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August 2, 2017 |

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Peek Into Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pantry to See a Whole New Side of Her

Kerr mason jars in bulk, flame-colored Le Creuset pots, a Dazey Atomic Rocket manual ice crusher, bottled spices (both backyard-garden variety and McCormick): These are just a few of the preserved items lining the pantry shelves in Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú, New Mexico, home. As one of America’s most iconic painters, she put forth a restrained image in her pared-down painting style and habit-like wardrobe, most recently on display at the Brooklyn Museum’s “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” exhibit. Her pantry, however, reveals more details. The woman liked pour-over coffee out of one of her many Chemex carafes. A fan of homemade soup (like borscht and creamy carrot, her recipes revealed), she lined two entire shelves with mini stoneware soup crocks. She adopted newfangled appliances of the time (a Proctor-Silex Juicit electric juicer from the ‘70s), while holding onto others (a Depression-era Westinghouse toaster). These two sit next to each other on a lower shelf. Across the room is a pair of Electromatic Thermo-Cult yogurt incubators.

And then there is the design of the space, which is charmingly imperfect. There are rows of shelves tucked into the thick pueblo walls, and there are built-in cabinets constructed from simple white plywood. You get the feeling that certain nooks and cubbies were created on an as-needed basis: The tiniest sliver of a shelf houses the slimmest of serving platters. There is attention paid to grouping dishes by color and finish. The teapots (glass, cast-iron, metal, and porcelain) all have designated zones, and hooks down low offer even more inventive storage options for cookware. Above, bread baskets hang from the vigas. Everything is open yet mostly covered (a trick for avoiding dust?). It’s a lot to take in, but you can sense there’s a strategy behind the tidy organization.

For $35 and a bit of advanced planning (about a week ahead since tours tend to book fast), you can poke around O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú home yourself. She bought the old hacienda in 1945, renovating it to bring in more light, among other things. It features all the design details you’d expect: a Noguchi lantern over the dining table, Paul McCobb chairs pushed in underneath. A Knoll Womb Chair is angled nearby. The Saarinen marble coffee table holds a single sculpture. There’s even a McIntosh stereo (which was only allowed to play Classical music). There is no clutter in O’Keeffe’s home; it is Kondo-approved. Each room is beyond spare—stripped down in the most minimal, tasteful way. Except for when you get to the pantry, which left me lingering the longest.

When I spent a week earlier this summer in what’s known as O’Keeffe Country, the northern part of New Mexico, I learned details of her relationship with photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. An early promoter of her work, he gave O’Keeffe her first show in 1917 and also photographed her—sometimes provocatively but almost always somberly (and rarely with a smile). This is how she was mostly portrayed throughout her long life. Though she and Stieglitz remained together until he died in 1946, she found independence and refuge in New Mexico as her marriage became increasingly strained. I wondered if she was happy, spending all that time isolated out here in the desert. It’s where she found endless inspiration, one of the tour guides assured me. But it also made her insanely mysterious, something she seemed to be fully in control of.

Arriving at her Abiquiú house you can see the pantry just as she left it in 1984, at age 96—fully stocked with everything from a meat counter scale to Corningware and bright blue Thermos bottles. For someone whose home was so intentionally sparse, who dressed almost exclusively in black and white (and some denim), whose paintings exhibit simplified forms and shapes, it’s an amazing departure. What to make of all these colorful items on display? And why did she have so many versions of the same thing? Did each bring a different flavor? Was this a hint at subtleties in her painting? Although much of her work exhibited an obsessive sameness—she was known to work on specific themes (barns, flowers, bones) for years at a time—each subject took on many different versions. Subtle tweaks here and there, just as in her pantry.

I learned that she grew her own fruits and vegetables, canning them in all those mason jars. Her rows of spices (which take over the majority of a wall) are only second to her impressive rock collections seen throughout the house. She used a wheat grinder, stored on one of the higher shelves, to make her own bread. She liked to make stew and brownies and enchiladas, putting to use all of those pots, pans, and casserole dishes. She had a hand-crank butter churner. Her love of cooking, using fresh ingredients, experimenting with kitchen appliances old and new, and, yes, stockpiling, I’d say sparked joy. It might not have been the image of her that everyone knows, but the busiest room in the house told a different story.

To learn more about how O’Keeffe lived, check out the book Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe.

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This Kitchen Gizmo Will Replace Your Colanders

Is your colander a strain to use? Are washing extra dishes because you made pasta a strain on your free time? Do you need a faster way to strain your meal so you can watch Strain-ger Things? Okay, I’m done now.

While my puns may be corny, this strainer is no joke.

The Snap’n Strain by Kitchen Gizmo has all the convenience of a colander but is faster to use and is easier to clean. Simply snap this strainer directly onto a pot or pan and strain the liquid. The strainer fits cookware of nearly all sizes. It can strain anything from boiling water to oils and fats.

Simply clip the strainer to your pot and it’s ready to use (Photo via Amazon)

The Original Snap’n Strain by Kitchen Gizmo for $12.99

The Snap’n Strain is significantly smaller than a traditional strainer, thus saving you cleaning time and storage space. Its silicone make-up is FDA-approved, heat-resistant, and dish-washer safe.

This colander replacement is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and gets 4.5 review stars! One reviewer said:

This is the best gadget ever. I was a bit skeptical but decided to give it a try. It was always a hassle digging out the big colander to drain things from my pots, but no more. This nifty little gadget easily clips onto the edge of the pan (any size) and quickly and easily drains the liquid.The clean up is so much quicker than with using a large colander. My kids were so impressed they have all asked for one! – Marbid3, 5 stars

If you’re ready to replace your clunky colanders with this nifty gadget, go check it out!

You can even strain oils with the Snap’n Strain (Photo via Amazon)

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Durant set for 3M Championship defense

Joe Durant arrived at the 3M Championship a year ago as a consistent threat to win but without his initial breakthrough in an individual event on PGA TOUR Champions.

That breakthrough came over the weekend at the TPC Twin Cities. After a slow start in Friday’s first round, Durant proceeded to shoot 17 under on the weekend. His final-round 9-under 63 got him into a playoff with Miguel Angel Jimenez. Durant then eagled the first playoff hole to earn his first individual title (he had won on PGA TOUR Champions with Billy Andrade in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf in 2015) since 2006 on the PGA TOUR.

“I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to win one,” Durant said after picking up the $262,500 winner’s check. “And after Friday’s round, when I shot 2 under, I didn’t think it was going to be this weekend either, honestly. … I’ve been knocking on the door, but those doubts start creeping in your mind though if you could ever shoot low enough for three days to do it. So, I’m very thankful.”

The victory was the highlight of a stellar season for Durant. It was his seventh top 10 of 2016 and he would go on to record six more and finish fifth in the race for the Schwab Cup.

Durant, 53, carried over his play to the start of this season. He had four top 11s in his first five events, including a tie for sixth at the Allianz Championship. But he struggled through May, which included the year’s first two majors. Durant finished T57 at the Regions Tradition and T46 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

But looking forward to a return to the site of his first individual PGA TOUR Champions victory seems to have gotten Durant back on track. Since the calendar turned to June he has been in the top 13 in four of five events, including a tie for third at the American Family Insurance Championship and a T12 at the U.S. Senior Open. He did withdraw after an opening-round 82 at The Senior Open Championship last week at Royal Porthcawl, but he’s ready to defend his title this week.

“By the time we roll around to playing out there the courses are just immaculate,” Durant, a Pensacola, Flprida, native told KSTP-TV in Minneapolis at 3M Championship media day in June. “All of the Midwest tournaments have an air about them. The galleries are bigger, they’re excited to see us come to town. There’s just a great energy.”

Durant is one of the most consistent players off the tee on PGA TOUR Champions and one of its best ball-strikers (where he ranks fourth). He’s not particularly long off the tee (33rd in driving distance), but he keeps it in the short grass (eighth in driving accuracy). And that leads him to hitting a lot of greens (ninth in GIR) but not being much of a threat to reach par 5s (only three eagles all year).

That makes what he did over the weekend last year at TPC Twin Cities even more remarkable. Durant showed everyone on PGA TOUR Champions including himself that he could go low and lower, and he knows that is what it takes to win.

“Out here you’ve got to beat a big name if you’re going to win a golf tournament,” Durant told KSTP. “Because the guys don’t back down out here. You have to make birdies down the stretch not pars. It’s a great tour to be a part of, and I enjoy every minute of it.”

Durant certainly is capable of going on another run similar to last year. If he gains another boost of confidence at the 3M Championship he’ll be a threat in the Schwab Cup Playoffs.

“It [the victory last year] didn’t change my life, but it made me feel better about things,” Durant told KSTP. “You have to shoot so low to win that some doubts creep in, but I played great down the stretch here last year. It was one of my more satisfying wins.”

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The Gear You Need to Eat Well While Camping

When you’re camping, delicious food isn’t always a priority—and it doesn’t need to be, especially if you’re carrying everything on your back or cramming all the tents for a family reunion in the back of a station wagon. We typically draw on our stockpile of reliable recipes, cooking vegetable skewers and hot dogs on sticks over the fire (and waiting an hour for the water to boil in the morning). But does outdoor adventure always mean instant coffee and canned chili?

Author Linda Ly—the writer-photographer behind slow-food and outdoors blog Garden Betty—wants to change the way we think about eating while roughing it. In The New Camp Cookbook, out now from Voyageur Press, she provides recipes and tips for cooking delicious, thoughtful meals in the great outdoors. This is for the car-camping set: families and groups of friends who set up around a fire, by a lake, under the trees and spend time enjoying the fresh air—who want to feed a crowd, and feed it well. 

Part of the challenge, of course, is having the right equipment. It might feel like an expensive and unnecessary project to buy a bunch of gear you’ll only use a few times a year—but don’t worry. Ly says you probably own most of the things you need for camp cooking, even if you you don’t use them. Old pots, pans, knives and dishware can have a “second life” in your camping arsenal. And when it comes to legacy items like dutch ovens and cast iron skillets, antiques shops and flea markets are treasure troves of cheap pre-seasoned and well-loved equipment. 

Here’s Ly’s definitive checklist for setting up a crackerjack camp kitchen:

The following excerpt from The New Camp Cookbook by Linda Ly has been reprinted with permission from Voyageur Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Cooler. “If you frequently camp with a group, it’s handy to have two coolers—a large one for food and a medium one for drinks, or one for raw meats and one for prepared foods. On longer trips, it may help to have a separate cooler just for ice, so you can refill your food cooler as needed.” [Check out our guide to The Best Coolers.]

Plastic storage bin. “You’ll need one large enough to contain all of your cooking gear, or a couple of bins to separate pots and pans from smaller items. Look for heavy-duty models that can take a beating in camp.” [Here are a few to get you started.]

Camp stove and fuel. “Car camping stoves are similar to your stove at home, and the best ones have powerful burners (upward of 30,000 BTU), auto-ignition, and wind resistance. For the most flexibility, choose a two-burner model that allows you to fit a skillet and a stockpot side by side. Most camp stoves are powered by small propane fuel canisters (sold separately), and you should pack at least two canisters, depending on the size of your group and the amount of cooking you plan to do. A good rule of thumb is to bring one more canister than you think you’ll need.” [Check out these ultra-portable mini-stoves.]

Fire-starting supplies. “If fires are allowed where you’ll be camping, you’ll need a few basic supplies for building (and extinguishing) a fire: a lighter or matches, a hatchet (if you’ll be cutting kindling), and a bucket or other vessel for water (your dishwashing tub can double as a fire bucket).” 

Dishwashing equipment. “You can set up a full dishwashing station with collapsible sinks or plastic tubs for soaking and rinsing, or you can keep it simple with a large bucket if it suits your needs. Add some biodegradable dish soap, a sponge and/or scrubber, a couple of kitchen towels for drying, and a scraper for cleaning cast iron.” [Make sure you grab this tool for cleaning cast iron.]

General kitchen supplies. “Never leave home without paper towels, hand sanitizer, heavy-duty drawstring trash bags, heavy-duty aluminum foil, binder clips (for closing chip bags and hanging damp dish rags on a line), and resealable plastic bags (the gallon size is the most useful for storing leftovers, marinades, and small pieces of trash while you’re hiking).”

Skillet. “A 12-inch skillet is a workhorse in camp. You’ll be using it every day, so choose a durable stainless steel or nonstick heavy-bottom pan with a tight-fitting lid for ease of cooking and cleaning. Some camping-specific models even come with folding handles to simplify storage. If you don’t mind the weight, a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is the only pan you’ll ever need in camp, since it can be used on a stove as well as on a grill.” [Here’s a popular cast-iron version.]

Cooking pots. “For most cooking needs in camp, a 2-quart saucepan and a 4-quart stockpot will serve you well. Some saucepans come with pour spouts and measuring lines etched inside the pans, which make them useful as kettles if you’re a tea and coffee drinker.” [Here are some recommendations from our editors.]

Dutch oven and accessories. “If you plan to try some of the dutch oven recipes in this book, you’ll need a cast-iron camp dutch oven—one with feet and a flanged lid. The 6-quart (12-inch) model is the most versatile size for everything from baked goods to soups and stews.” [Our team says this one “ticks all of our boxes.”]

Dishware. “Assemble a set of non-breakable plates, bowls, and mugs, along with flatware. If you grill a lot of steaks, a set of steak knives may prove valuable in camp.”

Mixing bowls. “It’s good to have at least two large bowls that can handle pancake batter, salads, guacamole, and other group-friendly fixings. To minimize bulk, look for bowls that collapse or nest inside each other.” [People love these ones.]

Cutting boards. “It’s handy to have two cutting boards so you can keep raw meats away from fresh produce. Go with something sturdy and large, and possibly one with a drip groove to help contain liquids from grilled steak or juicy tomatoes. If you’re short on space, pack a few flexible cutting mats instead.” [Check out our tips for wooden cutting boards.]

Knives. “Pack a chef’s knife, along with a paring knife or serrated knife, depending on your cooking needs. Wrap them in a thick dish towel secured with a rubber band to protect them in transit. If you don’t want to bring your good knife from home, invest in one for camp that you won’t worry about losing. Ceramic knives, in particular, are perfect for camping. They’re sharp (and retain their sharpness far longer than traditional steel blades), ultra lightweight, and a good value, with most of them priced under $20. Many also come with sheaths to protect the blades.” [We’ve got a guide to The Best Chef’s Knives too, although only take one camping if you’ve got two of them.]

Tools and utensils. “At minimum, you should have a large sturdy spoon, spatula, tongs, scissors or kitchen shears, metal skewers, measuring cups and spoons, a cheese grater (which can double as a citrus zester), vegetable peeler (which can double as a cheese slicer), can opener, bottle opener, and wine opener.” [Here’s our go-to spatula.]

Headlamp. “This hands-free lamp is handy in countless situations in camp, including cooking and dishwashing at night, and focuses light where you need it. (Be sure to bring extra batteries!)”

The New Camp Cookbook: Gourmet Grub for Campers, Road Trippers, and Adventurers by Linda Ly, $17 on amazon.

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Ingredients for the perfect outdoor kitchen

When the weather is in our favour (finally), we want to do just about everything outdoors: relax, entertain, and even cook. And with the surge of chef-wannabes taking over backyards this summer, it should come as no surprise that the industry is responding, pushing some of the most innovative, sleek, and efficient outdoor kitchen appliances and accessories.

The starting point for cooking up the perfect exterior kitchen is making it work for you and your needs. While an outdoor pizza oven may sound cool, if you’re not the type to go to the trouble of making your own pizzas, then there’s no point in integrating that. What do you like to cook? Are you usually having more intimate family cookouts or larger party-like gatherings? Are you more apt to prep your food indoors and bring it outside, or do all the prep work near your grill? These factors will influence the overall design of your outdoor kitchen.

Is shade something that is needed? Perhaps you only want partial coverage over the cooking areas, or maybe you want the entire outdoor kitchen to be protected from the sun and rain. There are many different options when it comes to shade, from built-in gazebos or pergolas to fabrics awning structures. These come in a huge assortment of colours and patterns, and can really help to set the decor tone of the exterior space.

Next, you need to decide on appliances as well as storage and prepping areas. Obviously, the choices are endless, so narrow down the following:

– What type of grill do you prefer? Gas? Charcoal? Or what about the new ceramic barbecues, which can grill, bake, and more?

– What other appliances would be helpful to have outside? What about a small refrigerator or a wine fridge? If you like cooking for a crowd, a warming drawer could come in handy. So, too, could a built-in microwave or small dishwasher.

– What work spaces do you need? If you want to prepare food outside, you’ll need some counter space. You may also want to integrate a bar area or add in a sink.

– Do you need any cabinetry to store outdoor dishes, glassware or cooking utensils?

The final ingredient to a recipe for outdoor kitchen success is the accoutrements: what additional features do you want to add to really personalize the space? This could be anything from the fabrics and materials you choose for accompanying outdoor furniture, like tables and chairs, to the type of lighting you favour. Hanging outdoor lanterns are a great focal point of an outdoor kitchen, and so, too, are whimsical string or Edison lights. Potted herbs could be used around the space for a touch of organic, edible style.

So get cooking… al fresco! Cooking outdoors only enhances the overall food prep experience, and you’ll not only feel invigorated sharing your cooking space with Mother Nature, but you will enjoy everything summer has to offer, even more!

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A New Freedom Comes to Downtown Las Vegas on August 5th – The Freedom 2 Brunch at Freedom Beat Inside the …

August 2, 2017 by  

A New Freedom Comes to Downtown Las Vegas on August 5th - The Freedom 2 Brunch at Freedom Beat Inside the Downtown Grand Hotel  Casino
Freedom Beat
at the Downtown Grand Hotel Casino unleashes a weekend-long celebration offering the FREEDOM 2 Eat (all you can eat), the FREEDOM 2 Drink (bottomless and always pouring), the FREEDOM 2 Rock, and most importantly, the FREEDOM 2 BRUNCH all weekend long! 

Red, White  Blue Velvet Waffle

Red, White Blue Velvet Waffle

Launching August 5th and available every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm, Freedom Beat’s new Freedom 2 Brunch is turning up the decibels on the traditional brunch offerings with unlimited small plates and skillets paired with a freedom-busting price of only $20. Besides the never-ending food offerings, the Freedom 2 Drink means $10 Bottomless Mimosas and a $10 Bloody Mary bar.

And with music in its DNA, the brunch at Freedom Beat is paired with live entertainment featuring the tunes of Las Vegas’ best local musicians, including a month long Residency featuring “The Voice” season six finalist, Ryan Whyte Maloney every Saturday through the month of August. Other acts slated to hit the Freedom Beat stage include Rick Duarte and Peter Love.

Created and tuned-up by Chef Scott Commings (Season 12 Hell’s Kitchen champion), each brunch begins with a freshly prepared, hot and sticky signature Monkey Bread accompanied by a crisply sliced fruit platter (the yin and yang of any good meal).

From there the choices are as unlimited as the plates and skillets that will spill over your table.

All-You-Can-Eat-Options (Saturday and Sunday, 10am-2pm)

  • IPA Slider Fries
  • Biscuits Gravy
  • Chicken Biscuit
  • Red, White Blue Velvet Waffle
  • Silver Dollar Pancakes
  • Maple Walnut Brioche Toast
  • Classic Benedict
  • Pot Roast Benedict
  • Crab Cake Benedict
  • Pastrami Hash Skillet
  • Classic Eggs Potatoes
  • Fish Chips

Bottomless Bloody Mary's with your choice of toppings

Bottomless Bloody Mary’s with your choice of toppings

While the food is the star on the stage, the Freedom 2 Drink is taken as seriously as the food on the table, and Freedom Beat’s brunch features the always popular Bottomless Mimosas, as well as introducing a custom-made Bloody Mary bar featuring a selection of tasty ingredients and over 30 assorted hot sauces. Both offerings are just a $10 add-on to the meal.

“We didn’t want to offer another brunch in town, we wanted to have the best brunch in town at the best price,” says Commings. “Instead of an outrageous price with limited offerings, $20 will literally buy you more food than you ever thought you could eat in one sitting. Unlimited food, never-ending drinks and tunes on our stage…it doesn’t get any better than that..”

Freedom Beat is the restaurant and live music venue where tastes and tunes collide. Like a roadie’s ode to the best dishes discovered on-tour traversing America, the menu at Freedom Beat is a star-spangled culinary adventure. Created by Chef Scott Commings the restaurant takes its cues from the best dishes found throughout the USA. With dining offered round-the-clock, Freedom Beat features deliciously diverse take on items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. Right off of the casino floor, Freedom Beat features 160 seats, a generous bar, and private dining area. The ultimate musician’s joint, the sound, lighting and staging were developed for the artist with the same precision and expertise as the kitchen was for the chef.

For menu and more information, please visit:

© 2017, All rights reserved.

The Mike Hammer Show is the #1 Downtown Las Vegas Show!

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Customizing your kitchen on a budget


Who wouldn’t want a kitchen customized to meet their specific tastes and needs? A complete kitchen renovation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to spend a bundle to achieve a custom effect. A few modest investments can help make your kitchen work well and look great.

Here are ways to affordably customize your kitchen:

Get creative with cabinets.

Completely replacing cabinets can be costly, but it’s possible to create a custom look with the cabinets you already have. Customization tricks to try:

• Paint cabinets a trendy color, like dark blue. Or, paint one set of cabinets, such as those under an island, a different color.

• Remove the doors from one cupboard to create an open effect where you can display prized showpieces. Further accent the look by painting the back of the cupboard a contrasting color.

• Replace dated or dull hardware with drawer pulls and knobs that speak to your personal design tastes. For example, if you love a vintage look, replace metal hardware with glass or ceramic knobs.

Freshen up the faucet.

Cabinet hardware isn’t the only “jewelry” in the kitchen. The faucet can also be a design focal point that looks as good as it works.

If yours is old, basic or just not to your taste, replacing the kitchen faucet with a newer model that speaks to your style can help affordably reinvent the entire room. Plus, a new faucet can provide functions and features that will make your kitchen more usable.

For example, the Tournant faucet by Kohler combines traditional design with modern industrial elements, so it works well with a variety of kitchen design themes. A three-function, pull-down spray head lets you put the water exactly where you need it, while a special BerrySoft setting is gentle enough for washing fruits and vegetables.

If a more vintage look appeals to you, Kohler has recently added a bridge model faucet to its popular Artifacts line. Reminiscent of turn-of-the-century kitchen and bar faucets, the deck-mounted bridge faucet works with either lever or six-prong handles for temperature controls, and features a dual-function sidespray. Visit to learn more.

Enliven your lighting.

Good light is essential for a kitchen to function well, but it’s common for kitchens to have just one overhead light and maybe a pendant or two over a breakfast bar. Replacing dated fixtures with newer ones that suit your personal style is easy, but what can you do if you want more light without the expense of paying someone to install additional wiring?

• Replace a standard ceiling light with track lights. They require no additional wiring and you can position lights along the track to put illumination where you want it.

• Install under-cabinet lights that can easily plug into an existing counter-level electrical outlet.

• Place a swing-arm task lamp over work areas, so you can aim light where you need it most while working. The lamp can easily plug into a wall outlet.

Accentuate accessories.

Accessories are the finishing touch of personalization in any room, including the kitchen. However, since the kitchen needs to be high-functioning, look for ways to accessorize that also enhance your kitchen’s ability to work for you.

• Every kitchen has small appliances that get regular use, such as toasters, food processors, blenders, etc. If your toaster sits out on the counter, why not turn it into part of the design theme by selecting an appliance in a bright color to match your decor?

• A matching set of potholders or dish towels hung from a hook beneath a cabinet or on the side of a cupboard not only puts a much-needed item close at hand, they can also add decorative flair.

• Place a bright, cheerful area rug in front of the sink or prep area. The rug will both perk up the space and help cushion your joints while you stand in one spot working.

• A pot rack above an island provides much-needed storage space for large pots and pans, while adding a homey touch to the kitchen.

Customizing a kitchen doesn’t have to be costly or require you to sacrifice any functionality. With a few smart updates, you can cost-effectively create the personalized kitchen of your dreams.






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