Use & Care: Stainless Steel Appliances

One 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 appliances online anytime here. 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 

Style Files: Rustic Transitional

We have had such a great response to the sneak peeks we have posted of a remodel project we just completed in Walnut, IL. The style of a space or taste can be tricky to pinpoint but this kitchen definitely had Rustic elements and a truly Transitional style…alas, it must be Rustic Transitional! But what exactly do we mean by that? These “Style Files” posts will be a series of blog posts that you can use to reference your own personal style. The best way to help you do that is to show you rather than tell you.

Take a look at the palette of finishes from the kitchen that inspired this post:

rustic kitchen materialsfloating shelvesNotice that it is quite a mix of finishes and textures. Just like with any project, that is why you have a whole team of people to work with at Village Home Stores. We can help you select materials for the entire big picture. Does adding something as rustic as reclaimed barnwood or beams sound intimidating to you? In the case of this kitchen, it was a very small percentage of the overall look and makes a huge impact! Especially with that faux-finished hood!

Let’s start by defining what the industry means by “Rustic”:

rustic style definitionThe most important thing to take away from this when you are wanting to introduce just a small amount of rustic elements to your space is texture.  Rustic textures can actually become very formal when controlled, contained and surrounded by the right overall design. When we use the term “Transitional” we just mean that the style of a space is somewhere between traditional and contemporary and this can be interpreted many ways (expect that to be an upcoming “Style Files: Transitional” post). A Transitional space is meant to avoid being time-stamped with any certain period.

corner drawers The best reason to select Transitional materials is you will have the ability to revised the space at a later date for a very different look and keep the main elements intact. The unsung hero of Transitional style absolutely is the flat-panel doorstyle. A basic, flat-panel doorstyle void of any curves, arches or elaborate molding detail is the best way to invest in a Transitional space. This style of cabinet can be ordered with a slab style drawer front or what is called a 5-piece drawer front that looks like a door on its side.

 When Rustic elements are added to a Transitional space you create a unique style:

rustic transitional style

rustic light fictureFound materials can be a key ingredient in making a space truly unique to you. Antiques collected traveling or family heirlooms can be integrated in the space and give you a look that your neighbor couldn’t ever recreate. Think outside of the box. If the space is near a lake or coast, maybe some rope would be a great Rustic touch. This light fixture from Elk was a beautiful selection by Windmiller Design & Development at their Edgewater home in Bettendorf, IA. The rope is a great contrast to the dark iron and beams above it.

The full album of images from this project will hit our Houzz profile soon. Until then, did you click on this blog post because your tastes may be leaning to Rustic style but aren’t ready to jump all into a fully Rustic space? Perhaps when you are ready to start your project “Rustic Transitional” might be the best way to describe your tastes to your designer at Village Home Stores? Pin this post to your Pinterest “kitchen” pinboard or email this link to your designer with the subject line “this!” We are here to help put it all together with you. Follow our Rustic Transitional board on Pinterest and get inspired. Call or contact us today. (309) 944-1344.

Unexpected Upgrades: Kathy’s Free Granite Tops

 

If you ever have the opportunity to be the person to contact someone who has won something I highly recommend you do it. It was downright fun to call our Great Kitchen Giveaway winner and tell her she had one the choice of a number of options to upgrade her kitchen with Village Home Stores. We ran the promotion during the QCBR 2014 Home Show and the month surrounding it. There were many many entries and Kathy from Milan, IL was the winner! When we finally got a hold of Kathy to tell her she won she was already in a fantastic mood because she had just welcomed a new grandbaby into the world. Inviting her to choose from a Maytag suite of kitchen appliances, free granite countertops, $2,000 in free cabinets, free kitchen flooring, or $1,000 in free lighting put her over the moon with excitement.

laminate topKathy took some time to decide what to do with this unexpected upgrade opportunity and ended up selecting granite countertops.  Her existing kitchen tops were still the original Formica butcherblock pattern laminate in a “No-Drip” edge profile. Considering the age of the tops they were really in excellent condition. Kathy had just recently painter her dark cabinets white.

Coffee Brown GraniteThe new white finish on her cabinets made it even more of a total makeover for Kathy’s kitchen. Now with granite tops, it truly was the look of a whole new kitchen!  Kathy had the choice of our 10 promotional colors of stone and she ended up choosing “Coffee Brown” granite in a polished finish. This dark polished stone really gives a rich look to the space.

TemplateThe old laminate tops were removed for a template to be made by the stone fabricators. Some minor carpentry work was done to address a leveling issue with the age of the home and where the existing cabinets had settled. The weight of new stone tops must be distributed correctly for a safe and correct installation. Our expert stone fabricators measure a number of locations and lengths to confirm the new tops will be correct. We will soon have a full post on the blog about what you can expect during  your template appointment.

Undermount sink in graniteKathy’s new sink area is our favorite part! She chose an E-Granite sink by Elkay that has a feature that we love, a lowered center-divider. This allows for a small fill when needed but plenty of space for large serving dishes or cookie sheets to be washed within the sink.

Soap leaking onto graniteWe also came across a little tip from Kathy that we think is pretty genius. Take a look at the tray beneath her soap dispenser, it’s actually a soap dish. Kathy had heard about how a leaky dispenser can cause damage to natural stone and purchased a solution that gives her peace-of-mind that she won’t need to worry. When she found her new soap pump, she also bought the soap dish in the same style and finish. Et Voila! A matching tray!

Call or contact us today for a free estimate on upgrading your countertops with Village Home Stores. While we don’t give away free granite everyday, we can offer you a fantastic price and expert work. (309) 944-1344.

Country Views and Classic Style in Cambridge, IL

kitchen remodel in Cambridge, ILThe best part about great rooms is that they can frame in a whole zone of your home that is the most used by your family. The Kitchen, Living Room, and Dining Areas are such active zones of a home that why not eliminate the walls that divide them? This new home in Cambridge, IL built by Evergreen Custom Homes combines beautiful kitchen materials and an extra element to frame the space, incredible views of the countryside. See the full album of photos from this kitchen over on our houzz profile.

bevel edgeIt’s no wonder why the homeowners wanted their kitchen sink facing towards the Dining Area. When I was at the home to photograph the kitchen, cows were grazing on a hill just outside. The sink and countertops in this kitchen are worth mentioning first on our tour. At first glance did you know that the counters are NOT granite but in fact laminate? That’s right laminate!

With so many patterns and finishes available now by companies like Formica, there is no reason why your kitchen can’t create the same fake-out as achieved here. Selecting edge profiles that would be used on a granite counter like a full-wrapping “Bullnose” or “Bevel” (shown above) help get the look as well. Another big factor in this granite fake-out is the sink itself…

undermount sink in laminate

Notice the sink edge is not sitting on top of the Formica laminate top? This customer chose to upgrade and have a Karran sink under-mounted to the tops. This process can add to your overall cost but when combined with the price of laminate counters you are still well below the entry price for installing actual granite in your kitchen.

small prep sink in kitchenWith such a large layout,  a secondary prep sink was added to the wall farthest from the kitchen sink for easy quick access when entertaining or multiple users are working in the space. A glass-front beverage center to its left can also be used for holidays and year-round entertaining while keeping the main prep areas of the kitchen clear from traffic. You will also notice in this image that by installing laminate tops without including the typical integrated backsplash the tops appear more like a slab of granite. The backsplash tile can then be installed in the full 18″ space between the tops and wall cabinets. Pattern, edge style, sink innovations, and backsplash can all help you achieve that granite look with a laminate pricetag.

microwave built-inTo the right of the prep sink is the built-in microwave and wall oven. In place of a small microwave cluttering up a countertop, this microwave is accessible and sleek.  A bottom hinge on the door allows it to open just like a wall oven door and a stainless trim kit has been installed to match the width of the wall oven as well. The appliances in this kitchen are all KitchenAid and have many fantastic features that come standard with the units.

KitchenAid Wall OvenThe wall oven below has one of my favorite features available in baking today, convection. Convection technology allows for complete consistency of temperature in the entire oven cavity. A fan in the back of the oven and in most cases, an added heating element surrounding that fan keep all areas of the oven at the same temperature and can get it to that temperature faster. Consistent baking with the ability of using all three racks at the same time  speaks for itself around Christmas cookie season. Faster preheat times can be achieved when the convection fans are used as well. If you have any questions about convection baking our appliance staff are all experts on the subject and many ranges and wall ovens offer this feature at a minimal upgrade in price.

bar stools at islandThe kitchen in this great room emits such a classic, rich and warm look that years from now it will still fit perfectly in the setting. Warm Cherry cabinets with a black pencil glaze enhancing the doorstyle make this space beautiful. If you have any questions about what you have read or seen in this blog post don’t hesitate to call or contact us to get answers.

Big Changes to a Bathroom in Bettendorf, IA

mirror inserts for cabinet doorsWe recently featured a kitchen here on the blog and over on Houzz and boy did it get popular fast! A small hint was made that the bathroom just off of the kitchen was also remodeled at the same time by Village Home Stores. While photographing the kitchen, I kept hearing giggles coming from the bathroom. Two of the little girls were doing their hair and having a grand old time doing so. As they ran in and out it was hard not to notice the amazing wallpaper within the space. Once I was in the room this paper really made a statement!

Let it be known that I have never been more challenged in photographing a bathroom and avoiding my reflection in the mirrors. This bathroom has a lot of mirrored glass. This might make for hard photos to get but it truly does make the space seem huge! With mirrors one two main walls, the space almost doubles when you are inside.

bathroom cabinet storageAbove you will see the wall that is directly behind the sink user. This custom armoire area has been installed in the nook that used to house a shower. The shower in the old space was not being used and added storage is always a plus for any busy family.

installing vanity light through mirrorThe lighting in this space adds style without distracting from the wallpaper that steals the show. A drum-shaped shade on the vanity 3-light fixture and a semi-flush mount fixture near the armoire area allow plenty of light and complement each other perfectly.

With the new mirror spanning the entire wall, mounting the fixture through the mirror just above the sink anchors the sink space and helps designate a “vanity” area of the wall.  Keeping the mirror one long unit above and changing depths but not heights below keep the room from crowding up.

village homestoresThe vanity sink used to be just a stand alone vanity of the same size. In the new design a “Banjo-shaped” top has been installed to spread the full width of the wall and a change of depth offers open storage for baskets below.

While the room may have been cramped with reflections for my photos, the new design uses the unique room layout  to its fullest.  Beadboard panels installed to the walls and trim keep the room bright. Birch Pearl painted cabinets create  a classic look and the wallpaper gives a personal style touch. The  wallpaper color photographs like a dark brown but it is a bit lighter in person. Just a few steps darker than the neutral taupes and warm grays in the kitchen, this bold pattern paper made the bath magazine perfect!

Do you have a bath in your home with wasted space just waiting to be used? Call or click today to make an appointment with a Village Home Stores designer. We can’t wait to get you started. (309) 944-1344 

bettendorf bathroom remodel