Kitchen Cabinets – Planning a Makeover?

Considering remodeling your kitchen cabinets or layout in the near future? Depending on what’s needed and what you decide to do, re-designing your kitchen can be one of the biggest home improvement projects most owner-occupiers will do. I’m not just referring to kitchen DIY, where you might make a few additions or replacements to personalize the design with a few decorative kitchen tiles, or add convenience items such as a kitchen towel dispenser or kitchen cabinet organizers. (Although it’s amazing how easy it can be to give your kitchen cabinets and doors a new look with new pulls and knobs!).

Let’s consider what you should include in your kitchen plans…

To make it easier to remember, I’ll group topics under 3 main headings – facilities, space, and design. We’ll wrap up with a few comments about the practicalities of “making it happen”. Thinking through each of these will help make sure you develop a complete specification, and therefore a comprehensive remodel kitchen cost. Here we go…

Facilities

What do you need to include within the kitchen? That’ll depend on what you want from your kitchen.

For example, is you kitchen to be used only for food preparation and serving?
Then the minimum for most family kitchens would be:

  • cooker
  • hob
  • sink
  • refrigerator
  • table or countertops
  • storage for food and cooking ingredients
  • storage for cooking utensils such as pots, pans, casseroles, etc
  • storage for kitchen cutlery
  • garbage container(s)

Other common items to remember:

  • dishwasher
  • freezer
  • microwave oven
  • kettle
  • tea or coffee maker
  • drinks dispenser
  • toaster

What about family dining? Will that usually take place in the kitchen?

  • dining table and chairs
  • storage for dining crockery & cutlery

Does your home have a separate laundry or utility room? If not, you’ll need to plan space for items such as

  • washing machine
  • tumble dryer, or other means of clothes drying

Space

Once you’ve listed all the essential appliances and convenience items you want to have in your kitchen, the next step is to check that there is enough floor space available for them all. Remember too – unless you are planning to do major re-building work, you’ll need to accept a few “givens”, such as:

  • sink position is limited by location of water supply and drains plumbing, and probably windows
  • same with dishwasher or clothes washing machine
  • cooker & hob positions are limited by gas and/or electricity supply connections and controls

You’ll see a repeated theme in the list above – “storage” – for all sorts of items from food to cleaning materials. That’s why kitchen storage cabinets play such a large part in the space allocation and costs. In fact, the largest component of cost in most kitchen re-design projects is the cost of kitchen cabinets and countertops, especially if you’ve chosen granite countertops.

Without already having good experience in kitchen cabinet design, you’d be well advised to select a local kitchen contractor, or at least visit a reputable kitchen showroom to get ideas on how best to use the available space, and develop practical ideas for possible kitchen floor plans.

Design

Along with developing potential floor plans, now is the time to bring the overall design of your kitchen together. What styles do you prefer – that would complement your home? Something contemporary – crisp, clean lines, bright and airy, maybe lots of shiny metal? Or would a warmer, natural or stained wood grain suit better – for example an elegant French kitchen, or perhaps a simpler, country style kitchen?

At this stage you should consider all aspects of your kitchen – materials, colors, texture and styles to make sure you have a coherent look:

  • appliances – “white goods”, or built-in
  • cabinets
  • countertops
  • floor covering
  • walls
  • lighting
  • ventilation
  • work flow

Making it Happen

The first question to ask (unless money is no object) is how much of your existing kitchen – appliances and cabinets – could be re-used, and still let you create your dream kitchen?

For example, if your cabinet frames are basically sound, and the existing floor layout is good for you, then you could avoid spending far more than necessary by simply refinishing kitchen cabinets, floors, walls, replacing aging appliances, and fitting contemporary kitchen light fixtures.

At the other end of the cost (and disruption) scale, you could have an expert cabinet maker building kitchen cabinets, fully customized to your design and style preferences, with brand new integrated appliances throughout, decorative kitchen tiles for the floor, and personalized picture kitchen backsplash designs on the walls. There would also be a modern kitchen island design featured in the center, and an elegant family dining space of course.

For many of us however, there will be trade-offs we need to make to get as close as possible to our ideal kitchen, while keeping within the bounds of affordability.

If this is your case, you could consider several lower cost approaches to kitchen construction, and especially cabinet installation:

  • factory-built cabinets – can be installed by a kitchen fitter (not as highly skilled as a cabinet maker)
  • flat-pack, or ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets – can be DIY installed, or by a kitchen fitter
  • refacing your existing cabinet doors and drawers – specialist task, but probably less costly than rebuilding all your kitchen storage cabinets.

But what if you’ve completed your dream kitchen specification, developed a practical layout design, selected your style preference, and chosen the best value installation approach, and its still way over your budget?

Then you’ve probably only 3 options:

  • Phase it – split the project into a series of sub-projects, and complete each as they are affordable
  • Finance it – take a loan to finance the project
  • Forget it – for now at least… postpone your plans until you can afford it.

Kitchen Design Online – Understanding the Work Triangle and Kitchen Layouts

Good kitchen design online means having a layout for your kitchen that provides an efficient and pleasant area in which to prepare meals and do related tasks. Understanding the kitchen work triangle concept and basic kitchen layout types is a valuable starting point to design a kitchen online that you like.

The kitchen work triangle consists of the distance between the sink, refrigerator and range or cooktop. Each one of these areas becomes a focal point in the kitchen and forms the three points of a triangle with different distances between them. Done correctly, proper kitchen design online will give you the most efficient food preparation area layout in your kitchen.

Whether you’re remodeling an existing kitchen or building a new one, an efficient kitchen design online means that your work triangle minimizes the number of steps the cook must take between the three areas during meal preparation and cleanup. The total distance from the sink to the stove to the refrigerator and back to the sink should be not less than 12 feet total nor more than 27 feet. Each triangle leg should measure between 4 and 9 feet in length. The kitchen isles should be at least 42 to 48 inches wide to allow people to move around easily and for appliances to be opened with ease.

When selecting the floor plan for your kitchen design online, here are basic kitchen layouts to consider:

* L-Shaped Kitchen – this is the most popular kitchen design. It consists of a long leg and a shorter one and this type of design can be used in small and large kitchens. The L-shaped kitchen gives you the possibility of having a center island depending on the space available. In general, this design will have 2 or 3 appliances on one wall. The usual arrangement is to have the refrigerator at one end, the range or cooktop at the other end with the sink located in the middle. This shape of kitchen generally provides good traffic flow.

* Double L-Shaped Kitchen – this kitchen design has a lot of cabinet space and plenty of counter space. This design is used in large kitchens with two cooks, and it has two or more entering areas, which can cause traffic flow problems. To avoid some of these problems, create two separate working areas on each L of the kitchen so that work flow does not get interrupted by human traffic.

* U-Shaped Kitchen – this kitchen design online shape has three walls instead of two, and the sink usually is located in the middle wall section. The refrigerator and range or cooktop are usually on the side walls opposite each other. The U-shaped kitchen design gives room for ample countertop space, and you have three walls for cabinets and appliances. This kitchen layout tends to create a working triangle that is very efficient.

The working triangle for the U-shaped kitchen should be around 26 feet or less. The only problem with this type of kitchen design online is that sometimes the two U corners are not used appropriately. Make sure you buy the appropriate storage items for the corner cabinets created by the U shape design. The U shape design can also create dark kitchens because of the shape and the quantity of cabinets. Using skylights, large windows, lots of under-cabinet task lighting and light colors will help keep the kitchen bright with sufficient light to see what you’re doing.

* G-Shaped Kitchen – this type of kitchen shape is becoming very popular, and it gives you a fourth wall to use. The G-shape can be used if you have more than one cook in the house. This fourth wall section can be used for a counter, island and storage space. With this kitchen layout you can have two sinks, perhaps two cooktops or two ranges. You could have two working triangles — one for sink, cook top or range and refrigerator and a second working triangle with another sink, built-in grill and cooktop. It allows two cooks to do different things at the same time and entertain large groups of people.

* Single-Wall Kitchen – if you do not have much space, you may only be able to have an I-shaped kitchen. No problem. Just be sure the sink is placed between the refrigerator and the stove. Locate the refrigerator so that the refrigerator door opens away from the kitchen sink. This is a very common arrangement for small kitchen design online where narrow spaces exists.

* Galley-Shaped Kitchen – this type of kitchen design is more common in apartments or in homes where space is limited. It is often called the corridor style. The kitchen cabinets and the appliances can be located on opposite walls for better work flow. Place the range or cooktop on one side of the kitchen along one wall and the refrigerator and sink on the opposite wall.

To eliminate traffic issues in this type of kitchen design online, one entry is often closed off. This type of layout should only be used by one cook. If you want to maintain both exits, place the refrigerator near the end of the galley kitchen for easy access. This way, your family and friends can reach the refrigerator without interfering with the person who is cooking.

If you need extra storage in the galley kitchen, install tall kitchen cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. Wall storage is crucial. Buy a stepladder to use when you need to reach the upper shelf of the cabinets, and place the items you use less frequently on the upper shelves.

By understanding the kitchen work triangle concept and how you want your kitchen to function, you’ll be more likely to create the kind of kitchen design online you’ve always wanted. Today, kitchens are often viewed as the hub of the home as well as a social center for family and friends. Planning your kitchen and doing kitchen design online can be a challenge, but the rewards you’ll receive are very much worth the time and effort.

Copyright 2005 InfoSearch Publishing

An Insight Into Masterclass Kitchens – History And Products

Masterclass Kitchens is a renowned kitchen cabinet manufacturer that has been around for no less than four decades, and ever since the company was started in 1975, it has managed to meet the highest quality standards set in the kitchen design and renovation industry. This premier maker of kitchen cabinets offers 14,000 cabinet options to choose from, ranging all the way from conservative, traditional styles to the most futuristic and modern ones, made from durable and solid wood.

No matter if you aim for a luxurious kitchen cabinet that comes with a matte finish or you would rather go for a glossy one, you can always count on the high-end Masterclass Kitchens cabinets to add value to your kitchen. At the time being, the manufacturing plant is located in Wales, and the company uses only advanced, high-end machinery to carefully craft the cabinets with an outstanding attention to the smallest details. Aside from the thousands of cabinet options, the manufacturer also offers hundreds of different kitchen doors, handles and colours, along with a 10-year warranty on each product!

A Closer Look At The Products – What Does The Company Have To Offer In Terms Of Kitchen Cabinets?

The Masterclass Kitchens cabinets are sold through the appointed kitchen retailers who only work with professional designers, and who are always willing to give homeowners a helping hand when it comes to choosing the most suitable cabinet color, texture or finish for their kitchen. Masterclass Kitchens takes pride in its irreproachable, high-quality kitchen designs, and it even allows potential prospects to see a tailored 3D projection of their preferred kitchen, before they make any investment. This way, all customers can rest assured knowing that they will invest only in quality products that match the other rooms in their house.

With that in mind, it is important to mention that Masterclass Kitchens features five distinct collections of high-quality kitchen cabinets: the modern collection, classic, the Shaker kitchens, the inframe kitchen as well as the handleless kitchens, the latter being quite popular amongst owners of minimalist/modernly decorated homes.

The modern kitchen collection is designed to reflect the latest trends in the field of kitchen design and decoration – characterised by sleek lines and elegant designs, this collection also offers an impressive array of different colors and textures one can choose from. This way, if the customer is not fond of the readily available cabinets, he can effortlessly customise his kitchen cabinets by combining various textures and colours. The result: a unique, appealing, elegant and fully functional kitchen that will boost every home’s resale value.

Another very appreciated kitchen cabinet collection by Masterclass Kitchens in the United Kingdom is the Shaker collection: featuring a timeless design that will never become obsolete, these kitchens are simple yet incredibly appealing. Versatile, easy to install, durable and very chic at the same time, the Shaker kitchens come in a wealth of different colours, and aside from this, the customer can also choose to personalise his kitchen by adding extra stains and paints, for a truly unique effect that will always stand out from any other kitchen. “Less is the new more”, and the same principle certainly applies to the Shaker kitchen cabinet collection, which focuses on simplicity combined with style and quality.

The Classic collection is, just as its title implies – classic. Conventional and conservative yet very beautiful, these classic cabinets can be seamlessly integrated into any kitchen, thanks to their outstanding finish coupled with the high-quality vinyl oak. Some of the most sought-after kitchen models from this collection are Hathaway, Howarth, Carnegie, Fairmont or Auden.

The handleless kitchens, on the other hand, are known for their advanced and modern design – the Nevada H line, the Lumina H line or the Sierra H line are only three of the most notable pieces in this collection by Masterclass Kitchens. With a minimalist design and a daring mix of textured, smooth and glossy finishes, the handleless kitchens also feature an advanced rail system that adds to their overall functionality and versatility.

Last, but not least, the Inframe kitchen collection is another highly praised one, due to the fact that these cabinets beautifully combine classic and modern decorative elements. Unique, advanced and very appealing, the inframe kitchens come with ash painted timber or lacquered oak doors, painted in natural, neutral, discrete and very subtle colours!

Kitchen Remodeling Top 10 Tips

1. Determine a Kitchen Layout that Suits your Needs

Ever find yourself in the kitchen at a house party or during the holidays? It’s safe to say the kitchen is the heart of the home and over the last 50 years the kitchen has moved from the back of the house, to the center of attention. Once a dead end in the house, the kitchen’s contemporary application is often found in a “great room” setting promoting a home’s open floor plan. Although the kitchen’s modern appeal has doubled it into a social gathering space, one thing has remained the same:

Most of us are probably familiar with the work-triangle. This refers to the optimal relationship between the sink, stove, and refrigerator, being spaced no more than 6 feet apart. A proper “work-triangle” is designed to reduce needless steps while cooking in the kitchen.

2. Use Quality Materials

Cabinets provide the heart and soul of the kitchen as well as help set the tone and style of your entire home. Whether you prefer a traditional look or a contemporary kitchen, the drawer fronts and cabinet doors you pick accentuate the beauty of the kitchen, while also determining much of its durability. It is essential to consider both the aesthetics, including color and style, along with the function and strength of the material. As a major portion of the kitchen budget, balancing beauty, durability and cost are vital to a successful cabinet choice.

Although there is a multitude of different cabinet materials available, solid hardwoods, wood veneers and synthetics are currently the most popular.

Common Solid hardwoods:

Alder: This solid hardwood has remained popular due to lower cost, broad range of available stain colors, and subtle grain appearance. Alder’s natural nut brown undertones allow it to take stain similar to a light colored maple, a dark walnut, or even a red cherry. It is a softer wood within the hard wood category, so not that tough. Great economical choice for raised panel stained wood with a high end look in the rustic and traditional kitchen styles.

This solid hardwood maintains its popularity due to its great versatility of use coupled with a reasonable cost. The subtle grain and natural nut brown undertones opens the alder to a variety of stain options. Well stained alder can have the appearance of many other wood types including light colored maple, dark walnut, or even a red cherry. Alder is a bit softer than other hardwoods so it may not be quite as resistant to wear and tear. Overall, it makes a great economical choice for decorative raised panel, stained wood giving a high end finished look best suited to rustic and traditional kitchen styles.

Poplar: Good economical choice for painted kitchen. Difficult to stain due to natural green undertones. Softer end of the hardwood spectrum, less durable than a maple, oak, and a little softer than alder. For the white French country style kitchen, painted poplar will give you the same look as maple at a lower cost, but it will not resist nicks. Typical used for high end decorative painted trim such as white wainscoting and crown moldings in tradition and French country kitchens.

Cherry: Higher end material choice that carries good durability and a rich red undertone. Often found in formal and refined traditional kitchens. Alder is an economical substitute that will achieve the same refined look at the sacrifice of durability.

Maple A very hard wood with a mild grain pattern. This material can take a natural stain, dark stain, or hold paint with a high level of durability. Cost is higher than poplar as a paint grade alternative and alder as a stain grade alternative but the maple will hold up better over the long run.

Wood veneers – Most any wood commonly used for hardwood doors is available is in thin sheets called veneer which are applied over resin particle board or MDF (medium density fiberboard). This type of door construction accomplishes a clean look with a natural wood finish often found in contemporary kitchens. A kitchen cabinet door cannot resist warping when fabricated in a flat wide style, so a wood veneer is used to create the appearance of a solid wood door without losing stability. When selecting specific veneer wood, the hardness plays a large factor in long term durability. Maple and cherry are the toughest, while alder and poplar are the softest or least durable. Cost is often pretty comparable to a solid raised panel door of similar wood species.

Synthetics – Process is similar to the above mentioned wood veneer, with the exception that the veneer material is a PVC substance that typically possesses more durability and lower cost. Often used in commercial applications and utilitarian residential. applications such as garages and laundry rooms.

3. Decide Whether to Paint or Stain

The debate continues, to paint or to stain! I’ll leave my biases out of this one (even though stain is easier to maintain, paint is often still preferred) and list the major pro’s and con’s:

  • Stain
  • Colors come in variety of shades
  • Repair and touch-ups are easier. Easier to keep your cabinets looking good for a long time.
  • Less expensive and fewer steps.
  • Distressing or glazing make the maintenance easier.
  • Great choice for the Do It Yourselfer’s
  • Paint
  • Probably the most popular look amongst home owners.
  • More process steps than stain and more expensive to finish.
  • Touch-ups can be difficult.
  • Refinished often requires professionals to match your existing colors.
  • On average 10-12% more expensive than stain ($2,000 more on a $20,000 kitchen packet).

4. Choose Appropriate Colors

This might seem like the simplest of things to do in a kitchen remodel, but choosing the right colors can either bring harmony to a room, or a create a wrong impression. In basic color theory, colors have different meanings and are generally either stimulating or relaxing. Here is a list of the colors of the rainbow and their meanings:

  • Red: Stimulating/Increases Appetite
  • Orange: Stimulating/ Increases Appetite
  • Yellow: Stimulating/ Increases Appetite
  • Green: Relaxing/Balance
  • Blue: Relaxing/Decreases Appetite
  • Indigo: Relaxing/Decreases Appetite
  • Violet: Balance/Relaxing/Decreases Appetite

The kitchen should be a combination of both relaxing and stimulating colors. It is difficult to work in a kitchen that is too relaxing but at the same time shouldn’t be too stimulating that it makes you hungry.

5. Break the Horizontal Line

Stagger the height, length, and depth of wall cabinets. Horizontal lines at the top and bottom row of cabinets can make a kitchen look rigid and static. A break from the horizontal line can give your kitchen remodel an updated look.

6. Build Bridges, Not Walls. Islands and Peninsulas are the New Kitchen Walls

Over the last 30 or so years, the open floor plan has become increasingly popular and the function of a great room (containing kitchen, dining, and living space) is becoming the norm. Many remodels we’ve done in the past have been transforming compartmentalized floor plans into a contemporary, open floor plan by knocking down any barrier walls between kitchen and living room. Instead of walls defining the kitchen’s borders, peninsulas and islands provide a better alternative. They prevent the kitchen from spilling over visually into other spaces, and also allow the cook to maintain visual and conversation contact with family members and guests.

7. Find a Creative Contractor with Expertise and Realistic Ideas

There’s no one size fits all approach to kitchen remodeling (or home remodeling in general). That’s why it’s important to find a contractor that has access to designers capable of creating unique solutions specific to your kitchen’s needs. A popular model contractors are beginning to use is the design/build model.

Traditional remodels typically involve an architect or designer, an engineer, and a general contractor. The design/build model combines all three into one convenient package. Allowing one company to oversee your kitchen remodeling project saves you money and headaches. In addition, a creative contractor will offer practical design solutions that may otherwise have been overlooked.

An example is creatively using the existing kitchen footprint which saves money on flooring, plumbing, and other minor expenses allowing money to be dispersed on larger features of the kitchen remodel.

8. Selecting the Right Kitchen Countertop

Countertops are important to your kitchen because they can help give your kitchen a particular tone that represents your lifestyle. If you have been looking around, then you are probably aware by now that there are numerous alternatives to granite or laminate.

9. Selecting the Right Kitchen Sink

Kitchen remodels are everything AND the kitchen sink. When it comes to the kitchen sink, the function will usually outweigh the looks. Sinks come in an array of styles, but it is important to consider how you plan to use your kitchen sink. It is also important to choose a sink appropriate to the size of your kitchen.

It is recommended for kitchens less than 150 sqft to use a standard 22×24-in. single bowl. For larger kitchens there are multiple bowl options and it is often recommended to consider a secondary bar sink if multiple cooks will be in the kitchen.

10. Light your Kitchen Appropriately

What good is the your perfect kitchen remodel if you can’t SEE its features? If you are fortunate enough to be situated near windows, use them! Nothing beats natural lighting. But what about at night or in cases where you don’t have any windows? That’s when using a combination of ambient, task, and natural lighting comes in hand.

Pendant lightings are typically used as task lighting above a kitchen island or peninsula. They serve as a perfect design element that accentuates the tone of your kitchen.

Under mount lighting is a nice way to add luminosity to areas otherwise void in your kitchen. They’re a great way to accent your kitchen’s features such as a special tile backsplash or glassware.

Recessed lighting is by far the most popular way to light a kitchen. It has become a standard choice of lighting in contemporary homes.