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Green movement
Think that "green design" is as drab as a rice cake? Guess again. Some of the hottest-looking kitchen products around are made of renewable resources. Consumers now can choose richly textured bamboo floors, exotic-looking paper countertops and shiny backsplashes made of recycled glass.

Work zone
If any room in the house inspires design dreams it is the kitchen. People dream of bigger and better kitchens complete with high-end appliances and all the latest bells and whistles. But as the professionals know, the best kitchens can be simple or even small as long as they are efficiently designed.

Cooking in the elements
In a state famous for beer and brats (and long winters), we’re pretty passionate about our cookouts come summer. 

Home & the range
The traditional-styled kitchen of Dan and Lori Lorenz in the town of Delafield is definitely a kitchen for a serious cook. The multiple work stations and 9-foot by 6-foot granite island allow for the entire family of six to assist with meal preparation.  

Personality test
You might not think that your kitchen says much about your personality. Well, just look around. 

Crafted kitchens
Wauwatosa’s Cindy Busche dreamed of making her kitchen her own since moving back into the 1950s Cape Cod she lived in with her parents as a child. On Sept. 26, the OAR Group started helping her dream unfold.

Contemporary cooking
A decade ago homeowners started cutting the shackles off their kitchens, freeing them from isolated and solitary corners. Today, they’re taking the next giant step forward — taking kitchens from a simple open concept to center stage.

Exclusive kitchens
When Bill and Lisa Feld constructed their Grafton home, they planted some family roots right in the kitchen.

Plain and fancy
Therese and Tom Nichols decided on an English urban feeling for the kitchen in their Elm Grove home. They called Susan Stockton of London by Design to help with the decorating.

Kitchen confidential
From a residence to a Marquette dental fraternity and back to a residence, this 1907 house has been through plenty of changes. When Todd Badovski and Allyson Nemec purchased it in 2003, there was a lot of work to be done. Fraternity life had caused a certain amount of wear and tear, but these two architects had the vision to see past the tavern-like odors and damaged woodwork.

Full circle
For Patty and Kevin Van Kampen of Shorewood it was time to transform their 1950s style kitchen area to achieve an updated, classic aesthetic. Although the Van Kampens admit they don’t spend a lot of time actually cooking in the kitchen, they wanted the space to be light, bright and enjoyable.

Fantasy islands
Once thought of as a nice luxury to have in one’s kitchen, today’s island — in all its glorious versatility — has become an essential element. Islands have become such a centerpiece that some who don’t have one feel stranded on — well, you get the picture.

Gadgets galore
Cooking is a hot topic these days and whether you are watching it on TV or rolling up your sleeves to do it yourself, people want to be in tune with the latest and greatest tools of the kitchen. Also in demand are the sophisticated gadgets used by the chefs they watch.

What's cookin' now: trends in kitchen remodeling
Knowing that they can recoup 100 percent of the costs of a kitchen remodel might bring peace of mind to homeowners contemplating renovation but is rarely the deciding factor in kitchen updates. According to Milwaukee-area kitchen experts, cost is certainly a consideration, but comfort, not price, is the driving force behind consumers’ decisions. 

Elegant expansions
When Dick and Mary Meyers remodeled their kitchen for the second time in 22 years, they were confident they knew what they needed. What started out as a plan to update kitchen appliances, however, quickly grew into something special.

A place for everything
When Liz and Jim Romanelli were ready for the demolition stage of their kitchen remodel in their Mequon home, Liz packed her bags for a trip to the East Coast. Five weeks later, she returned to her dream kitchen.

Cabinet fever
From Dave Heigl’s perspective, the hottest thing in kitchen cabinets and kitchens in general is functionality. "The overall look and feel of a kitchen is usability," says Heigl, director of CabinetWerks Design Studio in the Third Ward. "You don’t have to worry about the kids running through the kitchen and hurting something."

Sunny side up
Four kitchen remodels create great spaces for cooking, entertaining and keeping family close at hand. One of the nicest features about living on the lake is enjoying a breathtaking view. The Fox Point home of Billy and Griselda Apple now features a kitchen that maximizes the view from a cozy vantage point.

Taking it personally
Fireplaces, lounge areas, mood lighting and plasma TVs. Area designers say these are the features their clients want in the most-used room of the house, the kitchen. Of course, traditional kitchen elements such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers still have their place, and experts say people are personalizing those, too.

Wide open spaces
Everyone is looking for a little more elbowroom in the kitchen. Whether you have the opportunity to expand or simply are working with what you have, there always seems to be a way to maximize your space.

Family haven
Karen Milaitis reflects upon her kitchen remodel the way others recall a Caribbean vacation. Words like "fun," "stress-free," and "exciting," describe the process by which this family of six overhauled a kitchen, dining area, living room and patio.

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