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9 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look More Expensive

make your kitchen look expensive

Kitchens are the most expensive rooms to renovate—period. But if paying for new counters, updating your backsplash, or switching out appliances falls outside of your budget, there are other ways to give your space a sense of luxury without costing a fortune. If you’d like to take your kitchen’s design up a notch, scroll through these nine ideas that will turn your space from standard to special and ho-hum to high-end in no time.

 

Paint your walls

If you don’t want to repaint or restain your cabinets, another way to bring in color is by painting the walls. With all of the appliances and cabinetry, kitchen wall space is often fairly limited — which means not only is it quicker to paint, but the color is less likely to overwhelm than in, say, the living room. Try a smoky blue, rich “greige” or warm mocha.

 

Keep your counters clutter free.

Piles of mail, dirty toasters, and wet sponges definitely make a kitchen feel less than special. Keep your counters organized by corralling necessities that you can’t hide in cabinets in decorative trays and baskets. Make room in cupboards or high cabinets for small appliances you don’t use every day, and hide cleaning supplies in a caddy beneath the sink.

 

Variety of cabinet hardware

If your kitchen has both large drawers and doors, consider using different hardware for each to bring additional details into your décor. Use both pulls and knobs, but keep the finishes the same to prevent the look from becoming chaotic.

 

Lay a rug

By adding a runner or area rug to your kitchen, you’ll add warmth to your space while also keeping your feet comfortable as you cook. This will make the space feel just as decorated as the other areas of your home. If you’ve shied away from using a rug in the kitchen for fear of spills and stains, try a chic indoor-outdoor version. These rugs come in beautiful colors and patterns now, and no one has to know about the stain-fighting powers.

 

Change out your kitchen faucet

Kitchen faucets have come a long way and many large manufacturers are now offering them in a variety of shapes, finishes, and configurations. Swap your standard faucet for something a little more interesting and decorative, in a finish to match your cabinet hardware, to give your space a high-end look.

 

Lighting

It is often said lighting is like jewelry in a design because it adds the perfect finishing touch to a room. With this in mind, swapping out a plain ceiling light fixture for something with more style and personality can be done quickly. Your new pendant light can become the focal point of the room and give your space a custom, designer look. Don’t be afraid to go big; even in a small kitchen a sizable pendant looks striking, not overpowering.

 

Decorate with potted plants and herbs

Add some greenery to your space to give it a lived-in, luxurious feel. Windowsill herbs are a safe bet and are not only beautiful, but also functional. Place small pots scattered throughout the space or opt for a single large planter, placed prominently on a counter or island. Another idea is a pair of topiaries flanking the sink is an elegant finishing touch. If your kitchen gets a good amount of natural light, by all means get real plants — but if not, there’s no shame in picking up a couple of high-quality fakes.

 

Interesting counter stools

Many kitchens lack the space to have additional furniture items, so counter stools are often the only way to add personality to the room with furnishings. Opt for stools in interesting shapes and materials to add an unexpected element to your décor. If your space doesn’t allow for an island or bar area, tuck a single small stool into a corner to not only create a spot to rest while cooking, but also add another layer to your design.

 

Hang art

If you feel like your walls are lacking personality, hang framed, interesting artwork in the kitchen to introduce color and texture into the space. Break free of traditionally accepted subject matter, like fruit and vegetable still-life paintings, and hang vintage oil works or portraits to create a sophisticated vibe.

“Cabinetry 101” Part Four: Door Construction

 At a glance, door construction may appear mostly aesthetic.  Solid panels, differing joints and applications of panels and overlays contribute to the sleek contemporary look, or the detailed traditional design of the door.  Door style is what most people think about first, as it tends to drive the overall look and feel of any kitchen.

Is Door Construction Mostly Aesthetic, or not?

But how might construction contribute to the longevity or “feel” of the door?  Most doors with reasonable care will survive normal wear and tear over time no matter their design.  But there are differences in cabinet doors worth pointing out, as differences in construction can explain why cost variations are prevalent when comparing cabinetry.

Most doors are either butt joined in the corners (cope & stick), or mitered, each creating a different look and design.

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Unless it’s a solid slab door, 5 part door construction usually always consists of a 4 panel frame and a center panel.  The simplest of construction utilizes a staple at the frame joint.  Stapling, although economical, can allow for the eventual pulling apart of joints, especially miter joints as the door’s natural expansion and contraction occurs with normal exposure to varying humidity.  Biscuit joinery in combination with glue, can substantially limit the separation of miter joints over time, but takes more time and effort to construct.

Painted door styles are most commonly applied to butt joined door styles (like a Shaker door), and the appearance of a “joint line”, although not readily apparent on a new door, may appear over time.  This is to be expected, and not considered a defect of the door.  It is important to know however that painted doors can be sensitive to moisture, and care should be taken when using them in high water areas around sinks and in bathrooms (especially kids).

Center panels are either veneered or solid reverse panels.  You can sometimes tell how a center panel is constructed by looking at the back of the door.
Veneered wood-grain panels can age differently than the solid wood frames that they sit between, appearing a slightly different shade of color over time.  But the most important element of the center panel is in its “thunk-ability”.  All you have to door is let a door “slam” and listen to how it sounds.  A solid center panel will shut with a resounding “thud”, while a veneer panel tends to sound a bit “tinny”.

Now this may not seem very important initially, but I have found over years of teaching people about cabinetry that they tend to become quite sensitive to these phenomena once they begin to notice it.  I first noticed this on tall pantry doors as the larger the door, the more impact the solidity of the material seems to have.

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Center panels should “float” between their frames, and are not usually glued in place.  If you ever notice a “line” appearing around the outside of the center panel, usually only on one side…it’s because the panel when contracting “shifted” inside the frame.  Reducing moisture in the room should allow the panel to be moved back into place, or the simple use of a touch up marker will make the light area disappear.  Be careful when steaming up your bathroom, it’s the place most suspect to damaging wood cabinetry, especially if it’s painted cabinetry.

One note about laminate doors; because all plastic finishes must meet the National Electrical Manufacturers Association standards, there is literally no difference between the laminate exteriors of basic lines or custom line cabinet doors.  What may be different however is the quality difference in the edge banding procedures, and of course cabinetry construction.

Good design is important when planning a new kitchen for your home.  However, working with an experienced designer to understand the many differences in cabinetry is critical to making the right choice for your new space.  Qualified designers should be familiar with all of these characteristics of cabinetry, and willing to discuss and educate you on any area you wish to understand more fully.

If you missed Part 1-3, visit our site under recent posts for:  “Cabinetry 101” (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).  With a full range of suitable cabinet options, we’ll be happy to help you narrow down the best cabinetry choices for your project.  Contact Artisan Cabinetry & Millwork today.

 

“Cabinetry 101” Part 3: Hardware

“Cabinetry 101” Part 3: Hardware

Kitchen drawers and doors are opened and closed by family members typically hundreds of times every year.  Children living in any household will contribute to cumulative wear on hinges and hardware quicker than if a single adult uses a kitchen over a period of years.  Over the last decade, cabinet hardware has taken monumental leaps in technology when it comes to door hinges and drawer hardware, making even the most economical cabinet choice a long term solution to cabinetry replacement.

It’s Just a Hinge, Right? 

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Depending on the cabinet construction (framed, frameless, inset), the ability to adjust a door can be critical for the doors operation, as well as important to look as it was intended.  The most flexibility exists on a framed cabinet with a standard overlay (1/2”-1”+) because there is the most room (literally) for imperfections.  When a door has tight tolerances as in a full overlay style, in frameless construction, and especially in inset; the tolerance for door imperfections can be as little as 1/16”- 1/32” of an inch.

Hidden adjustable hinges on cabinet doors allow for as much as 6-way adjustment to doors.  This allows for leveling top to bottom, left to right, as well as in and out.  Having door operation that is perfect ought to be critical for the function and beauty of any investment in cabinetry, no matter the level.  Check with your designer who can provide insight into the hinge mechanism capability in the cabinet line you are interested in.

Drawer Operation:

Cabinet drawers withstand thousands of “opens and closes” per year in any kitchen or bathroom that is used regularly.  They must withstand the weight of their contents, jarring movement, and sometimes the weight of small children!

One of the biggest reasons consumers feel the need to replace cabinetry is the failure of interior hardware and shelves.  If your investment in your cabinetry is intended to last 10-20 years, then the operation of drawers is critical to the longevity of your plan.

Let’s start by looking at the drawer construction.  Drawers can be made with composite material or plywood; but the sturdiest boxes are made with solid wood construction.  Observe the corners of the box to see how they are joined.  Some drawer boxes are lap jointed and stapled, whereas the best drawer construction will be a form of dove-tail construction.  Look at the bottom panel.  Bottom panels are usually not as thick as the sidewalls, however must be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of silverware and canned goods.

Roll out trays have become increasingly popular in recent years.  Available in different heights, they can be helpful when accessing low cavities like base cabinets, and easily cluttered areas like pantries.  They can hold everything from pots and pans, to tall cereal type boxes and heavy canned goods.  The best roll out trays, which are actually just drawer boxes, can hold weights up to 100 lbs.  Determine what is necessary for your drawer boxes based on what you plan to store in them.

Glide hardware is the next critical part to your drawer boxes.  Side mount drawer hardware is only the starting point, being basically functional at its best.  Side mounts may be fine for powder room vanities, or areas not enduring high use.  But if you want other benefits and longevity, you should upgrade to a more sophisticated drawer glide.

The following are a list of capabilities of most under-mount drawer glides:

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Under-mount placement allows for the widest drawer box possible, maximizing your drawer storage space

Under-mount drawers can easily be removed and put back with the simple release of the mechanism to retrieve jammed objects

Under-mount hardware can be specified as “full extension”, increasing the depth accessibility of drawers by as much as 3”

Under-mount drawers can be specified as “self-closing” which allows for the drawer to simply be “pushed”, and it will close on its own

Ask your designer to demonstrate different drawer capabilities in the showroom, and you will quickly see all the different options you have.  Not all capabilities are standard, so be sure to be clear about which operations are important to you to include.

Stay tuned for the last in our 4 Part Series “Cabinetry 101”:  Door Construction

If you missed Part 1 and 2, visit our site under recent posts for:  “Cabinetry 101” (Part 1 and Part 2)And for live help with choosing the best cabinetry for your project contact our design team today!

 

“Cabinetry 101” Part 2: Choosing the Appropriate Finish Quality for your Cabinets

Finish quality impacts the ultimate longevity of any kitchen cabinet more than almost any other factor.

 Why Does Finish Quality Matter?

One of the first things that typically break down necessitating the desire to replace worn looking cabinetry is the finish.  Unlike other wood “furniture” which you don’t usually handle daily, acids from many years of repeated touching deteriorates lacquer surfaces over time.  Fading wood finishes as well as outdated colors and styles contribute as well to the longevity of any cabinet.  Food spills and splatters, and especially grease residue can leave wood surfaces gummy and sticky and are not easy to restore to their original luster.

It’s not always easy to detect differences in cabinet finishes just by looking at them, but if you look closely there are indicators in the least expensive cabinets of finish quality:

Uneven application of stain, evidenced by globs in crevices

Tiny particles of dirt or residue trapped under the finish

Murky stain areas, especially on edges; a result of toner stains used to blend the variations of different wood grains  (the higher quality the cabinet, the more likelihood that the manufacturer employs the practice of purchasing and matching wood “lots” and grains more carefully resulting in better wood grain and color consistency)

“Finish-on-site” by nature has the least ability to control the finish process, producing generally a low-quality finish as well.  Although they may initially look pretty, high gloss factory finish processes often attempt to mask imperfections and do not always indicate a high quality finish either.

So What Does a High Quality Finish Look Like?

High quality finishes are apparent when you inspect the following:

Even distribution of stain and glazes over panel surfaces, including ridges, crevices, and grooves of design

Ultra smooth surfaces that show little evidence of particles trapped in finish or top coat

The more sophisticated the finish process, the more velvety smooth and matte a finish will be (this is an indication of the sanding process as well as the staining/painting process, which all make up the “finish process”).

Often cost is an indicator of the sophistication of a finish process.  Typically as the finish quality improves; the cost of the cabinet goes up.  Highly customized cabinetry built in “smaller” (smaller is relative, many small cabinet manufacturers produce $10-$20 million per year in cabinetry) manufacturer’s facilities have a more people-intensive process; meaning the same person is hand applying finishes to every single surface of an entire cabinet order resulting in the most consistently uniform finished product, equivalent to what you would expect from a fine piece of furniture.

Production grade cabinetry, although highly customizable design-wise as well, is typically finished in a large factory facility. Finishing may be done by individuals in shifts, aided by computer operated assembly line type equipment.  The benefit is finish quality is typically very consistent, although not as much individual attention may be given to an individual order allowing more opportunity for finish imperfections to slip by undetected until after shipping.

Differing levels of attention may be given to the finish process depending on the manufacturer of choice.  Most use a multiple step process including sanding, sealing, hand staining, multiple levels of finish coating using catalyzed conversion varnishes, and baking.  Inquire with your designer about the specific finish process the manufacturer of your choice utilizes.

Determining how important the finished cabinetry is to you is an important step in choosing cabinetry.  Not only does it affect the look, but the longevity of the cabinet.  Balancing the finish quality of your cabinetry with your budget is a realistic part of making a cabinetry purchase decision, and an experienced designer can help you sort through the differences and settle on an option that makes the most sense for you.

Stay tuned for Part 3 in our Series.

 

Cabinetry 101”: Choosing the Right Cabinets for Your Project

Renovating your kitchen can be one of the most exciting, practical and rewarding home improvement projects you can undertake for the betterment and enjoyment of your home.   When purchasing cabinetry for your renovation project, it’s not unusual for cabinetry to comprise a major portion of your project cost.

Understanding what is available when shopping for cabinetry in the marketplace is a key first step in choosing the right cabinetry for your home, whether you’re planning a kitchen remodel or any other room in your house.

Differences in cabinetry may not be readily apparent to most homeowners who are not experienced with cabinetry shopping (it’s not something you do every day!).  When homeowners meet with our designers to talk about their kitchens, we always include a “Cabinetry 101 lesson” in their experience so that they are empowered to make the best choice for their project.

 Let’s Start With Box Construction: Framed vs. Frameless

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There are 2 basic forms of cabinetry construction:

  •  Framed – a “box” with a solid cutout front over-laid on the face creating what’s referred to as a “framed cabinet”.
  • Frameless – a “box” with no front, thicker side panels typically 5/8”-3/4”, which eliminates the need for a structural front frame

Framed:

This style has the doors and drawers lying completely on top of the frame. Door and drawer sizes are not based on cabinet openings, but rather on using “reveals” around all of the fronts.

Framed cabinets have reveals, or spaces between doors from 3/8” up to 1 ½” or more between doors and drawers.  They can enjoy fully “overlaid” doors that show reveals of less than 3/8”, which is a cleaner, more customized look, however the frame is still behind the doors.  The larger the door and drawer spacing, typically the “less sophisticated” the appearance of the finished product, and the least expensive generally.

Stemming from a desire for more streamlined and clean appearances, frameless cabinetry originated in Europe where original designers virtually eliminated the spacing between doors.  This look is not reserved just for contemporaries however; there are many practical benefits to frameless cabinetry enjoyed by modern design and traditional alike!

Frameless:

The frameless style has the doors and drawers lying almost completely over the edge of the cabinet.

Frameless “Advantages” include:

  • A “cleaner”, more sophisticated look due to tighter door tolerances
  • Literally more “space” in cabinets since there is no front frame infringement
  • Roll-out trays and drawers enjoy up to 1 ½” wider widths and increased drawer and space
  • No need for center supports on cabinets wider than 27”; a major benefit for wall cabinet access and implementation of wide roll out trays in base cabinets
  • No “lip” at the bottom ledge of cabinet making it easily cleanable and eliminating the need for shelf paper

Side panels on framed cabinetry typically range from 3/8”-1/2” thick and can either be made of composite material or plywood.  Frameless cabinets typically have a wider side panel for structural stability 3/8”-3/4” thick.  Depending on the joinery used and the mounting system, back panels typically aren’t structural and range from 1/8”-3/8” thick.

Frameless cabinets are more difficult to install because there is no room for error regarding the near perfection required for a “plumb” and “square” installation.  Rarely are walls and floors perfectly square and level in any home, necessitating alteration of the cabinet by a skilled carpenter for a proper fit and level surface for countertops.  Only highly skilled craftsman familiar with the installation of frameless cabinetry should be hired to install frameless cabinetry.

Stay tuned in our several Part Series “Cabinetry 101”:  Choosing the Right Cabinets.

Our designers are expert at explaining the differences in cabinetry features.  Schedule your one on one meeting today to learn all you need to know about the cabinetry you are choosing for your home.

 

10 Tips to Choosing a Kitchen & Bath Design and Remodeling Professional

family could be growing or you merely do not want to get stuck with a decade themed room. Whatever your purpose, you require the most suitable remodeling designs for your needs. Designing and creating a new kitchen or bathroom, whether remodeling an existing space or designing for a new home, can be an overwhelming, intimidating and confusing experience. Finding the right professional to make that experience a successful one is the key to reducing your stress and enjoying your “dream home” for years to come.

As you visit showrooms and interview professionals, keep these criteria in mind to get the best value for your investment; Budget, Design Talent, Personality, & Services.

 

Budget:

Your Budget is Essential. Any remodeling expert will tell you that your budget is king. Your proposed budget can tell you a lot about what you can do with your bathroom. It will tell you whether you can knock off a wall, but the newest fixtures, re route your plumbing or hire the priciest plumber. Before you even draw the initial line of your design, make certain you know how much you can afford to spend.

 

When preparing for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, it is important to understand all of the expected (and unexpected) costs associated. Expenses include cabinets, countertops, appliances and fixtures, and flooring, in addition to design, construction, and permitting. Kitchen and bathroom improvements typically involve gas, electrical, and plumbing expertise, and as such, they are often the most complex and expensive types of home improvement projects.

 

The best way to keep your remodeling project on budget is to find a qualified kitchen and bathroom planning professional. Even for projects that are small in scope, professional designers can be a very cost-effective option by offering design alternatives, helping with efficient space planning, and limiting costly errors due to inexperience or misinformation.

 

In the planning process, whether working with a design professional or directly with a contractor, it is important to be honest about your budget and priorities. This will help all parties involved work to create a final product that meets your needs and expectations. A good first step in the planning process is creating a list of the features in your current space and deciding whether they are sufficient, or need updating or elimination. In addition, create a wish list of items that you would like to include in order of priority – begin with your basic needs and then include extras that can be added as your taste and budget allows. This will assist in creating a budget for your project and will guide the design of your kitchen or bathroom.

 

Budget: Step two

Once you have determined your needs, it is time to plan a budget. After considering the base costs of materials and labor, always factor in a line for surprise costs. Even when working with design professionals, unexpected changes are sometimes necessary. For example, older homes may require additional structural, electrical, or plumbing work in order to support the project or bring your home up to code.

After your budget is set, be an informed consumer. The more you know about your needs and expectations, the easier it will be for you to effectively navigate the process. Allow yourself sufficient time to make selections and decisions. Early preparation will help your preferences and budget direct the project, rather than time constraints determining your priorities once the project has started. During the remodeling process, it is important that you remain consistent by sticking to your plan and make yourself available during the project. Open communication with your contractor and design professional will help work to stay on schedule and on budget. Enjoyment of your new space is key and can be accomplished by getting the best value out of your time and money through planning and accurate budgeting. If you do not know where to start or what a remodel will cost, feel free to give our showroom a call to get an idea of budget for your project.

 

Design Talent:

Design is very subjective, but you are making a major investment and “good” isn’t good enough. You are looking for someone who has completed projects that you “absolutely love”. A good design space and a great design space sometimes doesn’t cost that much more. Look for a designer with a portfolio of completed projects.

– Do the projects appear to be doable on your budget?

– Do they incorporate elements you want in your new space?

– Do you emotionally connect with the projects? Yes… is the response you want.

 

Personality:

Like design, personality is subjective. Remember, you will practically be living with your kitchen & bath not your designer. During the course of your interview, consider their personality… and yours! You may not be a remodeling expert. You may possibly not even have an artistic streak but you do have particular tastes. Make sure your preferences far more concrete by carefully studying remodeling designs in magazines and on the internet. Searching for what other kitchen and bathrooms look like will support you in establishing what particular fixtures and colors you would want yourself. Once you have some notion of what you want, start window shopping. This is the point where you begin narrowing down material sorts, styles and colors.

 

Services:

Consider the services you need and what are provided. Will you become the general contractor for the project? Most homeowners are looking for a “one-stop shop” – a professional that will design the space, coordinate the subcontractors, including electricians, plumbers, tile installers and painters – to name a few and deliver the perfect space. Be sure to ask what services are included in the cost – you want to avoid surprises. Not every single contractor and remodeling expert has the same high quality work. Even the greatest laid out plans are bound to grow to be a mess is you do not get the right organization or set of experts. You need to shop for your contractor as carefully as you would for your materials. Consider reading contractor reviews and client recommendations online.

 

Mixing It Up with Drawer Fronts:

Years ago drawer fronts on kitchen cabinetry were most often a slab drawer of some type, either wood or metal.  As design preferences and with today’s popular Transitional styling, wider rails and stiles on doors and drawer fronts are common which decreases the available space in the center panel of a top drawer and can make finding the right knob or pull challenging.  Often times the width of the rails on the top drawer front are modified in to maintain a resemblance to the door style. Solid, slab drawer fronts on the top drawers with five piece drawer fronts below is a look that has been around for a while. Specifying solid slab drawer fronts for the top drawers provides a uniform look across the top of the base cabinets yet keeps the design detail of the larger drawer fronts below.

Builder Referrals

Our designers know that a remodel or new construction project can feel like an epic journey. If you’re looking for a trusted builder or cabinet installer to take that journey with you, we have a list of qualified and trusted contractors we can recommend for your project.

Please feel free to contact us for preferred builder and installer referrals.