Meet the Team: Martin Murphy

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. 

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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. 

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.

Where should you put kitchen outlets?

From microwave to phone charger, everyone needs outlets in the kitchen, but who wants to see a beautiful backsplash dotted with poorly placed outlets? Lets look at some options to hide kitchen outlets and places where you shoud keep them visible.

Our favorite hidden plugs, these angled outlets are easy to reach.  See more of this contemporary kitchen.

Our favorite hidden plugs, these angled outlets are easy to reach. See more of this contemporary kitchen.

1) Under cabinet plugs.

When your backsplash is the special feature of the kitchen (think marble slabs or a tile pattern you don't want to interrupt), under cabinet plugs will keep it looking uniform. These plugs can be hidden along with under cabinet lighting to create a functional kitchen that looks sleek. However, under cabinet plugs aren't as convenient to see or reach as standard wall plugs and may not be a good choice for homeowners with arthritis or poor vision. If you are going to keep an appliance like a coffee maker plugged in all the time, cords won't be hidden, rather they will dangle from above. 

This wall plug blends in seamlessly with it's surroundings and is placed in a convenient location.

This wall plug blends in seamlessly with it's surroundings and is placed in a convenient location.

2) Color coordinated wall outlets.

Because wall plugs are easier to see and use, every kitchen should have a few. This kitchen uses black outlets with simple flat cover plates to help them blend into the backsplash. Place wall plugs in an area where cooks and guests can easily charge their phones or anywhere you plan to keep small appliances like coffee makers or toaster ovens.

This outlet is easy to access and grouped with two light switches.  See more of this charming kitchen.

This outlet is easy to access and grouped with two light switches. See more of this charming kitchen.

3) Group outlets with switches.  

While we may be able to hide outlets under the cabinets, light switches aren't going anywhere. Light switches are usually placed in an area that's easy to see and convenient to reach. Sounds like a good spot to charge your phone, right? Grouping a wall outlet together with light switches will reduce the amount of interruptions in your backsplash. These white outlets with black switch plates are easy to see and look appropriate against white tile with black grout.

Add an outlet in your island. Love these counters?  Learn more about soapstone and seven other counter options.

Add an outlet in your island. Love these counters? Learn more about soapstone and seven other counter options.

  4) Always add an outlet to your island.

Modern homeowners are installing more kitchen islands in place of breakfast tables because an island can be used for storage and seating. While a cook might like to have an outlet for small appliances, homeowners and their kids are likely to use these outlets everyday for charging phones and iPads. It's also safer to plug things in at the island instead of draping cords across walkways.

Remember, most cities have special rules about outlet placement and safety features like GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupter) in kitchens. You should check with your local buildings department or hire a qualified kitchen designer before installing electrical outlets in your renovation.  

Top 10 Reasons to hire a Kitchen Designer

Do you know what a Kitchen Designer does, how much one costs, or why you would hire one? See below for the top ten reasons you should hire a designer for your Philadelphia kitchen remodel.

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10) I want a functional, well thought out kitchen. 

While most contractors are great at building, they are not designers and shouldn't be treated as such. Contractors are great at designing details that need to be figured out on site, but to get a professional and well laid out kitchen, you should consult a designer first.

9) I am renovating on a budget.

Yes, a good designer costs money, but a good designer will also save you money. At Airy Kitchens, our designers research the best appliances and hardware to make sure you get quality products at the best price. Our designers know the best tradesmen in the Philadelphia area and we demand good deals for our clients.  A good designer will make up for their cost with savings and quality that will add value and longevity to your kitchen.

8) I want to DIY my renovation.

Thats Awesome! You've done this before, right? Having a plan and a comprehensive budget never hurts. Airy kitchens can create basic or complex construction plans to help you with your project. We can recommend products, retailers and even answer questions as they come. 

7) I have no time to do anything.

After the initial design phase, our designers are available to manage your construction project. That means we basically act as your personal assistant in charge of your renovation. All questions and scheduling can go through one person instead of a handful of contractors. We will keep you in the loop and we're happy to communicate via email, text, or phone. Your designer can even order your appliances, furniture and window coverings.

6) My Kitchen should look drop dead gorgeous.

If beauty is what you desire, look no further. 'Free' design services are just trying to sell you cabinets and don't really care about the final look. If you demand details and beauty, then work with a designer to achieve that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so using 3D renderings is a great way to get you and your contractor on the same page.

old house

5) This 100 year old house may fall apart at any minute.

We love old houses and prefer to save and restore details if possible. By designing a modern kitchen that looks appropriate in an old house, we can help salvage and reuse some of what you have. Our designers also know the old house safety hazards to look out for. Safety is our highest priority.

4) My Kitchen is too big or small.

Scale is important in all kitchens. Our designers know how to maximize space in your tiny Old City apartment. We can also make your Wynnewood mc-mansion kitchen feel cute and cozy. Lighting, color, appliance size, and many other details can make or break a large or small kitchen.

3) I want an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchens are totally different to build and maintain than indoor kitchens. Luckily, our designers are pros at designing for the great outdoors. This is the best place to hire a designer because outdoor kitchens are a new market. That means not as many products are available and not as many builders are familiar with them. See our outdoor kitchens.

2) I know what I like, but I'm not sure if it will work together.

Often times clients want to pick the coolest granite, prettiest backsplash, wildest wallpaper, and best floor tile. Once they see them all together (when the project is complete) they still like the individual decisions, but the overall aesthetic is not appealing. An Airy Kitchens designer will render your choices before building, so you will know exactly what the final product will look like.

home depot special kitchen

1) Avoid the 'Home Depot Special'. 

Big box stores are great for many things, but don't let convenience override beauty or economy. Taking a little extra time to purchase even a few unique items will pay off in the end. Also, taking the time to call around for the best deal can be very rewarding. If you work with a designer, you will end up with a better looking kitchen for a great price.