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Kitchens Over The Last 100 Years

There was a time when kitchens weren’t the special spot in the house. It didn’t really have a social atmosphere for people to congregate to. They were purely used for servants and women of the house to prep food and that was it. Usually small unless it was the rich and then it was big because of all the servants who needed to prepare meals for everyone. Things have changed dramatically over the last 100 years.  Kitchens are now a place for the whole family to relax, work and socialize as well as cook. Modern kitchens spill out into the living room, garden area or patio to emphasize on entertaining family and friends. Below, we take a glance at how far and how much change has the everyday kitchen evolved into what it is today.

 

Before 1940

This was the era before kitchens were more than just a prepping area. Kitchens mostly consisted of wood. Kitchens started to take a turn in 1920 when the electric dishwasher was built but it wasn’t easy. Magazines would have to encourage husbands that he’d have a happier life if he had a happier wife. Women didn’t have the upper hand in buying things for the household so to free themselves from the curse of dish-washing, advertising companies had to convince the husband that it was a good investment. Some women reported washing 200+ pieces a day back then.

   

 

1940’s-1950’s

This was the era of appliances. Waffles irons, toasters, and percolators were some of the first to take popularity. Kitchens started to become more decorated with built-ins and pops of color especially in appliances like the fridge and stove. It was the age of fancy for the kitchen trend through the 60’s. Minimizing work was very important to the housewife and easy cleaning was a must so metal cabinets, stainless steel counters, and linoleum floors started to become the trend. The washing machine and wringer made its debut during this time and back then laundry rooms were non-existent so it was set up in the kitchen. Refrigerators stepped up their game and offered glass shelves, indoor compartments, crisper drawers, and freezers which made daily grocery shopping a thing of the past. The electric oven also became a household need instead of the original wood, coal or gas stoves. During this time is when kitchens started to become more inviting to friends and family trying to include the cook with the rest of the household. 

   

1960’s-1970’s

This was the decade for colors! This is where the harvest gold and avocado green were born. Kitchens started to become more opened up to include the eating area which created the work triangle and the U-shaped kitchen. It still gave kitchens the feeling of intimacy without completely enclosing the walls but also providing an open feel to it. Creating extra space for cooking and storage as well. Storage was huge in the 60’s and 70’s because of all the gadgets that were being invented so design ideas that helped with storage were a growing factor. Kitchen pegboards were one design that seemed to take off. It added a convenient way to keep pans within arms reach while adding an unexpected decorative element to space. Another boundary-breaking design that hit kitchens in this era was busy prints, especially in wallpaper. A few devices that were popular in the kitchen were microwaves, which changed how cooking was done from here on out. Fridges even stepped up their game and added more features like water and ice dispensers from the door. The phone also became a household item and usually was found in the kitchen. 

 

 

1980’s-1990’s

This is the era we are all running away from now. Oak cabinets, frilly window treatments and color palettes that are now heavy-handed. Bright colors and busy patterns started to fade from kitchen decor and neutrals started to make its way into the kitchen. Pastels and bright hues were still popular but it tended to be more in the accents. Natural light, open shelving, and islands were trendy now that the kitchen started to become a place for socializing. The 80’s brought the home computer and a new fad was eat-in kitchens. After the 90’s, Linoleum floors and Formica counters faded into tile floors and granite counters to make kitchens look more timeless.

   

Modern Day

One style that is sticking around since the 80’s and 90 ’s is natural light, open shelving, and islands. 2000 kitchens differ greatly from 2018 kitchens and will also continue to change by 2030 but the design goal with kitchens of the 21st century is to reach an aesthetically pleasing and functional kitchen that is timeless. Kitchens today are all about the amenities and unique storage options. While modern minimalist designs are popular so is the old-fashioned farmhouse look with a modern touch. Kitchens have become the center of the home bringing families closer together. Appliances have become smarter than the average joe, from remote access to automated encyclopedia by voice activation, the wave of the future has changed the way we do things. With both parents working full-time careers, the kitchen has become less for prepping and more for gathering.

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Kitchens have definitely changed a lot over the last 100 years and will continue to change in the next 100 years to come. One thing to remember when renovating your kitchen is choosing a contractor to listen to your wants or needs and communicating with you every step of the way. Need a free estimate give us a call and we will make your dream kitchen come to life.

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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The Scoop On White Kitchens

White kitchens have definitely stayed a trend for homeowners over the last 20 years and is continuing to rise for the next few years to come. All white kitchens tend to have a timeless quality and are almost able to camouflage their age. Since it is such a universal color, white is appropriate for any style of decor, whether it’s traditional Victorian, modern contemporary, retro and vintage, mid-century, or industrial. The versatility is another reason why white kitchens are so popular, it tends to be appealing to most people due to being both basic and bold, vivid and dramatic and not too flashy. They could also be considered a template for additional personalization if you choose, such as adding colored accents or material to make the space your own.

While white kitchens aren’t going anywhere, expect to see a rise in color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue. Warm wood tones are becoming a popular replacement for painted cabinets. The two-toned look started catching on in 2017, in which cabinet colors were mixed and matched in the kitchen. For example, the bottom cabinets might be a darker color, such as gray, and the upper cabinets then all in white. Having a color that is bolder for the kitchen island contrasts the rest of the kitchen and makes a statement. This is why white has many benefits because then you can play with color in unique ways. White is such a basic color, that you can go along way with design and it also makes the space feel light, airy and clean. White can also make your small space look bigger than what it really is.

In kitchen remodeling, cabinets receive the highest allocation. They take up a lot of real-estate and are costly to manufacture and install. White cabinets avoid the decision of having to select a wood finish that dates a home quicker than is needed. You can also rest easy knowing that your kitchen can easily be updated with accessories and appliances while keeping the cabinets longer.

 

Versatility

Whether your kitchen has an upscale or shabby chic vibe, white cabinets are workable. This adaptability can be appealing to potential home buyers. While they may not see eye to eye with you on your kitchen decor, they know they won’t have to completely gut the kitchen when they move in. White plays well with nearly every other shade, making it convenient to coordinate countertops, appliances and lights fixtures, and backsplashes.

Warmth

Even though white is the name of the game, one mustn’t forget that the kitchen is part of the house and therefore in its design, it must project warmth and preserve an inviting appearance. In order to prevent a cold and sterile feeling, it is recommended to select a number of elements that will disrupt the monotony of the cold white and that will provide splashes of color and warmth to the space. Herbs of an intense green color, placed in a decorative vase on a white work surface would do the trick wonderfully. Adding paintings with splashes of color will give your kitchen an inviting look without cluttering the countertops. Even adding colored appliances might warm up the white monotony of the space.

Natural Light

High electricity prices and environmental awareness contribute greatly to energy-saving LED lamps. This trend is welcomed but full of potential home-lighting catastrophes in the form of white fluorescent bulbs. In order to prevent an office atmosphere in your kitchen, choose lighting with a warm color, not fluorescent. Warm natural light completes and emphasizes white surfaces without creating a cold feeling. If you are able to, try to plan your kitchen ahead of time so that during the day, those sitting in your kitchen can enjoy natural light entering through large windows which are essential for the ventilation of an active kitchen, among other things.

Wood

In order to generate interest and break the uniform appearance of the space, you can incorporate segments of wood (butcher) into your work surface. The segment can be a part of the work surface that is integrated creatively such as in a zigzag formation or a portable element such as a large cutting board that can turn into a hosting platform in an instant. You can always integrate into the general kitchen design cabinets made of wood and create a complex design combining materials.

Color

A color’s character is often determined by the material on which it “lies”. When designing a white kitchen, it is important to remember that for different materials, different finishes influence the manner in which the white reacts to the material, and what amount of light will reflect from it. A glossy finish, with a reflective characteristic, gives depth to the white color that will also be affected, among other things, by the colors of the elements around the space that reflect off the white. On the contrary, a matte white finish, which absorbs the light, allows, relative to the glossy, for the white color to appear as a single unified piece.

 

 

How to add color to your white kitchen

  • Get furniture with color to add a pop to your white space
  • Add wood to your white space to help add contrast
  • Add a dark color to window treatments will add a pop to the white space and you can change them out when you want to update it.
  • Be Bold! Give your island a pop of color.
  • Put a splash of color in the backsplash to break up the white concept.
  • Add a dark flooring or dark countertops to a white kitchen
  • Get stone white countertops with excessive dark veining to add texture to your white space without taking away from the white concept.
  • Make your oven hood the centerpiece of your white kitchen by making it extraordinary. Think copper or a wood material.
  • Embrace black stainless steel appliances or even colored.
  • Paint the walls using color to make your white kitchen pop with warmth.

 

     

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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What To Do With A Galley Kitchen

What is a galley kitchen? A galley kitchen is a narrow usually small kitchen with one long aisle lined with countertops, cabinets, & appliances on either side. Below gives you a general idea of a galley kitchen layout.

 

 

Small kitchens aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the space is designed correctly you will find a galley kitchen is functional. If your kitchen is an outdated galley kitchen then yes it was probably badly designed and creates a hectic workspace. Fear not remodeling your galley kitchen can help make the space more efficient and give you just as much storage as a large kitchen. It truly is an effective space and makes the most for a true chef as long as you have the right designer in place to give you what you are looking for. With the long aisle and parallel counters, this is designed exactly how the professional kitchens are in restaurants. The only thing you may not get in a galley kitchen that you do with a large kitchen is the open concept. When you entertain an open kitchen gives you a chance to mingle with your guests while still working in the kitchen, this is less likely to occur with a galley kitchen but isn’t impossible if it’s designed right.

Look at the positive side of a galley kitchen. If you love to cook this is an ideal way to control traffic flow in and out of the kitchen. It’s ideal for one person in the kitchen so it’s a great asset if there tends to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Tidying up a galley kitchen is usually easier because the design is minimal. It keeps the cook organized and utilizes the space around them. It also follows the design technique of the “kitchen triangle” which is an invisible line that is drawn between the sink, stove, and refrigerator creating optimal efficiency.

Getting ready for your galley kitchen remodel. The vertical cabinet is a great way to utilize space. Getting bins and baskets to store extra cooking tools and various accessories like cookbooks can be stored up higher while the necessities can be stored at arm’s length. Get rid of countertop appliances that you don’t use much and invest in multi-use appliances. Pot racks are another good addition to save on cabinet space and can add some style to the kitchen.

Choosing a style. Choosing the right style for a galley kitchen can be tricky, first of all, remember that galley kitchens can be dark and dungeon-like because of the space confinement. It is best to go light and bright when designing your galley kitchen. This will help make the kitchen feel open and spacious. Making sure to have a lot of natural light is important so, make a larger window or add skylights will help open up the kitchen. Choosing lighter paint colors will reflect the light in the space also. White is the trend for kitchens now so this will also add a timeless look if you are trying to sell. To add depth pick out colorful accents to make the space inviting. Under cabinet lighting is another nice feature especially for cooking.

Dining in a galley kitchen. It might be hard to dine in a galley kitchen but you can possibly create a breakfast bar or nook that will give you somewhat interaction with your guests. This is popular in large kitchens also but usually, it is an island in the middle of the kitchen.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Smart fridge….is it not to be or is it?

By the early 2000’s, the idea of connecting home appliances to the internet was becoming popular. In June LG was the first to launch the world’s first refrigerator. It was unsuccessful because consumers had seen it as unnecessary and expensive, at that time it was set at $20,000.

Now we fast forward to 2018 and the smart fridge is back on the market. This time it is cheaper and is more necessary with consumers using this technology on an everyday basis.

The new age of technology has taken over the market to make consumers lives easier but is it really making your life easier or is it taking more money out of your pocket. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of owning a smart fridge.

 

Pros

Refrigerators are becoming smarter every year, some even assisting you with grocery shopping and making sure you have the ingredients for your next recipe in the fridge. One of the most popular models on the market is the Samsung Family Hub and it does all that and more. It comes with a touchscreen just like a tablet and allows you to do pretty much everything even controlling the temperature/humidity settings. The display can showcase your calendar, type in notes/reminders, and display photos or music. Some models even let you order groceries from a local store.

 

Cons

The most important con to mention is the price. Starting around $5,500 these fresh new features definitely come with a hefty price tag. It doesn’t stop after you purchase one, the repairs are just as expensive and you know how things are made nowadays. Made to break within a couple of years, so you will go out and buy a new one. With Wifi capabilities that means your smart fridge can be hacked or become infected with a virus, so if you give it access to your email or social media, you can be at risk. The other issue is with the extra features after a year or two the brand discontinues any security updates as they develop newer versions and turn their focus to those. 

 

 Features of the Smart Fridge

  • 21.5-inch touchscreen.
  • Wifi connectivity.
  • Built-in camera- to view contents in the fridge.
  • Four-door cooling system.
  • FlexZone compartment- settings include Soft Freeze, Frozen, Cheese/veggies, Meat/fish and white wine.
  • Metal/Cooling technology- to ensure effective humidity monitoring allowing quick adjustment in-case the door is left open.
  • Water dispenser- with ice cube machine.
  • White Board- to allow users to scribble notes and doodles.
  • Recipe organizer-This app files recipes for your convenience.
  • Club des Chefs- which offers videos with cooking instructions.
  • StickiBoard- which imports calendars from Google and Outlook apps.
  • Tuneln- which allows streaming of internet radio and podcasts.
  • Pandora- the music streaming app.
  • TV mirroring- this gives the fridge display access to Samsung Smart TVs.
  • Photo Album.
  • Groceries/InstaCart by Mastercard- which gives you the option to order groceries and schedule a delivery to your home.
  • Timer-Timing app also monitors chilling of foods and marinating times not just what’s cooking.
  • Fridge Manager- this feature allows the user to view and change temperature and settings in the different compartments.

 

Conclusion

The problem seems to lie in the business model of smart devices. It’s exciting to see and experience the possibilities of smart devices but these companies are rushing in to exploit this new possibility without any clear and actual vision for what real value a smart device like a fridge would bring to a user. All of the leading smart fridge vendors are hardware manufacturers. They make their money by selling more hardware to customers. Which means they don’t care about old devices the following year. When I think of a smart device I want to see a new product that actually introduces new concepts in our lives, a product that identifies most existing problems. I don’t see an added value in a smart fridge as I do on a smartphone.

 

 

 

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How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

 

Stainless steel appliances are popular for kitchens in millions of homes across the U.S. They look amazing when they are new, so shiny and futuristic looking. Stainless steel can be a pain to keep clean! Everyone has their ideas as to the best way to clean it. There are tons of companies that claim their product is the best to use for the job, but which ones REALLY work! Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one! And it’s not all about the cleaning, it’s about understanding the material you are working with.

Cleaning solutions for your stainless steel appliances

Let’s start with the material, like wood, stainless steel has a grain direction. So when cleaning, it’s important to figure out the direction of the grain and be sure to wipe with the grain and not against the grain. These striations can be very faint, so you might have to look close. It’s possible for one appliance to have more than one grain direction, so be sure to pay attention when cleaning different parts like doors, handles etc. Cleaning with the grain will prevent cleaning residue from collecting in the tiny little crevices, and gives a better shine. Many stainless steel products have a fingerprint-proof finish, or will slowly show less fingerprints over time as the stainless conditions itself.

 

 

Cleaning products don’t always mix well, so try to find a solution that works for you and stick with it. Mixing products can actually make the cleaning harder over time. Try to avoid products that contain chloride, as this can damage the protective finish. Some of the better products are chloride free glass cleaner (this is great for the polished surfaces and mirror like surfaces), and the commercially manufactured pastes made for stainless steel.

 

For natural and DIY cleaners you have a few options. White vinegar is great for cleaning. Use a spray bottle to apply the white vinegar to a microfiber cloth or directly onto surface, allow it to sit for a moment, then wipe in the direction of the grain. You can apply as many times as needed to get the desired results. Vinegar contains a mild acid, called acetic acid.  It cuts through the oil left behind by fingers, rather than smearing it around like a lot of other products.

 

Good ol’ hot water! Yes, just hot water and a microfiber cloth does great for keeping appliances clean and the microfiber cloth won’t leave streaks. If you have stuck-on food or stains on the surface you may need to scrub a little longer. If you don’t feel like hot water is enough to clean, then add a little concentrated dish liquid like Dawn to a soft sponge (DO NOT USE ANYTHING ABRASIVE) or a lint-free cloth and and wipe in the same direction of the grain. Wipe again with hot water and dry immediately to prevent any mineral spots (if using regular tap water).

 

Another option is Windex and a soft cloth or paper towel to remove fingerprints. Glass cleaner works great on stainless steel, and can be a quick and easy fix to those annoying fingerprints and smudges. When using the glass cleaner spray it on to the cloth and then wipe onto the appliance, by doing this you wont have to worry about any drips or the cleaner drying and streaking before you are able to wipe it down.

 

For really tough stains or to get your appliances to really shine, you can always use the commercial stainless steel cleaners. These should be used as a last resort or just on occasion. Non-toxic solutions are always a better option, but commercial cleaners can come in handy! Just like everything else, be sure to always wipe and clean with the grain to prevent any scratching and build up in the tiny crevices.  The two best commercial cleaners are the 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner, and the Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. Both are non-abrasive and a great option for cleaning and polishing your stainless steel.

 

Maximize your Kitchen Space and Functionality!

Whether you are doing a professional remodel or just looking to get more space and functionality out of your kitchen, or a Do-It-Yourselfer, we have lined up some great ideas to help with both. Maximize your storage space and find helpful gadgets to make the most of your kitchen space. One of the most important things in a kitchen is functionality and space. Whether it’s a small kitchen or a large one, these ideas can be utilized in every size and shape! From cabinet layouts, to utilizing the wall for storage, we have listed several ideas to help you along.

 

Cabinet Pull-Outs:

Pull-outs can greatly increase usable space in cabinets. How many time have you lost spices, or a can of beans in the back of the cabinet black hole! Instead of digging through piles of items trying to find something towards the back, add a cabinet pull out. This maximizes your space with a multi-level cabinet and easy organization. Any cabinet in your kitchen can be converted to a pull-out, however they are more functional if you have deeper cabinets opposed to shallow ones. These can be utilized for a spice rack, pantry items, drink storage, and much more!

 

Cabinet Dividers:

Another way to increase organization is adding dividers in your cabinets for tall and thin items like cutting boards, baking pans, cooling racks, and even lids. If you have tall cabinets you can have full length dividers and stand up the taller items on end, or for shorter cabinets you can add the shorter half-dividers and use them as lean-to’s. Dividers can be permanently built into the cabinets, or can be removable wire or metal inserts. If you are having your kitchen remodeled, the permanent dividers are the way to go. If you are just looking to maximize space and functionality yourself, then the removable dividers are the way to go and be purchased at many retail stores including, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes.

 

Tip-Out Trays:

These are handy little spaces that are located in front of the sink and above the cabinet doors. It offers a nice space to store sponges, soap bars and any other smaller items you would normally find in or around the sink area. Keeps the sink area clutter free, but allows quick and convenient access to the things you use on a daily basis. Although these are generally located in front of the sink, they can also be utilized in other areas of the kitchen.

 

Corner Cabinet Storage:

We all know the dreaded corner cabinet dead space. They are nice large areas, but trying to reach items pushed way in the back is a daunting task, not to mention everything in front of it that you have to pull out, then put back again! But alas, there is a solution to this! Make that space functional and frustration free with some handy cabinet gadgets.

Half Lazy susan shelves, these are like the lazy susan shelves we are all familiar with but with a twist, they are cut in half and swing in and around the corner of the cabinet utilizing that deep space and making access to the items in there a breeze!

Magic corner is a handy 2-tier shelf that is on hinges, and as you pull on the handle to pull out the front shelves, it in turn is attached to a second section of 2-tier shelving and pulls those out as well. Once again, utilizing the space in those corner cabinets, and making the items easily accessible.

 

Vertical Wall Storage:

Utilize that wall space! Get creative and find ways to use the open wall space in your kitchen, install extra shelving for spices, or to get counter top appliances off the counter top. Use towel bars with small bins to hang utensils or hooks for pots and pans. Drill holes in wood cutting boards and hang them on the wall or the side of a cabinet with hooks or knobs for easy access. Use a magnetic metal strip to stick knives too and open up that drawer space.

 

Kitchen Islands:

Islands can add quite a bit of useable space to a kitchen. This could be a permanent/stationary island or even a small or large rolling butcher block with cabinets that can be utilized as an island. Islands add counter space, storage space, and can double as a breakfast nook or seating area for extra seating in certain kitchens. If you have a built-in island you can add a microwave, oven, dishwasher, stove top or even a wine cooler! Islands can be utilized to open up other cabinet space, or just for convenience of location for certain items or appliances.

Kitchen Cooking and Cleaning Tips

Perfect Pasta

You have just made up your pasta according to the directions, but it is still going to be a few minutes before you serve up dinner. What can you do to help keep it warm?

Place your pot about ¼ to 1/3 full of hot water back on the stove over med to med/high heat. Now place your pasta in a metal or heavy duty plastic colander that can withstand heat. Place the colander over the top of your pan and let the steam keep your noodles warm with out over cooking them.

 

How to Remove Stains from Wooden Cutting Boards

Can rings and wine and strawberries stains don’t help the style of your cutting board. To get out stains, try sprinkling the board with salt rubbing it with lemon. For more stubborn stains, try an abrasive antibacterial kitchen cleaner and scouring pad. For the toughest, reach for sandpaper! And of course wash thoroughly afterward!

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How to Soften Hardened Brown Sugar

Brown sugar hardens as its moisture evaporates over time in the cupboard. But you can easily re-moisturize it by placing the open sugar bag in a microwave with a cup of water next to it and zapping it on high for three minutes. Or you can place the sugar in a bowl, cover the sugar with a double layer of wet paper towels, and then cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and let it stand overnight.  The jury is still out on what to put in the bag of brown sugar to keep it from going hard: a slice of apple, a piece of bread, and a shard of a terra cotta pot have all been used.

 

 

How to Refresh Crystallized Honey

You know that jar or bottle of honey that’s hardened and crystallized on your shelf? It can easily be brought back to its easy-to-pour glory if you let it sit for 15 minutes in boiling water that has cooled for five minutes.

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Plastic Bag Holder

An empty rectangular tissue box makes a convenient holder for small garbage bags, plastic grocery bags and small rags. Simply thumbtack it to the inside of a cabinet door.

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For cleaning smelly hands after chopping onions or garlic, just rub them on a stainless steel spoon. The steel is supposed to absorb the odor.

 

If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt.

 

When boiling eggs, add a pinch of salt to keep the shells from cracking.

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When storing empty airtight containers, throw in a pinch of salt to keep them from getting stinky.

 

If you are making gravy and accidentally burn it, just pour it into a clean pan and continue cooking it. Add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go to avoid over-sugaring it. The sugar will cancel out the burned taste.

 

Burned a pot of rice? Just place a piece of white bread on top of the rice for 5-10 minutes to draw out the burned flavor. Be careful not to scrape the burned pieces off of the bottom of the pan when serving the rice.

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If you aren’t sure how fresh your eggs are, place them in about four inches of water. Eggs that stay on the bottom are fresh. If only one end tips up, the egg is less fresh and should be used soon. If it floats, it’s past the fresh stage.

 

Before you chop chili peppers, rub a little vegetable oil into your hands and your skin won’t absorb the spicy chili oil.

 

To banish ants from the kitchen, find out where they are coming in and cover the hole with petroleum jelly. Ants won’t trek through the jelly. If they are coming under a door, draw a line on the floor with chalk. The little bugs also won’t cross a line of chalk.

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Before making popcorn on the stove or in an air popper, soak the kernels in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water, then pop as normal. The additional moisture helps the popcorn pop up quicker and fluffier with fewer “old maids.”

 

Don’t store your bananas in a bunch or in a fruit bowl with other fruits. Separate your bananas and place each in a different location. Bananas release gases which cause fruits (including other bananas) to ripen quickly. Separating them will keep them fresh longer.

 

To keep potatoes from budding in the bag, put an apple in with them.

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After boiling pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your house plants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love.  When you clean your fish tank, the water you drain can also be used to water your house plants. The nitrogen and phosphorus in fish droppings make aquarium water a great fertilizer.

 

When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. Not only does it tenderize the meat; it will also bring down the freezing temperature of the meat and cause it to thaw quicker.

 

For aluminum pans that are looking dull, just boil some apple peels in them. This will brighten up the aluminum and make your house smell yummy.

 

To keep cookies fresh, put some crumpled-up tissue paper in the bottom of the cookie jar.

Keep iceberg lettuce fresh in the fridge by wrapping it in a clean, dry paper towel and storing lettuce and paper towel in a sealed baggie in the fridge.

 

If your loaf of bread is starting to go stale, just put a piece of fresh celery in the bag and close it back up. For some reason, this restores a fresh taste and texture to the bread.

 

To reuse cooking oil without tasting whatever was cooked in the oil previously, cook a 1/4? piece of ginger in the oil. It will remove any remaining flavors and odors.

 

If your milk always goes bad before you can finish it, try adding a pinch of salt to the carton when you first open it. It will stay fresh days longer.

How to select Range Hood for Stove

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There are few things better than the mouth-watering aroma of a gourmet meal. Whether it’s the sweet scent of garlic or the savory smell of old-fashioned spaghetti sauce, there’s little question that smells greatly enhance the flavor of home cooking. Once the meal is over, however, you don’t want those smells to linger in the kitchen. Range hoods not only vent away odors instantly to keep your kitchen fresh, they also filter out heat, smoke, grease and moisture. Regardless of how your kitchen is set up, you’ll be able to find a hood that will fit in well in terms of both performance and style. Choose from over-the-range, downdraft, microwave/range hood combos and other designs and keep the following questions in mind as you shop:

 

  • What type of range hood is best suited for your kitchen?
  • Where should the range hood be installed?
  • What type of ventilation system should you use?
  • How large should your range hood be?
  • Are there any special features you’d like to have?

 

Ventilation Systems, Style and Installation

 

The size of your range and the amount of time you spend cooking will help determine what type of range hood you should purchase. Ventilation systems may be either external or recirculating, and range hoods can be installed in several different places, including underneath a cabinet, hanging down from the ceiling or even in the countertop. Though their primary function is to get rid of bad smells, smoke and grease, range hoods can also add a stylish element to your kitchen, particularly if you choose a customized unit. There is a large selection of features to choose from, including halogen lights, variable-speed fans and filter indicator lights, each of which is designed to make using your range hood easier and more convenient. Regardless of which type you choose, it’s important to remember that proper care and maintenance is essential to effective performance.

 

Ventilation Systems: There are two primary types of ventilation, external and recirculating. You can also choose from a couple of different fan types, including rotary fans, which feature blades, or centrifugal fans, which are shaped like a barrel or wheel. In general, centrifugal fans are slightly more powerful and better suited for longer ducts. The amount of air that is vented by fans is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Units with higher CFM rates move more air, and the Home Ventilating Institute, a nonprofit organization that certifies products and provides consumer information in the field of residential ventilation, recommends a minimum of 40 CFM for every linear foot of range. So, if you have a 3? range, you’d need a range hood with at least 120 CFM. For gas cooktops, a good estimate is to have 1 CFM for every 100 BTUs of power the stove has. Consult the chart below to learn more about the different ventilation systems and some points of consideration for each.

 

SystemsDescription Points To Consider
Convertible –Able to utilize either external vents or filters.
  • If using filters, be sure to change regularly
  • Choose to vent externally if possible for greater effectiveness
External –Vents contaminated air outside of the house through a series of vertical or horizontal ducts.
  • Air must be vented outside of house, not into a crawl space or attic
  • Generally more efficient
  • Can be more complicated to install
Recirculating- Uses a filter system to clean air before circulating it back into house.
  • Filters must be cleaned or changed regularly to ensure high-quality performance
  • Easier to install

 

Size, Style and Placement: The type of range hood you choose will be dictated in part by your kitchen setup and in part by your own sense of style. If your range is installed against a wall and there are cabinets above, you may want to consider an under-cabinet range hood or a slide-out unit, which can be unobtrusively tucked away when not in use. Telescoping downdraft hoods are installed in your countertop and remain hidden from view until they’re needed, at which time they can be activated with the touch of a button, making them ideal for people who don’t want a visible venting system. If you have a cooktop on an island, an island range hood provides a sleek, stylish ventilation method that comes down from the ceiling. Chimney hoods are mounted on a wall and used in conjunction with soffit vents. They often provide lights to help illuminate the cooking area. Depending on the size, style and features you choose, range hoods can cost anywhere from under $100 to several thousand dollars.

  • Common colors include almond, bisque, biscuit, stainless steel, silver, black and white
  • Make sure to match the finish and style of the hood to your range or cooktop
  • Hoods are typically 30”, 36” or 42” wide
  • Choose a hood that’s at least as wide as your range for maximum effectiveness
  • One-touch activation of downdraft models allows you to start them quickly and easily

 

Maintenance and Installation Tips: In many cases, you should be able to install a range hood on your own. If, however, you’re unsure of your ability to do so, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. For houses that already have ductwork in place, make sure you select a range hood that has a compatible design. If you’re building a new house or installing new ductwork, make sure to determine whether vertical or horizontal positioning will be more efficient. Always make sure that air is vented outside the house and not into an enclosed space, such as an attic, as heat, moisture and grease can accumulate there and cause damage. Models that can accommodate either round or rectangular ductwork provide greater installation versatility.

 

 

  • Generally speaking, gas ranges require a hood with a higher CFM rate than electric units
  • Wash or replace filters regularly as needed to maintain efficient and effective operation
  • Deep-frying, using a wok and frequent cooking may all necessitate cleaning or replacing filters more frequently
  • Convertible units generally allow for both vertical and horizontal ventilation
  • Wipe down range hood surfaces regularly using warm water and mild soap to avoid grease buildup

 

Features

 

Halogen Lights and Nightlight: Lights on a range hood make it easier to see what you’re cooking. Nightlights provide soft illumination that will prevent you from tripping when you sneak into the kitchen for a midnight snack.

 

Electronic Touch Controls: For easier use, look for models that feature convenient electronic touch controls for precise operation and the ability to preset on and off times.

 

Variable-Speed Fan with Heat Sensors: Variable-speed fans can speed up to handle more heat, and heat sensors automatically increase speed or sound an alarm when things get too hot.

 

Quiet Operation: The noise generated by range hoods is measured in sones and, in general, the higher the fan’s CFM rating, the more sones it produces. Some hoods, however, feature insulation for quiet operation, minimizing the noise to provide less of a distraction while you cook.

 

Automatic Shutoff: Some units shut the fan off automatically after a specified period of time or let you designate a shutoff time, so you can keep the fan going after you leave the kitchen to completely clear the air.

 

Self-Cleaning/Filterless Operation: For easy maintenance, look for a self-cleaning range hood with filterless operation. These units can be programmed to clean themselves, ensuring your kitchen stays fresh with minimal effort.

 

Filter Monitor and Indicator Light: You have far too many things going on in life as is, and having to keep track of when to change the filter in your range hood adds one more item to the list. Fortunately, some hoods feature an indicator light that lets you know when it’s time to replace the filter, making it one less thing you have to worry about.

Countertop Buying Guide

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Installing new kitchen countertops is one of the most dramatic ways to express your sense of style in your home. Whether made from a natural stone such as granite or quartz or another such as laminate or solid surface, countertops can enhance your lifestyle and add equity to your home. This buying guide explains the features and maintenance requirements for each type of surface so you can feel confident you’re selecting the countertop that will work with your lifestyle for years to come.

 

Start With How You Use Your Kitchen

 

To find the countertop that works best for your home and lifestyle, start by taking a look at how you use your kitchen. If yours is like many households, you want a countertop that complements your overall kitchen décor while standing up to everyday use for your family without too much maintenance. On the other hand, if you entertain guests often, you may prefer a countertop with all of these features plus a more elegant look and finish. By offering a wide range of countertop materials, styles, finishes and colors, the Home Depot makes it easy for you to match your countertop to your lifestyle.

 

Factors to Consider

 

Budget 
There’s a countertop to match almost any budget, with laminate countertops at the lower end of the spectrum and wood or metal countertops among the more higher-priced materials. If cost-effectiveness is an important factor for your project, consider sturdy and easy-to-care for laminate or even solid surface countertops. If visual appeal and style is more important, explore the look and features of natural stone countertops like those from Stonemark® Granite or Silestone® Quartz.

 

Maintenance
Some countertop materials and styles require little maintenance. When it’s time to clean up, just use a soft cloth and mild soap or detergent and they’re ready for use again. On the other hand, those made from specialty materials like marble and other natural stone surfaces, may require more maintenance

 

Lifestyle

How you use your kitchen plays an important role in the type of countertops you choose and how they are integrated into your kitchen as a whole. For some, the kitchen is more of a “work” area than a “show” area. If you plan to use your kitchen more as an area for entertaining, there are options in each of our unique surfaces that show off your unique style.

 

Materials

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Granite

Composed of natural stone that’s endured for millions of years, granite countertops are a favorite choice for many homeowners who use their kitchens as a way to express their unique style and taste. Granite countertops are extremely hard and durable and highly stain, scratch and heat resistant. Granite slab viewing and selection available in most areas.

Unlike generic granite which requires annual sealing, Stonemark Granite, available exclusively at The Home Depot, features a revolutionary anti-stain technology that requires no sealing for at least 15 years. While granite countertops will hold up to virtually all ordinary kitchen use, they aren’t indestructible and will chip or break if they’re mistreated.

 

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Quartz
Quartz is the natural choice that provides a unique feel and offers a non-porous and scratch resistant surface that’s ideal for use in the kitchen. Made from engineered stone, quartz countertops require no sealing or polishing. Silestone® Quartz countertops offer a choice of more than 50 dazzling, gem-like colors in two distinct finishes for your kitchen. Silestone features built-in anti-microbial protection, which makes the surface impervious to bacteria, mold and mildew.

Like granite, quartz is extremely durable but it will break and can be damaged with prolonged exposure to high heat from hot pans or plates. Avoid cleaning quartz with strong                                           chemical cleaners or solvents.

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Solid Surface 
Solid surface counter tops are made from sturdy acrylic materials that are easy to care for and highly resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew. They are durable, non-porous and offer a seamless appearance, making them a popular choice for active households. These counter tops are available in more than 130 colors as well as a wide range of patterns designed to mimic the look of stone, granite and quartz.

Solid surface counter-tops are less resistant to scratches and heat than their stone counterparts but they can be easily renewed and are usually a more affordable counter-top choice.

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Laminate 
One of the most cost-effective countertop options, laminate has long been a popular surface for kitchen countertops. Composed of a sturdy particleboard core with layers of tough bonded plastic, laminate offers durability as well as a broad variety of colors, patterns and textures that mirror the look of more expensive surfaces.

Laminate countertops are vulnerable to scratches, cuts and heat, so using a cutting board or trivet is recommended. Care must also be taken to clean wine or other stain-causing liquids quickly, as they can discolor the surface.

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Wood  
A wood island-top adds warmth to your kitchen and complements your other countertop surfaces. Available exclusively at The Home Depot, Heirloom custom wood countertops are available in a variety of premium and domestic woods, from luxurious Black Walnut to exotic Zebrawood. Unique shading and grain patterns in the wood add to the natural beauty.

Finished with organic, penetrating waterproof oil that repels moisture and resists stains, Heirloom wood countertops are also extremely durable, easy to maintain and the non-porous surface can be kept sanitary and safe for food. They are put through a rigorous quality inspection process and are backed with a limited lifetime warranty on seams. Please call your local Home Depot to confirm availability.

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Stainless Steel & Copper
 For a clean, sophisticated look, consider adding stainless steel or copper countertops. As functional as they are elegant, these durable surfaces provide a striking hygienic space for food preparation and can be custom-built to any size or shape. Complement your metal countertop with a variety of enhancements, from backsplashes and integrated sinks to cutting board inserts or beveled edges. Designer finish options include leather embossed stainless steel or hand-woven seared patina copper. Please call your local Home Depot to confirm availability.
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Other Considerations

 

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Corners, Edges & Inlays
Personalize the look of your countertops with your choice of edging styles. Add straight or beveled edges for a contemporary look, or bring a traditional elegance to your kitchen with the timeless curves of an S-shaped Ogee design. Rounded profiles like the Bullnose work with almost any design and are less likely to chip. For a more personalized design, add a custom or patterned inlay.
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Sinks & Faucets
If you’re installing new countertops, you’ll need to replace both your sink and faucet. Sinks mount to countertops in various ways, including drop-in, undermount and apron styles. Solid surface countertops can be created with an integrated sink seamlessly molded into the material. The countertop material and style you select determines the complexity of the installation. Browse our wide range of sinks online or at your local The Home Depot, or get a select Stainless Steel sink installed with your countertop though our Revere program.

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Custom Shapes 
Make a statement about your personal style in your kitchen with a distinctive, unique shape for your countertop incorporating unique angles or curves. To create these custom cut shapes, such as a 45 degree angle over a corner cabinet, additional countertop material may be required in order to generate the desired shape.[/full_width]

Kitchen Sink Buying Guide

Kitchen sinks consist of one or multiple bowls with a faucet, drain with a strainer and convenient accessories like sprayers and soap dispensers. Besides serving as a heavily used fixture for washing hands, preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards, kitchen sinks are a prominent focal point in your kitchen. From gleaming stainless steel to colorful sinks made of durable composite materials, kitchen sinks now come in more shapes, sizes, depths and materials than ever before. This buying guide explains the materials, configuration and mounting options available, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the sink that provides the perfect balance of form and function in your kitchen.

 

Factors to Consider

Consider these important factors when selecting your sink:

 

  • Material – Stainless steel, cast iron, composite granite, solid surface, cast acrylic, fireclay and copper.
  • Configuration – Shape, size, number of bowls, bowl orientation and number of holes (tappings).
  • Mounting – Drop-In, Undermount, Solid Surface and Tile-In.

 

Material

Choosing the material for your sink is a decision that is both practical and aesthetic. As a prominent fixture in your kitchen, you’ll want a sink that complements your décor and fixtures. At the same time, your sink will experience a lot of heavy usage so you’ll want one with a sturdy surface that maintains its appearance over a long period of time. Below are descriptions of some of the most popular kitchen sink materials to consider.

 

Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel offers an excellent balance of cost, usability, durability and ease of cleaning. Higher quality stainless steel sinks are made of 18 to 16 gauge or thicker steel to help prevent dents and scratches and reduce noise. Look for vibration-damping foam insulation on the underside of the bowls to deaden water drumming. Brushed satin finishes tend to hide water spots and scratches.

 

Cast Iron

Cast Iron sinks with enamel coatings have a layer of porcelain enamel that provides a hard, durable surface with a smooth, glossy finish that tends to hide water spots and streaks. Cast iron sinks retain heat well, making washing dishes easier. While the surface is very hard, if hit hard enough the surface can chip and expose the underlying black surface of the iron. Cast iron sinks are heavy and require a sturdy counter.
Composite GraniteComposite Granite sinks are made of a mixture of materials that provide a sturdy, low maintenance surface. Available in a range of composites, color and prices, they withstand hot cookware, although some materials are more durable than others. Composite sinks with high granite content are especially durable.

 

Solid Surface
Solid Surface sinks are reinforced with a high strength composite backing and have no ridges to collect grime. Their non-porous surface offers a sleek appearance, and because the color goes all the way through the material, these rimless and seamless sinks can be buffed to easily remove scratches. Seamless installation of solid surface sinks with countertops requires special fabrication and installation.

Cast AcrylicCast Acrylic sinks are made of plastic molded into the shape of the sink and reinforced with fiberglass. They are an inexpensive solution compared to other sink materials, providing a surface that’s resistant to stains and easy to clean and maintain. Scratches can be sanded and polished out.

 

Fireclay
Fireclay sinks are fired at an extremely high temperature to produce an exceptionally durable, hard and glossy, non-porous surface that won’t rust, fade or discolor. Resistant to chips, stains and scratches and available in an array of colors and sizes, these low maintenance sinks are highly resistant to bacteria associated with food preparation.

CopperCopper offers a unique blend of beauty and functionality. Copper is a highly durable metal which does not rust or tarnish and requires little maintenance. It’s an extraordinary match for natural surfaces, like wood and stone with a surface that takes on an attractive aged patina over time. Copper sinks are handcrafted and each is unique. Copper sinks also make living environments safer with strong anti-microbial properties that kill bacteria and viruses, including E. coli.

 

Configuration

Configuration options to consider for your sink include size; the number of bowls, how they are oriented, and the depth and the number of holes your sink requires for your fixtures and accessories.SizeThe interior width of the sink’s cabinet determines the maximum dimensions for your sink. Most base cabinets are 36”–42” high and 25-1/4”-26” wide. A typical 33” by 22” sink will fill a 36” base cabinet.
If you use your sink primarily for washing hands, light rinsing and garbage disposal, you may need a large sink. If you cook frequently and use the sink for cleaning vegetables or washing dishes by hand, you may need a wider sink deep enough to accommodate odd sized pots and pans.

If you are replacing a sink, select a sink that fits the existing sink cutout. If the cabinet allows, you may be able to install a larger sink by expanding the cutout.
If you are creating a new kitchen, the only limitations are the location and size of the cabinet in which the sink will be installed.
Number of Bowls

Deciding how many bowls you need is best determined by the size of your kitchen and your typical activities in it. Double-bowls of equal size can be an ideal solution if there are often multiple cooks in the kitchen. If one cook focuses on prep work, a 1-1/2 or 1-3/4 bowl design may be the best solution. For smaller kitchens, a large single bowl sink can fulfill most functions. While the most common sinks are double bowls of equal size, double and triple bowls offer their own unique advantages.

 

Single Bowl

Single Bowl sinks offer plenty of space for large-diameter dishes and oversized pots. Single-bowl designs take up less space than other bowls. They can be as wide as 33”.

 

Double Bowl

Double Bowl sinks provide room for separate tasks such as washing and rinsing dishes, food preparation and clean up. They can be as wide as 48”.

 

Triple Bowl

Triple Bowl sinks feature a small third bowl for use as a prep sink. They can be as wide as 60”.

 

 

Bowl Orientation

The most efficient sink configuration is often determined by the relationship between the sink, dishwasher and disposer.

The ideal dishwasher location depends on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. The key is to be able to hold dirty dishes with one hand while rinsing with the other then placing them easily in the dishwasher.
For double sinks, having the garbage disposer installed on the same side as the dishwasher increases efficiency.
When the sink consists of a larger and smaller bowl, locating the disposer in the smaller sink with the smaller sink located on the same side as the dishwasher provides the greatest convenience.

 

Bowl Depth

How you use your sink determines the bowl depth that meets your requirements for function and comfort.

Average bowl depth is 8 to 10 inches.
If you cook with large pots and pans, 10-inch depth allows for easier soaking and scrubbing and reduces water splash.
Your height should be a consideration as well. Having your sink at the right depth helps you avoid fatigue and backaches. Rules of thumb for bowl depth and comfort when the countertop is 36” high are:

 

Holes

Sinks typically have between one and five holes, or tappings, on the deck behind the bowls for accessories like faucets, soap dispensers, spray hoses, hot filtered water and more.

The sink you choose should be able to accommodate the number and configuration of items you want.
The standard configuration for most sinks is four holes but you can purchase a sink with five or six holes, depending on the manufacturer.
If the sink you want has more holes than are needed, decorative covers are available to conceal them.
Refer to the examples below for how the holes can be configured for your sink fixtures and accessories.

Sink Hole Configurations

 

Mounting

How your countertop is constructed and the material your sink is made of play a large role in how your sink is installed.

 

Drop-In – Drop-in sinks, also known as topmount sinks, drop into a pre-cut hole in the countertop with the edge of the sink resting on the counter. This is typically the installation method for stainless steel sinks and can be used with virtually any countertop material. Drop-in sinks that use the same size cutout can be replaced without disturbing the countertop or relocating plumbing. They may be self-rimming or rimmed.
Self-rimming sinks are easy to install and work with almost any countertop. Heavy sinks, like those of cast iron are held in place by their weight while lighter sinks are fastened with clips and screws.
Rimmed sinks install in a similar manner but are more recessed into the countertop and the joint is covered by a metal rim.
Undermount – These sinks install under the counter and are ideal for use with solid surface and granite. They have a sophisticated look and, because they have no rim between the countertop and sink, clean up is easy—just brush crumbs and spills into the sink. Undermounting is not recommended for laminate countertops because the edge above the sink is exposed.
Integral– Integral sinks are built into the counter and constructed of the same material. They are flush-mounted, meaning the surface is even with the countertop. Integral sinks are very easy to clean and a popular solution when the entire countertop is being renovated.
Tile-In – Tile-in sinks have flat edges and square corners so they can mount evenly with a tiled surface with no visible separation between sink and countertop. This seamless installation makes countertop cleaning easy—brush any dirt or crumbs into the sink.

 

Specialty Sinks

Secondary Sinks provide added convenience in large kitchens or kitchens where there is more than one cook. Round bowls are ideal for prep sinks on a cooking island or as a high-capacity secondary sink for entertaining.

 

Bar sinks add convenience for basement remodels or rooms away from the kitchen used for entertaining.

 

Apron sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks, feature a wide base and deep basin for easier cleaning of large pots and pans. Mostly found in country-style kitchens, these sinks feature an exposed front that drops down in front of the sink instead of stopping at the edge of the counter.

 

Corner sinks are a popular solution for a U- or L-shaped counter. Placing the sink in the corner increases efficiency by having the sink be equidistant from work areas.

 

Features to Consider

Drain Position
Sinks with rear or offset drain positions feature pipes at the back of the unit, creating more cabinet space underneath for your trash can, cleaning supplies or other items you need to store.

 

Plumbing Depth
The depth of the sink bowls can affect available space for installation of accessories like a garbage disposer. When space beneath the cabinet is an issue for the disposer and plumbing, special needs can be accommodated by having a bowl with a shallow depth on one side.

 

Accessories
If you find yourself short of counter space, look for sinks with custom-fitted cutting boards. Some units are also specially designed to accommodate colanders and drain baskets, making it easier to drain food without tipping the container and spilling contents into the sink.

 

The original article can be found on the Home Depot site. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=Kitchen_Sinks&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053