31 July 2012

Four Gold Notes Wishes for the Coming Year

I'm so grateful to my readers and guest bloggers for their continued support of Gold Notes.  It's been a wonderful adventure!  As I wrap up this month-long Fourth Anniversary celebration, I want to do two things beyond thank everyone over and over again:

Look Back

These were my three wishes from my Third Anniversary wrap up:

My first wish for Gold Notes’ next year is including even more guest posts. Done!  We had posts this past year on a wide range of subjects -- from home security to radiant floor heat to steam showers -- from a wide range of experts.  I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did. 

My second wish for Gold Notes’ next year is to increase my readership. My traffic nearly doubled this past year.  Thank you for being a part of that!  Hopefully, this growth trend will continue into 2013!

My third wish, and this may be beyond 2012, given other commitments on my calendar -- including a kitchen idea book I'm writing for Taunton -- I’d like to see my Sensible Style series, launched in partnership with Kitchens.com in 2009, collected into a book. This hasn't happened yet, but I'm hoping it will in the next year or two.

Look Forward

My first wish is to have Gold Notes integrate more closely with my design site in the second half of this year. I'll be starting that process next month.  My feed won't change and my content won't either.  I just want it to be easier to find and cross reference for everyone.

My second wish is already being fulfilled.  Gold Notes excerpts will start appearing in the San Diego Union-Tribune's Home & Garden section twice a month.  I'm very excited about finding new readers for my blog this way.

My third wish is to add video.  This is a medium with which I'm not entirely comfortable yet.  Getting good at bringing you tips and trends in that format is on my 2012-2013 to do list.  I'll keep you posted.

My fourth wish is to have more readers engage me to redesign their kitchens and baths.  I have experience with distance design and enjoy working that way.  If you have a project that would benefit from my Sensible Style philosophy and skill set, please let me know by calling or emailing.


Thank you, contributors and readers alike, for helping make Gold Notes a regular read for design enthusiasts.  Next week, we'll return to my regular weekly publishing schedule.  See you next Tuesday!

Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS

San Diego, CA

30 July 2012

Four Favorite Design Books

My bookcase is loaded with books about design, remodeling and architecture.  The first one I ever picked up -- before I was even a designer -- is still tops on that list.  In no particular order, these are my recommendations for starting your design library.  I hope you'll add my first book, New Kitchen Ideas That Work, (Taunton Press), when it publishes in December.

FYI, you can click on any of the book photos and buy them on Amazon.com today.  Each purchase helps support this blog.

Not So Big House
Sarah Susanka
Taunton Press

This book was published in the heyday of the McMansion.  I love, and share, the author's philosophy on building smarter, not larger.  It's even more relevant today than it was when it first came out about 14 years ago.  Build what you need and build it as well as possible.  Amen!

Sheri Koones
Taunton Press

I came across this wonderful book when I was researching a piece for the Tampa Tribune about five years ago.  I had seen some fabulous prefab homes at the International Builder Show and was impressed with the huge strides in quality and style.  This book shows why prefabs are worth considering and what's possible.

Kelly's Kitchen Sync
Kelly Morisseau
Springline Media

Yes, Kelly is a friend of mine and a fellow Blogger 19 member.  She's also a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer and a really sharp writer.  This is a must read before embarking on a kitchen remodel.  

Pottery Barn Bathrooms
Judith Nasatir
Oxmoor House

I'm a long-time devotee of PB style and this book is just pure eye candy for me.  I have to confess, I don't spend much time reading it; I pick it up for the pictures.  Quite frankly, it's my Playboy design porn!

27 July 2012

My Four Favorite New Bathroom Products

One of the perks of my job is being able to attend design shows and see the latest trends and products, often before they find their way to your local showroom.  Here are my four favorite new (and upcoming) products for Bath Week, part of my month-long Fourth Anniversary Celebration.

Smart and sexy faucet

I spotted Brizo's Charlotte electronic faucet at Dwell on Design and it is a true charmer. You’d expect style from this fashion faucet brand and the cocoa bronze cladding with metallic accents delivers that big time. But smart is sexy, too, and Charlotte’s hands-free control is super-smart (and water-saving). There are matching accessories but this faucet is the real star. 

Charlotte by Brizo

Elegant meets practical

Regular Gold Notes readers know I love ceramic and porcelain slab!  Until recently, however, all I saw was solid colors with a slight texture.  In the last few months, at a San Diego showroom, I spotted a stone look that knocked my socks off!  (I'd love this in my master bath!)  This stunning porcelain slab from Italian manufacturer, Iris, has all of the beauty of the marble it honors but none of its staining or chipping shortfalls. Iris can clad your vanity or your shower walls. It can go on your floors or surround your tub.  Like other ceramic and porcelain slab surfaces, Iris is heat, scratch and stain resistant. 

Iris Porcelain Slab

Playful sinks

I really liked the new  sinks Jonathan Adler designed for Kohler.  They were on my must-see list at the recent Dwell on Design show and they didn't disappoint.  The shapes show off the fun lines for which Adler is known and the colors are absolutely delicious!   This is my favorite.

Jonathan Adler Lav for Kohler

Sexy hexy

I love when retro traditional meets modern innovation and the new hexagonal tile I saw at Cevisama in Spain knocked me out.  There were the traditional black-white combos and newer combos.  The form is familiar and comforting.  The size and color tweaks freshen the look.  New manufacturing technologies make it low maintenance.

Genesis by Plaza

26 July 2012

Four Favorite Bath Products - Fixtures Living

Can a plumbing showroom be cool?  You bet!  Fixtures Living is one of my favorite design spots in San Diego.  They've got gorgeous displays, knowledgeable reps, great events and a free, fabulous chef-prepared lunch every Friday.  (They also have Rancho Mirage and Costa Mesa locations for my farther-flung friends.)  Maria Swanson, (@MariaSwanson on Twitter), Fixture's Marketing Director, responded to my call for Four Favorite Bath Products.  Here is her must-have list.  (It coincides with my own must-have list, too!)


Let me start by saying, Happy Fourth Anniversary, Gold Notes! When Jamie asked if I’d write a guest post about my four favorite bath fixtures, I wasn’t sure how I was going to choose! So I went shopping! And as I did, I considered a variety of things - price, space, moxie, and of course, sheer indulgence! 

Aimes Ceiling-Mount Showerhead with LED lighting by Toto

Beautiful and sustainable. This hydro-powered shower head by Toto has an 11” spray face, rubber nozzles to prevent lime scale build-up and LED lighting that is powered by the sheer force of the water running through it! 

Eco-friendly Aimes shower head brings the rain forest home
(Photo Courtesy:  Toto)

Uplift Cabinet by Robern

This is not your grandma’s medicine cabinet! This unique vertically-opening no-swing door from Robern allows for use in spaces that… well, might not have a lot of clearance. The sliding door stays in position so it can be opened just a little or a lot. And it comes with all kinds of options including a TV mount that accommodates up to a 19” flat screen or LCD! 

Uplift brings innovation to your medicine cabinet
(Photo Courtesy:  Robern)

Washlet by Toto 

Not sure how ready you are to step into the world of personal cleansing? Is the price tag one of the reasons? Then you should definitely consider the Toto Washlet. A lot of the same fun functions as the expensive toilets (auto and remote control flushing, aerated warm water, front and  rear washing, massage feature, warm air dryer , auto air purifier, heated seat and more) at a fraction of the cost. 

The Washlet brings high-end hygiene to your home
(Photo Courtesy:  Toto)

Vedana by BainUltra 

This is indulgence with benefits! Vedana combines five proven therapies:  aromatherapy, light therapy, sound therapy, chromatherapy and thermo therapy into one integrated therapeutic care system. And not only does BainUltra strive to recreate harmony in your body, it makes every effort to progressively integrate eco-design principles in production to minimize their ecological footprint. 

Vedana brings smart and luxurious showering
(Photo Courtesy:  BainUltra)


Fixtures Living has luxury plumbing, indoor and outdoor appliance showrooms in San Diego, Rancho Mirage and Costa Mesa.  

25 July 2012

Four Favorite Eco-Friendly Plumbing Innovations - 3 Mountains Plumbing

One of the benefits of being a blogger is hearing from insightful industry folks around the world.  Today's Bath Week Four Favorites guest post comes from 3 Mountains Plumbinga fully-licensed and bonded plumbing contractor in Oregon.  I love their suggested products for greening your bathroom.  I know I'll be looking at these for my next home.


When you talk about plumbing, words like “groundbreaking” and “cutting edge” probably don’t leap to mind. Yet modern plumbing is indeed innovative – manufacturers are constantly working to develop products that make home plumbing more efficient and earth friendly. 

Toilet/Sink Combos 

Your average toilet flushes pure water – i.e., drinking water – which 11 percent of the world’s population can’t access. Toilet/sink combos conserve by using the same water twice; first, the fresh water is sent through the faucet, and then it is stored to flush the toilet later. Unfortunately, the “ick factor,” as one Nashville manufacturer put it, has limited demand and hampered elegant design for this plumbing innovation. Caroma’s Profile Smart 305 Round Front Plus is the exception, saving both space and water in style. 

Perfect for a smaller powder room and smaller water bill
(Photo Courtesy:   Caroma )

Hybrid Hot Water Heaters 

Tankless water heaters are already a buzz item among green-minded designers, builders and consumers. But the next best thing – the hybrid water heater – is already here. Hybrid heaters are even more energy efficient, so they save the average family $320 per year, as opposed to $100 per year savings with a tankless water heater. Plus, you can get a $480 federal tax credit for a hybrid heater, such as GE’s new hybrid model. 

Another hybrid for your garage!
(Photo Courtesy:   GE )

Programmable Showers 

A 10-minute shower sends, on average, 25 gallons of water down the drain. One way for homeowners to reduce their water usage is to install a programmable shower faucet. These devices allow precise control over temperature as well as the amount of water used, offering a luxury spa-like experience without the wastefulness. If this sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that the StyleTherm from California Faucets has been found to comply with the California Green Building Standards Code, the nation’s first statewide green building code. 

Programmable shower delivers eco-luxury
(Photo Courtesy: California Faucets)

Flow-Optimized Faucet Aerators 

The key to an eco-friendly bathroom faucet is to decrease water waste without sacrificing pressure. The solution: a flow-optimized aerator, which injects air into the water stream. This helps maintain water pressure while cutting down the flow rate from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1.5. Moen bathroom faucets with flow-optimized aerators, for example, can cut the water that comes from your bathroom tap by 32 percent.

Save water stylishly with a flow-optimized faucet
(Photo Courtesy:   Moen )


3 Mountains Plumbing  specializes in plumbing services and remodeling for both homes and businesses in Portland, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, Dundee and surrounding communities. 

24 July 2012

Four Favorite Bathroom Tile Inspirations - Cheryl Kees Clendenon of Details and Design

I met Cheryl Kees Clendenon about four years ago at an NKBA Leadership Conference.  We clicked immediately.  Since then, we've both become Blogger 19 members, traveled to Germany as Blanco Design Council members and shared time, insights and laughs at numerous industry functions.  Cheryl's got two gorgeous kitchens in my upcoming book and I'm thrilled to have her share her brilliant wit and talent during Bath Week, part of Gold Notes' Fourth Anniversary celebration.

In this particular post, she offers four inspired ways to add style with tile -- and some gorgeous project shots -- to spark your bathroom remodel.


For most of my bath design projects, my inspiration begins with tile selections. It may be the floor, it may just be an accent, but in some way or another tile is almost always the jumping-off point for inspiration. 

It amazes me so many people, ( including some designers!), overlook the design wow that tile, properly executed and installed, can give to a space.  So can we step away from some of the tired and overused tile design concepts and style of decades -- no, years -- past? 

Think Big! Think Bold! Think Brilliant! Think Breathtaking!  

Thinking big 

Tile does not come in just the standard sizes that may come to mind. Try and say no to 12x12 tile or stone anywhere! Go big and bold when the space will accommodate it.  Often, when you think it cannot....it really can. Try some of the newer 12x35 porcelain tiles. LOVE them and there is no better way to get some serious bang for your buck. 

This gorgeous rectified porcelain tile is a clean and simple look for a teenage boy's bath. I like how the larger format tile "reads" as a solid wall.
(In Detail Interiors design and
 Porcelanosa tile)

Thinking bold

No surface is safe from me! I would guess that very few of our bath projects have only floors and shower or tub walls covered in tile. I am a big fan of tile walls. I do not often favor smaller mosaics but these penny rounds in black, white and gray spoke to me one day at a seminar. In fact, they spoke so loudly that I got up in the middle of the lecture and had to touch them.  (Some witnesses say I caressed them!)  Luckily, the speaker was the rep for Walker Zanger and this is their tile. I was forgiven! But this bathroom for a teenage girl was built around the day I was inspired by these penny rounds. 

I eschew tiling behind a bath vanity with a short backsplash. Wimpy. If you are going to do it then do it boldly and take over the wall! 
(In Detail Interiors design and  Walker Zanger  tile)
Thinking brilliant 

Inevitably, I  seek to design a layout in such a way that I can find a place for my tile inspirations.I feel strongly that even pricier tile selections can be used in some small ways to add personality. In the master bath below, we constructed a half wall to “frame” the freestanding tub. This Calcutta stone was cut into a diamond shape and small round mirrors were inserted in between the stone. The overall effect is a sophisticated wow with a bit of bling. You would have to see it to believe it! 

Calcutta stone cut into diamonds creates a stunning half wall behind a tub
(In Detail Interiors design) 
Tiny mirrors at each corner add major bling to this tiled bath wall
(In Detail Interiors design) 
Thinking breathtaking

This powder bath was a challenge. The 12 ft ceilings in such a small footprint caused the scale of almost everything to come up short. Literally. We needed a radical idea to offset the ceiling height and still pull off a modern design. Once again, a tile inspiration from Mixed up Mosaics proved to be the nudge we needed to get going in the right direction. The small strips of mirror you see in the photo is actually tile mounted for the specific size we needed. The rest of the mirrors are odd-sized mirror “tiles” we had made and adhered to the walls in a random pattern. This reflective, textured wall provided the visual we were looking for, and it worked with, not against, the tall ceiling height. 

Mirror, mirrored tile on the wall... Who's the cleverest designer of all?
(Designed by In Detail Interiors using
 Porcelanosa accent tile and mirror ) 

Cheryl Kees Clendenon is one of the leading kitchen and bath designers in the industry today.  Her boutique showroom and brilliant blog, Details and Design, are based in Pensacola, FL, but her projects and publications span the country.   

23 July 2012

Four Favorite Bath Fashions - Carmen Natschke of The Decorating Diva

I met the delightful and talented Carmen Natschke of The Decorating Diva about three years ago at a trade show.  She's also a fellow Blogger 19 member.  Carmen and I have been writing guest posts for each other for almost as long as we've known each other.  I'm thrilled to have her apply her expert design eye to Bath Week, part of Gold Notes' month-long Fourth Anniversary celebration.  Here's her take on what's next in bathroom design.


One consistent bath design theme seemed to dominate the European and North American design shows I’ve attended over the last 12 months. This design direction is strongly embracing the bathroom as a place of fashion, beauty and artful design. Function is still paramount, but the days of boring and tired fixtures, furniture and plumbing are quickly coming to an end. 

Famed designers like Spain’s Jaime Hayon and Patricia Urquiola, France’s Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and others are energetically and vigorously reshaping bath product design as we know it. 

I’ve selected four bath design products that I believe are leading the way in the bathroom design revolution. 

Passion for fashion

Passion for fashion patterns on display on Olivier Lapidus’ bathtub designs for Aquamass at Maison et Objet 2012. 

Chanel style

Porcelanosa Bath channels the quilted finish of the iconic Chanel handbag on their bath cabinetry at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair 2011. 

Making a splash

Patricia Urquiola livens bath design with unexpected color splashes as seen here in her bath sink, (part of her collection for Axor), at a design showroom in London- spotted during London Design Festival 2011. 

Mystical magic

A mystical and mythical bath design that I think would have intrigued the great fashion designer Alexander McQueen - spotted during London Design Festival 2011. 


Carmen Natschke is the Editor and Creative Director at The Decorating Diva.com, a digital publication about living an inspired life surrounded by all things beautiful. You can connect with Carmen on Twitter: @decoratingdiva, Pinterest, and Facebook.

20 July 2012

Four Favorite Sensible Style Kitchen Solutions

Thanks for stopping by during my month-long Gold Notes' Fourth Anniversary celebration.  This is Kitchen Week.  

I believe that kitchens should be practical as well as pretty. They should make sense for how you and your household functions, not how someone on television or in a magazine does. They should fit into your home like they were “born” there if, in fact, you’re remodeling the one that was. I also believe they should fit the value of your home and neighborhood standards, so you don’t put a $100,000 kitchen into a $200,000 condo. These are my Sensible Style design principles and the solutions I recommend to my clients and readers generally come from that philosophy. 

As a professional kitchen and bath designer these past eight years – and a blogger for four – I’ve come across a myriad solutions I think are great for a wide range of kitchens. Here are my four favorite Sensible Style solutions: 

Engineered Stone Countertops 

This is my favorite widely-available material for kitchen countertops.  (Porcelain slab is my latest, but it's not yet widely available in the US yet.  Look for that to change in the next couple of years.)  Engineered stone, aka quartz and sold under brand names like Zodiaq, Cambria, Silestone, et al, is durable, low maintenance, warrantied, versatile and attractive. You can go contemporary with solid styles that look like concrete, or traditional with recently-improved styles that look like marble and granite. Its main limitation is that it can’t go outside if you’re also creating an outdoor kitchen. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning. 

Engineered stone goes contemporary
(Photo: Silestone)

Rectified Porcelain Tile 

Like engineered stone counters, porcelain tile is durable, versatile and low maintenance. The rectified versions have minimal grout lines, reducing maintenance even further. This makes them practical for both flooring and backsplashes. They can also go traditional or contemporary, depending on the style you choose. The only disadvantage is their hardness underfoot, which can create foot, back, hip and leg strain, as well as fatigue. A cushioned task mat can alleviate that issue. 

Porcelain tile looks and wears wonderfully in hard-working  kitchens
(Photo:  Ceramics of Italy)

Hands-free Faucets 

Kitchen faucets work harder than any other in your home, and are likeliest to spread the most germs. Having a model that’s hands-free means fewer winter colds and less chicken grease to clean up. They’re available in traditional, transitional and contemporary styles. Choose the one that works best for your home and budget. 

A hands-free faucet adds style and convenience
(Photo:  Moen)


I love induction cooking. Not only is it faster than even pro gas, it’s safer to use and more energy efficient. Chefs across Europe have been using induction for years. I’m very glad it’s catching on here. My very first blog post [], way back in July 2008, was on induction. Since then, there has been an increasing array of offerings in this category, from economical freestanding ranges to the new state-of-the art Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop.

Induction is the smartest cooking technology on the market today
(Photo:  Thermador)

19 July 2012

Food Blogger's Four Favorite Kitchen Wish List Items - Jean of Delightful Repast

I enjoy Jean's Delightful Repast blog tremendously and came to meet its creator/author Jean online. (I suspect that one of these days, we'll meet each other offline, too.) It occurred to me that a kitchen wish list post would be a great Fourth Anniversary/Kitchen Week contribution and Jean graciously agreed to write it for us. These are her four favorites... If you cook, maybe they'll become yours, too! 


I began following Gold Notes shortly after I started my food blog, Delightful Repast, in February 2010. Can't recall how I first came upon it, but I remember being instantly drawn in by Jamie's trademark "sensible style solutions." Though it was three years since my own kitchen remodel, I was (and still am) fascinated with the subject. When I received Jamie's invitation to do a guest post about my Four Kitchen Wishes, I had just that morning been thinking about how much I love my kitchen, how wonderfully well-equipped it is and how there are just four things I need!


The one appliance I did not replace at the time of the remodel is now 28 years old; it could die any time. I'm doing the research now so when that sad day comes I won't be completely refrigerator-less for weeks while I come to a decision! My requirements are: 

* Energy-efficient 
* Quiet 
* White 
* Must fit in my refrigerator cabinet space, which is 33 inches wide and 72 inches high 
* Have always had top freezer, but will consider other styles.

KitchenAid Architect Series II Model KBFS22EWWH

[JG Note:  You should also look for energy efficiency and quiet operation, no matter what configuration you choose... And, like Jean, be sure to double check all of your dimensions, including depth, before you buy a new refrigerator.]

Heavy-Duty Stand Mixer 

I'm an avid baker and have always made everything, including all kinds of bread, by hand. Over the years, as I've gotten lazier, I have warmed up to the idea of getting a heavy-duty stand mixer. My requirements are: 

* Less than 16.5 inches high so it will fit under special molding that conceals under-cabinet lighting 
* White 
*Possibilities include KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart, Cuisinart 5.5-quart, Breville 5-quart 

KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer

[JG Note:  As Jean shares here, be sure that what you choose will fit in the space you have planned!]

Dish Towels 

I use as few paper towels as possible for the sake of the environment, so I blow through a lot of dish towels! I'd like to get three dozen as soon as "my" color makes a comeback. My requirements are: 

* High quality cotton terry 
* Yellow and white (and it has to be a certain shade of yellow--butter yellow, golden, but yellow not gold) 

Yellow Ripple Terry Dishtowel from KitchenWorks

[JG Note:  The towels Jean is considering can be machine washed and dried.  Choose textiles for your kitchen that work with how you live, too!]

Outdoor Grill (for just outside the kitchen)

After all, summer's here! My requirements are: 

* Gas 
* With an enclosed cart, not just a front panel 
* Easy to roll 

Weber Spirit E-320 Classic

[JG Note:  Jean is looking for a grill that's easy to roll.  This is especially important if you're going to move it regularly,  as I would myself.  Sturdiness counts in this regard, too, as you don't want a wheel coming off while you're transporting it to your garage for safe keeping.]


As a freelance writer specializing in food, weddings, etiquette and entertaining, Jean has written for many magazines and newspapers as well as the Web. She started the popular blog DelightfulRepast.com in 2010 to share her favorite comfort foods. Though Jean is an omnivore, recipes developed in the Delightful Repast “test kitchen” include gluten-free, nondairy, vegan and vegetarian as well as dishes that reflect her heritage (English and Southern) and eclectic tastes. Needless to say, her kitchen is the heart of her home.

18 July 2012

Four Favorite Cooking Myths Debunked - Chef Kyle of BSH Experience

I've had three wonderful opportunities to visit the gorgeous new BSH Experience in the last few months.  BSH is the parent company of Bosch, an appliance brand I watch, specify and blog about frequently.  The BSH Experience is an incomparable state-of-the-art showroom, teaching facility, living kitchen(s) and dining center in Irvine, Cal.  The space is gorgeous.  The appliances are gorgeous.  Even the chef is gorgeous!  

Jamie and Chef Kyle at BSH Experience Center

Chef Kyle is also greatly talented. So I couldn't resist asking this young talent to share his four favorite cooking myths for Gold Notes' Fourth Anniversary/Kitchen Week celebration.  In his own words then...


As the executive chef of the new BSH Experience and Design Center, I spend my days inviting all kinds of people into the kitchen to prepare meals using Bosch appliances. As visitors step behind the counter to test out our complete line of German-engineered, beautifully-designed appliances, I’m often asked questions about how to get the most out of their kitchen.  To me, cooking is a lot like any art form—all of them offer unlimited creativity, but there are a few tips and tricks of the trade that can take your piece of art from ordinary to a masterpiece. 

I recently met Jamie at the Bosch Blogger event and couldn’t wait to read her blog. I really like her approach to design and as soon as I heard about her blog anniversary, I jumped at the chance to contribute to the celebration. An anniversary marks another year of experience and knowledge. As such, here are a few kitchen myths to keep in mind the next time you gear up to prepare a delicious meal. 

Myth: It’s OK to cheat (on preheat) 

Whether it’s working late at the office, running errands or rushing to get the kids to practice, there simply isn’t enough time in the day and many of us are always looking for the next time-saving trick. One area where many people cut corners in the kitchen is by skipping the preheat stage. But if you cheat on the preheat, you will sacrifice the quality, taste and texture of your food. This is especially true of baked items, which can suffer from uneven browning or consistency, sticking and insufficient rising when prepared in an oven that has not been properly preheated. When you step into the kitchen, start preheating your oven before you reach for your favorite cookbook or on-hand ingredients for a tried and true recipe and your oven will be your secret weapon to delivering an awe-inspiring meal. 

Even great equipment won't save your meals if you skip steps!

Myth: Salt makes water boil faster

Your mom might have told you to add salt to make your water boil faster, but this is more of a flavor enhancer than it is a time-saving solution. Salt actually raises the boiling temperature of water, which makes it take longer to boil. If time is an issue, consider switching from gas or electric cooking to induction. Induction cooks 50 percent faster than gas, resulting in a quicker boiling time. 

Salt won't make water boil faster but an induction cooktop will!

Myth:  Preparing a three-course dinner requires a black belt in cooking

The last thing a busy at-home chef wants to worry about is an elaborate cooking schedule to ensure their dinner is served piping hot. Think cooking orange-glazed salmon, roasted asparagus and chocolate chip cookies all at the same time sounds fishy? Think again. Genuine European convection in your wall oven allows for multiple dishes to be prepared at once without flavor or aroma transfer. So go ahead... Bake your savory main course and side dishes right next to your sweet after dinner delight and trick your family and guests into thinking that you spent the entire day in the kitchen. We won’t tell your secret. 

Time-saving true European convection is your friend!  

Myth: Guys stink (in the kitchen)… I simply need to vent! 

The kitchen is one of the most active rooms in your home—one that is filled with the delicious, mouth-watering smells of what’s cooking. But along with the good smells, comes the bad—smoke, steam and grease splatter, to name a few—and there is no way to drive the ladies away than with a foul stench that has settled into the air of your home. Ventilation is an essential, but often under-appreciated and misunderstood element of the well-designed kitchen. The fans in your ventilation system remove moisture, odor, grease, mold and unhealthy air to help keep your kitchen clean. Be sure to switch on the ventilation hood a few minutes prior to cooking so that the air can begin circulating. This will help remove odors once cooking starts and let the aromas of your finished product get all the glory when it’s time to eat.

Using an efficient vent hood will keep your kitchen fresh

I hope that these tips will help you feel at ease in the kitchen, but for even more great cooking tips, check out the new Bosch blog, Amy’s Kitchen Table. With a passion for putting a fresh twist on classic recipes, Amy’s Kitchen Table provides tips for preparing easy recipes that home cooks can proudly serve to their families and guests.


Kyle Jakobi is the Executive Chef at the BSH Training Center in Irvine, CA. Born in southwest Germany and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Chef Kyle, as we visitors called him, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Before coming to California, he worked at the Fairmont Resort in Scottsdale. 

PHOTOS:  Courtesy of Bosch Appliances

17 July 2012

Four Favorite Microwave Drawers - Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs. G's TV and Appliances

I first met Debbie Schaeffer at a Bosch designer event in New York City back in June of 2009.  I was immediately drawn to her energy and enthusiasm.  Then I was impressed by her apparent knowledge of appliances.  It comes from running a third-generation woman-owned appliance retail business called Mrs. G TV & Appliances in Lawrenceville, NJ and blogging about the topic herself at Debbie's Blog.  Debbie has become a valued friend, my go-to gal for all things appliance and a valued Gold Notes advisor/contributor.  So I had to ask her to share her Four Favorites for Gold Notes' Fourth Anniversary Kitchen Week and she chose microwave drawers as her topic.  Read on...


You might think when it comes to purchasing a new kitchen package that the toughest choice for most would be which refrigerator or range to choose, as these are centerpiece appliances in the kitchen. It’s surprising that the piece that baffles our customers the most is actually the microwave. “Where will it fit and what brand should we choose?” is a question we hear often. 

Meet the microwave drawer

Customers want them off the countertops and even hidden, if possible. When underneath the counters is the only place you can put a microwave, we highly recommend considering a microwave drawer. Out of sight, but not out of mind. Now if you’re looking for a convection microwave, stop here. Microwave drawers do not offer a convection setting. Microwave drawers do, however, offer a lot more, and if you’re not in need of convection, you ought to keep these things in mind before you purchase a microwave. 

Microwave drawers are stylish and fit in very nicely with any design. They make it easier to tend to your food because you don’t have to pull the food out to stir, flip or turn it. Just open the drawer, do what you have to do, and close the drawer again. Plus, a standard countertop microwave can take up a lot of space that could be used for other things. A built-in microwave drawer opens up new kitchen space, while still delivering exceptional performance. 

Another great benefit is that once you are done using it, cleanup is a piece of cake. With some conventional microwaves, it is hard to reach all the areas to wipe them down. With a microwave drawer, the unit opens completely so it is easy to reach and clean. If you visit this link on Houzz.com, you can join in on a conversation with real owners of microwave drawers to see what they are saying about the benefits. 

You will see, a microwave drawer has many benefits versus a conventional microwave. Here are my four favorites. 

Jenn-Air- 24” Under Counter Microwave Oven with Drawer Design 

The Jenn-Air microwave drawer is one of my favorite microwave drawers on the market. At an affordable price and with a beautiful look and ample features, this is one of the best out there. The Jenn-Air microwave drawer also matches nicely with other brands of appliances so you should not overlook it just because your other appliances are not Jenn-Air. This microwave drawer is 1.0 cu. ft and is available only in a 24” width model. 
Jenn-Air 24 inch Microwave Drawer JMD2124WS   

Viking- 24” Undercounter DrawerMicro® Oven VMOD241SS 

The Viking DrawerMicro® Oven has a slim design and sleek style that helps maximize kitchen space and matches other Viking appliances. Just install it under a countertop, in an island, or under a wall oven and no trim kit is required. It has 1 cu. ft. of oven capacity it and is sure to give you maximum functionality in a minimized space. The Viking DrawerMicro oven has a child lock safety feature that locks the control panel to prevent small children from opening or operating it. Viking offers this oven in a 24” Professional Oven with a commercial-type styling and design. Viking 24 inch Undercounter DrawerMicro Oven 

Viking- 24” Undercounter DrawerMicro® Oven VMOD241SS 

 Wolf- 30”Drawer Microwave Oven MWD302FS 

Wolf’s Drawer Microwave Oven can be installed in a standard or flush inset application; meaning it will not extend beyond the cabinetry it is installed into. It is available in a 24” width model as well as a 30″ width model. It can be built-in under counter or because they also offer a 30” wide model it can be placed nicely below a Wolf E Series oven.  The Wolf Drawer Microwave Oven’s control panel also contains a locking feature to prevent unwanted use, (great for young children). 
Wolf Microwave Drawer MWD302FS 

Thermador- 24” Built In MicroDrawer MD24JS 

The newest microwave drawer available is the 24” Built In MicroDrawer® from Thermador. This microwave has plenty of room for your cooking needs, as it has a 1.2 cu. ft. capacity, the largest cavity in the luxury segment. Another feature exclusive to the Thermador MicroDrawer is the perfect flush installation that can blend seamlessly with any standard depth cabinetry, so it does not stick out and it fits in beautifully with your kitchen. The design also includes a hidden vent for even further seamless integration, and a premium glass touch control with blue LCD display. In addition, the microwave has 10 cooking modes included. But overall, if design and perfect integration with your kitchen is one of the most important deciding factors for you, then the Thermador MicroDrawer is a great choice that will give you a completely flush installation. 

Thermador 24" Built In MicrowDrawer MD24JS 

All four of these microwaves drawers are great choices and are my four favorite ones. If you already have appliances from one of these brands in your kitchen, then you may prefer that brand of microwave over the others. However, all four of these microwaves are excellent options and do not necessarily have to be the same brand as the appliances you own. With very similar specs and features, the choice mostly comes down to which microwave drawer you like the look of best. Each microwave has its own unique look and style, so in the end you can decide which your favorite is. 


For more info on any of these microwave drawers, visit www.mrsgs.com or come into the store to test drive one that you fancy.

16 July 2012

Four Favorite Adaptable Kitchen Design Use Tips – Pat Caulfield of The Core of the Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Kitchen Week on Gold Notes! Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS, author of The "Core" of the Kitchen blog, shares her own from-the-field take on aging in place and accessible design today. This is an area I’ve long been interested in and frequently incorporate into my own projects. Pat’s ideas are brilliant and I’m happy to be able to share them with you as part of Gold Notes’ month-long Fourth Anniversary celebration.


At the NeoCon Convention in Chicago this year the focus was on ergonomic design in the workplace. While the term “ergonomic” has been replaced by “adaptability,” there is no question that comfort and ease of use will be in vogue for many years to come. As buying power bends to the Boomers, aging in place and ease of use move front and center in design, especially in the kitchen. Here are just four of my faves from a recent remodel.

Dishwasher dilemma

The open door of a standard dishwasher is approximately 10” off the floor, making loading it like toe touches. This is fine if your back is still supple. By incorporating two dishwasher drawers to the left and right of the main sink, the reach can be greatly reduced, giving your aching back a break.

A pair of dishwashers at an ergonomic height meet this kitchen's clean-up needs

Morning Joe goes ergonomic 

While a built-in coffee maker is a caffeinated dream for some, using lift doors in what was once called an appliance garage transforms this formerly cumbersome space. Hafele offers a streamlined unit complete with a stabilizing bar for a sweet lift. The Strato system allows the door to stop when you let it go – i.e., no flyaways and minimal effort keep everything in its place quietly and comfortably.

A lift door makes an appliance garage more accessible and stylish

Paper towel trick 

By removing a drawer front and bringing up the back wall of the drawer interior, a convenient storage solution becomes highly functional. Routing out the internal sides of the cabinet and installing a spring-loaded holder gave the paper towels a permanent home – right where everyone can easily reach them.

Clever paper towel holder means no one has to lean across a deep countertop ever again

Pet Adaptability

Even our canine companions have aches and pains. In this space a dog-friendly dinner bar was designed to include a self-filling water trough. Bowls are elevated off the floor to a comfortable height of 6” for two large dogs. And yes, I did measure their reach! Dog food was stored to the right in covered bins using a smooth pull-out glide, making it easy for the homeowner to open and close. Toys stored in an open basket kept them from being underfoot and easy to trip over, another human aging in place strategy. 

Even the pet feeder is ergonomic -- and great-looking!

More Images

Here are some more photos of this handsome kitchen Pat designed for one of her clients.  I love 'em so had to share them with you, too!

Photos:  All provided by Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS.


Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS is an Independent Design Consultant working in the fields of kitchen and bath, residential construction, project management, space planning, cabinet manufacturing and custom cabinet design for more than 15 years. 

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