Chef-inspired tips for a cleaner, more efficient kitchen

Tips for a cleaner more efficient kitchen:

Chef-inspired tips for a cleaner, more efficient kitchenIf cleanliness is next to godliness – as the old adage goes – than a clean kitchen is simply a divine place to be. It’s the room in your home that gets the most intense use, so keeping your kitchen clean can be a challenge. You can make kitchen cleanup a bit easier if you take your cleanliness cues from professional chefs.

In a professional kitchen, cleanliness is not only a vital health issue, it directly impacts the efficient operation of the kitchen and everyone who works in it. Here are five tricks professional chefs use to maximize cleanliness and efficiency in their kitchens:

1. Don’t touch – From the culinary student who chops the onions for the French onion soup, to the chef that cooks the food and puts it on the plate, every team member in a professional kitchen knows that touch spreads germs. Home chefs can reduce the spread of germs in their own kitchens by minimizing the need to touch key tools, like the faucet.

Touch-free faucets, like Kohler’s Sensate Touchless Kitchen Faucet, allow you to control the flow of water in your kitchen sink without ever having to touch a potentially germy surface. A state-of-the-art sensor allows the faucet to respond in 20 milliseconds, and eliminates the need for bare-skin taps or awkward waving to activate the sensor. To learn more about the latest in kitchen faucet design and technology, visit www.Kohler.com.

2. Always be prepared – In professional kitchens, staff use separate cutting boards – and often utensils – for preparing meats, vegetables and fruits. Storing utensils, pots and pans according to their tasks facilitates quick and easy access when preparing food. Mis-en-place (pronounced meez-ahn-place), a French adage and popular chef’s practice, involves gathering all ingredients and implements needed before cooking begins. With everything in its place, you’ll be able to move smoothly and efficiently through a recipe without halting food prep to dig through the refrigerator or pantry.

3. Countertop savvy – Countertop savvy goes beyond just keeping them clean. Just as you use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, consider the value of task-specific countertop surfaces. Avid bakers, for example, can benefit from marble countertops because the material helps keep the dough cool. If such an installation falls outside your budget, consider a marble pastry board instead. Place it on the kitchen table to transform your eating area into an impromptu bake station. Bonus: rolling dough on a surface slightly shorter than standard 36-inch countertops provides a more comfortable, ergonomic experience.

4. Work the triangle – You may be familiar with the concept of the work triangle: arranging the refrigerator (food storage), sink (food prep area) and range (cooking space) in a triangle configuration makes the kitchen more efficient. But improving efficiency in your kitchen encompasses more than just the arrangement of these three key areas. Expand the concept to include other items that fall into each of these categories. For example, positioning the pantry beside the refrigerator ensures food is stored in the same general location – and increases the efficiency of your triangle flow. In short, the fewer steps taken to navigate the triangle, the more efficient it is.

Ready to make YOUR kitchen more efficient?  Give us a call at 914-576-2572 or contact us for your free in home estimate!

Today’s dream home utilizes modern technology for increased functionality

Today's dream home utilizes modern technology for increased functionalityThe number of improving housing markets expanded for a sixth consecutive month in January 2013 according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American. With this positive sign, it’s an interesting time for homeowners to consider investing in high-tech home upgrades that not only increase their home’s value and simplify everyday tasks, but also create a dream home ambiance for the entire family to enjoy.

From lighting fixtures that turn on at your expected arrival to heated bathroom floors that warm up just before your alarm clock goes off, it can be surprising how one or two high-tech luxury upgrades can transform the functionality of your home.

According to Jack Thomasson, HGTV Dream Home House Planner, to get the biggest bang for your buck, the key is to start adding these updates where it matters the most.

“The kitchen is the perfect place to apply technology that connects our home to our lifestyle,” says Thomasson, “When applied properly, technology in the kitchen can have a greater impact than when applied in any other room of the house.”

For example, the simple addition of a new faucet with touch technology, like those found in the 2013 HGTV Dream Home, can add ease and efficiency to everyday tasks. By allowing- the water flow to be activated with a simple tap anywhere on the faucet, handle or spout, faucets like the Delta Cassidy single-handle pull down kitchen faucet with Touch2O Technology, help homeowners conserve water and -avoid unwanted messes while entertaining.

This ease and efficiency added by touch technology is being incorporated into new homes at rates never seen before, as more and more consumers use the technology on a daily basis to interact with smart phones, ATM machines, tablets, computers, printers and other devices. It is now possible to utilize touch technology on tablets and smart phones to remotely adjust lights, monitor room temperature, or even summon a hidden flat screen television. Not only are these tools adding time-saving solutions but they are also providing new energy-saving benefits that can be felt on your water, electric and natural gas bills at home.

While only about 3 percent of homes in the U.S. include these automation systems today, this percentage is expected to grow by double-digit rates as the global home automation industry is anticipated to become a $35.6 billion industry by 2016. Fueled by the latest mobile apps, homeowners across America are controlling their interior and exterior lighting, unlocking the front door for guests and arming their security systems and more with a simple touch.

Whether updating an older home or evaluating options for new construction, people have many options when it comes to incorporating technological upgrades in the home and as the market continues to grow, more exciting options will emerge. Homeowners now know they need not wait to add smart functionality and style today to create their dream home of the future.

Do you think you’ll add any of these new technologies to your home?

Gary Bruzzese

Five fast home decor updates with fantastic results

Wish your basic bathroom was a relaxing retreat?With the fast-paced lives people can lead today, often we strive for instant gratification to fit into our busy schedules. So when it comes to home improvement projects, wouldn’t you love an instant update for boring home decor? Fortunately, there are numerous fast fixes that can produce fantastic results. Try these easy update ideas and realize the rewards of a fabulous and functional home makeover.

Let it rain

Wish your basic bathroom was a relaxing retreat? You can quickly achieve serenity by simply swapping out your shower head  The new Moen Halo rainshower, available at The Home Depot, is a perfect pick. Halo features an innovative, pivoting double-ring design which provides 60 percent more coverage than traditional non-pivoting rainshowers, while offering three spray settings – full rainshower, deep massage and relaxing massage – for a spa-like experience. With an easy two-step installation you can upgrade your bathroom in no time.

New life to lighting

Light is an important element for any room – but are your lamps looking a bit lackluster? Turn older lamps from trash to treasure with a coat of spray paint. Today’s spray paint offerings provide endless choices – from shiny metallics to subdued hammered or brushed finishes – which can create the style you desire in minutes.  Finish off by illuminating your creation with a new lamp shade to complete a magnificent makeover in no time.

Fabulous frames

Photo frames are the ideal choice to add a decorative and personalized touch to your shelves and tables. Bring this common decor pick into the modern age by simply updating standard photo frames with new digital versions. -Available in a variety of sizes, shapes and finishes – and for modest prices – you’ll soon enjoy ever-changing slideshows of your family, friends and favorite moments. Think you’re not tech-savvy or it will take too long to do? Many frames allow you to simply insert the memory card from your camera to create the instant show. Plus, you’ll no longer have to worry about choosing the perfect picture or the trouble of developing and sizing it to fit the frame.

Charisma with color

It’s proven that color can influence our mood, making it an important element to consider for every room in your home. Adding small accents of color within a space can be an instant and easy update that can change with your mood. For living rooms or bedrooms, plush throw pillows or blankets can create an entirely different look and feel. Try bold colors to add vibrant energy, or soft, neutral colors for a calming, warm essence. And don’t be afraid of patterns and textures – a combination of styles can create a look that is completely unique to your style. Next, arouse your sense of smell with aromatic candles and floral arrangements. Finally, in kitchens and baths, swap your basic hand towels for a new vibrant color or design. You’ll find making small updates can be simple, yet produce dramatic results easily.

Faucet focus

From prep to clean-up the kitchen faucet is one essential you interact with on a frequent basis everyday, so if yours is not up to the job, it’s time for an update. The new Haysfield with MotionSense from Moen makes it easy to accomplish a variety of routine tasks with speed and efficiency. A simple hand movement sets water in motion in an instant and helps prevent the spread of germs. And, replacing a kitchen faucet can be a surprisingly simple do-it-yourself project. Simply follow the enclosed directions, or utilize online installation guides and videos, and you’ll soon enjoy the fashion and functionality of your new faucet.

When you’re feeling your home needs an instant update, don’t become overwhelmed. Changes can be simple, fast and cost-effective, while still offering fantastic, functional and stylish results.

 

Put your home on autopilot to save time, money and energy

energy efficient gadgetsEvery homeowner can remember a time when they wondered, “Did I lock the front door this morning?” or “Did I leave a light on?” Others can attest to that feeling of dread knowing their air conditioner is running full blast while they’re away on a weekend trip. There’s nothing worse than worrying about the security of your home – or your rising electric bill – while you’re away.

Fortunately, recent advancements in home technology offer peace of mind when it comes to energy efficiency, security and time savings. Almost any home can be put on “autopilot” without breaking the bank. Many areas of the home can benefit from some simple technology upgrades.

Efficiency

Heating and cooling a home accounts for 50 percent or more of a home’s energy bill, so it’s important to incorporate the latest technology to make it as easy as possible to be as efficient as possible.

“We have seen some great advancements in home technology that maximize the energy efficiency of heating and cooling products,” says Bobby DiFulgentiz, an energy efficiency expert with Lennox International. “For example, as thermostats become more advanced, homeowners now have the ability to optimize home comfort and energy savings.”

One example of these smart thermostats is the Lennox icomfort Wi-Fi thermostat. Homeowners can maximize energy savings through its one-touch away mode and remote control capabilities. Additionally, the thermostat communicates with a home’s HVAC system and provides real-time alerts to service providers regarding any maintenance issues that need attention. The icomfort Wi-Fi also is the only thermostat that can blend into its surroundings by using customizable “skins” that match wallpaper or paint, or even allow it to be disguised as a piece of art or a family photo. Water usage also is a concern when it comes to efficiency. Homeowners can cut down on water bills by using home sprinkler systems that incorporate Wi-Fi technology. These systems allow homeowners to start or stop sprinklers from anywhere, avoiding water waste when heavy rains have already saturated the lawn. Many systems now even include wireless capabilities that prevent sprinklers from activating during rain or freezing temperatures.

Security

Homeowners can rest easy, thanks to automated systems that ensure their home is safe and secure. Companies now offer products that check, open and close garage doors directly from a smartphone, tablet or computer. There are also lock systems that respond only to the fingerprints of residents of the home. If that’s not enough, new technologies send text or email updates when doors are locked or unlocked, and can remotely lock doors through Wi-Fi.

Time Savings

Finally, kitchen appliances are beginning to integrate technologies to streamline the day-to-day routines of homeowners, allowing for maximum time savings. Consumers can take the hassle out of finding the perfect cooking setting by using a microwave that can scan a bar code on a dish and automatically adjusts to the correct time and power for the particular product. Ovens equipped with Wi-Fi allow cooks to monitor their meals on a mobile device and put the crock pot to shame.

Families can also save time while enjoying the convenience of home automation. Wi-Fi-enabled mailboxes send text or email alerts when mail has arrived. Parents can even save the time it takes to beg their child to stop playing video games by using a tool that automatically limits the time spent on an electronic device.

Peace of mind isn’t all about expensive, over-the-top upgrades. Home automation can save time and money, and offer customized comfort and security, often through simple technology tweaks.

What do you think about these new Wi-Fi technologies?

Split Your Colors with Two-Toned Walls

There’s no need to choose between two paint colors — use both to add dimension and interest to your walls

Dark shades can add drama to a space, but sometimes they’re overwhelming on a full wall. Choose a two-toned look and to balance a dark and light color for a sophisticated and fresh look.

 

Color is one of the easiest things to compromise in the home. It’s hard to choose the right paint color for your walls with so many options out there. If you’ve narrowed it down to two hues, there’s no need to choose — two-toned walls can add dimension to a space and help you compromise on color choice.   Read more…

Source:  Houzz.com

How to Design (and Live) With Meaning

Design and architecture have the power to make the world a better place. These 10 instructions can help

Read more…

Live to design, don't design to live

Source:  Houzz.com, By Jody Brown

8 Cool Screened In Porches For Spring and Summer

Cool breeze is a precious commodity as things outside begin to warm up this late Spring and early Summer.

screened in porchOne strategy in getting your fair share of it is by the simple and stylish addition of the screened in porch. The reason that many seek to find out how to install a screened in porch is because it solves a few issues when it comes to an outdoor living space.

One big one is gaining that precious breeze that defines late Spring and early Summer seasons without the presence of flying insects. Another is that a screened in porch lends itself to a wider range of design possibilities; reading areas, interior container gardens, outdoor dining spaces, and all-around indoor and outdoor continuity.

To help outline some of the practicalities, and frankly some  eye-popping designs, of screened in porches, here are 8 examples of how a screened in porch can be a defining element to any outdoor living space.  

Source:  BuildDirect, By  CATE MORGAN-HARLOW

Ready to add a fabulous screened in porch to your home?  Contact Bruzzese Home Improvements at  914-576-2572 or by Email:  bruzzesehomeimprovements@gmail.com.  We specialize in room additions and screened in porches!

Areas we service: Westchester, NY, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Scarsdale, Eastchester, Larchmont, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Mamaroneck, Rye, Harrison, New Rochelle, White Plains, Lower Westchester New York.

20 Sublime Outdoor Havens

Glorious terraces, a sumptuous cabana, a panoramic pavilion … these stunning outdoor rooms offer the ultimate in relaxation and comfort

 

This is one of the most fun-looking outdoor rooms I've seen

 

Having an outdoor room is like getting to have your cake and eat it too. Furnishing a protected outdoor space — whether that’s a covered terrace, a pavilion, a loggia or a cabana — lets you enjoy the fresh air with all the amenities of home. Whether your idea of the perfect outdoor room includes a place in which to dine with friends or family, a lounge area in which to kick back and take in the view, or a comfy spot for napping, this roundup of dreamy outdoor rooms shows luxurious places for relaxing in spectacular surroundings.  Read more…

Source:  Houzz

 

Open Walls Widen Home Possibilities

Doing away with the boundary between indoor and outdoor living, open walls add space, light and drama to a home

Open Walls Widen Home Possibilities

 

My dream house has an open wall with a door made of glass. It opens to a deck and a pool and some sort of sunny, spectacular view, preferably with the Pacific Ocean in the background.

But, truth be told, I’d settle for a garage door that opens onto my own work-in-progress backyard.

Open walls are the ultimate embodiment of indoor-outdoor living, blurring the lines (well, getting rid of them actually) between the two. They are a fresh-air fanatic’s dream come true, and there is something about them that is just positive and friendly. They are the ultimate invitation.  Read more…

Source:  Samantha Schoech, houzz.com

Call us at 914-576-2572 or send us an email for all your home improvement needs.

Forget Boring Bathrooms

Add Old-World appeal with these custom-designed and fabricated stonework elements.

Forget Boring BathroomsBruce Birkl, owner of Distinctive Granite and Marble loves a challenge: “We say to our customers, if you can draw it, we can fabricate it.

”While buyers entering the 14,000-square-foot Holbrook facility may initially be wowed by the thousands of stone slabs and the state-of-the-art computer-aided fabrication facility, Birkl reminds people that most designs start with a simple sketch. From there, a mock-up is crafted by hand—not machine—and shown to the customer. Then, adjustments are made to determine how the element fits the function of the room.

One room where custom work and materials can really be explored is the bathroom. Because certain areas of most bathrooms see less wear-and-tear than kitchens, some exotic stones can be considered. These include onyx, certain types of marble and limestone, which in general have softer colors than granite.  Read more…

Via Today’s Renovation

Ready to update your bathroom?  Give us a call or send us an email for your free in home design consultation.

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