- Engineered quartz countertops are becoming a big contender to granite countertops. There are durable, hard, stain and scratch resistant, and look like natural stone. The material is made by mixing natural quartz with a resin binder. Plus, you don't have to seal it every year like you do with granite.
- Wood tile is the new rage. It's porcelain or ceramic tile made to look like hardwood. It's supposed to offer the durability of tile with the look of hardwood. I'm not completely sold on this yet. There's a small seam between the pieces of tile that needs to be grouted so the look isn't completely authentic. Also, I've heard it can cost more than standard hardwood. In my opinion, nothing beats the real thing.
- Thinking of placing a cooktop on a kitchen island? Your options are slim. My mom is adding an island in her kitchen and she really wants the cooktop on the island and the built in wall ovens. Because the cooktop will be in the center of the kitchen and the kitchen is located on the first floor of a two story house, her contractor recommended a downdrafting cooktop so the smoke, steam, and odors would be drafted down through the floor and out the basement. This is an alternative to the traditional overhead hood. They like this idea, but when they started looking at downdrafting cooktop options there was only one in the whole store. Also, they really wanted a grill/griddle on the cooktop, but they learned they can't do that with the downdraft option because the vent is not strong enough. Small bump, but they decided to still go with it.
Most exciting of all, I found my dream refrigerator! We currently have a white side-by-side model, but we'll upgrade to stainless steel french door at some point. Jake really likes the water filtration and ice maker feature on the one we currently have, but I think it's a waste because it takes up so much valuable space in the freezer. Well, enter this KitchenAid model:
The ice maker and water filtration system are built into the door, so it doesn't take up shelf space! It has a number of other cool features and if the sales guy wasn't talking out of his a**, it runs on the same amount of energy as a 40 watt lightbulb. One small problem, at $2,999, it doesn't come cheap. A girl can dream, right?