Mise En Place, pronounced mee-zahn-plahs, is a French term for the practice of assembling everything to prepare a meal before beginning to cook. That’s why professional cooks and our favorite television chefs always have tools lined up, pans in place, vegetables chopped and eggs cracked in tiny glass bowls all ready to be dumped into the batter at the perfect moment. It’s not all about keeping to a schedule…they really work that way.
Called ‘The Meez’ by some cooking professionals, this concept is occasionally considered the way to plan a work project too and I guess that makes sense. Nothing beats having everything you need on hand before you begin a project of any kind. Whether in the office or at home, being prepared with all the necessary tools and supplies makes any job more manageable.
So it only makes sense to organize your cabinet interiors and drawers too. There are many options to choose from and here are just a few.
The lazy susan is a trusted stand-by and still is one of the best ways to use a corner.
A double drawer unit with a scalloped Roll Out Tray gives lots of storage options.
Vertical storage for trays and cutting boards are a great idea. I also like storing them over wall ovens and even refrigerators with dividers.
A drawer knife organizer protects the blades and keeps everything in easy reach.
Peg-style dish storage makes it easy to see the contents.
Slim pull out storage units can hold everything from canned goods to cleaning supplies.
A beautifully organized kitchen!
There was a time when most upscale homes had sculleries. That’s where all the messy meal prep work and pot and pan scrubbing took place. All that makes me think of Downton Abbey. How about you? Of course sculleries were more popular in Britain than the average American home and some commercial kitchens still have an area designated as a scullery. A scullery is a real work area as opposed to a butlers’ pantry. We still see the later in today’s homes but their main purpose is to assist in serving meals, some limited clean up and storing china. They are not the stuff of hard work.
Waypoint's style 650F in Oak Tawny
While the concept of modern-day sculleries was raised a few years ago in the design community (and frankly I’d love to have a small one adjacent to my kitchen) they just don’t seem to fit in even upscale homes today. Occasionally, a catering kitchen is just right for large homes when the homeowners do major amounts of entertaining. In their own way, they have a lot in common.
In the charming photo above a large catering kitchen is shown. With all the counter space and warming appliances needed to pull off a large party, the space is a dream. The room is wide enough for people to work back to back and plenty of open shelving makes it easy to grab serving pieces. The wine storage works for ready to serve wines and the large window at the end makes it a cheerful place to work. And it just might make a great scullery too.
This contemporary floating vanity is supported by the wall as well industrial I beams. Note the thick edge on the countertop which adds to the contemporary look. The taller than usual backsplash houses the faucets.
Vanities are key to the design of any bathroom. Not only do they support the counter top but they are usually the only storage space in many bathrooms. There are lots of vanity styles, finishes and configurations to choose from today. While vanities with furniture detailing (molding details, furniture feet and custom end panels) are still in vogue, floating vanities often associated with contemporary environments. But as we’ll soon see the two looks can be combined.
Here, not only is the vanity floating but also the storage tower to the left. Simple tubular legs help support the vanity area.
Floating vanities are especially nice in small bathrooms. The open area below gives the effect of more space. They are also sometimes considered easier to clean because the flooring runs continuously under the vanity.
Here's a more traditional way to have the look of a floating vanity. Just the end cabinets are raised above the floor and are finished off with decorative legs.
There are several complexities when installing floating vanities so count on your designer to work out all the details.
It has been said that the average American family does somewhere between eight and 10 loads of laundry each week. It’s almost overwhelming to think about how much time is spent on this task. The good news is that much more attention is being paid to the laundry room. Almost without exception, homeowners would prefer to have the washer and dryer on the main floor rather than in the basement.Who wouldn’t?
Waypoint's style 420S in Maple Auburn
Even a small laundry room can meet the needs of large family and they are easier to work into a closet or rear family entry when remodeling. But today the real desire is for the all-purpose room where storage abounds and multiple tasks can be completed. A perfect example is this gift wrapping center that is part of a large multi-use room that included the laundry.
There is a surprising amount of cleaning supplies to store and the laundry area is also a great place to store extra paper products bought at a great price from shopping clubs. This utility cabinet with Deep Roll Out Trays makes that part of the laundry process much easier.
Some final tips: Allergies in the family? Then avoid hanging clothing outside. As wonderful as they may smell coming in from an old fashioned clothes line, the laundry will have collected pollen and other allergens while outside. Showering and changing into fresh sleepwear before bedtime will also prevent the daily collection of allergens from ending up in the bed linens.
Modern washing machines use less water and are more energy but their doors and lids also seal tighter than older models which can promote odors and mold growth. On top of that, today more cold water cycles, less bleach and more fabric softener are being used. Cleaning the washer according to manufacturers’ directions is a must. Dryers need less intense care but the lint traps, appliance backs, vents and the area surrounding the dryer need to be free of lint and dust for fire safety.
I am quite fascinated by organized rooms of any kind. It just seems to be a calming experience to look at a room devoid of clutter and one that is thoughtfully organized. Desks are always a hard place to organize because paperwork in the form of bills, home repair receipts, income tax records etc. just seem to multiply. This desk has a nice tidy look to it, so let’s take a closer look.
1. This desk area is part of a family mud room. Since it’s the place where the family comes and goes the most, it’s a great place to sort mail into a slot for each family member. See #4.
2. Closed door storage is very useful in a desk area. Not everything is neat 100% of the time. So tucking away office supplies out of sight is a good idea for most of us. Wall and base cabinets are perfect for this.
3, Wall Top Hinge cabinets flip up for more closed storage. These cabinets have lid stays that support the door in the open position. They add a great contemporary look with semi-obscure glass in the center panel.
4. Tucked under the Wall Top Hinge Cabinets are Storage Cubes that organize mail and bill paying. A less that fun process perhaps… but much better when there is an organized place to put things.
5. A bookshelf down to the counter holds books and boxes to hide more office supplies. It would also be a great place for a family photograph or two.
6. An old fashioned corkboard is handy to post family schedules. We all have electronic calendars (maybe more than one) and they have lots of advantages but I love this old fashioned visual approach.
7. Hardworking quartz countertops work on a desk space just as well as they do in the kitchen.
We’ve all gotten used to our smart phones, cars that can parallel park by themselves, put on the brakes if another car is too close and alert you if something is in your blind spot. About a year ago I wrote about Dacor’s new oven that ‘talks’ to your smart phone. It lets you know when your meal is ready and it can even put it on the warming mode. Amazing. A few years ago we could have hardly imagined such incredible things being part of our everyday life. Now, there are even more technologies entering our homes.
Photo compliments of LG HI-MACS
One of the most interesting things to come out is a wireless charging system for cell phones. Called TechTop, it allows phones to be laid directly on the counter surface for charging. This neat way to cordlessly charge cell phone will be introduced July 1st by LG Hi-MACS®. The secret is a charging station embedded in the countertop with a single hidden outlet. This only works with Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) enabled phones. If a phone isn’t QI capable, accessories are available that will allow any phone to be charged with this new technology. How cool is that?
Touchless faucets are a readily available and are one way to reduce the way germs are passed around in the family. Photo compliments of Kohler
Photo compliments of Kohler
Technology can also help germaphobes. Kohler has had residential touchless faucets for kitchens and bathrooms for some time. Now they have introduced a toilet that will flush with a wave of a hand. The technology is available in one and two-piece models. There is also a retrofit kit for existing toilets that even comes with a cover to close the hole where the trip lever used to be.
Photo compliments of Doug Mockett & Company, Inc.
One of my favorite companies to come out with truly usable technology components is Doug Mockett & Company, Inc. Their latest is a recessed power outlet that is designed to fit into furniture. It comes with standard grounded outlets as well as USB ports. Shown here in an upholstered piece, my favorite place to put it would be in a night stand where there are never enough outlets. It comes with a 6 foot cord so in some cases, floor outlets will be needed to make this neat new technology work.
With all these advancements, we could be one step closer to living the life of the Jetsons. I kind of like that!