Kitchen Design: The 2016 Top Cabinet Choice


White kitchen cabinets: Classic. Timeless. Versatile. It is easy to see why homeowners are drawn to this enduring favorite. Houzz together with Kitchen & Bath Design News recently published a study showing that white cabinets are chosen 49% of the time. Almost half of us are doing white kitchens! Here in Chicagoland there are a number of factors my clients mention that influence this decision: v  We are doing a huge amount of wood floors, often in mid and dark tones. To avoid the whole issue of matching the wood stain of the cabinets to the color of the flooring, we choose … [Read more...]

Kitchen Design: To Crown or not to Crown


Deciding whether to use crown molding on your kitchen cabinets Since the ancient Greeks, crown molding has been the finishing touch, that final decorative layer added to a room. The Greeks gave us the graceful profiles and rules of proportion that we still use today when we are creating this traditional, elegant and polished look.  When paired with a highly detailed, traditional cabinet, crown molding is elaborate and detailed, often consisting of several stacked pieces. In a traditional design we love … [Read more...]

Cabinets 101: Product Safety


How safe are the materials in your kitchen cabinets? Your expectations are: when you purchase a product it will be manufactured to pass the health and safety standards set for that type of product.  If anywhere along the manufacturing process someone breaches this trust, people can get hurt.   You, the consumer, are the end of the line. See the show at Recently, CBS on its 60 Minutes show did an expose on overseas factories using formaldehyde in wood products (in this case flooring), in quantities that far exceeds US safety standards.  These US … [Read more...]

Kitchen Remodeling: Installing Cabinets

You did it! You’ve put together the perfect kitchen design, the perfect door style, and the perfect wood species - perfect everything.  You have everything ready to go.  The only thing that you are missing is someone to install your new kitchen cabinets. You now have two options:  Do it yourself or hire someone.    Let’s explore why you would install your kitchen cabinets yourself: You’re a professional craftsman and you have the skills. All the little lines on a tape measure do not confuse or confound you. You already have all the proper tools.  If you do not have the correct tools, … [Read more...]

Kitchen Design: A Microwave Guide


Where oh where will the microwave go? Today’s kitchens are bigger, brighter and more open than ever before. Windows are large, often taking up a majority of available wall space. Kitchens are designed around a focal point, and great attention is given to the appearance of this area. Often this focal point is the cooktop or range wall. The cooking area is centrally located, and offers a great opportunity for decorative tile or stone. It is designed to be symmetrical, and the availability of decorative accessories is huge. And we love those decorative range hoods –the sleek modern … [Read more...]

Kitchen Design: Contemporary in the Suburbs

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Can I do a contemporary kitchen in the middle of suburbia? “Contemporary is the watchword for North American kitchen design, according to the 2015 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report from the National Kitchen & Bath (NKBA).” Are all these kitchens in urban loft-style homes? No, actually they are your neighbors. “The rise of contemporary and transitional kitchen designs have been swift. Both styles have increased in specifications by more than 15 percentage points in just four years.” –NKBA We are doing sleek, modern kitchens in all styles of homes. This clean, linear … [Read more...]

Cabinets 101: A Guide to Cabinet Types

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Cabinets 101: Modular vs. Semi-Custom vs. Custom Cabinets When you are cabinet shopping, navigating all the available options can be overwhelming. Your neighbor did custom cabinets – do you need to? Your sister only spent $6,000 on her whole kitchen – is this an option for you? Here is how I explain it! Cabinets are manufactured in one of three basic modes: Modular ($), Semi-Custom ($$), and Custom ($$$). The choice you make for your own project will probably be based on a few factors:  your budget, the style you like, the color or finish you want, and the interior options you are … [Read more...]

Kitchen Design: Let there be Light!


By Sue LeVee, Kitchen Designer In a previous article I talked about accent lighting, a subject that I am a bit obsessive about: This time I want to discuss all 3 types of kitchen lighting – there is hardly a kitchen remodel that doesn’t involve adding lighting. I guess we used to cook in the dark! A well designed kitchen will incorporate 3 types of lighting: Ambient, Task, and Accent.   Ambient Lighting: This is the general, overall light in the room. Typically it is provided by a central overhead fixture that casts a glow throughout the kitchen. However, … [Read more...]

Cabinets 101: Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets

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A guide to kitchen cabinet construction When a client begins a kitchen project, one of the first choices we discuss is the cabinetry. Most of us will only purchase a new kitchen a few times in our entire lives, and yet it is a major purchase, and we need to make educated choices. This is where ‘Cabinets 101’ comes in - basic information that a consumer should consider. Here is a great place to start when learning about cabinets: In the world of cabinets there are 2 main branches: Framed and Frameless. This refers to the two different ways that cabinets are constructed. Rather … [Read more...]

Kitchen Design: The Work Triangle


So, we are heading back to basics. And I mean back: this design concept has been around since the 1940s. I am talking about the legendary work triangle. When a designer is laying out a kitchen, there are 3 primary work areas to consider: the sink (prep and clean up area), the range and the refrigerator. Drawing an imaginary line from the sink, to the range, to the refrigerator, and then back to the sink gives us our triangle. The Infographic at the bottom of the page has great examples! We want our kitchens not only to reflect our taste and style, but also be … [Read more...]