Monday, June 24, 2013

6 Rules for a Functional Family Kitchen

by Heidi Bonesteel & Michele Trout

When designing a kitchen for a growing family, space considerations are paramount. Having room for everybody to move around is essential to the happiness of the cook, and by extension, the entire family. An open floor plan is most desirable, allowing for traffic in and out of the kitchen without disrupting meal preparation.

More the Merrier

You should plan for the dining table or kitchen banquette area to accommodate more people than you think (multiply the number of people in your family by 2) in case friends or neighbors drop by. And, although it may seem strange when your children are young, remember that you will be feeding them and a number of their friends in a very short period of time. If possible, having counter seating in addition to a dining table is optimal so that the counter can be used for quick meals and chatting with the chef, as well as a buffet for parties.

Raising the Bar
Another option for counter seating: consider raising the bar height of the seating area while keeping the work countertop at a standard height. This way you can keep the bar area clean and presentable, while prepping food and washing dishes behind the bar counter wall.  

Building to Last
When specifying materials for a kitchen with a growing family, durability is key. This particular kitchen has a restaurant grade finish on the bar, the counters in the work/prep areas are stainless steel, and all fabrics have been plastic laminated for easy clean up.

Appliance Specs
For a large or growing family, an industrial size range is a luxury you’ll come to rely on. Two dishwashers, one on each side of the kitchen sink, are also nice as they allow you to keep surfaces clear and organized. Because large families tend to spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, it's a good idea to optimize this "togetherness" by having a work station where one can check emails, and keep a family calendar. This helps everybody in the family know what's on the schedule and what's expected of them.   



Extended Family Matters
And because everybody loves the energy of a well functioning family kitchen, why not enhance the social aspect of the space by installing a wine refrigerator and a bar? The conviviality of a warm, busy kitchen makes it the perfect gathering place for everyone you treasure.

Interested in remodeling your kitchen?  Cabinet-S-Top can help you design a family kitchen that will achieve the functionality you desire.  Cabinet-S-Top is located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256.  330-239-3630


Monday, June 17, 2013

8 Beautiful Ways to Work Glass Into Your Kitchen Cabinets

by Shane Inman

Lighten up in the kitchen with see-through or glossy panes
that bounce the sun's rays or show you've got nothing to hide
Glass-front cabinets, often used in upper areas of a kitchen, can make for a pretty and practical focal point. These clear cabinets can be illuminated for ambience, display precious possessions, store functional kitchen items and ease transitions from room to room.

Can glass-front cabinets become the focal point for your kitchen? Check out the examples below to see if any of these styles will work in your home.

1. Glass-front peninsula cabinets. Some kitchens have a peninsula that divides the cooking space and another adjacent space (often the dining room). Peninsulas are accessible on three sides.

Although peninsula storage is practical, many homeowners feel that it can close the kitchen off. Adding upper glass-front cabinets to the peninsula allows for light and creates a more open feeling.
2. Frameless glass-front cabinets. Traditional glass-front cabinets have a wood frame with a glass center panel. Frameless glass-front cabinets have just one sheet of glass for the entire cabinet front. More contemporary in design, they create a sleek appearance with their decorative hinges and lack of hardware.

You may have to hunt for this style — many cabinet lines do not offer it.

3. Picture-window cabinets. What do you do when you have a kitchen that has more windows than wall space? Try putting your wall cabinets directly over the windows, like in this photo.

Picture-window cabinets are designed with no back panel, so sunlight can flow through.

4. Sliding glass. Once popular in the '70s, sliding cabinet doors have made a comeback in kitchens today. They glide on a recessed track (at the top and bottom) that allows two sheets of glass to travel back and forth as doors.

Sliding glass doors sometimes have hardware that is drilled directly into the glass, but many simply have a finger pull cut through the glass.

5. Decorative glass. Glass fronts, whether framed or frameless, come in many different patterns and finishes. Shown here is a popular decorative glass known as seeded glass, which has little air pockets inside to create a textured appearance. You can have your cabinet manufacturer supply the glass on purchase, or you can have the door prepped for glass. This means that the door frame will arrive without glass, and you can have another company supply the glass.

Frosted glass, etched glass, stained glass and colored glass are just a few other types of decorative glass for kitchen cabinetry.


6. Glass-front base cabinets. Many kitchens have glass only on upper cabinetry, but it can look just as good below, too. Glass doors on base cabinets can deliver an extra visual punch and spice up cabinetry that faces other rooms.

Keep in mind that when you're sitting at a counter, feet and knees can accidentally hit and bang the glass, so it may not be the best design for families with active children.



7. Tall glass-front cabinets. Tall cabinets are used to house extra-tall items, such as brooms, mops, cleaning supplies and certain food items. With a glass face, these cabinets can be decorative, too, displaying decorative dishes and personal items.


8. Painted glass-front cabinets. These cabinet doors are frameless, and the glass has been painted on the back side to maintain a wonderful glossy finish.

This particular application is referred to as a factory finish. Heavy-duty epoxy paint is uniformly applied to the reverse side of the glass in a controlled environment to prevent imperfections. The end result is a perfect finish, seen through the other side of the glass.

Looking to lighten up your kitchen, create an ambiance or display precious possessions in your cabinetry?   Let Cabinet-S-Top help you design a beautiful yet functional kitchen.  Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630

Monday, June 10, 2013

8 Smart Lighting Strategies for Your Kitchen

by Eric Corey Freed

While many people planning a kitchen remodel obsess over choosing the right material for countertops or finding the perfect wood for cabinets, lighting is often overlooked and treated as an afterthought. But good lighting can highlight the design of your kitchen, as well as make it more comfortable and easier to use. Plus, if you leave kitchen lighting to the last minute, chances are it'll cost you a pretty penny, especially if electrical wiring needs to be reconfigured. Here are a few things you should consider before starting.

Out of the Spotlight

The most common kitchen lighting mistake is relying on a single bright source of light from above. This creates high contrast and glare, as well as uneven light around the kitchen. It also causes your head and body to cast a shadow over the area where you're working, making routine prep tasks harder to see. Dissolve those harsh shadows by setting your lights to overlap one another. If you've got recessed cans, position them within 2 or 3 feet of one another so their beams overlap. If you like the look of a central fixture, choose one that shines upward to bounce light off the ceiling for a more diffuse glow. Having multiple light sources and directions will eliminate this spotlight effect.
Let the Sun Shine
The best light for a kitchen is, of course, natural light. Not only does it improve visibility, reduce electricity use and provide a full spectrum of light, it turns out that we're happier in natural daylight. Whenever possible, find opportunities to bring in natural light into your kitchen. This can prove challenging if you're remodeling an existing kitchen and want to keep costs low, but daylight fixtures, such as Solatube or Sun Tunnel, can deliver natural light easily and inexpensively. These simple skylights can penetrate an existing ceiling to wash a once-dark kitchen with natural light.

 Take It to Task

Ambient lighting bathes the kitchen with enough light to see, but the detailed and focused work of chopping, mixing and reading recipes requires more concentrated light. Position lights that point downward directly above counter areas to illuminate these workspaces. Referred to as task lighting, these fixtures should be on a separate, dimmable switch for added control and positioned so they won't cast a shadow when you're working at the counter. If you're existing ceiling can't accommodate recessed lighting (or it's not the right fit for your house), you can get the same effect from under-cabinet lights, surface-mounted tracks or hanging pendant fixtures.
 Accentuate the Positive
Once your kitchen's functional lighting needs are satisfied, think about how you can use lighting to provide a design accent. Easy-to-install items like counter edge lighting, toe kick lighting or above-cabinet lighting can add a special touch. You can even wire toe kick lighting to a motion sensor to create a unique kitchen nightlight.

Mind the Reflections
When planning your lighting layout, be mindful of the way light reflects off the finishes in your kitchen. A dark backsplash will mirror under-cabinet lights; glass cabinet doors will reflect the ceiling lights. While this may brighten up your kitchen, it could also bring some unwanted glare. That black granite countertop might look great in the showroom, but once it's installed in your kitchen, it may end up like a giant mirror that blinds you from the ceiling lights.
Focal Points
If you've got a special bar or seating nook, pretty or colorful fixtures will help drawn attention to it. (If you choose a pendant, an odd number of lights look better—think one or three—than even.) Ceiling fixtures aren't the only ones that can draw the eye—wall sconces can frame a view, splash light on nice wall finish or match the hardware on the cabinets. Remember, these fixtures won't be your main source of light; they're really meant to complement the design.
Under Control
Once you've got your lighting strategy mapped out, you want to be able to control the lights. If you're doing additional wiring anyway, separate switches are relatively cheap to install. Dimmer switches provide the opportunity to create ambience and mood. If you have an older house, push-button dimmers, such as the mother of pearl ones from Rejuvenation, will add a bit of history at the same time.
Energy Matters
Many states, like California and New York, require energy efficient bulbs for primary lighting (i.e., the first switch you flip). People often complain about the look of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, but there are other energy-saving alternatives. LED (light emitting diode) technology continues to leap forward—the price of LED bulbs drops daily—and provides the best options for color, long life, dimmability and energy savings. All of the strategies outlined here can incorporate LED technology.
Lighting is vital to having a beautiful and functioning kitchen.  Confused?  Let Cabinet-S-Top assist you in choosing the best lighting fixtures for your kitchen.
Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

8 Popular Cabinet Door Styles for Kitchens of All Kinds

by Shane Inman

Don't mess around picking cabinet doors. Let our mini guide
help you choose the right style, and save the messes for cooking

Your cabinet door style can be one of the most important factors in your kitchen's new design. Not only are cabinet doors one of the most visible design elements in a kitchen, but they can also be one of the most expensive. From the elaborate to the simple, there's a door style for every home design. Take a look at some of the better-known styles here and see which will work for your home's style and your budget.

Shaker. The Shaker-style cabinet door is the most common door style in kitchens today. This five-piece flat-panel style has a frame made from four pieces and a single flat center panel for the fifth piece.

Shaker cabinetry gets its name from the distinctive Shaker furniture style, which uses simple, clean lines and emphasizes utility. Shaker-style doors became popular because their simple style lends itself to just about any decor — from contemporary to traditional — with variations in wood species, stains, paint colors and hardware.

This classic style can work with a variety of budgets, depending on the wood used. Some manufacturers can even replace the center door panel with a more cost-effective material. Using a natural finish rather than a painted one could save you up to 20 percent on your purchase, too.

Louvered. Horizontal wood slats are typically used on windows, furniture pieces and interior doors, but they add a distinct architectural style to kitchen cabinetry. However, be aware that these beauties come with a heavy price tag.

Many louvered doors have spaces between each slat, making them great for cabinets that require ventilation — like a cabinet near a radiator, a dedicated clothes drying cabinet in a laundry room or cabinetry for cable boxes and DVD players.

Flat. Simple but stylish, the flat-panel cabinet door is void of any expensive details. Its hard lines and minimalist form make it a great fit for contemporary and modern interiors.

Many flat doors come in decorative laminate or wood. Laminate tends to be more budget friendly and offers a greater variety of colors and sheens.

Inset. Although this style tends to be one of the most expensive on the market, it's a classic look that'll last for generations. The inset door gets its name because it is set inside of the cabinet frame — typical cabinet doors rest on the outside of the frame. The door is designed and constructed with extremely precise measurements so that it nests inside the frame and opens and closes properly, even when the wood expands and contracts.

This door style usually requires exposed hinges rather than the typical concealed hinges of other door styles that are included in the cost of the cabinet box. Make sure that your budget takes this into account — two hinges per door will quickly add up.

Distressed. If you've always dreamed of having an antique-style kitchen, then you'll love the distressed-looking cabinets available from most manufacturers. Choose any door style and opt to have the corners rubbed off or have other distressing techniques done for that age-old feeling. All this extra work will cost you, though; there's usually a 15 to 20 percent upcharge for a tradesperson to actually destroy your brand-new doors.

Beadboard. Love cottage style? It doesn't get more cottage chic than beadboard. The center panel of the cabinet doors in this style are made to look like traditional beadboard paneling. Beadboard was used in the past as a decorative wall treatment before plaster, drywall and paint became common.

While all-white beadboard cabinetry can give your kitchen a bright and clean feel, all the little cracks and crevasses on this door style can be a pain to keep clean.

Thermofoil. These doors are molded out of MDF (medium-density fiberboard), wrapped in a plastic-type coating and then baked under intense heat to create an impervious seal. Durable and cost effective, they come only in solid colors and imitation wood grain.

Often mass-produced, thermofoil cabinetry comes at very competitive price points. It's durable, but it's also extremely difficult to repair any damage to it. Some lighter colors can also yellow from sunlight and heat over time.


Custom. Can't find any door style on the market that really complements your unique design intention? Design your own!

This Shaker-style cabinet door has a center panel of corrugated metal instead of wood for an industrial and utilitarian look that can stand up to years of abuse.

Cabinet-S-Top can help you choose kitchen cabinets and hardware to create a personalized design for your home.   Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630