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Jennifer Wilson

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Kitchen Cabinet Hardware: Adding the Bling to your Kitchen Design

Posted by Jennifer Wilson on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

Adding the Bling to Your Kitchen Cabinets

A while back we talked about how to pick the right kitchen cabinets. One of the last steps in that process is adding the hardware to your kitchen ensemble. Choosing hardware for your kitchen cabinetry is like adding the finishing touches to a custom tailored outfit.

You may not be showcasing your new kitchen on the red carpet, but it still has to look great on every occasion. What good is that strapless Dior without the Harry Winston earrings? None! And your stunning new custom cabinets deserve the same attention to detail. Accessorizing your kitchen is easy if you follow these simple steps.

Contemporary with Contemporary – Traditional with Traditional – Would you wear a vintage suit with a Jerry Garcia necktie? Probably not. So why would you put antique glass knobs on a sleek contemporary cabinet? Choose hardware that complements your cabinets.

traditional kitchen turquoise

Finish Here, Finish There, Finishes Everywhere! – The hardware you choose does not have to match the finishes on all of the other fixtures in your kitchen. But it should not clash with them either. If you are going stainless on appliances and brushed chrome on lighting and plumbing, think about a brushed finish for your hardware or something simple that can make a subtle statement.

traditional kitchen with warm wood upper and lower cabinets

Color Me Colorful – Colored cabinets make a bold statement all by themselves. You don’t have to get crazy with the hardware in a brightly colored kitchen. White cabinets are another story entirely. They provide a clean palette on which any color or finish looks great. So try on a few different styles and see what fits best.

Wood You? – Would you add colored knobs to wood finished cabinets? Why not? The rich tone of oak, cherry or maple cabinetry provides a beautiful background for virtually any hardware. A popular choice is pewter, bronze, chrome, nickel or some other variation of hard metal or even stone. But color adds a unique finish on an old favorite.

modern retro kitchen with warm wood tones

How are they Hangin’? – The doors that is… Custom cabinets are often designed with custom overlays and interior hinges. But if your doors are hung with exposed hinges, make sure that the hinges match the pulls and other hardware. Eclectic is okay when mixing lighting and appliances, but too much variety is overkill.

Shopping for hardware should be as fun as shopping for a fine piece of jewelry. You will have to visit several jewelers and look at different cuts, shapes and styles of precious gems. And yes, you may even have to try a few on for size. But when you find that one, you know the one; the one that catches the light just right and looks amazing with the rest of your ensemble, you will have found the perfect fit!



Tags: cabinets, kitchen cabinet design, kitchen design

How to Plan a Kitchen Design Budget in 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Jennifer Wilson on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Just because your last remodel budget didn’t quite match up to the charges on your credit card doesn’t mean your next project will turn out that way. Believe it or not, you actually can have a kitchen design budget that fits your finances and still gives you the kitchen of your dreams. Let’s find out how…

STEP 1.      PLAN! It’s a nasty four letter word, but having a plan is the key to successful kitchen design budgeting. The average mid-scale remodel costs homeowners about $50,000. In general, kitchen design budgets can range from $5,000 to $105,000. Unless you have an unlimited supply of funds, you probably don’t want to risk falling willy-nilly in between those numbers. A good rule of thumb is to spend anywhere from 5% to 15% of the value of your home on your kitchen remodel.

Check out the average home price in your neighborhood and then determine where your home falls on that spectrum. You don’t want to under-spend, but you don’t want to make your house the "Taj Mahal of Trailer Park Terrace" either. Keep your design reasonable enough to match comparable real estate values in your area and realistic enough to meet your kitchen design needs. Also, think about how long you plan on staying in your home. This will help you determine if your remodel will be more of a financial investment or an emotional one.

modern kitchen with striated slab style cabinetry
STEP 2.      Plan for the Expected Every item you put into your kitchen will come at a cost. You will even have to spend money to have items removed from your kitchen. Knowing what you will have to pay for, and what you want to pay for, will help you get your numbers in order. Start by setting a priority list of must-haves. You must have a designer, you must have a contractor, you must have good insurance if you plan on doing the renovation yourself.

Once you have your list of necessary items for the remodel, assign a dollar amount to each one. Industry studies and reports show the average breakdown for a professional kitchen remodel is as follows:

·        Flooring – 5%
·        Walls/Trim - 3%
·        Counter tops – 18%
·        Appliances – 15%
·        Cabinetry – 48%
·        Fixtures – 6%
·        Electrical and lighting – 5%

These figures are for mid-range kitchen remodels. Higher end remodels will usually allocate more money for appliances and fixtures. These target percentages include labor. If you plan on remodeling yourself, you can probably tweak these to reflect lower labor costs. If you are having trouble with this initial phase of the budget, contact one of our kitchen design specialists for a FREE Kitchen Design Consultation.


STEP 3.      Plan for the Unexpected Rarely does a remodel go perfectly. No one ever knows what lurks behind wallboard, under flooring and in pipes. If the kitchen design needs to change, so does the budget. Always allow an additional 10% for contingencies. Many homeowners forget the inconvenience of a kitchen remodel. Unless your kitchen is being made over between lunch and dinner, chances are you will have to allow for outside meals. If the remodel is extensive and you can’t even think about rooming with your parents or in-laws, hotel costs might have to be included in your budget as well.

traditional white wood cabinets and black granite counter tops
STEP 4      Plan for Paying it Back Unless your in-laws want to fund your dream kitchen, you will probably have to finance the j
ob or pay for it out of your savings. Home equity loans, personal loans and even credit cards are all viable options for funding your kitchen remodel. However, they all have fees associated with them. Be sure to account for these fees in your budget in order to get a realistic idea of what your new kitchen will ultimately cost.

STEP 5      Plan to Stay on TrackPreparing your budget is just the beginning. Once the project gets underway, you must track every penny you spend. Well, maybe not every penny, but at least every $100 or so. Homeowners often get so wrapped up in seeing their kitchen dream come to fruition that they forget to look at how quickly their money is disappearing. Before they know it, they are over-budget. Stay on track with your kitchen design budget. Set a schedule to review your expenses every few days or once a week. Get receipts for everything and keep a file dedicated solely to your dream kitchen. It’s a lot easier to stop a slow leak than to have to repair a burst pipe.

As the saying goes, "Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance". Get the dirty work of budgeting done before you get down and dirty with your kitchen remodel. It may take a little time, but budgeting properly will prevent your kitchen project from becoming a nightmare of a money pit and keep your dream kitchen on financial track to a rewarding reality.


Tags: planning your kitchen, kitchen planning tips, kitchen design, kitchen design budget

Selecting The Right Kitchen Cabinets: Dressed to Kill!

Posted by Jennifer Wilson on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

"Selecting kitchen cabinetry is like putting together a special outfit. To get the perfect look, you need to shop within your budget, find appropriate and comfortable clothing, and add just the right finishing touches."


Boutique vs. Budget

The first step in creating the perfect kitchen cabinet design ensemble is to make sure that it fits your budget. Do you have a personal tailor and only shop at Nordstrom’s? If so, you may want to purchase custom cabinets. These will be the priciest, but will fit perfectly and also be made of the highest quality materials and will have enough design flexibility to make sure they suit your kitchen perfectly. If you buy your clothes off the rack, you may be more of a stock cabinetry person. Stock cabinets are available in standard sizes and the most popular finishes. They are great options for do-it-yourself remodels or easy kitchen make-overs. If you fall somewhere in between, semi-custom cabinets may be for you. These mid-level priced cabinets will be easy on the budget but will still allow some flexibility in style and size.

Hard maple cabinetry  contemporary design resized 600

 Sexy, Sassy or Sophisticated?

After you figure out where you’ll shop, put together the outer layer. If you want your cabinets to scream sophistication, choose a solid polished or stained wood. If you want traditional, go with something timeless, like cherry, maple or oak, maybe with some beading or recessed glass. If retro is your style, melamine is still available.

Show a Little Leg… or not

Next, decide what undergarments will be the most appropriate for your new outfit. This is where cabinet door selection and door mounting options come in. Cabinet frames can be completely concealed with full overlay doors, or they can peek through, providing your doors an attractive frame. How you mount your doors is like deciding whether to go strapless or not. The amount of skin you choose to reveal should complement the overall look and feel you are trying to achieve.

crisp white cabinetry and dark wood island are a beautiful combo

Functional and Fashionable

The function of your cabinets should be contemplated like a stunning pair of shoes. They may look fantastic, but what good are they if you can’t walk in them? Cabinets that don’t hold your kitchen appliances, have useless spaces or are out of reach may be breathtaking to look at, but frustratingly useless. Think about how you use your cabinets now and what items you will put into your new ones. Do you want storage drawers instead of shelving for base cabinets? Are high shelves better left open for cookbooks and knick-knacks? If your kitchen is small, take advantage of every nook and cranny by selecting corner cabinetry, vertical storage racks and lazy-Susans.

Dress it Up!

You’re outfit is almost complete. You’ve got your undergarments, your outerwear and you can walk comfortably. Time to put the icing on the cake. The hardware you choose for your cabinetry can be simple and understated or it can say “Check Me Out!” Whether you want to go flashy or fashionable, have fun with your hardware! It is the least expensive part of your kitchen wardrobe and can be changed easily when you tire of the look.

Tags: cabinets, kitchen budget, kitchen cabinet, cabinetry, custom cabinets

Selecting the Right Kitchen Designer

Posted by Jennifer Wilson on Wed, May 15, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

If you've ever asked yourself, "How on earth do I find the right kitchen designer?", this article is for you.

custom signature cabinetry used in this kitchen by general woodcraft


A professional kitchen designer is the glue that holds your dream kitchen together. They can take almost any idea you have and make it come to fruition. Because remodeling your kitchen can be a very involved and lengthy project, you absolutely must choose a designer that you can work with through every stage of the process and still like them after weeks or months of eating take-out food.

You can start your search for a good kitchen designer by drilling your family and friends for referrals. Not only can you get the real skinny on the pros and cons of individual kitchen designers, you can see firsthand how their designs look in real-life and how well they function. Realtors, builders architects and remodeling contractors can also provide a list of local kitchen designers in your area. Once armed with some names, look for these often neglected, but important traits in a designer: professionalism, experience, ethics,  quality of work and the reputation of their company. Let’s start with professionalism. If your designer is a no-show, no-call on the first appointment, move on. First impressions really do matter. This behavior can give you a pretty good hunch on how the designer will prioritize your project.

On to the kitchen designer interview process. Yes! I said interview. You are hiring the kitchen designer. Sometimes it may feel like they are in charge. But if you are the one paying the designer, you are the boss. So interview candidates for your 'kitchen designer job opening' to make sure you are getting the most qualified one. Some kitchen design firms will offer a free consultation to motivate you. When you meet with the kitchen designer, make sure you are comfortable with their approach; that they speak in terms you can comprehend and give you as much information as you want. The right designer will also have ethical values in line with yours.

signature double islands

Quality of work of the kitchen designer and reputation of the kitchen design firm is also a must-have. Check out some of the work they have done. Ask around about the reputation of their company. If their work meets your standards, that's a good sign. If the reputation of their company is a good one, that will help you for years to come. Due diligence is a pesky task, but can save you money and lots of heartache in the long run.

It is important to work with a designer and not against one. Remember, you are the boss, here. Your ideas should be at the core of the design and the designer should work in concert with you to build upon them. The end result should be a manifestation of your dreams and a discerning designer’s skills. Meet with several designers to compare ideas and budgets and ask for references. Reputable designers will be only too happy to showboat their work for you.

neutral kitchen by general woodcraft

Reputable design firms carry adequate insurance and require signed contracts before they begin working with you. Don’t be intimidated by this. They are necessary measures and are there for your protection as well as for the designer’s. These contracts spell out exactly what you can expect and what happens if you either one of the parties falls short.  They are kind of like pre-nups for kitchens. Because in the end, when you both walk away you both want to walk away happy. Remember, YOU are the best advertising a designer has!

Understand what role your designer will play before you hire them. Regular updates are critical to the remodel/design process, especially if you are delegating much of the decision making to your designer. Some designers will only contribute during the design process; others will act as project managers throughout the construction period and still others will offer you an entire kitchen package from conception to completion. The more you do before you begin your project, the less you will have to worry about later. In the end, taking the time to find the right kitchen designer to meet your needs will help you get the dream kitchen you’ve always wanted so you can live happily ever after.



Tags: kitchen cabinet design, kitchen design, kitchen designer

Kitchen Design: Why Use a Kitchen Designer?

Posted by Jennifer Wilson on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

So you’ve spent months, maybe even years, clipping and cutting out images of your dream kitchen. You’ve finally got everything together and you’re ready to embark on the adventure of a kitchen remodel. But wait… do you have a kitchen designer?

modern kitchen with neutral tones

What?” you ask. “Why do I need to use a professional kitchen designer?

I’m so glad you asked. Remodeling your kitchen, or building one from the studs in without the use of an experienced kitchen designer is like pulling out your own tooth. You might get rid of the toothache and you may even be able to chew again, but not without serious complications and a lot of pain. Think of kitchen designers as qualified dentists with laughing gas. They not only know exactly how to accomplish your goals, they make the whole process tolerable.

Kitchen designers take the busy work out of the whole design process so that you can enjoy it.

Traditional_New_england_kitchenYes, I said enjoy a remodel. There are so many things to consider when designing your kitchen. You have to choose the layout, appliances, cabinetry and countertops. You have to make decisions about numerous minute details, from the fixtures to the floors and everything in between. The kitchen design process can be quite overwhelming. But not for kitchen designers. Professional kitchen designers are passionate about what they do. kitchen designers excel at juggling all of those trivial, yet essential aspects of kitchen design and can free you up to focus only on those elements that really matter, like cost, color and completion date.

The first thing an experienced kitchen designer will do is determine what you want in your new kitchen. Functionality will be central to the kitchen design and will provide a fertile foundation from which all other design ideas will spring. Once a functional plan begins to blossom, then the fun begins. Designers have access to product lines, specialty items and software that will allow them to present you with unique kitchen creations custom designed for you. They will explain why one feature is beneficial and another not. They will work with you to ensure that your space meets all of your family’s requirements and stays within your budget. And best of all, kitchen designers can show you a virtual rendering of your dream kitchen so that you can try before you buy.

My sister is an experienced home designer and designed and renovated her own kitchen years warm traditional kitchen with simple white cabinetry and minimal accentsago. As talented as she is at designing her own spaces, she did this without the help of a professional kitchen designer. And although the final product was truly incredible, it put an equally incredible strain on her family. The walls were exposed for months, the electric and plumbing had to be completely re-configured, which added to the total cost, and her husband became less than enamored with the whole new kitchen idea the longer it took. In the end, even though the kitchen was absolutely beautiful, the dishwasher and dish cabinet could not be opened at the same time. The remodel process became the topic of many family jokes.

lighted glass display cabinet in traditional kitchenIf you plan on investing money in the most important room in your home, invest just a little bit more time to ensure that your new kitchen will turn out exactly how you want



Tags: planning your kitchen, kitchen planning tips, kitchen design, kitchen designer