Is your kitchen the next battleground over the greenhouse gases?

Natural gas has been viewed as a “clean” alternative, but it got that moniker back when the lion’s share of electricity was generated by coal. With coal on the dwindle, there is a new interest in what natural gas leaves behind. For every million BTUs generated by coal, between 214 and 228 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. While cleaner, natural gas still releases 117 pounds of CO2 while propane releases 139 pounds for each million BTUs. But that’s only part of the natural gas story. Extraction of natural gas can leak as much as 9 percent in methane – a gas 34-times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a century and 86-times stronger over 20 years.

For those still smart enough to be following the Paris climate accord, strong reductions in greenhouse gas production are translating into rapid diminishment of gas appliances and home heating use. Europe is looking at gas-based appliances being phased out in the next decade.

Closer to home, Berkley, California, became the first U.S. municipality to ban the installation of new gas lines into new multi-family buildings. And they’re not alone. Over 50 cities and counties in California are looking at similar bans while the state is also looking at the issue. The reason is simple. It’s estimated that a quarter of greenhouse gases produced by a building come from gas appliances and heating.

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August 2019 issue is a must-have for high-end appliance shoppers.

Consumer Reports is a magazine most of us don’t read often enough. Sure, when we need a new TV or car, we scour the library for back issues, but this is hit and miss. Last weekend, sipping a cool drink outdoors at a local watering hole, I needed armor, so I bought and brought the latest Consumer Reports. So interesting was the August issue that my drink’s ice melted long before I’d finished reading.

For the first time, the magazine issued a report on appliance reliability by the manufacturer. Even more enticing is the inclusion of ultra-premium brands like Miele, Thermador, Sub-Zero, and Viking, which often get left out due to a lack of data compared with brands selling tons more units like GE or LG.

While not to be confused with the organization’s ratings on appliance usability and features, reliability is clearly as important when buying a car as a refrigerator. The surprising yet unsurprising thing was the general consensus by appliance makers that 10 years of life is good enough. Some ultra-premium players like Miele and Sub-Zero/Wolf claim 20 years of useful life while washer/dryer brand Speed Queen touts 25 years.

Of course, that’s not to say that consumers will have 10, 20, or 25 years of flawless service from their appliance. The organization reports that 40 percent of refrigerators will require some type of servicing within their first five years – ranges, the most reliable class of appliance will see 25 percent requiring service.

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This live Thermador kitchen in the Capital Distributing showroom is one of the multiple areas that you can “try before you buy.” (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

You never know where the research for an article idea will take you. When the CandysDirt.com editorial team started talking about doing some myth busting on how long your appliances should last and the difference in longevity between American and European appliances, it sounded right up my alley. What I didn’t expect was to be talking about technology that looked like science fiction.

When I watched The Jetsons on Saturday mornings, no one dreamed we could actually have cooking in our home be so automated, but a connected kitchen is probably in a home near you. After seeing these new trends, you will never look at kitchen design the same way again, and you’ll be wishing it was time to change out all of your appliances! (more…)

This orange range and hood by Caliber make a statement! (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

This orange range and hood by Caliber make a statement! (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

When we spoke with Jane Turner of Classic Urban Homes the other day about what she saw at the recent International Builders Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, she mentioned how their buyers are often looking for “a bit of retro with the clean lines of contemporary.”

We found some great new colorful trends for the kitchen that we have added to our Lifestylist® List. Which ones would you like to see in your home?

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Congratulations are in order for luxury appliance showroom Capital Distributing, as the go-to spot for high-end kitchen brands such as Miele, Gaggenau, Wolf, Thermador, Subzero, La Cornue, and Viking has won “Best Appliances” from the Dallas chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers for the third year in a row.

This family-owned business has been doing upscale kitchens right since 1973, and their showroom off of Stemmons is a wonderful spot to discover the perfect range, ovens, and even laundry system for your home. You can even try before you buy in their amazing kitchen demonstration areas. It’s no surprised that the design community loves this brand, as it’s easy to picture these luxury appliances in a variety of custom kitchens.

“We are proud to be recognized by the design community and appreciate that they voted for our company,” said Michael Davis, president of Capital Distributing. “We must continue to work hard at being the best appliance company in our marketplace.”

Enjoy being top banana for the third year in a row, Capital Distributing!

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When it comes to designing a dream kitchen for an expert home cook, the cost can be frightening. Though it’s easy to get carried away in the pages of Architectural Digest and drool over pristine statuary marble countertops, you shouldn’t feel obligated to indulge in every high-end kitchen accessory and appliance. After all, it’s not the kitchen that makes the chef; it’s the chef that makes the kitchen.

Here’s a little guide on where to spend and where to save in your kitchen:

Spend: A good gas range.
What to look for: A range with 6 burners is ideal. Get a range with a convection oven (or double oven) below, that way you can go from stovetop to oven without walking two steps.
Here’s why: I don’t care what anyone says about electric stovetops, gas is the way to go. You can get an instant flame, rather than an electric cooktop which might take a few minutes to get heated. Plus, you never know when you’ll need a flame to blister eggplants for your famous babaganoush. Viking, Thermador, and La Cornue are at the top of my list.

Meadowcreek Kitchen

Save: Go with countertops you can afford.
Here’s why: Countertops are all about cosmetics; if you can’t afford marble or granite go with an alternative such as Formica laminate that still looks good and is easy to clean. Don’t worry about it being scratch resistant. No one uses their granite countertops to chop vegetables without a cutting board anyhow. Go for the more affordable route and get yourself a good cutting board.

Spend: A built-in refrigerator.
What to look for: Dual refrigeration with separate sealed systems to ensure your food tastes fresh. Ample space and shelving is also important. If you often buy bulky items at the grocery store, keep that in mind. A produce drawer — every chef needs one.
Here’s why: In addition to saving space in your kitchen, President of Capital Distributing Michael Davis adds, “Built in refrigerators offer a great high-end look and integrate into your cabinets.”  In a dream world, I’d have a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The brand promises the highest quality to ensure your food will stay preserved.

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Save: Pass on the built-in fryer.
Here’s why: Unless you find yourself making fresh donuts or fries on a daily basis, save on the extra cost. A good chef can go the old-school route by frying in a pot.

Spend: A ventilation hood.
What to look for: A low fan sound level so that you can still hear your guests while you’re cooking. One that can easily fit over your range and that can vent to the outside, to prevent smoke and too much heat inside. Look for a vent with the Home Ventilating Institute label to ensure it’s a good quality and certified system.
Here’s why: Good ventilation is essential when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. The last thing you need is smoke permeating through the house, rather than the smell of your food. “A great ventilation hood or hood enclosure offers a great design expression and serves an important function of removing moisture, odors, and grease,” Davis explains.

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Save: Give up the microwave.
Here’s why: For starters, anything that can zap your food to the point that it’s steaming hot in 2-minutes cannot be good for your health. Nothing ever tastes the same if it has been reheated in a microwave.

Spend: A built-in combi steam oven.
What to look for: An oven that is large enough for your needs — think about what you’ll be steaming. You only need one combi oven, especially if you’ve got double convection under your range.
Here’s why: Use that money you would have used for a microwave and apply it to a combi oven — an oven and steamer, in one appliance. “They can produce a moist cooking environment which produces amazing results and is great for ‘refreshing’ leftovers,” Davis says. In my fantasy world, I’d invest in two Miele Combi-Steam Ovens.

Rachael AbramsRachael Abrams is a personal chef and freelance writer who is obsessed with home decor and practically mainlines Pinterest. Find out more about Rachael and her excellent taste by following her on Twitter.

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By Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

I hate my range. Cooking on it is something I do almost every day when I’m home, and every time something cooks unevenly or dinner burns I regret spending a lot of money for something I had no knowledge of.

When I bought the Home Idea Factory, it truly was an old factory in Oak Cliff that was being used as a live/work space, but the previous owners spent money on the work side and neglected the live side. That worked out for me (I would have gutted it anyway), but the range that came with it was dangerous and had to be replaced right away.

I went to a national store that I had bought appliances from in the past and let the salesperson talk me into a really pretty new model with lots of fancy knobs and features, but after I got it home and cooked on it I discovered “pretty” didn’t translate to “function.” Even though I bought the extended warranty, the convection oven has never cooked evenly — in fact their warranty department told me that convection isn’t supposed to be an even heat. What? I’ve still got this albatross, and now that the convection function doesn’t even work I’m saving my money to buy my dream machine.

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Last week I was invited to visit the Thermador showroom in Irvine, Calif., with a group of esteemed kitchen specialists from all over the country. I wanted to not only learn more about the Thermador advantage, but to also use their appliances so I could really understand the difference. After we talked, played, and “looked under the hood,” we shared what we thought with the Thermador team, which was flown in from all over the world to hear our thoughts.

Thermador was founded in 1916 and they aren’t just another pretty face — every detail contributes to helping consumers create the perfect meal for ourselves, our guests, and our families. Getting to help cook a meal in their beautiful kitchen was such a delight, and yes, the food tasted as good as it looks. They also have Chef Kyle there, who cooked for us all day long to demonstrate how the different products work. The results were so good they might have me either considering a move to California, or talking Chef Kyle into coming back to Texas with me!

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I pretty much winged my contribution to our group meal — I made dessert, which was crepes covered with fresh bananas and a brown sugar sauce. No recipe, just making it up as I went but it worked. The signature Thermador star burners helped me to cook the crepes perfectly and the simmer feature helped keep the sauce at just the right temperature without burning or turning it into a crystalized mess. When I got home I decided to spend some time perfecting the recipe which I have now named “Mardi Gras Banana Crepes” which can be found on my Lifestylist® website.

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Trying to replicate the dish on my pretty but perplexing range as compared to cooking it on the Thermador Pro Grand Steam range made it very obvious that you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt about it after this exercise, my next range will be a Thermador. Replacing my current appliances with a dependable, luxury brand like Thermador makes financial sense as well as practical sense. One of the biggest selling features in a home is the kitchen, and a luxury appliance manufacturer shared with me that they have seen an average of a 4 percent increase in value if you have well-known luxury brands in your kitchen when you are ready to sell your home. Any good inspector would not approve my current range to a seller, and by replacing it now I get to enjoy my new appliances until I do decide to sell my home.

The Dallas Sur la Table store has Thermador appliances in their cooking school, and Capital Distributing now has two working Thermador kitchens in their showroom. Before you decide which appliance you want to upgrade to in your kitchen, find a place where you can actually cook on them and see how they perform. It will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your home-buying and remodeling decisions.

Suzanne FelberSuzanne Felber is a design and branding expert who runs the website Lifestylist.com. An Oak Cliff resident and lover of all things design, keep up with Suzanne by following her on twitter.

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By Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

Everybody knows if you want to get noticed, all you have to do is feed them
and you can get their undivided attention. That’s why the kitchen has become the heart
(and theater) of the home more than ever, and tonights Houzz event at Capital
Distributing proved that.

The event was so popular that with more than 400 attendees they had to hold two sessions, and if you were lucky enough to get an invitation it was well worth it. With something this important, CandysDirt.com had to be a sponsor, and not only did we share our name, we shared our love of sweets — everyone got a cookie to take home with them (if it lasted that long!).

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Capital Distributing has just added some new displays that will make you want a new
kitchen even if you just remodeled, and from the statistics I’ve been hearing, if you are considering selling your home, luxury appliances are a very wise investment. Thermador and Bosch were also sponsors of the presentation, and between the new Thermador kitchens in Capital Distributing and the innovations that Bosch has coming, I’m not sure which one I’ll choose for my new kitchen!

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One of the smartest things I ever did was to buy my “Home Idea Factory” more than 10 years ago in Oak Cliff. Others saw it as a teardown as quickly as possible, I saw it as a home I’d never have to add on to. Yes, it was a factory and I love living in a historic space — if only these walls could talk.

Houzz shared some staggering statistics that let me know I’m not the only one who
appreciates owning their own home in Dallas. More than 89 percent of the people who visit Houzz.com from Dallas own their own homes, and 83 percent are considering redecorating, 38 percent are considering remodeling, and 13 percent are considering buying a new home, which is much higher than the national average.

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When I left tonight I had questions … many ask why you should own your own home but
my question is why wouldn’t you? Dallas is the poster child for achievable housing and
a great quality of life — my friends in other markets wish they could get as much home
and value as we do here. And the best news? We can use what we save buying a home
in Dallas and have a kitchen everyone else will envy.

Suzanne FelberSuzanne Felber is a design and branding expert who runs the website Lifestylist.com. An Oak Cliff resident and lover of all things design, keep up with Suzanne by following her on twitter.