I've Got Steam Heat: Replacing Radiators In Philadelphia Kitchens.

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.

This new radiator was sourced to match older existing ones.

This new radiator was sourced to match older existing ones.

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!

This modern wall mounted radiator is sleek and easy to clean around.

This modern wall mounted radiator is sleek and easy to clean around.

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.

Why use a radiator in the bathroom when you can have a towel warmer?

Why use a radiator in the bathroom when you can have a towel warmer?

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.

Electric radiators can be great for small rooms.

Electric radiators can be great for small rooms.

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.

When in doubt, paint it black and put some marble on it.

When in doubt, paint it black and put some marble on it.

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.

Outdoor Kitchen Options in Philadelphia

Here in Philadelphia, there are a lot of urban roof decks. These entertaining spaces are usually two floors above the kitchen and barbecuing becomes a marathon workout. Enter the Outdoor Kitchen. Todays home-cooks want a place to work around the BBQ, and keep their beer cold. Northeast weather is harsh though, so your indoor kitchen won't do. Here are the best (and worst) options:

Wood outdoor cabinet

Wood Cabinets

Wood looks great and adds warmth to the space. Only a few wood types should be used for outdoor cabinetry, so make sure you buy from a reputable company. The negatives? Doors can warp and wood needs more upkeep than other options.

Stainless Steel Cabinets

Stainless is tough and we think it looks the best. It can be powder-coated many different colors and is low maintenance. However, it is the most expensive, and it gets hot in full sun.

low maintenance outdoor cabinets

Synthetic Cabinets

Like wood, plastics come in different grades, so look for a quality material that won't fade or crack. Synthetic materials are low maintenance, easy to clean, and come in a variety of colors. 

modern marble kitchen

Counters, hardware and floors

We recommend a stone counter like marble, granite, soapstone or quartzite. Counters will need to be sealed for outdoor use. Avoid synthetic counters, as they can melt against a hot grill. All hardware should be stainless. Outdoor cabinet pulls can be wood or plastic, but stainless is best. Set your kitchen on a solid surface like a concrete pad or hardwood deck. 

outdoor marble counter

Outdoor Appliances

Only use outdoor rated appliances. The Northeast has harsh weather and indoor appliances won't cut it. Built-in grills can sit against stainless cabinets, but wood and synthetic cabinets should have a heat barrier. Any water will need to be shut off in the winter, so instal a shut-off valve in a convenient location.

Enjoy your outdoor kitchen. They are convenient and a great way to keep the party out of your house.






Americana Kitchen Projects For the 4th.

As we prepare to celebrate our great country's birthday, lets take a look at a few kitchens that embody a true American style.

rustic american kitchen

This rustic kitchen is actually a modern renovation. The refrigerator and dishwasher are hidden behind panels. The red, white and blue color scheme feels very patriotic. 

American Kitchen 1

Located in a recently remodeled Greek Revival farmhouse in upstate New York, this kitchen is more fun and relaxed. The design doesn't try to be a period reproduction, but mixes historic furniture and art with modern amenities. See more of the renovation here.

Pennsylvania dutch cabinetry

This traditional 'pie safe' cabinet with its punched tin panel is part of a new kitchen remodel in a historic Pennsylvania 1803 log cabin. Read about how the owners moved the cabin here.

philadelphia american kitchen

Finally, our favorite because it's our own design :). The new Airy Kitchens showroom in Mt Airy Philadelphia. For this project we blended traditional American details with modern materials and appliances. This look doesn't try too hard to look original, but truly embodies our American design heritage. 

Enjoy the fireworks, barbecues and swimming pools, but take a minute this 4th of July to look around and see the designs, details and craftsmanship that make our towns, homes, and even kitchens American.