Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Are HGTV Remodeling Shows Realistic?

by pmcalary
If you ask almost any kitchen design professional they will immediately shout NO!  In fact on Linkedin kitchen forums and at industry events nearly all kitchen designers and remodelers routinely complain about how misleading HGTV renovation shows are.  Professionals believe that these shows make our lives harder.

PBS shows like This Old House or Hometime are factual and try to give accurate and interesting glimpses into renovations. Conversely HGTV cares very little if anything about accuracy. Their renovation shows are reality television created to garner ratings. It frustrates real professionals when our customers bring up things they have seen on HGTV. For example customers will often believe they know the correct way to do something, what a realistic time line might be,  the cost of a project, and the possible calamities that might befall a project all from the over dramatic and fact free shows they have enjoyed on HGTV.

Nearly every HGTV remodeling show will have a “Construction Surprise” during the remodeling project. The TV personality (show hosts are not real renovation professionals who remodel homes when not on TV) will tell the homeowners something like “I’m so sorry Bob and Jean but this turns out to be a load bearing wall and it will cost $5000 extra to remove it.” Real professionals must determine what is load bearing and what is not before even giving an estimate. When contractors and design professionals know what they are doing surprises almost never happen and if they do they are small ones and inexpensive.

Unfortunately seeing these unprofessional surprises routinely on HGTV  frightens homeowners into believing that their projects might have similar surprises. Unscrupulous contractors can use this misconception to over charge home owners and under bid honest professionals. This is especially frustrating to the knowledgeable pros that bid jobs accurately and stand behind their bids.

Celebrity renovators like Alison Victoria from HGTV’s show Kitchen Crashers are not real. You cannot become an expert designer and renovator 2 years after leaving The University of Nevada Las Vegas with a degree in psychology. Professionals know that it takes at least a decade of experience along with talent to become a competent kitchen designer and to direct remodeling projects. And the information obtained from HGTV is less real than their hosts.

If you enjoy HGTV reality remodels think of them as simply entertainment. Your kitchen designer and general contractor will breath a sigh of relief. And if you hire competent professionals for your kitchen renovation you can expect no HGTV type surprises.

As my favorite TV chef would say at the end of her show …Bon Appetit!

If you would like to work with a professional remodeling company, call Cabinet-S-Top at 330.239.3630 or visit their one-stop designer showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256.

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 ~