75 North Rand Road, Boksburg 1459, Gauteng, South Africa +27 11 8231719

Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen

When designers set out to design the perfect kitchen for their clients, choosing the right countertop is vital. It is a very important decision during the planning stages of design. The countertop is ultimately needs to suit the needs of the client, as the work surface will depend on the type of user. We need to identify key factors which affect our decisions when providing the solutions for our clients. Would your client require an easy to maintain work surface? Or is a stain resistant work surface a worry? Or is the style of kitchen design a determining factor? Ultimately the choice lies with the client's needs and we can also mix and match different materials to suit the style requirements and add a feature to the space.

The two factors most likely to influence your choice are that of durability and appearance. As the worktops is of frequent use and needs to look great as well. There is an immense variety of materials to choose from. Certain materials call for extra care, a few are almost maintenance-free, and others develop a patina effect which makes the work surface even more stunning as it ages. So what are the options available?

Marble Countertops
Marble countertops create an elegant and sophisticated look, whether it has a polished or honed finish. The stone is resistant to heat, cracks, and breakage. But it is porous, can permanently stain and requires a lot of care in use. This is not ideal or an advisable option.

Wooden Countertops
Wooden countertops can be fairly economical and it adds a sense of warmth to your kitchen. It is multipurpose surface and works perfectly in a contemporary or rustic kitchen. Scratches will occur but those can be sanded away. A wood surface will need regular oiling and it is not heat resistant so one should be wary of protecting it from extra-hot cookware.

Granite Countertops
Granite countertops offer flexibility and sturdiness. It highlights the beauty of natural stone as each slab varies in appearance; it is also stain-resistant and requires minimal maintenance but can be porous. Granite worktops are normally sealed by the granite installation crew and might require further sealing a some years down the line.

Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel countertops is basically impervious to heat and bacteria, making it the go to choice in professional kitchens. Besides cleaning up fingerprints regularly, it is a smart choice for a kitchen fitted with commercial-style appliances and is an ideal choice for those who are germ conscious. However, stainless steel worktops show surface scratches soon after use.

Solid Surfacing Countertops
Solid surfacing countertops like Corian offer great solutions for colour choice, build ups and a modern aesthetics. Innovative designs can be created using this product. It can be pricey but require minimal maintenance. Solid surface countertops can be thermo formed, shaped and styled in ways not possible with any of the other countertop materials. An alternate solid surface would be Formica which comes in a wide selection of colours, is fairly cost effective but comes in a standard thickness.

Engineered Stone Countertops
Engineered stone is currently one of the most popular solutions. It is composed of natural quartz mixed with resin. It is very durable, nonporous, and heat-scratch-resistant and maintenance free. Aesthetically there are always new colours coming on the market for every desired look from a marble effect to a concrete look. It is a bit most costly but well worth it.

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Appliances - Built in VS Integrated

In today's modern world, choosing appliances can be very overwhelming. One trend that is becoming increasingly popular is that of built in and integrated appliances, often the line between built in and integrated become a blur. We hope to explain the differences in this post to aid you in choosing your appliances a little more effectively for your requirements.

Although similar in their function of creating a more cohesive, sleek and custom fitted look, they are however, not the same. Lets take a look at the differences. Built in appliances are designed to be visible. You will always see them, however, they are usually quite attractive with stainless steel accents and tinted glass fronts. Some have stylish LED light features and colour accents.

Often appliances such as ovens, microwaves and coffee machines etc, do create some sort of focal point in the kitchen and do add a very contemporary look and feel to the environment. Appliances such as fridges, dish washers and washing machines are considered free standing, which means they are not secured or fitted to any of the cabinetry. What does this mean in terms of giving them a built in look?

Well, these appliances, for one usually always protrude past the counter space or side panels. We can make them look "built in" by creating sides and tops, however, there is always a gap between these sides and the appliances. Fridges for example now come in many different sizes and depths vary drastically, some as much as 900mm deep which means that they would stick past your cabinets by at least 300mm...that's a whole ruler length! Unfortunately, there is often very little that can be done to overcome this dilemma without adequate space.

Integrated appliances on the other hand are designed to blend in seamlessly with your kitchen and the finish you select. These appliances don't come with a fancy front, but rather, a bland, usually white front with holes for brackets to be mounted to. These bland doors are there so that your kitchen supplier can add the same finish as what is in your kitchen to your appliances.

Appliances that usually get integrated include more commonly, fridges, freezers and dish washers. Occasionally you are able to get integrated washing machines and tumble dryers as well.

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Extractor fans mostly used in the modern kitchen

A cooker hood will make cooking more pleasant by filtering out any fat molecules, conducting away the steam and neutralising smells to keep your kitchen smelling fresh and clean. Aside from making an impressive visual statement by forming the stylish centrepiece of your kitchen, cooker hoods also offer the practical service of removing any airborne vapours, odours and grease to keep your kitchen environment as pleasant as possible. There are five main types of cooker hoods available on the market, including integrated, wall-mounted, island, downdraught and ceiling cooker hoods.

No hood without a hob
The type and size of your hob will, to a large extent, dictate what kind of cooker hood best serves your needs. The kind of hob you select will have an enormous impact on the size of cooker hood you should choose. The two appliances should work hand in hand – you can't buy one without considering the other.

All cooker hoods need to be positioned centrally over the hob in such a manner that they cover it sufficiently. To decide what cooker hood width will best suit your hob, you can draw an imaginary straight line upwards from the edge of the hob through to the lower edge of the cooker hood. An angle of 5° outwards for wall-mounted hoods is advisable, while for island hoods, the angle needs to be at least 10°. The recommended distance between a hob and a cooker hood is around 65cm to 75cm, and a hob measuring up to 75cm will require a cooker hood with a width of 90cm, while a hob measuring up to 90cm wide, will require a cooker hood with a width of 100cm to 120cm. The major exceptions to this rule include cooker hoods with multi-zone edge extraction, and cooker hoods servicing gas hobs, which can both be the same size as the hob below, while island cooker hoods always need to be larger than the hob below."

Silence is golden
When choosing your cooker hood, check out the noise levels of the unit. This is especially important today, where kitchens often double as the social hub of the home. You don't want operational noises to interfere with any social discussions. Cooker hood noise generally stems from the motor and the moving air throughout the unit, however, both these factors can be influenced. Any good quality cooker hood should have a noise level of less than 60 decibels.

Energy efficiency
With the ever-rising cost of electricity, it is important to consider energy efficiency when selecting your cooker hood. A good quality cooker hood should offer excellent energy efficiency, without compromising in terms of power and efficiency. In general, the fan and the lighting account for the bulk of any cooker hood's energy consumption, so you should look out for models with LED downlights, and ones that boast a DC motor. Another feature to look out for is the inter-hob-cooker hood communication as this is not only a convenient feature, but it can also play a major role in reducing energy consumption.

Cooker hood customisation
With the eternal quest for uniqueness and customised solutions, your cooker hood should also be as individual as your taste preferences. Today, you can customise your choice of cooker hood to best suit your needs.

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Pot Filler Tap

Generally found in high end kitchens, the pot filler tap is becoming a popular choice in today's modern kitchen. The swinging cold water tap, mounted above the hob allows you to easily fill up pots directly on the hob without having to carry around heavy pots from the sink, adding convenience and function. Plus the classic look of a jointed-arm tap adds a touch of elegance and practicality. But is this feature really necessary or just a luxury? It is a luxury that creates convenience, and convenience is a big factor when creating the kitchen of your dreams.

Lighten The Load
Sure it's a great opportunity to start bulking up on some upper body strength, but unfortunately that type of strain can go straight to your back instead. A pot filler tap allows you to avoid lifting, straining or twisting. Critics will point out that you still have to carry the pot to the sink to empty it when you're done. Also, when your dishwasher is done cleaning your dishes you still have to unload it, and when your oven finishes cooking your meal you still have to serve it to your guests. In other words, we'll gladly take convenience wherever we can get it.

Save Time & Hassle
Perfecting a meal can quickly become a balancing act of multi-tasking. The pasta needs 12 minutes to boil, the sauce needs to simmer for 1 hour, the broccoli needs to be steamed for 5 minutes and your spouse is trying to rinse the dishes before your dinner guests arrive. What was already a challenge in and of itself has suddenly became a circus of yelling and waiting for water to go from hot to cold and back to hot, and bartering favors just to get a chance at the tap. Instead of juggling the kitchen sink, you could be out of each other's hair thanks to a second water source. A pot filler reduces conflict and creates more opportunities for multi-tasking.

Do More
You may not realize how much you truly use water in the kitchen until you have a pot filler tap. Think about how many dishes and items in the kitchen need water, from boiling and steaming to watering and cleaning, and then how often you need to add water. You add water to soups, pots of rice or oatmeal, the slow cooker, smoothies, your potted herbs, a tea kettle, the list goes on. A second water source in a separate location from your sink allows you to do so much more.

Add Style
The ideal kitchen contains appliances and fixtures which not only add function, but also aesthetics. For example, a sink and tap can endure the rigors of daily use while also adding a touch of beauty to your kitchen. Just like your sink's tap, a pot filler tap is both practical and beautiful. A pot filler gives you an opportunity for a new shiny fixture that complements your other hardware on a wall that would otherwise have nothing.

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Kitchen Storage Solutions

Are you tired of having knives randomly thrown into drawers, plastic containers crashing down on you every time you open the cabinet door or struggling to find the what you're looking for? Here are some tips that might help turn your kitchen from messy to meticulous! Organization and storage is more than just putting specific items in certain drawers or cabinets. It's about affordable, modern solutions that can reduce health risks, improve food prep and make cooking and cleaning more efficient.

Pull Out Organizers
Pull-outs are perfect because all it takes is a pull of the knob or handle and you've got everything at your fingertips. You won't ever have to experience the discomfort of bending or hunching to dig into a small, dark space only to pull out the wrong item. This organizer puts everything on display, adding these to your home will make your life so much easier.

Drawer Inserts
Drawer inserts are amazing! You'll be able to find one for whatever purpose: cutlery, utility, spices and even cups. If you want it organized, you can make it happen with an insert. No longer will you struggle to open a drawer because there is a place for everything, and everything has its place with inserts! An insert brings a certain peace of mind, knowing that everything you need is exactly where it should be.

Tray Dividers
To ensure that your cabinet has a design for the most efficient use of space, think about the tray divider option as well. These are for your larger hard to store items like a glass pan, or the circular pizza tray.

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Ceasarstone Kitchen work tops (Part 1)

Your choice on what to use as a counter top or work top in your kitchen can be a conundrum, seeing that there is so many options to choose from, Caesar Stone is leading the way in the technology and development of engineered stone. Adding more value to any kitchen, or working service.

Since 1987 they have been creating quartz surfaces which are not only beautiful to look at but also exceptionally durable. Whether you're a professional designer or simply looking to create exquisite home interiors, their surfaces can be the starting point for your design and renovation ideas. With three diverse collections – Classico™, Motivo™ and Concetto™, you will be sure to find the look that meets your design needs, whether you're designing a new kitchen or luxury bathrooms. Caesar stone is also suited to more unusual applications such as feature walls, floors and stairways, or even custom-made furniture. They simply provide the tools for you to put your unique stamp on any room, and create an unrivalled and unique, interior finish.

All Caesar stone slabs meet the very highest international standards including ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. Every single surface meets American Greenguard stringent standards, ensuring safe indoor air quality. We are also certified by National Safety Foundation (NSF), certifying our surfaces are qualified for unrestricted use in the kitchen and food preparation environment.

With the knowhow and experience Caesar stone bring to the industry, its save to say that quality is a given. And is a must have in every kitchen. It is essential for us to assure you that your Caesar stone product will retain its functionality, beauty and give you pleasure for many years to come. Because your peace of mind is a top priority, we provide every client with a suitable warranty for every Caesar stone quartz surface product we supply. This means that we completely support our product and that we are always at your service to answer queries, solve problems and ensure you derive maximum satisfaction from your Caesar stone product. Warranties are provided by the exclusive Caesar stone distributor in your geographic area. Lifetime limited warranty on material installed in residential applications and a 10-year limited warranty on material installed in commercial applications. With a on line warranty activation proving that quality and security for any client at Weizter using Caesar stone. Is a bonus adding value to your dream kitchen. And giving you peace of mind to know you have been given the best.....

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10 Ingredients for a Cutting-Edge Kitchen

For the latest in smart tech and push-button convenience, look no further than today's kitchens. Truly modern kitchen amenities are not only technologically savvy, but also offer exceptional energy efficiency, durability, and ease of use. Here are 10 innovative ideas.

Smart Hobs
Forget cleaning around plate tops. The Thermador Masterpiece Series Freedom Induction Hobs breaks free of traditional limitations to offer the largest fully usable cooking space on the market. This sleek hob is equipped with a full-color touchscreen interface and state-of-the-art technology that enables it to recognize the shape of your pots and pans, heating only the surfaces you need.

Steam Ovens
Steam ovens cook food with heat generated by boiling water in a built-in reservoir. These appliances are available from many manufacturers, and most today also function as convection ovens. But the steam oven's real claims to fame are its easy to clean interior, faster cook times, and the moist, flavorful foods it produces.

Custom Refrigeration
How would you like a combination fridge, freezer, and wine cooler that fits seamlessly into your kitchen? Miele's just that. It's not just their customizable widths and cabinet-depth installations that make them special. With separate compressors for each fridge and freezer section, their design eliminates flavor transfer, so your ice cubes will never taste like your leftovers.

High-Efficiency Dishwashers
The Bosch Benchmark dishwashers go beyond the water-saving, energy-efficient models that have been ob the market. They're virtually silent and feature touchpad controls and flexible loading—and they even project the remaining cycle time onto the floor in large, easy-to-read numbers.Enter your text here ...

One-Touch Faucets

Messy hands in the kitchen usually make for drippy, germy faucet handles—but not with a one-touch or touchless faucet, available these days from many manufacturers, including Kohler and Moen. Cutting raw chicken or rolling out dough? No problem. The high-tech sensors in these fixtures allow you to wash up without gunking up your faucet.

Cabinet Built-Ins
In today's cutting-edge kitchen, cumbersome cabinets need not apply. The future of cabinetry is replete with rollout shelves, built-in compost collectors, and blind corner accessories that leave no space wasted. And now that more new cabinets are made from recycled materials, you can feel doubly good about your next renovation. The cabinets shown here, made from reclaimed vintage oak veneer panels, make an environmentally friendly statement in the kitchen.

LED Lighting
Because LED's take up so little space, they can be stylishly incorporated into undercabinet lighting, drawers, and cabinet interiors. Energy-efficient LED lighting is available in a wide array of colors and lumens—and, perhaps most important, they generate less heat than incandescent or halogen globes, so they help keep the cook cool.

Engineered Work Surfaces
Today's engineered stone countertops combine the vibrant colors and patterns of natural quartz with tough, nonporous resins, resulting in countertops that are unmatched in their durability and resistance to scratches, stains, and germs.

Coffee from the Tap
There are no shortage of innovative appliances to make your next cup of coffee. But if money is no object, consider the smartphone-controlled TopBrewer. It may look like a simple, graceful faucet, but it's actually the world's smallest milk foamer and the fastest countertop barista. With one of these on deck, you're never more than 30 seconds away from a perfect espresso—or cappuccino, or macchiato, or even hot water for tea.

Tea Time
Wake up to boiling water with this WI-Fi enabled teakettle. Controlled by your smartphone and synchronized with your alarm clock, the iKettle will heat water and keep it warm for up to 30 minutes.

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Granite vs Quartz

Your kitchen is made up of so many important parts, the boards making up the carcasses and doors, the handles, the taps and what we're going to talk about today is… the kitchen counter tops.


Many a client, when we ask them what countertop they are looking for, they usually answer with "marble" or "granite." Only the curious would ask what the difference is. Not knowing that they have more options than just the four I'm going to mention below – Quartz, Porcelain, Marble, Granite.


The main difference between the 4 is that 2 of them are engineered – meaning man made and the other 2 are natural – meaning they come from rocks and quarries all over the world.

When talking about the pros and cons on engineered vs natural stone.

Pros of natural stone:
- Although ill-advised, you can put hot pots on the counter but only for seconds at a time, the heat will travel to the weakest point making your stone weaker and weaker over time,
- The colour variations are endless
Cons
- Marble will stain and soak up that stain making it difficult to impossible to return to it's original state
- Your knives will become dull over time
- Expensive

Pros for engineered stone:
- Better at resisting stains than natural stone because it's less porous
- Barely imperfections when look at an overall slab
- Can be made to custom size and shape
Cons
- More brittle
- Expensive
- Less heat tolerant
- Colours are frequently discontinued


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Smart Appliances 1.0

 What do we have now?

At the moment, we can only brag about basic functions generally considered intelligent, we haven't yet reached the level of what would be considered a clever kitchen but I'm most impressed with the happenings in the appliance sphere, they seem to be making the most headway in terms of bringing us closer towards the "kitchen of tomorrow". 

The dynamic they seem to be pursuing is heavily emphasized by spatial ambiance.


What is spatial ambiance?

"In spatial design, the ambiance of the space is generally created through the room's function, the aesthetic of the space itself with object elements, including the primal elements within that space such as the architecture, lighting, colour, and furniture"

An understanding of the space and how we interact with it. Exteroception is our foundation, using our senses to feel our surroundings and interact with them, playfully on purpose.

Now imagine being where you are, and feeling like the universe is conspiring to make where you are…well, perfect. That's where the "Smart Appliance" comes into play. It knows what you need when you need it.


The general approach, necessary to facilitate an intelligent integration, is in fact determined by the spatial dynamics of each individual node(object) on a network . Needs are directed by function and appeal to us through aesthetic blending. At the moment, the integrations are purely modern in design and would be visually out of place in a traditional or country themed kitchen...maybe that will change but for now we are working within a small spectrum of what's actually possible.


We are at the very early stages of integrating technology in our homes but the era has begun. I for one, am truly excited to be in a position where I get to watch this market grow,  marching onwards into the new future as the world around us becomes more complicated and a lot smarter, allowing us to spend more time on the things that matter to us most.


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Weizter

626 Trichardts Road
Eveleigh 1459
Boksburg, Ekurhuleni
South Africa

Call us: +27 11 823-1719

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