Friday, May 25, 2012

Professional Ranges for the Home

One of the most interesting appliance categories we offer is the Professional Range for the Home.   So often this is the first appliance our client mentions as a starting point of their kitchen design.  While
some people are interested in the pro style to give their kitchen that "commercial restaurant" look others are interested in getting the "commercial performance" so they can cook like they own a restaurant.

BlueStar Pro Range doesn't have to look like it belongs in a restaurant. 
Each of these customers has very different questions and desires.  The customer going for that "pro look" is usually curious about options in colors and trims while the "pro cook" wants to know how many BTUs are available and what temperature can the infrared broiler achieve.
So  you can imagine how excited I was to get an invitation to the BlueStar Factory in Reading, PA.  Prizer Painter, the manufacturer of BlueStar products, has been making high performance cooking products for commercail use since the 1880s.  They decided to bring this process under the brand of BlueStar and make a true handcrafted, restaurant quality professional range for the home in 2002.

The factory was a star in itself due to their long history of manufacturing cooking products for over 130 years in the very same buildings.  I really enjoyed hearing the "Made in America" story with locally sourced products such as American steel...and, my patriotic side admired how BlueStar corporately, actively works with the local VA to hire returning Vets.  All of this set in a picturesque, historical city like Reading, PA where Abe Lincoln's father and grandfather lived.

BlueStar Red Range and Oven sitting pretty as the star of the kitchen.

With features such as their big 22,000 BTU bad boy burners and their low, low simmer burners as low as 135 degrees, your true inner chef will be inspired.  If that wasn't enough, choices of over 190 colors, French door options, burner configurations and many trim accents will surely make the BlueStar the star of your kitchen design.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Designer Galley Sink Systems

I wear many hats for HomeWerks and one of my favorite tasks is looking for products worthy of HomeWerk's offerings.  It has to be a premium product -  energy efficient and water wise - no planned obsolescence...and of course be very cool!

Looks like The Galley Sink is going to fit the bill!  Cutting boards, racks and bowls slide above and below each other on two tiers creating a functional workspace for food prep, serving and cleanup all within the sink system.

Whether your kitchen is indoors or out...large or small...the Galley Sink would bring hyper fucntionality to your kitchen work area.  Depending on the kitchen design, an apron front version and an undermount installation is available in three sizes:  4 ft,  5 1/2 ft, and 7 ft. in a heavy duty 16 gauge stainless steel with angel hair finish.        

I love the fact that it is a "Made in America" product!   Did I mention that The Galley Sink is beautiful?  Which makes this another way cool offering at HomeWerks...Really Cool Stuff for the Home!

The sink is on it's way to our HomeWerks Gallery and we couldn't be more excited!   We'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Designing Today's Kitchens with Color

I went to the largest party thrown by the City of San Antonio last night - Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) - during Fiesta Week.   I mention this because I was still in my "work uniform" of black and gray with a string of pearls as I went straight from work to the celebrated event.  I felt so out of sync with all the fun, colorful fiesta clothing everyone was wearing...once again realizing how important color can affect our moods.  Color can make us feel many emotions from somber to party mode!

Since I'm in the world of designing and coordinating kitchens, I am always looking for inspiration of color parings and trends.   Many clients want to bring color into their design but end up assuming the "deer in the headlights" mode in their decision making.

Color can be brought in through the appliances, counter tops, flooring and paint.  Even the selection of light to dark wood brings color to the design.  Material selections are endless from quartz countertops to wood veneers with just as many colors and textures to choose. 

Making a choice can be overwhelming!  What gives clients the most angst?  Whether or not they will be able to live with the color for the life of the kitchen and the lack of confidence in their color selection...often just settling for stainless.  While stainless is very popular, color could make their kitchen design sing!
Even a safe choice of a black range over stainless can make the "old world" look the client is trying to achieve come alive.  Or, the choice of  a white range in a very contemporary kitchen can make more of a "Zen" statement.

While I love to offer my 2 cents to the conversation, my best advice is to choose colors that you have always seem to be drawn to and look at colors that can be found in nature for your color palette.  Choosing natural materials like stone or wood is usually a safe bet...look at how older homes with wood and stone floors have held the test of time.   A great source - and probably worth more than my 2 cents is HGTV's  decorating and advice site for designing with color: 

Ok, so you just can't make that color selection?  Paint a wall...all white cabinets in a cocoon of color such as a fun tangerine or a sophisticated taupe would be stunning.   And, we all know how easy it is to change paint color...almost as easy as it is to change our mind!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day

Our precious Earth has its own special day, Earth Day, April 22. Celebrated the world over, this year's theme is centered around "A Billion Acts of Green" which encourages each and every one of us to "live and act sustainably."

A great day to reflect on our planet's plight and make our New Earth Day Resolutions! If we all start making modest changes to daily routines, collectively, these changes will add much to preserving our precious resources.

While I may never be able to brush my teeth while letting the water run without guilt, imagine how much that one little change has saved in water these past years. Over the past couple of unusually hot summers...instead of cranking up the A/ ceiling fans have had quite the work out and, considering my constant hot flashes, I am especially proud of this change in habit!

I think that the concerns are so great that, as individuals, we feel like improvements are far from our abilities to effect. They are overwhelming...but think of the very small things that can be done throughout our daily habits like turning the lights off when you leave the room. Think in those perspectives, and you will see how the little changes can add up to be worthy of a cause.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tips on Saving Green by Selecting Green Dishwashers

I can actually remember when automatic dishwashers were not a mainstay in every American home. And, I may be giving away my age...but if your kitchen was equipped with one of those "new-fangled contraptions," you probably complained about having to wash the dishes before loading to ensure satisfactory results.

The dishwasher debuted during an era where energy and water conservation really wasn't at a top of the mind awareness level as it is today. Good thing because the first models were not impressive...remember, you had to wash the dishes first.

In fact, it really has not been that many years ago when I personally started to rely on my dishwasher. My Miele dishwasher does such a great job that even my finest wine glasses get first class treatment with the china and crystal program. I'm an empty-nester and a full load may not occur for several days but even without using my pre-rinse cycle...sparkling clean results are a certainty.

HomeWerks' home town of San Antonio is in the 20th month of a severe drought cycle and water shortage is very much on our minds as we try to sustain our thirsty lawns. The fact that a simple chore of washing dishes gives us an opportunity to make a difference should matter. Valid information to apply to any brand but there is a definite bias to HomeWerks' favorite brand of Miele dishwashers. Following are tips for selecting a green dishwasher that you can feel good about using and at the same time saving our natural resources as well as saving our other dwindling resources...the green in our pockets.

Look for dishwashers that meet Energy Star requirements - saving up to $30 a year in energy. Replacing an old dishwasher with a new Energy Star model can save up to $30 a year in energy consumption and use over 40% less energy than the federal minimum standard. Miele's new dishwashers use only3.4 gallons of water in its Normal cycle, exceeding Energy Star's future 2011 water and energy standards.

Choose a dishwasher with several wash cycle selections. If your dishes are only slightly soiled, you can use a light or energy-saving wash cycle which uses less water and operates for a shorter period of time. In its economy cycle, the new Miele series only uses 1.2 gallons for those who want to save even more water and energy.

Beyond energy and water usage, consumers need to consider performance as part of their green home strategy. When buying a dishwasher to save energy and water, homeowners should investigate which models can clean effectively while being energy efficient. According to Energy Star, pre-rinsing dishes prior to loading can waste up to 20 gallons of water per cycle. With a Miele dishwasher, pre-rinsing is not necessary as their dishwashers are guaranteed to clean thoroughly without rinsing. Scrape and load is all a consumer needs to do. A real novelty, a dishwasher that washes your dishes without having to wash them first.

Look for quality and be ready to spend more now so you don't have to buy two dishwashers later. For example, Miele has a 20-year lifespan, outlasting the average life cycle stated by Energy Star by 9 years, that's two dishwashers purchased for every Miele sold. No built-in, planned obsolescence.

Check for available rebates. Go to for the latest rebate programs. Check out local utility service providers for possible rebate programs.

About Miele. For more information about Miele, please visit or call 800 843-7231.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tips on Saving Money by Selecting Green Laundry System

I was interviewed by our local news affiliate, WOAI TV, on the differences between appliances that were rated Energy Star and those that were not up to Energy Star standards. The state of Texas had a Sales Tax Holiday on certain qualifying Energy Star appliances and items during the long Memorial Day Weekend and the interview was to speak on the related topic.

The question is why would you buy an Energy Star appliance? If saving our precious green resources still isn't enough of a motivator, maybe the other precious green in our pockets might be an incentive to prompt the this an Energy Star appliance?

Through HomeWerks, I have released a series of Press Releases with guidelines on what to look for when purchasing Energy Star products. The first in the series is providing tips for saving money by selecting a green washer and dryer.

HomeWerks' home city of San Antonio definitely has it's challenges providing sufficient water supply to it's citizens with record breaking drought conditions and a washer can make a huge impact on water as well as energy savings. Valid information to apply to any brand but there is a definite bias to HomeWerks' favorite brand of Miele washers and dryers.

1. Look for laundry products that meet Energy Star requirements - saving over $145 a year in energy. If a washer is over 10 years old, replacing it with a new Energy Star qualified washer could save over $145 each year on utility bills. If everyone in the U.S. owned a Miele, we'd save the equivalent of 40 million barrels of oil a year. And with a Miele Honeycomb washer, you save enough clean drinking water for 10 people for life.

2. Look for several water level options. Choose a washing machine that allows you to adjust the water level to match the size of the load. Miele's new MasterCare controls automatically weighs and adjusts the water for the load size.

3. Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor. Reduce the dryer's energy use by choosing a model with a moisture sensor. Miele's Touchtronic microprocessor monitors dampness and automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, which saves energy and reduces wear and tear on clothes caused by over-drying...saving more money.

4. Look for quality and be ready to spend more now so you don't have to buy two washers later. For example, Miele has a 20-year lifespan, outlasting the average life cycle stated by Energy Star by 9 years, that's two washers purchased for every Miele sold. No built-in, planned obsolescence.

5. Check for available rebates. Go to for the latest rebate programs. Our city water provider, San Antonio Water System (SAWS) also offers $100 rebate for level 3-tier washers. Check local utility providers for rebate programs as well.

About Miele
For more information about Miele, please visit or call 800.843.7231. Check out their corporate sustainability statements.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Start

I can not wait until this blog really starts taking off as I'm just learning the art of blogging ...lots of ideas ready to burst out in to this blog.

I just completed my Professional Green Certification course through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It is so exciting to be able to take a course that can not only offer lots of good info but give credibility to the Professional trying to practice Green not only in their personal lives but in their respective professional arena .

You may be curious as to why a building makes sense when you look at our offerings... For more than twenty years, my marketing efforts have been toward premium products that have no planned energy efficient and water wise...and improve the health of our indoor spaces. And they must be the coolest cool stuff for the home!

My company, HomeWerks, has several divisions with Appliances., Floor Care and Low Volt Integration to name a few. Within each of those divisions there are a lot of synergistic categories so I can assure you there is a lot of interesting info to share with new products popping up all the time!