Quartz countertops remain a high-end, in-demand kitchen upgrade.
By Nancy Mattia Whether you’ve come into a few extra bucks or been saving for a while, now’s the time to indulge in that special kitchen something that makes your heart go into overdrive. Here are some to consider. 1. Built-In Steam OvenThe appliance, which does everything from defrosting to baking, is sleek and space-saving, says interior designer Scott DeLello. But it’s a hard worker too. “It helps an amateur cook create ‘Top Chef’-quality meals,” he says. The secret: Steam provides heat but doesn’t sacrifice flavor or moisture. Available in a variety of sizes, the oven comes as small as a standard microwave, which means even if your kitchen is tiny, you can still indulge in a steamy splurge.
2. Natural Stone CountertopsThis still rates high on homeowners’ I-want-it list. Natural stone, such as granite, is very durable for countertops; others are resistance to heat and burns. And quartz is known for being impervious to bacteria and easy to clean; taking routine care to maintain it is vital to its well-being. “There are many different types of stone available in all different colors and veining patterns,” says DeLello. “Opt for a large slab format, which minimizes seams and maximizes the stone’s natural pattern.”
3. Built-In Coffee/Espresso Maker Want to have a coffee bar but have limited counter space and no room for a table? Get your caffeine kicks from a built-in coffee/espresso maker, says DeLello. “It’s similar to a built-in over-the-range microwave—it eliminates clutter on the countertop by integrating seamlessly into cabinetry.” 4. VitamixThis high-performance blender has been on your kitchen bucket list for years and finally you’re making your wish come true! What will you make first? Perhaps steaming-hot (yes, hot) soup made in the Vitamix in less than 10 minutes? Or a bowl of creamy chocolate ice cream? Check. 5. A Good Chef’s KnifeOnce you regularly use sharpened, well-made knives, you’ll realize they’re less of a splurge and more of a necessity. If you can only get one high-quality knife, make it a chef’s knife, which is known for its versatility. You can chop garlic, bone a chicken, and dice carrots with precision and less time than it would take using a lower-quality knife. Sure, a top-notch chef’s knife will be pricey but it’ll last for decades with proper care (like washing it by hand with soap and water, never in the dishwasher). Look for a knife made with carbon steel that feels comfortable when you’re holding it.
6. Coffee BarAnyone who’s crazy about coffee will perk up at the idea of having a designated space in their home devoted to their favorite hot beverage. Creating a coffee bar is easy: Get an attractive table, cart, or shelving unit (or make room on a countertop) and fill with all the necessities like a high-quality coffee maker, mugs, milk frother, bags of aromatic beans and bottles of flavored syrups.