Category Archives: Contemporary Kitchens

All about Contemporary Kitchens design, designers, cabinets and remodeling.

Servo Drive

It’s so easy!

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If you have done a new kitchen in the last few years, or even if you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term – ‘Blumotion’ – the latest and greatest drawer system from Blum, the world’s best manufacturer of hinge, lift and pull-out systems for the kitchen.

Blumotion is simply a drawer system that allows soft closing, without the drawer banging into the cabinet. When it reaches the point of almost closing, it breaks to a very quite and soft close. With the introduction of this mechanism, in 2001, it was the best thing since full extension drawers… Any other drawer system in the market was simply none existing. None existing until early 2006…

In April 2006, while at Euro Cucina (the worlds largest and most important kitchen show, held in Milan every other year) at the Pedini Cucine booth – I saw the Servo Drive® for the first time – It was incredible! Pedini had a locked-up glass room, with a chrome finish kitchen inside it. People were walking around it looking in, trying to figure it if this ‘thing’, that looks like a kitchen, actually works.

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Pictures: Pedini Display, at Euro Cucina 2005.

This prototype kitchen was named Cubika – it did look like a shiny chrome cube. The kitchen had no handles, pulls or even a recessed channel to open the drawers –If you waited long enough, someone from Pedini would open the glass door and demonstrate how these cabinets actually work – all you needed to do is tap lightly at the drawers, with your knee or hand and as if someone said ‘open sesame’ – the drawer opened…

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About half an hour before the show closed, a couple of guys showed up, dressed in grey work-robes/aprons (the type that workers use in German and Austrian factories) and took apart the drawer mechanisms. They put them in special cases and were on their way back to Austria. They did that, I found out later, to insure that the competition doesn’t even get a glimpse at how this new wonder works…

This new look was finally in production by Pedini in the beginning of 2007, under the name Q2 and you can now get the ‘cube’ look, in many finishes, including one that looks very similar to this prototype from the 2005 Euro Cucina booth, in all glass.

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Picture: Pedini Q2                                                                                                                          

I’m not sure why, but Blum is calling the new drawer system in two different names – ‘Tip On’ and ‘Servo Drive’. Maybe they are undecided on the name yet…

Want to view the Servo Drive in action? 






From Milan Runways, Straight Into The… Kitchen!

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Picture: Pedini Kitchen, NJ – Integra in Grey Oak, Glossy white lacquer and glossy red lacquer.

Source: Italian Kitchen Design, NJ

When it comes to choosing a new kitchen, there is a very distinct difference between the American consumer and the Italian one. Here in the US, most consumers know the look, the color, the finish and the material of the kitchen they want in their home. Usually they are actually recreating a kitchen that they saw somewhere before, at a friends or neighbors house or in a magazine picture. They are focusing on a feeling of family, warmth and the good old days. Old World is IN, but…..

More and more, ultra-modern Italian kitchens are showing up in every corner kitchen store in America. It’s not that American consumers have given up the warm and fuzzy feeling of their home décor, but more than ever before some are now ready to open up to a world of new style, at least in their kitchen. They now want what the European’s want: the newest innovations, the most fashionable colors, something that they haven’t seen yet – the next thing!

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Upscale American kitchens have traditionally been designed using custom cabinetry that can be used in the kitchen, but also in a library, a bathroom or any other space, even in commercial applications. The Italians are designing their kitchen lines to be kitchens from the initial prototype concept. Each kitchen model comes in a few chosen colors or woods, has its own type of unique doors, interiors, countertops, hoods and even its own unique appliances such as a cook top that is shaped to fit into a circular island.

The leading Italian kitchens are designed by famous designers and are much closer to works of art then they are to kitchen cabinetry. The other Italian and European manufacturers simply follow the leaders and trust their designer’s tastes and instincts. If they see that a new kitchen model sells well, they’ll produce it in the following year. So, just like in the fashion world, the same colors, shapes and materials are seen everywhere.

If you attended the last Euro Cucina (the bi-annual international kitchen show in Milan, Italy) you would have noticed the new trends and fashions everywhere. The leading manufacturers were showing off “this years colors” in their kitchens! The same colors that have dominated Milan’s fashion runways are featured in the kitchens a couple of months later. This season’s colors were everywhere, just as if it was all orchestrated by fashion designers and not cabinet manufacturers… or maybe it was. After all, Italy’s top kitchen designers are really in the fashion business much more then they are in the cabinet business.

After “this year’s colors” comes “this year’s woods”. After all we are still talking about kitchens. For 2006, the exotics were back – Zebra, Ebony, and Teak, to name a few, are everywhere, in matte or high-gloss. But not just exotic woods, the good old Oak is still hot, in white, dark grey and natural tones, in horizontal grain and lots of painted glass.

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The similarity between fashion and cabinetry does not end in the colors and woods. In fashion there are certain shapes or “cuts” that are “in”. Italian kitchens are no different. In the last couple of years, more and more manufacturers have been showing radius islands and curved cabinets, very thick or very thin countertops and the latest trend – “ribbed” doors. It is interesting that none of these “new looks” is really that new. We have seen them before and they are simply coming back, with a new design twist, a new material or a new finish.

There will always be a place for Old World, traditional style. But if you don’t want to be caught dead in last year’s kitchen, maybe you’re ready for a makeover, Italian style.

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Extreme Kitchens

Extreme Kitchens

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The exotic, the one of a kind, the money is no object kind of kitchen.

For those of you who are enjoying the perks of a newly designed kitchen, this may not come as big news, but for the rest of the world it may be shocking to know that a new kitchen can cost as much as a new car!  Some people may be happy with a compact kitchen that costs about $10,000; others may prefer a luxury kitchen and will spend from $50,000 to $150,000.  But what about those who want The exotic, the one of a kind, the money is no object kind of kitchen?  (Yes, I’m still talking about kitchens!)
 
Years ago, when I was new in the kitchen industry, I met an old kitchen designer from Los Angeles who designed a kitchen for the Warners; the Warners, as in Time-Warner.  Bill, the old kitchen designer, told me that forty-something years ago the Warner kitchen cost $1,200,000!  I simply couldn’t believe it…How could one kitchen cost that much, especially that long ago?
 
Bill explained: “First of all, the kitchen was the size of a football field.  Secondly, everything was done to the max:  handcrafted cabinetry, hand-carved moldings, gold-plated faucets, custom-made French stoves, and on and on.”  I remember thinking to myself, “Am I ever going to be so fortunate as to be involved in a project like that?”
 
Well, years have passed and our firm has grown bigger and has gotten better. We have won national design awards, our projects have been featured on the covers of numerous national magazines, and we were chosen this year as the Top Design Firm in Customer Value by a national panel of consumers.  As a result of this growth and recognition, high-end, special projects are now coming our way.  From Saddle River to Alpine, from San Francisco to the Bahamas, more and more customers are commissioning us to create the exotic, the one of a kind, the money is no object projects in the best of places.
A kitchen we completed in North Carolina that was featured on the cover of a national magazine has imported enameled lava counter tops. Priced well over $30,000, the lava tops are only a fraction of the total project cost.

kitchen23.jpgA few times a year we install custom-made French stoves for our clients. They start at around $15,000 and can go up to almost $100,000 each!

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A North Jersey kitchen we did has a mural ceiling, painted by a renowned artist. These murals are becoming popular and can cost as much as someone’s entire kitchen.

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 The rule of thumb ia that the kitchen is about 10% of the cost of your home. So, if someone yu know lives in a $12 million home, maybe they have one of those Warner-like kitchens. In the mean time, i’m still waiting for the Warners to remodel.