About Me

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I have 20+ years experience in Home Furnishings and Interior Design, specializing in Kitchen and Bath Design since '01. I work for Bilotta Kitchens in the A&D Building on East 58th Street in the Mid-town Manhattan. I have a passion for learning and love the opportunity to collaberate on projects of all sizes. My strengths in the field begin with my design background, use of color and texture to bring interest to a room, spatial relationships, organizational skills, innovation, decisiveness, and planning. I have had the thrilling experience of helping hundreds...?maybe thousands of people with their projects, and what I love is it never gets boring, and no two are ever the same. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For the Love of Kitchens

Designed by Aston Smith in collaboration with Dayle Bass


Lately I find myself being asked regularly "what are the latest trends in kitchens?"

In truth I feel like we are in a climate where alomost anything goes. When someone is remodeling a home they will live in for more than five years I always encourage them to do what pleases their eyes.

This clean contemporary kitchen on the Upper West Side of New York epitomizes the general "wish list" if you will of what my clients are asking for everyday.

The cabinetry is veneered in a high quality dimensional laminate, easy to clean, eco-friendly, and perfectly book matched.

The glass lift-up cabinets are a whimsical fun addition to the space. All of the uppers have glass bottoms with integrated lighting that illuminates the cabinet interior as well as the counters below.

The counter tops are Raven by Caesarstone  answering the modern homeowners need for low maintenance, high performance, beautiful counter top surfacing.

The Blanco faucet is functional and beautiful, with the detachable gooseneck spout, it allows for maximum range to clean large pots in this heavily used kitchen.

Behind the doors of the pantry are a variety of storage solutions, ranging from a stainless steel pull out pantry to broom storage, and pullout shelving.

The open feel of this kitchen marries the casual family dining/living area to the kitchen area for a busy family with three young children who like to interact with mom and dad while they cook the daily meals.

The stainless steel toe kicks offer a neat transition from the light hardwood floors to the charcoal rift cabintry, eliminating the need to replace the flooring.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rutt Regency, Custom Kitchens from a Trusted Name

Bilotta Kitchens of New York Rutt Classic
Designed by Tom Vecchio


 Last week I had a great opportunity to visit the Rutt Cabinetry Factory in New Holland PA, I was there for their Rutt Regency training, but I learned and saw so much more about the company as a whole. Rutt, a well known and respected brand for many years operates their one and only factory in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country known for the vast rich farmland and the culturally unique Amish and Mennonite people who help make up a large part of the population.

Rutt distinguishes themselves from other manufacturers in many ways. among them is that they make their own doors. All of the wood is hand selected by one person for each clients project, thus ensuring a harmonious match throughout. Everything is cut planes and sanded in this one location where it is also then assembled and finished. Barb, the glass cutter is the single person responsible for cutting and installing the glass into the true divided lights.


Rutt Regency Contemporary Kitchen

There is a combination of old technology and new here, much of which is done is literally by hand, including the sanding/polishing of the lacquer doors and the glazing and distressing of the cabinetry when called for.

Always keeping up with the times, almost two years ago Rutt introduced a new line called Rutt Regency (yes it's taken me this long to get out there for the training!) they previewed the line to the dealers with a promise that they could deliver the product offered at approximately 20% less than regular Rutt. Over time it's been tested and can come in as much as 30% less, which in this tough market is a very attractive savings and increases the client pool that can afford a Rutt kitchen.


They have achieved the savings through a variety of manufacturing modifications including replacing the hanging rail system used in Classic Rutt with a 3/4" backing in Regency, the material used could be MDF or Plywood depending on the construction level selected. There are a few restrictions between the products, including the patented doors in the Classic level. However there are so many modifications and door styles that are available, it's hard to imagine not being able to hit the right look and price for almost any client from the mid-point price range up.

Part of the beauty of having the single manufacturing facility is that if you want something for your project that is only available through Classic, you can split the order and take the Regency savings on the bulk of the order with complete confidence that wood selection and finishing will match.

 
Designer: Gina Viscusi Elson
Rutt of Los Altos
Photo:Dean Birinyi
Enfield, Java stain on mahogany. 

Rutt is continuing to expand their product offerings, introducing new center panel options, the entire Benjamin Moore color palette at no additional charge, quality convenient Hafele Storage solutions, beautiful, economical, and eco-friendly  dimensional laminates, and LED lighting options in the cabinets.


It was an opportunity not to be missed, learning the product, and being entertained all the while by Dave Roos and Jason Artus of Rutt. We had a fun timeexchanging stories and design tips with great designers from all over the county including:Andrea Langford Design, LLC – Albany, NY, OMNI Group – Central City, PA,
Kitchens By Design, Inc. - Mt. Pleasant, SC,
World Class Cabinetry Corp. - Louisville, KY, Baywolf Dalton – Seattle, WA,
Bilotta Kitchens, New York City, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, NY . They topped off our learning experience with a factory tour, where it's evident they effort they put into a safe clean working environment. In the industry, if you are looking for a responsive manufacturer who is working overtime to provide quality and innovation in both contemporary and traditional cabinetry, I couldn't think of a better company to call.

Just one parting question for Rutt, when are you coming out with the "C" channel construction?

Rutt Regency Class of May 2012


Monday, May 21, 2012

Miele NYC Gallery, Immer Besser



Skyler Stevenson, Director of Marketing for Miele,
Prepping the Kitchen Studio for the
 ICFF Opening Night at the A &D Building NYC, May 21, 2012
 


Choosing Appliances for your home is a big decision, both because of how much we rely on them to make our lives easier and because they consume such a large portion of our remodeling budget. There is huge competition between the high end appliance companies to provide innovative function, better stying and options to suit the variety of homeowner wants and needs.


A class of propective Miele Owners being served
 Beef Tenderloin by Barbara Porteus
at a recent class.
It's always nice before making a final commitment to have an opportunity to see these appliances in action, something equivalent to a test drive on an automobile. However, while we accept a car with 75 miles on it as a new car, we wouldn't welcome a "new"  refrigerator or oven that has been "on loan". So considering that a complete appliance package can cost as much as a new car, what are the options? Trade shows offer some opportunity to see the appliances in action, but there is a more personal way. Many of the appliance companies have Gallery showrooms in major cities like the Miele Showroom at the Architect and Designers Building in New York.

Miele is well known for it's clean European styling, precision electric ovens, convenient built in coffee systems, quiet energy efficient dishwashers, and also first class refrigeration. When handling their appliances the quality and craftsmanship are apparent, making it hard not to want a full set for yourself after you experience the showroom.

In an effort to give consumers the advantage of seeing and touching the appliances and tasting the food, or experiencing the suction on a vacuum or listen for the quietness of their dishwashers, these gallery locations open up Monday through Friday, not only to be seen, but to have a full blown cooking experience.
They offer classes at no charge, and give hands on teaching with practical knowledge, as well as lunch and a glass of wine to compliment.
Lynne Anne Raabe and Barbara Porteus run the Miele Showroom in New York, and give lively, fun information packed seminars in the showroom. Lynne Anne, a former Kitchen Designer,  has been with Miele for 6 years, and she and Barbara, who has a background in entertainment volley the guests questions and the responsibilites of making and serving the meals,  all the while making it look very easy.

The Reception Area at the
Miele Gallery Showroom in NYC

The Bright Beautifully Appointed Cooking Studio
Where Consumer Get "Hands-On" experience
with Miele Products.
When I asked them what they liked most about their work, their answers were very similar. Each made reference to the interaction with the guests and the fun of doing something new every day. They also touched upon the fact that guests continue to marvel that they can come in and receive so much from a company before investing the product, they don't "sell" anything in the Gallery, so there is never any pressure to buy anything here.
While the New York showroom is open Monday through Friday 9-5, the classes are by appointment. If you are interested in attending one you can call (800) 843-7231, and while you are in the building stop by Bilotta Kitchens down the hall and the Sub Zero Wolf Showroom as well.




Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Brady Bunch Meets Girls Gone Wild

Home Sweet Home
Just a little heads up that "The Kitchendeziner" is getting married. I have kept this little tidbit mainly under wraps, allowing for the privacy of our four beautiful daughters who are about to become sisters and share a home that we hope will be full of fun and excitement, we know will be full of love, and undoubtedly in need of an array of DIY and professional home improvement projects. I am going to put a sign on the front door warning all who enter "sensitivity training required", mainly I think to remind myself!

My friends and many of my readers already know that myself and my  two daughters, Kenzie and Kendall left a home in Northern New Jersey  four years ago and moved to Millburn, NJ on the Mainline to NYC where I work. It was a cost saving measure and an opportunity to "get really close", going from a five bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment. We have laughed, cried, adjusted, and and crowded countless teenage girls into our small space for weekend sleepovers and movie nights. I can't imagine another community feeling as much like "Home" so quickly, I have great neighbors.

Well, now as our family is about to double in size to six, we, Eric (my neighbor and fiance, didn't I say I had great neighbors?) and me, are buying a house in our quiet little suburb within walking distance to the park, the school, the bagel shop and Starbucks, and of course our beloved NJ Transit, after all, what is life without a train?

Over the next year as we transform and meld, I will look forward to sharing news, products, images and stories that hopefully will be helpful and interesting!

There is a cat in the mix, (also female),  and a dog in the plans;  a  MEIK (modern eat in kitchen) exists...what defines modern---not cooking over an open fire(?), and a cheerful but antiquated main bathroom, oh did I mention three are teenage girls and 1 tub/shower for all to share? Fun, fun, fun!

We don't close until mid-June (fingers crossed) wish us luck...so in the meantime we'll just walk by our dream house on the way to the park and imagine the fun we are all about to have.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GE-Bringing New Things to Life...Again!







New GE Profile
French Door Refrigerator
Today at the Architect and Designers Building in New York City GE is launching two new French Door Refrigerator, each with innovative and unique properties. The counter depth models, one for the Profile line and one for the Cafe Series are streamlined and displayed today in a brushed stainless finish. These models will make their name based on the water dispenser and filtration system which is touted as the most advanced in the industry. In addition to removing up to 98% of pharmaceutical particulates
in an independent study, the dispenser are the tallest in the industry at 11", accepting tall pitchers and sport bottles etc. without leaving the usual puddle on the floor.
GE Profile Hands Free
Auto Fill Technology


The Profile is available in 27 and 29 cu. ft. models, the Cafe is available in the larger 29 cu. ft. size. Other headline features for the Profile model include the auto-fill technology where the dispenser senses the containers presence and at the touch of a button calibrates the volume and fills the vessel to 90% capacity before shutting off.

Convenient Filter Change
The Cafe model is offering some even flashier technology with a hot water dispenser that offers 4 factory preset temperatures ranging from baby formula temp, to oatmeal to hot chocolate, and then a variable setting programmable by the user. The hot water is directed towards the rear of the dispenser cavity to ensure that the user doesn't get splashed by the hot water requires two step initiation of dispensing to render the unit child safe.

The water filter is concealed, access is conveniently through the left door, very smart looking and no more reaching over the top shelf to change it!


It was a very exciting preview and I hope you check out the features of these new appliances, looking forward to comments and reactions from homeowners and designers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gaggenau at the Architectural Digest Show Spring 2012


Gaggenau CX 491 Induction Cooktop
State of the Art Cooking Technology

 Today is the long awaited day, the doors of New York's Architectural Digest Show will open, and all indicators are we can expect it to be a banner year for the show.

This is MCK+B's second year exhibiting, and while last years attendance couldn't compare with the preliminary numbers on this years anticipated attendance, the show was successful enough to bring us back. Let's go 2012 ! As new home starts and resale numbers are rebounding we have put extra spice into this years displays and are ready to help homeowners discover the surpirsing possibilities in new products for their homes.

In our booth we will premier the New Gaggenau CX491 revolutionary technology in "Full Surface Induction". Yes, a cooktop that will activate heating technology as it recognizes a compatible vessel (pot, pan, whatever you like) has been placed on the surface. There is no "set" burner. The heating process works through magnetically activated technology that is safe, clean and easy to use. The only requirement of the cookware you use is that it is magnetic.

Gaggenau's Sleek Line of Vario
"in Counter" Cooking Appliances
Safe you may ask? Yes part of the beauty of induction is that the top doesn't get hot. Only the pot and the contents become heated, and only to the temperature of the contents, beautiful! What this means is that its safe for homes with elderly or forgetful folks, busy people, or homes with small children. Hmmm, sounds like me and just about everyone I know!

The surface is easy to clean smooth top glass making it very user friendly, and because the top doesn't get hot! If you want to fry, saute and do other types of messy cooking you can spread newspaper over the top, lay the pan down, cook, and then clean up is as easy as rolling the paper up and taking it away.

Gaggenau is the undisputed industry leader in premium cooking technology, with an extensive selection of "in counter modular cooking devices ranging from 12" Teppan Yaki to 15" In counter fryers and steamers, there is something to tempt everyone. Fryer's you may ask, and at the same time think "isn't that unhealthy?". Well truth is there is substantial data to argue that food fried at the wrong temperature is what is unhealthy, properly done at the right temperature which is what Gaggenau delivers substantially cuts down on the fat content in your food. They offer in counter ventilation to pair with this wide selection of gas and electric modules.

Having visited Gaggenau's design center in Scotsdale last year, I can tell you that as a long time user of pressure cooking technology, what they have built into their Combi Steam Ovens is something to be reckoned with. Available in 24" and 30" widths, the technology cuts way down on cooking time, while keeping food moist, vitamin rich and flavorful. Sorry but other than for popcorn you will want to show your microwave the door!

If your in the city this weekend and want a rela treat, stop by the MCK+B Booth and preview the very best in cooking technology, courtesy of Gaggenau, prepare to be wowed!  



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Right Size The Kitchen to Fit the Home

Right sizing the kitchen to the home is an important consideration and best addressed when the designer gets to be on board from concept to finished product. When this happens we get to balance the reasonable number of occupants the space would accommodate and the number of cooks against the floor plan and the size and function of the appliances, counter tops, and seating etc. 


Unfortunately this isn't always the case. Often we get a predefined, sadly inadequate space and have to make the most of it. It's what they call a "design challenge" and it keeps me in a job I love. What's  worse is when a new home or newly remodeled and doesn't fit the needs of the new homeowner.  In the affluent New York City real estate market, it's nothing to gut a $3 million apartment and kick new cabinets, appliances and counter tops to the curb because they aren't right for the owner. This offends my frugal Scottish nature...but is made more palatable when the client allows the kitchen to be donated to a company like green demolitions. There are many companies across the country who will take your old kitchen away in exchange for a tax right off.

Recently I had the opportunity to "expand" a kitchen at the new Philippe Starck building on 23rd Street, known as the Gramercy Starck. The building is beautiful, the impressive lobby is decorated in Black and White with an intimate seating area and a large lavish round shaded light fixture floating above. The apartments in the building are very well appointed with freestanding bathtubs and high quality fixtures.


The Sink side had almost no available
counter with the microwave on it.
The one complaint from my client who owns a 3 bedroom, 1600+ s.f.  apartment on a high floor with downtown views, is the small kitchen. Instead of gutting in this case we added a wall unit in the adjacent dining room which matched the furniture. The original galley kitchen shown here was approximately 13 linear feet in a rich wenge finish.


With custom Stainless Steel, Statuary marble counters, and
under cabinet lighting, the elegant unit
is a compliment to the sophisticated space.
The new wall unit was finished in an very dark ebony engineered veneer and Statuary marble it fits the space and the mood of the building. The design was not only eco-friendly and functional, but offered the family 3 additional seats for dining and a buffet area for entertaining. The small dining area is propped 6" higher than the main counter area supported by a 40.5" tall stainless column and a custom designed 4" stainless steel standoff. Creating the wall unit provided a home for the microwave which wasn't wasn't otherwise designed into the kitchen, and gave them a place to display their Viking wine fridge which heretofore was stored in one of the apartments ample closets. At just 11 feet long it nearly doubled the storage space of the existing kitchen.

Overall the building is breathtaking and the apartments very sophisticated, but some of the kitchens are not quite right sized for the size of the apartment. It was great to have an opportunity to be creative and enhance the space rather than demolish and rebuild.