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KraftMaid and House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year.

KraftMaid Kitchen of the Year Opens in NYC

KraftMaid Cabinetry and House Beautiful have team up to display the latest kitchen trends via the Kitchen of the Year 2012, which is on display in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. The kitchen is open to the public from July 16-20 and will serve as the set for a host of presentations and demonstrations, most notably by Mick De Giulio, a top kitchen designer.

The kitchen itself is a 1000 square foot (impressive) and fully functional. It was designed in a traditional style and features -- as you'd expect -- a number of the latest and greatest from KraftMaid, including a Butler's Pantry with a popular line of cabinet door styles, varying heights of cabinetry with Slate stain and polished nickel hardware and accents.

There will be plenty else to see in the cutting edge kitchen space, like a new cabinet and drawer closing system and a cabinet safeguard for under the sink basement that makes clean up easy and protects against spills and stains.

Sounds like the Kitchen of the Year is going to be worth checking out. So if you are in the area, be sure to check it out!

The recalled safety lock.

Safety 1st Cabinet Locks Recalled Due to Lock Failure

About 900,000 Safety 1st cabinet locks were recalled due to a failure in the locks, which can allow children to gain access to dangerous items and substances.

There have been at least 200 reports of locks that did not adequately secure a cabinet, including reports of damaged locks. In three of the reported incidents, the children who gained cabinet access due to faulty locks swallowed or handled dangerous substances, including dishwasher detergent, window cleaner and oven cleaner. Fortunately in all three instances the children were treated and released from the hospital.

The locks were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and other retail stores nationwide as well as online at Amazon.com.

Model numbers for the recalled locks can be found on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall page.

Curava is made from 70 percent recycled glass. Photo courtesy of Curava.

Spotlight on Greenbuild 2011 Exhibitors

Our good friends over at the Eco News Network are going to be reporting while in Toronto at Greenbuild 2011, the yearly gathering of green-minded manufacturers, builders and consumers.

To prep for Greenbuild, Eco News has been pointing their blog spotlight on some of the exhibitors they'll be visiting at the show. In this post they feature Curava, a countertop option that is made from 70 percent recycled glass. The surface contains glass, cement, sustainable seashells and pottery fragments from kiln waste.

The manufacturing process of Curava saves 180 tons of waste a year from going to landfill and results in a pretty vibrant product, if you ask me. I'm in the market for a new countertop, and this one just made my list of top options.

The Seismolatch automatically engages in the event of an earthquake, securing cabinet doors.

Seismolatch Protects Homeowners During Earthquake

As a New Englander I'm not exactly living in a seismic hotspot. Sure, we felt a slight tremor from a distant earthquake earlier in the summer, but I feel heavier vibrations when the garbage truck rumbles by.

Californians, on the other hand, live each day with the possibility of The Big One hitting without warning. And so it is no surprise that it was a Californian who came up with the Seismolatch, a device designed to keep cabinets closed during -- and only during -- an earthquake, preventing dishwater from cascading onto unprotected heads.

Unlike other cabinet safety latches -- which must be engaged and disengaged with every entry into the cabinet -- the Seismolatch only engages in the event of an earthquake. Otherwise it stays out of the way and keeps access to the kitchen cabinets as easy as it should be.

I have no personal use for the Seismolatch…for now. Who knows, though? I did read a piece about a strange fault line on the East Coast that runs from New York to Alabama and has many geologists scratching their heads. Could be some Seismolatches are in my future after all.

Photographer: Sam Gray

A Kitchen Sans Cabinets


The wood, material, and design that you choose for your kitchen cabinets can often define your cooking space. After all, most cabinets are floor-to-ceiling and dominate the room, thus determining whether your kitchen falls into the category of Contemporary, French Cottage, Traditional, and so on.

But what about a kitchen that doesn't have any cabinets? Is such a thing possible? In this article (which originally appeared at www.pointclickhome.com), a house in South Carolina proves that actually, kitchens and cabinets don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

The owners of the house wanted a modern kitchen that boasted lots of windows so that they could enjoy the river views outside. But installing all those windows didn't leave architects Charles Lachanos and Charles Ferguson much room for installing storage space. Their solution? The designers went to a kitchen supply store and bought rolling stainless steel tables, of the sort designed for restaurant kitchens. They placed one in the middle of the kitchen to serve as an island, and ranged the others around the edge to serve as countertops. To soften the harshness of commercial stainless steel and to add more storage space to the kitchen, Lachanos and Ferguson decided to install mahogany storage boxes on the shelves under the tabletops. What resulted is a kitchen where the island, the counter, and the cabinet substitutes can be moved around and rearranged as the owners see fit. At $120 each, the tables were far less expensive than installing conventional cabinetry. And, to top it off, if the owners ever decided to move, they could bring half their kitchen with them.

I love the airy, light look of this kitchen, and I imagine that the views are spectacular. Also, I must say that I like the idea of being able to move the counters around — it's an intriguing design principle, and imagine how easy it must make cleaning. But I'm not sold on the stainless steel sterility of the prep tables, even though they are softened by the mahogany boxes. What do you think?

A countertop made of Carnelian? Photo courtesy of Cosentino.

Semi-Precious Countertops

Lots of people have granite countertops. But how many do you know with countertops made of amethyst?

The Prexury Collection by Cosentino features countertops made of semi-precious stones such as red jasper, quartz and petrified wood. Bound together using epoxy resin and polished, these handcrafted countertops are both beautiful and distinctive.

The price? That's anybody's guess, the website does not list prices. Hand-crafted in Spain using semi-precious stones? I'll say, "Not cheap." I suggest contacting them directly for a price quote if you are interested.
What do you think: Pretty or pretty ugly?

Peeling Paint Peeling Paint
Taken By Greg V

Where have the Good Home Improvement Companies Gone?

These are challenging times in the home improvement industry. As the housing market has crumbled, many good companies have gone the way of the dodo. Luckily, for me the company that built my kitchen cabinets (Omega Cabinetry)is still in business and offers great customer service. Although some of their distributors have downsized, been sold or gone belly up, the manufacturer has stood behind its products. The retailer my defunct remodeler bought the cabinets from was a high end division of a home improvement behemoth. When I had a problem, the retailer told me I would need to go to the manufacturer to get my Lifetime warrantied cabinets repaired, as they no longer carried the line. I went to the manufacturer's website. As the manufacturer does not have local installers, they referred me to their distributors who have people in the field to help customers in need of service. That sounded reasonable. The first distributor on their list did not return my phone calls or emails. The second one said they no longer carry the product in their division and gave me the number to another division of the same company who told me they could not help me as I did not purchase from them. Duh! Finally, I emailed S and W Kitchen's Joe Steenbeke. It was as if I had morphed from being the bad guy into being a valued present and future customer. The company promptly emailed me back, told me they would send out someone to look at my cabinets and quite frankly treated me with respect and courtesy. They did not make any promises regarding the cabinet doors I had an issue with (I have some peeling finish), but said they would have someone contact me regarding the warranty. Within a matter of days their representative from Omega cabinetry, Doug Huertas, was at my house inspecting the cabinets. He took lots of pictures and sent them to the factory and assured me this was something he has seldom seen from Omega Cabinets. He also did not make any promises except that the manufacturer would be getting back to me. The process is still ongoing, but once I found a distributor still in business (no doubt due to their commitment to customer service), I have had my confidence restored in the home improvement industry. My kitchen has been featured in this blog before for its Alternative Counter Top Material.
Have you had a bad experience with a cabinet manufacturer that worked out in the end? Post in the comments section below to share your experience.

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