fraternization Kitchen by   Extend the Life of Your Herbs Herbs can be expensive when purchased at a grocery store in the winter. They often come in a bunch that is too large to use in a single recipe. However, they wither before you can use them again for a different meal. Parsley and cilantro can be kept fresh, longer by trimming their stems and placing them in a vase of water. Gently cover the stems with a transparent plastic bag – such as the one your herbs came in – and tie it in place. Store this on the counter or in your refrigerator for about one to two weeks to keep your herbs fresh longer.

Your Ice Cube Tray’s Hidden Purpose

You bought a new refrigerator that makes ice and no longer need your ice cube trays, you say? We disagree! Ice cube trays are used by many home gardeners and chefs to freeze things in tiny portions. When making a big batch of pesto, don’t discard the leftover sauce. Add olive oil to the pesto and pour this mix into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, move the ice cubed pesto into a freezer bag and save to use in another month or so. Your kids would be more interested in another use for your ice cube trays. Do they want to take apple juice or orange juice to school in a thermos but they don’t want to add ice cubes and water it down? Just pour some apple juice or orange juice into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then pop a few of the juice cubes into your child’s thermos along with the matching juice and voila! Ice cold juice at lunch time. “Thanks, Mom!” Herbs Kitchen by  

Kitchen Trends 2023

Like the rest of the world, we sometimes wish we had a crystal ball that would allow us to see things that are going happen in 2023. Sure, winning lotto ticket numbers would be nice, but it would also be good to know whether or not that stunning pendant light is going to be in style in the near future. (Spoiler alert – it definitely IS!)

While we have no crystal ball, we are still able to see some trends emerging in 2023. Please bear in mind that what’s trending in Vancouver, B.C. may not be the same as what is trending in Austin T.X. or in metro Toronto.

The trying-hard-to-forget-you pandemic continues to affect overall kitchen trends. Home owners are investing in higher levels of customization in their kitchens as they are spending more time in their homes for the most part. Kitchens have become the centre of family life once more and people are investing more money in their kitchen renovations as a result. Investing in the overall design of the kitchen, cabinets and other stylistic choices. Lighting Light is trending, really. In 2023, many kitchen remodels will include adding a lot of light to the family hub. Small windows will be replaced with large ones or will be accompanied by additional windows. Task lights and pot lights will be popular as well as kitchens that are designed to allow more sunlight in. Maximizing the amount of light in a home is not exactly a new trend, we know. Due to so many people having to work from home and restrict their traveling over the past couple of years, additional light in the home has become a priority for mental health.
Connecting Indoor and Outdoor Living Spaces With so many Canadians working from home at least part of the time, the desire to easily have a change of scenery is stronger than ever. In 2023, more and more renovations will involve making the kitchen or family room flow into outdoor living spaces. The ability to work on a back deck on a laptop or Macbook while sipping coffee and hearing birds tweet is a high priority for many homeowners now and into 2023. Backyard oasises with beautiful plants, flowers, landscaping and features such as waterfalls and stone retaining walls will remain in demand.

Many kitchen renovations will involve replacing a window with patio doors or French doors that open to an outdoor living space. Studio sheds to be used as a home office or a hang out space for mom, dad or the kids, will continue to be in demand. Sustainable flooring in outdoor living spaces will be popular as will outdoor kitchen areas to spend more time outside. Spaces
Soothing Interiors Neutrals and cool blue colors are trending into 2023. Colours that are calming will be used not only in kitchen design but in the overall design of the home.
Interiors Assorted Materials, Patterns and Textures Men and women alike love decorating their home to display their individual style. In 2023, we expect to see many more types of materials, textures and patterns in kitchens. Assorted Materials
Boldness Pops of color will be popular in the kitchens of next year. Cabinets that are more than one color, specialty glazing on islands and counters, funky backsplash tile and unique pendant lighting will be popular in 2023.
Boldness Family Friendly Designs With family members all at home to work or even to go to school, family friendly kitchen designs will continue to be immensely popular moving into the new year.

Kitchen islands and breakfast bars will be incorporated into many renovation designs. Islands and breakfast bars are not only the perfect place for your kids to grab breakfast or work on their homework, but they provide the perfect opportunity to add a showcase lighting fixture above them.

Kitchens are continuing to become the hub of the home. They are where friends gather, couples cook together and families play board games. Now and in the future, there will continue to be no place like home. Friendly Designs Pet Feeding Station Dogs are members of the family too, and they are getting their own place in the kitchen! Built in nooks with slide out dog food and water bowls are very popular and will continue to be moving into the new year. More and more home owners are requesting a special component for their favorite fur ball. These pet-geared nooks very often are hidden behind a cupboard door for when you have a special gathering or just need to clean! Feeding Station Kitchen by
Personalization The more time spent in a kitchen now has people considering what they feel is missing. Phone charging and laptop charging ports are making a splash in newer kitchen designs. Two separate sinks in a kitchen for couples who enjoy prepping and cooking together. Cork or other specialty flooring that is soft on the feet, warmer than tile, and unique. Built in wine coolers to show off a favorite vintage are becoming common in high end homes. Office nooks with designs that reflect a person’s hobby are popping up now and will continue to do so. Any little hint of personalization that means something special to the homeowner is strongly considered in current and trending future kitchen design. Personalization Kitchen Garden Working from home over the past few years has given people a little more time to focus on healthy eating. A large number of individuals entered the hobby of vegetable gardening for the first time in 2022 and we expect even larger numbers to do this in 2023.

The rising cost of food has made growing your own vegetables and herbs more viable than ever. It is very common to have a windowsill herb garden designed into a kitchen renovation, where lighting will feed the plants as well as illuminate a kitchen workspace. Many homeowners have deck gardens. Their kitchen is renovated to flow into the back yard where they have a deck with built-in vegetable planters. They grow tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and more right on their decks. This serves as sustenance and therapy. Soil is proven to be a mood booster. Kitchen Garden With the many changes over the past few years, one can expect changes in design trends as well. From family-friendly kitchens, to new textures and materials, to additional lighting, we like where kitchen design is going in 2023 and we think you will, too. However, with all the changes in the world today, it is not unlikely to expect that some surprising design trends will emerge.

Common Home Renovation Terms You Should Know!

So, you want to undertake a home renovation? There are some terms and titles you should familiarize with before you get started. Once you’ve learned all the lingo and inside information you should be equipped with enough renovation knowledge to get you started. Millwork Millwork is used when discussing various types of craftsmanship work on a renovation. The kitchen cabinets, any trim in the house, specialized ceiling work, built in desks and shelves, and some types of flooring are all different types of millwork.   Kitchen by Blueprints Most people are familiar with this one. Blueprints are a set of technical drawings created by designers and architects that shows the layout of a building, living space or renovation.

Modern day blueprints for a renovation or new construction typically include: a site plan with survey points, floor plans, elevations, cross sections, and a materials specifications page.

Historically, this drawing would be created on blue paper – hence the name “blueprints”. The lines were white. Whereas in the present day, blueprints are Typically on white paper with black lines and have other details in different colours. In the age of iPhones blueprints are often stored on iPads or iPhones as opposed being printed out.   Kitchen by

Building, Plumbing and Electrical Inspectors The term that strikes fear into the heart of home renovation undertakers is building inspector. Building inspectors are hired by the local government and they ensure that any type of renovation is done in compliance with all of the local rules and legislation.

One benefit of a building inspector is that it is on their shoulders to ensure that health and safety measures are met and that all of the work is completed to code including the plumbing and electrical and any work that is done that would involve building code regulations to be considered. Sadly, they have the power to halt your renovation until they’ve inspected everything, and all of the work has been completed to their approval. Building Permit This greatly coveted piece of paper is permission or approval given by your local ministry that allows you to remodel, renovate or build on your property. Building permit applications require a complete set of blueprints and a structural engineer’s stamp of approval in order to be processed. You may not need a building permit depending on your project and that depends also on where you live as there are different rules for different cities and provinces. Regardless, whether or not you believe you need a building permit we recommend you find out for sure because if you do need one and you have not secured one the authorities can halt your renovation and force you to make costly changes if not cancel your project out right. The changes they order may or may not be easy things to change. Site Services Often the term site services is used when referring to a site services permit from a city. A site services permit allows you connect your home’s water and sewer services to the city’s services. A site service may also refer to connecting your home to a public or private utility such as gas, telephone, electricity, internet or cable. General Contractor You would likely hire a general contractor to manage your renovation. The general contractor will coordinate the entire project as well as provide a quote on the total cost and on the timeframe of the project. A general contractor will very often hire subcontractors to take care of specific types of work such as electrical, plumbing and millwork. Any general contractor you hire should be fully licensed as well as insured. A good rule of thumb when it comes to hiring a general contractor is to check with your local Better Business Bureau and read Google reviews to verify that the person you are considering hiring has a positive work history with previous clients. A good general contractor has enough respect in the community with trades vendors and other professionals that he can easily resolve issues and get things done.


As mentioned above a subcontractor is typically hired by a general contractor to complete a specific part of the job such as electrical, plumbing, etc.

Some common subcontractors are:

  1. Plumbing
  2. Electrical
  3. Gas
  4. Drywall
  5. Insulation
  6. Tile
  7. Millwork
  8. Framing
  9. Roofing
  10. Finishing
unlike A general contractor who may have a wide range of skills, a subcontractor typically specializes in one or two trades only. For example, an electrician only does electrical whereas a plumber will do hot and cold water drainage and gas. As you can see even a subtrade who specializes in more than one trade will have closely related trades. You won’t or at least shouldn’t see a plumber installing drywall. All sub trades are performed under the supervision of the general contractor and his staff. Fixture The term fixture may be used to describe components that are set in place and affixed to a wall. Some examples of this type of fixture would be chandeliers as well as decorative features that are attached to the home. When speaking about a renovation, a fixture typically refers to items such as sinks, faucets, shower controls, bathtubs and even a built-in oven. Kitchen by GFCI This term is an acronym. GFCI, also known as GFI is an acronym for ‘ground fault circuit interrupter’. A GFCI is a device that interrupts an electrical circuit in order to protect you and your family from any harm if you were somehow exposed to an electrical current in or near water. GFCI’s are generally required in every home in laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, garages as well as any location that has a source of water. A GFCI Is a component that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that your family is protected from any nefarious rogue electrical currents. HVAC You are probably familiar with this term, though you may not recall exactly what the acronym stands for: heating, ventilation and air conditioning.  HVAC systems Are very helpful when regulating the temperature and humidity level in your home. As with any appliance an HVAC system should be properly maintained and inspected on a regular schedule. MDF This term is used frequently when discussing carpentry and woodworking. ‘Medium-density fiberboard’ – MDF — Is a type a board or panel that is made with sawdust and shavings as well as wax and resin. It is generally used in place of plywood and similar wood products. MDF is cut to size and created with a silky-smooth finish and unlike real wood contains no grain or not. When using a saw on MDF it doesn’t splinter or tear like real would often does. MDF is ideal for low impact carpentry projects such as trim and shelving. A downside of MDF is that it is heavier than plywood. Also, it gets damaged more easily and scratched more easily than real wood does. If MDF is left untreated and it is exposed to a small amount of water, it can swell up in size and break. There are types of MDF available today that are moisture resistant. The biggest concern with MDF is that most of it contains urea formaldehyde. This is a suspected carcinogen, so when working with MDF we advise you to do so outside or in a very well-ventilated area. Wearing a respirator would be a great idea as well. Remodel/Renovation You have probably heard the terms remodel and renovation used interchangeably. The term remodel is typically used in the United states whereas the term renovation is typically used in Canada. Essentially speaking renovating/remodeling refers to upgrading or updating or completely changing a living space. The term new construction is typically used to denote the building of a brand new home\Garage\studio shed from scratch. The only area that blurs the lines is home additions. Although a home edition is typically all new construction, because it is connected to the existing home it is generally considered a renovation in Canada. Kitchens are often remodeled/renovated and during that process the kitchen layout may remain the same with new appliances and cabinets or it may change dramatically with new locations for appliances and a new floorplan. During a renovation/remodel It is very likely that plumbing fixtures will be replaced with new ones, and the electrical system could be upgraded to compensate for new and additional lighting.  

Experts Reveal Top Tips for a Small Kitchen Remodel in 2022

Custom Cabinets A good design build company will help you choose a custom cabinet layout that makes the most out of your space. When you go to a big box store such as Ikea, the only cabinets available are “stock” ones. Stock cabinets come in a limited set of dimensions, which equates to wasted space in your kitchen. If you want to utilize every inch of space, you must install custom cabinets that are built for your available space.   Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Magic Corners Magic Corners are one of the coolest kitchen features on the market today. The kitchen corner dilemma comes to play in almost every remodel and new build, except for the galley kitchen. That corner is valuable real estate in a small kitchen. A lazy susan is definitely one option, but that requires kneeling or bending down and spinning the lazy susan until you find what you’re looking for. Whereas a magic corner does all the work for you. You may not fully utilize every inch of space in that corner, but you will be able to easily access all of it with your magic corner.   Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Cool Built-Ins There are a great number of space saving, built in options for small kitchens on the market currently. A built-in spice rack can utilize a couple of inches of otherwise wasted space next to your refrigerator or cabinet. Plus, you will be able to see and access every single spice you have whenever you want to. The poultry seasoning is usually tucked away in the back of a cabinet along with the other rarely-used-herbs we find in most kitchens. You cannot for the life of you recall what recipe called for the use of cayenne pepper, but nevertheless, you have a jar in your cupboard. Spoiler alert – if you made squash soup or a fancy Mexican dish, cayenne pepper may have been deployed.

Built-in, slide out pantries are wonderful at using up any gaps in the kitchen. And best of all when you slide them out, you can see exactly how many boxes of crackers you have. However, if you have teenagers in the house, you likely have no crackers whatsoever. We recommend hiding crackers in boxes of bran cereal so you may once in a while snack on them yourself.

A built-in paper towel holder can save precious counter space. That space in front of your kitchen sink may be the perfect depth for a paper towel dispenser. That is certainly saving some space on your counter and it looks much cleaner, too.

Toe-kick storage cabinets are fantastic storage options for small kitchens. That space under your kitchen cabinets, just above the floor is usually viable space that is up for grabs. Toe kick drawers are perfect for tough to store items such as serving platters, cookie cooling wire racks, baking sheets and more. Now, you do not actually kick the drawer to get it to open. We want to be clear about that! You tap your foot against it, and it glides open. You don’t have to bend down and open it with your hands. This is perfect if you are drying a muffin tin and want to put it away. The muffin tin is in your hands, so you tap the toe kick drawer with your foot, place the muffin tin inside, and push it closed with your foot. Some people even use it to store their dog dishes! When it is feeding time, they tap the drawer and it opens up to reveal a doggie dining area. Close it back up when chow time is over so your kitchen is prim and proper once again. Kitchen by Diamond At Lowes Drawers, Drawers, Everywhere Repeat after us: drawers are good, doors are bad. There are a few instances where doors are needed – such as if one is traveling to Narnia via a wardrobe – but the majority of stored items can be more easily accessed in drawers. Think about the cupboards that are beneath the countertops. The items stored in those cupboards are hard to reach and likely unorganized as a result of you needing to be on your knees to reach them. Drawers simply slide out and you can see and access every single thing in them. More and more kitchens today are being designed with upper doors and lower drawers. With a smaller kitchen where every bit of space is needed, drawers are an absolute must. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Rolling Island Rolling islands are incredibly versatile. They can be tucked away under a counter top or situated at the end of a counter top to increase that counter space. They can be pulled out into the middle of the kitchen and be used as – wait for it – and island. They can also be rolled into a nearby room and be used for folding laundry, paying bills, homework and many other things. You have the extra counter space when you need it, but not when you do not need it. The best of both worlds, and an absolute asset in a small kitchen. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Lots of Lighting A small kitchen can look larger with the right lighting. Fill your kitchen with lighting. Under the counter lighting, over the sink, pot lights in the ceiling, task lights over food preparation countertops. There are generally three different types of kitchen lighting.
  1. Pot Lights – These can be placed almost anywhere in the kitchen ceiling. They come in several sizes and can be dimmable, which we highly recommend. On cloudy days and in the evenings when it’s dark out you may want to have the pot lights on the brightest setting. On sunny days when simply looking out the window can blind you; you may need a little bit of light from the pot lights, but not very much.
  2. Under Cabinet Lights – These lights are, as the name suggests, situated under the cabinets. The counterspace against the wall, under the cabinets in a kitchen does not need to be dark and gloomy. Install a series of under cabinet lights to take full advantage of every square inch of your counter.
  3. Task Lights – to direct the stream of light where it is most needed. Task lighting is generally installed over sinks, islands and food preparation surfaces. Pendant lights with LED bulbs are fine choices for this type of lighting, as are track lights, powerful pot lights and other kitchen lights. The goal is to light your workspace area so you can get your task done as efficiently as possible.
Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Kitchen Too Small? Take Out a Wall! A very common kitchen renovation today is to remove a non-load-bearing wall in or near the kitchen. Gone are the days where families want private, formal dining rooms. Today’s couples do not want to be sequestered, alone in the kitchen while their guests dine in the next room. The walls are coming down and the kitchen is opening up to the dining area or the family room area. With that wall gone there is more space for the kitchen. There is likely now room for an island or a peninsula with bar stool seating. Many families choose this type of small kitchen renovation to help connect their family together. The kids grab breakfast at the island or peninsula while mom or dad is making coffee or tea. The kids may park themselves at the same place to work on homework in the evening. This allows them to connect with mom or dad while supper is being prepared. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.  

Guide to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Build Better Cabinets The first step to becoming the proud owners of an eco-friendly kitchen is to hire an eco-friendly design build company. An eco-friendly design build company will be skilled at designing and building kitchens that are kind to the environment and will last a long time. A professional company will ensure that there are very well-built cabinets in your kitchen that will not wear out in 10 years. Many big developers use the most cost-effective materials when building kitchens. Cost-effective to the developer does not equal quality. The developer will get a higher return on their investment as they pay less for lesser quality cabinets but do not typically pass along those savings onto you.

A reputable design-build company will ensure that your kitchen cabinets are built to last a long time.

Such a company will embrace ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.

Cabinets Kitchen by Increasing the Insulation in your Kitchen Walls can save you money on heating bills in the winter. If renovating your kitchen, your electrician will likely need to open up the walls to do some electrical work. While the walls are accessible, it is the perfect opportunity to increase the insulation. There are many eco-friendly options when choosing the type of insulation. One popular option is using recycled blue jeans. The material is very durable and may provide health benefits due to not using fibreglass insulation.   Kitchen Walls Kitchen by

Consider intentionally constructing a kitchen that is connected to the backyard. Doing this will connect you to your outdoor living spaces. You’ll be more inclined to go outside and even grow food in a garden. Growing your own vegetables and herbs is not only healthier for you but reduces your carbon footprint. A quart of cherry tomatoes grown in your backyard goes in a bowl and into your kitchen. One purchased in a store was picked off a tomato plant, packed into a plastic, clamshell container, placed in a truck that shipped it to your grocery store. You likely drove your car to the grocery store to buy the tomatoes. Fresh produce often has quite the trek to reach your table. An herb garden can improve quality of your life. Many herbs are perennials that can be harvested over and over all summer long. Gardening has been proved to reduce stress and anxiety. Not to mention the fact that herbs you grow will be as fresh as can be and will taste much better than purchased ones.

Planting shrubs beneath your kitchen windows can have a positive effect on your mood as well. A bright rhododendron or classic camelia could shade the lower half of your wall and help reduce your cooling bill.

An herb garden does not have to only sustain you for the summer months. Many design & build companies are incorporating indoor herb gardens right into the kitchen design. A self-watering garden shelf can be incorporated into your kitchen. Dimmable, LED light strips are discrete, energy efficient and perfectly equipped to keep your plants happy all year round. Hydroponic shelves are available if you prefer a soil-free system. Some systems have a notification component that will alert you on your cell phone when the water is low. You basically just need to add water once in a while and clip your herbs whenever you need them! Fresh herbs at your fingertips could turn you into a gourmand in no time!

backyard Kitchen by Use Eco-Friendly Materials Cabinets are not the only materials that comprise an eco-friendly kitchen. Countertops and flooring are important, too. While some developers will opt to put laminate counters in kitchens, those counters are not designed for longevity. Quartz, granite and cement counters will last for a very long time. That is an eco-friendly investment. The landfill does not need any more worn out, faded laminate countertops. It has plenty as it is! Eco-Friendly Materials Kitchen by

There are many eco-friendly flooring options today to choose from. However, what goes into the determination of eco-friendly flooring? Think about whether or not the flooring has the ability to be recycled when it wears out, or refurbished – such as hardwood flooring. Does it last a long time, or do you have to constantly invest in maintaining it? How was it created and where? If the creation of the flooring using processes that pollute the air, it may not be very eco-friendly, no matter how long it lasts in your home. If a truck shipped the flooring from two thousand kilometres away, that was not very eco-friendly either.

Cork flooring is a renewable material. Did you know that this material comes from the bark of the cork oak tree? The bark grows back after it has been harvested! Cork flooring has insulating qualities as well.

Hardwood flooring is made from wood. It can be re-finished, and it lasts a very long time if taken care of. It is also biodegradable.

Linoleum flooring is actually made from flax plants. Flax plants have a high degree of availability and they are renewable. They can last more than 20 years if maintained. eco-friendly flooring Kitchen by Energy Efficient Lighting Increase the size of your window space to allow for cheaper heating and lighting. If possible, take advantage of a south or west facing kitchen to line that wall with big, bright windows. In doing so, you can take advantage of natural light. You may even get to watch some beautiful sunsets out those windows while having supper. Efficient Lighting Kitchen by Energy Efficient Appliances There are many more energy-efficient options today than even 5 years ago. The instant pot appliances, for one. If we tweak the way we cook, a little more energy can be saved. For instance, do you know that convection button on your oven? It cooks food faster, saving you electricity.

Crockpots do not draw much energy and the bonus of using one is that you can put all the components in before you start work for the day, and it cooks all day while you work at your job. Then you come home to a house that smells divine! And the best part is there is only one pot to clean!

New dishwashers use less water but deliver cleaner dishes. Using a dishwasher that has a condensation dry function will save even more electricity. Newer refrigerators are better insulated and therefore more efficient. Not to mention that if they have a water dispenser you will get instantly cold water from the refrigerator. This saves water as you won’t be running the kitchen faucet for a minute until the water gets cold enough for your liking. Refrigerators also use less power.

If you want an eco-friendly kitchen, one big thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is purchase appliances that will last longer than 10 years. Most appliances in big box stores are going to last an average of 8 years. This lifespan is not due to the insulation or exterior finishes. The problem is the quality of the electronics and motor packages used in the appliances.

Every brand has low-end, middle-end, and high-end products. Most of the time the high-end ones come with better electronic components. These top models will likely last 20 to 25 years but cost $5,000. A lower-end refrigerator will last an average of 8 years and cost you about $2,000. However, when it breaks, you cannot wait 3 weeks for the replacement part to come in to repair it, so you end up buying a new one. What happens to your old refrigerator? It goes to the dump. Over 20 to 25 years you could send 3, low-end refrigerators to the dump instead of investing in a high-quality one that lasts for 20 to 25 years. Efficient Appliances Kitchen by VOC-FREE Paints & Finishes Volatile Organic Compounds, (VOC), contain compounds with a composition that allows their evaporation. Basically, you cannot see these chemicals, but you can smell them. When you paint your home or purchase new furniture and bring it into your home you can smell them. Off-gassing, which is the evaporation of these chemicals, can last a few years.

These chemicals can cause headaches and many other short- and long-term health effects.

A good design and build company will use zero-VOC and/or low-VOC paints and finishes, depending on your choices. Zero-VOC paint is often water-based and literally contains no VOCs. The VOC-free paint costs a bit more than standard paint, but can you really put a price on your health?

To further improve the air quality in your home, you may consider an air-purifying system. Indoor, potted plants can improve the air quality as well. Water Efficient Fixtures It is easy to purchase water-efficient appliances and fixtures today. Dishwashers, laundry washing machines, toilets, showerheads, and faucets are offered in a plethora of water-efficient options. There is even a special toilet that uses gray water from the sink for toilet flushing! Fixtures Kitchen by Recycling Just say no to the garborator. By getting rid of it, you are doing your part to help the municipality reduce sewage outflow. Composting is the way to go. You’ll use fewer plastic garbage bags if you compost, resulting in fewer garbage bags at the landfill. Not to mention how happy your vegetable garden will be with the compost!

Recycling has been made easy with a huge variety of recycling bin options.

Under the sink slide out drawers that contain compartments for compost, paper recyclables, plastic recyclables and garbage come in many sizes. Consistently recycling will reduce your carbon footprint and it is easier than ever to do so. Recycling Kitchen by Buy Larger Quantities of Staples Purchasing big amounts of flour, grain, sugar as this reduces packaging. Also reduces trips to store – carbon footprint. Design extra space n kitchen to hold these things. White rice keeps forever. It does not hurt to be prepared in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a flood. Having the ability to store large quantities of food will not only aid you in the event of a. natural disaster, but it eco-friendly. Larger quantities of food come in less packaging and last longer, which means you are not driving to the store as often to purchase them. A good design build company can help you design your kitchen to have a higher capacity of food storage. Tupperware containers will keep your spices, baking staples, cereal and pasta fresh for much longer than the packaging they arrived in. A big bag of rice fits nicely into a 5-gallon bucket with a lid on top. Place some moisture absorbing gel packs inside the bucket and that rice will keep for a very long time. Staples Kitchen by   Install a Bottled Water Dispenser Right into your Kitchen One huge jug contains 18.5 litres of water whereas a 24 case of bottled water contains a total of 12 litres. The 1 cooler jug is cleaned and reused. The 24 bottles of water after consumption will end up in different places. Some will be put in the garbage and others will make it to the recycling bin. Invest in some good, reusable water bottles and use the water cooler. The water will always be cold and you will not be adding any plastic to the landfill. It is very easy for kids to fill their thermoses with water from the dispenser and they will be more likely to drink water after school if they have a dispenser handy. Choose a water cooler that will continue to dispense water even when the power is out. Most of them are powered by gravity, anyway, which means they will continue to dispense water no matter how long the power is out. If your water source is a well, a water cooler will be invaluable to you. Well water is pumped via an electronic pump so if the power is out, you do not have water. Except from your water cooler! Smart cookie! Dispenser Kitchen by

Top Seven Reasons to Consider a Kitchen Renovation

1. To increase the value of your home. It is no secret that prospective home buyers view the kitchen as a make it or break it factor in their purchase decisions. One of the best ways to increase the value of your home, and the likelihood of it selling at or above list price, is to renovate your kitchen. A modern kitchen with modern appliances and a functional, well-designed layout will appeal to the market. The kitchen is the heart of the home and increasing the livability of that room will bode very well for you.

Perhaps your desire to increase the value of your home is not tied to putting it up for sale. Increasing the value of your home will also increase your net worth. Regardless of the reason you have for increasing the value of your home, renovating your kitchen is almost certainly going to help you accomplish that goal. Of all renovations, kitchens give you the highest return on investment. A kitchen remodel provides an average of 120% or more return on investment. That is the best return on investment renovation, generally speaking, that one can complete. Kitchen Kitchen by Tsawwassen Kitchen & Main Floor Renovations 2. To better accommodate your family. You and your spouse possibly bought your home before you had children. You were a young, professional, working couple with lives that were so busy outside of the home that you rarely ate in your kitchen. Fast forward 10 or 15 years and you have a family. A loud, raucous, wonderful, family filling your home with laughter and other not so joyful things once in a while. Understandably, your needs have changed and your kitchen needs to change to accommodate that.

Many families choose to install a breakfast bar or island with bar stools. This becomes the perfect place for your kids to grab a quick bowl of cereal, or to work on homework. Island lighting is often the brightest illumination in a house. (Us Canadians like to see what we prepare and consume). The brightly lit counter space is also the perfect place to clearly see math equations, while keeping said homework out of your puppy’s reach. Mom and Dad can help their kids with homework while they prepare supper which is nice for both parties, if not a tad unfortunate for the puppy. accommodate Kitchen by The Estate Kitchen 3. Increase storage space and make the kitchen more functional. A growing family requires more cupboard space to store food and dishes. Your children will likely need to take lunches packed in reusable containers to and from school each day. These containers take up a good amount of space. Rather than relegating your lovely wine glasses to the attic to make storage for sippy cups, plastic bowls and tupperware, you may opt to increase the cupboard space in your kitchen.

Life B.C. – Before Children – may have had you requiring nothing more than a toaster, microwave and oven. Life A.C. – After Children – may require you to own a larger toaster as well as a crockpot, stock pot, rice cooker, pressure cooker…you see where we’re going with this. Your kitchen will be a much more organized and enjoyable space for your entire family if every utensil, plate, container and small appliance has a home. Discreetly placed appliance garages are very popular in modern kitchens, and one can see why. You may have access to all your handy appliances, but they are not taking up precious room on your counter.

In the past, most cabinets didn’t go all the way to the ceiling, but they do today…if you want them to. Modern cabinets stretch from counter to ceiling, providing a lot more storage space.

Rarely used items such as Christmas dishes, a popcorn machine, serving trays, etc. should not be taking up space in the lower cabinets. Move those less-used items to the top cupboards to free up premium space in the lower cabinets. A current kitchen that doesn’t have cabinets all the way to the ceiling and has empty space or a drywall drop, can take advantage of that extra, unused space and have 25% more storage capacity. This is the perfect place to put the wedding gifts you don’t want but cannot get rid of. kitchena Kitchen by Shell Road Kitchen & Home Renovation 4. Deterioration. While your kitchen was possibly practically perfect in every way when you first moved into your house, it has likely deteriorated over the past 20 or 30 years. The countertops may have chipped or cracked, the cupboards faded, the appliances broken down. You decide to head to the store to replace your refrigerator. Sounds easy enough, right? You would be wrong. Standard refrigerator sizes have changed a lot over the past 10 years, let alone 20 or 30. You likely will find a larger refrigerator that you love, but your kitchen is too small to accommodate it. Well, it is the perfect time to renovate that key space in your home. You can bring your kitchen into the 21st century with style. A good design build company will help you plan the area that you have always dreamed of. You will be excited to have friends and family over to show them your beautiful, new kitchen. Deterioration Kitchen by New Westminster Kitchen 5. To accommodate aging in place or a disability. You love your home and you rightly do not want to leave it and you certainly do not want to move into any sort of a care home. Lucky for you, a kitchen renovation can help you stay where you are. We would be remiss not to mention that your home will likely need a few other modifications to accommodate you perfectly, such as a ramp at your entrance and a main floor master suite. However, having a kitchen that you can move around in and cook in freely is an absolute necessity.

Many home owners choose to replace all lower cupboards with drawers so they can easily access everything inside them. We think this is a great idea for ANY kitchen, actually! The kitchen should also be wide enough to easily move in and through it. The appliances should be easily accessible as well as the sink. Your kitchen can be renovated to look beautiful as well as be incredibly functional. disability Kitchen by Vancouver Home Makeover 6. The original design is bad. Very bad. When homes are built by a developer for resale, they often have cheaper kitchens with a bit of flash, but with accessories and details that are often missing. Generally speaking, the overall quality is often the minimum required to sell the house. A good design build company can often give you an amazing kitchen that does a better job of meeting your needs while taking up the same amount of space. They will work with you to customize every aspect of the kitchen while factoring in how you will use the space and what appliances will call it home. Unlike the big home developer who is only concerned with profit margins, a design build company will steer you towards quality products and installation methods that will give you a much longer lasting kitchen. original design Kitchen by Richmond Modern Kitchen Renovation 7. Most kitchens built in the 70s were not designed to be the centre of family life or for entertaining. Rather, kitchens constructed in this timeframe were designed to be very functional for one person to be in there doing all the cooking. Nowadays, couples often cook together and have their kids cooking with them. How else will their kids learn to cook healthy, well balanced meals if mom and dad don’t teach them? Presently, a lot of clients want to have friends over where four adults can cook and visit together. No longer is the cook cut off from the guests while the meal is prepared.

Kitchens used to often be L-shaped and have no island. Currently, clients usually request a very family-oriented kitchen with entertaining possibilities and an island. The space where a traditional, old table and chairs set stood is today replaced with a large island that accommodates the whole family. There is usually a built-in desk area to do homework or pay bills.

A reputable design/build company will help you re-design your kitchen space to provide a more functional, modern layout that today’s families’ need. Often a wall between the kitchen and the dining room will be pulled down to create your dream kitchen. It will provide more space for cabinetry and that killer island. You won’t need a kitchen table as well as a dining room one now that you have a large island with seating for your family. You will enjoy a kitchen open to the dining room where entertaining guests is easy and fun! design Kitchen by Townhouse Kitchen Renovation
The kitchen is the heart of the home.

Custom Kitchen Designs are the New Trend

The kitchen is the heart of the home. This versatile room brings family members together. A kitchen should fit your family and your family’s needs perfectly. There should be enough seating for everyone to eat meals together. The kitchen should be organized to reduce clutter, and in doing so a more inviting atmosphere will be created where family members naturally gravitate to. A neutral color palette, such as greys and whites, is a great choice for a custom kitchen. It’s crisp and when kept neat and tidy, the family will always be drawn to the clean lines of the kitchen, the aromatic smell of food cooking, and the laughter of siblings and parents. The kitchen should be the place where your kids tell you about their day and where you can enjoy spending time with your family after a hard day of work. The kitchen is the heart of the home. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. A kitchen fit for the hostess with the most-est. Many upper-class homes in 18th century England contained a parlor – a room specifically for the lady of the house to entertain friends. One would be hard pressed to find an 18th century parlor in a modern day home today. In fact, nowadays, couples generally share the cooking responsibilities. However, even though men today should be doing 50% of the cooking, for some reason women are typically still doing the majority of the meal preparation. Taking all of this into consideration, custom kitchens are now often designed to be a place where close friends can have a cup of tea and catch up. Modern kitchens are ideally an inviting area where the home owners can comfortably entertain while being close enough to the oven to keep an eye on dinner. One fantastic benefit of having a kitchen where you can entertain a friend is that you don’t have to leave the room to make the tea, pour the lemonade or gather the cookies on a plate. Instead, everything is at your fingertips and you won’t miss out on any of the conversation. Perhaps you have a built-in wine cooler you’d like to show off—er—show your friends. That’s easy to do if they’re in the kitchen with you. A kitchen fit for the hostess with the most-est. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Homework central. Parents are more pressed for time today than ever before. Having to choose between spending time with your kids or preparing a meal is a very common problem nowadays. A custom kitchen can be designed to allow you to spend time with your kids while you prepare dinner, wash dishes and put away groceries. The lighting in the kitchen is often the brightest lighting in the home, so it is an ideal area for completing homework. With laptops in the majority of homes, schoolwork is more mobile than ever. A parent does not have to trek upstairs to their son or daughter’s bedroom and lean over a desk to aid with schoolwork. Instead, the custom kitchens of today are increasingly being designed with versatility in mind. The kitchen below, for example, incorporates a study nook with dimmable pot lights over top. The peninsula hosts two bar stools and is equally useful as a breakfast bar and an arts and crafts counter. Homework central. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Planning happens here. Everyone has to eat, right? Which is why so many couples and families discuss all manner of future plans in the kitchen. Over dinner is usually a good time to discuss how school is going with your kids. It is also a good time to talk about weekend getaways, summer plans and that big family trip to Europe you’re hoping to take in a few years. Even if you cannot all come together for supper, offer your family a hot cup of cocoa and snag them for a 10 minute chat. Since a great deal of planning happens in the kitchen, it’s a very good idea to keep the area clean and tidy with an accessible notepad and pen for jotting things down. With the kitchen being “everyone’s” room, as opposed to a bedroom or an office, all family members are on neutral ground. This comes in handy when the family is divided on where to take their next trip. The kids may want to go to Disney World, but mom and dad have peaceful images of Caribbean beaches dancing in their heads. We recommend having high quality hot chocolate and LOTS of mini marshmallows on hand to sway the vote in your favour! Planning happens here. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Family game nights. Since most kitchens have enough seating for every member of the family, it stands to reason that the kitchen is often a perfect spot to hold your weekly, family games of Pictionary. Most board games require a flat surface to lay the game board and pieces on. An island or dining table provides just that. When planning your kitchen it is always important to consider what the room will be used for outside of cooking and dining. Another reason the kitchen is the perfect room to host your family game night is due to the lighting. The kitchen usually has the best lighting in the house. Chefs appreciate good lighting so they don’t accidentally chop off a fingertip or confuse garlic powder with garlic salt. This good lighting is especially helpful to those with less than perfect eyesight who struggle to read the questions on Trivial Pursuit game cards. Glasses will only take you so far. Optimal lighting is essential in the kitchen, and incredibly helpful for family game nights. Family game nights. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Entertaining guests. You really want to have that lovely couple you met at the golf course over for dinner but there’s just one problem…your kitchen is cut off from the rest of the house. Your options are not looking great. You either have to have the entire meal prepared before your guests arrive, or you must leave your guests alone in the dining room or family room while you prepare the meal and fetch drinks. You know that you’ll worry that these guests may feel obligated to chip in and help cook if they are sequestered from you and you don’t enjoy feeling pressured to cook faster than you normally do so you can get back to your guests. There are not many things that are more satisfying than being able to entertain guests in your own home and not having to worry about having enough room for them or being able to chat with them while preparing the meal. Imagine having three of your friends over and watching ‘how to make sushi’ videos while preparing sushi right there with your besties. The current design trend is to have the kitchen open to the family room. Some floorplans have the kitchen and dining area, or family room separated via a peninsula so the host and hostess can prepare food but not be left out of the conversation. Today, couples want to entertain together, so quite often the husband and wife will work on the meal together while chatting easily with the other couple across the island. If an awkward silence pops up during the conversation, just take out your coffee bean grinder and French Press. Treat your guests to the best cup of coffee north of Columbia. Awkward silence filled! Entertaining guests. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Functional spaces. The age of kitchens full of doors and cabinets is over. New kitchens are designed to give you more drawers and less doors so all the space can be utilized. The kitchen layout is custom designed for every appliance you have and/or plan to acquire. Today’s kitchens are super functional. There are dividers in the cupboard for baking sheets. There are lazy susans and magic corners to ensure every nook of possible storage space is taken advantage of. Every appliance has a home in your kitchen, or at least a parking spot. These parking spots can be planned to blend in with the kitchen or to be hidden from view. The level of function your kitchen can possess is only limited by the amount of money you want to invest in it. A vast array of options is available to make your kitchen the epitome of form and function. Functional spaces. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Gourmet kitchen options. What comes to mind when you think of a gourmet kitchen? The list of options is probably longer than you think. A very commonly requested gourmet kitchen feature is a second sink. Many homes prefer to have one sink to handle dirty dishes and one sink that is primarily used to prepare vegetables. Some cultures prefer to have one sink to wash meat in and one to wash vegetables in; the vegetables sink may be referred to as a kosher sink. Furthermore, spouses often like having their own sink to work with. His and hers closets are a must. His and hers sinks are a very nice option to have. They are especially nice to have when entertaining large groups of people. One of you can stay on top of dishes by using the main sink, while the other of you can use the secondary sink for preparing hors d’oeuvres. Other gourmet kitchen features are gas range tops, built-in wine coolers and a Butler’s Pantry. Some homes feature a tap over the range so pots can be filled with water right on the stovetop. Many new, high-end homes feature kitchens with refrigerator panels that match the cabinets. Perhaps the microwave is in a special drawer. And very often, there is a dual wall oven so you can bake cookies while the Thanksgiving turkey roasts in the OTHER oven. Gourmet kitchen options. Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Cook and entertain at the same time! The kitchens of today are designed to be open to the family room. The cook does not want to be, nor should he or she be, separated from the rest of the group while food is being prepared. Not only should you be able to prepare gourmet nachos while chatting with the rest of the group, but you should not have to miss any sports goals on the flatscreen while slaving over a meal. Dining room tables with several leaves are popular in homes where entertaining is important to the owners. This means there is no kiddie table for Uncle Danny to share with the kids. We do realize that may be a double-edged sword, but you can always put Uncle Danny at the opposite end of the table with all the kids. Having a kitchen with a peninsula or island means that the rectangular, square or oval piece of countertop can serve double time as a buffet table when serving a crowd. Built in sound systems are very popular in modern kitchen design. A built-in sound system or a google nest media and home hub to play whatever kind of music that suits the occasion is a very sleek kitchen feature to have. Regardless of the features you choose, your design and build company should be happy to go through all the options with you. This way, you get exactly what you want, and it looks great, too. Cook and entertain at the same time! Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Deck, Patio or Outdoor Living Space: What’s the Difference?

Why build a deck? A deck or patio is often constructed on a whim without proper thought and consideration as to how it will fit into the backyard or your home as a whole. Whereas an outdoor living space factors all of the components of your backyard and your existing home together to transform your backyard area into a usable living space that you and your family can enjoy. A well thought out deck or patio area that is solidly built in your backyard can provide years of enjoyment and additional living space for your family to enjoy. A good design build company will meet with you and discuss both the long and short term ways to turn your backyard into an outdoor living space oasis. Working with you, bringing ideas to the table, and listening to your ideas, the design build company will create a landscape plan that includes all the best options that were brought to the table. Patio Timbertech Composite Deck by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Digital image. Why not build a deck? Are you not sold on the idea of a deck? Are you and your spouse not fully on the same page with respect to building a deck? Some couples are split on how to best transform the space in their backyard into an enjoyable outdoor living space. Meeting with an experienced design build company will help you make these types of tough decisions. A design build company will discuss your outdoor living space options and help you determine what the most important components to include in the design of your backyard or side yard are. Another reason not to build a deck may be that is disconnects you from the plants, flowers and landscaping that would surround a paver stone or stamped concrete patio. One question to ask yourself is this: would you rather be relaxing on an outdoor sofa up against your house in view of your neighbours, or lounging around a fire pit surrounded by plants and landscaping with far more privacy? However, if a deck makes more sense than a ground level patio, we have worked with many clients and built many privacy screens that attach to the deck. These screens can be made of wood or plants, such as a privacy hedge. A strategically placed lattice wall covered in an evergreen climbing clematis vine can provide the needed privacy in your outdoor living space. In order to complete the atmosphere of the deck, adding several large planters that contain shrubs and perennial flowers will complete the natural atmosphere of the deck. The further addition of a small water feature can add some privacy and make it harder for conversations to be overheard by neighbours, while adding another sense of relaxation. Until you have a solid, long term vision of what you want your outdoor living space to look like, we recommend not building a deck. It would be expensive to have to tear it down later when you realize the deck is in the area you want to put a swimming pool in. build Outdoor Gas Fire Pit. Digital Why build a patio? If the main floor of your house is not elevated off the ground and you want to be surrounded by plants and landscaping, you may choose to build a patio. Or if the design of your yard is more suited to a patio than to a deck, you may choose to build a patio. Before you make such a long-term decision, it would be wise to meet with a design build company to go through your options. Planning for the long term use of your outdoor living space is very helpful when investing in any landscaping. Patios can be made of stone or concrete. The stone and concrete will outlive a wooden deck and require less maintenance that a wooden one. Many different patterns can be made with interlocking stone to achieve a specific backyard look and feel. floor Indoor Outdoor Guy Backyard Landscaping. Digital image. Why not build a patio? Firstly, if the main floor of your home is elevated off the ground, you may prefer building a deck as opposed to a patio. An outdoor living space that is close to level with the floor of your home may get used more than one that you must walk down steps to get to. Patios can be beautiful focal points in backyards, but as they generally involve more landscaping, they also may require a little more maintenance. However, many people find tending to their plants and gardens a very therapeutic way to end to their day. The best thing to do if you are considering renovating your backyard is to discuss your options with a design build company. They will be able to advise you in your decision and make you aware of options that you may not have known about. Cabana Indoor Outdoor Guy Custom Built Cabana. Digital image.
Flagstone vs. Interlocking Pavers. Interlocking pavers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. This makes them a top choice of many landscape designers and makes then suitable to be used for many different types of projects. If installed properly, there should be a very small amount of movement in the pavers over time. For there to be no movement or very little movement, the pavers must be installed on top of a compacted road base foundation that extends down to undisturbed ground. All organic topsoil that are compactable must be removed. The surface of the interlocking pavers will be even and quite smooth. Flagstone pavers are often referred to as natural stone pavers because they are made from natural stone. They can be made from limestone, granite, slate or other quarried stone. One benefit of flagstone is that it can be cut into different shapes to look however you want it to look. The natural colors compliment most outdoor living spaces. After all, rock comes from outside, so it should fit right into the backyard. Flagstone Indoor Outdoor Guy Custom Built Cabana. Digital Water Feature: Pondless Waterfall vs. Pondless Basalt Pillar. A water feature is often the focal point of your backyard and adds the relaxing sense of sound to your visually beautiful gardens. Pondless waterfalls and pondless basalt pillar features are all the rage right now as they do not have the maintenance that ponds and fountains have. They also benefit the backyard by providing ambient sound that helps drown out neighbourhood noise. Another benefit is that the sounds from a good, pondless waterfall may interfere with the noisy neighbor who tries to overhear your private, backyard conversations. Without a pond, one does not have the high maintenance of bugs and algae that typically accompany a poorly designed water feature. To be fair to pond lovers, a pond and/or waterfall feature that has a well-designed filtration system can be very low-maintenance. Water features are high tech now and allow the home owner the ability to control the amount of water that is being pumped and to turn on special water feature lighting at night time. Sitting in your backyard and listening to a babbling brook is bound to relax you. Water Pondless Cascading Waterfall by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Digital image. Plants & Shrubs. The beautifully landscaped backyards you see in magazines did not happen by accident. The plants and shrubs were chosen with care and consideration for the climate, plant longevity, appearance and many other reasons. When planning your backyard layout, your design build company will help you decide which plants and shrubs are best suited for your outdoor living space. Perennial plants and shrubs, ones that grow back year after year, are the top choice of landscapers and home owners. Why pay for new plants every spring when you can pay for plants once and enjoy them for years to come? It’s important to take into consideration what a plant or shrub will grow into over a few years’ time rather than what they look like as a 2 or 3 year old plant. A new seedling may look dwarfed in a 4’ X 4’ area, but by the end of the summer that seedling’s foliage may cover that entire area. Plants and shrubs come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. It’s important to plan for the shapes, sizes and colors of the plants in advance. Advanced planning can provide you with a stunning yard when the greenery matures. Shrubs Willem Outdoor 24-Bulb Standard String Light. Digital image. Raised Walls/Stacked Stone Walls. Also known as retaining walls, raised walls have many benefits, both structural and decorative. If you have a hilly yard, a raised wall is a common way to both correct the hill and create a lovely focal point. A retaining wall will reduce soil erosion and turn a difficult-to-mow section of yard into a stunning flower bed. A raised wall bed is often used along a fence to help break up the hardness of the wooden fence. As the soil in a retaining wall is looser than compacted soil, perennial flowers and vegetable plants may take root and produce more prolifically. Raised walls need to be planned and in some cases, if higher than 3 feet, may need a professional engineer’s stamp. A good design build company will use retaining walls as a feature in your outdoor living space to make it even more stunning. Raised Backyard Living Space by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc. Digital image.
Pools, Swim Spas and Hot Tubs. Pools, hot tubs and swim spas are a commonly desired feature when renovating an outdoor living space. Backyard swimming pools are literally the stuff that children’s dreams are made of. The health benefits and amount of fun a swimming pool can provide is incredibly valuable. No room for a swimming pool? What about a swim spa? They have a much smaller footprint than a pool and are more affordable. Swim spas have an area for swimming that can be heated to your temperature of choice, as well as hot tub area that can be heated to 104 degrees for heat therapy purposes. They are also available as individual units, just like a hot tub, with only one area with an adjustable temperature for either swimming or soaking. They can be used year round and come with a hydraulically powered resistance current so you can swim laps in place as long as your heart desires. If swimming is not your thing but you absolutely love to soak in hot water, then a hot tub may be a great choice for your home. Hot tubs come in many sizes to accommodate even the smallest backyards, can be built into a deck or gazebo, and can be set to a temperature that is comfortable for the whole family. Pools Indoor Outdoor Guy Landscaping Blueprint. Digital image. Other Landscaping Elements. Other elements that clients often ask about are in-ground trampolines, shed-saunas, putting greens, and studio or office sheds. The physical and mental benefits of saunas have been known for decades. Adding a sauna shed to your backyard provides a relaxing place to sweat out all the stresses of your day after work. In-ground trampolines have become very popular in recent years, and for very good reason. An in-ground trampoline that is level with the ground and has no coil springs is easy to use and is safer than a traditional trampoline that is raised off of the ground with safety netting. Backyard office studio sheds are in demand now more than ever. A backyard office gives you a quiet space to work surrounded by nature once it’s been landscaped into the backyard. Heated, insulated sheds are also used for She-Sheds, Man Caves, Potting Sheds and Storage. Every golfer’s dream is to have their very own putting green in their backyard. An artificial grass putting green offers all the fun of being on the green without driving to the course or paying the course fees. Discuss these landscaping elements with your design build company and they will work with you to give you the outside living space you’ve always wanted. Landscaping Indoor Outdoor Guy Landscaping Blueprint. Digital image.

Outdoor Living Space Essentials

1.Design When making a financial investment into your backyard, one must first consider the design of the outdoor living spaces that will comprise the backyard. Many lovely couples build a patio or deck only to discover three or four years later that the patio location, shape or size does not work with their desired landscaping or the dream swimming pool or hot tub they always wanted to add to their backyard. Another common problem occurs when beautiful trees are planted in the backyard to only need to be moved or even cut down a few years later when installing a playstructure or shed. Many municipalities now require a permit with valid justification in order to remove a tree. A playstructure or a shed may not be considered to be valid justification to move a tree. A good design build company will sit down with you and take into consideration all of your short term and long term backyard projects. Working with you and following your ideas, the design build company will create a landscape plan for your yard that will provide long-term enjoyment. Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Landscaping Blueprint, 09 December 2020, Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Backyard Landscaping, 09 December 2020, 2.Fire Pit When you look out into your backyard, are visions of Muskoka chairs dancing through your head? A fire pit with chairs seated around it is the perfect gathering place for family after a day of hard work and busy school. Unwind in front of the fire and leave your troubles behind. The below fire pit is powered via natural gas. Though many fire pits, also known as fire rings, can be run on propane, natural gas never runs out and is therefore the better option. Propane tanks do run out and a quick trip to get the tank refilled is all it takes to get your fire pit up and burning again. Another benefit of having a natural gas powered fire pit is that you may power your BBQ with natural gas as well. All you need is a 2-connection BBQ box and you are set. Alternatively, you could use one connection for a natural gas patio heater. The choice is yours. Digital image. Outdoor Gas Fire Pit, 09 December 2020, 3.Outdoor Sofa Set. You know what pairs nicely with a fire pit? An inviting and comfortable outdoor sofa set. The popularity of outdoor sofa sets has grown exponentially in the past several years to the point where there are countless sofa set options available. We like the 4 piece motion fire seating set, pictured below, because it would look fantastic in almost any backyard. Your kids would love the chairs that spin…maybe a little too much. You would love the durable upholstery that’s designed to withstand adverse weather. Your guests would love the cushiony comfort of the seating. If only the sofa set came with the ocean view background… Digital image. 4 Piece Sunbrella Sofa Seating Group with Cushions, 09 December 2020, 4.Plants and Landscaping This expands on the design of your outdoor living spaces. The landscaping brings all of the elements together to create a cohesive area to enjoy and soften the effect of harder landscaping components in the yard such as fences and sheds. Plants can have an enormous impact on the look and feel of an outdoor living space. Trees and hedges may provide privacy. Shrubs and flower beds provide character and beauty to the yard. You may want to build a vegetable garden into your landscaping plan if you enjoy fresh produce. A good design build company will help you choose plants that are well-suited to your climate and lifestyle. If you want, for example, Canada Day colors in your yard, a good design build company will recommend the best ones to achieve that look. Some looks are more popular than others, but we’re not judging! Digital image. Backyard Living Space by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020, 5.Pergola or Cabana A pergola or cabana will be the focal point of your yard and essentially turn an outdoor living space into a retreat. They can be built with a variety of materials and in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be constructed with curtains, screening and windows or just open air. Pergolas and cabanas may house dining tables, lounge areas, outdoor kitchens or even hot tubs. The one below we custom built for a client in the Vancouver area. The client wanted their cabana to contain an outdoor kitchen and bbq area as well as a dining area. The cedar posts are striking against the grey stone. The patio heaters attached to the ceiling of the cabana means our clients can extend their outdoor dining and entertaining season. Pendant and pot lights illuminate all areas under the cabana for optimal cooking and dining conditions. Digital image. Indoor Outdoor Guy Custom Built Cabana, 09 December 2020, 6.Water Feature A water feature may very well be the focal point of your backyard. Pondless waterfalls and pondless basalt pillar features are all the rage right now and add to a backyard by providing ambient sound that helps drown out neighbourhood noise. An added benefit is that the sounds from a good, pondless waterfall interfere with the noisy neighbor who tries to overhear your private, backyard conversations. Without a pond, one does not have the high maintenance of bugs and algae that typically accompany a pond water feature. Water features are high tech now and allow the home owner the ability to control the amount of water that is being pumped and to turn on special water feature lighting at night time. Sitting in your backyard and listening to a babbling brook is bound to relax you. Perhaps the sound of rippling water will drown out the sound of your neighbour’s kid playing the drums. Digital image. Pondless Cascading Waterfall by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020, 7.Outdoor Lighting It’s difficult to cook what you cannot see and tricky to eat in the dark. Fortunately, your choices of outdoor lighting are as varied as the foods you cook on your grill. From pot lights to pendant lights to string lights – your atmosphere is whatever you make it. String lights are very popular right now, and for a good reason. They not only illuminate your outdoor entertaining and cooking area, but they decorate it as well. A small amount of string lights can personalize your patio, but double or triple the amount of string lights can dress up the area so it is fit for a cocktail party. String lights are generally inexpensive and come in different shades for brighter or dimmer illumination. The Willem Outdoor string lights have a waterproof rating and are made with heavy-duty wire. Connect up to 10 sets of these string lights together to dress up your pergola, cabana or deck area. Digital image. Willem Outdoor 24-Bulb Standard String Light, 09 December 2020, 8. Outdoor Heater Unless the cold never bothered you anyway, a patio heater may be just the thing for chilly evenings. Outdoor heaters come in electric, natural gas, and propane powered options. Electric outdoor heaters are great for covered areas such as cabanas and gazebos where wiring can be both hidden and kept safe from the elements. If you power a patio heater with propane, you will have to continually refill a propane tank that you lug to and from the filling station. However, a natural gas heater can be connected directly to your natural gas line. It will never need refilling and will take the nip out of the air on those chilly days. Outdoor heaters come in two main styles: the pedestal style that sits on top of the ground or on a table, or the style of heater that is mounted above your head on the wall or ceiling. Although a natural gas heater will likely initially cost more to install, it will be cheaper to operate in the long run than both the electric and propane heaters.Natural gas generally produces more heat than electric heaters produce. Elsa wouldn’t need a heater, but Ana would adore one!
  • Digital image. Ceiling Mounted Natural Gas Heater, 09 December 2020,
  • Digital image. AZ Patio Heater with Table, 09 December 2020,
9.Swim Spa or Infinity Pool Would you like to be able to exercise at home all year long, but need a very low-impact activity? A swim spa may be just the thing you’re looking for. Modern swim spas have many advantages when compared to pools and hot tubs. Swim spas have an area for swimming that can be heated to your temperature of choice, as well as hot tub area that can be heated to 104 degrees for heat therapy purposes. They are also available as individual units, just like a hot tub, with only one area with an adjustable temperature for either swimming or soaking. They can be used year round and come with a hydraulically powered resistance current so you can swim laps in place as long as your heart desires. You may even purchase a swim spa that comes with a multi-speed, underwater treadmill! Walking against a current is fantastic resistance training. Not to mention what the swim spa rowing add-on offers in resistance training. If you prefer to bike ride, there’s an aquabike for the swim spa as well. Whichever type of aqua-cise you choose, reward yourself with some rejuvenating hydrotherapy from the hydro-massage seats on the spa-side of your pool at the end of your workout. Or skip the workout and enjoy the hot water of the spa. Coast Digital image. Coast Spas Wellness 1302L Spa, 09 December 2020, 10.Sauna You don’t have to be Finnish to appreciate a well-built sauna. Saunas have long been praised for their health benefits and relaxation effect. Saunas clean your pores, help you sweat out toxins and soothe sore muscles. The heat from a sauna causes the body to release endorphins, which reduces stress. The quiet you find in a sauna you have to yourself may reduce stress as well. Saunas also help fight viruses as the heat and steam causes the body to produce more white blood cells, which fight viruses. Lastly, saunas burn calories. Sweating burns a good amount of calories, and one session in a sauna can burn nearly 300 calories. If you are not convinced to get a sauna due to all of the health benefits mentioned, get one because they just feel good! A sauna may be added to a spare room inside your home or let us build you a sauna shed in your backyard. Vancouver Sauna. Digital image. Built In Sauna, 09 December 2020, 11.Hot Tub The heat is on! Few things feel more luxurious than being enveloped in hot, bubbly water. Many couples are split on whether or not to get a hot tub. One loves hot tubs, the other does not. To us it seems there’s a 50/50 split when it comes to hot tubs. There are advantages and disadvantages to Jacuzzis, so we’ll examine them here. Expensive to heat and maintain are the most common potential disadvantages. The size of the tub and the climate you live in will affect the heating cost. However, if you have a good, insulated cover this is will reduce the heating cost significantly. A high quality filtration system will save money as well as you’ll need less chemicals to keep your hot tub sparkling clean. Premium chemicals will save money as you will need a smaller amount of premium chemicals than cheap chemicals. Your monthly cost of running a hot tub should fall somewhere between $50 and $100, but likely close to $75. Now let’s consider the advantages. They relieve stress. Ending a hard day of work or play with a soak in your hot tub will allow you to unwind and regenerate. They have physical health advantages, too. Hydrotherapy helps with arthritis, fibromyalgia and many other ailments. They bring people together. You may have trouble getting your teenagers to the dinner table, but they will most likely need no encouragement to take a soak in the hot tub. While in the hot tub, families can reconnect and laugh together. After all, there are no phones allowed in the tub! Coast Spas. Digital image. Built-in Hot Tub, 09 December 2020, 12. Pool Treadmills are not the only way to get in shape and stay in shape. A swimming pool is a great workout and weight loss tool. Swimming is known to be one of the best exercises out there, and for good reason; it is low impact, uses all of the muscle groups, and burns a lot of calories. It improves flexibility as well. While you swim, you stretch, and while you stretch, you tone. Swimming reduces anxiety and depression and helps you wind down. Most importantly, it’s FUN! Pool parties are the epitome of summer fun. People gravitate towards swimming pools – young and old alike. Having a backyard bbq and visiting with friends while the kids play in the pool is as quintessentially perfect as it comes. Pool Supplies Canada. Digital image. In-ground Pool, 09 December 2020, 13.Deck A deck has so many different uses that it is no wonder it is one of the most requested backyard features in Canada. A deck will provide another living space for your family where you can cook, eat, play and spend time together. Having extra square footage is something almost every family can benefit from. One thing many people don’t realize is that where there is a deck, there is no grass to cut. That’s right – your first step to a low maintenance backyard may be reducing the amount of grass that needs to be cut and a deck would help you in that area. A composite deck is incredibly low maintenance and does not need to be re-stained every few years. Lighting can be installed in decks and pergolas can be installed on top of decks to create a stylish space. Set up an outdoor sofa or two on your deck and you have just created a fantastic lounge area for teenagers. Install a bbq and you can cook outside when the weather’s nice and watch your food cook while you relax on the sofa. Isn’t life grand? Digital image. Timbertech Composite Deck by The Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc, 09 December 2020, 14. Dining Furniture Rattan style furniture is the most popular and most commonly sold at big box stores. It comes in varying levels of quality. Another option which is just starting to gain steam out west is Recycled plastics have come a long way in recent years. Now, there are many different types of furniture manufactured using HDPE plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill. This dining set from CR Plastic Products is made with 100% recycled plastic materials, comes with a 25 year warranty, and is created to withstand the nastiest Canadian weather conditions. The furniture is heavy so it won’t blow off your deck in a windstorm. It is incredibly durable so it will not break. It comes in many different colors to match your backyard décor. For every chair in your dining set you have saved approximately 579 plastic milk jugs from ending up in a dump. That’s 579+ reasons to buy a recycled plastic dining set. The one below is available at CR Plastics in Ontario. Digital image. CR Plastics Dining Set, 09 December 2020,