Kitchen tips



metro home photo
Photo by Paul Del Rosario for Metro Home Magazine


Some highlights of my kitchen renovation tips in ABS-CBN News. Full article and more tips in Metro Home May issue.


Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2013



I just got back from a wonderful tour of three US cities as a guest of Kohler Co. They flew me in to New Orleans, Chicago and Kohler, Wisconsin from Toronto to attend the celebration of their 140th year. In New Orleans, our focus was on the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show or KBIS.

Yes, I am still on “vacation” “at home” with my family. It was a treat to be in new cities for the first time while getting a firsthand look at the latest designs in kitchen and bathrooms. I have a gazillion stories to share from these trips.


At Kohler’s 8,800-square-foot booth at the KBIS at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.


David Kohler, President and COO of Kohler Co., one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 30,000 associates.With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines and power systems; premier furniture, cabinetry and tile; and owner/operator of two of the world’s finest five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin and St Andrews, Scotland. David’s great-grandfather is the founder of Kohler Co.


At the press room with David Kohler and Adam Queck, GM & Commercial Director for South East Asia Pacific. David talked us through the innovations and new products offered by Kohler Co. this year.


The Moxie™ showerhead + wireless speaker, a new innovation, simultaneously soaks the bather with music and water. A magnetic Bluetooth®-enabled speaker streams audio directly into the shower and pops out for enjoyment in the bath.


Moxie showerhead_4
This could be you. Or me, haha. Photo from Kohler Co.


The Sensate™ touchless kitchen faucet demonsrated by TV personality, DR Mixologist Darryl Robinson, a popular bartenders on the New York mixology scene and host to “Drink Up” on The Cooking Channel. With Sensate, Water flow starts just 20 milliseconds after activation with a wave of a hand, kitchen utensil or pot, so it’s easy to flow through tasks and reduce the spread of germs.


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I enjoyed seeing the different Kohler products together because I actually use Kohler in my bathroom and kitchen. This is my Kohler Whitehaven enameled cast iron sink at home after the renovation. My faucet is the HiRise bridge also by Kohler. These are not readily available in the Philippines (or in South East Asia). Kohler Co. made special arrangements for me; they shipped it to Manila. Grateful! And very lucky. The Whitehaven is made in the USA – I saw the entire process in their factory in Kohler, Wisconsin.


Coloured enameled cast iron sinks from the Jonathan Adler collection.


Kohler has been making enameled cast iron for over 130 years. During our factory tour in Kohler, Wisconsin I saw how cast iron sinks and bathtubs were made from the moment iron were poured into molds until they are enameled. I was amazed to see how, despite all the automation available, most cast iron products were still done by hand. It made me even love my own Whitehaven sink more. So much soul – the artisanal craft and heritage!


Whitehaven Smart Divide sink_2
This is the new Whitehaven with Smart Divide. The classic apron-front sink design typically features a large single basin like mine, but many homeowners like the functionality of a double basin. Photo from Kohler Co.


Whitehaven Smart Divide sink_3
In an effort to provide consumers with options that fit their design preference and lifestyle, Kohler Co. adds a double-basin sink to this farmhouse style. The Kohler-exclusive Smart Divide® saddle perfectly complements the smooth design lines of the Whitehaven® apron-front sink, one of the company’s most popular apron-front models. Photo from Kohler Co.


I was in heaven here. After renovating my kitchen, I’m about to start renovating our guest bathroom at home. Trust me, it may be epic again. The Kohler stuff I want isn’t sold in Asia. Yikes.


The VibrAcoustic bathtub. With this technology, you can play your favorite music, news, podcasts and more through your bath. Just plug in your smartphone, tablet or MP3 player. The water responds with sound waves moving through your body. This tub deserves its own story. I got to try it at The American Club in Wisconsin and I tell you… it’s so amazing. I may just have to share my video blog review.


Numi toilet_1
Numi® Comfort Height® toilet: This iconic Kohler toilet receives several user-friendly enhancements, such as a Bluetooth® receiver, SD card for personalized playlists and additional ambient lighting options. This unit made the news. Check out Mashable. Photo from Kohler Co.

Numi toilet_4
Fully automatic toilets aren’t new to us (in Asia). But the Numi is making waves because of its streamlined design. Kohler’s most advanced toilet includes a sleek, interactive LCD touch-screen interface, built-in personalized bidet functionality and deodorizer, innovative dual-flush technology with 0.6 and 1.28 gallons per flush, intuitive auto-open and -close lid, and a heated seat and foot warmer.


Veil wall-hung toilet_3
Veil™ dual-flush wall-hung toilet: The first residential wall-hung toilet from Kohler Co. in the North American market. This type of toilet saves space with a modern design and offers powerful water savings. I imagine a lot of new homeowners in the Philippines would want this. Think of the fun uplighting effects you can do from the floor. It’s also more hygienic. You can easily clean the entire bathroom floor with minimal grooves and cuts.


More kitchen and bath stories coming up…



Our kitchen



Here is the video feature about my kitchen renovation that took forever. There are still a lot of details about the construction that I am willing to share. Like why there’s aircon, why our refrigerator juts out like that, why we chose wooden floors, our lighting and all. I will write more when I get the time. For now, here’s what we’ve got.



This is an ongoing labour of love. I’m happy with how it’s turning out. Thanks for watching.



Kitchen Delay for a reason



I owe you a kitchen renovation update. Everything is on hold for an important reason.

Just when the kitchen cabinets were about to be done, I had to ask for a bit of an adjustment. I changed my mind about the sink I initially ordered. Luckily my source took back the sink. The solid surface from Rockstone wasn’t done yet and adjustments would be minor.

This is the sink I’ve always wanted but didn’t know how to get. It wasn’t available locally. And shipping it in myself was too stressful. Two weeks ago, I met with the Kohler people who asked me to do some work with them. And they found a way to bring in the sink and faucet for me.


Kohler’s Whitehaven cast iron sink


This is on its way to my new kitchen! It’ll be so worth the wait…



Kitchen talk



My kitchen… is still under construction

I have encountered a delay. And it’s self-inflicted. The carcass of the cabinetry is done. We are almost ready for the solid surface from Rockstone Solid. But yesterday I had this crazy idea of getting a bigger sink. The initial one we got was porcelain. Now I want enameled cast iron. So part of the cabinetry has to be re-done. And the surface has to wait before finalizing the measurement. Toink. Yes, I am complicated 🙁

A lot of you have been asking for some updates about the kitchen renovation. I don’t have the greatest photos yet. But here’s what I can share. The “Before” pics are very scary. I took them after the kitchen was partially gutted already. And you have to remember, the house was built in the late 1960’s. When I moved in here the water storage was an antique banga. Very authentic.


This is my ceiling before. I tore it all down and wanted to expose the beams. (Sorry for the formatting of the photo. I’ll resize it later).


Here’s what the ceiling looks like with the beam. We lined the roofing with wooden flooring, then had them whitewashed. You can see a bit of my Matwood floors in Brazilian Cherry.


DP 101
The whole thing should look somewhat like this, except the drawing doesn’t reflect the beam that’s actually there.


Here’s the other side of the kitchen. We are moving the fridge area to the other wall to accommodate the new Samsung Digital Inverter Refrigerator .


After should look like this. I’m still searching for a nice range and range hood.  And no, we’re not prepared to spend on something that’s almost as expensive as a car. Haha.


This is the area that will eventually accommodate a breakfast counter. By the way that old counter top is made of narra wood. We are saving it for a future project. The sink area is the most major part as it required moving a bit of the exterior wall.


Here’s what it should look like. I just ordered the windows today from Fourlinq. I found Fourlinq through Slivers Magazine, a great source for suppliers. We’re going for fancy PVC that opens vertically. I originally wanted white window frames. But looking at the floor and the rest of the house (50 shades of wood), I went for a walnut finish. My kitchen sink will rock! I’m meeting the suppliers tomorrow. So maybe I will be obsessed and blog about it.


I really like this Benson Pendant Lamp from Restoration Hardware. Has anyone seen anything similar (look and quality) in the Metro Manila area?


I am too involved in this process. But I am so loving it. I hope I’m not driving the contractors mad. It sucks right now, living in a house that looks like back stage or storage. But once this is all done, I will be so happy and inspired to cook for the family. I hope.

I have to mention that I am so amazed with my contractor and kitchen people. They work fast and efficiently. It is always an iffy relationship between contractors and clients because everyone has quirks. I’ve had some not so great ones in the past – in terms of quality. This is why it’s been hard for me to recommend architects, designers and contractors. But I have a good feeling with this one. And once my kitchen is done, looks like I will recommend them!