Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA



 Photo by Solomon Rodgers via Pixabay

When you've been in the same home for a while, it is common to get an itch to switch things up a little bit. For many homeowners, this means renovating the kitchen. Renovation is a great way to not only add a little bit of style but also increase the value of the home at the same time. There are a few great ideas to think about when it comes to kitchen renovations.

Add a Backsplash

One of the most popular kitchen renovations is to install a backsplash. This is a great way to upgrade and personalize the food prep area. Furthermore, a backsplash is easy to clean, functional and durable. There are plenty of ideas that people can use to make their kitchen backsplash unique. Consider neutral stone tile with colored or patterned pieces randomly interspersed, a pressed metal design or colorful glass tiles.

Open Up The Area

Consider opening up additional space in and around your kitchen. This can be accomplished with the removal of upper cabinets, introducing a window or skylight or, for a larger-scale project, removing walls to connect with other rooms. If you can't change the floorplan of your room, swapping in glass-front cabinets or open shelving for your upper cabinets can create more visual space.

Add Flair to the Counters

Counters are a common target for kitchen renovations. Styles change and, over the years, you may find the need for additional space. One solution is to add a kitchen island. This adds both storage space and workspace for your kitchen. Don't be afraid to go with unique countertop materials like concrete or wood.

Upgrade the Appliances

Finally, consider upgrading appliances to incorporate new technology and conveniences. Newer appliances not only come with new features like convertible compartments and touch screens but are also more energy-efficient than older models. This means you might also be able to save additional money over time with this investment.


Photo by Sarah Biesinger via Shutterstock

You’ve probably heard how important it is to go hands-free in your car, but it can be just as important and useful to be hands-free in the kitchen. If you’re busy washing dishes or prepping for dinner, you can use hands free devices to do everything from answering calls to looking up recipes and preheating the oven. While kitchen appliances haven’t progressed to the point of actually making dinner for you, they can definitely help cut down on the mess. 

Top Hands-Free Choices

  • Touchless Trash Can – while a foot pedal trash can is a bit cheaper and takes care of most of the same issues, germs can still build up on the pedal itself. A true touchless trashcan has a motion sensor and opens when you wave your hand in front of it like a touchless hand dryer. Some are even smart enough to hook up to your tablet or phone with an app that accepts voice commands.
  • Hands-Free Paper Towel Dispenser – Most of the time, when you need a paper towel, your hands are already wet or messy. That means you leave those germs or water on the side of your dispenser each time you grab a paper towel. An easy fix is a hands-free paper towel dispenser that pushes a towel towards you on command. This helps reduce your paper towel waste as well as keeping your kitchen cleaner.
  • Motion Sensor Faucet – You can have a sink faucet in your home with the same technology you find in public bathrooms. That means no chicken goo or frosting gets left on the handles. Wi-Fi Appliances – A wide variety of kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators and ovens are now available in versions that connect over Wi-Fi to your other devices. That often means you can now control them with voice commands. Ever been partially through your prep work and realize you forgot to pre-heat the oven? Instead of taking the time and water to wash your hands, turn on the oven, then get back to work, you can just say “preheat oven to 400 degrees” and get on with what you were doing.

Smart appliances are a great selling point for a new home, and the small difference in cost can make a big difference in home value. Talk to your real estate agent today to help figure out what the best options are before you invest in that new smart kitchen.


Photo by Mabel Amber via Pixabay

You can walk into some folk’s homes and feel the chaos, while in other homes, all you see is clean. There must be a secret to keeping a house picked up without the aid of a housekeeper, right? Right! People whose homes always appear tidy have habits that keep them that way. Here are some of those habits that you can adopt in the kitchen to keep it clean.

Clean While Cooking

Instead of leaving pots or chopping boards to soak, wipe them with a soapy sponge and give them a quick rinse or pop them in the dishwasher. Pans left to soak after a meal become onerous and tempt you to leave them until morning. Cleaning them right away means the food particles wash off more quickly too.

Find a Great Broom or Dust Mop

If you hate the tool, you’ll hate using it. Instead, try out a couple brooms or even microfiber dust mops to see which one you like best. Run it over the kitchen floor at the end of the day, and you’ll wake up to a clean kitchen.

Tuck Away Small Appliances

Toasters, mixers, the slow cooker or Insta-pot all clutter up room on your kitchen counter and gather dust and food debris. Keep them out of sight on a pantry shelf and just pull them out when in use. They stay cleaner and ready to use, and your countertop sparkles.

Hide the Mess

Open shelving adds a beautiful dimension to a kitchen, but when the shelved items don’t naturally stack, they look messy. Hide things away in deep drawers or cupboards that don’t match or rest awkwardly. Use your shelves to display pieces you love, or that stack artfully.

Do These Daily

Wipe the refrigerator doors daily to keep fingerprints at bay, and while you’re at it, take a moment to get the shelves too. Then, ditto with the microwave. Keeping fingerprints and food spills wiped up every day helps avoid the significant cleaning days so many people dread.

Stop the Spills

Well, you can’t always stop spills, but you can stop most spatters. Keep a cover handy for the microwave so that those little “pops” don’t become big messes. If little ones consistently spill milk from a gallon jug, pour some into a smaller container for them to use.

Keeping your home picked up when you have it on the market is essential for a lower-stress selling experience. If you need other ideas about preparing your home for sale, ask your professional real estate agent.


The microwave does not get the respect it deserves in the kitchen. In reality, it is a useful appliance that is under-utilized in the kitchen. Did you know that apart from warming leftover dinner, there are many things that a microwave can do for you? A microwave is actually designed to cook some food items for you quickly and efficiently compared to other cooking methods. Here are some things you can whip up using your microwave.

Bacon

Instead of stressing out to fry bacon, a microwave can cook it for you without the splashing fat. Simply line a plate with paper towels, line up your bacon strips and set your microwave to high heat for up to five minutes. Most moderately-sliced bacon strips will cook to a crisp.

Popcorn

You can make DIY popcorn at home using a microwave. Take a brown paper bag and put in some kernel corns. Fold the bag several times and heat it until it begins to pop. Once the popping reduces to a minimum, put some olive oil or sweet butter, seasoning and anything else you like in your popcorn. Shake it all in, and that's it!

Frittatas for one

Take a mug, spray it generously with cooking spray and break an egg into it. Add in some milk, salt, pepper, and your favorite vegetables and anything else you like in your frittata. Microwave it on high heat for about two minutes, and it's done!Steamed milk for lattesIf you are making your latte at home, you can complete it with “steamed” milk and foam just like your favorite barista. Put two-percent milk into a mason jar and close the lid. Shake it until it foams for about a minute. Then take off the cover and put it in a microwave for about a minute till it is warm. Pour milk into your latte and add the foam for a special topping.

Toasted nuts

Toasting nuts in a pan can leave your kitchen smelling like burnt nuts. You can avoid this smelly nut kitchen issue by using a microwave to get the crisp on your nuts instead. Use a microwave-safe flat dish to cook it instead to get the same crisp without the smell. Don’t cook your nuts for a long time. For the best results, set your microwave to one minute and check your nuts after each round to see if it’s toasted enough for you.

For more cool things you can do with your microwave, take a glance at the user manual to learn more cooking tips.


It has been written; the kitchen is the heart of the home. So, when walking through a model or open house, the kitchen is a significant appeal or detractor. Where the kitchen is relative to the rest of the living space is essential. The layout of the workflow can make or break the impression of the house as a whole. Any upgrades and extra convenience features can turn an ordinary kitchen into your culinary dream area. Other architectural choices can affect the ascetics of the property. 

Layout and Function

When looking at kitchen layouts, the choices are almost endless. How you use the kitchen will give you direction on what will work for you and your family. The number of people that will use the space at any one time can determine how much floor space in the kitchen you need. If you entertain often or tend to gather in the kitchen, an open concept may be up your alley. An island kitchen is another great idea for people who like to congregate and spend time in and around their kitchen. A raised bar on the island can help hide any messes while still enjoying the open island kitchen concept when entertaining.

Work Triangle

Placement of what chefs call the work triangle is an essential element in any kitchen layout. The triangle is made up of the placement of the refrigerator, sink, and oven/stove. In other words, gathering ingredients, prepping, and cooking. Having an optimize work triangle can increase your enjoyment in the kitchen. When touring open or model homes, walk the space as you would use it at home. You could visualize the steps you would take in that space to get your morning cup of coffee. Does the layout make sense concerning how you work in the kitchen?

Upgrades and Add-ons

Many remodeled and new construction homes boast kitchen upgrades that look impressive. A hot water dispenser alongside the sink is convenient, as is an ice cube and water dispenser built into the fridge. Look for those upgrades that lend themselves to helping you make better use of your time. Remember, the more gadgets there are, the more items to maintain. Go ahead and enjoy the undercabinet lighting, so you don’t stub your toes when grabbing that midnight snack. In addition to functional upgrades, some are just there for the overall esthetics; such as crown molding, Italian tile work, or pendant lighting over an island bar. Those can give an otherwise ordinary kitchen a “wow” factor that makes a real impression.

Contact your realtor for more information on locating your dream kitchen.




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