General Woodcraft Blog

Kitchen Design Trends Worth Following

Posted by Amy Cornell on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 @ 07:00 AM


gorgeous vertical wood island and white upper cabinetsTrends come and go, and kitchen design is no exception to the ever changing rules of style. Today we're sharing a few hot kitchen design trends worth following as illustrated in this stunning kitchen renovation (see photo). 

Bi-Color (AKA Two Tone) Cabinets: Painting base cabinetry and upper cabinetry in different colors adds interest to kitchen cabinetry. Consider this concept during the kitchen design process if you have a small kitchen because it visually expands the room. Tall cabinets that reach the ceiling painted the same color will make the space appear larger still.

Gold: Donald Trump and Mr. T rejoice; brass and gold are back. Gaining popularity in small doses after a long shutout from kitchen design, gold-tone metals are appearing in drawer pulls and lighting fixtures. As show here, they can be paired beautifully with nickel and chrome finishes and add great warmth among stainless steel, marble and tile.

Open Shelving: If you like this trend, most quality cabinet manufacturer can create custom shelves to match the color and style of your cabinetry. Most kitchen designers suggest open shelving be used sparingly. It's a big commitment to keep dishes as tidy as a photo stylist. Something to consider during the kitchen planning phase.

We love what we do ... and you will too.


Tags: kitchen planning tips, kitchen design, kitchen designer

How to Select the Right Kitchen Designer

Posted by Amy Cornell on Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 09:22 AM

Secrets to an Amazing Kitchen Design: Part Two

Bowdler widescreen

There seems to be direct correlation between a home improvement project's return on investment and the amount of stress absorbed in the process. What's topping the list of worthwhile - albeit stressful - endeavors? Kitchen design and installation. Going at it alone is unnecessary and ill advised if you are not savvy in the design, engineering and a handful of other skilled trades.  A professional designer can manage your kitchen project (renovation or new construction) for a fraction of your project's total cost. Best of all they can save you considerable time, money and aggravation - while ensuring your vision is successfully realized, on time and on budget. 

Why hire a professionalCreating a beautiful and functional kitchen requires knowledge of many specialized trades: architecture, construction, plumbing, safety and environmental regulations, interior design, product knowledge and more. Professional kitchen designers are trained in the aforementioned areas and working with one not only ensures your visone will ensure your kitchen is not only stylish but ALSO operational, safe and functional.

Transitional custom kitchen by General Woodcraft IncHow much will their services cost? The National Kitchen and Bath Association estimates that a professional designer's fees average about 4% of the project budget. That seems like a small price to pay to avoid costly design errors during the kitchen planning process. And because they are kitchen planning experts, they will help you source budget-appropriate products and cabinet manufacturers to achieve your vision. 

How do you find and identify a qualified candidate? References are always a great place to start. Begin with your trusted friends and neighbors. Don't be shy if you've been in someone's home whose kitchen you admire. If they used a designer, they'll be flattered you asked and happy to share the information. You can also ask reputable builders and vendors who work in the industry. If the designer is associated with an established kitchen company that will be here fifteen years from now, all the better.

mission style kitchen with rustic lodge style lighting and modern appliances

Once you've completed your initial homework (see Amazing Kitchens: Part 1), it's time to schedule a consult with your design candidates. Here are a few essential points to discuss:  

1. Experience - How long have they been designing kitchens? Ask to see photos of completed projects. Before and after photos are a surefire way to measure their talents. Request references too - the more the merrier. If you're able to speak to the references, you should ask them about the designer's work ethic, communication, ability to conceptualize their client's style in their design, and ability to stay within their proposed budget and time line. And most importantly, did they do what they said they would do?

2. The Kitchen Inquisition - You have questions for your designer but they should have many questions for you, too. They should ask you about the things we discussed in the last installment and more: define your style, what would you like to see - and avoid - in your new kitchen, who will be using the space and how. They'll also discuss your budget and goals.

Tranisitonal Coastal Kitchen by General Woodcraft

3. Realistic - Any designer worth their merit will help clients establish realistic expectations for their kitchen plans. Based on your existing space and final goals their experience and product knowledge will help you to formulate an initial project budget. They should also be forthright about their own limitation - time and otherwise. If you envision your new kitchen designer on the remodel site everyday and available for midnight crown molding chats, you should clarify your expectations in advance. And in writing.

4. Homework - In order to translate your dream kitchen into reality a good kitchen designer should send you away with some homework.They will suggest websites for you to peruse (often of cabinet manufacturers they think match your budget and aesthetic). They'll surely want to add to the photos you've already collected as they drill down to elements that will be the foundation for your new kitchen. If you've come with a spouse they will undoubtedly see some differing visions and ask you to discuss what's most important to each of you and some areas of compromise.


Traditional kitchen custom island General WoodcraftI've finally found the right designer! When you've met with all of your potential kitchen designers you will undoubtedly feel most comfortable with one. They will share your design aesthetic and leave you feeling in good hands. In the next installment of this series we will discuss how to choose the right kitchen company. 

We love what we do ... and you will too.


Tags: kitchen planning tips, kitchen design, kitchen designer

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