About Warners' Stellian · cooking · Energy Efficiency · Events · Kitchen Design · Remodel

Upcoming events: Cooking classes, home tours and kitchen workshops

I noticed when updating our Special Events Calendar that there’s so much great stuff going on during the next two weeks, an upcoming events roundup was due.

Check out events calendar, let me know if there’s anything else that you think should be listed there. (I’m not just saying this because I update it) It’s a great place to find out about cooking classes, home tours,  expos, seminars and design events, etc.

Metro Magazine Green Home Happy Hours


Photo courtesy Metro Magazine

Hosted by Metro Magazine Wednesdays in May from 5:30-8, the Green Home Happy Hours give you a chance to eat and drink delicious (and free) refreshments while snooping around the gorgeous sustainable home in which its hosted that week.

I went last week and not only had a blast, but I learned a few green tips I can incorporate into my own home.

ASID Showcase Home Tour

This year, for the price of one ticket, you have the unique opportunity to see two homes located just minutes from each other. Though the homes share the same essential locale and each has lake views that inspired 26 ASID designers, the two are distinct in many ways.

The Lake of the Isles turn-of-the-century home is designed for a world traveler. The brand new Calhoun condo is designed for a future homeowner who appreciates clean-lined, sophisticated spaces.

Warners’ Stellian is a sponsor of this year’s event, and we supplied the appliances for both houses.

The tour kicks off Saturday, May 15 and runs Wednesdays through Sundays until June 13.

My suggestion would be to check out one of the various Culinary Nights, featuring food from chefs from local popular restaurants.

Marrakech Cooking Class

The next two Saturdays at two Warners’ Stellian stores, lifestyle expert Ross Sveback will be teaching Moroccan cooking, with recipes inspired specifically by the region of Marrakech.

You’ll start with a sample of salads scented with spices such as cumin and chili powder and then learn to cook:

  • Pot-Roasted Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes, Smoked Paprika and Cumin
  • Moroccan Beef Stew, fragrant with saffron, ginger and turmeric served with Noodles tossed in Sea Salt and Cinnamon
  • Pears, poached in Orange and Clove syrup served with pitted prunes
  • Semolina Pancakes drizzled with Pure Comb Honey
Warners’ Stellian Edina on May 15, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Warners’ Stellian St.Paul on May 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Cost of the class is $50, please reserve your spot by contacting  ross@kon-tent.com

Kitchen Design Remodel Planning Party


An example of a College City remodeled kitchen

Thinking about a remodel? Need some fresh kitchen ideas? Award-winning remodeler and custom home builder College City is hosting another kitchen design seminar Thursday, May 20 at Warners’ Stellian St. Paul.

You’ll get designers perspectives and practical examples as well as an executive chef’s point of view on high-functioning kitchen design (and the chef will also do a cooking demo, so there will be food involved…).

Cost vs. value comparisons on remodeling projects will be presented for those wanting to get the most bang for their buck. I’ve heard good things about this event so far, and College City has a great reputation within the remodeling industry.

The seminar is free but limited to 30 people, so RSVP at http://www.collegecityremodeling.com or call 952-469-6900.

Donate Shoes For Kids through May 23

How can a child focus on learning when she doesn’t have decent shoes? Sadly, that’s the story with a number of students in St. Paul schools.

We’re proud to be a drop-off site for Shoes For Kids, which is collecting gently used shoes for children in grades K-6. Your donations will benefit students of North End, Daytons Bluff, John A. Johnson and Bruce Vento schools who can’t afford an adequate pair of shoes.

Donations will be accepted through May 23 at all Warners’ Stellian stores, Abetto’s Deli and the Eastside Family Center.

Events · Kitchen Design · New Spaces · Remodel

What’s it like to remodel?

If I haven’t told you, I’ve been looking for a house.

I know it’s crazy, but when I walk into the kitchen, instead of thinking:

“Do I like this?”

I think:

“Do I like what this could be?”

And I’m not alone. Many homeowners envision what their space could be, given a little help.

That’s the story at the homes in the Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase, which hopefully you had a chance to check out last weekend.

Families in the Showcase give us a peek into the “after” of their own partnership with a remodeling team so that people like me can see that maybe falling in love with what a home could be isn’t so crazy.

I enjoyed this interview our friends at New Spaces did with their client, Sue, following her recent remodel, which was featured in the Remodelers Showcase. I think it — along with the “before” photos — lends insight into the process before and during a kitchen and home remodel, rather than just the beautiful results we’re used to seeing in magazines.

I’ve always been curious about what drives people to remodel. What was it for you?

Sue: It was our kitchen — it wasn’t well designed. The refrigerator stuck out from the wall and the door would hit the counter. The island was really awkward — a hipbanger — that’s what our designer called it. The space was cramped, especially for a family of four.

Before
After

How did you find your remodeler?

Sue: We got to New Spaces in action. Our neighbors used them and invited us over on a regular basis to see their work. They really were impressed by the whole process. And New Spaces finished up a week early. When does that ever happen with a remodeling project?

We also saw a house New Spaces remodel in the Parade of Homes. It was similar to ours, and we liked what we saw.

Did you have a look and specific details in mind?

Sue: Our home is about 24 years old. I like the modern look, and my husband leans to traditional styling. So Nicole, our designer, helped us balance the two.

Nicole did a great job finding out what we wanted. She didn’t push her ideas on us at all. Instead, she asked us questions and was observant. She saw some of my art on the wall — I’m a painter — and thought we could mix some artistic touches into the design.

Before
After

It sounds like a thoughtful approach — she really got to know you. Did you ever feel a little challenged with all the decisions you had to make?

Sue: Yes, remodeling our kitchen from scratch was challenging for us because there were so many choices. Nicole used a computer design system to show us how different designs would look. And when we couldn’t decide, she would jump in and make some great recommendations.

What were some of her design ideas that stood out?

Sue: Nicole suggested inlaying a decorative strip of tile behind the stove. It’s a really nice touch. The stainless steel brackets that hold up the granite counter on the island get a lot of nice comments from our guests. I love the long arch over the fireplace in the family room. The wall-to-wall mantel she designed and the arch adds style to the room. Nicole also found a manufactured stone that gives the fireplace surround a more modern feel.

We all know that remodeling can be stressful at times. How did the process work for you?

Sue: Really great. Ed was our lead carpenter and on-site manager. He was in charge of the day-to-day work, coordinating the subcontractors and doing a lot of the work himself. We liked that he always knew what was going on, and he did a great job communicating with us. Having him in charge really streamlined the communications.

Did anything unusual happen during the process?

Sue: Our furnace went out the day before the floors were going to be refinished. I had to call Ed at 9 at night. He immediately rearranged the schedule with the workers and then called me back to confirm a new schedule. He was so professional and nice about it.

When you get up in the morning and walk into your newly remodeled kitchen and family room, what jumps out at you?

Sue: The light! We replaced the kitchen window with a bigger window. And we removed the walls separating the kitchen from the family room, so the space feels more open. There’s more natural light in the space. It’s wonderful. Not to mention more storage.

Love the light coming in on this one...

For an even closer look into Sue’s remodel experience, check out this video:

Warners’ Stellian Apple Valley will host a Kitchen Workshop offered by the experts from New Spaces on Thursday, April 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. We’ve had a great response to these events so far, with attendees walking away with some great ideas and creative solutions from a truly no-pressure approach.

Space is limited, so register now.

You can find lots more events for homeowners at our Education Events calendar.

Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase are registered servicemarks of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. They are used with permission.

Events · Kitchen Design · New Spaces · Remodel

What do you know about kitchen remodeling?

The following is a guest post from president of Minnesota home remodeling firm New Spaces, Shawn Nelson. Shawn is a passionate advocate of professional remodeling who is actively involved in the industry, including frequent speaking engagements and education of other remodelers. E-mail shawn@newspaces.com or find Shawn on Twitter @shawnanelson.

Kitchens are the heart of the home. They are where your family gathers, where you entertain friends — and — of course, where you prepare meals. A well-designed kitchen supports these essential functions of your lifestyle.

A poorly designed kitchen…well, we hear the complaints:

  • “I don’t enough room on the counters.”
  • “I don’t have places to put away the containers and small appliances.”
  • “Everyone walks right through the kitchen.”
  • “When we have friends over everyone is crowded into the kitchen.”
  • “We don’t have enough room for larger family gatherings.”
  • “We only use our formal spaces a couple times a year.”
Floorplan courtesy of the National Kitchen and Bath Association

Remodeling your kitchen provides you with a great opportunity to create a kitchen designed for your family. By using principles like the work triangle (see illustration), remodelers can create cooking areas with the necessary counter space and convenient storage.

By figuring out the traffic flow patterns, the cooking area can be protected from other people getting in the way. For example, some families have two or more people involved in cooking. So, design can create separate work zones.

Form follows function! Great design creates spaces that support your lifestyle and look beautiful. Kitchens offer great flexibility in combining finishes to create a particular style. How the design coordinates cabinets, countertops, flooring, lights, backsplashes — and, of course — appliances will make it “traditional,” “contemporary,” “country” or customized to your unique preference.

Learn about kitchen remodeling solutions for your kitchen. Join us for a Kitchen Workshop:

Thursday March 18, 7-8:30 p.m.

Warners’ Stellian, 3533 W. 70th St., Edina, MN 55435 (Across from the Galleria)

Please e-mail shawn@newspaces.com to RSVP

This is an interactive workshop. After you draw your kitchen, we will look at how design principles can be applied specifically to your home. Space planning and design trend examples and solutions will be covered, with examples from a variety of budgets.

Don’t worry. This workshop is not an infomercial or sales presentation, but rather a fun lesson in kitchen remodeling   from a team that has been doing it for 30 years.

About New Spaces

Fall in love with your home! Remodel your home based on your personality and style with the help of our team of talented designers and skilled lead carpenters. Find out more about us by e-mail, Twitter (@new_spaces) or Facebook.

cooking · FAQ · Kitchen Design

Why you should care about CFMs

Minnesota homes, like others in colder climates, are built air-tight. It’s not really something we think about until we remodel our kitchens.

Oh yes. That beautiful, pro-style range or cooktop. All that power. All those BTUs.

But all those BTUs require a certain amount of another acronym.

CFMs.

Quick! Get a vent!

More heat being produced = more heat needing to be exhausted. But our state code actually says ventilation hoods can’t exceed 300 Cubic Feet per Minute before needing “makeup air.”

Why? It’s kind of confusing, honestly, but Faber Rangehoods’ blog had a good explanation on this several months back:

A situation of negative pressure could also occur when too much air is pulled out of the home and it is not replaced by air from the outside. In today’s construction the homes are becoming more and more air tight and when too much air is pulled out of a home, you need to sometimes “make up” for that lost air by pumping outside air into the home

Before you get really excited about the solution of makeup air, understand that depending on your home, it will cost $2,000 to $10,000.

Passive makeup air, which is less expensive, could work for the 300-600 CFM range. Passive makeup air is basically holes in your house that only bring air in or out depending on air pressure differences.

The safest bet in Minnesota? Unless you want to invest a boat load of money, stick to a 300 CFM hood. This limits you to about 3,000 BTUs of cooking power (using our 100 CFMs per 1,000 BTUs suggestion), but erring on the safe side also protects the investment you make in your kitchen.

Don't be "this guy."

For instance, think about what all that extra smoke, grease and moisture will do to your cabinets. Plus, your house could end up smelling like a Burger King. Is that really what you wanted?

If you’re still not satisfied with that answer, you might be able to cheat a bit by oversizing the vent (i.e. 3 inches of overhang on both sides). This will increase the capture area of your smoke and grease.

Sticking to 300 CFMs gives you fewer options, for sure, but they’re nothing to snub. Previously mentioned Faber makes a 250 CFM insert hood liner. Broan makes an affordable 300 CFM hood.

But if you’re looking to top your pro-style vent with something higher-end, check out Vent-A-Hood. They’re quiet and they come with full, 5-year warranties. Here’s the Vent-A-Hood 30-inch 300 CFM hood.

Photo credit:

Appliance Design · Kitchen Design

Appliance geek gone wild

You’ve heard of the kid in the candy store. Well, my recent trip to Roth Distributing’s Minneapolis Showroom the other week was like the kitchen geek version of that.

Ten thousand square feet of professionally designed vignettes stocked with the latest Sub-Zero, Wolf, Asko and Best appliances.

Roth isn’t a retailer, but the regional distributor of those luxury appliance brands.

Now, we show a good amount of high-end stuff like this on our own showroom floors, but not all under one roof.

Roth’s staff knows their stuff. They’ll help you decide what you really want and then show you exactly how to get the most from it.

(p.s. I loved this round sink with built-in cutting boards and strainers. So cool.)

My favorite part, though was the Culinary Center, where Roth holds its live cooking demonstrations (which I seriously recommend) and where we cooked brunch that day.

Now, I love to cook. But my current kitchen isn’t there yet. (The adage about mechanics and their cars holds true for appliance company employees and their kitchens, I think.)

This “living kitchen” has the best of the best cooking products, from wall ovens to dual fuel ranges to built-in steamers, wok burners (or “power burners,” as they called them) and grills. And…

Wolf DF606DG (Dual fuel range, 6 burners, double griddle, my culinary fantasy)

…griddles. This 60-inch (that’s like, two standard ranges glued together) Wolf’s six gas burners flank a double griddle. It might not look big at 450 pixels wide, but I’ll give you a second to think about it at 5 feet wide.

Yeah. It’s big.

Of course, most people won’t need a 60-inch, professional range. But wouldn’t it be nice?

More on griddles later. Stand by.

Appliance Design · cooking · Innovative Features · Kitchen Design · Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 2

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As Susan Serra, CKD pointed out in Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 1, it’s easy to choose outdoor kitchen appliances like a geek in an Apple store (my words).

We Minnesotans get so excited when we get to spend time outside that doesn’t involve snow shoveling, it’s hard not to want it all when designing our three-months-out-of-the-year haven.

Be smart and think about your own entertaining and lifestyle needs when considering all the options in outdoor kitchen appliances.

Do you want a second kitchen or simply a spot to grill a burger and grab a beer while enjoying the great outdoors?

Gas grill

The workhorse of an outdoor kitchen, gas grills’ speed and convenience work best for weeknight dinners and impromptu get-togethers. If you’re looking to do more, some brands offer innovative features such as:

  • Searing zone to reach high temperatures (700 degrees!) quickly to give your meat a steakhouse-quality exterior
  • Rear infrared burner to deliver consistent, evenly distributed heat for rotisserie cooking
  • Smoker boxes to fill prepackaged hickory or mesquite chips, which give foods a distinctive, smoky flavor
  • Side burners to prepare sauces and sides like beans or vegetables or to keep food warm until it is ready to be served
  • Lighting to illuminate the cooking surface for late-night grilling

Charcoal grill/smoker

As our own grilling guru Stu Glock (also our rep for Holland Grill and the Big Green Egg) says, “You have two cars. Why not two grills?”

Charcoal grills, smokers  and/or cookers deliver flavor you can’t get in a gas grill — if you have hours to get it. Owners of the Big Green Egg rave about the unique flavor of their ribs, brisket and roasts they get in this ceramic cooker. Viking also makes a ceramic cooker, but with a stainless steel finish.

If you have the time to kick back and just grill, the extra time is definitely worth the flavor.

Warming drawers

Cut down on the running back back and forth from your main kitchen. Warming drawers keep grilled food warm (and sanitary) once prepared and work great for make-ahead dishes from your main oven.

I’d probably end up throwing some towels in mine to keep them cozy after a late-night swim. Now if I only had a pool..

Kegerator/beer tapper

Arguably as important as the grill itself is beer on-demand. Aside from the convenience, an outdoor keg fridge makes an unbeatable conversation (and party) starter. DCS, Viking and Marvel make draft beer dispensers specifically for the outdoors.

Outdoor kegerators come in built-in or freestanding. Again, if I only had a pool...

Wine chiller/beverage center

If you’re more of a wine-o than a beer gal like me, you might consider storing your bottles outside, in the proper wine chiller, of course. Look for models with precise temperature controls, racks to accommodate various bottle sizes and minimum vibration.

This Marvel Wine Cellar holds 54 bottles.

Beverage centers, though less precise in temperature control, make a viable option for combination beer/wine/soda, etc. storage.

Refrigeration

“But I already have a wine fridge!”

But your wine fridge is 55 degrees, remember? Even your beverage center isn’t designed to refrigerate food and condiments. Please don’t keep your barbecue meats in a beverage fridge!

Ice maker

If mixed drinks and soda are more your thing, maybe you’d like an ice maker. Marvel‘s and U-line‘s have UL Listed suitable for outdoor use clear ice makers that store 25-30 pounds of ice.

Patio heaters

Denial: it ain't just a river in Africa. It's an outdoor barbecue in St. Paul in October.

I might not have a pool, but living in Minnesota, you better believe I have a patio heater. Fueled by a the same kind gas tank you use for your grill, these easily extend construction season into early winter (or “fall”).

cooking · Kitchen Design · Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchen ideas: Part 1

It may seem like a strange time to think about outdoor entertaining — or not. If you’re in the Midwest (or Florida, considering its recent weather), you’re probably longing for warmer days spent outside (aka going to your mental “happy place”).

Now, my happy place involves mostly grills, fridges, kegerators and warming drawers. Thankfully, one of my favorite kitchen designers/bloggers — Susan Serra, CKD, author of The Kitchen Designer — aided my call to fill in the blanks (my questions in bold) to my outdoor kitchen ideas.

Watch for “Outdoor Kitchens: Part 2,” wherein I talk about choosing outdoor kitchen appliances.

Visualizing how you will use your outdoor space will inform the design process, Serra says.

What factors should those planning an outdoor kitchen keep in mind?

Outdoor living is moving to the next level! An outdoor kitchen is just one piece of many activities that take place outdoors. When planning an outdoor kitchen, here’s what you need to consider:

Outdoor kitchen size – Are you looking forward to entertaining large groups or cooking quiet, intimate dinners? Something in between? Visualize how you will use an outdoor kitchen…the frequency of use, the conveniences required, and the type of cooking (ambitious or simple) you’d like to plan for. Will others cook along with you or will one or two be responsible for outdoor cooking? Do you need separate cooking stations for prep or meal stages? Now’s the time to dream, imagine, and visualize the flow you’d love to have in your outdoor kitchen.

Location – Consider the lay of the land. Can an existing deck be used? A terraced section? A gazebo to house a separate kitchen? Is the topography of the land level? How close to the house would you like the outdoor kitchen (watch out for heat/smoke/noise issues if an outdoor kitchen is desired to be just outside the house.) What other outdoor activities will impact on the location of the kitchen? Make a list of expected activities (including lounging) to be sure an important activity (Bocce ball anyone?) is not forgotten.

Another factor in outdoor kitchen design is the weather. The weather will play a role in the wear of outdoor kitchen surfaces and your own desire to brave the elements while cooking up a storm!

Style – Of course, this is the fun part! What is the style of your house? Of your gardens, your outdoor living space? Outdoor kitchens can be designed in any way: modern, traditional, rustic or eclectic. All elements of your outdoor room builds on one another, even as one walks into and out of the house. Be style-conscious!

Appliance needs – One of today’s No. 1 hot buttons in outdoor kitchens, an explosion of outdoor appliances, tempts us to want it all: the ice machine, the beer station, the cocktail station, cooktop burners, warming drawer and so much more! Appliances are a large part of the fun of an outdoor kitchen, but consider what is really expected to be needed and used frequently.

Weather is a chief concern when building an outdoor kitchen in Minnesota. What should we consider, and what advice do you have for people in other parts of the country?

Midwesterners often have severe weather in each direction — very hot and very cold! Is your chosen spot sheltered from heat, cold, and wind? With spring storms racing through the Midwest, and extreme temps, consider sheltered outdoor kitchen designs for people, and sun and heat exposure protections for your materials and surfaces as well.

Southerners – It’s all about shade! Consider shade cast by trees, buildings, or other structures/plantings. Note the sun’s exposure at your desired site for an outdoor kitchen. An optimum design would have the kitchen situated in a northern exposure.

What time of day will the outdoor kitchen be mostly used? In a southern climate, each meal can easily be enjoyed outdoors. The sun’s path over your desired location will either be a help or a huge hindrance.

Westerners – Of course, the weather in the western portion of the U.S. varies greatly from warm/temperate southern California to zone 5 in Colorado, so Westerners can take tips from other parts of the country.

One difference is the much lower humidity level, which is more tolerable and will allow a southern exposure in some areas that would otherwise be prohibitive in the deep South. For certain parts of the west — given a large area to work with and a beautiful, temperate climate — you have my OK (if it works for your lifestyle) to GO LARGE, as your outdoor kitchen may well be used year-round (Southerners take note!).

Easterners – The varied zones from the mid-Atlantic region to upper New England has a wide spread in temps as well. Lower to upper New England may wish to seek out western exposure (if the kitchen will be used late in the day) and southern exposure. The size of the outdoor kitchen should be seriously considered due to short outdoor seasons (mountainous Westerners take note).

Serra says those with expansive suburban or rural views have an opportunity to design their outdoor kitchen proportionately larger due to the scale of their great outdoors.

What do you suggest for city-dwellers looking to create an outdoor kitchen space?

What are your true priorities for outdoor cooking? I have family members in New York City who crave the simplest tabletop grill to put on their terrace and to serve their purpose. Many who wish to grill in an urban area are passionate cooks who want the grilled taste and texture and want to cook in a healthy way. For those people, any type of grill appliance will do! For those with a larger space, or a home in an ex-urb community with a small patch of yard, consider a larger grill or even a combination grill/burner/refrigerator appliance that has it all.

Some grills have integral countertop pieces that extend. Otherwise, small tables or built-in brick columns are small but can double as counter space.

What are some trends you see happening in outdoor kitchens?

Choosing environmentally friendly materials in outdoor kitchen design is a strong movement, but one must look for durability as well. Energy efficiency in appliances is ever-progressing. Pinpoint cooking technology in appliances offers the same control as the best in-home appliances do. The style of outdoor kitchens now is a warm, soft, natural look — perhaps rustic, perhaps modern with clean lines, but connected to the style of the outdoor room in a natural, organic way.

How do you feel about including a sink or faucet into an outdoor kitchen?

Having a sink in an outdoor kitchen is one of the best elements one can design into an outdoor kitchen! The sink handles prep, cooking, entertaining and cleaning tasks and is ready for duty exactly when needed. Outdoor plumbing takes on a whole new meaning when considering where and how to plumb a sink. Do you need hot water at the sink for cleaning? Consider a small undercounter water heater. A shut-off valve is a must to drain the system before the winter. A stainless steel sink is a natural choice, but cast iron has good looks and durability. Just cover the sink to avoid a home/play area for small animals! And, stone sinks are definitely a natural!

Faucets serving multiple functions may be useful and most durable in a tall gooseneck style — perhaps in stainless steel, with a simple design to withstand the elements and keep its good looks.

Do certain metal finishes (i.e. chrome, nickel, bronze, etc.) work best outdoors?

I’m a believer in mixing metal finishes. I would not recommend mixing metal finishes with abandon, as the balance and proportion of the colors and finishes within the kitchen as a whole should be thought through.

Can you mix a black or dark brown/bronze faucet with a stainless sink? In some cases (sink surrounding a speckled granite countertop for example), YES. Look at other metal finishes such as lighting, metal furniture and other finishes for a guide.

In my view, mixed finishes make for the most natural of interior or exterior rooms. But — as with any other designed area — it has to make sense in the context of color, texture, proportion and balance.

That said, have fun experimenting and exploring your vision, definitely!