Friday, May 17, 2024

Real Estate: Kitchens are my favorite

By Warren O’Shea

I love kitchens.

It’s where I keep my dark roast coffee and thick-cut bacon.

Speaking of coffee, there is a rising popularity of kitchen remodels utilizing integrated coffee and beverage stations. These drink centers keep supplies organized and readily available for guests and family members. Positioning the location of the beverage station just on the outskirts of the main prep and cooking area allows for the thirsty hordes to comfortably craft their concoctions without getting in the way of the cook! Upper cabinets may have glass doors and interior glass shelves and be back lit to show off your collection of fine crystal or Cristal. Under cabinet lighting with adjustable light tones and colors illuminate the workspace below.

The countertop may be of almost any material but my go-to is an oiled cherry butcher block. Natural wood does need a bit more maintenance over time compared to a stone or engineered surface, but I feel it’s well worth the extra effort for its warm color and it’s softer on your delicate stemware. Having the beverage station plumbed in can be a bit of a project if it doesn’t currently exist in that location, [1] but the benefits are worth the expense.

The installation of a small bar sink allows you to not only do some basic washing but can also double as an ice bucket for highly popular and most consumed beverages. Having water available also allows you to have a hard-plumbed espresso or coffee maker, and an on-demand, high temperature water faucet for tea and cocoa. For larger appliances, a dedicated ice machine and a dishwasher will make hosting your gatherings exceedingly more efficient. Let’s not forget the refrigeration. Many wine refrigerators fit nicely under a countertop as well as regular refrigerators that have drawers instead of doors.

There are many new innovations aimed at making both cooking and cleanup easier and healthier. Some products are available now; others are rolling out in the coming months. One of the new features is a hinged cooktop grill and griddle. As anyone with a gas cooktop knows, removing and cleaning under the grates can be a real chore. First, the users need a clear safe space to set the grates down. And then, they must avoid dirtying or scratching that surface, and back to the cooktop itself, with the heavy grates.

Whirlpool recently introduced a simple solution to the problem with its 30-inch gas cooktop with EZ-2-Lift hinged cast-iron grates, which users can lift so they can clean easily underneath. For a deeper clean, the grates can be removed and popped in the dishwasher.

Not as innovative but incredibly useful are the smart solutions for storing food and kitchen tools. Roll-out drawers behind cabinet doors make accessing items much less arduous. Many rollouts are rated for up to 100 pounds so heavy pots and even small heavy appliances like a 5-quart mixer will store comfortably. Double-sided spice racks speed up your flavor game, and drawers made specifically designed to hold aluminum foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper help with prep, cooking, and food storage.

An item that has seen many transformations is the humble kitchen sink. Stainless steel is commonly used, but there are still slate and soapstone used as well as other materials. Many are divided on the question of one bowl vs two bowls, but most can get behind the new sink workstations that contain myriad accessories built to perfectly fit on the lip of the basin. The choices include cutting boards, prep bowls, knife blocks, colanders and racks for dishcloths or cleaning utensils. These items can centralize and organize prep work.

This is just a short list of what your kitchen could have, follow O’Shea Builders LLC on Facebook for remodeling tidbits.

Warren O’Shea is the owner of O’Shea Builders LLC, Maine’s most award-winning remodeling contractor, winning gold in Portland Radio Group’s “Best of 207, 2024”. He has 35+ years of residential remodeling experience. He is a certified home inspector and has been featured on HGTV, Food Network, and Maine Cabin Masters. He is a recipient of the Portland Police Department’s “Citizen Award” and is a staunch consumer advocate. Warren is the vice president designate of the Home Builders and Remodelers association of Maine, has, co-authored articles for nationally distributed trade magazines as well as having published articles featured in CEO World, USA Today and New York Weekly. O’Shea builders was nominated for DownEast Magazine’s “Best of Maine 2024”, “Builder” category and we would love your vote! <

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