What’s cooking? The microwave decision

Microwave in custom cabinetSince the 70’s, the microwave oven has been an American household staple and for many people it is the primary way that they cook, defrost and reheat food. However, microwaves are not especially attractive so careful planning and placement of this go-to, time saver are key when creating the kitchen of your dreams.

Different types of microwaves are available to complement a variety of kitchen styles so your designer will help you select the placement and walk you through the decision-making process to choose the right unit. What you decide about placement will also affect the type of appliance you choose but, generally, your choices are between setting the microwave on the countertop, mounting it over the range, setting it into cabinetry or having one built-in.

Microwave drawer sampleTo enhance the beauty of the kitchen, many re-modelers are choosing to put the microwave into the island by designing the cabinetry to hold a traditional microwave underneath the countertop or installing a microwave drawer. Although this might be a new concept (and test your sense of tradition) there isn’t a lot of bending involved in using a microwave in the island. Controls for a microwave drawer are easily accessible and, for safety, it makes sense to lift food up a few inches onto your countertop instead of reaching up into a microwave to bring hot foods down toward you before carrying them to a safe landing zone.

If a traditional microwave isn’t for you (but you still want to be able to cook and reheat foods quickly), you have some choices that might work better for your kitchen.

Microwave convection combo ovenConvection/microwave combo ovens are a mix of microwave technology and heat energy, so they can brown, roast and grill. They also have a heating element in addition to a fan that aides in the circulation of hot air. This means that you get the quick, internal heating of microwave technology combined with heat that keeps the outside crispy (or whatever consistency the food should have). A microwave-only unit sometimes makes food soggy or rubbery so you can tell it has been heated that way.

Steam ovenAnother option is to select a steam oven. These can be used to steam, reheat, bake, defrost or to cook so they are extremely versatile. You can even cook rice in them. They take a little longer than a microwave but the condition of the food when it is finished is incredible. If you are reheating leftovers it will be hard to tell that they are leftovers after being heated in a steam oven. Also, because of the many features this appliance offers, you can set the oven and walk away from foods that would traditionally take more effort to create. A steam oven is a wonderful tool and a viable choice for replacing or adding as a companion to a traditional microwave oven. If you are remodeling your kitchen it is worth taking the time to look into the benefits of this type of oven.

call button small croppedWhen planning your kitchen don’t forget to ponder the importance of selecting the right quick-cooking appliance and think about choosing to place it in a convenient location that doesn’t distract from the look of your new kitchen. Perry Newman Design clients get educated on their microwave options and all their appliance selections. Plus, they get someone to walk them through every step of the planning, selection and construction process. Perry Newman Design guides you through your home renovation project from conception, through construction, to completion in less time than you imagine. Call 801.971.0868 today and experience the peace of mind that comes from letting someone else take care of getting all the little details right.

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It’s shocking how much a great electrician can improve your quality of life and the beauty of your home

sample of lighting in kitchen

Sample lighting under cabinets, highlighting shelves and beneath the island counter top.

One benefit of a Perry Newman Design renovation is pesky, little problems with your home that have worried you get fixed and updated as part of the remodel process. Without you needing to research, make calls or hire them fantastic contractors will come improve your home as part of the Perry Newman team. At the end of the project, you will have a list of high-quality professionals to call on to keep your home running in tip-top form. For example, an electrician coming in to work on your project can address problems in the remodeled area and you can say good-bye to issues like:

  • Circuit breakers tripping—This happens because the breakers automatically shut off power to the wires if something goes wrong. Most of the time the fuse or breaker is just doing its job when it trips. It’s designed to turn off if the circuit is attempting to draw more power than is safe so it protects your electrical system from being overloaded. It will also trip if there is a short circuit (meaning electrical current is flowing where it shouldn’t). When too many appliances are turned on at the same time it may cause the breaker to trip. There may also be a wiring problem or an appliance that isn’t grounded properly.
  • Heat generated from lighting fixtures—You may be using the wrong bulb wattage or the wrong kind of bulb. There are newer options for lighting that can eliminate this problem by changing the bulb, updating the wiring or replacing the fixture.
  • Burning odor near plugs or fixtures—The National Fire Protection Association says discolored outlets or a slight burning odor is caused by “arcing, smoldering, burning happening behind your outlets, damaged or improperly installed wiring in the outlet or a problem with the receptacle itself.” If you are experiencing these issues in your home please do not continue to use the outlet. You need an electrician to safely make some upgrades.
  • Buzzing sounds— A buzzing sound in a light can be caused by a short in the lighting circuit or may be a rheostat that is not all the way on or all the way off. Dimmers also tend to buzz more often.
  • Warm light switches—Another issue that sometimes happens with dimmers is the switches getting hot. The more dimmers there are, the more likely this is to happen. It may help to replace plastic trim plates with something metal or there may be a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Sparks from outlets, switches or fixtures— A spark from a plug could damage the outlet or start a fire. If this is something that is happening on a regular basis then stop using the outlet and get a professional in to assess the situation. This might be causes by loose wiring, an overloaded circuit, a defective outlet or a dirty wiring connection.
  • Flickering or blinking lights— Usually, this problem is caused by a poor connection in your electrical system. It may be in an outlet, light or switch box but a poor connection can affect the entire circuit. If several areas are affected at the same time, there may be a problem in the panel, main breaker, meter or with the power company’s lines.
  • Shocks when you touch appliances—Your appliances probably haven’t been grounded properly.
  • Lack of GFCI’s (ground fault circuit interrupters)—These are important because they protect you from shock in areas where water may be present like your kitchen, bathroom, basement or garage.
  • Dead outlets—Sometimes outlets literally burn out. A fire or a flare or surge can cause an outlet to stop working. There may be discoloration around the outlet when this happens. If you have an outlet that is not working then do not plug things into it or into the connected outlet. The problem needs to be identified and it needs to be replaced.

call button small croppedYour electric system isn’t a glamorous part of your home but planning for and installing proper wiring, panels and outlets can help your home elevate your quality of life. Lighting can be dramatic, functional or elegant as part of the overall design of your renovation but it is also important to make sure that unseen systems in your home are properly installed and maintained. The service of professional electrician’s is part of the Perry Newman Design remodeling experience. You’ll sleep great in your designer home knowing that even behind the freshly painted walls, everything looks great and is in working order.

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Three steps to purchasing the best appliances

 

call button small croppedAppliances are tools to make life more pleasurable and give people time to do the things that are most important to them. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for which appliance package is best but by doing some research, a little leg work and being savvy during negotiations appliance shoppers should be able to find the right fit.

  1. Sample of Wolf appliances

    Sample appliances made by Wolf.

    Research

  • A great way to start figuring out which appliances will be best for your situation is to figure out your personal preferences. Go online and do a search for appliances so you can see different options. Start a list of things that impress you. Consider the look and finish, consider features that would improve your lifestyle and make your everyday chores easier. Jot down brands that have impressed you or worked well for you in the past. Be sure to look at the project page at perrynewmandesign.com to see what has worked for recent clients.
  • Once you have a list of things you like, consider subscribing to a service like consumerreports.org (which will give you reviews of products and let you compare to choose the appliances that are right for you). The cost is less than seven dollars for one month and that gives you time to research and know which options perform the best.
  • Choose the three top options you find and print out information about each of them.

2. Legwork

Sample of Aga appliances

Sample of Aga brand range.

  • It’s time to go window shopping! Do an online search to find local stores that sell the brands you are leaning toward. Try to think beyond big, box stores and consider smaller dealers as well.
  • Go see the appliances in person and thoroughly examine the machines, see how they look and feel and function. Ask about different handles, upgrades and other options. During this process, you will start to know what you like and will work best for you.
  • Ask about pricing and make notes on your printed information.

3. Negotiation

Sample Miele appliances

Sample of Miele brand appliances.

  • When you feel confident you have narrowed down the options to what will work for you, it’s time to find the best price and negotiate. Check online, check what the big, box stores advertise and talk to your local dealer so you are confident you know what a good price for your selection will be.
  • Look for sales and ask if there are rebates, package bonuses or other incentives. Use that information to find where you can get the best price and most value on the appliances you have selected.
  • Make sure you are aware of warranties and how the appliances should be serviced.
  • Once you have done all of this, purchase your appliances and decide that you will love your choices.
Sample Wolf appliances

Sample of Wolf brand appliances.

By following these steps appliance shoppers will make educated and informed selections, acquiring appliances that will meet their needs for many years. Since there is such variety in types of appliances and needs of consumers, it helps to have an experienced professional lead you through your selections. Appliance selection is part of the Perry Newman Design renovation experience and we are happy to lead you through these steps to the best possible outcome for your project. Simply give us a call at 801.971.0868 or fill out the form on our contact page to get started with a complementary, in-home consultation.

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Answer 7 quick questions to figure out which cooktop is right for you.

Your kitchen is more than a living space, it’s a tool! Selecting equipment that meets all of your needs and fits your decor is an essential part of a kitchen renovation. If you purchase a cooktop or range that is reliable, beautiful and fits your style of cooking then you will enjoy working and playing chef in your new kitchen for years to come. Here are seven questions to ask yourself that will help you figure out which appliance is right for you:

  • Which statement best applies to your needs for cleaning your cooktop?
    1. I need to be able to quickly wipe down the cooktop immediately after cooking.
    2. I can clean my cooktop elements as part of my normal household routine.
    3. I don’t have to scrub the cooktop immediately but having a smooth surface is important to me.
  • Which statement best describes the look you want a cooktop to have?
    1. I like a cooktop that is sleek and almost not there.
    2. I like a cooktop that looks professional and makes a statement.
    3. I like a cooktop that is smooth but shows where the units are located.
  • Which statement best describes your need for heat, control and speed?
    1. I want instant heat and water to boil as fast as possible. When I lower or increase the heat, I want to see the results of the change happen immediately.
    2. I want water to boil in a reasonable amount of time and I want to be able to control the level of heat and see the changes happen quickly.
    3. I want water to boil in a reasonable amount of time and I don’t mind if it takes a little while to see a change in temperature when I make an adjustment.
  • Which statement best describes your feelings about cookware?
    1. I do not mind buying new cookware if it will help my cooktop perform its best.
    2. I want to use the cookware I have and I am not worried about open flame touching my cookware. I also like to use a wok or griddle on my cooktop.
    3. I want to use the cookware I have and it has good, flat bottoms that will conduct heat well.
  • Which statement best describes your feelings about the price of your cooktop?
    1. I do not mind paying more to get an appliance I will love.
    2. I want to have a variety of price levels to choose from that offer my cooktop technology.
    3. Price is the most important factor for me.
  • Which statement best describes your feelings about cooktop safety?
    1. I do not want my cooktop to heat up. I am concerned about people touching a hot surface. I don’t like to have flames where I am cooking.
    2. I am not worried about cooking with flames or having heat involved in my cooking.
    3. I am not worried about the surface of my cooktop being hot but I am concerned about possible effects from creating a magnetic field.
  • Which statement best describes how you want to power your cooktop?
    1. It does not bother me if my cooktop will not work when the power is out.
    2. I need a cooktop that will work, even when the power is out.
    3. It does not bother me if my cooktop will not work when the power is out.

Count up your answers (1, 2 and 3) and read the information below to help you figure out which cooktop is right for you. Remember that the professionals at Perry Newman Design are always happy to help clients select appliances that fit their life, cooking style and budget. Assisting with selections is just part of the Perry Newman Design experience.

cooktop induction01

  1. Induction: Since the heat is generated by magnets, when you turn off the unit is quickly cool to the touch and the smooth surface makes it easy to clean immediately. Food does not get cooked onto the surface of the appliance because it is not heated. Induction cooktops come as cooktops or as part of a range unit with an oven. They come in a variety of sizes and with different options. They can be mounted flush so they blend into your countertop flawlessly or they can be mounted on top with a nice transition piece. The heat for this type of appliance comes from creating a magnetic field so the heat is instant and changes happen rapidly as you adjust the settings. You will, probably, need to purchase new cookware if you choose an induction appliance. There are pots and pans that are designed to conduct and work best with this technology. Induction ranges have been in use for decades but, while popular in other parts of the world, have recently made a resurgence in the United States. You will pay more to purchase an induction appliance than a gas or ceramic-topped unit (even though both the induction and ceramic/glass appliances are electric). The top of this cooktop doesn’t really heat up. You can put a paper towel between the unit and the pan you are using, then boil water or cook in it and it will not burn the paper towel. You can also touch the top of the appliance right after you turn it off. Parents of young children find this feature very enticing because this kind of cooktop has the least chance of causing burns. Some people have expressed concern that there is a health risk posed by the electromagnetic field created for cooking but studies have not found that to pose a threat. This is an electric appliance so it will not work if the power is out.cooktop gas03
  2. Gas: It isn’t hard to keep a gas cooktop clean but there are elements of the cooktop that protrude and need to be taken apart so keeping it clean takes longer than with a smooth surface. You also need to wait until the appliance is no longer hot to be able to clean it. Gas appliances come in many sizes and shapes and can be a cooktop or part of a range unit. Depending on the brand, the knobs and lights on the unit can make a design statement. Since the elements have multiple component’s, these stovetops stand out and some people buy particular brands of gas cooktops because they look like appliances professional chef’s use. The heat on this appliance is created by flame so it takes a little while for the heat to boil water but you can see the flame adjust as you use the controls and, once the cookware is heated, the adjustments quickly affect what you are cooking. You can use specialty cookware like a wok or cast iron griddle on a gas range. Gas cooking appliances come in a wide variety of types and prices. You have many options with this very popular type of device. Please consider that this kind of unit runs on gas so you will be paying for gas instead of power to run your appliance. A gas appliance means that you are cooking with flames and that can pose a risk of burns. It also means that the unit will function normally even if the power is out.cooktop ceramic02
  3. Ceramic/glass, smooth top: The heat units on this type of appliance stay hot for a little while after cooking, but once it cools, it is easy to wipe clean because the surface is smooth. Food is more likely to burn onto the surface of this type of appliance than the induction because heat is generated. Ceramic or glass stovetops look smooth and are easy to use. They come in many different sizes and with different options. This type of appliance heats well and gives you good control of temperature but changes take a little bit longer than with the other types of cooktops because heat from the flat surface has to transfer to the pan. Once your cookware is heated, you have good control over adjustments. This type of electric appliance is the most cost effective. The surface of this type of cooktop heats up and stays hot for a little while after you are finished cooking. This is an electric appliance so it will not work if the power is out.
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