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Task Lighting is There When You Need It — And Barely Noticeable When You Don’t
By Sam Byrd

Spring may be the time for cleaning but summer is the time for remodeling and — with so many ways to increase storage space, upgrade and beautify — the kitchen is the perfect place to start.

To fully take advantage of cabinets, look for unique remedies to common problems. Are all your Tupperware lids piled into a box? Try a pull-out drawer with dividers, perfect for lids, pots, pans, big bowls and glassware. Got a spice cabinet so crowded you’ve accidentally purchased three jars of paprika? Consider installing a drawer box underneath your stovetop to keep all your spices visible and close at hand while you cook. Big hole in the back of your corner cabinet that’s only good for things you use once a year? Try a lazy Susan or the Blind Corner Cabinet solution from ShelfGenie, which boasts two sliding, perpendicular shelves.

“Not only does it help you utilize your space more, but it actually helps you be more aware of what you have in your kitchen and hopefully be able to use your items more,” says Linda Creswell, the owner of ShelfGenie of Greater Houston.

If you still need more room, frameless cabinets do away with the wasted space behind traditional face frames. “It’s all about picking up an inch here, an inch there,” says Randy Godeau, who owns Bay Area Kitchens. “Pretty soon you’ve come up with several feet of additional cabinet space that [homeowners] didn’t even have before.”

Equally important is the pantry, which Godeau says nine times out of ten can be improved by incorporating storage solutions like pull-out shelves and roll-out racks. “We’re not making the pantry any larger, we’re just making it work better,” says Godeau. “We can pull that depth out to where you can reach it without having to crawl in.”

But don’t let the ease of reaching your canned, dried and packaged foods distract you from the upgrades available for the pantry door, such as frosted glass, different etch designs or even the addition of sliding barn doors, which Door Clearance Center’s Jason Salvaggio says are popular right now for good reason.
“If you have the right set up, sliding barn doors can look really nice in the kitchen,” says Salvaggio. “You can do either a modern look, a more rustic look or even a blending of the two.”

In terms of color, white and gray are not only trendy, but timeless. Godeau says white and light-colored marble countertops are attractive though not very practical, but engineered quartz countertops “look quite real, but are much lower in maintenance.”

Whatever look you choose, appliances are always evolving to fit your practical needs. Many new high-end refrigerators, like those from Sub-Zero, offer filtration systems that remove ethylene gas so fruits and vegetables last longer. American Standard's MeasureFill feature allows you to use a dial on your faucet to select the amount of water dispensed. And hands-free options like pedal valves or the antimicrobial coatings offered by Colonial Bronze cut down on the spread of bacteria.

Though gas cooktops and ranges have long been the go-to choice for stoves and ovens, induction is gaining traction with homeowners for its smooth top, energy efficiency and responsiveness. “It’s got all of the sensitivity of gas, but the cleanliness of electric without the heat,” says Metro Wholesale’s Showroom Manager Don Jameson. Convection ovens are increasing in popularity for their ability to distribute heat evenly, but for those who don’t want to ditch tradition completely, the single oven plus convection microwave or speed oven is a combo appearing in more and more kitchens. “They have a lot of the capability of a double oven, but a lot more practical usefulness on a day-to-day basis,” adds Jameson.

Stainless steel is still the most popular choice when it comes to appearance, but black stainless and black slate are good alternatives for homeowners who want their kitchens to stand out from the crowd.

Another way to differentiate and personalize your kitchen is through fixtures, knobs and pulls. Lighting — under mount, pendant or accent — offers yet another opportunity to make kitchens unique. In terms of finishes, Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware’s Tracy Cooper Wilson says satin brass and matte black are in, but don’t be afraid to mix finishes to give kitchens even more character.

PLM Remodel & Restoration’s Deedra Chavez says “updating your backsplash is also a nice way to give [your kitchen] a fresh new look, and matching your floor tile with that backsplash is also a nice complement.” If you do update your backsplash, look into placing power strips underneath the cabinet to avoid breaking it up with electrical outlets and switches. You can also use an air switch for the garbage disposal instead of a switch on the wall.

There are lots of ideas for upgrading an existing kitchen, but always start with a plan. Whether it’s cabinetry, counters or appliances, ask for suggestions and get recommendations before making a final decision.


Bay Area Kitchens
17306 Hwy 3, Webster

Door Clearance Center
8245 North Freeway   

Metro Wholesale Appliance
2014 Almeda-Genoa

PLM Remodel & Restoration
6422 Highway 6 North

ShelfGenie of Greater Houston

Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware
3600 Kirby
3590 East T.C. Jester

Houston Web Design Company