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  • Moya Living: A Renaissance Designed in Steel

    It seems all the greatest trends experience new life at some point. Vintage decorating ideas, in particular, continue to catch the eye of designers and consumers looking for new kitchen ideas. Such is the case with metal kitchen cabinets, which is reclaiming its place in modern kitchens.

    At the turn of the 20th Century, steel was the material of choice for kitchen cabinets, sought after for its durability, cleanliness, and “vermin proof” construction. When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, steel factories shifted production, honing in on products like bombs, radio communications equipment, and military vehicle parts to support the war effort.

    With the housing boom in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, production for both wooden and steel cabinetry accelerated, but use of wood and particle board began to gain prominence due its cheap cost and quick manufacturing capabilities. Steel remained the primary material for furniture in tech and science laboratory environments due to its resilience and sterility.

    The Iconic Dakota. A custom project in the Upper West Side, New York City apartment.

    In the 21st century, steel is regaining favor for use in luxury kitchens, thanks to its durability, sustainability, non-toxic properties, and fresh design perspective that unites function and beauty.

    STEEL’S DESIGN EVOLUTION

    In its earliest iterations, steel cabinetry and furniture was largely about function. With the housing boom in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, steel cabinetry for your kitchen and bath was successfully marketed as modern and high-end.

    In the late 1940’s, color was introduced, greatly expanding design possibility beyond the standard white cabinets or wood varieties previously available.

    Today, retro kitchen cabinet sets from the 1930’s and 1940’s are being salvaged and refurbished by consumers and designers – a testimony to steel’s endurance both in construction and design appeal.
    Steel cabinetry and furniture is available in a wide range of colors and finishes, and can be designed to capture virtually any aesthetic — from retro, to European, to minimalist.

    Integrative design in an artist's home

    The advantages of using steel in modern kitchen design goes beyond incorporating the latest kitchen trends. Its unique properties provide several distinct benefits:

    DURABILITY

    • Steel cabinetry and furniture are more resistant to impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light and extreme weather than wood and lacquered products. 
    • The highest quality steel furniture is finished with a powder coating process which reduces risk of scratching, chipping, corrosion, fading and other wear issues. 
    • The durability of steel makes it an ideal fit for rental and hospitality properties and affords a lower total cost of ownership by minimizing need to repair or replace.

    SUSTAINABILITY

    • Steel is environmentally friendly making it possible to achieve a truly sustainable kitchen: It is completely recyclable, possesses great durability, and, compared to other materials, requires relatively low amounts of energy to produce. 
    • Steel is North America's top recycled material – more steel is recycled in the U.S. than paper, plastic, aluminum and glass combined, according to the Steel Recycling Institute.
    • By recycling one ton of steel, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
    • Around 90% of water used in the steel industry is cleaned, cooled and returned to source according to the World Steel Association. Most of the loss is due to evaporation. Water returned to rivers and other sources is often cleaner than when extracted.
    • The energy used to produce a metric ton of steel has been reduced by 60% in the last 50 years.

    Live/work space in a chic, beachside cottage

    NON-TOXIC and HYPOALLERGENIC

    • Steel cabinetry and furniture is non-toxic and hypo-allergenic, contributing to cleaner air indoors – vital for residential and hospitality environments. 
    • Steel and steel construction processes do not contain formaldehyde – a known carcinogen commonly found in particle board, plywood, and fiberboard. As these materials interact with sunlight or heat from ovens or stoves, formaldehyde is released into the air. 
    • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, formaldehyde exposure may potentially cause a variety of symptoms and adverse health effects, such as eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, and allergic reactions. Long term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals. 
    • Because of its non-porous surface, steel is unlikely to host allergens and pests, thereby elevating its sterility over wood and lacquered materials.

    The rebirth of steel for modern kitchens and baths is providing designers with a new medium to leverage the latest trends in kitchen design.

    Moya Living designs and manufacturers beautiful, custom cabinets and furniture for kitchens and bath. Available in virtually any color palette and in matte, gloss or hammered finishes, Moya Living cabinetry and furniture affords architects and designers total creativity. For more information about Moya Living projects and products, contact us.

  • The Eco-Friendly Kitchen: Go Green 

    From a purely logical perspective, going green will save you money. Before Whole Foods was out our fingertips the search for organic, non-gmo and praben-free products required a bit more investigating. Yet those who understood the significance of organic products or required alternative options became pros at sourcing inexpensive and healthy food. Today we understand that eating healthy does not have to cost you an arm and a leg, it simply requires a reset button of past constructs.

    Green design is no different, there is a conscious effort to shift to renewable energy and create a sustainable home.  With that eco-friendly products, for our home, become easier to find and less expensive to incorporate. CNN reports that the initial investment in a green rebuild can cost up to 20 to 30 percent more upfront but there is a longterm savings. Unable to do away with the old but want to find suitable ways to incorporate the new? 

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved appliances that save 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models.  These options reduce energy cost, improve insulation, have a lower environmental impact and there are even health benefits! The EPA estimates that Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor pollutants are 10 to 100 times greater inside than outdoors.  What’s aiding to that pollution in our kitchen? Flooring, paints, cabinets, countertops and cooking fumes.  VOCs, volatile organic compounds, emitted by paints and wood preservatives affect our sinus’ and in extreme situations cause cancer.  There are eco-friendly, VOC-free options, check it out: 

    Start by being conscious of bad habits and the excuses you create to maintain them: Paper towels contribute to deforestation, water pollution and global warming. Every, day over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the U.S. To decompose paper towels we have to use methane gas, a leading factor in global warming. Otherwise they sit in landfills and in 2006, paper was the largest contributor of landfill waste. An easy alternative you ask? Use cheap rags for messy chores.  

    eco-friendly kitchens

    Shop at Farmers Markets: To find one near you check out Local Harvest. Read blogs that have tasty and nutritious ideas for you and your loved ones, we like Dishing Up The Dirt and Oh My Veggies

    Water Filter: Au Revoir water bottles, you’ve wasted fossil fuels in production and transportation. 75 percent of your plastic bottles end up in landfills, lakes, streams and oceans never quite decomposing.  Not to mention, when they get hot in the sun or in your cars their plastic melts into the water you soon will drink. Yuck! Install an under sink filter or use a pitcher filter. 

    Replace Plastic w/ Glass Containers: These are great for both meal preperation, leftovers and can be microwaved.  

    Use Non-Toxic Cleaners: We love The Honest Company.

    Compost: Food waste usually gets tossed in your trash or grind in your garbage disposal, but why not compost so your garden can thrive? Click here to get started. 

    Replace Non-Stick Cookware: Stainless steel, cast iron or enameled cast iron pans are better for your health than nonstick cookware. 

    Plant a Kitchen Garden: There’s a great smart phone app called iGrow. It will advise you on fruits and veggies to plant, when to plant them and how to take care of them. Start small with a raised bed and grow your three favorite things to eat. 

    Gas vs. Electric: Natural gas is a fossil fuel but a large percentage of electricity in the U.S. comes from coal-burning power plants.  If you are pro gas, because of the time it saves you with cooking, try buying a stove with a low BTU output.  This is more energy efficient! If you choose electric, induction stoves which transfer electromagnetic energy use half the energy of standard coil elements.  Note that your aluminum and glass posts will not work with this stove type but your eco-friendly stainless steel, cast iron and enameled iron posts will. Whichever choice you make, living with it for a decade is ultimately the greenest choice from a material and manufacturing point of view. 

    Green Dishwasher: The most eco-friendly option is washing your dished by band but if you require a dishwasher make sure you are doing everything to make it eco-friendly. Start by looking for Energy Star rated applianced, that use 25% less energy. There are bonus’ to buying a dishwasher of this kind, think adjustable upper racks, flatware slots and eco cycles.   Before running your dishwasher make sure it is full, turn down the heat, use natural soap and skip the pre-rinse. Your dishwasher is designed to do the job for you do not waste water to make your plates squeaky clean! 

    Make It Ageless: Gutting your kitchen every few years is a waste of energy and resources. Instead invest on something that will stand the test of time and that you will still love a decade later. Interested in designing your eco-friendly, hypo allergenic kitchen today? Call Moya Living!

  • Is Your Kitchen Hazardous To Your Health? The Advantages of Steel

    Formaldehyde. By no means is this an uncommon word in our vocabulary, as it's classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the U.S. government's CDC (Center for Disease Control).  The media has echoed that this chemical is a foe, not friend yet somehow it finagles its way into our lives. It's not just your beauty or cleaning products that you need to be conscious of, its also your kitchen cabinets. 

    In 2009 California put into effect a formaldehyde-emission standards of 0.09, but this is not a national requirement nor does it account for the indoor air quality of older homes.  If formaldehyde is in your particleboard, plywood, medium-density fiberboard’s, and thus your cabinets, how can you ensure loved ones are safe? The answer to your question is be aware of what this chemical does in direct sunlight, or close to kitchen stoves, and considering the sustainable and ecologically respectful switch to steel.  

    When sunlight beams through your windows and into your office, laboratory, or kitchen, this increases the temperature. Glue then turns into gas, and releases said gas into the air you breathe. The solution is to remove all composite wood from heat.  

    Formaldehyde is a potent sensitizer, so once you become allergic or sensitive to it you’ll soon become allergic to other chemicals you never had a sensitivity to. Then it begins: watery eyes, a burning sensation in your throat, nausea, and shortness of breath.  

    The more wood there is glued together, the more formaldehyde there is present. Formaldehyde is structurally apart of engineered wood so look too other alternatives such as an AFM Safe Seal--  a water-based gloss sealer for porous surfaces. Note that this is a temporary bandaid not a solution.  

    Steel, on the other hand, is a nontoxic and hypoallergenic alternative that allows your air quality indoors to be as pure and natural as possible. 

    Steel is formaldehyde free, durable, a less likely home for pests, and has a sleek and timeless aesthetic. Durability is key when you are spending time and money to harvest a new kitchen.  Robust hardware and cabinets, made of steel, stand strong after years of operation and exposure to heat.  With powder coated steel, your color choices are also vast so you are sure to find a fit suitable to your home's aesthetic. 

    Powder coated products are more resistant to impact, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet light, and extreme weather.  They have a reduced risk of scratching, chipping, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues because of that. Metal hardware, including antique knobs and designer pulls are also in fashion. This pairs seamlessly with your powder coated kitchen cabinets. 

    You’ll never have to reface, re-stain, or replace door fronts. You’ll no longer have to worry about peeling paint, a common concern with wood cabinetry while steel stands strong to moisture. The same goes for warping-- in humid climates homeowners have to be conscious of kitchen cabinets warping as they become moist, but that is not the case with steel. 

  • Top 6 Kitchen Accessories

    iPad Holder: Recipes have and will forever be passed down in written form. But today rather than grabbing pen and paper we cross our fingers, eyes, and toes with the promise of e-mailing the mouth watering recipe later. Foodies follow blogs like Love and Lemonsi am a food blog and The Broken Bread. They save favorited recipes on apps like Pinterest and Paprika. There are a plethora of iPad holder’s that make accessing e-mails, texts, blogs, and apps (therefore cooking) in your kitchen effortless. We love the Belkin Chef Stand and Stylus, for tablets, from Amazon.  The tablet has an ultra-grippy rubber surface that keeps your tablet secure.  The stylus, that comes with your holder, is a clever addition enabling you to keep your screen clean, not to mention keeping your food germ free. The stand and wand are also hand-washable and case compatible.  

    Spice Rack: Dean & Delucca have designed a stylish way of housing your favorite herbs and spices-- arranged in clear test tubes and corked at the top to keep them fresh.  Best yet they come filled with spices, with names atop the cork, and each sit in a secure position on a metal stand.  There is also a handy spoon to scoop your spices and herbs into whatever dish you are making and whenever you run out of something, you can just call Dean & Delucca customer service. You will have two choices, when purchasing, 40 tubes for $175 (this comes with everything you could possible desire including herbs for fish, curry powder blend, rosemary, sage, french tarragon, juniper berries and more).  The other option is 21 tubes for $105 which will provide you with fresh and seasonal herbs that are also vegetarian, healthy, flavorful and unique. 

    Knife Block: This is an eco-friendly, bacteria resistant, bamboo knife block is a number one best seller. It holds 10-15 knives and conveniently sits in your drawer rather than occupying precious counter space like traditional or 'old-style' knife blocks. This is also a safer idea if you have kids running around the house. The curved design allows for two levels of knives to be positioned in a row and you can find this on Amazon for $20, designed by Shenzhen Knives and labeled ‘In-Drawer Bamboo Knife Block’.  

    Utensil Holder: Rather than having a chaotic drawer crammed with spatulas, scissors and other cooking tools, consider a buying a utensil jar.  You can buy these practically everywhere you just want to make sure there is a large opening at the top and that it blends with your kitchen decor. William-Sonoma designs a French porcelain jar with a white glazed finish. Its high-fired ceramic and chip resistant. You can also find something less expensive in a wide array of sparky colors like this red, ribbed, ceramic, utensil crock from Bed Bath & Beyond.  This is both eye catching, inexpensive ($9.99) and quite useful. You may also consider finding a jar and restoring it yourself-- check Pinterest for DIY ideas. 

    Coffee Maker: We know this is not a new idea to you, but have you seen the Chemex, heat-resistant, glass, one-piece vesse? We were pretty impressed too. Place ground coffee in the cone-shaped filter at the top and pour hot water over it.  Clear, pure coffee will then drip into the glass vase and boy does it taste good! You can clean using the unbleached filter squares (which are sold separately) or by swishing hot water and soap, allowing the glass to dry upside down on a clean kitchen towel.  The polished wood collar and leather tie serves as an insulated handle.  You can purchase a 3-cup to 10-cup maker and price will depend upon size. We like the 6-cup which sells on William-Sonoma for $36.95. Be sure to read the reviews online, this a hot product right now. 

    Paderno Spiralizer: All hail the spiralizer! This four blade, compact and collapsable design allows for easy storage and it makes incredible and artisanal spiral cuts, shoestrings and ribbon ‘noodles’.  This is great for pasta, stir fries, salad and we love that it features a BPA-free plastic construction.  The device includes four stainless-steel blades, an angel-hair shredder, chipper, fine shredder, straight blade and pin accessory that creates an accordion cut. You can purchase this online for $50! Kick things off with a zucchini pasta, with mint pesto, and we are sure you won’t disappoint: 

    1 cup of firmly packed fresh mint leaves

    1/3 cup of vegetable stock or canned broth 

    3 tbs. of grated asiago cheese, plus extra for garnish (optional)

    2 large garlic clovers, cut up

    2 tsp. of olive oil 

    3 yellow summer squashes, about 3/4 lb. total 

    1/4 cup chopped shallot 

    1 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme 

    salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

    (Use your spiralizer to cut your yellow squash and zucchini into long, narrow, ribbons). Recipe is courtesy of William Sonoma Magazine.

  • Key Furniture For Your Kitchen

    Curating your kitchen with the right furniture is somewhat of an art form. Just like the landscaping of a home can take something that’s beautiful and make it exceptional, a kitchen craves foundational pieces to make it functional. Three key pieces are a dining room table, chairs, and a rug. These pieces will serve as your backbone for designing your space and they offer both flare and functionality. 

    Dining Table

    In our blog post on The New Counter Culture, Kitchen’s Take Center Stage we discuss the prominence that kitchen’s have taken in our life, within the last decade. For kitchen’s that open up to a living and dining room, a foundational piece is a dining room table. We love the look of a weathered farmhouse table in what is otherwise a modern home. The natural variations in the wood grain and color blend effortless with establish flooring, art, and other colors you may have throughout your kitchen and dining room space.

     

    These tables not only age well, but are easy to clean. For example, if you happen to light a candle when you’re having dinner and wax drips on the table you can grab a flower sack towel and lay it flat over the wax. Then take a heated iron and press it down flat against the towel. As the wax becomes hot it will strip from the wood and onto your towel. If you have smooth surfaced wood, you can also rub it down with plastic pot scrapers, warm water, dishwashing liquid, and white vinegar. White vinegar has antimicrobial properties, so makes for a great disinfectant. If your dining table has a stained finish then you’ll need to re-oil it afterwards. You can let your cleaning solution air dry or wipe it down with a towel. Next use a fresh towel to moisturize the wood in the direction of the grain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then wipe it clean with a separate towel.  Multiple coats is recommended but allow for the table to sit 5-6 hours between so that it can properly dry. The good news is once you’re done, you won’t need to do this for another six months. 

    If your house, or apartment, is small a dining table is still a great piece to incorporate. It can serve as your desk, a place for your kids to do crafts, or a place to visit with company.  Let go of your idea of a grand, rectangular dining table and adopt a smaller round table. Whatever size or shape you end up searching for, the flea market can be a great place to find something to reuse and repurpose. It may require a labor of love to fix it up but that only adds character to a key piece in your home. 

    Chairs 

    It use to be commonplace to buy 4 or 6 of the same chair for your dining room table but today we see a shift towards mixing expensive items like the iconic Panton S Chair, representing the pop art age of the ‘60s, with industrial looking designs that represent an entirely different aesthetic. They key ingredient in mixing the two is keeping a consistent color palette. Kitchen bar stools are another important foundational piece. The market is somewhat endless for this category of chairs, which makes for quite a bit of error when shopping. We all tend to gravitate towards two things, how it looks and how much it cost. But too often comfort is not taken into consideration and you’d be surprised how often you opt to sit at your kitchen and not the dining table.  Try sitting in a chair for 15 minutes at a store before you purchase. Grab a family member or friend to accompany you and have them do the same, this way you won’t be disappointed with what you’ve purchased, you can maintain a healthy spine and you use them as often as they are intended to be used!

    Rug 

    Often times, in modern homes floors are left bare.  But sometimes throughout the year it is nice to add warmth to your kitchen or dining space by adding a rug. This doesn’t have to be an expensive find. You will likely replace it every year, or every few years, as colors fade and wear is exposed.  But whenever you are rug shopping consider the following: geometric prints will give your space added warmth, muted or soft colors will add a sophisticated touch and bolder hues make for a playful and casual vibe which is often the desired affect for families. 

    The last thing to keep in mind when picking out all three of these pieces for your home is also about the geometry of the space. You’d be surprised at the amount of shapes that take precedence in your kitchen and often too much of one can make your space feel imbalanced. Look for triangles, squares and rectangles in the most obvious ways such as a circular rug or a squared table as well as in the details for example nobs, handles, and legs. For modern interiors to appear harmonious they need both soft and curvy lines, and bold and sharp cuts.