Thursday, 27 November 2008

Freshen Up Your Kitchen

So you're selling your home and you've read all the books on staging and how to effectively get your home ready for showing. Once of the simplest things that many people overlook is cleaning. Their home may be tidy and staged beautifully, but is it clean? There is nothing like a truly clean home to eliminate any unwanted odors and leave a home smelling fresh and new.

Some of the worst offenders come from our appliances that we used every day. Baked on foods or lingering odors get absorbed into the walls of our refrigerator, countertops and other surfaces, and before you know it we're spending money on fragrance laden air fresheners to try and mask the smells.

Implement this list of cleaning tips to extend the life of your appliances and freshen up your kitchen for your next open house.

Coffee Maker - Start by cleaning your coffee pot either in the sink or dishwasher (depending on manufacturer's instructions). Pour equal parts of water and vinegar into the tank and run it through a couple times. If you have a build up of mineral deposits in your water, run about 2 cups through, unplug and let it sit for an hour. Turn the unit back on and let it run through. You may have to repeat the rinse a couple more times with plain water to get rid of any leftover vinegar or sediment.

Wipe down the outside of the unit with a combination of water and baking soda.

Coffee Grinder - Use a soft brush to wipe out any coffee grains. Place pieces of bread inside and grind. This does a great job of cleaning under the blades - brush again.

Stand-Up Electric Mixer - Wipe it off with dish soap and warm water and wipe after every use.

Toaster - Unplug before cleaning. Although you may be tempted, never use metal tools or knives to recover scraps. Not only could you be electrocuted if the unit was on, but it is very easy to bend the internal metal pieces.

Remove lower tray wipe with a damp cloth and mild dish soap, (use a cleaner free of ammonia for chrome surfaces), and turn upside down, shaking gently.

Toaster oven - Remove racks and clean with warm, soapy water. Never use an abrasive scrubber or steel wool on any surface with a nonstick surface. Clean the outside with a nonabrasive liquid cleaner since most toasters have plastic or painted metal exteriors.

Refrigerator - Wipe down with water and mild dish soap or two tablespoons baking soda for every quart of warm water. Loosen any hardened spills by saturating them with a damp sponge until they break away. Toothbrushes are good for getting into small places. Never use bleach or ammonia.

If you use an open box of baking soda to absorb odors in your fridge, it only traps them; make sure to replace the box regularly. Refrain from using any scented odor-control products as the fragrance becomes absorbed into the plastic. To mask odors, place a small dish of vanilla extract in the fridge.

Your fridge stays cool by removing the heat from the air inside and releasing it through condenser coils. If they get covered with dust, it acts as an insulation and prevents them from doing their job. Keep them clean by vacuuming with a long handled wand or dusting brush. If you have pets, your refrigerator coils may need to be cleaned more often.

Freezer - Sometimes in side-by-side refrigerator-freezers ice may build up and block the defrost drain tube. If you can see this hole, squirt in a mixture of one teaspoon baking soda and two cups hot water (a turkey baster works great for this). If this doesn't work, you may have to set up a service call.

Manual defrost: Never try to pick or pry the ice away for fear of damaging the surface. Simply turn off the freezer and let nature take its course. Store any food in an alternate freezer. Wipe clean with warm, soapy water.

Oven: Don't wait until your oven starts smoking to give it a good cleaning. Wash the racks by hand, unless your manual advises they are dishwasher safe. Try using this home made cleaner before resorting to the more toxic versions:

Plug holes to the broiler with aluminum foil (don't forget to remove after cleaning)

Combine one-quarter cup salt, three-quarters cup baking soda, and one-quarter cup water, and stir into a paste. Brush on, but avoid any bare parts as salt corrodes metal. Leave overnight, remove with a solid spatula and wipe with paper towels. Use a nylon scrubber for any remaining stubborn spots.

Doors should be cleaned with nonabrasive cleaners and control panels wiped with a barely damp cloth (never wet).

Stove: For electric burners, wipe off when they are cold. If stubborn food residue still remains, turn on the fan, turn burners to high and burn off the excess.

Glass Cooktops: Never use harsh cleaners or scrubbies that will scratch the surface. Use only a cloth safe for non-stick surfaces. Wherever possible, wipe spills when they are warm. For burned on residue, use the cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. For heavy stains, carefully scrape off with a single edge razor blade with a plastic handle.

Microwave Ovens: Nothing is worse than opening a door to a microwave and getting hit in the face with odors from the last two weeks worth of cooking. Start by wiping out the interior with warm soapy water and rinsing with plain water. For heavier jobs, combine two tablespoons baking soda in one quart of water, heat on high for three minutes and let stand for another five minutes with the door closed. Wipe clean. If the odors are still there, leave the door open for a few hours. If that doesn't work, stir six tablespoons baking soda or one-half cup lemon juice into a cup of water and heat on high for three minutes. Leave the door open for a few hours.

By: Melanie Speed

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

5 Easy Ways to Install a New Kitchen Sink

First Step - You have to place the sink upside down in the desired location on the countertop. The sink should be parallel to the counter's edge and far enough back to clear the overhang and the face of the underlying cabinet. Make sure that, once installed, the sink will not interfere with the existing cabinet or counter support structure. You need to do this to know the measurements on it.

Second Step - Now the tracing begins, using a pencil, accurately mark the location of the sink on the countertop. Then, remove the sink and draw another set of lines 3/8" inside the first set. Measure to ensure that your lines are parallel with the front of the counter. Next, the inside lines you've drawn are the cut lines for the hole into which the sink will be placed. The edges of the sink will overlap the edges of the hole to the outside set of lines. Carefully draw and check these lines to make sure the edges of the sink will completely cover the hole all the way around before proceeding.

Third Step - Now the drilling is next, drill a 1/4" hole approximately 1" inside the cut line. Enlarge the hole with a 1/2" bit. Place masking tape on the heel of the jigsaw to prevent scratching the countertop. Insert the jigsaw blade into the hole and carefully cut out the sink hole while remaining just inside the lines. Be careful to cut the corners exactly as marked, and don't allow the blade to wander outside of the cut line. Insert the sink into the hole in the countertop to test the fit. The thing with it is you need to know if its fits, sometimes some kitchen sink are heavy so you to know if you are on the right path.

Fourth Step - Now, to prevent injuries to yourself or damage to the sink or counter, be sure to have someone help you lift the sink. After testing the fit, remove the sink. Make adjustments to the hole if necessary. Now, insert the sink into the hole. To prevent smearing the sealant, you can grasp by the drain holes or the center structure. Align the sink carefully and press down to seat the sink in the sealant. In that way the kitchen sink will be safe in way.

Fifth Step - This is the last step so be easy, from under the counter, fasten the sink in place by tightening the clips. Be sure to bend the ends of the clips away from the rim. The clips will pull the sink tight against the countertop. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess sealant from the countertop around the sink. Allow the sealant to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Connect the water supply and drain lines. And alas you have successfully installed a brand new kitchen sink, without any trouble whatsoever.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Use a Proper Kitchen Tile Design For Your Kitchen

Would you love the tiles of your study room to be messy and look separate from the rest of the study? Nobody in their right senses would like that. The housewife spends a considerable amount of her time in the kitchen preparing various delicacies for you and your family. Hence it is reasonable that the kitchen tile design of her domain should be pleasing and should provide her with comfort as long as she is in the cooking room. Properly selected tiles should merge themselves with the kitchen and should not be loud. When you go for selecting tiles that will be used to cover the walls of your kitchen, it is best that you take your wife along, for it is she who has to spend the maximum number of hours in the kitchen.

Selecting tiles for the kitchen is very difficult. Kitchens are not like all other rooms and certain parts of their walls, especially those that are near the over and burners will be subjected to a lot of heat. Hence one needs to select tiles that can withstand heat without expanding too much. Then there are the porosity factors. Regardless of the exhaust and the chimney that you use in your kitchen, there will be oil fumes and they will eventually deposit themselves on top of the tiles. In these cases properly selected tiles help a lot. They will ensure that you do not have problems while cleaning your kitchen tiles. You should know that the walls of your kitchen are probably the ones that take the maximum abuse.

Spill over spill outs adhere themselves on the walls and unless the tiles are stain-resistance, you shall be facing a tough time cleaning them. Do not use a single color for the tiles of your kitchen. Mix them up judiciously so that they brighten up the environment of the kitchen. There are many different types of tiles that are available for the kitchen and they come in various colors. Visit more than one shop to ensure that you can get the best tile available for your kitchen. If you have problems understanding the type of tiles required in the kitchen, just take a glance through many illustrated books on kitchens. They will help you have an idea about the type of tiles that you can use.

There are some tiles that are chemically inert and these are recommended for use in your kitchen. Use a combination of colors that gel with the floor of your kitchen and also the ovens and other equipments you have in your kitchen. If all of this is confusing you, why not consult an interior designer? They might charge some consultation fee, but their expertise will assure that the kitchen tile design that you select for your kitchen is soothing to the eye and will help to lift your spirits during your sojourns to the kitchen. You could also use some decorative tiles to brighten up your kitchen.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

There is No Such Thing As a Free Kitchen Design - Here's Why

Many kitchen cabinet suppliers offer "free kitchen design" when you purchase a kitchen cabinets. They actually expect consumers to believe that they are getting something for nothing. So let me ask you this: When was the last time you received anything of any real value absolutely free? The truth is you are paying for your free kitchen design whether you choose to believe it or not.

Those of us in the industry know full well how long it takes to measure, engineer and produce complete drawings for a typical kitchen project. So how can this be done for free? It can't. The cost of the numerous hours required to do this work is typically buried in the price of the cabinetry. Due to the tedious and time consuming nature of this work the cost must recouped somehow.

If this idea is objectionable to you as a consumer and you insist on free kitchen design services here is how to go about it.

First you will need to accurately measure the kitchen area. Next you need to determine exactly which kitchen cabinet manufacturer you would like to build your new cabinetry. Then you will need a copy of their latest catalog so you can begin the process of deciding exactly which units will comprise your kitchen design. Many cabinet manufacturers will not sell direct to end users so you will need a bit of luck here.

You will also need to begin the process of drawing floor plans and elevations using some form of CAD based drawing software. It is necessary to include any construction and specific cabinetry installation drawings with your order. These kitchen designs are the road map for your new kitchen and must be extremely accurate. Hand drawings are too messy and not accurate enough.

Once you have this information on paper you will have to develop a complete list of all the parts and pieces that need to be ordered from your chosen manufacturer. Appliance panel sizes, molding linear foot calculations along with proper door swing and finished end selections must all be correct.

This can be tedious work but it is vitally important all items are ordered correctly and nothing is missing from the order. Imagine the construction headaches if one crucial piece is missing and not available for another 3 - 4 weeks once construction has begun.

With this list in hand you are now ready to approach various local suppliers who offer the particular brand of cabinetry you have selected and ask them for their best price. Be certain to point out that you expect there to be no design fees or additional charges of any kind and that you are willing to accept all responsibility for everything fitting and working in your new kitchen. You should also offer to guarantee to the supplier that you will accurately fill out any order forms required by the manufacturer and accept responsibility for all mistakes.

Also point out that you will be picking the cabinetry up from the kitchen dealer once it arrives from the factory rather than paying for delivery. Don't forget to inform the cabinet dealer you will accept all responsibility for any items damaged during delivery.

If you are concerned about your ability to perform all of the tasks outlined here in search of your free kitchen design then you may want to consider the value in paying a professional. You will receive the benefit of their years of experience and also not have the added burden of accepting responsibility should problems arise.

Remember, nothing is free in this world. If you want your kitchen done right hire a professional and be happy with the piece of mind you have purchased.

Visit today and sign up for your free 36 page e book The Designers Toolkit - Kitchen Design Help! We are the best online source for kitchen and bathroom plans and drawings.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Kitchen Remodeling Safety Tips

If you plan on remodeling your kitchen, you may be considering hiring a contractor for the project. On the other hand, you may plan on taking on the job yourself. That's fine, many people choose to remodel their kitchens themselves. You'll have more control over the remodeling project, and will most likely save yourself some money. One thing you should keep in mind though when you remodel your kitchen is the chance of accidents and/or injuries. It can happen, but by following certain safety tips, the chance of injury to yourself or others is minimized.

One of the primary dangers of a remodeling project is tools. Whatever project you're working on, whether replacing the kitchen lights, kitchen cabinets, or the flooring, you will most likely be using tools which could possibly cause injuries if used improperly. Because of the risk of injury, it's important that you know the tools that you'll be using, and that you know how to use them properly. Chances are, you've used most of your tools before, and you know their proper use. But there's a chance you may be using something unfamiliar. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the tools that you do not know how to use. This will not only help you to finish your project more quickly and efficiently, but it will also reduce the risk of injury.

You also need to know your physical limits. Know how much you can lift safely. If you try to lift something too heavy, you run the risk of back injury. If you need assistance in lifting something, don't hesitate to ask someone for some help. You also need to keep in mind your ability to work. You'll probably want to finish your remodeling project as soon as you can, but you shouldn't try to push yourself. If you get tired, then you should take a break. If you try to work when you're too tired, you risk making mistakes on your project, and also your safety. So, don't be afraid to take a break for a while, your project will still be there when you get back.

Be aware of your surroundings while you're remodeling. Know who else is in the kitchen. If you're remodeling with the help of a friend or relative, you should know where they are at all times. You don't want to be tripping over them, or injuring them because of carelessness. You should also keep an eye on anyone who may enter the kitchen. If you have young children, it is a good idea to block the entrance to the kitchen, to keep them from entering, and possibly getting injured. Speaking of young children, you never want to leave your tools laying around unattended. Children may pick them up, and possibly injure themselves.

The best tip, as far as safety, is to use your common sense when you take on a remodeling project. Listen to your body. If you feel that you're tired, or need a break, then take one. Not only will it keep you and anyone working with you safe, it will help to ensure quality work on the project.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Design Your Dream Kitchen

You've probably been fantasizing about redecorating your kitchen for a while. It's tempting to run right out and start buying items, but planning and organizing your ideas are important steps of the design process that you should not neglect.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Start collecting some photos. Clip pictures from magazines, or print out pictures from the Internet. Keep your photos together. Put them in a notebook, folder, or binder. This way, you can refer to them easily later with anyone helping you, including your contractor. If you have access to the Internet, check out the website for a home improvement or appliance store. You may be even able to find free planning resources such as 3-D layout software.

Decide on an objective and define your goals. Do you want a cozy, comfortable place for friends and family to gather and hang out? Do you need a modern, updated look that will help to increase your home's resale value? Perhaps you have special needs such as having space for more than one cook, or a separate sanitary area for preparing medications or baby formula.

Of course, you will need to keep your budget in mind. Be realistic. There are items you truly need, such as childproof cabinet fixtures, and nonessential items you may want, such as granite countertops. Make a list, and then do some research on prices of the items on your list. How much will the "must haves" cost? What can you live without, and can you afford it, or should you cross it off? Some home improvement stores will have handy worksheets for you to use for planning your expenses.

How soon do you need the project completed? Keep in mind your family's calendar of events, and make sure remodeling doesn't conflict with people come to visit, or any special occasions that will be held in your home. Will you need to bring in outside help? Let them know your schedule as well, and make sure they can commit to it. Interview contractors and remodelers early enough to get an accurate estimate of how long it will take.

Talk to everyone involved and see what their thoughts are. Make sure everyone is aware of the budget and goals. Talk to friends who have redecorated before. They may be especially helpful when recommending professionals to hire.

The three biggest things to change in a new kitchen are the cabinets, flooring, and the appliances. Refacing the cabinets can give the kitchen a whole new look. When you think about flooring, consider whether your kitchen will be a high traffic area. He served the function works for you, as well as the style.

By now, you're probably ready to start flipping through books and magazines, or searching store websites. Keeping track of your design ideas, and the progress you've made, will help you keep track of changes along the way. The right approach will soon turn your kitchen into a welcoming, new environment.