Design · Events · Kitchen Design · Remodel

Win tickets for this weekend’s Homes By Architects Tour

Note: Tell me why you’d like to go to AIA-MN’s Homes By Architects Tour in the comments by 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14 for a chance to score a pair of tickets. I’ll probably choose at random, unless someone writes a super good comment.

Photo courtesy AIA-MN

I’m in love with the kitchen from the Star Tribune’s September Home of the Month (see the photo gallery).

The article talks about how the homeowners worked with Nguyen Architects to open up their fixer-upper Lake Minnetonka home, including adding priceless views to their “cave-like kitchen”:

The most dramatic improvement is that Jen can look at the lake through massive picture windows while she chops veggies.

I guess that’s the benefit of working with an architect (and living on Lake Minnetonka) — changing a sore spot into a functional, thoughtful and of course, beautiful, space.

The Orono home is No. 3 on the American Institute of Architects-Minnesota’s Hom

Home No. 9

es By Architects Tour, happening Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18-19 from 10-5.

We supplied the appliances for this gorgeous project, as well as those in the kitchen of the No. 9 home.

Get a video sneak peak of this European-inspired kitchen from Carla Warner and architect Rosemary McMonigal, AIA, of McMonigal Architects LLC:

Tickets are $15 online, $20 at the door. Plus, we’re giving you several chances to win a pair of tickets (see note above and our Twitter and Facebook) prior to this weekend.

About Warners' Stellian · Design · Events · HOW TO · Kitchen Design

HOW TO: ace the Spaces portfolio review

Spaces magazine asked us to host the local shelter publication’s kitchen and bath portfolio review on July 22 at our Warners’ Stellian Edina showroom.

Editor Heidi Raschke and Art Director Ellen Thomson will give designers three minutes to present a project or two, which will hopefully lead to a future feature! To help you best prepare for the review, I asked Heidi and Ellen to offer some advice, which follows below. For more information on the event and to RSVP, visit our events calendar. Good luck!

1. We’re looking for a variety of projects, and we’re looking for good stories. Sometimes a project itself is so innovative or grand or dazzling that it’s strong enough for a story. Sometimes the story behind the project makes it interesting. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. If you’re excited about it, we probably will be interested, too.

2. You only have three minutes to meet us and tell us about your work, so come prepared with a focused presentation. Show us one or two projects that you’re really proud of or that is indicative of your style rather than a smattering. Leave us printouts or discs with photos as well as your contact information and any other information you’d like to share about the project or projects.

3. If you have projects that have already been professionally photographed, that’s a huge plus. Not a requirement, but a plus.

Ellen Thomson (back) and Heidi Raschke (front)

4. If you know the homeowner will talk to us, that also is a plus. We prefer to have homeowners on the record.

5. Don’t be intimidated. The time limits are necessary, but try to relax. You’re helping us get smarter and do our jobs better, and we appreciate the help. Portfolio reviews are fun for us. We really enjoy getting out of the office, putting faces with names and seeing your work.

6. If you have questions in advance, feel free to e-mail Heidi Raschke at hraschke@pioneerpress.com or Ellen Thomson at ellenmthomson@pioneerpress.com.

Hope to see you there,
Heidi Raschke and Ellen Thomson

Appliance Design · Design

What’s your favorite finish? White, black or stainless steel?

I really like the contrast of the white appliances against the black cabinets here. And it surprises, because we now expect stainless steel. Image courtesy theletteredcottage.net

Appliances historically have been white, but how do you feel about colors like black or alternative finishes like stainless steel?

Tradition makes white classic, but it also makes anything different stand out all the more in a kitchen.

Trendy right now are stainless steel appliances, which followed the popularity of commercial-style ranges and cooking appliances that were always made of stainless steel. Their clean modern looks makes it hard to argue against their popularity.

houzz.com

But stainless steel appliances usually cost more, and in some cases a great deal more (though right now through Aug. 1, GE is offering a free upgrade to stainless steel from white and black).

I think when I replace my appliances, I’ll probably choose stainless steel because my sense tells me it will add to the resale value of my home, which I don’t plan to live in for more than seven years.

Plus, it’s hard to match commercial cooking products to colored finishes, leaving me to lean toward the even more expensive integrated (or paneled) looks.

What do you have now: black, white or stainless steel? What will you replace it with when the time comes and why?

Appliance Design · Design · Energy Efficiency · Sustainability

Are stainless steel appliances an environmental no-no?

Stainless steel has become the standard finish for many when replacing kitchen appliances.

The growing popularity of commercial ranges like Viking and Wolf ranges introduced stainless steel to the kitchen.

And soon homeowners wanted to coordinate the clean, contemporary look with refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves.

But environmental concerns wisely also influence purchasing decisions today.

The Star Tribune’s Fixit columnist, Karen Youso, posed the question of whether stainless steel appliances should worry eco-conscious consumers.

Her answer, happily, is no:

Stainless steel can be — and is — recycled. (According to the International Stainless Steel Forum, new stainless-steel products are made from about 60 percent recycled stainless.) Its alternative, enameled steel, also is recyclable, so stainless steel isn’t significantly better or worse for the environment.

But materials aren’t all that important when trying to determine how earth-friendly home appliances are. What matters most is energy efficiency, said Lise Laurin, founder of EarthShift, a Vermont company that works with corporations and institutions on sustainability.

Of course, we recycle replaced appliances for free on most purchases, so you can feel comfortable about upgrading to stainless steel. Just make them Energy Star appliances.

Design · Events · Remodel

Interior design home tour kicks off Saturday

The 2010 ASID Showcase Home Tour starts Saturday — and this year there’s two homes.

You can take a self-guided tour of both homes, a result of the work of 26 designers from the Minnesota Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, May 15-June 13.

The homes

The brand new Calhoun condo (the first ever in the Showcase) is located on the northeast corner of the lake and is “designed for a future homeowner who appreciates clean-lined, sophisticated spaces,” said the Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine website.

Then again, a note from the local ASID president said the styling tries to be pleasing to anyone.

I guess that the future homeowner is “anyone” technically, so…

Anyway, I saw the sketches and photos of the finishes and furniture, etc. and it looks gorgeous.

Add $60 to your ticket and tour the homes during a Culinary Evening. Hosted by Stephanie Marsh of Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine, the tour includes food from

Next up, the Lake of the Isles turn-of-the-century home is “designed for a world traveler, Dan Buettner.”  Buettner, author the “The Blue Zones” (which I’ve honestly never heard of) incorporated his travels and theories about longevity into each room.

He’s even having “Blue Zones Day” at the house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Saturday, May 22. For $20 (plus an additional $20 if you want an autographed copy of his book), Buettner will “discuss how Power 9 is incorporated into his home” and there will be healthy living experts on hand (and wine sampling).

Ticket info

Buy your tickets at a participating ticket outlet for $15 and save $5. Otherwise, you’ll pay $20 by phone (Mpls.St.Paul Magazine at 612-336-9296) or online.

Audio tours will be offered again this year, which I’m excited for. Detailed room information can be accessed from a handheld device at your own pace. Don’t care about kitchens? Fine, skip it (more for me).

Have you ever been on the tour? Let me know what you think.

For more events happening around town, check out our Special Events Calendar.