The Best Place To Spend Money Is In Your Tulsa Kitchen
A sentiment on the wall of a friend's kitchen sums up the importance of this part of the house to the typical consumer:
"No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best."
Whether you are building or remodeling, it seems there is no better place to spend money than on your Tulsa kitchen.
Some call it the "Grand Central Station of family life." The kitchen has come a long way from the days when our grandmothers isolated themselves there for hours preparing meals from scratch, but consumers continue to demand improvement in efficiency and style.
Instead of isolation, cooks want to be placed in the middle of family activities so they can keep tabs on what everyone is doing. Kitchens these days are almost always open to the family room and often have wide views of the outside. They also are getting larger, because cooking has become a social activity, with more than one preparation area and more than one kitchen.
People who do a lot of entertaining in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Bixby want a kitchen with large open areas that allow guests enough room to mingle. Kitchens must also have style and architectural interest -- high ceilings and decorative beams and moldings. The ceilings accommodate large, unusual windows and taller, more ornate cabinetry.
If you already live in a house and want a larger kitchen, one option is to turn a living room into a formal dining room and incorporate the space from the old dining room into the kitchen.
To cooking areas that once might not have been much more than a stove and exhaust hood with a microwave above them, today we bring in more detail to enhance the area, making it one of the main focal points of the kitchen. What do kitchens look like today?
Black is back, as are reds, blues and celery greens. Outdoors materials, including stucco, are being used indoors. Desks are appearing in kitchens at counter height. Sinks are getting bigger, deeper and more plentiful. Two separate sinks are replacing the double bowl model. The sinks are becoming an opportunity for art, a statement of personalization.
Although stainless steel is by far the number-one material used, designers are working with quite a few others. One of the beauties of working with solid-surface materials for a sink -- including stone, which can be finished and sealed so it will not stain -- is that you can fabricate and shape it, creating an interesting drainboard as part of the piece.
Sinks can be art, but they also have a function, and that observation applies to faucets, as well. Several major manufacturers this year have introduced a rubbed bronze look that is almost black but has more depth than wrought iron.
Satin nickel is another popular finish. How about the Tulsa Home Improvement Quiz
Modern Tulsa faucets include the pot-filler, which is put in a wall near the stove and allows you to fill large, deep pots without having to lift them. It may or may not be near the sink.
For appliances, stainless steel remains number one. The professional series and look is particularly important at the high end, and it wants to be mimicked at the lower price points. People are going for a range and separate wall oven, with the oven at a convenient height.
In refrigeration, the watchword is flexibility, with new models from manufacturers either very small (drawer-size) or very large, with beautiful designs and finishes, and available from several sources instead of just one.
Prices are being brought down from very high-end. It's not just $4,000-and-up for integrated refrigerators. You can get them for less, because there are a variety of sizes and designs. Different finishes that will not show fingerprints are being used, such as graphite and meteorite.
Appliances also seem to be about the small details. Storage is being made convenient and flexible, including split drawers on a bottom freezer.
More and more, microwaves are combination appliances that also feature toasters and coffeemakers. Dishwashers have become oversize -- or smaller, depending on your preference.
And let us not forget about speed cooking, which allows you to roast a chicken in 20 minutes and eat steaks that taste as if you made them on an outdoor grill.
In Tulsa granite is the number-one choice for countertops. Alternatives include metal (if the appliances are not metal) and concrete.
The trend in cabinets is warmer, darker, richer, and oak is coming back.
Let The Oklahoma Light In, But Not The Heat Or Cold
Windows are designed to bring in natural light during the day, yet we cover them with curtains and blinds, and rely instead on electric lighting, which costs a lot more money than the sun charges for the same service.
There are some valid arguments for blocking sunlight. It does accelerate the fading of materials such as paint and cloth, and it increases the temperature of a home's interior on hot days.
On the other hand, modern window glass can let in lots of light without heat, and is much more energy-efficient. Double-pane windows with low-e (emissivity) coating can reduce heating bills by 34 percent in cold climates, compared with uncoated, single-pane windows, says the Alliance to Save Energy, a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group.
These low-e coatings are spectrally selective, letting in visible light but blocking radiant-heat losses to cut heating bills. The Efficient Window Collaborative, a group of insulation and window manufacturers that comply with federal energy requirements, says the invisible gas filler in a double-pane window is critical to energy efficiency. Instead of plain air, high-efficiency models use argon or krypton gas, which conduct little heat and help the window's insulating properties.
Traditionally, the material used to create the separation between the two panes of glass, called a thermal break, was metal. New materials are better-insulating and make the overall window more efficient. Window frames also are insulated for greater efficiency.
Security issues have altered the function of windows in urban areas because, though windows are the eyes on the world, the world can see in also. Windows are locked, bolted and barred, especially in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Instead of being the "eyes of the house," windows are considered weak points. But having to close them robs a home's occupants of such benefits as cross-ventilation, and increases the use and cost of air conditioning and fans.
All that aside, windows remain working components of building skins, and manufacturers have been quick to develop new technologies that improve visibility, security and comfort. The consumer's main concern is getting the results of these new technologies properly installed. Leakage around windows is so widespread, for example, that the American Society for Testing and Materials International has developed industry standards for installation.
Using these standards, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association has developed a training and registration program for window and door installers. Among the things most home inspectors check for buyers are the windows. The main purpose is to see whether those windows operate as they were designed.
Sometimes, windows in new construction have been installed too tightly, so they pinch the screens, which won't open and close easily. In older houses, inspectors usually find that the top sashes of the windows have been painted shut because people rarely move the sashes up and down. Windows in old or historic houses tend to operate surprisingly well. A lot of old-house owners like living in them, and they have maintained the windows.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing heat loss or gain in homes often includes either improving or replacing windows. Among the low-cost options available for improvement are caulking, weather-stripping, retrofit window films and window treatments. Replacing windows will involve the purchase of new materials, which should adhere to certain energy-efficiency standards.
Different combinations of frame style, frame material, and glazing can yield very different results when weighing energy efficiency and cost, according to the energy department.
For example, a fixed-pane window is the most airtight and the least expensive; a window with a wood frame is likely to have less conductive heat loss than one with an aluminum frame; double-pane, low-e window units are just as efficient as triple-pane untreated windows, but cost and weigh less.
No single window is suitable for every application. Many types of windows and window films are available that serve different purposes. Moreover, you may discover that you need two kinds of windows for your home because of the directions that your windows face and your local climate.
To make wise purchases, the energy department suggests that homeowners first examine their heating and cooling needs and establish a list of priorities for desired features, including day lighting, solar heating, shading, ventilation, and aesthetic value.
HOME DID NOT SELL - WHY?