Is it time for a kitchen makeover?

Is-It-Time-For-a-Kitchen-Makeover-Milan-Stoneworks.jpg

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  • Are you slightly embarrassed to have people over because you don't want them seeing your outdated kitchen?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

Milan-Stoneworks-the-secret-to-caring-for-your-marble-countertops.jpg

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

Kitchen-Organization-Tips-From-Milan-Stoneworks.png

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.