More Than a Warm Towel

Zehnder
Photo courtesy of Zehnder

When you talk about luxury, you have to include towel warmers. But in addition to the luxury of having a warm towel to wrap yourself in after your shower or bath, there are many other benefits to having a towel warmer. Towel warmers can heat the bathroom that needs warming. Why turn the heat on in the whole house to get up, shower and leave for the day? Heat the space with a towel warmer, exit the shower and dry with a warm towel and then dry the towel, leaving it fresh and clean for the next use. This means fewer loads of laundry which is not only hard on the towels, but also uses water, increases detergent in the waste water system and uses electricity for washing and drying. By warming the space and providing a warm towel many find that they do not linger as long in the shower because they know a warm towel awaits them.  It is recommended to install a towel warmer with a timer control for convenience and energy savings.

Zehnder
Photo courtesy of Zehnder

 

It can be good for your health. Motivation for exercise can be improved when your fitness clothing is warmed on the towel warmer. Imagine how much more pleasant your morning run would be on a cold, rainy day if you started in a warm set of jogging clothes. It is also useful for drying exercise clothing after use. Use it for drying outdoor clothing after skiing or sledding or even just walking in the rain. By drying things quickly mold and mildew bacteria are reduced and air quality is improved. Some towel warmers also have a built-in cup for aroma therapy and essential oils. If that is not enough motivation, think about warming your bathrobe, pajamas, or socks. Consider drying lingerie after laundering and swimwear after use. Additional hooks and/or shelves are available to make the towel warmer practical as well as luxurious.

 

There is a wide range of prices in towel warmers. The factors that determine price and value are the type, whether hydronic, oil filled, or wire heated, base material, shape, finish and size. Hydronic towel warmers can be controlled with the same system that is used with the heated floor tile systems. This allows thermostatic control, timed start and end times and seasonal adjustments. Electric towel warmers operate by heating the liquid that they are filled with or by a wire that runs through the unit. The wire style units generally cost less, heat more quickly but also cool more quickly and may have hot spots. Liquid filled units are usually more expensive, have more even heat, but also have a slower cool-down and longer life. For more information, visit or call our showrooms.

Zehnder
Photo courtesy of Zehnder

Stay Warm and Cozy this winter with a towel warmer from Chown Hardware.

Shop Towel Warmers here.

Value for the Dollar

What are you paying for when you buy a luxury product?

Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue Showroom 2015
Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue Showroom 2015

Building or remodeling a home involves many decisions that require information and understanding.  When selecting products for your home or the home of a client, it is very easy to get caught up in the price and not recognize what differentiates one product from another. If we are talking faucets, all deliver water. Why do some sell for less than others? There are several factors that affect the price and value of a product.

What is it made of?

We sometimes laugh and say that we should sell   our products by the pound. The most expensive products tend to be heavy because they are made of high quality materials instead of plastic or lower quality materials. Bronze and brass are not only heavy, they are also durable, beautiful and recyclable. Because of the change in the requirements by the plumbing industry, manufacturers changed the brass composition to conform to the new “lead-free” rules. To accomplish the “lead free” requirement, some manufacturers chose to add more plastic to their plumbing products, which is a less expensive component.

Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue Showroom
Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue Showroom 2015

The finish of the products, whether faucets, bath accessories or plumbing varies greatly and affects the value. Less expensive products usually have a thin layer of plating while more expensive products often have several layers or thicker layers. In some products you can see the depth of the finish, in others it shows only in the years of service while still looking new.  In the case of the popular natural brass finish (without a lacquer or powder coat overcoat) the quality of the brass will show. Brass that is of higher quality with a greater percentage of copper will be more expensive but will retain beauty even as it develops a patina.

Where is it made?

Where products are manufactured is another factor that definitely affects the price. We all know that moving from one area of our country to another affects our buying power. Different regions have a higher cost of living to support the same lifestyle. Moving to another country brings even wider differences. Products made in the U.S. and Europe are more expensive than products made in China or Mexico because of the manufacturing costs in relation to labor costs for the country where it is made. Chown carries a high percentage of products made in the United States, Canada and Europe. Many of the workers in these manufacturing facilities have been employed in their companies for years, even decades. This expertise provides excellent, consistent quality. Also American made products support the American economy where they are made.

Who designed it?

Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue location 2015
Photo: Chown Hardware Bellevue Showroom 2015

Who designs the product also makes a difference in the price. Products designed by a manufacturer’s staff member usually have less expensive design fees than products designed by an independent designer. Designers have training and expertise in creating products that have good scale and proportion as well as beautiful detail and artistic beauty. Designers create cutting edge designs leaving engineers to work out the manufacturing process. Enlisting the creativity of an independent designer to create a new product does add to the initial cost but the results speak for themselves.

The next time you are trying to decide between two products, look at the design, the details, and the finish. Check out how substantial it feels. Determine its value based on factors that matter. A showroom consultant will be able to help you determine the quality of your investment.

 

Chown Staff

 

 

 

Protecting Your Investment

 

Adding high quality, luxury details to a home is an investment that pays back in satisfaction, beauty and performance. Just as a car requires maintenance and care, so do the products we use in our homes every day. Occasionally we get a call that a beautiful fixture that has been destroyed by the cleaning crew. To avoid this, it is important that the family members and the cleaning team understand the right products and methods to use. Each manufacturer has its own specific recommendations; always check these instructions before cleaning. Below is a short list of general care tips:

Image Courtesy of Oregon Copper Bowl
Image Courtesy of Oregon Copper Bowl

Uncoated Brass, Bronze or Copper faucets, sinks, hardware and countertops should be wiped with a clean, soft cloth and dried after each use. Do not use any cleaners that are abrasive or that have an acid base. A good quality wax that is safe to use in the kitchen will help protect the finish during use. It can be used in the bath also. Many products have a patina, be careful that your cleaner does not remove that patina leaving a shiny surface instead of the desired patina.

All metals require similar care as listed above. Lacquer or powder-coat over the metal helps protect the metal, but care should always be taken to clean carefully and keep dry when not in use. Always use non-abrasive cleaners and cloths as these may scratch the surface. Waxing at least monthly is best.

Image courtesy of Blanco
Image courtesy of Blanco

Stainless Steel is very durable and a good choice for the kitchen and bath. Because it is metal, it also needs to be cared for without using acid base or abrasive cleaners. Stainless Steel should be dried when not in use as water droplets may leave mineral deposits forming spots. Metals are subject to scratching, prevention is the best course. Using a grid in the bottom of the sink will help protect the bottom of the sink from damage.

China and Fireclay sinks and Countertops should be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners. Do not use scouring pads or harsh chemical based cleaners.

Image Courtesy of Franke
Image Courtesy of Franke

Acrylic bathtubs and showers need special care to avoid build-up of soap and mineral deposits. To remove them use a non-abrasive cleaner and avoid scrubbing pads. Using a liquid dish soap with a soft cloth or sponge, rinsing well and drying is the best way to care for these products.

acrylic-bath barcelona_Va
Image Courtesy of Victoria + Albert

Stone sinks, tile and countertops should be cleaned with non-abrasive, non-acid cleaners. Liquid dish washing soap (not the type used in your dishwasher) will clean the surface without damage. Be sure to rinse and dry afterward. Periodically natural stone should be sealed with a protectant such as Masterpiece Marble Care.

Image Courtesy of  Stone Forest
Image Courtesy of Stone Forest

Mirrors can be cleaned with a good glass cleaner but do not spray the mirror. Instead spray the cloth because ammonia running over the edge or the bottom of the mirror may remove the silvering on the back of the mirror.

Image Courtesy of Electric Mirror
Image Courtesy of Electric Mirror

Steam Baths should be periodically drained completely to remove the mineral deposits left behind. Steam companies offer an automatic drain which is a great solution. The steam head and control needs only to be cleaned with a non-abrasive cloth using the same care as for any other good quality metal. Use of Flitz wax is useful to help prevent the buildup of mineral deposits on the surface of the steam head and control.

Image Courtesy of Mr. Steam
Image Courtesy of Mr. Steam

Hoses for hand-held showers, side sprays and pull-out spray heads need to be replaced periodically, just as the hoses in your car do. Check for signs of leak frequently and replace as needed. Using a leak-detector under the kitchen sink or tub deck provides peace of mind.

The supply lines beneath your sinks and behind your toilets should be closed and reopened periodically to make sure they are working well and that they have not become brittle. If water flow is reduced after doing this, check the aerator to see if small fragments of gaskets or particles from the water supply have been loosened and are blocking the aerator.

Image Courtesy of Emtek
Image Courtesy of Emtek
Image Courtesy of Baldwin
Image Courtesy of Baldwin

Hinges that squeak may need to be lubricated using lithium grease. Remove one hinge pin at a time, apply grease, replace hinge pin. Wipe excess.

Locks that stick may need to be lubricated, especially exterior locks. Use graphite in the key cylinder area. Be sure to wipe away the excess.

If you have questions, please check with the manufacturer instead of assuming. Chown carries product for the care and maintenance of the products we sell. Ask your sales consultant for help in selecting the correct ones. Caring properly for your investment will give years of function and beauty.

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

Why is the kitchen sink mentioned when people talk about having everything they need? It must be because the kitchen sink is the most important appliance in the kitchen. The sink and its related pieces (faucet, soap dispenser, garbage disposer and water filtration) is really the all-inclusive solution. When it is time to replace or buy a kitchen sink, you might be thinking of doing the same style, material, and/or configuration that you currently have. That would not be a terrible decision. After all, if it works for you now, why change? Take a few minutes to think through the options and you may make a different choice for that very crucial kitchen sink.

Single Bowl Sink

Barclay
Barclay Antilles Sink. Material: Bamboo Courtesy of Barclay

Whether a person likes to cook and does it for daily meals, for entertaining or both, choosing the correct sink affects the efficiency and the enjoyment of the food prep and the cleanup. Today, many people use their dishwasher extensively without need for running a sink-full of soapy dishwater at all. It is often done with a rinse and load into the dishwasher process. If there is a large pot or bowl, it can be washed without having to run a sink-full of water. The trend has been and continues to be single bowl sinks.

 

Double Bowl Sink

Native Trails
Native Trails CPS277. Material: Hand-hammered Recycled Copper. Image courtesy of Native Trails

There are still those who like to wash a few things at a time and use their dishwashers only occasionally for holidays or meals prepared when they entertain. The second bowl may hold the dish rack for allowing the dishes to air dry. These people may be candidates for a double-equal sink configuration. Another popular option is the double bowl sink, but not equal in size. This allows the user to do separate functions at the same time while still allowing enough space in the larger side to accommodate large bowls, pans or cookie sheets. The smaller sink compartment can hold a colander, keep food separated preventing cross contamination or for warm soapy water for cleaning up during food prep and cooking.

The next consideration is the sink material. Some options are listed below along with pros and cons.

Stainless Steel  

stainlesssteel-julien j7
Julian J7 sink. Material: Stainless Steel. Image courtesy of Julien

Stainless steel continues to be the most popular and most durable kitchen sink. It is easy to care for, comes in a variety of sizes and configurations, and can be installed under counter, drop-in, or flush mount. Stainless Steel is also available as an apron front. As with all metal, it is susceptible to scratching so care should be taken to ensure the bottom is protected with a grid or grate. If the sink becomes scratched it can either be buffed out or over time the scratches become part of the natural aging process. There are many numbers to understand when selecting a stainless steel sink. Watch for the gauge of the stainless steel, the thicker it is, the lower the number. Choose 18 gauge or thicker. There are different types of stainless steel, type 304 is a good choice. The next number to be aware of is the chromium and nickel content. This will affect the beauty of the stainless steel over time. 18/10 will have 2% more nickel than 18/8 will, giving it a better, longer lasting luster. There are many quality stainless steel sinks to choose from in various configurations, sizes and gauges.

Composites

Composite-Blanco-silgranitII
Blanco Silgranit II Sink, Material composite 80% solid granit. Image courtesy of Blanco

Composites have gained popularity for the kitchen sink. Made up of ground stone and a bonding material such as silicon, these sinks have the look and feel of stone without the maintenance. Composite sinks are hygienic, easy to care for and durable. They have a variety of configurations and colors from which to choose as well as drop-in and under-counter installation options. Because the color goes all through the product they keep their beauty without showing signs of wear. They are strong and resistant to heat, scratches, stains and acids, without adding as much weight as a stone sink does. In addition to the great benefits of these sinks they are also lower in cost than many of the other options.

Fireclay

fireclay-JulienMHK720-35
Julien MHK720-35 Sink. Material Black Fireclay. Image courtesy of Julien

Fireclay is a ceramic material that has been fired at a very high temperature, giving the surface a strong, chip-resistance that is non-porous and durable. Available in white, biscuit, and black, with under-counter mounting or in a variety of apron-front styles, fireclay is another good choice for today’s kitchen. Fireclay is a heavy material so the sink needs to be supported from underneath for stability. There are different designs for the apron and different thicknesses of aprons to choose from.

Copper and Bronze

copper-nativetrails farmhouseseries
Native Trails Farmhouse Sink. Material: Copper. Image courtesy of Native Trails.

Bronze and copper are also good choices for the kitchen. These two materials require a higher level of care than do the stainless steel and fireclay to avoid an irregular or mottled appearance. If that is the desired finish it is easily achieved. For the rich beauty they add to a kitchen, it may be worth the extra maintenance, but it depends on the person’s tolerance level for maintenance. Copper is a material that actually kills bacteria and is one of the major elements included in bronze. These finishes are affected by acidic foods and chemicals such as lemons and many cleaning products.

Stone

Stone-Stofo-NewHavenFarmhouseSinkCarraraMarble
Stone Forest New Haven Farmhouse Sink. Material Carrara Marble. Image courtesy of Stone Forest.

Stone is another option for the kitchen sink and has the same characteristics as the stone countertops being used in today’s homes, requiring it to be sealed periodically. It is a beautiful option with many choices, but does require extra care to support it due to its weight. Available in a variety of configurations including single and double bowl and under-counter, apron-front and drop-in installation.

Concrete

 

Concrete-cementeleg-Farm-Sink
Cement Elegance Farm Sink. Material cured concrete. Image courtest of Cement Elegance

Another material for the kitchen sink is concrete. This has grown in popularity over the past few years because of the improved methods of manufacturing. The concrete has been reengineered to allow it to be sealed, reducing its porosity. It has been made lighter in weight and the color can go throughout the material. It does erode away over time which needs to be considered when choosing it for the kitchen sink.

Choosing the faucet and accessories to enhance the function of the sink can be discussed with our consultants in person, by phone or email.

Stainless Steel vs. Composite sinks

Blanco One XL
Stainless Steel Sink: BLANCO ONE XL Single Bowl. Image courtesy of Blanco

What should I look for in a stainless steel sink?

Stainless sinks come in a range of sizes, number of bowls and also quality of material used to make the sink.  Sinks are rated on the gauge (thickness) of the sink with the lower the number, the thicker the sink (eg. 16ga is thicker than 22ga). The gauge number is how many sheets of stainless steel it takes to make an inch, so the thicker the sheets of metal the fewer needed to measure one inch.

Next is the nickel content of the sink with the higher the nickel content the better the luster of the sink and the more resilient to scratching the sink will be.  The most common are 18/8 and 18/10, which indicates 18% chromium and 10% nickel content. This does not have anything to do with the gauge or thickness of the metal.  Stainless steel can and will scratch.

The best care you can give to maintain a stainless steel sink is to use a grid which prevents the pots and pans, flatware and other common kitchen items from scratching the surface. Although stainless steel does not promote bacteria growth, bacteria can sit on the surface so cleaning the sink is an important part of any kitchen sink. Using a non-abrasive cleaner is important to prevent fine scratches. What do you do if the sink does become scratched? Over time the scratches blend together to make a new patina. If you have invested in a high-quality stainless steel sink with a fine finish, you will probably want to protect the sink from this type of damage.

What gauge stainless steel sink is right for me?

20ga – 26ga – apartment grade, “throw away” and cost effective when doing turns on apartments in order to be ready for next tenant.  This thinner sink is easily scratched and dented and has limited sound reduction.

18ga – best for normal use kitchen sinks where replacement is rare.  It will hold up to daily use and resist denting and light scratching.  High quality noise reduction pads and spray-on insulation are used to help reduce noise. There is a large variety of bowl configurations and sizes available.

16ga and thicker – Fits for normal to high abuse kitchens or commercial usages.  Handles every day usage and resists easy scratching. Again noise reduction is accomplished with sound reducing pads and spray-on insulation. The extra thickness of metal also reduces noise and rattling of dishes.

Another thing that affects the price is how the sink is manufactured. Inexpensive sinks are often stamped, leaving the thinnest part of the sink in the bottom where the most pressure and chance of dents can occur. Generally higher quality, thicker material sinks are made by a method of heating the stainless steel sheet and drawing the sink to the proper size and shape. Another method is to cut and fold the sink with sharp or tight radius corners and weld. This method can be more cost effective for large heavy sinks.

What is a composite kitchen sink and what are the benefits?

Composite sinks are generally a stone and silicon resin mix that comes in multiple colors.  Blanco Silgranit™ sinks for instance are 80% granite material and 20% resin.  Being a solid surface material, if you do scratch the sink, it is the same color all of the way through so there are no black areas caused by the porcelain chipping off like the old cast iron sinks often had.

Since the sink is 80% granite, it can withstand temperatures of up to 536 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not recommended to set cast iron pots from the oven into a composite sink. Most are warranted against bubbling, cracking, and thermal cracking.

Cost on a composite sink is typically 30% less than a quality stainless steel sink so if you are on a tight budget it may be a very good solution. Also maintenance on the composite sinks is easy. The material is non-porous which again makes it necessary to clean the surface. The composite sink should be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners and many companies provide a cleaner that is specially formulated for the composite sinks.

One thing to consider with a composite type sink is the finish of the material, if it will be installed under a high gloss surface like granite, the finish will look matte and almost plastic where if the finish is honed the composite material really blends in nicely.

 

blanco-silgrantIIcomposite
BLANCO SILGRANIT II sinks- PRECIS Medium Single with Drainer in Metallic Gray. Image courtesy of Blanco.

 

Upkeep of Stainless vs. Composite sinks

Both sink types are made for years of use, but they both need to be cared for in their own way.  Stainless steel sinks look newer longer when you use the bottom grids to keep pot, pans and silverware from dulling the surface.  Composite sinks need to keep a good food safe wax on them to keep from getting water spots and soap build-up on the slightly textured surface, grids are also a good idea with the composite sinks to keep small scratches at bay.

 

Is Stainless steel or Composite best for long term?

I will preface this with a statement that I am not a designer or trend setter, but I have been in the industry for my share of years.  Composite sinks are the “hot item” right now but will it be still “hot” in 10 years?  Since I’ve been in the industry I have seen many trends come and go (white pull out faucets in the 90’s).  I wonder if potential home buyers will look at the kitchen with a composite sink and think “that’s a 2010 remodel”.  Good or bad, it could bring up extra costs to a potential purchaser.  Stainless steel has been a standard item for many years and I don’t see it ending any time soon.    No plans on selling, then you choose the sink that fits your lifestyle and your design!

 

-Chown Hardware Staff

 

 

 

 

Product Design Awards ala Red Dot

Everyone wants to be recognized for their achievements, whether they are students, designers, musicians, or businesses. What these awards are is not always clear and without clarity there is often not sufficient appreciation. The number of awards for recognition in this industry are many and include many groups such as the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Industry, the Kitchen and Bath Industry, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Interior Design, Hospitality Design, various Construction Industry awards, and on it goes. It also includes many categories such as Innovation, whole home, kitchens, baths, energy saving, ergonomic, calculated by size, by price, by region. One of the awards that is interesting to me is the Red Dot Award for product design. It is interesting because it is very wide in its scope. It is about excellence in product design and encompasses things as varied as a chair, a faucet, a bathtub, a watch, a cell phone, a toy, a camera and in categories such as gardens, bathrooms and spas, consumer electronics, vehicles and urban design. Since visiting the Red Dot Design Museum in Germany, I appreciate the prestige that this award deserves. I found the variety of product intriguing as well as enjoyed seeing what constituted design worthy of an award. The judges make their selections without knowledge of the companies or designers submitting them, which is the only truthful way of making these judgements. There are multiple winners within a category, the best of the best, winner, and honorable mention. Broken down into categories such as gardens, bathrooms and spas, consumer electronics, vehicles and urban design, the products had to prove their worth in several different areas:

• Degree of innovation
• Functionality
• Formal quality
• Ergonomics
• Durability
• Symbolic and emotional content
• Product periphery
• Self-explanatory quality
• Ecological compatibility

For 2014, 40 international experts made up the largest-ever Red Dot jury which resulted in:

– 4,815 entries from 53 countries
– 72 “Red Dot: Best of the Best winners”
– “Red Dot“ awards granted 1,120
– “Honourable Mention“ awards granted 123

 

reddot award

Since 1954, the Red Dot Award for product design has recognized products that are functional as well as beautiful. A few of the 2014 award winners that are available at Chown Hardware are shown below.

Products shown and winning products are not always available in the United States because of the necessary testing needed to bring them to the U.S. market. Red Dot Awards are often the preview of our future products.

veriduravit

Vero
Manufacturer: Duravit AG, Germany; Design: Kurt Merki Jr., Switzerland
Statement by the Red Dot jury: “The Vero bathroom furniture series combines a clear language of form with the use of wood to create a harmonious whole. All the elements are convincing in their detail and are perfectly matched. The smooth doors and the shape of the vanity unit are examples of good design. The sophisticated functionality of this collection of bathroom furniture offers the user much individual comfort.”

axor shower pipe front

Axor Showerpipe by Front
Manufacturer: Hansgrohe SE, Germany; Design: Front Design AB, Sweden
Statement by the Red Dot jury: “By referring to traditional technical forms, the Axor Showerpipe by Front creates something new which is fascinating. The clear lines of the shower underline the way that water naturally flows and thereby demonstrates a feeling of back to basics. But the well-engineered comfort of the facilities offers the user an intensive showering experience. The precise attention to detail makes Axor Showerpipe by Front very convincing.”

hansgrohe logis

 

Hansgrohe Logis
Basin Mixers
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Hansgrohe SE
Designer: Phoenix Design GmbH + Co. KG

hansgrohemetris

 

Hansgrohe Metris
Kitchen Mixer
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Hansgrohe SE
Designer: Phoenix Design GmbH + Co. KG

hansgroheraindanceselects240

 

Hansgrohe Raindance Select S 240
Overhead Shower
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Hansgrohe SE
Designer: Phoenix Design GmbH + Co. KG

hansgroheshowerselect

Hansgrohe ShowerSelect
Thermostats for Concealed Installation
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Hansgrohe SE
Designer: Phoenix Design GmbH + Co. KG

amiatacollectionvictoriaandalbert

Victoria + Albert Baths are delighted to announce that the Amiata Collection has won the prestigious Red Dot Product Design Award. The Amiata Collection was designed by Italian design studio Meneghello Paolelli Associati.

Amiata perfectly blends modern aesthetics and neoclassic features. The combination of ergonomic design and our signature ENGLISHCAST® material makes the Amiata bathing experience one to be remembered.

curvetronic

Curvetronic
Infrared-Controlled Basin Mixer
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Laufen Bathrooms AG
Designer: platinumdesign

laufenpros

 

Laufen Pro S
Washbasin
Red Dot
Manufacturer: Laufen Bathrooms AG
Designer: Vetica Group

 

 

Kaye Powell

 

*****

To browse the Red Dot products we offer, click here.

Picking the Correct Cabinet Hardware

AM_Revitalize_55346_55344_55342_VB_Kitch_CU Image courtesy of Amerock Decorative Cabinet Hardware

What is the correct size cabinet pull for my drawer and door?

Cabinet hardware is definitely a personal preference on how it looks on a particular cabinet.  Depending on the face detail a particular piece can look oversize or undersized.  I personally like to recommend looking at cabinet hardware in 3rds, meaning the cabinet pull is 1/3 of the overall width of the drawer face.  For instance, 18” drawer would fit a 6” overall pull (not center to center measurement).  There is not always the perfect 1/3 pull that fits your design, so don’t get stuck and think that is the only one that will work.

Cabinet doors typically take a scaled down version of the drawer pulls, mainly because they are placed on the lower edge of the door and anything oversized may look out of balance, typically pulls less than 6” overall length work well for upper doors.

Where do I use knobs vs. pulls?

I have helped design rooms with all pulls, all knobs and also mixtures of both.  It’s all about scale of the room.  Some doors and drawers are just too small to use a pull and a knob is more appropriate or in the case of a small powder room pulls may be just too much visually for the space.

AM_Revitalize_55340_CBZ_Bath Image courtesy of Amerock Decorative Cabinet Hardware

Pulls are nice addition to drawers which typically have a little extra weight on them from things like can goods to pots and pans.  Pulls will allow more grip which is needed to get the drawer to open.  Knobs on doors especially uppers tend to blend into the design and not take away from the rest of the room.

What color should I use for my cabinet hardware?

Again, design will dictate which color you should use but here are a couple of things to consider.  Dark cabinets and light colored cabinets can be a partial determiner of hardware finish.  If you want the hardware to make a statement then I suggest using an opposite finish like satin nickel with dark cabinets or oil bronze with light cabinets.  If you want the cabinet hardware to blend away, the opposite is true, light finish with light cabinets and dark finish with dark cabinets.  Another consideration in a room is what the other finishes are in the room.  Do you have a satin nickel faucet and lights with stainless steel appliances?  Then satin nickel defiantly an option, since there are multiple options in the silver family like pewter or chrome, I think as long as they are in the same finish family you should be fine.  If you have dark fixtures, wood panels on the appliances I would suggest leaning to dark cabinet hardware from bronze family.

Can I mix cabinet hardware finishes in the same room?

Yes you can! I wouldn’t suggest mixing finishes on the same bank of cabinets, but maybe one design on the main set of cabinets but having a different design on an island to make a statement.  Again, there is no rules to choosing hardware as long as it’s appealing to your eye.

Do all cabinet pulls have a matching appliance pull?

Sadly no they don’t although more manufacturers are adding to existing lines, sometimes you just have to find something “close enough”

Do all cabinet hardware finishes match?

In some instances yes brands can be intermixed like polished chrome, satin nickel, polished brass and polished nickel.  Outside of those finishes it’s really tough to find an exact match.  Each company has their own rendition of particular finishes.  Now, sometimes close is ok because there is typically some distance between hardware as opposed to right next to each other so keep that in mind when selecting finishes.

-JT Goulet

Shop Cabinet Hardware Here!

Finish Forecast

Finish is to hardware, plumbing and lighting as color is to paint and fabric. There are trends, styles, and combinations that can make a remarkable difference in your project, whether a home, restaurant, hotel, or commercial building.

Just as color is trendy or cyclic, so too are finishes. Some finishes are best known for the type or style in which they were predominately used. Consider how the mid-century modern design popularized the use of chrome for example. Other finishes are classic and rise and fall in popularity just as colors do.

Gallery_tarakitchen Image courtesy of Dornbracht

In the nineties for example, consumers were troubled by lacquer coated polished brass when the brass failed. This created an unnatural appearance that looked more like the brass was peeling off than the lacquer. This was made worse by companies who used lesser quality brass adding additional color to the lacquer giving it the appearance of its more expensive counterpart.  The result was a pale, mottled finish that hastened the introduction of the PVD (physical vapor deposition) finishes. Today there is a return to natural metal finishes, such as natural brass, bronze and copper.

Chrome, aluminum and stainless steel were economic and popular metals for furniture legs, plumbing, and even today’s computers and tablets for almost a century. Now copper is gaining strength due to its “warm shimmering” color and its authenticity. It brings with it warmth that is lacking in the silvery tones that have dominated the industry for many years.

Designers are looking at this beautiful finish in a fresh new way. When left natural copper will patina, going through variations from the beautiful pinkish color, darkening to brown and eventually to a beautiful green. (Think of the beautiful Verde roofs on buildings in Europe.) It can also be maintained and polished with a good metal polish. Besides the aesthetics, it conducts heat and electricity very well and has amazing anti-bacterial properties, even being used in hospitals and medical facilities to reduce the spread of disease. It is also soft enough to be formed into any number of beautiful designs, including hammered sinks.

Gallery_Tara_Classic_Cyprum Image courtesy of Dornbracht

Copper finish is being introduced as an option on faucets, showers, kitchen faucets and other plumbing products for the bath and the kitchen. Seeing a faucet in copper instead of polished chrome makes the design look remarkably different. Dornbracht™ has added their CYPRUM™to the MEM™ design for both kitchen and bath and have a process that prevents it from tarnish and patina. You must see this beautiful finish to truly understand why it is worth talking about.

Chown Hardware Staff

How To Choose The Best Outdoor Lighting

62_shelter_1321kz_1547kz Image courtesy of Hinkley Lighting.

“I can’t see.  Turn a light on, so you do not go blind!” This is one of my favorite expressions used by my mother, Gail, and I am reminded of it as I write about the importance of lighting.  As fall and winter approach and the dark gloom settles in, exterior lighting becomes very important.  Outdoor lighting should be given as much thought as interior lighting. Developing a plan to enhance the architecture and improve safety of your home is an important step.

Security and Safety

The first and most important goal of outdoor lighting is for safety and security. This is achieved by illuminating your front entrance, pathways and stairs, as well as the darkest corners of your property.  All of these areas should be considered when designing an effective lighting plan, as well as making sure your plan can be built upon as time, budget, and exterior space allow.

Choosing Your Style

Once the dream plan is done, the usual starting point would be the outdoor lanterns and path lighting to greet your guests.  Choosing a look which complements the style of your home’s façade and your existing door hardware is the most creative part of choosing your outdoor fixtures.  Personally, I like to mix it up and have fun with my styles and colors, and make my own rules.  For example, a stainless steel finish with an ornate design is unusual, and definitely sets apart your style from your neighbor’s.  It is easy to choose a style that suits you with the many outdoor lighting options and many combinations of colors and textures in stone and siding materials these days.  If you like to keep it simple, many lights come in collections, where different types of fixtures all come with the same design and finish.

When selecting the lanterns for your exterior lighting there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration, to assure that the fixtures will meet your needs. Scale, mounting, and bulb types are all very important in the selection process. One of the biggest issues that gets overlooked is the placement of the junction box on the wall, which often interferes with the direction the fixture will hang. If hung incorrectly the fixture will not illuminate the surrounding area correctly and may even shine back into your windows.

Type Of Light

I am often asked which bulb is the correct type to use in exterior fixtures.  I do not have the perfect answer for that question. The bulb type is usually dictated by the fixture itself, but my preferences are LED (light-emitting diode), CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) and incandescent bulbs. LED lamps seem to be the direction that all manufacturers are leaning, and that it exciting because of the sleek designs and the energy savings that they offer.

-Jill Torrey

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