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It’s not just design, it’s Artful Design!
Get advice on pairings to create a culinary paradise in your kitchen.
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Artful design pairings create a culinary paradise in your kitchen

Just as matching food with the right wine can elevate a simple meal to the level of a culinary experience, artfully pairing design elements in your kitchen can turn a utilitarian room into a chef's paradise.

"Properly pairing food and wine that complement each other is always a key ingredient in serving a memorable meal," says Teo Zagroba, Beverage Manager at The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wis. "It's equally important to ensure that key design elements in your kitchen pair together well, creating a room that is functional, beautiful and inspiring."

Just as you would seek wine selection advice from a sommelier, it pays to get some design pairing tips from a kitchen expert. Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at the Kohler Design Center, offers these tips for making successful design pairing decisions for your kitchen:

Sinks and faucets

"The experience of cooking in a kitchen where function and beauty are paramount can be as delightful as the gourmet meal itself," Schrage says. "Think of this when beginning your kitchen design."

You may already have a sink or a faucet in mind and can use either piece as your starting point. Identify what it is about this particular sink or faucet that appeals to you so the direction of your design becomes clearer and clearer.

If your faucet preference runs toward sleek, modern lines, you'll want to pair it with a sink that complements that design aesthetic, such as stainless steel or a contemporary-looking and under mounted cast iron product. If you love the farmhouse-classic apron front sink, consider a nostalgic faucet design evocative of this time period; perhaps even a wall mount instead of deck mount faucet.

Color and finish are also key considerations for sink and faucet pairings. Will the color of your sink complement the finish of the faucet? Some sink finishes, like stainless, or enameled cast iron, will allow more flexibility when choosing a faucet to go with it.

Always, keep function in mind. Both your sink and faucet should work well together for their intended uses. For example, if you've selected a tall pull-down faucet like the KOHLER Bellera because you'll be filling a lot of stock pots or washing large pans, a deep-bowl sink will match that function better than a shallow one.

Cabinets and countertops

Design harmony is also important when you're matching countertops and cabinets. You may have always loved the look of stainless steel, but if your cabinets are clearly country, the warm colors and solid looks of a cast iron sink may be a better fit.

Consider countertop materials that are timeless and universal, like granite or marble. Even if the design of your cabinets ties you into a specific material choice, remember you'll have plenty of color options available.

If your countertop and/or cabinet choice makes a bold design statement, avoid pairing it with distracting wall or flooring choices. A neutral backdrop like cream walls or gray slate floor tile can give countertops and cabinets the room they need to really pop.

The pinnacle of pairings

Once your design pairings are complete and you've created your dream kitchen, you can focus on some even more enjoyable matches:  creating gourmet meals perfectly paired with the right beverages. Fortunately, you'll find no shortage of inspiration.

From culinary shows and foodie blogs to epicurean events like the Kohler Food & Wine Experience at The American Club Resort, there are numerous resources to learn more about great kitchen design and perfect food and wine pairings, both of which will make your kitchen and next dinner party the envy of all your friends.

 

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Toll Kohler: Black granite kitchen
Cast Iron makes a comeback!
This time-honored fixture material gets modern design treatments.
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Cast-iron comeback: Time-honored fixture material gets modern design treatments

A skillet hidden away in a cabinet, or some other small piece of cookware—that's about all the cast iron you'll find in most modern homes. In the early 1900s, iron was a material of choice not just for cookware, but for many other essential items throughout the house:  a skillet on the stovetop, sinks and bathtubs, and fences that decorated and defined the front yard. Even some buildings were made of iron. But as lighter, rust-resistant materials became available, iron fell by the wayside as a material in homes.

Fast forward to today, and a new generation of design-savvy homeowners is rediscovering the beauty, durability and usefulness of cast iron in kitchens and bathrooms. A handful of enterprising manufacturers are reinventing the look, design and appeal of cast iron.

If the concept of cast iron in kitchen and bath fixtures is new to you, consider the material's advantages:

* Durable. Enameled cast iron is especially durable, combining the longevity and dent-resistance of cast iron with the rust-proof beauty of enamel.

* Customizable. Cast-iron sinks and bathtubs add instant elegance to a space. And with more than 20 colors to choose from, it's easy to create a customized look to reflect personal style.

* Eco-friendly. Some cast-iron products, like those made by bath design pioneer Kohler, have a "green" side. Kohler manufactures its cast iron from 83 percent recycled materials.

These three cast-iron fixtures have regained popularity - and reclaimed cast iron's reputation as a material of choice - in American homes:

1. Kitchen sinks

The kitchen sink plays host to a handful of hardworking activities in the heart of the home—whether it's cleaning up from holiday feasts or serving as a baby bathing spot.

Today’s Kohler cast iron kitchen sinks emphasize design with an ideal balance between form and function at an attractive price. Single-basin sinks reflect historical design, and double basin cast iron sinks offer a modern convenience. You'll find a variety of color choices, as well as under-counter and self-rimming options.

2. Bathroom sinks

Whether it's the focal point in a petite powder room or coupled in a master suite's double vanity, bathroom sinks have a tall bill to fill—homeowners require good looks and durability, which today's enameled cast-iron bathroom sinks can provide.

Enameling technology makes it possible to have a cast-iron sink in an array of vibrant new colors beyond your grandparents' classic white claw-foot tub.

3. Bathtubs

The first cast-iron baths were free-standing models—a design so ubiquitous that many Americans still associate it with cast iron. When Kohler introduced the built-in bathtub in the early 1900s, the style quickly became the design of choice for American homeowners and remains the most popular style today.

Now, you can find cast iron bathtubs that offer the convenience and functionality of the built-in style, along with the elegance and durability of enameled cast iron. For those who crave design variety, drop in/undermount and freestanding styles are also available in cast iron. You can even find styles that offer massaging water jets and bubbles.

You may fondly recall your grandparents' cast iron, but modern design and a vibrant array of colors have today's homeowners falling in love with cast iron's durability and convenience all over again and enjoying it for years to come—just as other homeowners have before them.

 

Customize the kitchen & bath of your dreams in a new Toll Brothers home.

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Toll Kohler: Cast Iron sink
What NOT to overlook When Upgrading Technology
Get tips that will help you to use your bathroom water efficiently.
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When upgrading technology, don't forget your everyday items

Technology has changed so much, so quickly, that it might be difficult to remember how you lived life prior to carrying around a cell phone, having a tablet computer or, for that matter, multiple remotes to turn on all the electronic devices at home.

But many homeowners, who have integrated technology into other aspects of their lives, still ignore one everyday object that is very likely completely out of date—their toilets.

Flushing technologies have made great leaps and bounds over the past two decades - improving water efficiency, flushing performance and even a user's comfort. And if you haven't considered replacing your toilet with one that is equipped with advanced flushing technology, you might be surprised at what is available, and how much it could help your water savings.

The average family of four uses about 400 gallons of potable (treated) water each day, and bathrooms represent more than 50 percent of all home indoor water use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, less water usage usually meant a less reliable flush. But technology has improved so that toilets with low water usage ratings are more efficient and hygienic than their water-guzzling predecessors.

If you don't know about high-efficiency toilets and all the options that are available, here are a few water-saving flush options to help you upgrade the technology in your bathroom:

* Dual flushing - Liquid waste doesn't require nearly as much water for flushing as solid waste, which is where dual-flushing technology comes in handy. You can select which volume of water flush you want; which will help you save water and money. In your home, your family could easily save water by using the lighter flush when appropriate.

* Pressure assistance - Flushing performance can't get any better than toilets with pressure assist technology. This technology pressurizes the water, giving your home's toilet commercial-grade flushing capabilities without the commercial-grade noise. Kohler Pressure Lite technology is powerful - the 1.0 gallon models save a family 18,600 gallons of water per year compared to a 3.5 gallon per flush toilet.

* Gravity flushing - Gravity flushing is the most typical technology found in residential homes. The innovative Class Five flushing technology combines gravity with a powerful flush that also addresses bowl cleaning. The Kohler Wellworth toilet family uses this technology and one new model flushes just 1.28 gallons, saving a family of four up to 16,500 gallons of water a year. This certifies the 1.28 gallon model to carry the EPA's WaterSense label for using at least 20 percent less water than standard 1.6 gallon toilets. The Wellworth family also is compliant with the new California Green Building Code standards. These toilets have a versatile tank design featuring an elegant flare to complement a wide range of bathroom designs.

When you upgrade your technical devices, you probably review all the benefits and options the new device will provide you. So make sure to do your due diligence by reviewing toilets and flushing options before you choose the one that will become a vital part of your everyday life.

 

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Toll Kohler: Modern bathroom sink