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 Company

Posted by Amy Cornell on Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Secrets to an Amazing Kitchen Design: Part Three 

lighted glass display cabinet in traditional kitchen

You're gaining momentum with your kitchen renovation project. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of your talented designer, you have a stunning kitchen plan in your hands. The next step is to choose the best kitchen company to supply and install your cabinetry.

siteline cabinetry in slab style doors and striated finishWe have compiled a few essential questions to help you find the right kitchen design and installation company for your needs.

First, identify eligible candidates using similar methods we suggested to help you select the right kitchen designer:

  • Ask family and friends for recommendations.
  • Visit well-respected appliance, tile and stone suppliers, and ask who they themselves would use.
  • Schedule a time to meet the top candidates in-person to discuss the following:


How long has the kitchen company been in business?

The entire kitchen design process is fraught with risk. A new company that promises the moon isn't worth much if they go under next month. Then what good is your warranty? Ensure that a kitchen design company has been in business for a substantial length of time and that they will actually be able to honor their promise to tune-up their work. 


Are they trustworthy?

Personal references are a great way to determine the integrity and credibility of a kitchen design company, its owners and its employees. Is the company in question in good standing with the local Better Business Bureau and Department of Consumer Affairs?  Does your court's small claims department have a wing in their honor? The internet makes it very easy to conduct background checks on contractors and companies for projects of this size.  There are also many sites like Angie's List, Yelp and more that provide a feedback forum for savvy consumers. Ensure that you will be comfortable and safe having these people in your home, and around your family, for a significant amount of time.


Do they care about their customers?

Eclectic custom kitchen by General Woodcraft Inc.

Choose a kitchen company that is concerned about your long-term satisfaction - not just your money. Establish their commitment to customer service. How long will they stand behind their work and their products? (Get everything in writing). Is their warranty up to industry standards? Ask for references and find out if they were treated professionally throughout the project - and afterwards when the warranty was tested. 


Are their kitchen cabinets made well?

Know what to look for when you're shopping for kitchen cabinetry. You want to remain within your budget and honor your style but determine the value by checking out a few measures of quality. Are the drawers dovetailed? How thick are the door/drawer faces and inside panels? Are cabinet shelves adjustable and better yet, do they pull out? Slow close drawers are a wonderful feature. Are the door faces solid wood or composite? This section will be covered in a future blog but these features and more will be covered by your kitchen designer when you select a cabinet manufacturer.

Original transitional kitchen by General Woodcraft


We wish you the best of success with your selection of a kitchen design and installation company. With a designer and kitchen company to provide guidance, let's talk next time about how to establish the right budget for your kitchen remodel. 


Tags: kitchen planning tips, cabinetry, kitchen design

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

How to Start Your Kitchen Design Process

Posted by Amy Cornell on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

Secrets to an Amazing Kitchen Design: Step One

Gesmondi-C1_-_2.jpgCongratulations! You’ve decided to redesign your kitchen. For a brief blissful moment you imagine the sweet sounds of sledgehammers tearing into outdated cabinetry and popcorn ceilings. Rather quickly and cruelly, giddy anticipation often turns to panic in the face of SO MANY impending renovation decisions. The kitchen design process can be a little overwhelming. We will show you in this article where to begin.

FIND YOUR STYLE - Deep breath. The best place to start when embarking on a kitchen redesign is to determine your style. Traditional kitchen? Contemporary style? Something in between? OK, you may think you know, but try this: collect photos of kitchens and spaces that speak to you. The resulting “albums” will uncover common threads to help you select cabinetry profiles, lighting, colors, and so much more. What you didn’t know about your tastes might surprise you.  Jot down your ideas. Make a folder. Have some fun!

WHERE TO LOOK - Magazines, pictures of friends' kitchens, Instagram, newspapers, Google image searches, cabinet manufacturer's websites. These are all good tools and places to start your kitchen planning. Websites like Pinterest and Houzz offer great collections of gorgeous kitchen photos. Create “books” and “boards” of what piques your interest while familiarizing yourself with kitchen design trends. Discover what you love about kitchen cabinetry, island design, custom molding and more. Find a gorgeous color that makes your heart race? Save it. Could be the show stopping paint color for your new kitchen island.

LOOK WITHIN – How, and who, will use your new kitchen? Are you and your spouse 6’-3” entertainers that need extra tall cabinets and ample space for dining and parties? Do you bake so much your friends call you “Cake Boss”? Have a houseload of kids? Teenagers? Empty nester? Maybe you have a dog at your feet for whom you’d like to carve a little under counter space. Consider too what’s working (or not) in your current kitchen. 

When you are ready for professional help, all of this information and your photo homework will be used by an experienced kitchen designer to help create the kitchen of your dreams. 

Stay tuned for our next installment - how to identify the right designer for your kitchen project. 

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


Tags: kitchen planning tips, cabinetry, 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