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August 10, 2014 / Ann Porter

Top Loaders vs Front Loaders

Would you believe the market share between top loaders and front loaders is almost even? If you are considering a new machine, how do you decided?

 

Front Load Washer Advantages | KitchAnn StyleFront Loader Advantages

Washing machines have become as much about energy and water savings as they are about washing clothes.

Front load machines have a larger capacity (3.8 cubic foot versus 2.5), use much less water (40 gallons to an average 10-18 in a front load) and half the electricity as well than traditional top loaders. They are also gentler on clothing. While new High Efficiency (HE) Top Loaders do not have an agitator and have more capacity, many believe (myself included) they do not clean as well.

Another benefit of front loaders is the added Steam Cycle. These washers have a built-in water heater which raises the water temperature hot enough to kill 99.9 % of germs and bacteria in your wash when you select the sanitize or allergy wash. Washers with a steam cycle offer quick ways to refresh your clothing similar to a steam dryer.

The larger capacity of a front loader means not only being able to wash fewer loads but also being able to wash bulky items like bedspreads and curtains. I’ve never washed curtains but I once ruined a comforter that was sliced open by the top of the wash drum as it was agitated in the wash cycle.

Top Loader Advantages

Top Load Washer Advantages | KitchAnn StyleWithout a doubt, the number one advantage of a top loader is being able to add items after the wash cycle has started. Conversely, you can also stop a load should you need to and hunt for items (or electronics) that may have been left in pockets.

When initial price matters most, top loaders win hands down. Combined with an uncomplicated control panel, top loaders are the preferred washing machines for rental units and short-term living situations.

Not having to bend over as much to get clothes in and out is also a major advantage. While manufacturers do offer pedestals, some dislike the added expense and feel they are place the top of the machine too high.

Shorter wash cycle time is another advantage of top loaders. Front load machines average a 30 minute longer wash cycle.

Traditional top loaders use conventional detergent but can use concentrated HE detergent – in smaller amounts.

Front Loader Disadvantages

A major problem with front loaders is that water left standing in the gasket can cause mildew to grow. You should wipe the gasket out after each use. If you still have a musty odor, try running vinegar and baking soda in an empty wash once a month. It’s also best to keep the door open when not in use for air circulation.

Front load machines spin at a higher rpm than top loaders; this is great for removing water and reducing drying time but it also can cause noisy vibrations. Newer machines have better shock absorption technology and some machines now come with a vibration guarantee. However, if you are installing a front load washer on a second floor you may need to add a washer pad or hire a contractor to beef up the subfloor.

Some front load washers are only offered left hinged. This could be very inconvenient depending upon the layout of your laundry room. Always check for a reversible door hinge if your washer placement is on the right.

Top Loader Disadvantages

As I mentioned earlier, top loaders do not clean as well as front loaders and they require more water to cover all the clothes in the drum. Some of the money saved on the washing machine is eventually lost in utility bills – especially if you have to wash an item twice.

These machines also don’t do as good a job as front loaders removing water in the spin cycle. This will mean longer drying times and higher utility bills.

Font load machines can’t be stacked. If you are moving to a new location with a smaller laundry area, you will have to purchase a new set instead of taking your machines with you.

The smaller drum capacity is a disadvantage for top loaders. Washers with agitators offer even less capacity and are harsher on clothing. If you want to clean a comforter, you’ll have to schlep it to the cleaner’s.

Double laundry | KitchAnn Style

 

Conclusion:

Families tend to prefer top loaders for their ergonomic design, large capacities, shorter wash cycles and generally lower price points while couples and singles generally prefer front loaders for their water and energy efficiencies, compact size and ability to stack them when space is tight.

Where do you stand? What will your next washer be?

July 27, 2014 / Ann Porter

Forget the Keys

Forget fumbling with keys. And, unlike locks with RF chips that make you swipe or tap for entry, this lock from August works with Bluetooth LE to detect your presence.

August, the brainchild of Yves Behar, whose work with famed partners Herman-Miller, Soda Stream and Jawbone to name a few; and Jason Johnson, a Silicon Valley technologist and entrepreneur; consists of an attractive smart lock device that installs on the interior side of existing deadbolts paired with a mobile app that allows authorized users to access  the property.

August Smart Lock |KitchAnn Syle

If your phone is typically dead at the end of a day, you’ll be glad to know that the existing deadbolt can still be unlocked with a physical key, and the lock can still be opened and closed by hand from the inside.

The August runs of 4 AA batteries so it continues to work even when the power goes out.

August Smart Lock |Kitchen Studio of Naples

 

The lock comes with both a mobile app and a web app, so it can be used with all Bluetooth-LE-enabled iOS and Android smartphones. You can grant keyless access to friends, family and visitors by inviting them through the app.

You can grant keyless access to friends, family and visitors by inviting them through the accompanying app. You can also customize which days a person has access to your home, even during which hours, and revoke access whenever needed.

You can further customize what days a person has access to your home, even during what hours, and revoke access whenever needed. The app also logs the time and date each user enters and exits through the door. This level of detail is handy especially when it comes to managing hired workers like dog-walkers, cleaning companies or service technicians. You are able to see whether they showed up on time, and how long they actually stayed in your house.

August Smart Lock |KitchAnn Syle

 

If you are worried about the security of the lock or if you lose your phone, the August team has set up a way to lock the app and wipe all virtual keys. The lock is also encrypted, making it more difficult to hack. According to Johnson, the locks do not associate with specific addresses, so it is nearly impossible to associate a digital key with a specific door, should somebody else gain access to your phone.

August Smart Lock |KitchAnn Syle

As for the social aspect, the August app also includes a Guestbook function, which lets people leave comments and photos for their guests or hosts. This could be especially useful if you’ve listed a room or apartment on Airbnb. As soon as somebody enters your home, the app can send them a welcome greeting with some tips on the house and neighborhood. Guests can also leave  “Thank You” notes through the app.

Currently, the August is available for pre-order for $199. It was originally slated to ship in early 2014 but no updates have been given. It looks as though orders are strong as new orders today are scheduled for the second production run.

 

 

July 20, 2014 / Ann Porter

Barbeque Sculpture

This BBQ from French Manufacturer Cesarré is so stunning, it will make you pause. It’s such a beautiful sculptural work of art, who wouldn’t want one?

Cesarre Kara Barbecue | KitchAnn Style

Called the Kara, this barbeque is finished in powder-coated steel. The Kara grill is 180 cm or 70.875″ high, 200 cm or 78.75″ wide and 110 cm or 42.25″ deep. The grilling area is 50 cm x 50 cm or just slightly over 2.5 square feet.

Cesarre Kara Detail | KitchAnn Style

Cesarre Kara Coals | KitchAnn Style

While this grill is not for the serious barbeque chef who likes to cook in large quantities, it is also very likely to be too nice for the average patio. This grill is a luxury item and comes with a luxury price tag of €5,400 ($7,303.00).

Cesarre Kara Barbecue | KitchAnn Style

 

 

July 13, 2014 / Ann Porter

Cable Organization Hacks

Charging drawer | Kitchen Studio of NaplesIf you don’t have one of these charging drawers in our home office or kitchen you probably have to deal with a lot of cables sitting around.

The biggest problem with loose cables is that they are tend to move around, get tangled and mixed up at times. If you mix up the charger intended with for your tablet with on meant for a cell phone if will not draw as much amperage and it will take a lot longer to charge.

Fortunately, there are some easy fixes for keeping your cables organized and this little DIY project is very affordable since you might have some of these items already on hand.

 

The Binder Clip

kitchann_style_get_organized_iphone

apple charging cable with binder clip |KitchAnn Style

Clamping a binder clip to the edge of a table or shelf is a super quick and easy way to organize your charging cables. There are no holes to be drilled and they can be adjusted at any time.

Pen Holder

Clip pen holder | KitchAnn Style
My favorite postal station used to use this to keep a pen handy for customers signatures. A great alternative use is for keeping cables and chargers organized and in place. This type of holder comes with either a magnetic or adhesive back.

LEGO Characters

LEGO Minifig Cable Holder| KitchAnn Style

If you are an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) then this cable hack perfect reason for having LEGO figures at work.

LEGO Minifigure Cord Holder| KitchAnn Style
The hands on LEGO Minifigures are the perfect size for holding the cables for your cellphone or tablet devices. Thicker cables such as the charger for a MacBook Pro will expand the hands of your figures but it should hold.

LEGO Minifig Cable Stay| KitchAnn Style

Sugru, a self-setting silicone rubber, seems to be a favorite choice for mounting the LEGO Minifigures.

LEGO Minifig Charger Holder| KitchAnn Style

As with most hacks, you don’t want to use a rare collectible. (20 rare and really expensive LEGO minifigures)

LEGO Minifig Grommet Cable Holder| KitchAnn Style
This hole is fairly small but I like the idea of the standing LEGO for keeping charging cables from slipping through bigger grommet openings in desks – plus you can see your cute desk buddy more easily.

LEGO Minifig Cable Holder| KitchAnn Style

I’ve always credited playing with LEGO blocks as the start to my interest in Interior Design and Architecture. I still love them and find it hard to keep my hands off when I help the nieces and nephew put together their sets.

More LEGO Creations

As I was searching for pictures to use in this post I can across some ideas from other Creatives. Here’s two of my favorites.

More lego blocks for work | KitchAnn Style

More lego blocks for work | KitchAnn Style

Have a Creative Week!

 

July 9, 2014 / Ann Porter

Rustic Plank Inspiration

Using rustic planks can be a great DIY, low-budget way to make a room have more visual appeal. I’ve put together a collection of photos from the web to serve as inspiration.

Rustic ceiling idea | KitchAnn Style

This simple hallway goes from ho-hum to cottage chic with textured  planks on the ceiling.

Stair wall inspiration |KitchAnn Style

These stairs would look so boring and plain without the plank façade.

Modern Fireplace Rustic plank inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This modern look is kept from looking sterile by using wooden planks for the fireplace surround.

Rustic Reading Nook idea |KitchAnn Style

Using coordinating paint is a great way to save on material for this reading nook.

 

Rustic barn door inspiration | KitchAnn Style

Mixing unexpected materials such as marble with rustic planks makes a room more appealing.

 

Rustic wood kitchen inspiration| KitchAnn Style

Milling reclaimed planks into countertops will add lots of personality to a kitchen.

Rustic plank fireplace idea|KitchAnn Style

Facing an existing wall with wood planks in a great DIY project.

Outdoor Ideas for Rustic planks  |KitchAnn Style

Here’s a great use of reclaimed planks for just outside your door.

Rustic plank bathroom wall idea |KitchAnn Style

Consider running planks vertically on a wall for a an updated feel.

Rustic plank shelving idea |KitchAnn Style

Sometimes a small accent is best used.

 

Rustic flooring idea | KitchAnn Style

I just loved this picture and wanted to throw it in. Keeping colors in mind is so important to themed décor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2014 / Ann Porter

The Reveal Collection from Plyboo

The Reveal Collection from Plyboo, manufactured by Smith and Fong Co., is a series of carved and textured panels constructed of bamboo. When carved, the grain of the inner layers are revealed, creating a play on shapes and grain pattern.

Plyboo Reveal | KitchAnn Style

Additionally, Plyboo bamboo is 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified, as the material comes from well-managed forests, and the final product is manufactured without the use of formaldehyde, (no VOC’s) making it an eco-friendly choice for the home.

This artistic collection is available in 8 different patterns and color options. Sheet sizes are 4’x8′ X 3/4″ thick and available pre finished or unfinished. Reveal panels are fabricated in the USA with domestic and foreign components.

“Reveal is one of the most visually dynamic products we’ve ever introduced, It’s ideal for modern retail, hospitality and commercial projects that seek a cutting-edge design with a warm, natural look.” – Angus Stocks, president

If you are not familiar with the many offerings in the Plyboo Family, you may want to also check out PlybooSound, a collection of carved acoustical bamboo panels.

PlybooSound acoustical panels with QuietWall™ technology helps to reduce ambient noise and are great for large open spaces. These panels are so pretty you may just want to use them for their looks and get the added bonus of sound dampening.

PlybooSound |KitchAnn Style

About Smith and Fong:

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in San Francisco, Smith & Fong Co. was the first U.S. company to manufacture bamboo flooring for sale in North America, offering its initial product under the brand name Plyboo in 1993. In 1996 the firm began producing bamboo plywood, followed by coconut palm flooring and plywood products in 2000. Today, the company’s product range is distributed and sold throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Middle East.

carved bamboo credenza cabinet| Kitchann Style

 

July 4, 2014 / Ann Porter

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July from KitchAnn Style

 

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. – President Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

June 29, 2014 / Ann Porter

GE’s New Micro-Kitchen Concepts

There seems to be ever growing interest in Small Living these days. Whether it’s due to pure necessity for tiny apartment dwellers and mobile home owners, a desire to live more sustainably, or for spiritual and health reasons; simple living is a distinct lifestyle.

As many people search for ways to de-stress, de-clutter (mentally & physically)  and move away from materialism they begin to practice mindful consumption.

Mindful Consumption: where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. Mindful consumption restores balance in everyday life leading to less stress and better overall health.

For many Americans, the biggest turn-off from small-space living is the kitchen, or lack thereof. Fortunately, GE Appliances has chosen to tackle this challenge by creating “micro-kitchen concepts that help people maintain or enhance their lifestyle in substantially less square footage.”

GE Micro kitchen|KitchAnn Style

GE designers created the monoblock, a fully customizable standalone unit with cooking, cleaning, and refrigeration in a single standalone six-foot enclosure. It’s designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding cabinetry, and is controlled by a digital panel integrated into the countertop edge.

The monoblock was recently shown at Dwell on Design in LA with a price tag of $15,000.

GE Monoblock kitchen|KitchAnn Style

A second concept presented by GE is a 24″ wide modular drawer system designed to give homeowners more freedom is selecting the appliances and components they need. All traditional kitchen appliances, including a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher are drawer-based. The cooktop and downdraft system also are based on the 24″ modules. These units come ready to accept custom panels to fit any decor style.

GE Micro kitchen|KitchAnn Style

I saw the prototypes for the micro-kitchen when I was in Louisville at the Monogram Experience Center last fall. I wasn’t allowed to talk about it then but I’m happy to say I was really thrilled to see such forward thinking from GE.

These units of course don’t have to be limited to kitchens, they would be perfect for company break rooms, master suites and bars.

  “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacker

FirstBuild

GE  built their own microfactory production facility  on the University of Louisville (UofL) Belknap Campus, called FirstBuild that will allow them to produce their micro-kitchen concept in late 2014.

UofL, which owns the building where FirstBuild will be housed, will be much more involved than a typical landlord. UofL and GE Appliances have plans to create an Advanced Manufacturing hub where students can conduct research while getting practical training on the latest additive manufacturing and technologies in the micro-factory setting.

More than just a factory, with the launch of FirstBuild.com, GE has created a global community dedicated to conceiving, engineering and building the next generation of major appliances.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

 

 

 

June 25, 2014 / Ann Porter

Kitchen Inspiration

It’s hard to believe the 4th is just around the corner. Here’s some red, white and blue kitchen inspiration. Which is your favorite?

Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This photo was style so well with the red tomatoes contrasting with the gorgeous deep blue cabinets.

Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This kitchen is super fun with the red SMEG refrigerator.

Modern Red Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This red back-painted glass splash really keeps this white kitchen from looking sterile.

Americana Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

What’s not to love about this pale blue kitchen? The contrasting cabinet interior is a beautiful detail.

Americana banquette Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

I love kitchen banquettes and this one is complete with storage.

Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This Scavolini kitchen is bold and beautiful. Love the square pulls.

Red Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

I love the countertop so much with the red cabinets, I’m going to overlook the drawer head mistake in the corner.

Blue Kitchen Inspiration | KitchAnn Style

This recycled glass top countertop from Vetrazzo is perfect for entertaining.

 

 

June 15, 2014 / Ann Porter

Electrolux Design Lab Competition

Each year Electrolux challenges design students all over the world to create a concept that is relevant to the time and raises questions about what design will be like in the future. Established in 2003, Electrolux Design Lab is a global design competition that is focused around themes such as healthy eating, sustainable living and internet generation. This year’s theme calls for Creating Healthy Homes under three focus areas; Culinary Enjoyment, Fabric Care and Air Purifying.

Electrolux Design Lab 2014 |Kitchen Studio Naples

Electrolux awards four prizes: 1st place is 5,000 Euros and a 6-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center. A 2nd prize of 3,000 Euros, 3rd prize of 2,000 Euros and People’s Choice prize for 1,000 Euros are also on offer.

The competition received over 1,700 submissions from over 60 countries is now entering the second stage of the competition with 70 submissions moving forward. At this stage, contestants are asked to deliver rendered CAD-files of their concepts with a logo, contextual images and design details.

Starting tomorrow through June 28, the public can vote online for their favorite concept. The three most popular submissions in the public voting will make it directly to the next round.

You may vote for one concept only once, but you can vote for different concepts so it is ok to support more than one contestant and idea.

Explore Concepts

Tree of Life

Tree of Life| KitchAnn StyleReplacing the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and even the cook, the Tree of Life (TOL) is the brainchild of Bulgarian designer Zahari Ganchev.

Based on the shapes of a Beobab tree and a Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, the biomorphic Tree of Life stores your food in its trunk and cooks meals on its mushroom caps. Individual ingredients are drawn from their refrigerated, organic polymer pouches when you order up a dish. Lasers (lasers!) cut and clean the food before the appliance deposits them on ceramic-coated stainless steel plates and cooks them for you. Your nutritional intake is monitored every meal, and replacing your plate tells the cooking lasers (more lasers!) to clean it for you.

Halo Fuse

Halo fuse| KitchAnn StyleThe Halo Fuse is a rotating induction cooktop with the freedom of cooking anywhere on the surface and is designed to be located on an island work surface.  This concept was submitted by Ryan Gardner, a senior industrial design student at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Special pans with detachable handles are used with this concept so large meals with multiple pans can be easily accommodated. Temperature settings are selected through sliding electronic controls within the pot handle. The pans synch with the cooking surface so if you need to reposition it the same settings are kept.

Fortunately, there is also a touch screen interface located to the side of the cooktop to show the location and setting of each pan. This could be very handy for multiple chefs.

PureTowel

PureTowel |KitchAnn StyleIntended for bathroom use, the PureTowel replaces your standard towel hook with a Smart Hanger that can disinfect your towel in seconds with UV light. This clever concept comes from Leobardo Armenta, a 3rd year Industrial design student at Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.

Simply hang your used towel on the Smart Hanger and the vertical motion of the UV ring will start, leaving your towel dry and clean.

The towel is dried by a silent, high-speed fan located inside the ring and the UV light has sensors so human contact is avoided.

This concept is great for families concerned about allergies and passing germs that thrive on damp towels.

To explore the 35 entries and vote for our favorite, visit the Electrolux Design Lab site. Tell me which ones are your favorite.

 

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