12 | 13 | 2013
Tis the season!
The holiday season is in full swing and there’s nothing better than celebrating with your family in New England!
This is the time of year where we use our kitchens the most. We’re cooking and baking and there never seems to be enough room or appliances to do everything. Many homes in Massachusetts lack the space needed for today’s cook. It’s no surprise, since colonial New England homes only had pantry areas with the cooking being done in a fireplace or on a wood stove. We feel your pain so here are some thoughts on what you can do now to prepare for the perfect kitchen next holiday season!
Take good notes!
When you are cooking and baking you should see where the bottleneck is. Do you have enough counter space? Most cooks use the countertop between the sink and stove for preparation. Perhaps adding more space would do the trick, or maybe just free up some space by moving items to new locations, such as the toaster oven or microwave.
Is one oven not enough? Maybe a double oven would do the trick, or if you are a serious cook you may opt for three ovens. A warming drawer might be perfect to keep food prepared earlier in the day nice and warm for party time.
Where are your mixers, bowls, pots or pans? Do you have to walk all over the kitchen to find them? Are they stored away all year waiting for this moment? Keep track of items you use the most and also where in the kitchen you use them. This way they can be relocated when you decide to remodel. The correct placement of these items will make food preparations much more efficient.
It’s party time!
So everything is cooked, baked, and ready to go! Good for you! Where does it all go? Is your kitchen set up ideal for placing your buffet? Maybe a nice center island will help the flow, especially if you don’t have one now. Consider the flow of traffic around the kitchen. Do you have a peninsula that creates a tight walkway at the end? Switching to a center island set up would create a more natural flow for you and your guests!
With these notes you will see exactly what you like about your current kitchen and also what you don’t like. Everyone works around their kitchen differently so only you know what works and what doesn’t. Gathering all this information now will help your kitchen designer to see exactly what you need in a new kitchen layout.
We hope these tips are helpful. Please stay safe and enjoy the holidays with your family and friends!
11 | 05 | 2013
Don’t forget the appliances
So you’ve picked out all of your new cabinets and you’ve found the perfect granite slabs? Now you’re anxiously waiting for the cabinet delivery and the construction phase to begin. What’s next?
If you’ve been working with a professional local design showroom your answer to that question won’t be “Selecting appliances”.
Planning for appliances has become a must during the design phase of your kitchen remodel. With all the options available you will want to be sure you explore everything before finalizing the cabinet design. Following you will find a few things to consider.
What type of stove do you want? You can select a free-standing stove with the controls on the back, a slide-in stove with the controls on the front, or a cook-top. If you’re interested in a cook-top you will need to add an oven cabinet to your cabinet layout. If you decide on the other two styles you will need to decide if you want a standard 30” wide range, a 36”, or larger.
How about your refrigerator? You can order a standard refrigerator or a counter depth. Beyond that you will need to know what width you desire. Refrigerators come in standard widths such as 30”, 33”, or 36”. However, the height is also important. The height will determine what size cabinet you will need above it. A cabinet that is too tall will not allow the refrigerator to slide in, and a short cabinet will leave an unsightly gap between the two.
And then there’s the dreaded microwave. Where should that go? You can just use a countertop model, or you can order a microwave oven cabinet. Another option would be above the range. If you’re going to put it above the range it will change the size of the cabinet above it. If you don’t plan ahead for an over-the-range microwave you won’t be able to add one later because it will sit too low.
Dishwashers are pretty straight forward but you will need to leave a 24” space for it.
Another option to consider would be panel ready appliances. These will accept cabinetry panels that match the kitchen so the appliances blend in to the design. You will need all the model numbers of the appliances so the cabinet company can make the panels the right size.
If you would like more information about appliances and cabinetry please feel free to contact us
10 | 08 | 2013
DIY Kitchen Remodeling
With all the home improvement shows on TV and the abundance of Home Improvement centers it’s no wonder so many people consider do-it-yourself kitchen remodels in Southeastern Massachusetts. Tackling such a project on our own offers us so much more than just a new kitchen. It’s an opportunity to add value to your home while at the same time it brings a sense of pride and accomplishment.
I’ve often found myself taking on projects outside my area of expertise. For instance, some automobile repairs seem rather easy and I never back down from a little challenge. So, I’ll go out to the auto parts store, buy the parts and head back to get my hands dirty. Sometimes it goes smoothly and other times I find myself scouring the Internet for instructions on how to get the job done. It’s those times I wish the auto parts store had an expert that would come to my home to help me move it a long a bit. It never happens though!
The same scenario can play out when you begin to install your new kitchen cabinets. You’ll get a set of plans and it looks simple, then you find the wall is not flat and both the ceiling and the floors are not level. The installation now has taken a turn toward the difficult side. Should I start with the wall cabinets or base cabinets? Where does this filler go and how wide should it be? How on earth will this crown molding work? These are some of the questions you will undoubtedly ask yourself.
Can it be done? Absolutely!
A successful DIY kitchen remodel begins long before the cabinet delivery. It begins with properly selecting a kitchen design showroom. At first a simple cash-and-carry seems logical, they have what you want and their prices are usually very competitive. However, these warehouses and lumber yards are not typically set up for consumer DIY project. They are accustomed to customers that do not need support post sale. As a homeowner tackling a kitchen remodel you will find they are not quick to jump in their car to drive over to help you through a problem.
That’s where a reputable local design showroom can pay dividends! There are many local showrooms in Southeastern MA that are geared toward the homeowner and the do-it-yourself. The knowledge and personal service you will receive is a valuable asset that should not be overlooked.
If you found this blog because you are interested in remodeling your own kitchen please feel free to view the remainder of our site to see what we can offer. All of our consultations, designs, and estimates are free of charge!
09 | 19 | 2013
An alarming trend!
Have you visited a locally owned and operated kitchen design showroom in the southeastern Massachusetts area?
If so, you were probably greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable kitchen designer. Most certainly the designer would go over all of your kitchen cabinet and countertop choices while explaining the pros and cons of each. They would also have taken precise measurements of your space. With that information they would design and price your kitchen or bath remodeling project. That kitchen designer would be your go to person from the design and quote phase all the way through the construction phase.
There’s a new trend brewing in the big box kitchen departments and it is already showing up in Massachusetts. For many years the big box home improvement companies trained and staffed each location with kitchen designers, much like local showrooms do here in MA. Some of these designers were full time and some were part time. However, it seems the big box stores are facing turn over in the design staff and it has prompted them to make a cost saving decision.
Instead of training new design staff at each location they are hiring designers at their corporate offices to handle kitchen designs for all of their locations. This central design center allows them to place traditional sales staff at their retail outlets more easily. This sales staff is trained in how to sell cabinetry but not how to design kitchen layouts. The advantage to the homeowner is that there will most likely be a designer with more experience working on the design. The disadvantage is that the designer is not local and will never see the actual space being remodeled.
Another disadvantage is that the homeowner is relying upon the sales person at the local store to relay all of the pertinent information to the designer. This can lead to some misinterpretation that could show itself during the construction phase. It’s just like verbally sending a message around a classroom, the message will change more the further down the room it travels.
Is this a bad model? Not really, however, it does require a greater awareness from the consumer so they can be sure the message being conveyed is heard correctly by all people involved.
How do you know if the person you meet at the kitchen department will be designing your kitchen themselves? Just ask!!
Also, be sure that any designer you decide to work with visits your home to take measurements themselves to be sure the design being offered will fit the space available!
09 | 13 | 2013
How far is too far?
We are often asked how far we will travel for kitchen and bath remodels. As you may know, we have our main showroom in Middleboro MA and a Contractor Showroom in New Bedford MA. Our service area however, is much greater.
Based on our locations it is common for us to work in the surrounding towns like Lakeville, Carver, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Acushnet, Berkley, Westport, Mattapoisett and Marion.
However, our Kitchen Designers have traveled from Eastham MA, up to Boston MA, over to Franklin MA, down to Newport & Tiverton RI. So to say we service Eastern MA & Rhode Island would sum it up pretty well.
With that being said, we are happy to offer free in-home design consultations just about anywhere providing that you are prepared to visit our showroom at least once during the process. This is an important step because you would benefit greatly from seeing the displays and samples of exact the cabinet style and countertop you may be purchasing. This is almost always the deciding factor in how far we will travel.
Of course, you can do some in-home shopping by visiting our kitchen planner page and you can also schedule a free design appointment by visiting the contact page any time day or night!
09 | 10 | 2013
Tips on starting your kitchen remodel
So you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel? This is a project that most people will only do once in a lifetime. Here’s some information that will hopefully make your showroom selection a success.
First, decide on the scope of the work to be done, as well as the budget you have to work with. Since this may be your first remodel or you haven’t done one in decades, these decisions could be overwhelming. In our market, to remodel an average-size kitchen with stock cabinetry and granite will cost up to $10,000. A semi-custom kitchen could range between $10,000- $20,000. Pricing for a custom kitchen with many deluxe features typically starts at $20,000.
Next, visit a kitchen showroom and meet with a designer to develop initial plans and determine pricing. This process will give you a sense of what you can do with your space. From there, you should seek out two more showrooms to compare pricing. It is important to stick closely to the original showroom’s design and cabinet specifications. This will ensure that you have a true price comparison because not all cabinets are created equal. There will be time to modify the designs and options once you select the designer you want to move forward with.
From the initial pricing process you should have a good idea which designer you felt most comfortable with. Was he or she knowledgeable? Did he answer your questions? Was she open with information and details? If they were not transparent or easy to work with during the pricing phase how will they be during the construction process?
In the end, your decision should be based on your connection with the designer, the products offered, the design options and, of course, pricing.
02 | 25 | 2013
To re-face, or not to re-face?
Wondering whether or not to re-face your old cabinets? We’re often asked about re-facing kitchen cabinets and if we offer that service. The short answer is, no, we do not.
A simple “no” answer does nothing to explain why we don’t offer cabinet re-facing. So let me take a few moments to explain the process, price comparison and our overall thoughts on this service. Be sure to read to the end, the pricing may surprise you!
Cabinet re-facing involves several steps. First and foremost a re-facing company will recommend replacing all of your doors and drawer fronts. This will instantly transform the appearance of your kitchen. It‘s very likely they will replace the cabinet hinges as well, however, your drawer glides will most likely remain original.
Prior to installing your new doors and fronts they will laminate over the existing cabinet boxes. This typically includes all of the exposed cabinet sides as well as the face frames of the cabinets. In other words, all portions of the cabinets that are visible with the doors closed will be covered in either a laminated wood veneer or plastic laminate. This is the portion of the project that takes the most labor, while the doors & drawer fronts themselves add most of the material costs.
The advantage to this service is obvious; you will end up with a kitchen that looks new and modern.
The disadvantage to this process is that you still have the same cabinets you did prior to starting. All of your shelves, drawer boxes, cabinet sides, cabinet bottoms, etc., are original. The wear and tear over the years remains. Any water damage hidden or visible will remain. I like to explain it like this: If you owned a car with 200,000 miles that looked shabby, would you keep it and just repaint it?
In the end, you would have a nice looking car, but all of the working parts have 200k miles of wear and tear on them. How long would you expect the car to last after you spend the money to correct the appearance?
The same basic principle applies to your kitchen cabinets. How long would it take after re-facing your cabinets for the age to show through? Will you be destined to replace them after spending your hard earned money to spruce them up?
You might think, “But I’m sure to save a lot of money by re-facing, right?”
Not so fast! Many of the re-facing companies state “Re-facing is half the price of new cabinets”. If you take a look at the fine print you will see a disclaimer “Half the price of new CUSTOM cabinets”. As you can imagine, there are several options of new cabinets that cost less than custom cabinets do.
How about an example… We recently visited with a potential new client that had already received a quote from a re-facing company that claims they can do magic with their existing kitchen. It’s a small kitchen which includes only 6 cabinets. The total price for “Cabinet work” was $5,770.00
We took a look and quoted all new cabinets. In our quote we included 2 additional cabinets, one for above the refrigerator and another right beside it. Our total price, including labor, was $3,950.00
That’s a savings of over 30% and she will have all new cabinets.
So why don’t we offer re-facing? Because it’s simply not in the best interest of our clients!
Can’t believe it? Feel free to price out both options to see for yourself!
01 | 17 | 2013
The beauty of inset doors
Remodeling your kitchen? Have you put some thought into the type of door you would like?
There are several ways to have your cabinet doors mounted to the cabinet and each choice will have a dramatic effect on the look of your new kitchen.
First up, there’s the partial overlay. In this style the door sits against the face frame of the cabinet allowing spaces between the doors and drawer fronts so that the frame of the cabinet is visible. In recent years this style has fallen out of favor.
Next we have the full overlay door. This style is similar to the partial overlay because the doors and drawer fronts sit against the face of the cabinets. The key difference is that the doors and drawer fronts extend to cover most of the face frame while leaving just enough space to allow the doors and drawers to open properly. This creates a look similar to a frameless, or european style cabinet where there is no hardwood face frame.
The style I want to discuss today is the inset door, as seen in the picture. Back in the day before we had all these mass produced cabinets, traditional woodworkers would make cabinets with inset doors and drawers. As you can see in the picture, the drawer fronts are made to fit within the face frame, not against it. The photo you see is a “beaded inset”. This technique routers a small bead on the face frame around the perimeter of the door and drawer openings. There are also “flush inset” and 3/8 inset door styles.
Flush inset doors are the same as beaded where the door fits within the frame, but they omit the bead detail. 3/8 inset doors have a rabbet around the perimeter of the door so that it will partially fit within the frame while still sitting against the face frame.
Why did the inset style disappear? With the giant push of production line cabinets it became almost impossible for the manufacturers to produce cabinets with the tolerances required for an inset door to work properly. Because the door is within the frame it didn’t take much of an error to make a door or drawer stick. So these national companies went the “overlay” route, where close tolerances were not needed thus they could produce cabinets faster and at a lower cost.
Being from New England and seeing the fine craftmanship in the old homes here I have a great appreciation for the inset style. The detail and attention required to produce a fine cabinet cannot be achieved by all. I’m very happy to see the resurgence of inset cabinetry in our area and I am proud to offer these cabinets to our clients.
If you want your kitchen to stand out from your neighbors consider going with a quality inset cabinet!
01 | 03 | 2013
A new car vs. a new kitchen
How often do you get into your car and say “it’s time for a change”? For me it’s about every 5-7 years. According to automd.com, 78% of drivers keep their vehicle for ten years or longer.
What about the average lifespan of a kitchen? In our market that number is about 30 years.
How do these two purchases relate?
If you take a minute to think about your perspective during the buying process you might see how a kitchen could be a good investment.
Autotrader.com states that in 2011 the average used car price was $23,000. So based on the 10 year lifespan for a car owner you would expect to spend $69,000 on vehicle purchases in the course of 30 years. Because a vehicle is such a necessity we tend not to think about how much they cost to buy and the rapid depreciation of the investment.
On the flip side, a kitchen, with a lifespan of 30 years can not only improve our comfort at home but it can also add significant value with a slower rate of depreciation.