A Kitchen Design Recipe For Foodies

kitchenpainted-blue-backsplashWhile most consider eating a necessity, you consider cooking an art and your kitchen a studio. Most homeowners rate building a kitchen as one of the more important decisions in their interior design process, but for the foodie, the kitchen is the heart and soul of your home.

A foodie will spend more time using a kitchen than the typical homeowner, so it’s essential that design is equally focused on the weight of functional use over mere aesthetic qualities. This factor will drive planning to create a hybrid space that incorporates the simplistic usability of a commercial kitchen into the intricate beauty of traditional residential design.

7 Ingredients for Kitchen Design: A Recipe for Foodies

  1. Ingredient Storage: Accessibility is everything to the home gourmet chef. Purposefully locating convenient storage areas will help cooks find even the most obscure ingredients in a short amount of time. Open shelves in a walk-in pantry, interior-lit cabinets with open or glass fronts, built-in herb gardens, and quick-access ingredient drawers or racks allow the chef to find and transfer the essential ingredients to their respective workstations.
  2. Tools & Gadgets: Creating uniquely organized storage solutions for utensils, cookware and kitchen gadgets is key. Preferences will vary on whether these items should be visible or stowed away nearby within their own compartments or drawers. Locating these areas conveniently near workstations will save the cook time and aggravation when searching for the right tool.
  3. Surfaces: Choose countertop, cabinet, appliance and backsplash materials that can be easily cleaned and will withstand increased usage versus a typical kitchen. Design countertop edges to reduce spills from dripping down to cabinets below. Don’t neglect the impact that lighting will play on illuminating surfaces. Incorporate overhead and under-cabinet fixtures to improve work area visibility.
  4. Sinks & Faucets: Depending upon the use, it may be a great idea to install an additional sink and water source at more than one location in the kitchen. Separate prep areas may have increased functionality if fitted with areas for soaking or washing, versus transporting items back and forth across the kitchen. Install detachable faucets to create more versatility in cooking and cleanup.
  5. Waste Solutions: Be sure that your disposal preferences are considered in kitchen design. Strong beliefs about what to do with waste should lead to the inclusion of compartments for composting, recycling, disposals, compactors and traditional refuse containers.
  6. Appliances: Whether traditional appliances or an added supplement, carefully consider these options in the kitchen. Appliance prices are often driven by durability and features. Determine which features are worth spending the money for.
    1. Ranges & Hoods: Gas heat will provide the most control. A varying range of BTUs will provide flexibility for different cooking tasks. Always take into consideration the limits and requirements for exhaust hoods and design with the appropriately sized hood for the space and home, installing them at the ideal height over the surface.
    2. Ovens & Warmers: Not only do features drive cost, but insulating capabilities of doors and exteriors are essential factors when choosing the right oven, so not to lose heating power. Explore if the popular double oven is the best choice for your needs. If space is limited, substituting the second traditional oven with a convection or microwave oven, or a warming drawer, may serve a greater purpose.
    3. Dishwashers: If you use a lot of utensils and larger cookware and prep items, you will want them to be clean for your next cooking task. Choose a dishwasher with creative options for utensil drawers or holders and that also allows for adjustable spaces for large bowls and pots.
    4. Refrigerators & Freezers: If there isn’t room for a larger side-by-side unit, or if supplemental cooling options are needed, utilize a portion of cabinet space for optional built-in cooling drawers or small freezers.
    5. Miscellaneous Appliances: Your specific cuisine interests may also drive the additions of features such as rotisseries, woks and other enhancements. Discuss the usage frequency of these items and determine where they rate in design priority over other, more crucial elements.
  7. Inspiration: Even though function can win over aesthetics in designing a foodie kitchen, discover what fuels your culinary passion. Strategically add windows, art, décor and music devices to be your muse for your next greatest creation.

Passionate thought and attention of preparing the perfect meal is what separates a foodie from a recreational cook. Your heart should beat with the same enthusiasm about designing the space where you create your masterpieces. Let us help you design a space that inspires your gifts and fuels your passion for food! Bon appetite!

Project Story: Lawrenceville Art Studio

Gerbe Glass Storefront
After A Grand View
An Outdoor Oasis In The Middle Of The City

This empty-nest couple, Bernadette and Chuck Gerbe, wanted to start a new life in the city. They’d purchased a 150-year-old building that had previously housed a men’s clothier, a butcher and a beauty shop. They had a vision of creating a live-work glass studio in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.

Continue reading “Project Story: Lawrenceville Art Studio”

Construction Timelines: What to know before you build!

Here is a great article I found on Houzz.  You might find it to be very helpful.

One of the first questions we get when talking to clients about a new custom home or remodel is, “How much will it cost?” This is usually quickly followed by the second question, “How long will it take?” The answer to both is, “It depends.”

While we don’t want to be evasive, there are many variables that have to be factored in before we can adequately assess the time and cost of a project. One thing that most homeowners don’t see initially is that for a properly planned and designed project, the design and construction phases can last roughly the same amount of time.

As I’ve written about previously, the design process can take up to six to eight months for a new custom build (including determining the client’s needs, designing to those needs and deciding how to best to build the project). And it could take longer if there are complications such as other approvals or if someone objects to your project. This time is not spent just daydreaming and staring out the window — your team is working to understand the design and construction to smooth out potential issues in your timeline.

50 Must-Have For Today’s Buyers

norabest-prime1regan-006-300x200If you are considering building a new home or undergoing an addition or major renovation to your existing home this is a MUST READ article for you.  What do new-home seekers want most?  Builders, architects and industry experts clue us in.  This article is broken down into 6 components: Design & Layout, The Kitchen, The Bath, Interior Details, Exterior Touches and The Community. 
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What Is Design Build?

Design/Build Services

Not sure what Design/Build is?  Never heard of it?  Let us explain.

Design/Build, D-B or D/B is a project delivery system used in the construction industry.  It is a method to produce a complete and seamless project, in which the design and the construction work is sourced through a single entity.  Builders and contractors who are qualified to perform Design/Build construction, will generally advertise their services to include “Design/Build”, and work with you throughout all phases of the project, providing a single point of contact from start to finish.

A Design/Build contractor may work with their in house design staff, or in conjunction with a design professional, architect or engineer.  Varying project size and elements will require different levels of design experience, and the design team should be matched to the details and complexity of the project.

In addition to providing the design work, the contractor can also produce progressive cost estimates at each step of the design process, keeping the owner updated on the cost of a project while it is being designed – instead of after the design is completed.  With a climate of ever changing material and labor costs – designing to a budget, with “real time” contractor budget updates, minimizes the cost and re-design time delay risks to the project owner by ensuring that the design work does not exceed the target budget limits. It can even reduce the delivery schedule of the project by overlapping the design phase and the construction phase of a project.

The Design/Build process provides countless benefits for the homeowner via the right builder/remodeler who has substantial experience in both the design and construction fields.  The client & builder work together as a team to create a mutually beneficial solution to…..who does the design?….. and who builds the project?  Not all builders are equipped to perform design / build work, so ask for references and examples of this type of building arrangement before going down this path with any building or remodeling contractor.

Prime 1 Builders on Best of Houzz List 2016

Houzz Announces Best Of Houzz 2016 Winners

Annual Survey and Analysis of Community of Over 35 Million Monthly Users Reveals the Top-Rated Home Remodeling Professionals and Most Popular Home Designs

Houzz Inc., the leading platform for home renovation and design, today announced the community’s picks for Best Of Houzz 2016 in North America, a homeowner-to-homeowner guide to the top home builders, architects, interior designers, landscape pros and other residential remodeling professionals on Houzz from cabinetry or roofing pros to painters.

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented, competent and service-oriented professionals,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to join our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts in recognizing our “Best Of Houzz” professionals around the world.”

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge appears on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. Winners will be announced globally throughout the month. 

To see the most popular designs: http://www.houzz.com/best-of-houzz-2016 

About Houzz
BOH_Service_2016Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit 

Universal Design Concepts for the Kitchen

Updated Kitchen Design

Universal Design in the Kitchen

Some consumers are confused about what Universal Design is. While it is not strictly for the handicapped, Universal Design can be of great benefit for someone who has mobility and accessibility issues.  

What is Universal Design?

Universal Design is design that is suited for all family members. No matter what the age or ability, it ensures that all family members can effectively use the space.   When we begin designing a space with Universal Design in mind, we think about how effortlessly and easily a task can be done. The goal is to minimize lifting, reaching and stooping – basically avoid any movements that have the potential of causing a person to become off-balance and hurt themselves.   You never know when life is going to throw you a curve and someone in the house ends up with a broken leg or temporarily confined to a wheelchair, or when you may need to care for a loved one in that situation inside your home. Universal Design helps you plan for every stage in your life – from younger ages to your golden years.   Universal Design in the Kitchen In certain areas of your house, Universal Design can play a larger role in keeping your family safe and also enhance accessibility. Your kitchen is one of those areas (the bathroom is the other).  

Here are 7 Universal Design features to consider for your kitchen:  

1. Faucets & Hardware. Does the faucet on the sink and the hardware on your cabinetry meet the “closed fist” test? In other words, can a person work them with a closed fist? Often older family members have arthritis or other issues that make it difficult to grip.   Offset single-lever faucets are ideal because they can be operated with one hand and do not require the person to reach behind the sink. Another option is an electronic touchless faucet that can be activated with the wave of a hand.  

2. Flooring. Choose a flooring surface that is slip resistant and comfortable. When selecting tiles, in this instance, a smaller tile is better because it has less surface area (which minimizes slipping); or you can select a non-slip flooring like cork, which also provides some cushion – making it more comfortable to stand on. Also, there are products on the market that can be applied to tile or stone flooring that don’t take away from the appearance, yet add a tread to prevent slippage.  

3. Counters. Design kitchen countertops, including the island, at varying heights. This allows family members who may need to sit to easily prepare meals, and further allows young children to be “helpers” at your side. From an aesthetic perspective, the variety of height also gives the space depth. The counters should also be solid surface for clean-up ease.  

4. Clearance. You may want to give additional consideration for knee space at the sink, cooktop and meal prep areas for a seated option.  

5. Storage. Select cabinetry where the items inside are reachable – such as pull-out draws for pots, pans and dishes, and pull-down shelves for overhead cabinetry that make it easier to find what you are looking for. Slide-out shelves, particularly under the sink, keep everything in its rightful place and minimize stooping/reaching to find cleaning supplies.  

6. Lighting. As we get older, our eyesight starts to fail, so integrate plenty of overhead and under-cabinet lighting into your kitchen remodel, and select on/off switches that pass the “closed fist” test. Additionally, if you can, try to include more natural light (windows or skylights). Studies have shown that natural lighting has profound positive psychological benefits, especially for family members who can’t get outside as easily as they’d like.  

7. Appliances. A number of appliances on the market today fit the Universal Design criteria and look phenomenal. When comparing appliances, it is smart to choose ones that have front-mounted controls, to eliminate reach. Here are some other items to consider when picking out specific appliances.

  • Microwaves – Drawer microwaves, as opposed to over-the-cooktop ones, are simply safer. It is much easier to slide something hot out of a microwave drawer than it is to lift it out from overhead. These are also convenient for younger family members who may be old enough to safely work the microwave but wouldn’t be tall enough to reach one that is higher up.
  • Refrigerator – Side-by-side refrigerators/ freezers, particularly ones that have a gallon-sized storage shelf on the inside door, are ideal.
  • Dishwasher – Consider a dishwasher drawer you can load from the top.
  • Oven – Choose a wall oven that has a swinging door (similar to a refrigerator door) instead of one where the door hinges down to open.
  • Cooktop – Pick a cooking surface that is flat, which makes it easy to slide heavier pots and pans. You may also consider choosing a magnetic induction cooking surface because it doesn’t activate until you place the special cookware on top of the burner. Not only does it greatly reduce the chance of burns, but it also cooks faster.

When contemplating remodeling your kitchen, think of these Universal Design features you can add that will keep your kitchen approachable, comfortable and durable for all family members.

Coal Hill Townhouses on Mt. Washington

Coal Hill Townhomes Phase III for Sale 330 Eutaw St.  Mt. Washington 15211 FOR SALE!

Check out this awesome video from Phase III to see the latest floor plan and all the updates that are options for you.  The starting price is $279,900 for 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 1 half.  We are currently framing these units!   Great open floor plan, hardwood floors on the first floor, maple cabinetry with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, under cabinet lighting.  Amazing natural light!   2nd floor laundry.  3 Full baths with custom cabinetry and counters, along with 1st floor half bath!  Master with walk in closet, bath with double bowl sink.  Finished lower level AND A 2 CAR GARAGE! Tax abatement available.  Enjoy maintenance free living, no lawn care or snow removal.  City living at it’s best!  Conveniently located to downtown and the Southside.  These are must see units!    Call PPM Realty 412-343-6206 office.   Reed Pirain 412-812-6117 or Matt Durbin 412-396-9800 for more information.