What’s Cooking in the High-Tech Kitchen?

From hands-free faucets to WiFi-enabled refrigerators, the latest technology has upped the ante when it comes to the high-tech kitchen. Ahead, some of the most innovative appliances that do everything from letting you watch your soufflé bake from the inside of the oven to watching a how-to recipe video while you try your hand at crafting the perfect béarnaise sauce.


Building upon the innovation of the Family Hub refrigerator, Samsung’s Chef Collection brings thoughtful technology to a pro-level suite of built-in cooktops, ranges, wall ovens, hoods, dishwashers and refrigerators. The Chef Collection line brings many innovative features to the built-in category, including View Inside cameras, which lets users see inside their refrigerator from anywhere, and induction cooktops with Virtual Flame technology, which gives the visual of gas cooking. Bluetooth capabilities allow the ventilation hoods to adjust fan settings based on the amount of heat coming from the cooktop below. WiFi connectivity gives the home chef seamless control and monitoring of the cooking process via smartphone.


Energy efficient and easy to install, the Eco-Lucent LED lighting system from Federal Brace has color-changing lights that are perfect for under-cabinet task lighting. The system consists of an aluminum channel that houses the LED light strip with a frosted cover, and is easily installed with 3M strips. An infrared remote provides complete control over the system, from selecting the colors—there are 16 to choose from—to adjusting the light variations.


Kohler’s Sensate touchless faucet offers a hands-free experience for a cleaner, more hygienic kitchen environment. Sensate’s intuitive Response® technology is ready to follow your move: a wave of a hand—or an object such as a pan or utensil—turns it on or off. The Sweep® spray creates a wide, strong blade of water for superior cleaning, while Kohler’s new docking system, DockNetik, secures the pull-down spray head to the spout magnetically.


Interactivity and sharing life’s moments are just two uncommon advantages of GE’s over-the-range kitchen hub. This 27-inch smart screen can communicate with other connected appliances including GE-brand washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, wall ovens and, of course, ranges. Scheduled for release later this year, the kitchen hub will feature live video chat functionality with multiple camera angles, a cooktop-facing camera and ample task lighting (hello, amazing Instagram photos), access to family calendars and schedules, and endless recipes and cooking resources. Over-the-air updates keep the kitchen hub current and in tune with the latest features.


Hey, June! The world’s only intelligent convection oven, June boasts Adaptive Cook Presets, an internal camera and Food ID technology that promise to cook your food perfectly every time. With the ability to convection bake, broil, roast, slow cook, toast, air fry, dehydrate, keep warm and reheat, June can cook anything. And with June’s mobile app, you can control your oven from anywhere, watch your food being cooked and be notified when your meal is ready. The app also features easy to follow, step-by-step video recipes.

Beast Mode: All-American grills, smokers and more for backyard cooking

Last month we shared some of the latest in outdoor kitchen design—countertops and flooring, cabinets and islands. Now, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest made-in-America grills and appliances that will instantly up your backyard cooking game. 


Beachy outdoor kitchen with Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill, ventilation and cabinets and refrigeration. The focal point of this compact but powerful outdoor kitchen is Kalamazoo’s 51-inch-wide Hybrid Fire Grill. The brand’s largest grill, the Hybrid Fire Grill offers the ability to cook with gas, charcoal, wood or a combination of the three, putting any backyard cooking style well within reach, whether it’s “low and slow” barbecue or intense, searing heat in excess of 1,000 degrees. The cooking zone also includes a double cooktop and ventilation hood, with refrigerators bookending the space. Handcrafted in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Inspired by the “live fire” cooking traditions of Spain and Argentina, Grillworks’ 42-inch Asador Grill is the hands-down ultimate in wood-fire grills. Grillworks’ signature crankwheel-controlled system adjusts the surface height, while the Floating Fire Brick™ rear heat shields provide maximum durability and heat handling. Hand-welded of stainless steel, the grill features a heavy-duty rotisserie and is equipped with commercial castors or rubber turf tires for ease of movement outdoors. In a word? MAJOR. Made in Michigan.


It’s not delivery, it’s a homemade pizza cooked to perfection in your new 30-inch Napoli Outdoor Oven™ from Lynx. With a specially-formulated concrete refractory interior dome and 400-square-inch cooking surface, this is one very versatile oven. It preheats quickly to 700 degrees, and the cooking surface pulls out for easy access to food—from cookies and casseroles to bruschetta, flatbreads and, of course, pizza. Shown here atop the Lynx mobile kitchen cart, the Napoli Outdoor Oven can also be used as a freestanding countertop appliance or as a built-in outdoor kitchen oven. Made in Southern California.

PK Grills‘ Original charcoal grill and BBQ smoker boasts an impressive 310-square-inch cooking space that will accommodate even a Thanksgiving turkey. The Original PK’s unique shape is ideal for both direct and indirect heating, known as two-zone cooking, while the 4-Point Venting System provides exceptional air flow inside the grill capsule. Keeping consistent heat on a charcoal grill has never been easier. Crafted of thick cast aluminum, the grill is easily removed from its cart. The PK stands for “portable kitchen,” making it great for backyard cooking, camping, tailgating and more. Made in Arkansas.


Now it’s a party! Create a customized Perlick outdoor beverage center that will accommodate the tastes of every guest. The design shown here features Perlick Signature Series appliances, including a 24-inch Signature Series freezer, 15-inch refrigerator drawers, a 24-inch beer dispenser, and a pair of 24-inch dual-zone refrigerators/wine reserves. Made in Milwaukee.

The Evo Professional Wheeled Cart grill is a unique way to feed a crowd at your next get-together. The solid cook surface is 30 inches in diameter, constructed from black steel and oil-seasoned to provide a heavy-duty cooktop. Easy control of the inner and outer burners ensures 650 square inches of edge-to-edge cooking space. By cooking foods directly on the cook surface, you can sear, sauté, grill, toast and stir fry. Indirectly, you can use pots or pans to boil, braise, poach or steam. The heavy-duty stainless steel lid lets you roast, steam, warm, or smoke foods and also features an adjustable vent that exhausts steam and vapors while cooking. Made in Minnesota.


Photos: courtesy vendors. 

Warehouse Renovation Reveals Family Home with a Modern Twist

The Our Little Warehome vlog series follows the Branch family as they transform a battered downtown warehouse into their family’s dream warehome. This is not your average warehouse renovation story, and the results are sure to amaze you.

When Allan and Anna Branch first bought an 80-year-old abandoned warehouse in downtown Panama City, Florida, it was far from a home. It served as an auto repair garage from the 1930s to the 1950s, and had been used as a storage facility for the next  30+ years, after which it was virtually abandoned. This space was in desperate need of some TLC, which is exactly what the Branches set out to give it when they embarked upon this warehouse renovation. 

This remodeling journey was an exciting new experience for Allan and Anna, who had never built or renovated a home before. However, what they lacked in experience, they made up for in innate DIY talent and vision. With the help of their kids Jimmy and Sarah, some talented builders and great designers, they knew they were up to the task.

In just 12 months, with lots of hard work and many big decisions, the Branch family warehouse renovation resulted in an almost unrecognizable dream home.

Allan had the right idea when it came to their home’s exterior:

“The windows and doors are the first thing people notice about your building. They create the face of your building, and we wanted our face to be beautiful and strong.”

Because the design of the home was to have “the newest, most advanced technology with an old-world feel,” they selected JELD-WEN for its beautiful style and innovative functionality.  

Anna wanted the door to act as focal point, so she chose a dramatic black for her glass panel JELD-WEN door and surrounded it with a deep green. These color choices provided the perfect contrast for a bold entrance.

The Branches were especially excited to learn about JELD-WEN’s cutting-edge AuraLast wood treatment, which made it possible for them to have wood windows despite living so close to the salty Florida coast. They were also able to custom shape their wood windows to complement the unique architecture of the home, and added beautiful copper-colored cladding to their JELD-WEN wood windows which they emphasized with black trim.  

The original building had a loading dock area, which the Branch family chose to embrace rather than restructure, resulting in one of the most unique custom features of the home: An aluminum, double-pane JELD-WEN rolling door. A rolling door is designed like a garage door for the interior of your home, but with much more style. In this case, it provided the opening to a balcony for their kitchen and living room.

Solid core 5-panel JELD-WEN doors were installed throughout the interior to help prevent sound traveling throughout the large home. The doors impart a classic Craftsman style to the home.  

Florida’s climate introduces a safety concern: Hurricanes. In fact, the Branches had to deal with four hurricane scares while they were working on their remodel. Doors and windows are the most vulnerable areas of a home during a hurricane, especially the glass. This is why the family chose windows with JELD-WEN ImpactGard glass protection. This technology contains an interlayer which tightly bonds the two layers of glass, making it extremely resistant to impact from harsh storm conditions and wind-borne debris, as well as attempts of forced entry.

Energy efficiency was also a huge priority for Allan and Anna. Being in Florida, they knew that finding ways to keep their home insulated and cool during the summer could contribute greatly to their energy conservation by reducing how much they use the AC. This is why they were attracted to the Low E-glass element of their new JELD-WEN windows.

Low E-glass windows are designed to keep solar rays out of the home with a special thin metallic coating on the glass. This protective coating works to keep the heat out during the summer and in during the winter.

One of the family’s big complaints about their previous home was that during the summer months they had to keep their blinds drawn at all times to keep out the hot rays of sun. Now they are able to enjoy the natural light from their huge JELD-WEN wood windows, with the house staying cool and comfortable.

By the end of the series, it is hard to believe that this beautiful home was not so long ago a deteriorating warehouse. The Branches did an amazing job of revamping the home to their liking while incorporating original details such as the brick walls. From smart technology and planning to beautiful design, this home has it all.

Watching the transformation of the space will inspire new possibilities you may have never considered. 

Party in the Back: Build a better space for outdoor entertaining

Summer is here, and that means heading outside for pool parties, cookouts and all-around fun. And whether you’re just beginning to plan an outdoor kitchen or ready to upgrade your existing space, consider these essential building blocks for creating an outdoor entertaining area you’ll enjoy and want to share all summer (and beyond).



Detail photo of outdoor kitchen countertops, flooring and stacked stone panels that make up the island
Some of your favorite indoor surfaces — think quartz, granite, marble or travertine — are equally suited for outdoor living. Above, this kitchen features Tuscany Beige travertine pavers, Babylon Gray quartz countertops and Rustic Gold RockMount stacked stone panels for the cabinet base’s exterior. (
MSI Stone)


Modern outdoor kitchen arranged in a half moon layout with light gray pavers and black tiles

For the minimalist who wants elevated design and clean, smooth lines, Techo-Bloc’s Industria collection of pavers is teamed up with the company’s newest finish, HD 2. The smooth Para HD 2 stone pavers, shown here in Greyed Nickel, create a sleek pathway to the kitchen space. The large pavers transition to the long, thin Industria rectangles — also in Greyed Nickel — set in a half-moon floor that echoes the kitchen’s curved design. Industria pavers in Onyx Black are nestled atop large river rocks and provide another pathway from the kitchen to adjacent outdoor entertaining areas. (Techo-Bloc)


Cambria USA Roxwell quartz beauty photos with an arrangement of cut citrus.

Outdoor countertops should meet all of the same requirements they do indoors, as well as be able to stand up to the elements. Natural quartz, shown here in the Roxwell pattern by Cambria®, is a strong choice. Not only is quartz remarkably durable — even more than marble or granite — it is maintenance-free, nonporous and nonabsorbent, making it ideal for food prep and meals. (Cambria)


Cabinets & Islands

Not unlike the aforementioned surfaces, today’s outdoor kitchen cabinet options are as elegant and modern as the most upscale interior cabinets. NatureKast offers truly modern and totally weatherproof options, from the PVC cabinet and drawer boxes to the resin used to create the door and drawer fronts that look and feel like real wood.

NatureKast Contempo Door Style Cabinets Arctic Slate finish in a rustic contemporary outdoor kitchen NatureKast outdoor kitchen cabinets in the Louver and Slab door styles in a Silver Birch finish

The new Contempo door style, shown here (top) in Arctic Slate, is a transitional design that is equally at home in a modern space or a rustic, farmhouse-style space. A combination of slab and louvered door styles in the Silver Birch finish (above) contrasts with the darker finish of the flooring and the solid wood beams overhead, and imparts an upscale coastal cottage vibe to the heart of this outdoor entertaining space. (NatureKast)


John Michael Kitchens Modern Marine Blue Flat Panel Cabinets with Wolf stainless steel grill.

John Michael Kitchens — makers of some of the most luxurious outdoor kitchens around — uses marine-grade 316L stainless steel for all of their handmade cabinets. Resistant to rust and corrosion, marine-grade stainless steel offers weatherproof protection in any environment, not just coastal areas. Available with two door styles (Shaker-style inset doors or flat-front panels, shown above) and more than a dozen colors, including Marine Blue, shown here. (John Michael Kitchens)


John Michael Kitchens Trio Freestanding Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Components

An emerging trend in outdoor kitchen design is the freestanding mobile kitchen or mobile cart. From a chef’s prep station to storage cabinets to even a pizza oven cart, the options from John Michael Kitchens all feature the same heavy duty marine-grade stainless steel used to handcraft the brand’s built-in cabinets. Add low-profile casters that are virtually undetectable, and you’re on the move to becoming a backyard chef. (John Michael Kitchens)


Outdoor Kitchen Island with wood faced cabinets and VIking Stainless steel grill and appliances

Outdoor kitchen packages from Viking® are available as pre-configured designs based on the brand’s stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets. With island, angled and straight-lined layouts, and from four to eight cabinets, Viking’s outdoor kitchen packages are designed to accommodate their award-winning grills, warming drawers, side burners and more. (Viking)

Stay tuned for our July guide to American-made grills, smokers and other outdoor cooking essentials. In the meantime, learn how a folding door system can open up your home to all of the possibilities that outdoor entertaining has to offer.


Photos courtesy of vendors. 

Natural Light & Blended Indoor/Outdoor Spaces Are a Breath of Fresh Air

If your vision for your home includes abundant natural light and indoor rooms that visually expand into outdoor spaces, look no further than vinyl windows and patio doors. Designed with performance in mind, JELD-WEN® Premium™ Vinyl windows and patio doors are beautiful and durable, and offer a wide range of features and options to match any style of home.


Casement Windows: Let the Fresh Air In

Casement windows are the picture of design simplicity. This operating type of window provides maximum ventilation and allows the sash to be opened outward to the left or right.


Awning Windows: Mix & Match

Typically found atop doors and in combination with other windows, awning windows make a unique and practical statement in many architectural styles. Awning windows have top hinges and open out from the bottom in an outward swing, just right for letting in natural light and fresh air. Choose from two hardware styles (a multi-point lock or a standard folded nesting handle) and seven finishes to customize the look and functionality of your awning windows.


Single-Hung Windows: Simple & Smart

Single-hung windows feature a bottom sash that lifts vertically towards a fixed top sash and tilts in for easy cleaning and maintenance. These windows are best suited for traditional architectural styles. Choose from 10 exterior finishes to complement your home’s paint and trim colors.    


Double-Hung Windows: Universally Appealing

Versatile double-hung windows are wonderfully suited for a variety of architectural styles. They feature an upper and lower sash that slide vertically past each other in a single frame. Both sashes tilt in for convenient cleaning. Choose from multiple grille designs (or none at all) and four glass options to customize your new or replacement vinyl double-hung windows.


Fixed, Radius & Geometric Windows: Beauty from Every Angle

 The beauty of fixed, radius and geometric windows is their uniqueness. These windows are direct or sash glazed and come in a wide array of beautiful shapes, such as half-round, quarter-round, full-round, segment arch and elliptical. The absence of window treatments invites an infusion of natural light. 


Sliding Windows: Clean & Simple

Clean lines and a streamlined look set the tone for single-sliding windows. One sash in this type of window slides horizontally in grooves or tracks towards the fixed sash. To ensure your sliding windows are secure without sacrificing ease of function, choose MAG-Lock® hardware. A MAG-Lock automatically locks the window, and with the use of magnets it only activates when the window is in the closed position, creating an audible click.


Bay & Bow Windows: Think Outside the Box

Bay and bow windows add a new dimension to every living space. Bow windows feature a set of joined windows that create the illusion of a curved wall and increase the view. Bay windows extend a space outward and can provide a shelf for plants or decoration.


Single-Slide Patio Doors: Bring the Outdoors In

Outdoor living spaces become an extension of the indoors with single-slide patio doors. They’re ideal for nearly any patio or deck. The sliding door opens smoothly and easily by sliding along a horizontal track. For a French door appearance, select optional wide stiles.


Multi-Slide Patio Doors: Expand Your View

Take a simple and elegant approach to creating large, open spaces. The Premium™ Vinyl multi-slide patio door makes a dramatic statement, opening up rooms and connecting seamlessly to the outdoors. Create light, open spaces with up to six panel units reaching 10 feet high and a total of 24 feet wide.

Explore the full line of Premium™ Vinyl windows and doors and bring your vision to life.  

Outdoor Living Spaces: A light-filled home blurs the line between indoors and out

Maximize outdoor living spaces with patio doors that extend the comforts of home to the backyard and beyond.

In a home filled with windows, Jenni Rahrig has one that she loves a little more than the others. “My favorite window in the entire house is the sliding patio door. I use it all day, every day,” she says.


When Jenni and her husband Jeff began looking for a new residence a few years ago, they realized that, to achieve the amount of natural light they desired, building a new home trumped undertaking a renovation. The couple worked with Grandfather Homes in Charlotte, North Carolina, to create their dream home.

The Rahrigs’ home is a great example of the builders’ signature style. “We consider it traditional yet progressive architecture,” says Missy Bagley, sales representative with Grandfather Homes. “We want our homes to feel familiar and comfortable, yet gracious and well-appointed.”


The couple’s style is wonderfully modern, with light being one of the most important elements in the design. “We knew from the beginning that windows would be a big part of the home,” Jeff says, and Jenni agrees. “Light is so important to our design aesthetic, and we wanted to make sure we maximized the amount of light that we had coming into our home.”


Through these doors lies one of Jenni’s favorite spots in the home—the covered terrace and the pool. “It’s just beautiful,” she says of the outdoor living space. Jeff and Jenni chose Custom™ wood JELD-WEN patio doors, which allowed them to customize the interior and exterior color of the doors. JELD-WEN patio doors are made for blurring the lines between indoors and out.

Once the exact placement of the home on the lot was determined, the team at Grandfather Homes extended the back of the floor plan to maximize the outdoor living space and poolscape. This allowed for the great room to naturally transition — almost vanish — into the covered terrace. 


Covered terrace overlooking a swimming pool

Overlooking the pool, the covered terrace has a broom-finished concrete floor and stained wood ceiling, which is accented by cedar-wrapped columns. The terrace is outfitted with clean-lined furniture in a neutral hue that blends with the surrounding space; orange cushions give the décor just the right amount of color.


During the day, the patio is a welcome respite after soaking up the sun in the pool, and in the evening it’s made for dinner and drinks for two or more. “It was such a pleasure to work alongside Jeff and Jenni to design their dream home,” Missy says. “We are so proud of this home and trust their family will enjoy it for years to come!”

Jeff and Jenni’s home offers major design inspiration at every turn. To see the full home tour, visit Grandfather Homes’ portfolio.