Volume 40,   Issue 3                                March 2005

Issue @ Hand

Close to Home

It makes me feel old to say this, but 20 years ago my parents bought a new house. They packed up our family of five from a comfortable ranch house that sat within the city limits and moved us out into the county—to a house that, in 1985, was considered modern and contemporary. I remember thinking of it as a glass house because of its many floor to ceiling windows.

Aside from the windows, there are two other things about that house which made a strong first impression on me. Both involve the kitchen and my mother; both represent her favorite and least favorite parts of the house. 

In the middle of the kitchen is a Jenn-Air cook top. She loved it and bragged to all of her friends that her new house had a Jenn-Air cook top. This was a big thing for her. 

At present time, the Jenn-Air is still in the kitchen, but its days are numbered. Since my parents started “empty-nesting” it five years ago when my baby brother moved out, the house has undergone continual renovations. Next up, a new cook top. Perfect timing—Jenn-Air recently announced it is launching a line of glass-panel appliances, including cook tops (see page 48). 

Also in my parents’ kitchen is a bright, orange-red sink. Right after my mother praised over the Jenn-Air, she cringed over the red sink. “My kitchen has a red sink,” she told everyone. That sink is still there, and, the last I heard, there were no immediate plans to replace it. 

It’s interesting how home trends and designs evolve. In January, I was in Orlando, Fla., for the International Builders Show. As I walked the show, I couldn’t help but notice all of the many products and accessories for the kitchen and bathroom. I could have spent hours in Kohler’s 16,000-square-foot booth. Standing in the booth, I looked around at all of the fixtures—chrome, brushed nickel, hammered nickel, polished, distressed, pinstriped and so much more. Among the beautifully detailed sinks and lavatories, the one that caught my attention was a robin’s egg blue kitchen sink. Color, yes color. There was yellow, green, orange and so many others. I couldn’t help but think about my mother’s red sink and how she hated it 20 years ago. Today it’s trendy.

It’s no secret that as the trends and the times change, homeowners are finding new, innovative ways to bring more glass into the home, and the kitchen and bathroom are two popular rooms for such an addition. Sinks are being made of glass, appliances are being made of glass and even countertops can be made of glass. 

Keeping in check with the color trend, just think about all of the glass color options available.

Today we’re seeing painting and coating technologies, as well as colorful, decorative PVB interlayers. All of these options allow homeowners to not only bring more color into the house, but to customize their surroundings to suit their individual tastes.

It’s no secret that architects, designers and remodelers are finding new ways to bring glass into the home. I’m a fan of those home improvement and remodeling shows, and it’s interesting to see how rooms become more spacious simply by adding a mirror here or a big window there. In the bathroom, just adding an all-glass shower enclosure can often complete the room’s overall look. From showers to mirrors to windows, the options for glass in the home are endless. Makes ya wonder, what next? The kitchen sink’s already included.
—Ellen Giard Chilcoat

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