Creative kitchen and bath
 
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Trends

Current trends in kitchen and bath design reflect a wide range of concerns – from environmental responsibility to aging in place to keeping pace with today’s busy lifestyle.  Today's solutions for the kitchen and bath offer a buffet of options to please even the most discriminating clients, with countless product offerings designed to meet clients’ ever-changing design needs.  We at Creative Kitchen & Bath will work with your specific needs and tastes to ensure the right solution for you!

Induction 101

Although it was first introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s, mystery continues to enshroud the induction cooktop. How exactly does it work? What are its benefits? And what types of cookware can be used? For answers to these questions and more, K+BB spoke to Malte Peters, cooking product manager at BSH Home Appliances, who knows just a thing or two about induction technology.


HOW IT WORKS
As opposed to traditional gas or electric cooking for which heat is generated by a flame or electric element, respectively, and transferred to the cookware, induction cooking "uses a power coil to produce a high-frequency electromagnetic field," explained Peters. This field then penetrates the induction-compatible cookware (more on this below) and "sets up a circulating electric current that generates the heat, which in turn is transferred to the cookware's contents." In a nutshell, electromagnetic technology allows the cookware itself to become the generator of cooking heat.

Because the cookware transfers heat directly to its contents—and because there is no open flame or radiant heat to dissipate—the cooktop remains cool to the touch. “Nothing outside the cookware is affected by the electromagnetic field,” explained Peters. “As soon as the cookware is removed from the elements, or the element is turned off, heat generation stops.” This brings us to the many benefits of induction cooking.

BENEFITS
In addition to a cool cooking surface with no open flame or exposed heating element (great for households with children), induction technology:

• provides rapid heating
• conserves energy—according to the Department of Energy, the efficiency of energy transfer for an induction cooktop is 90 percent, versus 71 percent for a smooth-top non-induction electrical unit. This equals an approximate 20 percent savings in energy for the same amount of heat transfer. Also, the cooktop will not heat up the kitchen, resulting in added energy efficiency.
• is easy to clean. Induction cooktop surfaces are flat and smooth. In addition, the surface will not get hot, so spills will not stick.
• has similar controllability to a gas cooktop, so the element does not require time to cool down or heat up.
• is more precise and more responsive than other cooking methods. Because induction cooking heats only the contents of the pan, noted Peters, “an induction cooktop can be adjusted to quickly go from a low simmer to a heavy boil in faster times than gas or electric cooking.”

COMPATIBLE COOKWARE
While these benefits could mean a more convenient and conserving kitchen, they won’t matter much if you’re not using the correct cookware. As Peters explained, “Induction cooktops are compatible with cookware made of magnetic (or ferrous) materials, such as stainless steel and cast iron.” Non-ferrous materials, such as glass, ceramic, copper and aluminum, will not conduct. Also, make sure the bottom of the cookware is flat. The more surface area touching the element, the more efficient the cookware (and cooktop!) will be.

For those who think they may have induction-compatible cookware already in their kitchens, there’s a very easy test: If a magnet sticks to the cookware, then it will work on an induction cooktop. If it doesn’t stick, it won’t.

Some homeowners may choose to use an induction disc (a ferrous disc placed between the induction element and a incompatible pot or pan—induction will heat up the disc and transfer the heat to the pan) in order to continue using their existing, incompatible cookware on their new induction cooktops. However, be aware that it may “prevent the cooktop from transmitting enough energy and ultimately can limit the cooktop’s performance,” cautioned Peters.

When shopping for induction-compatible cookware, look for notification on the product itself. “A lot of cookware is now sold with a label or logo saying ‘induction ready,’” said Peters. Short of shopping with a magnet in your pocket, simply look and see what the prospective pot or pan is made from.

Whether induction catches on in America this year or 10 years from now, it’s a technology with great benefits. As Peters said, “Induction cooking delivers precision, efficiency, safety and technology, as well as the cooking performance of gas combined with the cleanability of electric.” What’s not to love?


2010 Color of the Year Unveiled

Feel swept away in 2010. Pantone announced its 15-5519 Turquoise as the color of the upcoming year. The hue was chosen for its combination of serene blue and invigorating green, as well as its ability to evoke thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and an escape from the everyday troubles of the world.

"In many cultures, turquoise occupies a very special position in the world of color," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, and a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky. Through years of color word-association studies, we also find that turquoise represents an escape to many–taking them to a tropical paradise that is pleasant and inviting, even if only a fantasy."

Turquoise appeals to both men and women and translates to fashion, as well as interiors. With both warm and cool undertones, turquoise adds a splash of excitement to neutrals and browns, creates a classic maritime look with deep blues, livens up other greens and is trendy when paired with yellow-greens.
 
The hue is available in Pantone's line of eco-friendly paint. Ideal for a powder room or kitchen, turquoise offers a spa-like feel or when used as an accent, creates lively visual interest.

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The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports the styles for 2010.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (January 12, 2010) – The results are in from a recent survey of designers conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) to reveal the key design trends for 2010. The results of the NKBA 2010 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Survey confirmed the continuation of a number of existing trends in the marketplace, but also uncovered others that indicate shifts in the direction that kitchen and bath style will take this year. Below are 2010’s seven kitchen trends and four bath trends.

KITCHENS

1. Traditional is the New Contemporary
Traditional will continue as the most popular kitchen design style in 2010, with contemporary following closely behind, while the Shaker style is seeing a surprisingly strong resurgence. Shades of whites and off-whites will be the most common kitchen colors in 2010, while brown, beige, and bone hues will also be popular.

2. Cherry on Top
Cherry will remain the most popular wood for kitchen cabinetry, followed closely by maple, while alder increases in use. As for the finishes placed on those cabinets, medium natural, dark natural, glazed, and white painted will all be common. Other colors of painted cabinetry and light natural finishes are in decline, however, as are distressed finishes.

3. Floored by Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tile, as well as natural stone tile, remain popular kitchen flooring options, but hardwood will dominate the kitchen landscape more than ever in 2010. For countertops, granite continues to be the most popular option, but quartz will nearly catch up in popularity. For backsplashes, ceramic or porcelain tile and glass will serve as the primary materials.

4. Flexible Faucets
Standard kitchen faucets will become less standard in 2010 in favor of more convenient models. Pull-out faucets continue to increase their market dominance, while pot filler faucets will also become more prevalent. Kitchen faucets will most often be finished in brushed nickel, followed by stainless steel, satin nickel, and—surprisingly—polished chrome.

5. Undercounter Refrigeration
French door and freezer-bottom are the two most popular styles of refrigerators, and side-by-side refrigerators remain a popular option. A surprising trend is the extent to which undercounter refrigerator drawers are being used in the latest kitchen designs. Perhaps even more surprising is that undercounter wine refrigerators have been recently specified by half of kitchen designers.

6. A Range of Cooking Options
The tried-and-true range continues to serve as the workhorse for cooking, although the combination of a cooktop and wall oven is beginning to overtake it. Gas will maintain its position as the most popular type of cooktop over electric, although induction cooking continues to gain in popularity due to its energy efficiency.

7. Dishwasher-in-a-Drawer
Standard dishwashers, with the traditional door that pulls from the top down, will once again be easily the most common type in 2010. However, an increasing number of dishwasher drawers will be installed in kitchens this year for their convenience and their ability to wash small loads of dishes in each drawer, thereby saving water and electricity.

BATHROOMS

1. In With the Old, Out with the New
Traditional will be the most popular design style in bathrooms in 2010, as contemporary designs will be a distant second, followed by the Shaker style as an even more distant third. Beiges and bones will be the most common colors used in bathrooms, followed by whites and off-whites, and then by browns, indicating a somewhat subdued color palette this year.

2. Ceramic and Granite
Ceramic and porcelain tile will be the dominant flooring materials in bathrooms this year, while natural stone will continue to prove popular as well. Though increasingly popular in kitchens, hardwood flooring won’t become common in bathrooms in 2010. For vanity tops, granite will remain king, with quartz and marble also proving popular options.

3. Simple Fixtures
Perhaps more than ever, the most common color for fixtures will be white. Bisque and off-white will be the only other fixture colors at all common in new or remodeled bathroom. For sinks, simple undermount models will be most popular, followed by integrated sink tops, drop-in sinks, vessel sinks, and pedestal sinks.

4. A Nickel for Every Finish
Faucet finishes in the bathroom are similar to those used in current kitchen designs, with brushed nickel continuing to lead the way in 2010. Polished chrome and satin nickel will also be incorporated into many bathrooms, just as they had been throughout 2009. These faucet finishes will be followed by bronze and stainless steel.

For more information or to request high-resolution photos depicting each design trend, please contact NKBA Editorial Coordinator Annette Gray at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Water Saving Toilet - Does Water Saving Toilets Actually Work to Save Money and Water

            This is the question that has haunted us for some time now. There is that one rumor saying that they don't work because you have to flush two or three times to get everything down, which in turn uses more water than an older toilet and then there are those people who actually have the water saving toilets and say that they work and save money. So who should we believe? Maybe if we saw the facts it would help clear some of this up.
            The average national daily water use for just toilets not including anything else, is twenty-four gallons of water. To think about it, that is a lot of water being wasted. With the population rising, we need to conserve water since only three percent of the water on Earth is actually drinkable. One way we can conserve water and cut our costs down is to use a toilet with a 1.6-3.5 gallon tank instead of a seven or more gallon tank. That is half or a little more than what we are or were using, and that means less water you have to pay for.
            The water usage law of 1992, people did have problems with the plumbing because the first low-flush toilets were not ready to be introduced into the market and that is where the rumor came from. However, things have changed as we've progressed with technology. The new low-flush toilets now work better than the old water wasting toilets and that can come as a great relief to our water supply not to mention our pockets.
            By replacing those old toilets that waste water it can save you an average of one hundred dollars a year, if not more. Of course your savings do vary on where you live because of different utility ratings, how many times the toilet is flushed, and how many people live in your home. Water saving toilets work and you should think about investing in one because it'll actually save you money and you can do your part in protecting the environment by something so simple and easy to do.



Tankless Water Heaters - A Tremendous Energy Savings

It's definitely time to think about a new water heater when your shower suddenly turns cold on you or when your water heater just can't keep up with running the dishwasher while you shower! Consider a new fantastic option in home water heating- tankless water heaters. The tankless water heaters are small, compact units that work on gas or electricity to heat your water only as needed. That means you'll never run out of hot water! In other words, when you want it, you'll have it!

More and more Americans are realizing the importance of energy conservation while at the same time dealing with the rising costs in gas and electricity to heat their water. These factors have greatly contributed to the rise in popularity of the tankless water heater (also known as the on demand water heater). The tankless water heaters are actually proven to have the potential to cut energy output by up to 50%. This is in major contrast to a traditional water heater tank, where you are actually paying to heat your water 24 hours, 7 days a week. This constant heating of your water is termed as a standby energy loss, or in other words, a waste of energy!. We all know that energy savings equals money savings so there are clearly some big money savings benefits to the tankless heater!

You are probably wondering how exactly the tankless water heater works to save you money and ensure that you always have hot water. Unlike traditional water tank heaters which constantly heat your hot water, tankless heaters save energy by heating only the water that you need. Can you imagine the savings with a tankless heater? In fact, you don't have to imagine because it is estimated that tankless water heaters can reduce your energy costs by up to 40-50%.

A last thought for you to keep in mind is that tankless water heaters are pricey. Although they can be pricey, tankless water heaters are still well worth the investment. In the long run, you will be saving money and it won't take you long to see that your investment was well worth it. So the next time you need to change your water heater and are able to spend the extra dollars, definitely consider the tankless option. It's better for you, better for the environment and better for when you want to take that long shower!