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RE: sealing honed marble (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: staceyneil on 02.26.2011 at 07:35 am in Kitchens Forum

Miracle is the company, 511 Porous Plus is the best sealer, there are others in the sealer line that also start with "511" (e.g. 511 Impregnator). I used Porous PLus. I figured, I spent all this cash on the counter, what's an additional $50 more than the cheapo stuff for a really GREAT sealer. I have been VERY happy with it....

Here's the manufacturer's web site with descriptions:
http://www.miraclesealants.com/sealers.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Miracle Sealers

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clipped on: 03.20.2011 at 07:33 pm    last updated on: 03.20.2011 at 07:33 pm

RE: cooking with cast iron (Follow-Up #63)

posted by: danab_z9_la on 06.01.2007 at 12:48 pm in Cookware Forum

NPGI,

I'm having problems with Internet explorer on my computer and can't seem to get around a major freezing screen problem. For now here's a quick GENERAL procedure

Although I prefer lard, bacon grease or Crisco is fine. Your problem is: you're not heating your pans hot enough. You need to heat them UP TO the point of where you see them smoke.....don't heat too much past this point. Make sure you only have a LIGHT coating of oil on the pan.....no puddles allowed. Do this coating/baking multiple times until the pan is evenly coated with carbon black.

Then you need to bond it tightly together with the polymer reactions. You do this by coating the pan inside and out with VEGETABLE oil (preferable oil which was used to fry potatoes or fish). Apply a very THIN coating of oil and bake in the oven slightly BELOW the smoke point of the vegetable oil.......say around 450 degrees. Bake it until the coating feels dry and not sticky. Do this multiple times as well.......the more the better.

Keep in mind that seasoning is not a one step process; rather, it is a continuous and on-going process. The final seasoning that develops on your pans is controlled by the oil that your use, what/how you cook, and how you clean your pans.

After you clean up your pans just make sure you heat it on a burner to remove all traces of water.....towel dry is not good enough.......DO NOT SKIP THIS IMPORTANT STEP!!!!!! While the pan is still hot spray it with PAM and wipe all of the excess PAM off with a wad of paper towels. Note: wipe it with purchased lard (definitely not bacon grease) or Crisco if you will not be using your pan for an extended period of time.

E-mail me if you have further questions......my e-mail seems to be working most of the time without the screen freezing up. Got my fingers crossed that this message will post when I hit the submit button.

Dan

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clipped on: 12.12.2010 at 07:25 am    last updated on: 12.12.2010 at 07:25 am

How much a square ft. for Calcutta Gold

posted by: ginad on 11.21.2010 at 08:01 pm in Kitchens Forum

The guy at granite yard that I visited said he would give me a good price for Calcutta Gold. I love it so much - would like to do my island, which is very large (10ft x 3.5 ft.)Just wondering how much you'all paid a foot for your Calcutta, so I'll know if he is really giving me a "good" price :)

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clipped on: 11.24.2010 at 07:16 am    last updated on: 11.24.2010 at 07:16 am

RE: Soci your tofu recipe (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: sochi on 08.20.2010 at 12:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi ellendi -

At first I was hesitant to post as it isn't my recipe, but hopefully it is okay if I give credit for it, so here goes:

The recipe comes from Chef Candice Butler, The Urban Element, a wonderful cooking school here in Ottawa, Canada.

Here is the recipe, I hope you love it:

Ingredients:

1 pack firm tofu, diced into medium sized cubes
1 tbsp curry powder (I use garam masala, don't use that old '70s style yellow curry powder if you can help it)
1/2 tsp 5-spice powder (a chinese spice)
1 tbsp sambal chili paste (a spicy/hot chili paste - adjust depending upon how much of a kick you like)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger root, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp canola oil

1 mango, small dice
1 English cucumber, small dice
1 red pepper, julienne
1/2 cup snow peas, julienne
1 small red onion, minced
1 tbsp each black and white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce (I skip the soy sauce as it contains gluten)
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425F.

2. Combine the curry powder, five-spice, sambal chili paste, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and canola oil together. Toss in the cubed tofu and mix well. Place the tofu on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season the tofu with salt and pepper. Bake the tofu for 15 or 20 minutes, until it begins to crisp and brown slightly. Remove from the oven and cool. (hint - try the tofu now! The little crispy bites are like spiced candy!)

3. Place all remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Add the cooled tofu. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

I hope your daughters love it. Enjoy!

Sochi

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clipped on: 08.21.2010 at 01:13 am    last updated on: 08.21.2010 at 01:13 am

RE: Size of area rug for dining room (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bronwynsmom on 07.06.2010 at 03:12 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Three feet is generous; two and a half feet is enough... she is right about not catching the chairs on the rug when you pull them out to sit in them...

BUT that's 2.5 feet on every side. So you have to double that, and add it to the dimensions of your table.

SO... add 5 feet to 4 X 8, and you get 9 X 13...and if you fudge it a bit at the ends, which you can do, 9 X 12 is the right size. Some rugs are not exact, and if you find one that is 9 X 12.5, so much the better.

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clipped on: 08.08.2010 at 12:09 pm    last updated on: 08.08.2010 at 12:09 pm

Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists)

posted by: buehl on 04.14.2008 at 02:56 am in Kitchens Forum

First off, I want to give a big thank-you to StoneGirl, Kevin, Joshua, Mimi, and others (past and current) on this forum who have given us many words of wisdom concerning stone countertops.

I've tried to compile everything I saved over the past 8 months that I've been on this Forum. Most of it was taken from a write-up by StoneGirl (Natural stone primer/granite 101); other threads and sources were used as well.

So...if the experts could review the information I've compiled below and send me comments (here or via email), I will talk to StarPooh about getting this on the FAQ.


Stone Information, Advice, and Checklists:

In an industry that has no set standards, there are many unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject.

Slab Selection:

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

  • Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued, or brushed, should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches, or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man-made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab when looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab.

    Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.

  • Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This was done at the plant where the slabs were finished. This backing adds support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often, these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.

  • Cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little.

    • Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e., there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure.

    • A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole other can of worms.

    • Resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer.

    • Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed do not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but it is still resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Tests (especially for Absolute Black) (using a sample of YOUR slab):

  • To verify you have true AB and not dyed: Clean with denatured alcohol and rub marble polishing powder on the face. (Get denatured alcohol at Home Depot in the paint department)

  • Lemon Juice or better yet some Muratic Acid: will quickly show if the stone has alot of calcium content and will end up getting etched. This is usually chinese stone, not indian.

  • Acetone: The Dying usually is done on the same chinese stone. like the others said, acetone on a rag will reveal any dye that has been applied

  • Chips: Using something very hard & metal�hit the granite sharply & hard on edges to see if it chips, breaks, or cracks


Measuring:

  • Before the templaters get there...
    • Make sure you have a pretty good idea of your faucet layout--where you want the holes drilled for all the fixtures and do a test mock up to make sure you have accounted for sufficient clearances between each fixture.

    • Be sure you test your faucet for clearances not just between each fixture, but also between the faucet and the wall behind the faucet (if there is one). You need to be sure the handle will function properly.

    • Make sure that the cabinets are totally level (not out by more than 1/8") before the counter installers come in.

    • Check how close they should come to a stove and make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter.

    • Make sure they have the sink/faucet templates to work from.

    • Make sure have your garbage disposal air switch on hand or know the diameter

  • If you are not putting in a backsplash, tell them

  • Double check the template. Make sure that the measurements are reasonable. Measure the opening for the range.

  • Seam Placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

    Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality, and their placement�and still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!

  • Factors determining seam placement:

    • The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)

    • Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available

    • Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will influence seam placement here alone.

    • Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some do not. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.

    • Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -

    • Install-ability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again, 1,001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

    You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

    With modern glues and seaming methods, a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam is done well, there is - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

    Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

  • Generally, it is not a good idea to seam over a DW because there's no support for the granite, and anything heavy placed at or near the seam would stress the stone, possibly breaking it.

  • Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece

  • Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e., eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.
    Edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world. Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.


Installation:

  • Seams:
    One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum [StoneGirl]

    • A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:
      • It should be flat. According to the Marble Institute of America (MIA) a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.

      • It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)

      • The color on either side of the seam should match as closely as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.

      • Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases, the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.

      • The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge, you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.

      • The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)

      • The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as closely as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try to make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

  • Checklist:
    • Check the seams for evenness and smoothness.

      • Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.

      • Make sure that the seams are not obvious.

      • Make sure the seams are butted tight

      • Make sure that there are no scratches, pits, or cracks

    • If sealing is necessary (not all granites need to be sealed):

      • Make sure that the granite has been sealed

      • If more than one application of sealer was applied, ask how long they waited between applications

      • Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.

    • Make sure the sink reveal is consistent all the away around

    • Check the gap of the granite at the wall junctions.

    • Check for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges

    • Check for chips. These can be filled.

    • Make sure the top drawers open & close

    • Make sure that you can open & close your dishwasher

    • Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter

    • Make sure that you have the appropriate clearances for your appliances

    • Check the edge all around, a good edge should have the following characteristics:
      • Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull, or waxy.

      • The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.

      • The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.

      • A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.

      • A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly, and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanical fabrication (i.e., CNC machines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

    • Run your hands around the entire laminated edge of yor counters to make sure they are smooth

    • Check surrounding walls & cabinets for damage

Miscellaneous Information:

  • More than all the above and below, though, is to be present for both the templating as well as having the templates placed on your slabs at the fabricator's
    If you canot be there, then have a lengthy conversation about seam placement, ways to match the movement, and ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seam

  • Find a fabricator who is a member of the SFA

  • When they polish your stone for you don't let them wax it. It will look terrible in 2 months when the wax wears off.

  • Don't use the Magic Eraser on granite--especially AB

  • Any slab with more fill (resin) than stone is certainly a no-no!!

  • When you do check for scratches, have overhead lighting shining down so scratches are easier to see

  • Don't let them do cutouts in place (granite dust becomes a major issue)

  • Granite dust can be a problem...some have heard of SS appliances & hoods damaged by the dust, others have heard of drawer glides being ruined by the dust

  • If you have wood floors--especially if you're in the process of staining or finishing them--make sure that they don't spill or drip granite sealer on the wood floors. Apparently the sealer interferes with the stain or finish process.

  • Suggested Prep for Installation:
    • Remove any drawers and pullouts beneath any sections that will be cut or drilled onsite, e.g., sink cutouts and/or faucet, soap dispenser, air gap, instant hot etc. holes, cooktop cutouts.

    • Then just cover the glides themselves with a few layers of blue painter's tape (or some combo of plastic wrap and tape)

    • If you make sure to cover the top of the glides and attach some of the tape to the cab wall as well (to form sort of a seal)and cover the rest of the glides completely with tape, you should be fine.

    • Usually the fabricators will have someone holding a vacuum hose right at the spot where they are drilling or cutting, so very little granite dust should be landing on the glides. What little dust escapes the vacuum will be blocked by the layer(s) of tape.

    • When done w/installation, remove the tape and use a DustBuster (or similar) on all the cabinets and glides

  • Countertop Support:

    • If your granite is 2 cm thick, then there can be no more then 6" of of unsupported span with a 5/8" subtop

    • If your granite is 3 cm thick, then there can be no more then 10" of unsupported span - no subtop required

    • If you need support, the to determine your corbel dimensions:

    • Thickness of Stone - Dimension of Unsupported Span = Corbel Dimensino

    • i.e., an 18" total overhang in 2 cm would require a 12" corbe; the same overhang in 3 cm would require an 8" corbel

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clipped on: 08.07.2010 at 09:04 pm    last updated on: 08.07.2010 at 09:05 pm

RE: Kitchen counter overhang for bar stools... how far? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: buehl on 07.10.2010 at 02:36 pm in Kitchens Forum

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends a minimum seating overhang (clear space) of:

  • Table-height seating (30" high): 18" overhang

  • Counter-height seating (36" high): 15" overhang

  • Bar-height seating (42" high): 12" overhang


    From personal experience, I think these are excellent recommendations. I have sat at 12" overhangs at counter-height and found them too shallow. We have 15" and it's OK, but my DH would have liked 18". We have friends w/a 12" counter-height overhang and I find it uncomfortable to sit at for any length of time. I have to sit sideways or "straddle" the peninsula or sit far from the counter edge. None of those is comfortable. My DH won't sit at it at all b/c he finds it much too uncomfortable. (I'm 5'10" & my DH is 6'5".)

  • NOTES:

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    clipped on: 08.07.2010 at 08:06 am    last updated on: 08.07.2010 at 08:06 am

    designer siphon for duravit sink - will it pass inspection?

    posted by: sadiebrooklyn on 07.16.2010 at 07:19 am in Bathrooms Forum

    I really want the nice designer siphon to go under my Happy D sink in my bathroom renovation, but my contractor says when he has tried to use them in NYC, they do not pass inpsection. I was wondering if anyone else had had that same experience?

    Here is a picture:

    picture of Happy D with designer siphon underneath

    NOTES:

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    clipped on: 08.05.2010 at 02:38 am    last updated on: 08.05.2010 at 02:39 am

    Kohler Stages Sink: review after 6 weeks of use

    posted by: rjr220 on 06.12.2010 at 05:44 pm in Kitchens Forum

    There have been some threads here regarding the Kohler Stages sink -- I saw it while planning my kitchen and knew that it was the sink I wanted -- and in a way, planned part of my kitchen around it. I've been using it now for about 6 weeks, and thought I would post my experience thus far with it. I chose the 45 inch version, and installed the Grohe K4 in the middle of the basin part of the sink.

    The sink comes with a wood cutting board, a large plastic tray/cutting board, a smaller tray/cutting board, 6 porcelain prep bowls, and an accessory rack that hooks on the shallow end of the sink. The accessory rack is meant to hold the plastic cutting boards/trays and the prep bowls. It will not hold the wood cutting board. I chose not to install the rack, but instead put a drawer beneath the shallow end of the sink to hold knives (it's the "anything that cuts" drawer); and a pull-out garbage below that drawer. I store the cutting boards upright below the sink, in a small divider that I got from BB&B.
    Photobucket

    In order to get the drawer under the shallow end of the shelf, the left side of the drawer had to be shaved down a bit, and a notch put in the back of the drawer to allow for the hook that was meant to hold the accessory shelf.
    Photobucket

    As I said above, the wood cutting board is large and heavy. If you get this sink -- whether or not you choose to use the accessory tray, you need to plan on where to store this. Under the sink is working fine for me. But, be aware, it weighs 12.5 pounds! It is a lovely board, though, and I put the beeswax/mineral oil on it that I use on my soapstone.

    The Grohe K4 is perfect for the sink. The hose reaches to the far corner of the shallow end, and the water goes right into the drain. It does splash, but that has something to do with the insinkerator cover, not the sink or the faucet. I love the K4!

    As others have mentioned, the deep sink is marvelous. I am short, and worried about having to bend over and reach in, but that hasn't been a problem. The sink is deep enough to hide dirty dishes in when the DW isn't available.

    I also like the size of the deep basin, along with the shallower "prep" end. I hand wash pots and pans in a dishpan, put them on the in-sink rack, rinse, and then put them up on the shallow end of the sink until the kids FINALLY come to dry them.

    I also like the shallow end to help separate the "clean dirty" and contaminated dirty items. For example, if I cut up meat, I put the knife in the deep end of the sink. If I have something that I've used, but may want to use it again, but it isn't contaminated, I'll put it on the shallow side of the sink. Kind of like what you do when you have 2 basins.

    I don't have 2 sinks, so this sink is my prep and clean up sink. It is large enough so that I can be prepping at one end, and my kids/husband washing at the other. The cutting boards fitting neatly into the sink and extending the counter is really handy. I am short, so what I really like is that a cutting board is no higher than the counter. I'm not so crazy about the porcelain prep bowls that come with the sink -- I wish they were plastic and not as heavy, and a bit shorter. In the video they show fitting the prep bowls into the large tray --what I do is use the wood cutting board and slide it partially over the sink. I put the prep bowls on the shallow prep end of the sink, and then scoop the items into the bowls. Like this, except in this example I'm making salad and just put the salad bowls on the sink:

    Photobucket

    I also just cut and slide cut items directly into the pan I'm using -- here I'm making a roasted tomato soup and just shoved the onions into the roast pan
    Photobucket

    In the background of the above picture you can see a white prep dish with cherry tomatoes. Those prep dishes are a perfect size to put on the shelf while I'm prepping and sliding the items.

    The sink itself has zero radius corners on the ends of the sink, but the bottom front and back are rounded, more like a traditional sink. It's been easy to clean, I just spray the sink and the rack down at night with a cleaner, and then take the rack out, wipe down the sink, and then put the rack in, wipe it down and rinse it all. The corners don't gather any junk.

    So, is the sink worth the hype? I like the design, I am using it like the designers intended -- I've just personalized it a bit. I reach for my prep bowls and salad bowls before their prep bowls. I think the accessory tray isn't worth the space it requires -- the drawer and garbage space was better use to me. But, I am very happy with the sink, and would definately get it again.

    Hope this is helpful to anyone thinking of getting the Stages.

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    clipped on: 08.05.2010 at 01:46 am    last updated on: 08.05.2010 at 01:46 am

    RE: Opinions on 36'' Hood over 30'' cooktop? (Follow-Up #1)

    posted by: buehl on 07.31.2010 at 02:29 am in Kitchens Forum

    Actually....it's recommended your hood be at least 6" wider than your range/cooktop...so a 36" hood over a 30" cooktop is perfect...especially if you do any high-heat/frying/stir-frying/meat browning/high-smoke cooking.

    Since you also want open shelving, I also recommend getting a high-cfm hood as well as a 24" deep hood. Oh, and mount it according to the specifications. The combination of high-cfms (at least 1,000 cfms), 6" wider, 24" deep, and mounted properly should eliminate the vast majority (if not all) of the grease/steam/smoke/etc. in the air and help keep items on those shelves grease-free. It won't prevent the dust build-up that's natural for any open shelves, but that dust won't be mixing with grease in the air causing a "gunk" that's difficult to clean off. (If items on the shelves are used frequently, then there shouldn't be too much of a dust build-up.)

    An added bonus for the high-cfm hood is that you will be able to run it on a lower setting most of the time and it will be quieter than getting a lower-cfm and having to run it on high all the time.

    Looking at your picture, I see a couple of problems that explains the grease build-up...

    (1) The hood is mounted too high...most hoods should be mounted around 30" off the cooking surface

    (2) The hood is too narrow and, I think, too shallow (it's hard to tell from the pictures).


    Good luck!

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    clipped on: 08.01.2010 at 06:56 am    last updated on: 08.01.2010 at 06:56 am

    RE: White Marble Countertops (Follow-Up #5)

    posted by: oofasis on 02.25.2008 at 11:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

    I put my honed white Carrara marble everywhere, on my counters and my island. The island is our main eating location. We both cook and my husband has never been a neat cook -- he still doesn't think to take a sponge out after he's finished cooking or eating. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE! We sealed it twice in two days when it was installed (Miracle 511 Porous Plus sealer) and once again about three weeks later. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE. Oh, but I already mentioned that. Our adult son comes over to cook very extravagant and complex dishes (oh God, he's a terror in the kitchen, but he likes working here in our newly remodeled and expanded space) and still, THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

    I love love love my marble counters. They're incredibly beautiful and feel wonderful. Yes, they will etch from acids, so we're careful but not perfect. Our marble does have some etch spots but I defy you to come into my kitchen and find them!

    Mnhockeymom has the most extraordinary Calacatta marble in her kitchen, and she used it extensively in the space. She gave you the best advice -- do a search on this forum and you will get REAL LIFE advice from folks like me, and her, and many others who have it in our working kitchens. It is not a perfect stone and it's not for everyone. But it's perfect for me. I come down to the kitchen in the mornings and drink my first cup of Joe with the Renaissance masters, and there's hardly a morning that I still don't touch my marble once or twice with my fingertips.

    One particularly groggy morning I prepared a small pot of two cups of coffee and then went upstairs for a couple of minutes. When I returned I realized that I hadn't put the *&$! coffee pot under the drip-thing, and the freshly brewed and hot java had poured all over my beautiful counters. And Brittamay, I'm here to tell ya that THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

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    clipped on: 07.30.2010 at 01:58 am    last updated on: 07.30.2010 at 01:58 am

    Knowledgeable about stainless countertop options?

    posted by: theresse on 07.29.2010 at 10:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

    Hello,

    I have to make a couple of huge decisions in like NOW! My contractor suddenly asked for paint colors AND to pick our stainless countertop finish, and wants this info by this info by today...which obviously didn't happen. If I'd known we were that far in the process, I would have had my ducks in a row! I thought the countertop and paint came at the very end but nope! So I want to get it figured out by tomorrow (Friday) before he goes to another job!! ;)

    I'm getting 14 gauge stainless steel. That much I know. It's tougher/harder than the standard which I think is 16 gauge so I feel okay about that. Now onto finishes...

    I have a cheap, internet-ordered stainless-topped kitchen island. Cute little handy thing (spent about $450 or so on it). I would have NEVER expected to like having a stainless top as much as I have. It's so incredibly durable and cleans up and polishes up beautifully when I want it to shine...it changes color like a chameleon and is NOT cold and modern if in a period kitchen w/ wood floors (and the island itself looks sort of like an antique). My stainless top is so light in color and so soft and watery looking that it almost looks like zinc which I love! We've had it for about 8 years now and all the scratches have formed such a nice patina of sorts that you simply don't see them.

    Here's the problem: today I went to a local metal fabricator and what they showed me looked darker and flatter, w/ a lot of little lines. Mine has lines too, but it never looked that way, even when brand new. It always seemed a bit lighter and glossier - almost mirror-like but no, it's not the #8 mirror kind. You can make out some details of my face in my reflection but w/ the sample they gave me, you see nothing. It's very flat and industrial looking...not that warm glossy look that mine has or that others have, e.g. in my inspiration picture which I'll include at the bottom of this post.

    Does anyone here know what to ask for from a fabricator? My island top has what appear to be faint brush strokes...could that be the difference? The sample piece doesn't.

    Thanks as always, cyber friends!! :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: The stainless countertop that originally inspired me!

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    clipped on: 07.29.2010 at 11:00 pm    last updated on: 07.29.2010 at 11:00 pm

    RE: marble slab for backsplash (Follow-Up #5)

    posted by: rmkitchen on 07.16.2010 at 09:24 pm in Kitchens Forum

    We have marble slab backsplash, inc. the back of the range, and after having it I will never go back to tile. NEVER!

    And this is why: We Cook with a capital "c." My partner esp. loves stir-frying and anything which splatters. There's grease / sauce flying when he's in the kitchen, and considering he does the bulk of the cooking that's every night. He also refuses to clean. He's not a jerk but I think he just doesn't care. I do. Can I just tell you how freaking easy it is to clean a slab backsplash? Holy toledo all you do is wipe down one even surface -- no ins and outs for grout / tile. No toothbrush. No scrubbing. It's just too terrific. Love it!

    I'm also pretty lazy about sealing. (We also have marble countertops.) The backsplash has been sealed twice, and our kitchen is two+ years-old; both of its sealings were in the first year. Oops. (I'm "better" about sealing the countertops, but only if your definition of "better" is tres loose.) We have not a single stain. Not one! I know there's etching because when I get up at farchadat angles to clean (because I'm only 5'5") with the light shining this way and that I can see the etches, but when I'm standing normally at the cooktop, or any other place in the kitchen, I swear to you I canNOT see the etches.

    And here on GW I would tell you if I could!

    Sometimes I use just regular dish soap to wipe the backsplash: maybe once or twice a year I use SoftScrub w/Bleach (I mean that particular formula -- I don't make my own) and, a la the original "The Karate Kid" I wipe on, wipe off.

    In a previous house we had a lovely lovely lovely tile (actually, it was just okay) backsplash and even though the grout was sealed it was the bane of my existence. I must've damaged every egg I have in my ovaries and god knows how many brain cells I lost with the various chemical cleaners I used to remove the gunk splatters from our cooking, and this I had to do on a much more frequent basis than nowadays. (I easily scrubbed the tile backsplash every week. Now I have two kiddos so no can do!)

    For francoise47 -- I live in the 'burbs in a development built in the 80s - 90s (that's 1980s - 1990s) -- our house was built in 1997. While we don't have the patinaed charm of a 1920s foursquare we also aren't a Versailles, nor would we even want that. (no offense francophiles -- that kind of opulence is not for us) I agree that marble slab backsplash probably wouldn't marry best with the style of your charmer, but I did want to chime in that marble slab backsplash does NOT necessarily mean "luxe." For us, it was a highly practical choice! (Plus, our counters are covered so I can always see my beautiful marble in the backsplash -- swoon!)

    This pic was taken in April of this year.

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    Callacuta extra is the name of e marble
    clipped on: 07.27.2010 at 05:36 pm    last updated on: 07.27.2010 at 05:37 pm

    RE: Where do you put a hot lid while you cook? (Follow-Up #8)

    posted by: stei7141 on 06.26.2010 at 02:20 pm in Kitchens Forum

    We have several silicone mats/potholders, including two HotSpots. We use them as mats under all hot items. We also put them under our rice maker (and other heat generating small appliances) to help guard against thermal shock affecting our granite countertop. You can give them a quick scrub or toss them in the dishwasher, and the ones we got on eBay come in several colors.

    Here is a link that might be useful: HotSpot Silicone Counter Cover

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    clipped on: 07.24.2010 at 06:07 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2010 at 06:07 pm

    delays happen -- but sometimes better planning would help!

    posted by: eastbaymom on 07.06.2010 at 03:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

    This thread is inspired by Nishka's on "things you wish you had done". I had to start a new one because I have no "preview message" button on that thread (darn forum software!

    I wish I had planned better, because some of the delays we experienced could have shortened our time in a temporary kitchen.

    Specifically --

    I wish I had finalized my sink choice before ordering cabinets, and made sure I had it in the garage before beginning demolition. (For that matter, I wish I had insisted that the GC *NOT* begin demolition before the cabinets had actually been received.)

    Both of those things created delays that could have been avoided. We had a rough time going without running water in the kitchen, and it didn't have to be 51 days.

    So, how about you? Could you have done anything differently to prevent some of the delays you experienced?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Related thread on things you wish you had done differently.

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    clipped on: 07.06.2010 at 05:46 pm    last updated on: 07.06.2010 at 05:46 pm