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)


  1. When I remodeled my kitchen, the thing I studied most carefully was countertop options. The one thing I was not going to compromise on for the sake of the budget was countertop. I chose engineered stone, and it is fabulous! (Curious, though - why won't it work outside?)

  2. It's not warrantied for outdoor use because of possible sun effects on the resin content.


Found Gold: Popular Posts from the Past!

Don't miss out on any gold -- subscribe by email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner