May 2022

Is Your Home Ready for Outdoor Living?
Memorial Day is quickly approaching, marking the official beginning of summer relaxing and entertaining. The days get longer, which means it’s time to hang out with your friends and family while enjoying delicious food. If you plan to host family barbecues this summer, we put together a list of all the essentials you’ll need.

Grill

You could purchase an updated stand-alone grill or consider a built-in grill. The built-in option could be part of a simple outdoor kitchen with prep space and storage or a complete food prep and entertainment area, including refrigeration, plumbing, and bar seating.

An outdoor kitchen space will take your barbecues to the next level. Hot dogs and hamburgers are great, but what if you added an outdoor pizza oven or a smoker?

Seating Area

A comfortable seating area on your deck or patio is a must. Ideally, you’ll have two seating areas, one for relaxing and sharing a drink with family and friends and another for dining. And, if you want to take your outdoor seating area to the next level, build it around a water feature or a fire pit as a focal point.

Shade
You will want a shaded area as part of your overall outdoor plan to enjoy sunny days comfortably without risking a sunburn. You could put up umbrellas around the deck and seating areas or opt for sunshades that can be easily installed when needed and removed and stored in the winter months. Sunshades can be found at home improvement stores, garden centers, and online, and they come in various shapes and sizes. A trellis, pergola, or covered deck creates a more permanent shade solution and provides ambiance to your outdoor area.
Think of your outdoor spaces as open-air extensions of the living area in your home. Depending on your needs, they can be large spaces fully equipped with misters, a television, and speakers. Or you can keep it simple with a dining table and chairs. Either way, it will make outdoor living much more enjoyable.
Temperature Control
A ceiling fan in your outdoor space will help you enjoy your deck or patio, even when the air is hot and humid. If you have a covered patio or pergola, you can install a ceiling fan to get air circulating when needed. If not, you can use stand-alone fans to help keep cool. Another option is to add misters to use on sweltering days.

Additionally, consider adding outdoor heaters so you can use your outdoor area on cool evenings.

There’s still time to get your backyard summer and barbecue ready. Give us a call so we can put together a plan and start building your outdoor spaces.

 

 

April   2022

Home technology has come a long way in recent years. New technologies can simplify your life by making it easier to be environmentally friendly, keeping you and your bathroom cleaner and your home entrance safer and more convenient. According to a study by Parks Associates, 25 percent of homeowners plan to incorporate smart technology into their homes in the next year. They are most interested in products that make things more convenient and reduce energy use.

If you’re not sure where to begin, we have found three new technological solutions for you to consider:

House with solar panels on roof and power storage system

Kohler Power Reserve

As homeowners become more conscious of energy conservation, they are looking for solutions that help reduce their carbon footprints. But they also don’t want to sacrifice having the power they need to run their homes.

Enter the Kohler Power Reserve. It’s an energy storage system that keeps your home powered during outages — while providing energy independence by storing excess solar energy for future use. Think of it as an energy bank account: you deposit solar energy and use it as you see fit.

The Kohler Power Reserve consists of a battery and an inverter, compatible with AC and DC input configurations. During installation, it is connected to your home’s solar array. The inverter converts solar energy into usable electricity for your home. Excess energy is stored in the battery for use when solar energy can’t be generated or when the grid is down. Compatible with any solar panel, it can be installed indoors or outdoors. It also has a mobile app that allows you to monitor and control your power system from anywhere, at any time.

By storing and using excess solar power, you can lower your reliance on the grid and lower your energy bills. The system can be personalized for each family member based on their power usage needs. And you can control the time of use by using your stored energy during peak usage. find out more at https://www.kohlerpowerreserve.com/

Modern home with solar panels and Kohler's Power Reserve technology
CLEANOVATION: Revolutionary Cleanliness Technologies

For the past 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in innovation, technology, performance, and design with products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. TOTO is the world’s largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings, with $5.19 billion in annual sales. Their new CLEANOVATION – a combination of clean and innovation – technology helps promote peace of mind and wellness through cleanliness.

The Washlet bidet seat is one of the new items in the CLEANOVATION line that should appeal to many homeowners. It uses pure, clean water to leave you feeling fresher and cleaner than ever before. Once the cycle is activated, a wand with AIR-IN-WONDER-WAVE technology provides soothing warm aerated water. Once that cycle is complete, there is a drying cycle where warm air lightly dries the area.

Washlet bidet seats are environmentally friendly since they reduce the amount of toilet paper used and fit most standard American toilets. Additionally, TOTO has introduced CEFIONTECT glaze technology that prevents particulates from adhering to porous ceramic surfaces. The surface layer on TOTO toilets with the CEFIONTECT glaze is an incredibly smooth ion barrier that keeps the toilet cleaner longer. Less cleaning means fewer chemicals in the environment and less water used for cleaning.

Later this year, TOTO will also introduce a WELLNESS TOILET that incorporates multiple sensing technologies to support consumers’ wellness. Each time you sit on the WELLNESS TOILET, it scans your body and critical outputs then provides recommendations to improve your health. You can track all of the information on a mobile cell phone app. For more information, visit https://www.totousa.com/.

The Washlet bidet seat from TOTO
Masonite M-Pwr Smart Doors
Masonite, one of the leading interior and exterior doors brands, recently introduced its new M-Pwr door. This door comes pre-wired to accommodate technology to make your front entrance secure and convenient. The door is integrated with a Yale smart lock you can control with your phone or home assistant, a Ring Video Doorbell, and motion-sensing LED lighting to illuminate the entryway. It also connects to your home’s power supply and has an emergency battery backup.

Smart front door being locked with phone
These are just a few examples of how technology makes the home a better, safer, more convenient place. Have any questions? We’d be glad to answer them and help you integrate new technology into your home to make it energy-efficient, clean, and safe.

 

March 2022

These days, people spend more time at home, so they need the space to work, play, and pursue their interests. But most people don’t have unlimited space –especially in the Bay Area. Here are a few ideas to help you think through how to create multi-functional spaces in your home.

Home Office/Guest Space

How many of us scrambled to find a space inside our homes to set up a home office when the COVID-19 pandemic made working from home the norm?

Home office uses closet space to keep spare room usable
The rarely used guest room was the most logical place for many home-based employees, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have family and friends visit us anymore. To have a space that allows you to have a productive workday while also accommodating occasional out-of-town visitors, you need a plan. You’ll want plenty of desk space integrated into the room, but you also need to preserve floor space for a guest bed. You could consider converting the closet into a desk area, so you don’t take away any square footage. This space would also allow for storage and organization of equipment and files that can be hidden when you have visitors.

The office/guest room should have sufficient electrical connections for computers, phone chargers, and any equipment you need. Make sure you also have a strong internet connection in any room you will be using for work. However, you don’t need to worry about the bed being in the background for Zoom calls, as you can easily install a range of virtual backgrounds or blur the background in your Zoom settings.

Parent helping child with homework at kitchen counter
Kitchen/Homework Area
Online school might be a thing of the past, but many parents are taking a more prominent role in their kid’s schooling. These families need a room where parents can easily supervise and assist with schoolwork.


The kitchen and family room areas are often utilized for this purpose. You can set up the island for a spot where kids can eat quick snacks or meals and do their homework. If you don’t already have electrical outlets installed on your island, it makes sense to install them now so laptops can be easily plugged in.

You can also dedicate one of the kitchen cabinets as a storage space for school supplies. If you have an island with cabinets on both sides, the overhang side of the island is a perfect place for them. Worst case, if your kitchen is big enough, you could replace your current island with one that has additional cabinets configured to your needs. Having your kids in or near the kitchen also makes it easier to keep them on task while you’re cooking dinner.

Luxury home gym in basement with TV and seating area.
Gym/Recreation Room
A basement or bonus room is a great place to watch movies and relax, but it’s also an excellent place for a home gym. For this space to work, you could create “zones” for seating, exercise equipment, and a television.

Installing a surround sound system will create a real cinematic experience and uplift your workout routine. However, you’ll also want to add soundproofing and acoustics to the room, so you don’t hear loud movies or workout music in the rest of the house.

Ventilation is also essential, so the room smells fresh when you are not using it to work out.

If you need inspiration for creating multiple-purpose rooms in your home, check out The Not So Big House website and books. Since 1998, architect and author Sarah Susanka has been helping people create houses for “The way we truly live.” As she states, “A Not So Big House feels more spacious than many of its oversized neighbors because it is space with substance, all of it in use every day.” And, if you need help turning your inspiration into reality, give us a call, and we can help you develop a solution that will make the rooms in your home multi-functional.

 

February  2022

Do you love your home? It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is here, so it’s a good time to remember how much your home does for you.

If you have fallen out of love with your home, it might be time for a remodeling project that will help you remember what attracted you to it:

Make it More ‘You’
Your home should be a reflection of your individuality and style. But personal tastes change over time, along with home design trends.

If your home doesn’t reflect your current tastes and lifestyle needs, it would be a good time to plan an update.

You might have loved ornate styling in your kitchen and dining room a few years ago, but now you want a cleaner, more modern design.

Modern and traditional style kitchens by Hammerschmidt Construction
The master bath that’s original to the home might be functional, but now you need a place to relax.

Making your home fit your personality might be as simple as changing the furniture and updating the paint colors. But with remodeling, you can make it look – and function – the way you want.

Make Room for Gathering

If it’s been a few years since you moved into your home, chances are the people in your life have changed. Maybe you’ve started a family or are soon to have an empty next. Or maybe your circle of friends has grown.

Nothing fills a house with life like getting together with your friends and family. If your home doesn’t easily accommodate large get-togethers, reconfiguring your space will make having company more enjoyable.

Often the place to start updating is the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and a natural gathering place. Ideally, your kitchen should allow you to interact with people when prepping food and allow traffic to flow around you but not directly in your path.

Another popular relaxation area is your outdoor space. Your deck, patio, or backyard can be configured to make your outdoor space attractive and welcoming.

Projects you might consider this year could be a new deck or patio with zones for seating and conversation, for kids to play, and for grilling and cooking. If your space and budget allow, consider installing an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchen under pergola with view of covered patio.
Take Care of You

Finally, your home should be your sanctuary – a place to rest and rejuvenate from the stress of the day. A master suite can be a tranquil, comfortable place where you can enjoy some quiet time to soothe your body and maintain your health. Having a home that makes it easy for you to care for yourself and your family is a sure way to fall in love with your home again.

Give us a call, and we’ll help you design and build the projects that will make your love your home.

January  2022

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, an excellent way to help you stay on track is to start at home. Let’s look at some projects you can do around your house to help you stick with your 2022 goals.
Resolution: Get Healthy
Health and fitness goals are usually the most popular and the hardest to keep. Having space in your home to work on these goals will make it much easier to prioritize your health. These are a few ways you can do that:
Create A Workout Studio/Gym In An Extra Room

Having exercise equipment inside your home makes it much easier to squeeze in a workout. The process is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to add rubberized floors and full-length mirrors to this space. Then bring in the equipment you’d like, such as an elliptical trainer,  treadmill, weights, a weight bench, or a stationary bike. It’s also helpful to have a large screen TV to watch workout videos, listen to music, or for meditation applications.

Build An Outdoor Kitchen & Recreation Areas

Being outside improves our mental and physical health, so why not build an outdoor kitchen. You can include a built-in grill to cook meals centered on lean proteins and vegetables. You could also install outdoor recreation equipment nearby, such as a putting green, badminton or volleyball court, or horseshoe pit if you have the space.

Remodel Your Bath Into A Relaxing Sanctuary

Having a place in your home to relax can improve your overall health and mindset. Many people find that the perfect spot for this is the bathroom. You can include a large soaking tub where you can unwind with a book. A large, walk-in shower, and if you have the space and the budget, a sauna or steam room.

Resolution: Get Organized

Having an organized home can improve the overall quality of your life. You’ll find that you will have less stressful mornings and more time to relax throughout the day when you can find things when you need them, and your house is uncluttered. Here are some ideas of how to get started on your organization project:

Add Smart Storage To Your Kitchen
Adding shelving or pull-out drawers to your cabinets will make organizing your kitchen more effortless. You’ll be amazed at how big of a difference that small change can make. Cleaning out your pantry and all of your cabinets and drawers to eliminate outdated food and unused dinnerwear and cooking utensils will also streamline organization.
Remodel Your Garage
If your garage is full of stuff, start by separating the items you want to keep from unused items that you can give away or donate. Once you have only things you want to keep and use, install shelving or overhead storage to keep everything organized and off the floor and maintain space for your cars (you know, the things the garage was meant for).
Build A Walk-In Closet

Figure out a way to build a walk-in closet. Having extra space to store all of your clothes and shoes in a way where you can easily find them will make it easier to select an outfit in the morning and to keep everything organized over time.

Resolution: Save Money
Another popular New Year resolution is to save money. This one will be a challenge since the cost of everything has increased so much lately, but we have some ideas for you:
Create An Energy-Efficient Laundry Room
If you’re after long-term savings, upgrading to an Energy Star-certified washer and dryer is a great way to do so. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be helping the environment!
Install Low-E Windows
If your home is feeling colder than usual, you should look into getting new windows or having your HVAC system evaluated. Low-E windows will help you save on energy costs by keeping UV light out of your home.


Install Better Insulation
You’ll save money on heating and cooling costs if you install better insulation since warm air won’t be escaping through any holes or cracks in the winter, and cool air will remain inside during the summer.

Whatever projects you decide to tackle in the new year, we are here to help!

Visit the Hammerschmidt Construction website for more information.

Contact
1574 Country Club Dr.
Los Altos, CA 94024
Tel: 650.948.4200
Fax: 650.948.5222
About Us

Since 1996, Hammerschmidt Construction has provided award-winning design and remodeling services to homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in the surrounding Silicon Valley. Our proven design+build process will help you envision new possibilities for improving the function, beauty and value of your home. We are also one of the area’s first Certified Green Builders (CGB) and are EPA lead certified.

 

November 2021
Creative Ways to Add Color in Your Next Home Remodel

When you remodel your home, why not look for ways to add interest with color? Bold statements and small splashes of color are on trend this year, and it’s expected that this will continue into 2022.

Kitchen
There
 are many options for adding a bold color to the kitchen. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Appliances – For something a little unexpected, steer away from stainless steel and instead go for a matte gray for a high-tech look. Or, pick a range in a fabulous color like cobalt blue or copper to build your room around.
  • Cabinets – One of the main focal points of kitchens is cabinetry. You can find cabinets in many colors and mix and match them for an eclectic look. Dark woods provide a rich, refined look, while muted blues and greens make kitchens feel serene and welcoming.
  • Backsplash –Installing a colorful backsplash or one with metal or glass tile can give your kitchen a personality when surrounded by a plain, white background. Just make sure that the undertones of any colors you choose for your kitchen – in tile, countertops, cabinetry, and flooring- are all the same.

Bathroom

Since they are usually smaller spaces, you might try out a bold color in a bathroom that doesn’t need to match the rest of your home. Here are some ways to think about using color in your bathroom:

  • Floors – A bathroom is a perfect place to install flooring in an exciting shade or pattern. A black and white checkered tile floor is a classic look; in fact, evidence of checkered floor patterns has been discovered in artifacts as far back as 1,500 BC. Or, you could incorporate colorful geometric tiles to give your bathroom an Art Deco look. Use them for your floor tile to offset your otherwise all-white bathroom or as a starting point for introducing other colors.
  • Lighting – For a small pop of color, install colorful lighting over your sink – perhaps in shades of black or gray or something more unexpected like yellow or blue. If you’re looking for a luxury look, install a crystal chandelier in glittering gold or silver.
  • Unexpected Tub – Imagine how much your bathroom space would be transformed if you installed a free-standing bathtub with a black exterior and used that to set the design for the rest of the room.
Living Room
A living room remodel can be a huge undertaking. While you’re working on your design theme, make sure to think about how you’ll use color in this room. 

  • Fireplace –The tiling around your fireplace can set the tone for your décor. Imagine opalescent pearl-white glass tiles that take on different colors depending on the time of day and room lighting, or sepia-toned fire-clay tiles that give the fireplace an old-world look and how that would set the tone for the rest of the room.
  • Painted woodwork –If you want to incite a riot, bring up the topic of painting woodwork. The “painting wood is a crime” cult will defend it with religious fervor – often falling along gender lines. Fans of painted millwork have an “anything is okay as long as you like it” attitude. In any case, you might consider (if your relationship can handle it) painting oversize molding an intense color like black or dark grey with taupe walls to give your space an elegant and atmospheric feel.
  • Furniture – Adding a striking sofa or patterned rug may be a safe way to incorporate vivid colors in your room without making a permanent commitment.
Short of a remodel, striking wall and/or trim colors are an appealing, lower-cost way to add depth, excitement, and personality to a room. If you’d like more ideas on incorporating colors in your home remodel, please give us a call.

October 2021

Remodeling Tips to Make Your Home More Accessible

Approximately 26% of Americans live with a disability, a majority requiring the use of a wheelchair or other mobility device. As the population ages, that number will increase. The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) attempts to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to — and convenience in — public spaces. Unfortunately, many private homes lack basic accessibility features.

These features can be added to an existing home or included in building plans to allow those with varying levels of mobility to live as independently and safely as possible without sacrificing style. It makes sense to consider and plan for these possibilities now and make your home more accessible. We’ve put together a list of ideas to get you started thinking:

Accessible Kitchen
One of the most vital areas of any home is the kitchen. It might also appear to be a daunting task to update it into an accessible space while maintaining the look and functionality you want. A few simple changes can make your kitchen much more accessible without creating an institutional feel.

Lowering one or more countertops to wheelchair-accessible heights is a good place to start. New refrigerator and freezer drawers can be placed in base cabinets to allow frequently used items to remain visible and accessible at all times.

Reaching deep inside a base cabinet can be problematic for many, and the cabinet door can quickly get in the way. Replacing them with storage drawers for cookware and dinnerware can make these items easier to reach.

For cooking, changing out a traditional stove with an induction cooktop that stays cool to the touch can reduce the possibility of injury from burns. An under-counter microwave drawer with touchpad operation allows for use from a seated position.

Installing an oven with French Doors at an accessible-height can make lifting heavy cookware in and out more manageable and avoid having a hot door in the way of a wheelchair or walker.

Bathroom Accessibility

Another part of the home that you need to think about is the bathroom. Bathrooms can be not only inaccessible but also dangerous for people with mobility issues. Many household injuries happen because of slip-and-fall accidents in the bathroom.

Barrier-free (curbless) showers provide a smooth transition from the bathroom floor to the shower, eliminating a tripping hazard while keeping the water contained. They also allow a person using a walker or a wheelchair easy access. Slip-resistant flooring is also imperative.

Grab bars are another must and can be helpful for everyone. You can integrate them into the shower design to avoid them giving your bathroom an industrial feel.

Select a comfort-height or chair-height model toilet as they are taller than regular toilets making it easier for people with limited mobility and strength. You should also install handrails to help people balance while sitting and standing up.

There are some stylish options available for wheelchair-accessible vanities, providing easy access to the sink. These may include easy-access storage for everything from towels to hair-driers and other daily-use items.

Mobility Inside Your Home
Many homes, specifically older homes, are not ideal for individuals with mobility challenges. Many have too many doors, and it may make sense to remove some of them. Often, the doorways are not wide enough to easily navigate with a wheelchair or walker.

Ideally, your openings should be at least 36” wide to make them accessible. It is also helpful to replace round doorknobs with lever-style hardware to make them easier for people with arthritis or limited hand strength to operate. An excellent way to determine if a doorknob is accessible is if you can use it with a closed fist.

Flooring Options for Easy Mobility
When thinking of flooring, making sure they are not slippery is a good start. However, standard carpeting can make getting around difficult for people with wheelchairs, walkers, or fundamental mobility issues.

The best flooring choices are hardened materials that are relatively smooth yet slip-resistant. Ceramic tile, laminate, or hardwood floors are some excellent options for mobility-friendly floors. These surfaces are durable and allow more free movement for people with wheelchairs and walkers.

If you have different types of flooring throughout the house, make sure the transition treatment works well for wheels, and the change in height is 1/4 inch or less. And, make sure you carry this practice into your outdoor spaces, so patios and decks are accessible.

Technology That Improves Accessibility
Smart technology can often make things easier for everyone. Having voice-activated, touchless operations on appliances and systems can help in many situations. Voice-activated kitchen faucets can not only turn on and off but allow you to select the temperature of the water and even the amount of water, such as filling a pot with exactly 2 cups.

These are just a few changes to consider, and many of them would be helpful for everyone, young or old. Whether you have been planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel for other reasons or you’ve recently started considering accessibility in your home, we’re happy to discuss ways to integrate these disability-friendly upgrades into your home. The best home improvements always begin with a complete understanding of the options available. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

Visit the Hammerschmidt Construction website for more information.

Learn More

Contact

1574 Country Club Dr.

Los Altos, CA 94024

Tel: 650.948.4200

Fax: 650.948.5222

info@hammerschmidtinc.com

About Us

Since 1996, Hammerschmidt Construction has provided award-winning design and remodeling services to homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in the surrounding Silicon Valley. Our proven design+build process will help you envision new possibilities for improving the function, beauty and value of your home. We are also one of the area’s first Certified Green Builders (CGB) and are EPA lead certified.

September 2,2021
Your front door has some important jobs to do beyond simply letting people in and keeping others out. The design and function of your home’s front entrance significantly impact the overall look and feel of your home and how neighbors, visitors, potential buyers, and you…perceive it.

Your front entrance has four primary functions, and the choices you make when redesigning it affects how it performs those functions. Let’s look at those jobs and how you can transform your front door into a front entrance.

It should complement your home’s design
Your home has a unique style, whether it’s colonial, craftsman, contemporary, or any other type of design. Your front entrance is an integral part of that style and should complement the overall look of your home.

For example, if you have a traditional, colonial home, a sleek, contemporary entryway won’t look right. You’ll want to design your entrance to reflect the style of your home’s exterior.

However, that doesn’t mean your hands are tied. Your front entrance doesn’t have to match your home’s current design, but it should complement it. So, if you want to do something a little different or unexpected, a good designer can help you come up with an entrance that reflects your style and works well with your house

It should stand out…or blend in
The front entrance provides an opportunity for you to make a bold statement or a subtle one – depending on what you prefer.

If you opt for a bold statement, one of the best ways to do this is with color. Think of an all-white colonial home with a bright red door. Or a weathered, grey Cape Cod with a canary yellow entrance. That pop of color draws the eye and gives your home a distinctive look.

But if making a bold statement isn’t your style, you can make a statement of another kind. Front doors with elegant sidelights, beveled glass, or an arched frame look stunning and refined.

It should welcome your guests
Above all, your front entrance should be welcoming. This may have more to do with the area surrounding the door than it does with the door itself.

A covered porch over the door allows your guests to get out of the weather while they wait for you to let them in. If you have steps leading up to your entrance, they should be well-maintained and wide enough to ascend easily to your home’s entrance.

And having extra space on either side of your door lets you decorate for the seasons and show visitors that they’ve arrived at a friendly, welcoming place.

It should stand the test of time
A well-designed front entrance is a relatively significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure that it will serve your home for the long term.

First, that means choosing suitable materials for your front door. If your door is somewhat protected, nothing beats the look and feel of natural wood. However, If your door is exposed to sun and weather, you want to look for doors made of steel or fiberglass. These doors look great – they can even look like real wood – but will stand up to the elements for decades without having to be refinished.

It is also vital to choose door hardware and lighting fixtures in a finish and style that match or complement your current hardware and fixtures and your home’s style

You’ll also want to think about the design standing the test of time. If you’re going to be in the home for a long time, you’ll want an entryway that you’ll be happy with for years to come. If you anticipate selling your home in the not-too-distant future, you may want to balance your desires with how it will appeal to potential buyers.

Contact us to get started
Whatever you want to do with your front door and entryway, we can help you decide on the design and options available to meet your style and budget needs.
August2021
Nowadays, choosing appliances for your new kitchen is like buying a new car. There are so many designs, options, and ways to customize them, it’s easily one of the most exciting parts of kitchen remodeling for many homeowners.

The trends in appliances have been moving so fast, it can be tough to keep track. In this month’s article below, we cover some of the top trends in appliances that customers need to know about. While it can be overwhelming, we can help you narrow down the selections to find the right appliances for your kitchen and lifestyle.

Take Care,
John

Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel
For a lot of people, the most exciting part of remodeling their kitchens is choosing appliances.

Appliance technology and options have come a long way in the last few years. It used to be a matter of choosing a color and a few options. But now appliance brands are offering products to meet almost every need.

With that in mind, here are some appliance trends to consider as you plan your next kitchen remodeling project.
Multi-Purpose Cooking

People are more interested in all different kinds of cooking, and appliance manufacturers have responded.

It used to be that a range, an oven, and maybe a microwave were all you needed. But the proliferation of small appliances like air fryers, deep fryers, steamers, and more are driving more interest in different types of cooking.

And now, large appliance manufacturers are offering products with built-in capabilities. Combination units like oven/air fryer or range top/deep fryer and microwave/speed cook oven are now available. So you can have those cooking options without having to buy separate countertop appliances or manage countertop clutter.

Beverage Storage & Delivery

Everyone loves being able to get their favorite beverage whenever they need it, whether it’s a special bottle of wine, an ice-cold beer, or a hot cup of coffee. Wine storage units come in different sizes to fit into your kitchen and accommodate all your bottles. Under-counter refrigerators and refrigerated drawers put cold beer, soda, and juice at your fingertips. Incorporating specialized beverage refrigerators into your kitchen design can also save energy as they reduce the number of times your larger refrigerator doors are opened each day.

To see a range of these new options and discuss which appliances will best meet your needs, we recommend that you talk with University Electric in Santa Clara. They offer a full range of brands and prices and exceptional service.

July 2021

Over the last year, we’ve all been reminded how important it is to wash our hands to keep from spreading germs. Luckily, today’s kitchen faucet technology makes it easier. Some faucets let you turn them on with a simple touch of your wrist or elbow. Some are touchless, and some are even voice-activated.

This month we give you a quick round-up of some of the more exciting options available.

Take Care,
John

Don’t Forget the Kitchen Faucet
Kitchen faucets don’t get enough credit. Yet, they are used multiple times each day and keep our dishes, hands, and other surfaces clean. Over the years, kitchen faucet designs have changed, and in recent years, manufacturers have incorporated technology into their products. If you want to include the latest faucet technology in your kitchen, here are some things to consider:
Valve Technology

The valve makes or breaks a faucet. If the valve stops working, your faucet will no longer function. There are four types of faucet valves – compression, ball, cartridge, and disc.

Compression valves are the oldest of the four types. The valve consists of a screw stem that raises and lowers as it is turned and a rubber compression washer at the stem’s bottom. All compression faucets have separate handles for hot and cold water. You untighten these handles by turning them to let water flow out of the tap. Tightening the handles stops the water. Compression valves are inexpensive and are prone to leaking when the washer wears out or hardens.

Ball valves are used in single-handle faucets and are also relatively inexpensive. A ball valve is a steel ball that contains a network of grooves and holes. The grooves and holes align with the hot and cold water inlets. The faucet handle moves the valve to control the water temperature and flow rate. Because they contain numerous small parts, such as springs, O-rings, and washers, leaks will eventually develop as the parts wear out. However, older and inexpensive faucets will most likely have a compression valve or a ball valve.

Cartridge valves have a small plastic or brass cylinder with channels that direct water flow rates and control temperature. A rubber O-ring seals the bottom of the cartridge to prevent leakage. Cartridge valves can be used in a single-handle configuration like ball valve faucets or paired inside two-handled faucets. In addition, cartridge valve faucets are designed for ease of repair. A leaky faucet requires simply replacing a worn-out cartridge and O-ring with new ones.

Ceramic Disc valves provide for the most extended wear. This innovative valve design incorporates two rotating ceramic discs. The discs contain channels that align when rotated, allowing water to flow and water temperature and pressure modulation. In addition, ceramic is one of the hardest materials on Earth and will last a long time. Ceramic disc valves also resist the build-up of minerals that can clog your faucet.

Touchless Technology
This last year has made us more aware of germs than ever before. Your kitchen faucet can be one of the dirtiest, most germ-filled places in your home. It’s not surprising – you have sticky, dirty hands from handling raw meat or working outside, and you turn on the faucet to wash your hands, leaving behind dirt and germs on the handle. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Touchless faucets, which have become commonplace in commercial buildings, are now more affordable and common in home kitchens.

Let’s look at some of the options:
Moen Arbor Motionsense
The Arbor Motionsense faucet features dual motion sensors that will turn on with a wave of your hand. Additionally, it provides a standard aerated stream and a powerful rinse mode called PowerClean. PowerClean technology offers 50 percent more spray power than other faucets to clean off cookware and plates with ease. The Arbor Motionsense comes in various finishes and is powered by six AA †batteries. What’s more, it can connect to your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, meaning you can control the flow of water with your voice. Best of all, this faucet comes with a lifetime warranty.
Kohler Artifacts
Like the Moen Arbor faucet, the touchless Kohler Artifacts faucet is voice-activated when paired with your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. For example, you can ask the faucet to “turn on,” or you can ask it to pour a specific amount of water.
Kohler Graze
Another option from Kohler is the Graze faucet. It features a sleek design with a pull-down handle for items that need a higher-strength spray. Its touchless technology allows it to turn on with the wave of a †hand under the faucet, and with its heat memory sensor, you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up or cool down. Instead, it will turn on at the temperature you select.
Kohler Artifacts
Kohler Graze
Delta Leland
This option is not quite as high-tech as the others but is a more affordable choice. It uses ShieldSpray technology to create a powerful stream of water to clean up all of your messes. You do have to tap the spout to activate the faucet, and it prevents the spread of germs because you can use your wrist or elbow.
Grohe Ladylux
Our favorite brand for its craftsmanship, style, and engineering, Grohe offers a touchless, foot control version of its classic Ladylux single-handle, pull-down kitchen faucet. Grohe also offers kitchen faucets operated by the touch of a wrist or arm that prevent contamination of the handle. While Grohe is typically higher-priced than the other options, their quality is superb. In addition, the company offers a limited lifetime warranty; Grohe will repair or replace any part or finish that proves to be defective in material and/or workmanship under normal installation, use, and service at the company’s discretion.
Voice-Activated Technology
Delta, Moen, and Kohler have launched voice-activated faucets that pair with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit. Operate the faucet with spoken commands to turn the water on, dispense measured amounts of water, fill containers to a preset level, or dispense a specific quantity. In addition, these faucets incorporate motion sensors to turn the water on and off with a wave of your hand.

Not sure which faucet to choose? Whether you are renovating your entire kitchen or just upgrading the faucet, we can help select the product that’s right for you.

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