For the novice cook: Have no fear. TOH is here to help, with a guided tour of the heart of your home, including ideas and advice on how to make it a tricked out culinary hub
Man meet Kitchen. We know you're busy and...manly, but we believe it's high time you two got acquainted. The kitchen can be a wonderful place once you know your way around, and TOH is here to help you get up close and personal with your grazing grounds, element by element. By the time we're through with you, even the most kitchen-ignorant will be tiling backsplashes with ease. Don't worry—we'll tell you what a backsplash is first.
It's the cabinets that make the kitchen (not, as you might think, the size of your fridge or the BTUs in your gas range). Cabinets are the storage staple of every kitchen, home to everything from spices to dishware to pots and pans, or even some of these Wacky Kitchen Products I, II, and III.
But with so many options out there, how's a guy to know what to get? Start by familiarlizing yourself with All About Kitchen Cabinets, a perfect introduction to materials, finishes, and styles. Once you've got a handle on the basics, 9 Great Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades will show you how to take your storage center to the next level.
If you do opt to replace the boxes you have, do it the right way by following TOH general contractor Tom Silva's steps in How to Hang Kitchen Cabinets. Or if new storage is out of your budget, upgrade your cupboards with a simple coat of paint. See how in How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets.
While we're sure that you're familiar with this particular kitchen feature, we're not as sure that yours is not a veritable health hazard. While "pantry" is just a fancy word for "more storage," if you find that you're sharing your two-year old, half-eaten box of Cap'n Crunch with a family of ants, it may be time for an overhaul. Remember: pantries are traditionally used to store dry goods, canned items and spices and definitely not for perishable products, like, say, milk.
A pantry can be anything from a tall cabinet to a whole other room. If you think you need some help in the organization department, look at the 14 Smart Storage Accessories to learn how to stash in a more orderly fashion.
The mark of an excellent kitchen is one with lots of counter space. By lots, we mean: enough for three pizza boxes to sit side by side without knocking the adult beverages onto the floor.
Counters come in a variety of materials at a range of costs. On the low end, you have your laminate, which is basically a hard plastic material glued over plywood. Inexpensive, and actually fairly easy to build yourself (see How to Laminate a Countertop), but not as durable as stone. You can't, for instance, cut that pizza right on the counter unless you're going for a cat-scratched effect.
The counters that everyone drools over are made from stone, particularly hard-to-damage granite. Find out everything you need to know about the rock-hard slabs in . And if you choose this option, definitely keep a bookmark at How to Remove Spots from Kitchen Countertops. Because you will spill red wine on them at some point—we guarantee it.
First things first. In the industry, it's known as a range. A "stove" is just a set of burners, and the "oven" is the part with the door. Those features are often sold and installed separately, but together they become the range.
Ranges come in gas or electric, with or without convection, grills, and other features. But whatever you have in your kitchen, get to know how to use it. Because no woman can resist a man who cooks. The Best New Ranges will show you the cream of the crop while Appliance Science is geared toward the more technically-minded.
Ever notice how your kitchen smells like bacon for days after cooking it? We know you probably think of this as an added boon of frying that favorite of fats, but not everyone enjoys that third-day bacon smell. That's where the range hood comes in. It's actually a ventilation device that expels odorous air. Thing is, it only works when you a) are aware of its existence, b) turn it on, and c) have it vented through the wall to the great outdoors. How to Install a Range Hood explains all the steps to installing one properly.
Check out some unconventional hood models in Vent Hoods Gone Wild! See—ventilation is fun!
You know that wall space over your stove range that's speckled with hamburger grease and barbecue sauce? Well, if it was covered in tile or other protective material, it would be called a backsplash. This versatile kitchen element not only protects the wall surface from stains, but it can also add an element of visual interest to the room. (Ummm, by that we mean it's pretty.) And we all know how girls feel about elements of visual interest—they like 'em—a lot.
The best materials for a backsplash are tile, metal, solid surfacing or other smooth and easily wiped down material. But a piece of plastic shoved behind the range isn't quite what we mean here. Introduce yourself to one of the many backsplash options with Solid Surface Backsplash Materials. Then save yourself some cash by learning How to Install Tile Backsplash, How to Install a Glass Mosaic Tile Backsplash, or How to Install a Solid-Surface Backsplash.
What you probably use it for: preserving oatmeal-encrusted bowls, storing empty soda cans, and maintaing a constant reservoir of cloudy water. (Bringing to mind some of our worst Home Inspection Nightmares.) What it's supposed to be used for: washing used dishes, rinsing fruit and vegetables, and straining pasta, among other legitimate kitchen-y things. If your sink usage belongs to the former category, you'll probably need Clearing Kitchen Sink Clogs. In the future, don't use your sink as a disposal unless you're sure one has been installed.And then when that breaks, get it grinding again with How to Repair a Garbage Disposer)
There are so many ways to do the kitchen sink—stainless steel, porcelain, soapstone, deep, shallow, single, double. If you're in the market for a new one, be sure to check out our Buyer's Guide to Kitchen Sinks. Then watch how TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey installs one in How to Replace a Kitchen Sink.
The shiny (or perhaps dull and crusty) fixture on your sink is your faucet. But contrary to what you may be experiencing, a faucet is not supposed to drip water constantly. THe good news: that's an easy fix—in fact, fixing a dripping faucet for someone else (ahem, lady friend) will score you some pretty big bonus points. So first get acquainted with the basics with Get a Handle on the Kitchen Faucet. Then follow the step-by-step instruction in How to Repair a Dripping Single-Handled Cartridge Faucet and How to Repair a Dripping Two-Handled Stem Faucet
If it's time to get yourself a new faucet, follow How to Install a Pull-Out Faucet. These one-handled wonders make scrubbing unwieldy pots (and super-soaking your friends) a snap.
Repeat after us: load, unload, load, unload. It's quite simple really, yet somehow the dishwasher often becomes confused with a dish storage center. But cooking would be a lot less daunting if you understood that today's dishwashers do all the work for you: they can scrub and dispose, and you barely have to run the sink faucet before you put the pots in. Do yourself a favor, and get yourself a dishwasher with our Dishwasher Buying Guide.
Now here's a feature we can all get on board with. Don't you like your beer, wine and liquor? Then it's time to treat them right. Consult Bar Parts to determine what kind of storage works best for you, and then take a look at Bar Sinks for a multitude of functional and aesthetically pleasing bowls and faucets. Now comes the fun part: 14 Best Bar Accessories will take you from barback to bar-master. Party at your place?