Kitchen 101: Tips and Trends from the Pros

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Poggenpohl Georgetown’s Elizabeth Cosby designed this sleek, modern kitchen using Poggenpohl’s Teak Lava Décor cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops and Miele appliances.

Poggenpohl hosted a seminar called “Kitchen 101” in its Cady’s Alley showroom on Thursday, June 20th. Speakers from Poggenpohl along with other high-end brands including Sub-Zero and Wolf, Gaggenau, Ann Sacks, Cosentino (makers of Silestone) and Illuminations offered insights into the latest in kitchen design and kitchen-related products. Homeowners, architects and designers all learned a thing or two from the discussions. A few of the highlights follow…

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Plinth drawers are the perfect place to store cookie sheets and trays.

1)  The Plinth Drawer.  Modern kitchen cabinets bring storage and efficiency to every square inch, especially through features such as Lazy Susans and Magic Corners, says Elizabeth Cosby of Poggenpohl. Many of her kitchens also incorporate plinth drawers—shallow drawers installed along the toe kick and under the main cabinetry. These drawers are perfect for storing cookie sheets and trays. “They are also quite a good place to hide things if you’re going on vacation,” Cosby adds, “because no one would ever think you’d have any storage in the plinth drawers.”

2)  Handle-Free Ovens.  According to Charlie Morgan of Gaggenau, the German manufacturer will unveil new hands-free ovens this fall that open with the touch of a button. Designed to satisfy consumers who want a streamlined, minimal look, the models do offer optional handles for those who prefer to get a grip.

3)  Smooth Surface.  Silestone—a low-maintenance quartz material—is available in 65 colors and polished and suede finishes. It is often paired with sleek, modern kitchen cabinetry and appliances. According to Brian Cordell of Cosentino, Silestone is available in one-, two- and three-centimeter-thick slabs. While one-centimeter slabs work best as shower or bath surrounds, kitchen work surfaces should be installed in two- or three-inch thicknesses, he says. He adds an interesting bit of trivia: “In our part of the country, most people want three centimeters. Most of the two-centimeter market is on the West Coast, and parts of Florida, Texas and Canada.”

4) Seeing the Light.  According to Paul Dorsey of Illuminations, the biggest change in kitchen lighting is the advent of LED tape—strips of tiny, low-energy LED diodes that light under-counter spaces. He estimates that the lights last up to 15 years—a vast improvement over their cumbersome, short-lived fluorescent counterparts. “The LEDs have literally revolutionized lighting in the kitchen. At 4.4 watts per foot, they are very low energy, bright and dimmable,” he says. “I cannot remember the last time we sold fluorescent, xenon or halogen under-counter lights.” Illuminations offers LED tape products from Senso and Lumen. —Sharon Jaffe Dan

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