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Nov 02 2015

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ALNO’s Newest Showroom


ALNO’s new Atlanta showroom recently opened, and to celebrate the company hosted a grand opening event last week. European Kitchen of Alabama opened the new location, which is owned by Loay Ali, president of ALNO Atlanta.

Loay Ali, president of ALNO Atlanta

Loay Ali, president of ALNO Atlanta

The showroom features custom European fitted cabinetry and kitchen design and also offers appliances, accessories and total turnkey installation.

The event was catered by Bartaco, a fresh, new restaurant a few doors down from ALNO Atlanta.


The showroom is the company’s 20th location in North America, and ALNO is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary as the premier provider of European kitchen design in the Southeast.

Oct 29 2015

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A Look at an Inspirational Design Studio

The Atlanta Studio has many predetermined, professionally designed color palettes and vignettes for inspiration and easy selection.

The Atlanta Studio has many predetermined, professionally designed color palettes and vignettes for inspiration and easy selection.

Atlanta-based national homebuilder Ashton Woods has opened its new state-of-the-art design studio – The Studio – where preliminary homeowners can work with designers to select the interior finishes they want in their new homes – from countertops to flooring to kitchen cabinets. The 12,000 sq. ft. space is one of the largest design studios in the area and features educated and experienced 10 designers.

Basement at Ashton Woods' Claremore

Basement at Ashton Woods’ Claremore

When asked how The Studio selects the manufacturers it wants to include, Leigh White, Ashton Woods’ director of design studios said, “The design team carefully selects reputable brand partners and specialty craftsman to provide the available finishes. The design team also travels to international shows to source innovative design finishes, such as the latest addition to the Atlanta offerings – Veneta Cucine kitchens.”

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The Studio’s other locations are in Charleston, S.C.; Houston; Naples, Fla.; Orlando; Phoenix; and Raleigh, N.C.

Ashton Woods' Brookleigh Wentworth Bath

Ashton Woods’ Brookleigh Wentworth Bath

Oct 16 2015

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BlueStar-ry Night – An Evening to Remember

Retro Range

Retro Range

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of being in the company of three greats: BlueStar appliances, the Guy Gunter Home showroom and Atlanta-renowned chef, Ford Fry. BlueStar recently introduced its 36-in. Platinum Series Range, and the company wanted to show it off at this recently renovated Atlanta showroom. The icing on the proverbial cake was the demo cooking by Ford Fry, whose secret ingredient to making his steaks delicious is simply butter. A LOT of butter.

Ford Fry working his magic in front of the new BlueStar Platinum Series Range.

Ford Fry working his magic in front of the new BlueStar Platinum Series Range.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed sumptuous steak and scallops prepared by Fry and his team, and then we sat down with BlueStar Cooking and Prizer Hoods president, Michael Trapp, who told me about the new Platinum Series Range. It is now available in five widths and features PrimaNova burners, an interchangeable griddle charbroiler, full-motion grates and an extra-large oven with true European convection and a 1,850-degree infrared broiler.

The range is available in 750+ colors and finishes, and its new PowR Oven provides 40 percent faster preheating and a 30 percent increase in oven efficiency.

The range is available in 750+ colors and finishes, and its new PowR Oven provides 40 percent faster preheating and a 30 percent increase in oven efficiency.

Me and BlueStar Cooking and Prizer Hoods owner, Michael Trapp

Me and BlueStar Cooking and Prizer Hoods president, Michael Trapp

The Guy Gunter Home boutique showroom was a lovely space, having recently been renovated, and provides high-end appliances to the greater Atlanta area. The 5,400-sq.-ft. space features plumbing products, kitchen appliances and outdoor kitchen essentials from such brands as BlueStar, Sub-Zero, Wolf, Miele, Thermador, Toto, Rohl and Brown Jordan.

Me and Smitty

Ford Fry is one of my favorite chefs in Atlanta, and I am sad I have yet to dine in all of his restaurants. My favorites that I have been to so far are JCT Kitchen (right around the corner from me), The Optimist (where I went for a special birthday dinner) and The El Felix (this opened up in Alpharetta’s Avalon shopping center, and my boyfriend and I have been there too many times to count).

The event, hosted by BlueStar, was truly a delight. It was a joy to learn about their new range, to see the updated Atlanta showroom and to feast on some of the tastiest food I have ever had. For more information, please visit: www.bluestarcooking.com.

Oct 13 2015

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Quirks of the Quarry: A Tour of Polycor’s North GA Facility

Last week I had the pleasure of touring the depths of Polycor’s unexpectedly beautiful stone quarry in Tate, Ga. If you’re a stone novice like I was, then you may not realize what a coveted experience this can be for the public and industry professionals alike.

At more than 160 feet deep (though the stone vein actually continues at subterranean levels for thousands of feet), the quarry’s majestic “pit” is a dust-laden basin punctuated by monolithic blocks and tech-forward machinery. Encompassed by soaring stone walls, the pit even features a quaint, naturally occurring waterfall that feeds into a winding creek below – continuously pumped to prevent flooding. The area is generally restricted, and intrepid personnel require special training to traverse the pit and its surrounding areas.

Discovered by Henry T. Fitzsimmons in 1835, the quarry was later established as the Georgia Marble Company in 1884 by the locally prestigious Tate family (for which the town is named). Polycor did not acquire the site until 2003, and it has since gone on to supply the majority of marble used in iconic memorials, capitol buildings and other significant structures throughout the U.S.

The quarry is primarily used to source four color varieties of marble: White Georgia, White Cherokee, Pearl Grey and Solar Grey. A newly discovered area dubbed the Etowah Quarry, however, now also provides a plethora of salmon-colored marble.


As stone is sourced, stair-like formations referred to as “walls” (the vertical portion) and “benches” (the horizontal portion) are left behind. Workers slice the quarry’s walls before using innovative technology to sever the stone from the wall. The technique is similar to a water balloon. As the device fills with water, it expands and forces the cut stone from the wall onto the bench. Workers have little control over the size, but the bigger the piece, the higher its value.

Unusable pieces are put through a crusher that pulverizes the marble into variously sized granules. This dust is used in different industries, such as toothpaste production.

The stone that is kept for sale will then be categorized by color and grade, added to the inventory and relocated for further processing.