kitchen Q&A's

March 9, 2008

Dear Debbie;

    We recently bought a condo unit in a 20 year old building. The kitchen has never had a backsplash and we are having difficulty in deciding what type and colour of tile we should use. The cabinets are white with stainless steel hardware. The floor is ash-blond hardwood. We are thinking of painted the walls lemon yellow. Thanks.


Dear Joan;

    One of the most exciting trends this year is the array of tiles, including ceramic tiles that emulate wallpaper. Tiles have branched out from their traditional place in the kitchen and bath, and you’ll be seeing tile floors in living and dining rooms, even stunning walls created with porcelain tiles that are embossed to look like leather.
The backsplash is a perfect area to infuse some character into your kitchen and you may decide to expand from there. With your neutral background you can choose any colour or design. Inexpensive ceramic tiles can be used as a background inlaid with a pattern of metal, glass, porcelain, even bamboo tiles, so here’s the place to be adventurous.  Try a pale blue mosaic design, or go a bit bolder, with a band of royal blue high gloss tiles sandwiched between white or glass tiles. Experiment with designs on a board to see the difference it will make not only to your kitchen, but the overall feel of the apartment.


March 9, 2008
Alongside steel, boldly coloured laminate cabinets are bursting onto the kitchen scene this spring.

Dear Debbie;

I am about to embark on installing new kitchen cabinets and want to go modern. I’m tempted by the new, high gloss kitchens in bright colours. But I’m worried that I’m making a rash decision. Hope you can advise.


Dear Elizabeth;

    Putting in new kitchen cabinets is a big decision, but an exciting challenge to have. I absolutely adore these new high gloss kitchens in the latest vivid colours. The trend began with shiny white cabinets, which have now progressed to the most luscious deep reds, vibrant greens, bright blues and I have even seen citrus yellow and baby pink. My heart is pounding already. If you are as excited as I am, then I would go for it, but there are a few points you may want to think about. To avoid these bright bands of bold colour from being overwhelming, partner them with sleek wood counter tops, and stick to steel accessories. The handles should be simple, clean designs, Take a look at some of the new patterns in both wallpaper and tile to complete your modern kitchen.
    For those who would like this new glossy look, but are not prepared to start from scratch, you can replicate the look with paint. The cabinet doors should be flat faced, and if they are laminate, prepare them first with a good sanding and a coat of high adhesion primer. Brush marks are more prone to show in high gloss paint, so try using a sponge brush or sponge roller. Apply two coats for solid coverage. Metal trim is a clean, modern touch.
    Another option for infusing glossy colour is to reface cabinet doors with sheets of plastic cut to size. Check with your local building store or the internet to see what’s available in your area. The plastic is glued on and finished with metal trim. To capture a more industrial flavour, secure the plastic with large screws, grommets and washers.


The reflective surfaces of a brushed natural aluminum countertop, cherry wood satin finish cabinets with Silver Screen glass inserts, tinted glass stove top and mirror backsplash enlarge this tiny condo kitchen in grand style.

Dear Debbie;

I've seen a lot of glass and mirror in kitchen displays and wonder if they are just for show. What a cleaning nightmare! Would you use them in your kitchen?


Dear Marisse;

Glass and mirror have always been decorating favourites, chosen not only for their subtle aesthetics but also for their inherent reflective qualities. You are seeing more of these materials in kitchens and bathrooms as new products and styles evolve. Every surface can be transformed, from counters and backsplashes to cupboard doors, and even ceilings. Glass can be added to an older kitchen to immediately update it. For an inexpensive backsplash, try cutting a piece of mirror that fits snuggly above your counter tops. Your local glass cutter will do this for you. This is an ideal solution for making a tiny kitchen appear much larger. Today there’s a huge variety of clear and coloured glass tile in squares, rectangles and blocks. These are both practical and decorative on walls, backsplash areas, countertop insets, or table tops. A popular idea for changing the look of old cupboard doors is to cut out the centre and insert etched and frosted glass panels. Glass is easy to clean – avoid mirror in busy areas, but otherwise it’s its serene purity is magical. Glass will never go out of vogue.