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Laurene’s Famous Cranberry Salad

We have had the privilege of remodeling homes across central and northern New Mexico, including thousands of kitchens throughout the years. The kitchen is called the heart of the home, and for good reason, we all congregate there to socialize, eat, drink, hangout, and more. We thought it would be fitting to share one of our Poulin family traditions around Thanksgiving time that we love—eating cranberry salad.

My sister Laurene, who is also our Design Center Manager, is a wonderful cook. For the last 25 years, she’s been bringing cranberry salad to Thanksgiving dinner, and we devour it! We took the time to share with you this favorite dish that is easy to make, and best done the night before your feast.

We hope you enjoy this family recipe!

Laurene’s Famous Cranberry Salad

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 12-ounce package of cranberries
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1-pint blackberries
  • 1-pint raspberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 big pack of cherry 🍒 jello
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 /4 cup sugar
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • Orange zest

Method

  1. Dissolve jello with 1.5 cups boiling water in a separate bowl.
  2. Chop pecans and celery in a food processor. Add to mixing bowl.
  3. Mix cranberries in a food processor. Add to mixing bowl.
  4. Add jello, orange juice, sugar, pomegranate seeds, blackberries, raspberries, apple, pear, and orange zest to the mixing bowl and stir.
  5. Place in your presentation dish and garnish the top with excess berries and pomegranate seeds.
  6. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy!

Do you have a family recipe that you’re known for?

Share it with us in the comments below or send us an email with your FAVORITE recipe- from our family to yours!

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you make the cranberry salad be sure to tag us on social media @poulindesigncenter

Bellmont 1300 Series

Introducing the Bellmont 1300 series…

On Time. On Budget. On Trend.

We are excited to share the latest door style from Bellmont Cabinet Co.—the 1300 series.

The simple door style offers exactly what our customers are wanting—a quality cabinet that fills the gap for transitional and contemporary styles.

We shared the new line with our designers and they’re excited to start using it for our customers!

One of our Santa Fe designers, Dana Gamaleri said, “It combines value with simplicity and quality.”

Here are our favorite features:

➡️ Frameless design for a cleaner look
➡️ European-style cabinetry
➡️ Soft-close doors and drawers
➡️ Powder-coated steel drawers
➡️ Stainless steel floating metal shelving
➡️ PET film used, made from 100% recycled plastic bottles
➡️ Quick turn-around time for ordering cabinets

Let’s take a look at the details of the new 1300 series.

Door Styles

There are 4 different door styles with the 1300 series:

  1. Tempo
    • Contemporary
    • Slab door style
    • Available in Gloss/Matte White and Matte Grey
  2. Horizon
    • Contemporary
    • Slab door style
    • Available in Frax and Grau, which are textured woodgrain laminate
  3. Apex
    • Transitional
    • 5 mm Pencil Edge Frame
    • Available in Matte Black
  4. Frame
    • Transitional
    • Shaker door style
    • Available in Matte White and Matte Grey

Colors

The colors offered for the 1300 series are the epitome of trendy right now. Offering a selection minimal palette of white, grey and black in a matte finish, plus a standard gloss white. To diversify the selection, woodgrain textured laminate is offered for the Horizon door style: Frax and Grau.

These are the colors that our clients are wanting right now.

Matte Black

Available for Apex

Gloss White

Available for Tempo

Matte Grey

Available for Tempo and Frame

Frax

Textured laminate available for Horizon

Matte White

Available for Tempo and Frame

Grau

Textured laminate available for Horizon

20% off Kitchen Cabinets

We hope that you’re liking this new series as much as we are. To celebrate we want to offer you 20% off Kitchen Cabinets* through the month of November 2020. To claim, click below.

*Some restrictions may apply, see store for details. With a complete kitchen remodel. Expires 11/30/20. Offers cannot be combined and are not valid with past jobs. License #21850.

Behind the Scenes with Ferguson

The Poulin Design Center worked with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery to update their showroom vignettes.

Goals

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery needed to update vignettes inside their Albuquerque showroom. Each vignette was original to the showroom when acquired by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in 2007.

The new space needed to fit an updated line of appliances that the original cabinets would not accommodate. Additionally, they wanted to have a space that would accommodate events in the future. To install their new appliances, and create an inviting event space, as well as update the overall décor, they would work with Poulin’s design team to accomplish their goals.

Design Phase

Daniela Colello

Daniela Colello was the designer on this project from the Poulin Design Center. She worked with Joseph Candelaria, Showroom Consultant, to create the vision for the vignettes.

“Daniela was great. She asked all the right questions, offered a lot of great insight,” Joseph said.

For Daniela, designing a vignette that focused on appliances over creating the routine functional kitchen was a first. “It was a wonderful new experience. I learned a lot about designing displays for appliances and enjoyed the research. We utilized European-styled cabinets and highlighted the high-end brands that Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery carries.”

The new clean, contemporary look transformed the entire space while achieving the goals needed for the vignettes featuring Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery’s newest line of Bosch and Thermador products.

Installation

Once the products were selected, and the design established, our team came out to perform demolition and install the new vignettes. Installation went well and any hiccups in the process were resolved.

Additionally, our team had to be innovative in creating certain functions of the vignettes that were unique to the display. One example was installation of a non-functioning cooktop in one of the display drawers. Since this is not the normal use of a drawer, our team worked hard to make sure this stove would fit properly while fitting within the display parameters.

Final Product

With teamwork and collaboration, Poulin Design Center was able to achieve the vision brought by Ferguson—a new, sleek look was captured in the two kitchen vignettes that showcase over 25 appliances.

When asked if the design goals were accomplished, Joseph replied, “One hundred percent. The outcome exceeded our expectations. We’re extremely happy with the way everything went, and with how everything turned out.”

Closing

We have partnered with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery for over 20 years as a top referral for our customer’s appliance needs. We are so glad that we were chosen to remodel Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery showroom this year and are extremely happy with the outcome.

To learn about the latest products at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery and speak to Joseph about your appliance needs, click here to schedule your visit.

Ready to Remodel?

During the month of October, we have partnered with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery to give you a $2500 Appliance Rebate with your complete kitchen remodel*. Click below to claim your savings and get started on your project!

Kitchen Shelf Styling 101

Introducing our GUEST BLOGGER—Leslie Dunegan of Cornerstone Design WACO

Message from the owner:

When I was young, my father had me help with several home projects that ranged from painting to building houses. I enjoyed working with my hands and eventually started helping my friends and neighbors with their remodeling projects or paint jobs. I even put myself through college by remodeling homes. I didn’t know it at first, but remodeling would be the business I would dive into for the next 38 years.

As a father, my daughters grew up watching us develop our home remodeling business and grew to love different aspects of it. My oldest daughter Stephanie is our Assistant Manager and is learning the business to manage it in the coming years. My other daughter, Leslie, has a real talent for interior design and décor. She actually started her business with her husband in Waco, Texas called Cornerstone Design specializing in countertops.

Although we are in neighboring states, my heart is close to their family and it makes me proud to see how remodeling is running through the generations of our family tree.

It is my pleasure to introduce our guest blogger this week—Leslie Dunegan of Cornerstone Design.

Enjoy,

Tom Poulin
Owner of Poulin Design Center

Shelf Styling 101

While perusing Pinterest or Instagram you may see beautifully styled open shelves or bookcases. Maybe you go to Hobby Lobby or Target and see many different jars, botanicals, or books, and wonder “how can I use these items in my decor?” Today we are going to show you how to style your shelves, which types of mediums to use and how to create that Pinterest worthy shelf in your home.

Elements to Incorporate

Choosing your styling items can be a fun process especially if you incorporate personal items as well. Here are a few items you may want to use when filling your shelves.

  • Potted plants or vases. These do not have to be real plants, they can be faux, silk or even rubber. Don’t let the stress of trying to keep a real plant alive stop you from making your shelves look the way you want.
  • Books. Books add color, height, and symmetry to your shelf. You can use all one color, or ad a mix of tones that complement the decor you already have. The ideas are limitless when using books.
  • Candlesticks. Candlesticks are another great way to add height and interest to your shelf but they also add history. Thrift stores or flea markets are great places to find old, ornate candlesticks to a space. Mix up the metals or material and let it tell a story on the shelf.
  • Jars. Using jars help to bring in funky shapes, new texture, and even height to a space. With jars you can pick several different types. All types of jars, from amber glass to terra-cotta to a milk glass add different styles, textures, and trends to your shelf. Don’t be afraid to let your eclectic side come out with this item.
  • Framed Art. Art adds color, texture, tells a story and can add a personal touch. When picking art make sure it’s something that you love and would like looking at. Mix up the frame material and don’t be afraid to layer your art.

Start Stylizing Your Shelf

Now comes the fun part…adding all your unique and specials finds together to make a cohesive, creative, styled shelf.

1. First, we are going to start with your largest item. This serves as our anchor point for the shelf. Everything else will be built around this one item. Most of the time, a framed piece of art or a family picture will be your anchor.

2. Layering that anchor point will add dimension and interest to the piece. Have fun pairing it with a similar or even complete opposite piece of art or picture.

3. Add a potted plant to help balance the shelf. If your anchor piece is tall, you will want it to favor one side, and balance out the other side with a slightly smaller botanical. This provides balance but also a change in shape and texture.

4. Up until this point most of our items have been tall and large. We want to help fill gaps and bring the interest down, so adding a smaller plant is a must. You can mix up the pot color or even shade of botanical with this smaller plant.

5. Your first shelf is done! Remember less is more! And sometimes it requires standing back and staring for a while…

6. Moving on to the next shelf we want to remember balance is key but also add in some new textures we didn’t do on the previous shelf.

7. Adding glass jars that are different heights will allow for a clean, crisp look to the shelf. It gives shine and you can also fill those jars with useful items. Maybe the shelves are in a laundry room. Fill those jars with clothespins, or laundry pods. The ideas are endless.

8. Let’s break out the books and find one or two that can create height for your space. You are creating a pedestal for your last item.

9. The last item is a potted plant. Choosing one that is wider and more vine-like can fill up space on the shelf. Adding this final plant creates a triangle effect between the top and bottom shelf. This helps to balance the shelves and create a cohesive look.

Remember when styling your shelves, it doesn’t have to have to be brand new items, it can be comprised of some of your favorite family heirlooms or precious books. Make it reflect your style, your home, and the things you want to put on display.

Home Design: Designing Outside the Box

Many of our clients have areas in their home that could be improved for better functional use. Some want to add on, however, we think it’s important to start “thinking outside the box” when it comes to your existing space.

Take a look around and see if you could re-purpose a room that you never use, or bring it back to life by making a few design changes.

Below we explore why most people want to add-on, ways to evaluate your current space and give a few examples of what we’ve done for our customers.

Reasons Most People Add-on

The main reason our clients want an addition is for better functional use of their space. The primary function may vary quite a bit, but in the end there’s a reason you may be considering an addition.

Here are a few common reasons more space is desired:

  • Preparing for an additional person to live in your home, whether a new baby, adding your parents, or sharing your space for a time.
  • Need a workspace that is private from the rest of your home but may not want to lose the guest bedroom.
  • Would like more storage (who doesn’t?)
  • The current space just isn’t functional
  • Want a craft area, AKA “Woman Cave”
  • Well, you just want more space, period.

There are many reasons people want to add on to their home, so be sure to make your reasons clear before looking at your own home.

Clear Your Clutter

Before you can evaluate your home, you will need to clean it! It’s so easy to accumulate “stuff” over the years, so take the time to sort through it and organize. Once you get your home cleared out, you can truly assess if you can re-purposes potions of your home, or should add on.

Evaluate Your Space

Now that your house is cleaned up, it’s time to assess your entire home. Go to each room and consider how often you use each room and the reasons why you may not use certain rooms as much. You can also look at the rooms you use most often, like the bathroom or kitchen, and write down what you don’t like about them. Many times, this could be functional issues or even outdated products.

Not it’s time to use your imagination.

Think Outside the Box

Now that you’ve done your walkthrough, take a second look at the room that you may not use as much. Imagine what other ways you could use these rooms or make them multi-functional. Consider the surrounding rooms and what could be re-arranged.

Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Tear down this wall in your kitchen and make your space open concept, so that you’re not separated from your family while preparing meals.
  • Make your guest bedroom multi-functional by making it your office with a daybed instead of a full bed.
  • Enlarge your tiny shower by using the extra space in your room, so that you’re more comfortable and safe in your bathing environment.

You may need help imagining what could be done in your space, which is why we always pair our customers with a professional designer so you can draw from their experiences and ideas.

Assessment

Once you have evaluated your space and imagined the possibilities, you can assess if you truly need to add on, or if you can re-purpose a portion of your home for what you need it for. Just remember that aesthetics will follow your function…in other words, you can always make your space” pretty” once you decide it’s function.

To give you inspiration, we will share a few case studies from our own customers.

Kitchen Swapped with Dining Room

Our client had a small kitchen and large dining space. After talking with the couple about what they desired, our designer threw out the idea of swapping rooms. Although this was mind-blowing at first, everyone agreed that this would be a more functional space and fulfill their desires.

In the end, the client had a stunning kitchen with a large multi-functional island, added storage space, and even converted the window to a double French door for access to their outdoor living space. By swapping out rooms, the designer capitalized all the areas the owners wanted to achieve in the kitchen—coffee bar, wet bar, baking station, multi-purpose island and more.

Revived Dining Room

This particular client wanted to upgrade their kitchen. After having an appointment in their home, we noticed that their dining room was largely untouched. We asked why and were told that since there was white carpet, they were afraid of getting it dirty so they avoided using it. They had a gorgeous dining table that was never used and ate in the den!

Since the dining room was adjacent to the kitchen, we knocked down the wall and enlarged the size of the kitchen area, added new flooring throughout the home, and a wet bar, a large island, and a wonderful place for their table (not on carpet). Now the dining room has come back to life with room for entertaining and everyday enjoyment.

From Closed to Open Concept Design

In this client’s home, there were 4 separate rooms for the common living spaces: living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. The client wanted an open concept space without losing the function of each room.

Our designer was given creative control and exceeded our client’s expectations. She tore down all the walls, updated the look, and created a stunning design upon entry for any guest. Instead of having 4 confined areas, the new design merged all the areas for a clean open concept design. The multi-purpose island gave function for all activities in their home, from cooking to entertaining, added storage, and great design.

Master Bathroom Re-Design

Our client had a large master bathroom space, but a tiny shower, separate closets and separate vanities in a jack and jill layout, plus the toilet was facing the shower (how awkward).

By thinking outside the box, our design team was able to gut out the space and reconfigure the entire layout. We enlarged the shower, merged the double vanities in a better layout, moved the toilet, and consolidate the closet spaces to make a luxurious walk-in closet. By making these changes, we enhanced our client’s enjoyment of their living space while also increasing the value of their home.

More Functional Kitchen

This client had a small u-shaped kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room in 3 separate rooms. The husband loved to grill, however the access to the backyard was indirect. The wife loved to bake, but there really wasn’t enough counterspace to do everything she needed, especially if her husband was in the kitchen at the same time (can you relate?).

To solve these functional problems, we made the 3 rooms one great room with a large island with seating, access to the backdoor was direct, and even added an office area. They were able to enjoy each other’s company while they made dinner without any nuances of running right into each other.

Closing

Re-thinking your space may be all that you need to do in order to “add on” to your home. By taking the steps above, you can evaluate your family’s needs within your current space and decide which direction you can go.

If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a Free Design Consultation to explore the possibilities with a professional designer!

Remodeling for Accessibility in the Kitchen

Remodeling with the future in mind is an important aspect to consider when making any of your design and product decisions. Creating a safe environment in your kitchen and bathroom is essential for all age groups, but especially for those approaching their golden years or need a functional and accessible space for their needs.

As we see many of our clients staying in their homes longer, creating a stylish and functional space that is safe is a priority. Remodeling should always incorporate safety but will become a key focus when considering the future and present demands.

The kitchen design should give residents the best use of their space and keep them independent by making a few simple design changes.

Pull Out Drawers in the Kitchen

Having lower pull out drawers in the kitchen is a great way to make your space safer for the elderly and convenient for those with limited mobility. Instead of storing your dishes in an upper cabinet where you’d have to reach overhead or use a stool, consider changing the location to a lower oversized cabinet drawer. This makes it easily accessible and gives independence for simple tasks of using and storing dishes.

We recommend using oversized pullout drawers for storing your dishes, as well as your pots and pans. You can also use pull out cabinets for storing pantry items, or lazy susans for those hard to reach spots in the back of your cabinets.

Use Pull Handles

Make sure you use easy-to-grab pull handles for your cabinets instead of nobs. This is especially important for those with arthritis, where having a firm grasp can be hard. Keep function and ease of use top of mind when choosing your cabinet hardware. Additionally, pull handles will give a more balanced glide and maintains the lifespan of your drawers.

Mixer Lift

If you love your kitchen aide, installing a mixer lift is an easy way to store and use your kitchen accessory while maintaining clear countertops. A mixer lift is typically installed in a lower cabinet with an outlet and will lift to countertop height for your convenience. No need to worry about lifting your appliance to the countertop as well.

Change Your Microwave Location

In some homes, the microwave is installed above the stove and doubles as a range hood. When remodeling though, consider a location that won’t be above a hot surface if you need to use the countertop for extra stability. Consider moving your “on-demand” appliance to an upper or lower cabinet location, depending on your specific needs.

Easy Maintenance Countertops

Hygienically sound countertops are a must for an easy maintenance kitchen. Opt for quartz or solid surface countertops which are nonporous and stain-resistant. There are a variety of colors and styles available. See more about countertop options here.

Lower Height of Countertops

Courtesy of Blanco

For a complete ADA kitchen, we would discuss with our client about lowering the countertop height to accommodate wheelchair use in the kitchen or create multi-level heights. With this adjustment, it is also important to have areas with no cabinetry, or what we call “barrier-free”. This is most useful for directly under the sink and stovetop.

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen

Delta Touch2O Technology

For added convenience add smart home technology to your kitchen. You can command your faucet to fill the dog bowl, or simply touch the faucet to turn it on or off. Read more about the updates you can make in our Smart Home blog here.

Closing

There are many design and product decisions to consider when remodeling for aging in place or with accessibility in mind. We covered the basics changes that could be made in the kitchen, and have several thoughts on updating your bathroom for safer use for all needs, click here to read.

Ready to Remodel?

Click below to get started with a Free Design Consultation!

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen and Bathroom

With technology growing at a rapid pace, it is no surprise that technology is advancing in your kitchen and bathroom as well! While there are hundreds of innovations—doorbells, lighting, TV, watches, cellphones, vacuums, and more—we would like to focus on the kitchen and bathroom features that are “smart”.

Faucets

U by Moen

Faucets have many new features that make it convenient for everyday life, and those with disabilities!

Innovation for shower faucets now makes it possible to voice command your water, set temperature, and the intensity of the spray—all from your app, or your home assistant (Siri, Alexis, or Google Assistant). Plus, the shower can play your favorite tunes—would you expect anything less?

Out of the shower, you can command your sink faucet to go on or off, or simply touch the faucet’s spout or handle to turn on and off the water flow. You can always manually use the faucet—but why do that when it’s smart?

Delta Touch2O Technology

In your kitchen, you can also command your sink faucet to turn on or off, and even fill your pot to an exact amount of water—all without touching your faucet! Who needs a sous chef when your smart kitchen is helping you out? Of course, we know that nothing can replace an actual assistant you can boss around, but if you’re going solo, your faucet’s got your back on the water!

Some great brands that we recommend for faucet smart technology are Delta and Moen.

Vanity Medicine Cabinet

Mirror, mirror on the wall—play my favorite song of them all!

So your makeup LED-lit medicine cabinet might not take commands in Disney lingo, but with a built-in assistant, it will play your favorite songs while you get ready for the day. These smart mirrors function for extra storage in your space, with the added benefits of smart technologies.

Many models have Bluetooth and audio capabilities, defoggers, and a few versions even come with a built-in screen so you can watch your favorite shows.

Smart Refrigerator

Samsung

How smart is your fridge? Does it open for you on command? Or automatically close it’s drawers when you’re finished? Well, welcome to the world of smart fridges!

Other models have the family hub, which is a large LED screen on your French door. You can mirror your cell phone, or use the default hub, which includes music, video apps, and even a place to post photos, notes, and recipes for your family.

There are even versions of this smart appliance that have a live video feed of what’s inside your fridge. So if you’re out shopping and aren’t sure if you need more of a particular item, you can just take a peek inside– remotely!

A few popular brands for this technology are LG, Samsung, Bosch, and Thermador.

The Smart Hub

GE Appliances

The smart hub is very similar to the family hub described above, but it can control all of your smart devices in one place. This typically looks like a microwave but is a video screen that doubles as a cabinet and allows you to stream video or voice command anything “smart” in your kitchen. Feeling bossy? Tell your smart hub (not your hubby 😉), to clean the dishes or fill the dog’s water bowl.

Examples of use would be, commanding your dishwasher to start a cycle, while simultaneously fill your cooking pot with water all the while you’re just food prepping your veggies and meat for dinner. Multi-tasking is a voice command away!

Smart Ventilation

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Always forget to turn on your ventilator for your steaming stovetop dinners, amidst everything else you’re doing for dinner and family? The smart ventilation system senses the stove’s temperature and automatically turns on to ventilate your room at the appropriate fan speed. When your stove has lowered temperatures, your vent will automatically make temperature accommodations.

It’s a small customized touch to your cooking experience, but it really makes it more enjoyable.

Smart Oven

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Smart oven technology helps the on-the-go family stay ahead of the game. You can start your dinner as you leave work by pre-heating your oven from your smartphone! Decide to get take-out instead? Pop it in a warm oven to heat up when you get home, or simply turn off your oven remotely. Many smart ovens can follow the recipes connected from supported apps or QR codes, taking expanding their culinary skills!

In Conclusion…

Smart technology in the home can be incorporated in your current home or upcoming remodel. If you’re tech-savvy, this may be your area to splurge in your home and “get smart.”

Ready to remodel? Schedule your Free design consultation below!

Pantry Design Hacks

Many of us have been stocking up on staple items for our families as we spend more time in our homes. It’s important to keep organized when adding items to your space, so you and anyone else can easily find what they’re looking for.

Below are a few tips to organizing your pantry, and space-saving design techniques that we utilize for our customers.

Poulin Pantry Pledge

First thing’s first—take the pantry pledge: I pledge to keep my pantry clean and vow that everything has it’s place. I won’t be lazy and put it on the wrong shelf, or stuff it into a place with an open space.

All fun aside, organizing your pantry is an ongoing process, especially if you live with anyone other than yourself! Realize that this is not a one- time fix, but actually a lifestyle change for better ongoing organization.

Now that you’re sworn and committed, let’s get to business.

Basic Organization

Here are a few basics of what to do when organizing your pantry.

First, get rid of expired foods and donate the food you won’t eat. Clean the shelves and decide where you would like your pantry goods to be placed and how they will be displayed.

Next, decide how you’d like to store your staple foods. There are many options including jars, baskets, pullout trays, lazy susans, spice racks, can dispensers and more! Having the same type of containers will give you a uniformed look making your pantry user-friendly.

As a general rule of thumb, place your goods with similar items, such as having a place for canned goods, snacks, and spices. You can even subdivide your sections by prioritizing your most used items, or even from “healthy” snacks to “junk” food. Then date and label accordingly to help maintain organization- chalkboard, decals, label maker, dry erase labels, or whatever your creative mind comes up with!

Add Drawers

To maximize your space and to make good use on items “in the back” of the pantry, install drawer slides. These are very convenient and super functional for a smaller space.

Tip: when storing spices or jars with drawers, label the tops on the containers, so you can easily identify the item you’re looking for.

Check out this slideshow to be inspired by what can be done in your pantry.

Photo: Omega Cabinetry

Pantry Pull-Out Cabinet 

Pantries come in many shapes and sizes, including a PULL-OUT CABINET! By pulling it out, you make your space more functional with easy access to all your goodies. You can even install specific adds one to hold your jars or other necessities. Save yourself a backache with this style of pantry.

Photo: Bellmont Cabinets

Add a Countertop

This is the latest trend for a closet style or open pantry. Consider adding a coffee or smoothie bar to this area since you will have quick access to all your goods. If this is your style, be sure to have a plug installed in your pantry to experience the full benefit.

Photo: design.jackzoo.

Jars Away

Many dried goods will last longer and be protected from pantry pests. This is where you can go “jar” crazy and organize your heart out—if only to preserve those foods you purchased. The foods you’ll want protect are flours, cereals, cake mixes, spaghetti, beans, spices and other dried goods.

It is also good practice to clean up after any spills in your pantry to ensure you won’t attract any of those unwanted pests.

Photo: Katrina Lee Chambers

Sliding Barn Door

This is all the rage right now, and can be added to nearly any application, given the right amount of space. You can add a barn door for your closet, bathroom, entertainment center…AND even your pantry! This will add a focal point in your space as well as “secretly” hide your closet pantry.

Photo: Thistlewood Farms

Appliances

Depending what your pantry space, consider storing a few appliances—either to pull out for later, or install your wine fridge or an extra freezer. storage looks like in your kitchen, consider if storing a few appliances in your pantry makes sense.

Photo: Parc de Amato

Store Behind Your Door

Let’s not forget the use of space behind your pantry door. This is so useful in a smaller pantry, and can give you easy access to spices, drinks or your favorite snacks.

Photo: Jay Wilde

Organizational Add-Ons

Add a few lazy Susans—double stacked or single, a stackable track, canned goods organizer, plastic drawers, baskets, or whatever other container that fits your fancy!

Photo: @azhouseoforder

Get Ready, Get Set, Organize That Pantry!

We hope that you have been INSPIRED to organize your pantry and keep it organized, per the Poulin Pantry Pledge.

Happy organizing!

Kitchen Island New Mexico

This year many of us are planning “staycations” but we wanted to make your staycation a fun time at your Kitchen Island! Having this feature in your home is highly desired among our customers, and for good reason—it’s great for entertaining, adds storage to your space and is a must for cooks and bakers. Plus, it adds a strong design element in your home as a focal point.

In New Mexico, we live in the land of open spaces, so translating this to our homes is natural! Combining the kitchen space with your living space in your home is an open concept design—which is popular right now.

In this article, we will cover how to Plan your Kitchen Island ‘Staycation’, Key Functions of your Island, and Designer Tips, all curated by our team at the Poulin Design Center.

Plan your Kitchen Island Staycation

The real estate in your kitchen will determine if you can have a kitchen island (or peninsula), or if you will need to modify your space to add an island. Sometimes adding an island to your kitchen may result in eliminating your dining room table or another feature. Consider what your priorities are in the space you have now.

To help you with these decisions, you can consult with a professional designer to envision the possibilities of your kitchen—removing walls for expansion, changing the function of your kitchen for cooking or baking, or even adding/modifying your prized kitchen island.

Decide on the FUNCTION of your Kitchen Island

What would you like to use your kitchen island? Below are the most popular reasons our customers opt for a kitchen island, PLUS what features would complement these uses:

Cooking/Baking/Food Prep

Many of our customers need extra space to prepare their food, making this their top priority when designing their kitchen island.

Features

  • Add a second sink to your kitchen—a prep sink on the island will give your helpers more space to work alongside you with you running into each other. Many times, this will add a second work triangle in your kitchen as well. See more about the work triangle under Designer Tips.
  • Many of our customers add a cooktop on their island which can help design constraints.
  • Consider changing the location of your dishwasher to the island—only if it makes sense! Make sure the flow of your kitchen is fluid with a professional designer.

Entertaining

Many people open their homes for get-togethers from small to large, so making sure their kitchen is suited for their guests will be higher on their list.

Features

    • When you incorporate an overhang on your kitchen island countertop, you have just made your island multi-functional. Add seats for your guests or take them away for a better traffic flow to use the space for serving.
    • Create a beverage station that can incorporate a wine cooler. This is a nice feature when you entertain frequently.
    • Adding a kitchen island will give you additional serving space, giving you the option to present your food for your guests.

Storage

A kitchen island will offer this to you regardless if you prepare cooking, entertaining, or both. So first determine how you would like to use your storage. Below are common ways kitchen island storage is used.

Features

    • Place your larger countertop appliances in your island in tall cabinets with pull out trays. You can even store a Kitchen Aide mixer with a lift for easy access.
    • Store your cookbooks in open shelving on the end cap of your island
    • A decorative element of your island could be used to feature your wine in wine cubbies.
    • Have a second place to store your beverages for your family and guests with easy access to a beverage cooler.

Designer Tips for your Kitchen Island

Design with the Work Triangle in mind

This connects the stove, to the sink to the refrigerator where most of the traffic in your kitchen exists. When designed properly, this will give a good flow of traffic and food prep when cooking or entertaining in your kitchen. Working with a professional designer will address these basic design principles.

Two-Tone Cabinetry or Two-Tone Countertops

Consider design features like two-tone cabinetry and/or two-tone countertops. This is a trending style right now and allows you to pick complimentary colors of your kitchen countertops and cabinets. Sometimes you can accent your cabinets by making your island a focal point by changing the color. This is a great design feature to make your kitchen stand out but selecting the right colors can be tricky—be sure to work with a professional when finalizing your decisions.

Multi-Level Countertops

Create tiered levels of your kitchen island which will add a design element with dimension. The benefit of a two-tiered countertop is to maximize the space on your island. This option will provide you with a multi-level serving option, great for entertaining.

Waterfall Edge Design Element

A popular style of a kitchen island is a waterfall edge. This is a unique way to feature your kitchen island, giving it a continuous look that connects your colors from floor to ceiling. To up the design of this style, add a second level for a double waterfall edge! You’ll have a ‘wow’ factor plus the extra countertop space to still prep and entertain your guests.

Storage: Drawers VS Cabinets

Decide on the use of your storage spacedrawers vs cabinets. Since your storage space is now expanded, take inventory of what you would like to store in this area. Do you have more countertop appliances you’d like to tuck away? Then add more cabinets. Maybe you’d love to store your extra plates—then oversized drawers may be the best option. Don’t forget to add to your convenient pull out drawers, it’ll save your back a few aches! Many times, your storage space will be a combination of the two—but consider your needs BEFORE you finalize the design of your storage.

Open Shelving

Add open shelving to your kitchen island. This is typically done on the end caps and is an excellent place to store your cookbooks or other decorative items.

Animal Feeding Station

If your furry friends love hanging out with you in the kitchen, think about incorporating an animal feeding station. This ensures your pets have their own space in the heart of your home and is a lovely touch at the endcap of your island.

Arrived: Kitchen Island Staycation

As you can see there are many possibilities of what could be done just with your kitchen island.

Making your kitchen functional for your needs is important and should be a top priority when designing your space. After all, home is where the heart is, and the heart is in the kitchen!

Take a cruise of the islands 🏝️ of the Poulin Design Center

Click below to see our gallery of 45 photos for your inspiration!

Need help with your kitchen island?

If you need help with your upcoming remodel, feel free to schedule a Free Design Consultation with one of our Professional Designers!

Countertops 101

There is a lot of chatter about which countertop is best for you! There are a variety of choices to make when choosing the right countertop for your home and lifestyle. Learn about the materials, finishes, and edge profiles to make the right decisions on which tops are good for your home.

Materials

Although there are more countertops materials available to purchase, below are our top 3 recommendations due to their long-lasting qualities. We are confident in the following material choices to recommend to any of our customers.

  • Quartz is a man-made composite of 95% quartzite and 5% polymer resin. By combining the two materials, this is a very strong material that is nonporous making it scratch and stain-resistant. It has a higher resistance to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect your countertop. Quartz countertops require no maintenance except for regular cleaning. This means you don’t have to worry about sealing, polishing, or reconditioning the surface to maintain the natural luster. From a design perspective, there are many colors of quartz, but the look is generally consistent but can have movement. This is a popular choice among our customers since it is stylish and great for a busy lifestyle with no maintenance.
  • Solid Surface by Corian is also a man-made product that is seamless. You can seamlessly integrate your sink and/or backsplash into your design. It is hygienically sound and you will oftentimes see this product in hotels, restaurants, and hospitals. It is also nonporous and stain-resistant. If you do happen to damage this countertop, it easy to repair, unlike other materials. One of the characteristics of solid surface is being able to form mold to create custom shapes. It is a go-to material to use in various applications including countertops and showers. To top it off it is sustainably made and has a GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification.
  • Granite is a naturally occurring stone from the earth that is harvested in rock quarries throughout the world. Since it is stone from the earth it is more porous which means it can be stained. It is best to clean your countertop promptly after any spills, especially from wine. It is also best practice to seal your granite once a year, especially around high use areas like the stove and sink. It is tolerable to heat, but we still recommend using trivets to protect the countertop. This countertop material is known for the wonderous unique movement in each individual slabs. This stone, along with quartz are slabs you can pick out from the manufacturer with your designer, making quite a unique experience… you get to pick the exact slab for your countertops from slabs available across the globe!

Finishes

Once you decide what countertop material is right for you, you still have a few more decisions to make, including your finish!

  • Polished– this is the standard high-gloss finish that is most popular in homes today. It is reflective and can add a glamorous feel to your space. Be sure to keep this surface clean since stains will be more noticeable.
  • Honed– this is a matte finish that is accomplished by sanding the manufacturer’s polished surface. It is smooth to the touch and still offers a lesser degree of reflection to the top that is soft. This style is becoming more popular in the industry.
  • Leathered– this finish offers a rustic touch to your space. It is non-reflective and has a textured characteristic to the surface. Since it isn’t reflective, this is perfect for camouflaging stains for high use areas and a busy lifestyle, depending on the color.

Edge Profiles

Once you have the countertop material and finish you just need to figure out which edge profile you would like. Depending on the color and type of materials chosen, the edge profile can add the final touch of your design. See the image below to see the basic cuts for the edging of your countertops!

Cost

The cost of the above materials varies in each category. There are different levels of granite, quartz, and solid surface that determines the cost. For example, granite can cost more depending on where it is sourced and how far away it is. Other factors could simply be the color choice and amount of movement within the design. However, you can find these materials in any budget for a remodel.

Final Thoughts

Countertops are an integral part of your home design and we highly recommend using quartz, solid surface, or granite for the various reasons listing above. If you have an island, consider making your countertops “two-tone” by having contrasting tops in your space, or the sleek design of a waterfall look (seen in first picture above that features a double waterfall countertop).

Have fun picking out your countertops!

Design Center

Founded 38 years ago by Tom Poulin CGR, Poulin Design Remodeling, Inc., has become a mainstay of Albuquerque home renovation.

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