Q+A With Kitchen Crasher Alison Victoria

DIY Network’s Kitchen Crashers host Alison Victoria answers your decorating and remodeling questions in HGTV Magazine.

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Q: How should I deal with that awkward space between the top of my cabinets and the ceiling?—Tana Anderson, Norton Shores, MI

Alison: If the space measures less than 12 inches tall, have a carpenter install crown molding. He’ll bridge the gap with a flat piece of wood, then attach a length of thick crown molding—painted or stained to match your cabinets—on top. If the space is a foot or more, try some small upper cabinets. You can find them in a variety of heights at stores like IKEA, or from cabinet companies. They’re not cheap, but they look more polished than a row of vases or fake flowers.

Q: How do I keep my stainless steel appliances fingerprint-free?—Jennifer Szarejko, Macomb, MI

Alison: There’s not a ton you can do for dirty stainless steel other than wipe it clean. If you want to prevent future fingerprints, apply a special coating (usually in the form of a liquid or wipe) every few years. We’ve tried many on Kitchen Crashers, and the one I think works best is EnduroShield Home stainless wipes ($20, homedepot.com). There’s also faux stainless steel, which claims to be smudge-less and is easier to keep clean. My advice: Go with real stainless but know it requires maintenance.

Q: I have very little counter space. How can I get more room to prep?—Matthew Fox, Manassas, VA

Alison: I love kitchen carts. They are so versatile and can be rolled out of the way when you’re not using them. On the show, I’ve added casters to small islands to make them mobile, but you can buy a ready-made cart for less than $200. Another option that’s making a comeback: pull-out cutting boards, which are butcher-block slabs that slide out from below your counter like a drawer. A cabinet company can probably retrofit your current setup for a couple hundred dollars.

Q: What’s the best choice for kitchen flooring if I can’t afford hardwood?—Kristi Langen, Holmen, WI

Alison: I’d get laminate. It costs as little as $2 per square foot (compared with around $10 or more a square foot for hardwood), and these days it looks so ridiculously good, you can hardly tell it’s not real wood. It also holds its own against foot traffic and stains, and it’s so easy to install that many DIYers can do it themselves. In some cases, you can even put laminate right over your existing floors, especially if they’re tile. Choose something that contrasts in color with your cabinets—for example, if your cabinets are white or have a light stain, try dark, chestnut-color floors. Laminate comes in a ton of finishes, including styles that mimic reclaimed wood, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a look you like. Linon Home Decor 22"W x 22"D x 36 1/2"H bamboo and granite kitchen cart, $170, hayneedle.com

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