Monday, July 17, 2017

3 Tips for a Glamorous Kitchen Update

Style a sleek, modern space with innovative
surfaces using these tips from Cambria

Who doesn’t dream of a fabulous kitchen remodel? Given the amount of time we spend in the kitchen — prepping, cooking, baking, cleaning, entertaining — we crave a stylish space that draws us in, a retreat that aesthetically rivals the rest of the house.

A chic, updated kitchen is also one of the best ways to increase the value of your home. Ask any real estate agent which room upgrade carries the best return on investment and the kitchen will undoubtedly be at the top of the list. But it also can be one of the most overwhelming rooms to remodel. Where to begin?

Unlike the living room, which you might style around a piece of artwork or a rug, in the kitchen you want to start with the biggest features and work backward. Three areas in which to achieve maximum impact are cabinets, countertops and appliances. From there, everything else — flooring, paint, lighting, backsplash — can fall into place.

Keep reading for some tips from Cambria, a manufacturer of pure, natural quartz surfaces, on creating a unique and elegant kitchen that can be the highlight of your home.

1. Go Bold 

Don’t be afraid to make a statement. While we may be used to seeing subtle patterns on kitchen countertops, a more elaborate surface can perform double duty as a work of art. Use marble look-alike quartz for a beautiful, easy-to-maintain version without the hassle. Coordinate your paint, backsplash, flooring, hardware and decor with the undertones in your counter to make the design pop.

For example, to bring out the metallic flecks in your kitchen island, try adding polished nickel or unlacquered brass finishes for an elegant touch. Accentuate countertop veining by painting perimeter cabinets the same color or finding complementary ceramic tile or stone flooring. Stain your island cabinets to contrast with your countertops for a dramatic effect. And don’t forget to add personality with an artistic backsplash or unique barstools.

2. Go Sleek

There’s something about a modern kitchen that feels clean and hip, even if you’re just reheating leftover meatloaf for dinner. A white-and-gray palette is on trend, the ideal backdrop for high-tech innovations like induction cooktops, touch-on faucets and appliances controlled from your smartphone. Simple (or hidden) hardware, strong horizontal lines and limited ornamentation can help make your kitchen shine.

If you decide on lighter-hued surfaces, be sure they’re stain-resistant, as nothing detracts from a state-of-the-art space like a coffee ring or a splash of red wine. A clean, modern kitchen is ideal for small spaces, as minimalist design allows for increased efficiency and functionality. Durable, low-maintenance surfaces streamline a kitchen even more. Now if only you could get a robot to do the dishes … 

3. Go Luxe

Is your style elegant and sophisticated? There’s no reason your kitchen can’t be too. Tying your home’s overall design into the kitchen is essential for open-concept living. But remember that high-end doesn’t have to mean high-maintenance.

Add an unexpected piece of art, a conversation (center) piece, chic barstools and a statement light fixture to make your kitchen truly feel unique. And don’t forget to accessorize. Small details can create an opulent feel: Think fresh flowers, dimmable lights, designer linens, ornate hardware or a cluster of votive candles.

It’s hard to believe that kitchens used to be relegated to the back of the house, far removed from family living and intended purely as a workspace. Today, a sophisticated, well-designed kitchen is seen as one of the surest paths to luxurious living in your home.

With a beautiful kitchen, you may find yourself dusting off that stack of neglected Bon Appétit magazines and tackling more elaborate recipes, or polishing your silver for the first time in months. Guests may linger longer in your fresh new entertaining space, as every good dinner party ends up in the kitchen. As the last of the stragglers leave, pour 
yourself a glass of pinot; with the right design choices, cleanup won’t feel like a chore in your new haute haven. 

Cabinet-S-Top is an authorized dealer of Cambria Quartz and can assist you in choosing the right countertop for your home.  Visit our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kitchen Fix: Where to Stash the Stand Mixer

By Becky Harris

No lifting, please! Stand mixers may be small, but they’re heavy.
Here’s where to keep them so they’ll be easy to use.

Not too long ago, several astute readers noticed something in a story they didn’t agree with: a stand mixer placed on a high shelf. While it was probably there just for the photo shoot, the readers brought up a good point. These countertop mixers weigh a lot and are not easy to move around. Here are the latest storage solutions for keeping this heavy small appliance stored somewhere that’s easy to access.

Solution: Out in plain sight.
Who it works for: You use your stand mixer not only for baking but also as a fun, colorful accessory. It’s like the statement necklace of your kitchen’s outfit.

So here’s the thing: Part of the reason I’d shell out a few hundred bucks for one of these mixers is because they are very cool-looking and come in super cute colors. I don’t know how anyone could buy a happy pear-green KitchenAid mixer and then not want to look at it all the time. But I can relate to needing the counter space it requires, so we’ll go through a variety of options.

Solution: Tucked under an upper cabinet. 
Who it works for: You want to look at your mixer but want it to live in a tucked-away space.

These homeowners can still enjoy looking at their turquoise mixer, but if they need that primo counter space for unloading groceries or laying out ingredients next to the refrigerator, they can shove it out of the way.

Solution: A pullout drawer. 
Who it works for: You think stand mixers add to countertop clutter. You have a strong back, don’t use the mixer often and want to add a little arm workout in with your kitchen duties.

A sturdy pullout drawer like this one keeps the mixer close by without taking up prime kitchen real estate. Be sure to let your cabinetmaker know you plan to store something heavy here so he or she can check the weight rating for the drawer slides.

Solution: A mixer lift. 
Who it works for: You want super easy access to the mixer with minimal physical effort. You’d rather give up lower cabinet space than countertop space, or you want to use your mixer on an island in the middle of the room.

Open the cabinet door and — voilà — you can pull the mixer up and out with ease, do your mixing right on the shelf it sits on, then stash it away when you’re done. Installing an electrical outlet within the mixer’s cabinet makes things even easier. Also, think about where you’ll be doing your baking tasks when you install this. For example, being able to do plugged-in mixing at an island is a relatively new option that might not have been available the last time you remodeled your kitchen.

Solution: A custom pullout shelf that’s lower than standard counter height. 
Who it works for: You use a wheelchair or need a seat while baking.

This custom setup is for a home that follows universal design principles. The cabinet door flips up and a shelf that houses the mixer pulls out. As you can see just behind the mixer, there’s an electrical outlet in the back of the cabinet. 
Solution: Appliance garage with a sliding shelf.
Who it works for: You want to use the mixer on a perimeter countertop but don’t want to look at it all the time.

This arrangement is so easy: Lift or roll up the appliance garage door and slide out the mixer, which sits on its own pullout.
Here’s an example of an appliance garage with bifold doors that blend right in with the rest of the cabinetry.
Solution: Stash it in a baking cabinet.
Who it works for: You love to bake and you want a dedicated station for gathering ingredients, rolling dough, measuring and mixing.

A baking station is a dream for those who love to bake. With all of today’s clever storage solutions, you can set up a baking cabinet complete with stand mixer, ingredients, baking sheets, muffin tins, measuring cups and everything else you need efficiently in one place. It also provides a surface where you can roll out and knead dough.

Solution: An appliance garage that opens on two sides.
Who it works for: Your kitchen may have more than one small appliance working at once, and you cannot stand wasted corner space.

Sometimes corners in a kitchen are full of wasted or blind space. This designer made the most of that, which left a lot of room for a nice adjacent window. This solution is smart because you could pull out the coffeemaker and the mixer at the same time and have plenty of space to do so. And hey, it can even suit different moods. Want to look outside and watch the birds or gaze lovingly at that killer Heath Ceramics tile while you mix? It’s your choice.

At Cabinet-S-Top, we want to make your kitchen function with ease. Stop in and meet with one of our expert designers to get started.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Monday, July 3, 2017

Details That Count: 17 Designer Tips for a Great Kitchen

By Barbra Bright

Get ideas for camouflaging your outlets, adding tasklighting and avoiding common kitchen annoyances

Great design is all about the details — especially those that, when done right, you don’t notice at all. As a kitchen designer, I have a number of special techniques to create gorgeous kitchens that function beautifully. Here are 17 of my best kitchen design secrets.

All About Outlets

1. Color-coordinate the outlets. 
Local building codes often state that there must be an electrical outlet every 4 feet in the kitchen. White outlets are seemingly the color of choice for electricians — and therein lies the bane of my design existence. With their glaring contrast, white outlets in a nonwhite backsplash detract from the beauty of the tile. Fortunately, you can avoid this dilemma by coordinating your outlets and wall plates with the color of your backsplash tile, as shown in this photo.

 2. Install undercabinet plug molding. One option for a clutter-free backsplash is to install plug molding beneath the wall cabinets.

3. Mix outlet styles. I always ask clients if a toaster or a coffee maker will live on their counter. If so, I add a wall outlet behind that appliance since it will always be plugged in. Otherwise, the electrical cord will be visible as it dangles from the plug molding above. Remember to combine a mixture of outlets and plug molding into your design.

4. Go for pop-up outlets. Another option for an outlet-free backsplash is a pop-up outlet that disappears into the countertop. These are especially useful in places where there are no wall cabinets to hide a plug molding strip.

5. Turn the outlet sideways. If wall outlets are your desired solution, install them sideways and closer to the counter for a less obtrusive profile than the common vertical orientation.

6. Create a charging station. A plethora of devices need charging these days. Create a docking drawer with a hidden charge station so that you can keep your smartphones and iPads out of sight.

Lighting Secrets for Style and Function

7. Provide task lighting. 
The primary purpose of undercabinet lighting is to illuminate the countertop, which in turn makes food preparation easier on the eyes. That’s why it’s known as task lighting. Always install the task light toward the front of the cabinet, not toward the back. If the light is stationed closer to the back wall, it primarily highlights the backsplash tile and not the counter, defeating the purpose of the light. 

8. Make cabinets glow. In the past, lighting the interior of a wall cabinet meant that each shelf had to be glass. The light source came from the top of the cabinet and needed to penetrate the shelves to illuminate those below. The farther away from the light source, the dimmer the shelf. 

But times and lighting have changed, and these days, I prefer to install an LED lighting strip on both sides of the cabinet. That way, each shelf can glow, as shown in this photo. Hide the LED strip behind the cabinet’s face frame. If it’s a frameless cabinet, embed the strip in a prepared groove in the cabinet’s side wall.

Appliance Tricks

9. Hide the dishwasher with paneling. Whether or not you are paneling the refrigerator, consider paneling the dishwasher for a clean, harmonious look, uninterrupted by a stainless steel appliance next to the sink. In this photo, the dishwasher lies to the left of the sink.

10. Conceal the microwave. Microwaves are still an integral part of most kitchens for reheating beverages and leftovers. Most clients prefer them out of sight rather than occupying valuable counter space. One option is to keep them hidden in a wall cabinet with a lift-up door, as shown in this photo.

Hood Smarts

11. Don’t crowd the hood. When using a chimney hood, always leave at least 2 to 3 inches between the hood and the wall cabinets to the left and right. Visually, the hood will not look cramped, and the sides of the cabinets will stay cleaner longer.

12. Rethink glass cabinetry next to a hood. Glass cabinets create a lovely focal point when placed next to a hood, but are they practical? Unless you’re prepared to constantly clean the glass of the grease and grime emanating from cooking, it’s best to install them elsewhere.

Avoiding Annoyances

13. Define the zones. 
Think in terms of prepping and cleanup zones when planning your kitchen. Do you really want your cleanup sink to be in the island filled with dirty dishes? Put the prep sink on the island and tuck the cleanup sink out of the way.

14. Maximize prep space on an island. I love symmetry, and for years, I would center the sink in the island. But unless the island was 9 feet long, the prep area on both sides of the sink was limited. These days, I hold the sink to one side of the island to allow for maximum prep space.

Another consideration when placing a sink in an island is the height of the faucet. The taller the faucet, the more of a focal point it becomes.

15. Countersink the screw. The cabinet next to a Lazy Susan cabinet with a bifold door often shows scratches over time. That’s because the head of the screw holding the Lazy Susan’s cabinet hardware in place protrudes and scrapes across the adjacent cabinet when the door is being closed.

Here’s an easy fix: Just have your contractor countersink the screw so that the head of the screw is flush with the wood and no longer protrudes.

16. Account for lid storage. Having to store pot lids can be a nightmare. There are many ways to solve this problem, but my favorite is to create a divider in a pullout drawer, as shown in this photo.

17. Clear the decks. Don’t forget to add accessories like a soap dispenser and an air switch to keep clutter off the counters and backsplash.

Getting ready to remodel? Cabinet-S-Top can assist you in the design details to create a great kitchen. Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Monday, June 26, 2017

11 Great Design Tips You Might Have Missed This Week

by Mitchell Parker

Swap out your light fixtures, choose dovetail
drawers for heavy dishes and know where
to stop your kitchen backsplash

1. Paint your interior doors dark. If your home has white walls and ceilings and you’re looking to add a little character to the interior without repainting the entire home, consider painting just your doors black or charcoal gray, as was done in this charming Nashville, Tennessee, home of former Paramore guitarist Josh Farro and his wife, Jenna.

We’ve written before about reasons to consider painting your interior doors dark, but to recap: It adds instant elegance and contrast and helps highlight other black accents in the room, if you’ve got them. 

2. Use reclaimed wood for an island kick plate. Kitchen islands are busy hubs that have kids and adults bellying up to work, eat or chat with whoever’s cooking. But if you’re concerned about the inevitable kicks scratching and chipping away at your island, consider wrapping the seating portion of the island in reclaimed wood. The material won’t show dents and dings as prominently, and it’s a great way to add warmth and personality. 

3. Consider a window backsplash. If you’re looking to get more light into your kitchen, and if your budget and home structure allow, consider punching as many holes as possible into a cabinet wall. Here, window slivers above and below the hanging cabinets and a large window behind the range create a cool effect that brightens the industrial space.

4. Swap out your light fixtures. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive and easy way to bring style to your home, try swapping out your current light fixtures for something a bit more dramatic. It’s a pretty straightforward DIY project, though you must use caution when doing any kind of electrical work and always make sure you turn the power off. Lowe’s has a pretty simple guide to follow for changing a light fixture.

5. Don’t discount plywood. These white-stained plywood walls in a Swedish home show how powerful simple materials can be when thoughtfully designed and implemented. 

6. Vary your flooring materials. This London kitchen features a lot of bold style choices, but the mix of floor materials is definitely at the top. Hexagonal encaustic tiles wrap around to delineate the kitchen and dining area, and then, through a dappling effect, transition into antique parquet flooring in a herringbone pattern that leads to the living spaces. 

7. Get to know marble contact paper. There’s no shortage of DIY magic you can do with marble-patterned adhesive paper. In the Washington, D.C., studio shown here, homeowner Liz Fassbender used the material to elevate the look of an Ikea coffee table by applying it to the bottom shelf.

8. Grow herbs in the kitchen. Blessed with a sunny window in your kitchen? Consider growing herbs and other edible plants that you can use to garnish drinks and meals. 

9. Know where to end your backsplash. It’s a dilemma, but designer and Houzz writer Yanic Simard breaks down what you need to know about where to stop your precious tile material. It depends on several factors, including ceiling height and where your cabinets and countertops end. Click here to read his article.

10. Get down with durable dovetails. Deep drawers are great for easily accessing kitchen items in lower cabinets. But without proper construction, those drawers might not be able to bear the weight of heavy dishes. Talk with your cabinetmaker or kitchen designer about dovetail drawers, or another durable construction method, to handle heavy loads. 

11. Consider a convertible coffee-and-dining table. Space is often hard to come by in New York, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up the comforts of more spacious living. In this 400-square-foot apartment, the homeowners used a table from Ligne Roset that can be lowered to coffee table height for everyday use and raised to dining table height for meals.

Cabinet-S-Top is an award winning kitchen and bath remodeling company serving Northeast Ohio since 1991.   Specializing in expert design, product selection and installation services. Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where Should You Start and Stop Your Backsplash?

by Yanic Simard

Consider these tips and tricks to work around cabinets,
windows and more for a finished look in your kitchen

Wondering where to end your backsplash? Never even thought about it? It can be a surprisingly complex question. These tips will help you find the right place to stop your backsplash to get a crisp look in any kitchen.

From a designer perspective, the best time to stop a backsplash is … never! After all, when you’ve chosen a beautiful material, why wouldn’t you want more of it? Taking a backsplash wall to wall and counter to ceiling makes for seamless lines and definitely a dramatic effect.

Of course, in reality it isn’t always an option to cover every inch of wall in a coveted stone. Even in this luxe kitchen someone had to decide: Where should the finish end on the range wall? Above the range hood? Below it? In your project, the decisions can be simple or quite complicated, depending on multiple factors.

General Rule No. 1

Opinions differ on this, but for a polished look I typically tile just the main walls of the kitchen (those that back the cabinets), ending at the corners rather than wrapping around to finish the sides, if there are any. In the case of an odd corner (like on the left here, where there is likely a pipe in the wall), consider the whole corner part of the “back.”

In some cases, a “sidesplash” on a noncabinet wall can be functional and beautiful, but skipping it is the simplest way to avoid situations where elements don’t line up neatly. Typically, the counter, upper cabinets and wall all end at different places on the sides, leaving no definitive stopping point.

In this example, the tile ends at the corners instead of wrapping onto the small wall with the doorway. If it did wrap onto that wall, the two sides of the door would be hard to balance and likely a bit awkward.

Kitchen Size

Small kitchens. Fully covering the wall usually is your best bet in a small kitchen (or in a larger kitchen that has just a small area for the backsplash).

This sort of layout, with just a single backsplash area between the fridge cabinet and side wall, is common in galley kitchens in apartments and condominiums. Tiling the entire area in one material makes for the tidiest finish, which can help make the kitchen look its biggest.

Big kitchens. In the case of a very large kitchen, or one with dramatically tall ceilings, taking tile to full height can bust the budget or completely overload the look. In a case like this, ending the tile vertically at the same line as the upper cabinets gives a better finish.

If you use a darker color for the tiles than the remaining upper wall, it can actually help bring down the apparent ceiling line so the room feels a little more intimate.

In spaces with taller ceilings, a bulkhead often is used to fill in the void above the uppers. This also gives the tile a natural place to finish, so everything looks pleasingly framed in and there’s no empty space left to collect knickknacks and dust.

General Rule No. 2

Knowing where to stop the tile horizontally is easy if your kitchen runs wall to wall, but what if it ends partway along a longer wall? In a case like this, where the kitchen cabinetry ends midroom, the best option is to end the upper cabinets, lower cabinets and backsplash all on one crisp line.

Notice at the right side of this kitchen how the backsplash aligns with the upper and lower cabinets — while the counter hangs out over that line a little bit — rather than extending to the end of the counter and sticking out past the upper cabinets (which to me would be much less tidy).
Of course, this requires the upper and lower cabinets to align crisply, which can take careful planning when laying out the kitchen. Using filler panels and adjusting the spacing around a window can help make cabinets end at the same place on the top and bottom, even if the widths of each cabinet don’t match perfectly above and below.

Other Considerations

Peninsulas. What about times when the upper and lower cabinets don’t align? A common place for this to occur is U- or L-shaped kitchens where the uppers end over a peninsula. In this case, I would suggest ending the backsplash in line with the uppers, so you still get a crisp vertical line.

Windows. Sometimes there will be very small areas of wall between windows and a counter or cabinet. It may be tempting to leave these areas empty (and often easier on the tile installer), but the overall effect will be subtly tidier if you imagine the window does not exist when planning where to end the tile.

In this space, the tile continues to the end of the counter, as ending at the upper cabinet would be far too early.

Here, the tile continues all the way to the corner and up to the height of the upper shelves so that from a distance the line of the upper cabinets is unbroken. It’s a subtle difference versus simply ending at the window, but these little details can make a kitchen feel so much more finished.

Modern slab backsplashes. In a kitchen with modern styling and a cool slab backsplash, it’s extra important for the elements to align pleasingly, or the look can become sloppy. Here, the cabinets and counter are sized to line up perfectly. When installing a peninsula with an overhang, you can also add or subtract an inch or two of counter to make the math work out just right.

Traditional slab backsplashes. Going for a more traditional or farmhouse-inspired look? A charming slab backsplash like this benefits from having some negative space left around it and doesn’t really need to line up with anything — in fact, it can be almost better if it doesn’t.

Edgy tiles. If you’ve got an interesting tile shape, such as a playful hexagon, you can consider ending the tile with a messy edge to give a more relaxed appeal.

This can apply to the horizontal ends and the verticals. This tile fades slowly to white vertically so that the vibrant blue doesn’t have to carry all the way to the ceiling, and it makes for a unique feature.
Cabinet-free walls. In L- or U-shaped kitchens that have large areas — or entire walls — with no upper cabinets, you can tile the empty wall full height or simply continue the upper line of the backsplash around the entire room, as done here.

Ending the backsplash with a shelf, even a shallow one, can give it a nice cap on walls where there are no other particular ending points such as a window or cabinet.

Differing heights. In a kitchen with many items at different heights, I would still use the bottom of the cabinets as a main stopping point, with possibly a little exception at the range for a taller backsplash up to the hood. Ending at the windows would leave an awkward sliver of space below the cabinets.

In more traditional kitchens, sometimes the tile will run even a little above the bottom of the cabinets, which gives a pleasing overlap that feels more relaxed and reduces the need to cut tiles into tiny slivers.

Another way to solve any backsplash height conundrums is to use an elegant short backsplash, just a few inches tall. This way, you can run it around the entire counter at one unbroken height and leave the rest of the wall a uniform color.

You can also pair a short backsplash with a second backsplash material, so you have one style (usually the more high-end material, such as a stone slab) run continuously and then a second material in pieces where needed to fill in.

One Last Idea

Keep in mind, a full-height backsplash might not be as budget-busting or as visually overwhelming as you might think. A classic porcelain tile, with an optional contrast grout, can give a sophisticated, classic look for just a few dollars per square foot, meaning it can actually be the more luxe-looking option than a higher-end material used in a conservative dose.

Need a designer to help you create the desired look for your kitchen?  To get started, stop by Cabinet-S-Top located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~