Re-Energized by Design: Kitchen Challenge

RbD_Online_Header_R14 For more information about this competition (and lots of energy saving tips!) visit the Re-Energized by Design website!

Well here we are at the final challenge - the kitchen! If you missed last week's video (the laundry room), yes, it's true - the Mendes family and I got the boot. So close to the end! But I'm excited to see what the last remaining two families do with their kitchens.

Watch the episode here (the final video with the winners will debut tomorrow night!):


Both families received the Frigidaire Ultra Efficient Kitchen suite of appliances, so no one was competing with a twenty year old stove they couldn't afford to replace! These appliances are some of the most energy-efficient on the market; it costs only 36 cents a day to power them!

Here are some of my tips for sprucing up a kitchen on a budget (this challenge had a budget of $1000 along with the appliances and provided lightbulbs).

1. Paint or stain your cabinets - perhaps the biggest change you can make because it's usually the largest surface area you're working with! White cabinets are a new classic, or I like the idea of staining the lowers and painting the uppers. I've also loved the trend recently of bringing in beautiful color to kitchen cabinets, like a high gloss navy. Yummy.

2. Paint the walls - or if you have a breakfast nook or other accent wall, make it pop with wallpaper.

3. Change out the knobs and pulls. If paint is the makeup of your cabinetry, pulls are the eyeliner - make them pop!

4. Take down a few cabinets and install floating shelving for a very current look. You can get a similar look by changing out some cabinet doors for glass ones, to make display shelves for your prettiest dishes.

5. Install new lighting - pendants over the sink or island are popular, and adding under-cabinet lighting can be helpful for a prep station (LED's make excellent task lighting).


Upgrade your energy efficiency:

1. Change out lightbulbs for CFL's or LED's. Look for a mid-tone (not too warm and not too cool) light for the brightest kitchen.

2. If your appliances are older than 20 years, definitely replace them with Energy Star rated ones. Appliances that are newer can be replaced too, but it's not as urgent (Puget Sound Energy has a program that will take away your old appliances).

3. Utilize natural light during the day!

4. Turn down your hot water a few degrees so your hot water heater doesn't have to work as hard to heat it.

5. Let your dishwasher do its job - don't wash dishes more than a quick rinse before putting them in the dishwasher or you're using twice as much hot water! Most functioning dishwashers actually do better when there's a little grime to work on (if you HAVE to pre-wash to get clean dishes, buy a new dishwasher!). And dishwashers actually use less water than you'd use hand washing the same amount of dishes.


What an amazing experience this competition has been! I've been so honored to work with PSE and the competition organizers. And I couldn't have asked for a better family to be paired with than the fun and enthusiastic Mendes family! When I first realized the competition would be filmed, I was a bit apprehensive. But it turned out to be a great learning experience. Although I don't think I'll be getting my own design show any time soon (hahahaha), I did feel more and more comfortable in front of the camera. We filmed each room reveal for approximately an hour (not including the people-less "after" shots), and as you can see, only a few seconds of screen time resulted! It's amazing that editing has so much power over the episode. Our competition was all done very tastefully, but now I can see how reality TV stars can be portrayed as a "villain" if they spend 30 minutes saying nice things about someone, and then let one rude comment slip! You also do strange things when in front of a camera - I've never high-fived so much in my life. And for the sake of the show, asked to criticize the state of a messy room, which I never would do with an actual client. So it's definitely a step away from reality set up to portray reality in a short amount of time. It was a new experience and I won't forget a moment of it!

Thank you Puget Sound Energy!

Stay tuned to my facebook page - I'll be posting a link tomorrow night with the reveal of the winners of the grand prize - $5,000!