Make Your Outdoor Kitchen Sizzle

Summer is heating up! Well, let’s be honest, it’s summer in Florida and it’s been sizzling since March. The lack of cool weather allows for more summer-like nights by the pool and eating meals outside. If you have an outdoor kitchen, is it summer time ready? When was the last time you spiced up your outdoor space? Being able to enjoy the outdoors practically all year round means a little more updating from time to time. Giving your outdoor kitchen some new features will give your summer time space new life.

Add a Bar with Stools

The cook does not want to cook alone. If you have the space to add a bar to the front of the grill, do so with reclaimed wood and add some stools so even the grill master can join in the fun.

Cover the Cooking area

In Florida, we get the scattered thunderstorm quite often, so installing a cover over the cooking area will aid in the unpredictable weather patterns of our sunshine state.

Full Size the Fridge

If you cook and entertain outside on a regular basis adding a full-size refrigerator/ freezer will pay for itself in no time with the amount of use it will receive. Chill down the drinks and free up space in your indoor refrigerator.

Play with Bold Colors!

The grill is not the only area that receives some spice. Add color to your outdoor space by adding striking seating, fun outdoor friendly art, and colorful pillows. Bright red is always a favorite for outdoors!

The Garden is Always Greener

If you are into cooking with local ingredients, what is more local than growing your own herbs and vegetables? Around your outdoor cooking area, planting a garden will both improve your back-yard oasis and perhaps your cooking!

Create a New Vibe

Not feeling the feeling in your outdoor kitchen? Mix it up! If you are finding that a more modern feel is what you’re liking than start by slowly adding more sleek touches with furniture and accessories.

Incorporating some of these changes into your outdoor space will have you falling in love with your outdoor kitchen and back yard again.

 

Light Bulb! Hire a Licensed Professional!

There are a lot of house projects that can be done by “doing it yourself” such as laying tile, painting or installing hardware. But there are some aspects of a job that should always be left to the professionals and electricity is definitely one of those projects. It is a very high risk household task to undertake if not a trained professional.

But when looking for an electrician, how do you know what to look for to get a professional and quality electrician?  The owner of Consolidated Electric, located in Palm Harbor, Bledi Voja, shares his insight on the characteristics of a quality licensed electrical contractor

1. A contractor is licensed.

Licensed contractors have gained experience and knowledge through the proper training and legal processes. They put in the time to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits from authorized government offices, after passing the licencor test. To apply for becoming an Electrical Contractor a minimum of 8 years or 16,000 hrs. of work is required.

2. Offers insurance.

They will offer liability insurance to protect you, your family, and your home. Liability insurance is protection from personal and bodily injury and property damage that could occur during your renovation. For instance, if a visitor is injured upon entering the construction site, the insurance protection will cover any medical fees that may be incurred.

3. Ensures that all requirements by the city and federal government are met.

Licensed contractors have been trained to understand and meet all requirements set by the city council and federal government. They will schedule inspections to make sure your home meets every single quality requirement and passes all safety examinations. They can become very important when the time comes to sell your home. If you have had any major renovations completed, a potential buyer may ask if the required permits were pulled for the project.

4. Ensures that every step of the home repair or renovation is followed systematically.

This sounds like a given, but not all contractors follow the steps necessary to complete a project safely and on time. Licensed contractors, however, follow a specific, systematic approach to their projects. They carefully plan out the process before starting work; they will prioritize open communication with the homeowner from day one until the day the project is completed. A licensed contractor will also ensure that there is a signed legal contract between the two of you: a form of security that only licensed contractors can offer.

5. Will ensure the project is completed, even when problems or obstacles arise.

They will take responsibility if something goes wrong; ignoring or running away from mistakes can result in the loss of their license. Trust licensed contractors, to stay with you until your home renovation project is completed and you are satisfied!

On your next house project, remember these 5 tips when deciding whether or not to hire a professional for any project and you will feel at ease knowing that your contractor will be completing your job the right way.

Hiring a Licensed Plumber Holds Water

A kitchen or bathroom remodel requires more than just cabinetry. Kitchens and bathrooms involve, electricians, plumbers, and installations of many products. To a home owner, this quickly becomes a very overwhelming undertaking, especially if done without the knowledge of a licensed subcontractor.

One of the first steps in a kitchen renovation is getting the plumbing in order especially if moving the sink to a different location or adding another one. What better way to ease the stress of a kitchen or bathroom renovation than to gain insight from an industry professional. Dominic Calello of Calello Plumbing provides his advice when looking to hire a licensed contractor.

Dominic has a story about a very eager flipper who hired an unlicensed individual to make all plumbing repairs. He spent thousands of dollars on what ended up being a poor plumbing job and an eventual disaster for a prospective homeowner. Among the overall faulty job, the unlicensed individual reinstalled rusted piping, used undersized, wrong fittings, and used PVC glue on CPVC water piping. These incorrect “fixes” would have caused a flood if not corrected soon and had caused a boat load of problems for the eager flipper because he did not hire a licensed and insured professional. It is illegal in the state of Florida to hire an unlicensed contractor of any kind.

Dominic suggest following these 4 rules:

1) Ask for referrals:

A good starting point is to ask anyone you trust if they know of anyone in the field you are shopping.  If someone you trust knows of someone  it can be a great starting point.

2) Do some research:

Whether someone is recommended to you or you find someone through other means, it is important to check them out.

  • First, make sure they are licensed in the field they are advertising. This can be easily checked online at myfloridalicence.com
  • Second, make sure they are insured. You should always ask for proof of insurance.

3) Get it in writing:

Whether it’s a project or a repair, you should always have an agreement in writing. Having something in writing will allow you to see exactly what you are getting and help minimize any potential misunderstandings about the work being performed.

4)  Never pay 100% up front:

There is a basic rule when it comes to the trades in general and it lands somewhere between no down payment up to 50% down.  This is generally determined by the size and timeline of any given project or repair and at the discretion of the company.  If you are having a larger or time consuming project done, you should expect to pay a down payment.

 

Framed vs. Frameless

Framed verses frameless is the age-old question when redesigning a kitchen. The kitchen cabinets are one of the most important aspects that makes a kitchen the center of one’s home where memories are made for many years to come. But, most importantly, the cabinets offer the storage needed for pots, pans and food. There are so many decisions that must be made when redesigning a kitchen, such as the type of cabinetry. Often, the first question your kitchen designer will ask you is, “Do you want framed or frameless cabinets?”. Most homeowners are unaware of the real differences between these two common types of cabinetry.

The Benefits of Framed

Framed cabinetry has been a staple in American kitchens for decades due to the sturdy construction of a frame that will eventually prevent the cabinets from sagging over time. The frame around the cabinet offers extra strength needed to ensure great quality and not to mention style. With framed cabinets, customization is a major plus, a popular style are inset doors, which will blend the door with the frame making the frame not as noticeable. Another popular style is full overlay, where the door is placed over the frame making the frame not even visible. It is a style that has remained very popular over the years and will continue to be.

The Benefits of Frameless

Frameless cabinetry is also known as European style, originated in guess where, Europe! This style of cabinetry has quickly been adopted by American homeowners. Frameless doors are simply explained, they are cabinetry without the frame making it easier to access items in your cabinets and provides more space to store household items. This style is also referred to as full-access cabinetry. Frameless cabinets allow for a more sleek and classy look to a kitchen. If this modern loom is what you are after than frameless is the way to go!

De-Mystifying the Triangle: What is the “work triangle”?

By Megan Soloski

If you’ve remodeled your kitchen before or know someone who has, you’ve probably heard of the “work triangle”. Unless you’re in the industry of kitchen design you probably scratched your head and thought, “huh?”. That’s okay, that’s why designers spend years in design school to do the thinking for you when it comes to this mighty important triangle and many other aspects of design and flow to a room.

So, what is the work triangle? Well, it is simply a work efficiency concept to determine how well a kitchen is laid out, or should be laid out. The most used spaces in a kitchen are the sink, cooking range, and refrigerator. These are the areas that work best when configured in an imaginary triangle like shape for the most efficient kitchen. And this ladies and gentlemen is what the National Kitchen and Bath Association has deemed the “work triangle”.drawn work triangle

Are there specific rules to the perfect work flow? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because the National Kitchen and Bath Association has provided a small set of guidelines to achieve a well-designed kitchen:

  • The sum of the work triangle’s three sides should not exceed 26 feet
  • The work triangle should not cut through an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches
  • If the kitchen has only one sink, it should be placed between or across from the cooking surface, preparation area, or refrigerator
  • No major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle

real kitchen work triangle But it too has flaws, the concept assumes there are only three major work spaces and one cook in the kitchen. The kitchen design industry is no longer as simple as three work areas, some kitchen designs are so elaborate with multiple work stations and sinks. More state of the art kitchens will include larger ranges, wall ovens, full-size refrigerators and freezers, and so much more that it would be almost impossible to achieve the perfect work triangle. Remember that the ideal work flow to your kitchen is your lifestyle and what you need out of your kitchen.