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4 ways to create your own gourmet kitchen

One of the most important rooms in your house is more than likely your kitchen. You cook there, sometimes you eat there. It becomes a hub of conversation, where friends and family can be creative. One of the things that many people look at when buying a new home is often the kitchen —  it it big enough, bright enough, and does it have state of the art appliances? Many foodies and aspiring chefs (and even amateur ones) love working in a good kitchen. Here are a few tips on how to create your own gourmet kitchen, or at least feel like you’re working with one.

Get Organized

No matter the size of your kitchen, it is essential it be clutter free. This creates the feeling of a grand working place. You should have select storage areas for specialty items and an organizer for everything from your cooking utensils to your excess plastic bags. Keep you kitchen streamlined and know where everything is kept for easy access. In terms of design, keep it minimal and tidy with easy to clean surfaces.

Bright Colours

Thanks to many optical illusions, a room painted in white or even cool bright colours often tend to appear larger. The reflective surfaces of the lighter paint helps a room feel bigger with wider walls. Try to find reflective surfaces that will lighten the room. For instance, white moulding or trim adds depth to a wall and using quality paint provides a bit of shine or gloss helping the flow of light. Avoid darker or muddy colours at all cost. If you want to add a pop of colour to your white space, use colourful appliances.

Invest In The Proper Tools

If you want to work in a high performance kitchen, it might be time to invest in some high performance tools. Try using professionally made pots and pans and especially appliances with a brand you can trust. These products will be worth the investment because they are durable and should last for an extended period of time, making you feel at ease in having a product you can depend on. At the same time, monitor the performance quality of any new appliances you consider investing in and see which one works best for your space.

Gourmet Products

Put the salt and pepper down if that’s your basic seasoning. It’s time to invest in some gourmet spices (and I use the word gourmet as just an upgrade from salt and pepper). Open your mind and your spice rack to different flavours and aromas. Get new spice blends, oils, vinegars and open yourself to trying new flavours. From Peruvian pink salt to pineapple curry, discover new and interesting products.

Let us know how it goes! Post a description of your kitchen in the comments below!

5 ways to make your home more energy efficient

With the Ontario government pushing energy-efficient retrofits in homes, you may be thinking: what can I do? Despite the incentive programs being offered, it’s still a bit expensive to incorporate solar, wind, and water into your home.

It’s time to think about the future. Electricity is just going to get more expensive and with climate change being what it is, well, let’s just say it’s better to start thinking about our carbon footprint. Luckily, there are a few environmentally-safe tricks that can help save energy and leave you paying off your power bills without having a heart attack.

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Use LED Bulbs

Using Light Emitting Diodes (LED) bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs is an easy way to lessen your electricity bill. LED lights are becoming the new norm and if you don’t have them in your house, it is recommended to switch as soon as possible. The light bulbs begin at $20 and are an affordable investment for energy saving in the home.  LED lights have an average life span of 50,000 hours compared to incandescent light bulbs that can only be used for 1200 hours.  They use 6-8 watts of energy instead of 60 watts used by regular light bulbs. Overall, that brings the cost of electricity used to $32.85 per year for LEDs instead of $328.59 per year for incandescent bulbs.

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Smart Power Strip Bars

Power bars consume more energy than most people assume because items are left plugged in and standby electricity is used overnight. It is estimated that five to 10 per cent of household energy consumption is standby energy — unused energy that is wasted just by being plugged in. This accounts for one per cent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. The Smart Strip LGC3 from Bits Limited is a smart power bar that controls the power the other items receive, according to what the TV is doing. If the TV is off, the plugs for speakers, the DVD player and other items connected to the TV switch off as well.

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Shade Producing Landscaping

Having trees and shrubs in your yard is not only good for producing quality air, it can help regulate heating and cooling in your home. In the winter, trees help to protect the heat source inside the home and provide wind blockage. In the summer, the foliage offers shade and cools the house down. Maple trees have very high tolerance for heat and are a great option in the summer months. On the other hand, pine and fir trees will keep their needles in the winter months. Additionally, laurel and yew shrubs have high heat tolerance and produce heavy shade.

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High Efficiency Shower Heads

Shower heads waste water because they often have outdated or slower flow rates. Most shower heads produce a 2.5 gallons per minute flow rate, but high efficiency shower valves can lower that by half and help save water. The newer shower heads maintain much needed water pressure while lowering water flow for a greener showering solution.

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Energy Efficiency for Dryers

Dryers use a lot of energy in the home and are often wasteful. In the summer months, it is much better to air dry clothes instead. If you are worried about your clothes being crunchy and stiff, pouring a cup of vinegar into the washer acts as a natural fabric softener. In the winter, ways to make your dryer more efficient include keeping the lint trap and vent clean and using auto-dry settings only. Purchasing an energy star certified dryer will save energy and money as well with better low heat settings and sensor drying that automatically turns off when clothes are dry.

What are your favourite energy saving devices to put in your home? Let us know in the comments below!