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Barstool Roundup

In many kitchens, your fabulous designer will find a way to create the island of your dreams.  It’s got the wine cooler you’ve always wanted, extra storage to wrangle the Tupperware, wainscot panels, a furniture style look…and extra seating!

Now that you’ve got room for the kiddos to eat breakfast or do homework while you’re cooking dinner, where do you actually get the lovely barstools you see in magazines?!

First, consider the height you’ll need.  Barstools intended to go under a standard countertop (36” high) need the seat to be between 24” – 26” high.  Some manufacturers call these “counter height.”  Barstools to go under a raised bar area (typically about 42” high) typically have a seat height around 30”.  Most manufacturers call these “bar height” or “pub height.”  Be careful though- some manufacturers use the terms loosely, so make sure you measure or check specifications first!

Here’s a roundup of 10 Fun Barstools to consider:


Pictured Above:

1. Cherner Barstool (from Design Within Reach)

2. Folio Kiwi Stool (from Crate and Barrel)

3. Genoa Stool (by Nuevo Living, available through Village Design Group in Southern Pines)  This stool is actually at our Cary showroom in white, and it’s pretty comfortable!

4. SoSo Stool (from YLiving)

5. Marcello Stool (by Ballard Designs)


6. Valencia Leather Stool (by GrandinRoad)

7. Vintage Toledo Stool (from Restoration Hardware)

8. Perch Stool (from Anthropologie)

9. Ring Stool (from Global Views)

10. Custom Painted Tolix Stool (from Etsy, Tolix stools also sold at Pottery Barn)

(Images: as linked above)

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What is a Temporary Kitchen?

Over the last few months, you’ve been working with a designer to plan your perfect kitchen.  You’ve waited and waited, and your order is finally here!  Since your kitchen will soon be “out of order” for several weeks, it’s time to set up a short-term place to prepare meals, eat, cleanup, and pack those school lunches…your temporary “kitchen” for the duration.  There is no denying that it will be inconvenient, but with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be miserable.

Temporary Kitchen



Pack It Up

First, you’ll need to pack up your current kitchen space.  Here’s where you really need to pare down and keep out only the essentials.  Keep out small things you use often, especially a mixing bowl, vegetable peeler, cutting board, several knives, a can opener, a mixing spoon and a serving spoon, to name a few.  You’ll be using lots of paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils, so pack all of those “real” dishes away too.  Place the boxes of kitchen goods out of the way in an unused room or attic.

Moving Box


Pick a Spot

Find a place in your home that will be out of the way of the construction zone, the travel path to the construction area, and somewhere at least mildly comfortable.  Can the table in the dining room be moved to the side to create room for your temporary kitchen?  Can the car be parked in the driveway so you can use the garage for a bit?  Will the set up fit in a corner of your living room or family room?  Try to avoid having your temporary kitchen in several areas- it will just spread the mess farther and add to the chaos.  You’ll also need a table or work surface of some sort.  A really easy option is to use one or two folding tables because it allows a bit of storage underneath.


Find Room for a Fridge

Having a refrigerator of some sort during the renovation is critical.  Some people already have an extra full size refrigerator in another room like the garage, and that will work perfectly.  If you are keeping your current refrigerator, sometimes that can just move into an adjacent room while the renovation is in progress.  Be careful and check with the contractor though, as refrigerators often require specific outlets.  Otherwise, investing in a mini fridge will do the trick.  If you don’t need it after the renovation, a mini fridge is often something easy to sell later.

GE Monogram Mini Fridge

(mini fridge, available at your nearest Kitchen and Bath Galleries!)


Create a Pantry

Next is finding a spot for the non-perishables to go.  Maybe your coats relocate to a less-used closet, and your pantry items go on shelves in there.  Another option, if there is room, is to move a small bookshelf to your kitchen area to help corral the cereal boxes and cans of soup.  I’ve also seen some people stack their items on top of the fridge, or keep the pantry items in bins in their temporary kitchen area.  Don’t forget you also need easy-access storage for a few very small things like salt and pepper.

Pantry Shelf



Let the Small Appliances Do the Work!

You’ll definitely need a countertop microwave, and if you don’t already own one, now is a great time to buy a crockpot!  Other favorites include a toaster or toaster oven, and a griddle or hot plate.  You’ll be surprised that a lot of cooking can be done with just these few items.  Also, don’t forget the coffee pot!

Crock Pot


Bon Appetit!

Now that you’re all set up…how do you make dinner!?  Here’s where you get to be creative, and once you get going, it’s easier than you think.  If you have a full size refrigerator during the renovation, consider making meals ahead of time and freezing so that thawing and heating in the microwave is a cinch.  Many companies make microwavable/steamable veggies, and soup is really easy to heat up in the microwave as well.  In North Carolina, our mild winters make it easy to grill meat, fruit, and vegetables year round.  Salads are also a great renovation food choice because they are easy to prepare, and generally easy to clean up.  Many crockpot recipes require only a few ingredients and very little effort, but produce great results!  Check out one of my favorite slow cooker recipe at the bottom of this post.  A kitchen renovation is also a great opportunity to visit some of the local restaurants you’ve been meaning to try.  Remember to order extra, and you won’t even have to cook the next day.  See? Easy.

Meat on the Grill


Cleaning Up

Here’s where the inconvenience really sets in.  Although you are going to try as hard as you can to use disposable products, you will need to use a few real dishes too.  You are going to have to find another place to do dishes, and it won’t be comfortable.  If you’ve got kids, count your lucky stars- make them do it. J

Just kidding.  Kind of.

One option is to use a guest bathroom only for dishes during this project.  You can wash a few in the sink, or a whole lot in the bathtub.  Another option is to use a laundry or utility sink, and set the clean dishes to dry on a towel on the washing machine.  One more way is to put soapy water in a tub or bin, and that can be placed wherever it is convenient.  Then rinse in another water bin or under a faucet, and dump the dirty water out in the tub or outside when you’re through.  Just remember that your shiny new kitchen will definitely be worth the inconvenience of washing dishes the hard way for a few weeks.

Clean dishes


That’s it!  If you’ve been through this process already, what are your favorite tips for creating a temporary kitchen?



Slow Cooker Recipe: “Company Chicken”

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 6-8 Hours     Serves: 4-6


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 layer on bottom)

6 swiss cheese slices

1 can cream of chicken soup

6oz. package of stuffing mix

1/4c water


Spray interior of crockpot with non-stick spray.  Place chicken breasts I slow cooker.  Top each breast with a slice of cheese, add extra cheese in voids.  Combine soup and water, pour over chicken.  Toss the stuffing with its seasoning packet and sprinkle over chicken.  Cook on Low 6-8 Hours or on High 3-4 Hours.

Variation: Use mozzarella or provolone cheese instead


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America the Beautiful

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.  Not only is it usually a long weekend (yay!), but it’s a really fun time to spend with friends and family.  I have fond memories of “writing” my name in sparklers with my aunt as a kid, and of my grandfather making his famous grilled chicken.  More recently, July 4th has meant trips to the beach, pig pickin’, and large gatherings.  And as much as I still like fireworks, it’s even more fun to watch the younger kids react to them.

This time of year also makes me really proud to be an American.  I’m grateful for the many freedoms we enjoy, but I’m also grateful for the uniqueness that comes with this great country.  We’ve got a little bit of everything here, and that’s part of what makes us truly special!

Likewise, here are some red-white-or-blue kitchens, and each is very unique.  It’s a little bit of everything!


Here’s a fun example of blue and white cabinetry.  It’s very contemporary, but very fun!

via Arnold Schulman Design Group

(photo via Arnold Schulman Design Group on

How about this one, with a white perimeter and a punch of blue for the island?  The blue accents carry the theme throughout the space.

via Knowles PS

(photo via Knowles PS Architects & Design on

Or if blue cabinets are too much for you, why not go for some drama on the backsplash?  This kitchen just has simple blue subway tile, but it creates a huge impact.

via Coastal Home Architects

(photo via Coastal Home Architects on


White kitchens are very popular right now, and we are doing them frequently.  How can you not love the clean and fresh feel it gives in a kitchen?  White cabinets are extremely easy to pair with a bright contrast island.  All white kitchens are also very timeless looking, and accessories can be changed on a whim.  We’ve got great examples of white kitchens in most of our showrooms, so come on in!

Here’s a more traditional version with mullions on the glass cabinets, and a decorative hood.

via Houzz (source unknown)

(photo via, source unknown)

Here’s a white kitchen with a contrasting island, and very simple shaker cabinets.  A client brought in this photo as inspiration for their kitchen, and I can’t wait to see it installed!

via Fiorella Design

(photo via Fiorella Design on


Red is a very bold color, and many people are afraid to commit to such a strong statement.  Red works well when other finishes are thrown into the mix as well to help tone down the intensity a little bit.

Here’s a kitchen I can’t take all the credit for, but one I helped with.  They used a lighter, less intense shade of red for the cabinets, and paired it with a decorative travertine backsplash and black countertops.  I also like the mix of contemporary and traditional elements here!  This is actually where I’ll be spending 4th of July this year!

Red Kitchen 1

Red Kitchen 2

Red Kitchen 3

(personal photos)

Last, but certainly not least, is a contemporary red and white kitchen.  This kitchen was designed by Rebekah Frye, one of our designers out of our Glenwood location.  She used high gloss white on the perimeter, and added interest with a very bright red, high gloss, island!  Isn’t it fun?!  The clients for this project  were also great to work with; one is an artist and many of their pieces were used throughout the house, including in the kitchen.

Contemporary Red and White 1 by Rebekah Frye

Contemporary Red and White 2 by Rebekah Frye

Contemporary Red and White 4 by Rebekah Frye

(personal photos)

Did you notice the red toe-kick area?  What a cool surprise!  Great job Rebekah!

Kitchen and Bath Galleries will be closed on July 4th, but we hope you have a fun and safe holiday with your friends and families!

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“Nobody puts Baby in the corner…”

Remember that line from Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing?!  It’s the part where Johnny returns to do the final dance with Baby, even after he’s been fired from the resort.   Maybe “nobody puts Baby in the corner,” but in a kitchen, the corners can be one of the toughest places to get functional storage.

So what do you put in the corner?  Anybody have one of those “blind” cabinets where the cabinets sort of overlap at the intersection, and you can’t even see/reach in the back of it?  Yea. Not that.

Pull It Out

One option is to get a cabinet with mechanisms in it that you can pull out.  Sometimes the whole tray angles and pulls out so you are really bringing the stored items out to you.  Or, in this instance, the front racks slide out and pivot to a 90 degree open position, and the back rack slides forward.

Pull Out Mechanism

(photo from

Make It A Drawer

Have you seen this before?  We can get a cabinet where there is a stack of drawers in the corner!  The drawers themselves come out at a 45  degree angle from the rest of the bottom cabinets.  This one really fools your eye when it’s tucked in, so it might trick any first time helpers or guests in the kitchen when you send them for the ladle.

Drawers in Corner

(photo from

Recycle It

This is a fun one.  Putting a rotating recycling bin in the corner makes it easy to pre-sort the recyclables before taking them out.  Each bin easily comes off the rotator when necessary, but is sturdy enough to fill up.  Having it here makes it much more convenient than walking to the bin in the garage every time you need to recycle something.  Plus, there’s the added benefit of not having to look at the recyclables piling up on the countertop waiting to go out.

(photo from

(photo from

Spin It Around

This is my favorite, because it just makes life so easy.    This is a Super Susan, the much-better-looking-sister of the Lazy Susan.  Notice the lack of the support pole in the center- this one sits (and spins) independently on its own shelf!  Then, it locks in place on its own ball bearing.  This allows you to not only load it up with heavier items than the “lazy” version can handle, but it also means you can fit larger items in there too.

(photo from

(photo from

Make It An “Easy Reach”

Getting into the corner wall cabinets is slightly less difficult than retrieving items from a bottom corner cabinet, but can still be frustrating if you’re living with one of the “blind” cabinets previously mentioned.  This cabinet forms a right angle, and the doors are hinged together to open as one.  That way, when you open the doors, you can see…and reach!… items in the whole cabinet.

(photo from

(photo from

So, there you have it- just a couple great options for your kitchen corners that don’t involve Jennifer Grey.  Maybe you weren’t “Having the Time of [Your] Life” like the final dance scene in the movie, but that’s it for this post!

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