Window over the Kitchen Sink?

There is no general rule that kitchen sinks should be installed under a window. Before indoor plumbing was available, it made sense. A sink near a window provided an easy way to fill and drain water to the outside. But we’ve enjoyed indoor plumbing for decades so why does the practice persist?

Before you think that it must be for the pretty view, not so fast. A pretty view isn’t guaranteed. You could be looking at your neighbor’s brick wall, trash cans, A/C units, utility meters or back alleys. Maybe you’re lucky and your backyard or some bucolic setting is framed beautifully by your window. A vista to enjoy.

Accessibility is a key reason. Running plumbing along the exterior wall with access from a basement or crawl space makes things easier. This is why you find dishwashers placed next to the sink and a refrigerator not too far away.

Other reasons? Natural light is nice when you’re inspecting your grocery purchases and access to fresh air when things just “don’t smell right”. Cabinetry designs tend to free up counter spaces around the sink to create well-organized wet zones for food prep and kitchen clean up.

For function and aesthetics, kitchen sinks under the window make a good case, but not for every space. Next blog, we’ll address sinks in the island!

Sit, Sip, Stir and Store! Island Designs

The Evolution of Kitchen Islands.

Freestanding surfaces in the kitchen are nothing new. They have been used for centuries in the flow of meal preparation. Worktables and chopping blocks were central stations to mixing, rolling, dicing and seasoning before recipes were sent to the fire, stove top or oven for boiling, baking, smoking or frying. Today’s free standing kitchen island has definitely evolved from a simple wooden table to all manner of custom designs offering a myriad of modern conveniences.

How you intend on using your island is the most important question to consider before meeting with a kitchen designer. Do you intend to create a bespoke seating area for your family to eat their meals? Or just a place for a couple of people to gather?  Are you imagining table height or bar height? How many seats are required… and what are the ages of your family? If you have young children, bar height might pose some issues for meals… same for homework and kitchen craft projects. Optimal outlet placement is determined by how you’ll use the island. Need more outlets on the outside for appliances or inside drawers for cell phones and laptops? (Outlet covers made to match the wooden cabinetry versus the typical plastic cover can make a huge difference in aesthetics.) Are you looking to maximize storage for small kitchen appliances? Those popular Instant Pots, Mixers, Pasta Machines and Food Processors gobble up perimeter kitchen storage. How about your collection of cookbooks? Integrated storage on the back side or ends of islands has solved many storage issues. In some overall kitchen designs, your island may be the best place for a microwave, sink, prep sink, stove, pet feeding station or pullout trash bins so that your perimeter cabinetry can be optimized for other custom details.

Sound confusing? We’ve had experience with all of these requests.

It seems overwhelming to consider the endless customized options that will give you the usage and functionality available, but if you’re ready to start the adventure, we can help.

Controversy Over Gas Stoves?

Is the Federal government considering a ban on gas stoves? After a Bloomberg interview providing comments made by a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner on the hazards of gas stoves became public, the implications clearly struck a nerve. The backtracking articles were quick to attempt damage control… but in truth, there are many articles pushing this subject, particularly since 2020. For the purposes of this blog, I decided to retrace my own history. Electric. Gas. Electric.

1970’s- Our 30-inch 4 burner electric GE Stove was the hub of activity.  Once mom allowed my brother and I “cooking privileges”, we perfected the fried bologna sandwich. Score a piece of Oscar Mayer bologna 4 times so it doesn’t curl up. Skillet fry until barely crispy around the edges. Serve hot between two pieces of fresh Wonder bread with a swipe of a Hellman’s mayonnaise. Sounds gross to me now but it was sheer nirvana then… especially accompanied by freshly delivered, out of the can, Charles Chips. Perfection.

Another culinary treat was when mom brought home Jiffy Pops! Popcorn in a regular pan was never as much fun as Jiffy Pop.  Who could pop the most popcorn and make the self-contained pan get the biggest without burning and smelling up the house was the winner. I’m pretty sure I won that battle with my brother.

Childhood aside, I spent most of my adult life using a gas stove. Various models over 30 years I have enjoyed thoroughly. It was only in 2021 that I moved and inherited a smooth top electric version. What are the differences?  Generally speaking, I liked the quick response and control of heat that my gas options offered. I have burned recipes on the electric top that I never had issue with on a gas top. I’m also struggling with pans that aren’t exactly flat- never an issue with my gas versions. Special note: In 2009’s ice storm, I especially liked that we could still eat when our power was out! Positives for electric? Water that boiled over and extinguished my gas flame, not so good. Clean up with my current flat top is a clear winner.

I was thinking that the type of cooktop you use should depend completely on your individual needs and cooking priorities… but whether it is a topic that has reached government concern remains to be seen. ** I think they still sell Jiffy Pop!

Twas the night before…

‘Twas the night before Christmas at the Little Yellow House,

No designers are stirring, it’s as quiet as a mouse.

All the custom cabinet displays and boards of hardware

Will be available next week, when we will be there.

For today? Be cozy and nestled in bed,

With dreams of new spaces dancing in your head.

We hope you enjoy family, friends, good food and more

During this festive season of cheer galore.

If you’re thinking of a new kitchen in 2023

Make sure you start your process with AKB!

A little ditty about Paper Towel Holders

Dear Sir or Madam, will you put me on a hook?To be at hand for that spill or mess when you cook? I’m not very pretty but you always want me near.And I do the jobSo I wanna be a paper towel holder. 

(To the tune of Paperback Writer by The Beatles)

The Quicker Picker Upper! Scrub Strength Brawny! Strong Absorbent & More on a Roll!

Rosie the Waitress, played by actress Nancy Walker of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda fame starred for decades in the Bounty commercials when I was growing up. When we saw her memorable face, my brother and I would race to the kitchen for a snack during the commercial break of our favorite programs, Gilligan’s Island and Good Times.  In our 70’s kitchen, we had the standard plastic dispenser mounted under the upper kitchen cabinets. Kitchen aesthetics be damned. Function over refined. We were messy kids.

In today’s world, replacing paper towels with reusable options is a little slow in adoption. We love the convenience and reliability of pulling off the perfect size wipe for our everyday issues. And just like everything, you can customize your paper towel experience! Horizontal vs. Vertical Dispensers. Inside vs. Outside Cabinetry Mounted Dispensers. Custom Designed Deep Cabinet Drawers. Artistic Weighted Bases. You can find options in every material and finish and cost bracket to suit your look. Let the good times “roll”.


Dish Whisperer

Have you encountered a dishwasher that is so quiet, you have to look for the light indicator to make sure it started? If you’ve always lived with a dishwasher that you can hear when it’s on, it’s a shock to encounter a really quiet one. I’m in a condo with a new GE dishwasher that is literally whisper quiet. I thought it was disconnected until I put my ear right up to the door. In a small space, it’s great to be able to start without worrying about the noise.

Moving many times, I’ve experienced a wide array of options… fancy brand name units that came with purchased properties and those that I had to replace. Over the past three decades, I’ve had multiple Bosch, Asko, GE and Whirlpool versions. None were as quiet as this newest GE edition… but in all fairness, technology has changed.  Newer Bosch and Asko models are highly favored for their quiet cycles so I don’t have an apples to apples comparison.

The average life span for a dishwasher is about 9 to 12 years with problems surfacing in the first 5. Dishwashers in homes that I purchased were not brand new.  What I vividly remember is the how repairmen cringed when quoting me replacement parts on my Bosch and Asko models. Little pesky plastic parts that weren’t made to last but cost hundreds of dollars to replace? Terrible. My GE unit is only 2 years old… so, we’ll see how it holds up. One option I would personally consider is the Miele. Despite the ticket price, they are known to last about twice as long as most other brands. Think 20 years. (I’ll definitely take a closer look next time.)

Are you planning on moving or remodeling soon? With open kitchens being positioned near family rooms, having a quiet dishwasher that performs well is nice. Having one that lasts without problems is even nicer.  At AKB, we can guide you through appliance selections to find the best option for you.

Transformations- and why we love them!

Before and after pictures are satisfying… largely because it makes the process look easy! No matter the subject (person, place, or thing), seeing the end result without all the hard work is fun, but a bit misleading.

Remodeling kitchens is a messy, inconvenient, and intrusive process. (Wearing your bathrobe and greeting your work team early in the morning becomes normal.) What can you do to mitigate the hassles? Contract with professionals who will create a well-designed space that can be executed by construction and installation crews in a reasonable time frame. One of the reasons why professional remodelers do the job faster is that they have immeasurable experience. Kitchen remodels take careful thought and planning. AKB knows all about it.

The pain is worth the gain.

Kitchen cabinets that have seen better days can make any space feel tired and worn out. Cabinetry with curls, twists and other similar details are quick candidates for updating. Sometimes the layout is just all wrong. If changing the floor plan is going to help you accomplish your goals, RUN, do not walk to a professional kitchen designer. Moving plumbing and electricity takes a bit more finesse than just upgrading a current layout. Working with your contractor, AKB can come up with solutions to all the serious quirky issues older homes pose.

We get it. People love getting inspiration for what we can do in their space, even if many don’t end up finding the courage to take the leap and make the change. Just want to look? We have a huge portfolio of “makeovers” for you to enjoy. Here’s a few!


Could this be Love?

Finding the perfect house in the right neighborhood at the right price in this current market is downright fanciful. It rarely happens. Instead, most young couples seek that perfectly priced fixer upper. Ideally, this means one that needs cosmetic, not structural improvements. Full stop. If this means anything beyond a fresh coat of paint, take a seat.

“If we just… “
•reconfigure the kitchen with new cabinets 
•remodel the bathroom
•create a storage area
•move the laundry room upstairs 

Remodeling takes a lot more than day dreaming. It takes a sharpened pencil and serious budget discussions. The good news? Your dream space might be accomplished at several budget levels. You just need to know the options. In fact, budgets are the most important component, no matter the size or scope of the project. Be realistic with your contractors and then work back. Accomplish your goals by weighing the best options.

At AKB, we get it.

Here Comes the Sun?

Within minutes after searching “solar power”, I was receiving online ads for Kentucky Free Solar Program

“Save immediately and get paid for switching to solar with $0 spent out of pocket.” LEARN MORE!

These micro-targeted advertisements are no coincidence. How many times have you been discussing something …ex/replacing your windows… and ads start popping up on your social media, ex/ Renewal by Anderson! Even creepier is when you’re just thinking about a topic and without saying, searching or reading about it, you start receiving ads. True story. A friend whose parent had passed away started receiving ads for flowers on the anniversary of his father’s death several years later. Reminds me of a song that was popular when I was a teenager.

As it relates to the housing industry and the potential impact on the design of residential projects, I was tuned in August 16th, 2022 when Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. This $1.75 trillion law is part of his Build Back Better campaign promise and according to the official website will

lower costs for families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and finally ask the largest corporations to pay their fair share. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

It also boasts that it will lower healthcare, cut prescription costs, save the planet and reduce your taxes.

Part of the goal is bringing solar energy to low-income homes by building a digital platform to connect them with community-solar initiatives. So in other words, connect PARTICIPANTS in a FEDERAL program that subsidizes energy costs for low-income residents with DEVELOPERS of community solar projects, which SELL subscriptions to households for renewable power with the PROMISE of lowering their monthly electricity bills.

This isn’t like the solar power panels you see people installing on their roof tops. These are community solar projects that would be public/private partnership entities that will have to build some means of transmitting the energy from point A to every home in need. Am I getting this right?

Stay tuned. Curious minds will be watching how Kentucky is impacted by this massive climate, health, and tax bill.

Housing Blues

It’s a struggle in the home buying market these days. Locked in nicely at below 3% mortgage rates, current homeowners have little incentive to sell. A combination of low inventory and rising interest rates have forced many prospective home buyers into the rental market. There is a solid demand for single family residences… and landlords are taking advantage, demanding unprecedented rates. According to a 2022 Real Estate edition of, overall rent prices have climbed 17% over the past year, with some parts of the country affected more than others.

Top 10 Cities where Rent is Rising the Fastest

  • Miami, Florida: 55.3%

  • Orlando, Florida: 35.4%

  • Tampa, Florida: 32.3%

  • Austin, Texas: 28.1%

  • San Diego, California: 25.4%

  • Las Vegas, Nevada: 25.1%

  • Phoenix, Arizona: 25%

  • Jacksonville, Florida: 24.9%

  • San Antonio, Texas: 24.2%

  • Memphis, Tennessee: 23.4%

The current state of our economy isn’t helping. As the cost of goods and services rises, budget items get realigned. If you followed the old rule, 30% of your gross income went toward rent. Ex/$3000 take home monthly pay pretax= $900 rent. But wait, gas has increased nearly 50% and food prices are averaging a 5%-7% increase. So how much can you really spend on rent if your groceries and gas have skyrocketed?

If you’re looking to rent, make the best of your situation. Be selective. Look for properties with quality features. There is something to be said about not worrying about maintenance issues, utilities, closing costs, taxes, etc. Not having to anticipate home maintenance costs gives you the opportunity to save for when home ownership is financially right for you.

At AKB, we’ve renovated dozens of investment properties. Our experience has shown that installing quality cabinetry, countertops and fixtures saves investors in the long run. Kitchen and bathrooms are the most often used rooms in the house and quality cabinets should retain their function and use for decades.