Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Accessorize for Convenience

Well planned storage in your new kitchen can eliminate clutter and speed up your cooking time when utensils and ingredients have dedicated and easy to reach locations.

Drawer organizers, pull out racks, trash bins, and roll out shelves are frequently used in new kitchens. Going beyond the obvious requires planning with a designer and input from the homeowner. An example would be a bake center incorporating storage for ingredients and utensils at a lowered work surface for rolling out dough.

Today’s busy lifestyles often result in staggered meal times with some of the younger family members preparing their own meals. Set up a center around a microwave located at a convenient height for the cooks and include storage for the microwavable cookware and the dry ingredients. This should be near the sink for water and clean up, and close to the refrigerator for the chilled ingredients.

Wide, deep drawers near the range offer convenient storage for pots and pans. The same drawer base near the dishwasher can be alternate storage for everyday dinnerware. A peg board drawer insert with shaped dowels create secure spaces for plates, bowls, etc.

Using the wall space between the counter tops and upper cabinets can add a decorative element as well as storage for often used items. An attractive rail system can be customized to hold spices, paper rolls, fruit, utensils, and your cook book.

As you plan your new kitchen, make notes of functions you perform frequently and how more efficient storage might help you. The more information you give your designer, the better your new kitchen will reflect your needs and lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Aging In Place - Remodeling with the Future in Mind

It’s no secret. You see it in the news all the time: America is aging. The number of people turning age 55 each year will increase to 37.4 million by 2010. Not only that, but people are living longer as well. The average life span is now just below 80 years. Yet, as the senior segment of the population grows, they still want to maintain their independence and their own living environments. Let’s face it, very few people go to assisted living facilities willingly.

It is this reason that is prompting many consumers to think about designs that make their lives easier, now and in the future. Here are some options for the future worth considering before undertaking your next remodeling project.

In the kitchen: single lever faucets; easier to grip handles instead of knobs for cabinet doors and drawers; appliances mounted at heights that don’t require bending; countertops at a variety of common heights; roll-out shelves in lower cabinets; side-by-side refrigerator; rolling carts; a pull-out step stool; varied light sources with adjustable controls; and sufficient clear floor space for work and traffic flow.

In the bath: multi-level vanity heights with flexible knee space; support rails that compliment the aesthetics of the room; no-threshold entries for showers; easily accessible storage; plenty of floor space for maneuvering with walking aids; and heat in the floor and toilet seats, as well as towel warmers.

All of these examples are designed to make caring for yourself easier, to help remove the obstacles that come along with aging, and allow you to age in the place you’ll be most comfortable - in your home.

So if you intend to live out the remainder of your life in your home, make sure you contemplate these suggestions and others as you plan your remodeling endeavors.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Good Reason for Not Doing the Dishes

On May 16, 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the General Electric Company (GE) announced a recall of 2.5 million GE built-in dishwashers manufactured from September 1997 to December 2001. Call the GE Recall Hotline to determine if your dishwasher is included in the recall. The affected models were sold under the following brand names: Eterna, GE, GE Profile, GE Monogram, Hotpoint, and Sears-Kenmore. (See a list of recalled models)

Over several years, normal use of liquid rinse aid in some models results in a concentration of rinse aid on the wires inside the dishwasher door. In the affected models, the rinse aid can degrade the insulation on the wiring inside the door, which can cause an electrical short, overheating or fire if the wire comes in contact with the metal door. You should stop using these dishwashers immediately until you obtain more information.

If you have never used liquid rinse aid, and are the original owner of the dishwasher, you will not have this potential problem. To prevent the use of liquid rinse aid in the future, GE recommends attaching the rinse aid dispenser cap offered through the recall.
If you do use liquid rinse aid or if you are uncertain if liquid rinse aid was used in the dishwasher because you are not the original owner, repair of the dishwasher is required.

If you wish to replace your dishwasher with a new model, you can use the rebate of $150 for GE® and Kenmore® dishwashers, or $300 for GE Profile™ or GE Monogram® dishwashers that GE is offering on the purchase of a new dishwasher.

GE has received 135 reports of overheated wiring and 56 reports of property damage, including 12 reports of fires that escaped the dishwasher. Fire damage was limited to the dishwasher or the adjacent area. No injuries have been reported.

If you have one of the recalled dishwashers and want more information, or wish to arrange a free service call, please call the Recall Hotline, or click here.

Recall Hotline1-877-607-6395
Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EDT.
Before calling, have the model and serial number on hand.

This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, who will also monitor the effectiveness of the recall program.