Bring Fall Colors to Your Kitchen

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Fall in Portland is filled with gorgeous colors outdoors that we are seeing reflected in more and more kitchens throughout the city. These vibrant hues make us think of family gatherings, holiday feasts, and the scent of pies baking in the oven. The kitchen is the perfect place for these shades. Here are our favorite fall color trends:

Deep Green

Moss and hunter greens contrast against the gloomy skies and make your kitchen feel homey and put-together. These colors also go really well with starker blacks and whites. A hunter green kitchen contrasted with a bright marble countertop can make the space feel bright, cozy, and modern.

Plum

A shock of deep purple during fall reminds us there are still flowers in bloom this time of year. With our hot, hot summer, there are plenty of flowers still in bloom right now. This hue feels luxurious and adds depth to modern, streamlined rooms like your kitchen. It also goes extremely well with eco-countertop materials like fuez, Paperstone and LG Viatera.

Vibrant Red

A bright and vibrant red can be really tough to add to a home, but this energetic color can be captured in the kitchen. The key to using this color is adding in plenty of contrast. This can come in the form of countertops, cabinetry, light fixtures, and appliances. You can give your kitchen a 50’s feel by pairing red kitchen space with black-and-white floor tiles or dark granite counters.


Gold

Pure gold might be overwhelming as a solid color, but citrus tones or brushed metal can add a lot to the traditional kitchen. Once again, this bright fall color only works as long as the right contrasting colors are used with it. White CaesarStone quartz countertops and dark floors go great with gold accents.


Fall has just arrived, but we are excited to see more and more fall colors in kitchens around the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to contact us if you are looking for the right countertop to match your favorite kitchen hue.

 

Six Tips for Revamping Your Bar

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A home bar, whether it is a wet bar or a dry bar, is a great space for both entertaining and relaxing. Minimally, your bar should have a place to stow your drink-making materials and create beverages for you or your guests to enjoy. Some home bars have a dated look that could be revamped with simple changes. Here are our six tips for updating the look of your home bar:

 

  1. Review the design and function of the space. If you feel trapped in the bar space be sure to take a look at what makes the space feel so uncomfortable. It may be that you have a center island that is poorly designed or you don’t have enough counter space. Consider what would make the space more functional and pleasing to the eye.

  2. Consider turning your dry bar into a wet bar. This is a big step and will mean a lot of additional work needs to be done to your bar, but if you are sick of moving your glasses and dishes to the kitchen because your bar lacks a sink, look into adding one.

  3. Take a look at the cabinetry. Your bar can’t be just a counterspace and a fridge. You need a cabinet and a drawer or two to stow the materials you need to make the space functional.

  4. Think about what you like to drink. The changes you make to the style of your bar will depend upon what drinks you like. You may want beer on tap or perhaps you want a miniature wine cellar. These factors will certainly change the kind of space you need.

  5. Decide if you want to store cutting boards, or get countertops that will sustain chopping. There are stone countertops that can take a lot of punishment. Think about all of the bar materials you need. If you don’t want to add a cutting board on top of that, think about getting a granite countertop.

  6. Make sure there is room for everything you need. Not only do you need glasses, bottles, a cocktail shaker, maybe a muddler - you need items like a trash can, a sink, or possibly a dishwasher. Take a look at the bar space and think about what should be there that is making the space less than functional.

 


Your bar should look great and be completely functional. If you are considering updating your home, think about adding in an updated bar. We would be happy to help you match countertop material so you have a cohesive look throughout your home.

 

 

Create The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Space

Summer is in full swing and Labor Day Weekend is right around the corner! For many of us this means we have to get our backyard barbecue going for summertime dinner meals and outdoor parties. So, whether you have just pulled out the grill or you’re utilizing the whole backyard, here are 10 tips to create the perfect outdoor kitchen space to get your yard ready for action:

Perfect OutDoor Kitchen Space, Milan Stoneworks

1. Get going on the yard work

If you haven’t already mowed the lawn and collected any plant (or people) debris, now is the time to do so. Clean up and seal any decking or patio area, get your plants tied back if need be and sweep up walkways to keep everything trip or slip-free.

2. Set up the lighting

Even though the golden summer sunshine lasts late into the night, the sun will go down eventually. Make sure you have outdoor lighting set up. There are a lot of great solar-powered options that work well in our Oregon summers.

3. Get your grill going

If you haven’t used your grill yet, be sure to clean it and start it up before you plan to cook anything. You want to make sure it’s prepped and ready for action when you have those steaks marinating.

4. Think about the layout

Are you or your friends and family dining outdoors? Be sure to set up tables, chairs and the serving table in a way that won’t stop you from dominating the grill. Too often the grillmaster has to juggle food that is done on one side of the barbecue while they are working to cook additional food. Instead of balancing everything on the barbecue, have a place to set your raw foods and a separate table for everything that has been cooked.

5. Get the furniture ready

June presented some odd weather for outdoor furniture. If you haven’t cleaned off your chairs and tables since the heatwave and subsequent rain and thunderstorms, now is the time to do so.

6. Set up a kid zone

Many of us here in Portland have standard yards with lawns and possibly a chicken coup or some plants. Unlike homes with pools, this means our yards are pretty boring for children. Set up a space with fun outdoor games like hopscotch, cornhole or horseshoes for kids to play while the adults chat.

7. Be sure to keep your pets safe

With people coming in and out of your yard, it’s easy for your dog, chickens, or indoor cats to slip outside and get separated from the party. Set up a pet friendly space where they can remain safe during your barbecue.

8. Prep the fire pit

Give your backyard a camping feel with a crackling fire when the sun goes down. Just be sure you aren’t fumbling in the dark for firewood or kindling. Get everything ready before the barbecue starts.

9. Remember to feed yourself!

The grillmaster sometimes makes all of the food and turns around to see it has all been eaten before he or she had a chance to take a bite. Set aside a plate for yourself before or while you are grilling to be sure you get to chow down.

10. Think about next year

Do you barbecue all summer long, but have no outdoor kitchen? It might be time to consider installing a permanent kitchen extension in your yard. If you add roofing or an awning, you can even use this outdoor space to smoke or grill something delicious all year round!

If you are considering building a backyard kitchen, we have fantastic countertop material. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create the perfect outdoor kitchen space.

Featured Project: Northwest Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling? This beautiful project we did for a home in Northwest Portland perfectly demonstrates how to utilize different types of marble for subtle accents. This kitchen contains two types of marble. The kitchen countertops lining the perimeter and on the backsplash is Statuarietto Honed marble from Intrepid. The Island is Colorado Yule Lincoln Honed marble from Oregon Tile and Marble.

Northwest Portland Kitchen Milan Stoneworks

Here you can see the contrasting Colorado Yule Lincoln Honed marble on all of the countertops as well as the Statuarietto Honed marble in the backsplash.

Northwest Portland Kitchen, Colorado Yule Lincoln Marble, Milan Stoneworks

The kitchen island is topped with a beautiful and distinctive full slab of marble.

You can easily see the contrast between the two types of marble covering the kitchen island and the backsplash.

Northwest Portland Kitchen island, Milan Stoneworks

These photos demonstrate how no stone detail is exactly the same. Our client’s decision to utilize two different types of marble subtly accents her kitchen and provides a beautiful contrast. If you would like to change the entire look of your kitchen, be sure to contact us today.

4 Reasons to Consider Quartz for Your Countertops

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For too long, quartz was the most underrated countertop material, but now people have caught onto how great it is. Unlike other luxury items, quartz is as strong as it is gorgeous and comes in a variety of styles for unlimited options. It’s no secret that we love quartz, but now you should know why. Here are four reasons you need to consider quartz for your next countertop remodel.

  1. Engineered material - Quartz is a man-made material that’s composed of natural quartz mixed with pigments, polymers and resin. Depending on how it’s engineered and ground, quartz may resemble granite’s speckled appearance if coarsely ground or marble’s smooth appearance if finely ground. Appearance aside, the fact that quartz is engineered offers several other benefits we’ll discuss below.

  2. Versatility - Because quartz is an engineered material, it can be made to come in a variety of colors and styles to suit any design. When the technology for quartz manufacturing was still new, the color and design options were limited. Nowadays, however, that is far from the case. Not only have manufacturers made the material to come in a any color imaginable, they have also perfected the art of mimicking granite, marble and other stones’ aesthetics. Now quartz can be identical to these other natural materials and still be more durable. It can even be made to have a matte, glossy or textured finish.

  3. Durability - Quartz’s composition includes polymers and resin that give the material added durability and make it less porous. In fact, quartz is twice as strong as granite. Because of its strength and composition, quartz is stain-repellant and resistant to degradation by acidic food and drinks (like wine or citrus fruits), as well as resistant to scratches and chips.

  4. Low maintenance - With quartz, you get all the beauty without the high maintenance. Unlike any other countertop material, quartz doesn’t need to be sealed every year. A huge reason is because quartz is manufactured to be non-porous and basically indestructible. Rarely is a material equal parts beautiful and tough. When it comes to quartz, however, the combination is seamless.

Though we love granite and marble as much as we love quartz, we can’t deny that each material offers certain benefits over others. In the case of quartz, versatility and durability are without a doubt where quartz triumphs. To learn more about the material or to get started on your next countertop project, send us an email or give us a call at (503) 232-6206 today!

Is it time for a kitchen makeover?

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You may have been pondering it, but perhaps having a third party tell you what you already know is what you need: your kitchen is due for a makeover.

Answer these questions to see if it’s time:

  • Has it been more than a year since you sealed (or have you never sealed) your granite countertop?

  • Does your countertop seem to have an endless amount of damage, like stains or chips?

  • Have you always wanted a kitchen island? You may feel cramped in your current space. Or, you may feel that some spaces just don’t fulfill your kitchen needs. If you feel your counter space is lacking, then adding an island may be the perfect solution.

  • Are you slightly embarrassed to have people over because you don't want them seeing your outdated kitchen?

  • Do you have laminate countertops? If cared for well, laminate countertops can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. If you’re getting close to that mark, it’s time to consider replacing your laminate with something new. (P.S. Granite countertops can last a lifetime!)

  • Do you want to sell your home but feel your kitchen will hinder things?

  • Do you have new appliances, but haven’t yet gotten around to updating everything else? (Updating your countertop will help you have a more cohesive kitchen!)

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then it’s time to consider a kitchen remodel! Get in touch for your free consultation. We can go over the many different types of countertops we work with and help you find the right one for you and your kitchen.

Send us an email or give us a call at (503) 232-6206 today!

The Secret to Taking Care of Marble Countertops

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When it comes time to choose your kitchen or bathroom countertops, it can feel a little overwhelming. There are many options to choose from! With so many choices, it helps to have information about the long-term care that some countertops require. For example, marble countertops require specific care to keep them stain-free and looking their best. Keep this useful info in mind when considering marble as your next countertop:

The Basics:

Though beautiful, marble is soft and more porous than granite and other manufactured materials, making it more susceptible to damage. It is prone to scratching, etching, and staining. Once the damage is done, it is hard (if not impossible) to repair. How do you use your countertops? Are you rough on them? If so, marble’s aforementioned characteristics can make it a somewhat impractical choice for kitchens and bathrooms that see a lot of traffic. Worry not, there are ways to care for your marble:

How to Care for Marble:

To protect your investment, seal your marble countertops! Sealing your countertops prevents them from absorbing liquids that can damage the marble. How often your countertops are used (and to what degree of use they see) will affect how frequently you need to seal them. It’s recommended that you seal them at least once every six months. For countertops that see more wear and tear, sealing them more frequently is suggested. When choosing a sealant for your kitchen counters, you will need to find a sealer that is non-toxic and food safe.

How to Clean Marble:

Marble requires special care. Spills of food and liquid should be cleaned immediately after they occur. Instead of wiping, the spill should be soaked up or blotted as gently as possible to avoid spreading the spill over more of the marble. This will help prevent staining. To clean your counters, use a mild liquid dishwashing detergent or a cleaner made specifically for marble countertops. After cleaning with soap, countertops should be wiped down to remove any excess soap.

What to Avoid:

To prevent staining, acidic food should not be used on marble counters. There are also many liquids and foods that are likely to stain your countertops, like red wines, coffee, and foods with artificial coloring. Harsh cleaners and soaps should also be avoided. Marble countertops are also at risk of damage from heat, so using coasters, pot holders, and trivets is highly recommended.

Still not sure if marble is right for you? Get in touch for a free consultation! We can go over the many different types of countertops we work with and help you find the right one for you and your family. Send us an email or give us a call at (503) 232-6206 today!

This Year, Tackle That Kitchen Organization Goal

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It’s a new year, and resolutions are back at the forefront. Organizing your kitchen may be on your list of to-do’s this year — and rightfully so. An organized kitchen makes it easier (and more fun) to cook meals at home, saving money spent on eating out. Moreover, when you’re done cooking, having an organized kitchen makes it easier to clean and put things away. When it comes time to go grocery shopping, being able to quickly see what is in your pantry and fridge can make it easier to ensure you only get what you need at the store.  

To help you get started, here are some cost effective tips and tricks for making the most of your kitchen space:

  1. Adhesive hooks are a great addition to any kitchen. Inside your cabinets or pantry, hang measuring cups, mixer attachments, spatulas, etc. These removable hooks and key hooks are useful when there is wasted wall space and a duster or dustpan to hang.
     
  2. Make use of that wasted space below your cabinets. When lower cabinets are installed, there is about 5 inches of space between the bottom of the cabinet and the floor. This is often hidden with a piece of wood, leaving all that space to waste. Make use of it and build some pull-out drawers. This extra space is perfect for baking sheets and muffin tins! Hardware stores sell the necessary tracks and lumber to make your drawer dreams a reality.
     
  3. Visit the dollar store for storage bins, baskets, and more. The dollar store is a treasure trove of storage bins. Buy baskets to organize snacks in the fridge. Repurpose magazine holders to organize aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Grab a label maker (or sharpies, stickers, printed out labels, etc.) and get to sorting. Short on pantry space? Put some labeled bins in a drawer for more food storage.
     
  4. Cord bundlers are good in the kitchen too! A number of companies make cord bundlers that reduce cord messes in the garage and vacuum closet. How about mounting it to the side of your crock pot or stand mixer? Get that cord up and out of the way, and store your appliances without hassle.
     
  5. Plastic storage lids piling up? Find a CD or DVD rack, turn it on its side in a drawer, and voila: you have storage for all of those lids that never seem to be there when you need them. This gives you a better visual and makes it so you don’t have to sift through a mountain of lids at the back of your cupboard.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Choose one area to start with. For example, go through the cabinet under the sink, and then move on to the pantry. Pace yourself so you don’t get burnt out!

Looking to upgrade your countertops or add an island for more storage space? Get in touch today for a free consultation.

Your Step-by-Step Guest Prep Checklist

The holiday season has officially arrived, which means you are probably hosting guests this season. We know you will be filling your countertops with delicious foods, great drinks, and plenty of presents. So, we thought you might need a hand on prepping for the influx of holiday cheer.

Here are eight steps to creating the perfect reception for your holiday guests!

1. Get organized before the visit. Family coming for dinner? Guests staying the night? Make a list of everything you and your guests will need to make their visit a good one.

2. Find out what everyone can eat. These days, it seems like everyone is gluten-free or vegan. It can be harder than ever to host friends and family. That’s why it’s important to ask your guests if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions before they come over so you can be prepared.

3. Clean up your entryway. ‘Tis the season of bulky coats and boots. So, before guests arrive, be sure to clean out your entryway and make space for your guests to put their raincoats, umbrellas, and boots during their visit. Knowing Pacific Northwest weather, your guests will probably have damp apparel that they’ll need to shed, so keep the coat hooks clear.

4. Childproof your kitchen and home.  If you know your guests will be bringing small children, be sure to create a safe space for them to play, eat, and enjoy your hospitality.

5. Deck the halls. No matter which holiday you are celebrating, you can always bring joy and seasonal cheer to your home with decorations, plants, flowers, and personal touches.

6. Get your kitchen ready. Whether you are having guests for drinks, a holiday dinner, or extended stays, your kitchen will be a busy place. Clear off countertops and keep your cleaning supplies handy during the visit.

7. Stock up. It's the season of plenty, so be sure to stock up on food and cocktail supplies before your guests come over. Having plenty of food and drinks can help you be the perfect host.

Stocking up doesn’t have to be restricted to the kitchen. Make sure your fireplace is ready for a blaze by keeping the firewood rack filled up. Stock up on extra blankets to keep your guest bedroom cozy.

8. Create plenty of space to sit and chat. Drag out those stools from the breakfast bar, get your couch ready, and pull out all of your dining room chairs. Even if your guests are only coming over for drinks, at least a few will want to get cozy while they chat.

Here at Milan Stoneworks, we know you put a lot of time and energy into making your home perfect for your needs. We hope the above tips help you showcase your home’s beauty and create the perfect environment for your guests.

Happy Holidays!

Create Space with a Kitchen Island

One of the struggles many homeowners encounter in their kitchen is not having enough space. They may need more storage, more counter space, or both. Kitchen islands are specifically designed to help homeowners overcome this difficulty by effectively, efficiently, and aesthetically using the area that is already available within their existing kitchens.

While most homeowners seek kitchen islands to add storage, more countertops, and even a breakfast bar space, we see the island as a kitchen showstopper. You can break out of a traditional kitchen mold by topping your kitchen island with unique stone pieces that compliment your other countertops.

Installing a kitchen island also gives homeowners a reason to rethink their kitchen countertops. If they have a dated tile, it may be time to go green with eco stone options or you might be ready to make a statement with a unique slab of natural stone.

There are many great kitchen island choices. Here are four standard options, which can usually be mixed, matched, and customized to fit your needs:

1. Kitchen counter with cupboards and drawers beneath. This is pretty much your standard kitchen island that provides both extra storage and extra counter space.

2. Breakfast bar top. A kitchen island with the added benefit of becoming a breakfast bar or a serving top for canapes and drinks that is fun for large families or home entertainers.

3. Wet kitchen island. Some homeowners decide to move the sink to their kitchen island, reclaiming the counter space right next to the oven or stovetop.

4. Kitchen block. In an open layout kitchen, an island may be able to extend into cube. This allows the homeowner and her family to prepare food from four sides of the kitchen island without the loss of elbow room.

Each kitchen island option can be customized or mixed-and-matched. Additionally, while the use and structure of the island may remain standard, dressing it up with a new countertop is one way to make your kitchen island stand out.

Are you adding a kitchen island to your home? Contact us today and find out which stone or eco material will turn your island into a centerpiece.

Can I Build a Wine Cellar In My Home?

Many wine connoisseurs would love to have an in-home wine cellar to store their favorite vintages. However, a full-blown wine cellar may seem space-prohibitive or overly expensive. Here are some great options for in-home wine storage that homeowners of all kinds can use.

Permanent Bar Installation

If you don’t have room for a huge wine cellar, but you would like a dedicated space for store and serving your wine, installing a bar is a great option. Not only can a bar be large or small - ranging from a countertop and wine fridge to almost a second kitchen - it adds beauty and flexibility to the home.

Additionally, an in-home bar set up next to a wall can give you plenty of wall space for custom refrigerated wine cabinets. Think of these like an armoire for your wine.

Utilize Existing Unused Space

What is under your staircase? How much of your basement are you using? Do you have room in your garage? These are all perfect spaces for wine storage.

Walk-in areas can become more than just wine storage; you can make going to your wine cellar an experience. For example, adding a beautiful granite countertop to your wine cellar can provide you with a tasting space as well as a sturdy worktop.

Make Way For Wine

It may be that your pantry, hall closet or other storage space is already filled with wine. Rethink this strategy and remodel the space you already use to make it perfect, temperature controlled, and inviting. You may need to install hideaway spaces in the kitchen to fully give your pantry over to wine, but if you have some incredible vintages in your collection, the remodel will certainly be worth the effort.

Install a Wine Space Beneath Your Kitchen Island

Sometimes we simply don’t have enough space at home for a real in-home wine cellar. However, you can make a statement by installing stone that is tough to stain on your kitchen island and placing a wine refrigerator below the island. This will give you extra space to store vintages that you are not yet ready to enjoy.

No matter how much space you have at home, you can create a beautiful spot for wine storage. When doing so, be sure to consider the workspace where you will be opening, drinking, and serving wine. Stone like granite is less likely to stain than other countertop materials, so if you are hoping to keep your bar top clean and stain-free, contact us today. We can help you discover the perfect stone for your home and lifestyle.