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posted: 7/15/2012 5:00 AM

Creative tips for the kitchen, bath

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  • Roger Hazard used Custom Cabinets in lavender for a kitchen after noticing the homeowner always wore shades of purple. The island that is not shown is eggplant colored.

      Roger Hazard used Custom Cabinets in lavender for a kitchen after noticing the homeowner always wore shades of purple. The island that is not shown is eggplant colored.
    Courtesy Custom Cabinets

  • Ann Sacks makes a mosaic from pyrite, which looks so much like gold it has always been called fool's gold.

      Ann Sacks makes a mosaic from pyrite, which looks so much like gold it has always been called fool's gold.
    Courtesy Ann Sacks

  • This is the contemporaryversion of Kallista'sMulti-Function showerhead.

      This is the contemporaryversion of Kallista'sMulti-Function showerhead.

  • Here's Kallista's Traditional Multi-Function showerhead.

      Here's Kallista's Traditional Multi-Function showerhead.
    Courtesy Kallista

  • Delta introduces its Trinsic faucet collection for the bathroom, based on its kitchen series.

      Delta introduces its Trinsic faucet collection for the bathroom, based on its kitchen series.
    Courtesy Delta

  • Delta's Cassidy faucets are available for the kitchen as well as the bath.

      Delta's Cassidy faucets are available for the kitchen as well as the bath.
    Courtesy Delta

  • Delta's Fuse adds red, black or white to your kitchen faucet. The fuse is another faucet that offers multiple uses in the kitchen.

      Delta's Fuse adds red, black or white to your kitchen faucet. The fuse is another faucet that offers multiple uses in the kitchen.

  • Delta's Cassidy with the open channel spout attracted attention at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

      Delta's Cassidy with the open channel spout attracted attention at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.
    Courtesy Delta

  • Gray is the color this year for kitchen cabinets if your style is neutral, say Roger Hazard and other designers.

      Gray is the color this year for kitchen cabinets if your style is neutral, say Roger Hazard and other designers.
    Courtesy Custom Cupboards

  • Ann Sacks makes a mosaic from pyrite, which looks so much like gold it has always been called fool's gold.

      Ann Sacks makes a mosaic from pyrite, which looks so much like gold it has always been called fool's gold.
    Courtesy Ann Sacks

 
 

Roger Hazard has designed a kitchen with cabinets colored lavender and eggplant. In fact, the designer and producer of A&E network's "Sell This House" used green cabinets in his own Texas kitchen, and we're betting blue is in his professional future.

The kitchen with the purple tones is "a piece of jewelry custom designed just for the homeowner," he said. "It feels happy."

But Hazard understands you might want a more neutral choice for your cabinets, and recommends you consider gray.

"Gray will mix with any color and will work with any flooring," he said. "Brown is very color specific."

That chosen color gets another vote from Alan W. Zielinski of Better Kitchens, Inc. in Niles and president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. He notes gray is almost a water color, and says that ocean-inspired shades of blue and green are very popular.

Here are more trends noticed by Hazard, who was at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show on behalf of Custom Cupboards of Wichita, Kan.

• "People thought that bigger was better, but a really large kitchen is almost like going to the gym. It's more interesting to look at less space, and it can function better."

• Today's kitchen should be comfortable so people can sit and talk to the cook. "My kitchen has a chaise lounge and a love seat. I can sit there and work on my laptop."

• Hazard does not like upper cabinets, declaring them "clunky" and saying they make the kitchen look smaller. He prefers floating shelves holding things that are meaningful to you. This makes the room more welcoming as well as offering a way to show off the dishes you spent so much time selecting.

Most homeowners know that Kallista is a pricey brand, but if you have the money some of the company's new items might be worth it.

For example, the Multi-Function showerheads are so easy to turn you will be changing spray throughout your shower. They come in traditional and more contemporary looks and retail for about $500.

On the other hand, I think I will pass on the stone "inserts" that decorate faucets. A pair of these range up to $1,150, for the fabulous Chinchilla Obsidian, and that is just for the decoration, the actual faucets are extra.

The really expensive member of the Kohler family is Ann Sacks. For example, the company has a new tile made from sting ray hides. This is not as bad as it seems because the skin used to be thrown away when the animal was killed for food, said Ryan Miner, marketing communications coordinator. Even though these tiles are made from leftovers, they cost $345 per square foot.

The beautiful Pyrite -- named for a mineral once called fool's gold because of its resemblance to that precious metal -- is more like $200 per square foot. It's a polished or antiqued mosaic fashioned from the stone and comes in gold or silver or a combination.

Delta, which is more popularly priced, introduces Trinsic faucets for the bath next month. This is an urban, contemporary style with a single lever handle and several finishes that is also available with technology that turns on and off with only a touch. It is similar to a collection with the same name that has been available for the kitchen.

Cassidy is a more traditional look, and the company compares its shape to a woman with a cinched waist. It is available in two different spout shapes, including a showy, trough-shaped one. It also is available with the classic X-shaped two-handled version.

Cassidy should be available for the bath in August in several finishes, and the kitchen versions will follow in September.

To add a bit of whimsy or color drama to your kitchen, Delta is offering polymer touches on its Fuse kitchen faucets in black, red or white.

All faucet companies offer new technologies to make water-saving showers feel more powerful. Delta calls its innovation H2O Kinetics and says it sculpts the water into a wave pattern.

We learned at the kitchen and bath show that while remodeling or building a new house it's easy to specify products made in the United States.

Longleaf Collection, for example, makes handles for all kinds of doors in North Carolina. Mark Scott, the owner, says his solid brass products that come in traditional as well as colorful finishes cost about 15 percent more than imports and half as much as high-end ones.

Besides the oiled bronze you might be dreaming of, the hardware is available in a coastal line of aqua and turquoise, sparkly green or plum and even colors of your favorite team or school for the game room.

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