At Airy Kitchens we strive to deliver a calm and considered renovation experience. Our passion for customer service starts with our staff, so we thought you might like to know more about them.
Martin is a Project Manager at Airy Kitchens. After your kitchen design and budget are completed, he steps in and makes it happen. Martin got his start in the construction industry drawing floor plans in his architect father's office as a little boy. With a degree in History from Northeastern University, he has a passion for antiques, old books, vintage menswear, and of course, old houses. Martin has gut renovated three of his own homes, so he knows how to finish a project and what it's like to live in one.
What's his favorite part of being a Project Manager at Airy Kitchens? "Seeing how happy folks are when their project is all done and they love it. Yeah, that's kinda corny but that's what all of the work is about." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Many homes in Philadelphia feature radiators. These cast iron behemoths are usually a kitchen designer’s worst enemy. They’re bulky, attract dust, and are typically located in front of windows (just where you wanted the sink to go!) Like most homeowners, you are probably focused on new countertops, high-tech appliances, or beautiful new cabinets, but don't overlook the basics. If your home uses radiators then they will be an important detail of how your new kitchen looks and works.
When replacing or adding radiators you have many options. Old-style cast iron radiators, which look best in older homes, are still being made and come in both ornate and plain styles, large and small. Chances are good that our kitchen designers can find a model that nearly matches the radiators you already have.
Don’t let the current placement of your radiators limit your ideas. Radiators can be moved but this will involve getting under the floor to move pipes. While best done in the summer this work is not difficult especially if you are already planning to pull up and replace your flooring. If you're keeping the floor, pipes can be accessed through the ceiling of the room below. If that room is an unfinished basement, you're in luck!
Thanks to the large market for radiators in Europe there are plenty of contemporary radiators available including some which are positively gorgeous. These include low profile baseboard radiators, wall panel radiators, and radiators that practically double as sculpture. You don’t have to sacrifice your dream kitchen’s sleek, modern look because of radiator heat. However, installing european style radiators may cost more and it's important to note whether they use steam or hot water for heat.
Bathrooms are the spot for that elegant alternative to a radiator: a towel rack. These home luxuries are heated by the water from your boiler and will warm your bathroom and your towels. Like radiators, these come in both traditional and sharply contemporary styles.
Determining the size and number of radiators for a space requires some complicated math and an understanding of the thermodynamics of the room. You can find tutorials and calculators for this on the internet, but most of these calculations are best left to an HVAC professional.
Even small radiators can get very hot and may deliver too much heat to a tiny room. For a very small space, like a powder room, consider a wall-mounted electric radiator with a thermostat. There are many models available for cheap but these often perform poorly and have only an on/off switch. Higher quality units offer convenient features like child lock-out and they typically look sleeker too.
While your old radiators are disconnected during the project you may want to consider having them renewed. A build-up of old paint on the outside and sludge on the inside can decrease a radiator’s efficiency thereby increasing your heating bills. The outside of a radiator can be sandblasted and the inside can be flushed out.
For those homeowners who don't want to move their radiators, consider installing a shelf, towel rack, or even shoe rack above them. Why not use this powerful heat source to your advantage and dry those winter boots? If your radiator is an eyesore consider having Airy Kitchens design a custom radiator cover to match your cabinetry. Remember, radiators are not simply heating elements but can be an opportunity to add a special touch to your new kitchen or bathroom.
Cabinet hardware is available in countless finishes, but looks can be deceiving. Why is one cabinet knob thirty dollars and another three dollars? Here are the basics: Most hardware is made from inexpensive zinc or more expensive copper and brass. Often these base metals have a finish, or plating of a different color adhered to them. Stainless steel and bronze can be plated over these metals, but they can also be solid. Chrome and nickel are always plated over another metal, never solid. Confused yet? Well, most hardware is actually pretty durable and a cheap price does not always mean it's poorly crafted. Lets look at some of our favorite cabinet hardware finishes to compare the pros and cons of each material.
Polished Brass looks shiny and golden. It pairs great with painted cabinets.
Pros: Polished Brass is sealed with a lacquer coating, so it will not age or tarnish. This common finish is easy to match between brands.
Cons: Polished brass, like most shiny finishes, will show fingerprints and the lacquer can dull over time.
Unlacquered Brass is a living finish, meaning it will change with time and use.
Pros: You don't have to worry about fingerprints here, unlacquered brass shows wear over time and the spots you touch will stay shiny. This raw brass has a warm, rosy color and you can always polish it back to a shine with brass cleaner.
Cons: If you want a uniform look, unlacquered brass will take more maintenance. We prefer the worn patina on rounded, amorphous shapes. It can look dirty in an edgy, contemporary style kitchen.
Antique Brass offers a patina without the maintenance.
Pros: Antique brass is aged with chemicals and sealed with a low luster finish. This gives you a worn, antique look that will never change or need polishing.
Cons: Chemically aging something never looks the same as a natural patina and the color here is not as warm as unlacquered brass.
Bronze is highly durable and offers many finishes.
Pros: Bronze is corrosion resistant and recommended for use in coastal homes with salty air. Many finishes and colors are available in bronze including the popular 'antique bronze', which looks black with copper highlights.
Cons: Bronze is more porous than brass and can develop shrinkage cavities over time.
Stainless Steel is the best choice for outdoor kitchens, but make sure it's solid.
Pros: A stainless steel finish is easy to match and will look at home next to your stainless appliances. Solid stainless is corrosion resistant and our recommendation for all outdoor kitchens. Stainless hardware is typically not sealed, so the finish can be polished or even lightly sanded to remove surface scratches
Cons: Solid stainless is more expensive than other options. Plated stainless pieces are a good option indoors, but will not hold up outdoors. Make sure you know what you're buying when dealing with stainless.
Chrome hardware adds drama and reflects light in this bathroom.
Pros: Chrome gives a highly polished and reflective finish that you won't find in other metals. Chrome is corrosion resistant and looks great in polished bathrooms.
Cons: While it won't rust, chrome will dull and develop pits over time. This shiny finish will also show fingerprints and water spots.
Nickel looks soft, but also feels modern with a brushed finish.
Pros: Nickel is available in brushed and polished finishes. It's color looks close to sterling silver and is warmer and richer than chrome. Polished nickel is easy to match between brands.
Cons: Nickel is pricier than chrome. Unless it is lacquer sealed, this finish will tarnish and need maintaining.
Matte Black hardware is contemporary, but we think it's a classic.
Pros: Matte black is usually created by powder coating another metal. This process results in a very durable finish that won't show fingerprints. Similar to hand forged iron, we think this finish works great in older homes.
Cons: Matte black hardware can look dramatic, especially against white cabinets. Use it sparingly and try to mix it with other metal finishes..