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Date: September 2013
12 Great Kitchen Styles — Which One's for You?
Sheila Schmitz, Editor, Houzz.com 9.27.13    
Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the photo that inspires you most can often surprise you. Think you know your kitchen style? Check out these guides to a dozen favorite kitchen design themes, then tell us which one takes the cake.

 

Farmhouse kitchens. Warm and homey farmhouses anchored a life on the land, and they still offer great functionality and comfort. Their open shelving, wide sinks, classic flooring and big kitchen table make them easy to work in and easy to love.
 



Rustic kitchens. “Worn," "distressed" and "rough hewn" may not be the first words that come to mind when we think of kitchens. But today rustic kitchens rival the classic white kitchen in popularity — thanks to their timber, stone, brick, vintage appliances and fireplaces.
 


Modern kitchens.
 Definitions of "modern" vary widely, but when we think of modern kitchen designs, we often think of frameless cabinets, sleek and simple hardware, strong horizontal lines and a lack of ornamentation, with the natural beauty of the materials shining through.



Traditional kitchens.
 Traditional kitchens are defined by their details, which can include arches, decorative moldings and corbels, raised-panel cabinets, a mix of antique finishes and furniture-like turned legs — even a chandelier. Whether they have a classic American or old-world flavor, they still carry the stamp of their owners' personal style.
 



Contemporary kitchens
. Contemporary kitchens can be very sleek, but while a purely modern kitchen often celebrates structure and grid, a contemporary kitchen is often more playful in form and finishes, including elements of other styles and creating its own reflection of the times.


 


Transitional kitchens.
 Think of a transitional kitchen as the great moderator. With the warmth and welcome of traditional design and the clean, simple lines of contemporary style, transitional spaces project balance and harmony. Because they offer a great deal of flexibility, they're a great choice for homeowners whose taste spans the two.
 


Craftsman kitchens.
 Craftsman style arose in the early 20th century as a reaction to the mass-produced fussiness of the Victorian era. Its rich woods, built-ins, handcrafted tiles and well-made simplicity continue to charm us.
 



Cottage kitchens.
 Cozy, happy and unpretentious, a cottage kitchen harks back to simpler times and evokes a sense of easy, carefree living. Beadboard, soft colors, vintage hardware, wood floors and colorful accents and curtains will infuse your kitchen with cottage comfort.

 






Paris bistro kitchens
. If you long for a sugar-laced café au lait on Rue Monmartre, why not bring a little Parisian style into your house? Intimate kitchen lighting, pretty cookware on display, tile floors and a striped awning ought to do it.



 



Classic kitchens.
 What is classic? The answer is as varied as cooks are. Still, white or cream kitchen cabinets, simple architectural details and black accents offer a blank slate that homeowners can personalize with contemporary, traditional and eclectic touches as they see fit.
 



Mediterranean-style kitchens
. Flared hoods, hand-painted tile, warm wood cabinets, beamed ceilings and arched cooking alcoves are just some of the features that put Spanish revival kitchens on the most-wanted list.

 



Eclectic kitchens
. Do you rebel against styles and refuse pigeonholes? It's your house; you can mix and match for your own distinct kitchen style however you please. The trick: Be a rebel with a cause. Get ideas for a very personal kitchen, with touches of modern and rustic styles, well-traveled flair, humor and irreverence.
 



Get Quartz and Porcelain Surfaces Super Clean
Cathy Lara, Houzz Contributor 9.11.13    
Maintaining the new and sleek appearance of your home doesn't have to be a painful and time-intensive process; as a general rule, the more often you clean, the less time and money you'll have to spend on major cleaning overhauls. But as kitchen and bath designer Kayron Brewer says, it's really about making smart decisions when it comes to your surfaces: "Choose the right materials for the right applications and uses — especially when you are talking about the kitchen and bath." 

Here are a few tips on how to clean tiles, sinks and countertops that are made of a variety of materials.


Natural Quartz
Quartz is one of the hardest minerals found in nature, so it's a fitting material for the busiest space in the home: the kitchen. Quartz countertops are made from crushed pure natural quartz combined with a small amount of pigment and resin. This combination of materials allows quartz to be a dense, nonporous stone that is both scratch and stain resistant with no sealing required.

However, says kitchen and bath designer Gary Lichlyter, "you really can't tell the difference [in terms of surface gloss and sheen] between a sealed and nonsealed quartz countertop. Sealing takes just a few minutes but can really help protect your quartz surface for long-term use, so I highly recommend it."

Cambria quartz boasts of the most simple maintenance regimen: Wash the surface with a soft cotton cloth and warm water with a mild dish soap. According to the company website, "Cambria is durable and more resistant to surface damage than other stone. However, all stone can be damaged by force and no stone is chip-proof. Objects hitting edges particularly at sinks or dishwashers may cause chips."

Remember, natural stone surfaces like quartz can also be damaged by sudden and rapid changes of temperature as well as direct contact with hot pots and pans. Always use a potholder to protect the natural quartz surface.

For tough stains: Quartz countertops are meant to be stain free, as the surface does not absorb liquids.

Stay away from: Bleach and abrasive products.


Travertine
The biggest issue people have with cleaning and maintaining a travertine shower is soap scum. Soap scum can damage tiles and ruin the look of a travertine shower. Also, hard water deposits can also start to accumulate in a travertine shower.

"A travertine-tiled shower is a constantly wet surface, so upon installation, I strongly urge people to apply the best sealer that money can buy to protect their travertine shower," says Lichlyter.

For tough stains: Lichlyter recommends zero-pH cleaners, which are readily available in home improvement stores.

Stay away from: "Commercial cleaners that smell good but have petroleum in the ingredients," says Lichlyter. "Petroleum sits on tile grout and causes residue and a dirty-looking appearance." Also avoid acidic substances like vinegar as well as abrasive cleaners and dish soap containing citrus oil.


Porcelain Sinks
Kitchen and bath designer Angie Keyes' cleaning regimen for 
porcelain sinks is simple: She uses a Magic Eraser or a disinfecting bathroom cleaner like Comet, which comes in a nonabrasive, bleach-free liquid solution made for porcelain and ceramic surfaces.
Lichlyter adds, "Tried and tested brands like American Standard and Kohler have porcelain surfaces that can handle all kinds of cleansers."
 
For tough stains: Lichlyter recommends applying a bit of powder cleanser on the scuff marks and letting it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing the powder off with a scrub brush. Blogger Desireé swears by soft cleanser Bar Keepers Friend, which works without having to use bleach on the surface. "Apply a small amount [of Bar Keepers Friend] directly on the areas where you see stains. ... You'll see the stains disappear before your eyes."

Stay away from: Bleach, which will eventually eat through the enamel seal on the porcelain.


Engineered Stone
Engineered stone countertops are made of 93 percent natural stone and 7 percent polymers and are highly resistant to scratches and stains. "Engineered stone countertops are highly resilient, but high temperatures will damage the polymers and can also damage your counters," 
says Lichlyter. Use a hot-pot pad when placing heated objects on engineered stone surfaces.
 
For countertops with a smooth and matte look, use a mild soap and water solution to clean and polish the surface.

For tough stains: Multipurpose cleaners and detergents applied to scouring pads should take care of tough stains by transferring the dirt from the surface to the pad; the rough pad will not damage your countertop surface.

Stay away from: "Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia," says Whitsunday Marble & Granite. "To clean engineered stone we recommend water and a mild detergent. Engineered stone is tough, but not indestructible."




 



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