Steps to a Safe Kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room in the home. From a food preparation area and dining room to balancing the family checkbook, the kitchen is the center of activity for today’s family. Unfortunately, the kitchen can also be the most dangerous room in the house.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has developed a few simple guidelines to keep your kitchen safe.
•Use proper lighting. Good general lighting, supplemented with proper task lighting that’s clearly focused on a work surface, can greatly decrease your chance of injury while preparing a meal. Also, the lighting should not produce any glare or shadows on the surface.
•Use slip-resistant flooring. Falling with a hot casserole or a sharp knife in your hand can have serious consequences. A slip-resistant material on your floor, such as matte-finished wood or laminate, textured vinyl or a soft-glazed ceramic tile, will do the trick. If you select tile, try using a throw rug with a non-skid backing as an added precaution, especially around areas that get wet.
•Keep a fire extinguisher handy. The NKBA recommends that a fire extinguisher be visibly located near a room exit, away from cooking equipment. Never store an extinguisher near or under a cooktop or range. If a fire is to occur, those areas will likely be the cause and make an extinguisher stored in that area unreachable.
•Regulate water temperatures and devices. Install faucets with anti-scald devices that prevent water temperature from rising to dangerous levels, or buy pressure-balanced valves that equalize hot and cold water. Faucets are also available that can be preprogrammed to your desired temperature setting.
•Find a safe cooktop. Avoid being scalded by steam from a boiling pot by staggering burners on your cooktop or have one straight row of burners. Choose a unit with controls along the side or in the front.
•Keep electrical switches, plugs and lighting fixtures away from water sources and wet hands. Building codes require that every electrical receptacle be grounded and protected with ground-fault circuit interrupters, which shut off the room’s electric current if there is a power surge or moisture is present. In addition, the NKBA recommends all wall-mounted room controls be 15 inches to 48 inches above the finished floor.
•Use the space safely. Think about how traffic will flow through the kitchen and make sure no one will interfere with your space when cooking. Locate microwaves conveniently above the floor to avoid reaching to retrieve food. Slide-out trays and bins in base cabinets make storage items more accessible and eliminate bending. Avoid putting a range near an entrance or exit. And lastly, avoid sharp corners on the ends of countertops, especially islands and peninsulas, by having them rounded.

To ensure your kitchen meets and exceeds all safety standards, look to a professional to design your kitchen. NKBA members are the finest professionals in the kitchen and bath industry, and their top priority it to make your kitchen fashionable, functional and, above all else, safe.

Is it Time to Remodel your Kitchen?

The National Kitchen & Bath Association offers advice on when and why to update.
Many homeowners think their kitchen is outdated from the looks of their worn cabinets, dated appliances and crackled countertop. What they may not realize is that there are many other reasons, more important than cosmetic, why a kitchen needs to be remodeled.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) offers the following tips to help homeowners evaluate the current condition of their kitchen and decide if the time is right for a remodel.
•Adequate space: Are you satisfied with the amount of counter space, cabinet space and floor space in your kitchen? The position of your refrigerator or shape of your counter may be taking away useful workspace. According to the NKBA Kitchen and Bath Planning Guidelines, when replacing a countertop or changing the shape of your kitchen, keep in mind that a total of 158″ of countertop frontage, 24″ deep with at least 15″ of clearance above, is needed to accommodate all uses, including landing area, preparation/work area and storage.
•Traffic flow: If there’s more than one cook in your household, you may want to consider making more room around the main workspace. If you enjoy entertaining, you may want an open plan kitchen that allows for more social interaction between the kitchen and other rooms. According to the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines, the width of a walkway should be at least 36″ and the width of a work aisle should be at least 42″ for one cook and at least 48″ for multiple cooks.
•Children: Depending on whether or not you have children, and their ages, your kitchen may need to be remodeled. Dated appliances and the design of your kitchen can be hazardous for young kids. If you are in the process of extending your family, you may want more room for cooking larger meals and lower cabinets for easier access to children’s food. Based on the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines, microwave ovens should be installed 3″ below the principal user’s shoulder but no more than 54″ above the floor to avoid accidents. The NKBA also suggests avoiding sharp corners on countertops with kids around.
•Efficiency: If your appliances are dated, they may be costing you more money than you expect. New technological advances with dishwashers, disposals and refrigerators could save you a considerable amount of money and may be well worth the investment. For example, purchasing a dishwasher with low-energy consumption, delay timer and economy cycle or half-load button will result in saving water and money.
•Universal Design: Is your kitchen accessible to individuals with disabilities? Will you be able to use your kitchen safely as you get older? Considering these issues is vital in a kitchen remodel. Employing Universal Design techniques in the remodel will help assure that the space is as accessible to or useable by all people, regardless of age, size or physical ability without the need for adaptation or specialized design later on.
•Location: Thinking about adding a deck to the side or back of your house? Incorporating a door into the layout of your kitchen would be a great convenience for outdoor entertaining. You also may want to rearrange the position of windows to allow more or less sunlight or to watch your children play in the yard. When rearranging the layout of your kitchen, according to the NKBA guidelines, the clear opening of a doorway should be at least 32″ wide, which would require a minimum of 2’10” door. Keep in mind that a cooking surface should never be located under an operable window.

Before you remodel your kitchen, make a checklist of major and minor problems and keep notes of the features you dislike and like the most. When it comes time to sit down with a qualified kitchen and bath designer, they’ll know exactly how to suit your needs, taste and style. For more information about remodeling and the safety of your kitchen, the full list of the NKBA Kitchen and Bath Planning Guidelines or to request a free NKBA Kitchen and Bath Consumer Workbook, and to find a qualified NKBA professional, visit or call NKBA Customer Service at (800) THE-NKBA.

The NKBA Reports Kitchen & Bath Styles

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.
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 under counter 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 cook top and wall oven is beginning to overtake it. Gas will maintain its position as the most popular type of cook top 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.

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 under mount 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.

The Right Way to Pick A Remodeling Professional

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be overwhelming for any homeowner. This is not a do-it-yourself project – remodeling these rooms is very different from a bedroom, dining room or family room. A specialized professional should be brought in to make accurate measurements, suggest proper materials and design a functional, safe and cost-efficient space that specifically reflects a homeowner’s taste and lifestyle. Whether it is new construction or a remodel, let an NKBA professional add value to your investment by applying their experience and expertise to the job.
To ease the process and help homeowners find an appropriate professional that will guide them through the stages of remodeling, the NKBA offers the following tips:
•Do your research. Pick several designers or dealers in your area; meet with each of them and trade ideas and suggestions. Make sure they’re qualified for your needs and ask to see past projects and/or a portfolio.
•Clean, neat showrooms. Showrooms serve as a way for designers and dealers to showcase their work. When a showroom is messy, missing elements of displays or not completed professionally, it might be a warning signal to look elsewhere.
•Interesting designs. Look for a professional who designs outside the box. This is a major investment and you don’t want to settle for the status quo.
•Well-constructed presentations. Craftsmanship is just as important as innovative designs. If your kitchen or bathroom isn’t built well, you’ll feel as though it was a wasted investment.
•Broad range of styles. You’ll want a professional who can create more than one look. If all the products or designs have a similar look, you won’t be able to personalize your space.
•Friendly, helpful staff. A kitchen or bath remodel could take months to complete. You will be in close contact with these professionals during this time and you want it to be an enjoyable experience.
•Satisfied client references. If a designer is unable to provide you with a list of satisfied clients, it may be an indication that you will not be satisfied either.
•NKBA Membership. Membership in the NKBA symbolizes the finest the kitchen and bath industry has to offer. NKBA members specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and you will be able to benefit from this focused expertise.
Pick the NKBA professional that satisfies your taste and style most. You should never be persuaded to do anything you don’t like or that doesn’t fit into your budget. NKBA members are the finest professionals in the industry and can help to make your dream kitchen and bath a reality.FINE Cabinetry is a proud member of the NKBA.

Tips on Controlling Your Remodeling Budget

The most important part of any remodeling project is making sure you don’t go over your budget. Doing so can lead to settling for unexpected options, disagreements with contractors and worst case, an unfinished room!
This is why the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is providing homeowners with a few simple guidelines to follow when remodeling, especially during National Kitchen & Bath Month this October. Follow the steps below from the NKBA to make sure your remodel is everything you expected, at a price you can live with!

• Differentiate between ‘need’ and ‘want’. Research the costs of many different kinds of products and materials starting with the most expensive necessities down to the items you can do without. Major appliances should be at the top of your list since they will cost the most. Know the difference between needing something and just wanting it. Start your budget with things you need.

• Make a top 10 list. Look around your kitchen and/or bathroom and decide what needs to be replaced the most and what can be worked on down the road. Remember the needs of your family. If you have small children, safety should be taken into consideration when prioritizing or if a family member is handicapped or elderly, this should be budgeted into your costs and design as well.

• Resist temptation. Know exactly what you want before you search for it so you’re not tempted to buy out of your range. Uncertainty may leave you vulnerable to purchasing unnecessary products and to choosing materials that go beyond your means. Know what features are most important to you and your family so it’s easier to choose when the time comes. There’s an abundance of different appliances that offer different features but most will get the job done, so if you’re budget doesn’t allow it, don’t pick anything too fancy or high-tech.

• Get a quote. A designer and/or contractor should always visit your home before providing you with a quote for the design and installation. Don’t accept a quote for your project until a full survey has been completed. Make sure the quote is thorough to avoid overspending down the road and any misunderstandings.

• Double-check. Make sure to visit a showroom to see the products and materials in person in order to determine the quality of what you’re buying before you buy it. Magazine and Internet photos are not as reliable as they may seem and may be overpriced for what you’re getting. Try to get referrals from people you trust. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, neighbors and family members to see their kitchens and ask who they hired. This is a great way to envision the quality of the result of your kitchen if you decide to use the same designer and contractors.

• Keep track of your payments. Arrange a clearly defined payment schedule. Ask for several installments throughout the project. Never pay in full until you have received delivery of all your goods. Companies that ask for full payment ahead of delivery have your money – but you don’t have your appliances or completed kitchen or bath.