Category Archives: Use & Care

Learn about the differences between counter depth and standard depth refrigeration from Village Home Stores.

“Depth” of Knowledge- Counter VS. Standard Depth Refrigeration

As we work on a kitchen design with a customer, there are many questions to be answered. Questions from you about options and what comes next, plus many questions from our design team involving preference and need as we work through our process. During the design and selection stage of a project however, there will be some questions that do leave this team at a brief crossroads until a decision is made. One key detail questions you may hear early on from us is “will you be including a standard or counter-depth refrigerator in the new kitchen?”

Example of a standard depth refrigerator installed in a Quad Cities kitchen. | VillageHomeStores.com
Don’t worry if this detail isn’t something that was even on your radar until just now (standard model shown above). There is no one single industry standard for refrigerator depth. The only definite factor is refrigerators are getting deeper and taller as the demand for maximum storage increases.  For decades and decades, counter-depth refrigerators were only available in extremely high-end and built-in situations. Example of a standard depth refrigerator projecting into the kitchen. | VillageHomeStores.com

This is no longer the case. The cleaner, more customized look of a counter-depth refrigerator makes it the most desired look for kitchen designs. This demand has made manufacturers respond with counter-depth models coming in at a variety of price points. If the phrase “counter-depth” has you seeing dollar signs, don’t worry! There may be a counter-depth model that does fit within your appliance budget! But does your design demand it?Example of a counter depth refrigerator installed in a kitchen. | VillageHomeStores.com

So What Are The Differences In Refrigerator Depths?

Refrigerator depth doesn’t seem like that large of a detail when you first consider it. In kitchen design every fraction of an inch needs to be considered. That is the case for cabinetry solutions as well as the appliance package included. The kitchen below showcases a standard depth refrigerator installed. Example of a standard depth refrigerator installed in a Quad Cities kitchen. | VillageHomeStores.com

This design above warrants no need for a counter-depth and the look is still magazine-cover worthy. Of course a counter-depth model would have looked great! Just less of the sides, or “cabinet” of the unit would show. Let’s discuss now some of those key differences between standard and counter-depth models:

  • Standard could mean the unit “sticks out” an extra 4″ or more into the kitchen. That could be noticeable in some designs and even restrict a walkway in others.
  • Cubic foot capacity will always be a main feature difference. A model that boasts the largest cubic footage of storage space will most certainly never fall into a counter-depth category.
  • Counter-depth models have limited water and ice options. Limited interior space means that some water and ice features are best suited for standard-depth models. We will discuss the topic later in this post.
  • Price used to be one of the main differences in upgrading to a counter-depth feature. Price isn’t necessarily as big of a difference as it used to be. Now many counter-depth models fit within the same price category as high-featured standard depth models.

If I Choose a Counter-Depth Model What Can I Expect?

Of course newer standard-depth models will always offer the latest and greatest in storage solutions and features. Now as more counter-depth models are introduced, many of those same features are being included in models as they are launched. This means that all of the best features and benefits are not limited only to standard-depth models. refrigerator

In fact many times innovation is pushed forward to meet the challenge of a counter-depth model.  The issue of an in-door ice unit being so large it takes up nearly 1/3 of the fresh food storage space has lead to the need to streamline the design. Now the smaller, compact units are included in standard and counter-depth models alike! Some counter-depth models may replace an in-door option with an icemaker in the lower freezer and interior water dispenser above (shown below).Example of an internal water dispenser in refrigerator. | VillageHomeStores.com

Side by side refrigeration is no longer the most desired layout for storage so most of the newer models launching are French door units with a bottom freezer.  While it isn’t the best storage layout for most lifestyles, side-by-side counter-depth refrigerators remain to be the lowest prices. Bottom-freezer models are constructed with a completely different design and parts. This keeps them beginning slightly higher in price from a side-by-side construction.  Village Home Stores offering cabinet depth refrigerators. | VillageHomeStores.com

Busy kitchens require maximum fresh food and freezer storage no matter what depth you choose. Our expert appliance sales team can show you all of the amazing interior features your refrigerator will have. We can help you select the perfect model for your lifestyle. If the look of your refrigeration unit is important to your design, you may want a more built-in look. 

How Can I Get A “Built-In” Look?

You have many options for how you can choose to surround your refrigerator in a cabinet design. No matter the depth of your model, you need at least 1/2″ on each side and above the unit for proper ventilation. An exception to this is the category of truly “built-in” refrigeration (shown below). Built-in refrigeration options installed at counter depth. | VillageHomeStores.com

A trim kit is installed surrounding the unit for a custom fit. It is important to note that while counter-depth models offer a more built-in look, they still may show some of depth projecting from your cabinets. The only way to avoid that is to select from our built-in models. If your layout allows it, you may be able to include a recessed area on your wall for your refrigerator to set back into. This allows you the look of a counter-depth model but the choice of using any standard model. Building a niche in your wall for the depth of a standard refrigerator. | VillageHomeStores.com
The surrounding cabinetry can either be pulled forward to give the illusion of a built in look or ordered deeper from the factory.  These recessed spaces are a wonderful solution and when planned correctly with your design team it’s a great look! Be sure to check out our Houzz ideabook including more examples of all of these concepts. Find that ideaboook here on our Houzz pageshallow-depth-fridge

Many of the questions we may ask you in our first few meetings have already been decided during your own research and inspiration process. In this case, we are just collecting information from you and getting everyone on the same page that will be involved on your project. It is our job to keep all of these details in order as we work through our process for your project at Village Home Stores. Discussing options and working through to find the best solution for your project and budget is a very key part of the big picture. This is the case with just a single new appliance purchase, or an entire remodel or new home build. Let our experts help. Contact us today by completing this short online form or calling (309) 944-1344Locally owned since 1984, Village Home Stores offers an award-winning customer experience in Appliances sales and service

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Road Trip! Our 2017 Visit to The Whirlpool® Plant in Amana, IA

Village Home Stores works hard to curate a list of as many quality, American-made products as possible for our customers. By offering the Whirlpool® family of products, we are able to cover all of the Appliance needs of our customers to fit a variety of budgets and lifestyles. Combining this family of products from Amana, Whirlpool, Maytag, and KitchenAid brands we are providing our customers access to a Local Low Price Guarantee on products from #1 selling major Appliance Manufacturer in the world. American pride is important to the Whirlpool family of products and that is why they have invested in American manufacturing whenever possible. There are now 9 U.S. manufacturing plants as of 2017 and we are so lucky to be located near one of those manufacturing facilities. Because of this, we get the chance to visit a plant about once a year. The Whirlpool® plant located in Amana, Iowa manufactures all bottom-mount refrigerators and built-in refrigeration for all brands and it is an impressive place!Whirlpool amana

They are running 5 lines of production 24 hours a day, five days a week (plus currently every other weekend to keep up with demand). To put it in perspective, they are making a refrigerator every 18 seconds! We were able to tour the plant to see the smiling faces making the products we sell. Then we were given intense product training on some of the new models and features being launches by all brands. We were shown brand new items like the closet-depth compact washer and dryer shown below:compact-laundry

These compact units were impressive for their size. The other new models and features launching in Maytag® and Whirlpool® laundry are more geared to our Village Home Stores customers. Still not convinced your washer has enough water? Now you can add as much as you are comfortable with with the new built-in faucet feature on select models.

Built in faucet in washer available now. Image provided by Whirlpool®

Built in faucet in washer available now. Image provided by Whirlpool®

Pre-wash stains right away as you find them. Fill the tub to soak tough stains ahead of a cycle. Just a press of the button gives you running water. Smart technology was also a big topic of conversation during our training. Does your household talk to Alexa, a Google device, or Siri? Then Whirlpool can help simplify many tasks with select Wifi enabled models and the Whirlpool app. Click below to watch (and hear) how voice-activated features are the latest and greatest.

Of course these models are jam-packed with amazing features outside of the Wifi capabilities. You can use them just as you would any other range or laundry pair. But for those households making adjustments and smart home investments, features like scan-to-cook might be right up your alley:

We also saw some great new finishes we can begin to offer for your home appliances! With the success of ® Black Stainless Steel finish, Whirlpool® has launched their own line of models in a Black Stainless Steel. This finish is beautiful and STAYS beautiful! Not only is it a stylish look, its completely fingerprint resistant as well! Wipes clean with just a wet microfiber cloth.

New Black Stainless finish available now. Image provided by Whirlpool®

New Black Stainless finish available now. Image provided by Whirlpool®

Village Home Stores already has models on display in our showroom in this new finish option. The new finish and handle design have been receiving a very warm welcome from customers and our designers! Come in and test out the fingerprint resist in person! We are certainly going to be throwing a party once the other newest finish is launched and on our floor! Introducing the warm, new, on-trend Sunset Bronze finish available soon on some select Whirlpool® models! sunset-bronze-whirlpoolImagine if you can… a room full of Appliance sales and service people from all over the Midwest Region getting unbelievably excited about a dishwasher door leaning against a wall. Yeah, we know…. sounds pretty nerdy but you would have thought the Whirlpool team had just introduced Lady Gaga as a special training guest. We all admittedly went nuts for this new finish once seeing it in person. Here it is installed in a completed kitchen:

New Sunset Bronze finish available soon. Image provided by Whirlpool®

New Sunset Bronze finish available soon. Image provided by Whirlpool®

The best way to describe it is a “warmer, softer Stainless” look. It takes the coldness and commercial feel of Stainless and softens it to a warmer look. This finish is exactly on-trend for what we have already began seeing in other kitchen design finishes throughout the industry. Lighting, hardware, accessories, flooring and tile, all are going the way of a warmer gray and golden accents. We are always excited to hear about the latest and greatest available for our customers. It is also always very reassuring to tour the factory and see that the quality, legacy, and innovation that we have seen from this family of product is still going stronger than ever. Our expert team of Appliance sales and service staff is just a phone call or a visit away. Stop in and see why we are your award-winning regional Appliance experts. Showroom located at 105 S State Geneseo, IL 61254 phone number: (309) 944-1344 Shop online anytime on our website herewhirlpool-quad-cities

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Product Profile- Self-Stick Wallplanks

We are thrilled to introduce this new product to our customers! While we have built the reputation for being your main source for complete remodels, we also provide quality products and expert design to empower our customers to do the work themselves. At Village Home Stores we value a customer who wants to invest their own time into a project that they will enjoy for years to come. It is not breaking news that shiplap, barnwood, and reclaimed woods of all styles and finishes have become very popular in kitchen and bath design. That is why we are very excited to launch this new self-stick wall plank product that is easy to install for an incredible impact! It truly is a DIY project that is NOT intimidating to take on.

wallplank-DIY

What do we mean by a DIY project that is not intimidating to take on? The day our new display arrived for the showroom our owner Jim decided to just install it right away in between appointments. He had it finished well before lunch! Take a look at this video of some of that installation (we admit that did speed it up just a bit for your own sake).

This product is meant to be installed by the homeowner. So much so that you can install it using just a measuring tape, pencil, and utility knife. Much like many of our other products at Village Home Stores, these wall planks are made in the U.S.A. The 1/4″ thick panels are sustainably sourced and processed with real North American hardwood. keypoints

The boards are stained using a patent pending process of infusing stain pigments into the veneering process. The result is the illusion of exotic hardwoods and rustic and reclaimed characteristics on a smooth, easy to clean surface.  A UV cured low-gloss finish is applied on the top of the planks and is wiped clean with water and a damp cloth. Let us walk you through the process step by step:

Plan & Measure Space:

Before installing it is recommended that you allow the wood planks to acclimate to the climate on the interior of your home. This helps to prevent any gapping or cracking in the planks if the humidity changes once installed. Carefully plan your space before you make your first cut. When this product says “industrial-strength adhesive” that translates to “once I’m stuck on the wall I won’t come off without a fight” adhesive.

measure-and-plan

Measure & Mark Your Cut Lines:

Be sure to measure your planks and mark on both sides of the material before scoring. Double check your wall dimension and your marked material one last time before scoring the plank.
Wallplank installation- Measure your cut line on both side of plank. | VillageHomeStores.com

Score the Planks:

Using a straight edge firmly placed along the marked lines, score the planks with a utility knife. You will want to do this on both side of the plank to achieve the cleanest break in the product.
Wallplank installation- Using straightedge score your cut line on both side of plank. | VillageHomeStores.com

Oh Snap!

Once both sides have been scored successfully, snap at the line firmly securing each side of the plank. Keep your hands close to the line to get the cleanest break.snap

Clean Up Edges:

Using your knife or a sanding block, clean up the splintered edges from your snapped planks.Wallplank installation- clean up the edges of your cut boards to remove any splintering. Use sanding block if needed. | VillageHomeStores.com

RECOMMENDED CUT METHOD:

It only took a few rows of the utility knife method for Jim to switch to using a saw for the rest of the cuts. This made for quicker and cleaner cuts of the material. If you have access to a saw for use you will be thankful for this option. For areas like outlets and airvents, you can make these cuts using a drill first as a starter hole. Then use a jigsaw or scroll saw to complete the cuts. Always use eye protection when cutting materials with a saw.
saw

Peel, Place, THEN Stick:

Remove the adhesive tape backing from the plank and place your first plank. Using your marked guidelines on the wall place your first plank. As your move along with the installation you will want to but the seams of materials together at a slight angle first before allowing adhesive to touch the surface. Wallplank installation- slide ridged edge into seam area before allowing adhesive touch wall surface. | VillageHomeStores.com

Press Firmly:

Once in place, press firmly to allow the adhesive to make as much contact with the surface as possible.  If you have one, A “J-Roller” helps with this task. Trim pieces are available if the look of the cut edges isn’t desired. Ask a salesperson about these trim options. Wallplank installation- Press adhesive into place firmly. - | VillageHomeStores.com

For Ceiling Application:

Yes you can absolutely use this wall plank system on your ceiling! It is recommended that once installed, you add small 18 gauge finish nails to help secure to the ceiling and take some strain off the adhesive being pulled by gravity.

Where can you use these wall planks? They can be installed on any structurally sound, clean, dry, and flat surface. Accent walls, decorative headboards, adding style to the back of an open shelf, the possibilities are endless and we can;t wait to see where our customers use it! It should be noted that this product is NOT recommended to install planks in any high moisture areas such as bathrooms or steam rooms. If you want this wood plank look in these areas ask us about the wood look tile options available from Village Home Stores.

finish-options

This self-stick wall plank system is available in 9 different finishes all of which you can see on display in our Geneseo, IL showroom. Because this product can be installed by you without any added labor charges it is sold by the square foot and our sales team can help you estimate how much you will need for your project. We are offering this product at an introductory sale price! wall plank price

Please stop in or call us with any questions about this great new product! (309) 944-1344.footer

 

 

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Road Trip! Our 2016 Visit to Whirlpool in Amana, IA

Village Home Stores is proud to offer Whirlpool appliances to the Quad Cities region. We are able to say with great confidence that we carry products that are backed by U.S. manufacturing and jobs. Did you know that:

Whirlpool Corp. is the only full line appliance manufacturer based in the United States. They operate 9 US manufacturing plants in 5 different states.

Our staff  is so lucky to be located just a short drive away from one of those plants in Amana, Iowa. We have been able to participate in a product training and plant tour now for the past few years. Please excuse our attire for the factory tour, this is not a fashion blog folks.
tour1

The plant we visited last week is home to all of the bottom-mount refrigeration operations as well as built-in refrigeration. This 2.1 Million square foot facility is huge! We clocked 1 3/4 miles on our factory tour alone. The water treatment facility for the plant also supplies the entire Amana Colonies with water. Whirlpool provides back-up power when needed for the region as well. This Amana, IA plant produces roughly 6,400 refrigerators a day! Pardon our pun but that’s pretty cool!
tour2

First of all, say hello to Seth (shown above on left). He is our newest member of the Appliances staff and was able to join us this year for this Whirlpool training and tour event. In addition to our tour, we received product training on many new models and features being introduced in laundry and kitchen appliances. Shown below is one of those new features called an “under-shelf prep zone” which utilizes an un-used space for for marinating or other storage needs in this new refrigerator model. This same new refrigerator model includes TWO ice makers, each with the ability to produce 4.6 lb.s of ice. Just get a text that you are entertaining guests after the work day? No problem! You can program to have plenty of ice by the time you get home right from your mobile phone. We saw so many amazing new products! Many of these models are already at our store or on their way. shelf

View this current US Manufacturing Map from Whirlpool showing the locations and products represented in the 9 manufacturing plants in the US. Whirlpool Corporation currently employs 22,000 manufacturing workers. Whirlpool truly believes that “there is no right way to do a wrong thing” and has committed to this opportunity to stay in the US. For example, instead of moving freezer manufacturing to Mexico or China, Whirlpool has recently purchased an vacant factory in Ottawa, Ohio keeping thousands of jobs in Ohio and allowing another category of product manufacturing  to remain in the US.interior

10000cupcakesNo complaints that we were greeted the morning of training with cupcakes alongside our breakfast (see our Instagram post on the right when we caught Rob with a cupcake at 8am). We were thrilled to hear that KitchenAid is hosting their #10000cupcakes campaign again this year to benefit Susan G. Komen. You can help make a difference for this cause! Share a photo or video with @KitchenAidUSA on Instagram or Twitter and include #10000cupcakes and #donate. For every original photo or video posted KitchenAid will donate $1 to support the fight against breast cancer, up to $10,000. Join us in store Thursday October 27th from 4:30-7pm as part of our annual “Witches Night Out” celebration and decorate your own cupcake to snap a photo of. Be sure to follow us on Instagram here to see our own cupcake posts.vanilla_latte_cupcakes

Do you have a recent model of a Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, or KitchenAid bottom-freezer refrigerator in your kitchen? That unit was made just a short drive past Coralville in Amana, Iowa and we had the privilege to see the smiling faces that assembled it for you.Read about our trip to Amana last year here at this link. If you are interested in purchasing appliance brands that help support jobs in our own country, our expert sales staff is ready to help find the right product and features for your lifestyle and budget. Shop our products online anytime here on our website. Then give us a call or stop in the store to experience the award-winning customer experience at Village Home Stores.Village_Home_Stores (1)

 

Get a “Load” of This: Top Load Laundry Tips

top_load_washerWith all of the industry changes that have been made in the category of top-load washing machines it can be hard to know what is the right model for you and your loads. While a front-load washer can be an excellent choice for cleaning if you have heavily-soiled items, don’t count top-load washers out! Many of our farming and machining customers still select from our HE top-loading models for their toughest loads. These models can still get you great results and save you energy as well. You may have a longer wash time but these models will use less water and spend less time and energy in your dryer. As this article from Consumer Reports states, high-efficiency top-load washers can and be an ideal choice if your laundry is near bedrooms or a family room as they cause less vibration and noise.

The Whirlpool®, Maytag®, and Amana® top-load laundry options you find at Village Home Stores try to make things simpler on you the customer every time they launch a new model. It can always be difficult to adjust to a new machine and all of it’s functions but after your few few loads you will begin to get more comfortable and start to see the wash results right for your own lifestyle. To get the best results from your high-efficiency washer we recommend you are sure to select the right temperature for your wash, use the correct detergent (and recommended amount of that detergent), and select the best cycle for your load.

wash_timeThere are really just two simple questions you need to answer when selecting your wash cycles on a top-loading machine. What you are washing and how you want your garments to be treated during the wash cycle. Many of our top-load washer models now offer an estimated time display for you to see how your selections effect your wash time. Some of the newest models of top-load washing machines even have an added feature that can remember your recent settings from previous loads to make it even easier on you. 

Image Courtesy of Whirlpool®

Image Courtesy of Whirlpool®

If you haven’t shopped for a washing machine recently you may be surprised when you open the lid and find no agitator in the center. This is due to the water usage regulations and HE standards now put into place as these machines are manufactured. When you stop in to shop for a new washer and dryer from Village Home Stores our staff can show to you and explain how these new HE washer operate and wash your garments. How these machines now wash compared to the “older” methods is a large subject in itself and our staff has been heavily trained on all of these changes. This same staff is just a phonecall away when you are learning how to use your new HE washer from Village Home Stores.

whatThis is where you can select from options like “delicates”, “whites”, and even “bulky” or “sheets” settings on some models. Maytag® offers their award-winning PowerWash® system with the best cleaning in its class to remove everyday tough stains in a single wash using PowerSpray, optimal dispensers and the PowerWash® cycle. This PowerWash® cycle is ideal for farmers and work clothes that may get soiled with oil or grease. 

howThis is where you will select your soil levels, temperature, rinse, spin speeds, and any pre-treatment options for your load. Lower water usage is one of the main goals of these newer models. Because these machines use an impeller to move your garments in the wash basin and not an agitator, a full basin of water doesn’t allow the movement needed for the best wash. Millions of dollars have been invested by Whirlpool®, Maytag®, and Amana® to perfect this new system of washing. Trust us when we say that the testing behind the best fabric care and best cleaning for you has been invested into these washers.

full_laundryThere may be times that you may feel you want more water to be used during your wash cycles and there are ways to achieve this. Adding an extra rinse can of course help achieve this added water but selecting features like a “Deep Water” wash can also be a great choice. When this option is selected, it still uses the load sensing technology built into the machine so the water levels will vary based on what you loaded into the machine. If you want a full tub of water, you can select the “Bulky” Items cycle which will give you more gallons of water in the wash followed by more gallons in the rinse.

presoakSelecting the “Presoak” option is also a great choice when you have a heavily soiled garment. This Presoak option that lets you skip soaking outside of the washer. It works by adding extra time for it in the washer before the wash cycle starts. This is a feature available on even some of the entry-level models of high-efficiency washers. Other options like the ColorLast™ option from Whirlpool® can help you combine your wash selections with the right temperatures to keep your garments looking fresh and not faded.

With so many options from all of our brands there is a model just right for you and our expert staff can help you find it. Shop all of our top-load washer selection here and be sure to stop in to talk to a member of our expert sales staff about what machine is best for your lifestyle. Laundry_Geneseo

Product Profile: Natural Soapstone

soapstone_titlecardNatural stones have been mined from the Earth for centuries to be used for decorative purposes. Each natural stone that is formed has unique qualities from every other. That is why you may find certain materials recommended for specific locations or uses. For example, marble is ideal for  pastry-making because of the temperature the material maintains among other reasons. While the common use for Soapstone may not come to mind right away, chances are you have work on a Soapstone surface before. Think back to your Chemistry class or any lab course you may have taken…remember the lab tables?

soapstone_on_islandThose dark green chalky tabletops? There is a very good chance those tops you are picturing  were Soapstone! But why? Many of the same reasons why Soapstone has been used in labs for hundreds of years are why you may want to consider it for your kitchen counters.

soapstone_benefits

The first reason you see listed we will touch on when we talk about care and maintenance for Soapstone. The second item listed is that Soapstone is a naturally non-porous material. Nothing will absorb into the material itself. This means it is completely stain-resistant! A fantastic quality in any kitchen countertop!

soapstone_on_white_cabinetsBut why is Soapstone so great in a lab? Soapstone is also an inert material. This means that it is impervious to acids, heat, and chemicals. Bottom line, not a thing in your kitchen can change the makeup of this material once it is installed in your home. While Granite and Marble are extremely durable materials to install in your kitchen, you do need to be cautious of some things that can harm them. Read more about this here on our blog. Another interesting characteristic of Soapstone is that it can absorb, store, and even radiate heat. In fact it is still used as a material in some heaters. Native Americans and Vikings used soapstone and shaped it into cooking-vessels because of these characteristics. 

soapstone_maintenanceBut didn’t we mention above that Soapstone “builds character over time”? Soapstone (also known as steatite, or soaprock) is made up mainly of the mineral talc. This is what gives Soapstone the chalky and “soapy” feel and appearance.   While Soapstone is inert and non-porous, it is a soft material. In a kitchen countertop application this means your Soapstone counters will develop surface scratches. These surface scratches and worn areas are what tell the story of your stone once it is in place. If this is not a look you are after, then discuss with your designer at Village Home Stores what materials can give you this same look but in a harder surface. How do you get your Soapstone to have that darker look with less talc? You oil it. Take a look at this image of an un-oiled Soapstone countertop:

beforeIf a more traditional Soapstone patina is what you are after you will want to oil your counters. Note below the same top with an oiled section in the center:

oiled_imageSee the natural patina that comes out of the stone when an oil is applied over the material? Applying mineral oil (NOTE: not mineral spirits) to Soapstone brings the natural beauty out of the material. The mineral oil will not absorb into the top it just enhances the surface of the material. Many times a coat of mineral oil can also conceal the appearance of surface scratches. If you still have surface imperfections on your Soapstone you can remove them by hand with a fine-grit sandpaper before oiling.

clothKeep your mineral oil and a designated cloth for oiling with your other kitchen cleaning supplies. This way you can continue to use the same cloth and not confuse it with others used for food prep. Because the oil will not absorb into the Soapstone, you may have some non-uniform oiled areas on your tops for a few days as your oiled tops “dry”. These can be wiped clean with a dry cloth. This oiling process can be done as often as you would like. Oiling your Soapstone tops is not a mandatory maintenance. It doesn’t have to be done at all, just often enough to maintain whatever patina and look you want your tops to exude. Many customers oil their tops once a month for a year and get the overall look they desire. They then may oil it once a year or never again as it builds its character.

howto_oil_soapstoneWe are so lucky to have a local source for natural stone material right here in the Quad Cities. Epic Stone LLC in Davenport, Iowa is our local source for Soapstone and other natural stone materials. Epic is the warehouse facility where the fabricators used by Village Home Stores will be picking up the material for your project. Read more about what you can expect from a visit to pic here on our blog.  If Soapstone is what you have selected for your project you can pick the specific slabs of material your project will use. Your designer at Village Home Stores can help coordinate an appointment for you to visit Epic to tag your material.

Are you considering Soapstone counters for your kitchen or bath project? Make an appointment today to discuss your options with a designer at Village Home Stores. Call or click here to make an appointment.soapstone_counters_quad_cities

Product Profile: Is L.V.T. For Me?

LVT_coverWhat is L.V.T. ? L.V.T. is short for “Luxury Vinyl Tile” and it has become a very sought-after material since it’s arrival into the floorcovering scene many years ago. The first L.V.T. began production in the late 70’s but it wasn’t until the last 5 years that Luxury Vinyls have began to take their place among the top choices for material in both remodel and new construction projects.

vinyl_tilesWhy is L.V.T. such a great material for your project? The first reason many of our customer love their L.V.T. are the qualities the tiles themselves. Compared to other harder surfaces, Luxury Vinyls are warmer underfoot and more comfortable to stand on for longer periods of time. Advancements in the industry in the last few years have also played a part in the rise of L.V.T.’s popularity. These tiles can have a photo realistic replication to true natural products at a fraction of the cost.

LVT_installationLuxury Vinyls can be installed to have the look and feel of ceramic, natural stones, and even hardwoods. As with all materials we sell here at Village Home Stores we offer expert installation for your project by crews local to you and your home. Luxury Vinyls require a specific installation method and materials (see grout portion of this post) so your best result will be to hire a professionals to install. If you are wanting to install your material yourself, there will be some preparation to the space needed.

Village_flooringDiscuss your existing subfloor with your salesperson and find out what needs to be done before installing your new floors. An underlayment may be needed as well so be sure to review your material options with your salesperson.   This post by the World Floor Covering Association is a great resource for installation methods and terms you may encounter when installing yourself.

Vinyl_tile_groutL.V.T. can be installed grouted or without grout. If a true ceramic tile look is desired, a grouted application is recommended. However, L.V.T. can be installed without any grout for a very clean look. photo-replicated wood L.V.T. flooring will look most realistic if installed without grout. The grout used for installation of Luxury Vinyls is a specially formulated acrylic that it will not scratch the tiles. The grout used for ceramic tile is cement based and should NEVER be used with luxury vinyl tiles.

LVT_informationBecause the grout used for L.V.T. installations is acrylic based, it will not absorb stains like a cement based grout will. The grout itself is stain-resistant because of the makeup of the product. Cleanup is also very easy for L.V.T. materials. Simple damp mopping is recommended.

LVT_pricesWhat is the price for this category of flooring? There are obviously many products and styles under the category of “Luxury Vinyls” but we can offer some perspective where L.V.T.s fall into the bigger picture. L.V.T. can vary in price.  Entry level pricing is comparable to entry level sheet vinyl and at the high end it is comparable to a mid-range hardwood.  With pricing everywhere in between depending on product line and brand.

Village_floor_companyWe have multiple brands of Luxury Vinyls on display and also installed in our Geneseo showroom. Call today or contact us via our website to schedule a consultation with a flooring expert at Village Home Store. Let us help you decide if L.V.T. is right for your project. flooring_Quad_cities_phone

Use & Care: Stainless Steel Appliances

cleaning stainless steel appliancesOne of the most common questions we get when showing Stainless Steel appliances to customers is but doesn’t it show fingerprints? The short answer to this is yes, but we usually then walk that same customer over to a Black appliance. With the industry change to a smooth and glossy finish in place of a texture, Black appliances can actually shows fingerprints pretty clearly. Stainless Steel can be a great look for many projects. That being said, there is a small amount of maintenance for your Stainless Steel appliances.

stainless steel wipesAlways use a cleaner that is labeled specifically for Stainless Steel. There are a great number of these available. Village sells products by “Affresh” that are manufactured and approved by Whirlpool for use on their appliances. Many Stainless Steel cleaners come in spray and wipe form. While wipes can be convenient for quick touch up, they can dry up easily if the container isn’t closed properly after use.  If you have a busy kitchen you may prefer the wipes because they are a one-step process and are perfect for touch-ups and frequent use.

affresh for stainlessSpray or lotion-form cleaners require an extra step but can give a great result of you are cleaning your appliances less frequently and want the best results. Use spray-on products about every other month or as you see they are needed. In the showroom we are constantly using Affresh to keep things looking great. Follow the directions on the label. In most cases you apply with one cloth, let the product set, then return with a clean cloth and buff. The best tool you can keep handy for daily cleaning is just a clean, dry microfiber cloth. This can be used to wipe smudges and prints quickly.

We do want to mention a few things to avoid when cleaning your Stainless Steel appliances. You want to be sure to protect your investment and not let certain things come in contact with the Stainless so your appliances look great for years to come!

magnets on stainless steel

  • You want to be sure to avoid using Magnets on your Stainless panels. The reason for this is the reaction that happens over time where the metals make contact. These marks can be difficult to remedy once they happen. Magnets also can become a cause of scratches to appear on your appliance.
  • Abrasive Cleaners, Pads and Clothes can be damaging to the surface of Stainless Steel.
  • Bleach or any kind of Hydrochloric Acids need to be avoided. These materials can cause a harmful reaction to your Stainless Steel.
  • Lysol cleaners contain ingredients that fall into the category listed above and should be avoided.
  • Long exposure to Table Salt or Salt & Vinegar Mixes can be damaging as well to Stainless Steel.

alternative cleaners for stainless steelBut what alternatives can be used? We do recommend using the Affresh products or others approved for use on Stainless Steel. If needed, there are some alternative methods you can try as well. WD-40 can be used on stainless and is said to be helpful in repelling prints and smudges from happening. The smell however is not to appetizing so you may want to stick to another method. Baby Oil can also be applied to Stainless and certainly smells more pleasant than WD-40.

Village-Home-Stores-AppliancesJust because you see Stainless appliances on magazine covers at the grocery check out or all over Pinterest does not mean the look is your taste. White and Black kitchen appliances remain very popular and even the now-discontinued “Bisque” finish is very sought-after in our region. Both Whirlpool and Maytag have recently introduced combination finishes that offer a Black or White appliance with Stainless hardware and accents.  These can be an excellent option for a customer who may not want full panels of Stainless Steel in their space.

There are some “matte finish” or “fingerprint-proof” appliances available in the market but they can be very limited in features and models as the finish is not universally available on all products. It can also be difficult to put together a full kitchen of models in these specialty finishes. The look is slightly discolored from true Stainless so be aware of that when selecting models and locations. These “fingerprint-proof” finishes can be a fantastic choice if, for instance, your refrigerator is separated from the other appliances and won’t be near another appliance. The combination Black-with-Stainless and White-with-Stainless finishes have become very popular and are now available in many many models. That list of combination models continues to grow as the false-stainless look is becoming less popular in purchases.

Talk to your salesperson about what appliance finish is right for your lifestyle. Don’t have a salesperson yet? Call or contact us today to get started. You can always shop our appliances 24 hours a day online but seeing these models in person is the best way for us to show you all of your options. See you soon!  (309) 944-1344 

Village-Maytag

Selecting Your Material at Epic Stone LLC

Granite in the Quad Cities

You have decided to invest in beautiful stone countertops… now what?

Epic Stone in DavenportThe good news is that selecting your stone can be a fun part of the process. Village Home Stores is not going to send you on an epic journey to Chicago or Des Moines to select your stone, instead we will send you to Epic Stone in Davenport, IA. We are so very lucky to have such a large selection of materials without a long drive to see them. Epic Stone, LLC is the warehouse that our countertop fabricators purchase the material from for your project. They open their warehouse to our customers so that you are able to select the exact slabs of stone your tops are made from.

Shopping for granite in the Quad CitiesWhat should you have with you when you visit Epic Stone? It is best to come prepared with whatever you have available for your project. Backsplash and flooring samples, cabinet stains, or other important finishes that may help you select your stone. Epic will ask  your designer’s information so that material amounts and fabricator information can be included on a tag once you have selected your stone. Your designer will be able to tell you how many slabs of material your project requires. You do not need to have your kitchen or bathroom layout with you.

Keeping an open mind as you walk the aisles is most important. Bring a camera or have you smartphone or tablet ready to take pictures of favorites and labels during your visit. There are so many stones to choose from. You are able to browse a gallery on their website and following them on Facebook gets you immediate news of new materials coming in.

what do granite price categories mean

As you make your way around the warehouse at Epic you will notice each stack of slabs are labeled. There are three important elements to these labels to make note of:

  • The Name of the stone is important to note as some colors have many variations of the same name and this may change the price and color if the wrong name is given. The label shown above indicated that we were looking at a slab of “Super White Brushed” “Brushed” is important to note in this case because these slabs of “Super White” are not a polished, glossy stone and are priced a full category higher because of the “Brushed” finish.
  • A price category is indicated in the bottom right hand corner of the label. Categories range from 1 on up to the high teens. The lower the number, the lower the cost. Your salesperson at Village will get the full estimate together for you, they just need to know what category you have selected.
  • Another element to the material labels is the origin of your stone. This is what makes natural stone so amazing and unique. The stone slabs you see at Epic are mined throughout the world. How wonderful will it be when someone visiting your home asks what the name of your stone is and you can reply with a name and location from where it came?

granite warehouse in davenport, iaEpic Stone, LLC is located at the bottom of North Division Street, in the former Franks Foundries complex. The warehouse is a gigantic warehouse of stone slabs, so it is cold in the winter months and can get very hot in the summer. Dress prepared for the current temperature. While they have open hours, it is always best to call ahead to make an appointment. This makes your time spent at Epic more focused. Materials change so frequently so making an appointment also gives you the opportunity to ask if colors you are considering are there.

Epic Stone QC hoursIf you are just starting the process of shopping for granite or marble countertops for your home, your first step is to contact a designer at Village Home Stores. You can do this via our website or call us at (309) 944-1344. Your designer will walk you through the process from estimating to installation. We have selected the best fabricators in the area who are experts in their field of manufacturing, installing, and seaming your tops. Maintenance of natural stone tops is minimal and we wrote a short post about it here for your reference.

Natural stone is a fantastic choice and a material that is timeless and rich in history. With Village Home Stores and Epic Stone, LLC your stone countertops will look great for years to come.

Marble Institute of America

Use & Care: Granite and Quartz Counters

Granite Counter Tops in the Quad Cities

Your beautiful new kitchen from Village Home Stores is finished. Gorgeous stone counter tops are shining back at you…now what? How can you keep your Granite or Quartz counter tops looking as fantastic as they do now for years and years to come? Here are some tips from the experts here at Village Home Stores.

how to care for graniteIt’s no secret that Natural Stones and man-made Quartz surfaces are extremely hard and durable materials. These surfaces still remain the most sought-after choices for kitchen projects all across the industry. Granite and Marble mined from sources all over the globe are selected for their beauty and uniqueness. The fact that these colors and patterns occur in nature is pretty amazing. That is why many people fall in love with the look and concept of installing natural stone in their homes. However, there are some things that can harm these surfaces.

Man-made Quartz counter tops are non-porous and cannot be damaged by foods and liquids. Natural stones vary in density and sealant absorbency. Because of the natural properties of Natural Stone, with Granite or Marble surfaces you will want to avoid the following:

  • Acidic foods and liquids coming in contact with your stone. They can etch the polish of a stone or even stain them in some cases. Citrus fruits & juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces should never be left on your Natural Stone surfaces for long periods of time. Wine, coffee and soda spills should also be kept clean.
  • Abrasive cleaners should never be used on your stone surfaces. Granite and Marble are very hard surfaces but the sealants on some may break down faster over time if abrasive cleaners are used. We will expand more on cleaning your counters below.
  • Leaky oils & soaps can slowly be absorbed into natural stones so make sure to keep an eye on any dispensers or containers.

Cleaning Granite TopsCleaning your new counter tops will surely become part of a day-to-day routine in your new space. There are many mild cleaners formulated specially for use on Granite and Marble surfaces. These are all safe to use but for quick clean ups warm water and basic liquid dish soap will be just fine.  Avoid excessive use of soaps on your Natural Stone tops so you do not begin to form a build-up of soap and dull the shine of your surfaces. Never use abrasive cleaning products on your stone. For difficult spills and food stains, the flat side of a straight razor blade can be used on your Granite or Marble top.

Granite Counter Top SeamsMost kitchen layouts require a seam in the material. Seams can be expected with both man-made Quartz and Natural Stone products. These seams are constructed of epoxy products that may react to heat. Avoid placing heat directly on seamed areas of your counter tops. While some stones may need to be resealed every 4-5 years, some may never need more sealant than the initial installation. The best way to test if your sealant is working is to place a few drops of water on your work surface. If the water soaks in quickly, then it is time to reseal. If it beads up, then it is protected.

Below is an infographic for your quick reference. Feel free to “Pin” it or print and save with your project information. Making this information available to all members of your house, house guests or even babysitters will help protect the investment you have made in your new space. Selecting stone tops for your kitchen was a great choice. By creating good care habits in your new space, you will ensure that they will look as beautiful 15 years from now as they do today, If you have any questions about what you have read here on the use & care of your stone tops, please contact us today.

Items that can harm natural stone counters