Granite countertops, ergonomically efficient designs, wine storage units — they’re all part of the trend to make kitchens as beautiful, efficient and high-tech as possible.
Blending the art of cooking with the comfort of home has been at the center of businesses such as Custom Kitchens Inc., founded 50 years ago in Richmond.
“It’s the heart of the home, where many people live, cook, do homework, entertain or watch TV,” says Meg Hendrick Downs, marketing director for Custom Kitchens.
Wood and stone elements reflect the popularity of creating a natural look, and the “green” movement has propelled use of energy-saving appliances, Downs says.
Still, the professional look and function of stainless steel define many kitchens. Pullout drawers — some for warming, some for refrigerating — keep food at fingertips, and luxury ice machines can produce up to 30 pounds of perfectly shaped ice cubes a day.
While electric and gas appliances are stalwarts in many kitchens, induction cooktops have gained popularity for their sleek appearance and safety — the technology heats the cookware, not the cooktop. Also in favor are convection ovens, where fans circulate the heated air for uniform cooking.
*The Nelson County Historical Society’s 20th annual Tour of Homes will be held May 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (434) 263-7015.
• The eighth annual Kitchen Kapers tour of Winchester-area kitchens will be held Sept. 14 to benefit the local Shelter for Abused Women.
• The fifth annual Grand Kitchen Tour to benefit the Central Virginia Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society will be held in Richmond in early October (dates to be announced). (804) 591-3032.
• The Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour will be held Oct. 3-5. (540) 297-8687.
• The Fall Richmond Home Show will be held Oct. 11 and 12 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. (804) 425-6556.
* Homes tours will include kitchens.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association provides a list of its members and certified kitchen designers within a 50-mile radius of any ZIP code.
Go to the association’s Web site at http://www.nkba.org and click on “Find a professional” under the NKBA for Consumers menu.
A certified kitchen designer must have seven years experience, have earned 60 NKBA education hours, and have two affidavits and two client references.