Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life Summed Up!

Some really interesting statistics about daily life... never would have guess that I'd eat 18 tons of food in a lifetime! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CLEANCut Touchless Paper Towel Dispenser

I've become a bigger fan of touchless gadgets as I get older, especially with the rather large universal design movement.

There will surely be some of my hardcore eco friends that will jump on my for showcasing a paper towel dispenser, but just about everyone uses paper towels(even me, though I've cut back).

In addition to ease of use, a touch less paper towel dispenser will all but prevent any potential for cross-contamination. With the recent food safety scares, the last thing we want to do in our own kitchen is spread germs and bacteria around.

That's where the CLEANCut Touchless Dispenser comes in. I've seen one of these in action and have to admit that its on my list of wanted gadgets.

It helps that it's not a complete design disaster. Check out this short video on how it works... You can use any kind of paper towel!

It seems to me that with the adjustable cut lengths that you could save quite a bit of paper towels just because not all tasks require a large amount.

What do you think? Design do or don't? Would you have one?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Apron Sink Trends - Kohler

The iconic farmhouse or apron front sink has stood the test of time in the kitchen design world. Because of both its timeless design and ability to reinvent itself, the apron sink is here to stay in both traditional and more modern spaces. 

Of course, fire clay and cast iron are still the most popular types of apron front sinks. Because of the ability to manipulate the medium, designs of all shapes and colors are possible. 

Even stainless steel is a popular option, particularly in more modern applications.

Each of the pictured sinks are from the Kohler Apron Sink collection. 

Think of how an apron sink could change the way you use your water station at home. Besides moving the bowl forward, likely offering more depth and width, an apron sink can accommodate stock pots, pets and children for baths!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Inspiration - Cape Cottage

Sometimes I see spaces that need nothing else but for me to just move in and be able to absorb the sights, smells and sounds that surround me. 

Here we are in Nova Scotia at the home of Eliot and Alexandra Angle. Their home was recently featured in the New York Times and there was zero chance that I wasn't going to reshare and love all over it.

Take a look:

For starters, how could you not enjoy that view? I love being near the water, and having it on more than one side would make me exceptionally happy.

Great colors for the kitchen. My over-sized American personality makes me wonder if I could live without the large appliances I've become accustomed to, but the aesthetic of this space is just nearly perfect.

The windows make me wonder if I would get anything done... it's one of the most idyllic settings I've seen.

So it's my Sunday happy place... Could you live here? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

More House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year with Tyler Florence and KraftMaid

KraftMaid is doing an excellent job promoting the 2011 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year with Tyler Florence. Each new moment shared offers some great insight to both the inspiration behind and features of the chef-designed space.

Check out the Evolution and Design Features of the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year!

Read more about the Kitchen of the Year at House Beautiful and on our site

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sorpresa Collecton from Best - Cirrus Hood

Island hoods have long troubled kitchen designers. Certainly there are island hoods that look good in certain design situations, but never has there been on that could go in any space, virtually unnoticed and elegant at the same time.

Times have changed. 

This is the Cirrus Hood by Best. The recent launch of the Best Sorpresa Collection sent a shockwave of high design through the ventilation community and the Cirrus Hood is the star of the show.

Stately in any situation, the Cirrus hood will put a serious dent in the chimney style island hoods of kitchens gone by.

The Cirrus Hood is available in either an internal or external blower application and I was recently told by a manufacturers rep that you "wouldn't want to hold your cat too close to it," indicating that the CFM was quite robust and was actually more efficient than other models that had ventilation areas closer to the cooking space.

Only recently made available, I can't wait to see one in action!

What do you think? Better or worse?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year 2011: Tyler Florence

I was quite excited to see the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year with Tyler Florence. After last year's disappointment(But then again, how could it not be disappointing after the KOTY with Ina Garten?), I was thrilled to hear that Tyler Florence would be involved and he definitely brought his a-game!

As in years past, KraftMaid stepped up to the plate to share their award-winning cabinetry with the country again through perhaps the most publicized kitchen in the nation.

Check it out!

And now a tour of the kitchen with Tyler...

The cabinetry is the KraftMaid Harrington Maple door style with an Onyx finish.

 I know that some of my design and industry friends have already been by to see the kitchen and have had glowing reviews. If you're like us and won't be in the NYC area this week, you can see more of the Kitchen of the Year at House Beautiful and their October 2011 issue that will be on newsstands in mid-September.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Designer Universal Design - Moen Home Care Grab Bars

One of the many things a good designer should talk with you about is universal design. It's called a lot of things, and we've tried to find a politically correct way to coin "getting older". 

Truth is, if you're not planning now it's likely that you'll be at a disadvantage once you arrive at either your golden years or with some type of limited mobility.

For longer than I can remember, any ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant products were as utilitarian in style as they were use. I've yet to be approached by a client who asked for their kitchen or bath to resemble a hospital room.

In the past few years, companies have jumped on the bandwagon of not only being more aware of the need for universal design products, but also improving the aesthetic along the way.

Check out this bathroom that features Moen Home Care products.

You may or may not notice the grab bars. You may just see a toilet paper holder and a towel holder in the shower(they're grab bars, too!).

Hey, hey! Good design!

Are we there yet? Not quite, but this is a HUGE step in the right direction. 

According to the Moen site, you can pick up one of these grab bars for less than $60. The bars are tested to a 250lb weight.

It's a good sign. Universal Design doesn't have to look bad!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Paper Moment - Casey Key House

Sunday mornings are one of my most favorite times. Perhaps the air seems cleaner, breeze blows cooler or coffee tastes better.

No matter, Sunday mornings are an emotion for me and when I see a space that just screams zen, all I can think of is how perfect it would be to sit and read my Sunday paper and take in the surroundings.

This TOTeMS designed guest house on the Sarasota Bay in Casey Key, Florida fits the bill perfectly.

Because the house is built in a coastal flood zone, it required an elevated design. The elevation provides for stunning views of the water and oak forest around it.

Inside, laminated pine beams mimic the wind blown trees outside. The small space(one bedroom, one bath and a kitchenette) is dominated my spectacular views on all sides. 

Pretty stunning, eh? Not sure that with a guest house like this that I could stomach living in the main house!

Did you find a spot to read your Sunday paper?

photos via

Friday, July 8, 2011

QR Codes and Cupboards

Back in May, Bob Borson posted a very informative piece on his blog, Life of an Architect, about the use of QR codes in daily life. Partly inspired by seeing them all over and then pushed over the edge by Bob's post, Cupboards now has QR codes coming out of its ears! 

Want the link to Bob's awesome post?
for the smart phone-less here.

QR Codes, for those of you that may not be familiar with them, are geographic representations of data. QR stands for quick response and offers users a way to access information(large or small) in a relatively quick amount of time. I'm sure that you've seen them on products at the grocery store, billboards and even real estate signs.

QR codes are trademarked by Denso Wave and has a great website full of info about QR codes. 

Because QR codes have no tangible expiration date and smart phone usage is on track to completely eliminate "old-school" cells altogether, I knew there would be ways that we could use QR codes in our business.

Here's what happened:

Most semi-custom cabinet companies leave an information trail about the group of cabinets a homeowner could purchase. Usually that information takes shape as a vague set of numbers and characters on the inside of the sink base door. Why is this information necessary? Warranties, typically. The unfortunate part is that even though a homeowner might purchase cabinets from us, there is no permanent indication that we(Cupboards) was involved on the project at all. If the purchasing homeowner moves and new homeowner wants to add to their project, finding us could be a bit difficult.

Not anymore.

This code is on a display in our showroom but gives some of the information that would be on a job in some one's home. Besides the information about the specific cabinet door style, color, etc., the code also includes Cupboards contact information, original purchase order information and the install date.

Want to add something later and have questions about color/style/age? Here's the quick answer.

My least favorite part of getting a new business card is importing the info to my phone. Whether I'm syncing from my computer address book or just programming straight to my phone, it's just a pain.

Pain no more.

I put a QR code with a vcard right on my business card. All you have to do is scan that puppy and ALL the information you could ever want goes right in to your phone. Magic!

There are lots of QR code generators out on the web. Search around and find the one that best suits you and get coding!

Are you using QR codes? Let us know how!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blanco SILGRANIT II Purus Faucets

I've had trouble in the past with liking to combine colors on faucets. It's always seemed to me an attempt of trying to hard to do something new. 

This spring, Blanco premiered their Purus II faucet with SILGRANIT II accents... I had already fallen head over heels for the Purus I with SILGRANIT II so the Purus II would be right up my alley!

Here is the Purus I:

I'm not sure that there is a hotter color right now that the SILGRANIT II Truffle. It just screams warm and refined at the same time.

in Cafe Brown


Perhaps most appealing about the SILGRANIT II accents on the Purus I and now II faucets are that the colors compliment the spaces around them and don't hog the landscape. Many faucet manufacturers that are using accent colors are setting there pieces to be the center of attention. Sure, it works in some situations, but I love a piece that enhances the items around it. Notice above at how the truffle brings out the colors of the counter and splash. Genius!

If you're not familiar with SILGRANIT II from Blanco, check it out. Solid SILGRANIT II faucets are available in some lines, while accents are only available on the Purus line.

So what do you think? Would it work in your space?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary iPhone

Last week the iPhone turned 4. Seems hard to believe... this Blackberry user is fully entrenched in the iPhone posse now.

To celebrate the occasion, I'd like to share some of my favorite apps for my iPhone that get used on a VERY regular basis.

1. Twitterrific (shown) - If you follow me on Twitter(which you should), you'll notice that I use two main platforms for tweeting, Hootsuite and Twitterrific. Twitterrific on iPhone is the easiest medium for twitter that I've found and allows you to do lots of looking around with completely eating up all your API.

2. StumbleUpon - Occasionally I find myself in a spot where I need something to do(while ignoring real stuff like emails). There is no better app for killing that 20 minutes while your oil is being changed.

3. Pandora - Best radio app. And yes, I've used up my 40 hours per month on multiple occasions.

4. houzz - Talk about the never ending stream of good interiors(can also throw pinterest, Cool Hunting and DA #4 in there, too).

5. AllRecipes and epicurious - I enjoy cooking. No need for the thousands of recipe books that are contained in two simple apps.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of how I use my iPhone- not to mention that it gets 4 email accounts and enough text messages to make a tween girl go bonkers.

If you're still on the fence about getting an iPhone, go ahead and jump off. It'll change your life.

*Disclaimer: I still "unplug" on a fairly regular basis. iPhones turn off just like any other phone.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vacation Season? Not so fast...

Are you at home or on vacation this weekend? Thinking about work? 

Be honest!

By the way... the girl below is gonna have all manner of sand in her laptop. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Making Cool Air Cool - Foliage Air Conditioner

During a recent Electrolux Design Lab, designer Rami Santala submitted the alternative to ugly, unsightly in room air conditioners. The stunning results makes one wonder why advancements haven't been made sooner.

Aptly named Foliage, this window sill air conditioner harnesses solar energy just as a plant would(through its "leaves") and powers a base unit that produces cool, clean air.

Inspired by average houseplants, the Foliage air conditioner requires no electricity. Talk about being green!

It's refreshing to see such a smart approach to interior air quality. I am curious to know just how effective the unit is- if Foliage works half as good as it looks, it's gonna be a cool summer!

Would you have one?
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