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Friday, September 21, 2018

Are Oversized Kitchen Island Pendants Trending Out?

The thing about taking four years to plan a kitchen is that I've fallen out of "like" with some elements I once thought essential. When this project was just a gleam in my iPad, I thought my island would surely be topped by three mid-century globe pendants of some sort. But as we get closer to demo day (more on that below), I find myself unable to settle on a pendant style. And now I think I know why — I don't want them anymore. Meet my new lighting love...

Sunday, September 9, 2018

More Kitchen Island Pendants

The hunt for our kitchen island lighting continues. I've seen many fixtures that I like but none feels quite right yet. Could it be this one, the Tall Beat Pendant by Tom Dixon? The sharp angles provide some contrast to all the straight lines in my kitchen design that are pervasive in the shaker doors and rows of horizontal drawers. In my previous post I showed a collection of six island pendants I had been considering. I put them to the vote on Facebook and Houzz and you can probably guess which two won.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Choosing Island Pendants

Some say choosing your island pendants is one of the most important design decisions you'll make when renovating your kitchen. It's certainly one of the most visible. And it's also the fixture most likely to look dated soonest. Luckily, it's also the easiest to replace. I'm going to have fun choosing my pendants. While the rest of the kitchen will have chrome fixtures, pendants are one place that I feel I can introduce a second finish, such as bronze or burnished gold — a trend I find appealing but feel is already on it's way out. Or black, also very trendy. Here are six island pendants I'm considering. Which would you choose?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How to Hack an IKEA 35" Wall Cabinet

Don't you love IKEA's new 40" wall cabinets? The longer cabinets look clean and modern, plus they turn what would formerly have been wasted space above into usable storage. But with our 90" high pantries—4-1/2" with toe kicks—dictating how high we can hang our wall cabinets, we were left with just 18-1/2" clearance above the cooktop, when the specs call for 24". Bummer.

I went into my design appointment at IKEA Brooklyn resigned to the prospect that I would have to order all three sets of wall cabinets custom. But IKEA kitchen designer Deb (callout!) came up with this genius solution.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Insider Secrets to Buying Used High-End Appliances for Less

Things are heating up with the kitchen renovation project. Bids are in from three perspective contractors—and all were higher than expected. No matter which contractor I choose, it's clear that I'll need to find some cost savings. The obvious place is the appliances budget—and boy that stings. My wish list includes some high-end integrated appliances that I don't want to compromise on. I had already gotten two appliance quotes for my dream suite and as it turned out that was not a total waste of time. Knowing the real prices has helped me to quickly spot bargains, and I'm happy to say that this week I scored, big time!

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Scary Prospect of Hiring a Contractor for Your Kitchen Renovation

It's been a while since I posted about my kitchen renovation, but I have been working on it. I've finalized the design, chosen cabinets and doors, decided on two versions of appliances (high and low, in case I need to cut budget), obtained building plans from my co-op and confirmed that the wall I want to remove is not a retaining wall. Then... crickets. I know. Truth is, I'm in a quandary about the contractor. My go-to contractor's timeline has slipped. He called with his reasons, and I do understand. The same attention to detail that he gives my projects is right now laser focused on finishing up someone's brownstone in Brooklyn. The question is, do I wait for him—a known entity? Or do I hire someone I've never worked with before? There are risks both ways it seems to me. Tell me, what would you do?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fixer Upper Friday: 2 BR + Office in Laburnum Court - $559k

This week's Fixer Upper find is a 2BR + office, located in Laburnum Court at 37-16 80th Street, #42 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of NYC, asking $559k. The same classic 6-room layout in this co-op building just sold for $670k in February of last year, so there is at the very least $110k of instant equity on the line—likely more, as sales prices have been climbing this past year in this architecturally significant neighborhood. For a prospective buyer willing to tap into that instant equity and renovate a home exactly to their taste, it's certainly worth a look.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Least Expensive "True" Counter-Depth Refrigerator Solutions

You often hear that appliances come in standard sizes—but don't believe it. A quick check of the actual cabinet dimensions of so-called "standard" 36-inch refrigerators reveals a great deal of variation. Widths vary, and so do depths. And nowhere is this more apparent than when you're shopping for a "counter-depth" fridge. A true counter-depth fridge will cost you several thousand dollars more than a conventional refrigerator, and even then there will still be a good three inches of door protruding past the countertops. (Believe it!) If you're looking for a truly streamlined look, here are your options.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Marble Maintenance: Sealing Marble Is No Big Deal

Cadogan Hotel, London, Via Hotels Combined   
When I designed the bathroom in our 1940s home, I wanted it to look classic, timeless. Not a slavish devotion to 1940s era bathrooms, but a good fit with the period of our building. In short, I wanted it to feel as if it had always been there. My inspiration was a bathroom in the Lillie Langtry suite at the Cadogan hotel in London, where I'd recently stayed. It had an old cast iron deep soaking tub, trimmed in marble. When I started to show people my design, I was surprised at all the horrified reactions. "Oh the upkeep!" "You'll be sorry!" "You'll have to seal it every year." So, I'm here to set the record straight: Sealing marble is no. big. deal.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fixer Upper Friday: A 2BR for $399k in the Wilshire House in Jackson Heights

This week's Fixer Upper find is a 2BR located at 34-15 74th Street, 6E in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of NYC listed for just $399k. Renovated 2BR/1BA homes in this neighborhood are going for upwards of $600k, so there's a good $200k of instant equity on the line for some lucky buyer to tap and renovate a home exactly to your taste. Let's take a look.