Category: Educational

Semi-Custom vs Custom Cabinets

Types of Cabinets and Cabinet Style

The kitchen is widely recognized as being one of the most important rooms in any home. Not only is your kitchen the center of activity when entertaining guests, but it is also the heart of everyday life for a family. Meals are created, stories are shared, and family ties are bonded all around the kitchen space. Not only that, but any real estate agent would agree that a lot of the home’s financial value is dependent on the kitchen. Some of the most important decisions you make when remodeling your kitchen revolves around cabinetry. The type of wood, door and drawer style, finishes, and accessories is a topic of discussion with our clients. We also discuss differences between custom cabinets and manufactured or box cabinets. Many people have a perception that custom cabinets are better, but are they really?

Semi-custom vs. Custom Cabinets

To understand the difference, you have to understand what each type is:

Custom Cabinet:

As the name implies, custom cabinets are made specifically to order for a project. There isn’t a catalog of standard sizes and details.

Box or Manufactured Cabinet:

These cabinets are made in standard sizes different color an stain options. They are ordered from a catalog As you might expect, these are produced in a factory setting.

 

Semi-Custom Cabinet:

There is actually a third choice that many people are not aware of called semi-custom cabinets. These are cabinets that are made in a factory, and the manufacturer allows for modification of the standard catalog sizes, drawing of custom features, and even creating unique stains and finishes. There is usually a set of color and stains chose from. Custom color matching isn’t an option.

So, there aren’t just two choices. There is a spectrum of choices related to customization. Once we decide on the type of cabinets, there are other considerations:

Quality of the product: It is important to stress that custom cabinets are not necessarily higher quality, nor are manufactured cabinets. Both types come in a wide range of quality. We have seen manufactured cabinets with really thin particleboard boxes that have literally slid down the wall.

Cabinet Finish: How do cabinets from a local shop compare to a manufactured brand? The biggest difference between manufactured cabinets, and those built in a shop is the use of a heat cured catalyzed varnish. This requires a controlled factory setting. These durable top coats over the stain or enamel can help protect the cabinets from the wear and tear of busy families.

Price: In general, customization adds to the cost of cabinets. However, it is only one variable that impacts cost. Others are the wood species for the doors, the type of finish, the quality of the cabinet box, the construction of the cabinet package.

Cabinet Style:

Inset cabinetry is a style of cabinetry where the door is “set into” the face frame, instead of overlaying the face frame in overlay cabinetry

Cabinet doors can completely overlay the cabinet, or partially overlay. A full overlay cabinet is one in which the doors and drawer fronts cover the face frame completely. In appearance, a full overlay cabinet design is very much like a frameless cabinet design. A partial overlay design shows the frame in the space between the cabinet doors.

Framed/Frameless Cabinetry

Framed cabinetry: 1-1/2 inch face “frame” at the front of the cabinet box. This frame resembles a flat picture frame that is attached to the door front, giving added dimension to the door front. There is traditionally a center stile in bigger box cabinets with 2 doors.

Frameless cabinetry is sometimes called “full access” cabinetry because it offers greater accessibility by eliminating the face frame. Instead, it relies on thicker box construction for stability. Only full overlay doors can be used, with hinges attached directly to the sides of the cabinet box.

As mentioned, the main difference between using a manufacturer and a local cabinet shop for your cabinets is in the finish, which is a big pro to using a cabinet manufacturer. Most cabinet manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty of your product. Your cabinet guy may or may not still be in business in 10 years.

We believe in educating our clients about cabinet options in order to ensure they have the knowledge they need to choose the quality and features that will suit the needs of their families.

The next time your neighbor talks about wanting a new kitchen, share some of your new knowledge with her, then tell her you know a cabinet designer that can give her exactly what she wants.

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Islands | Pros and Cons

Kitchen Islands

Kitchen Design

Kitchen islands are a relatively new idea, as far as kitchen designs go. Once kitchens got bigger and open concept home plans got popular, the kitchen island became almost a default part of every new kitchen.

That does not mean a kitchen with island is right for every kitchen, however! If you’re contemplating a kitchen remodel and the “kitchen island or not” question is one you’re asking, here are some things to consider…

Do you room for a kitchen with island?
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), an open kitchen with island should have at least 42 inches of clearance on each side of the island. Why so much? Because it’s meant to be a work area. If you were only walking past it, 36 inches would suffice. But you’re not installing an island in your new kitchen so you can simply pass it by. So 42 inches it is. Consider the size of your new kitchen: Can you make an island fit?

Can you afford a kitchen with island
When answering the question, “kitchen island or not,” consider your budget. Adding a kitchen island adds costs for cabinetry and countertop, plus any appliance or sink and fixtures you’re considering. Granted using semi custom cabinets will save you money from the outset, but still—you need to crunch the numbers and see if you have room in your budget, in addition to room in your room, for a kitchen island.

The pros and cons to an open kitchen with island
The advantages to a kitchen island are many: You get more counter space, more storage, an eating area, and possibly room for an appliance or small work sink. In short, you can easily convert an L-shaped kitchen into a U-shaped one with the addition of an island! With an open concept plan, you also get to interact with people not in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking, or keep an eye on kids doing homework while seated at the island.

On the other hand, you have the additional cost, as noted above, plus an island can disrupt the classic triangle layout of sink/range/refrigerator. More than anything, you want your kitchen to be functional, so adding an island and causing dysfunction is a very bad idea. That said, not all islands have to be rectangular in shape. You could look into something V-shaped if that serves your traffic flow better. But that will also add to your costs.

Alternative answers to “kitchen island or not”
There are ways to add some of the functionality and design elements of an island without incurring the cost or messing with your mojo while cooking. You could use a table instead. With a table, you get additional cooking surface, plus it becomes an eating area that everyone can use. With an island, you only have seating on one side so there’s less togetherness about the meal. Also a table can get moved out of the way and pushed up against the wall, if necessary. Another alternative is a cart on wheels. With the cart, you get a work surface plus storage and—as with the table—you can push it out of the way. Or you can use a piece of furniture that wasn’t meant to be used in the kitchen but looks glorious there in the middle of your room, adding fashion and flair as well as a place to chop vegetables.

Check out our Pinterest board for more island design ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/designfirmatl/islands/

 

Thanks for sharing this great article: www.wellbornforest.com

2017 Kitchen Design Trends

2017 Kitchen Design Trends

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Design Firm!

Out with the old, in with the new. With the turn of a new year, we’re seeing some new trends that will be making a splash in kitchen design this year. This blog is packed full of inspirational kitchens that showcase the new kitchen trends.

From hidden appliances to beautifully painted cabinets in complementing colors, homeowners want their kitchen to be stylish enough for entertaining, yet welcoming and functional for everyday use.

Top trends:
  • Tuxedo kitchen cabinets: Mix up a kitchen’s color palette with Tuxedo cabinets. Homeowners can do a literal interpretation with black and white, but use other complementary colors, such as navy blue and soft gray, for a softer contrast.Chania  
  • Hidden appliances: Ditch stainless steel appliances, which can feel cold and industrial, and switch them for hidden appliances that easily meld into the design scheme. They provide an unexpected touch for those who plan on spending plenty of time in the kitchen.

  • Wood paneling: Transport your kitchen back to grandma’s kitchen with wood paneling, also known as shiplap. Use white shiplap to give a clean, modern finish. We’re seeing shiplap used on whole walls, not just as a backsplash. 
  • Mixed hardware finishes: Instead of going for a monochromatic stainless steel look, we are seeing appliances and accessories with various finishes, such as gold, copper or pewter. The final result is an eclectic, one-of-a-kind space. Caitlyn Wilson’s Design 101 blog gives some great tips on mixing your metals. 
  • Speckled granite: Homeowners are no longer limited to granite countertops. Instead, they’re going for quartz, marble and butcher block countertops that are easier to stain and maintain.
  • Short cabinets: Ditch the short cabinets, and install taller ones. Tall cabinets make a small kitchen look bigger and brighter.
  • Dark brown wood and paint colors: “Bigger and brighter” will be the name of the game for 2017. With that, dark paint, accessories and wood finishes will go out of style.

The Secrets to a Successful Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling Your Kitchen is easy with these key points…

There are breathtaking ways to update a kitchen through a kitchen remodel. The upgrading of kitchen cabinets is amongst the vast remodeling procedures that enable you to save an immense amount of money.

The good news is: you don’€™t need to hire a professional interior decorator or spend huge sums of money to successfully remodel and renovate your kitchen. So, to help you get started, here are some very valuable tips.

Three tone kitchen

Pick a New Style for Your Kitchen

Start by identifying a new design for your kitchen. Ask yourself if you want a sparsely decorated interior space or a rich, multi-layered design with several colors and accessories. You should begin by putting down clearly written goals for your remodeling efforts. It will be a lot easier to make choices later once you are sure of what you want. Sometimes, your kitchen may only require a new wall color which you may have seen in a photo online.

Focus on Functionality

Always place functionality ahead of fashion. What is in vogue today may lose its appeal tomorrow. So avoid those trendy shapes and colors that will soon become outdated.

Kitchen designed by Linda McDougald Design

 

Upgrade Your Floor

Upgrade your kitchen flooring with a more modern and attractive material. If you don’€™t have the money to upgrade your linoleum floors with tiles or hardwood, then you should at least change the paint. Also, bear in mind that you should change your floor before you fix new lower cabinets.

Kitchen with modern Moroccan tile from Kismet Tile

Renew Your Cabinets

It will be great to change all your kitchen cabinets at once, but if that does not fit into your budget, you can create a new look by replacing the knobs and pulls. Replace them with several trendy options like: shiny or matte nickel, pewter, antiqued copper, burnished bronze or even vintage-look glass. You’€™ll be amazed that this simple move can add a new lease of life into your kitchen and even make your cabinets look new.

Kitchen hardware by Christopher Peacock

Elegant kitchen hardware

Change the Faucets

One way to give your kitchen sink a new look is to upgrade your faucet. You can replace them with a bronze or stainless steel faucet that has nice sleek curves. There are now several new types of innovations that can be added to the standard sink faucet. For instance, you can add touch-sensitive, knob-free faucets, hidden soap dispensers and even detachable sprayers.

Silver faucet

 Choose the Right Sink

How many bowls do you need and What bowl depth and shape do you prefer? You’ll be living with your new sink for a long time, so choose carefully.

Dream kitchen sink

Decongest Your Kitchen

Reorganizing the items in your kitchen can instantly improve its appearance. Do away with the clutter and divide up your kitchen space into three. The first area should be for pre-cooking preparation, the second for cooking and the third for cleaning up. Make sure you store only items needed in each section. Put the rest away in your cabinets and shelves.

Well organized kitchen

Add New Storage Spaces

Your kitchen will look more appealing with additional storage. So install new cabinets very close to the ceiling. But make sure you take measurements and trim the cabinet doors so that they don’€™t hit the ceiling when they are opened.

 

Kitchen cabinets up against the ceiling

Re-organize the Lighting

New lights will add new life to your kitchen. So replace the old flat panel ceiling fixtures with a beautifully crafted chandelier. You can get modern chandeliers with colored or clear crystals. You can also place new lights under the cabinets to light up your sink and your new countertops.

 

Chandelier in the kitchen

Choose an Appropriate Backsplash

The backsplash behind your sink is another place where you can easily add a low-cost improvement with a notable impact. But make sure you use material that will be functional and enhance your work in the kitchen. Glass and stainless steel are both very easy to clean. But they will get dirty very easily and it will require very frequent cleaning. The biggest mistake I did in my kitchen is that I chose glass backsplash that required constant cleaning.

Blue white kitchen backsplah

Install New Countertop

Transform your kitchen further by changing the countertop. The least cost option is laminate but you may want to consider marble or granite if you can afford them. There are also several other trendy options such as concrete, stainless steel, copper and pewter.

soapstone counter top with light cabinet

Hide Your Appliances

This may sound a bit crazy, but you can place electrical sockets within cabinets or right inside one of the drawers. If you are interested in being a little more creative, ask your electrician to put some sockets behind your shelves. In addition, you can fit all your appliances with precision by making the rack and worktop the same height. You won’€™t need to move around much when you need to use your appliances. I have small prep area in my open plan kitchen and this works perfect for me. I put a roll top cabinet, it allows more workable space and looks very cool.

 

Hide kitchen appliance

Attend to Little Details

When you are implementing your new kitchen arrangement and renovation, you should pay careful attention to the positioning of each item. For example, make sure that upper cabinets are positioned where you can easily reach them without having to climb on a chair. Even though one of the commonly used height measurements for upper cabinets is 4 1/2 feet, you can place them at any height that is convenient for you. Another factor to consider is the position of big appliances like your oven, fridge and microwave oven. Don’€™t place your fridge right next to your oven. The heat from the oven could adverse affect the operation of your fridge.

 

Kitchen with attention to details

Look for Vintage Furniture

Look out for new items to place put into your kitchen. You can do this easily, even on a budget. Be creative. For instance you can turn a vintage piece of furniture into a new kitchen island. Vintage furniture items make your kitchen look unique. To get nice vintage furniture, you can visit flea markets or attend antique fairs.

Before you attend an antique fair, you need to make some preparation. This is because at these fairs you see so many different types of furniture that could overwhelm you. So create a list of all the furniture items you want and write down their ideal measurements. Even if you don’t get furniture with the exact measurements, you can easily get them modified to fit your desired size. Take a reasonable amount of cash along but be focused and stick to your budget. You should also put on comfortable footwear and be adequately prepared for the weather.

 

Vintage furniture as kitchen island

Think About Your Needs

A well organized kitchen command center can help your family keep up with day-to-day activities and schedules. The kitchen is the gathering place for your family and friends. Incorporate design elements that makes the day-to-day organization easier.

 

Successful Kitchen Remodel

 

Quick Kitchen Makeovers Before You Host Your Holiday Gatherings

Kitchen Makeovers

Are you hosting holiday gatherings this year? Do you feel like your kitchen doesn’t quite look presentable? Even the smallest touches can make a huge difference. So start now – the holidays are right around the corner!

Here are some festive and functional kitchen makeover updates to help you prepare for the busy holiday season:

 1. Get New Countertops:

You can update and enhance your kitchen with a beautiful new countertop – it can bond over your existing countertop, so there’s no messy demolition, and installation is done in as little as one day. So…you can have a new countertop in time for your next holiday gathering! Your family and friends won’t believe it was done so quickly.

2. Replace Cabinet Hardware:

Replacing your outdated handles, pulls and knobs on your kitchen cabinets with more sleek and refined styles is a great way to make them look like new without dipping too deeply into your holiday budget. There are so many different finishes and styles to choose from, and they are very easy install – you can do it all yourself!

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-2-59-21-pm
3. Add Under-the-Cabinet Lighting:

Installing LED lighting under your kitchen cabinets can brighten darker areas and help show off your backsplash and countertops. LED lighting is long lasting, compatible with dimmer switches for mood lighting, and easy to install. They can also burn cool, making them safer and more energy efficient.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-00-19-pm
4. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint:

Whether you paint your kitchen the same color or become adventurous and try something new, nothing freshens up a room like a fresh coat of paint. It will make it feel new, cleaner and more inviting for your holiday guests.

5. Add Storage in Creative Ways:

Ease your busy holiday and baking routine by adding a magnetic knife rack and additional shelving to hold your spices, cooking oils and other go-to items for easy access. Utensils can be hung on a rod, a reclaimed wooden rack can be mounted on the wall to store wine bottles and glasses, and pots and pans can be hung from the ceiling on a rod for easy access. You can also maximize unused space by adding additional corner or open shelving for storage. This is a functional and easy way to make space for items that are used often. 

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-01-38-pm
6. Change Seat Cushions:

Reupholstering your chair cushions with a fun new fabric can add a splash of color to your kitchen and instantly boost your décor to a new level. For chairs or stools with loose, tie-back cushions, the purchase of fun, bold colored cushions is a subtle way to add some holiday cheer to your dining area and make everyone feel at home around your table.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-02-30-pm

7. Add a Beautiful Area Rug:

The placement of an area rug is one of the easiest ways to warm a room and bring instant color to your kitchen. Flat-weave or indoor-outdoor rugs are good choices to protect your kitchen floors and are easy to clean.

8. Window Dressing:

Switching out your standard curtains or valances with floor length sheer curtains can help to tie the space together and give it cozier feel. A small detail such as the tieback or holdback style you choose can really complement the curtain design and add to the overall kitchen décor.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-04-53-pm

9. Display Cherished Holiday Heirlooms or Accent Pieces:

Dust off your cherished holiday keepsakes and display them on a country hutch or open shelving. Not only is it a special way to share your memories with friends and family, but it gives you the chance to enjoy them throughout the season.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-08-01-pm

When you are ready for a kitchen remodel, we are here to serve. Happy Holidays from Design Firm!

Countertops and Backsplashes

Countertops and backsplashes

Soapstone

Soapstone: Throwback to 1987 chemistry class? You may remember soapstone tabletops  from your high school chemistry class. Because they can hold up to high heat and are impervious to stains and bacteria, soapstone was the top choice for tabletops in science rooms across the country.  If your kitchen gets A LOT of use, soapstone may be the right choice for your kitchen or bathroom countertops.

The basics: Soapstone is a natural stone composed largely of mineral talc, which lends the material the smooth feel of soap. Slab colors are typically medium gray and can have a greenish cast. Over time, the soapstone will darken to a deep charcoal. Slabs may contain pronounced veining, which is produced by quartz in the stone.

The Pros: Durability is soapstone’s top bragging right. It’s not unusual in the northeast parts of the U.S. to find soapstone sinks and wood-burning stoves from the 1800s that are still functioning today, so consider this countertop a lifetime investment. Soapstone is a terrific material for the kitchen, as it’s unaffected by heat. Being chemically neutral means that acids like tomatoes and lemon juice won’t damage it. Its density makes it impenetrable by everything, including bacteria and would-be stains.

The Cons:  The talc content makes soapstone softer than some other stone counters, leading to edges and corners being eased over time. Nicks and scratches may accumulate too, which can be sanded out or considered part of its living patina. When selecting your slab, it’s good to know that the greener the slab, the softer it is. Seek out slabs with less of a green cast if you want a harder slab.

Maintenance: Mild soap and water will take care of routine cleanup. Regular application of food-grade mineral oil is typically recommended, as it darkens the stone and makes the appearance more consistent. Applying the oil is solely for aesthetics.

Pairing: Soapstone has been used in kitchens since the 1800. It is well-suited to historic renovations, holding true to the farmhouse, Craftsman and Prairie homes. It can also work well in modern and contemporary spaces when paired with a backsplash that has cleaner, straight lines. Here’s some of our ideas for pairing your soapstone to the appropriate backsplash.

Style=Countertop + Backsplash

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 4.16.57 PM

 

Farmhouse cottage= Soapstone + Beadboard: This classic detail is popular in traditional and eclectic homes, especially if you’re going for a farmhouse or cottage look. In this kitchen, the corbels under the cabinets add to the farmhouse look and feel.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 6.36.31 PMCraftsman = Soapstone + Soapstone       The craftsman style is identified by the symmetrical pattern, and clean lines in the cabinetry, Soapstone’s beautiful vein patterns look artful when extended up a wall, as seen over this cooktop. The simple, stripped-down craftsman look is a classic.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 5.11.50 PM

Rustic = Soapstone + Reclaimed Wood  The rustic look of reclaimed wood in its rough-aged appearance pairs well with the texture of soapstone. Cabinets should be kept simple to allow the texture of the wood and soapstone to get all the attention they deserve.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 5.04.32 PM

The Classic = Soapstone + Subway Tiles Subway tiles may be one of the most diverse backsplash materials you can use. Classic kitchens are timeless and flexible. The use of subway tiles gives lots of space for other kitchen details like decorative lights and cabinetry to further define your style.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 7.02.52 PM

Vintage = Soapstone + Paneling                          Whether inspired by a 1940s diner or an old-world scullery, vintage kitchens offer charm and contemporary convenience. The paneling appears throughout this small kitchen for a vintage look that reminds us of making cookies with Grandmother over the holidays.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 7.23.51 PM

Traditional = Soapstone + Tile                         Soapstone countertops paired with a gray tile backsplash compliment the architectural details, glazed cabinets and mixed finishes that define the Traditional style.

 

 

Sustainability: Soapstone gets green kudos for being a material that will last for generations.

Kitchen Storage

Tips for kitchen storage

If your kitchen is like ours, there are lots of cooking tools, appliances, and things to find a home for until they are needed to make your culinary masterpieces. Finding a place for all of these kitchen gadgets can leave your drawers and cabinets a jumbled mess. It can feel like a daunting task to find a spatula. We’ve found some clever solutions to kitchen clutter. Some of them happen in the design process, while others will only require a trip to the store.

Your kitchen is likely the center of your home. The kids work on homework at the table while you cook dinner, the mail gets thrown on the counters, friends hang out, and where backpacks, purses, and work bags find a landing zone on every flat surface. There are ways to organize your kitchen to ensure it remains the productive room it needs to be.

1. Your drawer organizers aren’t just for silverware

Drawer organizers can be used as a host of storage solutions for your kitchen. They can be used for kitchen gadgets of all shapes and sizes. If you get really creative, you can use them for spices, pot holders, even small dishes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.45.47 PM

Found

2. The Cabinet Trash Can

While the trash can is a necessity for any kitchen, it can be unsightly. Your guest don’t want to see, or smell your trash can. Through some design options, one of your cabinets can easily become a storage solution for your trash can.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.38.59 PMFound

3. Corner Cabinets

The corners of your kitchen contains underutilized storage space. Consider adding a lazy Susan, or even corner drawers to your kitchen design. Custom drawer organizers can offer numerous solutions for your kitchen gadgets.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.32.57 PMFound

4. Create a designated workspace

Wether you acquire a vintage secretary from your favorite flea market, or have a work space incorporated into your custom kitchen design, a workstation becomes a place to organize and pay bills, read through homework, and check your daily calendars. Creating a designated space for your projects helps keep your kitchen clean and organized.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.30.09 PM

Found

5. The Island

Adding an island to any kitchen multiplies your storage solutions. You instantly have extra counter space for food preparation. Your island can be designed to match, or compliment your cabinetry, or it can be a roll away island that you pull out when it’s needed. Either way, don’t underestimate the storage solutions of the kitchen island.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.34.33 PMFound

6. Pull Out Shelves

Deep set cabinets make stock pot lids, kitchen towels, cutting boards, even small appliances pull a disappearing act. Even worse, you often times have to pull everything out to get to the item in the back. Unnecessary. With the addition of pull out shelves, everything in your cabinets become easily assessable. Custom designed pull-out shelves ensure that the hardware holds up to your daily use.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.41.51 PMFound

7. Shelves

Your dishes don’t have to go behind closed doors. One of the newest kitchen trends is the incorporation of open shelving as a storage solution for kitchens.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.23.03 PM

Found

Check out our Pinterests board for some DIY storage solutions, and to see some examples of workstations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén