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Kitchen Trends
Tips for choosing and laying Mosaic Wall Tiles  E-mail

Mosaic tiles can create the great finish you were looking for in your new or existing kitchen space. As well as looking great, they are quicker and easier to lay and fit around various obstacles such as switches and sockets - they are also impervious to liquids, easy to replace if needed, and highly durable to extreme temperatures such the ones around stoves and fireplaces. In this article, we've featured Tile Depot's choice of mosaic wall tiles. If you are considering laying your own tiles, you should read the following tips in order to ensure that you end up with making the most out of your mosaic wall tiles - if you install them incorrectly the results can some times be more than disappointing...

 

Dune Alpha Mosaic

First, you will have to mark out the area you want to tile: for instance, if you tile the splash back, mark out the exact place where the mosaic tiles will finish on your kitchen wall. Next, take a spirit level and a length of batten and have a pencil line drawn to mark the necessary top edge of the mosaic tiles. Next, you will have to apply the adhesive – go for a top quality notched adhesive spreader and tile adhesive and have it applied to the kitchen area to be tiled. Make sure you hold the spreader right at a 45 degree angle in order to drag it through the tile adhesive and make sure that the ridges come at an even depth.

 

Dune Megalos HighTech

Laying the mosaic tiles is what comes next – take your first sheet of mosaic tiles and apply them right to the tile adhesive. Press them firmly by using your hands and tamp them level and flat by using a shorter length of wood. Continue to apply the mosaic tiles until you meet an obstacle such as a kitchen socket or switch. Once you meet such an obstacle, measure the distance between the edge of your last full sheet of mosaic tiles before the socket/switch and the near edge of this obstacle.

If tiling a kitchen back splash and your socket is much lower than your pencil mark on the kitchen wall, make sure you measure down starting from this mark to the top edge of the socket/switch. Next, you will have to measure the width and height of the obstacle and transfer all your measurements to the tile sheet. Cut out every mosaic tile that is inside your marks by using a sharp trimming knife. Before spreading tile adhesive around the obstacle, hold the mosaic sheet against the kitchen wall in order to make sure your tiles fit.

 

Dune Aston Mosaic

Grouting is the final step – leave the mosaic tiles to set in their place for 24 hours (at least) before applying the grout. Make sure you use a top quality waterproof grout. Apply it as instructed by its manufacturer and use a rubber-edged grout spreader to do it. Clean the excess grout from the mosaic tiles as you go and make sure you let the grout set for a while. Next, use a thin piece of dowel or grout shaper to neaten all the grout lines.

Supplier: Tile Depot

 
Going Green in Your Kitchen: Solar Hot Water Systems  E-mail
Solar hot water systems are a very cost-effective method to generate the necessary hot water for your kitchen space. Such solar systems can actually be used in any type of climate as they are designed to use a free fuel – the sunshine. They include solar collectors and storage tanks. Mainly, there are 2 types of solar hot water systems: the active type which has controls and circulating pumps and the passive type which has neither of these. Most solar hot water systems will require an insulated storage tank. Such solar tanks come with additional inlet and outlet connected from and to the collector. For instance, in a two-tank system, the solar heater will preheat the water before entering the conventional heater. In the case of a one-tank system, the heater is a back-up system which is combined with the necessary solar storage in just one storage tank.

There are 3 types of solar collectors that can be successfully and effectively used for residential applications: flat-plate collectors, integral collector-storage systems and evacuated-tube solar collectors. Flat-plate glaze collectors are insulated and weatherproof boxes that come with dark absorber plates covered in plastic or glass. Unglazed collectors which are typically used for swimming pool heating come with dark absorber plates made of polymer or metal and without any enclosure or cover. Integral collector-storage systems also known as batch systems features 1 or more black tubes or tanks that come in a glazed and insulated box. In their case, cold water will first passes through a solar collector designed to preheat the necessary amount of water. Then, the water will continue on right to a conventional backup heater which provides the necessary and reliable source of hot water. Such systems must be installed only in a mild-freeze climate as their outdoor pipes are likely to freeze when exposed to colder and more severe weather conditions.

Evacuated-tube solar collectors feature several parallel rows of glass tubes – each of these glass tubes contains a metal absorber tube that is attached to a fin and an outer tube made of glass. The coating of this fin will absorb solar energy while inhibiting the possible radiative heat loss. Such solar collectors are mainly used for commercial applications. Solar hot water systems can be active or passive. There are 2 main types of active solar systems: direct circulation systems and indirect circulation systems. The direct ones use pumps in order to circulate the household water through their collectors and then into the home. Such active systems work best in climate where it seldom freezes. Indirect circulation systems use pumps in order to circulate a heat-transfer and non-freezing fluid through their collectors and their heat exchanger. The whole process will heat the necessary amount of water and then make it flow into the house. Such systems work best in a climate that is more prone to freezing temperatures.

When compared to the active solar hot water systems, the passive ones are less expensive but also less efficient. However, they are reliable enough and they can even last for a longer period of time. In their case, there are 2 main types of systems: the integral collector-storage passive ones and the thermosyphon ones. Integral collector-storage systems work best when installed in climates where temperatures seldom fall below freezing. Also, they can be used in homes that have significant evening and daytime hot-water needs. Thermosyphon systems come with a collector that is to be installed right below their storage tank in order for the warm water to rise into the tank. Such systems are quite reliable but you must pay attention to your roof design because of their heavy storage tank. Also, they are more expensive when compared to the integral collector-storage systems.
 
Original Circle Kitchen - The Perfect Choice for a Small Kitchen  E-mail

Nowadays, when people’s needs are so diverse, when the trend is to streamline everything, small spaces are no longer a problem for interior design. If the area designated to the kitchen is not too spacious, you must find the most appropriate ways of arranging the furniture, placing the light sources and efficiently manage the storage space, so as to avoid the impression of crowding and clutter.

Young and talented designers have conceived optimum solutions for interior designs. One of the most amazing solutions for small kitchens belongs to the German designer Alfred Averbeck from Compact Concepts and it’s called Circle Kitchens.

This stunning idea combines current concepts: compaction, miniaturization and the perfect geometry of the circle, combined with high technology. The mini Circular kitchen fits any apartment, but is a good choice for hotel rooms, vacation homes, offices, or just for anyone who loves this concept.


 

The facilities are at the highest level, this kitchen including everything that is required in a classic kitchen: round stainless steel sink, Power and water supply installation kit, drawers with or without doors, vertical Powerdock, lightning set, electrical kit, countertop, dish washer, stove, microwave, sink, fridge, garbage container, etc.

The storage capacity can reach up to an equivalent of 12 regular kitchen cabinets. There are many variants of models and colours available for this concept, and depending on the chosen model and related facilities the price may vary between 6000 and 15.000 euro.

All this is possible because the ensemble has the ability to rotate with 180 degrees, providing all the facilities of a traditional kitchen. The model is based on the concept of "room inside the room", allowing the assembly to be positioned independently, where space allows it.

 

 

On demand, a narrow dinner table shaped like a circle sector can be attached.

The customized version has two side cabinets attached and sealed closing system with sliding doors.
 
Eco-Friendly Backsplash Materials: Recycled Glass Tile  E-mail

 

Bedrock Recycled Glass


For part one of our “Kitchens with a Conscience" series, we’ve got a great product for your kitchen backsplash that offers both style and substance – recycled glass tile. Made from sources like beer bottles through to industrial off-cuts, this material is the perfect way to go green while creating a stunning backsplash.

To make recycled glass tiles, producers take waste glass that has been saved from landfill or is no longer usable, and melt it down in a heated furnace, where temperatures can hit well over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten glass is then put in a mould and trimmed to the right size and form. While recycled glass can be mixed with industrial color, it is best when left in its original form – giving each batch of tiles its own unique look.

Bedrock Industries in Seattle (pictured above) create their hand crafted “BlazeStone" tiles using glass that is 100% post-consumer and post-industrial, and they don’t use any oxides or colorants. The company even operates community bottle drives to encourage recycling and ships their tile using recycled boxes.

There are many companies that now deal in only recycled glass materials. Others include Eco-Friendly Flooring (pictured below), Aurora Glass (where all proceeds go to benefit St Vincent de Paul) and Sandhill Industries (US).

Eco Flooring Glass

 

 
Contemporary kitchen range hoods  E-mail

BMD Modern Hoods make contemporary range hoods combining aesthetics with function - these great looking hoods are designed for residential use but deliver commercial grade performance (meaning that you'll never have a kitchen full of smoke ever again). You would expect these sleek looking hoods to be expensive - while not cheap BMD Modern Hoods is also claim to provide a better lead time and price point than its competitors. For more information visit BMD Modern Hoods
 
Cool Ceramic Image Tiles

Ever wanted a certain image in your kitchen or bathroom tiles? Perhaps a kitchen splash back that you dreamed of that you knew would only be possible as a glass splash back? Well now you can have your ceramic tiles with an image of your choice. Imagine Tiles have changed the way we look at the ceramic tile.
Is it really easy to customize your tiles, you simply take a picture of the image you want or perhaps it is one you already have and you send it to them as a digital file and they send you one “proof tile", give them the thumbs up and they mass produce your image and send them to you.
Imagine a shower decked out in your own photos or a kitchen displaying images from your travels!
Our favorite is grass image tiles for the floor.

Grass Image tile
Image tile
Imagine Ceramic Tiles




 
How much is too much TV?
Thanks to Siemens you can now enjoy TV’s built into a kitchen range hood. No this isn't a joke, you can buy one here: Siemens range hood - It has a LCD flat screen and DVD player on the side too. This probably not the best idea considering most the world's white population is fighting an obesity epidemic. However, we would love one if we could afford the US$2500 price tag.
TV range hood

TV range hood siemens


 
Chilling Retro Style
A company called the Big Chill has launched a range of retro styled fridges. These are great to bring back memories of 'yester-year'. The best part is that they don’t weigh a tonne any more and they house all the technology modern fridges have. Prices start at US$3295 and available in eight different colors.

Big Chill
Retro fridge
Retro fridge
 
Manhandle your kitchen
manhandles

These Manhandles, while 'unique' might be perfect for an alternative style kitchen (think recycled glass counters, timber veneer, led lighting). They are made from a 'bashed' brass by Soko who have a variety of unique handles in their range - Incidentally, there are also hooks available in the same design style.

Manhandles

 
Wall ovens getting a raise

You would be forgiven for thinking this wall oven was a breast imaging machine if you didn't see it in context. This creative concept by Gaggenau has completely changed the way in which we (might) use an oven. No more tempting fate as you reach into a hot oven to test the muffins at the back! You just lift the top of the oven and prod the food as much as you like.

The 24-inch oven uses its LiftMatic function to raise and lower the glass ceramic base. The company claims that this oven actually reduces heat loss when you open the oven (since heat rises into the oven, instead of out into the room).

Built to sit inside top cabinets or on kitchen walls, the oven offers 11 heating methods and has a stainless-steel-tinted glass front. The lift oven has been available since July 2007.

Lift Oven

Lift Oven




 
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