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  1. The Definitive Kitchen Guide 2018; A biblical guide on kitchen design and renovation! Everything from DIY to immaculate self centered design choices, we’ve got you covered. Check out our roundup on all the “HOW-TOs” to your kitchen curiosities. HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST STONE FOR YOUR KITCHEN Which natural stone is actually the best option for the kitchen countertop? Check out this to know 8 Pros and Cons of materials used in making the countertop. Choosing installations for your kitchen that could give rise to a contemporary aura has always been a challenge. In fact, the most significant elements in the kitchen are the ones easily neglected. Back in the days, the kitchen was always designed to be a confined and isolated space. Today, people want a spacious and comfortable kitchen not only for cooking, but to allow a better flow in spatial change between the rooms of the house. Contemporary kitchens are the trend to follow and it is what the world is looking at right now. A minimalist layout with the simplicity of the color choices for the room defines a contemporary room. But to create a functional and modern kitchen is not as easy as it sound. Here are a few essential elements to emphasize while designing your desired contemporary kitchen. COUNTERTOPS Your countertop covers most of the surfaces in your kitchen. So it plays a big role in the overall design and the functionality of the kitchen. A high quality of countertop will not only make your kitchen chores more enjoyable, but also liven up your kitchen with style. Great countertop surfaces such as the high density quartz stones also possess intrinsic characteristics of being non-porous (thus resistant to harmful bacteria), making it a safe hygienic choice for your family, especially if you have small children. Credits: Tedid.com.sg WALLS The walls contribute the base color of the room. So the choice of color is critical, a slight change in color will leave the room with a totally different visual impact. Light colors are typically used as the base color to provide the simplicity and minimalism. But there are people who prefer to give some sophistication to the walls with the choice of wood series walls. Aside from the visual aspect, the qualities we find in kitchen walls are their resistance to stains and moisture. It is important to choose walls with a warm, appealing ambiance while being sustainable. FLOORING Like other elements in the kitchen, the qualities we desire for the flooring are also its resistance to moisture, scratches, and stains. The practical usage of the floor is important but it does not have to be dull and boring. With the right pattern and color of flooring, it will give your kitchen a refreshing and clean look. The color of the floor decides the mood of the room. Darker colors prompt a more classic presence while lighter colors achieve the effect of minimalism. In addition, the right flooring allows a smoother interconnection between the rooms in your home. Credits: Decorpad.com CABINETS Both cabinets and countertops act as the highlights of the room, bringing a strong visual impact. The choice of colors for the cabinets and countertops are usually countered to further strengthen the visual shock and create the contemporary atmosphere. Black and white are mostly preferred, but the combination of gray or dark brown wooden series and white also produces an impressive yet welcoming ambiance. Practically speaking, storage is the main purpose of installing cabinets. Although some might neglect the usage of the cabinets and care only for the appearance, but they will soon realize its importance when they want some basic parameters to separate wines from knives. SINK Any chef or home cook will know that the pre and post cooking take most of the time. So a practically designed sink will really come in handy during food preparation and cleaning. The maintenance aspect is what we should be considering while choosing a sink for your kitchen. The sink must be easy to clean and does not retain moisture, hindering the growth of algae and clotting of dirt in hard to reach spots. The appearance of the sink must also be modern to match with the whole room. A coupled marble or quartz countertop for the sink will be a perfect choice for a contemporary kitchen. Overall, the sink has to be spic and span, as well as stylish and sophisticated at all times. Before designing your kitchen, the first thing you should do is budgeting. Fridge and cabinets are what you really need. But if you cook very often, go for the best installations, and take that as an investment in yourself and your family. A feature wall or an accent wall is a wall that’s made to look unique from the rest of the house. Through the use of a wide range of materials, feature walls are an amazing way of making a space feel truly special, embodying the persona of the homeowner that few other ways can. HOW TO GET THE RIGHT WALLS FOR YOUR KITCHEN & HOME 1. WOOD VENEERS FEATURE WALL Made from thin slices of wood glued onto a core panel, wood veneers have always been a favorite with homeowners looking for a warm and natural look. The quality and durability of wood veneers vary a lot depending on the material used. Some individuals prefer wood veneers because of its low ecological impact and non-toxicity (unless treated). Credits: Wood veneer feature wall, 27estore.com 2. WALLPAPERS FEATURE WALL The most inexpensive option on our list, wallpapers are highly customizable and can be used to fit a wide variety of styles. Some wallpapers even come with textures and do a decent job at mimicking more expensive materials. Wallpapers today are made using a number of techniques including gravure printing, surface printing, rotary printing and digital printing. Exceptionally high-quality prints, sometimes called graphic panels, can look really impressive. There are a few downsides to wallpaper, however. Fancy as they are, wallpapers look pretty dull compared to other materials. To make matters worse, wallpapers don’t stand up well to moisture and hot climates and will start peeling or fading quickly. 3. MARBLE FEATURE WALL Elegant and classy, thin slabs or bricks of marble are the perfect feature wall material for kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Marble gives off a clean but dramatic look that’s impossible to achieve through any other way. The catch? High-quality marble is expensive and requires special maintenance to keep its shine going. Goes well with ceramic bathrooms. 4. SLATE/STONE VENEER FEATURE WALL Stone veneers are made by either pouring a lightweight concrete into a polymer base which is then coloured to look like real stone, or manufactured by layering a thin piece of stone onto a composite base. They are relatively inexpensive compared to natural stone and come in a variety of designs and colours. The disadvantages? Stone veneers aren’t as tough as natural stone, and eco-conscious individuals will not be happy with the amount of waste that’s associated with its production. 5. FIBER METAL FEATURE WALL Typically made by bonding metal layers to a composite base, fiber metal panel laminates combine high durability into a shiny package and are highly resistant to metal fatigue, impact, corrosion and fire. Fiber metal panels are also lightweight which helps them stay attached to the walls better. 6. SOLID PHENOLIC PANELS Made from paper soaked in heat-resistant resins and reinforced with cellulose fibres under high pressure, solid phenolic panels are a solid choice that will not disappoint. Non-porous and resistant to damage from moisture and heat exposure and affordable, solid phenolic panels are the go-to choice for practicality. In addition, solid phenolic panels are excellent noise barriers and provide a decent level of noise reduction in closely packed apartment spaces. 7. FABRIC FEATURE WALL Often overlooked by the average homeowner, fabrics are another highly customizable option that can be super personalized. Sharing some similarities to wallpaper, fabrics vary greatly in cost, aesthetics and durability depending on its type. Keep in mind that fabrics, however, that fabrics can be difficult to clean if they get dirty and have a tendency to grow moldy if exposed to moisture and humidity (the number one reason why it’s not too popular here). 8. VENETIAN PLASTER FINISH Made from a mixture of slaked lime and marble dust, Venetian plaster finishes, when done right, look absolutely stunning. The material attaches itself well to drywall, wood, tile, cement or brick walls and dries to a solid hardness. It is also easy to maintain: plaster dries quickly and its color comes from the pigments mixed into itwhich doesn’t fade like paint does. Non-toxic and all-natural, plaster is also eco-friendly choice that’s naturally insulating and anti-bacterial with its high pH. Feel free to give us a call or email for any inquiries! Visit SevenKonzept to get services and tips of Interior Designs. HOW TO ARRANGE YOUR KITCHEN NEATLY You’ve gone through the hassle of hunting, designing, and bargaining for the perfect kitchen top. You enjoy cooking and baking for your family every day, and showing off your gorgeous kitchen to your friends and relatives during their short visits and special occasions. But we both know there’s the other side of the coin… the tiring housekeeping to keep your luxury kitchen top in perfect condition always. Well, if you’ve been spending too much time and energy daily trying to keep your kitchen spick-and-span, here are 13 nifty storage hacks to keep your kitchen top tidy and beautiful always… 1. SPICE SHELVES UNDER YOUR UPPER CABINETS If you cook frequently, one of the biggest sources of clutter on your kitchen top would be the spices. Instead of scattering them around, or just chucking them into a drawer, you can actually have a simple shelving to store them right under your upper cabinets. This way, you’re making full use of the empty space between the upper kitchen cabinets and your kitchen top. It is so much easier to reach them while you’re busy cooking — and in fact, when placed nicely, they’ll become part of your “kitchen decoration” too. 2. CURTAIN ROD WITH HOOKS FOR KITCHEN UTENSILS Now, this is a handy kitchen storage hack we love. You can DIY this very easily by repurposing an old curtain rod and some simple hooks to hang your arsenal of kitchen utensils, and even some mini pots and pans. It’s a great way to save space on your kitchen top and make full use of your kitchen backsplash. Plus, it’s definitely easier to grab the utensils you want from the hooks – than from a messy bunch in a dish basket (whether it is to rush a quick meal, to fend off a villain – or to intimidate your mischievous kids). 3. FLOATING SHELVES AT THE SIDE OF YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS This is one mini kitchen storage hack that most homeowners would not think of — the simple additions offloating shelves at the side of your lovely kitchen cabinets, whether you have a minimalist or luxury kitchen cabinet set. In fact, when done properly, these floating shelves can truly beautify your kitchen cabinet. While giving you highly useful storage space, whether it’s for your cooking pots and pans, spices, recipe books. Or even just for you to place some pots of greenery for a soothing ambience (or even some art pieces to give your kitchen more character). Now, if you’re renovating or remodeling your kitchen soon, be sure to include this in your design… and let your friends and loved ones marvel at your ingenuity! 4. PULL-OUT UTENSIL BIN Know that awkward and irritating space at the corner of your L-shape cabinet? Well, you can actually make good use of this pesky corner by building a pull-out utensil bin. No more blood-boiling moments of struggling to reach for your stuff in the dark corner, no more accumulation of dust and infestation of cockroaches… because now you’ll be happy to keep your frequently-used utensils there. 5. KITCHEN CABINET LAZY SUSAN Another alternative of fully utilizing your pesky L-shape kitchen cabinet corner is to use the Lazy Susan there to store your cookware for easy retrieval. We’ve known a number of homeowners who prefer to hide their cookware than displaying them, whether it’s placing them on the kitchen top or hanging them on hooks. Of course, instead of storing your cookware, you can choose to keep other stuff like your dry goods here (but no tidbits, please — you wouldn’t want to risk the invasion by rodents, insects… and of course, your sneaky little kids). 6. THE HANDY WIDE SHALLOW BASKET Well, sometimes keeping things stupid and simple is the best way to go. No need for fancy ideas to show your organizational prowess, or European designer racks to show off your taste for great style. That said, having a simple rattan or bamboo wide shallow basket on your kitchen top allows to you chuck your frequently-used utensils, spices, and garnishing all in one place. Besides being a quick and easy storage, this nifty basket can also add a rustic feel to your kitchen. 7. OVER-THE-SINK DISH RACKS This next kitchen storage hack can literally save your time (and your family’s lives). Besides saving you prep space on your kitchen countertop, these elegant over-the-sink dish racks can eliminate the hassle of wiping the dishes and ,of course, you’ll have fewer chances of breaking any dishes. More importantly, (now this is the life-saving part) you wouldn’t have a mosquito infestation problem (compared to chucking your dishes in a regular rack on your countertop). 8. KITCHEN WINDOW SHELVES This next storage hack is another mini ingenuity. But use this only if you have another window or a back door for fire escape ya… Because it involves installing a few shelves inside your kitchen windows to provide extra storage spacefor your cookware and dishes. This hack alone can save you tons of space on your kitchen countertop — you’ll love this if you’re a minimalist. In fact, it is a splendid addition if you have some beautiful china or fancy European cookware you wish to flaunt. If you have little kids, these simple shelves can drastically reduce the chances of them playing with your fragile dishes and causing a havoc when you’re not looking. 9. KITCHEN ISLAND WITH OPEN STORAGE If you are planning to have a kitchen island, make full use of the space by installing shelves inside the island — so you can stash your cookware, recipe books, and other kitchen items easily. You can even place your favorite tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples, watermelons, or dragon fruits there, to encourage your kids to love fruits more and also add a touch of nature (and splashes of colors) to liven up your kitchen. 10. KITCHEN APPLIANCE GARAGE If you have quite a few appliances such as the coffee maker, blender, mixer, or toaster, then you should consider installing an appliance garage. Because this mini garage will help keep your kitchen top clutter-free in no time, and it’s always wise to keep these dangerous appliances from your kids. You can choose to conceal them entirely — or if you have a small kitchen, go for the classy translucent design which will make your kitchen look more spacious. 11. OVER-THE-SINK CHOPPING BOARD This is a no-brainer for savvy housewives, but it’s worth a mention since it’s a great hack to expand your countertop space, albeit temporarily. There are a variety of designs for this type of large over-the-sink chopping board, and you can get them easily (and cheaply) online from Amazon or Aliexpress. 12. ADDITIONAL SHELVING FOR MICROWAVE OVEN This is another useful hack to free up more space on your kitchen top… the perfect placement of something that you don’t use that much (though some may say it’s something they can’t live without) – the microwave oven. As most of us rarely fill up our upper cabinets, it’s a wise move to allocate a small portion of it for the microwave oven. It looks great, you get to look smart for using this hack, and your little kids won’t have the chance to put any metal cutlers inside and blow up your kitchen! 13. MAGNETIC KNIFE STRIP Ok, we’re down to the final kitchen storage hack here – the magnetic knife strip. This is a great way to avoid bacteria infestation (compared to keeping your knives in a wooden knife block). Plus, it’ll look super cool on your gorgeous kitchen backsplash. And best of all, it’s so much easier to grab (and return) your knives. Just make sure you place them at asafe height where your children cannot reach them. Alright then, we hope you’ve enjoyed (and will be using) some of these hacks to free up more space on your kitchen top and in your kitchen cabinets. Now you can keep your kitchen clutter-free and beautiful always with much less effort (and frustrations). That means more time and energy for tender loving care ya! If you need any super cool advice on home improvement, kitchen renovation, countertop selection, marble polishing, or anything at all… feel free to contact our friendly kitchen top consultants at Stone Amperor. We’re always here for you ya! We are excited to announce the launch of our customer loyalty program that comes with some awesome perks you’ll love. Hit us up at +65 8816 4404, or visit us at Primz Bizhub #02-06 to find out more today
  2. One of the biggest fears people may have about natural stone is the maintenance it requires. With many individuals increasingly turning to the use of natural materials in the home, granite has become the countertop of choice. Synthetic solid surface materials are no match for the richness, depth, and incredible performance of real granite. Unlike laminates and solid-surface materials, a hot pot or frying pan has no effect on granite’s mirror-like finish. Most importantly, by choosing a granite countertop you not only give your kitchen everlasting performance and beauty, but you also increase the value of your home. Granite is also a very hard mineral and is virtually impervious to abrasions, impact damage and heat. However, the material is prone to cracking due to mechanical stresses caused by repeated heating and cooling. While the seams in between slabs provide some leeway for this repeated expansion and contraction, it is best to keep granite away from sources of large heat fluctuations. You’ll find caring for your natural stone is easy. The best care you can give your natural stone is preventive care. By following a few suggestions, your countertops will last a lifetime while maintaining a brand-new appearance. BASIC CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE 1. AVOID USING CLEANING PRODUCTS WITH ANY KIND OF ACID OR ABRASIVE. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents that contain strong acids/alkaline (e.g. bleach, glass cleaners, ammonia, degreasers) or abrasives (e.g. powdered ceramic/bathroom cleaners) as it can cause the sealant to discolour and scratch. Warm water, mild dishwashing liquid, and soft clean cloth are generally all that’s needed to maintain your granite countertop surface. 2. AVOID SUBJECTING YOUR GRANITE COUNTERTOP TO HEAVY WEIGHTS AND PRESSURE. While hard, granite surfaces are brittle and you should not stand, kneel on, sit or stack heavy objects onto your countertops as they could crack or break. This doesn’t mean that granite is fragile, however, and it’s perfectly capable of supporting microwaves, dish holders and other moderately heavy objects. 3. DO NOT PLACE HOT PANS OR OTHER OBJECTS DIRECTLY ON YOUR COUNTERTOPS. Again, hot objects can cause the sealant to discolour (mainly in dark granites) and/or cracking. Always use a protective barrier between any hot object and granite such as trivet or mat. Unsealed granite countertops do not have this problem, but are highly porous and come with other problems. 4. WIPE OFF SPILLS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Sealed granite countertops are surprisingly resilient to stains from citric acid, coffee tea, alcohol, or wine. However, as a preventive measure, wipe up any spills on the countertops within a reasonable amount of time and do not let liquid sit on the countertop overnight. 5. Watch out for oil stains. Granite is most prone to staining by oil – be careful not to place any pots or frying pans with oil traces on the bottom on the countertop surface. Blot oil and acid spills as soon as they happen, and clean with mild soap and warm water to avoid any harm to your countertops. If the oil stains remain, there is a special cleaning procedure for the removal of deep-seated, time-set dirt and grime. A general poultice with baby or baking soda and water is the best remedy. First, moisten the surface of the granite with the same liquid that made the paste. Next, apply the poultice paste to the granite surface about half an inch thick. Tape plastic sheeting over the poultice area, and allow it to sit for 48 hours. Remove the poultice with a spatula, rinse the cleansed area with clean water, wipe off excess water, and allow the surface to dry. 6. RINSE SOAP AND WASHING DETERGENTS OFF TO PREVENT LIME BUILD UP. Rinse with hot clean water on a regular basis and use a paper towel to dry. Another way to remove lime build up , soap scum, stains or dried spills, is to use a straight razor blade in a gentle scraping motion. Do not use lime removal products or cleaning products that contain ammonia, as this will affect the seal on the stone. 7. AVOID HITTING THE SURFACE WITH HARD OBJECTS. Chips in granite are not a common occurrence. When they do happen, chips are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the countertop. Take care when you handle heavy pots and pans around your granite profiles as these are the most prone to cause chipping. If a chip does occur and you find the piece that chipped out, hold on to it. Most of the time it can be epoxied back into place. 8. APPLY SEALERS. The use of sealers is an excellent preventive measure and will encourage the preservation of your granite countertops. Some granite can be very porous. Sealers fill in natural pores and repel spills on the surface, radically reducing the rate of absorption. This gives you time to wipe spills away before they have a chance to penetrate your stone. After the installation process, the granite must be sealed. We recommend a re-application of this sealer annually, or more often for some light granites, to fully maintain the luminosity and avoid stains. Some dark-colored, dense granites (browns, blacks) do not require sealing. When the water or liquid spilled on your countertop fails to bead up when splashed, or you begin to notice a water darkening spot that dries out, this is an indication that your countertop needs to be re-sealed. 9. AVOID STORING CHEMICALS ON THE SURFACE. It’s risky to store chemicals on the surface of your granite countertop in case of spillage. This includes cooking oil, hair products, chemical cleaners and cosmetics.
  3. Stone suppliers in Singapore carry a wide range of kitchen tops. From natural stone like granite, marble and sandstone to solid surface kitchen tops and engineered quartz stone, each type of stone has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the desired aesthetic tastes and functionality. So how do you choose the right thickness for your countertop? There are several types of kitchen countertop stones which have their own physical characteristics. Depending on each homeowner’s individual lifestyle and expectations, different types of stone would work best. Today, we’ll take a look at the different thicknesses of countertops in production, their advantages and disadvantages. 10-13MM, OR ABOUT 1/2 INCH COUNTERTOPS. One of the first questions you’ll be asked by a stone supplier is the thickness you want. While thicker stones are preferred for their dramatic but minimalist look especially for natural stone or quartz, thin countertops have several advantages that any smart homeowner should consider carefully. THINNER AND LIGHTER. The biggest advantage that thin, 10-13mm countertops provide is lightness. Gravity does nasty things to a heavy slab that’s hanging off a surface, and trying to fasten it vertically would be a technical impossibility without special support systems in place. In many applications where the slabs hang freely and unsupported, excessive weight would jeopardize the structural integrity of the piece if special load-bearing or anchoring system is not in place. They are also much easier to work with and handle and do not require eight people just to move a slab from the ground floor up to your place. Stone Italiana Quartz carries exceptional 13mm quartz kitchen tops in three types of finishes; polished, rock face and grain. FLOATING COUNTERS, WATERFALL EDGES AND MORE. Thin countertops are a lot lighter than thick slabs, which makes it possible to build special applications. These include vertical surfaces such as feature walls, fuller backsplashes and waterfall edges. The sides of a kitchen island is a good example where waterfall edges have a nice touch. Thin slabs also make it possible to build floating counters where they are minimally supported by a foundation. Thin and light countertop slabs are also easier to cut and shape, which lends its suitability to integration work such as installation of a kitchen sink. If necessary, thin slabs can be laminated around a lightweight core material such as wood. This makes the countertop thicker without adding too much weight. 20-30MM, 1 TO 1 ¼ THICK COUNTERTOPS. MORE DURABLE Although heavier, more expensive and less versatile, thicker countertops are more durable than lighter ones; 30mm slabs are less prone to breaking compared to 20mm slabs, which in turn are more durable than 13mm ones. Countertops come in slabs as thick as 40mm or 60mm, but are often too expensive and too heavy for most homes to support. Soft stone such as marble and sandstone benefit significantly from the extra thickness. BUILT TO LAST AND CARRY HEAVIER LOADS. Thick kitchen top stones also last longer, which makes up for the difficult installation and high initial cost. Thick slabs of high-quality stone, especially when well-installed, also bring with it a nice hike in equity value, which alone is enough reason for stone suppliers in Singapore to recommend them. Thicker slabs are also best suited whenever high traffic/usage is expected, and a special emphasis on durability is required; e.g. kitchen tables, bathroom vanities, grilling stations (hard, natural stone like granite provide the best heat resistance), shower seats, decorative cutting boards and coffee tables. MORE KITCHEN TOP EDGE PROFILING OPTIONS. In addition, the extra material provided by thicker countertops gives homeowners more options for kitchen top edge profiling and fashions. You cannot cut deep curves into thin laminated countertops without biting into the laminated core. Edge profiles aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. For safety reasons, many interior designers and home owners opt for the bullnose edge profile, which is not something you want to accidentally hit.
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