Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kohler Factory Fire

On January 24, 2018, a fire broke out in the cast iron foundry at Kohler Company. Seven fire departments responded to the fire and all the employees were safely evacuated. Kohler is a manufacturer of kitchen and bath plumbing faucets, tubs, sinks and toilets, tile, small engines and generators. This fire has disrupted the plumbing world and caused major backorders and long lead times in order to get cast iron sinks and tubs. One of Kohler’s most popular items is their Whitehaven apron front sink. We use these sinks in about every 1 out of 3 kitchens. If you want to use this sink, it is important that you go ahead and get the sink in hand before proceeding with your project because their backorder situation is so unreliable right now.

Speaking from personal experience, business fires are always devastating and costly. While it is frustrating to not be able to get a sink for 3 months, I know that the company is working as hard and fast as they can to get the factory up and running and make their clients happy. Just a heads up if you are wanting to use a Kohler product, plan ahead and be willing to wait for the product that really works best for you. Kohler, we are rooting for you to get your factory back up and running! Have any questions? Email me at

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sub-Zero & Wolf

 I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sub-Zero & Wolf factories and headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin with a group of designers from the Southeast and wanted to share my experience about what I learned and saw with you. First, who is Sub-Zero & Wolf? They are a family owned, American company that designs and manufactures luxury cooking and refrigeration appliances. Westye Bakke founded the company in 1945 and invented the technology to store foods at below freezing temperatures. That’s where their refrigeration company gets the name, Sub-Zero. They are known throughout the industry for their innovation and quality. It is not unusual to find a 20 year old refrigerator still running well in kitchens around the world. It’s difficult to get most refrigerators to last 5 years these days let alone 20 years! They then added the Wolf brand to the company with cooking appliances and have just launched their dishwasher brand, Cove.

During my visit to the factory, we got to see first hand the production of cooktops, ranges and refrigerators. The factory floor was so clean and organized. Their turnover rate of employees is very low and they have many second generation employees working there. That’s a testament to the excellent work environment and benefits that the company provides. We also visited the testing and research and development departments. It was incredible to see the very in depth testing and quality checks that each appliance goes through to ensure that a quality product is shipped to each client.

We also had the opportunity to cook on all of the appliances in their fully functional on site kitchen. That was great fun! It was nice to have hands on experience with each of the appliances to fully see how they work and what some of the best applications are. We learned in depth about induction cooking and steam ovens.

It was great connecting with other designers but also learning about these great appliances and all the options they offer for our clients and different applications. Oh, and they had lots of great food for us to enjoy! Have any questions? Email me at

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Polished Nickel vs. Polished Chrome

One question that often comes up when selecting plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware or light fixtures is should we use a polished chrome finish or a polished nickel finish? Today we will explore the differences and when you should choose one over the other.

Polished chrome is generally less expensive than polished nickel. It used to be easier to find, but today most things are also available in polished nickel. Polished chrome has more of a grey, cool undertone while polished nickel has more of a gold, warm undertone.  Generally when using cool grey paint colors and white Carrera marble, you would want to use a polished chrome finish. If you are using warmer cream toned paint and Calcutta gold marble, polished nickel would work better.

Do you need to match every finish in a space? That’s a big question for another day, but no, your cabinet hardware, faucets and light fixtures don’t all have to match. You can easily combine a polished chrome faucet with brushed nickel hardware or polished nickel with other oil rubbed bronze accents. I love the look of a bright and shiny faucet. There’s something just so clean and fresh about it.

So before you select polished nickel over polished chrome, take a moment to evaluate the other colors and finishes in the space. You may find that polished chrome works best…and you can save a couple of bucks. Questions? Email me at I’m always happy to answer questions or give you further information.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tiny Houses

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Tiny House Competition in Sacramento, California sponsored by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. It was an amazing experience and the creativity displayed by all of the teams was mind boggling and inspiring.

"The Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big" is a new competition in the Sacramento region, challenging collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses.
The event was open to all colleges and universities in California. Participation promoted an interest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and green building and solar technologies.

This event was modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. An educator or other school administrator mentored each team. During the two years leading up to the event, students designed and built energy-efficient houses. A stipend between $3,000 - $8,000 was  provided or students had to get donations from local businesses.

During the competition, students exhibited their houses to the public, judges and the media. The categories of the competition included architectural design, livability, communication, affordability, energy efficiency and balance, appliance load, technology/electrical and mechanical systems, transportation, sustainability and documentation. Teams were awarded trophies and monetary prizes.

There were food trucks, games and other booths to enjoy during the beautiful fall day. The lines of people to get in to tour each tiny house was very long, showing the amount of interest in this subject. If you get the chance to attend an event like this, I highly recommend it. Questions? Email me at

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Bar Stool Finds

A frequent question I am asked is "Where can I buy bar stools?" Below is a list of places where I have found great stools. Note: when looking for stools, make sure you are ordering the correct height. If your island top is 36" tall, you will need counter stools. If your bar top is 42" tall, you will need bar stools. Make sure you order the right ones! Also, allow about a 2' wide space for each stool. So if your island is 6' long, I would order 3 stools. If your island is 7' long, I would still order 3 stools.  You might be able to squeeze one more stool in a 7' island, depending on the size of the stool, but better to have to order one more than have too many.

-Pottery Barn
-West Elm
-Restoration Hardware
-Williams Sonoma Home
-World Market
-Pier 1
-TJ Maxx
-Crate & Barrel
-Ballard Designs

There are many options to consider when choosing a stool. Do you want a back, should it swivel, do you want a single base or 4 legs? All important considerations to take into account depending on your family age, lifestyle and space available. These are the most common places I purchase bar stools from. Do you have another great source? I'd love to hear about it! Email me at

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Holiday Projects

            School has started, football season is near, the weather is teasing us with glimpses of fall temperatures and, yes, it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Only seventeen weeks left till Christmas. Yes, I really did just say that. It may seem like a long time away, but we all know that it will be here before we know it and probably before we are ready.

I am not one to rush thru the days in anticipation of the next one, but I am for planning and organizing so I can enjoy every day. Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. As this realization hits, we start to make a mental or written list of all the things we need and want to do before the holidays are actually here. Maybe you just found out that your home will be the location of this years Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration and your broken oven just wont cut it for baking those cookies.  Do you want a new kitchen or bathroom before Thanksgiving? Maybe you cant redo the entire room but want to make some small changes. Or maybe you just want to finally get the dining room repainted or new carpet in your bedroom. Now is the time to start thinking about it and making plans. If you begin now, you will have plenty of time to get your project done before Thanksgiving hits and then you can enjoy your new space all throughout the Christmas season. Its no secret that contractors are busy these days. (And if they arent, is there a reason for that?) Even more of a reason to start now in order to get something done before the holidays. First question to ask your contractor is Can you complete this before Thanksgiving/Christmas? If they cant, no sense stressing about it. Dont be surprised if they are already booked for the rest of the year.  Just get on their calendar for January or February.

Before you start to panic and hyperventilate, take a deep breath and lets take a realistic look at the calendar. Depending on the amount and magnitude of work that you want to do in your kitchen or bathroom, you can expect a remodel to take anywhere from three to six weeks from demo to final cleanup. If you start your planning and decision making now, you can realistically have a new kitchen or bathroom by Thanksgiving. Consult with the professionals who will be completing this work for you and they will be able to give you a better idea of the time needed to complete your project. Whatever you do, DO NOT plan to wrap up your remodeling project the day before company is expected to arrive. Something might be backordered or take longer than expected and then you will really be up a creek without a paddle or eating your Christmas dinner at Waffle House. The holidays are hectic enough without adding that little bit of stress.

As you consider who will be doing the work for you, make sure they have a good reputation, are doing what they say and completing projects in a timely manner. Check their references and dont let the bottom line make the decision for you. Sometimes there is a reason one person is less expensive than another. The holidays are not a time to risk having issues with a contractor. Make sure you clearly communicate your deadline to the contractors you work with to ensure an on-time project. That way there will be no surprises and everyone is on the same page.

We all know the holidays can be a stressful time. There are parties to attend or host, food to be prepared, gifts to be wrapped and memories to be made with your family and friends. Endeavor to enjoy this season and all of its wonderful food, people and events by planning ahead. Take time to slow down and remember that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Email me at and let me know if you have any questions regarding holiday projects.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Product Review: Touch Faucets

One of my favorite new inventions in the kitchen and bath industry are touch faucets. Most every faucet manufacturer makes a faucet like this these days. Made for both the kitchen and bathroom, you don’t have to give up style for function. Typically they work by turning the handle to on and then tapping it on the spout or body for it to come on and then tapping it again for it to turn off. The water temperature is controlled by the on off handle so set your temperature before you need the water.

The touch function is great when you are cooking and have raw meat juice on your hands or hands covered in dough. Simply tap the faucet with your clean forearm and everything stays nice and clean.  Once you have the opportunity to use a touch faucet, you will not want to go back!

Touch faucets are powered by batteries or being plugged into an outlet. Battery operated units last for over 2-5 years depending on the battery your use. The original touch faucets could be glitchy, but most every one we install today doesn’t have any problems. Touch faucets cost slightly more than a regular faucet, but are well worth it in my opinion.

Do you have a touch faucet? What has your experience been? I’d love to hear.  Email me at